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July 2006

We'll Always Have Los Angeles

E3 logoAnd just like that... just like that!... the spectacle that was the Electronic Entertainment Expo is gone.  I'm surprised to hear so many people cheer at E3's demise.  There's nothing like a death in the family to bring out the muckraking and bitterness in the mourners.  I come here not to speak ill of the dead, however, but to remember some grand times at what in retrospect felt like another dimension; a world where everyone knows that Dodongo hates smoke and that Earth really is full of things.  Gaming will go on, of course, but covering gaming news will never be the same.  I'm unsure if that is good or bad.

I've been reading and listening to all kinds of anti-E3 sentiment; everything from high costs of attending (from both publisher folks from the booths and journalist buddies picking up the cost of hotels and meals) to the really long lines on the show floor to the general flashy atmosphere of the expo itself.  I've even heard some journalists go on about how much they hated covering the show and are glad that it's dead.  I don't understand how anyone could hate the event that is responsible for such memories as:

Continue reading "We'll Always Have Los Angeles" »

DBZ Contest Winner Announcement

Super Dragon Ball ZCongratulations to Press The Buttons reader Raphael for winning Super Dragon Ball Z for the Sony PlayStation 2 courtesy of Atari.  Another PTB-exclusive contest is coming up sooner than you think, and this time there won't be any homework required to enter.  Stay tuned for an announcement regarding that, as I think we all need a pick-me-up now that E3 has been downsized.

Nintendo-based Monopoly Hits Stores

Nintendo MonopolySeeing as how the Internet went crazy for the news of a special Nintendo edition of Monopoly not too long ago, I thought I should point out that the game is now available in stores.  Even is carrying it.  Allow me to take this moment to renew my call for an actual video game version of this board game.  If there was ever a board game crying out for a Nintendo DS version with online multiplayer abilities, this is it.  Now that I think about it, such a game would make a perfect companion for the upcoming Clubhouse Games traditional game collection.  Whaddya say, Nintendo?

The End Of E3 As We Know It?

E3 2005UPDATE: E3 may yet live on, but in a smaller, reformated fashion.  Whew!

Say it ain't so, ESA.  There's a rather credible rumor going around that the biggest annual gaming industry event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is about to be no more.  Apparently a few major publishers feel its better to withdraw from the show and hold their own mini-shows at their own time and location where there's no need to wrestle the media spotlight away from the competition.  There aren't yet any details about what would replace E3 (if anything), and an official announcement about this whole mess isn't expected until Tuesday at the latest.

I certainly hope this is just a bad rumor.  I do not want to see E3 fade away.  I love that week of wild gaming abandon: playing the demos, talking to the industry folks, and just generally absorbing all the game-centric ambiance.  You'll hear far too many people complain about the long lines and the slovenly people drooling over booth babes and so forth, but the important thing is to look beyond that.  I absolutely love covering the event.  If this is the end of E3 then I'm glad to have two of the shows under my belt.  Smaller individual events may better suit the publishers, but as a writer and a fan I'll miss the week of surprises and excitement.

Rebuilding The Sony Brand

Sony logo Sony has a little bit of an image problem.  Put aside the whole PlayStation 3 debacle for the moment and consider how much the company has overextended itself in the past decade into all kinds of ancillary industries, such as candy stores and cosmetics.  Remember the days of the ubiquitous Walkman?  The gadget that changed how we listened to music, circa 1980?  Whatever happened to that kind of Sony product?  The San Francisco Chronicle has some ideas about where Sony went wrong and how the company can bounce back.

In fact, Sony had grown arrogant about designing products that anticipated, rather than followed, consumer tastes, Chubachi said. Some colleagues were appalled when he started a basic customer-satisfaction push within the ranks.

The original Walkman, which sent on sale in 1979, was long heralded as an innovative product that was ahead of its time. Many, even within Sony, had predicted the Walkman would never catch on, warning that consumers wouldn't want to be seen wearing earphones.

They couldn't have been more wrong. But over the years, Sony grew complacent about its ability to come up with cutting-edge products and lost sight of the consumer.

We've been talking a lot about Sony's arrogance ever since the first mind-boggling details about the PS3 appeared at E3 last year, but plenty of people outside of the video game world have been burned by Sony's "do as we say and like it" attitude.

