Previous month:
December 2010
Next month:
February 2011

January 2011

Eternal Mario Kart Mystery Answered At Last

Inyuo - Sportal Enemies

Nintendo's famous Mario is many things, but tactful isn't necessarily one of them.  What kind of hero rescues the fair princess from the evil turtle king, then turns around and invites said turtle king out for a day of go-karting with the aforementioned princess?  An artist by the name of Inyuo ponders this mystery with the above comic and a little fiscal logic:

I never quite understood Mario and Bowser's relationship outside of princess capturing. Maybe you get discount at the race track when you book in bulk, and Mario just has a very limited number of friends.

Makes sense to me!  There aren't that many dependable friendly characters in the Mushroom Kingdom, and coming up with enough people to book a day at the track at a reasonable rate can be a challenge.  Tough break for Peach.  "'Well at least we still have our tennis and soccer evenings.'"  Inyuo has a bunch of other video game-related comics featuring favorite franchises such as The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Final Fantasy, and more, so be sure to check out the entire archive over at DeviantArt.

PS3 Heads To The Clouds

PS3 SlimMy Sony PlayStation 3 will be three years old this year which if my friends' PS3 experiences have taught me anything means that I should not be surprised if/when it gives up and dies.  I've been backing up my save files as often as possible so as to be ready should such a thing happen, but keeping a save file archive on a USB memory stick is kind of pointless considering that I'll most likely just go buy a new PS3 to replace the dead one and some save files are protected in such a way that it's not possible to copy them around all willy-nilly (and don't get me started on the whole system backup feature which I've never been able to make play nice with my external hard drives).  Sony seems to be coming to rescue, however, as there's talk that soon it will be possible to save game progress files to the Sony servers, thereby invoking the might of The Cloud.  Kotaku has the story.

Cloud storage means that, rather than just keeping your save game data on your PlayStation 3's hard drive, users will be given the option to upload their saves remotely to a server. The advantage of this is that not only does it save the user space on their hard drive, but since it's tied to a PlayStation Network account, it can be pulled down to different consoles whenever and wherever the user desires.  Sony will call the process "Online Saving", and it'll be made available as part of the PS3's upcoming 3.60 firmware update.

Two caveats: 1) Online Saving only applies to PlayStation Plus members.  Not a problem for me (charter member here), and maybe this is what it takes to convince non-members to sign up.  Some people are complaining about this requirement, but considering that Sony has to dedicate storage space to holding all of this data, I can understand why there's not a free ride here.  2) Online Saving can respect copy protection flags, meaning that paranoid publishers that really do not want save data getting around can opt out of the program.  I really encourage companies not to do that, however.  What is the harm in being able to backup save files to a protected Sony-controlled source (custom firmware worries aside)?  There's a lot of goodwill to be gained in allowing players to protect all of their time invested in progressing through games.  On the whole, I applaud the Online Saving initiative and can't wait to safeguard my years of PS3 gaming.

Peggle Implemented In LittleBigPlanet 2

Now we're talking!  Forget those crappy LittleBigPlanet 2 community levels I was talking about earlier.  Now we're starting to see some actual creative use of the LBP2 tools!  Makotoi has created a working ten-level implemention of the popular Peggle from PopCap Games.  How long do you think it'll last before someone flips the copyright kill switch?  Hopefully it's left to thrive.  While it is a playable version of Peggle from which PopCap is not directly profiting, it could serve as a way to turn new players on to the game and entice them to purchase the official full version from the PlayStation Store.  Either way, my hope is that it stays up long enough for me to try it later.  Great work, Makotoi.  I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

(via Reddit)

Weekly Poll: Are You Down With NGP?

Poll012411Most of you out there believe that community-created content is important to the future of video games, and while I agree with that, I also believe that content created by the community is only as strong as the community itself.  I've spent the past week exploring the community-created content in LittleBigPlanet 2 and have been extremely disappointed.  So many of the levels are designed to offer easy high scores, as many PlayStation 3 Trophies and in-game pins as possible, and are just generally pointless or unfinished.  While I hope the better stuff will come with time (it takes extra effort to create astounding levels), all of this junk clogging up the community tubes is a waste of everyone's time and a general embarrassment.  While there is an in-game tool to report offensive content, I really wish there were a similar function to report pointless crap content.  There's so much potential for great things with the LBP2 tool set and I hate to see it wasted as it has been so far.

