R. Conklin



Bioshock 2; 2K Games/2K Marin; XBox 360, PlayStation 3; Rated: Mature

The triumph of the ego versus the power of the collective. A ruined underwater city packed with murderous, genetically enhanced freaks. A clash of ideals and an unbreakable, if creepy, bond between father and daughter.  Admit it—it’s not exactly the stuff you expect to find in your standard-issue save-the-world shooter game. Then again, the Bioshock […]

NCAA Football 10; EA/EA Tiburon; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

NCAA Football 10; EA/EA Tiburon; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Game developers know that the majority of console gamers—and yes, that includes yours truly—are statistic/achievement/trophy whores. And even the least of Microsoft’s online Gamerscore Nation knows that there’s no quicker way to boost your totals than by popping in a sports game. Run—don’t walk—to rack up skill points in the brand new season of NCAA […]

New Halo packs a bigger blast

New Halo packs a bigger blast

On the heels of three mega-successful first-person shooters, the news that the Halo franchise’s next headline gig would be a real-time-strategy (RTS) game was greeted with about as much enthusiasm among gamers as if Master Chief had announced he’d be starring alongside Joan Rivers in a very special episode of “Celebrity Apprentice.” The console crowd […]

"Dirty Deeds" done at Wal-Mart?

"Dirty Deeds" done at Wal-Mart?

In my mind, the real “hit” sprinkled among the 18 AC/DC classics in this standalone Rock Band expansion isn’t “Hell’s Bells” or “T.N.T.,” but the delicious irony that said track pack is being hawked exclusively at Wal-Mart, the supposed home of apple pie and all-American values. (Same goes for the band’s latest record, Black Ice.) […]

The Force is strong with this one

We’ve all known, ever since Obi-Wan Kenobi first clued us in way back in Star Wars: A New Hope, that the Dark Side has an irresistible allure. And now we know exactly why. Absolute power may corrupt absolutely, but it’s a total blast to throw around. The developers at LucasArts have described Star Wars: The […]

Home team advantage

Home team advantage

After years of tweaking, polishing and adding features, the guys at EA Tiburon have finally pinned most of the elements of simulated college football down, leaving the developers free to focus on what really matters. Mascot games. No, seriously, while it’s certainly hysterical to watch a front line of Bucky Badgers side-flipping through the hapless […]

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

An appreciation of Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series has always depended largely on one simple thing: How do you feel about “cut scenes”? If you enjoy having your game play routinely interrupted by these 10-minute-to-hour-long animated movies that advance the story, well, you’re in luck: The fourth and final installment in the saga of […]

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Nobody—and I mean nobody—does fan service like Nintendo. The Big N may take a ridiculously long time to get the job done—in the case of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, we’re talking seven whopping years since our Pikachu-pummeling hearts were thrilled by the Gamecube’s Smash Bros. Melee—but the wait’s been more than worth it. Think Hillary […]

No More Heroes

No More Heroes

You can count on one hand the number of “M”-rated games on Nintendo’s fam-centric Wii, and it’ll take you only slightly more fingers to count the number of quality third-party software titles, too. Add one to both categories—a bloody, hilarious and utterly immature thrill ride with more pop-culture and videogame history references than an episode […]

Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy

videogame Mario’s excellent space adventure isn’t just the Wii’s first absolutely must-have game—it’s also the equivalent of an interactive Disney movie, with rainbow-star bits plummeting from the sky and bursting from patches of grass and pummeled enemies. Manipulating an on-screen cursor with the Wiimote to collect and use the star bits to unlock new colorful […]

The Orange Box

games In a world where 60 smackers routinely nets you gaming crap like Lair and Blue Dragon, The Orange Box is like Easter, Christmas and Halloween rolled into one tidy little package. Chock-full with 2004’s Half-Life 2, 2006’s Half-Life 2: Episode One, the multiplayer Team Fortress 2, Half-Life: Episode Two and Portal, this isn’t just […]

Little, yellow, different

“Survivor: China”Thursday 8pm, CBS Say what you will about “Survivor,” but the prototypical reality competition can still surprise every now and then. Last year’s cringe-inducing racially separated tribes ended up leading to the show’s most diverse cast ever, and possibly its most likable winner in Yul. And then the most recent season featured the legitimately […]

