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Kate! When she's not busy blowing the heads off of enemies to get to the next level, she's usually playing video games.

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Archive for December, 2007


New Pixelh8 Album: The Boy With The Digital Heart

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The Boy With The Digital Heart
OUT NOW

I just got a copy of Pixelh8’s latest chip tune CD: The Boy With The Digital Heart. This is a must-have purchase. You’ve just gotta love a CD with titles like the fast paced, head-bob-inducing “Super Fantastic Turbo Magical 2 Player Love Game Adventure Called Happiness.”

For those unfamiliar with the chip tune genre, this is music written using synthesized sounds created by computer or video game consoles, toys, etc. The sound is powerful, evoking childhood memories for all old school gamers. Some chip tune artists sample music from video games, but not Pixelh8. He’s purely original. When you open up the latest CD, you’ll see the following message:

Every note, every beat and every sound, written from scratch. No samples, no phaser, no flanger, no effects. No emulators, no trackers, no cross platform composition. If it couldn’t be done on the original machines, it wasn’t done.

Pure chip tune music.

Neat.

The beats fold over each other in waves, bending, looping, popping. And while you can almost hear how vocals could fit over some of the tracks (a la Postal Service or Imogen Heap) every track is strong enough to stand on its own. The disc features 12 tracks – each with a unique feel.

If video game characters’ lives flash before their eyes when they die, I bet track #2, Segue 18 is what they hear. If you just get stood up by an Xbox Live date, you can cry your eyes out to A Party Without You, a slow track that must have come straight from our boy with a digital (broken) heart. Your Parents House is my favorite track on the album. You know the tones that play when you call an out of order number? This upbeat track starts with a noise that resembles it and then morphs it into some kind of space age jam that makes me very happy.

Check out Pixelh8’s MySpace page where you can hear some tracks and pick up a copy of the latest album: The Boy With The Digital Heart (also available on iTunes, CD Baby and Napster).

Irony for $4K, anyone?

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Yours from eBay for just $4K

Want a piece of gaming irony? Check out this copy of GTA 3 up for sale on eBay. The game guide is signed “To Nick Jack Thompson.” Awesome. The dude who posted the item doesn’t want to let it go for less than $4k. But he’s not being selfish. If you’ve got the money, honey, he’s got the charity. Child’s Play Charity will receive 100% of the profits, so it’s for a warm fuzzy cause (and with the right accountant you can probably use the purchase as a tax write off.) Here’s the eBay post with a lengthier description about the history behind this piece of ironic beauty.

[SOURCE: N4G.com]

Guitar Hero Meets Lego Maniac

David McNeely decided it wasn’t enough to rock. He wanted to rock AND play with Legos … and nothing would get in his way. He found a way to gut the original Guitar Hero controller and create housing and a new design entirely out of Legos.

His first creation was this blocky beauty for the PS2:


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See More Pix

Then he created this one modeled after a B.C. Rich Warlock guitar complete with the Katamari Damaci and PS logos:

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Mo Pix

The latest addition to his collection is this PS2 compatible Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Bass-inspired guitar:


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More Pix

Nicely done, Mr. Lego Maniac.

[SOURCE: GadgetTastic.com.

Virtual Reality Wii?!?!! Woah.

Have you seen the latest discovery from Johnny Chung Lee? He’s figured out a way to use the Wii Remote and sensor to create an amazing 3-D gaming experience where “The display properly reacts to head and body movement as if it were a real window creating a realistic illusion of depth and space.” So if developers start making games using this idea, ducking and moving around on the couch will actually change your visuals on screen. Effin’ sweet.


[youtube Jd3-eiid-Uw]

Play Tetris on Canon Calculators?!

Okay, I just tried this on my Canon LS-82Z calculator and was heartbroken when it didn’t work. Hopefully one of you peeps can get it to work on yours. Here’s how to check:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/983069/play_tetris_on_calculators.swf" height="345" width="400" /]

Let me know if you get this to work (and on what model calculator). I’m curious if this is possible or if it’s bunk. Judging by the comments on MetaCafe, no one has had any success. I do remember having a scientific calculator in high school and installing Tetris and some game where I sold drugs… do you guys remember that one? It was like a Sims game for dealing. Idunno. I grew up in a rough town. Maybe that was just my experience.

