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July 2008

Sonic The Hedgehog Gets The Statue Treatment

Sonic the Hedgehog Nintendo isn't the only company licensing their popular characters for the statue/figurine treatment.  Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog is the latest gaming hero to pose for a First 4 Figures display piece.  $100 will snag you a 12" tall blue blur of your very own.

Our Sonic the Hedgehog statue has been painstakingly recreated from the official artwork from the classic games to bring a perfect representation of “the fastest thing alive”. The base of the model has been inspired by the first level in the first game, the Green Hill Zone, complete with a grass top and recognizable checker board base.

Note that this is not the same Sonic figurine that the company announced a few months ago.  I don't see myself picking one of these up, but I would like to think that this particular representation of Sonic — that is, the classic Sega Genesis era version and not the over-attituded to-the-extreme design — is a harbinger of good fortune poised to lead us into a time when new modern Sonic games are just as much fun as the original trilogy that launched the character into gaming stardom.

Say, do you think this figure may lock-on to a future Knuckles statue to form an amazing new collectible?  (Answer: "No Way!")

Nintendo Reports Amazing Profits

WarioI imagine that somewhere out there right now Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata is reclining in his comfortable chair made of money, wearing his soft fuzzy slippers made of rare Pokemon, and sipping on a cool drink with precious stones embedded in the ice cubes.  The company has reported its latest quarterly earnings today and is proud to announce that is brought in one billion dollars in profit.  One billion dollars.  Profit.  My goodness.  I think I understand now why Nintendo is spending more resources these days courting the casual crowds over the core gamer audience.  There's gold in them thar casual markets.  Now, will Nintendo stock this money away in the vault for a rainy day or will they use it to fund research into the next evolution of video gaming technology?  At long last the development of the Virtual Boy DS can begin.

Activision Crosses Streams, Drops Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters 2Here's something unexpected.  The rumor mill is chugging today about the fate of the upcoming multiplatform Ghostbusters video game.  Publisher Activision has decided to cull the herd and streamline developer Vivendi Games, and unfortunately Ghostbusters is not on the list of games to be picked up.  What was will be and what is will be no more, apparently.

"The only franchises that Activision Publishing will release are based on Crash Bandicoot, Ice Age and Spyro, as well as Prototype and one other game that has not yet been announced," the representative said. "We are reviewing our options regarding those titles that we will not be publishing."

I would think that the Ghostbusters game is too high profile and too far along in development to be killed outright at this point, so my hope is that some other publisher out there would have an interest in acquiring the property and releasing it.  Someone must find Ghostbusters a publisher that it might live again.  At troubling times like these let us remember the inspirational words of Vigo the Carpathian: "Death is but a door, time is but a window.  I'll be back!" 

Weekly Poll: ABCs and XYZs

Weekly Poll for 7-21-2008Nintendo had the best E3 showing this year?  Really?  Really??  I felt let down by this year's media briefing, what with the casual-focus and lack of core titles on display.  This is not a unique opinion, of course.  I suppose I feel that Sony had the best showing this year, and they kind of win by default with me.  Microsoft seemed to be trying a little too hard to be cool and with-it.  Sony's not much better in that regard, but they weren't quite as blatant about it this year.

Let's have a light fluff question this week.  Controller buttons have been labeled many different ways over the years.  There's your classic ABXY configuration that so many of us grew up with, the Sega-centric ABC method, the old fashioned 1234 numbering, and, of course, Sony's χΟΔ distribution.  Which is your preferred labeling scheme?

Help Name The Next Cattlesnake

CattlesnakeThe Mother 3 translation project continues to roll along and now the team behind bringing the sequel to Earthbound into English needs some creative input.  One of the neat things about Earthbound are the crazy names assigned to enemies.  Who can forget Gruff Goat or the Chomposaur?  Mother 3 has a whole new crop of zany badniks, and without a proper English translation to guide them, the team can't decide what to call the critters

The time to finalize names, etc. is quickly approaching, and I’m still unhappy with a bunch of enemy names. I feel they could be better than what we have now. So perhaps creative people here can help come up with some? I’ll give readme credit if anyone comes up with something that’s used in the final patch.

