Ian Arbuckle (boring GamerTag:
Okay, folks– prepare to be buried in bit players.
As CHUD rolls on toward our redesign, we’re amping up our commitment
to giving you minor squabbles and the occasional holy war between we
Chewer game enthusiasts. This column will be coming on a regular
schedule, now, every two weeks. Do we have enough content to sustain
such an increase in our output? Hell, yes, we do. Just think of us as
a small village of filthy tribesmen; by days we hunt and gather
gaming trivia, by nights we compare Achievement scores, and at no
time do we wear underpants.

This edition’s topic is one that often
surfaces around this time of the Summer, when a young man’s fancy
gets really fucking bored from the dearth of good new releases. So,
Bit Players Assemble! And rattle of your most anticipated titles of
the coming months.

I’m going to kick things off with
BioShock. Sure, I can go on and on about how awesome it
is to have a spiritual successor to System Shock 2, or
how the enemy ecosystem seems to have built up into something truly
wonderful, or how the Art Deco movement changed my life; but what I’m
really keen on is the fiction. I’m a sucker for event he barest
attempt at good fiction in a videogame. The Objectivist backdrop, the
full-on dystopia, the promise of moral dilemmas– It’s all just a
wet, wet dream.

I’ve got more to say. And I probably
will. But first, here’s some other joker:

Alex Riviello (original Gamertag:
Creature Corner
): BioShock is definitely looking amazing.
I only got into System Shock 2 about a year ago (I’m not a
PC gamer!) but man am I looking forward to more of that. I look
forward to bludgeoning little girls.

Right around the corner after
BioShock is Mass Effect. Anyone who’s played Star
Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
knows that it was one of the
best RPGs of recent years. Yeah, I said it. Turning into a pale,
bald-headed evil fuck (more so than I am now) was a thrill, and man,
was it hard being good. If you managed to turn your teammates on each
other, you know what I mean. But even the conversations in the game
were mind-blowing. So many options! It’s also one of the only
long-ass games I tried to play through twice, just to see what I’d
missed the first time.

Add amazing graphics, an original
storyline and squad-based combat and you’ve got Mass Effect,
one of my most anticipated games this year. Let’s just hope BioWare
they can make it more like KOTOR and less like Jade Empire.
What else is coming out?

Jon Cassady (obscene Gamertag:
: For all the hype, press and buzz BioShock is
receiving, it’s going to have to be Link to the Past,
Tetris, GTA III wrapped up into one and playable on a
plastic guitar to meet expectations.

I have a big red digital circle around
August 28 and the North American release of Blue Dragon. As
one of legions of embarrassing Final Fantasy fans, (I don’t
want to even talk about the pictures from Chicago’s Final
party) the recent lack of a great classic RPG has been
troublesome. I’ve searched for one and even broke down to play Song
of the Ocean
on PSP. When a RPG makes Final Fantasy VIII’s
story look like Hamlet, it’s shitballs.

From what I’ve seen, Blue Dragon
is the real deal. The top selling 360 game in Japan has a story, a
sound, a feel that is a throwback to the days of the early
console RPG.. Yes many will say that these types of RPGs are dated or
really aren’t RPGs at all. And while the may have some
point…um…fuck you, these are the games I want to play.

Like most games Blue Dragon
comes out on a Tuesday, so I’ll play sparingly until Friday. Then
I’ll pack my wife’s luggage send her to her parents and lock
myself in my media room until after Labor Day or my 360 melts (which
ever occurs first).

Robert Cummings (aging Gamertag:
Jacob Singer 45):
Well, while Jon Cassady dons a frilly pink
smock to play Blue Dragon Ballz, we real men will be
popping open some frosty cold ones and diving into games like the
aforementioned BioShock, Mass Effect, and others that
are showing promise, like Too Human, Assassin’s Creed,
Splinter Cell: Conviction, Call of Duty 4, and Star
Wars: The Force Unleashed
. Then we will belch, because we are
men, dammit!

