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The Walking Dead: Volume 1

After reading my buddy’s blog down there about the Left 4 Dead cover and zombie fiction, I simply had to add my 2 cents. Color me inspired. (Thanks, David!)

I’m a fan of pretty much zombie anything. If it ends with “… of the (Living) Dead” I’ve seen it. Be it Shaun, Dawn, Night, Day, Afternoon, Morning, Brunch, whatever. Zombie games? Yep, I love those too. Resident Evil(s)? Check. Left 4 Dead? Check. Stubbs the Zombie? Double check! (If you have a few Xbox Live Credits lying around I highly suggest downloading it. It’s a gem.) Dead Space? Not quite zombies in the traditional sense, but Check anyway. Anyhow, I think you get the point.

So when I saw David’s suggestions for zombie fiction, I thought I’d stop by to add a Zombie fiction “lite” recommendation to his magnificent list. You know, all the zombie with half the calories. Enter The Walking Dead graphic novels. Though I was a bit skeptical at first, I thought I’d give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not heavy reading by any means and there are only zombies every fifth page or so, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s not about zombies, per se, but rather about what happens to us after a zombie outbreak. In fact, the author, Robert Kirkman, begins his Introduction by stating that he’s not trying to scare anyone. Odd for a zombie story, no? He’s more interested in exploring how people press on and persevere in such extreme situations. And really, how much more extreme can you get than a full blown zombie outbreak?

So if you’re a zombie freak, appreciate graphic novels (or just aren’t into books that don’t have pretty pictures), give the Walking Dead a shot.  You might be surprised. I was.


Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to Ghostbusting. 🙂

PS. David was right about Dying to Live. It is an AWESOME read.


Holiday Gaming

The holidays are upon us. As we assemble with others for seasonal gatherings, video games are beginning to become a part of the festivities. So if you have a party coming up, here are a few ideas.

Wii is a natural party platform since it gets people up and moving. Even with the included game Wii Sports, you can have a homerun derby or similar contest with everyone getting a turn with the Wiimote.

Another idea are quiz type games such as Scene-It. The Xbox 360 version comes with four buzzer type controllers allowing four people (or four teams) to answer questions about movies. This game is a hit not only for parties, but also with a family or significant other. I gave this to my wife last Christmas and she, who had never played on the 360 at all, loved it.

For really livening up a party, get the gang back together with Rock Band. Four people can play this at once and it can be really entertaining just watching. Other music games like Guitar Hero and even American Idol are fun for group gatherings.

Bring a little retro to your party with older games you can download from Xbox Live or the Playstation Network. For those in their 30s and 40s, Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, and so forth can be a lot of fun to play. These are fairly inexpensive and you can have tournaments with these classics.

Video games can even be the theme of the party. Have several friends bring over televisions and their own game systems and set up game rooms throughout the house or party location. Rock Band can be head banging in one room while movie trivia is in another and sports in a third. The key is to pick games that partygoers are either already familiar with or can pick up quickly. Be sure have something for everyone. Zombie slaying is not for everyone. You can even make up your own games with a computer, digital camera, and PowerPoint. Trivia games about your guests can be a great way to start the evening. “Name that Baldspot” or “Which couple has been together the longest” are easy to put together and help everyone get to know each other better.

Have a great holiday season and please write to let me know how video games were a part of your party.




Todd McFarlane One on One

Our author, Fernando Bueno, got the chance of lifetime, to sit down and interview Todd McFarlane:

Not everyone gets to live their dream and make a living of all things leisure-time like sports, comics, movies, and so on. One person has, however. Todd McFarlane, Spawn creator, founder of Image Comics and McFarlane toys, was kind enough to grant me an interview recently. We talked about his involvement in creating the Halo collectible action figures, his approach to work, and his view on video games.

Todd McFarlane

Todd McFarlane

Fernando Bueno: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me, Todd.

Todd McFarlane: No problem.

FB: So tell us, how did you end up here?

TM: Well, I broke into the comic book industry out of college and sort of hit the ground running there. I worked my way up the ladder, working on some big characters like Batman, Spider-Man, and Hulk. From there I started my own comic company, Image Comics, at which point I pulled this comic character named Spawn out of my portfolio that I had since high school and made him sorta the flagship title of my studio. From there, I started to push Spawn up the mountain, if you will.

I decided that I needed to get into other things like TV, movies, toys, and video games. Sometimes I used other companies, and in the case of the toys, I couldn’t find any that would understand what I was trying to do artistically, so I started my own toy company. As time went by with the toy company, I decided that I couldn’t have all my eggs in one basket so I decided to make toys of other stuff. I mean, what happens if people don’t like Spawn after a while? So from there I was able to dive into doing all the sports figures, because, well, I’m a big sports geek. I went to college on a baseball scholarship, y’know. Anyhow, as we began growing the toy company, we started doing sports and comic book [characters], and [taking on] movie licenses, music licenses, and TV licenses. In fact, I think our first video game license might have been Metal Gear Solid 2 a few years ago. That did pretty well for us.

