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August 2005

New Mario Kart DS Details Surface

Mario Kart DSAMN's DS division has some details regarding the upcoming Nintendo DS title Mario Kart DS.  Among the tidbits revealed include the addition of a new items to the series, the Glooper, that blots out the DS's top screen and a track count totaling sixteen new tracks and sixteen classic tracks from past Mario Karts (The demo shown at E3 featured four tracks from years gone by, including Moo Moo Farm).

What really caught my interest is the fact that Battle Mode will have computer-controlled characters that can fight it out with a single player.  That's terrific news as far as I'm concerned, as I haven't played a Mario Kart Battle Mode bout since the early days of Mario Kart 64.  Being able to play against the system is a great idea and it's a shame that this feature hasn't happened before now.

Weekly Poll: X-pensive 360

Weekly Poll for 8-14-05So many of you have never played a Nintendo Virtual Boy?  For shame!  I demand that you all go out there and buy a used VB unit, eye damage and headaches be damned.   Once you've seen the beauty of Teleroboxer or Panic Bomber you don't really need vision abilities anymore anyways.

Now for this week's poll topic.  Microsoft has announced the pricing options for their upcoming Xbox 360, which version are you planning to purchase?  The basic unit for $299 or the fully loaded box for $399?  Are you waiting for the prices to drop?  Do you plan to buy neither one?  Press the buttons over in the sidebar and let your voice be heard.

Zelda DVDs Officially Announced

The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated SeriesThe on-again off-again DVD release of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show is back on again as TVShowsOnDVD has word that the thirteen episodes of The Legend of Zelda that originally ran on Fridays have been officially announced and will reach stores on October 18, 2005.  The MSRP of $30 will snag you the DVD set which also includes several of the Captain Lou Albano live-action segments from the original program.  No word on the corresponding Super Mario episodes at this time.  After reading the press release it seems that the DVD's distributor, Shout! Factory, had planned to release the discs when The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess hit stores, but since the game has been delayed until next year, Shout! seems to have decided to just toss these discs to stores and be done with it.

Bonus features include two games, a downloadable character sketch gallery, selected original live-action segments from "The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!" and more. The DVD release reinforces the continued popularity of Zelda properties and adds to the buzz of Nintendo's upcoming new Zelda game release, The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Technically eight months from now is still considered "upcoming", so I suppose the press release is still accurate, but it really seems that Shout! thought they had a chance to ride Nintendo's wave of publicity and public attention here. Better luck when Super Mario 128 is finished, Shout! Factory.

Nintendo Presents: BOOBIES!

GeistY'know, maybe Nintendo does have a kiddie image problem.  I'm playing the new GameCube possession shooter Geist this morning when I came across a womens' locker room.  The locker room led into a shower room, complete with naked bathing women.  Now before anyone overreacts, the game is rated "M" and the ladies' breasts, rears, and waists are obscured by opaque soap suds or towels.  There are no exposed "naughty bits", but I still found the semi-nudity jarring.

I've come across bare skin in other video games before, but I think what was so odd was finding such content in a game published by Nintendo.  It's not as if Samus Aran was in the shower, but it just seemed like such an odd juxtaposition: nudity in a mainstream Nintendo-published video game.  I never thought I'd see the day.  My little game company is growing up, *sniff*.

Some Words With BGNG About F-Zero Track Editors And Beyond

F-Zero X Expansion Kit PatchEarlier this month we were all amazed at F-Zero enthusiast BGNG's patch program that inserts the 64DD-only F-Zero X Expansion Kit's bonus tracks into the original F-Zero X.  I recently had a chance to chat with BGNG and learn about his upcoming projects, such as two different F-Zero track editors: one for F-Zero X for the Nintendo 64, and another for F-Zero Maximum Velocity for the Game Boy Advance.  Anyone who cracks into the mysteries of my favorite old games is alright in my book, I say.  He has some other projects cooking, so read on to hear all about what he's working on in his spare time along with a few screenshots, videos, and even a little music. 

Continue reading "Some Words With BGNG About F-Zero Track Editors And Beyond" »

Fox Trot's Super Math Bros. Melee

FoxTrot: Super Math Bros. Melee In a world where newspaper comics are drab and unfunny we can always count on Bill Amend's Fox Trot for a little gamercentric humor.  Last week the comic made light of the censorship issue ("Donkey Kong's not wearing pants!"), while this week it has a little fun with an edutainment fighting game.  The comic has been poking fun at gaming issues for years, including a weeklong story regarding the nonviolent game Nice City, young Jason Fox's quest to convince his parents to buy him the latest gaming system, jealousy over being unable to complete Super Mario Bros., and much more.  It's one of my favorite comics.  Read through the online archives and it might become yours as well.

All The UMD News That's Fit To Print

UMDAs more and more movie studios jump on Sony's PlayStation Portable UMD bandwagon, it's becoming a challenge to stay informed on just what films and television shows are coming to UMD and when they will reach stores.  Enter The Digital Bits's Guide To UMD Movies.  Already well known for covering DVD releases, The Digital Bits has begun to cover UMD releases, both North American and Japanese (including those infamous Japanese pornography UMDs, if that's your thing).  Now you'll never miss out on your favorite film hitting the small disc format for a higher price than the corresponding DVD version.

Animal Crossing DS Features Voice Chat?

AcdsThere's word spreading around online that the upcoming Animal Crossing for the Nintendo DS features online voice chat, as in players can speak to each other during the game.  Apparently this comes from a rumor that Nintendo's catalog of upcoming games distributed at this week's game convention in Germany includes a voice chat icon on the Animal Crossing page.

I'm not surprised by this, although I don't know if it's true.  Nintendo did show off voice chat abilities back at E3, after all.  Not only could attendees play Mario Kart DS against Charles Martinet, but they could also talk to him "live" from Seattle, WA (there's some controversy over whether or not he was really in Washington, but he had to be somewhere off-site because he wasn't right there in front of me).  There was also a separate exhibit on display where one could speak to someone else via the DS.  The technology seemed to work well enough, but with all the background noise it was difficult to have a conversation beyond "Hello?  Hello??  What'd you say?  Oh, @#$% this!"

Why We Fight (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Support Grand Theft Auto)

Itchy and ScratchyA few days ago someone asked me why I continue to stick up for Rockstar and the under-fire Grand Theft Auto and other such games that have recently come under fire from various crackpot lawyers and meddling protest groups.  After all, I don't like Grand Theft Auto, nor do I intend to buy the upcoming Bully.  I'm not a fan of video games where the object is to shoot or stab or otherwise kill people just for the sake of killing people.  So why do I look down on those who would ban and edit such video games?

I support anti-censorship proponents and do not want to see video games censored.  I take this position because I do not want to see the video games I do like to play - Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania, and so on - come under fire from censorship.  I fear that if/when the censors get a foothold in the video game industry, my favorite genres and characters will end up silenced and stifled.

Continue reading "Why We Fight (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Support Grand Theft Auto)" »