Archive for March, 2007

Firmware 3.30 Decrypted!

This was emailed to me no more than 10 minutes ago — Team C+D’s 3.30 PSAR Dumper, responsible for dumping & decrypting Sony’s latest 3.30 firmware!

You know the usual routine by now: Sony releases a new firmware strengthening security, shortly thereafter it’s decrypted by a talented team of hackers, and perhaps — just maybe — a custom firmware revision will follow. Until then, keep checkin’ back — same Dashhacks time, same Dashhacks channel!

Thanks Mario!

Download:
3.30 PSAR Dumper
3.30 Firmware Update
PBP Unpacker (to unpack 3.30’s DATA.PSAR)

Published on March 31st, 2007 under

Miyamoto talks Vision, Third-Party Support, and Competition in Newsweek’s post-GDC interview

Source: infendo.com

N’Gai Croal’s LevelUp blog published an interview held after the 2007 Game Developer’s Conference with Nintendo’s legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. Highlights and commentary from that interview follow:

“I wanted to clear up some misunderstandings that some developers have about what Nintendo is trying to do, and make it really clear that we’re not saying that you need to turn your back on technology. We’re not saying that the game industry is bad and that we don’t like what people are doing.
[…]
Obviously one thing that Nintendo does, and we continue to try to do, is to create new interfaces. That’s going to give third party developers the opportunity to come up with new ideas, and we think that there’s going to be a great number of opportunities for people to do that with Wii.
[…]
A lot of times it seems that when [third-party developers are] putting games out on Nintendo hardware, those games are being developed by their third-string team or their fourth-string team. Maybe that’s because they see those products as being unique projects or somewhat smaller-scale projects. But when Nintendo puts out a title that is designed to really support and sell its hardware, that title is always developed by one of our number one teams. And so I think that when it comes to the question of trying to compete with our software, I would really like to see the parties try to do that with their number one teams rather than with the third- or fourth-string teams.”

Hard for me to do anything here other than agree. 3rd parties can’t expect to release ‘tester’ products with their throwaway studios and profit off of the venture. Whether this is a departure from reality on the other consoles is an unknown to me, but reason suggests that that wouldn’t be a viable approach for any system, and it’s unreasonable to expect Nintendo’s hardware alone to sell your games. In the full article, Miyamoto goes on to list 3rd parties that have ‘gotten it’, released innovative software that doesn’t just tack on features to existing games, and reaped the rewards of their efforts. Developers, business is about risk. Get used to it.

“One of the biggest points of my speech is that there was a time when Space Invaders and Super Mario came out when videogames were at the center of pop culture. It was huge news. Everybody knew what Space Invaders was. Everybody knew what Super Mario Bros was. The world used to react to games and respond to games in a way that I haven’t seen it doing in a long time. I wanted to try to convey the idea to people that the expanded audience isn’t just about reaching out to new people but in fact it’s about trying to get videogames back to a central position in pop culture and getting the world to pay attention to videogames again.”

The phenomenon of video games falling out of the mainstream eye and into being a subject a ridicule for the uninitiated certainly isn’t difficult to witness in modern times. I work for an electric company during the week, and I’m generally known as ‘the gamer guy’ – Gaming is defined in the present as a lifestyle choice and not a pastime. And while most of the blue-collar workers I work with think gaming lies exclusively in the domain of geeks, almost all of them have owned an NES in the past and could throw down in a game of Super Mario Bros. Some of them have now purchased Wiis. If Nintendo can once again propel their major brands into “household name” status to the point where Mario/Zelda cereal is re-manufactured, I am reasonably certain I could die happy. Deliciously happy.

“With regard to the PlayStation Home, obviously we have seen a lot of people who have been interested in doing that type of thing for a long time, from Little Computer People to what we have done with the Miis to the Sims, so a lot of people have looked at different ways to take that and do something with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we also did something…in terms of taking the Miis and expanding them, that virtual kind of Sim-type experience. It’s something that a lot of people have already done and shown interest in, and we have a lot of people internally who are interested in that type of a project too.”

Now this is interesting news. The possibilities defined by WiiConnect24 and an always-online virtual world populated by Miis all point in directions that I find dangerously engrossing.

