More Details on Transformers: War for Cybertron [update] and bring news from an exclusive conference call with Hasbro and Activision / High Moon Studios, talking about Transformers: War for Cybertron.  Apparently this new Transformers video game is going to be more than just a game… it will be used as “cannon” in the Transformers lore.  The game will tell the story of the civil war on cybertron between the autobots and the decepticons, before they fled for earth.  Hasbro will be working with Activision in the development of this story.

Up til now, most of the story of the cybertron civil war was found in comics and not so much the cartoons.  Only in episodes like “Desertion of the Dinobots, Part 2”, “War Dawn”, “Five Faces of Darkness, Part 4”, and “Forever is a Long Time Coming” from the original G1 cartoon do we get to see back in time to some of the Transformers history from Cybertron.  Of course, Transformers: War for Cybertron may or may not use bits of pieces from these stories and/or from Transformers comics… time will tell.  It seems that the game may be able to fit as pre-hisotry with G1 and/or the Transformers universe in general.  One thing for sure is that it is NOT based on the Transformers Movie-verse, but it will affect where Hasbro takes the Transformers universe in the years ahead.

As far as a toy line, it’s likely coming… we just don’t know any additional details.  As far as characters to expect in the game, Optimus Prime and Megatron are givens, and some screen grabs from the trailer show Ratchet (around 32 seconds into the trailer) and what is almost certainly Omega Supreme at the end of the trailer.  Promotional pics also show Soundwave and Ironhide.  From the conference with Hasbro and Activision, we should also expect other regulars in Transformers lore to show up:  Starscream, Bumblebee, etc…  But we should also expect some characters that may be familiar to hardcore fans that have not been seen as a toy or in a cartoon for quite some time.  The question is who will that include?  The Fallen (but not movie based)?  Alpha Trion?  QuintessonsDevcon (from the G1 episode “The Gambler”)?  Guardian Robots?  (after all, Omega Supreme was a Guardian Robot in G1)  Scrounge

Alpha Trion (from G1)


Guardian Robot (from G1)

Other facts:

  • Multiplayer WILL be in the game.  It will not be an afterthought.
  • Hasbro and Activision have been looking at other successful video game franchises that include multiplayer like Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty and have been taking “notes”.
  • Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime in G1 and in the Movie-verse, will voice Optimus in the game!
  • The game will come out in 2010.  No month was specified, but sometime in the Fall seems likely (but not confirmed).

UPDATE: Gameinformer interviewed some of the creators of the game from High Moon Studios. View it below:

So, what do you think?  What stories do you want in the game?  The origin of Prime?  Megatron’s creation?  Other characters?  Sound off in the comments below.


Big Bang Theory Season 3 Pleasantly Surprises in Recent Episodes

We recently had criticized The Big Bang Theory for it’s slow start with Season 3.  But with recent episodes, especially Episode 11:  “The Maternal Congruence”, there have been many laugh-out-loud moments.  Leonard Hofstadter’s mother, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter (played by Christine Baranski, formerly in The Good Wife), is hilarious.  Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) has been at his best too in recent episodes and does not disappoint in “The Maternal Congruence.”  How this guy didn’t win the Emmy is beyond comprehension.

Our opinion is that sexual humor and being-drunk humor is way overused in TV and movies, but The Big Bang Theory does it differently.  It’s their character’s crazy personalities and awkward social interactions that makes the show stand out from other sitcoms.  Guest stars like Christine Baranski work very well with actors Jim Parsons (Sheldon) and Johnny Galecki (Leonard) and actress Kaley Cuoco (Penny). 

It should also be noted that Howard Wolowitz’s (actor Simon Helberg) open-mic piano/keyboard performance in “The Vengeance Formulation” (episode 9) at the Cheesecake Factory was incredible!  It appears he was actually playing the song for real, not faking it.  As Sheldon would say:  well played, Howard… well played.  A clip is included below.

Our only continued annoyance with season 3 is the same thing we hated about seasons 1 & 2:  why aren’t their full episodes online?  Come on, CBS!

So, what do you think?  Has season 3 regained its brillance from seasons 1 & 2?  Sound off in the comments below.

