Previous month:
June 2005
Next month:
August 2005

July 2005

Weekly Poll: Which Next-Gen Console Will You Buy?

Question BlockIf you scroll down and look at the sidebar you'll find a new section: the weekly poll.  It's all for fun and to satisfy my own curiosity.  The poll will change every Sunday, so please vote once and watch the results pile up.  This week's topic asks which of the next generation consoles you plan to purchase, if any.  Each company is aiming for a different demographic, it seems: Microsoft wants the early adopters, Sony wants people who are willing to spend a lot of money, and Nintendo wants the fans of their classic titles.  Where do you fit in?  Feel free to comment below on why you plan to buy (or not buy) the various consoles.  Now get over there and press the buttons!

Better Late Than Never

Rollercoaster Tycoon 2This may surprise you, but up until recently I had - horrors! - an outdated PC.  In 1999 I bought a Pentium III 533 MHz PC from Gateway, loaded up with 128 MB of RAM and a 40 GB hard drive.  It served me well for Internet surfing and word processing, but as we all know  "old" of a machine cannot run today's modern PC games.  The last PC game I bought was 2000's Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force and the expansion pack, so that gives you an idea of how much time I spend gaming on my PC.

Continue reading "Better Late Than Never" »

Anubis Returns For SG-1: The Alliance

AnubisGateWorld has an article about how the developers behind the upcoming Stargate: SG-1: The Alliance video game for the PC, Microsoxt Xbox, and Sony PlayStation 2 have not only brought in the actors behind the SG-1 team to voice their characters, but have also hired some of the actors who play recurring characters on the television series.  Among those lending a voice to the game is David Palffy, better known to fans as the evil semi-ascended Goa'uld System Lord Anubis.

The game was still in an early stage of development when the actor recorded his lines -- and consequently, Palffy knows little about the story and the doom Anubis will bring to the galaxy. "I did it back in February," he revealed. "To be honest, I can't really give you too much as far as storyline. But it's basically your typical Anubis. He's as bad as they can be and so it's nothing new, really, as far as Anubis is concerned.

I played a demo of The Alliance back at E3 and the game certainly looks impressive.  It's a basic first person shooter with some stealth and puzzle challenges, but the attention to detail regarding the Stargate universe is what will separate this game from other licensed material.  The developers at Perception and JoWood have been very quiet about the game's storyline and so far have only revealed that the game takes place during the pivotal Season 7 of Stargate: SG-1.  Now that I have a modern PC that can actually run The Alliance when it's released later this year, I know I'll be picking this one up.  Jaffa, kree!

Nintendo Reorganization Explains Gaming Mysteries

Wario WareThere are a lot of unanswered questions out there in Nintendoland: Why was there never a Metroid 64?  Why did cliche villain Wario become a major character, and then only for the Game Boy?  What was the Virtual Boy supposed to accomplish?  Why was there only a Game Boy follow-up to Kid Icarus?  The short answer is "politics".

An article at N-Sider explores these questions by explaining the history of Nintendo's internal development teams and how a recent reorganization of those teams gives legendary game producers such as Shigeru Miyamoto direct access to properties such as Metroid and characters such as Wario for the first time.

Nintendo... promoted several long-time EAD directors to producer roles -- the list of which includes Eiji Aonuma, Hideki Konno, Tadashi Sugiyama, Takao Shimizu, and Shinya Takahashi. Shigeru Miyamoto now completely manages all of Nintendo's internal software development, granting him access to the Metroid and Wario franchises for the first time. The change ultimately bodes well for Nintendo's big picture as far as creativity and productivity are concerned.

The piece concludes with a detailed look at the development team previously known as R&D1, chronicling their time spent developing Super Mario Land, giving Wario a boost to stardom in order to focus on their own creations instead of Miyamoto's borrowed concepts, and reviving the 2D Metroid tradition on the Game Boy Advance after dealing with the loss of producer Gunpei Yokoi.

This is not praise that I hand out often, but if you consider yourself a fan of Nintendo's creations then this is an article not to be missed.  It is informative, interesting, and sheds some light on how politics within Nintendo itself shaped the company's policy towards which gaming characters to promote and which to leave in the dustbin over the past twenty years.

Sega Probes Baby Origins

Feel The MagicSometimes you have to wonder just what's going on in Japan.  AMN has word that Sega is working on a sequel to last year's Feel The Magic for the Nintendo DS.  The sequel's title is reportedly Akachan wa doko kara kuru no? which translates into English as Where Do Babies Come From?.

I have to wonder though, with a title like Where Do Babies Come From? and the Nintendo DS's stylus abilities, you don't think that... no, no, of course not.  Sega would never develop such a game, would they?  If you thought that the government was outraged over Grand Theft Auto's Hot Coffee, stay tuned for the birth of Babies sometime in the future, perhaps only nine months away if Sega stays true to baby-related science.

Game Over For "Game Over", Please!

Game Over Can we all please agree that the use of the words "Game Over" in an article about violence or sexual content in a video game should be stopped immediately?  I swear, every mainstream media source that I've seen cover the ongoing debate behind the ESRB ratings system, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas's Hot Coffee, and the FTC investigation into Take Two uses the words "Game Over" in the article title.

I can just picture each journalist behind these pieces smile and chuckle to themselves when they fit the "Game Over" wordplay in their articles, gleeful that they have to be the first person to ever think of using the term in respect to the proposed end of the line for a game company.  And yes I know that I used the term in the title of this entry, so don't even bother pointing that out.

It's a petty thing, but it bugs me just the same.  This is as close to gaming culture as some of these journalists will ever come and they think they're being so original and humorous.  Do modern games even say "Game Over" anymore?  In my experience they tend to say things like "You Are Dead" or "Would You Like To Try That Level Again?". 

Grand Theft Auto: House Of Representatives?

Hidden sex mode in Grand Theft Auto: San AndreasWhile browsing through the Quarter To Three gaming forum I came across this comment from Player 1 regarding the whole Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Hot Coffee business:

Am I the only one thinking that future GTA games will feature missions involving the kidnapping/disposal of 'a high profile political figure crusading for censorship', trashing the Whitehouse [sic] or some other tongue-in-cheek reference to these shenanigans?

That's much better than my idea to swing the other way and create the most controversial Grand Theft Auto game to date: Grand Theft Auto: Nude Beach.  On the other hand, I think Nude Beach would be much more fun to play.  It would be for the next generation consoles capable of highly detailed character models, of course.

Black & White Fades To Black

Black and White Every now and then I think about getting into online multiplayer games, but then I come to my senses when I read something like the recent announcement that the original Black & White's multiplayer servers are being shut down after nearly five years of use in order to make way for server space for The Movies's ability to share user-made movies online.

I have a hard time dealing with the idea of purchasing entertainment that has an expiration date, implied or stated, stamped on it.  What becomes of these multiplayer online games once the servers shut down?  Doorstops and coasters, most likely.  That's part of why I love my offline game consoles; fifteen years later they still work and I can still play my old favorites.  I have no desire to fork over fifty dollars for a product that will one day stop working or have features disabled solely because the developer decides to move on to something else.

I know that Black & White is not the first game to have its online abilities turned off and won't completely die off completely without that capability, but it is a reminder to fans of World of Warcraft, EverQuest 2, and so on that all of those fantastic adventures will one day fall victim to the greatest game enemy of all: UNABLE TO FIND CONNECTION.

Capcom To World: "Stop Looking At Resident Evil 5!"

Leon S. KennedyHave you seen the trailer for Resident Evil 5 for the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 yet?  If not then it may be too late.  Kind of.  IGN has word that Capcom has officially asked that the trailer disappear from the Internet.  Apparently the trailer was only for the folks attending Sony PlayStation Meeting 2005 and the rest of the world should not see it yet.

Citing an official press document from Sony's PlayStation Meeting 2005, Capcom asked Internet publications to remove any sign of movies or stills taken from the Resident Evil 5 trailer. According to a company official, the trailer was never to be filmed in the first place and will be aired officially in the near future. No real window of time was given, however.

I don't understand how Capcom can expect to remove all traces of the trailer from the Internet.  As NewsRadio's Joe Garelli once said, taking something off of the Internet "is like trying to take pee out of a swimming pool.  Once it's in there, it's in there."  However, I do love IGN's closing comments:

Be sure to check the official screenshots for scenes from the trailer, but it looks like we'll be waiting -- very impatiently, we might add -- for the official release of the trailer.

"Capcom wants the trailer and screenshots removed, so be sure to check out the screenshots from the trailer while we wait for the trailer to be released!"  Officially sanctioned or not, the pictures and video are out there.  Best of luck to Capcom as they try to quell the rabid fanbase from seeing it.

Sometimes We Just Have To Laugh

VG Cats: Coco Beans In Hot WaterThere's been a lot said in recent days (dragging on to weeks) about the ratings of video games, inappropriate content "hidden" on discs, political wrangling, and crackpot points of view.  Sometimes it's good to get beyond the words and laugh at some amusing pictures.  VG Cats is my favorite game-related online comic strip and this week's edition pokes fun at the whole Hot Coffee issue.

As long as we're paused for a moment, why not check out my ten favorite strips from the comic's archive?  They're even funnier if you're deeply familiar with the games on which the strips are based.