We have plenty of friends and family who still have their first Nintendo system. Perhaps they just couldn’t get past the Legend of Zelda. You can play those old NES cartridges on the FC Mobile Console System using either its 2.4-inch LCD screen, or by attaching it with the included AV cable to your TV. Audio comes from its eternal stereo speakers or plug in headphones when those around you complain. The system comes in black/silver and red/white at a price of about $45.00, depending on where you shop. We found one for $39.95 on eBay with a random game included.
Read More | technabob
Koji Igarashi, creator of the popular Castlevania franchise, is featured in an interview with Game Informer where he talks about what’s next for the series.
[Next,] I will be working on a DS version, but I am thinking of moving to the home consoles for the future. I will continue to use 2D for the DS version, but I’m still trying to figure out which console to do the home console versions. I think the Xbox 360 would be the best platform for the U.S. market.
Another DS Castlevania wasn’t really a bold prediction, but focusing on the 360 is a little unexpected. Igarashi goes on to clarify, “The U.S. market is the biggest market for the Castlevania series, so I will give the first priority to the U.S. market. The platform will be the Xbox 360, since the PS3 isn’t doing well everywhere in the world.” He does later suggest that he thinks Metal Gear Solid 4 could easily increase the PS3 base in the US which would make it more attractive as a target for a Castlevania game.
As for the Wii, which represents an even larger market than 360, Igarashi says he hasn’t quite figured out how to make the gesture controls work with the game saying that the motion for cracking a whip might be too hard on users but some kind of abstraction would be “not so good.” “I will have to think about a way to accomplish this,” he concludes.
Read More | Game Informer
A research paper from Electronic Entertainment Design and Research has been released that suggests that games with online support can be crucial to a game’s retail success. Not surprisingly, another way to boost sales is to create a quality game (defined as those with a 90+ score on Metacritic), with these well-reviewed titles outselling the average release well above 5-to-1.
While making good games typically means making good money, naturally, it is a bit surprising to see the report indicate that sales can be doubled by dropping in an online mode. With online games selling twice the number copies that offline titles do, it’s curious to note that over half of games released don’t offer even basic online support.
Read More | Ars Technica
Time Magazine has Halo 3 on their cover this week but the feature inside the magazine, written by Lev Grossman, has raised the hackles on the necks of several game writers. Dan Zuccarelli from Bits, Bytes, Pixels and Sprites takes Grossman to task for what he feels is an ill-researched piece. It’s not hard to see where Zuccarelli is coming from. In the third paragraph the Time article calls Halo 2 an Xbox 360 exclusive and the inset graphic (reprinted on BBPS) shows a fan mod Xbox 360 featuring Halo 3 artwork rather than the actual Halo 3 Special Edition Xbox 360, not to mention mis-labeling the Heroclix Scarab as merely a “sculpture.”
What really has some people frothing though is Grossman’s obvious bias against gamers that seeps from nearly every paragraph as he repeatedly refers to them as antisocial, unhealthy, unpopular and even twice refers to gamers as residing in a ghetto. It’s not clear whether he refers to a literal ghetto or if he’s being metaphorical, but either way it doesn’t seem particularly balanced or neutral in tone.
Dean Takahashi has a write-up regarding the upcoming 65nm microprocessors reportedly shipping on new Xbox 360 units. The more efficient processors are included on the new Falcon boards that are included standard in all units going forward. Of course, Microsoft still needs to sell its existing stock of 90nm chip systems and as a result is being, shall we say, coy about the new processors and their availability.
Also of note is that these new Falcon boards curiously do not include replacement 65nm ATI graphics processors, which some have speculated are at least partially responsible for the frequently discussed Red Rings of Death issue that Microsoft recently took steps to correct. Takahashi remarks that he expected the 65nm chips—both processor and graphics—to have appeared long before now but speculates that the problems with the 90nm boxes may have pulled Microsoft’s engineers away from the efficiency shift to concentrate on damage control.
