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Xbox 360 Sees Its First Unofficial NES Emulator
news | 01/29/07 | Aaron Stanton
Microsoft\'s courtship of the homebrew game developer has led to the Xbox 360 running its first unofficial NES emulator. While not useful to the general public, a programmer by the name of Lone Coder used Microsoft\'s XNA Game Studio Express to convert an existing emulator - SharpNES - to run on XNA environments. That includes both PCs running Windows Vista and the Xbox 360. The development introduces the Xbox 360 to its first taste of unapproved retro-gaming, and while limitations built into Game Studio Express prevent a usable release on the 360, it\'s nice to see Microsoft take steps to embrace the homebrew community instead of alienating them.
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Magic the Gathering Online Gets Facial
game: Magic the Gathering Online
preview | 01/23/07 | Chris Martin
Magic the Gathering is now a classic card game. It\'s reached such long-term profundity for many an adolescent and twenty (or thirty) something since it\'s inception in 1993 that it might be the most dynamic single game of all time. It certainly has one of the most hardcore fan bases of all time. We\'ve taken a look at the new layout of Magic Online and we\'ve got impressions. Good ones. All that and a colossus, inside.
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Brain Boost: Beta Wave and Brain Boost: Gamma Wave Reviews
game: If Only They Could All Be Brain Age
review | 01/09/07 | Laurie Taylor
The success of Brain Age has helped to launch an entire genre into the public mindset. While video games will probably always revolve around high action and high intensity, games designed to make you smarter have established a slower, more serious side of gaming. Yet even games that are designed to make you smarter have to be fun, and Majesco\'s Brain Boost series for the Nintendo DS simply doesn\'t make the cut. We take a look at Brain Boost: Beta Wave and Brain Boost: Gamma Wave to see if there\'s a winning combination of entertaining puzzles and something to improve the mind; we\'re not entirely convinced we found either.
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The Current Standard: Spin on Video Game Blogs
editorial | 01/05/07 | Chris Martin
Recently, in an interview with Ars Technica, Scott Henson, product unit manager for Microsoft\'s game technology group, made a statement regarding HD-DVD and Sony\'s defunct Betamax. Unfortunately for those of us who read only headlines and move on, the whole story is not being told. And now it\'s being spun by blogs with a hankering for a little more web traffic into a false statement. In this editorial, Chris Martin discusses the spin that blogs like to put on quotes and tries to understand just why blogs have no responsibility to report truth.
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PS3 Backwards Compatibility Makes PS2 Games Look Terrible
game: Playstation 3
editorial | 12/14/06 | Aaron Stanton
The PS3 has not had an easy launch. While the mainstream media has been treating the system very MTV-like (with unquestioning adoration), Sony\'s street credit amongst the hardcore has been taking almost daily blows. From problems with HDTV support to shortages at launch, Sony just hasn\'t been getting the positive consumer response they probably wanted. Now, Joystiq.com is reporting on a YouTube video that highlights just how bad PS2 games look when run on the PS3\'s backwards compatibility. The side-by-side comparison video between a PS2 game running on the PS3 vs. an actual PS2 is really fairly stunning. The PS2 beats the PS3 hands down, and does so clearly enough that you don\'t have to be picky to notice the difference. Check out the article for more information.
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Dead Rising for Real in the Name of Child's Play
news | 11/27/06 | Aaron Stanton
In an odd and yet fortunate turn of events, GamesFirst editor Aaron Stanton has been invited to publicly humiliate himself for the sake of video games. By locking himself in a mall for 5 days he has a chance to win a PS3. If we can end up with a system in hand, we\'re going to go ahead and donate that sucker to Penny Arcade\'s Child\'s Play charity. But before we do that, we\'re going to try to get it signed by the last people on earth you\'d expect: Sony\'s rival Microsoft. We\'re taking it to Microsoft with an open invitation to the Xbox developers to sign the system with whatever personal messages they might have for Sony. It\'s just our little way to make the system a bit more of a collectors item before being auctioned away to raise money for sick children across the United States. But, before we can do even that, we need your help...
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EA Exec: Foot In Mouth?
game: Gears of War
editorial | 11/12/06 | Chris Martin
Foot in the mouth? That\'s what we\'re thinking. When Alain Tascan, General Manager for EA Montreal, stated that Gears of War has \"zero innovation,\" we guess that soon after he was either munching on a big bowl of \"his own words\" or the rubber of a Doc Marten. Either way: here\'s our take.
