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July 2005

And Now, A Blinding Flash Of The Obvious

Gr-AO-nd Theft Auto: San AndreasWhat I am about to say will sound very obvious to most people, but apparently a few souls in Congress haven't figured this out yet: If a video game is rated "M" for Mature then it is not intended for children.  I say this because of this gem of a quote from Republican Congressman Fred Upton in reference to the whole Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Hot Coffee debacle:

It appears that the publisher has blatantly circumvented the rules in order to peddle sexually explicit material to our youth.

San Andreas was rated "M".  Now it is rated "AO" for Adults Only.  Neither rating is for a game intended for children.  Games intended for children have the friendly "E" for Everyone rating or, at times, the "T" for Teen rating.  If it says "M" or "AO" on the box, then children aren't supposed to come anywhere near it.  Take Two and Rockstar have not peddled anything to an audience that was not appropriate for the content in San Andreas, Hot Coffee or not.  Not all video games are happy smiley affairs with big fluffy bunnies that teach math.  It may come as a shock to some people, but Take Two and Rockstar never promised anybody a big fluffy bunny.

Nintendo Kennel Club Sparks Greed, Controversy

NintendogsOver the past several months most of Japan has gone crazy for Nintendo's virtual dog experience for the Nintendo DS, Nintendogs.  Now that the portable pooches are set to debut in North America, Nintendo is pulling out all the stops to promote the game and spark word of mouth among the gaming community.  One way that they're doing this is by giving out free copies of the game.  Here's the catch though: only certain people on Nintendo's mailing list / fan club roster are scoring the free puppies.

When word of this promotion hit the Internet, many people figured they were in for a free game.  Then came the news that people who had "only" registered ten games with Nintendo were getting the Nintendogs nod over those with twice that amount registered.  You can fill in the gaps with your own greedy "I deserve free games!" rant if you like; I'm tired of reading them and I'm certainly not up for writing one.

Showing that no good deed goes unpunished, Nintendo is taking a little heat over - here we go now - not giving away enough free games.  Come on, people, it's a marketing promotion.  Being passed over for a free game does not mean that Nintendo loves someone else more than you.  They're trying to sell games and if their marketing data indicates that you aren't someone who will help with that, then you're not getting a free game.  You can still buy the game when it hits stores next month if you really want a virtual dog to love and pet and call George.

Mega Man and Me: Saving The World Eight Robot Masters At A Time

Mega ManAbout twice a year game publisher Capcom updates their list of sales per popular game license.  What caught my attention with this iteration of the list is that the Mega Man series has finally cracked the one hundred game mark.  Just think - one hundred games all starring Mega Man or one of his spin-off alter egos!  That's a lot of robot masters named ______ Man and such: Elec Man, Heat Man, Magnet Man, Ring Man, Gravity Man...

I first boarded the Mega Man train back in 1989 when Mega Man 2 for the Nintendo Entertainment System was released.  A review/map article in Nintendo Power sold me on the game and, when I had saved up my allowance, my mother and I went to the Toys 'R Us in Orlando (a good hour drive from our home and the only place then to find a decent new video game) so I could buy it.  Over lunch at The Olive Garden I read the manual including the walk-through of how to complete Air Man's stage.  Wow, that takes me back...

Continue reading "Mega Man and Me: Saving The World Eight Robot Masters At A Time" »

Nintendo Revolution Controller Rumor #213

Nintendo RevolutionI generally stay away from game console development rumors because they almost always turn out to be false.  Show me an official developer press release any day.  This rumor about the upcoming Nintendo Revolution's controller is rather anticlimactic as these things go, but it's also the most feasible rumor to come along in recent weeks which is why it caught my attention.  The amazing revolution?  Buttons.

[It] looks just like a WaveBird, except that the GameCube face button scheme with the big A, small B, and X & Y kidney shaped buttons has been switched out for four small round buttons in a cross configuration, i.e. the traditional SNES/PlayStation/Xbox setup. I believe the button colour scheme used on the Revolution prototype is as follows: X (top) button = indigo, Y button = yellow, A button = green, B button = red.

If this turns out to be true it will be disappointing that there are no magic gyroscopes or amazin' motion sensors or little slot that dispenses yummy peanut butter candies when players achieve certain goals, but it certainly fits the Nintendo line of just how the controller will work for the classic downloadable titles.  The person who started the rumor admittedly did not get to see the controller in action so there could still be secrets to be revealed, but the button pattern sounds right on the money to me. 

