Gaming Zen 2-20-06

Oh man. Have I had a crappy week? Yeah, I think I have. Shoot shoot shoot. I’ve been fighting off being sick all week. I still am sadly. Oh well. This will probably be a short column. Let’s drop a few different things this week. No feedback so letters is out. There are no real big deals this week (besides Age of Empires 3 collector’s edition for $35 at Circuit City). Let’s switch it up this week though. We’ll start with GOTW, move to news, finish with the top ten.

Game of the Week

There are a few releases this week including a new Sonic game, a new Monkey Ball game, and another TOCA. The good news about Sonic Riders is that it’s almost guaranteed to be better then Shadow the Hedgehog. The bad news is that there hasn’t been a good Sonic game on a non-handheld system in what seems like years. Thankfully a racing game would focus on running much more then platforming. This could… could be a strong game.

I’m not that big of a fan of TOCA but a new Monkey Ball game on DS sounds intriguing. I wasn’t overwhelmed by Pac n Roll but Super Monkey Ball DS could be just what the handheld ordered. Still as far as I’m concerned, there is no bigger game coming out this week then… *drumroll*…. FIGHT NIGHT: ROUND 3!

This looks to be the first 360 game since launch that will deliver on a level above “virgins who like bouncing”. The graphics do look next generation. The game itself looks as realistic as any game we’ve ever seen come out of EA and perhaps anywhere else. Fight Night: Round 2 was a great game with solid fighting mechanics and there’s no reason to believe this shouldn’t be carried over. Simply put, this could be the first post launch game worth picking up a 360 over. Then again, it’s on every other major console so there shouldn’t be too many tears over not having a 360 for this game.

The News

We’ve got quite a bit of news this week. Apparently the Nintendo DS is getting Oprah… err Opera. That’s right. The DS will be getting a web browser along with a tv tuner. The web browser will be out in Japan in June for around $40 American (3800 yen, my conversion is probably a bit off). If it makes it to the US, which it should, my guess is that it will either come bundled with a game or be out for around $30.

In some positive PSP news, Capcom announced they will be porting Power Stone 1 and 2 to the PSP in a Power Stone Collection. Power Stone Collection will feature wireless multiplayer play off of just one cart and four brand new characters. The original Power Stone was one of my favorite games of all time and between this, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max, Capcom Puzzle World (containing Super Puzzle Fighter 2), and a host of other games, Capcom is single handedly carrying the PSP at the moment.

What else is there? Let’s see. Hm… UMDs seem to be entering into some tough times. According to Variety, UMD production is going to be scaled back… big time. DVDs cost only a few pennies to make now while UMDs are much more expensive. Paramount is one of the studios doing it, the other… is Sony. This sort of undercuts the PSP even further and opens the floodgates for some of the other studios out there to say “if Sony isn’t supporting their own hardware, why should we?” Expect to see quite a few less UMDs as time goes by.

Finally Atari is looking to sell its developer studios. These include Reflections (currently working on Driver 4), Melbourne House (currently working on the Test Drive franchise for current generation consoles), Paradigm (currently working on Stuntman 2), Shiny Studios (currently working on an unannounced project), and Eden Studios (currently working on Test Drive for next-generation consoles). Thanks IGN for saving me time in writing all of that out. Atari as publisher might still be viable just for its namesake, but it is quickly being associated with some bad titles. The Matrix license provided a lot more of a loss then it did a profit, the Dragonball license is just about tapped out, and the other games (Test Drive, Driver, etc) have had some pretty awful reviews. The best chance for Atari’s current licenses to remain viable as a publisher is if the Dungeons and Dragons MMORPG is a huge hit. It certainly has the chance considering the ingrained D&D fanbase, but if it flops the way the Matrix Online flopped, Atari is all but done.

Uwe Boll cried this weekend. I hope he never ever stops making movies because they are always hilariously bad. He did an interview with Eurogamer and it was fantastic. Here’s the link. Let’s follow it up with a few quotes from the interview: “I’ve met tons of people who think BloodRayne is way better than Underworld 2, but they’re not going on the Internet and writing that… I’m a little tired of only getting questions from journalists like, ‘Your movies were so badly received, blah blah blah.’ I know tons of movies that were way worse than Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead.”

“When I try to get videogames turned into movies, and get videogames accepted as [the equivalent of] best-selling books for the younger generation, I get only sh** from the videogames press – what an asshole I am, what a criminal I am for doing these movies, whatever, instead of being happy that there’s a movie getting made of a game. This is what’s confusing me.”

On Postal: “The movie will be so politically incorrect and harsh, it’s like a mirror to American society, and I don’t think the movie will be well received by everybody. For example, Osama Bin Laden will be one of the lead characters – I think that shows the mood of the movie.”

“If people really think I’m completely talentless, and this is to journalists, they should at least rent one of my earlier movies, like Heart of America, which is a really, really good movie.”

Brilliant stuff from a brilliant man. In all fairness, how much shit did Mr. Boll catch without those in the gaming press seeing his movies? Say what you will about him, but I have been provided with endless amounts of entertainment from Mr. Boll.

Finally, Phoenix Wright 1-3 are making their way to the United States on for Verizon phones through Capcom Mobile. Let’s all pray for a port of PW 2 and 3 to the DS or GBA (1 was remade for the US DS release).

The Top Ten

So last week I fawned over the DS (much like I usually do). So no more DS fawning this week. This week, I plan on writing about something a little different. Let’s call this the top ten games most deserving of either a remake or a re-release. How’s that sound? Pretty good right? I think so. We’ll keep this 16 bit or earlier too.

1. Mutant League Football/Hockey: Mmmm. EA’s greatest game series ever. EVER. It would be nice if we saw a re-release of this game in some sort of EA sports pack or even better, a straight up remake of these games. If done as a remake though, don’t make super violent or bad ass like you’ve tried to do with some of your games (I’m looking at you Marvel Nemesis). A fun comical game with exploding body parts, over the top field traps, and the infamous kill ref command or the exploding self guarding goal. Please EA, make me a happy gamer for once.

2. Zombies Ate My Neighbors: Another (mostly) forgotten classic. Doing a cheesy parody of the best old B-movies and having two film addicted teens fighting aliens, zombies, and chainsaw wielding madmen is as good idea now as it was 13 years ago. Make it a T game at most, offer some online play, and tons of unlockables and you’ve got yourself a great retro game made new.

3. Uniracers: This is one game I don’t really see being remade but it still deserves a re-release. Uniracers is a perfect game for the 16 bit generation because I don’t see how it can work as a 3D game. If it just had updated graphics, more tracks, and a course editor I could see a remake being successful. Still, I just want to play Uniracers again.

4…..

You know what? I’ve been doing nothing but coughing and throwing up while writing this and these are the only games I can think off of the top of my head. This column is over people. I’m dropping some Nyquil and hopefully will put together a decent Raw column. Good day everyone.