Spike TV’s Video Game Awards (VGA) Winners and Trailers

Spike TV’s Video Game Awards 2009 was held Saturday evening, Dec. 12.  Although the winners of each category may be controversial to some, some of the trailers and/or announcements made at the conference were quite exciting.

One of these announcements was that Green Day: Rock Band is in the works for 2010.  The best part is that the entire track list from this stand alone game will be exportable (for a $ fee, we’re sure) to play in Rock Band 2 for xbox 360 or PS3 owners (sorry Wii owners).  Here’s hoping they’ll include their Dookie album in the game…

The new Halo: Reach trailer was revealed, showing off multiple spartans, including female ones, and one spartan with a skull painted on his helmet.  You can view the trailer below:

Some of the winners from SpikeTV’s 2009 VGA’s were as follows:

  • Best Action Adventure:  Assassin’s Creed 2
  • Studio of the Year:  Rocksteady Studios (who did Batman Asylum)
  • Best Team Sports Game:  NHL 10
  • Best Individual Sports Game:  UFC 2009 Undisputed
  • Most Anticipated Game:  God of War 3
  • Best DLC:  Ballad of Gay Tony (for GTA IV)
  • Best Downloadable Game:  Shadow Complex
  • Best RPG:  Dragon Age Origins
  • Best Shooter:  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Best Mulitplayer:  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Best Handheld:  GTA China Town Wars
  • Best Fighter:  Street Fighter IV
  • Best Driving Game:  Forza 3
  • Best Original Score:  Halo 3: ODST
  • Best Soundtrack:  DJ Hero
  • Best Music Game:  The Beatles: Rock Band
  • Best PC Game:  Dragon Age Origins
  • Best Wii Game:  Super Mario Bros Wii
  • Best PS3 Game:  Unchartered 2: Among Thieves
  • Best Xbox360 Game:  Left 4 Dead 2
  • Best Graphics:  Unchartered 2: Among Thieves
  • Game of the Year:  Unchartered 2: Among Thieves

We were happy with Marty from Bungie getting recognized for best original score for Halo 3: ODST and happy that CoD: Modern Warfare 2 earned two awards.  They deserved that.  But we have to wonder about the best Xbox 360 game winner.  And where was Trials HD?  Why weren’t they even nominated for Best Downloadable Game???  That’s not right.  Dana White from the UFC must be very happy with his organization’s win.  We can’t help to wonder if the people who vote for the games in a video game awards show on Spike TV would be biased towards voting for a game that has a show on that station (UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter)… hmm.

Earlier in the week before the VGA’s, a new Transformers game was announced.  The game is called Transformers: War For Cybertron.  The game is based on the war(s) between the Autobots and Decepticons before they traveled to Earth.  So, the vehicle modes will be cybertronian, not Earth-based, and you won’t be seeing any humans.  Will this game be coinciding with the new Transformers cartoon that will eventually be showing up on Discovery-Hasbro’s new channel?  No one really knows but rumors will likely be around the interwebs.  You can see the teaser trailer below:

Are you excited about any of the new trailers?  Any winners from the VGA’s that surprised you?  Let your voice be heard below in the comments section.

What I’ve Learned From Completing the Endless Setlist 2 (in Rock Band 2)

Taking on the Endless Setlist 2 in Rock Band 2 in one night is no small deal.  What I’ve learned from completing this task is as follows:

