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December 2006

Weekly Poll: Nintend-'07

Weekly Poll for 12-4-2006As time marches on we're finally starting to see some  quality titles hit the Wii's Virtual Console service.  Now that Gunstar Heroes and Ristar have joined the fun in North America, things are bound to get better.  ToeJam & Earl is only a week away, too!  Still, we need some Nintendo all-star classics to hit the service.  They don't even have to be the big guns.  I know tons of people would leap for Kid Icarus right this moment if it were offered.

Looking into the future now, Nintendo has scheduled a bunch of Wii games for 2007.  There looks to be something for just about everyone, from mini-game sets to action romps to shooter epics to character brawling.  Which currently scheduled 2007 game is at the top of your Wii most wanted list?  Cast your vote and leave some comments.

Need For Speed: Carbon Review At AMN

Need For Speed: CarbonAfter enjoying the world of Excite Truck I was looking forward to reviewing the Nintendo Wii version of Need For Speed: Carbon.  Unfortunately, while Excite's motion controls seem to be crafted with loving care, Carbon's controls are a sloppy lazy mess.  My review at AMN goes into plenty of detail on this disappointment from Electronic Arts.

Carbon suffers from some frustrating steering problems. The game’s default sensitivity setting sends cars veering off the road at a sharp angle if the remote is tilted even slightly, and the two alternate sensitivity levels ("loose" and "tight") do not help matters much. Keeping the car on the road is a major challenge, and sliding off the road into a barricade is a very common occurrence. A small steering wheel icon at the bottom of the screen indicates how far the remote is currently tilted, but unfortunately this information is nothing that players do not already know by simply holding on to the remote.

My (non-gaming) parents are visiting me this week and as I was finishing my work with Carbon they each wanted a turn behind the wheel.  My father agrees with me about the poor control, but would you believe that my mother led the police on a twenty minute chase through the streets of Palmont?  Go Mom!

Pathetic Marketing Campaign Tries to Boost PSP

Sony PlayStation PortableSony is "down" with all us "gamerz", usin' our street "vernacularz" to show off their mad marketing "skillz".  This time around the company hired viral marketing firm Zipatoni to put together a website/blog to praise the PlayStation Portable for the holidays.  The site is supposed to look like someone's real plea to parents to buy a PSP for a Christmas gift. tries to imitate Zipatoni's vision of how video game fans speak (with non-existent punctuation, a lack of capitalization, and a complete disregard for basic rules of grammar).

This sort of thing is horrendously transparent.  UK Resistance has compiled the best quotes from real gamers who have descended on the AllIWant comment sections to call out Zipatoni/Sony's condescending behavior.

"As a gamer who is part of Sony's target audience I'm insulted not just by the integrity of this website, but that this reflects how intelligent Sony's marketing department thinks I am."

"Please, while you're removing this comment and the 200 other negative comments above it (again), have the decency to do one honest thing in your life and inform Sony of just how bad they screwed up by ordering this a_d. This is simply so insulting to anyone who truly loves games, the only reaction you will likely get is a decreased willingness to buy anything Sony branded."

Sometimes I just don't know what to say about these pathetic marketing attempts to blend in with a community.  I suppose now that you've heard about this viral ad, the campaign could be considered a success, but also keep in mind that this may be how Sony sees their primary audience: illiterate idiots without enough disposable income to afford a PSP.

Ocarina Link Statue Coming At Last

Adult Link figurine I've been complaining for a while now that the neat figurines offered by First 4 Figures and licensed by Nintendo have been (with the exception of Samus Aran) of the "also-ran" characters of the Nintendo universe, such as Skull Kid and Trace.  Maybe someone out there is listening to me because this morning the company announced an Adult Link figurine from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  Finally, a real honest to goodness beloved character!

No one can question the courage of the Hero of Time, the true bearer of the Triforce and Master Sword. At the beginning of the Ocarina of Time, Link unsuccessfully tried to save the Great Deku Tree from the evil curse placed by Ganondorf. However, with the help of his fairy companion Navi and a host of other friendly faces, he sets out on an adventure across time to banish the evil forces of Ganondorf from Hyrule.

First 4 Figures is hugely proud to present the one that the fans have all been waiting for, Adult Link from the Ocarina of Time game! His pose shows him winding up for his signature spin attack. The Hero of Time is the third collectible statue in First 4 Figures™ Legend of Zelda collectible statue series. He measures approximately 7 inches tall, including the base. If standing tall, he would measure 8.5 inches tall, accurately keeping in scale with current and future statues in the series.

Cast in high quality poly-stone, the statue is hand finished and hand painted. Not only has Adult Link been faithfully recreated, but so has the Master Sword and Hylian Shield. Stands upon a diorama base and includes a dungeon map and dungeon key for added realism. Comes packed in a foam interior full colored box with a card of authenticity. Highly limited at only 2,500 pieces available worldwide.

Link's a little more expensive than the other characters presented this far ($109), but I think I may have to bite on this one.  At long last I'll have a classy piece of Nintendo memorabilia suitable for display that has nostalgic happiness attached to it.  You'll find the large photos of the figurine below.  Just don't order it before I do!