Some tried, some untried, all true

MONDAY 8pm:ABC—"Dancing With the Stars" (9/24)CBS—"How I Met Your Mother" (9/24)CW—"Everybody Hates Chris" (10/1)Fox—"Prison Break" (9/17) NBC—"Chuck" (9/24)8:30pm:CBS—"Big Bang Theory" (9/24)CW—"Aliens in America" (10/1)9pm:CBS—"Two and a Half Men" (9/24)CW—"Girlfriends" (10/1)Fox—"K-Ville" (9/17)NBC—"Heroes" (9/24)9:30pm: ABC—"Samantha Who?" (10/15)CBS—"Rules of Engagement" (9/24)CW—"The Game" (10/1)10pm:ABC—"The Bachelor" (9/24)CBS—"CSI: Miami" (9/24)NBC—"Journeyman" (9/24) TUESDAY 8pm:ABC—"Cavemen" (10/2) CBS—"NCIS" (9/25)CW—"Beauty and the Geek" (9/18)Fox—"Bones" (9/25)NBC—"The […]

Madden 08

Madden 08

game Brian Urlacher spin-toss-tackling Clinton into the backfield. Mark Brunell pounding the turf in disgust at tossing his third INT. Santana Moss pointing skyward to celebrate a hard-won first down. It’s a reasonably sure bet that all of these things are going to be part of the Redskins’ 2008 NFL season. Thanks to the addition […]

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s

Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s

game Activision’s Guitar Hero series is that rare specimen that aces what I like to call the waking reality test: When a game effortlessly intrudes on your everyday life—in this case, when you’re walking through a grocery store, hear a Nirvana tune on the Muzak system and immediately begin flipping imaginary fret buttons—you know it’s got […]

All Star Football 2K8/NCAA 08 Football

All Star Football 2K8/NCAA 08 Football

game It’s just one more digitized testament to our national football jones: Training camps don’t start until August, but our football videogames now come out in July. The big dog, EA’s Madden 08, doesn’t take the field for a few more weeks, but we’ve already got two solid options to toss around. Live in the […]

Overlord

Overlord

game Overlord cackles and crackles with the droll and dastardly spirit of Dungeon Keeper, Bullfrog’s late-’90s series of games that cast you as an evil force bent on building up an empire of minions to crush those goody-goody heroes once and for all. As Dick Cheney proves to us every single day, there’s nothing quite […]

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

game Marvel Ultimate Alliance was clearly on the minds—and the hard drives—of the guys at Visual Concepts as they constructed this summer-sequel movie tie-in. Switch-between-the-heroes D-pad interface? Check. Set of upgradeable superpowers accessed by pulling the trigger buttons? Yep. A deep, endlessly entertaining superhero romp? Um, not so fast, cowboy—looks like “fun” is the missing […]

MLB 07: The Show

MLB 07: The Show

game Former UVA standout Ryan Zimmerman once had to do it. So did Jonathan Papelbom, Grady Sizemore and Joe Mauer.  In fact, most of today’s big league stars once had to scratch and claw their way through a rookie Grapefruit League season, trying to prove their worth to a major league roster and avoid the […]

Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3

game After three mega-successful Spider-films, it’s safe to say that even non-comics-geeks grasp the whole “with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility” thing. It appears, however, that Treyarch, the team responsible for creating the Spider-Man 3 videogame and its predecessors, missed the follow-up memo about great power and great expectations. Instead of giving us a spectacular next-gen web-slinging adventure, they’ve given […]

Def Jam: Icon

Def Jam: Icon

game Nobody can say that photographer didn’t have it coming to him. Seriously. Harrassing my man Ludacris, all up in his grill and trying to get a picture. I had no choice but to bust that stalkerazzi.You know, gotta keep it real and all that. Ahem. Excuse me while I stuff my white-boy street schtick […]

The Sims: Life Stories

The Sims: Life Stories

game After years of sandbox-play dominance and a gazillion expansion packs, we know EA’s colossal Sims franchise for what it is: one of the most seminal games ever created and the game most singularly capable of bringing your computer processor to its knees. Nobody ever disputes the fun of caring for (or, if you’re warped, […]

Capsule reviews of films playing in town

300 (R, 117 minutes) Much like his previous work, Sin City, Frank Miller’s stylish comic book 300 comes to life on the big screen. This faithful (nearly panel-for-panel) adaptation arrives courtesy of up-and-comer Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead). This violent, highly visual adventure tale tells the story of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 […]

Karaoke Revolution presents: American Idol

Karaoke Revolution presents: American Idol

game The Lion Lady and the Juggling Guy have absolutely nothing on me. Y’see, I don’t have to resort to vocal trickery and subrate talent-show gimmicks to impress the judges on “American Idol.” I can just belt out a pitch-perfect, growl-worthy version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” from my couch.  Karaoke Revolution presents: American Idol: […]