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May 2006

Be The Mario

The Nintendo Physically Augmented Reality Amusement ParkHow would you like to be Super Mario?  How would you like to be able to perform his grand leaps and power punches?  How would you like to wear a goofy costume and a bungee harness?  Then get yourself to New York quick before Nintendo hears about The Nintendo Physically Augmented Reality Amusement Park and fires off a copyright infringement notice.

Nintendo Amusement Park is a real life obstacle course which a player jumps through using a power assist harness. There is nothing digital. There is nothing projected. There is nothing virtual. Both the power harness and the moving parts of the obstacle course are entirely mechanical, to give a player the true feeling of being inside a video game.  Nintendo Amusement Park is actively seeking collaborators, sponsors, and investors for the next phases of the project.

Who wants to be the first to slap on a special bungee cord and go leaping through the fantastic Mushroom Kingdom (if the Mushroom Kingdom were made of tarps, balloons, boxes, and deflatable Goombas)?

We would like to build a version to be displayed at E3 2007 as part of game company's booth. We have chosen to borrow the Nintendo name, and video game aesthetic, as they are the largest inspiration for this project, but we are interested in working with anyone who shares our vision.  Our ideal partnership would be a collaboration with Nintendo and Disney to develop an entirely new experience.

Good luck with that, guys.  I'm not so sure the world is ready for a realistic do-it-yourself Super Mario ride.  I mean, we've all entertained the notion that, if required, we could leap over pits and rescue the princess from spiky turtles, but somehow I do not believe that the road to becoming a heroic plumber is lined with trampolines and cardboard clouds.

(via MetaFilter)

How Much Are Wii Going To Pay?

GreedichuUPDATE: Nintendo has announced that the Wii will cost $250 at launch in North America.

More and more questions are popping up this week regarding what the price of the Nintendo Wii could be when it's released later this year.  Analysts are publishing reports, columnists are making predictions, and fans are tossing out random numbers.  PTB reader Tim Winchester has decided to crunch numbers instead.  He's put together some interesting cost estimations based on data from competing console price points.

Continue reading "How Much Are Wii Going To Pay?" »

Homebrew Kit For PS3 Will Baffle Mainstream

Linux_1 Word is starting to circulate that the Sony PlayStation 3 will ship with "a functional Linux Operating System as well as compilers and other tools."  Opening the door for homebrew developers is a great thing and Sony should be encouraged for actually shipping these tools with the console.  However, it really confuses me as to why Sony would spend the money to put these tools on every PS3 that comes out of the factory.  Most mainstream consumers don't even know what "homebrew" means and even less know how to make use of the included tools.  Is it financially worth it to ship them to everyone instead of offering them separately for those who are interested?  Or is it just a talking point to slap on the box as something the competition doesn't offer?

Moreover, what does Sony hope to see happen by offering these tools?  If they're assuming people will make their own little simple games to run on the console then they may be sadly mistaken.  I can guarantee that within the first few weeks of release that we'll see plenty of classic console emulators and other kinds of software that Sony would rather we not create.  Time will tell how these tools are used in the mainstream, but in the meantime it's just plain odd for Sony to plan such a thing.  Still, as a knowledgeable consumer you gotta love homebrew opportunities.

(via Joystiq)

Weekly Poll: Meet The Newcomers

Weekly Poll for 4-28-2006There's still some opposition to the name "Wii" out there, but I have to admit that while I'm still not thrilled with, it's starting to grow on me.  However, that didn't happen until I had the chance to play it at E3.  The whole Wii backstory strikes me as pretentious, but as long as the games end up being as much fun as the demos I think I can learn to live with it.  At least they're not trying to call it "StarCube" again.

Staying in the Wii family for this week, I'd like to ask something about the newly announced Super Smash Bros. Brawl.  We've been talking about which third party characters need to appear in the game, but what is your reaction to the new characters that have already been officially announced for inclusion?  Which character excites you the most?  In terms of gameplay, I mean.  If we were judging by physical appearance than I know Zero Suit Samus would win by a landslide.

