Gamer’s Hangover News Report – 07.12.04

Not a lot this week. I’m mailing in the news and taking the time to showcase some e-mail. Give me a break, I’m turning 30 tomorrow.

News

PS3 To Be Unveiled At E3 2005.
credit Gamedaily.com
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Sony’s Ken Kutaragi announced that the company plans to reveal the next-generation successor to the PlayStation 2 at E3 2005. The conference, held annually in Los Angeles, is scheduled to begin on May 18, 2005. Kutaragi went on to state that the console will be released in a timetable comparable to that of the PlayStation 2, announced in April of 1999 and launching the following March.

“There has been some talk that development for a next generation game console has not been going well, but we will have a playable version ready by next spring,” Kutaragi explained.

The next-generation PlayStation, or PlayStation 3, will be the first gaming console to utilize the CELL chipset currently in development between Sony, IBM and Toshiba. First announced in 2001, CELL is said deliver “consumer devices that are more powerful than IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer, operate at low power and access the broadband Internet at ultra high speeds.” It is believed the system will use Blu-Ray media and provide full backwards compatibility with past PlayStation software and accessories.

Sony’s main competitors, Microsoft and Nintendo, are also in the process of developing future gaming platforms. Microsoft’s effort, thought to be called Xenon, is rumored to hit store shelves in the latter half of 2005. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Revolution console has no firm release date, but is expected to be formally unveiled around the same time Sony shows the PlayStation 3.

So maybe I should put that money I’ve been saving for my Vegas trip into the PS3 fund. Maybe a money market account. If I catch a couple of good surges in the market, I might be able to afford it at release.

“Xenon?” Anything to get some nobility in the market, I guess.

Tekken 5 Imminent. Your Bebito Wants Asylum.
credit Gamedaily.com
First up is the confirmed shipping schedule for the Tekken 5 arcade release. According to Namco officials in the company’s homeland, arcade cabinets will have two approximate ship dates. The first set of cabinets, which will include two Japanese-style, side-by-side cabinets (four total player stations), two arcade boards, 200 IC cards (for character customization), LAN cable, and a 42″ Plasma screen display, will ship in late November for roughly $28,500 USD. This is the only setup that will allow for access to the Tekken-Net service with online rankings and other such goodies. The Plasma display will show player rankings, VS. matches and other various Tekken-Net information.

The second set, which will include only one arcade board and a single Japanese-style cabinet, will ship in December for roughly $5,000 USD. This set is fairly close to what most US arcades will be receiving. The main difference will be the number of cabinets. Instead of the Japanese-style, side-by-side cabinets, most US arcades will receive the standard single cabinet. While no official US ship date has been stated, expect the game to arrive in US arcades sometime in December.

In addition to the ship date information, according to an interview with the Tekken 5 development team featured in EDGE Magazine, there is a chance that the highly anticipated fighting game could show up on more than just the PlayStation 2. While the interview did not specifically say that the game would see a multiplatform release, the team was quoted as saying, “A multiplatform release has not yet been discussed.” This contradicts early reports that Namco confirmed a PS2 exclusive release in the first quarter of 2005. Xbox and GameCube owners, keep your fingers crossed.

More information was also uncovered concerning the System 258 arcade hardware Tekken 5 will be running on. According to the EDGE interview, the trailer shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo was actually running on standard System 246 hardware. However, the final version of the game will indeed run on System 258 hardware. The difference between the two arcade boards is similar to the difference between Namco’s System 11 and System 12 boards. The System 258 features a faster processor and more RAM over the older System 246 board.

In our last bit of news, reports out of the recent arcade beta test in Japan indicate that the PlayStation 2 version of Tekken 5 will not be released until late Summer at the earliest. It is currently unknown which territory the new date is referring to, but since the information came out of a Japanese play test, it can only be assumed that this new date refers to the Japanese release. Earlier reports from Namco indicated that the Japanese PS2 release would be sometime around March 2005, however with the arcade release pushed back to December, a delay for the home version would make sense.

Me versus Bebito. I get one button, he gets all of them.

(Just a reminder to Bebs, I wouldn’t beat this into the ground like I do if Virtua Fighter would just include a capoerista among it’s three-kajillion infinitesimally different versions of Tae Kwon Do practitioners.

O~3 Milks The Market With Brand-New Games We’ve Seen Before!
credit Gamedaily.com
O~3 Entertainment, an interactive entertainment publishing and distribution company, today announced a deal with Monte Cristo Games to publish two PC games: D-Day, a real-time tactical game, and Medieval Lords: Build, Defend, Expand, a city building game, in North and South America.

