Sunday, June 13, 2010

All Gamers Week: Pre-E3 Speculation!

Hello everyone! Welcome to the First Annual edition of CrossTopix’s All-Gamers Week!!!! Since I’ve started CrossTopix, I (STVO) have always wanted to do discussion on video games both past, present, and future. Since 1996, I loved reading issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly where there was coverage about the hottest new games (and the hot booth babes) from an amazing show that seems like heaven to a video game nerd like me. The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is one of the highlights of the year for me and considered to be an equivalent to a week of the Superbowl to the most hardcore of gamers.

Tonight, we start this week off with the speculation thread. Tonight I will be commenting as well as a new contributing writer, hardcore Xbox 360 gamer, Mark Shenefelt (Xbox Gamer Tag: whysoserious08.) He will be sharing his thoughts with me tonight and post thoughts later on. Matt B. Wild of Explicit is expected to join us this week as well sharing his thoughts during and after the show!

Folks, this is Mark, welcome him...

Without further ado, LET’S SPECULATE!

Of the games announced so far from E3, which ones have interested you the most so far?

STVO: Last year’s E3 returning to the glory it was in 2006 and the years before was a greatly welcomed return. Last year Nintendo revealed New Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Sin & Punishment 2, Microsoft showed off Alan Wake, announced Metal Gear Rising, and showed off Project Natal. Sony had some very exciting announcements as well. Here’s hoping this year’s edition meets or exceeds last year’s presentation.

As for the titles I anticipate, a couple stand out from IGN’s Big Game List: . Naughty Bear on PS3/Xbox 360 looks like a simple yet entertainingly funny title following in the footsteps of Conker’s Bad Fur Day. While I still haven’t gotten around to playing the original Dead Rising, I want to play that as well as the upcoming Dead Rising 2 as it looks like it will be an insanely fun game where I can kill zombies in oh-so-many different ways, and trust me, I love fighting hordes of zombies! On the download side of things: Bonk, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, and the long-awaited return of NBA Jam should be amusing to see as I will likely look into downloading at least one of those titles this year. Gears of War 3 and Halo Reach will satisfy my Xbox 360 urges from Microsoft. Little Big Planet 2 should be a winner and while I don’t own a PSP and likely won’t for a while, I’m interested to find out more on Parasite Eve’s 3rd title known as The 3rd Birthday, I loved the first game. As always these titles are only the beginning, the bigger and better titles are usually revealed at the show.

Mark : Well, where to begin? I suppose, first off, I should mention that for the past couple years E3 has just not done it for me as a gamer. Microsoft, at least, has changed their style to showing more of the games expected to be released within the year to early next year. No longer do they show a game that may be two to three years out. That wouldn't be so bad if they showed an ample amount of game play footage and information on the games, however, mostly we see just cinematic trailers with a couple teases of in-game footage and maybe a couple tidbits about what we may see in the game come release time. It seems we get to see more of the game during other, not-so-big, events later in the year, which makes me, wonder if E3 is really even worth it. I suppose if you really wanted to show a game before it is released in July or August that would be ok, but do we really need this big of an event to do that? Well hopefully this year can change my mind. As for the announced games that I find interesting, I'll make a list of the top 5 and why:

1. Rage - Published by Bethesda Softworks and Developed by Id Software, Rage looks to me like Fallout/Borderlands hybrid, which is nothing to laugh at. Both those games were great, and Rage looks to take the best of both worlds offering a giant, war-torn, world with tons of sidequests, creepy freaks running around, looting (a personal favorite) and the bottom line; blowing S**t up! Not to mention graphics that look amazing and a team that helped create DOOM. Add in vehicle combat and a ton of gore and you have my attention.

2. XCOM - 2K Games and 2K Marin join together to take on a reboot of a sci-fi franchise. This studio is responsible for Bioshock 2, which in my opinion was decent, but I love the Bioshock franchise and that is why I have high hopes for this game. 2K in general makes good games and I am excited to see what they have to show for this one.

3. Mafia 2 - Another game by 2K, Mafia 2 is a sequel to the original Xbox game; Mafia. While that game was disappointing, it did have potential. Years later and everything that needed help in the first game appears to have been given a lot of attention and after watching a couple of gameplay trailers for the sequel, I can definitely say this will be on my radar till release day.

4. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - Plain and simple, I love these games from Ubisoft and the last in the series spent a lot of time in my console. The graphics were tight, the controls spot on and they updated the game with a ton of DLC. If they keep up the same routine while adding new things I will continue to buy. I can't wait to see where they go from here, however, I do partially feel like I would like the series to go back to its roots and leave the whole 'future soldier' thing out of its games for a while. I would love to see a Ghost game set in Vietnam. Of course I think other games should head to that war too such as COD and Battlefield (they did once before but not with a campaign and updated game engine from DICE).

5. EA Sports - I have to combine these into NHL 11, Madden 11 and their new MMA game. EA no doubt started off poor with sports games for the new generation. However, now they are dominating the field. While their Madden series doesn't have much competition after gaining exclusive rights to the NFL license, that doesn't mean that they stop improving on the franchise. Each year they get better and better and I am excited to see what is next. Same goes for NHL 11, which is already looking promising with a new physics engine that will make hitting in the game more realistic!!! And most of all, the new MMA game which I think if they follow Fight Night 4's graphics and control scheme they will be hard pressed to beat even by THQ.

2. Sony/Microsoft are ready to go the motion control paths with their consoles with PSMove and Project

Natal. Will these devices deliver at E3 and will you buy at launch? Also, feel free to add some titles you'd

like to see for each device and make a prediction what the official name for "Project Natal" will be.

STVO: Okay, I like my Nintendo Wii system but it’s not as good as my Xbox 360 or PS3. Why is it that? The motion controls just don’t live up to the hype that was initially built up for it. Okay so titles like Boom Blox and Wii Sports are fun to play with motion controls, but other games get gimmicky, repetitive, or just plain dull. Usually when I play a game, I try to opt for the Gamecube or Classic Controller option instead. Anyway we’ve been here and speculated that on CrossTopix (well Nick Smith and I at least) let’s not make this one a rerun.

I’m reading that Sony/Microsoft want to price their equipment at $80-$100, a stiff price but very reminiscent of Nintendo releasing their balance board for Wii Fit at this price. If we really expect motion controls to be the standard for gaming, these devices NEED to be responsive! Also, they better work their tails off to make sure they don’t receive buckets of shovelware like the Nintendo Wii regularly receives and exceed them in what they usually exceed Nintendo in: mature titles. I want to grab a giant gun and blast the Flood in Halo, I want to grab my Dragon Sword as Ryo Hayabusa and slash demons in a full 1080p HD beauty of Ninja Gaiden 3, and so forth. No more wave controller (or with Xbox: your hand) at the screen to play skiing, snowboarding, or a track race, lets be more creative with motion controls! If I see these kinds of titles at E3, it will hold my interest, if I read reviews about them delivering; I’ll shell out some cash! In the meantime, I’d rather have a game controller.

As for Project Natal, it will have a new name. I’ll guess X-Perience, RefleX-box, or Xbox 1080. I know I’ll be wrong most likely….

Mark: On the Xbox 360 side of things, I suppose it was only a matter of time before Microsoft and Sony played catch up with Nintendo in this field. Personally I think motion control is a neat gimmick but should by no means become the standard for videogames. Just like 3D, I hope motion control is a kind of fad that may not go away but becomes an option for gamers. If I feel like picking up a controller then I should be able to. I can't see playing games like Halo or Fable by doing nothing but moving a controller or standing in front of your TV. Nor should that be acceptable by the gaming community. I will most likely buy at launch if some good titles are announced or if I feel like throwing a bowling ball down an alley without leaving the house, but I don't see myself using motion controls on my hardcore games. I will give the leg up to Sony though because at least, like Nintendo, the gamer will have the controller and the motion controls all at once, which is something that turns me off about Natal. For Xbox, I would like to see a FPS that comes with a full sized gun (ala DuckHunt) that will work with Natal. As for the name for Natal? " Xbox Motion" or "Motion-X" or something.

3. How the heck will the Nintendo 3DS work? Will Nintendo revolutionize again or will it end up as just another gimmick or perhaps a Virtual Boy?

