Built for Combat

The impressive LEGO recreation of the Halo Zanzibar multiplayer map, made by Alex Kobbs, is getting ready for a 25-minute long video. The video will feature a battle between the forces of Red and Blue done entirely with LEGO bricks. Well, that and some custom Halo accessories made by BrickArms and BrickForge.

R.I.P. Ol' Xbox

"Furby", refurbished Xbox 360: November 19th, 2008 - November 21st, 2009

That's right, I have experienced yet another death in the [game system] family.  Just over a year old, the refurbished Xbox that Microsoft sent to replace the first one has decided to RRoD.  The worst part is that the warranty expired two days ago.  Oddly enough, a friend of mine had the same thing happen today as well...  I'm now convinced that this "failure" rate thing is on purpose.

Left 4 Dead 2 Demo: Is the Sequel Ready for Primetime?

The zombie apocalypse is back, and I finally had the chance to play Valve's demo for the much anticipated and much maligned Left 4 Dead 2.  I had to wait longer as I was not among those who got to play it earlier because of a preorder. 

Aside form the uselessness of get an early demo of a game you've essentially already bought, it seems like this is Valve's chance to surprise it's die-hard fans.  I can at least say that I'm glad I don't ever preorder games.

Page Overhaul in the Works

When I get the time (not anytime soon, I imagine), I plan on rebuilding the page to try and work out some of the kinks.

Certain elements, like the ads and some widgets, seem to lag a bit when scrolling in Firefox. I generally want to clean up my HTML to make future editing easier. In the meantime, the current state will remain up when I'm not fiddling with anything. There will most likely be a in a lull in new posts, as well.

Hopefully it'll be as good as new when I'm all finished. Suggestions and comments are, as always, welcome.

A side note: those of you who have subscribed to the default blogger feed, there is also a feed burner feed available here.  And don't forget to follow, as well.

Plenty of Left 4 Dead Goodness Abound

First up, Valve's pre-rendered introduction to Left 4 Dead 2 has been "leaked", as usual. The video is a good 3 minutes and provides a full overview of the character, infected, locals, guns, and basic plot. By the looks of the trailer, L4D2 will actually have a plot to provide continuity to the five campaigns.

Left 4 Dead DLC on "Course" to XBL, Steam

Valve has released the announced Crash Course campaign for Left 4 Dead today, making it their second DLC. Unlike the Survival Pack, Crash Course adds an entirely new campaign, and this time it will cost Xbox 360 users 560 Microsoft Points ($7.00/free for PC). Crash Course is meant to connect the No Mercy and Death Toll campaigns, giving it a sense of continuity. We'll see how that works (or doesn't work). The content is supposed to deliver "a complete Versus mode experience in just 30 minutes." So, this might be perfect for a quick game.

Mind the Bump

With the release of the much-anticipated Halo 3: ODST coming up in a matter of days, the reviews have started to pour in.  Bungie is swelling with their expected "newborn", and the oohing and ahhing has already begun.  Now, I've always found the Halo franchise to be "good, but not great".  A serious analysis of the games' merits would have a hard time seeing why they have such a fan base.   But, after all, games are about having fun, right?  And if something is wildly popular, it must be good?  Not quite.

"Dark", "Knight" Return with Steam Release

Steam has released the Star Wars Jedi Knight Collection, including not only Jedi Knight, Mysteries of the Sith, Jedi Outcast, and Jedi Academy, but also Dark Forces.  All of these can be yours for the low, low price of only $19.99!  Individually, they retail at a total of $32.95.  For that price, you might as well just buy the collection.  These are some of best Star Wars games to date (and perhaps the only good ones, sadly).  Throw in Tie Fighter, and it'll be a blast from the past of my favorite PC games from my childhood.

[Jedi Knight Collection]

Thanks for Sharing: A Guide to Facebook Statuses

A lot of things about Facebook have changed (for better or for worse) since its inception. One of the staples of the Facebook experience, the status update, has developed over the years, but not entirely because of Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to turn Facebook into a Twitter clone. Yea, gone are the times of simple status update suggestions like “___ is tired”. Statuses commonly fall into one or more of these categories.

