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October 2005

September 2005

Immature Players Spread Warcraft Disease

VirusNeat thing: there now exists a disease in the MMORPG game World of Warcraft that not only saps energy from players, but is also communicable to other players.  Not-so-neat thing: Some infected players are being immature pests and purposely spreading the disease to as many people as possible.

Blizzard adds in a new instance, Zul'Gurub. Inside is the god of blood, Hakkar. Well, when you fight him he has a debuff called Corrputed Blood. It does like 250-350 damage to players and affects nearby players. The amazing thing is SOME PLAYERS have brought this disease (and it is a disease) back to the towns, outside of the instance. It starts spreading amongst the general population including npcs, who can out generate the damage. Some servers have gotten so bad that you can't go into the major cities without getting the plague (and anyone less than like level 50 nearly immediately die).

This is yet another reason I don't want to get involved with a MMORPG.  Diseases are a natural part of life (real or virtual), but people who intentionally spread illnesses just to be jerks deserve a special place in Hell (real or virtual).  Case in point, I'm currently dealing with a nasty cold thanks to a guy at a board meeting last week who shook hands with all of us in attendance.  He had a cold and was obviously sick later in the meeting, but all of us who shook hands earlier didn't know until it was too late.  Purposely spreading germs around is a Grade-A asshole thing to do in any reality.  I get enough of it in real life.  I don't need to pay a monthly fee for the privilege of becoming ill or dead in a video game.

Take The Pilotwings Challenge!

PilotwingsLast year I wrote an article for AMN about some of the forgotten games of yesterday that deserve a revival (you may recognize it; it's the article that inspired The Forgotten section here on PTB).  One of the games I originally featured was the Super NES and Nintendo 64 favorites, Pilotwings.  As I said in the original article:

The Pilotwings series has typically been seen as a way for Nintendo to show off the technology underneath a console’s exterior, and with the upcoming codenamed Revolution console on the way Nintendo could very well revive the series for a third round.

Now that we know about the Revolution's controller, what kind of Pilotwings challenges could Nintendo create to showcase the new control technology?  Perhaps a kickass rocketbelt challenge involving waving the control wand to influence direction in three dimensions?  Maybe a skydiving objective in which the freefalling player can be moved with pinpoint accuracy?  Brainstorm some ideas and post them in the comments section below.  Next week we'll vote on the best ideas (as chosen by me) in the Weekly Poll.  Now get thinking!

Weekly Poll: Revolution Reaction

Weekly Poll for 9-11-05Wario and Pit split the Smash Bros. 3 vote nearly evenly, so let's hope that Nintendo agrees and is already building the next-generation character models.  Fawful didn't receive many votes, and admittedly I didn't expect him to do so.  I only included him because I want to hear him shout his trademark "I HAVE FURY!" before each fight.

As for this week's poll, now that Nintendo has revealed the Revolution's controller and nonstandard control method, what are your thoughts?  Are you sold on the concept, or do you want to see more before making a decision?  Cast your vote and leave your thoughts.  As long as Mario can run and jump like I expect him to, I'll be happy.

We Should Have Seen The Revolution Coming

Nintendo RevolutionI'm still thinking about this whole Nintendo Revolution controller business and it occurs to me that we should have seen the major new form of controller coming.  Of course, it's easy to say that once we know the amazing secret, but I think that I (and many others, too) was so blinded by all of the theories that were tossed around that I couldn't see the solution when it was sitting right in front of me.  Or rather, behind me.

Continue reading "We Should Have Seen The Revolution Coming" »

Hungry For More

Nintendo Revolution controllersNow that I've had a few hours for the Nintendo Revolution controller design to sink into my brain, I've been thinking about Nintendo's previous controller unveilings.  When the Super NES controller appeared in Nintendo Power for the first time, I wondered what those buttons on top of the controller did and if they could ever be useful.  I mean, they're on the top of the controller, fer cryin' out loud.  Then the Virtual Boy controller with its double control pads.  Two control pads?  How can I use them both and still be able to press the buttons?  When I tried the Nintendo 64 controller for the first time, I tried to use the analog stick like an old fashioned joystick by pinching it with my thumb and pointer finger.  My initial ideas regarding how these things work doesn't always match how these things are supposed to function.

Nintendo has done a lot of then-crazy things as their hardware evolved over the years, and my initial resistance has always melted away once I saw Mario in action and had a chance to try the game for myself.  Show me some game footage featuring familiar characters, please.  I need to see how the gaming elements that I am accustomed to can translate into this new control scheme.  Just reading text proclaiming how wonderful it will be is not enough; it's never been enough.  I'm ready to start thawing.  I am glad that Nintendo did finally reveal the controller even if I'm not completely sold on it right away.  As secret as the company has been, I was almost expecting the Revolution to ship in a plain white unmarked box that I could never open because if I did it would expose the amazing secret.

Viva La Revolution!