  • Do I have a life?  I just spent 6 consecutive hours + 10-15 minutes singing to a video game.
  • Doing it on expert vocals.  IF you can sing, this is the way to do it.  Let me just say that when you get to last 10-15 songs, you’ll be thankful you’re singing on expert instead of playing guitar or drums on expert.
  • I should have practiced singing “Shackler’s Revenge” before I started this.  I consider myself a pretty good “Rock Band” vocals guy, but the verses on Guns N’ Roses’ “Shackler’s Revenge” are darn near impossible to figure out, especially without practice.  The chorus and pre-chorus (if you call it that) aren’t that bad, but that first verse is what made me fail — the only song I failed during my 6 + hours of doing the endless setlist 2.  The under-rated 3 star rating Rock Band gives the vocals on that song really means that’s how many stars you’ll end up scoring on the song.  I should mention I 4 or 5 starred every song in the endless setlist 2 except for Shackler’s Revenge.  The song prevented me from getting the “Bladder of Steel” achievement.  By the way, if there are songs you are unfamiliar in singing, you should really try them out in Free Play BEFORE doing the endless setlist 2 on expert vocals.
  • It’s not cheating… It’s called “working smarter, not harder”.  Tricks I learned that worked for me:  First of all, singing the words is unnecessary.  Singing “La La” on the correct notes seemed to be more effective (although annoying if you’re going to do this with someone else playing an instrument).  Holding out a pitch instead of singing the words on songs like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ “Where Did You Go?” was WAY easier.  Another trick is to put the volume of your vocals up and/or the sensitivity of it up and then put the microphone in front of your speakers for the rap/talking/screaming songs.  It actually works.  You’ll get a Gold Star on those songs without having to do it yourself.  Why should you want to do that?  To get a BATHROOM break!  (The songs are “So What’cha Want”, “Give It Away”, “Testify”, and “Visions” — and they’re nicely spaced out between the 84 songs.
  • Cowbell and tamborine parts, where you tap the mic (or hit the “A” button) can be other times to get a food and drink break or hit the bathroom.  Just make sure you choose the times that are long (Hint, if each tap of the mic only gives you 1% or if it takes two taps to get 1%, then you know you can dash off for a minute break — “Bodhisattva” and “The Trees” are a few of these songs).
  • If you’re going for the “Bladder of Steel” acheivement by yourself, then you have to do it on vocals.  I’ll be doing this again on medium next time (to be safe from failing), since “Shacker’s Revenge” cost me from getting it the first time.
  • Don’t do this on vocals the night before or after you have/had to talk or sing a lot.  I could have planned better.  My vocal chords felt like they were swelling.
  • Singing the octave (or 2) lower is key.  Don’t kill your voice.  If you have the skills to do it, drop your singing down an octave (or 2) on the parts that you can.
  • Make sure no one else is wanting to use the TV or xbox for a long time when you plan to do the endless setlist 2, or you’ll make some enemies real quick.
  • Set your profile’s online status to “appear offline”.  Otherwise your friends will wonder why you aren’t responding to their party invites.  You see, your xboxlive status does NOT show them that you’re playing the endless setlist 2.  It just shows them what song you’re playing.
  • “Painkiller” should be renamed “The Song That Shall Never End” (even though you wish it would).  It’s the very last song in the 84 song setlist.  By then you’re tired of singing the songs that you really don’t care for, and you’re ready for the setlist to end.  I must warn you, there are many times you feel Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” is going to end, but it doesn’t.  It’s like an annoying little 8 year old girl who won’t stop singing.  You’ll almost wish you took a few painkillers before doing the song.

The good news is that after you’ve finally beat the endless setlist 2, and see your achievements pop up at the bottom of your screen, you’ll feel like you actually accomplished something… just don’t try convincing your wife that it was worth it.

Things That Would Rock in Rock Band 3

We appreciate the improvements Rock Band 2 had over Rock Band 1, better drums, wireless instruments, getting rid of the band leader requirement, including drum trainer, and the improved sorting abilities (which Rock Band’s store has had).  With rumors of Rock Band 3 being in the works, we’ve compiled a list of things that would “rock” in Rock Band 3.

