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Hotel Gaming AmenitiesSeveral upscale hotel companies are beginning to use the growing interest in gaming to round out their list of featured room amenities.  Marriot International is pointing toward the rising numbers of guest traveling with their game consoles as a factor in the company’s installation of new hi-definition televisions in rooms across the county.  Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotels are looking into the viability of offering internet gaming to their guests.  Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, California, even goes as far as to offer their guests free use of PS2s and PSPs, along with a dedicated “game butler” to give tips and technical support.  While these amenities may continue to elude the more run-of-the-mill hotel chains that we normally stay in, this development does reflect the continued cultural shift toward viewing gaming as a valid source of mainstream entertainment.  I’m just hoping that it will let them finally stop advertising “Free HBO and Phone.”

Read More | The Wall Street Journal

Gallery: Videogame Services Being Added to Hotel Amenities


Toy Test Burnout Revenge

At Toy Test 2005 in Seattle I was able to get my hands on the newest demo of Burnout Revenge. There were quite a few more challenges available to try out than there were at E3, and I must have put a good 30-45 minutes or so into the Toy Test version. One thing that has totally impressed me about Revenge is the sense of speed that the game provides. I am a big fan of Burnout 3, and I thought that the sense of speed in that game was unmatched. Burnout Revenge, through its much improved graphics and more realistic vehicles, provides a level of speed that can only be described as insane.

The crashing challenge in Burnout Revenge is a bit different than what fans are now used to. You are graded as the crashes take place, rather than having to wait until all is said and done before seeing the final tally. The different scoring multipliers have been eliminated in Burnout Revenge, which was a bit disappointing to see. In Burnout 3 it was always ruckus when a few friends were gathered together and one person got a 4x multiplier, only to hit the Heartbreaker before the end of their turn.

During the races, you are now able to take down just about any small vehicle on the road, whether they are your competition or your traffic. This was a complaint that I had in Burnout 3, only because it was inconsistent that you could take down your opponents, but if you hit another car of similar size, you ended up in a tragic accident. Very nice to see. The other major addition to overall gameplay is that when you take down a rival, you become marked for “Revenge”. This means that driver will target you until they take you down. The same happens when you get taken out. The marker above the rival changes from yellow to red. Take them down, and you get extra points. Burnout Revenge is set to drop on September 13, 2005.

Burnout Revenge is definitely looking good - obviously the Xbox version is prettier than its PS2 counterpart, but the real loser here are those who only own the Nintendo Gamecube. You are missing a real winner here.

Gallery: Toy Test 2005: Burnout Revenge Hands On

Intec Wireless Rechargeable ControllersIntec has finally released something a lot of hardcore gamers have been asking for since the dawn of wireless controllers: rechargeable wireless controllers for Xbox, PS2, and GameCube. The chargers are powered by the game console and you can recharge them while using the controllers as wired controllers - a nice feature for those all night LAN parties. The controllers charge in 4 hours, and get 60 hours of game-play per charge. Halo 2 Deathmatch anyone?

Read More | Intec via GadgetryBlog

Gallery: Intec Wireless Rechargeable Video Game Controllers

New PS2 Greatest Hits

Every year as games get older the prices drop, some even fall into the vendor determined, “Greatest Hits” category.  Coming August 23rd, Sony will be adding 7 new games to this line up which will cost $19.99 each.

  • ATV Offroad Fury 3
  • Hot Shots Golf Fore
  • Jak 3
  • KillZone
  • Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal
  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves
  • Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain

Read More | Playstation.com

Gallery: More Additions To PS2’s Greatest Hits Line Up

PS2Microsoft plans to be king of the consoles by launching their Xbox 360 this holiday season, but this could be easier said then done. Even though the PS3 is not due out until next year, Sony is pulling all the stops to foil Microsoft’s plans for dominance. According to one source, Sony is planning to make a price cut on their slim PS2, bringing it $100, in order to battle Microsoft’s Xbox 360. A very brave move since the consumer will know that what they are buying is essentially an out dated system. Nonetheless, Sony will not go down without trying to do some damage. This is shaping to be a highly competitive holiday season with one clear winner – retail stores.

Read More | SPoNG

Gallery: Sony PS2 Price Cut To Combat 360 Launch?

BulletproofGamespot has an interview with 50 Cent where he talks about his upcoming video game, Bulletproof. They also show a bit of the game along with some behind the scenes content. The game is looking very interesting, but I’ll hold my opinions off until we see a demo or the actual finalized game. If you want to be a true gangsta, be sure to have this game pre-ordered.

Read More | Gamespot

Gallery: Gamespot: 50 Cent Interview

Resident Evil 5According to details uncovered from scans of an official announcement, Resident Evil 5 will be coming to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.  Overseeing the project will be Street Fighter and Onimusha series veteran producer Jun Takeuchi.  While details and speculation are already pointing toward issues of main character (Chris Redfield of RE1) and atmosphere (brighter), the biggest surprise is in what is NOT being discussed ? namely, Nintendo.  Even with strong sales of Resident Evil 4 during the period of exclusivity for Nintendo?s Gamecube, there seems to be no intention by Capcom to bring the next installment of the franchise to the Big N.  Strange, really, if you consider what some see as a strong connection between Nintendo and the waking dead.

Read More | 1Up

Gallery: Resident Evil 5 Details Emerge, No Mention of Nintendo

How a major corporate gaming presence like Rockstar could overlook something like this is beyond me. Nonetheless, on the heels of all the Hot Coffee controversy regarding the GTA sex scene, the ESRB has revoked the game’s “M” rating and has instead rebranded it with the AO 18+ label. Now, this is a big blow as most retailers refuse to carry any game that is rated Adult Only. In light of the ESRB’s decision, Rockstar Games has announced that they have stopped production of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

Rockstar Games has ceased manufacturing of the current version of the title and will begin working on a version of the game with enhanced security to prevent the “hot coffee” modifications. This version will retain the original ESRB M-rating and is expected to be available during the Company’s fourth fiscal quarter. Rockstar Games will be providing AO labels for retailers who wish to continue to sell the current version of the title.

Gallery: Rockstar Stops Production of GTA: San Andres Amidst AO Rating

Grand Theft Auto: SA Remember when Hot Coffee was something you drank to wake up? Now it’s the latest controversy sparked from Rockstar’s latest Grand Theft Auto game, San Andreas. Many people are calling for regulation and are crying in outrage for scenes they claim as pornographic – while you can see more action on cable TV. Recently Rockstar has denied that the mini-game is “locked” in the original game – stating that the hackers went to great lengths so as to generate this mini-game. Now that claim has been challenged with the release of the “Hot Coffee” cheat for the PS2 version of the game. This would mean that the mini game code was in fact coded by Rockstar and “locked” – in the form of an easter egg. Tor Thorsen from Gamespot set out to do some investigative reporting to find out if indeed this cheat existed for the PS2 original version of the game. After many long hours doing all the cheat code entering, putting in the manual work of the dating missions, he was finally able to experience the mini game on the PS2. His findings pose some interesting questions: why is Rockstar lying? Who really put in this mini game in GTA: SA? Why are activists having a frenzy about this while public television gets away with much more explicit images for virtually no work at all?

Read More | Gamespot

Gallery: More Hot Coffee Scandal

20 RPG's 1Up has posted a great feature on the 20 best RPG’s for the Playstation 2. I was quite pleased to see a couple of my favorites listed on there. I was also pleased to see one of my favorite publishers dominating the pack - Square with Final Fantasy X, X-2, XI, Kingdom of Hearts, and Star Ocean - Till the End of Time. While the sentimental gamer in me misses the good old days of FF 3 for the SNES games like Star Ocean - Till the End of Time keep reminding me what a creative publisher can do with a powerful modern console.

Read More | 1Up’s 20 best PS2 RPG’s

Gallery: 20 Greatest PS2 RPG’s: Dominated by Squaresoft