Archive for April, 2008

Super Mario Kart driving simulator system


Watch Super Mario Kart running on the 301 motion platform. It’s a driving simulator system bult by Force Dynamics that they jokingly hooked up to a SNES to race around Mushroom Kingdom tracks. The force feedback is crazy cool!

A quick FAQ by the creator:

“1. Yes, my driving is lousy. I’m used to hardcore racing sims and it’s been 15+ years since I spent any time with MK. I had about an hour with the machine actually running Mario Kart, since we built it for another project, and the video you see was the first take. Also, I had some specific goals (the jump, the bumps, the mole) that made driving well secondary.

2. The reaction speed is quite good – about 10ms from game event to machine motion. Watch during the jumps.

3. I tried it with a ‘normal’ 301 using the steering wheel. It’s next to impossible, because the control inputs are on/off, not analog, so you have to whip the wheel back and forth like a madman. We’d have to write code to pulse-width-modulate the output from the wheel. Plus, it’s Mario Kart. You -have- to play it with a gamepad.”

Published on April 30th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday Night Kart Brawl! – Tonight @ 9PM EDT


MKtires!Join the staff and readers tonight at 9PM EDT for some online Brawl action and take a spin with our newest entry to Wifi nights, Mario Kart Wii! Be sure to login to the Infendo IRC, and forum to exchange your brand spankin’ new MK Friend codes. So turn up Episode 101, and kick back for some fun.

Just take it easy on Rainbow Road!

Published on April 30th, 2008 under , ,

Rant Central #9: Give Criterion their props damnit!


Level 9 loaded….

This feature was started as an appease of sorts to the fine folks of Criterion Games. Therefore after the most recent announcement by the Burnout Team, it’s ample time that they get the props they deserve from someone outside of their die hard fans who’ll believe in them no matter what even if they are on a sinking ship of horror known otherwise as the Titanic. Something has to be said for the gigantic balls these guys ,and no doubt gals also, are trying to do when it comes to downloadable content. No more should we look for just standard handouts, while Criterion is actively and literally changing their game before our eyes.

Up until now the term “Downloadable Content” has largely meant “new maps” and/or nicknacks that don’t have any real affect on the experience with the game. Don’t get me wrong, new maps are fantastic for those games that benefit from such a thing. Then again, how much longer are we to be subjected to such shallow offerings after being told that downloadable content was to have a huge wealth of opportunity that goes from the smallest of content to entirely new experiences. And that’s where Criterion Games comes in. Finally there’s a developer looking to change the game that they already put out for mass consumption.

Resting on the code that was locked down for release should be a thing of the past. Hasn’t anyone asked them self why so many gamers consume videogames in such a herd mentality? Logically once you play a game to death and there’s no new content you’re just going to go right to the next thing. Xbox Live functionality added on top of this isn’t exactly helping in anyway either. Once you see a bulk of your friends playing the same game you’ll inevitable feel left out and more than likely get that game to, if anything just from the peer pressure.

Why is it that when a developer such as Criterion commits to their game as much as they have beyond the release, hardly anyone gives them their do? The undertaking that Criterion is applying to Burnout Paradise is remarkable. Forget about rather you like Burnout Paradise or not. I’d hate to say it, but that doesn’t matter. This goes light years beyond that. The adage of the customary download that does nothing more than give you more of the same should be only the first step. The thought of adding additional content into an existing game is still quite new. Classic Expansion Packs have been around for far longer, but this new foray into adding content this generation of consoles should be nothing less than “gameplay changing”.

When a game is released and the inevitable press release of downloadable content follows that up, why is it that none of it changes the gameplay in anyway what so ever? No one is willing to change their game overtime to give the game player a new experience with their game other than more of the same. Criterion Games is taking a big risk on trying not to do just that and there needs to be some sort of acknowledgment by everyone that this is what they want or not. Complaining from far and wide always comes whenever new content is announced for a specific game. “Wah Wah, 800 points, that’s not worth it”. If so, what is worth it? Obviously everyone would like everything for free, but we all know that’s impractical to say the least. These companies exist for one thing and one thing only. TO MAKE MONEY! Who are we to tell them what they should be building into their games after the fact.

