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February 2007

Charlie Brown For Atari 2600 Resurfaces

Charlie Brown Around the same time that Atari was plunging the home video game industry into turmoil with E.T. the company was also hard at work on a game featuring perennial comics favorite Charlie Brown.  Good Luck Charlie Brown cast players as the legendary blockhead and required that our hero keep his kite in the air away from airborne obstacles and the famous Kite Eating Tree.

Pushing the joystick left and right moves Charlie Brown around the screen.  Pushing up and down will let out or pull in the kite string, thus making the kite move up and down.  If the kite hits an obstacle the game will freeze for a moment and Charlie Brown will have to start again, but if the kite hits the Kite Eating Tree, Charlie Brown will actually flip over and all the obstacles will turn black which may signify a different type of "death" with a different penalty. 

The game was finally scrapped sometime in 1984 after missing a 1983 release date.  Now all these years later it's popped back up at a flea market in Wisconsin, and one lucky collector has acquired what may be the only known beta cartridge to still exist.  He's even posted a clip of the game in action.  Interesting stuff even if it looks more frustrating than fun.

(via Lost Levels)

Broken Bobble Update

Bubble Bobble Revolution Remember last October when Codemasters unleashed Bubble Bobble Revolution for the Nintendo DS?  And how the game had a crippling bug in which the boss of Level 30 would never appear?  And how Codemasters promised to fix the problem at some point in the future?  Well, the future is now.

We are pleased to say that we expect to be sending out replacement cartridges, that rectify this fault, from February 23 onwards. We would, however, also like to apologize for the length of time that this process has taken.

It's taken four months to fix the error, but at least the replacements are finally ready.  Here's hoping that those responsible for the problem (either through their actions or inactions) have learned a little something from this experience.  Otherwise the lesson falls to the gamers in which we learn not to buy potentially faulty products from Codemasters.

(via Error Macro)

Weekly Poll: Dracula Xpensive

Weekly Poll for 1-30-2007It would seem that the Wii News Channel is off to a good start, but so far I'm not seeing the value in it.  After downloading the update for it last week I've found myself checking in on the headlines twice, but that's been it.  Perhaps it's because I spend so much time at the computer all day that I don't see the need to read the same news again later on the Wii after having read it on the web.

Moving on, last week Konami wowed us all with the announcement of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the Sony PlayStation Portable.  I'm going to have to get the new game when it comes out later this year, but of course the other thing I have to consider is that I don't own a PSP.  Going with Dracula X means a sizable investment in the portable console itself.  Is anyone else out there planning on jumping aboard the PSP bandwagon just to get the new Castlevania?  Let's hear some thoughts on the matter.

Revived Ghostbusters 3 Harkens New Game

GhostbustersBoy, when it rains, it pours.  After the kerfuffle over Zootfly's Ghostbusters for Microsoft Xbox 360 pitch came a bunch of developments from the long-dormant world of Ghostbusters.  Sony (who own part of the rights to the franchise) put the kibosh on Zootfly's game which in turn led to Ray Stantz himself, Dan Aykroyd, revealing in a radio interview that Universal had bought the video game rights to the series and that the writer/actor would be doing some motion capture work for the game sometime next year.  That quickly gave rise to the news that Ghostbusters 3 is back in development, but this time as an animated adventure instead of a live action romp.  Can you believe it?  I firmly expected cats and dogs to be living together before this kind of news became a reality.

So why are we hearing about all of this now?  Here's my theory.  Zootfly heard about Ghostbusters 3 being back in development and wanted to get the rights to make the video game.  They made their pitch videos and put them out for the world to see, but then Sony ordered them removed as the game rights were already promised/sold to Universal/Vivendi.  With the Ghostbusters game news out in the wild it was decided to reveal the full scope of the franchise's revival, hence Aykroyd's sudden comments on the upcoming movie and game. 

New Castlevania Makes Us All Buy A PSP

Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles I've been eyeing the Sony PlayStation Portable ever since Mega Man: Powered Up appeared, and while I really want to play that game (and a small handful of others on the platform) I just haven't been able to talk myself into pulling the trigger on buying one.  Now Konami has come forth with a new Castlevania title for the portable system and I have to admit that I'm ready to jump on board now.  Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles not only features a new modern take on the unreleased-outside-of-Japan Rondo of Blood, but also the original PC Engine game from 1993 and - get this - Symphony of the Night.  That's three amazing Castlevania games in one package.  Can you believe it?  We have until September to give in and pick up PSPs, but in the meantime don't miss some snazzy video of the new version of Rondo of Blood

Mario Kart 64 Virtual Console Issues May Run Deeper Than We Think

Nintendo 64 controller accessories Wii owners rejoiced when the Nintendo 64 favorite Mario Kart 64 turned up on the Virtual Console a few days ago, but then the happiness turned to bitter disappointment when it was revealed that this emulated rendition of the game does not allow players to save ghosts in Time Trials mode.  The Controller Pak (that little plastic shell from 1996 that contained 256 KB of memory) functionality needed to save that data is just not available in the Virtual Console version of the game.  Fans are calling on Nintendo to fix the problem and add Controller Pak support (that is, redirect the game's calls to the Pak to the Wii's internal memory).  As of right now the company isn't budging on the matter.

I think we're missing the bigger picture here.  This goes beyond a single Virtual Console came being unable to make use of Controller Pak functionality.  Nintendo has already said that when games such as Star Fox 64 turn up on the service that they will not support Rumble Pak functionality if the game is played with a GameCube controller (which, as you'll recall, has rumble abilities).  I believe that the issue here isn't just the Controller Pak, but the entire expansion port on the back of the original Nintendo 64 controller.  It's that slot that isn't emulated in these re-releases and not just the accessories that originally fit into it.  If that's true then you can most likely forget about playing perfect renditions of Virtual Console releases that once used that expansion slot.