  1. More Sorting Features:  Sort by purchase/download date would be one awesome addition for sorting, especially for downloaded songs.  And with the ever-increasing amount of songs in Rock Band’s Store, this feature is becoming a must.
  2. Personal Rating System:  Having the ability to personally rate each song in the setlist and sorting by that rating would be very cool for “Rock Band parties.”
  3. User-Created Family Safe Mode:  The Rock Band franchise can be easily made family-friendly by allowing users to rate songs as family-friendly or not family-friendly.  Don’t be mistaken, LEGO Rock Band IS much-more family friendly than Rock Band 1 & 2, but what one family considers appropriate is not necessarily the same as another family’s opinion.  Allow the user to decide.
  4. SAVED User-Created Setlists/Playlists:  In Quick Play or for Make Your Own Setlists in Tour, we should have the option to save the setlist.  Saved User-Created Setlists/Playlists would be a nice feature to help impress your friends and make chosing the right song(s) quicker at Rock Band parties.
  5. Ability to Easily Change Instruments Without Logging Out and Logging Back In:  Why haven’t Guitar Hero and Rock Band done this already?  If more than one profile is logged in, having a profile change instruments is a pain.  There needs to be a way to change instruments in an easier manner.
  6. A (Balanced) Veto System For Mystery Setlists and Possibly Also Cities:  Ever get into a mystery setlist and come up against a song that was impossible to beat on the difficulty setting you chose?  A 1-song-veto option per mystery setlist would be much appreciated.  Again, you only get to veto 1 song per mystery setlist.  The same idea could be implemented for a city.  You get to veto one song per city and swap it out with a song of equal difficulty of your choice.  This was songs like “Visions” can be avoided by those of us who despise playing it.
  7. Replace the Failing System With Something Else That Makes More Sense:  “Failing” out of a song is so “last-gen”.  Something else that makes sense should be used.  Failing out doesn’t make sense anyway for playing a gig… If one can only beat a song with 2 stars, so be it, but they should LOSE fans and be docked in pay because of it.  That is just one idea that could make sense.  If a user does very poorly on x number of songs in a venue, they could be banned from it, but with a way to earn access back into that venue (maybe by doing better at another… just a thought).
  8. Allow the Ability of a One User to Control What Songs Are Chosen:  Ever play with someone who can’t help but to wail on the drums when you’re helplessly trying to choose what songs you’re going to play in a setlist?  How annoying.  If there was a way to only have one user’s input control what songs are being chosen, then that crazy wailing drummer could whack their drums as much as they want.
  9. Make Sure Easy Mode Isn’t Too Hard:  While most of us who have played Rock Band for quite some time are likely used to playing on Hard or Expert, making sure Easy mode isn’t too hard for beginners is a must, especially for drums.  We don’t think people playing on Easy will ever complain that it’s too easy, because when they start to feel that way, they move to Medium.
  10. Adaptive Difficulty Mode:  Here’s an idea… allow for an adaptive difficulty mode to be turned on/off.  The user chooses the difficulty level to start with and then as the song progresses, the difficulty level gets easier or harder depending on how well the person does in the song.

 Love or hate any of these ideas?  Sound off in the comments section below.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen — Plot Holes? or not?


Transformers RotF

When Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen came out in theators in the summer of 2009, it was widely criticized for having a plot that one could not follow or that didn’t make sense.  Now that the movie is out on BluRay (or DVD), people have been able to watch it again.

So… are there plot holes?  Or can they be explained?

SPOILER WARNING (if you haven’t watched the movie)

Transformers RotF - All Spark splinter

1.  How come there were two pieces of the All Spark?  I thought at the end of Transformers 1, Optimus Prime only pulled one shard from Megatron’s chest.  In Revenge of the Fallen, the All Spark shard is the one protected in the military hide-out that Ravage (jaguar decepticon) and his Reed-Man bot steals.  The other All Spark piece, referred to as the sliver, was found by Sam at home.  It was a piece that was stuck to his wool hoodie from the first movie.

2.  Why didn’t Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf) use the All Spark sliver that he gave to Mikaela (Megan Fox) to revive Optimus Prime?  In the first movie, we see that the All Spark was able to give Frenzy (the little guy who transformed into a CD player) his body back and give life to electronic machines/devices (cell phone, xbox, etc).  Similarly in Revenge of the Fallen, we see the sliver gave life to small kitchen appliances like the cappaccino maker, phone, blender, etc.  We never see the All Spark give life to a large machine.  We know it didn’t bring back Bumblebee’s legs at the end of the first movie.  We know the shard didn’t bring back Jazz to life.  From these observations, the All Spark sliver or the All Spark shard do NOT have the ability to bring back a large transformer to life who was dead.

Yes, the sliver is used on Jetfire, but he was NOT dead.  He was in some type of “stasis nap”.  He mentions how without Energon, the transformers deterioate.  He likely went in this “stasis nap” to preserve himself.  The sliver re-awakened him.

2.  How come Megatron was “revived” by an All Spark shard when it was the All Spark that “killed” him in the first movie?  I’m confused.  The full All Spark is too much power to be absorbed by a Transformer.  Sam overloaded Megatron at the end of Transformers 1 by putting it into Megatron’s chest.  It did knock Megatron out.  However, whether he was dead or not is speculation.  Our feeling is that Megatron was in some type of stasis-lock.  “The Doctor”, a.k.a. Scapel (the little microscope decepticon), is obviously an expert on how Transformers work and the history of the symbols of the ancient Transformers.  His knowledge of the All Spark was probably also superior to others.  Put these facts together, and it’s no surprise he knew how to get Megatron out of the stasis-lock using parts (and possibly the “spark”) from another constructicon and the All Spark shard.

Transformers RotF - Scapel (The Doctor)Transformers RotF - constructicons at bottom of the ocean (Mixmaster, Long Haul, Rampage)

3.  When the decepticons descended in the ocean, the Navy said there were 5 decepticons.  At the bottom one of them was killed for parts (for Megatron’s revival), but when they ascended, the Navy said there were 6 decepticons.  Isn’t 5 minus 1 plus 1 = 5?  Most people forget that “The Doctor” came out of Ravage’s mouth at the bottom of the ocean.  Therefore he was not detected when Ravage and the constructicons descended to the ocean.  We can assume that he did show up on radar on the way back up.  This accounts for 6.

Transformers RotF - Grindor

4.  How did the Helicopter guy (Blackout from Transformers 1) get revived?  It’s not Blackout.  He’s a little more white-ish and his name is Grindor.  Yes, it could have been explained better.  The proof lies in the toy made of the guy.  Apparently it’s a clone of Blackout or decepticon of the same size who chose the same alt. mode as Blackout.  (More on clones later on in this article…)

Transformers RotF - The Fallen

5.  Why didn’t the Fallen show up earlier?  First of all, he was old like Jetfire.  You’ll notice that on the Nemesis (the crashed ship on Mars), the Fallen is attached to some stuff.  He likely was resting trying to keep himself “healthy” due to the lack of Energon.  Secondly, he was waiting for Optimus Prime to be killed since only a Prime could match up against him.

Transformers RotF - Long Haul (or his clone)

6.  How come after the construction vehicles (constructicons) form Devastator, we see some of those same constructicons fighting individually in robot mode?  How are they in two places at once?  Also, how did Bonecrusher (from Transformers 1) get alive again and show up in the desert fighting?  In Transformers lore, there were clones.  In the original 80’s cartoon, there were clones of the decepticon jets Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker and there were insecticon clones.  There were autobots with similar alt. modes too (Bumblebee and Cliffjumper, Sideswipe and Red Alert, Trailbreaker and Hoist, etc…).  So, in Revenge of the Fallen, the multiple constructions must be because of clones.  Same goes for the bot that looks just like Bonecrusher (alt. mode = military “buffalo”).  More evidence of clones is how the Excavator decepticon (Demolisher) in the beginning of the movie (who was killed) is similar to the Excavator who starts Devastator’s transformation at the end of the movie (this Excavator is called “Scavenger” on the toy packaging).

Transformers RotF - Decepticon cannon fodder

7.  Why are there decepticons that look kinda like Megatron near the end of the movie fighting against the US Military?  These decepticons came from the Nemesis and had no need for an Earth alt. mode since their primary objective was to stop Sam from reaching Optimus Prime with the matrix and to steal the Matrix to use it for the machine (in the pyramid) that destroys the sun for Energon.  You’ll recall that Megatron (in his arrogance) never had an Earth alt. mode either.  Remember how in Transformers 1, Optimus, Jazz, and Ironhide look very similar until they scan Earth vehicles for their alt. mode.  This proves that Transformers can look very similar in their “protoform” state before scanning an Earth vehicle.  Furthermore, these decepticon no-name drones/clones are the “cannon fodder” that no movie viewer cares gets killed.

