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BandFuse: Rock Legends - First Thoughts

Game Masters

Doctor Who Fans Rejoice

Nintendo 3DS Hands On

Nintendo 3DS Launch in Sydney

Mount up Impulse Gamers and let's skin out of here!

Apple iPhone & iPod Touch - A new direction and a new face of apps

2009, Namco Bandai Press Day... the company formerly known as Atari

2009, Starting with big bangs

Star Trek Online

Cryptic Studios input on being super and going beyond normal online gaming - CHAMPIONS ONLINE!

And so the game goes on

Games, Games, and More Games

Deciphering your Blu Ray World

Game ON (ACMI) Melbourne Australia
(Play your way through the history of video games)

Update Your Gaming World?

How Elite is Elite?

April and into May Gaming Goodness

PS3 Writeup!

2007 Gamers Delight

Vista Rising...

Games We Look Forward Too!

Addictive Gaming, an Addict Speaks

Band Fuse: Rock Legends

First Thoughts.

Like any great idea in history, there may well be multiple ideas and tech based on the idea. Ubisioft’s Rocksmith is about to have some competition when it comes implementing real guitars in a learning style game dealing with kick butt rocking music.

This one is coming from Developers Realta Entertainment Group and is called BandFuse:  Rock Legends.

The folks at Realta Entertainment Group must have some serious backing since they are having musical artists not only make appearances in the game, but you get some guitar tutelage from non-other than Slash himself. The game is being publish by Mastiff

From the footage we have seen, we will hold onto our thoughts because some of the footage seen of the game could be early stages. We will say we are a bit interested on how the in game concert video footage will play out as you play. It looked a little cheesy in the small clip we have seen so far, so it may have lacked polish just yet. It would be an interesting rush to be playing along and almost feel like you are part of a concert.  This can back fire very easily if not implemented well. We will be doing a full write up review on its release.

Another interesting thing we have seen is that the interface is using what looks like guitar tablature, so if you can read tablature…you will be right at home. If not, I guess you will be learning with the help of BadFuse: Rock Legends.

The title is starting to sound like something to be excited about; press communications from the companies have promised some tantalizing tasty tunes for this title. The more we know the more we are looking foreward to doing the full review for the Xbox 360 version of this title.

Word is the greats Zakk Wylde and Nancy Wilson are now also part of the upcoming videogame music title, BandFuse: Rock Legends. 

Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory from the band Five Finger Death Punch assist players with the games features.

Now here are a few points we are interested in here.  BandFuse: Rock Legends of course connects real guitars to the game console. Now get this…right on launch it also connects bass and microphones. So yes folks get ready to also get your friend to get vocal or yourself.

Some of the set lists we know of are looking very musically tasty indeed.

•             “You Oughta Know” (Alanis Morissette)

•             “Jessica” (The Allman Brothers Band)

•             “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” (Fall Out Boy)

•             “Hemorrhage” (Fuel)

•             “Barracuda” (Heart)

•             “Drive” (Incubus)

•             “I’m Broken” (Pantera)

•             “Jessie’s Girl” (Rick Springfield)

•             “Limelight” (Rush)

•             “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (The Clash)

•             “Stellar Revival” (The Crazy Ones)

•             “Roundabout” (Yes)

•             “No Rain” (Blind Melon)

•             “Godzilla” (Blue Oyster Cult)

•             “Yellow” (Coldplay)

•             “The Bleeding” (Five Finger Death Punch)

•             “Breaking the Law” (Judas Priest)

•             “Cult of Personality” (Living Colour)

•             “Sweet Home Alabama” (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

•             “Harder to Breathe” (Maroon 5)

•             “Alive” (Pearl Jam)

•             “Back From Cali” (Slash)

•             “Reptilia” (The Strokes)

Nice cross section of songs, the title promises a wide range and it seem they may well deliver…from punk to funk and rock to metal. Though to really make more of an impact, the set list of songs on release needs to come up in number significantly in this writer’s humble opinion.

Hmmm maybe this writer will finally see some Styx and Hall & Oates in the mix… who knows? One can hope.  What is clear is that the time of the plastic toy guitar is well and over.

BandFuse: Rock Legends will be coming to game consoles early in 2013.

Have fun, play games…rock on!

Edwin Millheim

Impulse Gamer

Game Masters

Melbourne Australia - June 28, 2012 - ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) hosts the latest Melbourne Winter Masterpieces called GAME MASTERS THE EXHIBITION which showcases 35 of the world's leading international video game designers.

The exhibition was officially opened in Melbourne today by Premier Ted Baillieu with the media given a chance to listen and talk to some of the world's greatest gaming gods, Tim Schafer (Full Throttle, Brutal Legend), Warren Spector (System Shock, Deus Ex) and up and coming gaming entrepreneur Rob Murray (Flight Control). Good Game presenters Steven (Baj) O'Donnell and Stephanie (Hex) Bendixson were MC's for the opening and provided their own personal charm to kick start the event.

Needless to say, the exhibition was spectacular and there are some amazing Easter eggs littered throughout the massive expanse of games such as Tim Schafer's job application for Lucasarts and some great sketches of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid game series.

Apart from over 125 playable games that were broken up into three categories that included Arcade Heroes, Game Changers and Indies, Game Masters is also presenting a variety of forums, talks and workshops throughout the life of the exhibition. These additions give a unique insight into not only the history of gaming but also the future.

The ACMI exhibition itself runs from the 28th of June to the 28th of October and is the spiritual gaming successor of their 2008 presentation Game On. Unlike Game On, Game Masters is more about the behind the scenes of the video game industry as it links world famous developers such as Warren Spector, Peter Molyneux and Tim Schafer who not only lend their expertise to the exhibits but showcase some of their amazing concept art and scripts that were used in the creation of these games.


With a collection of classic arcade heroes that include Pac-Man to an anthology of Metal Gear Solid games from the amazing mind of Hideo Kojima, this exhibition touches on a variety of gaming genres from all eras that not only provides a blast from the past but will make new gamers appreciate the diverse history of this modern art.

With interactive displays, interviews and of course games on the PC, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360, Game Masters is a must see exhibition to anyone who loves games. Check out some of the games on display below to experience a taste of this exhibition.

For more information, please visit

Doctor Who fans rejoice


Melbourne Australia, 20 December 2011

Rejoice Doctor Who fans by Chris Tyler.

As Professor Farnsworth would say “Good news everyone!”

Two previously lost episodes of Doctor Who have been found.

As you may or may not know, well over 100 episodes of the classic series are missing from the BBC archives, the product of a purge that happened in the mid 70’s because the BBC were running out of space in their archive, this combined with the fact that Tape was expensive meant that many programs were either junked of taped over. Yes the BBC is just like that flat mate you had during Uni who would  throw any old tape into the VCR to record X-files. (I’m old, ok?)

The missing episodes constitute a large proportion of William Hartnell’s episodes (The First Doctor) and Most of Patrick Troughton’s run (The Second Doctor).  Whilst episodes have trickled in since 1978 when the BBC started calling out for them no full episodes have been recovered since 2004 when an episode from The Daleks Master Plan (1965) was recovered. Since then it’s been judged increasingly unlikely that more full episodes will be recovered but this discovery proves that there could easily still be some out there, hidden in boxes in attics, probably on film with people not even realizing what they have got.

The two episodes that have turned up are:

1.      The third episode of 1965 tale Galaxy 4 a William Hartnell story that was thought to be completely missing. 

2.      The second installment of 1967's The Underwater Menace this is now the earliest surviving episode to star Patrick Troughton.

Both episodes were purchased by film collector Terry Burnett at a village fete near Southampton with the copies believed to have originated from the ABC in Australia since the Underwater Menace has edits consistent with the Edits that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation did at the time. The good news is that the ABC returned these cuts to the BBC in the late 90’s and they can now be restored.

There is no news yet as to what the BBC or 2Entertain plan to do with the episodes but if they follow past form they will probably turn up on some random DVD release as an extra and then get a proper release as other episodes turn up down the line like 2004’s Lost in Time box set that was a repository for orphan episodes. I think the best we can hope for is some kind of concerted restoration program that animates lost episodes like 2009’s The Invasion.

Nintendo 3DS Hands On


Impulse Gamer was treated to another sneak peak at Nintendo's amazing new portable console, the Nintendo 3DS. With a similar design to the previous handheld console from this company, the biggest addition is the inclusion of 3D without the need for glasses.

That's right, both casual and hardcore gamers can now experience 3D gaming without the need for glasses which is a huge technological advancement in this field with some amazing potential. Did someone say 3D movies? You betcha!

At first, I was a little apprehensive of the notion of 3D without glasses but when it came down to the crunch, it actually worked. This was not some faux 3D but actual 3D that made the images on the screen come to life. But before we get into the pros and cons of the console, let's have a look at the specifications.

Nintendo 3DS Specifications

3D Screen: Wide LCD with glasses-free 3D function (about 16.77 million colours are displayable)
Screen size and resolution: 76.8mm x 46.08mm (800 x 240 pixels)
Touch Screen: LCD with touch input function (16.77 million colours displayable)
Touch Screen Size: 61.44mm x 46.08mm (320 x 240 pixels)
AC Adapter (WAP-002 (AUS)]
Nintendo 3DS Battery Pack (CTR-003)
Game Card slot, SD Memory Card slot, Cradle connector, AC adapter connector, audio jack (stereo output)
Within 30 metres
Lens: Single focus
Image pickup device: CMOS
Valid pixels: About 300,000 pixels
Motion Sensor, Gyro Sensor
74mm x 134mm x 21mm
About 235g (including battery pack, stylus and SD Card)
About 3.5 hours
When playing Nintendo 3DS Software - Approximately 3 to 5 hours
When playing Nintendo DS Software - Approximately 5 to 8 hours

For such a little unit, it does pack a wallop. From 3D Games to movies to a variety of downloadable internet content, including automatic console updates. This unit definitely makes thing easier with even built-in parental controls. These parental controls are ideal for limiting internet access or even turning off the 3D feature for children under 6. Apparently children under 6 and 3D don't mix too well!


With a slightly changed layout and the inclusion of a circle pad or "analog stick", Nintendo have really thought outside the square when it came to the 3DS such as the embedded motion sensor, SD card slot and even an adjustable stylus length. It's all about offering the user the big picture, without the need for the end-user being disadvantaged.

For example, the console also comes with pre-loaded software like the Mii Maker that attempts to use a photo of you to create your very own virtual Mii and built-int augmented reality (AR) capabilities that had me blasting balloons and dragons in the so-called real-world.


It's all about 3D! The 3D experience of the Nintendo 3DS <forgive the clichéd> must be seen to be believed. Although the preloaded applications on the unit seem a little forced and contrived, it does give the user a great insight into the potential of this technology. The unit can take 3D pictures that is kind of cool but some of the photos looked like those old 2D pictures with two images on it which required you to look at it from a certain angle. But with that said, the unit does come with some interesting special features for your photos like a mystery mode or sparkle to add some panache to your pics.

Social Media

There is even a social media aspect to the 3DS called StreetPass that basically allows two units to communicate to each other when you pass someone in the street. If someone has a 3DS, your unit will notify you via the green LED on the corner of the console. This allows you to share basic information and even the ability to interact with them via the Mii Plaza.

Backward Compatibility

Although the unit is compatible with traditional DS games (3D is not an option), the unit allows for software to be downloaded form the net and even classic GameBoy and GameBoy Colour games. It's great that Nintendo are re-releasing these classic games as downloads because some of these games are still quite impressive.

Gaming & 3D

Where the 3DS did shine was for 3D gaming. There is a 3D depth slider that allows users to fine tune their 3D experience, depending on personal preference. Needless to say, when I testing out the unit(s), it was cranked to full 3D. I had a chance to play five games for this console that include Nintendogs + Cats, Kid Icarus Uprising, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Steel Diver and Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition.

All five games maximised the potential of this technology, especially Nintendogs + Cats that looked amazing and extremely realistic as I interacted with these animals. It almost gave the illusion that you could put your hand through the screen to interact with this adorable little critters.

My next favourite game was Kid Icarus Uprising that is an awesome shooting game with some out of this world 3D graphics. Whether I was flying through the skies with wings or running on the ground attacking strange mythical creatures, the 3D feature truly enhanced the experience. I cannot wait for the full version of this title to be released.

With so many great titles coming out for 3DS that include Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater, PES 2011 3D, Resident Evil Revelations and more titles that you can poke a stick at, it's definitely a good time to be a 3DS owner. But all this 3D goodness does come at a little price. Average battery time for a 3D game is around 3 to 5 hours which means third party accessories might be a must. However what I did like about charging is that the unit comes with a docking station as opposed to a cable. It's kind of cool to just slot your 3DS onto the dock and then walk away while it charges.