Kurt Miller (should’ve been the
eighth president gamertag: Barnaby Fist):
Early part of the
summer gets Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the Eighties, so I’ll
be blowing the speakers out with Dio, Anthrax, and the Dead Kennedys
in a few weeks. And I knew hardly anything about this BioShock
game until recently. I’d thought it was something you got from the
hot tub at the Howard Johnson. This game looks way better than that.

I was also looking for a new DS game,
but only saw Deal or No Deal, which would be awesome if you
could chase the famously OCD Howie Mandel around with a dirty stylus.
And I’m sure there’s a Mario Something or Other coming out
this summer too. Maybe not. The kid who smells like stale milk at the
local Gamestop should be able to tell you all about it.

Brian Condry (Tag that has nothing
to do with
mein actual name: Medium Dave)
How the hell does Deal or No Deal work? “Ok, I think I’ll
click on THAT box with the stylus. Now that box! This is AWESOME!”
Mass Effect is where it’s at, it’s where my head is. Oh,
sure, GTA is making my pants do funny things and I think
(and hope and pray and genuflect to the Gaming Gods TM)

that Assassin’s Creed is gonna rock cocks off, but
Mass Effect…its BioWare. It’s one of the main reasons I
bought a 360. Oh, and Bioshock. You know, I could be wrong (and I
probably am), but I think the chick (or dude) who wrote the Legacy of
Kain shit is behind the story there. Which is fucking awesome. If
it’s true. You know, I’m probably wrong, but let’s start that
rumor. That and the one about Jon wearing frilly pink dresses and
having tea parties.

Alex Riviello: I was a little
surprised when Jon came to our recent Creature Corner screening
wearing a dress with a box of freshly baked scones… I didn’t know
it was a trend.

Some family member of mine got my
grandmother Deal or No Deal: The DVD Game, and it’s complete shit.
For some reason they didn’t think of including a screen with all of
the choices of cases to click on, so it just displayed Case 1 and you
have to click right or left and wait a few second for it to load
before the next option pops up. Gaming at its finest. She then got
bored with it and proceeded to destroy us in Wii Sports Bowling. Fun.

I’m excited for all of Nintendo’s
big releases, because as big a fan as I am of the Wii the damn thing
hasn’t gotten much play since I picked up a 360. Mario and
Metroid and Super Smash Bros. Melee will hopefully
kick the shit out of all the bad licensed games being dumped on the
system lately.

Jon Cassady: Oh, bringing tasty
snacks to the Hell Gate Social is girlie now? Well I guess I better
cancel the éclairs and cookies for next month. I know all of
you are sweating Blue Dragon, well except Singer who only
loves the Call of Duty series because it reminds him of his
youth serving under Eisenhower.

Out of the upcoming Wii titles, Metroid
Prime 3
is the one I most curious about. After being delayed for
months because Nintendo “wanted to get it right,” Nintendo can’t
afford to have this fail. The FPS should be the Wii’s bread and
butter and if Nintendo can’t get this right, my unnaturally lofty
esteem of the Wii is going to plummet. Online would be nice as well.

Alex Riviello: But…. I like cookies!

Online would be nice. I’ll probably pick up Mario
simply because it’s the first online game to come out.
No, Pokemon doesn’t count.

I hate Nintendo’s policy of “You’ll get your game when we’re
good and ready to give it to you, peon” but have to admit that the
tradeoff of wait vs. quality almost always pays off. I love the FPS
controls with the Wii remote, and like most was damn surprised how
Metroid worked in 3-D… so we’ll probably all be happy
in August.

Ian Arbuckle: I’m in favor of
pretty pink dresses in theory, so I’m also anticipating Blue
in theory. The thing has a good pedigree, but I
can’t imagine myself sitting down to a solid adventure in which blue
shadows fight my battles for me. No, it’s more that I can’t imagine
doing so and then finding my testicles intact next time I go looking
for them.

I hardly play my Wii anymore. We’re a
time like the initial drought the DS faced, I think, and there’s
nothing really exciting on the horizon. The distant horizon
has Suda’s No More Heroes, which will get my vote of
dollars, but I’m not actually looking forward to Smash Bros,
Mario, or Metroid. Also, I still maintain
that the Wii is horribly ill-suited for the FPS genre.