STVO: Well, well, well… Looks like the “always behind” Nintendo (first the disc-format then online, then HD-gaming…) has finally taken a leap and decided to be the first company to produce a console in 3D. I’m interested but at the same time upset. Last year I purchased a Nintendo DSi because I thought they wanted to pump a few more years into the system’s life by going the route of gaming downloads. With how many models of the DS they have produced and the GameBoy as well (I was suckered into a Gameboy Color followed by a Gameboy Advance) this shouldn’t be a surprise. 15 years have passed since the Virtual Boy and Nintendo hasn’t released a colossal failure. Nintendo has proven that they can make a gimmicky premise such as a two-screen stylus controlled portable or a video game console requiring a motion waving controller to be successful.

My guess is the 3DS will be the same format as Nintendo DS with the two screens and quite possibly a stylus but holographic images emitting from the screen. Some will require you to touch the holograms some will require you to dodge. I don’t know if it will require glasses or not, preferably not. Finally there are only two more things I can say: Nintendo will make it work and Sega should port their old Time Traveler arcade game to it!

Mark: I don't know and I don't really care. I will say this, Nintendo DS has had a long and productive life and I am sure Nintendo wouldn't make this move unless they were sure it would generate some buzz and revenue. It might not be as big as the Wii was with motion controls because 3D technology is still new to us as consumers and developers so I am sure there will be some uncertainty. Add to the fact that they keep coming out with different versions of the DS every year or two which might put people off.

4. Make a list of 6 titles you'd like to see shown that have been announced but not revealed or that you'd like to see (answers i.e.: Zelda Wii 2, Pikmin 3, a new 3D Megaman game, Goldeneye for Xbox Live Arcade, etc.)


1. StarFox Sequel: Traditional air fighting like StarFox and StarFox 64, absolutely no outside the vehicle

battles! Also, unless Nintendo is REALLY confident that a 2nd or 3rd team really feels they can capture

the spirit of StarFox, have a Nintendo internal team develop it. Preferably for Wii, but WiiWare or

DSiWare would be fine too. While they’re at it, how about releasing the original StarFox from SNES on

the Virtual Console?

2. Zelda Wii Sequel: A given for me. I like Mark’s ideas and agree Zelda needs to be fresh. I don’t care

for Wii Motion Plus, but if I have to get it to play this, I will. The rumored concept of Link not having a

sword is interesting, but shouldn’t be the whole game. Maybe start it off right away with him having

the sword and a foe steals it later on requiring you to use your bombs , bow and arrows, etc. until you

corner that thief and challenge it to a fight then carry on again. Also, keep the graphic style to Ocarina

of Time and Twilight Princess, leave the Wind Waker-style for the portable systems.

3. PaRappa the Rapper 3: It’s cutesy, but sue me, I love that series! Put it on PS3, make it 1080p and just

create a luscious 2D environment with our familiar flat, paper-thin friends sing their funny songs in an

all-new adventure.

4. Pikmin 3: I’m on a sequel frenzy, but I love these titles. Pikmin with the Wii remote could be very

fun and if Miyamoto is involved with this title like the other 2, I would love to play it again. The game

may appear cute, but it requires a lot of strategy and those giants show no mercy on eating your

Pikmin alive or horrendously murdering them by stomping on them!

5. 3D Mega Man Title (Not MegaMan Legends 3): Sorry to all the Legends fans, the first game was

decent but holds no candle to the original MegaMan series 1-10. My buddy Matt B. Wild did an article

previously on Explicit Gamer discussing this issue and when he brought the idea of the original Blue

Boy fighting classic enemies such as Cut Man or Guts Man in full 3D glory, I drooled. Capcom filed a

trademark to “MegaMan Universe”, could this be a new title? One I’ve waited for since the PS1/N64


6. Any New Exciting IP: Cop-out answer but I love a new series waiting to happen or one solid stand-alone title. In this generation we have seen Alan Wake, Little Big Planet, Gears of War, etc. I love sequels but I also like expanding with new games and characters (or for puzzle games, concepts.) So Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Capcom, etc. Get CRACKIN’!!!

Mark: I like all your ideas STVO. A new Zelda game is always welcome, but they need to do something new, I suggest adding RPG elements to the game such as leveling up and item looting. Goldeneye for XBLA is another great idea, but they did release Perfect Dark already so it might not sell as well. I would like to see something more for Borderlands, either a sequel or some new DLC announced. I don't think it was announced as an attending title but I would like to see some Two Worlds 2 game play footage and more about the game. I, unlike the mass population, loved that game. It had terrible graphics, bad voice over and glitches/frame rate issues everywhere, but it was fun and had some of the best looting/item management in an RPG. I would also like to see some Red Dead Redemption DLC and Battlefield Bad Company 2 DLC announced. Lastly I would LOVE to see Far Cry 3 announced with some footage shown. Far Cry 2 was great, some of the best graphics on the console with great game play ideas. There were just a few glitches and no winning MP or DLC support to make it stand above the rest.


Alright! That is all for the speculation! Check out all the news all over the web and tomorrow on G4TV. As of right now, it has been confirmed that Project Natal is now being called Kinect! Lots of late breaking news and by joining CrossTopix on Facebook, Twitter, or even MySpace, we’ll link you to many of the stories around the web and create fun discussions! All Gamers Week continues all this week and by joining the fan pages, you will know when updates are made to the website and more!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cross X-amine: An Interview with (the band that) NEVERWHAS

Welcome to a new edition of the Cross X-amine! It's been a few months since I've done one but upon further talks with some friends who have interesting projects going on, I have a couple interesting ones that should be going on between now and a few months ahead! Today though, I speak with an exciting rock band from St. Charles, Illinois. Introducing Michael Rubicz providing vocals and guitar, Nik Rubicz also providing vocals and guitar, Rick Rubicz on drums, and Chris Conrades on bass guitar. They are a band.... the band that NEVERWHAS!

Conducted via Facebook messaging with Nik, the answers are provided by Nik and his brothers as a whole.

STVO: When did Neverwhas form and how did you guys decide to start it?

NEVERWHAS: NeverWhas formed in/around October of 07’. Rick had always been interested in percussion and finally got himself little rock kit and started jammin with Mike and Nik in our folk’s basement. Soon after, we found a bassist (who no longer plays in our group) and started writing songs together and collaborating on songs Mike had already written.

STVO: You guys have a very catchy rock beat (and I've listened to your stuff recently and I have to say I really do like it!) What rock artists inspired each of you?

NEVERWHAS: The interesting thing is that everyone collectively has so many influences in so many different genres of music that it all comes together in a big musical melting pot. It really is hard to say where our sound comes from. Readers of this blog may need a bigger hard drive to house all of the groups we are inspired by. =)

STVO: You guys currently have three albums out: We Grow Skulls, Branded New, and your latest, Original Rock Original Roll. Do each of you have a personal favorite or recommendations what new listeners should introduce themselves to with first?

NEVERWHAS: Original rock, Original Roll is an E.P. so far, and is a great example of how a band can grow together and inspire each other to progress as musicians. In addition, it is the latest recording we have, and it features Chris playing bass. He really adds a flare to his side of the stage and his style is a huge compliment to the new tunes we have recorded.

STVO: On June 19th, I noticed you will be performing at the Chord on Blues in St. Charles, IL. Everyone, it's only $5 cover and if you're off on a Saturday night and in town, I recommend it. Where are some other venues you all have performed and what one is your favorite?

NEVERWHAS: We all really love jammin’ at Chord on Blues because the stage has an old soul to it. Many great blues acts have come through there with their beat up guitars and smokey voices and you can feel the energy emanating from it. That in turn helps us to convey our energy to the crowd and it really makes for an awesome experience for everyone.

Recently we have also played a rockin’ set at Rockford’s Bar 3. It is an old strip club and one side of the stage is a wall of mirrors. Without sounding vain hopefully, as the performer, you can look to the side and see the full picture of the band while on stage. It lets you know you are real, and what you are doing is actually happening.

We look forward to performing there again in late July.

STVO: CrossTopix has discussed this issue a couple times: I've noticed you sell your music on both CD and iTunes. Do you guys have a personal preference of what format you produce your works on or what you'd rather stick around with?

NEVERWHAS: The best thing about creating and recording music independently is that you get to hear what you’ve done any time you want……and it’s free-after the cost of production of course.

I suppose that question would be better answered as a fan of music, not a creator of it.

Technology has given us a way to get the music and movies we want faster and more efficiently, but, who doesn’t love rippin’ open that security seal with their teeth and unfolding a sweet looking artistic panel filled with lyrics, pictures and other colorful representations from the bands mind.

We have done well so far on itunes and other e-music sites, and with disc sales as well. As long as the music is getting to the listener, we can leave it up to them to decide how they want it.

STVO: Since you guys are living the lives or rock'n'rollers, we all know some of the most famous have done or been in crazy situations where bats heads are bitten off and hotel rooms are trashed! I don't know if you guys are that crazy, but are there any crazy stories from your concerts you think you can share?

NEVERWHAS: We get crazy on stage. Most of our off stage, after show experiences have been filled with boisterous laughter and conversation over beers with friends/fans. Destruction isn’t our thing. We want to be invited back to places we go. But Mike did smash a guitar in a parking lot during one of our Halloween sets a couple years back……energy…….the energy consumes you. And you have to let it.

STVO: Finally, what are some parting words you guys have for aspiring music artists? Also what are the band's next big plans for the next years?

NEVERWHAS: We have only scratched the surface in this industry, but so far, striving to have fun has been a key part in staying happy and creative. Ya’ lose that, and you might as well start writing laundry detergent jingles, there is money in that I hear.

Special thanks to all four members of (the band that) NeverWhas for taking their time out to speak with CrossTopix! If you are interested in listening to some of their jams or finding out even more info with the group, visit Just like CrossTopix, you can find NEVERWHAS on Facebook, MySpace, and also listen to them on Jango.

Once again, NEVERWHAS will be performing this coming Saturday June 19th at the Chord on Blues in St. Charles, Illinois. It is located on 106 S. 1st Avenue, St. Charles, IL ( The show starts at 8:30 PM, $5 admission, plenty of drink specials, must be 21.

Tune in later tonight for the start of All Gamers Week!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CrossTopix #13: Top 5 Inspirational Songs, Music Artists that Lip Sync, South Park, and Downloadable Game Services

Welcome to CrossTopix! We have a great edition lined up those into music. This week we have Nik Rubicz, the guitarist from (the band that) Neverwhas this week! Before I let him introduce himself, let me remind all of you that CrossTopix is on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace! By following on any one of these three pages, you get instant notification of when the next site update is, discussion questions, and links to news pieces you would find interesting. Next week is E3: The Electronic Entertainment Expo and when the news breaks, CrossTopix will provide the links. Now without further ado, introducing this week’s guest, Nik Rubicz!

Nik: Hi my name is Nik, I'm the guitarist for (the band that) Neverwhas. We're a dedicated modern rockband and we'll be performing at Chord on Blues on June 19th. 21+, $5 cover, lots of great specials and of course, great music!

1. Top 5 Songs That Have Shaped Your Life

STVO: I’m not as good as describing music as musician such as Nik but I am going to post video links to each of my choices. Each song I pick whether it is serious, humorous, or sad has played a role in my life. These songs are not in any particular order.

1. Dire Straits – Money for Nothing

2. Ben Folds Five – Brick

3. Collective Soul – The World I Know

4. Foo Fighters – Big Me

5. Rick Derringer – Real American (Yes, Hulk Hogan's WWF/WWE Theme)

Nik: Lets see. There are so many songs that have shaped my life, it is so hard to pick 5! I will try my darndest!

1. Pink Floyd – Marooned – From: The Division Bell
This song reminds me of Galena IL. We used to go up there every summer and fish. My dad would play the album all the time. The song has such a sway to it that makes you feel like your floating. A totally airy song with hints of moisture… I think I got a lot out of Pink Floyd in my early days.

2. Phish – Reba – Live at McNichols Sports Arena 11/17/1997
The first time I heard this song, I wasn’t in to Phish at all, but the first time I heard this was the first time that I felt encompasssed by musical emotion. The jam that they provide is well beyond any talent I’ve heard anywhere else today, IMO. This song made me realize that song structure (and life structure) is not always needed, and that improvising is just plain Bad Ass! Good things happen without warning.

3. Staind – All Songs

I can’t say that one just one song from Staind shaped my life, pretty much all of their tunes. I don’t normally like heavy structure that conforms to a specific genre of music, but Staind does it in a way that just always sounds good. I used to be a dishwasher when I was 15-16, and Q101 was always playing. This music brings back so many memories and feelings. Great times of life. Staind has continually kept their sound just as bad-ass as it was years ago.

4. George Strait – Amarillo By Morning
Anyone who has heard this song and listened to it words know what I mean when I say that this song is tops. This song changed my life when I heard it. It still does. Its powerful, and true. George picks songs that he can relate to, which makes him a killer artist because he plays with emotion and experience. There have a been a many times with Straits’ music that I can really connect with the words. I'm not usually a lyric buff, but I listen well to words he sings.

5. Joe Satriani – Clouds Race across the Sky – From: Engines of Creation
This song was always playing on the bus ride to school when I was a freshman and sophomore in HS. This song has a beautiful mixture of electronic beats, and atmospheric guitar phrasing. I remember wanting to play like Joe for so long solely because of this song.

2. Recently, Ke$ha has called out Britney Spears for occasionally lip-syncing at her concerts. What is your opinion of artists who aren't at their full game when they perform? Should they perform to the best they can, have a soundtrack blast behind them, or just call the show off?

STVO: I look at it this way: if I want to listen to a CD or recorded version of the song, I’ll find the video on Youtube or buy the song on iTunes. With the prices of tickets for any event these days, unless you really love the band or singer and might try to meet them following the show, why on earth would you pay the extra money to hear something you can download or purchase for much less money? I understand with pop stars there are a lot of pressure with them looking good, having catchy songs, and dancing incredibly well, but when it comes to music, it shouldn’t be entirely about having a flashy costume, incredible pyrotechnics, and sexy fly girls dancing in the background, it’s about having fun with music!

Simply put, if you have a concert, you better be singing! That’s what people are paying to hear. Milli Vanilli got in trouble for lip syncing. Okay, so they didn’t really singing the songs they performed while other artists like Britney Spears and Ashley Simpson did but weren’t singing in their MTV/SNL performances, but the fact is it makes them look bad. As for not being able to perform due to being too drunk, are too sick, etc. While it would be a big letdown for the paying customer, it’s understandable BUT the people who paid for the show should be refunded that money. I once paid to see Dark Lotus but they canceled a week before the show for reasons I can’t remember, but fortunately I was refunded for my ticket. The only time where I can understand tickets not being refundable is if the artist passes away.

Nik: In my opinion, all live music should be played live. There should be no soundtrack. That being said, I guess I can see why POP stars need this special treatment. I believe they are under heavy stress by many people, and perhaps live music isn’t fun for them anymore. Once you get so big and are in the headlines and are the “Forefront of modern Pop”, I think you are more expectable to the pressure of NEEDING to perform. I don’t think you get to pick and choose what you want to do as much, as when you weren’t so big. I always say the show must go one, unless you are totally unable to perform.

I think that sound tracking is big in music now, just because of how electronically sampled and choreographed everything is. You literally cannot dance around and climb banners and do aerial tricks while hitting perfect notes and rhythm. Try it. These pop stars are just entertainers in costumes doing flashy ticks for people who don’t realize what the hell is going on, and I think they know it. So for them, sound tracking is perfectly OK.

Now if we move to other genres beside pop, you will find that live music is still live, and that performers will do their best to perform consistently, without having to “Fake” it.

3. South Park just completed season 14 and is going to be receiving a 15th season sometime in 2011 or starting later this year. With many changes that have occurred since the first season (storylines mirroring parodies of current events, different animation, departure of characters such as Chef), has the show been improving or getting worse? Make any comparison.

STVO: God bless Netflix instant for really letting me watch every season of South Park and god bless Matt Stone and Trey Parker for having South Park Studios ( for allowing people to watch every single episode (with the exception of 200 and 201 due to censorship issues) ever. I think the show has been getting better and better and with the more recent seasons, I just constantly love to watch this show. It’s right up there with Married With Children, The Simpsons seasons 3-10, and while I love Beavis and Butthead, I decided this show is just a lot funnier.

With that said, Chef was a good character (I miss you Isaac Hayes) but the show has done just fine without him after leaving over them making fun of scientology. Pip was a funny character but Butters not only made a great replacement, he has been a much better character and is pretty much the 5th member of the South Park kids. Just like the Simpsons, while there are plenty of episodes about the main four kids, there are a lot of great episodes about characters such as Timmy & Jimmy (I LOVE JIMMY!), Butters, Randy Marsh (started off as a normal character in season one but gets wackier every season!), Mr./Ms. Garrison, etc. “Scott Tenorman Must Die”, “Fishsticks”, and ”Erection Day” are some of my favorite episodes. Two episodes I didn’t care for were “Best Friends Forever” and “W.T.F.”

Nik: I think the show had made a HUGE jump somewhere near seasons 8 and 9. Animation IMO was better, everything was settled in, and South Park had a name for itself. They probably had enough pull in the industry to start really going at it. Most of my favorite episodes are from season 8 (such as “Playing with Weapons” and “Aweome-O”).

The departure of Chef, wasn’t a big deal for me I don’t think. He never was one of my favorites (although he WAS a staple in the show). I think the introduction of characters has really taken off, and they play off current events beautifully. What makes them so great is that they have the balls to do such bold things. I think the show has continually been getting better. What sets them apart is that there are so many characters that have parts in the episodes. Sure there is the fantastic four we all love, but each member in the community contributes just as largely. From what I know South Park is going to go down in history, one way or another. It was (and I still try to make it) a big part of my television years!

4. With game consoles (Nintendo Wii/Xbox 360) and smart phones (iPhone/Droid) offering downloads of classic games (Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros., etc.) and even original new titles (Shadow Complex, World of Goo) there's many great titles available to play not requiring a CD. What are some of your favorite titles and what do you play them on?

STVO: Aside from some Nintendo first-party titles, the Virtual Console/WiiWare is one of my main reasons I still own/play the Wii. I love this feature! I own several games on it but some of my favorites include Super Mario Bros. 3, Splatter House 1 and 2, Punch-Out, Mario Kart 64, and Star Fox 64. World of Goo is fun from what I have played but I also enjoy the Art Style games Cubello and Rotohex. You can’t go wrong with online Dr. Mario either!

Video Demonstration of Rotohex, Very Addictive!

I also own an assortment of titles from PSNetwork and Xbox Live Arcade. Cuboid and Lemmings on PSN are very addictive puzzle games and I’m currently working on Rocket Knight, the sequel to the Sega Genesis game “Rocket Knight Adventures.” On Xbox, I love Shadow Complex. It’s from the creators of Unreal Tournament and Gears of War. Think of it as a 2D Metroid with elements of Metal Gear Solid and Contra. It is very fun and challenging, comparable to many retail games. Some other games I get addicted to on XBLA are Pac-Man Championship Edition, both TMNT arcade games, and Peggle.

Nik: World of Goo is such a great game. I can sit there for hours and just listen to the music and play mindlessly. That’s what I love most about video games, the ability to have the real world melt away. I play a lot of downloaded games on the Wii, but I also have quite a few on the XBOX. I am a fool for old MegaMan games. The music in those games is incredibly entrancing.

I also have spent much time with Punch Out, Sonic the Hedgehog, Paper Boy, and even Golden Axe! What I like about the downloaded games is that they are still simple, just like the old days. NO crazy controls and no highly detailed story lines. Just plug and play. Simply get from point A to point B. Kudos to the gaming industry for bringing back the classics.


That is all for the week! Once again, a special thanks goes to Nik for being this week's guest! Stay tuned later this week as we will have a full interview with him and the rest of his band, (the band that) Neverwhas in the 3rd ever "Cross X-Amine." In the meantime, check out some of the music of Neverwhas by visiting Also be sure to tune in this Sunday for the start of "All Gamers Week" as STVO, Matt B. Wild, and Mark Shenefelt will be giving our opinions on what will take place at E3 and throughout the week we will share thoughts in regards to what is announced and revealed. When the show is done, we will share our final thoughts. If you wish to be a guest on CrossTopix, message me at