When released on the 31st of March, potential owners of the Nintendo 3DS will have a choice between an aqua blue or cosmos black, depending on their preferred colour. Both look quite striking if I might add. The unit comes with a Nintendo 3DS charging cradle, AC adapter, Stylus, 2GB SD Memory Card, 6 different AR Cards, quick-start guide and a manual for a very affordable recommended retail price of $299AUD.

With just over a month to go, it's going to be a very long wait for some us!

Nintendo 3DS Launch in Sydney

Nintendo launched the Nintendo 3DS in Sydney this week. To welcome the replacement for the aging 6-year old Nintendo DS, Nintendo held a function at the Rocks, where I was lucky enough to try out the system that has blown away so much of the world’s media already. 

Firstly, a quick overview of the 3DS. It seems to be around the size of a DS Lite, perhaps slightly larger, although we were warned that these were test units. It has 2 screens, like the DS, with the bottom screen able to be touched using a new-telescopic stylus. The top screen shows the 3D visuals whose depth is controlled using a Depth Slider on the top right of the unit, to control the amount of 3D. A new analogue controller (named the circle controller) is added to the digital controller. A 3D camera is on the back which allows you to take 3D pics viewable on the 3DS while there is a 2D camera on the front, similar to the DSi. To complete the package, there is the ubiquitous motion sensor/gyroscope and wifi. 

It’ll come with a few simple games using an “augmented reality card” - put simply a card that helps the DS get work out the perspective. Laying the card on a table and pointing the 3DS at it will, for instance, provoke a 3D dragon to come out of the card allowing you to shoot at it from all different angles. Great fun and works most of the time, but just a warning that this should not be attempted under low-light conditions - the 3DS will stop detecting the card and the dragon will disappear. Other augmented reality games are available - 6 in total. 

The game range at launch is pretty good, with some pretty big franchises in there. I did get to play Super Street Fighter IV and yes, I was impressed. It’s great seeing these characters that you have grown to love in 3D. The circle controller was a little fiddly to perform the combinations, but I am sure I’ll get used to it. What is a launch without some great first part games - Kid Icarus, Nintendogs, Ocarina of Time (I’ll never get sick of all the different releases of Ocarina). We did get to play Resident Evil : Mercenaries as well. 3D Zombies and tight controls mean I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. 

Talking about the 3D, does it work? In a word yes, and it’s pretty amazing. You certainly have to find that sweet spot, and sometimes the sweet spot is lost - I am unsure if you can put that down to inexperience with the 3DS or the games which are in the final stages of development. The 3D effects of these titles on show seemed to give the illusion of greater detail and fluidity. Although obviously the 3D is constrained to planes behind the glass (unlike in the cinema), it’s still exciting to see how this technology will be used in the future. 

There still are some negative points associated with the launch though. A$349.95 is approaching Wii launch price territory and it’ll be interesting to see who will fork out that much money for another gadget. The 3D effect can be turned down, which is an advantage but it can also be turned down to 2D which has resulted in some game developers remarking on the fact that they can not make the 3D an integral part of the game. I believe the best games will be the ones that make full use of the 3D and do make it a necessary component of the game. The last is the advice of the Nintendo that the 3D is not suitable for children under 6 as their eyes are still developing. This may prevent some parents from buying the system, but parents can still make use of the depth slider. 

There is no doubt that the 3DS will be a success, and with Sony PSP products on the near horizon, 3DS will have a huge head start and a discerning difference - 3D. Sony will make it difficult to create such a difference with their products, with the abundance of gadgets with cheap games already in the pockets of consumers. With the 3DS, Nintendo have continued their path of innovation and let’s hope this heralds a new era of affordable 3D content to the consumer. 

Ho Wong

Mount up Impulse Gamers and let's skin out of here!

Coming for PS3 and Xbox 360 

Red Dead Redemption from Rockstar Games is one to watch for, the staff at Impulse Gamer is really into the whole concept already as you can see from our U.S Writers group picture here.

The game is set in 1908; with the character focus on one John Marston who is a partially reformed outlaw himself. Marston is on the trail of his former gang and is set to bring them to justice one way or the other.  During game play it's said to make use of an Honor system. Every action can effect the player characters honor, and how they interact with other characters in the game. they can of course choose to try to play it as a good guy. wounding instead of killing and capture bandits alive, or they can go the villain route and kill, plunder, horse thief their black hearted selves across the frontier. The down side to that though is that the character can become wanted by the law themselves if they are seen by civilians when they are committing these acts.

It's an open world of game play allot like the Grand theft Auto series, the environments will include frontier towns, open prairie and snow capped mountain passes.

From the scenes and game footage we have seen thus far, Rockstar has the very essence of the old west, both from a historical stand point and of course some of the most iconic western films we have seen over the years. In "Red Dead Redemption" the wide open ranges and boom towns and border towns are all captured for what looks like a mind blowing player experience.

Action, adventure, exploration, discovery and unexpected dangers are all the ingredients that are gelling together to make "Red Dead Redemption" one of the top gaming pick predictions of 2010. From hunting buffalo, to bronco busting the old west is set to come alive and we at Impulse Gamer are looking forward to this game. Rockstar Games has a long track record of bringing some truly exceptional games to the gaming consumer. Red Dead Redemption, looks like it can well be another winner. A mix of Grand Theft Auto meets the old west? We are so there.

Watch for our full review of Red Dead Redemption in the coming months of 2010! 

Have fun play games.
Edwin Millheim, Donna Millheim & Shael Millheim

Apple iPhone & iPod Touch 
A new direction and a new face of apps

Sydney, Australia – December 11, 2009. This has been a big year for Apple, especially with the release of the new Apple iPhone 3GS that considerably sped up usage of this smart phone and their new range of savvy Nanos. Unlike other companies, Apple have thrown away their corporate guise and made their products quite relatable and easy to use for a variety of people. Whether it's the next generation of iPods, the iPod Touch or their impressive new smart phones, boundaries were broken and the bar was considerably raised for its competitors.

Thanks to Fiona Martin from Apple, Impulse Gamer were given a sneak peak at the new direction of their App Store and more specifically, the next generation of apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Needless to say, the developers of third party applications for these devices have truly thought outside the box that has even impressed Apple themselves.

With over 100,000 different apps available via the App Store which is growing every day, Apple have carefully broken down the categories into 20 different sections from shopping to gaming and the like, ensuring that there is an app available for almost anything. Best of all, many of these applications are quite affordable due to the lack of packaging, no CD's or distribution charges which will definitely change the way we work, play and live.


Stan Ng from Apple eloquently informed Impulse Gamer that the three main categories which developers have been targeting include travel, shopping and gaming which is the fastest growth category. A number of major brand such as Qantas, The Hilton and Four Seasons have created apps to assist the end-user from flight details to booking hotels via your iPhone or iPod Touch and the experience could not be any simpler. Local developers have also noted that potential of these smart devices and one developer has created the perfect app to assist travellers in finding flights and even hotel bookings.

Simply by selecting your destination, you can find the cheapest airflights and hotels which allow you to book directly from the app and really frees you up from being tied to your computer. Of course once you have found your perfect holiday destination, your itinerary and packing is another issue but once again, some clever developers have created two little neat apps called TravelTracker and Plan.Pack.Go. Basically, itinerary removes the need for multiple pieces of paper and allows you to store all your travel information in one small application, removing the need for multiple e-mails and printouts. This definitely makes travelling light a possibility.

Plan.Pack.Go assists with the dilemma of packing and features a variety of templates and suggestions of what to pack such as toiletries, sunglasses and suitcases. What stood out for us in Plan.Pack.Go is that once you have packed certain items in your suitcase, you simply just shake your iPhone or iPod Touch and it will refresh the list of what's next. Definitely a fun and useful app.

As the iPhone has GPS capabilities, TomTom have released an app to assist while driving or walking and once you have purchased the product, that's all you need. However, those clever folks at TomTom have created a cradle that retails for around $149 which allows you to put your iPhone or iPod Touch into the device. If you're using the device with your iPhone and a call comes through, the product supports a built-in microphone and Bluetooth that allows the call to go through.

Local developers have also created a considerable amount of local context such as weather apps, apps to display cricket scores, surfing apps for the waves, train schedule apps and even specific function apps such as the Sydney Festival. Of course, where the development of apps shine above others is through the new category of augmented reality apps that take advantage of your camera, GPS and compass in the iPhone which allows it to contextualise the information of what's around you.

For example, as you're walking around Sydney, there is a clever little app called nearest wiki which will point you in the right direction of various sightseeing places in Sydney such as the Sydney Tower or Opera House and by touching this on your iPhone, not only will it show you were to go but it will also bring up information about your destination. Needless to say, it's quite a surreal experience as you point your iPhone in the air and as the camera displays what's around you and the various landmarks in full 360 view. Another local developer has even used this technology to create a game called hidden park that allows you to play a game in the Botanic Gardens while you're there.


The shopping experience on these smart devices have transcended traditional shopping apps and one such app called GetPrice is the perfect application for finding the best deal when looking for a variety of products. Simple type digital camera for example and this app will search over 30 stores for the lowest price which is perfect while you're shopping. Lasso is another app that will definitely be a must have application on your device which collects together the best sales, promotions and catalogues from around Australia as you search for brands, retailers and price. Perfect for while you're shopping!

International companies such as Gucci, Channel and Hugo Boss have highlighted the future potential of shopping with the iPhone or iPod Touch. Hugo Boss for instance allows access to their wide range of clothing and their app has a great function that assists in matching up clothing or finding that right item. For example, take a picture of the colour of your jeans and this app will attempt to suggest what would be a good match such as a shirt, hat or clothes. Yeager, a luxury watch company have created an app that is extremely interactive and not only displays their impressive line-up of watches but you can even mix and match bands. They even go one step beyond traditional shopping apps by including video clips of how to put a watch together and it encourages you to put it back together via a mini-game. Programs such as these definitely take advantage of these smart devices and assist the user in interacting with their brand.


Of course it's easy to see why gaming has grown so rapidly on the iPhone & iPod Touch and with over 20,000 games currently available, many developers are targeting the innate features of these devices such as the built-in accelerometer. Best of all, these games target everyone from casual gamer to hardcore, children to adults and a plethora of different genres. Developers are setting a new standard for apps with a key facet being ease of use and of course multiplayer capabilities. With the built-in capabilities of Bluetooth and WiFi, games take on a new form when you're playing with friends or enemies. The current game releases boast some incredible 3D environments with detailed characters, movies, textures and lighting which are all seen on high-end consoles.

One game in particular that uses both the accelerometer and the multiplayer functions of these devices is Harry Potter that is an official app from Warner Bros that assists in reaching out to its fans and is the perfect tool to build some hype before the next movie. In the game, you play a student at Hogwarts that allows you to cast spells at your opponents through the accelerometer capabilities of the smart device and simply by moving your device in a particular shape, it will cast a certain spell at your opponent. With offensive and defensive spells, there is no limit to the games that you will play but best of all, it supports both local and online multiplayer fun. It even boasts online leader boards for your house at Hogwarts, global rankings and even the ability to post your scores on FaceBook. At $5.99AUD, it's definitely value for money, so ready your wands... err... iPhones and iPod touches.

Feel like some music? Why not give Rock Band a go which is almost identical to the home console version that allows you to play music by matching up the colours with the notes on your multi-touch display. By hitting the notes at the correct time, it will play a correct note on your instrument but best of all, it supports WiFi and Bluetooth so you can really start your own rock band. It even boasts crowd meters and overdrive to "rock out" for more points or save a failing band member. No wires needed but just great portability and if you need additional music, why not download some songs from the App Store. Great value for money at $8.99!

Sneak Peeks for the Holiday Season

Apple hinted at some of the games you should be looking out for during the holiday period which include NOVA (Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance), Need for Speed Shift, Skies of Glory and Avatar with all four games showcasing the power and capabilities of the iPhone and iPod Touch. The first game that we saw was NOVA, a first person shooter developed by GameLoft which is quite reminiscent of Halo and if you're a third person shooter fan, than this is the game to get.

As you defend humanity against aliens, you have a variety of weapons up your sleeve and changing them is casually done by the swipe of a finger. Controlling your character takes a little getting use to but the d-pad on the multi-touch display works quite well. With detailed graphics, a smooth frame rate, NOVA has a plethora of varied gaming environments. With that said, it seems like this game may be the new template for upcoming first person shooters.

EA's latest Need for Speed game Shift is another title about to be available on the App Store that promises gamers a variety of official cars and some impressive gameplay. Having a little play of this game, I was surprised at how more engaging it was compared to the previous game and the accelerometer and touch screen worked surprisingly well. As you point your device down to speed up or hold it left or right to turn, a new feature was the ability to use gears or play "stick" and simply by flicking your finger up on the gearstick image, it allowed you to change gear which is perfect for sliding around corners. Once again the developers have aimed at not just the casual gamer but also the hardcore gamer.

