Archive for October, 2008

Nintendo DSi coming to U.S. summer 2009


Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata stated in an article with Reuters that the company’s newest DS model will be coming stateside no later than summer 2009.

“Specific plans will be unveiled by our local subsidiaries, but an autumn or year-end launch would probably be too late,”

NOA president, Reggie Fils-Aime originally told press that the DSi wouldn’t be in the hands of gamers until Q4 2009, but the growingly unstable United States market might of pushed Nintendo to alter a few release plans. Don’t worry Europe! You’ll be getting your DSi Spring 2009.

Thanks, Joltman!

Published on October 31st, 2008 under ,

Nintendo DSi launches in Japan


It’s official. Nintendo’s newest redesign of the DS has been released in Japan. Small lines gathered to eagerly fork over some yen for the DSi, but other than that launch demand hasn’t been the frenzy that was expected. Kotaku reports many popular electronic stores having just a handful of customers lining up, or none at all.

Many financial analysts are questioning whether or not Nintendo got over they’re head. Is another DS model going too far? Nope. Give it a few weeks to circulate through the market, and it’ll soon take up the torch as Nintendo’s cash-cow standard.

Want your own imported Japanese DSi? Get ready to fork over some serious cash, because at the time of this writing all major importers have the DSi standard bundle locked in at $299 all the way up to a whooping $499 US Dollars. Pony up!

The Nintendo DS line of systems launched in November 2004, and has gone on to sell over 80 million units worldwide.

Published on October 31st, 2008 under ,

Pikmin, Mario Power Tennis remakes confirmed for North American releases in 2009


Pikmin and Mario Tennis are coming to Wii in 2009. The remakes, that is.

Siliconera reports today Nintendo has confirmed the Pikmin and Mario Power Tennis “Wii-makes” will be released in North America in 2009.

No specific North American dates were given, but Pikmin is now on track for a Dec. 25 release in Japan.

The confirmation comes from a PDF skeleton plan issued by Nintendo of Japan for 2009. The Donkey Kong Jungle Beat remake is curiously absent from the North American list, as is Disaster: Day of Crisis.

Nintendo announced the “Play on Wii” selection earlier this month, a collection of GameCube classics being remade specifically for Wii. It begins Dec. 11 with Jungle Beat in Japan. Chibi Robo!, Pikmin 2, Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes also follow in 2009.

No pricing details have been confirmed for North America. Pikmin will cost 3,800 yen in Japan, 2,000 yen less than a standard Wii title.

Published on October 31st, 2008 under , , ,

Buy two Wii games, get one free at Target


With a slew of new releases on the horizon, Target aims to keep your Wii running and your wallet trim.

And make mounds of money, too.

Kotaku reports tonight Target will run a Wii sale next week. Buy any two Wii games and get one free for equal or lesser value. Not bad.

The sale starts Sunday and covers the entire Wii software library, including even new releases such as Wii Music and MySims Kingdom.

Check Target’s store locator to find a store near you. Anyone taking advantage of the sale? If so, which Wii games will you pick up?

Published on October 31st, 2008 under ,

The Witcher (and its Enhanced Edition) sold 1 million worldwide


The Witcher - Enhanced Edition for PC
The Witcher and it’s recent update, The Witcher – Enhanced Edition, have combined to sell over 1 million copies, making the game a HUGE success for developer “CD Projekt Red”. The reason it’s such a big deal is due to the fact that The Witcher was a new IP from an unknown developer from Poland, it’s also a hardcore RPG.

Speaking of the feat., the developers said, “Scientific research has proven that those sales numbers are quite good for a debut game based on a relatively unfamiliar IP from an unknown studio on a ‘dead’ platform,” making light of frequent claims regarding the health of PC gaming.

The announcement comes several weeks after the release of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, a free 2GB update with improvements and new content developed according to fan feedback. The expansion also saw a retail release with several extras, such as music CDs, making-of videos, an official game guide, and a map of The Witcher’s world.

Says CD-Projekt RED CEO Adam Kicinski, “We created The Witcher with the intent of becoming an acclaimed and successful development studio that always made games for its fans; we spent more than $11 million developing The Witcher and the Enhanced Edition, and it sure is nice to make some of that money back!”

He continues, “The success of The Witcher has ensured that we’ll be able to make the games we want – and the games that fans want – for the foreseeable future, and the amazing response we had from the gaming community to the Enhanced Edition really reinforced that we’re on the right track with our development philosophy.”