It’s painfully obvious that we don’t know what we want, yet loads of us are the same people who said that Burnout Paradise wasn’t a “Burnout” game anymore. Yes it is. Criterion decides what’s a Burnout game. Not the consumer. Bitching and moaning that it’s just not the same goes against everything that every fanboy shouts day in and day out. I’m not going to get on an innovation kick again, but what the “frak” does that even mean? Whatever the developer feels makes their game better and moves it forward is the innovation. Consumers’ pie in the sky dreams do nothing, but hurt the industry in the long run. Dream up all of the features you want. It never fails that when a company does what every gamer says they want, they only get ridicule of the “it’s not the same” variety. Remember, Criterion made Burnout what it is and was in the first place, or is it that “no good deed truly never goes unpunished”? But seriously, ditch the airplane ideas guys. That’s just plain dumb. That is unless you plan on making the next Crimson Skies. ;)

Level 9 done……Level 10 loading…….

-William “thewilleffect” Bell-

Published on April 30th, 2008 under

Guitar Hero DS: On Tour new songs list, 15 out of 25 soundtracks revealed! Release date is June 22, 2008


On Tour for DSHere’s an early announcement of 15 new songs out of the 25 soundtracks total in Guitar Hero DS: On Tour. Developer Vicarious Visions no doubt hopes to keep the last remaining 10 songs a secret until the release date of the DS game in America on June 22nd, in Australia on June 26th, and in Europe on July 17th, 2008.

The below list is ordered by song title and followed by band name. You’ll notice the two link to a video of the song itself (no gameplay footage is available at time of writing). Each video will pop up in a new window for you to watch when you click on the link. It’s a good way to have a listen.

Here’s the list including videos for each song:

1. All Star by Smash Mouth;
2. All The Small Things by Blink 182;
3. Are You Gona Be My Girl by Jet;
4. Breed by Nirvana;
5. China Grove by The Doobie Brothers;
6. Do What You Want by OK Go;
7. Heaven by Los Lonely Boys;
8. Helicopter by Bloc Party;
9. Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar;
10. Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield;
11. Rock and Roll All Nite by KISS (cover by Line 6);
12. Spiderwebs by No Doubt;
13. This Love by Maroon 5;
14. We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister;
15. What I Want by Daughtry.

Now imagine play those on-the-go using this Guitar Grip guitar controller that fits into the GBA slot at the bottom of the DS:
On Tour DS screenshot

List via the latest issue of Nintendo Power magazine.

Metal Gear Online Beta Impressions



First off this game is not for everyone. You either love it or hate it. Me personally I love it. Big improvement over MGS3 Online. Don’t think this will be your standard FPS, it is not! That’s what makes MGO unique and fun. There is a big learning curve if you’ve never played a metal gear game. But there is a training mode to practice your shooting, CQC(close quarter combat), movement, adjusting the settings to your liking, etc. Which you should do before you jump into a live game, because you’ll get slaughtered quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing.

It still took me some time before I really got used to the controls, and adjusting the settings to my liking. It’s a blast to roll over people in the barrel. But if you roll for to long you will throw up. It works great to hide barrels and boxes. Most of the time people just walk by, but you’ll get people that shoot boxes and barrels just to be sure. The catapult (I call it the man cannon), is so great. You hop on and you can move it to two angles, then just press triangle and off you go flying into the air. I like to rotate the camera in mid air to get a good look at the whole level almost and see if I can spot any enemies while flying. Then you nail the landing on both feet and continue on. You always know when somebody is flying because of the scream they make, lol.

Then there is the magazines with bikini clad ladies. Works the same as usual, but this time you can actually turn the pages and choose which sexy lady you want to “distract” you enemies. I think there is a about 4 pages. The CQC is fun, I finally leveled up my knife skill to lv3 so I can slit throats. So fun to hide around corner and grab a enemy passing by and knock him out or kill him. If you have CQC level 3 you can actually disarm your opponent of his weapons, inject a virus, knock him out, etc. I don’t have this yet, but I’m working on it.

The skill system has 4 slots and 16 skills total. For example you can select a gun type mastery which reduces the recoil and faster reloading or Fast Movement which would be useful for CQC or just getting away from enemy fire. But if you level up a skill to level 2 it will take 2 slots, and level 3 (max) takes 3 slots. Which I wish wasn’t the case. Because if you want to slit throats with a knife. You have to have lv3 knife and lv1 cqc, and that takes up all your slots. Wouldn’t be so bad if you could swap out your skills after you die. But you can’t until the whole round is over.

The SOP system is great addition. Just press triangle near your team mates and you are all linked to the SOP system. Once you die your not connected and you’ll need to connect again. This outlines them with your teams color (red or blue), and it’s still visible threw walls even. You can tell if your teammates are distracted by a magazine, stunned, being killing etc. There is even a skill that allows you to hack into your opponents SOP system and if the guy you hacked into is connected to his team mates you basically know the locations of everybody on there team!