Skies of Glory is another upcoming game, however it's a free app and if you enjoy flight simulator games than you definitely should try it out. And then, if you enjoy the game, additional planes and campaigns can be purchased as you dodge bullets from friends and the AI via Bluetooth and WiFi. The developers have put in some thought about this game as each plane is different and you can even get statistics, helping you with your choice. Lastly, the graphics were pure bliss from detailed terrains, gorgeous lighting, especially the sun and some highly detailed planes . The controls do take some time getting use but the accelerometer works well in conjunction with the multitouch display as you touch paddles on the screen to move left and right and of course fire your bullets. Even though it's very sensitive, it suits this genre perfectly. Very realistic.

Lastly, we have James Cameron Avatar that ties in with the movie and helps draw the viewer into this wondrous universe. At it's core, it's an action adventure game that pays homage to those great platform games and contains a plethora of well designed levels. Set 20 years before the movie, it could be considered a prequel to the upcoming movie and it boasts amazing 3D environments as you run, jump and attack your way to victory. It's a fun game that features some of the best graphics that I have seen on the iPhone and iPod Touch which appears to be very reminiscent of the movie trailers. Definitely something to keep your eye on.

By giving control to third party developers, Apple have truly created a remarkable market that has expanded to what the iPhone and iPod Touch is capable of. Whether it's shopping for the best bargain, using augmented reality technology while on holidays or blasting aliens from your bus seat on "Earth", the variety of apps on the App Store proves how versatile these devices are. So what are you waiting for, if you own either of these devices, I strongly suggest you check the App Store and if you don't, why not pop into an Apple store or reseller to see how useful and entertaining these devices can be.

Andrew Bistak, Editor

Namco Bandai Press Day...
the company formerly known as Atari

Wednesday July 22 2009, MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA. On a cold and wintery day, Impulse Gamer was invited to the office of "Atari" in order to preview some of their upcoming releases. Thanks to Ross Purdy, a PR Executive from Atari, now known as Namco Bandai, he flew down from Sydney for the event as a handful of media representatives were treated to a hands on experience of the following titles;

  • Dirt 2

  • Mini Ninjas

  • Batman Arkham Asylum

  • Ashes Cricket 09

  • Katamari Forever

  • Tekken 6

As editor of Impulse Gamer and a huge comic fan, there was really only one game that I was looking forward to and that was Batman Arkham Asylum, however a little more on that later. The first game that I saw was Mini Ninjas which is a traditional arcade game for all ages that has a few killer twists, ensuring that this is truly a 21st century gaming title

Mini Ninjas

Paying homage to those classic Japanese martial arts movies of yesteryear, gamers play Hiro, a 114cm tall Ninja who has been given the task, just like the other Mini Ninjas to save the world. Unfortunately for Hiro, the evil Samurai Warlord stands in his way but just because he's small, that's not going to stop our little hero.

I was quite impressed by the review code for Mini Ninjas which boasted a great interactive gaming environment and even though the gaming world was a little Spartan, it suited the title perfectly. Although Hiro has access to a variety of weapons from swords to shurikens, when you do fight the enemy, you actually don't kill them but rather turn them into animals which is really cool.

Mini Ninjas had some great atmosphere for an arcade "platformer" and hopefully this is the game to break the drought of this sometimes stale genre. This is definitely one title to watch out for!

Colin McRae Dirt 2

The late and great Colin McRae would be mightily impressed with the latest rally racing game by Codemasters and being a fan of the series, it's great to see the franchise as strong as ever and it only feels like yesterday seeing those 2-dimensional crowds and that famous English accent telling us to turn left, right in order to prevent us from crashing. Of course those days are long gone and thankfully it has been replaced with state of the art gameplay and some impressive graphics.

Graphically, this was one visually "good looking" racing title that you could easily be forgiven in thinking that you are watching a rally race on TV due to the attention to detail and stunning texture details.

Apart from the lush graphics, it played quite well and with over 40 races, three disciplines and access to fully licensed vehicles plus a variety of other in-game options and Colin McRae Dirt 2 will definitely be racing into quite a few homes when it is released later this year. Bring it one!

Ashes Cricket 09

Developed by Australia's very own Transmission Games, Ashes Cricket 09 may be THE game for cricketers. Although I've played my fair share of cricket games in the past, something has always been missing from these games, whether it was the "panache" of EA Sports, the gameplay or how it came together, they've been fun, however not that memorable.

Fortunately from the opening sequence of Ashes Cricket '9 plus that memorable "cricket" music of yesterday, you immediately know that you are in for a treat as the game starts. The game boasts the official line-up for Australia and England, however other countries have pseudo players which is unfortunate but you can create your own teams which may make up for this.

Apart from the impressive visuals, the game appeared to play quite well, giving the bowler or batsman some degree of control over the ball. Maybe we have a game to knock Brian Lara Cricket from its perch.

Batman Arkham Asylum

Hmmm... what can I say without being biased? The game rocks, it's that damn simple. Written by comic scribe Paul Dini, the story involves an elaborate plot by The Joker to lure Batman into Arkham Asylum and best of all, the tale is oozing with Batman mythology.

Not just a fighting game but rather a game that compliments the origins of Batman as the world's greatest Detective, it's got all the best elements from gaming from mystery to intrigue to action and even a touch of romance.

With pre-rendered and in-game cinemas that merge flawlessly, the gamer controls one of the greatest comic book characters of all time, The Batman as he fights, uses batarangs and glides around the giant asylum of Arkham.

We tested this on the PS3 and needless to say, it was extremely sturdy and considering that we were not even playing the final code, Impulse Gamer certainly has high hopes for this game.

It's pure Batman! From the way he glides down buildings to the way he battles his enemies which pays homage to Matrix, it's fun and best of all, it's addictively entertaining. Final Words? With brilliant voice acting, an engaging musical score and gameplay that actually works, Batman Arkham Asylum is definitely going to be one of the big games of 2009.

Although we couldn't stay for the entire Press Day, Atari... err... Namco Bandai have some mighty impressive games coming out and it's definitely going to be hard to knock them off their perch. With games such as Katamari Forever and Tekken 6 on the way, it's going to be a good year for Namco Bandai! Scratch that, it's going to be a good year to be a gamer!

Check out the following screenshots and set your alarms for some great gaming goodness!


2009, starting with big bangs.

So here we area again another year has zipped by with the game industry churning out the good and some no so good games. 2008 Far Cry 2 gave us some cool adventuring in the jungles and grasslands of Africa. Spiderman Web Of Shadows made us feel like the Amazing Spiderman again, Fallout 3 had us leaving the vault and exploring again, and the Brothers In Arms series and Call Of Duty series proved that WW2 had a few more stories and gaming in it.

2009 can only get better for all platforms across the board. Some of the PC titles that have us twitching and just waiting to give our Alienware reviewing system a good work out are titles such as Diablo III. Who is not looking forward to some dungeon-delving sword slashing fireball-throwing fun? Plus, treasure, who can forget the treasure?

StarCraft II is another game title that has everyone a buzz with anticipation. Yes, oh fellow Impulse Gamers those alien races are coming back for some more intergalactic conflict. The Protoss, Terran, and Zerg make a comeback in Blizzard’s StarCraft II. It is promising to be a hectic real time strategy game that will only increase the popularity of this legendary series.

Oh Yes, 2009 holds a lot of promise for a lot of gaming goodness to keep us well entertained. Amid rumors of a premature death of the title “Aliens: Colonial Marines” that hit some web sites, both publisher SEGA and developer Gearbox swept aside such rumors. Let us hope so. I want to feel the rush of a stand up fight again against the Alien foe. While some of the screen shots or shots released thus far about the title look cool, we can only hope the game play, the story and the over all atmosphere of this awesome franchise rings true, and bring us a stellar experience. Too many other promising titles over the past year, have unfortunately hit the dreaded generic gaming pitfall. With Gearbox behind the Aliens: Colonial Marines title though we have a pre conceived good will feeling for the title based on Gearbox’s other game titles through their development history being so solid.

While some of the other staff here at Impulse Gamer are also looking forward to this next title as well. Somehow, I have some underlying dread for Ghostbusters. Yet another game that has had rumors of being a dead game, Ghostbusters seems to be on track. With a press release that toted the Blu Ray release of the original movies, within this press release was the talk of June 15th being the release date for the Ghostbusters game. While the concept is pretty cool, has it been too long to garner interest in enough gamers to bring the title any recognition. Better yet, will the story and game play be there? Or will this be a tired rehash that comes off like a throw away title. Oh Don’t get me wrong, I would like nothing better than for this title to rock. For this title I have to take a watch and see attitude, and hope the game lives up to some of the great looking screen shots.

Lastly, at least for this write up, we await the new Riddick game. “Riddick Assault on Dark Athena”. Word is the game is to hit sometime early in 2009. Such a cool character and we love to take on the adventures of such a character. Science fiction or science fantasy has long been a rich source for games and movies. The Riddick franchise is yet another one of those that many of us seem to enjoy. Keep your fingers and toes crossed and let’s hope for a gaming experience that will live up to such stellar game franchises. Yes, 2009 has huge promise for our gaming entertainment and it’s not even past the first month of the year yet.

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim


Star Trek Online

Star Trek is one of those world wide phenomenon that has had a full sweep of the entertainment industry. From books, technical manuals and biographies and toys, to games and full blown amusement attractions and conventions. What started it all was the original TV show, which spawned movies and other Star Trek TV shows. Star Trek is seen in over 100 countries and translated into dozens of languages. There are over 63 million Star Trek books in print, and translated into over 15 languages, including Norwegian, Hungarian, Hebrew and Chinese.

Back in 1993 a study from Purdue University found that children learn more about science fiction from Star Trek than anything else outside the home. Star Trek in computer or console game form got it's start in 1971 with a text only based game that was written in basic. Star Trek has seen it's share of success and not so much so, on PC and the different console platforms. The world of Star Trek is huge in scope and ripe with adventures, stories, and exploration. Players will be having the chance to become a part of the phenomenon that is Star Trek, with Star Trek Online. Star Trek Online as the name implies is a unique multiplayer experience from Cryptic Studios.

We of course can fill a book with what we want to know about this exciting prospect. Since we don't have that much time, we narrowed it down to a few questions. Compiled by myself (Edwin Millheim), Shael and Donna Millheim.

Mr. Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer, Star Trek Online, From Cryptic Studios takes the time to answer these burning questions.

Impulse Gamer: Moving on to Star Trek Online, That is a huge license. Did the team get to speak to any of the actors? What kind of research was involved to bring the Star Trek franchise to the online universe?

Craig Zinkievich: Leonard Nimoy helped us announce Star Trek Online at the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas this past August. You can see a recording of his appearance and an interview with him at our web site,

Meeting him was awesome. I got to speak with him about Trek and what he thought was important about the franchise. It was a really cool conversation, and it added greatly to our understanding of the Trek Universe.

As far as research goes, our team at Cryptic is filled with Star Trek fans. We’re continually watching and re-watching all of the shows and movies and looking for information about characters, storylines and locations. We’re also looking at soft canon sources like the novels and comics for inspiration. We want to make this game a true Star Trek experience.

Impulse Gamer I have to ask the obvious question right off. There will be more to the game than ship-to-ship combat only, won't there?

Craig Zinkievich: More than just ship-to-ship combat? Of course! In fact, you get drastically different combat depending on whether you’re in your ship or on an away team.

If there is combat on an away team mission, it will be fast-paced, “run and gun” fighting that can involve ranged weapons like phasers, hand-to-hand weapons or martial arts. Ship combat is paced and more strategic.

The ship-to-ship combat in Star Trek has always been about positioning, transferring power to boost weapons or shields, analyzing your opponent’s weaknesses and having your crew come up with a plan to defeat an enemy. Our game incorporates that.

But combat is just a portion of the gameplay in Star Trek Online – you’ll explore new worlds, build space stations, create technology, scan nebulas and do many of the things you’ve seen in the series.

Impulse Gamer: We have already seen information about some of the planets, and that there will be different types. Will there be planets where a space suit has to be worn? Such as atmospheres that have poisonous gasses?

Craig Zinkievich: Challenging the elements is an important part of the Trek Universe. There will be times when you have to deal with hazardous environments as part of your missions.

Impulse Gamer : We know there will be adventures and missions on planets, will there only be beam downs? Or will shuttlecraft and other atmospheric vehicles be implemented?

Craig Zinkievich: Most of the time, you and your away team will use the transporters to get to locations outside of your ship. There are some locations that may only be accessible via a shuttle or other atmospheric vehicle, but we plan to have the operations of those crafts be automated.