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Devastating Video Games: Defending the Credibility of the Video Game Summit
editorial | 11/06/06 | Aaron Stanton
The National Summit on Video Games, Youth and Public Policy was generally a successful and unbiased attempt to create a unified statement about the effects of violent video games. The participants were generally informed and open-minded, and the organizers promised to do their best to accurately represent what those present had to say. Unfortunately, the first press release from the summit, released by the National Institute on Media and the Family, drops the ball. It puts words in the mouth of those that participated, calling video games \"devastating\", and suggesting that was a unified perspective at the event. It wasn\'t. Read our take on the Summit\'s latest announcement.
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Online Negotiation Games by Zap Dramatic
review | 10/30/06 | Laurie Taylor
Zap Dramatic makes a unique series of games built around negotiating. In games such as \"The Raise\" and \"The Mediator,\" players must navigate through a complex social web, made more realistic by a touch of unpredictability and predictable limitations. Dialogue-oriented games are occasionally popular (Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, for example), but often suffer from the good/bad, light side/dark side, oversimplification of games like Fable or Knights of the Old Republic. Laurie takes a look at some of the Zap Dramatic offerings in this group review.
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Just Cause Review
game: Just Cause
review | 10/25/06 | Sean Hilliard
You are a rugged, sexy operative ordered to take down a whole country, and no matter how many times you have to jump out of that airplane, hijack that automobile, or jump through the blades of a moving helicopter you\'re going to kill that guy, or save that guy, or find that item! In Just Cause, regime change is the goal, and it\'s up to you, your trusty parachute, and a grappling hook to revolutionize a whole South American state. But before you go getting all hopped up on your School of the Americas delusions of grandeur, be sure to check Sean\'s review. Otherwise, don\'t blame us for the harsh realization that even parachutes can\'t make repetitive mission-based infiltration worth playing...
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Bomberman Review
game: Bomberman
review | 10/19/06 | Matt James
Hudson Soft\'s classic Bomberman series makes a much better return on the PSP. Fans of classic Bomberman style and a PSP should check it out, but don\'t expect a \"next-generation\" of Bomberman here: Unlike the recent console remake of Bomberman, very little liberties are taken with the franchise, which leaves this one feeling a bit flat. Check out Matt\'s review of Bomberman for PSP to get the full story.
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Nancy Drew: Danger by Design, A Fun and Girl Positive Game
game: Nancy Drew: Danger by Design
review | 09/25/06 | Laurie Taylor
Nancy Drew is fast becoming known as a video game character combating stereotypes. Yes, you read correctly, on top of being an adolescent sleuth she\'s also a kick-in-the-teeth to top-heavy, silver-haired bombshells who are so prevalent in gaming nowadays. In \"Danger by Design,\" Nancy takes on the fashion and food industries in classic adventure game point-and-click fare. Our girl game guru Lauri is here to tell us why Nancy Drew: Danger by Design is great for young girl gamers and also gets a parental--as well as political--seal of approval.

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New PS3 Fatal Inertia Screens
game: Fatal Inertia
news | 09/22/06 | Chris Martin
Screenshots of Playstation 3 games continue to suggest that publishers are trying to take full advantage the PS3\'s power. Yesterday, publisher Koei released a bunch of new screenshots for Fatal Inertia, their futuristic hover racer that looks vaguely reminiscent of both F-Zero and the pod racing from Star Wars. Its gameplay emphasizes the use of physics as a tool to win races, but Fatal Inertia\'s graphics engine is evidently looking pretty good too. You can see that from the new screens.
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Saint's Row Review
game: Saint's Row
review | 09/16/06 | Sean Hilliard
Saint\'s Row is unmistakably influenced by Grand Theft Auto, but it manages to improve on the GTA formula in certain aspects. And why not? It took Rockstar almost a decade to get gamers into airplanes for crying out loud. And this is the 21st Century! Shouldn\'t we be able to save without retreating to a hideout? And for all of everyone\'s talk about the GTA games being open-ended, free-roaming adventures, they\'re actually incredibly linear narratives constrained by Hollywood cliches. Join the free-roaming revolution and read Sean\'s review.
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Why Joystiq Was Wrong to Fire Robert Summa
news | 09/10/06 | Aaron Stanton
Joystiq recently found themselves in the cross-hairs of the gaming community after they published a misleading headline on their site. The backlash from the gaming community, which accused them of over-hyping content for the sake of increased traffic, has been strong. Joystiq issued a public apology (good) and then fired the responsible poster (bad). In this editorial, Aaron Stanton takes a look at whether their actions were the right thing to do.
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