October 16, 2007

TNA Bound for Glory!

TNA Bound For Glory
Gwinett Center, Duluth GA

As part of Midway’s weekend of TNA they took about 50 journalists to witness first hand the excitement of a live TNA professional wrestling event. Although the action was clearly staged (many times I saw the participants laughing or counting with each other to make sure that the timing of the stunts was correct), it was thrilling. It was like a Broadway show, but one based on violence and acrobatics. And the crowd loved it. They ate up every minute of it, every 2 and a half count, every act of bravado, and every broken chair.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

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October 14, 2007

Midway TNA Impact! World Premiere

I'm down in Atlanta covering the world premiere of Midway's TNA Impact! video game. This is a very cool event focused on what looks to be a very cool game. We've rubbed elbows with TNA wrestlers, played the game against lead designers, drank an awful lot of bourbon, and enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. You might even say it's been "Total Non-stop Action".


I'm going to follow this up with a post tonight about the actual wrestling match. They got us press passes so we can get right up front and hopefully we'll take some great photos. I've also got some interviews with wrestlers that I'm going to post. I had a great time talking to Samoan Joe. He and I both wrestled in high school and then played judo afterwards. And now I write this blog and he beats the crap out of people in an 18 month undefeated streak.

The game looked very good. The wrestlers worked closely with Midway on facial capture, mocap, and the dynamics of the game. The 6 sided ring is there - they're adding cages, glass, and barbed wire later. The version we saw was about 60% complete so it was a little buggy, ie you could throw guys through fences and stuff. It was really fun to play, not like other wrestling games which have traditionally been a mix of button mashing and really hard to memorize combos. I thought that even at this early stage it had a very good feel to it in terms of how satisfying it was to lay the smackdown on someone and the rhythm of counter-attacks and reversals. One thing that I like in particular is the way guys react to getting punched; if you punch a guy in the face he grabs his face, and if you kick him in the gut he grabs his gut.

There are a lot of grapples, reversals, alternate-grapples, and aerial moves. It's pretty fast paced for a wrestling game. There's the beloved Irish Whip, climbing the turnbuckles, and running around the ring. The ropes ripple when you run into them which is a nice touch.

We only played some one on one quick play. They're adding a story mode, create-a-player, tag team, and online play.

Oh yeah, and Samoan Joe says he's going to kill you.

Continue reading "Midway TNA Impact! World Premiere" »

March 6, 2007

The Redman Interview

Def Jam Icon ships today to PS3 and Xbox 360. EA was in town and they arranged for me to interview Redman and play the game with him. It was really exciting to meet him.


Redman enters
MDS: How’s it going?
Redman: It’s just the bomb, man. The bomb. Smoked this (holds up mostly smoked blunt) We all ready for business.
Someone offers Redman a light. The lighter is green.
Redman: That’s a good color.
MDS: Green’s a good color, eh?
Laughing, Redman lights blunt.
MDS: I gotta tell you, Redman. I am a huge fan of yours. Much of my time in the mid ‘90’s was spent playing video games and listening to your music.
Redman: And getting high.
MDS: OK, OK. I wasn’t going to come right out and say it. And getting high.
MDS: The other thing is that I grew up in NJ
Redman: What part?
MDS: Millburn. So a lot of the places that you sing about, like Irvington
Redman: East Orange, Plainfield, Springfield
MDS: yeah, I always get a huge kick out of that
Redman: Nice. Nice.
MDS: So, how do you like the game?
Redman: I think the fucking game is fucking fabulous.
MDS: That’s your official quote?
Redman: Yes. I’m still trying to learn the motherfucker.
MDS: Did you play games when you were a little kid?
Redman: I had Atari. I had Coleco. So, yeah. I even had a Jaguar when it was out for a minute. I played a lot as a kid, but when I was introduced to Doom it took it to another level.
MDS: Oh, yeah!
Redman: I’m a first person shooter kind of gamer.
MDS: Totally. Doom2 totally changed my life. (High fives all around)
Redman: Yeah, man. I always wanted to meet the motherfuckers who did Doom.
MDS: I used to work at the NJ Medical School, on South Orange Ave in Newark. I was a network administrator and I built this whole setup so we could play Doom over the network after work.
Redman: Nice
MDS: We would play all night. It was awesome.
Redman: Wasn’t that shit weird, man.
MDS: There was nothing like that.
Redman: Nothing like that in the fucking world.
MDS: And it just like totally sucked you in and gave you this feeling of power.
Redman: And it felt like what Hell was like. Oh shit, that was messed up. They made one for Xbox, didn’t they?
MDS: Yeah, for Xbox 360, last year.
Redman: You know what else was a fucking good game? Powerstone. They ain’t never made anything like that again. Powerstone was a dope ass fucking game.
Kudo explains the controls to Redman.
Kudo: The face buttons are attacks so you can start whaling on those. The right analog stick, you can do a grab and throw by pushing up and then down.
Redman: You showed me some of that shit before.
Kudo: If you rotate the right thumbstick around from say 3 o’clock to the left it’ll knock the guy to the left. If you rotate it around to the right, it’ll swing kick him to the right. Or if you go straight down and straight up that’ll…
MDS: Would that by any chance be a blunt?
Redman: Yeah. Yeah, you can have it. Sure.
MDS: Dude, that is so fucking sweet. Thanks.
Redman: That’s the end of it but you can still smoke up on that one.
MDS: Thank you, sir.
Voice in the background says, “Someone take a picture of that”
Redman (still playing game): I’m trying to remember my grabs.
Kudo: Right, so if you push up on the right thumbstick then you can grab a guy and throw him into the hazards.
Redman: I know. The background has fucking got it.
Kudo: Why don’t you two guys fight it out? Hands controller to Matt
Redman: Yeah, while we’re getting high.

MDS: So how did you get involved in actually making the games?
Redman: I really owe everything to Lauren. You know, she’s been in my whole career, the whole time I’ve been banging out music. I’m just glad she saw what she wanted to do and she included me in her plans. First of all, she know me and Meth is big gamers. And for her to have this kind of plan and give me this kind of opportunity I think it’s beautiful. I like this shit and I don’t even like fighting games. I don’t play Tekken
MDS: What makes this better?
Redman: I mean it’s fucking like reality, man.
MDS: It’s not just button mashing
Redman: What it is, is that the characters are on here, the MCs and actors and stuff, but that is not the main issue. That is not what’s keeping this game over. Oh, I got a better character so I killed you. That’s not what it’s about. The action, the details, what’s going on with these things in the back. It’s taking it to the next fucking level. Watch a lot of games want to be like this shit here.
Other: Who do enjoy whipping on the most?
MDS: He seems to be enjoying kicking my ass.
Kudo: You can see how he’s taking damage and his face is messed up and his clothes are torn.
Redman: yeah, man, the fucking background. I’m fighting some guy and there’s a car and other fucking shit coming out.
MDS: So do you play a lot of games now?
Redman: I still play games. I’m on Call of Duty 3 for 360. And the reason why that’s out of control is because I’m learning shit on there. It’s not just fighting and shit but putting me in the action how these fucking soldiers were back then, the Germans and all that shit.
MDS: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Other: Tell me a little bit about the new album you have coming out.
Redman: The new album is called Red Gone Wild and it’s coming out on the 27th. I called it Red Gone Wild, not because it’s more wild and shit, I’d be doing that anyway. I broke the mold with previous albums I did. I got the deuces. I got a team now, I’m introducing Yellowhouse, MC’s Dick and Don, Ready Rock, Raquel, Marquee, Melanie, and E3. I haven’t had an album out in a while and want everyone to think of this as an introduction. This is some good music and I want to hear more. You all can tell I’ve grown. I’m 36 now so I can’t be talking about crazy young shit
MDS: You know, man, I was reading your bio and I saw that you’re born in April 1970. I was born in March 1970.
Redman: Yeah.
MDS: It’s funny.
Redman: Yeah, it is. You know, you right there. Meth was born in March 1971. Yeah.
Other: So are you happy with your character in the game?
Redman: Yeah. I love it. The thing is with all my characters in all the games they come up to me and say “Yo, your character is hard as hell to whup.”
Other: What do you think is the illest thing you ever said? What makes you say, That’s my shit right there?
Redman: On the mixing? I don’t know, I’ve got some pretty dope shit on there, like number 10, number 3.
Other: There’s something about Lil Wayne?
Redman: Yo, I blow ya minds, like Kurt Cobain. My block is hot like Lil' Wayne, I'll pop ya little chain. I'm ready, hip hop is not gon' be the same. Like the Roc and Dame, I'll dot the little change.
Redman: You know me. I’ll do the mixing. Number 10 is really where I showed some skills with that Eminem beat.
Redman: I’m in the studio like 15-20 hours a day. I’ve got my own studio in midtown Manhattan so you know midtown, you better get on that bitch.
MDS: Yeah, you’d better use it.
Redman: Once I put my name on that lease, that’s where my time goes. My studio ain’t got no windows or nothing like that. That’s how I get my shit on.
Redman and I continue fighting each other.
MDS: You play a lot of 360?
Redman: Yeah, I got the 360. I also got the PS3 but I ain’t really banged out on that yet. You know what I’m really surprise at? The Wii system.
MDS: I love it. It’s very inventive. There are so many different things you can do. The controller is pretty cool.
Redman: I think that’s some new wave shit that they’re doing.
Other: What’s your favorite game with you in it?
Redman: Right now, this Def Jam Icon shit. I was in this EA Sports basketball game.
Other: You were an unlockable character.
Redman: Yeah. I thought that was really cool.
MDS: What do you think of the convergence of urban culture and gaming? You know, like there’s more hip hop games. You’ve got all the kids playing games. More and more games use popular music. Do you see the games and music becoming more tied together as time goes by?
Redman: Hell yeah. Why wouldn’t they? That’s the new wave. Music, games. It sells. That’s what it is. I want to make some adult games. Like really wild. There’s plenty of kids games, but adults like to play games too. You could have a party and invite people over and show ass, titties, everything.

