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August 2005

What's To Come For PSP Web Browser?

PSP web browser With the recent North American release of the version 2.0 firmware for the Sony PlayStation Portable still circulating around the Internet, Next Generation has a snippet from an interview with one of the designers behind the new PSP web browser, Izumi Kawanishi.  Kawanishi explains why the PSP web browser lacks certain features (Flash support), which features it may include in the future (FTP access), and where he sees the PSP web browser project headed overall (hint: it involves communication).

The web browser is based on a Tab system. "The Tab function is not much used even on PC. Often when you click on a link, a new window appears and often you need to open a large number of these windows before accessing the content you are seeking for. This could not be done on the PSP for obvious reasons. Now, concerning this Tab function, because of memory limitation, you are limited to three Tabs.

When I consider all of the PSP's features, the mobile web browser is the most appealing.  Yes, I know, games-movies-music-etc., but the ability to jump online from anywhere with Wi-Fi access is something I've wanted for a long time.  Back in the Stone Age of PDAs I had (still have, actually, although it no longer works) a Handspring Visor which was great for keeping notes and addresses, but the best part about it was an expansion ("Springboard") slot that allowed for hardware additions.  I picked up a little ThumPad keyboard and a GPS device for it, but the modem and Ethernet expansions were so expensive and seemingly so rare that I just never got around to getting one before Handspring was absorbed by Palm and the whole Visor line was chunked.

Now that the PSP is on the web (and hopefully the Nintendo DS will follow, since that's the portable system of choice in my little world), hopefully we'll see more mobile Internetting made available to the common person who doesn't carry a Blackberry and kin around everywhere.

NEWSFLASH: Video Games Do Not Cause Pregnancy

Baby Mario Some people just deserve a whack up the side of the head with common sense sometimes.  Consider the case of Timken High School's student pregnancy rate, in which 13% of the female students* are pregnant.  Also consider that the local newspaper there in Akron, Ohio squarely lays the blame for these pregnancies on video games and other related media.

Whose fault is it that more than 13 percent of Timken’s girls are with child? Some would say fault-finding isn’t a fruitful exercise, but in this case, it’s critical. Suspects range from movies, TV and video games to lazy parents and lax discipline. Only one thing is sure: Schools don’t impregnate children.

Do you know what else, Akron?  Unless there is some special third-party peripheral of which I'm unaware, video games do not impregnate children either.  Perhaps I'm just being grouchy today, but I find it very annoying to see a news source blame video games which, of course, are a collection of inanimate objects that absolutely cannot be responsible for causing pregnancies.  If Timken High School wants to know who is impregnating the high school girls, perhaps the school administration should try asking the high school boys.

* I'm aware that the only members of the student population who can become pregnant are the females, but this is a percentage calculated among the total number of female students and not the total number of students overall.

(via Joystiq)

EB Offers Overpriced Xbox 360 Bundle

Xbox 360 bundleThe Mad Bundlers are at it again.  Joystiq has word that Electronics Boutique is, at this time, only taking Microsoft Xbox 360 preorders if you're willing to fork over either $600 or $700 for one of their bundle packages which include the console, some accessories, and a few launch titles.  From what I can tell, it's not possible to preorder just the Xbox console itself.  If you want to shop at EB, you've got to pony up the dough.

If you're a serious gamer looking for the ultimate console, the search ends here. Fully loaded, the Xbox 360 Ultimate Bundle is the unsurpassed gaming and entertainment experience right out of the box, with a selection of games and accessories hand-picked for power gaming.

Now I consider myself a serious gamer; hell, I've made a second career out of playing and writing about video games fer cryin' out loud.  $700 for a game console bundle is too much for even I to consider.  If I bought a $700 console bundle, I would have to eat the internal components and then live in the hollowed-out case.  I prefer to buy my gaming goods a piece at a time as I can afford them, thank you very much.

Nintendo Shuffles Release Dates

Nintendo logoNintendo has published the master list of all of the upcoming game releases for the remainder of this year and a few titles destined for early 2006.  Is your wallet or purse ready to handle these one hundred and seventy games?  Some things have been delayed, others have been moved up, and still others are off the list entirely.  What say we take a look at some of the movers and shakers, hmm?

