Filming an Oddworld
Gamasutra is reporting that Oddworld Inhabitants
has announced its first full featured length movie, Citizen Siege. The film which is supposed to be a sci-fi action thriller is being produced in conjunction with Vanguard Animation with John Williams, who was heavily involved with Shrek, acting as producer. Oddworld Inhabitants cofounder Lorne Lanning
will direct with cohort, Sherry McKenna
There is also a game intended to be in production with the movie. While there are few details on the game's production, its supposed to use the same art assets as the film production.
The interesting part about this is that both Lanning and McKenna came from TV and Movie backgrounds and moved into the game industry... only to now revert back to their roots. Last year, Lanning said they were getting out of game production to refocus their efforts on being a "content creation company" - this appears to be the result of that.
It sounds as if this is an entirely new universe that's a departure from the standard oddworld universe
that all the rest of the characters reside in. That being said, I've never really been a huge fan of the oddworld games. I don't know what the climate is in terms of their popularity, but maybe it was best left at the door until they can get their feet wet. The next step beyond this might be the oddworld movie...
I find the idea of using the same art assets on both the game and the movie intriguing... I wonder why it isn't done more often. Maybe it's being done more than we realize? Probably not. Do we want our games to look more like our movies?
If games that become movies are poor and movies that become games are poor, why is there such a need to keep trying to push the two together? Better yet, why do we keep buying this garbage? How do we fix the game to movie/ movie to game entertainment format conversion? Does anyone think that there's a market for a group that just develops ideas and content and then contracts a game development studio or movie studio to then build? Thoughts?
Notes from vgXpo
Never play Joust with Robert Khoo, biz dude from Penny Arcade
. The guy is evil and doesn't know the meaning of co-op. From our perspective the show is great. We talk to a lot of people who love games as much as we do. If they have heard of MobyGames they love what we do. If they haven't they are excited to hear more. As a show however vgXpo tries to do everything. It is part classic games show, part LAN party, part tournament, part conference, part everything and does nothing particularly well. While the expo is bigger and better than last year I feel it is trying to do too much too quickly.
The Standards are LIVE
Up to this point many users weren't sure what could exactly be entered to the site and in what manner to do so. Well, we've created a document that well hopefully answer most of your questions. The MobyGames Standards
are the policies we are going by now. This is a living document so things will change and be updated from time to time. Later on we'll be enhancing it more with pictures to show examples.
The Standards page can be accessed from the site FAQ page.
Thanks to all the approvers that helped in creating this long-awaited document.
Jack Thompson sends Cease and Desist to Mortal Kombat creators
Jack Thompson, noted anti-video game attorney, has issued a cease and desist letter to Midway Games Inc. because he believes that he is a secret character in the company's recent release "Mortal Kombat: Armageddon".
"It has today come to my attention that the newly recently Mortal Kombat: Armageddon contains an unauthorized commercial exploitation of my name, photograph, image, and likeness within the game. You are commanded to cease and desist immediately from the distribution of this game because of this unauthorized, illegal content," Thompson wrote in an email to Midway CEO David Zucker.
In actuality, Thompson appears in the game only through the game's "Kreate A Fighter" mode that allows players to mix and match bits of clothing, hairstyles and facial expressions to create original characters. Instructions on how to create a character that bears a slight resemblance to Thompson, along with pictures, were posted
on game site Gaming Target. The feature also included instruction sets to create other famous people including Hulk Hogan, Jason from the Friday the 13th films, director Kevin Smith as Silent Bob and Ash from the Evil Dead films.
Thompson's argument is similar to a suit Marvel Comics brought against the creators of the superhero game City of Heroes in 2004. Marvel claimed the game infringed on their trademarked characters by allowing players to create similar looking characters using that game's create-a-character mode. The suit was settled out of court in December 2005.
This is not Thompson's first legal matter concerning video games. He has attempted to bring lawsuits against Rockstar Games for the violent and sexually explicit content in the "Grand Theft Auto" series of games and most recently attempted to block the sale of the PlayStation 2 game "Bully."
Blizzard pushes back WoW Expansion
Oct 27, 2006
Submitted by Riamus (8126)
On October 24th, Blizzard announced
that The Burning Crusade
, the upcoming expansion to World of Warcraft
, would be pushed back from its November release to a release in January 2007. This is to allow Blizzard to have more time working with the closed beta testers in removing any bugs in the game.
This news has sparked a huge response from players. In 60 hours, there were 481 replies to the news. Many players were not surprised by the news. Blizzard is famous for pushing release dates back, and the fact that closed beta just started at the beginning of October was a good indicator that it would be pushed back. The fact that it will not be out before Christmas was a shock to most, though.
Responses to this news varied: Some people have decided not to purchase the expansion, others are upset but understanding, many are neutral, and there are some who are happy that it's pushed back. There is a hope by many that the male Blood Elf character will be changed back to its original model now that there is time. Others are happy because they have more time to level to 60 or complete the raids that they are working on. The ones who are the most upset are the level 60 players who feel as though there is nothing worth doing. Apparently, raid items will be replaced and the PvP rank will be reset with the expansion, so they feel that raiding is pointless until the expansion is released.
World of Girly Men
According to Kotaku
went ahead and changed the look of the male blood elf player model in the World of Warcraft
expansion based on player feedback that that the model looked "too feminine".
I find it interesting that a bunch of fuss is being made over a player model. This isn't something that effects gameplay at all - just how people appear
in game. I don't play WoW myself, but I did try it at one point and from what I've heard customization is an issue in general - so who care what you look like as a certain race/class if everyone
looks the same way? Are people that attached to their characters in a game where customization really isn't that flexible?
Does anyone think maybe the community over reacted? Would you not play a game because the main character "looks stupid/terrible/feminine (if its a guy) or masculine (if its a girl)?"
ECA plays smart with PlaySmart and gobbles GamePolitics
The ECA (Entertainment Consumers Association) sent out a press release today with two decently big developments. First off, the ECA acquired GamePolitics
, a blog that is the epicenter of all video game / political related news. Dennis McCauley, the blog's writer who also happens to be a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, will continue with GamePolitics as the ECA's official political editor.