Impulse Gamer : During space flight and galaxy travel in real life, there are hazards such as asteroids, meteors, black holes, hot gasses, a planets atmosphere and even a space body's gravity. Flying too close to a sun… Will these or other space travel dangers be implemented?

Craig Zinkievich ; There will be all of the hazards you mentioned and more. We are developing STO to reflect the series, so exploration is a major element of the gameplay. In a game where players are going to spend a lot of their time exploring the galaxy, we need to have some cool (and sometimes dangerous) things for them to discover!

Impulse Gamer : Will there be EVA missions on or around a ship if there are repairs to be made and no space stations nearby?

Craig Zinkievich : We may have some episodes of content that involve the use of environmental suits, but don’t expect to have to crawl around on the outside of your ship every time you need to make a repair. You have crew to do that!

Impulse Gamer : Will hailing other ships and ship to ship, ship to planet communications be implemented?

Craig Zinkievich : Absolutely. Communication is an inherent part of MMOs as well as Star Trek. When players are in sector space, they will be able to hail and communicate with other ships. As they move throughout the galaxy, they will receive hails from ships, planets and space stations that will draw them into the story of Star Trek Online. Answering a distress signal or a transmission from a planet can lead to an adventure.

Impulse Gamer : Other than Phasers and Photons, will we see ship towing? I.E. the ol tractor beam?

Craig Zinkievich : All ships are equipped with a standard tractor beam that can be used to do things like rescue an escape pod or grab an asteroid for study. If you choose to equip your ship with a more advanced tractor beam, you will gain increased combat abilities and effects.

Impulse Gamer : Star Trek has over the years in its many TV shows and movies had different types of missions, from rescue, to diplomatic and even military blockade missions, just to name just a couple. What can you tell us about some of the missions and adventures players have to look forward to?

Craig Zinkievich : We’ve analyzed the all of the series and movies and found a multi-act structure that is played out in almost every episode. We’re using that structure to create content for STO.

The story of Star Trek Online will be told in a series of linked missions where there is a mixture of action, exploration, diplomacy and visiting a variety of locals to complete a single “episode.” Some of these episodes will connect to one another to tell a larger story, like the multi-episode arcs in Deep Space Nine.

Each episode in STO has its own plot and events, but all follow the same basic framework as an episode from any of the series.

Impulse Gamer : There have been quotes somewhere that not only will players be able to customize their characters, but may be able to create new alien races. Won't this be a bit on the chaotic side in regards to the Star Trek Universe? How is this going to be implemented and balanced?

Craig Zinkievich : Cryptic is well-known for the unparalleled level of character customization we build into our games. It was a major feature of City of Heroes, and we’re pushing it even farther in our upcoming game Champions Online.

Star Trek Online will continue this tradition with our alien creator.
There are a lot of episodes in the series that add a new race to the Star Trek Universe, and we want the players to have the freedom to add new races to STO. Players will be able to create the appearance of their new race, name it and give it racial abilities from a pool of different bonuses.

Players can use the alien creator to build their favorite race from the series, a hybrid of their favorite aliens, or even a race that has appeared only in the soft canon. Best of all, they can use their imaginations to add something unique to the STO universe.

Impulse Gamer : Will we get to see some of the characters and places from the TV shows and films? Tell us some of the places and characters we may get to interact with.

Craig Zinkievich : Star Trek Online is set in 2409, about 30 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. So many of the “name” characters have retired or moved on. You may see descendants of some of the major characters, and we are incorporating as much as we can from the Star Trek lore. Expect to see all of your favorite races like the Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Bajorans, Ferengi, Gorn, Orions, Nausicaans and more. As far as places in the Trek universe, we plan on using many of them. You will visit some of these locales during episodes, and others will be social spaces. Major locations such as Vulcan will be focal points for the STO storyline.

We thank you for your time, Myself, Donna and Shael Millheim and all the folks at Impulse Gamer in our main office in Australia and here in the United States look forward to Star Trek Online. That is it Impulse Gamers! An Awesome game from an equally awesome game company. Cryptic Studios has it all well in hand. Star Trek Online, check it out, there is something there for just about everyone!

Edwin, Donna and Shael Millheim
Have fun, play games.

Cryptic Studios input on being super and going beyond normal online gaming - CHAMPIONS ONLINE!

By Edwin and Shael Millheim

Over the years online gaming has become complex virtual worlds, with communities that interact both cooperatively and antagonistically with and towards each other.  This is nothing new in any way. Only the technology and content offered has gotten more complex over the years. Offering up new expansive, exciting interactive worlds to explore and become a part of. Cryptic studios is no stranger to this, in fact they seem to be really stretching the creative juices throwing their hats into the super hero ring.

Champions Online is a super hero based multi player game. Armed with a rich history from the paper and pencil role/roll playing game Champions,  and Cryptic Studios own talented staff, Champions Online has the potential to be the game of choice when it comes to the super hero genre.  That is because the game started out as a role playing game, created by gamers, for an industry they love.

Cryptic Studios' Champions Online looks like it has some impressive graphics in not only the environments, and the characters, but the power effects as well. More impressive still, it's promised that combat will be in real time!  Champions Online uses the Cryptic Engine, and is developed for both XboxT 360 and PC.  The graphics, screen shots and in game footage released so far with the comic, cartoon graphics lends itself very well to the source material. We at Impulse Gamer are looking forward to this game indeed.

The game promises a mind bending number of options for a truly amazing customizable gaming experience. Cryptic claims the game has literally hundreds of costume pieces and variations, different body types; players will be creating their character from the ground up making the finished character very unique.  Body type and costume type is not the only thing that can be chosen.  There are also a large number of powers and effects to be had. Total control is the key phrase here, not only is the player picking the powers, but the effect as well.  A blast of fire that is what ever color the player chooses; I say that's pretty darn cool.

Along with all the excitement of doing super deeds of daring do, this may well be a thinking heroes game. The promise for unique situations and enemies with different abilities will make sure the super heroes will not just jump on in with out thought. There is nothing more embarrassing than some D list villain hand you your cape back and send you home to you secret lair with a tear in your eye. Not to worry of course because players will have the opportunity to create super teams.  This will make handling some of the more major threats a bit easier, as long as those team members remember one thing..THEY ARE A TEAM.

While the threats are varied so are the locations, so don't expect to be tromping around in a city all the time. Your hero may well have to face some giant lizard or something in some tundra some place, or test your skills on some arena on the moon.  This is going to be one heck of a gaming experience, if it can be delivered. With Cryptic Studios heading this up, we have some high hopes and more questions.  Thankfully the bombastic heroes behind the heroes have taken time to answer just a few questions that have been rattling around in the fertile minds of the staff at Impulse Gamer.

Edwin and Shael Millheim dish the questions out and Randy Mosiondz lead designer for Champions Online is taking time out of his busy schedule to answer them for us.

Shael / Edwin:  With Champions Online it looks like the folks at Cryptic Studios have a powerhouse licenses going there. How daunting was it to come up with the over all look and feel to live up to the Champions concepts?

Randy Mosiondz : We've got a really solid team of designers and artists at Cryptic who are passionate about the properties, so we feel we're up for the challenge!  For Champions we really wanted to go with the four-color comic book feel for the art and a very free-form power selection and costume editor so you could create the hero you want.

Shael / Edwin :  I think many people want to play in the world of super heroes; in Champions Online is there a line between acting like a hero and slipping over to being a villain? Is that even tracked?

Randy Mosiondz : We wanted to focus on the classic four-color comic books where it's obvious the heroes are there to do good in the world.   However, we are looking at expanding this with a future Dark Champions expansion where it deals with "shades of grey" anti-heroes.

Shael / Edwin : How hard was it to balance the game play for Champions Online? On the other hand, was it all there in the Champions game rules and you just had to translate it over to the characters online?

Randy Mosiondz  : We wanted to keep things as customizable as possible for players in terms of powers selection in Champions Online, but we also needed to provide some structure to keep things balanced and comprehensible for casual players.  The original Champions RPG rules are very detailed and provide for a lot of flexibility but when you're building an MMORPG you need to think in terms of providing enough of a structure to avoid "exploit builds" which break the intended challenge level of game advancement and rewards.  If you don't provide that structure you end up with exploit builds becoming dominant and other players feeling frustrated because they can't advance as efficiently without resorting to the same exploit.  It takes a lot of game play iteration to understand the fine line between customization and exploitation, and there'll be a lot of revisions between now and game launch.

Shael / Edwin : Let us say I have a character and I am getting the tar beaten out of me, but I have a flight power. Can I fly away and fight another day?

Randy Mosiondz  : It's tricky, but yes, it's possible!  You can actually fly during combat although it lowers your endurance equilibrium, meaning that it's harder to recover endurance naturally. 

Shael / Edwin :  I know first hand the Hero rules have a long history, having worked on a couple of Hero Plus game supplements myself, ( See Bright Future Role Playing Game:   Bright Future now under new rules system.) Champions and the Hero System had given rise to some interesting characters; In fact, fans are already looking forward to villains such as FoxBat, and Doctor Destroyer..Will we be seeing other notable characters from Champions? What can you tell us?

Randy Mosiondz :  We have an impressive list of characters from the Champions IP!  You've already mentioned a couple of villains - Foxbat and Doctor Destroyer - but there are a lot more: Menton, Mindslayer, Teleios, Ankylosaur, Grond, as well as groups like VIPER, PSI, and ARGENT. We're focusing on using the Champions IP as much as we can for inspiration so you'll see a lot of other familiar characters from the RPG!

Shael / Edwin : Will the game world have citizens, or is it only heroes and villains?

Randy Mosiondz :  What's a hero without citizens to rescue?  Yes, we will have citizens in the world, especially in places like Millennium City. They will of course constantly be the victim of nefarious villain schemes!

Shael / Edwin : Can you tell us about some of the mission or adventures that may take place? Will there be save the citizen scenarios?

Randy Mosiondz  :  Adventures are very wide-ranging, with everything from fighting off large-scale alien invasions to helping old ladies across the street.  And yes, you will have the option to save citizens in a number of different scenarios - collapsed building, lost hikers, kidnapped travelers, etc.

Shael / Edwin : Cheating in games, is such a horrible thing, unfortunately there are times and instances that some "unscrupulous" people cheat and take advantage of exploits in games. How will anything like this be addressed?

Randy Mosiondz  : We will have a ticket system in place for players to report exploits, game masters monitoring the live game, and a robust patching system in place to handle the most egregious exploits.  Beyond that we're going to work hard to prevent these types of exploits from happening in the first place!

Well that is it fellow Impulse Gamers! Go check out Champions Online, Here:

Sit back, relax, let's play
Shael Millheim

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim

And so the game goes on

Long before video games, there where the games played with paper and pencil and dice. Some role playing games, card games and even board games. Games that made the mind work and perhaps the catalyst and all around inspiration for many PC and console games. Many of our favorite games have their roots in the paper and pencil and dice games and yes, even board games. I had the pleasure of attending any gamers dream, Origins Game Fair. Origins Game Fair is a yearly get together of gamers in colossal numbers. While nothing like say for instance, E3 which is primarily electronic gaming. Origins Game Fair is covers a full range of gaming for all ages and any taste. Origins Game fair runs for five days once a year and it is not to be missed, look up Origins game fair on the internet and check out what it has to offer.

As noted there are so many things to do and really cool creator, designers to see at Origins game fair, also some of your favorite artists that create some of the spectacular visuals for the game products. Writers and artists trolling or smoosing for extra freelance work would do well to bring along their business cards. Unless you make an advance appointment with a game or design representative, they often do not have time to view portfolios. So checking out the companies web site ahead of time and trying to get an appointment may be a good idea during Origins. You can find out more about Origins, on the web site and by speaking to some of the attendees in the moderated Origins Forum.

Most of the dates for Origins Game fairs in the future are posted on the site, here are some of the dates for your information.

2009: June 24-28
2010: June 23-27
2011: June 22-26
2012: June 20-24
2013: June 19-23

Well lest I get to far from my rant and raves about Origins Game fair, let me get back to a few of my favorite games. Of course, Dungeons and Dragons, yes before the computer generated adventures or and console adventures, the pen and paper gaming system has been alive and well and even going into it's latest game version. Dungeons and Dragons has spawned many successful and well done games based on the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons franchise. AD&D is well worth a check if you want to supplement some of your gaming experiences. Shadowrun is another one of my favorite game systems. I wonderful gaming world that spawned some games over the years, none of them very well done unfortunately. the last Shadowrun game for the Xbox 360 took allot of what Shadowrun was, but left it with no single player story line, not even a superficial one to honor it's role playing game roots. Shadowrun is another fun gaming system that is well worth checking out in it's paper and pencil and dice rolling form.