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Tempted By Sin

Sin and Punishment Near the end of the Nintendo 64's life there came word of an on-rails shooter from noted developer Treasure that went by the name of Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth.  The game follows the ramifications of a genetically engineered food source designed for humans lashing out at mankind.  A special crack team of armed volunteers head to Japan in an attempt to contain the outbreak.  During gameplay players must aim, shoot, sidestep, roll, and otherwise evade incoming bullets and beasts.  The game has become semi-legendary in certain gaming circles as yet another "one that got away", as the game was only released in Japan in 2000 (and later in China for the iQue of all things).  Lots of folks have been calling for it to turn up on the Wii's Virtual Console translated into English, but how many of you actually know what the game entails?  Let's see a show of hands.  That few, eh?  Don't worry. Platypus Comix is here to help with a complete Sin and Punishment feature that includes plenty of screenshots and video clips.

In 2000, Nintendo released something rather unNintendolike--a fast-paced shooter-on-rails, developed by cult game maker Treasure, set in a grim apocalyptic future and starring two fearless teenagers with guns. It launched to wide critical acclaim and is regarded as one of the finest N64 games ever made. But it only came out in Japan. To make things more irritating, Sin and Punishment was planned for a US release from the very beginning. The Eastern version has already been localized with English voice actors (really, only the text is Japanese). Fortunately, the fact that the game was already translated makes it easier to understand. Unfortunately, it's your typical post-apocalyptic anime mess, meaning you can't understand the plot ANYWAY.

Whether or not gamers will get to experience Virtual Console titles from other regions is still up in the air (unfortunately) so Sin and Punishment's return outside of Japan may just be an idle pipe dream.  However, as the feature notes, there's a perfect opportunity coming up to bring the game back.  The game's storyline pegs the apocalypse as occurring on July 15, 2007... a perfect day for the game to reach the Wii Shop Channel around the world.  You have nearly seven months, Nintendo.  Don't let us down!

Anticipating Sega Genesis Collection 2

ToeJam and Earl The collection of retro titles that is Sega Genesis Collection for the Sony PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable has only been in stores for a short while and already people are frothing at the mouth for a sequel.  There are plenty of other great titles from the days of the Sega Genesis that deserve a second lap around the track.  The problem is that while Sega published a whole bunch of great Genesis games, they don't own the rights to all of those games today.  Sega can't re-release what they don't own (or cannot license), after all.  So what's in and what's out for a possible second collection of classics?  SonicMegaDrive at NeoGAF has done the homework and listed which games Sega still owns and which ones are sitting in someone else's vault.

If it were up to me I'd be sure to put the two ToeJam and Earl games in the next set as well as Dynamite Headdy, Eternal Champions, Greendog, Gunstar Heroes, Landstalker, The Ooze (even if it was a bit of a gameplay mess), Out Run & its sequel, the three Shining Force titles, the Streets of Rage trilogy ("T" rating be damned), Wonder Boy in Monster Land, and X-Perts (to fit with Eternal Champions).  What, no Sonic the Hedgehog?  We have the Sonic Mega Collection set for that, thanks.  Now then, which eligible games would you like to see in a second Sega Genesis Collection?

Zelda: Twilight Princess Is Awesome, Part 2

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight PrincessDid you miss Part 1?

Hyrule continues to be an awesome place.  In fact, it's only getting more amazing as the game progresses.  I only wish I had more time to play it, as reviewing games such as Rayman Raving Rabbids means I've had to put Twilight Princess aside for a few days here and there.  As I've moved past the second dungeon more of the land has opened up to me, so today I'll be discussing events up through the end of the third dungeon and the cut scene that follows.  Once again I ask that if you comment, do not discuss any events from the game beyond that point.

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Sony's "Virtual Console" Launches

Sony PlayStation PortableSony has jumped into the "buy old favorite games through our download service" pool by making a handful of PlayStation 1 games available for play on the PlayStation Portable via emulation.  I think this is a great idea, as the only thing better than being able to download old favorites is to download old favorites for play on the go.  Of course, there's a catch.  In order for the PSP to play those PS1 games you'll have to download them via your PlayStation 3.  Yup, the PS3 is the bridge between PS1 classics and PSP portable goodness.  AMN has the list of available launch titles, all of which cost between approximately $6 and $8.

I'm having trouble getting past the fact that a PS3 is required to make this all happen.  Why not allow gamers to download the games via PC or direct to the PSP from Sony's online store?  There must be an explanation for this beyond "Sony wants people to buy a PS3", but I just can't figure it out.  And moreover, why can't the PS3 play those downloaded games instead of merely serving as a link between the PS1 games and the PSP hardware?  GameDaily BIZ reports that these capabilities will be available in the future, but why the delay?  If any of you out there can throw me a bone and explain the technical reasons behind these temporary restrictions, I'd appreciate it.

Wacky Wii Warnings

Do not feed the Pikmin People are stupid.  Seriously.  They figure out new ways of injuring themselves all the time.  Nintendo is hoping that the Wii will not be somebody's downfall, as the console's instruction manual includes a bunch of seemingly odd warnings about proper Wii use, such images advising against plugging up the console's air vents with a four leaf clover or eating the twist ties that keep new cords together in the box.  Leave it to the twisted sense of humor at NeoGAF to alter these images and create a slew of hilarious warning remixes.  You'll laugh yourself sick over these.  Hmm, there should be a warning about that.

Image created by NeoGAF's Cosmonaut X

Mini-Review: Sega Genesis Collection

Sega Genesis Collection We've seen a lot of retro game collections during the last generation of gaming, and even as the next generation of consoles shift into high gear with various à la carte retro offerings, Sega has decided to bundle nearly thirty of their Genesis classics into a single collection for the Sony PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable.  Most of your old favorites are here (along with some unfortunate filler), and while we've seen several of the included games in other places recently, the Sega Genesis Collection goes the extra mile with a ton of unlockable developer interviews, some mildly interesting trivia, and a budget price. 

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