Monthly Archives: March 2008

Wrestlemania XXIVSpring is here and it brings pastel eggs, flowers, and rainbows.  Oh, and suplexes, DDTs and chokeslams at the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania.  This year they are celebrating the twenty-fourth edition of the over-the-top wrestling special in Orlando, Florida.

The card for the show doesn’t seem quite as spectacular as shows they’ve had in the past.  Perhaps they’re saving their extra special ideas for the 25th anniversary show next year, or perhaps they just don’t have the same level of talent.  Or I just don’t get the same entertainment from these guys as a whole than I did from the guys a few years ago.  Anyway, let’s get on with the predictions.

24-Man Battle Royal – Winner faces ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero

This is the ‘we want to give these guys something to do but we don’t really have anything else’ match.  I think the four guys with the best chance of winning this are Tommy Dreamer, Hardcore Holly, Kane, and Jamie Noble.  Dreamer is always a good choice to go up against ECW bad guys whether he beats them or not.  Holly has the respect from the fans and also would be a good guy to throw up against a hated champion.  Kane has to have a legitimate chance, as he’s been involved in matches with ECW wrestlers for the past couple months.   Noble has just turned face again during a feud with Chuck Palumbo and deserves the boost of a run at the title. 

Who Should Win:  Jamie Noble
Who Will Win: Any of those previous four would have a good match with Champion Chavo Guerrero.

‘Playboy’ BunnyMania Lumberjack Match featuring Snoop Dogg – Ashley & Maria vs. ‘The Glamazon’ Beth Phoenix & Melina

A women’s Lumberjack match should make this interesting, as will the inclusion of Snoop Dogg.  Champion Beth Phoenix will probably destroy whoever is in the ring with her, but I think Maria is going to get the win, since it is a Playboy match, and she’s on the cover this month.  The next contender for Beth’s championship will probably come out of this match, I’m guessing Ashley.  I’m also predicting that at least four girls will have their costumes ripped off.  Snoop will get smothered by boobs.

Who Should Win: Maria
Who Will Win: Maria

Belfast Brawl –  Fit Finlay vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

It has been revealed that Fit Finlay is the real father of Hornswoggle, not Vince McMahon.  JBL put the little leprechaun in the hospital and Finlay wants to hurt him for it.  I hope they take this fight all over the arena; through the stands, past the merch tables and into the bathrooms.  It will probably be bloody and both men will expend themselves.  JBL might be working on a way to trick his opponent, but Finlay isn’t dumb.  I expect he will drag JBL into a trap of his own so a little short man can pull off a splash and set JBL up for the losing side of a 1-2-3 count, end of feud.  Finlay takes Hornswoggle home for good to retire the angle, and JBL finds someone else to pick on until he’s ready for one last championship chase.

Who Should Win: Finlay
Who Will Win: Finlay

SmackDown vs. Raw: Batista vs. Umaga

I don’t really care much about this match, or maybe I just don’t care much for Batista or Umaga.  Batista came back from his time off a little too close to Wrestlemania, so they are using this match to give him a decisive victory over a ‘monster’ and propel him directly to the championship level again.  Umaga could probably use the rub of a win better than Batista, however.

Who Should Win: Umaga
Who Will Win: Batista

Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Mr. Kennedy vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho vs. Carlito vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. CM Punk vs. John Morrison

The Money in the Bank Ladder Match is one of the best gimmick matches that the WWE has come up with in the past few years.  The winner of the match not only beats six other near-main eventers, but they constantly remind everyone of that fact by carrying around a briefcase containing their contract.  One of the neat things about the contract is that it is good for the next year, so the WWE doesn’t have to immediately send the winner into a championship match.  They can wait until the time is right and spring it on us at the most surprising moments.  Out of the contenders, I think only two have a legit chance: Mr. Kennedy and Chris Jericho.  The others aren’t quite up to the task of going up against a world champion just yet.  But that’s part of what makes this gimmick great.  If the WWE has a good plan, they could pick any of these guys, and baring an injury, push them to a believable position so they can use their title shot.  However, at the moment it’s Kennedy and Jericho.  Based on what I heard WWE wanted to do with Kennedy last year, I think he’s the winner here.  He’s very entertaining both on the mic and in the ring and I think he is the type of wrestler that can be on the top for many years to come.  Jericho just came back from a long layoff and needs a few more months before getting a legit title shot.

