The Wednesday News Report

The Casual Gamers Corner
The Wednesday News Report 04.28.04

Double shot of me this week if you include Sunday. Sick of me yet? Who cares! Now shut up, sit down and let’s get this thing rolling.

Onto the news!


Olsen Twins Sue Acclaim
“CJ” has obtained a lawsuit filed by Mary-Kate and Ashley against video game giant Acclaim Entertainment for nearly half a million dollars. Acclaim was supposed to develop and market the games for the Olsens, but according to the suit, Acclaim has not only taken the brand and “run it into the ground,” but hasn’t paid out all the royalties.
According to Chuck Kenworthy, a Los Angeles entertainment litigator, this suit is about “respect.” The Olsens are trying to send a message to everyone they do business with: we may be kids, but you can’t push us around.
“It’s not surprising that the Olsen twins are taking things to court, enforcing their rights — they need to do that,” Kenworthy told us. “The word gets out on the street that a performer is not enforcing his or her rights and you’re going to get taken advantage of sooner or later.”
Mary-Kate and Ashley can hold their own. In June they’ll turn 18, and will attend New York University this fall. And of course, they have the opening of “New York Minute” to look forward to on May 7th.
You get the sense that what is most galling to the twins about their faltering video game business isn’t the money, but the losing. As the suit claims, “It is the single dark spot on the otherwise unblemished story of the Mary-Kate and Ashley brand.” And it is a brand that has turned two teenagers into tycoons.
Acclaim Enterprises had “no comment.” And as for the Olsens, they will recover; they are estimated to become billionaires by their 21st birthday.

CJ stands for celebrity justice where I pulled this from. Can you believe it? I say good for them, they don’t need the money but they’re right, Acclaim has pumped out a bunch of crappy titles with the license to sell to gullible little girls. Not that I’ve played any of the games ;)

Who’ll be next to sue for running brand names for video games into the ground? I’ve got money on Barbie.

(credit goes to celebrity justice)


Another Spyro Game

According to themagicbox and gamespot another sequel in the Spyro series of games is coming out in fall of this year. Not much is available but it is known that you’ll be able to play the game as 5 different characters. Hopefully this game will be much MUCH better than the last Spyro game I played.

(credit goes to both gamespot and themagicbox)


Strawberry Shortcake coming to a GBA near you

Announcing its fourth licensing agreement within the last month in support of its Game Boy ® Advance Video ™ technology, Majesco Holdings Inc, (OTC: MJSH), a leading publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products, today confirmed its agreement with DIC Entertainment, exclusive worldwide licensing agency for Strawberry Shortcake, to publish four episodes of the top-selling American Greetings brand as part of its new Game Boy Advance Video product line.
Under terms of the agreement, Majesco secures the U.S. and Canadian rights to apply its proprietary technology to the extremely successful Strawberry Shortcake brand created by American Greetings. The first product, Strawberry Shortcake Volume 1, will contain two 22-minute, edited episodes – “Meet Strawberry Shortcake” and “Spring for Strawberry Shortcake” – scheduled to ship in the spring.

Um, yay? Secured the damn rights for the Captain-N cartoon or Transformers and then I’ll party! From the MAJESCO homepage website but I lost the link and am too lazy to go find it again.


EA to release Lord of the Rings RPG game for all systems

Return to Middle-earth┞¢ to forge a new adventure”¦ Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that The Lord of the Rings┞¢, The Third Age┞¢ roleplaying game is under development for a planned fall 2004 release. The epic quest, in which players will take on the roles of new characters choosing their own path through Middle-earth while interacting with the heroes and villains of the trilogy, will be available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® videogame system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube┞¢, and Game Boy® Advance under the EA GAMES┞¢ brand.

