Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tech News: E3, Microsoft, XBox 360, Call Of Duty, Gears Of War, Kinect, etc. - John Draper

Microsoft kicked off their press conference at this year's E3 with a demo of Call Of Duty: Black Ops.

Mark Lamia, Studio Head of Treyarch, took the stage to show the game play demo of the new Call Of Duty game.  He begins the demo crawling through tunnels burrowed in the ground, climbing over the dead bodies of fellow soldiers hacked to pieces.  Following his partner through the tunnels, he turns the corner to see his leader stabbed in the throat by an enemy.  Then he emerges in an underground bunker where he is surrounded by the opposition.  The screen fades to white.  New scene:  His character finds an enemy camp in the jungle.  There is a firefight.  He then climbs into a helicopter.  An NPC (non-playable character) takes the controls and gets the chopper off the ground, then lets the player take over.  He flies through a lush green river valley, shooting down enemies and blowing up enemy bases.

The game looked fantastic.  Fast paced, great graphics, and very captivating.  Call Of Duty: Black Ops will be released November 9th of this year.  Here's the official trailer:

Don Mattrick, Senior Vice President of Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft announced a new agreement between Microsoft and Activision which will make all Call Of Duty add-ons and map hacks available on XBox 360 first now through 2012.

Kojima Productions then came out to announce Metal Gear Solid Rising, which focuses more on precision swordsmanship.  It's a new direction for the Metal Gear franchise, which previously was more gun-oriented.  Trailer:

Then came the demo of Gears Of War 3.  Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games, came out with some colleagues to show off the 4-player story-based co-op mode (I like to call it "hyphen mode" for short :P).  There were laser beams shooting down from the sky and giant snake/tree things popping out of the ground and giving birth to monsters.  It was amazing!  Bleszinski also said this Gears iteration would introduce a new game play mode which he called "beast." This is Beast Mode:

This was followed by a trailer for the mediocre-looking Fable 3.

Then a trailer for an XBox exclusive title from Crytek called Codename Kingdoms, which looked kind of like a video game version of "Spartacus: Blood and Sand."

After that Creative Director of Bungie, Marcus Lehto, emerged to introduce Halo: Reach.  This game looks great.  Spectacular graphics.  The screen was filled with crisp, clear, detailed images.  Not to mention *geek moment* SPACE BATTLES!

This is a clip from G4TV where Bungie shows off a game play demo of the new Halo:

ESPN announced an agreement with Microsoft to make over 3500 live and on-demand sports events available to XBox Live Gold members free of charge.  Some of the sports available will include college football, college basketball, NBA, MLB, and soccer.

Then came probably the biggest announcement Microsoft had up their sleeve, and the main focus of the rest of the conference:  XBox Kinect.

Previously code named "Project Natal," Kinect is a sleek receiver that hooks up to your XBox 360, circumventing the need for controllers.  XBox Live Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten said of Kinect, "This is what happens when technology gets out of your way."

Kinect responds to gestures and voice commands.  When watching videos or listening to music, a user has to simply say things like "XBox, play music" or "XBox, stop" to control playback functions.

Another feature will be VideoKinect, which is XBox Live's version of video phone.  You'll be able to have a live video chat with others on XBox Live or Windows Live Messenger.  You can watch videos together, and the camera automatically tracks your movement so you can walk around the room and remain on screen.  A built in microphone eliminates the need for a headphone.

The games that will ship with Kinect are:

Basically Tamagachi in HD.  In the demo a young girl played with a tiger cub named Skittles.  The cub interacted with her petting and commands to do tricks.  When she hid behind a podium, the cub looked around for her.  Cute but pointless.  Kids will love it.

Kinect Sports-
More interactive than WII Sports.  You actually use your whole body to play.  No mats, no controllers.

Kinect Joy Ride-
Cart racing and stunts.  Looks fun.

Kinect Adventures-
This one looks fun too.  Your character stands on a platform or float on what looks like a roller coaster and you jump, duck and dodge to avoid obstacles and move the platform.  The game takes photos and videos of you in action which you can post to the web.

Other games that will be available at launch time are YourShape: Fitness Evolved which is a full-body workout game and Harmonix Dance Central - a high energy full-body choreography game.

Kinect launches in North America on November 4th of this year.

Next was a preview of Star Wars for Kinect, which looks great, and is due out next year.

Then Bill Gies and Dan Greenawalt of Turn 10 Studios introduced Forza Motorsports for Kinect, which is also due in 2011.

Finally, the new XBox 360 Slim was unveiled.  It's smaller, sleeker design holds a highly amped-up CPU inside.  View the full specs here.

IGN shows you the new XBox 360:

To wrap things up, and this is one major reason I wished I could be there, Microsoft gave a new XBox 360 Slim to everyone in the audience.

That's all for Microsoft's press conference.  Stay tuned, because tomorrow I'll summarize the press conferences from Nintendo and Sony.

Chris Klein of American Pie arrested on DUI

Chris Klein
Pop Culture cult movie American Pie Star Chris Klein was arrested for DUI today, Wednesday morning. According to, Klein was found with almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system. Klein has his second DUI arrest in six years.

Chris Klein was traveling on the 101 Freeway at 3:13 AM PDT. TMZ reports California Highway Patrol Officers "observed (Klein) weaving from the #3 lane into the #2 and #4 lane westbound US 101 at Woodman Ave."

In other words, Klein was really toasted.

No "big hit role" since American Pie

Chris Klein's visibility as an actor surfaced with the surprising popularity of American Pie after it's release in 1991. Klein played a high school lacrosse player who falls for Mena Suvari's character in the high school coming-of-age flick.

Since American Pie, Klein's landed steady work, but no "big hit" film roles. That could change if and when Sam is released, but it's in the pre-production stage as of this writing. Sam is about "An alpha New York City male is magically transformed into a beautiful girl, falls in love with his best buddy, and learns what it means to be a woman."

Here's Chris Klein talking about his character "Oz" and playing in American Pie:

Klein's bail was set at $25,000.

NJ (New Jersey) State Trooper Shot; committed suicide

Scott Graham, a New Jersey State Trooper was found shot dead on the side of an exit ramp from the Garden State Parkway at 7:30 AM Wednesday according to multiple sources. Graham reportedly died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound and was pronounced dead on the scene.

The 35-year old NJ Trooper Graham was found in a marked New Jersey State Trooper police car. Graham was a 10-year veteran on the New Jersey State Police force.

New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow was escorted to the scene, but did not issue a statement to the press as of this writing.

NJ State Trooper Scott Graham's death comes less than two weeks after a another New Jersey State Trooper was struck and killed by a passing car as he was helping in a search for two people believed to have abandoned a vehicle.

Seattle cop punches black woman; another Seattle police race issue

In 2010 Seattle Police now have not one but two separate incidents of racism. The first one occurred on May 7th, as Seattle Police officer Shandy Cobane was captured on video kicking and innocent Latino man in the face on April 17th and saying "I'm going to beat the Mexican piss out of you, homey. You feel me?" Here's the video:

Cobane gave a tearful apology after his actions were publicly shown. Seattle's Latino community called the action "outrageously racist."

Now, another Seattle Police officer is caught on video, this time Officer Ian P. Walsh is hitting a black woman, 19-year-old Marilyn Levias, in the face with a clinched fist in the process of trying to arrest her. Moreover, the officer was yanking and pulling her clothes nearly off. He didn't need to do all of that; he was investigating a - get this - jaywalking stop.

A jaywalking stop. Seattle Police cop Ian P. Walsh punched a black woman over a jaywalking stop. Here's that video and I warn you, it's more graphic than the other one:

To anyone who sees this and immediately rushes to defend the Seattle cop, remember that just because someone in authority does something does not make their actions correct. This was wrong, and all for a jaywalking ticket according to The New York Daily News.

Racism still exists. This corner would bet $1,000 that Seattle cop would not have punched a white, blonde college woman, let alone stop her regarding a jaywalking claim. Moreover, the Seattle Police are backing Officer Walsh's actions over a jaywalking ticket. Does Seattle need money so badly it's willing to let its police officers beat up and arrest black women over jaywalking ticket claims?

Stupid. Just stupid. And damn racist, too.