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October 2006

September 2006

Packrat Trashes Console Collection; Gamers Weep

Dumbass!I'll be the first to admit that I'm a gaming packrat.  I still have all of my old gaming consoles, all of my old games, the novelty controllers that only work with one or two games, and even all of the old game boxes (packed away in air conditioned storage currently).  I'm not the only one who has a hard time letting go, apparently.  Some dumbass guy over at NeoGAF decided to dump a whole collection of his classic consoles into the trash rather than move them to his new home.  The reaction from the community is about what you'd expect.

From a gamer point of view you deserve to be shot, hanged and then dropped in a river with concrete boots.  No wait... instead can we just burn you at the stake and call you a witch?  I am disgusted, I DEMAND that you never touch a video game again.
I'm still at a point in my life where I can't imagine parting with my beloved game consoles and cartridges.  I have this little dream where someday when I have the space in my home I want to line up all the consoles from NES to Wii and beyond, hook them all to the television, and be able to play any game I want from a period spanning over twenty years.  It's all part of my ultimate media room master plan. 

Anticipating Wii/DS Connectivity

Wii DS One aspect of the Nintendo Wii that hasn't been followed-up lately is how it will connect to the Nintendo DS to provide interesting gameplay additions.  Hopefully we're looking at the next step beyond linking a GameCube to a Game Boy Advance, because I personally don't know anybody who bothered to purchase the required hardware (and software) and then gather it all together for multiplayer fun.  I don't just want to use the DS as a secondary input device in Wii games.  Let's do like the gang at NeoGAF and brainstorm some ideas "outside of the box" as to how the two systems could interact.

[V]isual controllers have always been the holy grail of video gaming.  All the way back to the VMU I've been excited about it. With the DS and Wii and WiFi now, Nintendo is in the perfect stance (and Sony to a slightly lesser degree also, to be fair) to have connectivity that really matters. I hope they do it. To have a touch screen interface into home console games on the Wii, or even just something as stupidly fun as Pac Man Vs. again, would be awesome. Hopefully Nintendo (and third parties) will be able to make it work.
My favorite idea so far is the idea of using the DS as a PDA that ties into the game world.  Imagine receiving messages or even voice mail from characters who are not on the TV screen at that very moment.  What if Princess Zelda could send Link an e-mail that shows the location where Ganon is holding her?  Remember the father in Earthbound who would call Ness on his cell phone and remind him (and you, the player) to take a break from the action?  He could call your DS instead.  It's all part of that ongoing idea that the characters we play are connected to us, the players.  I think it could be an interesting idea to develop.

Japanese PS3 Price Cut Announced; HDMI Added

Sony PlayStation 3Could Sony finally be ready to stop angering their more vocal fans?  For whatever reason Sony has decided to drop the price of the PlayStation 3 "basic" model in Japan to a paltry ¥49,980 (approximately $430).  As you may recall, the same model of PS3 will go for $500 in North America.  Moreover, this model of PS3 will also now include one of those fancy HDMI ports required for certain HD displays.  Basically, if you're a Japanese PlayStation fan on a budget (well, a budget that can still afford to part with ¥49,980 for a game console) then the deal just became a little sweeter.  Next Generation has more.

The move appears to be in response to pressure from public criticism of the pricey console, as well as pressure from Nintendo and Microsoft (primarily the more Japanese-competitive Nintendo), which both sell their next generation consoles for significantly less. Some analysts and industry watchers have said that the PlayStation brand could lose its first place seating in Japan in the next generation, partly due to its price.

With the high asking price for a PS3 I can surely understand how Sony may think it needs to lower the cost to bring in more customers.  Nintendo seems set to smoke the Japanese market with the Wii, so if Sony wants to stay competitive and retain the massive mind share they enjoy in Japan, they're going to have to give the people some of what they want.

Pretty Pretty Games

Leon S. KennedyWith the Nintendo GameCube's lifespan coming to an end it's time for the flurry of final "best of" lists to appear as a fitting send-off to one heck of a game console.  AMN has thrown its hat into the ring and come up with a list of the ten (er, eleven, sort of) of the most graphically impressive games on the system.  Some you expect to see on a list like this and some you don't.

While Nintendo’s new-generation console, Wii, might not be about graphics, the Big N’s last-gen console, GameCube, brought to us some of the prettiest, most beautiful video games we’ve ever played. Sure, sure, Nintendo would have you believe that graphics don’t matter, but we think they’re wrong. After all, how can’t the oftentimes gorgeous graphics found in the games below not matter? These babies would be on a catwalk, provided they could walk. But unfortunately they can’t, so we’re giving them the next best thing: their very own awards.

There were a few glaring omissions, but then again there always are with these sorts of subjective things.  When it comes to impressive visuals we simply cannot forget titles such as Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Mario Sunshine, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.  Yeah, those are all first party titles.  So what?  They're darn beautiful.

Grand Theft Auto Bound For Wii?

Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis Time to quash another rumor.  No, Grand Theft Auto is not coming to Nintendo's new Wii console.  However, let us never say never.  AMN has word that Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has "spent some time" with Auto's publisher, Take-Two, to discuss what kind of support the publisher can offer the Wii.  Intrigued yet?

Fils-Aime told MTV, "We're reaching out to every publisher, frankly every day. I'll be spending some time later today with the folks over at Take Two to see what type of support they can give our console... The fact is there will be M-rated content on the Wii console. EA has already announced that they're bringing 'The Godfather' to our console. And we want every single best-selling game to be available on Wii. Whatever that content is."