“I think the fact that at [Sony’s] keynote this week they focused on some maybe very Nintendo-esque type projects, it makes me happy and I think it’s good for the industry. Because the more that people try to go in these unique and creative directions, the more possibilities that open up for the industry as a whole.”

That Miyamoto’s a class act, let me tell you.

Published on March 31st, 2007 under , , , ,

Now introducing – the ‘Sega Catalyst’ ….videogame system!

Source: seganerds.com

SegaCatalyst 

Well now this certainly has been a rollercoaster the last few weeks!  We have had rumours abound of new games, a crazy hostage video, rumours of a Nights sequel, then a confirmation of NiGHTS 2.  Plenty of brand new releases on all platforms. Sonic and Mario finally joining forces. Sega hitting the top spot with 4 of their 5 PS3 launch titles in Europe and much more to come.  Now this! 

Could this be true?  Could Sega be having another stab at the hardware side of gaming?

According to mygen.com, Sega have announced that theirs plans of re-entering the hardware business with a brand new home console dubbed ‘Catalyst’.

Details are sketchy so far, but apparently the Catalyst will feature an HD-DVD drive and a confirmed NVidia graphics processing unit, as well as Sega showing off the (current) system logo {see image above}.

So far I am taking this with a pinch of salt, but the article by Mygen does seem quite legit- and they reveal some interesting quotes from both Sega and NVidia;

“I’m very pleased to be working with Sega on their new Catalyst video game system†explains Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO and president of NVIDIA Corp. “We’ve worked well with them in the past on their arcade hardware, and this will only aid in further strengthening our relationship. We’re very happy Sega decided to reenter the hardware business and bring us along in what we know will be a great success.â€

“We’re extremely excited to be reentering the hardware businessâ€, said Simon Jeffery, President of Sega of America. “We know our fans have missed playing their favorite Sega franchises on a Sega made console, so it’s very exciting to be able to bring that feeling back to them.â€

“…[Don’t] be at all surprised to see a few “cult” classics in the launch lineup, we’ve been listening to the fans, we know they want the classics. I can’t say much, but you won’t be wondering where the kidd inside you has gone for much longer.”

I honestly do not know what to say!  This last week has had some of the biggest news in gaming history and most of it regarding Sega!  The news of Nights 2, Sonic and Mario teaming up for a game and now that Sega could very well be serious about returning to hardware.

Phew! I think I need a lie down.

Note: Sorry to burst everyones bubble.  This was in fact an April Fools joke from Mygen.  But I thought it was a particularly convincing ‘joke’, which is why I decided to put it up.  But many of you should have noticed that from the link above – the date of the article.  I thought it also rather fitting to go with the last weeks crazy news- like the Mario-Sonic title and Nights 2, while those are true, this one is not.

Sorry for any distress this causes people.  And we won’t be paying for anyones dry cleaning….

[Source: MyGen.com.au]

Published on March 31st, 2007 under , , ,

Medieval 2 Total War Expands

Source: seganerds.com

total-war.JPG

The brilliant Total War series is something no one should miss, It is the cream of the RTS crop and the latest in the series is expanding Medieval 2 Total War is getting a huge expansion pack titled Medieval 2 Total War: Kingdoms. Here’s what Sega have to say.

NEW ARMIES WILL RISE AND NEW FACTIONS WILL FALL IN THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED
MEDIEVAL II: TOTAL WAR KINGDOMS EXPANSION!

We are pleased to announce, after much speculation and guess work on the part of the community, the arrival of the new expansion pack for Medieval II: Total War. Kingdoms will feature four new campaigns of the epic proportions fans have come to expect in Total War games. Britannia, The Crusades, The Teutonic Wars and The Americas complete a thrilling line-up of scenarios to delight even the most discerning of Total War players.
A host of new features accompanies the expansion. Some 23 playable factions join the melee, providing the opportunity to play as Aztec and Native American factions, as well as new European factions such as the Teutonic Order,the Crusader states, the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Principality of the Antioch. In total, more than 150 new units grace the battlefield, including the deadly Greek Flamethrower.

Kingdoms will provide even bigger Medieval II battles, thanks to the ability to control multiple armies. Now players will be able to take command of reinforcement armies on the battlefield. The four new campaigns are packed with new historical events and titanic figures like Richard The Lionheart and Saladin, who come complete with new special abilities to help turn the tide of battle. With many new mission types, six new multiplayer scenarios and 20 new custom battle maps, Kingdoms is a fantastic addition to Medieval II that will satisfy any fan of the game.

Published on March 31st, 2007 under , , ,

The final breath for the Dreamcast?

Source: seganerds.com

ReaperDCSince Sega stopped production of the Dreamcast consoles back in 2001, the argument over whether the Dreamcast was dead has been raging in forums and message boards across the gaming community.

Some say that because Sega stopped officially supporting the console and that the system was no longer being manufactured, that it was dead.

But all those stubborn Dreamcast nuts out there, (me included), argued the point that titles were still being made (even though small, Japan-only titles), the homebrew scene was thriving, seeing many new games and ported PC titles emerging from the underground gaming scene. And some of the online games were still able to be played online. Also Sega was still repairing the systems, that they had not stopped supporting the system entirely, and all this meant that it was not dead.

Could the end to that argument be at hand?

Earlier this year we heard that Sega had stopped the production of the official format for the Dreamcast- the GD-ROM. a special disc, only used by the Dreamcast, which was essentially a high quality CD-ROM that could hold 1 Gig of data. This meant that no games (by any company) could be officially released for the system. The only way to get new games would be through the homebrew/ underground scene, where users will need to burn games onto a normal CD-ROM. However many will not like to do this, as playing CD-ROMs on the Dreamcast has been known to wear down the laser.

Even then that was not such a big problem, anyone who could afford to, could get their Dreamcast sent of for repairs….

Now I’m afraid it seems that Sega have announced that as of September 28th 2007, according to German website Gamefront, they will no longer accept Dreamcast, Saturn consoles or their accessories for repairs. This could be the final blow for Dreamcast (and Saturn) lovers everywhere.

“30.03.07 – Sega Japan communicates that one will stop the internal repair service for Dreamcast and Saturn to 28.09.07.Defective consoles are not no more repaired starting from this date. The same applies also to the accessories of the two systems (e.g. Stromkabel, A/V cable, etc.).”

The homebrew scene is still doing quite well, but as the systems slowly start to die off, that niche market, that has been doing so well over the last 6 years, could come to an end too. We can only hope that some very kind people will start up their own Dreamcast repair centre, sure the parts won’t be official (and maybe Sega won’t allow it), but it could be the only way to keep one of the most under-rated systems alive. Lets pray that Sega start releasing Dreamcast titles on Xbox Live or the Virtual Console. Or someone makes a decent Dreamcast emulator for the PC.

For now all I can say is that if you think your Dreamcast could be on its last legs, you had better send it off to the designated repair centres, before it’s too late….and ‘keep the dream alive’ just a little longer.

Where to repair?

  • US owners should check out Sega-parts.com
  • European owners have a list of places to choose from (depending on country you live in)
  • Japanese owners…sorry I’m having difficulty readng/translating the Sega Japan site, but I’m sure there is a link there for you.

[Source: Gamefront.de]

Published on March 31st, 2007 under , , , ,

Win a copy of Sonic for Wii – [UPDATE] We have a winner!

Source: infendo.com

[UPDATE]

We have a winner! Tune in to Infendo Radio this weekend to hear the winning entry.

The deadline is this Friday, March 30th! Don’t miss your chance to win a free copy of Sonic & The Secret Rings plus extra goodies. Go here for the full details!

Published on March 31st, 2007 under ,

OXM gets PGR 4 exclusive

Source: thexboxdomain.net

oxm-may07-pgr4-preview-reg.jpg

Who said Magazines were dying out? OXM nailed a deal with Microsoft to show us the first details on Project Gotham Racing 4. Bizarre Creations in my opinion is one of the best developers in the business. Bizarre is bringing us Geometry Wars 3, PGR 4, The Club, and Boom Boom Rocket.

XBOXIC has the scoop on some of the details that OXM will be releasing on PGR 4.

Enhanced Weather Simulation: “One of the slickest new features in PGR is its weather. Bizarre’s using what it likes to call ‘extreme weather’ for more than just making the sky gray. Water beads up on beautifully on all the gorgeous paintjobs, spray jets out from the tires, and in the in-car view, wipers move and windshields ice up.”
Enhanced Raceway Environments: “A TV-style intro sets up each event, with a commentator offering wisdom…Choppers buzz overhead, camera crews and video vans are everywhere, and hordes of fans line the track. They’ll wear gear with your logo, wave your national flag, and react far more obviously to your performance.”
Extended Car Selection: “PGR4 will deliver a much broader set of vehicles, ranging from a vintage’63 Corvette Sting Ray and the ’54 Maserati 250F to the sleek, ultra-modern Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.”
On the tracks: “You won’t want to miss out on your viewing time with PGR4’s tracks, which tally up to 200-plus in 10 locations.”
On Xbox Live initiatives: “PGR4’s cooking up a mysterious new matchmaking system (like Halo 2’s).”
On in-car view: ” Bizarre has two key improvements in the works.You’ll now see drivers moving more- feeding the wheel as they zip through turns or pumping their fist after a win. Special effects will also crank up the tension in key moments: you’ll get a shake effect at high speeds, and your vision will blur after spending some quality time with a wall.”
In conclusion: “PGR4 feels hugely promising- like a proper sequel with loads of cool new toys.”

[This Issue of OXM hits stands on April 10th here in the states]

A Proper Sequel? Good, unlike other titles. PGR 4 is aiming for release this winter(late 2007/early 2008)

Hmmmm this news gets me in the mood for Forza 2.

[Via XBOXIC]

-Michael “Thrills Killa” Pacheco-

Published on March 31st, 2007 under

Check out Deacon’s gamertag jacket

Source: thexboxdomain.net

deaconblade360-1.jpg

Lookie Look what Deacon from Unscripted 360 received from Microsoft(Being that he is an Xbox MVP). His very own Gamertag Jacket. Is it geeky? Yeah Kinda but a true xbox gamer would sport this jacket like a badge of honor :-)

Thanks Deacon for rubbing it in our face that we will never be as cool as the famous Deaconblade 360.

These Gamertag Jackets are not for sale ANYWHERE. So don’t send Deacon questions where to find them. :-)

439659845_a5cf3ca1eb.jpg

-Michael “Thrills Killa” Pacheco-

Published on March 31st, 2007 under

Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword second expansion pack being built for July 24th 2007

Source: videogamesblogger.com

Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword expansion pack for PCNo Civilization V yet, but 2K Games has announced the second expansion for Sid Meier’s Civilization IV PC & Mac game titled Beyond the Sword.

The expansion pack will be released by the end of July 2007 and focus on the late-game time period after gunpowder. Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword features 16 new leaders, 5 new wonders, and other additions.

Civilization IV’s last expansion, Warlords, focused on combat. Beyond the Sword is designed for the players looking to dominate through other methods. Corporations will allow players to trade resources throughout the world, espionage will be allowed earlier in the game and the race to Alpha Centauri will require more strategy. There will also be advanced starts, allowing players to skip ahead and experience the new content, according to Joystiq.

Published on March 31st, 2007 under

Update for Gears of War adds Annex (CTF) multiplayer mode and fixes glitches like enabling 720p for VGA users again

Source: videogamesblogger.com

Gears Of War Collector's EditionEpic VP and co-founder Mark Rein has announced on their gearsforums that: “The next [free] title update for Gears of War is currently going through the certification process. We’ll have more detail about the update next week but I can tell you that in addition to fixing a whole bunch of glitches, and providing 720p for VGA users running at 1280×1024, it will contain a brand new multiplayer gametype called Annex.

Some folks who got to play it a few weeks ago said they think it is our best multiplayer gametype yet but I’ll leave it for you fans to decide what you think for yourself when it shows up soon on Xbox Live. More details next week.”

The new multiplayer mode Annex is a gametype like Territories, also known as Capture The Flag (CTF).

It’s also good to hear after three months the botched up VGA cable support will be fixed. In the previous Gears update, Epic had forced VGA users to a jagged edges 480p image at 640×480 (4:3), instead of a crisp clean 720p image at 1280×1024 (16:9) that will now be returned again.

Xbox360fanboy thinks the new gametype may coincide with the Gears of War Global Tournament that starts on April 9.

Published on March 31st, 2007 under

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