Speaking of Role Playing Games, My wife and I have re published our science fiction game "Bright Future" with a small game company. Now in book form rather than electronic format, the re published work is actually two books in one. It contains Bright Future source book 1 and also what would have been book 2. At 400 pages it has everything you need to run a medium to hard core science fiction role playing game. You can find the game book here: the game book is print on demand, so when you order you literally get a fresh copy. How cool is that?

Well since I am on a gaming rave here, let me say it's always wonderful to see Matrix Games at Origins displaying not only some of their latest offerings, but once in a while some of the designers are on hand and you can get some real insight to some of the wonderful tactical games that the company is so stellar at putting out. I have always seemed to like them more when they stuck to what they are especially good at, the military tactical type games, though Battle Of Britain II wings of victory is a spectacular game. Mixing both tactical and air combat flight sim in one package. Check out a PC review of that game in our PC games reviews section here on Impulse Gamer.

What else are we all looking forward to? Lucas Arts Bringing the Indiana Jones game to publication soon. Not much more has been heard since they wet our collective gaming appetites a while back. On the flip side, the really awesome looking Star Wars: the Force Unleashed is scheduled for a September release. What is going to be cool about it? Let's see being the apprentice of the big Darth man, Darth Vader himself for one thing. Word is the A. I of troopers and other characters running around are not at all scripted, this should if it's works well...make for some impressive game play and a small level of surprise in reactions of the A. I run opponents. I have learned long ago, just because a game has a well known name or premise does not mean it is going to rock. On the other hand Lucas Arts has always put out quality work. time will tell on this one, I for one have my fingers and toes crossed, and wont uncross them till I get to play and check the full game out.

These are exciting times and some really cool games are coming down the pike oh Impulse Gamers! I admit it, I am a fan boy of the Alien franchise. I still play Aliens Vs Predator 2 on the PC, even to this day the game has some fun storylines going and the ability to play human, Alien or Predator just is a gamers dream. Even showing it's age it still packs some scares as those Aliens come screeching out of the dark after you. So imagine my absolute thrilled feeling to know that Sega now has the franchise of Aliens and is coming out this 2008 holiday season with "Aliens: Colonial Marines." To little to late? I don't think so. What's got Shael, myself and Donna my wife all revved up is what this can look like well done on the latest technology driven game consoles. the game has been in development from Dallas based Gearbox Software since sometime in 2006. With such impressive titles under their belts I feel we can expect Gearbox Software to go all out for this title. As the title implies, players are a Colonial Marine and are part of a squad so expect some heavy action and thrills and chills to take place, especially if they get the atmosphere that the movies created down right.

Other games we are looking forward to are Lego Batman, yes, Lego Batman. The Lego Indiana Jones game really converted me so I am starting to really get into the whole Lego games. I'm looking forward to taking that one for a test drive on the PC and see how the Alienware Area 5100 handles it. Expect allot of really cool Lego action with the caped crusaders. Such vehicles as the Bat Mobile, Batboat, and even the Batwing make appearances and are controllable. Add to that some of the nifty gadgets our heroes can use and your looking for some heavy Bat Action. Look for it for the Xbox 360 and get a fast fun experience. the new James bond game is coming out soon as well, titled after the new movie Quantum Of Solace promises allot of bond action. But with The Bourne Conspiracy game already out will bond be able to push past any possible similarities between the two games? We just hope that a spy in the game is just about the only thing that will tie these together in anyway. I love the Bond character and concept and can only hope for a game that does it justice.

Let's see what else about the 360? Well I'm kind of divided on Spiderman Web of Shadows. Spiderman 3 left some bitter sweet feeling boiling around and I am not so sure ol web head has runs his course or not. Though some of the concepts we know about the game sound like they will make for some interesting game play, IF they can pull it off. the publisher Activision has Shaba Games as the developer and who has promised to bring Spiderman's fluid acrobatic maneuvers to the game. Speaking of great expectations, what about Resident Evil 5? Capcom let fly to the press that they may well expect the game to release between November this year and March 2009. Hype is the key word here and the press and maybe even Capcom has done it's best not to over kill the press machine behind this game. Screens that have been seen so far look pretty darn good and with the setting said to be in Africa, look for some interesting game locations and situations.

Well before closing up my rants and raves and thoughts on gaming in general, Let me also make note of a few other super hero type games coming our way. DC Universe Online, Sony Online Entertainment has an interesting concept where players create new characters such as a hero or a villain into the DC Universe and interact with DC (possibly game run) famous characters.

Begs to wonder how well the new superhero multiplayer online game, Champions Online based on a pen and paper role playing game will do with such high profile super hero games also coming out. Watch for our interview with one of the people behind Champions Online soon. Shael will be doing a pretty in depth interview.

On last parting shot here, since I really love PC gaming I am excited to see Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising, from publisher/developers Codemasters and looking darn sweet from the screens that have been released thus far. We can only watch and wait in eager anticipation to see if the finished game plays as well, and continues in game to look as good as the screen shots.

Allot of exciting things are coming out for all gaming platforms, but the real exciting stuff is coming for the big three. PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

Have fun,
Play games

Edwin Millheim

Games, Games, and more Games!

Here we are about half way through the year 2008 and so many spectacular games are coming, and some are even here. Case in point, the new Grand Theft Auto IV, the games sheer freedom and extra little tweaks makes this one well worth playing again and again. Even with some flaws here and there. (One thing I hate is the minor clipping from time to time.) Try swiping a police car and using its computer. This opens up missions that are not part of the main story. You can see what crimes are being reported and then go do some vigilante justice. Even calling for police back up when things get too hot. What would be great is a spin off game where you are a police officer instead. These little side missions prove it can be done. Hey Rock Star, are you listening? Check out our PS3 revue by Howard Bourke in our PlayStation 3 section.

Other games coming soon that I cannot wait to get my hands on, the new game based on the Hulk movie. There is no hiding the previous game influences as we see in one teaser trailer, the Hulk taking a couple of cars and making some fist weapons out of them. While the visuals of the game have thus far looked pretty good, only time will tell and the full game to see if the game will be a hit or miss, much like the recent Iron Man game which I did like but must admit the replay value is not really there.

Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Conspiracy shows immense promise; the full game keeps up the look and feel of the recent sneak peek playable levels. What makes the Bourne movies so pulse pounding are some of the action sequences. The game seems to have captured this, all the way from shooting in gun battles, to the more close and personal hand to hand combat and using various things in the environment in the fight, on down to the car chases. Some of the hair raising escapes and life and death battles from the films are accomplished in game form by the use of adrenaline. Fighting past enemies, there is an on screen adrenaline meter that rises. Once the character builds up enough adrenaline they can use a button push to trigger a special Bourne move to put the hurt on the opponent. Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Conspiracy looks like it is going to be a winner and a must have for all Impulse Gamers.

While later this year the next Splinter Cell title is stills scheduled for release, Splinter Cell: Conviction take place two years after the events in Double Agent. While the Splinter Cell series can’t really be called fast paced, the series has always delivered some really good gaming experiences. We here at Impulse Gamer look forward to this title and will of course have a full blown review as soon as we get our hands on it.

Things of course have been heating up across the gaming platforms, there have not been too many things exclusive to the PC to really stand up and cheer about. Not to worry fellow Impulse Gamers, PC gaming is not dead. There are a few games coming that will tweak a gamer’s interest. Unfortunately such hits as The Sims 3 are not slated till early 2009. Other PC games coming for this year 2008 are Classic Car Racing from 505 games, Code of Honor: The French Foreign Legion from City Interactive and Never Winter Nights 2 gets another expansion pack some time in June!

Have fun play games

Edwin Millheim

Deciphering your Blu Ray World

Well unless you live someplace that has no clue, you know Blu ray disk has won the format war. Places that at one time pushed HD DVD format kind of snicker and smile when they talk about all the Blu Ray titles they are getting. As if they where 100% behind Blu Ray all the time. It's ok folks, we know how it goes. When in the business of making money, who are you to turn away any product until the clear winner was announced.

Now my wonder is, now that Blu Ray has won, what does that mean for companies that had backed Blu Ray in the first place? Will they now back off from the features that had been promised and have now become expected from Blu Ray titles? Like behind the scenes stuff and all kinds of cool things? Will the picture transfers and sound still keep up to the higher standard? The more important question now is will Blu Ray titles become more affordable in price? Over the years DVD sales have sagged and now Blu Ray has come along and infused the sales of Blu Ray. Will the prices come down, or will the laws of supply and demand prevail and the prices stay high as long as the consumer is willing to pay for it? Either way you cut it, if Blu Ray is to become more substantial in the average consumers home, prices have got to come down.

Speaking of the consumer, is anyone's else head spinning from all the techno speak that has flooded the market since the format wars started, and even more so now that Blu Ray is the clear winner? After doing some research I have hopefully can provide you our Impulse Gamer readers with some information to lift the Blu haze away from the mind spinning amount of cool new things we all have at our entertainment fingertips.

We hear it all the time about high definition, 1080p, 1080i, 720p. What the heck does it all mean? Well first it will boil down to the individual I found, also the equipment used, it does not seem that all TV's are created equal. They are not. If you are watching your HD Blu Ray films in 720p and you enjoy that picture, then who is to argue the point? Depending on the TV and if it can display full 1080p from a 1080p source, the picture can look better than the 720p. Now that's not knocking the 1080i crowd because I have seen some disks look really good on 1080i, just a hell of a lot better in 1080p is all.

1080p parts ways from 1080i in that the entire 1920 x 1080 (all of the 1080 lines side to side) is sampled or displayed at one time. While 1080i samples or updates the image every 1/60th of a second. Though the "I" in 1080i means the picture is interlaced, half the lines of the image are sampled and then updated every 1/60th of a second. You may think that's pretty good and who the heck could even tell at such a high resolution? Truth is some people swear they cannot tell and again 1080i looks spectacular, but once you see a well done 1080p signal source, there is no going back in my opinion.

The "p" and "i" designations below stand for "progressive" and "interlaced" for the progressive format, the full picture updates every 1/60 th of a second. For the interlaced format, only half of the picture is updated every 1/60 th of a second.

Standard Definition Formats
(roughly the equivalent of analog broadcast):

480i - The Resolution is 704x480 pixels, sent at 60 interlaced frames per second or 30 complete frames per second.

480p - The Resolution is 704x480 pixels, sent at 60 complete frames per second.

High Definition Formats (I.E. HDTV):

720p - The Resolution is 1280x720 pixels, sent at 60 complete frames per second.

1080i - The Resolution is 1920x1080 pixels, sent at 60 interlaced frames per second or 30 complete frames per second.

1080p - The Resolution is 1920x1080 pixels, sent at 60 complete frames per second.

The mind boggling facts that I have I have found go something like this.

480i - Total image resolution 337,920 pixels

480p - Total image resolution 337,920 pixels

720p - Total image resolution 921,600 pixels (roughly equivalent to a 1 mega pixel camera)

1080i - Total image resolution 2,073,600 pixels (equivalent to a 2 mega pixel camera)

1080p - Total image resolution 2,073,600 pixels (equivalent to a 2 mega pixel camera)

The 720p image format has almost three times as many pixels than either 480i or 480p formats.

The 1080i and 1080p formats have over twice as many pixels (2.25 to be exact) as the 720p format.

The 1080i and 1080p formats have over six times as many pixels as the 480i/480p format.

There are two main High Def resolutions in use today by HD broadcasters and other sources: 1080i and 720p. One is not necessarily better than the other; 1080i has more lines and pixels, but 720p is a progressive-scan format that, depending on your display, should deliver a smoother image that stays sharper during motion. Another format is also becoming better known: 1080p, which combines the superior resolution of 1080i with the progressive-scan smoothness of 720p.

There is obvious difference in pixel count, 720p and 1080i still, both look great. You may even have a very difficult time telling the resolutions apart, unless you have a really large television. On smaller sets it is really hard to tell the difference between 1080i and 1080p sources. Films like UnderWorld II looks really breath taking even in 1080i ! While the difference between standard DVD and Blu Ray should be pretty evident on any TV in general.

In the sound department, most standard DVD's and even better.Blu Ray disks contain some sort of surround sound mix. Now in the next generation of gaming and video, there is almost as many mind-bending and dizzying sound formats as well. From DTS neo 6, DTSHD-MA and Dolby TrueHD and so many others, what the heck is one to do? Until things become more standardized, nothing much to do but hang on for the ride and educate yourself to all the wonderful formats available. Happy enough though, many of today's sound receivers decode a lot more so you are pretty much sure not to be left in the cold. If you do not have a surround sound system with a really good subwoofer, you really have no clue what your missing.