On Monday Konami released another game mode, Sneaking Mission (my favorite), and a map called Midtown Maelstrom. Somebody at random is picked to be Snake, and if there is at least 11 players somebody gets to play as the Metal Gear Mk. II robot. To win Snake must collect 3 dog tags from enemies without dying, which can be very hard sometimes. While this is going on there are two teaming battling it out. For a team to win they have to kill snake up to 5 times (depending on your server settings). If Snake doesn’t collect his 3 dog tags or he doesn’t die five times from a team. Then the team with the most kills win. It’s a blast.

Snake has Octocamo, which takes the color and texture of whatever he’s against if he doesn’t move for a couple seconds. Sometimes he is extremely hard to see, think of it like trying to find predator cloaked during a fire fight. But for the Octocamo to be truly effective you have to keep changing the suit to match your environment. Snake also has another great tool in his arsenal, the Solid Eye vision system. Which allows him to switch between Night Vision and binoculars. Another cool thing is you can even do a hold up with Snake. Just point your gun at a guys back and he’ll say Freeze! D

Playing as the Mk. II robot is a blast too. It’s basically invisible in the shadows, in the sunlight it casts a small shadow. The Mk. II only has one weapon & purpose really, to assist Snake in winning. He can deliver shocks to people to knock them out so snake can collect the dog tags.

Had a epic MGO moment over the weekend! A guy had my team member in a standing choke hold just outside the warehouse doors. I was hidden inside the warehouse with my sniper rifle. I zoomed in on the opponent doing the CQC choke hold and boom head shot. Team member saved. Then he saluted me! )

This game is so fun, I haven’t even been tempted to try out the new CoD4 maps I bought, or anything else really. A easter egg I found, is when your booting up the game and your on the screen with your character. If you rotate the camera for a while, your character with get dizzy and fall down. If you just sit there he hides in a box. Oh Konami what else have you hidden! lol This is exactly why I love the MGS series! I could go on and on about MGO, but I’ll shut up now.

Published on April 30th, 2008 under ,

God of War 3 might go online


God of War 3 to feature online play

God of War 3 might feature online play of some sort on the PlayStation 3. This has been revealed by a job opening that was posted yesterday by developer Sony Computer Entertainment America’s Santa Monica studio.

To quote the request: “[Sony] is seeking an online gameplay programmer to join the team behind the critically acclaimed AAA titles God of War and God of War II.” Let’s hope it’s online co-op or at least competitive multiplayer, those would be great additions.

Picture via Neogaf

Published on April 30th, 2008 under , , , , , , , ,

Madden NFL 09 breaks the Madden Curse. Release date August 12th


Pre-Order Madden NFL 09 for Xbox 360Electronic Arts has announced that former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre will be featured as the cover athlete of Madden NFL 09, coming to stores across North America on August 12th, 2008, and will be available for the Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Wii, DS and PSP. Madden NFL 09 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the best-selling and most critically-acclaimed videogame franchises of all time, and the EA Sports game will feature adaptable gameplay tailored to every type of gamer, online enhancements and a broadcast style presentation delivering an authentic NFL experience.

Favre 4 Ever on DVDFavre’s legacy is cemented as one of the most beloved players of his generation and one of the most admired NFL players to ever grace the cover of Madden NFL. The future Hall of Famer is the league’s only three-time Most Valuable Player and he holds the NFL record for most consecutive starts for quarterbacks. He completed his 17-year career as the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns, completions, attempts, yards, and wins. Since he’s retired, he effectively breaks the Madden Curse that has haunted past players as much that unlucky day they forgot to put on their favorite socks.

For passionate Madden NFL fans, this year’s iteration will take authenticity and depth of gameplay to an entirely new level with more than 85 new features and enhancements, including the all-new Virtual Trainer tutorial mode. Utilizing a holographic environment, this mode teaches gamers simple concepts about playing football and how to use the controls in quick, fun and stylized drills. In Madden NFL 09, the game engine is continually assessing the player’s performance and will adapt a custom experience to every type of gamer, from newcomer to the veteran Madden NFL player.

Madden NFL 09 will also feature a network-inspired broadcast presentation. Players will benefit from the authentic football knowledge of an in-booth play-by-play and color commentary team featuring Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond. In addition, numerous graphical enhancements have been made, including realistic weather and grass, sleeker player models and exterior stadium views.

Madden NFL 09 gives gamers the ability to create online leagues. Avid Madden NFL fans can now take their rivalries online and compete in leagues with up to 32 teams. Online league play will feature in-depth stat tracking, player trades and a flexible scheduling option.

