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DescriptionI’ve played Lemmings since it was a DOS game on a single 1.44 MB floppy and absolutely loved its crazy, maniacally difficult levels, with classic MIDI music in the background and only one goal: Get the green-haired somethings out alive. I played it on the SNES and then Lemmings Revolution which attempted to be in 3D. All good times. So without fail, I sat down and played my way (successfully) through a level of Lemmings for the PSP. It’s nice to see such a fun franchise hasn’t died.

The graphics for Lemmings were what you’d expect. They’ve gone back to the 2D platform concept, but the textures and artwork were especially nice. The controls were a bit weird at first, but I figured them out soon enough, and was especially thankful for the fast-forward button—a true innovation that’s been a long time coming for Lemmings. It’ll be available May 23rd, 2006 and includs over 150 levels. They also include a level editor that I didn’t get a chance to play with, but really have no idea how easy it might be to use on the PSP. You can even upload and download new levels and share them with all your Lemmings-loving friends. That’s right. All of them.


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The Xbox Media Briefing started with an amazing 3D array of the Gamertags of everyone that is here in the audience. It was absolutely stunning the way that they did this.

At the beginning of the briefing, we got a Gear of War trailer, followed by a demonstration of one of the levels. We must say - this game is drop-dead gorgeous.

Peter Moore hits the stage.

Xbox 360 has sold 5 million units faster than any console in history, as well as the iPod. Xbox Live will hit 6 million members within 12 months. As of last week, there is a 57% attach rate to Xbox Live.

We are given a look at upcoming Xbox Live Arcade games, including:

Contra
Frogger
Dig Dug
Ms. Pac Man
Track and Field
PacMan
Galaga
Sonic
Ultimate MK 3
Street Fighter II
Paper Boy

This is gonna be good stuff. All games will be updated in high definition, online multiplayer, and obviously achievements. Arcade is also creating a space for indie developers to get their new ideas across to today’s gamers.

Just announced: Lumines is hitting the Xbox 360 as an Arcade title, “Lumines Live.” The game will have licensed music from the likes of Madonna and others. Totally awesome.

We are watching a trailer of upcoming Xbox 360 titles. I am telling you, there is no difference as of now between these graphics and those of the PS3. Believe that. Smackdown vs. RAW 2007, Ninety-Nine Nights, and Gears of War look fabulous.

By holiday 2006, there will be more than 160 games available for the Xbox 360. When football season starts, Xbox 360 will be the only place to hit up Madden 2007 in next-gen format.

There is still development dedicated to the original Xbox.

Newly Announced: We are watching a trailer for what looks to be a sequel to Fable. In fact, it is! Fable 2 has just been announced, and this game looks incredible. Of course, this is a CG trailer…but the storyline looks tight.

Forza Motorsport 2: Another racing game, but these cars are fully customizable…from the engine, to the wheels, to the paint. Over 300 cars, racing up to 11 people on Xbox Live, and it will have a wireless steering wheel controller.

Other accessories include a wireless headset, and the Xbox Live Vision Camera that we leaked a few weeks ago. All three accessories will be available in Fall 2006.

Focusing on Japan, games like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and DOA Xtreme Volleyball 2 are hopefully going to make the Japanese appreciate the Xbox 360. Um, no they won’t.

Now viewing a trailer for Splinter Cell: Double Agent. I like the new gameplay elements, and the graphics are (again) top-notch. Even the gameplay footage. Launching in September.

Moving on to Viva Pinata. This is like a mix between Cubivore, The Sims, and a few other “do it yourself” games. In order to mate, there is a mating dance. Pretty creative. Launching in Holiday 2006.

Now we are moving on to entertainment, starting with Xbox Live Marketplace. There are over 18 million downloads since the launch, and as of tonight, there are over 1000 pieces of content. Every Xbox 360 developer has a piece of content on the Marketplace.

Xbox Live Marketplace changes the way people buy games. When Fight Night was demoed, pre-orders increased by 5x. Marketplace also provies true episodic content and opens a world of true digital entertainment. Tonight, you can download high definition show content, Gears of War Race to E3. It starts on Xbox Live, and ends next week with an MTV special.

Xbox 360 HD DVD player will be available this holiday. No price yet? What’s the deal?

I think it’s time for Halo 3…Moore is teasing us, and I think he has another tatoo. “Some guys do rubber ducks. Some guys do tatoos.” I was wrong, it’s time for Grand Theft Auto IV, which hits Xbox 360 on October 16th, 2006. He said nothing about exclusivity, but it is available on the platform on day one. Rockstar will also be providing exclusive episodic content on Xbox Live.

Moving on to Vista. The most game-friendly OS in history. Games for Windows is the new unified brand. Now showing trailer for PC game Crysis. Gameplay looked great, and it was running on Windows XP. We now change it up and take a look at DirectX 10 gaming on Windows Vista…and everyone is absolutely floored. Flight Simulator X and Crysis look photorealistic. One word here, folks: Wow. Vista is built to run games, and will be the single biggest launch in Microsoft’s history.

On to Oblivion, it sold 1.7 million copies in 3 weeks. Joint release for Xbox 360 and PC. Today they are announcing two more joint release games that will be released on both platforms, offering gamers a choice. The first is Shadowrun, which looks to provide a high-level depth of gaming. Launches with Vista in January. The other game is called Alan Wake, and it looks like a high-level survival-horror/thriller. A psychological action thriller.

Bill Gates hits the stage, and talks about Xbox 360’s global presence. By the end of June, between 5-5.5 million consoles will have been shipped.

Before others enter the marketplace, Xbox 360 will have a 10 million unit head start.

Just announced: Live Anywhere. Built-in to Vista, but will also be on cell phones, Xbox 360, etc. Have your Live account on all your devices, giving you one Gamertag that you can use across multiple platforms. Sounds like you can play games on Windows Mobile, and use your Gamertag and possibly even earn achievements. “Start a game on Xbox, continue it on the phone. Maybe schedule your Xbox to download something from your phone while you are away.” Moving from Live, to Live Anywhere.

We are given a demo of how this all might work. This stuff is going to be a big deal - we will have a video up later this evening. For now, know that Xbox Live’s experience will be fully realized on mobile phones, Windows Vista, and the Xbox 360.

I think it’s now Halo time. The crowd is going nuts. Halo 3 looks insane. The storyline will rock…but everyone wants to see multiplayer. It’s coming in 2007.


Command & Conquer 3

Electronic Arts has dipped into their back catalog of games and announced that a new chapter in the C&C series, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, will be released in 2007.  Originally crafted by the RTS gods at Westwood Studios (who also brought us Dune), the Command & Conquer franchise has come a long way over the years, and some would venture to say that it has fallen far from the tree as well.  No matter your opinion, if EA can combine the immersive gameplay of C&C: Red Alert, with the graphics power of the modern computer, and manage to not release a buggy title as is their modus operandi, they should have a massive hit on their hands.

From the press release: “Experience a revolution in RTS gaming with a breakthrough single player campaign that rewards you for your gameplay style. Add layers of strategy to your gaming experience by building mobile bases, wielding the power of terrifying Ion Storms on the battlefield, or customizing your armies by combining units. Battle it out online with native voice-over IP, integrated clan support, and new spectator modes that let you play RTS games like a sport.”


Read More | EA via 1UP


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Red Steel Logo
Following on the reported information in the May 2006 issue of Game Informer, Ubisoft has officially announced Red Steel for the Nintendo Revolution in a joint press release. The title will be an exclusive launch title for the Revolution, and will make use of the Revolution’s unique controller. Red Steel seeks to immerse the gamer in modern-day Japan, through swordplay and gunplay. Early screens look very good, and hopefully this will be the first of many third-party game announcements as we lead up to E3. Full press release follows.

Click to continue reading Ubisoft Announces Red Steel for Revolution


New Super Mario Bros

Nintendo launched their preview site for the New Super Mario Brothers game for the Nintendo DS, and it came with some bad news. According to the site, the official release date for the game is now May 21, 2006, a week’s delay from the last announced date. EBGames.com still has the game listed as coming in on May 15, 2006, but gamers can expect that to change. Nintendo softens the blow somewhat by offering some desktop wallpapers for download on the site.

Update: The official site release date has been changed back to May 15, 2006.

Read More | New Super Mario Bros.


Super Monkey Ball Adventure

This should come as good news to many - the next version of Super Monkey Ball will be making it’s way to Gamecube, PS2, and PSP in about three months time. The new title, named Super Monkey Ball Adventure, happens to be the first narrative-driven Super Monkey Ball game, providing a true adventure game. Of course, the classic puzzle game is back, as are the popular party games. SEGA is promising With 5 new worlds, a host of new Monkey Ball characters, new Ball abilities, brand new party games, and PSP-exclusive content.

As for the adventure mode, here are the details: On Jungle Island, our hero, Aiai, meets Princess Deedee of Monkitropolis and Prince Abeabe of Kongri-la, star-crossed lovers whose marriage is hampered by a feud that exists between their respective kingdoms. The Monkey Ball world could be torn apart unless Aiai can reconcile the feuding Monkey Kingdoms by traveling to all five Monkey realms, helping people and defeating the evil Naysayers in an effort to spread joy and remove prejudice and fear.

We look forward to seeing what SEGA has in store for us come June 2006. For now, you can check out six more images after the jump.

Click to continue reading Super Monkey Ball Adventure Screenshots


Burnout Revenge GRAWFinally, some quality non-sports Xbox 360 titles are starting to trickle in. It has been confirmed that both Burnout Revenge and GRAW have gone gold, and will be on their way to retailers. You can get your hands on them next week, as Ghost Recon launches on March 9 (with original Xbox and PS2 versions shipping March 30) and Burnout Revenge dropping on March 7. The rest of the month will be rounded out by Far Cry Instincts Predator, The Outfit, Blazing Angels, and the much-anticipated Oblivion.


OblivionLooks like Oblivion isn’t that far off, as someone is already earning achievements for playing the game. Likely someone with an early gold copy, Xbox Live member Vark currently has earned 3 of the 50 achievements available in Oblivion. Even more exciting, Xbox.com now shows March 20, 2006 as the official release date for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Here’s to hoping that sticks.


Read More | Oblivion


PS3

Following rumors of a September launch, Nvidia has hinted that the PS3 won’t be coming out anywhere in the spring.

Dean Takashi writes:

“Graphics chip maker Nvidia reported today that it doesn’t anticipate any royalties from Sony during the current fiscal quarter which closes at the end of April,” then deduces, “since Nvidia won’t be collecting royalties on the chip this quarter, that suggests that Sony isn’t going to be producing machines during the months that close at the end of April, 2006.”

No machines made by the end of April? We’d say a spring release is out of the question.


Read More | Mercury News


PS3

Next Generation has an exclusive story on some juicy PS3 details. According to the site, Sony is planning on launching its PS3 in Japan and North America sometime in September (around September 16?). Although nothing’s official, Next Gen sounds pretty sure of itself. Additionally, according to the site, Sony is working on an online network that will offer many of the same services as Xbox Live - it’s called PlayStation HUB. The HUB will allow for both PS3 and PSP online access.


Read More | Next Generation


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