Microsoft E3 2014 Highlights

Microsoft spent most of their E3 pre-show conference running game trailer after game trailer, with little exposition in between, and quite frankly it was a far wiser choice to do so than have too many stodgy old execs trying to be cool. Since the actual E3 expo starts tomorrow, that's a pretty decent strategy. My personal favorite highlights were as follows: TOMB RAIDERScreen Shot 2014-06-09 at 2.07.37 PM   NEW TOMB RAIDER! Lara Croft is back. The sequel to 2012's Tomb Raider is called Rise of the Tomb Raider and the trailer juxtaposes one of Lara's PST therapy sessions with her actual coping mechanisms: raiding, exploring & killing. I can't really count the number of times I said "fuck yes" out loud and in my head during this video. Actress Camilla Luddington is once again breathing life into Lara, providing both vocal talents and motion capture sequences to bring us the best Lara possible. Release date: Holiday 2015, Precise Date TBA

HALO

The Master Chief Collection
*Art made prior to today's announcement. RUMOR CONFIRMED.
Halo: Master Chief Collection! The full next-gen HD remakes of the first 4 Halo games – the ones starring Master Chief, that is – are being collected into one (ONE!) disc and provided for your entertainment. All 4 games are getting the Xbox One HD treatment, and all games will have their original multiplayer experiences (upgraded, of course) included. Not only that, but there are 4000 gamerscore points available through achievements. I plan on getting at least 3000 of them. Pre-ordering the collection will also grant access to a new Halo webseries and more importantly the multiplayer beta for Halo 5: Guardians.

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PROJECT SPARK

xcbefd2zazoy8ufxqpas Project Spark! Conker Returns! (Sort of.) Conker, of Conker's Bad Fur Day fame on the N64 is making a smashing return to the world of gaming in a wonderfully creative way. Project Spark is the game-building game that allows you to create the world and type of game you would want to play, fully populate it with challenges, enemies or both, then play it. Coming later this year as a full release (it's in beta now) the game will now include one of gaming's most irreverently fun squirrels. AW NUTS!

Music Monday: First Aid Kit NEW ALBUM ALERT

35921088_842_1500_06022014_17cdfd2074b66b78f2d5532a7cf8578e It's an exciting time in the ol' music world these days. As you very well know, First Aid Kit is one of my favorite bands and they have released their third - YES THIRD - album, Stay Gold. These two haven't even hit age 23 yet, and they have three albums, so if you're trying to place what that emotion you're feeling right now is, it's inadequacy. From covering one indie darling song to becoming indie darlings themselves, Johanna and Klara have done extremely well for themselves. It's not just luck that's gotten them this far, either -- they have a ridiculous amount of talent for their age. The phrase "silver lining" is overused and trite, but it is just so easy to work into a song. Hell, even Lykke Li has a track on her newest album that spins the phrase, called "Silver Line."  No matter how many times the phrase gets used, First Aid Kit have still managed to work it into a fresh song. In fact, the phrase isn't even the crux of the chorus, so a different title could've easily been picked. I'm spending too much time on the phrase. Just listen to the song, because it's really quite good. My Silver Lining On their last album The Lion's Roar, the girls sang a song called "Emmylou" which was a love song to the incomparable Emmylou Harris, but also a standard love song to a significant other, and moreover was even a bit of a love song to the bygone era of that strong streak of Americana Folk that used to dominate country music. Nowadays, country music is a sad state of affairs, mostly populated with focus-tested lyrics and pop industry rejects. The "Emmylou" era represented the post-Rockabilly, pre-Pop influence, and the newest single from Stay Gold called "Cedar Lane" is very much right in line with that genre. An official video hasn't yet been released for the single, but they have provided a listening video. Cedar Lane As a bonus, here's a behind the scenes look at the making of the "My Silver Lining" video: To buy the album on iTunes, click here. To find out more about First Aid Kit, click here. The album can still be streamed - for now - on NPR by clicking here. maxresdefault-2