New Super Mario Bros. Review At AMN

New Super Mario Bros. When the editor in charge of AMN's Nintendo DS division offered me the opportunity to step outside the GameCube/Wii umbrella to review the new Nintendo soon-to-be-smash-hit New Super Mario Bros., I leapt at the chance.  After all, who better to review Mario's glorious return to 2D platforming than someone who has been with our favorite plumber since the beginning?  I picked up the review copy of the game last Monday after arriving in Los Angeles for E3 and spent the better part of the week after the show floor closed each day playing multiplayer modes with AMN staff and trying to beat back the hordes of gamers eager to get their hands on the single player mode.  The game itself hits stores this week, so be sure not to miss it.  Eager for more details?  Be sure to read my review.

E3 Video Album Now Complete

E3 videos Thanks to PTB reader Joshua Buhler all of the videos I shot during E3 are now available for viewing in the E3 Video Album in a nifty streaming Flash interface.  Relive those heady days of last week with clips from Super Mario Galaxy, Sonic the Hedgehog, Excite Truck, and more.  The bright lights and loud noises may be gone, but the memories will last forever (along with the eardrum damage, I'm afraid).

Brawling Over Smash Characters

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Ever since last week's surprise revelation of Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Nintendo Wii fans have been brainstorming about which characters should be added to the roster.  Now that Solid Snake has shattered the "Nintendo only" rule of character inclusion there's been quite a wish list of first and third party characters building up on fan forums and around water coolers.  I've heard all kinds of suggestions ranging from Kid Icarus's Eggplant Wizard to Street Fighter's Ryu to Devil May Cry's Dante.  There's an important point that I think people are missing, however, and that is that the Smash Bros. series celebrates gaming's top #1 all stars.

Continue reading "Brawling Over Smash Characters" »

E3 Photo Album Now Complete

E3 photo albumE3 2006 has come to an end, but the memories will last forever.  I've loaded the last of the photos from my week in Los Angeles into the PTB E3 2006 photo album and I've gone back and added a descriptive caption to each photo to give the images a little context and backstory.  Check it all out at  In case it isn't obvious from the photos, I had an amazing time playing new games and writing previews for some potentially great upcoming stuff.  There's nothing quite like being there in person to walk miles and wait hours in pursuit of a chance to play Super Mario Galaxy for ten minutes.

Last Of The E3 Quickies

DK King of Swing As the memories of E3 2006 begin to fade away into one massive slab of fuzzy hazes it's time to take one final look at more of the games at the show that especially impressed me.

DK King of Swing (Nintendo DS): It has the same title as the Game Boy Advance version, but this sequel is actually an all new game with rendered visuals similiar to Donkey Kong Country and the return of Diddy Kong as a playable sidekick.  The basic gameplay appears the same, but the levels are larger and more detailed.  Again, more of the same but still fun.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Nintendo DS): Another 2D Castlevania adventure for the DS is alright by me, mainly because this new adventure just looks so gorgeous.  Colors are vivid and bright, the animation is even better than the previous game, and some of the monsters are rendered up as 3D objects against the 2D world.  One enemy that made a particular impression on me was a floating eyeball that would occasionally turn and look out towards me while I whipped it to bits.

Continue reading "Last Of The E3 Quickies" »

Super Mario Conquers Space

Super Mario Galaxy One of the most in-demand games in the Nintendo Wii part of E3 was Super Mario Galaxy.  After waiting more than three hours in line just to get to the Wii area, those wishing to take Mario for a spin found themselves waiting at least an extra hour in line just to get to the game.  At the end, though, was a ten minute demo that is really quite charming.  See just how charming in this exclusive video as Mario is blasted from little planet to little planet.  The whooshing red mark on the screen is the freehand controller's on-screen cursor.  Be sure to notice how it changes gameplay as items are collected without Mario being anywhere near them.