Dolby pro logic(II) and DTS neo 6.
Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Pro logic II and DTS Neo 6 are what we call matrixed surround formats... these formats take a two channel input (such as a VHS, yes you can still find these if you search hard enough. VCR, old game systems, or DVD players) and they extract 4-6 channels of surround sound. It increases the sound quality of programs that are not broadcast in surround sound. A receiver decodes this and uses one of these to simulate surround sound. Pretty cool heh?

Dolby Digital and DTS
Dolby Digital and DTS are the First True surround sound formats. Almost every DVD and HD cable program has a Dolby Digital or DTS track on it. Optical link cables are some of the most common. The connectors for optical cables are found on many cable boxes, DVD players, and video game systems today. Other common cables to transfer DD and DTS are digital coax, 6 analog rca cables, and most recently HDMI.

Dolby Digital plus and DTS-HD-HR
Dolby digital plus and DTS-HD-HR are two higher resolution surround sound codecs that are commonly used on HD DVD discs and sometimes on blu ray discs. There is word that there is a cable box planned that will support Dolby Digital plus. You cannot use optical cable to get this. The sound is very close to studio master tracks. HDMI cables or Analog 6-7 channel cables must be used. The formats can add a sixth channel to the mix, though most releases on DVD anyway only offer the 5.1.

Dolby True HD and DTS-HD-MA
Dolby True HD and DTS-HD-MA are lossless audio track compression methods used on Blu ray disk formats. They match the studio master and the sound is just down right incredible. Again HDMI cables or Analog 6-8 channel cables must be used to hear this super rich sound mix.

Uncompressed PCM audio
Supported by blu ray format, the PCM audio tracks are uncompressed lossless audio on the disk. From my understanding there are no detectable differences, between a PCM track and a Dolby True HD or DTS-HD-MA track. Happily enough blu ray players do the job of decompressing the tracks and outputting them as PCM as an option. Many older systems can still benefit from lossless audio tracks.

Well, there you have it my fellow Impulse Gamers. Now a little better armed, go forth and watch some wicked cool films with spectacular sound, have games!

Edwin Millheim

Game On (ACMI) - Melbourne Australia
(Play your way through the history of video games)

Walk down history lane in the ultimate video gaming historical experience ever with over 125 playable video games from yesterday to today. The exhibition opened on the 6th of March 2008 and will run until the 13th of July 2008 with huge crowds expected to visit the exhibition of gamers of all ages and even non gamers attending.

With over 35 years of gaming history on display, it features some of the original and first game games from Space Wars (1962) to current titles such as Halo 3 (2007). From arcade to adventure, real-time strategy to sims, sports to car games, every genre imaginable is featured in this awesome exhibition.

As you first walk into the exhibition, it's almost like stepping into a gigantic arcade of the video game kind and you are greeted by a huge screen with one of the grand daddy's of gaming, Pong (1972). From here the excitement really starts to bubble as you know that you are going to be in for a huge treat.

Walking through the classics, I felt like a little kid again as I saw games that I once played such as Pac Man (1980) and Asteroids (1979), all original games and available for the public to play. There's even the original Star Wars coin-op game by Atari from 1983 ready to play which featured vector graphics and digitized sound which was an impressive feat of the day.

It doesn't end there, the exhibition also walks through the world of consoles from the first console to ever be released, "The Brown Box" (1968) to hand held consoles such as the original Nintendo Gameboy (1989). Modern gamers will also appreciate that the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 are also present.

The exhibition is not all hands on and also gives the participant an insight into character design from Sonic and Mario to the Grand Theft Auto series which is quite interesting and gives you a true insight into the development process. The little nook where the original Tomb Raider is located is quite fascinating.

Sound is another area of the exhibition which showcases the importance of sound in video games from those classic 4-bit tunes to some instrumental pieces played by a real orchestra to see how much gaming has changed since the 1970's to the next century.

Multiplayer gaming has become a phenomenal and Game On will give the viewer a true insight into how these games work and why they have become so popular to the modern and classic gamer. Original MUD's (Multi User Dungeons), a text interface were one of the first online games that have now been replaced by 3D graphical words which truly immerse the player.

If you are a gamer, even a non-gamer than I highly recommend you attend the "Game On" exhibition, it's not just a step through history but also a look into the future of where gaming may be going.

Brilliant from start to finish!

For more details, please visit the ACMI website.

ACMI are offering impulsegamer readers the chance to win another 5 double passes to this exhibition. All you need to do to win... is click here!

Andrew Bistak (Editor)

Update your Gaming World

Greetings Impulse Gamers! The year is ripping by fast and hints and peaks at coming games as well games hitting the shelves oh so very soon are keeping all of us here at Impulse Gamer happy little campers, at least busy little campers. A whole lot of promise of gaming goodness is a coming for the last part of this year and just in time for the holidays too.

Such surprises such as The Simpson’s Game got me laughing and having a ball as the title captures the show very well. With some truly show experience capturing cell shading powering the look of the game, it’s as if the player is truly in the show. This is one to watch for folks and to snag, especially for those Simpson’s fans!

Jumping from the comedic vein, to ripping a vein open in the realm of Horror, we have “Clive Barker’s Jericho.” A squad-based, horror-themed first-person shooter penned by Horror master him self, Clive Barker. Full of off beat thrills and lots of action, I am all set for this one. The only hesitation being the use of in game button pressing sequences that are starting to pop up in game more and more in an effort for something new and fresh, to break the run and gun mentality. I was not overly thrilled with it in Spiderman 3, nor am I thrilled with the prospects here. But with the writer’s reputation, I will throw some blind faith his way and figure the game will make some interesting use of the interactive cut scenes. Don’t let us down Clive!

Brazen and short on plot comes Conan due out Oct. 23, published by THQ for Xbox 360 and Play Station 3, downloadable game demo now on Xbox Live and PlayStation. It’s one of those games that is just a down right no brainer fun game. Its hot half naked women, and lots of sword swinging action. Simple and oh so gloriously gory, both Shael and I say this one is one to have just to go barbarian on someone. While things are looking pretty dry for systems like the PSP, it has a modest gathering of things coming out for it that may bare looking into. If nothing else, I for one will be getting the UMD version of the Spiderman 3 movie just to watch when I am on a long air plane trip. Keeping coming back for more fellow Impulse Gamers, as the holidays come up, next month we will be making our picks on what should be good bet presents for any gamer in your life.

How Elite is Elite?

A little less than a week ago on the 29th of May, Microsoft released its newest version of its Xbox 360 console named the Elite. Rumored to be abound for some months now and originally codenamed the Zephyr, the Xbox 360 Elite comes with added functionality for a slightly higher price ($479.99) and includes the console itself, one wireless control, an ac adaptor, a component cable, an HDMI cable, a headset, an Ethernet cord and the hard drive. The first and most noticeable difference is of course its color. Whether Sony should consider it a bit of flattery or whether black is the new in, I can’t be sure, but regardless the Elite is a Charcoal Black with gray at its trim.

The next addition would come in the form of a larger hard drive sporting 120GB. With digital media becoming more widespread and accessibility to downloadable movies and music straight from the Xbox Live Marketplace, the extra storage space will definitely see its use.  As well, going forward there will most likely be titles that require a hard drive in order to play. The reason for this being that as games expand the need to cache data will be more necessary for hasty data transfer and to keep those load times as unobtrusive as possible.  In addition to those two new functions, the Elite will now offer an HDMI interface.

Although this is a welcome addition to the system, it has already fallen under criticism for using the 1.2a interface as opposed to the newer 1.3 found on the Playstation 3. What is lost between 1.2a and 1.3? While most anyone unfamiliar on the subject will probably recognize no difference between the two, both picture quality and sound quality suffer a slight loss. Audiophiles and video-philes will be disappointed to know that 1.2a does not support Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio nor does it support the optional support of 30-bit, 36-bit and 48-bit xvYCC with Deep Color compared to 1.2a which supports 24-bit sRGB and YCbCr. Again, to the majority of us the previous won’t mean much of anything, but to those that can afford the most recent and top of the line tech, the loss is there.

So what benefit is there to HDMI in the first place? Well, HDMI is a full digital connection offering cleaner transfer of picture and sound when compared to an analog source such as component. The addition of HDMI will also now allow DVDs to be up-scaled to 720p from 480p; something that was previously only available to those that hooked their 360s up via a VGA cable. So for the extra $80 dollars are we getting anything else under the hood besides what’s been previously mentioned to contest ongoing problems with the current 360 models? To my knowledge, it’s an unfortunate no. While rumors had been circulating that a new disc drive and re-worked processor were to be included in order to reduce system failure rates, all available sources have given little insight as to whether or not this was actually the case.

Working in retail as well I’ve already found myself witness to complaints about already problematic Xbox 360 Elites in the form of unwarranted disc read errors and the ever dreaded flashing red ring. So the question then should be: is the Elite worth the extra $80 dollar? And I think the question’s answer will solely be based on individual want. For those of us that already own the Xbox 360, there is little reason it seems to fork out the extra money for a whole new console whose added functions are not necessarily substantial; especially considering the larger hard drive is available separately.

The real appeal of the Elite I think is in attracting more customers, and sits well with Microsoft’s ongoing philosophy of offering as many options as possible when approaching their console. When viewed in that light, the system is unquestionably a fair deal to new comers when considering everything included in the box. As mentioned earlier, the Elite comes packaged with an HDMI cable. This was a courtesy not satisfied by Sony when their newest toy hit the market despite their emphasis on the hookup.

As is the case with the Pro System, the additional money passed the initial $300 is just the equivalent cost respective hard drives sold separately. Everything else is tacked on at no extra cost. So once again, is the Xbox 360 Elite worth the extra money? If you’re a newcomer to the console and you’re looking for the best deal, or if you’re a diehard Xbox fan that needs to satisfy his growing collection then that answer would probably be yes, but if you already own a 360 or have little need to take advantage of the Elites added features then your answer would be quite the opposite and will serve only as the impulse buy that you regret after its initial purchase.

Chris Lee

ImpulseGamer United States

April and into May Gaming Goodness

Time keeps on slipping into the future. Or so the saying goes. So now our brother and sister gamers in Australia have their hands on the PS3 as well. While the system is admittedly a power house of entertainment potential, the lack luster opening titles for the system and its high price will give more than a few people cause for pause. Coming in two flavors, one with a 20 gig hard drive and the other with a 60 gig hard drive, one tends to wonder why bother with the 20 gig drive at all. Having an HDMI port you will get to play your Bluray DVDs in high def, but oh no, you have to purchase an HDMI cable since it does not ship with one. The PS3 has some wonderful potential, not only for the end consumer, but for the developers to fit more gaming goodness on a Bluray disk.

Sony has said it was planning possibly to not bother with region coding on games any more. Since the Bluray disk can store some massive amounts of information those multi territory releases will no longer be a problem. All the info will fit on one disk for all those languages. So far I have not been overly impressed with the games for the new platform PlayStation 3. This may be a case of the industry ramping up support for the juggernaut company Microsoft’s system the Xbox 360. Where’s the love for PS3 industry people? Is there any left for PS3? Time will tell. Check out the write ups from ImpulseGamer's own Kyle Sudukis, Geoff Clark, in our PlayStation 3 section, and Chris Lee from over in America Weighs in on his thoughts on the PlayStation 3.

As for gaming? Well we have some really cool stuff coming our way. Of course with any major movie franchise, there will be the game tie in. Thankfully the folks at Treyarch have had some absolute gold touch when it comes to the Spiderman franchise. Let’s hope they do not break tradition with the upcoming Spiderman 3 the game. (Bruce Campbell is cracking wise cracks in some kind of tutorial…so the Gaming Gods are pleased.) From what we have gathered thus far and from what we have seen, Treyarch and Activision will not disappoint with Spiderman 3! It seems they have taken a lot of what was good about the past games, tweaked them and even made some pretty cool improvements.

I have to admit I am slightly worried about is the interactive cut scenes ala Tomb Raider Legend, during a pitched battle things can change into one of these interactive cut scenes where the game prompts the player to hit a sequence of buttons and directional pad presses to progress the fight scene. Not too sure I will like that, but I trust Treyarch will not let us down. Hey fellow Impulse Gamer Staff, what do you think about the whole Interactive cut scene thing? Could it be a good thing or bad thing for Spiderman 3 the game?

Andrew weighs in…
Cutscenes are generally designed to progress the story from A to B that also offers the gamer a break/reward from the gameplay which has been a tradition in the world of gaming. It's an interesting innovation to include interactive cutscenes by pushing a sequence of buttons but what does this really add to the game? Not much besides offering the player two different cutscenes, one for successfully pushing the right sequence of buttons and another for failing. In my opinion, this is not a cutscene at all but a step back in the game play that is reminiscent of Dragon's Lair with its linear gameplay and at the end of the day, most gamers want to enjoy the cut scenes, not worry about pushing the right buttons in order to see it. Let's hope that the developers include some real gameplay in the finished product and it's not just another poor movie franchise game.