The second 'big' piece of news was that the ECA has chosen to partner with NCsoft
to pack in 'PlaySmart' tip cards into retail NCsoft games. This will start with start with Guild Wars
Nightfall and NCsoft will also provide the information online.
Seems like the absorption of GamePolitics could be a good thing. It seems to me that one of the biggest problems facing the industry is awareness regarding the issues that are going on in the political world regarding games. Unless people are made aware of the issues the industry faces, they won't be able to form an opinion or make an intelligent argument. Unless consumers and people in the industry make their voices herd, we run the risk of having ridiculous laws written by people who have no idea what they're legislating. If this helps GamePolitics spread the word, isn't it a good thing?
Meanwhile, I had never herd of PlaySmart before. So after a little big of looking on the NCsoft website, I found a press release
that stated the types of things that will go on the PlaySmart reference cards. An example of one of the bullets is :
-Parents should review games ratings to ensure they are age appropriate for children.
This is another one:
-Do not give out passwords or account information to friends so they may play on your account.
These things seem like they should be common sense more or less. I mean, even if you're not that computer savvy, would you give out your bank account information to someone? Would you let your 9 year old kid go to an R rated movie? This seems silly to me. These types of warnings get put on games all the time... yet no one sees to listen to them.
Any thoughts on the GamePolitics acquisition? Is more coverage of the video game political situation important? What are your feelings on this? Also, do we really need a 'reference card' for people to mind them to make intelligent decisions about their online habits? If this is a good idea, will a 'reference card' do any good?
Lik-Sang out of business
In a highly dramatic press release
Lik-Sang announced that it is going out of business effective immediately. The online import game retailer has ceased taking new orders and is working to refund any existing open orders. The reason behind the sudden announcement is the current and ongoing legal action against the company by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
According to Lik-Sang, "Sony claimed that Lik-Sang infringed its trade marks, copyright and registered design rights by selling Sony PSP consoles from Asia to European customers, and have recently obtained a judgment in the High Court of London (England) rendering Lik-Sang's sales of PSP consoles unlawful."
Interestingly enough Lik-Sang made public a number of import orders for Sony Europe executives. "Sony Europe orders reads like the who's who of the videogames industry, and includes Ray Maguire (Managing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Alan Duncan (UK Marketing Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Chris Sorrell (Creative Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd), Rob Parkin (Development Director, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Limited)"
ars technica speculates
that given the melodramatic Lik-Sang announcement this may be a PR or marketing ploy to rally the public around its cause. Region encoding and import restrictions have always been a weapon in the companies arsenal to goose more profits out of a given platform or game. Gamers typically find such tactics distasteful and would view Lik-Sang as necessary to getting their big-eyed, big-haired Japanese import fix.
I cannot imagine that this announcement helps Sony's already tarnished image in the slightest.
BC for PS3 coming ASAP but now for PSP
1up.com is reporting
that there will be downloadable Playstation 1
games on the Playstation 3 storefront on launch day.
Great. Except for the fact you can't play them.
For some reason, the PS3 will allow you to insert any PS1 or PS2
game CD or DVD and play it using its backward compatibility feature, but the downloadable PS1 games won't run on launch day. Sony's Phil Harrison
said you'll be able to play those downloadable PS1 games on your PS3 by the end of the year. What's even more interesting is that, according to Harrison, you'll be able to play the downloadable PS1 games on your PSP
By my best guess, this means we'll see another PSP firmware update on or before Nov. 17th to allow PS1 emulation.
Harrison also said that the downloadable PS1 games should be $14.99 or less and that they're planning to do downloadable PS2 games as well but at a later date. Sony's overall plan seems to be to release every playstation one game ever released
except for the ones with licensing issues.
Not being able to play the downloaded PS1 games seems to me like another case of 'Sony rushed the fucking launch!' but I do like the direction they're going. It's a little disappointing we're not going to see any enhancements to our older games, but I'm happy to see we'll only need to buy these games once to use them on both your PSP or PS3.
My biggest concern is the price. I certainly hope they stagger the price of the games... $15 seems a bit expensive for a title that's over 5 years old. $15 is probably reasonable for Metal Gear Solid
or Final Fantasy 7
, but not for Jet Moto
This sounds like a strong purchase point to me... although, I'm a bit dismayed that the idea of playing 5+ year old titles is more exciting then anything they've got for launch day. Is this type of digital distribution something you're interested in? What is the most your willing to pay for an old game?
John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace hits a snag
Space.com is reporting
that Armadillo Aerospace
's vertical take off, vertical landing craft Pixel tipped over and crashed shortly after take off on its repeat run of Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge yesterday. In all three attempts they were able to fly the 90 second flight to an altitude of 50 meters and over a distance of 100 meters. They were unable to make the return trip. Pixel damage it's landing legs in an earlier flight."That makeshift support was disturbed when the rocket’s engines ignited. The vehicle rose up at an angle, causing onboard abort sensors to shut down the propulsion system. Pixel then fell over sharply and hit the ground."
Armadillo Aerospace is the project of Doom
creator and Id
co-founder John Carmack
. He,eight other engineers and an armadillo, make up the entire company. Each dedicating one day a week to the project. Amazingly Pixel was the best and only contender for the lunar prize and was built for under $200K.
Show me the numbers
ars technica is reporting
Sony may not hit its already lowered target of 2 million PS3 shipments in 2006. *gasp*
This is a surprise. Let's go over what we know:
- No consoles for Europe until March 2007
- 100,000 units available for Japan on Nov 11
- 400,000 units available for US and Canada Nov 17
OK. 500,000 units on or around the middle of November. This gives Sony roughly 45 days to produce and ship three times the units available on launch. Or assuming some sort of production ramp up this would mean that Sony should have the ability to produce the entire launch volume in a week or two by the end of 06. Crack meet pipe.
It's widely speculated that Sony will slip on the launch numbers. Missing the numbers on launch puts the wildly fantastic 2MM projection firmly in the realm of impossibility.
From ars, "It's grim news for those gamers who swarmed GameStop and EB Games outlets across the country last week when preorders began. Store allocations ranged between five and 20 consoles, and the chain went through its entire, nationwide allocation in a matter of hours."
