PS3? Rumors? Pfft.

Sony’s seemingly apparent lack of an ability to prevent the spread of crazy rumors that later turn out to be true hasn’t stopped it from poking fun at itself while playing the innocent bystander.

For a long while now, everyone had been speculating that the PS3 would become smaller (like the slim PS2) and that a price drop was imminent. To many, this made sense in order to help bolster its numbers against its rivals and to give consumers another reason to choose it instead.

The only question was when and it didn’t help that Sony’s poker face held up in the face of rampant speculation and scrutiny. Even at their past news conference at E3, SCEA President and CEO, Jack Tretton, had joked with the crowd in saying that they at least kept one thing quiet with the surprise announcement of Final Fantasy XIV, taking it all in stride. But with the news of the new price drop at Gamescom, Sony’s starting to come out swinging with a nicely sized funny bone.

A clever commercial celebrating the new price point has come out along with another piece reminding everyone that it does everything aside from being able to launch satellites (although I’m sure someone is thinking of how). I like the approach that they’re taking with these and hope to see what else they’ll do. It’s certainly head and shoulders above their previous artsy attempts that were almost as disturbing as finding the Burger King in bed with you.

Update 9.7.09:
I had a feeling that saying “Nigerian millionaire” was going to ruffle a few feathers, even though it was a clear hint to the advance-fee scams made infamous via e-mail. The new commercial replaces the line following the part where he says you can’t believe everything on the internet with “That’s how World War 1 started.”…which is bizarre. That makes as much sense as saying “That’s why Caesar was stabbed.”. I guess in this case, retroactive humor is hard, but you can still watch the original below.

So easy, even a caveman can play it

Frustrated by Ninja Gaiden’s merciless difficulty? Beat down by too many skill based games tested by pro-gamers that actually make money doing what they love? Just want to enjoy the game without feeling the need to break the controller at the same time?

Well, it seems that Bayonetta might have the answer. Platinum Games has shown off some footage displaying what might be the easiest difficulty setting ever to be designed with an “Automatic Mode” allowing it to be played with one hand, nearly guaranteeing that no one will be left out of the experience. Designer Hideki Kamiya also calls it “Mommy Mode”.

Talented character designer, Mari Shimazaki, demonstrates how easy it is to annihilate foes using it.

An 8-bit music video done with Legos

Swedish band Rymdreglage has posted an 8-bit flashback on Youtube with a music video that should take a lot of players back to the eighties. Homages to Pac-Man, the Commodore, and even a tanooki dressed Mario come alive to the tune of the beeping and booping music. According to Lego blog, The Brothers Brick, over 1500 hours were spent in creating the stop motion Lego animation seen in the clip.

And it’s not a bad slice of gaming flavored music, either. Incredible work.

Review: G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra (Xbox 360)

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With the G.I. Joe movie out, the inevitable, action packed, tie-in was almost expected. It isn’t the first time that the Joes have seen themselves in the hands of gamers, either, as their adventures have taken them to the Atari 2600, the Commodore 64, and even into the arcade with blistering, four player co-op against the nefarious plans of Cobra. The new game takes place right after the film finishes up and introduces a number of nostalgic pieces to tug on the memories of its fans from the 80s. Unfortunately, even for this fan, there seem to be a few accessories missing from this blister pack.
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Not your average cookout device…

Celebrity gossip site TMZ normally doesn’t report on gadgets, devices, or anything gaming related until Sears’ “human cooking line” popped up on their radar.

At first glance, it looks like your listing for a typical Kenmore 4-Burner until you take a look at the department that it is listed under. A few possibilities come to mind: the site was hacked, someone was bored at work (and may eventually be fired), someone was being let go at work and decided to be funny on the way out, or they outsourced their website to cannibals.

The department link goes nowhere, but the page is still live as of this writing. If you put the words “Sears Kenmore human cooking” in Google, that’s what currently comes up as the first link.

I’m kind of disappointed that they didn’t offer a copy of Soylent Green with the burner.

UPDATE, 12:15 PM: It didn’t take Sears too long to fix this one. All I can say from an IT perspective is that today is going to be a very bad day for someone in that department if they were responsible. As for the Google results, that will take a little more time to clear out, but the screenie below shows what was on there.

UPDATE: A post on Reddit has explained just how a “human cooking” line had appeared on Sears. If you don’t like technical explanations, you can always read what rumor-debunking site, Snopes, has to say about it instead. But suffice it to say, no one at Sears intentionally defaced the site to appeal to cannibals.

