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The Min-E3 2007 Games Lineup

E3 logoSure, the convention is much smaller this year and all, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of games to be seen. Eurogamer has posted a list of the announced lineups and then some of what you’ll be seeing at E3. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony have been quiet on what they’ll be showing, so it looks like we’ll need to wait until their respective showings to know for sure. The event is taking place next week, so expect it to be a busy week in news.

But please, please, please, Nintendo, show me Animal Crossing Wii. Something. Anything. Please?

Read More | Eurogamer

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Game Releases For The Week Of 6/25: The Darkness, Pokemon, And Transformers

Pokemon Battle Revolution

Some big name titles are hitting this week, including the much anticipated The Darkness for both Xbox 360 and PS3. Transformers is bound to be a big seller by virtue of its name and the number of platforms that it’s coming out on. And Pokemon Battle Revolution for Wii is going to sell a scientifically accurate 1,432,345^100, or in other words, a metric crapton.

Read More | Gamasutra

The Adults Only Manhunt 2 Saga

Manhunt 2 Wii box artTake Two is in what we call a pickle. Manhunt 2, set for release on July 10, has received a preliminary ESRB rating of Adults Only. Initially, this was believed to be a major problem due to the fact that some major retailers – such as Walmart – wouldn’t carry the game. Walmart composes a significant portion of the videogame retail market, making the AO rating a major blow.

Then came word that Nintendo doesn’t allow AO-rated games to appear on its systems. In other words, no Manhunt 2 on Wii, or at least not until the game receives a lower rating.

But as with books, television and movies, different content is meant for different audiences. That’s why the ESRB provides ratings to help consumers understand the content of a game before they purchase it. As stated on Nintendo.com, Nintendo does not allow any AO-rated content on its systems.

How about Sony, who was supposed to see the game land on both the PlayStation 2 and PSP?

Currently it’s SCE’s policy not to allow the playback of AO rated content on our systems.

So where does this leave Take Two and Rockstar? They’re left with a very limited number of options, none of which are particularly attractive.


Don’t Expect Infinity Ward To Include Cross-Platform Play In Call of Duty 4

Call of Duty 4

I hate Games for Windows Live. I love the potential, but currently I think it’s a horrible, horrible excuse for an online system. It’s completely gimped in comparison with Xbox Live, and ultimately worthless right now; I could go on and on, but frankly it’s just not ready for mainstream use, and doesn’t warrant any sort of subscription fee. And as far as cross-platform play goes… so far, not the greatest thing in the world. And I’m not the only who thinks so – in an interview with IGN, Infinity Ward’s Grant Collier stated:

Our rep left us a message saying ‘hey, want to talk about this, Live Anywhere, it’s big, it’s cool’, and I thought, well yeah, if you’re playing online poker, but who wants to be playing an RTS on a console and have some guy on a PC clicking and dragging all his troops, attacking your base while you’re sitting there with your thumb sticks. So I think for FPSs and RTSs, no way, but for, y’know, card games or Tetris or something like that. There are games that I think it’s cool for, but there are other games where I don’t think there’s any point. So they just didn’t respond.

So if you’re looking for a safe bet to make with an uninformed friend, gambling that Call of Duty 4 won’t be featuring cross-platform play is about as safe as you can get.

Read More | IGN Australia via Kotaku


Xbox Live Arcade 6/13: Prince of Persia Classic

Prince of Persia Classic

For those of you who think Prince of Persia is a series that began last gen, you’re dead wrong. Prince of Persia was originally a PC title, developed back in 1989. Now the game is resurfacing as Prince of Persia Classic on the Xbox Live Arcade for 800 Microsoft Points ($10). The interesting catch to the game is that you’re required to save a princess… but in under 60 minutes.

The features list is exactly what you would expect from an XBLA game: improved graphics; new traps, puzzles, and enemies; 12 achievements; and leaderboards in three flavors – Normal Mode (complete the game as fast as possible, saving after each level), Time Attach Mode (start from the beginning if that princess isn’t saved in 60 minutes), and Survival Mode (complete the game in under 60 minutes without dying – good luck).


Nearly 14-Year-Old Games Getting Remakes: Myst DS Edition

Posted by Chris Pereira Categories: Adventure, Nintendo DS

Myst island

I have fond memories of first popping Myst into my computer’s CD-ROM drive (oh, how exciting it was at the time!) and exploring its incredible world. While it was only a point-and-click adventure, it still was incredible for its time. It was an experience, to be sure. And for the record, I’ve beaten it more than once - the fair way.

So imagine my surprise when my eyes came upon a press release stating that Myst was getting a remake, DS-style. The game is bound to have a pretty limited appeal, despite the fact that it’s being rebuilt specifically for the DS – a system that is simply the perfect platform for a game of this ilk. Fans will be excited to hear that a new age, known as the RIME Age, will make its way into the game.

While the press release has a sentence that might be a punch to the gut to many gaming fans – “Unlike most adventure games, Myst offers no inventory, no death, and no dialogue.” – it’s something that you really need to play to appreciate.