Try minutes. I was there. However it is hardly grim news for gamers. There are plenty of alternatives out there more than happy to take your money.
Common sense reigns
Widely re-reported on the Interweb, The Guardian is reporting
that Universal and Fox have pulled the plug, so to speak, on Halo
the movie. Negotiations seems to have broken down over spiraling costs or compensation for the film makers Peter Jackson and partner Fran Walsh and Microsoft
, owner of the Halo IP."There had been speculation that the studios left because of spiraling budget costs, which are believed to be upwards of $145m. However, Jackson and Walsh's representative Ken Kamins maintained that the real cause lay in compensation."
I, for one, believe video game adaptations should be outlawed. Everyone from the studios, to the film makers, to the viewers suffer. The world would be a better place if Halo the movie is never made. Microsoft is supposedly in talks with other studios to revive the project. Let's hope they fail.
MobyGames has a new intern. Please welcome Rob Rich
. Rob is a graduate from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. Rob is going to help with some of the graphics design and other random stuff. He'll be manning the MG booth with us at vgXpo
so please be sure to save up your inane questions for him. He has plenty of experience since in his alternate life Rob clerks at a *gasp*
Gamestop right around the corner from the offices.
Prompted by the PA
post yesterday and given that it was Rob's first day on the job the conversation somehow got around the the Supersoaker OOZINATOR commercial
. The consensus around here is that this thing looks like the money shot at the end of a porno scene.
EA to focus on PC games
As if we didn't already know at $30 billion annually video games is big business. Two major business rags are each running articles on the upcoming console transition. Forbes has a piece
that is more a survey of the existing landscape. Business Week looks
more at the challenges Sony faces in light of its missteps and increasingly potent competition. Buried in each are signs that, while most attention is on the current and upcoming consoles, PC gaming is becoming strategically important to the independent publishers. "[EA] is making the most of its presence in the PC gaming arena. This strategy, which includes acquisitions of Swedish studio DICE--maker of the Battlefield PC games--and multi-player online gaming company Mythic, as well as the eventual launch of Will Wright's Spore in 2007"
One of the obvious advantages of developing a game on a console platform is the conformity of the hardware install base. With all the flak
EA has received
over Battlefield 2142, is EA's strategy of focusing on the PC smart?
Why do licenced games suck so much?
In an interview on Demonews.de
, Manfred Linzner
talks about their Maya the Bee game (not yet included in Mobygames) for the GBA:
Demonews: Maya is an extraordinarily good game, with good ratings. But why the Maya licence – with a character of your own you wouldn't have scared away the hardcore gamer audience?
Linzner: On the GBA, perhaps one out of a hundred games introduces an original character. Games without a character licence will simply fail in this market. As far as we know, Iridion 3D
is at this point in time the best-selling 3rd party [GBA] game which doesn't rely on any licence. [...]
Demonews: When you look at licenced games from other developers, they are far too often simple and unengaged translations without any high points. What makes Shin'en different?
Linzner: We have full control of our finances, and are thus not forced into producing our games like on an escalator belt in a factory. Typical licenced games are often made in only twelve weeks and are 100% based on ready-made engines. Naturally, that is perfect from an economic point of view, but then the quality suffers for the same reasons.[...]
I remember reading a magazine article about licenced games, comparing them to writing "the book based on the movie". Developers want to write their own games, not ride on the coattails of Pirates of the Caribbean
or some Bruce Willis flop
, just like any self-respecting artist. However, before reading this interview, I didn't know exactly how bad a state the market was in, though the handheld market probably is worse than the stationary console market, both because the GBA market is driven by small children and because the GBA receives a lot of unloving spin-offs from popular (original) Playstation and Xbox franchises, only remade as generic platformers with the same engine as a tie-in for a cereal brand.
Even so, we have all played some good licenced games, such as the 90s Disney licences
or the highly original Robocop 3, though the latter was written before the movie was made, thereby giving the programmers more freedom.
Still, spin-off games have a deservedly bad reputation, yet they have made software houses such as Ocean wealthy and powerful.
Canis Canem Edit banned from British retailers
UK retailers PC World, Currys, and Dixons will not carry Rockstar's controversial game, Canis Canem Edit
in the US), which was passed with a 15 rating by the BBFC. The company that owns the three, DSG International
, have felt the need to adhere to family values.
Thompson Vs. The Kids
has a post up about a college debate tour to talk about the 'dangers of violent video games and what to do about them'.
Jack Thompson, probably the most reviled lawyer in video game circles who's gone after games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
and Bully, and Bob Guccione Jr., a magazine publisher who's worked on magazines such as Spin and Discover, will be the two debating.
Makes me wonder how much getting these two costs to come to one's school. I'd absolutely love to see this debate. Probably the best part of this event would end up being a Q&A if one was done. There's been numerous cases where Thompson resorts to name calling when he runs out of arguments, but I'd love to see him do it front of an audience.
What would you ask Thompson if you could ask him anything? Anyone going to try and look into booking him? Would you pay to hear this loon speak?
Happy Birthday NES
Classic Gaming is running a nice retrospective piece
on the 20th Anniversary of the Nintendo Entertainment System
. The video game generation begins in 1977, the same year Star Wars came out, with the Atari 2600
. However many peoples first relationship with games and gaming was the lovable and quite awesome NES. Initially marketed with R.O.B., the home console robots thing, due the wariness of retailers after the video game crash of 1984, the NES was the rebirth of gaming in the living room. Happy birthday NES. You are almost old enough to drink.
A Yellow Dog on your Playstation 3
According to Eurogamer
, a company called Terra Soft will be releasing their version of Linux called 'Yellow Dog' on the Playstation 3 for free after two weeks of exclusive availability to subscribers of their pay online service and another two weeks of selling pre-made install discs online.
Linux for free on your PS 3. "This sounds too good to be true" is the first thought that comes to mind, but it appears that this has Sony's
blessing which is somewhat baffling. Normally the reason behind having a closed platform is so that a group of people doesn't come along and freely produce something to rival the things you sink money and development time into working on.