Fallout 2 for PC
The Polish publisher and developer also recently debuted, or Good Old Games, a digital download platform offering DRM-free vintage titles, such as Black Isle’s Fallout 2, Piranha Bytes’s Freespace 2, and Bohemia Interactive’s Operation Flashpoint. The company also intends to formally announce a multi-platform project with Metropolis Software (Infernal, They), which is also based in Poland and which CD Projekt acquired earlier this year.

Mercenaries 3 and more sequel releases confirmed by EA after Mercenaries 2 sold nearly 2 million worldwide


World in Flames on PS3How does Mercenaries 3 sound to you? What about Mercenaries 4? 5? 6? 10?!?!

Well you just may get your wish, because the Mercenaries franchise is big. How big? Well Mercenaries 2: World in Flames sold 1.9 million units across the world, putting the franchise in the upper echelons of successful properties in the Electronic Arts portfolio, on the same level as Will Wright’s Spore and their extremely successful golfing franchise, Tiger Woods PGA Tour ‘09.

This is despite the game not getting exactly glowing reviews, thankfully for it’s developer Pandemic though, money talks. As for the sequels mentioned above, EA boss John Riccitiello is dead set on providing Mercenaries games for a long time to come. At least, as long as the franchise remains profitable, of course.

There will be a Mercenaries 3 and, if I have anything to do with it, there will be a Mercenaries 10,” Riccitello told investors, as reported by GameSpot.

Pandemic though has been open to the idea of furthering the franchise for quite a while, even going back as far as 2007 where they stated in interviews that they already had plenty of ideas for Mercenaries 3.

So now it’s not a matter of IF they’ll be a Mercenaries 3, but when.



Games are usually designed around a fundamental challenge of completing objectives, whether it’s defeating enemies, building an empire, or escaping from danger. Great games engross the player in the challenge and get them hooked and poor games usually try to do this, but fail because the challenge feels too repetitive, or too frustrating, or the game just fails to draw them in.

LittleBigPlanet has that core element of challenge as a traditional platforming game but that’s really not what the game is about. The basic platforming elements are generally very easy. Merely beating the levels or getting points isn’t very satisfying by itself. The fun part about this game is discovering all the cool designs, and tricks, and ideas that go into each level. Even with the pre-packaged levels, I’m constantly surprised and amused with what I discover. And, obviously, with the user-created levels, it’s a ton of fun to see all the different concepts that people were able to execute.


Already, there are a ton of completely entertaining user levels. A good example is a level that someone recreated from the first level of the classic NES game, Super Mario Brothers. The level isn’t challenging and I definitely wouldn’t want to play a whole Mario Brothers game like that, but it was fully entertaining to play the level, and see how many little touches they were able pull off and how they did it. And that level isn’t even close to the best user level I played (Touch of Color is an easy favorite level so far).

The other fun part of this game is using the level editor itself. Most regular players probably won’t take it so far that they are making polished, prize-winning levels, but plenty of people will have a ton of fun making simpler goofy levels and just having a blast while doing it.

Most gamers remember the previous era of user-created content for games like Lode Runner, Eamon, Wolf 3D, Doom, Quake, and Marathon. One big difference between that era of user-created content and something like LittleBigPlanet is that previously, there was a big lack of professsionally made games. Today, there is just so much more content on the market and it’s so much easier for regular gamers to get. Previously, user created content generally aimed to fulfill the lack of games to play, while today, user-created content is more about providing community expression that is missing from more traditional games.

Everyone is wondering, will this game be a commercial hit? Will this title unleash tons of entertaining ideas and concepts from the community? Is this title going to start a new a new genre of gaming? No one knows, but this game delivers the most novelty we’ve seen all year and this title is clearly the first to usher in a distinctively new era of user-created game content.


Published on October 31st, 2008 under ,

Japan is Hesitant to Adopt PS3/360


Have you been watching Media Create’s top 30 software sales charts in Japan? From a platform/publisher perspective, it’s consistently populated by mostly DS games and slightly fewer PS2, PSP, and Wii games. PS3 titles are very sparse on the list and 360 games are even rarer.

It’s surprising that even today there are so many more PS2 releases and software sales than those on the PS3 and 360 combined. In the west, developers and the media completely lost any interest in the PS2 many years ago. I remember in late 2004, most of the western media outlets started to proclaim the PS2 era as over and many new game development was being started on next-gen systems. The media definitely jumped the gun by at least a year or two, but in the west, there was such an eagerness and excitement to move on the next generation of hardware back then. But in Japan, here we are in late 2008, and the PS2 is still far more popular in terms of software sales and quantity of popular new game releases than the PS3 and 360 combined.

Anyone have any good theories for why this difference may be? Is it a consumer issue such as cost or size of the hardware or fancy graphics and online features that are perceived as adding more complexity than entertainment value? Or is it a developer issue? Are the developers slow to change production practices, slow to invest in new technology, or hesitant to jump to a newer and financially riskier platform?

Published on October 31st, 2008 under

Grand Theft Auto IV infected with Halloween zombie fun


GTA 4 Zombie Infection for Xbox 360 - Rockstar Social Club

Grand Theft Auto IV plus zombies for Halloween? Sounds like fun to me! Here is the word directly from Rockstar, developers of the massive car-jacking hit (note: This is exclusively for the Xbox 360 version of the game).

Attention Citizens,

Grand Theft Auto IV on Xbox 360 features exclusive Downloadable ContentThere is a virus sweeping through Grand Theft Auto IV turning many unsuspecting players into Zombies. If you’ve seen the special Zombie-with-yellow-briefs player skin running around during Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer, then you may already know that the virus can be contracted in any and all multiplayer modes and is spread when an unsuspecting player kills someone who has the infection (BE ADVISED: The infected DON’T necessarily have to be wearing the Zombie skin, some show NO SYMPTOMS!). The signs of infection are:

- Access to the zombie skin
- Gaining the Achievement “Let Sleeping Rockstars Lie”.

With the all-new Viral Infection feature at the Rockstar Social Club, members can now see whether they are currently infected, the number of total global infections and the number of infections in the last 24 hours. Digging deeper, Social Club members can also browse a color-coded world map tracking the spread of the infection worldwide, including breakdown for all 50 US States.

The rest of you: register for the Rockstar Social Club now.”

The new zombie Downloadable Content addition was first hinted at in a Eugenics Inc. “ad” that appeared in the RockStar Social Club, issuing a vague quarantine order locking down the mysterious company’s compound due to a contagious disease outbreak. Eugenics Inc. is a physical location in Grand Theft Auto IV, located in Bohan, though it didn’t play into any part of the game up until today.

The quarantine announcement was actually the second Eugenics Inc. display to appear on Social Club, following a “Sperm for Cash” ad posted in April (now removed), which, to date, has never been an actual in-game activity.

So what are you waiting for? Fire up Grand Theft Auto IV for today’s festivities instead of handing out candy to those miniature bastards at your front door and get ready to kill some zombies!

Dragon Age Origins coming to Xbox 360 and PS3 after PC version


Dragon Age Origins logo

Dragon Age Origins will be coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 after it’s early 2009 PC release, says the lead designer of the game, Brent Knowles, in a new interview where he discusses BioWare’s latest epic (which is the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate). Knowles couldn’t give a timeframe though for the release of the console versions.

Game Informer magazine will also have an exclusive look at the console versions in their November issue.

Dragon Age Origins is the next highly anticipated RPG from the developers who brought the world Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire and, most recently, Mass Effect. The game is being called a ‘dark heroic fantasy’ and is billed as the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate as mentioned above.

Features of Dragon Age Origins include:

* Epic Party-Based Combat – Dragon Age: Origins introduces an innovative, scalable combat system, as players face large-scale battles and use their party’s special abilities to destroy hoardes of enemies and massive creatures
* Powerful Magic – Raining down awesome destruction on enemies is even more compelling as players apply spell combos, a way of combining together different spells to create emergent unique effects
* Deep Customization – Players will develop their characters and gain powerful special abilities (spells, talents and skills) and discover ever-increasing weapons of destruction
* Your Story, Your Way – With its emotionally compelling story, players choose with whom they wish to forge alliances or crush under their mighty fist, redefining the world with the choices they make and how they wield their power
* Origin Stories – Players will select and play a unique prelude that provides the lens through which the player sees the world and how the world sees the player. The player’s choice of Origin will determine who they are and where they begin the adventure, as they play through a customized story opening that profoundly impacts the course of every adventure

Here is a story trailer for Dragon Age Origins.

Published on October 31st, 2008 under , , , , , , , , , ,

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