Tag Archive: atari

Originally Published: March 29, 2011, on Youtube.com/RCars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix from my mother’s basement! This week’s episode sees me review X-Men #9 from Marvel and the downloadable Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime from Atari. My hot chick pick of the week is Nancy Patton and this week’s theme is Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters movie theme.

Originally Published: March 11, 2011, on Comicvine.com

If ‘bustin’ makes you feel good, why not do it once a month?

When I make my comic purchase decisions, I stick mostly to the Big 2. I used to get Spawn, but lost interest after he killed the twins and became unto a god. I used to pick up Star Wars, but the expanded universe became too expanded for me and I couldn’t keep up with all the titles. I used to buy G.I. Joe, but after they re-launched and re-imagined it after only a few dozen issues for the umpteenth time in my life, I finally decided to relinquish my greenshirt status. But there is always one title that no matter what, I pick it up, and then have my heart broken when I find out it’s just a mini-series. Ghostbusters.

So this week I got my hopes up one more time when I saw something that could never possibly destroy us, The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, on the cover of another IDW comic. But my hopes would again be dashed, as this time the comic was only the first of two Ghostbusters related parts of a massive IDW inter-brand arc called Infestation. And this made me start to think, why can’t the boys in gray who slug it out with pretty pesky poltergeists get their own regular monthly series?

Could IDW be waiting to see if Bill Murray decides to finally officially sign on board for a third Ghostbusters movie so Columbia Pictures can give it the final go ahead and then IDW in turn capitalizes on a popularity surge? Maybe, but does Ghostbusters really need that? And do you really want something like the possibility of a monthly comic hanging on the whims of Bill Murray?

With Blu-ray sales, special edition releases, a hugely successful modern video game in 2009 (it sold 1 million units in its first four weeks of availability) and another downloadable one coming out in two weeks (Sanctum of Slime), you could argue that Ghostbusters has been cultivating its fan base pretty well for a while now. The best time to strike is while the iron is hot, folks.

If anything, the success of the video game gives even more reason as to why a monthly comic would work after the seeming success of comics based off games like Gears of War. I wouldn’t mind picking up a comic that centered around the rookie from the games working with the originals a little bit more and this would help to keep the title’s storylines fresh and introduce new characters into the canon. Or if you follow the plot of the game to the letter and have the rookie open up his own branch of the franchise in another city, you could actually have multiple Ghostbusters books at once as one follows the rookie and another follows the originals.

Not to mention that this in turn could create a way to write off Peter Venkman if need be so Columbia Pictures could move forward with the movie down the line and not have the fan base revolt too much. Make the rookie a wise-ass to replace him. He never talks in the games so he’s like a clean slate and the third movie was rumored to be about training replacements anyway.

Beyond the current worth of the franchise though, something that Ghostbusters has going for it that a lot of those other comic series have (except Spawn) that helps maintain them as moneymakers even today and has these independent comic publishers keep bringing them back over and over is the nostalgia factor.

A lot of my friends and I weren’t even born when the first Ghostbusters movie came out, and yet it is easily the movie we quote the most to each other and I always stop flipping through the channels on my TV when the movie is on Comedy Central. I didn’t know Arsenio Hall because of his late night show, I knew him because he played the voice of Winston in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. I had a box of Hi-C Ecto Cooler in my Batman lunchbox everyday. I know I’m not alone in those facts so again I ask: After two decades, why can’t we have a monthly Ghostbusters comic? Do I need to tell someone about the Twinkie?

Of course, there is that elephant in the room of figuring out who would write a monthly Ghostbusters comic. We might need to consult Tobin’s Spirit Guide for this one, but with the gritty horror/mystery genre gaining steam with titles like Locke & Key and The Walking Dead, I’m sure there are some people who would be willing to experiment and strike a balance between the humor we’ve come to know and love from the Ghostbusters franchise with maybe a darker tone. Or how about just have the guys who have been doing all these mini-series do it full-time? I’ve enjoyed the mini-series and I think that’s why it is even worse when I know the end is coming so quickly.

And if a third movie doesn’t ever get made, which is the most likely scenario as sad as it is to say, you could have the script that Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis were working on converted into a comic book arc or even have them do a guest arc once every few years. Then again, I might have better luck catching a class 5 full roaming vapor with my bare hands on that one.

Let us know what you guys think. Would you want to see a monthly Ghostbusters comic? Or are you satisfied with these occasional mini-series? As a duly designated representative of the City, County, and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension and comment below! And yes, I am a god.

Originally Published: October 26, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I was able to review Backyard Sports: Rookie Rush from Atari for the Xbox 360.

The Best of E3

Originally Published: July 7, 2010, on Lundberg.me, Examiner.com, Original-Gamer.com, PlayerAffinity.com, and ESPNNewYork.com

I know that E3 was three weeks ago, but with the craziness of the World Cup, NBA Free Agency, and the approaching MLB All-Star break, to say we’ve been a little busy here at ESPN would be an understatement. But in our spare time, my expert cameraman/editor Jared Bodden and I, have been toiling away trying to finish these videos to show you some of the great games we saw at E3 and bring you some exclusive interviews with the people behind those games.