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Castlevania shows off for Europe

This week, Gamescom is being held for the first time in Germany as Europe’s version of E3. Along with Sony’s news concerning PS3′s slimmer look and lower price, gamers have also been eagerly awaiting any new tidbits that the exhibitors might share with the crowd and so far, they haven’t disappointed.

Castlevania’s new iteration had been unveiled at E3 with little else to go on, but a new trailer from Gamescom has dropped a few more hints on what the gameplay should look like. To say that what we’ve seen so far shares reminds me of God of War would be an understatement, there’s really nothing wrong with that if the formula can work and feel like a Castelvania. Kojima Productions is involved with this which should be enough to get people excited.

While most of those that have seen the E3 trailer won’t see too much that is new, the trailer does show off a cinematic shedding a little more light on the story as well as the whip being used Tomb Raider-style in swinging through an obstacle. And it also ends with only a voice that can only belong to the series’ main villain.

Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men, Dune), , Robert Carlyle (The World is Not Enough), and Natascha McElhone (Solaris, Ronin) are listed in the trailer below in voicing the characters that you will be hearing and there’s a fourth who I’m assuming is Dracula. Rumor has it that Lucius Malfoy himself, Jason Isaacs, might be the voice taunting Gabriel at the end who can only be the vampire himself.

The new PS3, tiny and bold

In case you haven’t hear, there’s some news from Sony at Gamescom in Germany — a smaller, less pricier version of the PS3. The PS3 Slim is real. Even the price is smaller, checking in at $299. You can hear SCEA lead dog Jack Tretton give a rundown of the system over at the PlayStation blog.

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I like the design. I like the price, especially since I got my original monolith PS3 bundled with Uncharted and Motorstorm for a heap of cash. However, I also like being able to play stuff like God of War, Vagrant Story, Shadow of the Colossus, Okami and a bunch of other PS2 classics. It was actually a big selling point for me. I imagine a lot of people are going to see this as the tipping point to go and get one. (or, perhaps 360 owners are sick of worrying about their system red-ringing every time they turn it on). However, I’m also curious to see what happens in regards to trade-ins. Anger? Rage? Or a silent resignation that you wanted to be an early adopter, succeeded, and probably knew something like this was going to occur?

Other highlights: It uses less power, which means it’s not going to make as much noise as the earlier black fortress edition that everyone has. Thing is, compared to the 360, the PS3 is practically the Red October in terms of silent running. So that’s not really a major selling point for me — besides, are you really going to notice system noise when Kratos is disemboweling centaurs in HD? The volume’s not going to be up for that? Other cute tech bits include “Bravia Sync,” which enables Bravia TV’s XMB (cross-media bar) to be controlled through the PS3. There’s also a feature that turns off the PS3 when the TV shuts down, because apparently we can’t have people mustering the energy to push another button.

We’ll get to see how this plays out, starting Sept. 1. My original PS3 is staying where it is, unless our new dog does something menacing to it.

Review: Fight Night Round 4

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Images of a youthful Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali tell you almost everything you need to know about Fight Night Round 4, the latest edition of EA’s boxing franchise.

Those two fighters set the tone for the whole game, making it a feel like a playful romanticizing of the sweet science that focuses on boxing’s past while relying on players’ creativity to bolster the present — because let’s be honest, unless you’re a huge fan of the lighter-weight divisions, the present isn’t that great.

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Happy 20th Sega Genesis!

Today’s the 20th Anniversary for the Sega Genesis! The days of blast processing, doing what Nintendon’t, and rising from your grave are back again among the die hard fans that still remember the 16-bit wars and the games that they had spawned. The Genesis was the platform of choice for many players during the day, especially thanks to a blitzkrieg of savvy marketing moves and third-party titles…and some of the most entertaining commercials to ever come out in a battle between consoles, the kind that aren’t seen today because someone might get their feelings hurt. With lawyers.

Sega would also use the Genesis to pioneer several important advances that, while they may not have been as successful as Sega had hoped at the time, went on to help pave the way for the next generation on. Backwards compatibility with the Master System was handled with a module that snapped on top of the system, a CD ROM drive was made available for it to support the new medium, and the Sega MegaNet in Japan was arguably the first to allow multiplayer over consoles.

So if you still have a Genesis, or one of Sega’s Genesis compilations, take some time out to enjoy some old school fun. SEGA!!!