FB: McFarlane Toys has covered a lot of ground!

TM: To me it’s all pop culture. It’s moving the radar across the nation and trying to tap into that.

Continue reading ‘Todd McFarlane One on One’


A Veteran’s Day Guide to EndWar Infantry


Infantry play an important role on the battlefield of the future.

Infantry play an important role on the battlefield of the future.


Ninety years ago today the guns fell silent all along the trench lines stretching from the Alps to the North Sea. The War to End All Wars was over. Within 21 years, the world would once again be at war. The Treaty of Versailles planted the seeds of World War II. While wars continue throughout the world today, none have compared to the two world wars.



 Tom Clancy’s EndWar is set a hundred years after World War I ended. The units you can command are evolutions of the same units that fought during WWI. It was during this conflict that the tank and aircraft were first used in combat. Artillery and infantry both played a major role at the time. Even though modern tanks, gunships, and artillery are so much more advanced, in 2020, the soldier on the ground still decides the battle.


 Infantry is often the overlooked unit in EndWar. They are actually some of the most important units. There are two different types of infantry units: Riflemen and Engineers. Infantry are the only units which can secure uplinks and then upgrade them for supports. Therefore, you need to have these units in your force when you deploy to the battlefield. Following are some tips on how to get the most out of your infantry.


 Infantry are slow to move. Therefore, load them up in transports to quickly move them to their objectives. Transports also provides protection for your infantry since they are extremely vulnerable to all types of enemy attacks while out in the open. When your infantry are going to fight, make sure they are either in cover or garrisoned in a building. Buildings are great spots for positioning infantry. Both cover and buildings give infantry increased rate of fire and longer attack ranges in addition to providing protection.


 Engineers are excellent against all types of vehicles while they are in cover or garrisoned. They are also fast at upgrading uplinks Riflemen, on the other hand, are best used against enemy infantry—especially Engineers. With some upgrades, your riflemen can defeat any enemy infantry—even if they are garrisoned in a building. Riflemen can also secure uplinks fast.


 Infantry have some very cool upgrades. While Riflemen can get stealth suits and sniper rifles as well as the ability to deploy anywhere on the battlefield, Engineers can deploy minefields and deploy defenses around uplinks.


So next time you are fighting in 2020, focus on your infantry. If you use them correctly, keeping them in cover or garrisoned in buildings, and upgrade them, you will see just how effective they can be.




End War Strategy Videos

Our friends over at G4 have posted up some of our official strategy videos for End War.

We have a Basics overview teaching you the combat chain, followed by three different mission type walkthroughs: The Conquest of Rovaniemi walkthrough, The Raid on Rozenburg walkthrough, and The Siege of Washington D.C. walkthrough.  You can check out the End War Video Strategies at G4 here.

You can also go to our Tom Clancy Feature Page and purchase them in a discounted HD or SD bundle or with their eGuide.


Fallout 3 Guide Preview

Fallout 3 Regular Edition Cover

Fallout 3 Regular Edition Cover

Get a chance to read a free preview of the Fallout 3 guide (or click the cover image!).


The guy behind the guide [from the Bethblog]

Our friends over at the Bethesda Blog (aka, bethblog), had the awesome opportunity to interview David Hodgson aka sothothyog.  Included below is a Prima favorite picture and a great interview from Bethesda:


Now that you’ve had a chance to get a little more background on the Fallout 3 Strategy Guide, check out the interview below I conducted with David Hodgson.

Fallout 3 is the 67th Strategy guide you’ve authored. How did you get into this business?
Bear in mind that my body of work includes everything from The Official Strategy Guide to Gex: Enter the Gecko, Akuji the Heartless, and Star Wars: Demolition to Half-Life 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I started off in the UK, working for some defunct video-game magazines that no one has heard of (Maximum, for example). I then fled the UK and landed a job at the part-fraternity, part-sanitarium known as GameFan magazine in 1996. During that time, I helped out with GameFan Books, wrote a guide for Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, then helped start up a magazine called Gamers’ Republic, and also wrote a well-received guide for Metal Gear Solid shortly before that venture imploded. In 2000, I decided to go freelance, and work for a “proper” strategy guide publisher, and I’ve been working on Prima guides ever since.

About how many guides do you work on in a given year?
Due to the sheer enormity of the tasks (of which Fallout 3 has been far and away the most challenging and rewarding), I’ve cut down my workload to 5-6 books, but these are usually very challenging. I’ve done anywhere from 5 to 12 in a year, but the latter almost hospitalized me.

In your blog post, you mentioned the guide’s fold-up map is massive. Can you talk about the effort that went into putting that together?
There are two terms I’d like to use here to describe this effort; “collaborative” and “deranged.”

Continue reading ‘The guy behind the guide [from the Bethblog]’


Completing the Guide


Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise was a wonderful first guide to write, giving me an amazing opportunity to work with seasoned authors like Bryan Stratton and David Hodgson. Their patience and willingness to work with “the new guy” truly made all of the difference in my taking on the mantle of strategy guide author. The Product Management and Editing teams were likewise great to work with. In addition to being a lot of fun, co-authoring Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise really gave me the experience I needed to tackle my first guide alone.

As of September 18th, at around 4:00 PM PST, I had officially turned in the last portion of my first solo project, The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon. In roughly two and half weeks, I managed to write the entire guide, compile screenshots, and label all of the maps. Try as I might, I don’t think I can fully convey the sense of accomplishment that comes along with being able to say that. Despite the tight deadline and long hours, I had a lot of fun putting this one together. The game was a blast, offering me a nice change of pace from the tactical first-person shooters that tend to serve as the staple in my gaming diet. It had truly been a while since I played a good platformer.

As my second completed guide for Prima Games, I have to say I’m feeling more and more confident. Naturally, I still have a lot to learn, but if you had told me a few months ago that I’d have one book out on shelves and another rolling to print by this stage, I wouldn’t have believed you. Thanks a bunch to my Copy Editor, my Editor, Product Manager, and everyone else at Prima for helping me conclude my second project. Most of all, thanks to my wife and kids for their patience.


dismember the good times

I have a soft spot in my heart for horror games. And horror movies. And horror books. Ok, I like horror anything. So it goes without saying that Halloween might be high on my list of favorite holidays. This year, Halloween will be your favorite holiday too! (Sorry, Flag Day! Better luck next year.) That’s because Dead Space releases about two weeks before all hallow’s eve. By that time you’ll have plenty of play time with EA’s fantastically fearsome survival space horror title.

I often find it very difficult to talk about a game and not ruin the plot. Especially if the plot is very engaging. So instead of walking down that potentially disastrous road (disastrous for you, not me), I’ll instead prime you with a few tips and tricks so that you’re ready on release date. That way, you can get the most out of your experience in space, and still have a few minutes to trick-or-treat.

Tip #1: Dismember to kill! The necromorphs in Dead Space are tough. In fact, you won’t often be able to kill them by conventional methods. Headshots don’t do much and blasts to the torso do even less. Instead, take careful aim at their limbs and blast away. I like to start at their legs to slow them down, then work my way up to their arms or other limbs.

Tip #2: Combine your abilities. As you progress through the game, you get some pretty nifty abilities. I won’t go into them here, but suffice it to say that the best way to survive is to get creative. Combine your abilities to make enemies easier targets, or even turn certain baddies into weapons themselves!

Tip #3: Spend your Power Nodes wisely. Power Nodes are used to upgrade your RIG (your suit) and your weapons. However, there’s an art to upgrading your weapons. There are two kinds of slots in the upgrade menu– empty “bridging” slots, and enhancement slots that upgrade the weapon’s abilities (like damage). In order to reach some of the enhancement slots, you must first fill the empty “bridge” slots. Ya dig? Don’t use Power Nodes on empty “bridge” slots unless you have enough Power Nodes for the “enhancement” slots as well.

Tip #4: This one is my favorite. Pay close attention to the walls. Scrawled on the walls are special messages that can only be deciphered using a special “key”. I’m not talking about a door key, I’m talking about a special “codebreaker” key.  All I can tell you is this… the key is on a wall in Chapter 6. *gasp* The messages on the walls explain a lot about Unitology and what happened on the Ishimura prior to your arrival, so I highly suggest you play Sherlock Holmes and get to decodin’!

Comic fans should also know that the events leading to your experience in Dead Space are covered in a six issue series of comics published by Image Comics. Check them out and you’ll have everything you need to get your through Dead Space alive.


Far Cry 2 Impressions: Part 3

So yesterday I was working on finishing the map editor section of the Far Cry 2 guide. But I had a very tough time staying focused. Why? Instead of writing, I found myself completely sucked into the map editor. At first I was just going to create a simple map to illustrate how all the tools worked. But then I got side tracked by carving out ponds and streams. My stream cut across a road I had placed earlier…so I just had to build a bridge. It kept going like that for a couple of hours. I just kept adding objects and tweaking the environment until I had a pretty awesome looking map set in a jungle clearing.

Although I’ve been playing shooters for more than a decade, I’ve only dabbled with map editors in the past. Largely because they were very difficult to use, meaning it would literally take days or weeks to create anything worthwhile. But with Far Cry 2’s powerful tools, creating an awesome map is shockingly simple. Considering what I accomplished in a couple of hours, I’m very excited to see what the community can come up with in the days and weeks following the game’s release. One really exciting feature is the ability to download and edit maps created by other users. So if you upload a map and get a three-star rating, someone else could download, edit it, and upload the updated version and possibly get a five-star rating. But the editor doesn’t get full credit; the original creator’s signature remains on the map for its lifetime. This could result in the formation of a very robust map-making community, with multiple users applying input to fine tune a single map. However, one thing I am concerned about is that the map editor is so much fun to use that there might be fewer and fewer gamers playing the actual maps. But one thing is certain. There will never be a shortage of Far Cry 2 maps to choose from.

October 2021