There are some intriguing enemies up for grabs here.  Who knows?  Maybe you can be the one to name the next Cattlesnake.

Top 15 Games of E3 2008 At Kombo

Kombo's Top 15 Games of E3 2008  It just wouldn't be the post-E3 season without the major gaming sites handing out awards for outstanding achievement in the field of excellence, so over at Kombo we've done our journalistic duty by choosing the top fifteen games of the show as voted by those of us who were in Los Angeles last week. 

Traditionally, we run our genre-specific Best and Worst of E3 Awards after each E3, but this year, because there weren't enough award-worthy games on hand, we've decided to do things a little differently this year. If we were to hand out genre-specific awards, such as Best Action Game and Best Shooter, we would have a lot of games that win by default -- because there are not enough contenders in each category. What's more, it's likely the same few games would dominate the genre awards, and we'd just be awarding the same game over and over with different awards. So, instead, we've put together a top 15 article, celebrating the 15 best games of the show. This way, we can spotlight 15 different games, casting the spotlight over a wider range of games.

I wrote the descriptive blurbs for a few of the games on the list.  Check it out one time, won't you?

Local Media Unlocks "Send Nude Photo" Achievement

Herbert Those dastardly pedophiles will do anything to score fresh photos of naked minors.  Why, they'll even offer video game points!  Yes, it's true.  Local media wouldn't lie or be otherwise confused on the concept of points.

"Kids are playing games, and they are being asked to take photos of themselves naked in order to get game points," state attorney Cybercrime Detective Lt. David Maurer said. "There is not only the chatting version of the games but also a webcam involved."

"My theory on it is that predators are going to go where kids are, and kids are playing video games so it's a perfect place for them to be," Maurer said.  At any time, there can be up to 300,000 people online playing the most popular Internet-connected games, Local 6's Donald Forbes reported.

"You think they're just watching a game, and I didn't really know they could actually get through the games and play a lot of people," parent Alida Magana said.  The most popular games are Halo 3, Call To Duty [sic], Final Fantasy and Grand Theft Auto.

I didn't know that "Send Nude Photo To Creepy Guy" was one of the Achievements in Halo 3.  Do you think Sony will try to keep parity with their new Trophy system?  And how many points is a nude photo worth in today's modern online economy? Someone should ask Lt. Mauer for more information.  After all, he has a theory.

Wii MotionPlus A Battery Minus?

Wii™ MotionPlus The announcement of the new Wii MotionPlus add-on has sparked plenty of discussion, and while topics such as supported games, availability, and price have been knocked around, nobody seems to ask the most important question: what will the Wii MotionPlus do to the Wii remote's battery life? 1:1 gameplay isn't so impressive if the gizmo drains a pair of AA batteries right in the middle of a Wii Sports Resort round of doggie discus.

While playing the Resort demo at E3 last week, I asked a Nintendo representative about battery life when the MotionPlus is in use and was actually given a solid, useful answer. When combined with the MotionPlus add-on, the Wii Remote's batteries are good for eight hours of play. Start investing in a small collection of batteries. You just may need them come Springtime.

E3 2008 Photo Album Complete

Orpheum Now that I've rested and recovered from last week's E3 madness, I've gone ahead and finished adding photos from the event into the E3 2008 Photo Album.  Marvel at the Nintendo briefing that would not end, gawk at the small Showcase Pavilion, rock with The Who, and get drunk with Batman all over again.  Well, something like that, anyways.  Even with the smaller size and lackluster game offerings, it was a heck of a week.

Nice Deal On The SimCity Box Today At

The SimCity Box I've been dragging my feet for the last few years on picking up the last few SimCity titles for PC, and now this morning I find that I'm glad I waited. has a nice sale today on The SimCity Box which includes SimCity 4 and its expansion pack, SimCity Societies and its expansion pack, the new Spore Creature Creator, and something called Snap City which seems to be a sort of scenario-based challenge for just $25.99.  That seems like a fair deal to me.  I ordered my copy.  Have you?