Michael Jackson. Gaming stuff. Yes.

No jokes needed. The sentence itself is entertaining enough: Michael Jackson is auctioning items, and a TON of his catalog is video game related. Like, ridiculously so. Seriously, flip through this thing. I’m doing it right now. Join me.

- A treasure trove of arcade and pinball machines, including such immortals as X-Men, Crazy Taxi, a Star Trek: TNG pinball game (what? really? I see Picard’s face! That’s awesome! Make it so!), Darkstalkers, The SImpsons — I don’t know if the guy had taste, or if he just bought everything. I’m going with No. 2. This thing is 242 pages, after all.

- A little rideable arcade pony. Let’s move on.

- Whoa. A Lara Croft figure from the classic Tomb Raider series. Doesn’t look poseable. Do not want.

- A stand-up station featuring the Nintendo Virtual Boy. Just now, I heard wrestling announcer Jim Ross’ voice in my head: “Mah god, the Virtual Boy! What’s it doing here?! It’s not supposed to be here!” Let’s keep flipping. Just a few more pages, or I’ll be here all night.

- Holy cow, the Karate Champ arcade game. This was before hadoukens and shouryukens were even possible.

- What the heck is Guitar Freaks? Not Guitar Hero. Guitar Freaks.

- Ah, Dance Dance Revolution. You KNEW this was going to be here. I wonder if he even played this …

- OK, I’m in the 70s when it comes to pages, and I’m getting to a lot of cool action figures. I think I see Bruce Lee with nunchaku and some kind of hat. Also, there’s Batman, Spidey and other heroes in various forms.

All right, I’m stopping. I have other things to do. But I’m not done looking through this. Not at all. By the way, many thanks to biz editor Christina Brock for passing this along.

Trailer: Resident Evil 5

Welcome back party people you know how we bring you the latest in games and technology. Just in a trailer for Resident Evil 5 which will be release on PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 13, 2009.

Redmond and I had a chance to play a snippet RE5 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas back in January. Great game and even better seeing it on a side of a building.

Note: Photo below.

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Who would pass up a chance to play RE5 on the side of Planet Hollywood Hotel in Las Vegas? Nothing like watching the infected die on the side of a hotel.

Here’s the trailer. Enjoy!!

Review: Singstar Vol.2

Singstar Vol. 2
PlayStation 3
Rated E for Everyone

April Carlson, Contributor/Gaming Angels
http://www.gamingangels.com/

I love karaoke. The one thing that I love more than karaoke is video games. So, being able to do both at the same time is a dream come true.

SingStar coming to the PlayStation 3 was a great move, since the console is a lot more dynamic and powerful than its very successful predecessor, the PS2, and also boasts online capability.

SingStar Vol. 2 is a lot like every other PS3 SingStar game except for the songs. Most of the SingStar games feature around 30 songs, which is roughly the number of tracks you deal with here. With the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games featuring over 80 songs, one wonders if the makers of the SingStar games will ever take advantage of the Blu-ray disc’s extensive amount of storage capacity.

Once you get through a horrible intro video that might be giving you a glimpse into the future of your night, you are able to play immediately. There are several modes: Battle mode, where you can compete with a friend; Sing Solo, where you can be the star; Duet, where you and a friend can sing the songs together; Practice mode – where you can work on your skills; and Pass the Mic, a party game with seven different battle modes.

I started out with the Sing Solo mode and chose a song I knew – “Pictures of You” by The Cure. The original video plays in the background while the vocal pitch line laying over the video. The lyrics are listed at the bottom.

This separation is a little difficult if you are singing a song you have never heard, since you have to split your attention between the lyrics and the vocal line. All SingStar games are set this way, so if are going to continue to play them, you will just have to adjust to it.

A downside to the game is that if you sing early, you won’t see where your voice is on the screen until you are actually supposed to be singing. This means you may find yourself having to adjust halfway through the vocal line.

The game has great voice recognition, better than a lot of the karaoke games that are on the market today. The point of the game is to score a lot of points, so the better your pitch and timing, the more you will stay on the vocal line and the more points you will score. Since the scoring is only on pitch and timing, you can hum the melody and not even have to sing the words. There are three difficulty mode: easy, medium, and hard. Easy mode will be more forgiving with timing and pitch, where hard mode will be a lot more sensitive and be stingier on points. You can also choose the short or full version of the song to sing.

It seems difficult for a singing only game to survive in a world dominated by Rock Band and Guitar Hero of Rock Band, but believe it or not, some people just want to sing. Apart from having all the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games and peripherals, I also own a karaoke machine. The karaoke machine has been gathering dust since November 2007 when the first Rock Band came out. One thing that karaoke is missing is the visual and/or vocal cues that are present in video game karaoke games. This is one of the things that has boosted the popularity of video game karaoke – it’s a lot easier to attempt to sing a song you are less familiar with if you have the vocals playing in the background or lines that indicate where your pitch should be.

Another cool thing about SingStar is the SingStar Store, which can be accessed with the disc, a PlayStation ID and an Internet connection. There are currently about 500 songs available for download, most of which include the original video, for only $1.49. This is very helpful for someone like me, who will never be fully satisfied with the song list of the retail disc – except for SingStar 80′s, which I have for the PS2. From what I noticed, most of the songs in the store are also available on SingStar retail discs, although I did notice a few songs were missing.

You can store your videos, snapshots and audio playbacks. Video and snapshots require the Playstation Eye. You can add effects to your voice in audio playback and all of these can be stored on your PS3′s hard drive as well as uploaded to My SingStar Online, where you can create a profile and other users can watch or listen as well as rate and comment on your performance.

The game features no story mode and there is nothing to unlock. All of the songs are available to sing immediately, and there are also no trophies.

Personally, I thought the songs on the disc were weak. I literally only know about half of them but I was able to download a few songs from the SingStar Store. There were promises by Sony to regularly release songs, but this seems to have slowed down greatly. Hopefully, more songs will come out on the service since SingStar now has competition, with Microsoft releasing Lips late last year. In mid-December of 2008, SingStar got an update that would allow backwards compatibility with PS2 versions of the game. The update is automatically triggered when you insert the PS3 disc. Once that is done, you can switch discs seamlessly with literally the touch of a button.

Anyone who enjoys singing games will enjoy this series. There are a lot of titles currently out as well as many songs available for download in the SingStar Store. This, along with its backwards compatibility with PS2 SingStar games, makes for a solid investment. The wired mics are the same for both systems, so if you started out on the PS2, you don’t need to reinvest in the mics. Now all we need are cordless ones.

Tracklist:
Aerosmith – “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)”
The Offspring – “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)”
Bad English – “When I See You Smile”
Panic! At The Disco – “Nine In The Afternoon”
Bobby Brown – “My Prerogative”
Paramore – “CrushCrushCrush”
Boys Like Girls – “Hero/Heroine”
Phantom Planet – “California”
The Bravery – “Believe”
P!nk – “Just Like A Pill”
The Cure – “Pictures of You”
The Police – “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”
Elton John & Kiki Dee – “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
The Proclaimers – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”
Eminem – “Without Me”
Radiohead – “Street Spirit”
Gavin DeGraw – “In Love With A Girl”
Rise Against – “Prayer Of The Refugee”
Gnarls Barkley – “Run (I’m A Natural Disaster)”
Sara Bareilles – “Love Song”
Gold Frapp – “Happiness”
The Shins – “New Slang”
The Killers – “When You Were Young”
Tone Loc – “Funky Cold Medina”
Lit – “Miserable”
Weezer – “Beverly Hills”
The Mamas & The Papas – “California Dreamin’”
Yael Naim – “New Soul”
Natasha Bedingfield – “Unwritten”
Young M.C. – “Bust A Move”

Terminal Reality shows off gaming engine at DICE

The company Terminal Reality is flexing the muscles of it’s new Infernal Engine at the DICE Conference in Red Rock, Nev. The reason this matters is because it’s the same engine being used in the ballyhooed but yet-to-be-released Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which moves the Ghostbusters storyline forward. You play the Ghostbusters’ newest recruit.

“Terminal Reality’s Infernal Engine is a breakthrough in efficiency for game development middleware. Our licensees can leverage their work across more platforms, in less time, than any other engine – giving them a competitive edge critical for success,” said Joe Kreiner, VP of Sales and Marketing with Terminal Reality in a press release. “Our licensees get stunning visuals, fast time to market, and the support of Terminal Reality – one of most experienced independent game developers in the industry.”

So, crazy little phantom girls or war strategy?

That’s our choice here at the Sun offices, which recieved Halo Wars and F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin in the mail a few days ago, with Street Fighter IV en route this week.

I’m probably tackling F.E.A.R. 2 first, so I can shoot at something other than raging zombies trying to whisk me away with elastic tongues. The demo also carried a lot of creep-out promise, and to be honest, it’ll force me to re-acquaint myself with the exploits of the first game, which I only played in passing on my brother’s computer. Besides, I need to beef up on my fighting of frightening little girls with poltergeist powers. Expect to see the review up here within a week or so.

Capcom Street Fighter IV Launch Party

Sorry for the late post on the Street Fighter IV launch party at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles. A fellow reporter Andrew Edwards and I join in the festivities and where blown away with the large response fans of the Street Fighter Saga.

Spread around the MOCA where flat screens, game consoles and the occasional fan dressed as their favorite SF character. Capcom spared nothing and gave everything to the fans and celebrities for an excellent kick off.

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Pioneer to Cut Jobs and Shut Down Plant

TOKYO – Japanese electronics company Pioneer Corp. said Thursday it will cut 10,000 jobs globally to cope with sinking sales of car audio equipment and flat-screen TVs. It also said it will withdraw from its money-losing plasma display business.

The massive job cuts are the latest coming from Japan, where corporate giants like Sony Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. are slashing their payrolls, reducing production and forecasting annual losses.

Hit by the collapse in demand for car audio equipment and plasma TVs, Pioneer said its net loss in the current fiscal year to March will grow to 130 billion yen ($1.4 billion) from its previous estimate of a 78 billion yen net loss.

Pioneer said it will likely incur annual loss for the fifth consecutive year.

“Since the U.S. financial crisis and ensuing global downturn, our sales of car electronics products and flat-screen TVs plunged worldwide. We were severely hit by battered consumer sentiment,” said Pioneer spokeswoman Michiko Kadoi.

The Tokyo-based company said it will slash 6,000 full-time salaried workers at home and abroad, accounting for 16 percent of the company’s global work force of 36,900. It will also cut 4,000 contract workers at its Japanese and foreign plants.

The company did not give a regional breakdown.

AP Wire