[SOURCE: Metacafe]

Half Life in 60 Seconds

Found this one through StumbledUpon.com and fell in love. I tried to find out more about the folks who created the video, but a little snooping on the sites they feature at the end of the video didn’t really help because they’re all in German. But they’re still worth visiting for funny pictures (Budimon.de and Artichoque.net). You can do a Babelfish translation on Artichoque.net from German to English, but it’s a rough translation:

The landslide-like success of helped Life in 60 seconds from the tie-clip clipschmiede of the Jakobs Rompkowski (MTV Game One) seems inexorable: Already after a scarce week the spectator number of the international on-line public grows into the seven-place range, an end is (and we are jubilant!) not to foresee. The constantly prospering fan municipality to be glad experience that cognate tie-clips already are in planning: Jakob from the portion will again also be, just like MTV Gameguru Simon Kraetschmer u.v.a. The details are naturally still strictly confidential

So I THINK this means that the clip (clipschmiede??) was run on MTV Game One – a German G4 that’s part of MTV and then posted on YouTube with a ton of success. But I’m not really sure. In any case, it’s brilliant.


[youtube slRsexrhbG8]

Hot Topic Makes Something Cool

I know, I know. It’s hard to believe that a store in the mall could actually carry something worth owning. But they do and it’s relatively cheap. So if Grammy bought you a mall gift card for Christmas, you can actually spend it on something worth keeping around:

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Pac-Man Maze Hoodie – $45.00

If you hate the mall as much as I do, you can order the hoodie online from HotTopic.com. More detailed hoodie pics there too.

[SOURCE: Geekologie]

2007 Game Sales Figures Beat 2006

So I was checking out this piece on BBC News about UK game sales. According to the article, the sales stats compiled from 2007 already exceed last year’s numbers by 25% at ¬£1.52 billion ($3 billion). And that’s not even counting sales from the last couple of weeks in December (which you know will be filled with last minute gift shopping). In addition, last week in the UK was the biggest week of game sales EVA cashing in at ¬£87.9 million ($176 million). And according to the article, games on consoles now account for 79% of all software sales in the UK.

In the U.S., game sales are also higher than last year, but because we didn’t have a super fantastic week of sales last week like they did in the UK, we’ll have to wait ’til December ends before we can see any decent increase from last year. “If the year had ended on Dec. 1, 2007, we would be up 5% vs. last year,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier told DigitalMediaWire, “With the biggest month of the year yet to go, total industry sales are on track to achieve between $18 billion and $19 billion in the U.S.” So, let’s say the prediction is right and we do see $18.5 billion in sales this year. Compared to the $13.5 billion we gave the industry last year, that’s a 37% increase.

Paul Jackson, Director General of ELSPA, talked about the numbers with GameDaily, “2007 has been a fantastic year for our industry as all the latest generation of consoles and hand-held devices have become fully established. Videogaming is now enjoyed by everyone, young and old, male and female. Interactive entertainment is now truly mass market, and this is just the beginning of a period of real sustained growth.”

Gamers’ Commitment Issues with Mobile Phones

According to Parks Associates’ The New Frontier: Portable and Mobile Gaming, consumers aren’t interested in anything more than casual gaming on their mobile phones. (“It’s not you, phone… I just… I just don’t want anything serious right now. We have so much fun together. Why do you have to make this so hard?!” ahem… anyway…) Despite recent company efforts to introduce more advanced games and features to the platform, mobile phone gamers are way more interested in a quick casual game than they are in epic adventures.

“In the mobile gaming industry, consumer awareness lags behind technological advancements,” said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, Director, Broadband and Gaming, Parks Associates. “New 3D and multiplayer mobile games look great in demos, but casual games are where the money is and will be for the next few years.”

