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October 2005

Contest: Make Your Life Complete With A Breakdancing Turtle

Bowser gets funkyI've seen a lot of things over the years and been to a lot of places.  I've visited Europe and seen the view from atop a Swiss mountain.  I've survived a painful surgical procedure.  Now, friends, I have truly seen everything.  Nothing in life can possibly compare to my latest experience and now my life is complete.  No matter what your own life has thrown at you over the years, you too will become complete once you see what I've seen.  Nothing can ever hope to top this promotional artwork for the new Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix of Bowser, King of the Koopas, breakdancing.

Do you consider yourself a Photoshopping virtuoso?  Why not download the high resolution version of this artistic gem and see where you can place Dancin' Bowser.  Post your creations in the comments below and let's see who can create the best environment for the funky king.  Read on for the rules and the prize to be awarded to my favorite creation.

Continue reading "Contest: Make Your Life Complete With A Breakdancing Turtle" »

Johnny Turbo In "Let 'Em Dangle!!"

Johnny TurboA few months ago we were all horrified by Episode 43 ("The Master Plan!") of Johnny Turbo's adventures in which the rotund mascot praised and pitched for the TurboCD and TurboGrafx-16 consoles of yesteryear.  The remaining episodes of the series have returned to the Internet courtesy of the reborn Sardius Experience in which Episodes 44 ("Let 'Em Dangle!!") and 45 ("Sleepwalker") are available for your amusement and horror.  Don't miss the page-by-page analysis of this disturbing advertisement and the shocking truth behind Johnny Turbo's real identity.  Yes, there is a real Johnny Turbo somewhere out there.  Other advertising mascots don't even compare!

Thanks to PTB reader "Brad Pitt" for pointing out the return of Sardius.

Doom's The Rock On Acting

Doom logoDoom, the movie based on the popular video game, stars popular action hero The Rock as everyone's favorite space marine.  How did The Rock prepare himself for the rigors of battling demons on Mars?  He appeared on Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week to discuss the depth he brought to the classic character.

The Rock starts to say how he studied up for the part and how he worked up his deep emotional feelings when he . . . and then he stopped and said "Who am I kidding? All I do is beat up guys." He adds, "I'm just a big, badass guy with a big, badass gun. There's no real acting involved."

I smell an Academy Award headed to a certain guy with a big, badass gun!  Doom opens in theaters nationwide today.

More On Mario Basketball

Mario Basket 3on3Some information regarding the control mechanics of the upcoming Nintendo DS title Mario Basket 3on3 have dribbled out to the Internet via IGN.  Apparently the characters are moved with the control pad and the rest of their maneuvers - dribbling, shooting, passing, etc. - are controlled with the touch screen by swiping the stylus in various directions.  It sounds confusing on paper, but we've seen both Nintendo and Square-Enix work control miracles before.

The control scheme Square Enix has come up with is one of the more interesting aspects of the game. The D-pad is used to move your player around, with the stylus used for dribbling, passing and shooting. To pass, you swipe the screen left or right with the touch pen. To shoot, you swipe the touch pen up. Dribbling requires that you tap the screen. Based on the speed of your tapping, your character's speed will increase or decrease. Also, you can make your character rotate by dribbling in different parts of the screen.

I still can't quite wrap my brain around the fact that Square-Enix is developing this game.  Even more surprising is that the game was originally the company's own idea and it was only after development began that it approached Nintendo for a Mario-based collaboration.  It just doesn't seem right for the famed RPG creator to be dabbling in sports again (remember Rad Racer?).  I'd have expected Final Fantasy Basketball from Square-Enix before a sports game featuring the Mushroom Kingdom all-stars.  I'm not against this collaboration, mind you, just a little puzzled.  What's next?  Dragon Quest PinballChrono Trigger Rally Racer

PSP Porn Not Seen By Kids A Danger To Kids

Memory Stick PornoTry and follow this sequence of events.  First a woman buys a used Sony memory stick for use in her husband's PlayStation Portable.  Then she and her husband find that this used memory stick contains pornography.  The couple saw it, was horrified, and reported it to the media because children might have seen it.  Let me just repeat that: no children actually saw the porn found on someone's used memory stick.  Yet apparently this is worthy of news.  Tulsa, OK's KOTV has the amazing and terrifying story.

"Any child could buy this," says Ricky. "Anyone could buy this, and people need to be warned about it."

I think these folks are missing the point that they found the porn on used hardware.  New memory sticks do not come preloaded with porn from the factory.  The fault here lies with the store that sold this memory stick for not purging that memory stick before putting it out on the shelf for sale.  Furthermore, in this isolated incident the children (whom we should all be thinking of) did not actually see the porn.  No harm done, right?  Boy, it's a good thing that this one memory stick is an abnormality.  Can you imagine the breakdown of society if it were possible to download porn and install it on your own memory stick?

[W]e found more than one website with porn movies that were already converted and ready for downloading.  The practice is apparently so common that the device has been nicknamed the PlayStation "Porn"able by some.  Ricky says, "Cause the biggest gimmick for this device is you can connect it to you computer, download your pictures, your music clips whatever. And apparently, people do this and they do inappropriate things."

Whoa, slow down there, Ricky.  Next you'll tell me that Cinemax shows dirty movies late at night!  It's a good thing that isn't the case.  We must be on guard against pornography before it seeps into our magazines, our books, our movies, our Internet, our daydreams, and our late night Cinemax.  Thank goodness children don't have access to those things and never will.

Mario Paint DS? Could Be...