Either way, it should not be enough to sway me away from playing SpiderMan 3 in a couple weeks here.

Other games that any ImpulseGamer should be watching for is Mass Effect, the action role playing game from Bioware slated to be an Xbox 360 Exclusive. Early thoughts from press are that the game is that next best thing ever that will be the one to watch and one to play! This is one that Bioware has planned to support with episodes on Xbox live. Further, following suite of many games before it….the game is said to give gamers that extra flare of customizability; you are able to fully customize the main characters appearance, gender, abilities and even military background. Of course PS3 has several games in the works as well, while games like Resident Evil 5 will also be on the 360, the PS3 screen shots for RE5 look nothing short of stunning. Will we actually even get to see this game at all? In 2008 maybe, 2009? Possible.

While on the PC gaming front, there are several titles coming, but nothing that absolutely grabs me. I don’t really hold very high hopes for the PC movie tie in to Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. The game due some time in May of course is looking to ride the waves of what could be the final Pirates of the Caribbean film. Perhaps the coolest thing is an announcement of an add on for Medieval II Total War: Kingdoms is said to be a huge bit of content for the game. Ah gaming. It’s good!

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim

PS3 Writeup!
by Chris Lee

So you’re considering a Sony Playstation 3 but you’re not sure what all the bells and whistles do, or maybe you’re unsure of all it actually has to offer. Whatever your thoughts on the system, my goal here now is to shed a little light on a product that (assuming) you may know slim to nil about. In the following I’ll be touching upon the system models available, a brief overview of the system’s functionality and some of the positive and negative criticisms the system is currently taking.

At its release on November 17th of this past year, the PS3 was available in two different models. The lower end model retailed at an MSRP of 499.99 and came with the system itself, one wireless control, the AC adaptor and the A/V cables. The higher end retailed at 599.99 and was bundled with identical contents. What set the two systems apart for the price was built in Wi-Fi along with Pro-duo, SD, miniSD, and Compact Flash slots and a larger hard drive in the higher end version. The lower end had a 20 gigabyte hard drive while the higher end had a 60 gigabyte. In addition to those two models, there is rumored to be a 3rd model on the way sporting an 80 gig hard drive which may or may not have been in response to the new Microsoft Xbox 360 Elite.

For such a lofty price many have questioned the worth of the system, but once we get past its sleek black, exterior, we’ll find that the PS3 is riddled with functionality. The internal system hardware consists of the brand new Cell Processor technology made jointly by IBM, Toshiba and Sony, the specialized RSX chip by NVIDIA, 256MB of XDR Main RAM and 256MB of GDDR3 VRAM for a total of 512MB for the entire system, a 4x BLUray Disc Drive and the 2.5” SATA HDD of your choosing. On the outside of the system you have four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI 1.3 slot and of course the necessary ports for power and the normal component/composite cables. Again additional ports in the form of ProDuo, SD, miniSD and Compact Flash are available depending on the model.

Most of us are not techies, so the question is, what does all that do for us as gamers? To put it simply: Quite a bit. The system is first and foremost a video game console, despite Sony’s sometimes farfetched claims of it being otherwise. As a gaming machine, it offers full playability of all PS3, PS2 and PS games and fairly diverse range of downloadable games are being made available via the Playstation Network. If you should decide to take it past games, the system also offers the option to turn it into a plethora of other media devices. For starters, you can turn it into full blown computer via a free downloadable version of Yellowdog Linux.

While it doesn’t offer quite as much in terms of what can be done with it in comparison to the PCs we’re used to, it is a fair alternative for someone that may not have a computer readily available to them. In addition to that, it can also be used as a music or movie player. Recognized music formats originally only included mp3 but software updates are consistently being made and have already changed that. Movies started in similar fashion originally only offering mpeg4 but that too is being expanded upon. Music and movies alike are transferable directly to the hard drive via a form of removable memory such as the ProDuo or USB Flash stick. Over the horizon as well Sony will be taking full advantage of their music and movie rights offering downloadable content via their PSN store.

Beyond digital content you of course have the option to listen or watch your movies via the BLUray drive. The drive will play any of your old CDs and DVDs but of course its biggest function is that of playing the BLUray movies. BLUray movies are one of the two new high definition movie formats (the other being HD-DVD) and the ability to play them on the PS3 is one of the better points for the system. If movies are your fancy, then a 600 dollar PS3 I’m sure would be much more attractive than a thousand dollar stand-alone player. Probably the biggest difference between the BLUray discs and its competitor is the storage capacity.

A single-layered BLUray disc can hold up to 25 gigs of content and a dual-layered of course doubling that at 50 gigs. Why is storage capacity important? Well as far as movies are concerned it means more special features, more interactive menus, better audio and of course better visual. For games it means more for developers to play with. More space means more textures, longer games and in general, just more. Now of course more of anything is completely on the developer’s shoulders, but doors are open for possibilities that weren’t there before. Beyond the games, music and movies you also have the built in internet browser and free online gaming. Although the browser is not exactly on par with what we’d normally use, it again serves its purpose in instances where a normal browser may not be available.

So all of that I realize is quite a bit to digest, and further elaboration can be saved for a later date, but for now, what can be said that’s really good or bad about the system? Well despite all of the systems functions, most of those functions will be not be put to better use for probably a good while. On top of that, some of the functions like the internet browser and the online store are fairly bare bones at the moment. They lack the flair that Xbox Live has achieved after two and a half years of service. To be fair, Xbox Live was basic at its initial unveiling as well, but not learning from others mistakes is something I’ve wondered why Sony couldn’t do. Beyond that, the price for the system IS fairly steep for the average consumer. It’s not a measure of its worth, as I feel it’s definitely worth every penny, but since the system introduces a fair amount of new technology to a market that may only know a quarter of what it’s capable of, it’s a little hard to swallow the 600 dollar price tag.

Avid supporters of Sony and the Sony franchises will likely jump on board without much thought, but to the more casual gaming community it’s going to take a little more convincing and educating. One of the other criticisms for the system really can’t be attributed solely to the PS3 as it’s a problem with any new system, and that’s the lack of better/more titles. The PS3 has roughly 40 or so titles with less than 10 being exclusive to the system or particularly worth mention. I think most gamers realize that the games are what inevitably sell the system, so once we see the influx of better games towards the end of this year we should begin to see a correlation in sales spikes. Sony is quite proud of the fact that they have the largest in-house gaming studio and are responsible for games like the upcoming Heavenly Sword, Lair, Killzone 2, Uncharted: Drakes Fortune and Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction.

To add to that they have a very diverse amount of support from 3rd party companies who are offering games like Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Metal Gear solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, FFXIII, FFXIII Versus and Devil May Cry 4. Although many companies are breaking the norm and making titles for other consoles (ie Devil May Cry 4 for the Xbox 360), it’s not at all the case that Sony is losing love from the big guys like Square-Enix, Capcom, Konami, etc. One thing some people may not realize is that development costs for games is at an all time high for next generation consoles with some now beginning to surpass production costs of what would be the equivalent to a Hollywood film.

The reason some games originally announced specifically for one system or another are going to other consoles is in order to assure that the return for the development costs are made. Once the next generation consoles are better established and in more homes this problem will diminish and exclusive titles will most likely come back in full circle. Beyond that, my biggest issue with the system would probably be news of altering the backwards compatibility function in the newer models of the system. In order to reduce manufacturing costs the hardware that allows full backwards compatibility is being replaced with emulation software similar to the Xbox 360’s solution. Unfortunately if you’re familiar with how the 360 did this you’re probably more than accustomed to the issues this creates. In my experience with emulation, untold glitches and issues constantly are about, not to mention that only a percentage of the older games are actually playable.

So there you have it. Although there’s still much more to be said about the system, my goal was to simply give you an overview of what the system is capable of to help your understanding. Yes, the system is expensive, but I think it’s worth every penny. Maybe those pennies aren’t justified by its various functions and you’d like something simpler and of course you have the Wii or various other alternatives for that, but Sony has been the leading name in video games for the past 10 years and some uneducated dismissals of the system aren’t enough to sink this boat. Please don’t misunderstand though; first and foremost I am a gamer. I love my 360 and I plan to get a Wii. While Sony has fallen through on some pretty big promises and made some boasts that were outright ridiculous, it’s not been enough to disappoint me thus far. As it stands Sony would have to mess up pretty severely to change mine or most any other supporter’s opinion of the system.

Chris Lee
ImpulseGamer United States Correspondent

2007 Gamers Delight

2007 looks like it may actually be a pretty cool year when it comes to gaming. There are plenty of games coming out that I just cannot wait to get my hands on. Then there are some also that kind of make your cringe and wonder what the heck where they thinking.  Case in point, The Shield. The game based on the gritty television series tries it's best to live up to the license.  It does nothing of the sort, with some hap hazard graphics and less than interesting story line, the only thing The Shield from Aspyr has going for it is the voice acting.

Unless you're a huge fan this one may not have much to offer you.  Another game that tries to hit it big with a license tie in is Flyboys Squadron, the game supposedly based on the film is not much in the realm of air combat sims. Based in WWI the game does a fair job at the planes of choice, but the small amount of single player missions leaves this game to the side lines for me. Those who are looking for online action may well enjoy Flyboys Squadron. Using the Term, the graphics are so couple years ago, is being perhaps gracious. Me I will have to pass on this one, and that is saying a lot since I love flight combat games. You can snag the demo which is now out on the Flyboys site. It may or may not be your cup of tea.

Another game in the works for those WWII sim fans is Silent Hunter 4. This World War II Submarine game is going to give players the chance to fight as the United States Navy against the Japanese during World War II.  The game promises to be a highly accurate WWII sub game, but those who like more of an edge against their computer generated opponents will be glad to hear that like most good games there are different difficulty settings.  Pumping up the graphics even higher this time around, the Silent Hunter Series looks like it is going retain its crown of king of the Sub Sims. Due out in March for the PC, I highly advise you to check this one out.

Other games for Windows I am looking forward to is Supreme Commander from THQ and Gas Powered Games, with some truly impressive combat this one is going to cause many people to loose some sleep because they just won't want to stop playing.  The real question is what faction will you be joining? The United Earth federation, The Aeon Illuminate or the Cybran Nation?  I'm just a tingle with anticipation for that one.

Looking at the normal mixed bag of games, UFO: Extraterrestrial. also comes to mind, because it has been delayed till sometime late in 2007. The game from Tri Synergy is said to mix global strategy with small, squad-based tactical combat. What's it all about? Well if the title didn't tip you off.against an alien invasion. Screen shots from the game have not instilled much consumer confidence in me for this one. Tri Synergy does have a few Gems in the muck and mire of mediocrity.  Tri Synergy, GMX Media and Shockwave have brought us Battle Of Britain II Wings Of victory after all. Now with its latest patch the game still is a stand out and a must have for any WW II Buffs.  Coming along also is yet another movie based game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles based on the coming soon CG film. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is slated for several platforms including the PC, Gamecube, PS2, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 Playstation Portable, Gameboy Advance and the Wii.

At long last we may actually be seeing S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl. This game has had so many teasing glances and promises, it better not stink. Will we see it in March? Let's see.

Last but not least let us not forget our friend the Xbox 360, Spiderman 3 the game is coming to the 360 and we just hope Treyarch keeps the kick but formula that makes the Spiderman games such hits. Free roaming is of course back, and I have no idea how or why, but there is said to be 10 villains in the game, yup ten!  Nintendo's Wii will have its own version of SpiderMan 3 and will of course utilize the unique Wii controller.

The PS3 and Xbox 360 will have a different version to share. What that version is at this time is unknown. There will also be PC, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2 and PSP versions of the game. All I have to say is they had better not break the Spiderman game spell, if they do not have the very cool wise cracking Bruce Campbell yet again in there someplace.

Let's not forget Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. Picking up where the first game left off and escalating things to a fevered pitch.  GRAW2 takes place on the U.S and Mexican Border and promises to have even more intense missions, visuals and firefights. Due out in March in both Australia and the U.S and Europe in June.

The Playstation 3 is bringing out some heavy hitters with games such as The Force: Unleashed, is due out some time in November of 2007 and it is looking sweet. It is scheduled to be on these other platforms as well, the PS2,  DS,  Xbox 360 and the PSP. Maybe I'm just fickle, I have not really seen that much for the PS3 that makes me stand up and take notice. 2007 is going to be a telling year for gaming and it can get nothing but better for the gaming community. There is not enough space to even talk about all the cool titles for the different platforms here. 

In Closing, who isn't excited about such games as Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles? I know our teams at home base in Australia at Impulse Gamer are itching for that one. Shael is more than a little eager to play that one. Finally in closing, don't miss out on some of our other write ups and reviews here on the site. Tory, Andrew and others here at Impulse Gamer hope you take some time out to read up on our thoughts and enjoy some gaming!

Have fun,
Play Games
Edwin Millheim

Vista Rising

My friends as I sit and write out my thoughts, I look back at all of the newer game consol systems that have hit the market. We hardly get time to take a deep breath and the next precipice of the gaming world is just around the corner. Yes my fellow gamers I am talking about the next PC operating system. I am talking about Microsoft's next baby, Windows Vista. Like many of us, you are probably considering upgrading to Vista. You may want to weigh your thoughts on the matter. While it is very true that the next splash of PC gaming technology is set to take some liberal leaps into gaming euphoria. it is also true that more than a fare share of your older games won't work on Vista. 

I know what your thinking, holly crap! But, really think of the poor programmers that have to write a massive amount of code for your game to be backwards compatible for the latest leaps on technology. Windows Vista uses DirectX 10 and Direct3D 10, the latest DirectX promises to deliver some truly inspired gaming experiences. What can possibly be the issue with such a cascade of images ripping at the gamer's eyeballs?  Too true, the OS promises to deliver incredible graphics, the likes of which we have not known, (Yes every time something new in the industry comes along it seems to be the next big step too photo realistic graphics and a gamers experience that will just bring a happy tear.)

You're going to have to have the hardware to take full advantage of what this new OS and the DirectX 10 and Direct3D have to offer. Sure, there are just as many valid points to jump on board the Windows Vista Band wagon when it hits the shelves.and there are just as many valid points to wait. In the end one can only gather the information as best as one can and hope for an informed decision.

One of the cool things about Vista is that the OS is always online, this nifty built in feature can mean no more hunting all over the place for the drivers you need.

Following the marketing plan and perhaps hoping to net more consumers, Windows Vista comes in several versions, the first one being an upgrade from XP. Some reports claim that doing this caused the system to run a heck of a lot slower. What gamer wants that, right?

If you're going to make the jump to Windows Vista, the best choice may well be to do a full clean install rather than an upgrade. Microsoft has several tiers of consumers in mind with Vista.

Windows Vista Home Basic
The operating system for home users with basic computing needs such as surfing the Internet and e-mailing friends and family.

Windows Vista Home Premium
Movies, media center, photos and more. Windows Vista Home Premium is the operating system for home users who want to get the most out of everything Windows Vista has to offer. It will help people use their computer more effectively while enabling them to enjoy new, exciting digital entertainment experiences-all with the benefit of added security and reliability, and improved mobility.

Windows Vista Business
For small- and medium-size businesses, this operating system will help keep PCs running smoothly and more securely so business owners will be less reliant on dedicated IT support. For larger organizations, Windows Vista Business will provide dramatic new infrastructure improvements, enabling IT staff to spend less time focused on day-to-day maintenance and more time adding strategic value to the organization.
Windows Vista Ultimate
The most comprehensive edition of Windows Vista delivers all the features available to both business and home users.

Either way you cut it, some of the features will require additional hardware to take full advantage of some of the higher level Vista versions. My main concern is of course, gaming. While installing games on Vista, the compatibility feature is back, much like the compatibility mode in XP.  Vista will give you a chance to tweak the install properties of a game. If the game ran fine in an earlier version of Windows, you can have it run in a compatibility mode to an earlier OS. I'm sure some of you have seen the phrase many ready. Well the basic criteria for something to get the Games For Windows tag, it has to support Widescreen resolutions, 64 bit processors and multicore/multithreading CPUs.

While I will of course have to get the OS for continuing review purposes, I at least have developed a watch and wait attitude. Vista still has some things to work out before it wins over many gamers.

Have fun, play games

Edwin Millheim

Games We Look Forward Too!
by Edwin Millheim

Call Of Duty 3 

Ok, so there are a lot of WWII games out there. What else can they possibly offer after the spectacular Call Of Duty 2?  From the sneak glimpses that we have seen thus far, Call Of Duty 3 offers a lot more.  The game development is in the very successful and capable hands of Treyarch. With the publisher being Activision. Call Of Duty 3 is targeting the platforms for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, Playstation 2 and even the original Xbox it sounds like D-Day for the senses is coming and it is going to be good!  

Online team based play is of course going to expand the over all experience of the game. Up to 24 players on the next generation consoles will be battling it out. With the ability to command multiple occupancy vehicles it sounds like the action will be even more intense than Call Of Duty 2!  Call Of Duty 3 boasts Tanks, Motorbikes and Jeeps in the mix will certainly make things interesting. But the best thing of all is the promise of new soldier classes. All with specific abilities. Makes my hands just itch waiting for this one. It promises to be out sometime this November no less. I can't wait to see this one for the 360! though other platform gamers will be in for a real treat as well. 

This time around there are some specific things that the game promises that I just cannot wait to try out. Now some of the environment will be more destructible. Not only can you shoot away the enemies cover...but the cover the player is hiding behind can be shot away as well! this is sure to cause some fast scrambling to get your self to safety as the bullets fly around you. The knee jerk fear of one of those rounds crashing into your flesh and bones will be causing more than one gamer to jump out of their skin. 

Also battle will be getting a little closer and personal with a new system that harkens to one of those scenes in from the Film "Saving Private Ryan."  Players are going to be getting in your face hand to hand combat! Along with this more personal fighting, there will be times when players will have to use improvised explosive devices, disarm traps and just survive the pure D mayhem of war. 

Of course we will be doing a more in depth review of this game when we get our hot little hands on it as well. 

Superman Returns: The Video Game

Another game that shows some promise is Superman Returns: The Video Game.  Now the mere mention of a game based on the Man Of Steel may cause some gamers to run from their computer screens screaming into the night. There has never really been even a half way descent Superman game. Ever in my humble opinion. What makes me have even the least bit of hope this time around? Well one of the first things that gives me hope for this game is the fact that Electronic Arts did not release the game along with the movies theatrical release.  Other nifty things we know about the game is that the player starts out with all of Superman's powers.  

The tid bits that Electronic Arts have let out thus far, is showing the promise of an absolute SUPER experience at long last. this time around fans may well get the true Superman experience they have been craving.  Traffic in the streets, pedestrians, Metropolis is a truly living city! the game is promising 80 miles of Superman's adopted home to protect and freely fly around. 

What shows even more promise? The promise of some incredible non linear game play. Exploring the steel, glass and stone canyons that make up Metropolis should make for some pretty awesome game play. this time around such open game play may well give everyone the chance to get the feel of being Superman!  Further word on the game is it will have three types of game play to keep the gamer busy and we hope happy... Rescue, flying and of course combat. Missions are inspired from the film and even some original content created for the game. 

What can possibly be the symbolic Kryptonite for the game itself, would be repetitive missions and a ho hum main story line. Will the game cease after a player finishes the main story? Or will there be more gaming goodness to be had? One of the things I so loved about games such as SPIDERMAN for instance was the fact that even after the main story, the player could still move around the city and have some adventure...this of course resulted in too few variety of little side missions and could get repetitive, but we will see if Superman returns: The Video Game suffers the same malady.  

What games are you fans looking forward too and why? Email me ( and let me may find us talking about it here in our articles! 

Have fun, play games. 

Addictive Gaming, an Addict Speaks
by Edwin Millheim

Being a reviews site this kind of article was a hard choice. Though when you really think about it, anything when taken to excess can become addictive. Gaming is no different; doing anything to excess can be an unhealthy thing. Gaming addiction falls under the category of psychological addiction. Most games taken too far fall into the addictive category, but world wide the notable cases of compulsive use of computer or console games are the multi player online role playing games.

Persons displaying addictive gaming may show signs or experience intense feelings of wanting to get back to the game, the flip side of this, is when they are away from the games a person may show signs of withdraw from friends and family and real life in general. Wikipedia has some great source information on this problem.

Having searched and spoken to several people here in the United States about internet or gaming addiction one person really struck a chord and I wanted to learn more about what they went through. It should be noted here that there is of course healthy gaming, something that is used as a past time. Something that you can easily walk away from. But there are some persons that may have some psychological issues may fall into an addictive pattern, it may not be with gaming, and it may be with drugs, drinking or some other activity. The young man I ended up interviewing for this article happened to fall into the category of not only online multi player gaming… but drinking alcohol as well.

We won’t use his real name, for it seemed like the past still haunted him as I asked my questions. We will know him as Ken. When Ken speaks about the past and the problems that nearly destroyed him, he still get’s a passion in his eyes. His voice get’s strong, as he thinks about the past his emotions run strong and his mind screws tight his convictions to not repeat the past.

I started with something simple enough asking When did he first start internet gaming and how often did he play?

Ken: I’ve been a gamer since pretty young. Though I really picked it up as a vice in 2004. The amount of time I invested in it I can’t even begin to count. I would pop a top… (He paused a moment with this jargon use of explaining he liked to grab a beer while playing)

And I would go online after dinner and play until the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes all the way to 3am. This would almost every day. Unless I had to go out or visit family.

My next question was an obvious one for me. When Ken spoke about his gaming and the problems it caused…he was more than a little passionate about it. Something happened to lead him down the path. Something drove him into gaming and drinking as a coping device; the matter of fact answer was brief and was not elaborated on. Was there an event or something that happened in your life Ken that made you start gaming online so much?

Ken: What made me drink and play is due to the fact that I had already been a drinker anyway, and around this time we lost a baby…a newborn passed away. I picked up playing online and that combined with alcohol as my coping mechanism.
Or maybe more of an escape from reality.

Yet online gaming is a perfect reality due to the fact the characters on the games do not always stay “IN Character”. In the past games I played off line along with drinking never caused any problems. Games like Halo, Conker or Doom 3. You know action, blow up crap games. It was really the multi player Role Playing Games that caused me problems.

What happened to your relationship?

Ken: Well as I became more of a corpse to my television, my health started to deteriorate…my relationship with my fiancée went along with my health... My job suffered as well. Everything in my life was suffering tremendously. As a result of my playing games and drinking and letting my life go to hell, and ignoring her…she started to play games for spite, she met some guy in a game…our relationship hit rock bottom at this time. I started to become abusive verbally and throwing things. I wanted to just drink and play games. Sometime after all this, she left me. She did it while I was at work. She left with our daughter and all I had from her was a note saying “Play all you want…goodbye.” I neglected her for a fantasy world, I lost everything.

A lot of things happened to Ken, I think maybe if it wasn’t gaming that he latched onto it would have been something else. My next question was pretty straight forward. What do you think of online gaming now?

Ken: Because of the events that took place. I despise online gaming now. I had gotten rid of everything that I had owned that would enable me to plug into that world again. I also have a strong opinion of humanity as well. Plug them in and they are mindless meat puppets, just pawns on a string not knowing who the puppet master is.

At this time I was wondering if Ken had spoken to a counselor because some of what was clearly knawing at him from the past was still there. After the off subject thoughts he went back to the question.

Ken: Online gaming can crack into the mind of those who are vulnerable. It can ruin lives if you let it. It can even ruin relationships. Much like a person addicted to crack or Heroin. Online games can be addictive, seductive and you can loose family and friends over it. I was online to enjoy gaming…Yet there are people out there who get on line in these games just to manipulate other peoples lives instead of just playing the game for fun.

I am no expert, but I was thinking more and more Ken still has some issues to work out. One of those being that it was everyone else’s fault that his life ran into trouble…some blame has to go into the choices we as individuals make. No one makes you plug in and play. Ken Continued.

Ken: I am now very anti internet gaming. My family and I have chosen to be against it and we have picked up other hobbies. Sometimes I think about gaming, but I have no devices to play them anymore, nor do I miss them or regret banning them from my home.

Now Ken was still speaking pretty passionately about all this, but when he spoke of gaming, you could see the little nudge. He said he was not regretting it…but he was still feeling the tug of gaming. It was pretty obvious. I then asked if he had any suggestions to anyone else that may be going through something similar.

Ken: I lost my fiancée for two months because she fell in love with a character who tricked her into something she later regretted. What if this person had been a stalker or a killer? If you find yourself acting differently or someone you know is acting differently or withdrawn, maybe you better have a talk with them.

Ken is still gaming in some form or another, so his ban on games is not all encompassing. As for internet gaming addiction, there are cases where persons have been known to have issues with gaming online and acting as if this was the only world for them. There are other persons who feel there is no actual truth to internet gaming addiction. There are many resources online and I am sure growing in the health professional field if you would like to research this sort of thing for yourself.

In closing as I have said before, gaming is a past time. They can be fun, played within reason. What is within reason, only you or a parent for their children can decide that. Anything in excess can become an issue. Play reasonably.

Within reason,

Have fun, play games.



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