Based on New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson’s acclaimed film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, The Third Age videogame allows players to adventure through Middle-earth, building a party of heroes as they journey. Players battle on the side of the Fellowship, but can unlock additional encounters where they fight on the side of Sauron as they progress. In the game, players will interact with the characters of the Fellowship in a unique structure, taking on individual quests while intersecting the major events of the film trilogy that drive the story forward. Parties will traverse through both familiar and seldom-glimpsed locations, using an innovative turn-based battle system as they fight, encountering the demonic Balrog in the Mines of Moria, defending the fallen city of Osgiliath, or trying to destroy Helm’s Deep.

A turn-based LOTR RPG? Could be cool, but I’m always cautious about video games based of movies. Time will tell hopefully they’ll release more info about the game soon.
(credit goes to EA Games.com


Christian’s Crazy Game Releases

Disclaimer- These are the ship dates, whenever the game might actually be in the store depends on how nice you are to the Gamecrazy staff and how many presents you buy them. Be forewarned!

Apr 25-May 1

Apr 27
Onimusha 3
Dragon Tales (GBA)

May 1
Army Men: Sarge’s War (P2)
Fairly Odd Parents Vol 2 (Movie) (GBA)
Grand Theft Auto (GBA)
Indycar Series 2005 (P2)
***
You want the game. You need the guide! All strategy guides are 20% off with the purchase of the corresponding game. Find all the scarabs in Ninja Gaiden. Get the edge over evil in Resident Evil: Outbreak.
Or save them all in Pokemon: Colossuem. And at 20% off! Only at Game Crazy. Find the store nearest you at gamecrazy.com!

***
Christian-Biggest of the week is Onimusha 3. Can’t wait to try the Soul
Controller with that game…this week is rather slow otherwise, with GBA games taking centre stage. The GTA should sell well, and this week starts the new line of movies on the GBA. Indycar Series 2005 might be a good one as well, even though there has been little word on it.
**
Matt-I’ll believe in GTA for the GBA when I see it. I was looking forward to the game on the GBA a couple months back and it disappeared, so until I’m holding that sucker in my hands it’s vaporware to me. Another Army Men Game? Why god why? Looking forward to Onimusha 3 though, I’ve seen a cut scene from that game on G4 that rocked my socks off.


Cheap Cheap Sweep
What’s better than free? Over the next couple weeks I’ll be giving out a slightly used version of some games that I have but don’t have the shelf space for anymore. I’m not a collector or anything and want to give some of you the chance to own and play some of these games. I’m still trying to get contest ideas though so if you’ve got one send it in.

You can get Rogue-Ops with a free T-Shirt at EBgames.com for $7(Xbox) or $10(PS2).

Viewtiful Joe, Star Wars: Rebel Strike, and Pokemon Channel all $20 at Walmart.com.

Also saw Breakdown for the Xbox for $20 at Target over the weekend, but I’m not sure if that was a limited time deal or what. Crazy deal though.

And finally Haven: Call of the King is $5 in store at the Best Buy’s in my area.

Be sure to check out cheapassgamer.com for deals like these and for much more.


The Hype Machine
It’s working again this week so let’s see what game it decides to chose this week”¦*bleep bleep brrr bleep blop and other noises*”¦what? This game? Okay here we go:

Pure Pinball
System: Xbox
Publisher: XS Games
Genre: Pinball (duh)
Release Date: 05/01/2004 (suuuuure it is)

I love Pinball. Another reason I’m pissed off about the decline with arcades nowdays is the fact that it’s hard to find a place with more than one pinball machine. There’s a giant 2 story arcade not to far from me called GameWorks, and I might be mistaken but I searched through there and found not one pinball machine. I could almost overlook the hugely inflated prices and lack of some types of arcade games if they had a least one pinball machine.

Some video games attempt to simulate the same experience but while fun don’t really get close to doing so, with the exception of a few like Pinball of the Dead or Pokemon Pinball both which do things that would be impossible to do with a pinball machine yet still capture the fun and addiction that I have with pinball. While there isn’t anything like actually playing one of the machines, some of the games can be a close enough experience especially since buying an actual pinball machine is FAR more expensive than just purchasing one of these games.