“Monte Cristo has made a name for itself in pushing the envelope for strategy and management games,” said Bill Gardner, CEO and president of O~3 Entertainment. “We’re very excited to be bringing two such highly anticipated games to the Americas and to be adding new genres to our lineup.”

“We’re looking forward to commencing our relationship with O~3 Entertainment, a company focused on introducing gamers to truly original, fun and quality entertainment experiences,” said Jean-Christophe Marquis, chairman of Monte Cristo Games. “These two games combine unique challenges, rich and immersive gameplay, and game technologies that offer a feast for the senses.”

D-Day, a 3D real-time tactical game, drops players into the role of World War II Allied forces in the final drive to liberate Europe. Throughout three campaigns and 12 missions in single player mode, D-Day challenge players to prepare troops for battle, create combat strategies, and execute one of the largest military invasions in wartime history. Multiplayer mode uses GameSpy’s online Matchmaking network, allowing up to 8 players to play simultaneously on 12 different maps using 3 different modes.

Medieval Lords: Build, Defend, Expand is a city building game that takes aspiring city governors to the middle ages, combining rich city-building challenges with evolving military forces to defend against relentless attacks from neighboring enemies. As a first for the genre, Medieval Lords features a full 3D Engine and allows players to build without the constraints of the traditional orthogonal grid.

*Yawn*

Hot Shots Golf — Part Deux
credit Spong.com
Hot Shots Golf Fore! the cheerful, comic golf game due out on the PS2 later this summer will be featuring a variety of cameos from popular Sony videogame characters. Today some of these names have been revealed. Jak, Daxter, Ratchet and Clank will all be ambling from the clubhouse to embark on a spot of gentlemanly ball-whacking. Due to the culture of institutionalised sidekick-ism, Daxter and Clank will be saddled with the caddy duties.

Previous Hot Shots Golf games have been fairly well-received, thanks to the light-hearted approach to the sport. Fore! is likely to follow suit, with the added bonus of some online multiplayer competition via the broadband adapter. US gamers will be able to cast judgement from August 17 onwards.

Just so you know, the first time I typed the title, I spelled it “Hot Shats Golf.” Having never played the game, I can’t tell you if that’s an accurate editoral slip or not.

Lucards OTHER Dirty Little Secret
credit Spong.com
As European fans of Pikmin eagerly await the return of Captain Olimar and the little colourful thingamajigs this August, Japanese Cube owners are being treated to a double-measure of doodad and Poko-collecting goodness. Nintendo has revealed its Pikmin double pack containing, as you would expect, Pikmin and Pikmin 2. And, like the proverbial cake icing, the pack is also bundled with a collection of five actual Pikmin.

Although many international gamers share the ambition of one day farming their very own herds of Pikmin, once again, this is a Japan only thing. As usual, if you need to enhance your collection of gamer-alia with appealing plastic tat, best get in touch with your favourite importer. The Pikmin double pack is set to retail for around £45. Go, go, go!

What is it with Goth-Boy needing all of these games where you take care, nurture even, these cute little creatures?

Here’s what needs to happen: A crossover Pokemon/Castlevania game. And if Square Enix can somehow get involved, so much the better.

Oy, Is My Face Red — Reader Corrections

Who would know that a little throw-away comment would cause so much chatter.

Before we get to that, there were actually two e-mails this week that were sent for purposes other than to correct me, so let’s hit those first. We’ll start with Canadian transplant (and arguably better for it), Christian; of our Game Crazy release info here at 411Games:

Hey Cory, as a Canadian I can tell you the rumors of the Atlantic Provinces asking to come to the US is just a rumor. I don’t think I ever heard it repeated by any of the premiers at the time of the referendum, but people talked about it on the street. I think it just might be a uniquely Canadian Urban Myth. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to when I told them my opinion that Canada would be a part of the United States within 50 years told me that they’d get a gun and beat the Yanks back to the border.

On a video game note, did you know that a craptastic game like Tomb Raider: AOD is now a Greatest Hits title? I just saw it in the Circuit City flyer. Holy cow, people will buy anything…

I heard it as a rumor myself, when I was doing my tour of duty in Montreal, appropriately enough. Truthfully, I like Canada, and I don’t think it should change. It’s rare to have a neighbor — ANY sort of neighbor — that you don’t have to worry about. Canada is the kind of country that the U.S. could leave the keys with and ask to pick up the mail if we all went to Australia for vacation one summer.

