August 2006

Geometry Wars is a casual game, but it’s not the kind of game you play casually. It’s the kind of game you play on the edge of your seat, your gnarled hands making visible dents in the controller as the adrenaline pumping through your body makes you shake. It’s the kind of game that makes you cry out and throw the controller down when you lose, only to pick it up again and try to beat your high score in just "one more game."

In other words, it’s the kind of game they don’t make much anymore.

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The Xbox 360 might not seem like the most logical choice to bring a casual game revival to your living room’s video game consoles. After all, the 360 is the most powerful console currently available — home to sprawling, graphically rich epics. Why would anyone want to use all this power on a casual game? The answer is Xbox Live Arcade.

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“So let me get this straight… if I want to turn off my PS2, I have to reach around to the BACK of the system and flip a hard to find little switch? If I wanted to rearrange my entertainment system every time I wanted to turn something on or off, I would… um… I would do that. But I don’t want to do that. I know you can hold down the reset button on the front of the system for a few seconds to put the system into standby mode, but who has time? I’m a busy man, with cheeseburgers waiting to be eaten! I don’t want to have to bend over for THREE SECONDS just to turn off my freaking PS2.”

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1. Start (NES): Where would we be without the start button? Probably still watching the attract mode in Super Mario Bros., that’s where! Sure, hitting A or X or, um, any other button will often function just as well to start a game, but there’s something about following that “Press Start” instruction to the letter that makes beginning your gameplay experience that much richer. As if that wasn’t enough, the start button lets you pause your game so you can go get a cheeseburger (except in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! where trying to pause makes you do an uppercut when you were JUST ABOUT THE FINALLY BEAT SODA POPINSKI BUT NOW YOU WASTED YOUR STAR AND DAMNIT! GET UP! GET UP DAMNIT! CRAP!)”

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This episode Rob, Kyle and Ralph discuss the Nintendo Wii. The Pressstart trio had a special sneak preview by the good people at nintendo. World be jealous, we had a great time!!!

Download Podcast (MP3 — 24:15) 

When Microsoft allows would-be developers to develop Xbox 360 games from their own homes, it won’t be the first time a major console company has opened up its hardware to consumer coders. In 1997, Sony released the Net Yaroze, a system of coding tools that allowed consumers to develop for the original PlayStation.

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In this episode, Robert and Kyle talk to Rob Pardo, a lead designer on World of Warcraft. This is a part of our Great Games series, where we speak to the people who designed the greatest games of all time.

Download Podcast  (MP3 — 24:06)

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