Madden NFL 09 “Through the Years” trailer:

The Wii Fit Balance Board is a console


225_japan-wii-fit-box.jpg“I have an idea for an Infendo post you should do…”Sean Malstrom

And so began this simple post on an extraordinary idea. Perhaps a bit crazy too, but then again all disruptive technologies are labeled as such before they’re accepted en masse.

The idea? That the Balance Board packaged with Wii Fit isn’t an accessory at all. It’s a console, just the like Wii or even the PlayStation 3.

You were wondering when Nintendo would update the Wii? Unveil a Wii 2? Good news: The Wii Balance Board is it.

Some might argue that no, the Balance Board is an accessory, like the Wii Wheel (awesome fun, by the way) or the Wii Zapper, but they’d be wrong.

Those two bits of white plastic enhance the Wii console. They bridge a gap between traditional gamer and non-gamer by mimicking their real-world behavior and mapping it over a video game. The Balance Board, on the other hand, is its own little world, and creates as much of a new market for video games as the Wii and Wiimote did when they launched in November 2006. Enhances versus creates. It’s a subtle difference in wording, but it will make all the difference once developers start to treat the board as a console with its own fanboys and girls and audience.

If you think they won’t, then you’re again one of the many people who first dismissed the DS, and then the Wii, for the very same reasons. And you’ll be wrong again with Wii Fit and the Balance Board. As always, there’s hard data to back this opinion of mine up, starting first in the markets where Wii Fit has launched and is currently launching.

nintendo_fit.jpg Japan gets Fit
Or, Let’s put Final Fantasy XIII on the Balance Board

“You should declare Wii Balance Board to be an honorary console. After all, it is almost in second place in Japan against the PS3. Third parties might very well abandon the PS3 and put their games on Wii Balance Board.” — Sean Malstrom

I hereby declare the Wii Balance Board to be an honorary console. There done. Now here’s why.

In Japan, Wii Fit has almost sold as many units as the PlayStation 3. And that’s with only one game, the pack-in title Wii Fit, mind you.

So, using the simple fact that developers will develop games for the consoles that have the hype and fan base to make them a profit, we can say that the Balance Board is as profitable a platform as the PS3, in Japan, to develop games for. Since we’re talking Nintendo here, and lower horesepower, we can also say something else about the board.

“[The] Balance Board is cheaper to develop [for], [has] less competition for games, and beat Sony as it will be the first console that has no disk drive. It will be cheaper (and probably sell more) if Final Fantasy XIII was put on the Balance Board instead of the PS3″ — Sean Malstrom

A little confused? Don’t be. Here’s why. Wii Fit is 1/50th of the size of the smallest PS3 game. That’s rough fuzzy Jack math, but I’m only going by eyeball estimates, graphics and the fact that most PS3 games today are already pushing the huge storage limits of Blu-Ray discs. As I’m sure has been discussed ad neaseum at Nintendo HQ already, WiiWare will be one of the driving platforms for Balance Board development–if not the platform.

And why shouldn’t it be? The Board was designed for a non-traditional audience. It is an audience that is well-versed in having their music delivered over the Internet; Tivo’ing their favorite shows; and not having to deal with the process of picking up a physical title at GameStop, which they are afraid of because, like it or not, they don’t like the people who hang out there. In effect, since the Wii Balance Board is the latest console to hit the market, it will create its own Balance Board fanboys and girls.

“They will parade the forums, declare Wii Balance Board has a higher TIE ratio than the other consoles and say, “Sure, your console can play DVDs but can your console SAVE YOUR LIFE? said Malstrom during our discussion the other day.

Miyamoto already let slip that online was coming to Wii Fit, thereby giving this simple title a rather complex means with which to compete with other Wii Balance Board consoles around the world. Didn’t think you could compete with fitness, sit-ups and Yoga? Join the club, but regardless it’s going to be a whole new spin on “gaming.”

Lastly, a Square Enix Balance Board game has actually already been discussed on the record. In July, Square Enix’s Motomu Toriyama told IGN the company was “intrigued” by the idea of using weight and balance to control games.

fat_american_kids.jpgMoving Americans
Or, If you get Oprah, you get the world.

Amazon’s top sellers list, or most popular items, or whatever it’s called, has long been a sketchy way of throwing around fanboy taunts on NeoGaf, etc, but I’m going to cite them here anyway because I can. In the lead up to the Grand Theft auto IV release yesterday, do you know what video game had the most pre-orders? No, not GTA IV. It was Wii Fit and the Balance Board. But GTA was next, right? Nope. That slot was for Mario Kart Wii. and after that, you ask, then surely at least the Xbox 360 version of GTa IV made an appearance. Not quite. That stupid waste of plastic you make fun of but secretly want to try out anyway, the Wii Wheel, THAT was number three. Then GTA IV, Xbox 360 version.

And that’s without Nintendo’s multi-million dollar Wii Fit marketing blitz. That comes later with, we’ll assume, an even more amazing number of pre-orders, lines and Wii mania.

Speaking of that marketing push… it’s pretty big. Pretty console-like, if I do say so myself. Like they’re trying to establish a solid base of board owners with which to market to developers looking for something fresh in this FPS, gun-toting haven gaming inhabits today. As of right now, there’s also zero competition for these board owners, until Microsoft releases their Xbox Balance Board Xtreme to the Maxxx, sponsored by Mountain Dew.

When we look to the East, we can see the base forming literally by the second. At UK store Woolworth’s, Wii Fit sold an astonishing 90 units per minute last week, which was faster than GTA IV. But that’s not even the ace in the hole. Today, another UK chain, Curry’s, announced that the Wii fit momentum lasted through the weekend, with a unit selling every four seconds.

People are moving to get moving with this “game” in the hundreds of thousands — and millions in Japan. That’s great for the short term, but what about this holiday, when the press and forum types begin to beat the “gathering dust” drum again? (over their plump, under exercised bellies, natch)

Well, that’s when the aforementioned WiiWare kicks in, if it hasn’t already.

As I wrote about this last summer, when the Balance Board was still just an accessory to me and many others, Wii Ware is surely on the minds of many a developer–especially ones looking at the Balance Board with hungry eyes. I’ve changed my tune about a few things, but the basic forward-thinking message still holds true:

Having WiiWare developers shoulder the majority of 3rd party games for the balance board does two things. First, the costs involved with developing a WiiWare title are already bare bones, so the risk is lower. This means we might actually see some pretty amazing, albeit simpler games developed exclusively for the balance board (or that at least utilize the board for integral control functions).

Second, this scenario creates a base from which larger developers can field ideas or even acquire these smaller companies. Either way, it reduces the apprehension developers might have about developing a game that requires a peripheral to work properly — as opposed to, say, bolting optional motion controls onto a PS3 game.

And the best part is — at least for the early WiiWare developers — is that when the Wii Balance Board launches sometime in 2008 and is snatched up en masse by non-traditional gamers (and some hardcore — just you watch), they’ll have a healthy installed base of at least a million or so users to work with.

Again, this is why the board is no mere accessory, and why it actually reaches out not only to non-traditional couch potatoes and fitness buffs, but to intelligent, fresh thinking developers, and even the rough and tough hardcore sect that will inevitably at least experiment with the board when the momentum begins to build.

With the board, Nintendo has effectively extended the life of the Wii itself. Not in the traditional, accepted way that requires a hardware update, faster processor or better graphics, but in a new way that actually takes what is there and expands it outward–not upwards.

This is the third time around the gimmick assaults and dismissive tone towards a Nintendo product have been leveled. You would think people would have learned by now.

So today I officially label myself not only a rabid Nintendo fanman, but a Wii Fit/Balance Board fanman as well.

Oprah, care to join me?

Poll – Homebrew


pollhomebrew.jpgSince the dawn of time, people have tried to get Doom to play on devices for which it was never intended. Seriously, though, homebrew applications for consoles and handheld game systems have been around for a while now.  They really became popular on the DS due to many inexpensive devices making it fairly easy to do.  This week we want to know:

Have you ever used homebrew applications on a Nintendo product?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Huh?

View Results

If so, let us know what your favorite applications are in comments!

Published on April 30th, 2008 under ,

The winner of our Grand Theft Auto IV competition


Grand Theft Auto IV for Xbox 360This month we’ve given you the chance to win in our Grand Theft Auto IV competition. The task was a simple matter of naming the game’s main character Niko Bellic. We heartily thank all 226 gamers who participated, but of course out of all the correct answers there could only be one winner picked at random…

Kemo R. wins and gets a free copy of Grand Theft Auto IV for the Xbox 360!

Congratulations to the winner! Grand Theft Auto IV will be sent to you via Amazon as soon as you respond (with your address) to an email that you’ll receive shortly.

To those who didn’t win: Leave a comment saying what game you’d like to win next month. Maybe Age of Conan on PC, Haze on PS3, Quake Wars on Xbox 360, Boom Blox on Wii, or perhaps a game you missed earlier this year?

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