There are some Canadians I don’t like, but there are far more Americans that I don’t like, so that doesn’t prove anything other than there’s a lot of people I don’t like.

As for TRAOD (I like that acronym) being a Greatest Hits title, this is no surprise. Three words: Backyard. Wrestling. Two.

And here is someone who can take an f’ing joke:

F’ing discretion advised

The funny thing about Griffey though, is that he’s only in his early 30’s. Barry didn’t start hitting a F-load of homers until the 73 season. So there’s still a chance that Griffey could tear the record books a new one. Everyone was getting real sick of Griffey last season with the injuries, but now that he’s been relatively injury-free, everyone is back to loving him, and surprisingly, there have probably been more sellouts this season than last (and this is considering that Great American Ballpark opened last year).

I was quite pissed about the McGrady trade, but I’m going to try to be cautiously optimistic about it next year. Hell, maybe I’ll pony up for the League Pass so that I can watch more games than Yao vs. Shaq, part 12 (or whatever number they’re up to now). Unfortunately, you can’t run an offense through Yao the same way an offense could be run through Shaq. He’s just a much different athlete than Shaq, he can shoot what seems like infinitely better than Shaq. Yao doesn’t quite have the same physical presence, but hell, Yao is going to be in his 3rd year, he’s still got plenty of time.

I read about how I F’ed up with the F’ing word of implifi-f’ing-cations. I considered a couple excuses:1. I’m going to be a senior in high school, I could claim ignorance (but hell, with a 4.0, I shouldn’t have an excuse. Yes, I have quite the ego).

2. I could add it to my Jeffinese language (joining such words as giganterous, ginormous, and gription)

Eh, I think I’d rather let it become a common stupid sports word like upside.

Now, I didn’t really start watching ESPN until it was added to my cable service about 8 years ago, but I don’t find it as generally annoying as you apparently do. Upon first receiving the gift of ESPN from the cable gods, I remember watching SportsCenter from 6 am to noon every day one summer (this was back before I was the typical teenager, so I could still magically wake up early, even during the summer). For the most part, I enjoy all the wacky programming. I like watching strong man, and um, well, actually, strong man competition was kinda cool, but everything else generally sucked.

It did get on me a bit, that Sharapova’s (mmmmmmm, Sharapova) upset over Serena, Davenport, and the rest didn’t get more coverage from the “worldwide” leader in sports. Now, I’m more of a tennis guy than most (and I’m the only person in the school that plays football AND tennis), and I enjoyed the coverage of Wimbledon on ESPN and NBC, but hell, this could be the berth of a new superstar in women’s tennis, let’s give some more f’ing respect. Then again, maybe I’m swayed by how incredibly hot she is.

I actually started using the F’ing a whole lot due to its overuse by the greatest Radio show out there now, the Dan Patrick Radio Show. I was reminded of Aaron F’ing Boone, and I figured I could spew about the Reds in general with it, but I ended up overusing it way to f’ing much. I’m sure you could f’ing understand.

This has been Jeffrey F’ing Kenneth F’ing Patterson.

I am Jeff Patterson, and I approve this F’ing message.

F’ing A.

Bonds was always healthy, though. For Griff to come back and really do some damage he’s going to have to stay off the shelf for long periods of time. Assuming he cracks another 20-30 this year, that still puts him almost three seasons of 70 HR each behind Bonds, and Lord knows Barry will be going in for those cybernetic implants any day now. I really hope he can make a run of it; he really boosted his stock with me by buying the dude who caught the 500th HR ball a trip to the All-Star game; but guys with chronic injuries “¦ there’s a reason they call them “chronic.”

McGrady has been saying that he wants the ball to run through Yao, and if he’s a real student of the game he’s not just blowing smoke. As for Yao himself; no, he’s not as physical as Shaq, but I know bulldozers that aren’t as physical as Shaq. Also, you don’t need to match Shaq strength-wise to beat him. Look at the Spurs two years ago. Duncan and Robinson are both finesse players, but they had the moves (even with Robinson’s knees throwing parts every trip down the court) to beat the Lakers down low.

Let the Sharapova backlash start here. Yes, she’s hot. Yes, she’s good. Is she hotter than Anna? No. Is she better than Serena? Right now she is, but let’s wait until the U.S. Open is over before we start making that claim.

And you can NEVER use “f’ing” too f’ing much.