Continue reading "Rebuilding The Sony Brand" »

Last Chance For DBZ Contest

Super Dragon Ball ZYou are finalizing your contest entry by now, right?  Don't forget that the deadline for the contest to win Super Dragon Ball Z for the Sony PlayStation 2 is just a day and a half away, as all entries must be in my e-mail inbox at before Monday, July 31, 2006 (Eastern time zone).  You should be swimming in article title references by now, and remember that you don't have to find them all to win; you just have to find more than anyone else.  Keep out of the hot sun and hit the Press The Buttons archives instead, then send your list of references to [email protected].  I'll announce the winner on Monday afternoon.

Roundtable Discussion Asks "What Are You Playing?"

Mario on the beach As a glance at the release calendar for upcoming video games tells us, summertime has been largely dead in terms of new releases.  Over at AMN there just isn't much for a Nintendo GameCube/Wii editor to do right now.  So now that we're not reviewing games at a break-neck pace, the question arises: what are we at AMN playing right now?

The most popular answer involves either finishing old games that have been gathering dust or checking out some budget priced titles while waiting for the Q4 gold.  On the other hand, some strange staff members - and I really can't explain this - are, for some reason, going outside, with all the sun and dirt and grass and bugs and heat and stuff.  Outdoors is overrated, I say.

Biker Mice Revived For Some Reason

Biker Mice From Mars I've been calling for beloved forgotten video game revivals for some time now, but as they say, the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want.  For reasons I'll probably never understand, game developer Crest Studios is reviving the dead 1993 cartoon property Biker Mice From Mars for the Sony PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo DS to tie in with a new Biker Mice cartoon series.  Never heard of the biker mice?  I was vaguely aware of the franchise, but even I had to do a little research on the premise.

[Biker Mice From Mars] is about three humanoid motorcyclist mice named Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie who escaped a war on their home planet Mars. They eventually end up crash landing on Earth in the city of Chicago. There they meet a charming female mechanic named Charlene "Charley" Davidson and discover that the Plutarkians have come to Earth to exploit its natural resources. The Plutarkians are a smelly humanoid fish-like race who exploit other planets for natural resources because they have wasted all of their own.

Of all the beloved forgotten franchises from which to choose, I have to wonder... why Biker Mice From Mars?  Of course these new games are likely to be the latest in a long time of kiddie cash-in games that lack longterm playability, but still... Biker Mice From Mars?  There's a whole line of fun and memorable dead franchises out there worthy of revival, and on my list Biker Mice is not one of them.  So why now for Biker Mice?  The same reason that Biker Mice was created in the first place: to compete with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise.  Now that the turtles are coming back to theaters, all of the old wannabe Turtles clones are rising from the dead as well.  Up next: the all-new Super Street Sharks Extreme!  Jawsome!

(via rllmukforum)

Afternoons At The Clubhouse

Clubhouse Games Add another listing to the games of Nintendo's Touch Generations series.  The company has a compilation set in the works for the Nintendo DS that features 42 all-time classic games, such as poker, chess, darts, backgammon, and many more.  Clubhouse Games (known as 42 All-Time Classics in Europe) also includes local & online multiplayer, in-game PictoChatting, and the most generic name for a video game ever published in Europe.  AMN has the story.

I'm surprised that Nintendo hasn't released a collection like this sooner.  After all, we're dealing with public domain games aimed at a general audience.  Talk about a license to print money.  What makes this collection stand out is the online multiplayer mode.  This set could become the defacto online DS game, as everybody has to know and like at least one game featured in Clubhouse.  The game launches in Europe at the end of September and in North America near the beginning of October.  Who's up for a game of checkers?

DBZ Contest Reminder

Super Dragon Ball ZHow many references have you found so far?  There's still plenty of time to enter the contest for a chance to win Super Dragon Ball Z for the Sony PlayStation 2.  Remember, you don't have to find and list every single reference to television, movies, music, or video games in order to win; you just have to find more than anyone else.  I realize that's a daunting task considering that as of right now there are 920 entries in the Press The Buttons archive.  920 entries in 17 months... wow, I've been busy.  Thanks again to Atari for providing the prize.  Remember, all entries must be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] before Monday, July 31, 2006.