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October 2005

Doom Box Office Drops 120%

Doom logoThe folks at Universal are scratching their heads today as the weekend box office reports have been published and the results aren't pleasant.  Somehow the film adaptation of everyone's favorite first person shooter, Doom, has dropped a mind-boggling 120% in its second weekend.  Dateline Hollywood has the story.

While the studio hasn’t revealed figures to the public, reporting an estimated drop of 74%, sources in the studio tell me the actual decline is much more severe.  "We’ve gone over the figures a dozen different ways and we keep getting the same result," said head of distribution Nikki Rocco. "It doesn’t seem possible that a movie’s gross could drop more than 100%, but somehow ‘Doom’ seems to have done it."

Yes, yes, I know it's satire.  Hopefully you did too.  It does drive home the point that video game films still have a reputation of being horrible.  Sooner or later someone will make a spectacular movie based on a beloved video game.  At the rate Hollywood is progressing, however, I sometimes wonder if I'll live to see that day.

DDR: Mario Mix Review At AMN

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario MixAfter spending the better part of the week fully entranced with Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, my final review has been published at AMNMario Mix is going to end up as one of my top picks of the year, most likely, and I cannot recommend the game enough for long-time Nintendo fans.  I'm told that DDR veterans may not think much of the difficulty level, but as far as I'm concerned, this one is a pure winner.  I'm a sucker for remixed classic theme songs and level music.

Weekly Poll: The Xbox Legacy

Weekly Poll for 10-23-2005Judging by last week's poll it looks like you all want official homebrew kits and region-free consoles.  I can't say I disagree with that.  Although I've never imported anything for my Nintendo DS, I like to know that I have the option.  There are too many home console games that I've missed out on over the years because of region coding.  Rockman and Forte just isn't the same on the cramped Game Boy Advance screen.  Capcom really should have brought that game over across the sea far sooner.

But enough about dwelling on the improbable.  My question for you this week involves what will become of the Microsoft Xbox once the Xbox 360 hits stores.  What do you believe will happen to the majority of Xbox consoles?  Will they be kept and cherished or traded in for store credit?  Given away to a younger sibling or sold at a garage sale?  Thrown away like yesterday's trash?  Cast your vote and leave some comments. 

Dancin' Bowser Contest Winner Announcement

Bowser plays TwisterThe Dancin' Bowser contest has come to an end and I've had several great entries to check out.  Bowser has been sighted dancing in Russia, at the scene of a calamitous beer spill, and even on the moon.  In a way I think I can say that everyone is a winner.  But, in a more accurate way, BGNG is the winner with his entry of Bowser playing a mean game of Twister.  Left claw yellow, Bowser!  Congratulations to BGNG and keep watching for future contests.

Last Call For Dancin' Bowser Contest

Bowser gets funkyToday is the last day to submit an entry for the Dancin' Bowser contest.  You have until midnight on the east coast of the United States to post your creation in the contest's comments thread.  Be aware that after the deadline the good folks at Typepad (PTB's provider) will be disabling the ability to leave comments in order to perform some system maintenance, so be sure to get your entry in before that time comes.  There's actually only been one entry so far, so your chances of winning are still quite good.  What are you waiting for?  Get creative!

PS3 Games To Be So Fast That You Cannot See Them

Sony PlayStation 3UPDATE: Or are they?  See the comments.

I chide Sony a lot, but when the Sony Computer Entertainment president, Ken Kutaragi, boasts that the PlayStation 3 will be able to run games at 120 frames per second, how can I not say something?  This is just the latest in a long history of similar claims about the PS3's general amazingness, but even this is over the top.  For comparison, today's modern video games run somewhere between 30 and 60 frames per second.  There's a reason why console games tend to top out at 60 fps, mainly because standard televisions cannot produce an image above 30 fps and even if they could crank out anything above that, the human eye simply cannot keep up with anything beyond 60 fps.  Sony can boost the frames per second as much as they want, but we simply will not be able to see all of those frames of animation.  That is, unless Sony's next peripheral is some kind of optical replacement unit.

I understand why Kutaragi boasts like this.  Most consumers will never check up on the limitations of human sight or television output.  Tell most people that a game runs at 120 frames per second and they'll look right at the screen for a moment and declare it true because they can "see" the difference.  Sony (and most other companies, for that matter) don't care what they have to say in order to sell units.  If this latest claim sells another batch of PS3s, then Kutaragi has done his job.