Next up, my favorite name: Parhaum Toofanian shows me the error of my ways:

You’ve never heard of Lionhead? Peter Molyneux’s studio? I.e. Black And White, Fable, The Movies, etc?

I used to use Splenda instead of Equal for sugaration, because it was more natural and safer. The only problem I encountered was that Splenda’s magic is that it doesn’t get absorbed in the body like regular sugar, and ends up turning into gas and such. My dad gave a much better medical explanation, but that was a long time ago. So basically I drink Splenda and I get intestinal cramping.

– Parhaum

Now, I’d like to point out something that I don’t think everyone out there understands: I’m a sports gamer above all else. I play some strategy, but I don’t play very much RPG at all. Frankly, I don’t have the time to properly devote to RPGs anymore, so most of my focus is outside of that genre.

Now, Black and White, I have; so I really did bone that last week and I apologize. It’s a fantastic game and one of the most innovative of the last decade. As for the others, sorry, I haven’t heard of them. That doesn’t mean they’re not great, it just means I HAVEN’T HEARD OF THEM.

But Parhaum, the gentle soul that he is (and I’m not just kissing his ass because he’s a regular) has the aplomb to gently correct me on this issue and then move on, just like my next letter. I will be the first to own up when I make a mistake and I did. Thank you, Parhaum, for the correction.

As for Splenda, I haven’t had any of those problems. I have similar problems to what you describe with Olestra, the fake fat, but I haven’t had any with Splenda so far, and I’m drinking a can of Diet Rite as I write this.

We should all probably just drink more water anyway.

Next up, a Kliq member’s not afraid to tell a brotha when he’s wrong:

Hey Cory, how’s it hangin? (as a side note, I hate that greeting, but couldn’t think of a better one, so I apologize).

Anyway, news report was awesome as always. But I can’t believe you don’t know Lionhead! Lionhead is the company started by Peter Molyneux. Surely you’ve heard of Populous? Lionhead is also the group behind the odd genre-bending Black and White, one of the first games I can remember where you can be good or bad and your actions effect how the game progresses. They’re also making The Movies, which looks to be like a sim game where you are building up a movie studio. Oh, and how could I forget their game I’m most excited about, Fable? It’s one of the most anticipated console RPGs of all time, and looks to be a winner.

That’s who Lionhead is. I personally hope that no one buys them, because the only one that comes close to deserving them is Microsoft, but everytime Microsoft buys a company (with the exception of Bungie), that company goesto shit. But the same is true for most companies. EA buys Origin, Origin dies. VU buys Sierra, Sierra dies. Microsoft buys Rare, Rare dies. Well, hasn’t happened yet, but it will. And to think with all the layoffs in the game industry, I was expecting it all to go back to the little guy. But even the little guy (Interplay, Acclaim) aren’t safe. It goes to show youthat people do notice if you make shitty games, I guess.

Ah, that’s enough rambling from me. Talk to you laters.

Lee

Again, I blew the bunny. I LOVED Populous back in the day. I’ll assume that they’re also the people who came up with Powermonger, another awesome game from my Commodore Amiga days. But Fleedawg wasn’t mean about it. He knows Kliq brothas make mistakes, and just need to be nudged back on the path. I hope you’re right about Lionhead. That sort of innovation needs to keep going as long as it can. Thanks, bro.

But then, there are people who are quick to anger and to judge, and this week they just happen to be Canadian “¦ and the same person. Witness “Flame Cory — Vol. 1″:

Holy shit, this is twice in the same week I’ve had to do this at someone at 411, but you sir, are A MORON.

You’ve never heard of Peter Molyneaux, one of the greatest video game designers of all time, and have never heard of Black and White (a Lionhead game), AND you were living under a rock during E3 when The Movies (also a Lionhead game) was announced at E3 as being one of the best new innovative games out there? It’s got so much press that I’ve seen it on regular news broadcasts!

Chad Smith

Now, was that necessary? Are names necessary? Admittedly Black and White was a HUGE release for them and I should’ve at least done some cursory fact checking before I wrote what I wrote, but I don’t think that classifies me as a “moron.”

But we’re not done with Chad yet:

Woops,. didn’t mean to hit send yet..

There’s also a teencie weencie little game for the X-Box you might have heard of, Fable.

If you haven’t heard of it, you’re worse than a Moron, you’re a TOTAL AND COMPLETE MORON OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

Chad Smith

See, that just hurts. Fable is outside of my genre. I’ve explained this. The last RPG I played was KOTOR, and I had to nickel-and-dime my way through that so I wouldn’t anger the family with my absence. “Epic proportions” “¦ excuse me “¦ “EPIC PROPORTIONS”?