So there's a little truth in this rumor in that talks with Take-Two have occurred, but not necessarily about Grand Theft Auto (although I'd bet that Nintendo would be very eager to see an exclusive GTA title for the Wii).  For all we know Take-Two may just want to release a Wii version of Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis.  Honestly now, which do you think is more likely?

Wii FAQ Answers Most Everything (Plus: Preorder Issues)

Nintendo Wii controllersWith the flurry of Wii news coming out of Nintendo recently it's easy to be swept up in rumors and uncertainties.  Over at AMN we've put together a comprehensive list of Wii questions and answers designed to fill your brain with new knowledge and correct answers.  It's a great summary of what we know so far and what else is yet to come.

On a related topic, now that the Wii release date is out of the bag, folks are eager to preorder a console.  Last Friday briefly offered the Wii for preorder, but that option disappeared after just a few hours.  Some people are speculating that the offer was made in error and those preorders are invalid, while others believe that the preorder offer ended because Amazon sold all of their alloted consoles.  I don't know which is true, but I do know that I preordered a Wii via Amazon on that mythical Friday (hedging my bets in case Nintendo doesn't provide AMN with enough Wiis for everybody) and while the preorder offer may be gone, my order is still listed in my account as an open order.  As of right now Amazon has not canceled it (it is listed as shipping in early October, but that's gotta be an actual error).  Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to assume that preorders made during that short window are valid.

Senator Takes Fight Against Game Violence To The Next Level

Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side Fighting games are known for certain recurring character archetypes.  There's the heroic Japanese warrior, the big-breasted women with the gymnastic kicks, and the palette-swapped ninjas out for revenge.  One type of character that we just don't see often enough are the folks with the real powers... political powers!  Reach back in time to the era of the Sega CD and recoil in horror at Eternal Champions: Challenge From The Dark Side's ripped-from-today's-headlines hidden character: The Senator!

Occupation: Politician, or corrupt puppet of the lobbyists

Time Zone: 1995 AD

Fighting Style: Dishonesty; Using deceit and lies the senator can deliver a wide variety of underhanded moves. He can also abuse and misuse the political powers that were given to him. The most dangerous weapon he has is a total lack of morals.

Biography: The Senator made a living by voting the ways of special interest groups and creating issues to make himself popular. Given his lifetime membership in the good-old-boys club, he was surprised when he wasn't supported by his party for re-election. It seems that he once voted for a Human rights issue and his party was angry that humanity was considered above their personal profits. When he lost in a landslide election after spending millions of his own money, he died of a massive heart attack.

Goal: If the Senator was to recover from his bad case of death by winning the contest, he would attempt to came back and make up for his years of civil abuse, maybe.

Yes, this particular installment of Eternal Champions offered up a corrupt senator as a playable character in a nod to (and possibly a response to) the various Congressional hearings over video game violence that were springing up at the time.  Remember, this was the age of controversial games such as Mortal Kombat and Night TrapI-Mockery has taken a look back at The Senator and his amazing arsenal of special attacks, such as covering his opponents in red tape, banning foes outright so they cannot fight back, citing diplomatic immunity to avoid taking damage, and impaling other warriors with large VOTE pins.  And who says that video game developers don't have a sense of moral outrage (and a sense of humor)?

Wii: Then And Now (Plus: Attempted Rationalizations!)

Wii consoleThe gang over at Joystiq has put together a list of what Nintendo's Wii was originally supposed to do versus what it will finally be able to do.  Confused?  Basically we're looking at a list of broken and kept promises, although the p-word is a bit stronger of a word than I'd like to use in this instance.  While the company did keep to their original ideas in some respects, a few things were pushed into 2007 or tossed to the curb entirely.

Then: The Wii could play DVDs via an unspecified and entirely nebulous dongle. The original console description reads: "Two Disc Formats, One Slot: Instead of a tray, a single, innovative, self-loading media bay will play both 12-centimeter optical discs used for the new system as well as Nintendo GameCube discs. Owners will have the option of equipping a small, self-contained attachment to play movies and other DVD content."

Now: Inserting a DVD into the system will likely produce a polite error message indicating a complete inability to play DVDs. Nintendo's Perrin Kaplan explains DVD playback was removed "in order to deliver the machine at a cheaper cost and because most people today already own DVD players." On the plus side, this reduces the amount of times we'll have to type a dubious word like "dongle."

Yeah, the DVD thing is probably for the best.  It's probably safe to say that from a market standpoint everybody who wants a DVD player has one by now.  I have three devices in my home that can play DVDs.  Only one of those is a dedicated DVD player.  I really don't need another right now.  Here's another:

Continue reading "Wii: Then And Now (Plus: Attempted Rationalizations!)" »

Weekly Poll: Wii At Last

Weekly Poll for 9-05-2006You all are clearly overlooking the benefits of the blue Koopa shell.  You'd be able to completely smash away all of that rush hour traffic.  Bad drivers would be a thing of the past.  So much lost potential there.

Back to serious matters.  The secret launch details behind Nintendo's Wii console in Japan and North America have finally been officially revealed.  Europe's news comes on Friday.  Are you happy with the news?  Angry?  Disinterested altogether?  Let's see some votes and hear some comments.  We have to do something to kill time until November.

Wii Launch Date, Price, and Titles Revealed

Wii box At long last Nintendo has officially revealed the information regarding when the new Wii console will launch.  Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 19, 2006 if you live in North America.  For $250 you'll snag the console, the remote, the nunchuck attachment, the sensor bar, power cables, AV cables, the sensor bar, and - could it be? - a free pack-in game, Wii SportsAMN liveblogged the big press event in New York today where there is surely plenty more information to come.

Continue reading "Wii Launch Date, Price, and Titles Revealed" »