X-Wing and TIE Fighter Return?

Following the success of The Secret of Monkey Island relaunch on the Xbox Live Arcade, LucasArts' Darrell Rodriguez hinted at a similar release of the classic X-Wing and TIE Fighter series. Nothing has been confirmed (of course), especially whether they would return as reworked XBLA titles or that LucasArts is planing a resurrection of the games. Either possibility is rather intriguing.
TIE Fighter was (and still is) one of my favorite classic Star Wars PC games. Come to think of it, a lot of my old favorites were Star Wars games. What happened to you LucasArts? You used to make such great games... I've been considering it for a while, and I think a Dark Forces remake for XBLA is where it's at. They did Doom and Marathon; why not let Kyle Katarn take a crack at it?

That Was Then, This Is Now...

I recently had a friend of mine help me build a new PC for our family. The goal was to replace our old desktop PC that had been custom built in early 2002. It had since had it's motherboard and CD drive replaced in 2004, and the old CRT monitor died last year. It was time to put the ol' machine down.

Oh Hai

I realize that I haven't been posting much lately, and I wish I could say that it's because I'm too busy. There are a lot of little things that I want to work on, but I just haven't gotten one completed yet.

There are a few things that I'm getting ready for the blog, mainly in an attempt to keep me busy. After all, that's the whole point of this blog anyway. I'm also starting on help my brother with his new blog. Details to come when I finally get things going. Late last night, some ideas were popping into my head, so we'll see where those go. Rest assured, I'll get some stuff up soon. Maybe some pretty images?

Until then, busy yourself with my demotivators, if you haven't already.

Five Minutes of Video Game WTF

Quite possibly the most bizarre yet impressive video game montages that I've ever seen. I would attempt to explain it, but I can't... and you have to see it for yourself. Enjoy (or don't).

[Possibly NSFW]

Max Payne Returns [Update]

Max Payne 3 has now been given an official release time: Winter 2009 set for release in early 2010 with the rest of Rockstar's games. Previous sources had it pegged for November 30, 2009. Let just hope this time will just add some polish to Max's newly bald head.

Max Payne 2: A Retrospective

Continuing my slow-motion dive (pun intended) into the world of Max Payne, I tried out Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. This darker sequel to Max Payne doesn’t stray too far from the original in terms of story or gameplay.

The story is once again told as flashbacks leading up to the finale. Max has returned to the NYPD, following his exoneration by Alfred Woden. Mona Sax returns, seemingly from the dead, as Max’s love interest (don’t act too surprised – she’s on the damn box art and title screen, if that didn’t give it away). But, hey, who can blame him? Sure, this fatal attraction to a hot female assassin isn’t highly original, but it works (Besides, you totally get to see her boob in the graphic novel). The story gets a bit more complicated after that, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before.

Back to the "Futurama"

Good news, everyone!

Comedy Central has officially announced that they will be picking up Futurama for another season. And yes, these next [26] episodes will be the first real continuation of the show since it was canceled in 2003 (if you don't count the straight-to-DVD movies). Fry and the rest are expect to return in mid 2010 on Comedy Central.
An interesting thing to note here is that Twentieth Century Fox still reserves the right to run the new episode on network television first. This might mean that the series may return to network TV before it's cable debut.

To check out clips and the like, visit Comedy Central's Futurama page.

Perfect Dark Game Page Up At Xbox.com

Microsoft has posted some of the details of the XBLA release on their Xbox website. It will include all of the original features and improved graphics. Winter 2009 can't come fast enough.

Check out the page here.

Max Payne: A Retrospective

Breaking away from the monotony of current generation games, especially first-person shooters, I picked myself up a copy of Max Payne. An action game presented entirely in third-person, Max Payne channels a gritty film noir feel that is heavily influenced by action cinema. The game also emulates the style of John Woo, whose name and work is referenced in the game.