That being said, Sony has a track record of being progressive with letting its users develop things having started the Net Yaroze program to let people develop for the playstation for $750 and then there was even limited linux development on the Playstation 2. For the longest time, independent application development has been a major piece of ammunition for the legal use of modchips in consoles; maybe this is the next step in not only letting users get the most from their console, but stopping piracy as well. The downside to all of this being that if you open your platform, you run the risk of it being easier for someone to figure out to hack your system.
Having dependent developers on your side could end up being a great boon too. Look at Alien Hominid
, it was a flash game on the internet that got retooled as full home console game and now the developers are working on a new XBox Live Arcade
game. Who knows where the next mega blockbuster hit will come from? It just might end up being something someone develops in their garage. Speaking of which, this may also be an effort to help counter Microsoft's new $100 game development kit for XBox Live Arcade...
Personally, I'm wondering how long it'll take someone to get an NES
emulator running on the PS3 after Yellow Dog is released. (Yes, I'll be interested in playing Super Mario Bros.
on my PS3 just for the irony factor) Depending on the limitations here, this could actually end up being the best reason to own a PS3 for a while considering how many creative independent developers there are out there.
Does this change anyone's mind about the PS3? What types of applications would you like to see developed for your PS3? Does it sound too good to be true?
CGW is dead... Long Live CGW!
Oct 18, 2006
Submitted by Trixter (8730)
As previously reported
, Computer Gaming World, the oldest and longest running magazine on personal computer gaming since 1981, was officially retired and most of the editorial and writing staff have moved on to Games For Windows
. However, as a final parting gift, the first decade of CGW has been scanned, OCR'd, and put online for free download
There is an incredible amount of history in these issues, from articles by Chris Crawford on the growth of the industry in the early years, to strategy articles for games written by the designers themselves
, to good old rose-colored nostalgia. Highly recommended.
Are Video Games Evil?
The highbrow academic mag Wilson Quarterly
has posted a new article
on video games. Given what we’ve come to expect on this subject, the article is surprisingly even-handed. Still, it is somewhat negative, with the author suggesting that the critics of video games aren’t really wrong—just making the wrong arguments. Are games really sapping the creativity of the youth? Discuss.
MobyGames at vgXpo Oct 27 - 29
If you are near Philly come check out MobyGames and America's Video Game Expo
at the Valley Forge Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA Oct 27 - 29. We will be exhibiting, talking games, handing out free junk and just plain having some fun. vgXpo is like a comic convention for games. There will be a bunch of stand up arcade systems to play, 24 hour bring your own computer LAN center, tons of independent vendors with modern and classic systems and games to buy and what is billed as a Battle of the VideoGame Bands contest. Should be fun. Come by and say hi or drop us a note
to set up a more formal *shiver*
You dig to DANCE! ?
So according to 1up.com
, Dave Perry
, the founder of the Shiny Entertainment
(which was recently acquired by Foundation 9 Entertainment
), has a new game that he's developing in conjunction with the recently revived massive multiplayer online
. The game? DANCE!
The game will be an online massive multiplayer dance game where you'll create your avatar and dance to all sorts of music. Interestingly enough, rather than charging monthly for this, the game will be free and be supported by in-game advertising and micro-transactions for new player clothing and customization options.
I could certainly see this taking off given the popularity of Dance Dance Revolution
(assuming it plays relatively the same way). I mean, how many MMO dance games are there out there? It seems like a really good way to capture a untapped player base. We definitely need more MMOs that are going broaden the market because most of them seem to end up being level grind fests (not there is anything wrong with that...) and variety would spice things up in the market. If this is a success, it might open people to the idea of taking bigger risks on unconventional MMOG designs. To get your groove on as soon as possible, you need to create a free Acclaim account and sign up for the closed beta here
Are you ready to DANCE! ? Would you pay to customize your avatar in an otherwise free game?
MobyGames reaches 30,000 games listed!
Oct 15, 2006
Submitted by chirinea (31388)
Woah, MobyGames just achieved the 30,000 games mark. I guess we have to congratulate all you contributors that make this project what it is.
Congratulations, fellow MobyGamers!
Failed part Deux
I stood in line for a Wii pre-order this morning. Interestingly enough I had relatively the same position in line as I did Tuesday
. However the line in total was about twice what it was for the PS3 a few days ago. Even though I showed up about 30 minutes earlier I was still off the mark by about seven people. GameStop took 22 pre-orders six more than they accepted for the PS3 and sent everyone else home. A couple of people that missed the pre-order by one or two spots got quite irate and demanded the managers name. What the heck they are going to do with it I have know idea?
From both experiences I have come to the following obvious conclusions. First, if the number of pre-order slots are anything to go by there will be more Wiis available on launch than PS3s. Second, given that today was much colder than Tuesday yet the line for the Wii was nearly twice as long, I am guessing from this little piece of anecdotal evidence that there will be more demand for the Wii than the PS3.
Two surprises and a disappointment...
Today kicked off Ziff-Davis’s consumer electronics show, DigitalLife. To me, the show seems smaller than last year although I could be wrong. You could barely tell that a new console is launching, let alone two. Nintendo
basically completely ignored this event, despite it being a great chance to give consumers hands on time with the Wii and Sony
only seems to have brought two Playstation 3s and two games, Resistance: The Fall of Man and NBA 07. While its still busy, I can’t help but imagine what it would be like if either Sony or Nintendo had put a lot of effort into this the way Microsoft did last year.
Thankfully, the publishers seem to have taken matters into their own hands to a degree and companies like Sega
, and EA
have brought their own PS3s and Wiis to demo their games. EA is showing off titles like Madden on the Wii and Tiger 07’, Need for Speed Carbon and Superman Returns on the Xbox 360. Konami has DDR: Universe for the 360, Elebits for the Wii and some handheld titles. Sega was showing off Sonic on the PS3 as well as Yakuza for the PS2 and Sonic Rivals for the PSP among other things. The moral of this story is that if you want to try a PS3 or a Wii and are in NYC – stop into DigitalLife sometime in the next three days.
Of the titles from the aforementioned publishers, Superman and Elebits really impressed me. Superman went from being a game that looked like it was on the fast track to crap town at E3 to a game that’s enjoyable. It’s a game that really needs to be played to get the idea of across, because at first the idea of superman being invincible seems real silly (You only lose if metropolis gets the crap beaten out of it) but it does make sense and does work in the confines of the game. It remains to be seen if it actually is worth the $50-$60 as there isn’t that much replay value and I only played the game for a short amount of time, but it’s a neat take on the open world design and is worth giving a I chance.
I had absolutely no interest in Elebits. None what so ever. It looks like a kids game and it just didn’t appear like something I’d be interested in judging from the art I saw everywhere at E3. But it was a Wii title at a show where I didn’t think I was going to get my hands on a Wii again. But... I quickly realized that this was actually a lot of fun. I think the Wii may have a breakout game here because Elebits is 100 times more fun then I could have imagined. The game basically revolves around capturing the Elebits which are cute little creatures hidden in environments. You play from a first person perspective and wander around the areas knocking stuff over and putting our cursor on them to capture them. It’s essentially hide and seek – but very fun. This is another solid buy for the Wii for me.
Of course, with the good, comes the bad. I played what was supposedly the Tokyo Game Show build of ‘Resistance: The Fall of Man’ and… it made me wonder what all the hype was about. Something was off about the game’s graphics and handling. It wasn’t really what I was hoping for and it just didn’t play well. Things like sloppy texture work, poor AI, and a lack of connection to the game’s characters just made it more generic then I’d been led to believe it was. While not the final version – I sure hope that the final looks and plays a bit better or it won’t be hard to resist Resistance.
More to follow!
God does not want Brian to own a 360
I mean there is no other explanation for it. As previously reported
, Brian has been having a wee bit of trouble getting a Xbox 360 that actually works. He has been waiting for his fourth 360 unit to arrive. What seemed like luck in getting the rare system on launch day has turned out to be a curse. The first unit overheated and froze, the second one croaked after a software update and the third unit was DOA. Now .....?
UPS has lost the fourth unit ( see image above ). Microsoft shipped a replacement unit UPS 3 day select on Oct 3. Today is October 12. The package was scanned at Montrose Oct 6, the last UPS processing stop, and put on a truck for delivery. After waiting a number of days Brian called the Montrose processing center and they claimed to never have received the package. The computer says it was put on a truck, but the person on the phone said it never arrived. *poof*
Xbox 360 gone missing. UPS refused to do anything about it. They helpfully said that the shipper , Microsoft, not the receiver has to initiate a package scan or an insurance claim. Brian called Microsoft, but the call center had little idea about what to do. After a bit of yelling they have escalated the call and someone from MS should get back to him in 8 - 12 days.
In the roughly eleven months since Brian purchased his Xbox 360 he has had an operational unit that can play games for about 30 days. While I am busily trying to figure out how I can get both a Wii and a PS3 on their respective launch days Brian is a little burnt out on the idea of first generation console hardware."After this Xbox debacle, I'm not so eager to be first in line for a broken PS3."
GameStop / EB Games taking Wii pre-orders tomorrow
It was widely rumored that GameStop would start taking Wii preorders in North America this week. Well we just received confirmation today."GameStop and EB Games store will begin accepting limited pre-orders for Nintendo Wii console on Friday, October 13 on a first come first serve basis."
You will need a $50 deposit in cash, credit or trade. Limit one per household. If the PS3 pre-order is anything to go by you will need to be in line sometime before the doors open to get a pre-order in. Of course Nintendo is unlikely to have the supply problems Sony is predicted to suffer and many more Wiis will be on hand for launch.
I managed on getting a pre-order in during the Amazon window. Of course online pre-orders are pretty iffy at best. We are supposed to go to Digital Life
tomorrow. I may have to be late.
XBL hits the Interweb
Welcome to the 1990s. Microsoft has launched Xbox Live Pipeline
, a flash enabled interface to Xbox Live. Of course you cannot download or buy anything, but it is still handy to find out what's new on XBL without have to fire up ( and hopefully not burn down ) your 360. Interestingly enough Microsoft, famous for eating its own dogfood, decided to use flash. For non-Xbox 360 owners Pipeline gives you a little taste of the XBL experience complete with authentic sounds. Yipee.
It seems like PS3 is backward compatible with the PS2's mistakes.
is reporting that instead of Xfire just implementing stuff for the Sony
first party game, Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, they'll also be making a full blown middleware SDK for online play.
You'd think after the whole 'each game has different ways of getting online and is annoying as all hell' phase on the Playstation 2
that they'd have learned. As it stands, we've got Gamespy and Xfire middleware and the system isn't even out; if anyone is just going to be able to do anything online, it'll be chaos.
I for one, happen to like being able to see what my friends are playing on the same system, but with this disparate platform, if you're playing a Playstation 3 Xfire game and I'm playing a Gamespy Playstation 3, we might as well be on different console platforms entirely because we're not gonna know each other is playing. The rest of the features and do-dads are nice, but ultimately, I wanna know when my friends are playing so we can pull each other into games.
It's worth noting that this all could have something to do with the publishers. Back when Xbox Live was getting started, EA
resisted and you could only play their games online on the PS2. The fact is that a unified system makes it harder for publishers to have direct relationship with their customers because there is a middle man (In the case of XBox Live, its Microsoft).
Even though EA finally fell in line with Live, it's worth noting that while EA is integrated into XBL, that they still operate their own servers and have their own things going on with their games like the ability to turn off support for older sports titles after about a year thus encouraging you to get the latest Madden
It still seems silly to NOT make a standard after the debacle that was the Playstation 2 online and the success of XBox Live, even if it means having to fight with the publishers a little bit more. Granted, Sony's service is free, but you really do get what you pay for. Personally, the less than $5 a month is for XBox Live is worth not having to deal with the annoyances that come with what feels like a disjointed, crippled online experience.
If Sony, Gamespy, and Xfire sit down and work to allow for cross game, cross middleware platform friends lists, I think that'd be a huge leap in the correct direction to bring the Playstation 3 online experience within striking distance of the XBox 360
Notice I haven't mentioned Nintendo
, mainly because while I know I'll be able to check the weather on my Wii, I have very little idea what games I'll be able to play online and how they'll work. That and I'm still burned over the blasted ethernet port
. ($20-something dollars for a wired lan adapter?
Are you kidding?)
Anyway, it just seems to me as if middleware for your online service is so last gen, but what do you guys think? Free and clunky, smooth and costly, or clueless and unpredictable?
Million here, million there
Eventually it adds up to real
money. Two news reports out about the financial health for two of the fierce competitors in the console wars. Forbes is reporting
that the bond rating service Fitch has downgraded Sony's corporate bonds from A-minus to BBB-plus."Fitch expects Sony would need a longer time to restore its underperforming electronics operations, while its game segment will likely incur large losses over the next three to five years given the huge investments and intensifying market competition."
Joystiq is running some pre-chewed analysis of the news
for those of you who do not want to wade into the financial lingua franca that is Forbes. Basically Sony's bond are near junk status and it is going to be harder and more expensive for Sony to raise new money.
Next-Gen is running a related story
on Microsoft's relative unconcern with it's mounting and massive loses in its game division. Microsoft’s game division lost $485 million in 2005 and $1.26 billion
in fiscal year 06.
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner stated, "All this money keeps piling up and giving it to the games group is faster than burning it."
Ok. Ok. That's not true. Instead Turner gave some corporate nonspeak about, "multiple pillars for growth"
and "[Microsoft] is committed to sticking to things that we believe in. "
Microsoft doesn't really have a bond rating, because ... well .. they don't have to borrow money. I am not sure what the last count was, but I think Microsoft has about $40 billion in cash laying around.
I have brought up these themes before
. Microsoft is just going to spend Sony into oblivion. Maybe not this round, but with an unlimited amount of money no competitor can keep pace forever. Thank you Seamus Blackley
for getting all this started.
PS3 pre-orders today
GameStop / EBGames started taking PS3 pre-orders today in its retail brick and mortar stores. The store I went to on Court and Atlantic in Brooklyn had a line that began sometime before 7AM. When the doors opened I was number 27. The allocation was extremely limited with only eight premiums and eight, I guess you call them regulars. Since I was off by about eleven people my mid-morning quest turned out to be an abject failure. Interestingly enough no pre-orders beyond the first sixteen were accepted.
Good luck to all my brothers and sisters out on the west coast hoping for a PS3 on launch day. If you haven't left your house to wait in line ... go NOW!
Upcoming Conference Schedule
Yes I know, running MobyGames is a hard life. We'll be doing a bit of traveling these next few months. If you happen to be in New York City, Montreal or Park City, Utah let us know
. We love meeting MobyGamers, buying them too much beer and hiding their pants late at night.
Ron and I will be at Digital Life
October 12 - 15 in New York City. Digital Life is a mix of CES
for consumers. Kind of like a car show for electronics and games. The expectation is around 40,000 attendees so it is smaller than either show. Hopefully we will get some hands on time with some new games and gear. Tonight is the opening VIP/Press party which we will most likely miss. I am always down for bad food and free cocktails. Ah well.
MobyGames will be exhibiting at the Montreal International Game
November 8 - 9. This will be our first time at the conference and we are very much looking forward to it. I like Montreal and the show will be a pretty intimate venue.
MobyGames is a sponsor of the 2007 Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition
. Slamdance is the independent film and game festival alternative to the behemoth that Sundance has become. While we haven't confirmed our schedule I will likely pontificate on some panel or other. The festival is held in Park City, Utah, January 18-27, 2007.
A twenty-something industry with a teenage mindset.
You'd think for an industry that comes under as much fire as we do that people would be protective of how their IPs are used in-conjunction with making the industry look bad. Cases in point - 1up.com has an article
about a calendar being produced with nude women posing with game stuff and Joystiq's PSP Fanboy has a post
about a Maxim photoshoot where women are dressing up as characters from Tekken
in various not safe for work ways.
Why aren't the companies who own these intellectual properties suing these groups making money off their IPs? I mean... look at how many mods based off existing IPs get shut down and yet this is different?
At the same time this blatant sexism is going on, four posts above the one about the nude calendar on 1up, is this article
about a Nielsen study that shows that 64% of all online gamers are women. Granted, like 1up states in the article, many of these women are probably playing casual games through online portals. Still, as the industry grows out of its infancy and tries to reach a wider audience, shouldn't companies be trying to promote a healthy image for the industry?
It's in industry's best interest for more people to begin to identify with the label of being ' a gamer ' but as long as 'gamers' are seen as closet geeks who like to look at nude women and shoot up their schools - this won't happen. It almost seems to fall into a catch-22 where the industry wants more more people to play but isn't willing to stop catering to their male teenage player base out of fear that they'll end up with no one left. But if the companies that make up the industry aren't going to defend themselves in the courts of law and public opinion, the industry could end up with a bloody nose.
At what point are the companies responsible for the image of their customers? I mean, granted, no one is going to stop playing games because people think gamers are 'weird or creepy' but wouldn't a positive image make it easier to talk people into buying and playing games who might not normally want to give it a chance?
Shouldn't companies like Nintendo
sew these groups using their IPs to promote things that perpetuate the 'gamer' stereotype? Or is the little bit of extra marketing press worth the damage it does to the industry's image? Are we just a step away from Temco
turning around and announcing Dead or Alive Extreme Nude Mud Wrestling?
Golden Age Redux
Reuters via Yahoo News! is running an article
on the rebirth of classic computer and video games. "Games such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders are enjoying a resurgence in popularity as technology gets cheaper and as new online services make it easier than ever to download and play."
The gameplay of the early games are eternal and fun on a variety of different hardware. The combination of fast inexpensive hardware, excellent emulation and services that allow small financial transactions like Xbox Live means that these great old games have new economic life. Way back in 2000 Jim Leonard
, one of the MobyGames founders, wrote an article
on abandonware. What was true then, I believe, is no longer true now. Times have changed. It will most likely mean abandonware as we know it will have to change or disappear. It will be increasingly unlikely that holders of existing intellectual property will allow their IP to slip into that grey nether region of abandonware.
Developers and publishers used to believe that once a game got old it it lost all of its economic value. Sure people were copying and playing the games illegally
, but who got hurt? The publisher was often out of business and even if the IP holder was around there was little if any economic damage since the abandoned game could not be marketed and sold anyway. With these new markets and models for classic games like Gametap, Mobile and Xbox Live much of the rationale for abandonware is gone. Additionally the developers of publishers of the old IP now have an incentive to protect their property. Money.
Can abandonware survive or was it just a confluence of events which has pasted into history?
Ubi bets big on Wii
that Laurent Detoc, who leads Ubisoft
's North America business, is planning to beat EA
by making a big early bet on Nintendo's Wii console. Detoc is quoted as saying, "Our goal is not to sell to EA but to beat EA"
to Joystiq, Ubisoft has eight titles ready for Wii launch on November 19 in comparison to EA's two games.
I love Ubisoft. I think the company makes great original titles and does a wonderful job with it's franchises. G.R.A.W.
was a great early Next-Gen title and Assassin's Creed looks really promising. However Ubisoft will eventually fail for one reason and one reason only. Sports!
EA owns sports as as long as they do EA will have more money, more resources and better developed retail channels than Ubisoft. Ubisoft has to take risks to keep moving ahead and the problem with risks is no matter how good or smart you are eventually you make the wrong decision. EA on the other hand can churn out Madden
each year and collect the dough. EA can takes risks as well. Some will hit like The Sims
and some won't
. The big difference is EA can put out a big budget flop
and who really notices. If Ubisoft makes the same type of mistake they will have to start selling assets like Atari
Nintendo Fusion Tour a disappointment?
DreamStation is running a review
of Nintendo's rock concert meeting console promotion that is the Fusion Tour
. The marketing concept is brilliant. Gamers will pay 22 bucks to see some bands and get a chance to get some hands on time with the Wii. The bands include Hawthorne Heights, Relient K, Emery Plain White T's and The Sleeping. While the bands by most accounts were cool, the long lines and lack of hands on time with the Wii left many disappointed.
Pokèmon Diamond/Pearl: 1,586,360 copies first week!
Oct 04, 2006
Submitted by Spag (70)
The first week of release for the new Pokèmon
titles for the DS: Diamond and Pearl. Before they reach US shelves, the titles have broken world record in Japan. Shattering Pokèmon Gold
's world record from the 21th of November 1999 with over 1,4 million copies, the new DS titles impress with 1,586,360
sold copies.Ed note ( flipkin ): Ok. Having missed out on the Pokemon craze, WTF? Why are Pokemon titles such movers?
Anyone can make baseless predictions...
According to a gamesindustry.biz article
, Cindy Armstrong
, Webzen America's
CEO, predicted massive multiplayer online games
(or MMOGs) on consoles would overtake MMOGs on PCs in the next decade.
The article really doesn't do a good job of explaining why she would think that way though. Just because more people are going to be spending money on console gaming rather than PC gaming doesn't mean the same people who play consoles would play MMOs. The argument seems baseless and meant to grab headlines, but just because there isn't a base reason for it now, doesn't mean it couldn't end up being true I guess.
I do agree with her that expanding into new markets and innovative game design are important for any new MMOs to be successful, but I don't think anyone can make any sort of accurate prediction as to what will happen with console MMOs as there is no evidence to really support a line of thinking. I mean, the MMOGs on a console that come to mind are Everquest Online Adventures
and Final Fantasy 11
. Both are on the Playstation 2
and FF11 is also on the Xbox 360
. Besides these two games, I can't think of any other truly subscription based massively multiplayer games on a console. People keep touting they are coming and they no doubt will, but currently there are so few there is no track record to point to as a road map to future to say if they'll do better or worse than their PC counter-parts.
I can make the same sort of baseless claims too. I mean... If I were to 'make a prediction', I'd say that console gamers probably won't be all that receptive to MMOs unless they're done to fit with the console experience of being able to play for an hour or so and get out. Consoles are all about dropping in, having fun, and getting out; games with more epic long term with no sort of casual experience are getting to be more the exception than the rule. This is the same reason why you don't see as many clans or guilds for console games. The games that breed teams that play games certain games into the ground (like counter-strike
) are more the exception than the rule on consoles. At least my comments aren't completely
baseless, although I'm not gonna say that there won't be that MMO that captures the imagination of console gamers, I just think it's unlikely.
Are we going to see MMOs be stronger on the PC or Consoles in the future? Who are more dedicated, PC Gamers or Console Gamers? Did I forget any other console MMOs? Am I off my rocker?
Wii want Ethernet !
I'm not sure if was the only one on the planet who didn't know this or not... but apparently, the Nintendo
Wii will not have an ethernet jack out of the box.
According to ComputerAndVideogames.com
, Nintendo will be selling a ethernet kit so you can connect your Wii to your router or hub. For some reason I was under the assumption that because it had wireless it also had a jack built in, but that's incorrect.
I definitely don't like the idea of plunking down $250 and then needing to buy the ethernet kit immediately. Wireless is pretty easy to get now, but I live in a dorm where routers aren't allowed and the wireless doesn't really pickup well in my room. The solution is either to buy a wireless solution just for the Wii or buy the ethernet kit, and I suspect I'm not alone in feeling a little burned in that I'll need to pay for a wired solution.
This reeks of just wanting to sell accessories to gain that little extra bit of profit at the expense of usability and user happiness. On top of that, it might just be shooting themselves in the foot. This is one more way that it might make it harder for the typical user to get online and join the community. Wireless might be easier to use, but there is little doubt that you'll be able jack directly into a hardline as long as you have the internet in the first place. One of the reasons for the XBox 360
Live service being as successful as it is, is because there is a free level and its easy to connect out of the box. There is no reason NOT to be apart of it. If you tell people that they need to go out and buy a do-hicky; they might not be as inclined.
This especially unfortunate as Shigeru Miyamoto
recently said in an interview
that the Wii's hardware is "is basically a GC". You can buy a Gamecube
for between $70-$100, a wii-mote and nunchuck are $60 total, and say Wii Sports is worth about $40... that places the margin for profit at somewhere around $50... Granted that it probably ends up being more like $20 to $25 with all the other costs around, but I can't imagine putting the stupid ethernet port on would have broken the bank. Also consider that how much Nintendo actually makes per unit X 1 million is actually the amount of profit they'll get from the North American launch (consider they sell ever unit, which i'll bet they do.)
Kinda hard to believe they couldn't spend the extra buck or 2 to put the ethernet port into the system or at least ship the do-hicky to allow for the ethernet port in the box. What do you guys think? Did Nintendo just get cheap here or am I complaining over nothing? How much would you wager that Nintendo is going to make on each Wii?
No more packaging in 5 years
Gameindustry.biz is reporting
that Jamie MacDonald, VP of SCE Worldwide Studios Europe, believes electronic software distribution will overtake discs in the next five years. "In five years' time, my belief is that the majority of content won't be delivered on disc. That has many implications for developers and the way we organise our industry,"
MacDonald said during his keynote at GDC London
Good bye brick and mortar retail. Hello Sony Playstation Live or whatever it is called. PC games unwittingly have lead the charge with Valve
and the monthly subscription of MMO
s being two financially successful models that come to mind. Consoles it seems are not far behind. Or are they?
Gamers love to touch, look, browse whatever when shopping. As much as I hate my local Gamestop I still buy a lot of games there. I hit the local store probably once a week during lunch. Am I an arcane throw back? Or are there real barriers that must be overcome for ESD to be the dominant distribution model?
It's not blood anymore, it's "sweat".
Oct 04, 2006
Submitted by WildKard (12186)
I thought I'd just give a mention that GamePolitics.com
has their new server up and a brand new look to go with it. GamePolitics functions as a blog which covers the seamier side of the electronic entertainment industry: What gets banned, what gets rated, what gets pulled and what causes protests outside your local EB Games. It's information about court battles, business proceedings and social impact.
For gamers who are interested in much more than just actually playing the game, it's an interesting source of what's going on and why. Not to mention stories on where gaming is being used to push forward new ideas and poltical commentary.
Check out GamePoltics
website for all this, or dip a foot in their RSS feed
Pitch your tent now...
According to GamingHorizon.com
, if you want a Sony
Playstation 3 OR a Nintendo
Wii, You're gonna have to wait for it...
...and wait for it... and wait for it ... and wait for it... because the only way to get one will be to be one of the hardcore on the godforsaken line when the store opens.
The 360 launch was bad... I mean I waited in the freezing cold rain for like 15 or 16 hours outside of a Best Buy in Westbury, New York and even then I don't think the wait justified then as the 360 really didn't live up to the hype in the immediate.
I even understand the lack of a preorder system for the PS3 due to the highly limited amount of systems that will be available. But why is Gamestop messing around with the Wii? Surely Nintendo told them how many they were getting... if not... it just seems like poor planning on their part...
Does this change your buying plans? Who's gonna get their tent ready for the Wii?
Didn't know you could buy people
Gamer Scan is reporting
studio, Shiny Entertainment
, the maker of Earthworm Jim
, and Enter the Matrix
has been bought by Foundation 9
. Foundation 9, billed as "the largest independent game developer in North America"
, games include Death Jr.
and Marc Ecko's Getting Up
. According to Gamer Scan, "Shiny will relocate with The Collective in 2007, surrendering its intellectual properties to Atari but keeping its staff intact."
No mention of the price paid, but I cannot imagine it was much. Foundation 9 really just bought a bunch of people who could walk out the door tomorrow if they wished. Atari held onto the IP though I am not really sure how much any of it is worth either. I mean why didn't the execs from F9E just show up one day, say, "Who likes Newport Beach, California?"
and hire everyone? I mean if the employees didn't take the offer they would of been fired anyway. Ah well. The makers of The Da Vinci Code
have merged with the makers of The Matrix: Path of Neo
. Expect great things.
The King will be creeping your Xbox/Xbox 360 out this fall!
Oct 03, 2006
Submitted by Foxhack (11893)
According to GameSpot
, Burger King will offer three exclusive games with the purchase of one of their value meals for a limited time. Priced at $3.99 a pop, each game will center on one particular activity. Pocketbike Racer
will star the King or one of the other BK mascots as they race on several circuits; Big Bumpin'
is bumper cars with the BK mascots, and Sneak King
is basically Metal Gear Solid, except that you sneak up on people to give them hamburgers as The King.
Yes, you can creep up on people and give them burgers. I don't know who thought this was a good idea, but eh. The discs will be available for a limited time only - from November 19 to December 24, 2006.
As an interesting note, these three games are also reported to be the first Xbox / Xbox 360 hybrid discs; one game disc will hold the program for both consoles. That's a good idea, one that several companies should follow instead of releasing basically the same game for both platforms at a premium price. *cough*EA*cough*
When it was just a Wii thought...
Video game journalists are eventually going to run out of cute ways to insert the word 'Wii' into sentences... but that day isn't today.
During my daily perusal of the net today, I came across an article
on arstechnica.com about the design considerations Nintendo
had when creating the Wii. It's neat look at the hurdles they set for themselves and the line of thinking when making some of the design choices that separate themselves from Microsoft
. Definitely check it out.
After reading that article and looking at the trailer for Red Steel... It made me wonder if this strategy for everyone having their systems on might be a way of using extra CPU power for Nintendo to have people start dedicated servers or a bittorrent-esq distribution system by people donating extra bandwidth and CPU power when they aren't using their systems; more of a game oriented focus then what Sony is planning to do with their partnership with Folding@home
to use extra cell processing power for cancer and disease research.
Would it be ok if your system was used by the company who made it when you weren't using it for things that helped other players? Does it matter what the extra processing is used for?
Hot to Protect Yourself Online ... or ...
How not get a dinkle waggled in your face. Official organ of the Microsoft central committee, Gamerscoreblog has published
a common sense guide to "protecting"
yourself online while enjoying XBLive. The helpful steps include, blocking communication and only communicate with friends. Should that not work they suggest filing a complaint. Hmmm helpful indeed.
With the release of the Xbox Live Vision Camera potential inappropriate behavior online has been taken to a whole new level. I for one can attest to the the depth and breadth of profanity which is XBLive. Not one to shy away from the occasional curse at the dinner table I find the profanity laden experience somewhat enjoyable. Interestingly enough it always seems the nine and ten year old squeakers are the worst potty mouths. Now with XBLV Camera the expectation should be a fair number of genital shots with the occasional moon pie thrown in for good luck.