Moving on, now that you've had a few days to process Sony's big reveal of its Next Generation Portable handheld system, do you want one?  Are you interested in it?  Do you need more information about it before rendering a verdict?  Let's hear your thoughts.  For more on both the NGP and LittleBigPlanet 2's community levels, be sure to listen to Episode 37 of the Power Button podcast later this week.

Presenting Super Mega Mario Man!

Here we have Marco D'Alfonso's take on casting Nintendo's famous Mario as Capcom's beloved Mega Man (along with Mario's trusty dinosaur pal, Yoshi, costumed as Rush the robotic dog).  Having seen this, I've come to believe that if Nintendo ever remakes Super Mario Bros. 3 again, Mega Man's suit needs to appear as a new power-up suit alongside traditional selections such as the Hammer Bros. Suit and the Frog Suit.  Everyone's favorite plumber is a natural fit inside that armor.

It's Hard To Take These Pokémon Seriously

BidoofConsidering that there are hundreds of Pokémon to be caught in Nintendo's popular series of Pokémon video games, it's probable that they can't all be adorable little critters.  Sure, everyone knows the cute electric mouse Pikachu, but there are plenty of other pocket-sized monsters that lean the other way on the cute/ugly scale.  Joey Davidson of Crave Online (you may also know him from the Power Button podcast) has gone to tireless effort to study all of the many Pokémon out there and has come up with a list of twelve of the absoute dumbest-looking species ever to grace a Pokéball.  You'll find all of your goofy favorites on the list such as Mr. Mime, Jynx, and...


1st Appearance: Diamond, Pearl, Platinum

Why this Pokémon made the list: Oh, Bidoof... This is actually a Pokémon I specifically remember physically laughing at the first time he jumped me in the tall grass. Between the absurd teeth and the awkward beaver beard, Bidoof will always rank as one of the dumbest looking Pocket Monsters ever conceived.

Pokémon isn't really my thing, but I can respect a list of stupid-looking monsters when I see it.  Some of these character designs really make me wonder just how close to a deadline some of the designers came when dreaming up these strange creations.

Call Of Duty Cheaters Have The Worst Friends

Banned! With all of the flash revolving around the reveal of Sony's new Next Generation Portable, the news that the company also revealed a new version of firmware for the PlayStation 3 sort of slipped through the cracks yesterday.  The firmware update (version 3.56 for those keeping score at home) offers no new features, but it does apply new security measures in the wake of the private cryptography key crack.  While surely not a permanent fix, it did allow for the Powers That Be to detect anyone cheating at Call of Duty: Black Ops and deal out the appropriate punishment: a permanent ban of the compromised PS3 from playing Black Ops online.  RipTen's Garrett Hartman has the news and the anguished misspelled cries of those who were banned.

Call of Duty: Black Ops hackers are getting hit hardest with a permanent console server ban – many of them have expressed their “innocence” on the Official PS3 Call of Duty: Black Ops Forums.


I dont know what happened i was just playin it normally. i installed the patch and played for a while and I went to have my shower and when i came back i was permanently banned! Somone please get me unbanned! It might of been my frineds though because i lent him my ps3 a couple of days ago because his ps3 got YLOD…


Hi i understand all of then terms and conditions of playing call of duty black ops, but my PS3 has been banned.. and i dont understand why? there a few people here who play online in this house but none of us can anymore. how can i get some help? or who do i need to contact.

Based on this small sample size, I think we can determine that the average Black Ops cheater is illiterate and has the worst friends in the world.  After all, those friends are the ones that caused the poor player to be banned from the game, not the player him/herself.  Now what sort of friendship is that?  But seriously, I've gone on record several times about how much I despise cheating at online games, so I can't say that I find this punishment unfair.  If you do the cheating crime, expect to be kicked offline.

(via Reddit)

Nintendo Reveals New Kirby Game For Wii

Last year's Kirby's Epic Yarn has just barely begun to collect dust and yet Nintendo is already hard at work for another Kirby adventure for the Wii.  Nintendo of Japan has released a short video clip and a text blurb describing the new title, and since my Japanese skills are, well, non-existent, I turn you over to Google Translate to find out just what is going on here:

Also, Kirby is Kirby last year's wool is released in the U.S. and Japan], and for this story turns into Kirby's new smoking vomiting stationary game machines, Imashi to keep you waiting very long Or. For the [Wii] Kirby's new product has been developed by a team of Hull Institute. Please see the movie as well.

[Kirby] also this latest film is scheduled for release this year.

That's... that's not very helpful.  From what I can glean from that translation, HAL Laboratory is developing this new Kirby title and it's due for release in Japan sometime this year.  Also, something about smoking and vomiting.  Oh, Kirby; you and your vices! Say, do you think that this game is related to that old GameCube era Kirby title that has been stuck in development hell for the last six years? It looks very similiar...

More On Luigi's Mansion 3D And The 3DS's Mad Rush To E3

Luigi's Mansion 3DSatoru Iwata is asking questions again which means that it's time to learn several new facts and bits of inside information about the company's operation.  A few weeks ago we found out that a 3D version of Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube was resting in the Nintendo vault, for instance, and this installment of the ongoing interview series delves deeper into the game we never had the chance to play and the LCD accessory required to make it play in 3D.  Guess what?  We saw that accessory once before and just didn't know what it was at the time.

Konno: After the development of Luigi's Mansion for Nintendo GameCube was over, I was involved in the experiment of making a 3D version of it.

Iwata: Luigi's Mansion 3D. Unfortunately, we never released it.

Konno: Yeah. We tried fitting the Nintendo GameCube with a small, roughly four-inch, LCD that allowed you to enjoy Luigi's Mansion in glasses-free 3D.

Iwata: We showed that LCD as a reference exhibit at the 2002 E3, but kept the 3D aspect secret. I liked that, though.

Konno: Yeah. It had depth, so it really pulled you into the world of the game. I thought it was great, but…

Iwata: But we just couldn't get past the problem of how to sell it.

Konno: Right. Liquid crystal was still expensive back then, and no matter how new an experience we could provide through the games, there would have been a need for players to buy the LCD as an accessory. There was even talk that it could turn out to be more expensive than the console itself!

Iwata: In the end, we couldn't overcome that hurdle and it never made it out into the light as a product.

At that price and that size screen, I'd imagine that such an accessory would have been a hard sell back in 2002.  We still make Virtual Boy jokes today from time to time; think back to how much of a punchline the maligned 3D system still was a decade ago.  Maybe it's for the best that Nintendo tabled the 3D plans until it could do it right with the 3DS. 

Continue reading "More On Luigi's Mansion 3D And The 3DS's Mad Rush To E3" »

Heavy Rain: The Movie Sounds Promising

Heavy RainWhile Hollywood doesn't have the best track record when it comes to faithfully adapting popular video games into blockbuster films, I have high hopes for the upcoming movie based on Quantic Dream's Heavy Rain for the Sony PlayStation 3 entitled, simply, Rain.  After all, Heavy Rain was already basically a film in game form, and while the film will have to pick a single narrative path and go with it throughout the duration (no replays or branching paths here!), there's enough backstory and narrative gravitas in the game already that synthesizing it all out into a movie shouldn't be too much of a labor.  Variety has the details on what we can expect from Rain:

David Milch is heading into Heavy Rain, signing to adapt the noir-style videogame with Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne producing through their Unique Features banner.

As first reported on, Rain is being developed via Unique's first-look deal with Warner Bros., which is fast-tracking the project. Milch will start writing Rain once he's finished work on the first season of HBO's horse-racing series Luck, on which he's creator and exec producer.

Heavy Rain, based on the Sony Computer Entertainment game released last year, spans four days of mystery and centers on the hunt for a murderer known as the Origami Killer. Four characters, each following his own leads and with his own motives, take part in a desperate attempt to prevent the killer from claiming a new victim, with each character's decisions affecting the plans of the other three.

Milch has a big following from his role as creator/exec producer of NYPD Blue and Deadwood.  "David Milch's incredible ability to transform intense and complex storylines into gripping, popular drama makes him the perfect partner for us to have on Heavy Rain," Shaye said.

This is a landmark moment.  We're seeing the beginnings of a movie based on a video game that does not feature vampires, zombies, supernatural artifacts, sentient dinosaurs from an alternate reality, a pan-dimensional martial arts tournament, or the Pax BisonicaRain could finally give the genre the respect that it's deserved all along. 

(via Joystiq)