Inside The DS Rumble Pak

DS Rumble Pak exposed A curious gamer by the name of PuyoDead over at GameFAQs decided to crack open a Nintendo DS Rumble Pak to see what makes it tick.  The conclusion based on a cursory examination is that it uses a different rumble method than other rumbling controllers.  That makes sense, after all.  It wouldn't do any good to send the DS shaking so hard that it impedes gameplay.  For the record, I picked up Metroid Prime Pinball this week and the Rumble Pak is not loud or intrusive.  It gives off a slight jolt when various events occur, such as a bomb exploding or a gun shooting, but it is not distracting or annoying at all.

I'm looking forward to seeing just what creative developers can do with the add-on, but I have to say that one aspect of the Nintendo 64 Rumble Pak is missing from the experience.  It's a silly, stupid thing, but I always liked how when I was about to play Goldeneye 007 I'd load the Rumble Pak into the N64 controller as one would snap a machine gun clip into place.  It provided a touch of "fourth wall" realism that one does not get by sliding a game pak into place.

"Come. Grab my whip, Timothy Bradley."

Worlds of Power - Castlevania II: Simon's QuestThose of us who grew up in those crazy day-glo days that were the 1980s most likely remember the Worlds Of Power book series (unless of course you repressed the memories which is entirely normal in a situation such as this).  For the rest of you, the ten Worlds Of Power novels were based loosely (and I do mean loosely) on popular Nintendo Entertainment System games of the time.  Popular games such as Blaster Master and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest were turned into the most banal, pointless novels that one could possibly imagine written by the pseudonym F.X. Nine.  Most books played fast and loose with the games they represented, coming off more like the worst Internet fanfic in which the authors place themselves into the story in order to fight beside their favorite heroes and everyone learns a valuable lesson in the end.  Major General Panic of Everything2 has risked his sanity by returning to the Castlevania novel after all these years, providing a summary of the book and even sharing snippets of the worst of the text.

The main character is Tim Bradley, a normal kid. He's quite smart, and loves puns and chocolate. He's a good runner but not interested in sports, because he likes video games instead. He's obsessed with Castlevania but can't make his way through anything else in the horror genre, be it book, movie, or comic. He's fourteen and converses at a second-grade level. He's about to get the shock of his life!  While avoiding a big mean bully, whose girlfriend Tim accidentally asked out on a date to the used video game store (she accepted), Tim dodges into the bathroom and meets Simon Belmont, who has traveled through an interdimensional portal in order to ask for Tim's help. Tim, of course, is happy to oblige.

I actually bought two of these books back in the day, the aforementioned Castlevania II and Mega Man 2.  Unfortunately, for as bad as the book based on Castlevania was, the Mega Man novel was far worse.  It was part of the Junior Worlds Of Power series, meaning that the length and vocabulary of the book were pitched far lower in order to reach younger readers.  In that installment Mega Man accidentally becomes human and must learn to deal with emotions while battling Dr. Wily's robots.  Even after all these years I still want that hour of my life back so I can do something better with it.

DDR: Mario Mix Impressions At AMN

Mario Mix dance padAMN has just published my first impressions of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix.  I've been very pleased with the game so far and I'm actually looking forward to playing it again despite the fact that it requires physical movement.  I have great hand/eye coordination thanks to years of using game controllers, but when it comes to foot/eye coordination I'm not so gifted.  I've had to push most of my furniture out of the way so that if I do happen to fall I won't crack into a table or slam dance into a recliner.  It's going to take practice and a lot of annoying my downstairs neighbors with loud stomps before I'm ready to give Waluigi a fair challenge on a high level of difficulty.  Left foot, right foot, step, step, step...

Who'd Want To Dance To Anything Else?

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario MixI'm in the process of review the new Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix this week for the Nintendo GameCube.  This is my first time playing a DDR title, and up until now I really haven't been interested in the series or its competitors.  When Nintendo announced Mario Mix, however, I knew I had to try it because of the inclusion of Nintendo theme music.  In my opinion it's the classic Super Mario songs used in the game that are the reason to get up and dance.  I've been listening to some of these tunes for twenty years now.  I can probably hum them in my sleep if I had to do so.  Why wouldn't I want to dance to that in DDR?  Why wouldn't anybody?

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