After much poking and prodding from The Management, I've decided to try my hand at a weekly column. Of course, when I say "weekly," keep in mind I've also said that I would review Rez, Animal Crossing and Devil May Cry 2. I was going to call it Flaming Fridays or something, but after using the words "poking" and "prodding" in polite discourse, I didn't want to project the wrong image.
I suppose AFX started a little fad with his special message this week. Then again, maybe Bahn just asked me to write so AFX would come off as even funnier. I love putting over the new talent. See, I'm not all "That Super Monkey Ball review from two years ago totally put me in the main event - I'm so above this." Of course, I'll probably be the one wandering around outside E3 2005 wearing a "Masters Killed My Push" shirt. Don't forget to say hi.
So . . . a bunch of stuff happened this week . . .
Army Men: No More Green
3DO, the publisher of the ever-popular Army Men series, announced Wednesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Just two days later, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security lowered the federal terrorism alert level to yellow, citing a decreased risk of falling bombs.
Still, the Department emphasizes that Trip Hawkins and the rest of the staff are still at large, and that gamers should continue to purchase with extreme caution. Unconfirmed reports surfacing on al-Jazeera television indicate that Hawkins is attempting to engineer a merger with Sega.
Sonic Pinball Party Allegedly Available
Speaking of the devil, I'm told that Sonic Pinball Party has shipped for Game Boy Advance. The game apparently requires a Top Secret security clearance to purchase, as all attempts to locate the title in my area have ended with retail employees informing me that I'm really looking for Sonic Spinball. Despite the shall-we-say limited availability, I'm looking forward to hearing about how consumers have overlooked the "innovative gameplay" because of hype surrounding Sony's upcoming pinball titles on the PSP.
Still, as one of the few handheld titles developed directly by Sonic Team, SPP has amassed a bit of anticipation. Sega fans are particularly looking forward to cameos by characters from NiGHTS and Samba de Amigo. When asked about their inclusion, Sonic Team head Yuji Naka commented, "I think it's important to constantly remind fans that they are never, ever going to see another NiGHTS." He then denied any knowledge of Samba de Amigo.
Take That, Mom
Researchers at the University of Rochester indicated earlier this week that young adults who play video games regularly possess better visual skills than those who do not. Consequently, gamers are better suited for shooting down larger numbers of classmates with greater accuracy.
Never Say Forever Again
Take-Two Interactive dropped a real shocker on the industry Friday when it announced that Duke Nukem Forever will not reach shelves by the end of 2003. Although no one is quite sure when the first-person shooter began development, archaeologists have traced the project's roots to the Mayan capital Tikal, circa A.D. 360. Take-Two promises to finally cancel the title during the first half of 2004.
TNL Raises Some . . . Heads
Our quaint little shire received some attention from an unconventional source recently, as Adult Video News reported on porn star Catalina's surprise appearance and subsequent display at nVidia's E3 gathering. The article also includes links to photos depicting Catalina and our very own Bahn . . . enjoying . . . the event together. Rumor has it that the pair will be starring in TNL's very first excursion into adult films, Replugged, alongside Hero and Bleep.
We Are Not E
Sony announced plans this week to release a set-top box incorporating a PS2, satellite tuner, DVD recorder, and hard drive into a single sleek silver package. Dubbed the PSX, the unit is expected to arrive in Japan by the end of year and in the West early in 2004. When asked about the abbreviation's similarity to the informal American nickname of the original PlayStation, the SCEA spokesman replied, "Waitaminute - you actually believed that bit about a US release?" pointed, and giggled.
The PSX is the latest in a barrage of hardware announcements by the console giant, including the upcoming PS2 Hard Disk Drive and the handheld PSP. SCEA attributes the onslaught of new hardware to its new marketing philosophy, known as Sony's Excessive Gaming Approach. Talk about beating a dead horse.
The Great Nintendo Preview Caper
Last week, Nintendo released its first demo software since giving away three Hanafuda cards in 1928. The coveted disc has stirred up quite a retail furor, despite being marked "Not for Resale," as it is generally sold for $10. Best Buy and Electronics Boutique, however, have upped the ante - the former has set a $40 asking price, while the latter sells the disc for $10 - with a GameCube purchase.
Still, I think hardcore gamers should jump at the chance to pay $40 for one level of Viewtiful Joe. High sales will show publishers that gamers are willing to pay a premium for old-school, 2D titles. I mean, the full game has to be worth at least $200, right? I wouldn't be surprised if a whole bunch of titles could support their own console for about, I dunno, ten years.
Either that, or we can look forward to Sam Fisher and the Giant Sticky Bomb.
Say it Ain't So
On the home front, Nintendo announced Friday that it intends to drop support for the Famicom and Super Famicom platforms in the near future. The company has been manufacturing the 20-year-old Famicom and its successor since their original releases. Japanese gamers, however, aren't all happy about the decision. Many feel that Nintendo hasn't really pushed the hardware, and that the consoles were just hitting their stride before being axed.
And that's really all I have to say. Check out the team's E3 impressions, or read my review of WarioWare, the second most fun thing to do with your hands. And go play some games.
· · · Burgundy