The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video Games 02.17.04

What? It’s Tuesday already? That must mean it’s time for ME!
*Ahem
Oh yes, and it’s time for him as well. I’m Misha, and he’s Marvin. Together, we are the 411Games Tuesday News Team (cue Air Guitar riff)

So, what’s in store this week? The usual news-based punditry, of course… And an extra-special commentary
in collaboration with Fred Badlissi.

News

Good news for Nintendo

With the news of Nintendo’s new DS system being the hot-topic of conversation around the gaming scene at the momenth, the well-respected Japanese games magazine Famitsu recently asked some of the games industry’s biggest movers and shakers for their thoughts on the system.

Statistics

93% of game developers seem to have high hopes for Nintendo’s DS.

64.4% of retailers agree with the above, and are preparing to support the DS. This should increase after the unveiling in May.

10% of developers have confirmed definitive support for the DS so far.

57.7% are currently looking into the potential for developing titles for the DS.

33.3% are currently not seeking to develop for the hardware, for now.

Industry Response
“With 2 screens and 2 CPUs, I feel we can start to create new game concepts. Whether we can turn these new ideas into reality is the key for the industry.”
Okada – Atlus

“The first time I saw it, I thought ‘?’ then when reading the specs, that turned into ‘!’ This is a machine that will stimulate both the users’ and the creators’ desire to play. It should allow the birth of a whole host of new ideas and play experiences that haven’t existed before.”
Nagoshi – Amusement Vision

“A machine with two screens is going to be quite a high hurdle for developers to get over, I think. Because the handheld market is so important for the “Super Robot Wars” series, we are thinking of ways to put something out as soon as possible being released with the PSP, I want this to stir up the handheld industry”
Terada – Banpresto

“I’ve been a Nintendo fan for a long time. I want to say that, in spite of me not being good at the games. In a game industry that is feeling more and more penned in, this should create a few openings.”
Hiroyuki Takahashi – Camelot

“It looks like we can make new things that have been impossible until now. It’s exciting hardware for both makers and users.”
Shugo Takahashi – Camelot

“It looks like this may resolve all the hardship we have had until now in one swift blow. The roots of gaming are returning and it looks like they will put up a good fight.”
Nakamura – Chunsoft

“I think we can make an interesting game with one screen for the large-scale battle with the other screen focusing on a local battle, in historical strategy games, and so on.”
Shibuzawa – Koei

“When I first heard it would have 2 screens, I thought it was a Game & Watch remake, but on further inspection I found it is different. I’m excited by it, and I also have an overwhelming feeling. As a creator, I’m being asked for ideas and I think the hardware will be very good at creating intense feelings.”
Yoshizumi – Namco

“We’ve been waiting for this! We’ll be sure to try out something new with this. We would definitely like to release something for the launch.”
Yuji Naka – Sonic Team

“It has become a constant point of discussion when we creators meet for drinks. Easy to use hardware is great”
Masahiro Sakurai

“Having two separately functioning screens suits the time perfectly – with users becoming increasingly multi-tasking. I expect this will also lead to the possibility of improving people’s brains. I’ll be keeping my eye on it!”
Tetsuya Mizuguchi

For those who don’t know, Sakurai-san used to code for HAL Labs (and was involved in Kirby-based projects, as well as the N64’s Super Smash Bros) while Mizuguchi-san was one of the key developers of the Dreamcast’s Space Channel 5 (amongst other things). Translations from the Japanese are courtesy of Game Science.

Misha: Well, it looks like the pessimism has been unfounded. With so many top developers prepared to support the machine, it’s certainly coming out of the blocks at a colossal pace. Certainly, I can see Lucard and Bebito spotting some names they hold very dear to their hearts…
Marvin: Indeed. It’s almost enough to make me cheerful. now let’s hope the support holds up…

credit: Famitsu magazine and cubed-3.co.uk

The Wulf at the door

Hot of the presses comes the news that a remake of the Ultimate Play The Game (the company who would later become Rare) classic Sabre Wulf has been announced for the GBA. As ever, the hero Sabreman must battle against the forces of his nemesis, Sabre Wulf. The graphical makeover will be accompanied by assorted extra bits (including extra-hard modes, and mini-games). Release dates is pencilled in for March.

