Archive for April, 2007

Virtual Console Monday – Castlevania, Shockman, and The Legend of the Mystical Ninja

Source: infendo.com

There are three new releases for Wii’s Virtual Console today, including the classic beginning of a franchise that continues to be a powerhouse even now.

Castlevania – NES – 500 Points
Step into the shadows of the deadliest dwelling on Earth. You’ve arrived at Castlevania, and you’re here on business: to destroy the curse of the Evil Count, once and for all. Make your way through six monstrous floors filled with bats, ghosts, zombies and every kind of ghoulish creature you can imagine.

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja – SNES – 800 Points
In The Legend of The Mystical Ninja, take control of Kid Ying and Dr. Yang in an action adventure through feudal Japan. A curse has stricken the village of Horo-Horo, and its beloved princess has vanished. Together Kid Ying, a daring young mystical ninja, and Dr. Yang, master of the invincible spirit transformation, must overcome 10 levels of the Dragonbeast to save Princess Yuki.

Shockman – TG16 – 600 Points
It’s been two years since Arnold and Sonya were made into Shockmen. A message from the professor to return to their bodies has them head to his laboratory, but they are ambushed by a mysterious enemy along the way. After narrowly defeating the enemy, they catch a TV news flash announcing the Ryo Empire invasion. They find that the professor has been abducted and set out to rescue him.

Are you ready to return to Castlevania this week?

Published on April 30th, 2007 under

What is the best Mario game, ever?

Source: infendo.com

Mario2small-1.jpgGame Daily published a feature last week dubbed The Top 10 Mario Games. Super Mario Bros. 3 took the top spot amongst a slew of greats.

While I may agree with their first pick (either that or Super Mario World in my book), I disagree with several others; Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga at number four? Seems high to me.

In your eyes, what is the best Mario game to date and why? Post in the comments, folks.

Published on April 30th, 2007 under

Releasing this week….. Spider-Man 3

Source: thexboxdomain.net

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Spider-Man 3 is releasing this week at the movies so it only makes sense that the game releases this week too. If one game franchise does the whole superhero thing right it’s the Spider-Man games.

Anyone buying Spider-Man 3? I know for sure I’m seeing the movie.

-Michael “Thrills Killa” Pacheco-

Published on April 30th, 2007 under

The Blue Ocean is deep

Source: infendo.com

I worry this morning that the table has been set for a repeat of the early 1990’s.

The industry is healthy, with two of the three console makers selling their wares briskly, and the slow trickle of software that was the first six months of the “next generation” is set to increase as we head into and out of the summer doldrums. Well, it’s set to increase in the Nintendo corner anyway, with those 100+ first party games being in development. Gamespot is saying it could be as high as 124, although they might not all make it to production (hey, just like Nibris!).

On the surface that kind of news is great for Nintendo, but as the title of the post says, the Blue Ocean is as deep as it is wide and I fear the potential exists beneath the surface for another dark era in Nintendo gaming.

The irony is Nintendo, so far, has not returned to the monopolistic levels of its former SNES-era self. Instead, Nintendo’s competitors are dropping the ball, and by doing so are opening a vast hole in the industry that Nintendo may find too tempting to resist (some would argue that Nintendo has already begin to reshape the industry in its own image, again, so this may be a moot point).

So how is the competition mucking things up? To answer that I’ll not go into detail about the PS3; it’s foibles and follies are well-documented here and elsewhere. No, it’s the current leader, Microsoft, that has me worried. Their Xbox 360, once a shoe-in for front runner status thanks to a great game library and robust online presence, is quickly becoming 2007’s house of cards. After Q4’s channel stuffing debacle, 360 sales have plummeted.

Seeking Alpha:

XBox 360 is a console that should be hitting its stride now nearly 18 months after introduction — instead, its sales are declining and not hitting their goals. Eighteen months into Apple’s (AAPL) iPod rollout — a product which sold at the time for more than the XBox 360 — it had sold nearly 30 million units. Microsoft is struggling to achieve less than half that.

The 360 will not meet its sales goals this quarter, and this is after one slash in forecasts already. The PS2 (remember that?) consistently outsells the 360 month over month.

And speaking of that slim little black system (what the Xbox 360 Elite wishes it was), the PS2 sells like gangbusters everywhere. In game industry years, the thing is one foot in the grave of obsolescence, and yet it still sells. And thanks to what? A great library. Does this mean that gamers had already accepted the next gen wasn’t going to be all about graphics? Was industry already begging or ready for a new direction? I’m certainly no expert, but what I do know is both Sony and Microsoft were all too eager to dismiss the massive fan base of the PS2 in the name of “more power.” 100 million consoles sold, and apparently they meant nothing. What gamers were told was that the big companies knew what was good for them, and that their desire for game play was second seat to horsepower and the “media center strategy.”

Enter Nintendo. Going left while the industry goes right … over a cliff. The potential exists for a huge void. The last time I saw such a void was in 1986. Sure, I was only six years old at the time, but I took notes, dammit. The NES took the Americas and the world by storm, and video games became synonymous with Nintendo. For a Nintendo fan like me, that kind of environment is great in the short term, but I had always assumed the competition was going to sack up and deliver some appealing alternatives. Sure there were the GoW’s and Halo’s, but those formulas are stale to the void that exists outside of the XBox’s 10 million strong base. Hell, they may even be stale to some of those inside the base — just look at those falling numbers.

My hope lies in the DS. Both as a system and as a strategy. The DS is the market leader and was only threatened by the PSP for a few months, if that. Regardless of that fact, Nintendo was still able to push great IP in the absence of competition. There’s nothing in the cards that says they can’t or won’t do that with the Wii. It could be a rare case of innovation in the absence of competition.

But the risk for the old 90’s monopoly practices still exists, so I’m packing a life preserver.

Published on April 30th, 2007 under , , , , , ,

The Blue Ocean is deep

Source: infendo.com

I worry this morning that the table has been set for a repeat of the early 1990’s.

The industry is healthy, with two of the three console makers selling their wares briskly, and the slow trickle of software that was the first six months of the “next generation” is set to increase as we head into and out of the summer doldrums. Well, it’s set to increase in the Nintendo corner anyway, with those 100+ first party games being in development. Gamespot is saying it could be as high as 124, although they might not all make it to production (hey, just like Nibris!).

On the surface that kind of news is great for Nintendo, but as the title of the post says, the Blue Ocean is as deep as it is wide and I fear the potential exists beneath the surface for another dark era in Nintendo gaming.

The irony is Nintendo, so far, has not returned to the monopolistic levels of its former SNES-era self. Instead, Nintendo’s competitors are dropping the ball, and by doing so are opening a vast hole in the industry that Nintendo may find too tempting to resist (some would argue that Nintendo has already begin to reshape the industry in its own image, again, so this may be a moot point).

So how is the competition mucking things up? To answer that I’ll not go into detail about the PS3; it’s foibles and follies are well-documented here and elsewhere. No, it’s the current leader, Microsoft, that has me worried. Their Xbox 360, once a shoe-in for front runner status thanks to a great game library and robust online presence, is quickly becoming 2007’s house of cards. After Q4’s channel stuffing debacle, 360 sales have plummeted.

Seeking Alpha:

XBox 360 is a console that should be hitting its stride now nearly 18 months after introduction — instead, its sales are declining and not hitting their goals. Eighteen months into Apple’s (AAPL) iPod rollout — a product which sold at the time for more than the XBox 360 — it had sold nearly 30 million units. Microsoft is struggling to achieve less than half that.

The 360 will not meet its sales goals this quarter, and this is after one slash in forecasts already. The PS2 (remember that?) consistently outsells the 360 month over month.

And speaking of that slim little black system (what the Xbox 360 Elite wishes it was), the PS2 sells like gangbusters everywhere. In game industry years, the thing is one foot in the grave of obsolescence, and yet it still sells. And thanks to what? A great library. Does this mean that gamers had already accepted the next gen wasn’t going to be all about graphics? Was industry already begging or ready for a new direction? I’m certainly no expert, but what I do know is both Sony and Microsoft were all too eager to dismiss the massive fan base of the PS2 in the name of “more power.” 100 million consoles sold, and apparently they meant nothing. What gamers were told was that the big companies knew what was good for them, and that their desire for game play was second seat to horsepower and the “media center strategy.”

Enter Nintendo. Going left while the industry goes right … over a cliff. The potential exists for a huge void. The last time I saw such a void was in 1986. Sure, I was only six years old at the time, but I took notes, dammit. The NES took the Americas and the world by storm, and video games became synonymous with Nintendo. For a Nintendo fan like me, that kind of environment is great in the short term, but I had always assumed the competition was going to sack up and deliver some appealing alternatives. Sure there were the GoW’s and Halo’s, but those formulas are stale to the void that exists outside of the XBox’s 10 million strong base. Hell, they may even be stale to some of those inside the base — just look at those falling numbers.

My hope lies in the DS. Both as a system and as a strategy. The DS is the market leader and was only threatened by the PSP for a few months, if that. Regardless of that fact, Nintendo was still able to push great IP in the absence of competition. There’s nothing in the cards that says they can’t or won’t do that with the Wii. It could be a rare case of innovation in the absence of competition.

But the risk for the old 90’s monopoly practices still exists, so I’m packing a life preserver.

Published on April 30th, 2007 under , , , , , ,

Analyst says HDTV penetration not as good as expected

Source: infendo.com

“Although the penetration of HD has been impressive, I believed, and was correct, that this penetration would not attain a level that could support the level of installed base of second-generation consoles which are non-HD. The Wii can be enjoyed on regular-resolution televisions without paying a premium,” said one analyst in speaking with News Factor on HDTV.

So is Wii proof that the world banked too early on HDTV? Early signs seem to suggest that, though HD will be inevitable (and appreciated). I loves me some HDTV, but I love gaming more. If I can get some sweet games at a much lower cost for the time being, I’m down.

Published on April 30th, 2007 under ,

Get Your Spend On – new releases this week

Source: infendo.com

Spider-Man casts his web on all Nintendo systems this week (sorry, GameCube).

US releases:
Wii
Heatseeker
Legend of the Dragon
Spider-Man 3
DS
Shrek the Third
Spider-Man 3
GBA
Spider-Man 3

EU/UK
Wii
Eledees
Mercury Meltdown Revolution
Spider-Man 3
DS
Diner Dash
Final Fantasy III
Spider-Man 3

If Heatseeker is anything like the classic arcade experience After Burner, then I might have to rent it. Anything on this list tickle your fancy?

Published on April 30th, 2007 under , ,

Does Nibris really exist?

Source: infendo.com

I’ve got hunch today that Nibris and its stable of “almost done, we swear!” titles will either be remembered as the beginning of a prosperous new era for indie developers, or the most colossal non-starter dud since Duke Nukem Forever. There’s going to be no middle ground on this one.

Here’s what we’ve seen so far: A woman prancing about on a sound stage with an umbrella in back and white (that’s Sadness); a few seconds of a top-down shooter that might as well have been some graduate student’s final project (that’d be Raid over the River); and a blindside out-of-the-blue announcement about a puzzle game called Double Bloob. Oh, and don’t forget the rumors that Nibris sorta maybe coulda had a publisher, but maybe not.

Call me cynical, but all the wide-eyed excitement and cock-eyed optimism I’ve shown in spades over the past year over Nibris has melted away into, well, a puddle of sadness. And this is the kind of sadness that doesn’t have attractive young women prancing about waving umbrellas at me like some kind of naughty Mary Poppins.

So, that said, what are we to make of today’s revelation at Cubed that there are some in-game music tracks available from Nibris for Raid over the River? I don’t know about you, but this developer is either the slickest bunch of snake oil salesmen this side of the thoroughfare, or their avant garde approach to marketing and hype is sheer genius. I’m a cynic, so I’m calling BS until I see something a bit more concrete. Like box art. Or me playing Raid on my DS. Or Santa Claus descending from the heavens with titles in tow.

Published on April 30th, 2007 under , ,

Too Human progress updated and ugly severed heads

Source: thexboxdomain.net

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In the continuing saga that is Too Human, Denis Dyack updates the progress of Too Human once again over on the Too Human IGN Blog . In this update, a list of things being worked on currently are outlined,but sorely a release date hint is nowhere to be found. After a development cycle that seems like “forever”, a little while longer won’t kill.

Here’s the progress report:

What are we working on currently? Here is a quick list for those who are interested:

  • Character models – many of the wolf trooper faces were not completed and are being completely redone
  • Heimdal’s model will be significantly upgraded
  • Animation blending was not tuned on properly in the combat shown in the demo. Too Human looks much better with blending turned on happy
  • Animation in general is being polished, and more transition animations are being added
  • We have not started optimizing specifically for frame rate yet, but we will have a game at a solid 30fps when we are finished
  • Effects are being added and polished
  • Lip sync was off by several frames because of a code problem. This has been fixed
  • We are polishing the 18 different weapon classes. That’s right happy . We only showed 4 in the demo: 1-handed sword, pistols, 2-handed staff (glaive) and a heavy laser. There is so much more we have not shown.
  • We are also doing some camera tweaking

Also, here’s one of the more recent released video’s featuring a floating severed head. This one shows off the lip syncing quite nicely. Other video’s can be found here in HD, which is recommended for full effect, especially if your a videophile.

[via IGN]

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-

Published on April 30th, 2007 under ,

Burnout Paradise Screenshots

Source: thexboxdomain.net

 

Who doesn’t like fast car racing which most of the time ends up in accidents? Burnout is one of my favorite gaming franchises and I’m hyped for Burnout Paradise.

One of the features about the game that I’m excited about is Burnout Paradise will be open-ended meaning you can now go anywhere. Check out the screenshots below.

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-Michael “Thrills Killa” Pacheco-

Published on April 30th, 2007 under

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