The crux of the report is that buying a new Xbox 360 right now is probably not the wisest consumer decision, at least until someone determines how to effectively differentiate between the chip sizes from the outer boxes. Once the last of the 90nm systems have been liquidated from stock all 360s sold will include HDMI and the more efficient chips, which many believe (or perhaps hope) will be more reliable than 360s have historically been. The moral of the story then is for those considering an Xbox purchase to wait for a few months for the holiday buyers to clear out the older stock, something Microsoft hopes you won’t do which is why they remain so elusive with details on the new chips.
Read More | San Jose Mercury
People with virtual currency burning pixelated holes in their alternate reality pockets can check out the Xbox Live Arcade and the Wii Virtual Console this week for some new (or perhaps old) titles. The most exciting offerings this week look to be the Jeff Minter shooter Space Giraffe and the wonderful SNES classic, Super Metroid.
Read More | Nintendo Press Release
Despite being much harder to find throughout the year in retail outlets than the competitor’s next-gen console hardware, Nintendo‘s Wii may not see much improvement in availability until sometime in 2008. Nintendo originally planned to expand their production in June but were forced to delay their expansion plans due to tight supply of certain components coming from Taiwan-based suppliers.
Wii units are certainly far more available than they were shortly after launch but that may be related to the comparatively lighter demand; with the 2007 holiday season fast approaching and key titles like Metroid Prime 3, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Bros. Brawl expected before Christmas, this could mean another tough Christmas on shoppers with Wii systems high on their lists.
Still, Nintendo has not backed down on projections made in April of this year and in a statement to GameSpot said, “Nintendo has no revisions to announce to its most recent shipment forecasts at this time.” They originally predicted that they would sell 14 million Wiis this fiscal year.
Dylan Jobe from the Warhawk team has posted a lengthy FAQ on the PlayStation blog where he clarifies, among other details, how the player-hosted matches will work. Essentially, the system tests the host’s connection speed and makes a determination based on that about how many players the game will support, 8, 16, 24 or 32. From the FAQ:
[W]e… do a really quick series of bandwidth tests to determine how many players you will be able to handle. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the bandwidth requirements to make sure that the games that you host are not out of your league with regard to the bandwidth needed. We got a lot of comments during the BETA about players that were hosting 24 or 32 player games when they didn’t have the bandwidth to do so. This resulted in pretty crappy game experiences sometimes. Our updated bandwidth requirements should resolve a lot of this and we’ll be monitoring it and changing them if we need to… If you’re at school (college dorm or something) on a network you’ll probably be hosting up to 32 players, but the net is what the net is and you all know how it can change like the weather. If you have a really bad connection, then you will be hosting eight or 16 players.
He also talks about how there will be no way to run the retail version without the disc in tray, the fact that there will be clan support and that there is split-screen play but you can only have one headset active at a time on a given console, plus a lot more.
Read More | PlayStation Blog
So the New York Times has spilled the beans a bit early, letting us all in on what Nintendo is set to make known to all later today. The Nintendo Wii will launch in North and South America on November 19, 2006 at a price of $250 USD. Even better? It will be the first launch console in quite some time to come with a bundled game. Wii Sports, which consists of bowling, baseball, golf, and tennis games will be free with the purchase of Wii. As for other games, we can expect about 30 old-school titles to be available at launch on Wii’s virtual console priced from $5-10 USD, and another 25-30 new Wii games to drop during the consoles launch window. New Wii titles will retail for $50 USD, $10 less than that of Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3 games.
So there you have it folks - it appears that we will all be playing Wii before Thanksgiving. The question remains, though, after all the Blue Ocean stuff Nintendo has been feeding us, who is really excited about paying $250 USD for a picture viewer and weather station? Yeah, Nintendo also announced that Wii will be more than a game system - it will be a living room device that is able to display pictures, news, and weather information. How is that for a value-add? Nope, no DVD playback here folks. At least they threw in the Opera browser. Here’s to hoping that it’s at least fifteen times faster than the DS Opera browser.
The other bone we have to pick? Remember how, as recently as a year ago, Nintendo was saying how they absolutely, positively wouldn’t be the last console out of the gate this time? They weren’t going to let their competition get a leg up that way? Seems that’s also out the window as well.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts.