My playing Steel Batallion

After almost 10 years of curiosity, I finally had a chance to play the 2002 XBox game Steel Battalion. If you're not familiar with Steel Battalion, it's a very unique, niche-market game about piloting giant mechs (which the game calls “Vertical Tanks” - or “VT” for short). The thing that makes this game unique is that it comes with a massive, cockpit controller, that contains approximately 30 buttons, two joysticks, and a set of foot pedals.

As you can imagine, the game did not sell terribly well 10 years ago. It was released with a very expensive $200, distributed in very limited amounts, and could only be played with the included behemoth of a controller. That's right, the game did not support the standard Xbox controller. This was before Microsoft's controller support mandate. So it's resale practicability was limited - it was an all-or-nothing package. As a side note, I'm kind of curious now to know if Steel Battalion's controller was a contributing factor for Microsoft's decision to mandate that all Xbox 360 games and peripherals support a mapping to the standard Xbox 360 controller. I'm sure that Guitar Hero was probably the primary catalyst, but Steel Battalion may have played a part in it too.

Anyway, a friend of mine was able to find a fully-intact and functional copy at a local used game reseller for a very reasonable price, and he picked it up without hesitation. Good move, friend! He invited me over today to try it out, and I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to play this unique game.

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Chicago @ New Orleans - Darren Sproles steps out of bounds before score, play not reviewed by booth.
The Saints' Darren Sproles stepped out of bounds prior to scoring a touchdown in a game against the Bears. This play was ruled as a touchdown on-the-field, but was not reviewed by the booth!

Last week, I offered my thoughts on the NFL's rule change regarding reviews of scoring plays. In summary, I thought the rule was stupid. It's unfair, as the rule only requires plays that are called as "touchdowns" on the field to be reviewed. It ignores plays that might have been touchdowns, but which were ruled as not a touchdown on the field. This rule bit the Dolphins in the butt last week, but was not a game-deciding issue.

This week, a new problem with the rule change was exposed: if coaches are expecting a "scoring" play to be reviewed by the booth, they aren't going to throw the challenge flag. But what if the booth doesn't make the decision to review the play in time?

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Dark Souls Collector's Edition pre-order content
The Dark Souls pre-order Collector's Edition includes a soundtrack, behind-the-scenes DVD, art book, and mini-game guide, along with the standard version of the game.

Despite it's insane difficulty, the PS3-exclusive RPG Demon's Souls became one of my favorite games on the console. Unfortunately, after my PS3 died on me and I had to have it replaced by Sony, I lost my save file for this game and never completed it. I was damned close too! I had cleared at least the first two levels of each world, and had even killed the Dragon God at the bottom of Stonefeng. I was pissed when I found out that save file had not transferred onto my replacement system.

With the sequel, Dark Souls, due out in less than a month, I figured I'd go back to Demon's Souls and try to finish it before I pick up the sequel - not going to be an easy task...

Hopefully, I'll have the game beat in time for the "sequel" to arrive. Although, as far as I can tell, Dark Souls is considered a "spiritual successor" to Demon's Souls, rather than a strict sequel (similar to the relationship between Shadow of the Colossus and Ico).

My excitement for Dark Souls has even inspired me to break my year-long boycott of game pre-orders and "special edition" purchases.

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One of the NFL's new rule changes for this year is that the booth will now automatically review all plays that are called as touchdowns on the field without needing the play to be challenged by a coach.

It sounds good in principle.

Patriots 38, Dolphins 24 - Reggie Bush breaks the plane, but was called out of bounds on the field.
Reggie Bush's touchdown was ruled out-of-bounds on the field, so had to be challenged by Tony Sporano.

Make sure that teams aren't getting points put up on the board when they shouldn't be.

But what about the inverse?

The rule is that only plays that are called as touchdowns on the field are being reviewed. For plays that are incorrectly called as not a touchdown, the coach still has to use a challenge.

So the NFL is making sure that points aren't put up on the board when they shouldn't be, but they're not making sure that points do go up when they should. Why the hell not?

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It's a debate that's been going on for a decade: Is Tom Brady better than Peyton Manning?

Peyton ManningTom Brady

Tom Brady has more championships, so the conventional wisdom would say that yes, Brady is superior.

But I think this week's season opener proves otherwise.

This Sunday marked the first time since 1997 that Peyton Manning was not the Indianapolis Colts' starting quarterback.

Championships aren't the only measure of quality for an NFL quarterback. Remember, Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl. He's easily the best player in Super Bowl era of NFL history to have never won a Super Bowl, and he's one of - if not the - best quarterbacks in history. And Manning does in fact have a ring! He won it against my Bears in 2006. But if somebody was going to beat the Bears in the Super Bowl, I'm glad it was Manning. The guy deserves it!

So how else can we compare them?

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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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