Assassin’s Creed Coming This November

Assassin's Creed

The highly anticipated Prince of Persia-like Assassin’s Creed has finally been given a timeframe for release; the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC versions will all be released in November. Naturally, a limited edition will be available for what is becoming the standard price of $69.99 (unless your name happens to be Grand Theft Auto or Halo), and includes the following:

  • Tin box
  • Penny Arcade comics
  • Altair figure
  • Mini strategy guide
  • Trailers, documentaries, other videos

Normally I’m ready to pounce on the fact that every single game nowadays has some sort of Limited Special Collector’s Edition, but Assassin’s Creed is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year; this one looks like it deserves an LE.


Gametap Opens Free Ad-Supported Game Site

Posted by Michael Cardiff Categories: Action, Casual, Internet, PC

Gametap Home
Yesterday, Gametap opened up a new component in their online subscription-based gaming service, and it’s worth taking a look at. Gametap’s new service is a FREE (as in beer) ad-supported list of games that you can play through their client. All that’s required is that you register with their site, and you can begin playing games like Street Fighter 2, Metal Slug, and Tomb Raider: Legend for free. In addition, many of the games are upgraded from their original version, including features such as online play in Metal Slug

So what’s the catch? Well, to start with, you have to watch ads at certain points during the game (for example, when a new level is loading, or when the game is first downloading). The other big problem—and one that a lot of sites don’t seem to be mentioning yet—is that the list of free games available rotates on a week-by-week basis. So while you may be able to play Joust for free this week, all your progress might be for nothing next week when they switch over to a NEW list of ad-supported games. This may not be a huge deal for some of the more arcade-y, quick play games like Rampage or Bust a Move, but it’s going to be pretty lame when you get hooked on TR Legend and then can’t play it after a week. Frankly, this all sounds suspiciously like a ploy to get people hooked on their service enough so that they’ll end up becoming paid subscribers to the full library - I can’t see any true gamer being happy with the list of free games changing every week.

Read More | GameTap.com

Half-Life 2: Black Box Gets The Axe

Gordon Freeman Half-LifeBlack Box, the PC-only package which included Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal has been canned by Valve. The reasoning behind this was not revealed, but it’s likely a move to help promote Steam.

“The Black Box has been cancelled,” said Doug Lombardi, Valve’s director of marketing. “We’re going to have one package, The Orange Box, available on the PC (US$49.99) as well as the 360 and PS3 (US$ 59.99). In addition to the three new products—Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life: Episode Two—The Orange Box will also contain the full version of Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode One. Those who purchase the PC version of The Orange Box will get three separate Steam product codes: One for the three new games, one for HL2, and one for Episode One. This way a PC Orange Box owner can give away their Half-Life 2 or Episode One unused Steam product codes if they don’t need a copy of those games. We are excited to deliver the highest value of new gaming content ever offered in one box.”

It sounds like a fair bargain to me – that’s a lot of content for $50 (or $60 if you’re on consoles). Those who wish to save money will be able to download all of the new content directly from Steam – a route which many gamers are likely to take, meaning Steam will see a nice boost in traffic. With more and more games looking to Steam as a viable means of distribution, this increase in download numbers will likely help to coax some naysayers into jumping on the bandwagon.

Read More | IGN UK

Shane Kim Responds To Shadowrun Pricing Structure Questions

Shadowrun PC Xbox 360 boxart

The upcoming Shadowrun has two price points on two different systems. That’s not all that unusual in itself – we’re used to seeing PlayStation 2 versions of games cost less than those on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. But when a game is seeing a simultaneous release on Xbox 360 and PC, and being put in a position to be the flagship cross-platform title, why are owners paying $60 when the game is only $50 on PC?

Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal hunted down Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Shane Kim to get an answer.

The $59.99 for Xbox 360 and $49.99 for Windows Vista price points are our standard pricing for each platform. This pricing structure is not uncommon in the multiplayer-only first-person shooter genre, as numerous titles have seen success at this price point and gaming model. I think it’s premature to speak to pricing for all future projects, but as of now this is our pricing structure for our marquee titles like Shadowrun. Additionally, MGS has the same development costs as other developers and publishers out there. One advantage other publishers have that we do not is that they can leverage their marketing and development costs over all platforms, while we are focused on Windows and Xbox 360 as a first party publisher.

That still doesn’t quite answer the question; is it impossible to deviate from the standard pricing scheme? This is the first real Xbox 360/PC cross-platform release, so the standard pricing being referred to is nonsensical. And that’s not to mention, of course, the fact that much of the public is in upheaval over the price already – given that there is no single player and a limited number of maps, paying a “standard” price isn’t what gamers want. The studio manager of Shadowrun developer FASA Studios, Mitch Gitelman has frequently retorted that the game offers an innovative experience that adds “verbs” to the FPS experience. We’ll just have to wait and see how gamers vote with their wallets when the game is released on May 29.

Read More | Level Up

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