Hart & Usagi #89: Phone Club

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On episode 89 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we chat about a variety of topics like Telltale breaking labor laws, breaking and entering to play the NES, and more.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

TOPICS:
* Only ’80s Kids Remember: Breaking Into Houses to Get an NES Fix
* Sony Says It Has Fixed the PlayStation 4 Message Bug That’s Been Causing Consoles to Crash
* Red Dead Redemption 2’s 100-Hour Weeks Are Nothing New for Rockstar
* Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition update will improve the speed of the game’s inputs
* Castlevania: Symphony of the Night On PS4 Won’t Have The Iconic “What Is A Man?” Scene
* Telltale hit with class-action lawsuit for breaking labor laws
* PS Vita Production in Japan Will End in 2019, No Successor Planned
* Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle Smashes its Way to PlayStation 4
* The PlayStation Classic is Going to Have a Much Harder Time Selling its Nostalgia Next to the SNES Classic

Listen or Download (1:09:39)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704 | Instagram

@HartandUsagi

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New Releases 2012: March 11-31

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WEEK of 3/11
Birds of Steel (PS3, X360)
FIFA Street (X360, PS3)
Journey (PS3)
Mario Party 9 (WII)
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations (X360, PS3)
Reality Fighters (PSV)
Ridge Racer (PSV)
Shoot Many Robots (X360, PS3)
Silent Hill: Downpour (PS3, X360)
Tales of Graces ƒ (PS3)
Warp (PS3, X360)
Yakuza: Dead Souls (PS3)

WEEK of 3/18
Armored Core V (X360, PS3)
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
Ninja Gaiden 3 (PS3, X360)
Rayman 3 HD (X360, PS3)
Rayman Origins (3DS)
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (PS3, X360)
Silent Hill HD Collection (PS3, X360)
Sine Mora (X360)
Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai (PC)
Warriors Orochi 3 (PS3, X360)

WEEK of 3/25
Alien Chaos 3D (3DS)
Boulder Dash-XL 3D (3DS)
Capcom Digital Collection (X360)
Rayman Origins (PC)
Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends (X360, PS3)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (X360, PS3)

New Releases 2012: Feb. 19-Mar. 10

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WEEK of 2/19
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (X360)
Asura’s Wrath (PS3, X360)
Dynasty Warriors Next (PSV)
Hustle Kings (PSV)
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (3DS)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus (PSV)
Syndicate (PS3, X360, PC)
Touch My Katamari (PSV)
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PSV)

WEEK of 2/26
Binary Domain (PS3, X360)
Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition (PS3, X360)
SSX (PS3, X360)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 (DS)

WEEK of 3/4
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (PSV)
MLB 12: The Show (PS3, PSV)
Major League Baseball 2K12 (PS3, X360, PC, WII, PSP, DS, PS2)
Mass Effect 3 (PS3, X360, PC)
Ridge Racer Unbounded (PC)
Silent Hill HD Collection (PS3, X360)
Street Fighter X Tekken (PS3, X360)

Powered By GameSpy

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ONLINE PS2 GAMES
Recently I was wondering if any of my online enabled PS2 games would still have that service up and running. To my surprise quite a number of them still do. Sure it’s less than half, but it still amazed me that 12 of 20 games worked online.

There was one thing that was consistent with my findings. If GameSpy operated the online servers, you could guarantee that those games would still be playable.

Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
Burnout 3: Takedown
Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
Call of Duty 3
Champions: Return To Arms
Flatout 2
Midnight Club II
Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
Ratchet: Deadlocked
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Urban Chaos: Riot Response

EA games seemed to be the ones that were the least likely to work. However it was odd that of the Burnout games tested Takedown worked while Revenge didn’t as you can see below in the list of games shut down.

Burnout Revenge
Everything or Nothing
Goldeneye: Rogue Agent
NFL Street 2
OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
Project: Snowblind
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

SYSTEM LINK PS1 GAMES
In similar news, I was looking for a list of games that were system link compatible for the original PlayStation system since Usagi704 did buy the cable and I had got one of the original models.

Unfortunately there’s only apparently 30 games that have this option, as listed on Wikipedia, with quite a few being racing games of some type.

Of that list, I have Destruction Derby, Doom, Final Doom, and R4: Ridge Racer Type 4. I’m looking into a few of the others like The Need For Speed, Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012, and Armored Core among a couple more.

BORDERLANDS
Since my last blog post I’ve found some more fun to be had with Borderlands. I’m much quicker when comparing weapons and items and I don’t feel as much like a weakling anymore, though it still happens from time to time. Level 13 must be where the magic is. My current level is 20.

Trophies: 19 / 51 (37%)

2000 Game of the Year

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Note: You may very well disagree with some of my choices, but that’s why it’s a good list.