Also also, I heard somewhere that the
dude who wrote the fiction for Legacy of Kain is
totally working on the story for Mass Effect.

If BioShock and Mass
get most of my dew-eyed glances, though, it’s gotta be
Rock Band that gets a "come-hither" stare.
Reading the reactions of folks who have been to Harmonix’s Boston
offices to playtest the thing have made me very excited. Plus, you
can totally Phil Collins the thing and play drums while you sing.
Snubbing the bass guitar by not giving it a career mode is a shame,
but I’ll be the guest of honor at Jon’s next tea party if the
multiplayer over Live doesn’t sound like a godsend.

Brian Condry: YES! Legacy of
person is doing Mass Effect! Gears
of War
chick who is writing BioShock. So I guess we’ll
be telling the Little Sisters to eat shit and die. Classy writing in
that game. Classy. You know, I think I’d be more
interested in Blue Dragon if it didn’t have horrendously
shitty art. I fucking hate, with the heat of a thousand
whatevers, that guy’s art style, the Dragonball Z motherfucker.
This is why Chrono Trigger is proof of being awesome. His art is in
it, and I still love it. I know Robert is the resident hater of
Japan, what with his desire to destroy it, if only to get rid of
anime shit in his manly games, but seriously…get your Dragonballs
out of my RPGs, asshole.

Rock Band and GH3: I
anticipate you both. Rock Band because it’s the Harmonix
guys, plus the new guitar is sick and The Who is in the game. GH3
because it has Knights of Cydonia. I’m easy to please. And while
I wouldn’t say that the Wii is necessarily ill-suited for FPSes, it
hasn’t done itself any favors yet in that area. Although Resident
Evil 4
, despite being a 2nd person shooter (thanks,
CliffyB, you arrogant fuck!), works pretty well, for the most part.
It makes kneecapping “zombies” that much more fun. Metroid
is more of a First Person Adventure, so I think the controls will
work out well, after that initial hour long learning curve.

Kurt Miller: Resident Evil 4
is great fun, but I finished that one over two years ago. I guess
that zombified cash cow isn’t quite dry. So I’ve been looking out
for a real horror and suspense title all year, but nada. It looks
like Silent Hill: Origins for the PSP might be the only game
that’s going to fit that niche this year. You stumble around in
dark and fog, things shamble, and a disconnected phone probably
rings. But this time you’re a trucker, for what that’s worth.
Maybe you’ll be able to use acid reflux or leftover Waffle House as

Robert Cummings: Well, I’m
afraid I recently traded in my PSP, and I’m beginning to
regret it, as it looks like there are some really solid titles coming
out now, and along with some proposed updates to the OS, some new
functionality to boot.

And I know I have a reputation as the
resident Japan-basher, but it’s only the cliche things they produce
that bug me. Playing an rpg with characters that look like they could
have been swiped from my mother’s Hummel figurines just doesn’t cut

Jon Cassady: In recent years,
however, it’s a virtual certainty for a classic-RPG territory to
look like Pokemon. And while disagreeable, a quality classic-RPG
works for some many reasons beyond the art, including the puzzles,
the character customization and the cheesy-yet-compelling storyline.
So if the game appears to have the goods beyond the art (like it does
for Blue Dragon), the anime design isn’t going to stop me.

Chains of Olympus is a must have
despite my fundamental belief that it will cause my PSP to
melt in my hands.

Brian Condry: Chains of Olympus
is almost enough to get me to buy a PSP. Almost.

I can’t believe I forgot to mention
this one, despite playing through the original right now, but
Mercenaries 2. The first is still a blast and hopefully the
sequel will keep the 100 tons of explosive fun that its predecessor
has. Also, I look forward to The Witcher

on the PC. I crave RPGs nowadays that have protagonists that are older than 15 and actually look like than can kick some ass, instead of taking
it up the. I think the premise is interesting and the graphics are
pretty cool and the gameplay looks a bit more advanced than
Diabloesque clicking. More and more, except in notable exceptions
like Mass Effect, it seems like the PC is where I travel for a
more serious RPG.