Games

TWiG 2008-08-11: Madden or a Bionic Arm?

New releases for the week of 2008-08-11...

Much like the odd little release schedule of two weeks ago, there are two releases this week that are valiantly fighting for my own personal affection, one of which is a tremendous, big-ticket release, and the other of which happens to be an Xbox Live Arcade download.

Seriously, Xbox Live Arcade is on a roll this month, a roll that doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon.

In only a matter of time, I'll have Marshawn Lynch rushing for 300.

Rather than cop out as I did those two weeks ago and choose co-winners, I'm going to embrace the elephant in the room and just acknowledge that the release that everyone has their eye on this week is Madden NFL 09. The cultural phenomenon surrounding the tremendous franchise once known as simply John Madden Football is nothing short of fascinating, and despite the fact that every year I caution myself away from getting swept up in the unavoidable torrent of hype surrounding this yearly event, I can't help but want to absorb every detail that might be hidden in every word written about the thing. Sometimes I buy it, sometimes I don't, but despite all of the advances that have come about in multiplayer gaming over the years, there's still very little that is as exhilerating as getting the phone call: "I've got the new Madden. You coming over?"

Of course, unfortunately for EA, much of the attention given to the new Madden game this year centers on its cover and not on any of the gameplay and graphics tweaks that it's given the latest model of the flagship EA Sports franchise. Specifically, there's the presumed-to-be-retired Brett Favre, in glorious Packer green and gold, ready and willing to deliver a pass. The cover was supposed to be a celebration of the player who exemplified the love of the game, a tribute to a man who in so many ways exemplified the best qualities of the game he played. Now, of course, Brett's a Jet, the airwaves have been saturated with the "saga" of his "battle" to return to the playing field, and nobody's sure anymore whether his presence on that cover is helping or hurting the game that he is supposed to be symbolizing.

That aside, I almost want to get the Wii version of the game simply so that I can play the exclusive 5-on-5 mode. As a playground touch football veteran myself, it may well trigger flashbacks of the "glory days".

(drool)

Of course, it's impossible to hide my biases, and that's why it actually crossed my mind to hand this week's spotlight to Bionic Commando: Rearmed, the remake of perhaps my favorite game of all time. Just having a good excuse to bust out the bionic arm again is going to be reason enough to not want to leave the house on Wednesday morning. I can only pray that Capcom has retained the ability to take multiple approaches to beating a level, and I can't wait to try out the Scorpion "get over here" mechanic of actually being able to use the bionic arm to pull enemies into close range. My fingers are getting excited just thinking about this...if it lives up to the original, Bionic Commando: Rearmed might be the most fun I have with a video game all year.

Even past those two games, there are a couple more goodies on the way this week. The DS gets Bangai-O Spirits, which should satisfy space shooter fans lamenting the dearth of such games on the Nintendo DS, and the Wii gets Line Rider 2: Unbound, which will at least be an interesting study in how to (or, perhaps, how not to) translate a flash game into a full-fledged retail title. I mean, Line Rider is a killer little waste of time.

Check out the full release list, and let me know what you'll be buying this week! A Madden trailer is just past the jump.

DS:

Bangai-O Spirits (12 August)

Imagine Teacher (12 August)

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom (12 August)

PS2:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

PSP:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

PS3:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

Bionic Commando Rearmed (PlayStation Network, 14 August)

Xbox 360:

Madden NFL 09 (12 August)

Bionic Commando Rearmed (Xbox Live Arcade, 13 August)

Fable II Pub Games (Xbox Live Arcade, 13 August)

Wii:

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner (WiiWare, 11 August)

Line Rider 2: Unbound (12 August)

Madden NFL 09 All-Play (12 August)

PC:

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner (11 August)

Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon (12 August)

Sinking Island (12 August)

Space Siege (12 August)

Ford Racing: Off Road (15 August)


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

9
Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane
Music

Mobley Laments the Evil of "James Crow" in the US

Austin's Mobley makes upbeat-sounding, soulful pop-rock songs with a political conscience, as on his latest single, "James Crow".

Music

Jordan Tice's "Bad Little Idea" Is a Satirical Spin on Dire Romance (premiere)

Hawktail's Jordan Tice impresses with his solo work on "Bad Little Idea", a folk rambler that blends bluesy undertones with satiric wit.

Music

Composer Ilan Eshkeri Discusses His Soundtrack for the 'Ghost of Tsushima' Game

Having composed for blockbuster films and ballet, Ilan Eshkeri discusses how powerful emotional narratives and the opportunity for creative freedom drew him to triple-A video game Ghost of Tsushima.

Film

Love and Cinema: The Ruinous Lives in Żuławski's L'important c'est d'aimer

Żuławski's world of hapless also-rans in L'important C'est D'aimer is surveyed with a clear and compassionate eye. He has never done anything in his anarchic world by the halves.

Books

On Bruce Springsteen's Music in Film and TV

Bruce Springsteen's music in film and television captured author Caroline Madden's imagination. She discuses her book, Springsteen as Soundtrack, and other things Springsteen in this interview.

Music

Alt-pop's merci, mercy Warns We May "Fall Apart"

Australian alt-pop singer-songwriter, merci, mercy shares a video for her catchy, sophisticated anthem, "Fall Apart".


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.