The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video Games 04.06.04

Back once again, with the Renegade Reploid, it’s the Hitchhiker’s Guide To video Games. Misha and Marvin are how we are known, the Tuesday News Spot is our throne
*and if we don’t stop rhyming, the readers will groan
I suppose you’re right. Time for content, then.


Next-gen activities in the darkSector…

The first footage of a game designed for the next generation of consoles has been released by the company Digital Extremes. The game is known as darkSector, and while the footage seen here is technically running on a high-end PC, the specifications of the machine are said to be comparable to the expected specifications of the new wave of machines. Current speculation suggests the game will be released for PS3, X-Box 2, or both, but that could easily change.

Marvin: Well, the footage looks shiny enough. But how often have we been fooled by alleged next-gen footage that’s just running on Silicon Graphics workstations? Forgive me if I’m sceptical…
Misha: But Marvin, you’re ALWAYS sceptical
Marvin: Just because I have a more finely-tuned BS detector than you, doesn’t mean you have to get nasty


Warp Pipe 0.4 goes beta

Cube owners looking for an online game will be very pleased to know that version 0.4 of the Warp Pipe project has gone into beta-testing. For those who don’t know, WP is an freeware project that allows LAN-enabled Gamecubes to play their games over the internet by using a PC or Mac (running the special software) as a gateway. The new version will support integrated game-finding functions, as well as chat/buddy list/IM protocols for ease of communications.

Misha: You gotta love these guys. A free product for the betterment of gamers everywhere. It’s the spirit of Open-Source.


Shin Megami Tensei 3 US release date confirmed

No doubt buoyed by the success of Disgaea and the GBA SMT ports (known as “Demikids”). Atlus have confirmed a rough US release date for Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne. The season is Fall (Autumn) 2004. Also confirmed is that the Us version will be the Director’s Cut edition, with all sort of extra RPGoodness. Expect more developments later this week, as 411 brings you EVERYTHING you need to know.

Misha: Demikids and Shining Soul on GBA: now SMT 3? And a European release for Disgaea at last? Finally, the Western world is getting decent RPGs! Praise be!


Jirachi makes European debut

News from Nintendo says that the Jirachi bonus disc *will* be available in the UK. But, unlike the US, it won’t ship with Pokemon Colosseum. Nope, over here, it comes bundled with Pokemon Channel.

Misha: Well, it’s one way to get people to buy Channel. But then again, the people who want Jirachi are the people who’d be buying Channel anyway. And I have my Jirachi arriving with my US PokeCol anyway, so I’m OK. But at least ordinary PAL gamers get the chance to get the goods… Unlike the Celebi fiasco….

credit: Nintendo news release

*And another slow week. Don’t developers know that we MUST HAVE NEWS??


Individuality in any industry is a hard path to take. Whether it be in the form of a new style, an alternative work ethic, or whatever, it’s always though to break the mould. I like to think we do that here at 411, and I hope that you, the readers, like it that way. In commemoration of “doing things different”, I offer a retrospective on what stands alongside the golden age of Future Publishing magazines as the pinnacle of UK games journalism: the ultimate in non-skanky games info

Way back in the pre-internet mists of time, back before Tim Berners-Lee strung some hypertags together and standardised some stuff, and only the military had interconnected computer systems, there existed in the UK a wonderful information system known as Teletext. Basically, with this, one could press a button on the remote, and switch to an information service, with literally hundreds of pages, all of which displayed on an ordinary TV screen. Each channel had its own content, and each page could be accessed by a 3-number code (very often, at each page location, there would be two or three different screens: while at the page, the screens would cycle through). Much of the content available was utter dross, but Channel 4 had one shining beacon of light: Digitiser.

This was video games journalism like nothing that had ever been seen before. For starters, the content was free (there was the odd ad-screen or two, but it was nowhere near as intrusive as modern popups) and so they could draw in a HUGE number of viewers (official estimates suggest 1.5 million viewers per week). Second, they were odd. And I mean hyper-psychotic-overkill odd. An integral part of what made Digi so great was the levels of innuendo, pun and truly random off-the-wall humour. From the legendary letters-editor The Man With A Long Chin to some of the REALLY freaky characters like the Gangsta Snakes (they cuss you bad), Fat Sow (the angriest pig you ever did read) and the notorious Zombie Dave (he *is* saying something meaningful. And probably obscene. The trick is to translate it…) is was Random Silliness on a level not seen since Monty Python. The Digi crew thought nothing of writing a serious review laden with referenced to getting drunk on gin. Or coining their own special word-me-dos. In humour-category terms, they got ‘Bizzare’ and ‘Naughty’, as well as hints of ‘Cute’ and ‘Recognisable’, and it made for a great combination. They were, however, aided by their absolutely loony readers… You will FEAR the Epic Mess-Ups of Dantendo…

The most notable thing about Digitiser, though, was that (during the 10 year mission that forms the “Classic Run” of Mr Biffo and friends) they NEVER sold out. When they turned around and said “Sonic 3 is good, but not amazing” (awarding it a 72% score) it started a colossal feud with some of the more sold-out magazines, such as ‘Mean Machines Sega’. Things got very heated, with fans of both sides swamping the other with hate-mail. Over the years, Digitiser has been accused of bias from many, many sides, none of which were true; in the same way, people may accuse 411 of being Dreamcast-mad, but that’s simply because it was (and is) a great machine. We make no apologies for being willing to say “this is disappointing” or “this was deeply underrated”, and neither did Digi. It is the beauty of being individual. Do you see?

As ever, I’ll leave you with a site to find out more. This week, it’s Ian Bell’s Super Page 58. It’s got to be good, because Digi themselves have plugged it a shedload of times. It’s not been updated for a while, though, but that’s OK, because it covers pretty much all of the glory period.

Plug it in, plug it in

The Regulars

Bryan B has everybody guessing who wrote what in the April Fool’s News. And takes a long hard look at Microsoft’s next-gen prospects. I think we’re quits, now…

Alex W. He now knows what it’s like to be BANNED, but hey…. It was worth it.

Chuck P brings a final end to an ongoing saga.

LQ is bemoaning the lack of Retro at GameStop.

Oh, yes, and some random guy known as Alex L has finally postponed his life long enough to write stuff. Stop by, say hi, further clog is already-jammed inbox. Just don’t mention Mary Sue.

Outside the Box: Elsewhere on 411

Jeff F is swindling away. Worth checking out, partly because I’m on the Late-Night Jukebox this week.

Berating the GOP is all well and good, but I’m still waiting to hear Eric S’s thoughts on the new Doctor, and JMS’ new project.


Bebito J: Kirby’s Air Ride, Lowrider

Alex L: The Suffering

Alex W: MTX: Mototrax

Cory L: MX unleashed

Matt Y: Champions of Norrath

*And just what is it with all these Motocross games coming out all of a sudden? Did somebody spot a gap in the market, and not companies are rushing to fill the void like matter towards a vacuum?
Don’t look at me. I just work here.
*Well, anyway. does that mean we can go now?
Unless you have any more news to report….
*Not apart from what you got up to on Saturday night…
*Activating direct interface…
Hey! Stop that!
*Too late! I’ve linked with the machine!
Oh no you don’t…