Straight From the [Major]'s Mouth

I'm sure most of you have heard by now that Perfect Dark will indeed be coming to XBLA this winter. For those of you who didn't: PERFECT DARK IS COMING TO XBLA!!
Miss Dark, are you trying to seduce me?
Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb posted the news on his Twitter account. (is this really how we're going to find these things out from now on?) It gets sweeter with the fact that it apparently runs in 1080p and that there's a free theme due tomorrow. Yay for free stuff!

Check out the tweet here.

The Next GTA IV DLC is Here (so get used to it!)

Oooh aaaah, sparkly!
Rockstar announced the next DLC for GTA IV, called The Ballad of Gay Tony. I'm not sure the name is as catchy as The Lost and the Damned. How about The Fast and the Fabulous? Almost sounds like a musical.

Despite the name, it follows Luis Lopez, Tony "Gay Tony" Prince's assistant. The game will contrast the gritty gang world of The Lost and the Damned with the "focus on high-end night life". Content-wise, this sounds like great new side of GTA to explore. It almost seems like it's the Vice City to TLatD's San Andreas in terms of vibe. Will it use sparkles and lens flare in place of the grain filter?

This one is still an Xbox 360 exclusive and will retail for $19.99 or 1600 Microsoft Points.

New Fallout 3 DLC Coming!

Bethesda has announced two new DLC packs for PC and Xbox 360 (both retailing at the usual $9.99 each).
  • Point Lookout – Explore a massive new swampland area filled with new quests and content.
  • Mothership Zeta – The aliens have returned, and they're pissed. Experience an alien abduction first hand and find out if you're tough enough to survive.
This is your head exploding from the sheer awesomeness of this news.
Oh, and all previous content will be released periodically for the PS3. And best of all, A Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition will be available in October, for those who have yet to pick up this awesome game. It will include the original game plus all five add-ons for $59.99 for Xbox 360 and PS3, and $49.99 for PC. That's right, the complete Fallout 3 package for the game's original retail price!

Official news from Bethesda here.

A Double Dose of Payne

Being some of last generation's games that I missed out on, I recently purchased both Max Payne and Max Payne 2 to play through this summer. Expect reviews similar to my Morrowind Retrospective soon. Currently, I'm still waiting on Max Payne 2 to arrive in the mail. In the mean time, I'm playing through the first game on higher difficulties and such.

For those of you who don't know, Max Payne 3 is set to come out this winter 2009.

Revisionist: Bioshock [Harvester]

Here's my rendition of the 'evil' ending for Bioshock. It takes a different direction than the 'good' ending, as I thought it should. Enjoy.

Bioshock 2 "Hunting the Big Sister"

It seems like this time around the whole "moral" choices will actually have some depth to them with new adoption route. I'm really pleased to see the Incinerate! plasmid work like a flamethrower; something I've always wanted in Bioshock.
Hopefully they come up with a satisfactory explanation as to where this "first ever" Big Daddy was during the first game.

Perfect Dark for XBLA Confirmed?

Please Note: The source site is considered reliable with possible connections to Rare. Do not take this to mean that this news is 100% confirmed.

According to a post on Rare-Extreme, Rare has confirmed the long-standing rumor that they are working on the classic N64 shooter, Perfect Dark. This is really only question of when, after their release of Banjo Kazooie and its sequel, Banjo Tooie. Rare would unwise to not release one of the greatest shooters of all time onto XBLA. The very thought of playing this game with usable control sticks (let's be honest, the N64 controller was never user-friendly) will make it all the more enjoyable.

Revisionist: Bioshock [Savior]

Here's my rendition of the 'good' ending for Bioshock. It differs less from the regular endings than my 'bad' ending. Enjoy.

The Video Game Hall of Fame is in... Iowa?

A small town in Southern Iowa, Ottumwa, might soon be called home for The Video Game Hall of Fame. One factor leading to its placement is that Twin Galaxies, the video game officiating organization, resides there. In 1982, Mayor Jerry Parker declared the town the "Video Game Capital of the World".