8.  When Sam is trying to get the Matrix to Optimus’ body, why didn’t he just take Bumblebee in Camaro mode?  He did… well, at first that was the plan.  But then Starscream attacked them.  Sam made a plan for Bumblebee to go off by himself as a decoy and the Twins to go off as other decoys.  Meanwhile he and Mikaela went by foot — something the decepticons wouldn’t expect.  He later had Bumblebee take his parents to safety, probably because he cared so much about them being safe.  Probably more so than his own life, one could argue.

Transformers RotF - Skids & Mudflap (the twins)

9.  Why are there Transformers that talk “ghetto talk”?  (The autobot twins)  They are basically autobot kids.  Meaning, they’re young like kids are.  You know how kids/youth will talk in ways adults won’t.  Same goes here with the autobot twins, Skids and Mudflap.  Remember, in Transformers 1, Optimus Prime said the autobots learned Earth’s languages through the World Wide Web.  Skids and Mudflap, being young, must have liked this “ghetto talk”.

10.  Why are all three autobot female bikes called “Arcee”?  The writers of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen orginally intended for the three “Arcee bikes” to combine together.  You can see concept art on the 2nd Bonus DVD or BluRay disk.  This plan was apparently a late scratch.  Toys were made of (currently) two of the three bikes.  The blue one was called Chromia (after a blue female G1 character) and the red one was called Arcee.  The purple one is rumored to be called either Elita One or Flare-up.

Transformers RotF - Matrix of Leadership

11.  The Matrix?  A decepticon that transforms into a girl?  Why are they ripping ideas from other movies?  The Matrix was actually an essential part to the 80’s original cartoon.  In the 1986 cartoon Transformers Movie, the Matrix of Leadership was passed on from Optimus Prime and eventually inherited by Rodimus Prime, a new leader.  So… Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen did NOT steal from “The Matrix” (the movie).  As far as the transformer whose alt. mode was the college girl (played by Isabel Lucas), that also is based on old Transformers lore.  In the late 80’s, when Transformers cartoons stopped in America, Japan continued making Transformers Cartoons.  In “Transformers: Super-God Masterforce” (1988), there were Transformers called Pretenders.  These Pretenders “transformed” into a human-look-a-like mode.  The Alice character in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was inspired from this.

12.  Why couldn’t Bumblebee talk in Revenge of the Fallen?  Wasn’t his voice working at the end of Transformers 1?  Good question.  Haven’t figured that out yet…

Some would argue that so many questions or the fact that some people have to watch the movie twice to figure it all out means it’s not a good movie.  Did those same critics say the same thing about Mission Impossible (with Tom Cruise) or The Lord of the Rings?  Many people had to watch those movies more than once or ask questions to others (like people who had read the Lord of the Rings books), but yet many enjoyed those movies.  You be the judge with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen…

What’s up with Big Bang Theory’s Season 3?

Big Bang Theory Season 3

Anybody else feel that Season 3 has been a let down so far for CBS’s Big Bang Theory?  Yes, there have been some funny times, like when Sheldon “trains” Penny by giving her chocolate whenever she acts in a way he finds appropriate.  But I feel like it’s not holding it’s weight like Seasons 1 & 2.  Maybe the grass is just greener on the other side, but I have not been laughing out loud (minus the chocolate thing) like in seasons past.

Episode 1 of Season 3 felt like its only purpose was to tie in the story from the end of Season 2.  The Penny and Leonard’s relationship has been mostly only so-so in the humor department.  Sheldon has had funnier moments in seasons past too.  I don’t know — maybe I’m expecting too much.

As many of you know, Jim Parsons (real life actor who plays “Sheldon Cooper”) did NOT win the Emmy that he was nominated for (Alec Baldwin did instead… boo).  But if his nomination had come after these first 4 episodes of Season 3, I almost would be in agreement with him not winning.  No offense to Jim Parsons,… he’s brilliant.  I just don’t feel they’re using his character as well as they could so far this season.

I still plan on (eventually) buying Season 2 on DVD, now that it’s been released.  And I still have high hopes that things will improve throughout this season.  It’s not like it’s been all bad.  There ARE funny moments.  I just feel like something is missing.  Not entirely sure what that is though.

Below is a clip from Episode 4 of Season 3 for your viewing enjoyment.