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August 2007
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October 2007

September 2007

Let's All Shoot Gorons In The Crotch For Fun

Let's All Shoot Gorons In The Crotch For Fun Nintendo's EAD development team is having fun with us again.  Some screenshots of the upcoming Link's Crossbow Training (no proper "The Legend of Zelda" title for this one?) reveal some of the various things Link has to shoot with his fancy Wii Zapper crossbow: flying dragony things, bad guys on beastback, and, um, a group of Gorons that, for whatever reason, we have to shoot in the crotch.  Huh?  Well, whatever.  Gorons really are made of strong stuff.

In related news, I now have a file named "goroncrotch.jpg" on my server.  The search engines are going to love this one.

The Cheapest Neo-Geo Games (Relatively Speaking)

Magician Lord If you're like me (and I know I am) then you've been enjoying the ongoing series of "Cheapest [console name] Games Worth Your Time" over at Retrogaming with Racketboy.  Of course, the idea of cheapness is relative.  Nintendo Entertainment System bargains usually clock in around $5, but when you consider the Neo-Geo library, well, things get a lot more expensive.

Typically, my Cheapest Games Worth Your Time series looks for games that are $10 or less, but with the Neo-Geo, that just isn’t an option. This 24-bit powerhouse has always been for only the most financially-blessed gamers with both the system and games retailing for hundreds of dollars each. With a hardcore following and a very limited supply of games, many game prices are still much more than most retro gamers are used to paying for a single title. Because of this, my “Cheap” Neo-Geo list will be rather short and I’ll have to adjust my price targets as well.  For AES cartridges, my goal was to find the best games for $50 or less and I had a target of $30 or less for Neo-Geo CDs.

I read the list and came to a shocking realization: I've never played any of those games (at least, not on the Neo-Geo platform).  I've usually agreed with selections from past articles in this series, so I'll just assume these are good fun as well.  Instead of throwing money down a Neo-Geo hole though I believe I will wait until these games appear on the Wii's Virtual Console.  Hopefully they'll be reasonably priced by then, too.  I've wanted to play Magician Lord since I saw it on the old Nick Arcade show years and years ago.

Metroid Dread Won't Stay Dead

Samus AranHere it comes again!  Another rumor about the Metroid game that may or may not have existed and which may or may not be canceled.  You spotted the Metroid Dread reference in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, right?  There's a computer screen on the Pirate Homeworld that, when scanned, refers to a Pirate project by the name of "Dread".  Just like that the rumors and wishful thinking flare up again.  MTV's Stephen Totilo tries to get to the bottom of it, but ends up coming away confused (and he's not the only one!).

Pacini: “It’s not what you think it means… it was something that was overlooked and wasn’t in any way indicating anything about the handheld game. We know no information about the handheld games.

MTV: Are you suggesting that you got in trouble or something?

Pacini: Not at all. We actually had a fictional element of something else in the game that by a large coincidence could be read that we were giving a hint about “Metroid Dread” which was not the case. It’s a complete and utter coincidence.


Pacini: That’s all I can say on it.

They love picking at us, I just know it.  Assuming that the developers are being honest with us, here's a wacky idea from left field: maybe this Pirate "Dread" project is related to the mysterious green ship that appears in the game's 100% special curious ending.  I have no evidence to support that, mind you, but then again I don't have any evidence regarding Metroid Dread's existence either, so it all evens out in the end. 

Weekly Poll: Finish The Fight

Weekly Poll for 9-19-2007Extended warranties for games aren't exactly a smart investment.  If you're careful with your discs then they'll last a long time, and considering how much we pay for these discs in the first place you'd expect people to take good care of them.  If you've ever browsed the used games at your local GameStop, however, you'll find out that treating discs with care is a rarity.  Personally I find the starter kits to be a greater waste of money.  $25 for some screen cleaner wipes and a plastic case that stores only two games?  Yeah, sure...

Speaking of lots of money, Microsoft has unleashed Halo 3.  Did you (or are you going to) buy it this week?  Rather short and to the point, but I'm curious.

CONTEST: Win Halo Effect

Halo Effect What will you do after you finish the fight in Halo 3?  You could read Halo Effect, a new book that explores the Halo world and beyond (don't miss the free preview chapter at the previous link).

Now, in Halo Effect, science fiction authors, scientists, critics, and even fellow gamers explore Halo’s hold on players and its influence on the world of gaming. What’s behind the helmet of the superhuman Master Chief is a mystery. What’s behind Halo is the story of the most popular video game of all time.

The good folks at BenBella Books have been kind enough to offer up three copies of Halo Effect to PTB readers which means that it's time for another contest.  To enter just send an e-mail to that includes the answer to this trivia question: What was the codename of the final testing version of Halo 3?  Three entries will be chosen at random from the correct answers, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm ET on September 30, 2007.  And now the customary rules and caveats.  Contest open only to those with North American mailing addresses, PTB is not responsible for lost or misdelivered entries, winners will be notified to provide a mailing address for prize delivery which will then be turned over to BenBella Books who will send out the books, winners will be announced on October 1, 2007, are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?  Good luck!