Who Should Win: Mr. Kennedy
Who Will Win: Mr. Kennedy

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels (Career Threatening Match)

Flair’s career is on the line here.  The next match he loses will be his last.  I really like this angle.  I don’t know where they are heading with it, but as long as he loses to someone who uses the rub to take themselves to the highest level of the sport, I’m fine with it.  Shawn Michaels, however, is not the right person to end Flair’s career.  Michaels already made his name and doesn’t need anyone or anything to make him a legit challenger to a title, so I don’t see him going over Flair here.  It’s probably Flair’s last Wrestlemania as a wrestler and beating someone of the caliber of Shawn Micheals is special.  Flair will lose before the end of 2008, but it won’t be here.

Who Should Win: Ric Flair
Who Will Win: Ric Flair

Floyd “Money” Mayweather vs. Big Show

A few years ago, Vince McMahon said that they didn’t need to bring in stars from other places anymore to get people to watch Wrestlemania; the wrestlers were the superstars.  I guess the current batch of superstars aren’t so super, so they brought in welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather.  He’s entered into a feud with 400-pounder Big Show, who is returning after 100 pounds and 14 month away from the ring.  Mayweather has brought a little bit of extra attention to Wrestlemania, but not nearly the amount that Mike Tyson did a decade ago.  The funny thing about this match is that the crowd doesn’t seem to care much for Mayweather.  Maybe it’s his ‘I’m the greatest’ attitude, or the fact that he’s an outsider, but I think this was a waste of cash by the WWE to bring him in.  Big Show trained to become a boxer at within this past year, but I guess he thought better of it and came back to the wrestling.  If Big Show doesn’t win then his returning momentum is stunted and he’ll have to fight harder to get it back over the next few months. 

Who Should Win: Big Show
Who Will Win: Floyd Mayweather

World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Undertaker

Undertaker has a 15 and 0 record at Wrestlemania.  If this were last year, I would say that Edge had a shot at the win and could use it to vault up the company ladder.  Since last year, however, he’s won the title twice.  The first time was from cashing in his Money in the Bank contract for a match with the Undertaker in his weakened state right after a draw against Batista.  I think he’s a good main event heel and can get a title shot later on this year without having to prove himself.  Undertaker is nearing the end of his career and will probably get one last title run before calling it quits next year at Wrestlemania 25, not to mention getting his revenge.

Who Should Win: Undertaker
Who Will Win: Undertaker

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship – Triple H vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton

This match is the hardest to predict, and that’s probably how the WWE wants it.  Each one of these guys has been able to one-up the other two over the past three weeks.  Triple H doesn’t really need a title right now.  He is better used building up some young stars and I think a belt would hinder that.  The young stars don’t have a legit reason to be going after the belt yet so it’s easier if he doesn’t have it.  Randy Orton is a good heel champion.  I don’t think he’s fully solidified himself as a perennial championship contender just yet and it would do him good to hold onto the belt for awhile longer and perhaps take on some challengers who haven’t been at the top yet.  John Cena still gets a pretty split reaction from the crowd.  Half the people like him and half the people hate him.  As long as the crown hates to love someone more than they love to hate Cena, he’ll be ok.  Giving him the belt won’t do him any good as I think being the underdog helps him more than holding the belt will in the crowd’s eyes.   Knowing the WWE though, they’ll give the belt to Cena because they like shoving him down our throats to prove that they know what is best for us.

Who Should Win: Randy Orton
Who Will Win: John Cena
 

We’ll check back in next week to see how my predictions fared.

zombies.jpgI saw a neat post on Playstation.Blog this morning about an internal event held by thatgamecompany called 24 Hour Game Jam.  The object of the event is to create a fun complete game in 24 hours on the PS3, with the specific goal being that they could play it in the office and even more importantly, it had to be fun. They start at 10am on a Saturday and finish up the next morning at the same time.  When 10am hits, that’s it, they are done. 

In this first jam, they created a game called Gravediggers.  The post includes a video with five people playing through a round.  The graphics themselves remind me a little of the original Joust game, with the brown floating platforms and blockish characters.   The players are represented by small rectangular blocks, and the playing field offers a lot of space to run around and shoot.  The object is to kill the rampant zombies with a gun and collect the heads to return them to the crypt for points.  Heads of the other players can be returned for extra points.  The side-view perspective shows generated terrain and two crypts randomly around the field.  The players hop from platform to platform, and over little hills.  They can also shoot through the terrain if they can’t get around it to score those zombie heads.

This reminds me of Ludum Dare‘s 48 Hour Game Programming Competition held twice a year (voting starts for the LD11 theme April 11th).  There are a lot of neat little games that come out this competition, many of them that look as good or better than the NES games we used to spend hours playing as kids.  They’re just as fun too.  Entrants are allowed to use a wide range of development tools and can create on any platform they wish.  The only caution is that if other people can’t play your game, they can’t vote on it, so most entries are done on Windows.  If you are an amateur game programmer, give the LD11 a shot.  If I can get a decent desk for my computer by April 11th, I may try to enter.  Trying to type with the keyboard on an endtable is not fun.  I submitted a sad entry for LD2, many years ago.  Sad enough that I won’t bother to show you.