Game Brain

In a recently published column in the Western Herald, Western Michigan University's student-run newspaper, I received a nod for my help with my brother's companion blog for his column. (Look for "Kevin (Wrecklaimer)"!)
For those of you who don't know, my brother, Brian, writes the weekly Game Brain column for the Western Herald, where he also works as a copy editor. He recently started up a blog to supplement his writing, which can be found at Game Brain Online.
Be sure to check out his latest column, and many others, here at the Western Herald's site. For those of you who attend WMU or plan to attend next semester, be sure to pick it up in print when it returns in the fall.

Firefox Personas

For those of you who haven't heard, Firefox has released a new light-weight skin add-on, called Personas.

You can download the add-on here.

This add-on allows you to easily apply any skin from a gallery. Best of all, you'll have access to some great (and some not so great) user created skins. Don't like any of the ones in the gallery? Well, you can always create your own Personas by setting up a designer account. Enjoy.

(Note: The default Firefox theme must be applied before the personas will show up.)

Update: It seems it now works with all themes (some better than others).

Left 4 Dead Poster Template

Speaking of Left 4 Dead content, I was referred (a while back) to this excellent template that you can use to make your own campaign posters. The PSD file has everything you need to get started making some official-looking campaign posters.

Personally, I find the hardest part to be coming up with tag lines for new campaigns. I'll be sure to post the ones that I've been working on.

All you need to do is download this file.  More on the template here.

[UPDATE] My three campaign posters are now up for your viewing pleasure in my flickr page and in my deviantart gallery. 

Left 4 Dead DLC

For those of you who have been anticipating it (not for very long, considering it's Valve), the Left 4 Dead DLC has been dated.
Microsoft has confirmed that the ‘Survival Pack’ for Left 4 Dead will be releasing on April 21st on the Xbox 360, free of charge (w00t). This pack introduces a new 'Survival' multiplayer game mode and support for Dead Air and Death Toll in Versus. While Valve has said that they wished to release the content simultaneously, no word yet on the PC release date.
Get your shotguns ready.
For more info on Survival Mode, see the IGN preview.


Revisionist: Bioshock

If you’re like me, Bioshock was one of those games that impressed you from the very beginning. Whether it was the often eerie atmosphere that felt just right or the joy of electrocuting a splicer as they attempted to extinguish their burning body in a pool of water, you knew that 2K had done something right.

One Sentence Reviews: Game Demos Q1 2009

Here are some of my reviews for the recent onslaught of game demos. Some new, some old, all of them brief. Let’s face it, they’re just demos, I don’t feel like writing a lot, and you have a short attention span.

Morrowind: A Retrospective

Having thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the fourth installment of the Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion, I decided to try out its predecessor. Based on the above-average ratings it received on various websites, along with the fact that The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind received Game of the Year status, I decided it might be a worthy touch of nostalgia for anyone who enjoyed Oblivion.

Decision 2008: A Photo Montage

from November 3, 2008

Tomorrow, Americans -- actually the Electoral College, whoever they may be -- will decide the next president of the United States, provided everything goes smoothly. Whichever candidate wins the election, it will signal the waning days of the Bush presidency. Sure, some people recognize ol' W. as the worst president in U.S. history, but we will always remember him as the president you couldn't take seriously. It's great to laugh, but I'm afraid that time is over. And so, in the unlikely event that Nader wins the election, I would like to take the time to provide a look at the lighter side of this season's presidential campaign.

Why I’m Afraid of John McCain (and You Should Be Too)

from August 20, 2008

John McCain is certainly not a presidential candidate to be taken lightly, but not for the best of reasons. In the interest of “fairness” (reads: covering my ass), I believe it’s best that I let McCain speak for himself:

Content Updates

Most of the content that I'll be posting for the next week or so will be mostly old rants and notes from last year, now that I have a proper place to put them (besides Facebook).


For those of you who don't know me personally, my name is Kevin Diefenbach. I'm currently a computer science major at Western Michigan University.

For the most part, this blog will serve a my personal portal outside of Facebook.
Cheers and enjoy.

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