Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hey Activision, Stop Playing Copycat

To recap things: The company Harmonix developed Guitar Hero 1 and 2. Activision published them. MTV bought Harmonix away from Activision. Now Neversoft and Vicarious Visions develop Guitar Hero. Through EA, Harmonix made Rock Band, an expansion on the GH formula that added drums, bass and vocal playstyles.

Guitar Hero 4, or rather Guitar Hero: World Tour was recently announced, with the press release stating, "For the first time, guitar players can also play bass, play drums and sing vocals!"


It also seems that the controllers for each game may be incompatible with the other. In other word, you'd have to pay almost $400 if you wanted to play two songlist's worth of what is essentially the same game.

I have no plans to get World Tour but do plan to get Rock Band and its announced sequel. The only positive announcement has been Activision announcing the "Create-A-Song" feature for World Tour, giving players a music-making application and letting them upload their creations online for all to play. If Activision wants Guitar Hero to stay a viable property, they need to do more like this, and add unique and creative features that Rock Band didn't beat to the punch.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kung Fu Panda, Number One Super Guy

When I saw the trailer for Kung Fu Panda in the theater, I rolled my eyes. I turned to my sister next to me (She's 11) and said it looked like crap. She agreed wholeheartedly. In fact, it becamse a running gag between us over the next couple of months, ie, "Kung Fu Panda, MOVIE OF THE YEAR!" every time we saw a mention of it. And then it came out, and people started to go crazy over it. So we went and ate our words.

This is a good movie. The humor doesn't have any soon-to-be-dated pop culture references that I caught, there's some good elements to the story (A villain with a REASON for his ambitions?!), and a surprisingly authentic Asian look to the whole thing. The action sequences make the movie. The most stunning scene to me involves a prison escape, and all I'll say about the craziest shot is that it involves lots and lots of arrows. There are also some neat looking 2D sequences at the beginning and end, the former of which is super-stylized and could hold a movie on its own.

I'd actually recommend this not just to cartoon fans and kids but fans of martial arts films, because they got the Crouching Tiger-style fighting down pat. The only real bad news about the film's success is that Stephen Katzenberg is hoping to make not one, or two, but FIVE sequels. I smell some crap headed our way if they try to rush these out.