Nintendo outlined their upcoming releases for the first quarter via press release today. While the first-party Wii-original list is spare, consisting only of Wii Play with a bundled remote launching February 14th, next week will see the release of Mario Kart 64 for the Virtual Console, bringing one of the best entries in that franchise to the Wii. In addition, Nintendo will finally be making the Wii News Channel available on January 27th; hopefully the News Channel will be more fully realized than the Weather Channel. Third-party releases will see SSX Blur coming, which has been getting some decent early buzz. Others include The Godfather: Blackhand Edition and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07; it will be interesting to see how EA handles the Wii remote in its upcoming titles.
The full press release continues after the jump.
EA has announced yet another game in the cash-cow Sims universe… this time it’s a set of standalone “Stories” built around characters in the Sims universe. Unlike previous Sims games, which seemed designed to suck every moment of your real life away so that you could give it to your virtual character, The Sims Stories are self-contained (i.e., they don’t require any previous games or expansion packs) and designed for short, casual play on PC laptops with modest specs. The first in a series, The Sims: Life Stories will be a comedy/romance which you play from the perspective of two different generically-named Sims, “Riley” and “Vince”. The initial story will be followed by The Sims: Pet Stories and The Sims: Castaway Stories.
Maybe it’s just that I never really got into the Sims universe, but this sounds like it has “flop” written all over it. How is EA going to convince gamers to spend their money on generic adventure games about everyday characters? It’s a lot like trying to convince somebody to play Sam and Max, but without any artistic style or wacky characters. I suppose you could make the argument that Sims Stories is to reality TV as Sam and Max is to cartoons (and boy is that there reality TV popular these days), but somehow I don’t see this working in the gaming sphere.
Regardless of its success, these games look like they were rather cheap for EA to produce, and will probably net them a bit of a profit. The game was only announced today, but will be debuting in stores on February 7, 2007, a scant 3 weeks away.
Click the jump for EA’s full press release…
Read More | EA.com
Hoping to clear off shelf space for next year’s iteration of Madden, Fight Night, and Tiger Woods, EA has dropped the price on a few games in their library. Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to pick up many of EA’s titles for $10-$30 off of their usual price. Of course, with EA’s habit of shutting down servers for unpopular games, you might want to think twice before picking up anything that has a year attached to the title. Still, there are some fairly well reviewed titles to be found, including The Godfather and Need for Speed Carbon, so this might be a good way to get some extra bang out of that gift certificate you got this Christmas.
See the full list of reduced-price titles, after the jump…
Read More | Game Invasion @ Comcast.net
A week ago, EA was nice enough to give us a review copy of their latest tactical squad-based FPS, Battlefield 2142. Following in the footsteps of Battlefield 2, 2142 features well-balanced strategic combat with a ton of depth and near-infinite replay value. These are the hallmarks we’ve come to expect from the Battlefield series (as well as its competitors, Counterstrike and Team Fortress among them), but does 2142 have the stuff to rise above the rest? Click the jump for our full review!!
Next Generation is reporting that EA has expanded its plan to suck every last dime from gamers. Electronic Arts already made the unusual move to charge for game tutorials for Madden 2007 on the Xbox Live Marketplace, but the latest word is that the company will now charge for cheat codes for Tiger Woods 07. According to Next Generation, the cheat codes will range from $2.50 and $3.75; gamers should still be able to unlock everything in the game by playing through normally. However, if EA continues to monetize every extra in the game then gamers may find that unlocking items may become harder and harder in order to justify the cost of the cheat code.
Read More | Next Generation
One of the more exciting panels at the Austin Game Conference was a panel simply called “MMOG Rant” as Gamespot reports. On the panel were representatives from several different MMORPG publishing houses, including NCsoft, Bioware Austin, Sony Online Entertainment, and former employees of Turbine Entertainment and Mythic Entertainment.
While Blizzard wasn’t represented directly, World of Warcraft certainly received a lot of attention from the panel. Complaints ranged from problems with post-sale service to issues with copycats, financing, innovation, and execution. Other than the post-sale service, the issues the MMORPG development community seems to be facing is similar to the game industry as a whole. While venture capital seems to be flowing into genre developers seeking to build the next World of Warcraft, the big problem seems to be that investors are literally looking for the next World of Warcraft. Getting funding for innovative or unique projects seems to be as much of a problem in the MMORPG realm as it is in console or PC gaming. The article offers an unvarnished look into the frustrations of MMORPG developers.
Read More | Gamespot
Unlike most of the other titles for the Wii, opinions on whether Nintendo’s innovative controller improved on the Madden franchise were somewhat divided. Some bloggers on joystiq.com absolutely hated the new control scheme and criticized the graphics of the game, while others like IGN thought that the control was “where the game shines”. While the above video may not give a final verdict on whether or not the Madden 2007 Wii control scheme is an improvement, it certainly gives a lot of tasty tidbits.
Until we start seeing Wii demo kiosks with Madden built in, this may be the closest we’ll get to playing the game. The 9 minute 10 second video recently posted on YouTube appears to be an EA representative showing off most of the features of the control scheme, and from the looks of it the title at least appears to recognize the gestures very well. Another interesting thing in this video is just how quickly the rep is able to blaze through the menu screens - thanks to using the Wiimote like a mouse, it looks like selecting and planning out plays will be a breeze.
Read More | YouTube.com
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