Mario PaintThat bastion of half-truths, Spong, believes that Nintendo is currently at work on a revival of the Super NES creativity "game" Mario Paint for the Nintendo DS.  You might remember Mario Paint as the game pak that shipped with the Super NES mouse, a peripheral most remembered for coming packed in the same box as Mario Paint.  *cough*  Now there's talk that a DS update is in the works in which artists can share their creations via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and even - dare I say it? - a Nintendo Revolution Mario Paint sometime in the future.

While North Americans have to reach back to 1992 to get a little Mario Paint fix, Japanese Nintendo 64 64DD owners might remember the Mario Artist series, a collection of "games" in which artists could create rudimentary 2D and 3D art as well as simple animation and music.  The rumor now is that Nintendo could revisit that idea, releasing multiple DS titles under a Mario Paint (or Artist) banner.  I'm intrigued, but I have to admit that I never did much with Mario Paint back in the day.  I wanted it just to get the Super NES mouse (which never went on to be used with much of anything notable).  It would take something amazing to get me to buy into a new version of the program.  How about a simple 2D or 3D game engine so I can play around with creating my own video games?

Configuring For The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection

Nintendo Wi-Fi ConnectionThis morning I presented the second of three presentations on the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection as part of my final research paper required for completing my undergraduate work at the university.  As I did with the first presentation, I am reprinting today's presentation here on Press The Buttons.  Today's focus was on the configuration options for setting up the Nintendo DS to play happily on a network as well as talk of the recent deal to install Nintendo Wi-Fi service in McDonald's restaurants and some of the points of interest I will cover in the final presentation next month.  There was also brief mention of the localization required for Animal Crossing: Wild World that I learned during my recent interview with Nintendo's Treehouse division, although there are no slides focusing on that material.

Please feel free to suggest information sources or ask questions after browsing today's new material.  The topic brought a lot of questions out of the audience this morning (much more than the other presentations) and I want to hear your thoughts on the matter.  What do you want to know about the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection as it pertains to introducing Nintendo to the online gaming arena?  I will try to work these questions and answers into the final presentation and research paper.

Bold Gold Sold

Gold barYou're familiar with the practice of gold farming, right?  In which MMORPG players collect gold and then sell that in-game gold to other players for real money?  Gold farming is looked down upon with extreme distastefulness by most gamers and yet still the practice goes on, relying on players with too much real money on their hands and not enough fake money in order to turn a profit.

Some gold farming groups (mostly based in Asia) have been so bold as to organize as actual companies and do nothing but pay "employees" a pittance (in real money) in exchange for playing MMORPGs all day and all night for the purpose of gathering gold to sell.  The heads of the company take a healthy percentage of each transaction.  Setting up a corporation for gold farming is pretty bold, but how brassy does a company have to be to buy ad space in PC Gamer offering its services?  The spelling and syntax of the excerpt below is shown here verbatim.

In August 2005, we build game currency futures market, which is similar to with real futures in the financial market.  We delivery certain gold in a certain time to you.  The longer the delivery time, the cheaper the gold.  You can purchase WoW gold with incredible price.  (10%-50% lower than market price).  For example: 1000 gold is $73, even lower.

"A fool and his money," I suppose.  I still don't understand the practice of paying real money for a virtual item.  As for the advertisement, it seems this "company" did draw some attention, but probably not the kind it wanted.  The gold farmers' website redirects to a generic ad-happy search engine page now.  It's so sad to see a company that "build game currency futures market" go under.

What, Me Professional?

Famicom business card casesThe retro craze of selling various products that are reminiscent of classic Nintendo graphics and gizmos has yielded yet another must-have item: business card cases shaped like popular Famicom cartridges.  As I look at these I feel compelled to buy one, except that the more I think about it the more I realize that with the exception of exchanging business cards at E3 and other such gaming industry trade events and meetings, there is no other business card case that could possibly make me seem more unprofessional.  With the exception of trotting out the case each May in California, I could never show the case to a non-gaming business contact.

On the other hand, they have cases shaped like Famicom controllers for sale.

(via Kotaku)

Return Of The Rumble Pak

Metroid Prime PinballFor some reason the news that the Nintendo DS is about to get rumble support is flying low on the gaming radar.  IGN has a look at the new accessory that will come bundled with the new Metroid Prime Pinball starting next week.  Basically the DS Rumble Pak is a Game Boy Advance game pak that must be inserted in the DS's GBA slot.  We know the drill here; the Nintendo 64 utilized a similar idea for its Rumble Pak back in 1997.  Unfortunately, based on what IGN says about this new "DS Option Pak" (the official designation for DS add-ons such as this), the rumble effect is more noise and less vibration.

Either our cartridge is broken, or the DS Rumble Pak is one of the noisiest Rumble Paks Nintendo has ever built. When playing Metroid Prime Pinball, we can hear the rumble mechanism more than we can feel the rumble effects in the system. It's so loud, in fact, that it sounds like a metallic "chirp" whenever the rumble is activated. We'd rather just not put it in the system at all. Good thing it's free, because at this point we wouldn't bother buying it as an extra.

I played Metroid Prime Pinball back at E3 and to be honest I didn't notice any rumble effects.  I've heard from other people who were there that the demo units did include this new accessory, but either the DS I played didn't have the pak inserted or it just didn't work at the time.  I'm tempted to pick up Metroid Prime Pinball just to get the Rumble Pak because I always consider it to be a good deal to buy a game just to get the pack-in accessory.  I bought Star Fox 64 for the N64 Rumble Pak, Donkey Kong 64 for the Expansion Pak, and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for the DK Bongos.  All three of those games turned out to be better than I expected, so I'm hoping that history repeats itself for this latest accessory.