NOMINEES
Medal of Honor: Underground (PS)
Ridge Racer V (PS2)
TimeSplitters (PS2)
WWF SmackDown! (PS)
WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role (PS)

2000 Game of the Year: WWF SmackDown!
Runner-up: TimeSplitters

The first wrestling game to change the direction and expectations of such games was WWF SmackDown. Before that game I was used to two types of wrestling games. They either were in the style of the WCW PS games where you did fighting game commands to pull off moves or they were button mashers. Neither worked that well because either you were trying to remember the commands or you were in what was a controller destroying button mashing contest. The fun was put back into the game with simpler controls that made way for a larger moveset.

TimeSplitters was a great launch title for the PS2. Even though it wasn’t online, since that wasn’t possible at the time, the 4-player split screen multiplayer options were robust with bots as well. It also had a map maker mode where I remember making a level that was large enough to exhaust the memory limit allowed for one level. I thought it was a pretty interesting level especially once one of the themes were applied to it like a dark castle motif.

Previous entries: 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999

Now Playing: December ’06

“Now Playing” is back at ya with last month’s carry over of Mortal Kombat II via the SNES and Final Fight One for the GBA.

Games that I’ve finished were: Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, Ridge Racer V, and Astro Boy: Omega Factor.

Astro Boy was a surprisingly simple yet somewhat difficult game that was extremely fun to play. I still like going back to it. The same can be said for Ridge Racer V even though it’s super short. That’s to be expected since the game’s on a CD and not a DVD. CoD’s Big Red One is unlike any of the other games from that series. It’s story sticks with one group of guys instead of shifting off to a different group right before you get to know the characters. It’s also a bonus that a couple of the cast members from the Band of Brothers mini-series did the voice work.

A game that I’m close to finishing is Gears of War. I’m near the end of the train segment with the big baddie that was the first to take out one of the Delta squad members earlier in the game.

Other games that I put my hands on this month were: Half-Life 2, Call of Duty 3 (PS2), Sonic Advance 3, Assault Heroes, Sega Genesis Collection (PS2), Capcom Classics Mini Mix, and Street Fighter II Turbo.

The Sega Genesis Collection had all new games, at least to me. I never had a Genesis during the 16-bit era so whether I knew of the games included or not, I had never played any of them before. I liked the two Sonic the Hedgehog games way more than I thought that I would. What helps with that is that you can save your game anywhere and at anytime. It’s just like “save states” in PC emulation. It’s an awesome feature that I’m super happy that was added thanks to Digital Eclipse! Shinobi III, Comix Zone, and five early Sega arcade games (ie: the original Altered Beast) are there to sweeten the pot. RPG fans will be really pleased that no less than four games from that genre are on this PS2 disc. The lesser known Sword of Vermilion and Phantasy Star II, III, and IV. Other multi-game series’ included in the package are Ecco the Dolphin (3), Golden Axe (3), Shinobi (2), and Vectorman (2).

All in all it was a great month of gaming!

The Gaming Roundup

After clearing off my Now Playing list, with the exception of MKII, I’ve started playing last year’s Call of Duty release, Big Red One, on the PS2. I was glad that I’d bought the Special Edition version of the game since I figured that some of the voice acting of the main characters sounded very familiar. After viewing the first special edition video, I was granted confirmation when four of the actors from the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers were shown talking about their parts in the game’s production. As far as the game itself, it’s pretty good. I don’t like the “on rails” segments because I end up being the big target, but that’s usually just par for the course with these games.

Staying on the Call of Duty topic, the next day I noticed the much better score for CoD3. Once I found out that the PS2 was finally getting the same version of the game as the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, I hoped that it’d be as good as it could be. I was thrilled that the PS2 version scored an 8.2. That’s a whole 1.2 higher than the game I’m currently playing. After reading the review I was certain that I’d be getting it. Sure enough later that day I did so while looking for an Xbox 360 game for a Christmas gift.

Speaking of the 360, I got some more hands-on time with some of the game demos. After watching Usagi704 play some of Gears of War, I tried out Ridge Racer 6 and Rainbow Six Vegas. The feel of the cars and racing itself in RR6 was lots of fun. Even so I wouldn’t run out and purchase the game at the full $60 price tag. However, I would gladly pay the full amount for Rainbow Six Vegas. While the game was slower going than I’m used to and even though I didn’t get that far in the demo, it was totally awesome to only have to unload a couple of bullets to take out an enemy. The controls were a little unwieldy at first, but eventually they became second nature. The only time I had trouble was when trying to revive a teammate. That’s when, what I like to call, the “SNES problem” occurred. The Xbox 360 controller’s face buttons are in the reverse order of the SNES face buttons. When the game says to press A, I end up hitting B at different times. Thankfully every time this happened I had the smoke grenades equipped.

I plan on getting a wired Xbox 360 controller soon so I can get into two player co-op in Gears of War. Why the wired controller? Because it can double as use for any PC gaming needs.

Update: Xbox 360 wired controller review at ExtremeTech.