Redman: You can get hit by these graphics, too. You can get hit by the camera or the lights.
MDS: Yeah, you can throw the guy into them.

MDS: That’s awesome that you played Doom 2 like that.
Redman: Yeah.

Continue reading "The Redman Interview" »

June 24, 2006

Madden NFL 07 Party

Last night the Game On! team of Matt Sarrel and Tina Romero attended the Madden NFL 07 Party at the ESPN Zone in Times Square. It was a lot of fun and a great event. There was plenty of food and drink and lots of kiosks set up so everyone got a chance to play the game. There was great access to the football players. We had the opportunity to speak to each one. It was funny because there were also some little kids there from Newsday. One of these kids who was about the size of Orlando Pace's leg asked him to arm wrestle.

They had a panel discussion about the importance of the running game in Madden NFL 07. I noticed an improvement when I played the PS2 and Xbox 360 versions. The running game is like fighting for every inch, struggling to break tackles and lunging forward. In otherwords, the running game is more fun. But that's just my take on it. I recorded the panel discussion and you can listen to it.

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June 8, 2006


Saturday, June 10, 9:00 p.m. - Sunday, June 11, 2:00 a.m.

WHAT: Hundreds of hard-core fans and eager consumers will line up this Saturday, June 10, to be the first consumers in the United States to buy the highly anticipated new Nintendo DS Lite hand-held video game system when it becomes available at midnight.

Video game icon Mario will be at the event along with fans dressed as Nintendo characters. The event also will feature music from a local DJ and free pizza for people in line. The first 100 people to purchase a Nintendo DS Lite will receive a free DS Lite case and a copy of the new Brain Age game.

DS Lite is poised to be the cool new gaming system for the summer. DS Lite is less than two-thirds the size of the original Nintendo DS, more than 20 percent lighter and features a brighter screen. Priced as low as $129.99 at retailers throughout the United States, consumers will be rushing to retailers to get their hands on one. To date, nearly 17 million Nintendo DS systems have been sold worldwide.

WHO: Consumers and passionate video game fans of all ages

WHEN: Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11

9 p.m. People line up to purchase Nintendo DS Lite

Midnight – 2:00 a.m. The Nintendo World Store opens its doors to consumers and the first Nintendo DS Lite systems go on sale

WHERE: Nintendo World Store

10 Rockefeller Center

New York , NY 10020

(646) 459-0800


May 19, 2006

The Cars of E3

For some reason there were a lot of cars at this year's E3. Some Ferarris and Lamborghinis. They were beautiful.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

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E3 Show Floor

Here are a bunch of photos from walking around E3. There are some shots of the Nintendo Wii, then a bunch of me walking around, then some skateboarding and biking in the half pipe.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

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September 18, 2005

World Poker Tour Party

Last night, my sister Sallie and I drove to Atlantic City to go to the World Poker Tour launch party. It was a pretty classy party at the Borgata. I promise not to let the 15 fried oysters that I ate affect the review. [Photos of me and Sallie are coming. She didn't bring the right cable to connect her camera to my laptop.]


2K Sports is going to come out with the World Poker Tour video game on October 17, 2005 at the $19.99. I got to play it last night and, aside from the few little things that were wrong simply because it is an early build, the game looks solid. There are tons of different combinations that can be made while creating your character, anything from your shirt to your personality can be set. There's also a Poker Boot Camp that is poker lessons done over full motion video. My luck was pretty streaky: I won the first ten hands and then lost the next ten. Then I handed the controller to Sallie and within minutes we were out.


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September 16, 2005

NBA 2K6 Party With Shaq

by Tina Romero

For basketball aficionados like my brother Yan, last night's NBA 2K6 launch at Slate was a dream come true. I am not a gamer nor a basketball fan like Yan but I have to admit that Shaq's gargantuan presence made me feel larger than life.


It was even made bigger when I rubbed elbows with other NBA stars like Phoenix Sun's Amare Stoudemire, Trevor Ariza (NY Knicks) and NBA conference host Craig Anthony.


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September 9, 2005

NHL 2K6 Launch Party

Last night brought the culmination of all of my years of intense training in the NHL 2K6 video game. What does this have to do with Nina and Sonja? They have been present at each training session. Sonja cheers me on and Nina just tells me to get in more fights.

Last night I met and played Xbox with Marty Turco, the goalie for the Dallas Stars. He told me that he was going to kick my ass because he's really good at the game, and I said, "I can guarantee you that every minute you spend training for real hockey is matched by the number of minutes I spend training for video hockey," and he restated that he would kick my ass.


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