Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

As seen on CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox, Wired, Yahoo!, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal
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Tagged MSNBC

Published works: April 2009

Excluding short articles and blog posts not on Smooth Harold:

Published works: March 2009

Excluding short news articles and blog posts:

Published works: February 2009

A trio of new stories for MSNBC and Venture Beat

For video game pessimists and number crunchers, my latest:

MSNBC: Top 5 games to bailout 2009

For the nerds out there, my latest: “Your 401k is gone. The price of your home has crashed. Your paycheck is in doubt. Yeah, 2009 is shaping up to be a great year, thanks to the recession. But chin up, readers. With hard work, a little bit of luck, and a healthy dose of escapism, we’ll get through this. So when the going gets tough, look to these standout games to forget it all: the most anticipated video games of 2009.”

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Best Xbox 360 games of ’08

My latest: “First, the bad news. The dreaded “Red Ring of Death” continues to plague Xbox 360 owners. Some reports have put the failure rate of the console at one-third. It’s a bummer, because there are so many great games.

“The good news — provided you’re in the lucky majority with a valid warranty — was that 2008 was another great year for Xbox fans. Not as jam-packed as last year, mind you. But with improved reliability and a new low price of $199, there’s no reason to miss the top 10 Xbox 360 games of 2008.”

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Best PSP games of 2008

My latest: “Three years after its release, and the PSP is still lacking games — most people use it to watch movies on the go. But a nice mix of sports, arcade, shoot-‘em-ups, creative and traditional titles have made their way to the handheld this year. Though all but one were released in the first half of 2008, these are the best PlayStation Portable games of the year.”

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 best sleeper games of 2008

The big games this year are hard to miss: “Gears of War 2,” “Fallout 3,” “LittleBigPlanet,” “Guitar Hero.” But what about the low-profile ones that are just as good, if not better? The games that come out of nowhere to delight, inspire and surprise us?These are the best Cinderella games of 2008. If it’s the new and innovative you seek, don’t overlook these hidden gems.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 most cinematic video games

Unplayable cut scenes, cinemas, or in-game movies have been a part of video games for more than 20 years. They help advance the plot, serve as a rest area for players and produce shock and awe like any good movie.

While the technique is evolving (some developers like Valve shun them altogether in favor of total interaction), cut scenes often make games feel bigger than they really are. And nobody does it better than the following games when it comes to memorable cinematics.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 video game ghosts

Ghosts may be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “spooky,” but they make for lousy Halloween costumes. They have a rich history with video games, and for that, I respect them. So in the spirit of disembodied souls and our favorite pagan holiday, I give to you the best video game ghosts of all time.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: New Xbox interface is more about movies

Microsoft says its “New Xbox Experience,” which rolls out Nov. 19, will “change the face of home entertainment for every Xbox 360 owner.” It doesn’t.

In reality, the New Xbox Experience is more appropriately described as a new menu system. It won’t revolutionize your console, but it will improve your experience. Ironically, the most interesting feature about this revamp to a game console’s user interface has nothing to do with games. It’s about movies.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 best Atari games

It’s almost impossible to hear the word “Atari” and not reminisce on joysticks, paddle controllers, stick-men animation, beeps and blips and countless gaming classics. If it weren’t for Atari, there probably wouldn’t be Nintendo, PlayStation, or Xbox – at least as we know them.

While arcade hits make up the lion’s share of popular games found on Atari systems, original favorites also call the platform home. Wooden-panel consoles, we salute you with the best Atari games.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 PlayStation 2 games

Developers have made more than 2,400 games for PlayStation 2, Sony says. That’s easily the most of any console, which makes sense, considering that a whopping 140 million of the units have been sold since its debut eight years ago.

With a library and audience that big, there truly is something for everyone on the system, and new games are still being released. The following five are the creme de la creme – and found only on the PS2 system.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 best video game quotes

Reducing the most memorable video game quotes to just five is a tough task. From classic “Duke Nukem” one-liners to the inadvertent hilarity of poor Japanese-to-English translations, the options are virtually endless.

And while a mention of “All your base are belong to us” is perhaps more than deserving (the phrase spawned a major Internet meme at the turn of the decade, after all), the following extracts are the ones that truly define the medium – the most choice video game quotes of all time.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 least embarrassing game-based movies

Later this month, 20th Century Fox will release “Max Payne,” the most recent video game to get a Hollywood makeover. But if history is any indication, the movie will be a critical stinker, as have been the majority of cringe-inducing, game-related feature films.

That’s not to say there haven’t been any good ones (or at least a handful of bearable ones). And from time to time, there have even been some great ones, particularly those that use video games as a backdrop, as opposed to driving the central story. And these are the best – the ones that will leave you minimally embarrassed or even impressed.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: What’s behind the add-on phenomenon?

“There is no way we’re putting that there,” my wife tells me.

We’ve just spent 20 minutes surveying our 1,100-square-foot apartment in search of a spot for our new “Dance Dance Revolution” pad. The only place to stash it is under the couch, and my wife knows it.

”OK,” she concedes, allowing the unorthodox storage given our growing game-related gadgetry.

I’m not the only one with an increasing stockpile of video-game peripherals. According to The NPD Group, the official bean-counter of U.S. video game sales, consumers spent a record $1.3 billion so far this year on plastic guitars, steering wheels and other add-ons, the result of games like “Wii Fit,” “Guitar Hero,” “Mario Kart Wii” and “Rock Band.”

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 video game pirates

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, it’s the best buccaneers.

“Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me. We pillage, we plunder, we rifle and loot. We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot…” when playing games, that is.

Tired of incessant World War II-themed shooters? Then drink up me hearties, these are our top five video game pirates – with choice gameplay to boot. After you check out the list, tell us your favorite gaming buccaneers.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

Crispy Gamer: Not Every Politician Hates Videogames

At a VIP game developer event in a secluded upstairs San Francisco lounge, a well-dressed man in his 50s is making the rounds. “Hello, I’m the mayor of Baton Rouge.”

“Do you just walk around calling yourself a mayor?” asks one doubting attendee.

“No, I’m really the mayor of of Baton Rouge.”

And he is. His name is Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden, and he was attending the Game Developers Conference for the second time in as many years. He wouldn’t be there (or be a sponsor) if he didn’t like videogames — or at least what they’ve already done and potentially will do for his city’s inhabitants.

Continue reading at Crispy Gamer…