According to the report, fewer than 10% of on-the-go Internet gamers want to play core or console-centric games on a mobile phone, compared with 55% who want to play puzzle and card games on mobile phones and more than 30% who want word and arcade games.

While casual gaming beats out advanced gaming on mobile phones, more than 30% of those interested in gaming on-the-go are interested in playing sports and action/adventure games on a portable game player, and another 29% and 27% are interested in playing driving/flying games and first-person shooter games on portable devices.

“Portable game players will maintain strong growth momentum because they provide an experience yet to be matched by mobile phones,” Cai said. “Next-generation players will likely include mobile broadband, which would enhance their value proposition.”

It seems pretty simple to me … I don’t want to play games on my mobile phone that require more controls than the up, down, left, right and enter. If you start creating more advanced games, you start needing more controls and it’s hard enough to play without getting hand cramps as it is (Damn you, Diner Dash 2!!!!). Plus, if I’m playing on my mobile phone, chances are I’m waiting in the Dr’s office or in line somewhere boring and I need a game I can drop at any moment without feeling gypped. When it comes to my mobile phone games, all I need is good ole’ mindless, timewasting entertainment. No need to complicate things. We’ve got plenty of consoles for that.

Dual Core – Super Powers: The CD for your fave Nerd

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From living in the 80s to rescuing orphanages from train tracks, int eighty and c64 rap about it all – and quite well. Following the 2007 release of Zero One comes Dual Core’s second nerdcore album, Super Powers. Fans wondered if the second album could stand up to the first. I’ve had a chance to spin them both (repeatedly) and I can say with confidence that these guys are NOT one disc wonders. (Hooray!) Super Powers tells a twisted story about super heroes, super villains and features other nerdcore artists including Stephanie KB, Odub, YTCracker, Beefy, ZeaLouS1, and MC Wreckshin.

When int eighty – a programmer in Cincinnati, Ohio – and c64 – a graphic designer in Manchester, England met a few years back through an underground hip hop website, it was love at first beat, “His beats made me want to rap,” recalls int eighty, “He quickly became one of my favorite producers.”

While there’s definitely a special place in my heart for albums that sound like they were recorded with a boom box under a pillow in the garage, I’m even more impressed with independent artists like Dual Core who can put out albums with high production value. On both albums, the mix is well-balanced, crisp and clean. (Mad props to c64 for your producin’ skillz.)

The Dual Core style is hard to define. I tried to think of a “Dual Core sounds like ____” sentence, but I’m not entirely sure that’s possible. Some of the beats remind me of the Fugees. The humor and rhythm of some of the rhymes remind me of De La Soul. It’s hard to place. Their music constantly evolves, beats constantly change and the result is a unique mix that doesn’t really sound like anyone else. But Dual Core doesn’t have to sound like anyone else. Their stuff simply demands good bass and bobbing heads with half-smirks.

Ready to check out Dual Core? You can see them live on January 2, 2007 at Gypsy Hut in Cincinnati, Ohio; February 16, 2008 at ShmooCon ; or at Notacon and Blockparty in April. Add them to your MySpace friends to stay informed about events.

My favorite track from Zero One: 2 Wycked
an homage to Carl Brutananadilewski from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. (TIDBIT FROM eighty: “We used to randomly yell out Carl quotes at my last job. I would be hacking away on some code and all of a sudden hear ‘1 down, 2 to go!’ or ‘Just say Smith, it don’t matter — none of this matters.’”)

My favorite track from Super Powers: Day’s Work
This song starts off with a reporter asking int eighty to describe a typical day. He um… exaggerates just a wee bit. It’s good stuff. (woo wOOOOO!)

Buy it
The perfect stocking stuffers for the nerd in your life, Dual Core is selling Zero One and Super Powers on their site at: DualCoreMusic.com or you can download their albums from iTunes.

Calendar

In the Media

Game Heroes
Video podcast appearance
—June 2008

Sweet Flag
Interview
—May 2008

Attack of the Show
“The Loop” panelist
—November 2007

CrotchMail.com
Interview
—June 2007

TiedTheLeader.com
Interview
—April 2007