One of the most difficult things in this process has been whittling down what we felt were the most worthwhile games to look at, so we broke it down into four videos. The first video is a compilation featuring online and DLC games with the following three videos being a summary of the rest of the best from each day. For the games that we had to cut for the sake of time, I apologize tremendously. I also wish we could have given every game we did feature their own special video.

On that note, without further ado, below is the culmination of my three days at the L.A. Convention Center for E3 2010. I hope you all enjoy.

The first video was my online/DLC game special that features looks at the new Deadliest Warrior game from Spike Games that comes out next Tuesday, DCU Online from Sony Online Entertainment, QuickHit.com and their brand new NFL license, and Blacklight: Tango Down from Ignition Entertainment.

Our first day at E3 was a special day overall and had us see some spectacular looking games for consoles. Our video of Day 1 features Tron and Epic Mickey from Disney Entertainment, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow from Konami, and Test Drive Unlimited 2 from Atari.

On the second day of E3, console games and their peripherals were well represented once more as we looked at Vanquish from SEGA, Shaun White Skateboarding and Ghost Recon: Future Solider from Ubisoft, WWE All-Stars from THQ, and the new Wii Exercise Bike from Big Ben Interactive.

On the last day of E3, we had a chance to look at some of the most hyped games for consoles and some sweet accessories when we looked at Call of Duty: Black Ops and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions from Activision and some sweet products from Nyko and iGUGU.

Videos by Jared Bodden

-Ray Carsillo

It’s always nice when you actually get credit for something. Thanks to the fine folks at Atari for passing this along. Check out the :26 mark.

E3 – Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Originally Published: June 16th, 2010, on PlayerAffinity.com and Examiner.com

I had a chance to catch up with Sega, Atari, Spike Games, Disney, and Konami on the first official day of E3 2010!

Better than a Babe Ruth League

Originally Published: May 28, 2010, on Examiner.com, PlayerAffinity.com, and ESPNNewYork.com

I still reminisce every now and then about the glorious springs of my youth when baseball season would start and once our local organized little leagues were finished, my friends and I would head down to the park and play stick ball on abandoned tennis courts, wiffle ball on side streets, or home run derby on empty diamonds. Something that’s going to make me reminisce a little bit more about those days is the latest entry into the Backyard Sports series, Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers.

Before reading my full review of the game, be sure to check out my interview with the producer of Sandlot Sluggers, Roland Lesterlin.

The first thing you notice about Sandlot Sluggers is how great looking this game is, especially for the Xbox 360. The graphics are bright and colorful and the cut scenes for the story mode (more on that in a second) are done in stylized outlines and shadows that give it a unique and pleasing visual presence. There are a couple of glitches when you’re playing sometimes, but other than that the game is just plain pretty.

The audio is also very solid and rounds out the peripherals nicely. With cute commentary from the local old men who serve as the announcers for your games to the simple menu instrumentals, the game isn’t an audio revolution, but it works and is probably what you would expect from a game geared more towards teaching kids about sports and sportsmanship.

The biggest improvement to the series though comes with the brand new story mode (told you I’d get to it) that helps to deviate this game from your normal baseball sim. Playing the role of the new kid after fully customizing your look from the color of your glove to your head shape, it is up to you to unite the local kids into a team of superstars to take down Jimmy Knuckles and his squad of bullies who have pummeled all other teams into submission. Only by beating the teams of the eight other good kids can you recruit them onto your squad and gain access to Knuckles’ diamond behind the local school. Coupled with mini-games after every couple of victories to improve your squad’s equipment, the story mode is a great way to give life to the characters as well as to teach your little one the ins and outs of the game of baseball.

The gameplay is solid baseball action mixed in with the classic power-ups and special abilities you’ve come to expect from the Backyard Sports series. From booger balls that cover the screen and make it impossible to see the ball to icicle bats that freeze the first fielder to touch the ball, the new power-ups add a great element of randomness and a true sense of “it ain’t over till it’s over” to the game. And they might just help mom or dad keep them even with their little slugger.

Each field you play in also has its own unique qualities that add to the gameplay. From Pablo’s dog grabbing balls that go near his doghouse for ground rule doubles to balls bouncing into the playground’s sandbox for automatic triples, the field you play in adds to the unique strategies that can come into play.

There were a couple of negatives I saw to the gameplay as well though. The most obvious negative is the fact that a run doesn’t count if the final out is made on the base paths. The baseball rule is that if the run scores before the third out, the run counts. It was very irritating to get into rundowns trying to stretch a single into a double and then find out that the runner from third crossed home, but it never counted because I made the third out.

Speaking of running blunders, another glitch that drove me nuts was if I got caught stealing for the third out of an inning, the batter at the plate would be skipped over instead of leading off the next inning. This glitch baffled me and really made me think twice about when and whom I would run with. These glitches took away from the experience some and made me a little hesitant when it came to showing little kids this as a tool to teach them about baseball.

Another positive for the game though is the replay value. Along with the story mode, there are your typical season and playoff modes to continue taking on the local teams, and access to the mini-games including a baseball themed version of hot potato and a Simon-esque game of throwing the right pitch when it is called for. This should keep your little one popping this game back into their system for a while.

For what it is, Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers is probably the best game yet released by the folks behind the Backyard Sports franchise. It probably won’t hold the attention of an older and more hardcore baseball fan for very long, but is perfect as an introduction into baseball and baseball video games for younger kids and for parents to relate to their children. Include simpler one-button modes for even younger kids and this game will definitely appeal to every pre-pubescent little leaguer out there.

Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers is available now for Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 9.0: Bright colors, stylized graphics for cut scenes, and a minimal of glitches make this a beautiful looking game for kids.

Audio: 7.5: Nothing groundbreaking in the audio department, but nothing sub-par either. The announcers end up repeating themselves like in every other sport game ever, but aside from that the audio is solid.

Plot/Plot Development: 7.5: Predictable, but perfect for children as the story mode touts lessons of teamwork and understanding. Jimmy Knuckles never saw it coming.

Gameplay: 7.0: Good for the most part, but running glitches will really take away from the baseball experience for people who really know the game. The power-ups and unique stadiums though help to cover up some of those shortcomings with the unpredictability they inject into the game.

Replay Value: 8.0: Average replay value for a sports game gets bumped up due to the inclusion of a story mode. Coupled with mini-games and a season and playoffs mode and this game will keep your youngster entertained for a while.

Overall (not an average): 8.0: Due to some glitches and a lack of true mass appeal, I can’t give this game a perfect score, but for what it is and the audience it is targeted at, Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers is a sure fire home run. Your little ones will love the characters and swinging for the fences in this family friendly baseball sim.

-Ray Carsillo

Drawing Up Plays in the Sand

Originally Published: December 8, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Few would argue the dominance of Madden as the premiere football franchise, but there are several competitors out there who are offering some interesting alternatives to the typical football experience. Everyone knows I’m a fan of the Blitz series. It’s a nice alternative to the Madden series how it provides true bone-crunching play and some less than legal alternatives to medicine, but it is more of an arcade experience than true football.

Another of these alternative franchises is the Backyard Football franchise that is trying to branch out from its “kiddie” label over on the Wii console to something that is a “family friendly” alternative. Part of that movement is making it available for the Xbox 360 in this year’s version. Unfortunately, it has still has a long way to go before it can shake off its “kiddie” label.

For those of you who are unaware, the Backyard Football franchise looks like a bunch of the Wii’s Miis in football gear representing the 32 NFL teams. Along with the cartoony looking children representing these teams, each team has one age regressed superstar from each NFL team. San Francisco has Frank Gore, the Giants have Eli Manning, the Arizona Cardinals have Kurt Warner, etc., etc. To open up the field a bit, each team also only has seven players on the field so you see a lot less “in the trenches”.

In terms of a football game, this will not appeal to any hardcore fans out there. It might appeal to little children (or ignorant girlfriends) who are trying their hardest to get into football and might make a decent stepping stone before trying to focus on the real deal. To also appeal to a younger generation, you can also earn powers to help out your team in tight spots like the “bull rush” where you grow horns and run over everyone or the “twister” where you spin around the field and can’t be tackled.

A nice new feature is also the ability to create-a-player and make custom teams to help personalize your playing experience during the 16-game season. Still, the experience overall is very simple and will bore most gamers very quickly.

The graphics are poor even when admitting they were done in a cartoony style and the audio is subpar at best. The commentary might make you chuckle a little as they try to spoof the old Madden style (and are probably more entertaining than the current commentators for Madden), but the kiddie carousel music will have you shaking your head by the time you finish your first session.

This is not a very good football experience overall, but if you have a little child who is trying to learn about football and can’t wrap his head around the Madden franchise or the actual live game, this might be a nice way to bridge the gap.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 4.0: Even though you know going into this game the graphics are going to be cartoony, they aren’t even a very good cartoony look. Plus, it’s very hard to follow the football because the graphics are so poor.

Audio: 6.5: A barely passing score due to the light-hearted commentary, but it grows old very quick and the music grows old even faster.

Plot/Plot Development: N/A: It’s supposed to be a sports sim…

Gameplay: 7.0: Controls are a mix of both the old-school Blitz series from the arcades and the current Madden style and it works, but it is really nothing spectacular.

Replay Value: 5.0: There is a season mode that can keep bringing you back if you want to play with different players or teams, but that’s really it. There is also only localized multiplayer so all those Wii friend codes you collected or that Xbox Live account is worthless.

Overall (not an average): 5.0: A poor attempt overall as a football alternative and it doesn’t appeal to anyone who can tie their own shoes, even with the cheaper price tag than its more adult counterpart ($39.99 compared to $59.99).

Backyard Football 10 is available now for Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.

-Ray Carsillo