Of course, at least it was spelled correctly and was devoid of l33t. I can’t gripe too much.

As it happens, a couple days after I received this I got my Xbox e-newsletter that featured Fable. Looks like it’ll be a cool game. I’m guessing Lucard will jump all over it.

For the two other e-mails (actually three), technical difficulties and/or time restraints prevented me from giving them the attention they deserve. Be assured that they WILL be featured next week. Heh.

Pimp-Licious

I promised themes this week, so here we go. My impressions on everybody’s mid-summer drink of choice —or— what-I-would-stock-up-on-if-everybody-was-coming-to-my-birthday-party:

Misha – Guinness, and lots of it. (Unfair cultural stereotype? I don’t think so. I LOVE the stuff, and would be happy to be associated with it, British or not.)

Bryan – Business genius + sports-game reviewer + Hardcore freak = Car Bombs (the version I learned: Drop a shot of Bushmills into a pint of Guinness). You gotta set your goals.

A-Will – I’ll leave the cultural stereotype of sweet wine alone and go with my gut feeling of Corona and Lime.

Lucard – Anything with Grenadine. Maybe a Tequila Sunrise, if only because gold Tequila and the red grenadine look vaguely like a pureed Pikachu.

“Pureed Pikachu.” THERE’S your new band name.

Murphy – From experience I know that the only requirements for Murphy’s drinks are that they’re wet and flammable.

Szulczewski – Poor guy probably isn’t allowed to touch the hard stuff. As consolation, he gets first dibs on the IBC Root Beer (only the best for my guests).

And for the record, I am NOT weaseling out of helping him unpack. He’s the one who couldn’t put off spending a romantic weekend alone with a 7 CD-ROM training course. Kitchen passes, especially ones big enough for out-of-town trips, aren’t easy to come by.

Nute – I don’t know why, but “mint julep” keeps jumping into my head.

Gagnon – Molson. Yes, it’s an unfair cultural stereotype. No, I don’t care.

Gamble – BYOB.

Quasi-Random Thoughts

So I’ve been going into my own little sort of not-quite-mid-life-crisis over the last year (or, as I’ve referred to it, my “First-Hockey-Intermission-Crisis”). It’s been quite entertaining in some respect. I’ve questioned the existence of God. I’ve questioned the decisions I’ve made from my life. I’ve questioned my choice of profession, my choice of hobbies, my choice of music, my choice of food, my choice of pretty much everything. After a year-ish of soul searching, this is what I’ve come up with:

– The safe bet is that there IS a God. If there isn’t, don’t bother going to Vegas because you blew your probabilistic wad just coming into existence
– I married the right person.
– My son is the coolest person on Earth.
– I actually love my job.
– Most fundamentalist Christians like to quote Paul and not J.C.
– Most opponents to Christianity like to quote Paul and not J.C.
– I love writing, almost as much as I love playing games (the games being the reason that I had to mail in the news and this is late. One big reason that I play sports games is that when a strategy game sucks me in, like Civ-III did last weekend, my wife has to either get naked or start talking about lawyers, both if she’s feeling really frisky, to get me to quit a game.)
– 30 isn’t a bad age. Most Hollywood types don’t hit it really big until their 30’s, and if you can maintain your health and a good attitude through your 30’s, you’re set for the rest of your life. Roni says that if you can keep those habits in place through 45, you’ve won. You’re Patrick Stewart or Harrison Ford at that point (and happy birthday to both of those guys tomorrow too). So far, I’ve managed to avoid abusing my body with either weight, horribly bad nutrition, or overwork like a lot of my family has done, so I think I’m in good shape to capitalize on my upcoming peak years. So I’ll never play guard for the Celtics. I’m getting season tickets to the Shockers.
– I still have two periods to go, and we’re not even talking about the possible sudden death overtime, so let’s quit bitching and get back on the ice.

Or, as someone wiser than me once put it: I’m 30. Big friggin’ deal.

As for tomorrow, I’m taking the day off of work and will be breaking in my new driver at Auburn Hills, the newest, nicest, and most expensive (by $4 a round) of the Wichita public golf courses. It was the most stereotypical 30-something activity I could think of. Maybe I’ll set up a stock portfolio and have my parents put in a nursing home while I’m at it (note that both my parents could probably still break me in half, so I AM kidding there).

Next week, a regular target “¦ er “¦ guest makes an appearance.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory