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BullySaturday was a school work day, with two group meetings early in the day. Once I got home, however, I found a copy of Rockstar’s latest, Bully, waiting for me.

I stayed up until 2AM playing it.

The game is very accessible, but they way they’ve structured the game in several places serves to keep the tension up. You’re basically in perpetual trouble, late to class, out past curfew, etc. When you’re trouble meter is on the rise, you have to avoid the prefects or you’ll be busted on the spot (though you learn ways out of that). The more trouble you’re in, the more likely you are to get a one-way ticket to “The Head’s” office.

Click to continue reading Bully For Me

Gallery: Bully For Me


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Phantasy Star Universe Xbox 360 users with an Xbox Live Gold account will be able to participate in Sega’s upcoming open beta test for Phantasy Star Universe on October 11. Sega’s official Phantasy Star Universe site has the details of the open beta. The test itself will run from October 11th through October 18th, and will let users experience some of the online multiplayer functionality of the game. According to the site, the beta will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace sometime between October 11th and October 12th.

The Xbox 360 version of Phantasy Star Universe should hit stores on the same date as the PC and Playstation 2 versions, October 24th. Xbox 360 users will have their own servers; while PC and Playstation 2 users will be able to interact with each other online, Xbox 360 users will only be able to see other players with the Xbox 360 version of the game. For the final version of Phantasy Star Universe, Xbox 360 owners with either a Silver or Gold account will be able to play online. Phantasy Star Universe will cost $9.99 per month to play. Hopefully the online beta will help Sega avoid the server meltdowns that plagued the Japanese launch of the Playstation 2 and PC versions.

Read More | Phantasy Star Universe

Gallery: Phantasy Star Universe Open Beta For Xbox 360


Pokemon DiamondThe guys at the NeoGAF forums have translated Media Create’s sales numbers for the week ending 10/1. As expected, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl dominated the software chart. Diamond sold slightly better than Pearl. The two combined to sell 1,588,734 units over four days. Three PS2 titles made the top ten, including the latest in the .hack series, and Minna no Tennis. The rest were pretty much the standard stock list of DS titles gamers are used to seeing on the list.

On the hardware side, Nintendo moved 274,389 DS Lite consoles, trouncing the rest of the pack. The Playstation 2 came in second with 31,992 units sold, and the Xbox 360 nearly doubled sales to 2,195; The release of Dead Rising probably contributed to this.

Read More | NeoGAF

Gallery: Pokemon Diamond And Pearl, Nintendo DS Top Japanese Sales Charts


Mod ChipThe Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has reported that $9 million in damages has been awarded against Divineo and other defendants for DMCA violations. The violations included the trafficking of mod chips and the sales of the HDLoader software package, which allowed users to copy and play Playstation 2 games from a hard drive. According to reports on Gamasutra, Judge Claudia Wilken of the U.S. District Court awarded $3,750,200 in damages against Divineo, Inc. and Canadian resident Frederic Legault. The judge also awarded $5,791,400 in damages against Divineo UK, Divineo SARL, and French resident Max Louarn.

Read More | Gamasutra

Gallery: Mod Chip Resellers To Pay $9 Million


Xploder HDTVA while back, “video game enhancement” company Xplodr created a stir by announcing a product that promised to unlock the available HDTV modes in the PS2 through their Xploder HDTV Player. The product promised to allow users to run their existing PS2 games in 480p, 576p, 720p, and 1080i, and many gamers wondered if Xploder could deliver what they promised. Now, Computer And Video Games magazine has previewed the device, and at least playing OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast seemed to work as promised, with no drop in frame rates. Now, the software still has not been tested in the wild with the wide spectrum of Playstation 2 games available. Whether the scaled up resolutions impacts the framing of the games or exposes texture flaws is not clear. Xploder disclaims their product slightly, saying that not all games will work, but the product does seem to be a relatively cheap way for PS2 owners to improve their visuals on their HDTV sets.

Read More | Computer And Videogames

Gallery: Xploder HDTV Player For Playstation 2 Preview


Kids Love Guitar Hero!

A reader over at Kotaku recently received an extra-long survey about new features or products that could be released in the Guitar Hero vein. Most interestingly, the survey seemed to suggest that RedOctane might be working on titles like “Drummer Hero”, “Keyboard Hero”, or “Vocals Hero”, as we had guessed earlier. This is obviously a very preliminary   test of the public’s feelings on future Guitar Hero titles and spin-offs, but it’s nonetheless exciting to see that we may one day be able to replicate a complete band out of the Hero titles.

Read More | Kotaku.com

Gallery: Rumors from Guitar Hero Survey Suggest Drummer Hero, Vocal Hero


Minna No TennisThe latest Media Create Japanese software sales for the week ending 9/25 have been released, and basically, the DS continues to dominate the charts. Sony’s Minna No Tennis held on to the top spot, though, continuing the popularity of the series. Final Fantasy III and New Super Mario Bros. took second and third, with essentially 500 sales separating the two. The Nintendo Tingle RPG is still hanging around the top ten. Hopefully, the game will be a surprising success and will encourage a US release.

There was no big shake up in hardware sales this week, either, with Nintendo moving 139,835 DS consoles to take the top spot. The PS2 pulled in second at 32,673, followed by the PSP at 23,118. The Xbox 360 managed to rebound from its sub-1000 showing last week to sell 1,109 units. Hopefully this will see a significant bump come November and December as the new bundles hit the market.

Next week, expect Pokemon Diamond and Pearl sales to hit the charts, and DS sales to jump as special edition consoles hit the market.

Read More | NeoGAF Forums

Gallery: Latest Japanese Software Sales Charts


Kids love Guitar Hero
It’s been a crazy week for all things Guitar Hero related. While nothing seems able to stop the juggernaut that is Guitar Hero 2 from being released on time, some of the other news we’ve been seeing might be bad news for fans of the series. First off, MTV announced Monday that they’d be purchasing Harmonix, developer of the series, for $175 million dollars.

MTV had this to say about the acquisition:

The acquisition of Harmonix will deepen MTV’s connection to its audience via on-line, mobile and console music gaming, and expand the relationship with both labels and artists through the creation of games based on classic songs as well as future album releases.

If MTV’s responsible with this property, that could be good news. It sounds like we can expect Guitar Hero to be ported to a variety of systems. It also sounds like we’ll be “treated” to something like a micro-transaction-based system for downloading new content. Of course, there’s always more money to be made by charging $50.00 for hastily-made sequels, so we’ll have to wait and see how MTV treats their new baby.

In other news, you might not be able to play with that fancy wireless guitar in the future, at least if Red Octane has anything to say about it. On the 20th, Red Octane sued The Ant Commandos, the company that produces the wireless guitar controller “compatible with” (read: made for) Guitar Hero. Not one to take it lying down, TAC has countersued, saying that RedOctane is actually at fault and stole the design of the guitar controller during a tour of Topwave factory (Topwave is TAC’s parent company).

Harmonix must be having a field day with this - it’s got to be flattering to produce a game so popular that EVERYONE wants in on the action. Now please guys, can we all just get along so that we can start rocking out again? Please, think of the children…

Read More | Joystiq

Read More | Opposable Thumbs

Read More | DigitalTrends

Gallery: Everyone Wants a Piece of the Guitar Hero Pie


Seaman 2The original Seaman for the Dreamcast was probably one of the most unusual games released during the console’s brief life. The original involved raising some kind of bizarre man-fish as it slowly matured into some kind of amphibious life form. Gamers could interact with the game via microphone, and the Seaman would talk back. Now, according to 1up, Sega has announced Seaman 2 for the Playstation 2. The game this time around will focus on a kind of prehistoric mini-man. The game will also utilize a new controller with a built-in microphone, so gamers can communicate with their new pet. Sega’s announcement apparently took the form of some kind of infomercial, and screen shots from that are included on 1up.com.

Read More | 1up

Gallery: Sega Announces Seaman 2


Tales of Phantasia BoxMedia Create’s latest Japanese sales chart has been released, and for the first time in quite a while, a PSP title has taken the top spot on the list. Bandai Namco’s remake of Tales of Phantasia debuted at number one, pulling in just over 66,000 units sold. The rest of the list generally followed previous lists, with Nintendo DS titles taking seven spots, a Gameboy Advance title taking one entry, and Sega’s Phantasy Star Universe taking one spot.

Seeing Phantasy Star on the list is a little surprising, given the horrendous troubles that Sega has had keeping their game servers online, but the prospect of free play until Sega could get everything up to speed may have enticed some gamers. The Tingle RPG made a fairly strong showing, taking the fourth spot on the list, not bad for a game featuring a 35 year-old in a fairy suit.

Read More | NeoGAF

Gallery: Japanese Sales: PSP Title Takes Top Spot


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