I could find much of anything for the Xbox version of this games so here’s some of the information you can find at the homepage for the game:
-Revolutionary graphics and animation
-12 different camera set ups using real time 3D graphics.
-Multiball enabled physics engine that is continuously calculating the ball movement more than 1500 times per second.
-Three tables: Racing, War, and Trains. Each has a distinctive look, multiple flippers, and special game modes.

I’m slightly disappointed by the fact that there are only three tables in the game, but at $20 (at least that’s what I’ve heard) that’s the right price for my purchase. If it comes out this week, I’ve been playing follow the release date with this game for the last two months.


The Corner

What’s old is new again.

I’ve mentioned before that for various reasons I’ve missed out on a lot of games over the last decade and never own many games or systems for any great length of time. Over the last couple of years I’ve developed the (bad/good?) habit of just buying an old system and whenever I’m not interested in any games being released in the next couple of weeks I go out and indulge myself in some of the games I wanted but never had the chance to play or games that I loved but no longer own (like Earthbound).

Some of the games I get surprise me for being more fun than many of the games I play now, while other times I’m surprised that anyone enjoyed the game in the first place.

Recently, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life was released for the Gamecube. Now for the most part I hate sim games, especially the most well known one The Sims. They just bore me to tears. Still for some reason I was curious about this title even though it is simulation game about farming, I mean how can that be fun? I was interested but cautious, and was planning to rent it eventually. Then I was in a game store a couple weeks ago and I saw they had a copy of the N64 version of the game (Harvest Moon 64) and said what the hell and picked the game up. It wasn’t expensive so if I didn’t like it no big risk.

The purchase was worth it, the game absolutely rocks. I’ve been trapped in a cycle of being interested in games that end up being bigger stinkers than what I leave in the toilet on taco night, and this four year old game that I barely knew existed has me still hooked. If I’ve been harsh on some games lately it’s because this four year old farming sim is better than any game I’ve recently reviewed.

Actually it’s far more than just a farming sim, there’s horse and dog racing, fishing, wooing the village women, and the village itself has its own little culture with holidays and festivals. While I like games that I can beat up some hookers or are action packed and intense I love having a game that I can play at my own pace with no other objectives than those I set out for myself. Every now and then if I’m stressed out I don’t want to play a game that keeps me on the edge of my seat, I want a game that I can just chill out to. Harvest Moon is the perfect game for that. I hope to pick up the Gamecube version of the game sooner or later when I’m finished with the N64 version.

The lesson? Go out and hug an older system.

If you’re the type of person that goes out and finds games you might’ve missed out on or have some recommendations on stuff I might be missing out on, feel free to shoot me an email. One thing I’d like to do with this section is just to have a corner for people who like games to just sit around and talk about good/bad game experiences or whatever. So just hit the feedback button if you’d like to help me set up something special here.


Pimps Up, Links Down
News Reports:
Hitchhikers Guide to Video Games from the Misha and Marvin connection. He talks about the next Metroid game, E3, EA and Live, and a top ten list.

Gamer’s Hangover News Report from Cory. I also like Chess but I suck at it, in fact I taught a friend of mine to play Chess than they beat me in the first game we played. Just means I’m a good teacher”¦right? Goes over vaporware, Backyard Wrestling 2, and has a interview with GM Polar.


Reviews

NBA Ballers from Chris Pankonin. I played some of this game over the weekend and thought it was pretty fun, go see what he thinks.


Columns

The continuation of the ever awesome Top 30 RPG Games Countdown as Alex Lucard nears the ends of a feature that would kill a lesser man.


News

Alex Williams has a scoop on the lastest DDR news!
Misc Pimps

Eric S. is moving again! Don’t worry about any Bush affiliation here Eric, I don’t just lean left because I’m left-handed.

Flea is the man. He’s able to take a look at wrestling unobjectively like a business that so few others seem to be able to do. He takes a look at the ROH/TNA situation. I understand what’s going on, but I’m still going to whine like a bitch because I missed out on Chris Daniels and AJ Styles when I went to the ROH show last Friday. Still was a great show.


Till next week, zip it up and zip it out.