Continue reading "Nintendo Shuffles Release Dates" »

Make Way For Nintencats?

NintencatsNow that Nintendogs has hit the streets in North America, the creative minds behind the DS doggie project are turning their attention to another familiar pet: cats.  While speaking to Eurogamer, Nintendogs guru Hideki Konno explained how the development team decided to develop a virtual puppy game over a virtual kitty title and mentions how DS kitten data already exists for future use:

We narrowed down the candidates into dogs and cats - after all, they are the two main types of companion animals loved by people all around the world. Why dogs instead of cats? Well, one of the things we really wanted to do was to let players teach tricks by utilizing their own voices.  So we decided that dogs were more preferable than cats when it came to realizing those elements.  To tell the truth, we were already starting to develop a cat-based game at the outset of this project. So we already have the cat models, voice data and so on.

It's not hard to picture an entire line of Nintenanimals, such as Nintenhamsters and Nintenparrots.  Of course, Nintendo must be careful not to launch too many projects that feel more like a cash grab than an actual creative and enjoyable experience.  If we ever get to the point of Nintendogs Basketball or Nintendogs Street Racing, I think we can all agree that the company has just gone too far.

Oh, and as for that box art image up there, I have no idea if that's real or not.  I found it online and thought it was too good not to use here.

(via rllmukforum)

No More Mega Man?

Mega ManAfter starring in over one hundred adventures in the guise of several different variations of the same character, word from Japan suggests that the end is nigh for Mega Man.  Takuya Sotsu of IntiCreates (the developer that has put together the Mega Man Zero series for the Game Boy Advance) spoke recently at a Japanese computer school and explained how, as far as Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune is concerned, both the original Mega Man series and the odd Mega Man Legends series will no longer be developed.

While the world of Mega Man could probably use a little streamlining, the decision to dump the original Mega Man series has got to rank among the dumbest decisions in video gaming history.  There's a lot of nostalgia attached to the little blue bomber that started it all; for many fans Mega Man is Capcom, myself included.  While it's important to never say never in the world of video games, I have to wonder why Inafune has given Mega Man his walking papers.  Mega Man X and Mega Man Battle Network will go on, it seems, but I'll always have a place in my game library and a place in my memories for the original Mega Man.

Square-Enix To Make A Journey To The Cave Of Monsters?

Bubble BobbleSometimes while waiting for highly anticipated news to break, something completely unexpected drops in from out of nowhere.  Like this news item, for instance: famed merged RPG developer/publisher Square-Enix wants to acquire developer/publisher Taito.  Bloomberg has the story.

Square Enix Co., Japan's top maker of role-playing video games, offered to pay as much as 67 billion yen ($610 million) to buy arcade game maker Taito Corp., becoming the latest games company to merge amid increased competition.

If this acquisition happens, I have but a single request/demand of the newly combined entity: a Bubble Bobble RPG.  I want Bubble legends Bub and Bob to meet up with Hullaballoon, Stoner, and Beluga and convince them to join their party, then go on a fantastic journey to defeat Baron Von Blubba and his minion, Grumple Grommit.  I want the classic attacks of both friends and foes to turn up, plus I want all the familiar power-up items available for use.  Give me all of this wrapped together with a coherent story and I'll climb aboard for this journey as soon as its released.  C'mon, Square-Enix-Taito.  Give us Bubble Bobble: Cave of Monsters!

(via Joystiq)

Mini-Review: Pac-Pix

Pac-Pix Pac-Man has been around for a long time.  After a number of arcade sequels starring his family and a 1990s stab at turning the famous character into an interactive onscreen buddy, how can Pac-Man remain relevant and fun in the twenty-first century?  What at first comes off as a touchscreen tech demo gimmick - drawing your own Pac-Man - becomes quite fun and challenging in the Nintendo DS release from Namco, Pac-Pix.

Continue reading "Mini-Review: Pac-Pix" »