Shake these two things together in a glass, add a little lemon–here’s my third topic.

Sony hasn’t moved forward with any kind of amateur software development kit for creating PS3 games.  Sure, it is possible to create games for the PS3 running on Linux, however, there is no formal tool package to make the process easier.  Requiring an install of linux in order to play these also doesn’t do anything good for widespread distribution to the community. 

I don’t have a 360, so I haven’t tinkered with their system but based on what I have read, Microsoft seems to be doing a good job with their XNA community development project.  Everything from providing the tools, developing on a PC, MSDN reference, and the end-user distribution is fairly well thought out.  Of course, Microsoft has been giving out development tools for years now, whereas Sony has only been distributing professional tools directly to the game developers.  They have been touting how much easier the Playstation EDGE dev kit is for developers so perhaps a stripped down version of it would be the answer for the amateur side.  

These little amateur games fill a niche in the games industry but they haven’t really penetrated console systems.  How many hours are spent each day playing silly little Flash-based games.  It doesn’t take a three year cycle to create an interesting game people will spend hours playing.  All you need is a simple concept implemented in a way that is fun.  Bejeweled and Tower Defense are good examples.  PixelJunk even took the Tower Defense idea and twisted it enough in an attempt to get Japanese players to like it.

While we’re at it, I think I’ll mention that Microsoft is expanding their XNA in version 3.0 to allow development on their portable Zune system.  I don’t know about the technicalites of the PSP hardware and how software is run on it compared to the PS3, but I think that Sony should not forget the PSP when working on their dev kit.

There are more high-profile things that people might like Sony to work on, including Home and better in-game communication with our friends.  I agree, these things are important.  In fact, Home has arcade machines in some of the spaces, and I think that is an opportunity for people to create mini-games.

There are many aspiring game developers who could use this kit as a valuable experience for a future job.  There are also people who don’t want to submit themselves to the grind that is the professional development cycle and they can use it as a way to express themselves in a less-demanding manner.  There is no reason why Sony shouldn’t spend the resources to get a dev program going.  It really is the ultimate in user-generated content.
 

Giant BombJeff Gerstmann has finally announced the next big thing:  Brock Lesnar.  No, that doesn’t sound right.

Giant Bomb.  Yea, That’s it.

Even with his termination from a large gaming website last November, it seemed pretty obvious that Jeff wasn’t done with the gaming industry.  He started a personal blog to post a few game reviews, talk about Tiger Gatorade, let us know when he’d be doing a tv, podcast or webshow, and of course, keep us primed for the announcement.  Giant Bomb is a new gaming website where people can go to get their dose of gaming related information.  This first stage of Giant Bomb is merely lighting the fuse to a greater grand opening explosion later on this summer.  As of now, it’s in a blog-style format while they finish designing and implementing the full site. 

There is another man behind the bombness, fellow former-large-gaming-websiter, Ryan Davis.  He’s been keeping his own personal blog, including a fairly-weekly podcast featuring Jeff and Alex Navarro.  The podcast will morph itself into a round ball with gunpowder inside sometime soon, featuring the same wacky conversation about games, drinks, movies and whatever else happens to be brought up.  They probably already have a title in mind, but here’s my recommendation: The Bombcast.  I don’t know if it’s in public-domain or not, but they need to secure that famous sample of some guy in a deep voice saying “The Bomb” over some of RyDeezy’s synthesized beats.

It looks like they’ll be using a new rating system for games, and I am sure it isn’t totally finalized.  The reviews of Burnout Paradise and Poker Smash have a five-star system to keep it simple.  There are a lot of different dimensions to score a game on, however an overall rating pounds and pummels all that down into a one dimensional meterstick.  You can never know what part of it either bumped the score or dragged it down, so there isn’t much of a point in using a stick with infinite tickmarks.  That only invites people to nit-pick over a scoring detail (8.8, anyone?).  A five-star system can help you decide which games were properly executed at a glance (or should be executed) and then the review will tell you why.  Depending on your own likes and dislikes, you can make your own decision.  The review is, afterall, just an opinion, and everyone puts different values on each of those different gaming dimensions. 

As Jeff said in his announcement, they’ve been listening to the feedback from their site visitors and podcast listeners and have been using that to help form the ideals of the final site.  It sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to see what they are going to do with the site to help video game players make their purchasing decisions while at the same time showing us an entertaining product.  So add it to your RSS list!