Misha: Damn, just when I’m running out of cash, they announce something like this..

credit: gamesradar.co.uk

Star Wars FPS? Unreal!

The Unreal Tournament engine has once more emerged, this time with a fresh Star Wars coat of paint. In a completely side-project to Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, it appears the new game, tentatively titles Star Wars: Republic Commando. It’s time to go black-ops on behalf of the Old Republic in order to take care of business. All the usual options will be there; lots of guns, multiplayer modes, and so on. Interestingly enough, though, as far as anyone can tell, there will be NO Force-sensitive Player Characters. Check out the shots here, courtesy of GamesRadar.

Misha: Well, it’s the universal dictum of running a Star Wars RPG scenario: either All-Jedi or No Jedi. Otherwise it’s silly. I’d question the need for another Star Wars game, but hey, fi it’s good, I won’t begrudge them.

credit: gamesradar.co.uk

Euro-Release list

A few notable games, all currently scheduled for a February 20th release…

Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2)

Misha:I can hear friends of mine jumping up and down in anticipation already
Marvin: Bah. Overhyped junk. Somebody set Lucard onto them… He’ll steer them right…

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Xbox, Gamecube)

Now we get the chance to see what all the fuss is about…

Pitfall – The Lost Expedition (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)

Marvin: Oh dear, another rip-off. Though at least they seem to be trying for some sort of originality…

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube)

Marvin: Meh. This one’s take-it-or-leave-it for me. Sounds like fun, on the other hand, it could be poor.

kill.switch (PS2)

Misha: I’ve heard positive rumblings about this one, but not much more.

And another snippet: Square-Enix’s latest remake, Sword of Mana, has had its European release date confirmed as March 19th.

credit: gamesradar.co.uk & cubed-3.co.uk

Commentary

Okay, arguably, I’m cheating now, since in many people’s thoughts, IM logs dont’ count as ‘content’. But what the hell do they know? Anybody ever read “Grut vs Daniels” over in Wrestling? That’s the real thing. And the fact remains that this little conversation that Fred and I had the other night is far more insteresting than any commentary I could have come up with this week. Especially since it BEGS for feedback… hint, hint ;)

Because he did so much to help me with this, I’m officially giving Fred a Royal Pardon And SuperPimp, on the grounds that he selflessly helped me with this, potentially at the expense of his own column. So I’m encouraging all of you to read his past works; to get you started, I’ll present my Top 3.

#1) Mario On Drugs: Oh, so true…
#2) Legacy Of Kain: An ode of adoration to a favoured series. Truly poetic.
#3) SF2: The World History and Politics Major: I’m a sucker for deep analysis of games. And this is about as good as it gets.

Honourable mention:The Saga of the One Game. And its accompanying feedback

And now, on to the log! The setting was a random comment I made when I put the word “indeed” in “Funaki Mode” angle-brackets. A side comment on the state of mind that’gets’
wrestling references in a pop-culture context, led into this…

Fred: Madness, I says.
Misha: Madness, I can handle
Misha: Insanity is honest
Fred: Hmmm…
Fred: I’m curious-
Misha: Yes?
Fred: I view the two as partially synonmous. However, there is a context for both; a context that would destroy my percieved view of their meanings.
Fred: Madness imples some kind of helplessness; confusion and the like. Almost coupled with anger.
Fred: Insanity, a least in my view, implies some sense of a complete removal from coherent and organized thought. Also, it could lead to delusion as well.
Fred: Which of the two is honest, though, I don’t know.
Fred: Or more honest than the other.
Misha: I don’t really link madness to helplessness
Misha: Both, to me, are closer to your definition of Insanity
Misha: Though there are shades of madness….
Fred: OK…
Misha: Insanity is perhaps more extreme…
Misha: Madness is a disfunction with the way the world operates, whereas insanity is, as you suggest, far more removed
Fred: The more I think about it, the more they do line up parallel with each other. If not completely congruent, then at least very close to each other on the same place.
Fred: Plane, rather.
Misha: The implication with both is that the person may not tell the truth, but they will usually tell the truth as they see it, thus being more honest than those that know the truth, but tell the lie
Fred: Yeah- that works. And is indeed close to my definition of insanity. I can’t pass final judgement on either yet, but for the moment, insanity is the more honest path. :-)
Misha: Agreed
Misha: Madness is perhaps not severe enough to provoke that sort of level of response
Fred: There exists no ration in madness, the way I see it. So then another question to consider is: is ration a necessary component for the presence of honesty?
Fred: And if it’s not present, what, in essence, is honesty?
Misha: Ah, the question of the ages….
Misha: I suppose that honesty would have to do with the telling of the truth… Even if the truth the person holds to is not actually true
Misha: Hence honesty can be divorced from truth istelf
Misha: *itself
Misha: I don’t know that rationality is a component of honesty… One could, potentially, be honest without knowning it.
Fred: Unwitting to the proverbial ‘crime,’ I guess.
Misha: It would not a be a conscious honesty, but nonetheless, it would fit the currently-accepted definition
Misha: Yes. The unwittingness/ignorance of the speaker may detract from the truth of their words, but not from their honesty
Fred: Then the emotional spectrum operates on a half-filled tank.
Fred: Indeed.
Misha: In what way?
Misha: I mean, emotions are a tricky business to deal with at the best of times….
Misha: They might well be considered a form of madness or insanity by some….
Fred: I don’t know, really. I just tend to try to sort things out in a rational manner that really shouldn’t be touched by rationale in the frist place.
Fred: Ration, logic, all the same.
Fred: And to try to sort emotion with either just leads to more unanswered questions.
Misha: Very true.
* Misha immediately thinks of the Vulcans
Fred: I guess then I’d make a bad vulcan.
Fred: :-)
Misha: That’s probably for the best :)
Misha: Emotions are, by their nature, chaotic, after all… They sit badly in the ordered, logical world. In a sense, they’re a form of mild madness or insantiy, since we’ve defined madness as being “outside” of some percieved ‘normalcy’
Fred: So normalcy is the house of logic then…
Fred: Time for a beer, I think :-\
Misha: In our world of concrete and computers, I’d suppose so.
Misha: And yes, beer needed… shame all the pubs are shut already….
Fred: Indeed.

After that, the chat meandered somewhat. So come on, folks, let’s hear your responses!

The Obligatory Plugs

This week, I’m going to shamelessly steal a style from Cory (hey, imitation *IS* the most sincere form of flattery, after all…), and award some Official Titles.

The King: Of course, it’s Fred. So go read his stuff, dammit!

The Prince: Alex Lucard. He’s going epic here, with his top 30. So go see what he thinks… Best to start with the primer here, and then rock ever onwards.

The Jester: Alex Williams, who I feel is due some respect after the totally uncalled for comments that Marvin made about his picture…

The Royal Court:

Lee
hosts us some news on Front Mission 4, talks about a new Japanese anime release, and graces us with commentary.

Bryan is, as ever, contemplating the future of Nintendo, and commemorating his one-year News Anniversary.
Cory is talking about diets, and all the weekend’s news. And he makes an MST3K reference about my new style.
LiquidCross finds his games too boring. And guess what? He’s ANGRY about it…

And with that, I’m off like the cap of a bottle of beer during happy hour at the Student’s Union.
* And I can’t be bothered to hang around here on my own, so I’m going with him
That’s probably for the best, Marvin… Too many magnets around here, you might do yourself an injury…