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April 2005

March 2005

Live In Your World. Steal From Ours.

PspGameSpot is reporting that a man in Charlotte, Virginia helped himself to twelve - count 'em - twelve brand new PlayStation Portable units from the storeroom of a local GameStop just as the boxes were being unloaded and processed.  When questioned by an employee on his way out, the unidentified man tried to knock the employee's glasses off her face and just kept walking out of the store.  The thief remains at large.

Free investigation tip: look on eBay for a seller from or near Charlotte, Virginia with twelve - count 'em - twelve brand new PSPs for sale at outrageous prices.

I would hate to be the GameStop employees that are running the midnight sale tonight.  Imagine having to explain to twelve irate customers why the store is twelve PSPs short.  If you're one of the twelve unlucky people who don't get your pre-ordered PSP from the Charlotte GameStop tonight, don't worry.  I hear there's a guy from your area on eBay selling (now this is a coincidence) twelve brand new PSPs.

Xbox: The "X" Is For X-plode

Xboxfire_1It turns out that the "X" in Microsoft's Xbox may just mean e"X"plode after all.  Joystiq has the follow-up on last month's news about how some people were having problems with their Xbox consoles suddenly spewing sparks and smoke when plugged into a wall outlet.  Microsoft eventually said that this was an issue with faulty power supplies and offered up replacement cords, but now the first reports of a replacement-corded Xbox tossing sparks around have begun to surface.  Microsoft continues to state that the Xbox itself is not the problem and offers up as proof some technical jargon that I don't understand.  What I do understand is that game consoles aren't supposed to explode.  I'm against that.

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The Forgotten: Stunt Race FX

Everyone loves an established video game franchise. After all, some of gaming’s best loved characters have been going on adventure after adventure for years, prompting players to line up to reserve the next installment of Super Mario, Link, Samus Aran, or Sonic the Hedgehog. Over the years, however, some games just haven’t struck gold; they’ve been overshadowed by more popular fare that shares the store shelf or are even passed over due to something as petty as unimpressive box art or an unusual premise. They deserve to be remembered and revived, but instead they are The Forgotten.

Srfx_title_frameStunt Race FX
Developed by Nintendo
Released for the Super NES (1995)

After launching the SuperFX chip in the Super NES hit Star Fox, Nintendo switched gears from space flights to racing fights in 1995’s Stunt Race FX. In a sign of things to come all racetracks, vehicles, and items on the track are crafted out of polygons; there’s not a single sprite to be found. Players can take one of four distinctive vehicles – a truck, a coupe, an F-1 racer, and a motorbike – out on the race course to speed down the track past checkpoints and across the finish line. Other modes in the game include a stunt mode where players are challenged to collect stars through performing jumps off of ramps, a two-player mode for friends to race head-to-head, and a free trax mode for exploring levels at one’s own pace. Unfortunately the game was hampered by unresponsive controls, an overly challenging CPU competitor, and despite the Super NES’s abilities being pushed to the limit, unimpressive graphics in the age of Donkey Kong Country (an unfair yet unforgivable sin in the eyes of many gamers of the day).

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The Forgotten

Last year I wrote an article for GameCube Advanced called "The Forgotten" in which I remembered eight memorable games from yesterday such as Kid Icarus and Earthbound and suggested how these games could be revived for today's modern game consoles.  However, as most anyone can tell you, there are more than just eight forgotten classics.  "The Forgotten" lives on here now at Press The Buttons where, from time to time, I'll conjure up the memories of another past classic and speculate on just how these games could be made relevant once again.

PSP Round-up

PspWith only one day left until the PlayStation Portable launch (or less than twenty-four hours if you're hitting a midnight sale tonight) the time has come to make sure you're ready to enter the world of the PSP.  What better way to prepare than reading up on just about every PSP-related topic on the Internet?  Gizmodo has compiled a massive list of links related to Sony's latest gadget starting with the initial announcement through development and up to release.  There's links to reviews and information on how to copy your own movies and music to take on the go.  Settle in; you have some reading to do.  The rest of us will be at your local mall taking your place in line.

Amazon Offers PSP UMD Discount

Joystiq has the story that has marked down UMD movies for the soon-to-be-here PlayStation Portable by 30%.  $14 will snag you Hellboy, XXX, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, or a few others on sale.  Is this Amazon's attempt to sell a product that so far isn't selling so well or is it just a good deal on in-demand items?  Who cares!  Get 'em while they're cheap!  The catch?  The UMDs don't begin shipping until late next month, so only the patient need apply for this one.  Then again, you've been waiting months for the PSP, so what's another month for the movies, hmm?

IGN Either For Sale Or Very Successful

IgnlogoHere's one for the "either/or" file.  CNET is reporting that and all its holdings are up for sale with a price tag of $800 million.  Or maybe is doing so well that it's about to file for an IPO.  CNET isn't really sure.  Maybe it's just me, but I always thought that companies that are doing poorly tend to go up for sale while successful companies file for the IPO and become fabulously wealthy.  Here's my favorite quote from the article:

An IGN representative said only that the company is "looking at several options to fund our growth."

Ah, so that settles that then.  I wonder if one of the options under consideration involves selling PlayStation Portables on eBay at a 300% markup.

IGNcube's Nintendo Revolution "FAQ"

Mario_1 IGN's GameCube division has an updated Nintendo Revolution FAQ today that supposedly answers all those burning questions about Nintendo's next console, i.e. will it be more advanced than the GameCube (yes), will it be backwards compatible with the GameCube (yes), what is the Revolution's favorite food (lemon marshmallow pie), etc.  Get past the fluff, however, and you'll find actual real definitive information such as this:

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Best (Unfinished) Game Ever! is running an article titled "69 Reasons To Own The Nintendo GameCube" which is basically just six pages of game screenshots.  It's a little light fluff reading for your morning and some good gaming eye candy, but I question the inclusion of games that aren't actually on the market yet.  The list includes Odama, The Legend of Zelda, and Geist and they aren't even finished, let alone for sale.  Are we allowed to award unfinished games the title of the best game ever?  I didn't know we could do that.  In that case I proclaim the second Legend of Zelda game for the Nintendo Revolution as the best game that ever will be.  And Metroid Prime 4 will be pretty sweet, too.

Get Equipped With Piano Music

If you're an video game fan and an avid piano player sooner or later you're going to want to play your favorite game music.  The problem is that (with the exception of certain Japanese RPG soundtracks) game developers and publishers aren't printing up books of sheet music to teach you how to play the theme from Super Mario Bros. or the haunting Protoman Theme from Mega Man 3.  That's where the devoted fans on the Internet step in.  Over at the simply named Video Game Sheet Music page one piano enthusiast has transcribed a number of classic game tunes in both PDF and NWC formats.  As a piano player myself I can vouch for the overall accuracy of these transcriptions.  All your favorites are there: Castlevania, Mega Man, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Faxanadu, and more.  Download 'em, learn 'em, impress your friends with 'em.  If your friends are impressed by game music on a piano, that is.  Otherwise you should probably keep these to yourself.