Rumored 40GB PS3 Clouds Issue

Sony PlayStation 3So there's this rumor going around that Sony is on the verge of announcing yet another variation of PlayStation 3 hardware.  This time it's a PS3 with a 40 GB hard drive and less features than its more full-featured siblings.  Next Generation, take me away!

The report also speculates that the console will retail for $399 and will ship without the USB ports or backwards compatibility included in the more expensive 60GB and 80GB models.

Oh for the love of Clank... Sony, stop cranking out hasty PS3 reconfigurations!  It's almost as if the company is desperately throwing new PS3 models at the wall, eager to find one that sticks.  Unfortunately, such behavior also makes the company look desperate and confuses customers.  "Does the 60GB have hardware or software backwards compatibility?" / "The 80 GB has Wi-Fi, right?" / "What do you mean this USB controller won't work with my 40 GB PS3?" / "Why don't you have any 20 GB consoles in stock?" and so on.

Sony has said time and again that they believe in the PS3 and that it'll go a long way.  Yeah, I think it will given more time and support, but perhaps it's time to pick a single model and focus attention on that.  Once upon a time the great thing about gaming consoles was that they existed as a single configuration so that developers had a consistent hardware model with which to work.  Yanking out and shoving in PS3 capabilities amongst a variety of models isn't good for anymore: customers are confused about which model offers the best value for the money, developers have to design for the lowest common feature set denominator, and Sony itself keeps sinking more money into redesigning something that isn't in need or repair.  Sony, please, have a little patience and support what's already in the marketplace.  The world doesn't need yet another PS3 model.

Trophies Back For Brawl After All

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Well, that's a relief.  After some confusion last month over whether or not trophies had been dropped from the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Brawl in favor of stickers I'm glad to see the Smash Bros. Dojo announce/confirm the return of those fantastic collectibles.

[I]f you want to learn more about a character you saw in the background in Smash. Or when your interest in a particular character’s back story has been piqued and you want to learn more about them.  Having trophies that explain your characters is quite useful.

Here's hoping we get a ton of trophies this time around.  I know it seems silly, but earning new trophies kept me coming back for more Super Smash Bros. Melee far longer than one would think.  I'd also like to see each version of the game (North America, Japan, Europe, etc.) contain the same trophies this time around.  Teasing fans with trophies they cannot have is so 2001.

Bonked At Last

Bonk's Adventure Metroid Prime 3: Corruption isn't the only game I finished this week.  While playing games on Nintendo's Wii I've found that I've developed a curious habit.  Whenever I get a new Wii title I end up getting a new Virtual Console game as well and wind up dividing my time between the two of them.  Corruption's counterpart for the past two weeks has been Hudson's Bonk 3: Bonk's Big Adventure, and now that I've finished it I've finally achieved a childhood goal of playing and completing all three main Bonk games.

Continue reading "Bonked At Last" »

Metroid Mission Complete

Samus Aran It is a proud day for all of us here at the Galactic Federation, mostly because I've just completed Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.  Yes, my friends, the Phazon scourge that has plagued us lo these many years is finally a thing of the past, as I finished the game with a 100% rating in just under nineteen-and-a-half hours of actual playing time.  For this I was rewarded not just with the game's basic ending, not just with the special ending awarded at the 75% mark, but the really special curious ending offered up only to those of us who collected every last item, are skilled with a morph ball, and who had plenty of free time over the past week or so.

Corruption has already impressed me, as you'll recall.  The first half of the game was spent learning the ins-and-outs of the new motion controls, but the last half of the adventure was all about putting those skills to the test.  I've been waiting a long time for a console-based first-person-adventure (or shooter, whatever) to control this well.  Environmental puzzles really stepped up once I'd reached a certain homeworld, too.  Infiltrating an enemy compound alongside a team of troopers has never been so fun.

Before I stop talking in generalities and get down to the spoilers, let me just thank everyone who sent over Friend Vouchers, especially Guy Perfect for sending a ton of the l'il green tickets and MTV's Stephen Totilo for giving me the idea to set up the voucher swap in the first place.

Now, let's talk about the game's final world...

Continue reading "Metroid Mission Complete" »

Weekly Poll: Money To Burn

Weekly Poll for 9-10-2007 Go single-player mode!  I used my single-player game story here last week, so let's just move on, shall we?

This week I want to ask you about the best ways to throw your money down a bottomless hole.  There are so many items and services in the gaming world that are typically a total waste of money.  There's the extended warranties on games and hardware, sure, but then there's those pointless "starter kits" for new console owners that contain, say, cleaning cloths, a case that holds two games, and a cheap screen protector for handheld units.  Then again, in this age of free gaming guides online you could always sink a handful of dollars into an "official" strategy guide.  How about limited-use novelty controllers such as bongos or fishing poles?  I ask you, what's the bigger waste of money when it comes to gaming?  Cast your vote and leave some comments.