Nintendo Revolution controllerAccessories. That's the amazing secret behind the Nintendo Revolution.  Nintendo president Satoru Iwata presented the console and its new-fangled controller at the Tokyo Game Show and revealed what appears to be the first mainstream game console controller that arrives Some Assembly Required.  The main half of the controller is held in one hand while the various accessories are held in the other hand, such as an analog joystick or other such things.  The accessories are optional, too.  The main half can be used by itself.  IGN has put in some time with the prototype and here's what they have to say:

The main source of input is nothing short of unexpected and untraditional. It is essentially a wireless, square remote that works something like a computer mouse would in 3D space. Imagine sticking your hand into a virtual box and having your TV understand how it's moving in there. Now you're getting the idea.

Here's the thing: I don't get this.  I've read through the IGN article and other pieces and I just don't understand it.  How does it work?  How do I make Mario run and jump?  That's all I really want to know.  Tell me how I make Mario run and jump.  Articles are fond of using the example "imagine being able to swing the sword in Zelda", but that's not helping me.  Someone, anyone, tell me what buttons and control sticks I push to move Mario.

I've been pressing buttons and pushing control pads/sticks for nearly twenty years now and I just can't make the mental shift to this new controller at first glance.  I'm not passing judgment on it until I get the chance to try it, but I have to admit that my first impression is not "Hell yeah!" or "Hell no!", but "What the hell?"  Somehow I don't think I'm alone in that.

All I want is to make Mario run and jump.

Maybe We Can Have Nice Things

Pink stylusA few months ago I took issue with the fact that Nintendo's Japanese and European units have an extensive rewards catalog from which their customers can order free items in exchange for registering Nintendo purchases at the company's website.  Here in North America the most we get for registering games are free AIM icons and on extremely special occasions a bonus disc for play in a Nintendo GameCube.  Maybe Nintendo's American arm has started to see the light regarding freebies.

When Kirby Canvas Curse was released in Japan the package included a special pink Nintendo DS stylus.  The American version did not include the bonus item probably due to cultural differences.  After all, pink is seen as a "girly" color in America and no stereotypical tough guy wants to be seen playing with a pink stylus.  Nevertheless, now Nintendo of America is giving these pink pointers to those of us out there who registered Kirby Canvas Curse with the company's website.  Supplies are limited, of course, so you'd best take advantage of the offer while it lasts.  I put in for one just for the hell of it.  I probably won't use it in public though.  I don't want to be seen playing with a pink stylus.

MTV Ponders Revolution Controller

Nintendo RevolutionStephen Totilo of MTV News has been researching the wide world of Nintendo Revolution controller mock-ups in order to see what Nintendo's fans expect when the curtain finally goes up on the supposedly revolutionary gadget.  More specifically, what do Nintendo fans expect to see when the controller is finally revealed?  The article is especially worth reading because I'm quoted in it.

"I've read so many off-the-wall theories that at this point I half expect the controller to dispense yummy peanut butter candies whenever I achieve a new high score," said Matt Green, who blogs about games at "I do not believe it will include a touch screen, helmet, 3-D display or buttons that deliver an electric shock. Yes, that theory is really floating around out there."

The latest rumor to cross the Internet is that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata will unveil the controller during his presentation at the Tokyo Game Show later this week.  No word on if the Candy Pak will be included in the announcement.

Presenting The Capcom Pad Soldier

Capcom Pad SoldierWith the announcement of Nintendo's mysterious Revolution controller supposedly only days away, 1-Up has taken a moment to chronicle the evolution of the video game controller from its humble beginnings up through the introduction of the Control Pad, into shoulder button territory, past the world of analog sticks, and into RF wireless abilities.  There are a few quirky third-party controllers featured in the article's sidebar (did anyone really own a U-Force?), but one controller missing from their list that deserves a mention is Capcom's Pad Solider controller for the Super Famicom.

Continue reading "Presenting The Capcom Pad Soldier" »

AMN Previews The GameCube Games Of Fall 2005

Shadow the HedgehogOne of my AMN co-workers, Phillip Levin, and I have put together a little feature highlighting the major Nintendo GameCube releases for the rest of 2005.  Without a single major GameCube release to focus on this year, this is a good opportunity to look ahead and what's coming up and make out your wish list.  So many games, so little time.

This isn't to say the holidays are about one big game. In fact, long-time gamers know that’s simply not the case. By Christmas, the industry is flooded with handfuls of games. And, more troubling for consumers that don’t have endless wallets, a lot of the games released during the holidays are must-haves or extremely tempting purchases.  Below, you’ll find our in-depth look at the GameCube holiday line-up. While there might not be that “one” must-have, there are a handful of very promising, sure-to-be-great releases quickly coming your way.

Nintendo fans will find most of the new action on the Nintendo DS this holiday season with the launch of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, but everybody's favorite geometrically-shaped console will have a few little hits released for it instead of one big release.  Combine all those little releases, however, and you'll find that there's plenty of fun in store for the GameCube throughout the rest of the year.