The Adventures Of Radd Spencer: Bionic Commando

Bionic Commando Back in the late twentieth century when video games had fewer colors, less dimensions, and improper English translations there was a little game about a commando... a bionic commando.  Capcom's Bionic Commando chronicled the missions of Capt. Radd Spencer, bionic commando, as he used his trusty bionic arm to swing through level after level in search of the missing Super Joe, the deadly Albatross weapon, and the dangerous Master-D.

The Bionic Commando Database is a complete guide to the classic Nintendo Entertainment System game, turning the entire adventure inside out and revealing some of the history behind the title including it's Japanese origins as Top Secret in which Spencer sought out a revived Adolf Hitler in order to destroy his rebuilt war machine.  It's understandable why Capcom changed the story (and graphics) when the game came to North America, but whose bright idea was it to rename the head villain Master-D?  I mean, really, Master-D

Good Luck To Kotaku Editor On FOX News

ESRB RatingsUPDATE: The approximately three-minute-long piece aired shortly before 5:00pm ET.  My thoughts can be found below.

Talking heads can only talk amongst themselves for so long.  Eventually they have to bring in fresh meat differing points of view to facilitate on-camera discussions.  That's why I'm wishing the best of luck to Brian Crecente of when he appears on FOX News this afternoon to debate the ESRB ratings system.

I’m not sure yet who will be on the other side, though I’m sure it will be someone who is much better at speaking on live TV. Tune in if you’re up for a little light weekend amusement at my expense.

While I'm sure that FOX is going to stack the deck against Brian here (it's the news media's way when it comes to this kind of thing), I'm sincerely hoping that he can score a "Jon Stewart's Stop Hurting America" moment against those who would censor every pixel and polygon.  The gaming industry and gamers themselves need a moment like that, one that puts the censors in their place.  Godspeed, Brian.  His segment airs between 4:30pm and 5:00pm ET.

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Jack Thompson Targets Electronic Arts, Nipples

The Sims 2I'm starting to believe that anti-gaming lawyer Jack Thompson sees "adult content" in every video game out there.  Perhaps he was scarred by Adventure or Donkey Kong years and years ago and is looking for revenge.  Whatever the reason, now that Thompson has "won" the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Hot Coffee debacle, he's wasting no time in targeting another popular video game: The Sims 2.

Apparently Thompson has been paying a lot of attention to The Sims 2, perhaps a little too much attention.  OK, entirely too much obsessive attention.  Why?  According to him, The Sims 2 contains "full frontal nudity, including nipples, penises, labia, and pubic hair."  If that's not enough, he also managed to raise the specter of child porn and pedophiles in his statements.

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Mega Man Missing In Action

Mega Man IV, in colorLet's step inside the Wayback Machine for a moment and travel back to when Capcom was developing a little compilation title called Mega Man Anniversary Collection to celebrate Mega Man's fifteenth anniversary as a video game hero and major profit center.  The Nintendo GameCube and Sony PlayStation 2 versions (and eventually Microsoft Xbox too) of the game covered the Mega Man games for home consoles, while a Game Boy Advance version was to contain the first five classic Mega Man adventures from the original Game Boy.  The problem is that the GBA version was delayed and then basically fell off the face of the planet.  Capcom never officially canceled it, but all word about the game dried up.

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Acclaim's Last Gasp

AcclaimThe Video Game Law Blog mentions that former game publisher Acclaim is making the last circle around the sink before going down the drain for good.  All of its assets have been picked clean and, in some cases, sold to other companies.  The Acclaim name itself is on the auction block for $100,000, and so far a holding company has expressed interest.

Also of note is that the powers-that-be behind Acclaim have let a number of their trademarked properties and licenses lapse.  Check out some of the abandoned properties destined for the public domain:

  • Arena Entertainment
  • Armorines
  • Battle Monsters
  • College Slam
  • Constructor
  • Flying Edge
  • Furfighters
  • Iggy's Reckin' Balls
  • Jinx
  • Juiced
  • Killing Zone
  • Razor
  • Re-Volt
  • Spirit Master
  • Trickstyle

You know what?  If I owned the rights to Iggy's Reckin' Balls I think I'd let it lapse too.

Announcing Angel Dragon: Shadow Zweihander

RpggeneratorCan't tell your Eternal Burning Sun Ranger: Painful Radiance from a Gaia Spirit: Demon Fantasy?  Japanese RPGs have a bad habit of looking and even sounding identical.  For every prolific Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy out there, there's an generically average Angel Dragon or Mana Spirit: Zero Sum.  Now you can generate your own Japanesey RPG titles with the Japanese RPG GeneratorEinhander Shadow Dragon: Fire Blade, hai!

(via's VideoGames usergroup)