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Brad Gallaway's blog

Welcoming Whittaker Gallaway

After a long pregnancy that seemed like it would never end, my son Whittaker Rana Gallaway was born on May 4.

Vital stats: 8lbs 1oz, 20.5 inches long, and his skills are Charm, Nuzzle and Sleep. Not bad for a level one character, eh?

Now that he's out of the womb complete with ten fingers and ten toes, the wife and I couldn't be happier, although the cliché about being insanely tired after a birth is true. Not only is the process physically rough on both mother and child, babies run on an opposite clock—sleepy and quiet during the day, fidgety and needing extra attention at night. Although it probably made a lot of sense from an evolutionary perspective back when the species was still avoiding sabertooth tigers and giant cave bears, it's not much of an advantage these days.

Getting in some gaming around child birth

Although I'm not up to full speed, here are some tidbits to tide regular Coffeecola readers over until the next update…

Bayonetta. I get that the main character is a witch who has guns on her shoes, but it's a little impossible not to think that this is a recycled Devil May Cry with a gender switch and a storyline that seems to have a little bit of absurdity to it. Call me crazy, but after watching the storyline trailer available now, I couldn't help but sense echoes of God Hand. Anyone agree?

No more waggle, please

Mock-up of PlayStation 3 Motion Controller

Scanning Twitter today, it occurred to me that if all the Pre-E3 rumors about Microsoft and Sony developing motion controllers/devices turn out to be true, then it'll be a massive case of misguidedly missing the point in both instances.

If these whisperings do pan out, it seems obvious that the only reason they'd be pursuing such technology is a direct result of the massive retail success of the Wii as a console. However, I think that trying to emulate such success is impossible—In my view, the Wii sold such absurd numbers of units based on three factors: the novelty of the motion controls, being the cheapest console out of the current three, and being able to leverage both of those qualities (in addition to the Nintendo name) into a fearsome "cool factor". The thought that adding motion controls to the existing consoles might be enough to translate into attracting new "Wii" players is absurd.

Music-game DLC clutters up Live

Although I usually have nothing but good to say about Xbox Live, there's one thing that's really been irritating the hell out of me lately.

Every Wednesday or so, I look forward to jumping online with each console and seeing what new DLC is available. I try my best to keep up with it, at the very least keeping tabs on things that look interesting if I don't have the time to play them that very second. The Wii's setup works just fine, and although the PSN isn't structured exactly how I'd like it, it's still not bad. Live used to be my hands-down favorite in terms of finding new DLC easily, but when it comes to the Add-Ons area, I'm sick and tired of new music-game DLC flooding the section and pushing other content out.

Lips Mics Screenshot

Some House of the Dead Overkill while waiting for baby

As we near the arrival date of our son (still in utero) we find that we are in kind of a holding pattern… since we've got all the baby stuff and reorganized the house several times over, there's not really a lot to do but wait. Helping us pass the time today was House of the Dead: Overkill on the Wii.

Although the game felt a little bit shallow (and took us about three hours to complete) I've got to say that I absolutely fell in love with the presentation—Headstrong Games pulled a really genius move in positioning the entire thing as a 70's exploitation film.

House of the Dead Overkill Screenshot

Some more Valkyria praise

Spent most of the weekend with Valkyria Chronicles.

Despite having a few misgivings at first, the gameplay quickly won me over and I'm now a complete convert. I've got to say, it's certainly one of the best reasons to own a PlayStation 3, and after having made it through a little less than half of the main campaign, I'm shocked that Sony didn't give it more of a push. It's far better than the majority of what's available for the PS3, it's a system exclusive, and it's got loads of both both style and substance.

Done with Drake, onto Valkyria

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune Screenshot

I finished Uncharted: Drake's Fortune last night, and although I took copious notes and intended to dress it down in a formal review, after a good night's sleep, I realized I just don't care enough to make the effort.

Overall, it was a shallow, trite game that brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Even worse, it swipes wholesale from other sources. The thin exploration and puzzle elements are reminiscent of Tomb Raider, although nowhere near the same level of intricacy or design. The gunplay feels a bit like a Gears of War lite, and there's far, far, far too much of it. The story and setting crib from Indiana Jones (or perhaps The Librarian instead), yet the generic white-guy main character doesn't have a tenth of Indy's charisma, not to mention the half-baked plot never comes together.

Still don't like Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Playing Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on PlayStation 3 right now.

I played it for a bit when it first came out, but it rubbed me the wrong way and I tossed it aside. I was quite surprised to have that reaction, really. I was a big Crash Bandicoot fan when ND was still producing it, and had a very good time with the Jak & Daxter series. I expected great things from Uncharted, and at the time I felt like it really didn't deliver. Didn't even bother finishing it.

While skimming through Metacritic the other day I came across the Uncharted breakdown and was a bit surprised to see it that rocked an 88. Now, although I will be the first to admit that my taste doesn't always run parallel to the majority, that number seemed a little high to me, and being the Naughty Dog fan that I am, I felt like I should give it another shot. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind, or perhaps Saturn was out of alignment, or something. Who knows?

Quick looks at Astro Tripper and Crimson Sea 2

Astro Tripper Screenshot Spent a fun couple of hours playing PomPom's Astro Tripper on the PlayStation 3. A download available for $5, it's a colorful, slightly abstract shooter similar to one of my favorites on 360 Arcade, Mutant Storm Reloaded.

Interview with Terry Cavanagh, creator of Don't Look Back

Interview with Terry Cavanagh, creator of Don't Look Back

A few weeks ago, a Twitter acquaintance hipped me to a small indie game called Don't Look Back. Although I am a big fan of small titles, I’m also console to the core… this has historically been a bit of conflict, although less so now that we've got so many download services available. However, Don't Look Back came highly recommended, so I put up with using the arrow keys and space bar for a little while, and walked away quite impressed. Thankfully, the game's creator was willing to speak with me for a bit about himself and his work.

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