Late Night Consoling

By jason bergman, Jun 06, 2003 8:00pm PDT GamePro has posted a fascinating interview with Kenichi Sugino, the product designer at Nintendo who was primarily responsible for both the original Game Boy Advance and the recently released GBA SP. Among the many, many things of note here is the news that work began on the GBA SP just three months after releasing the original, and that the original prototype (which he still has, although it's falling apart) was actually significantly smaller than the finished product. He also addresses things like the lack of a headphone jack in the SP, and even talks about the Afterburner add-on for the original GBA, saying that he found it to be really impressive. It's a great read. Thanks to Slashdot Games for the tip.

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GTA Killer(s)?
David Jones, the well-qualified game designer behind such games as Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto has announced that his company is hard at work on two titles for an unnamed console system. Whatever these games are, their web site suggests that they will be massively multiplayer in nature, and quotes published elsewhere say that, "fans of GTA and next-generation racing games will not be disappointed."
PS2 Sega Ages Coming Soon in Japan
Sega has announced that the first three titles in their Sega Ages lineup will be released this August in Japan. The first three titles are the souped-up remakes of Fantasy Zone, Monaco GP and Phantasy Star, the last of which will be released as Phantasy Star: Generation 1. GameSpot has posted screenshots from all three (FZ, MGP, PS:G1), which show off the visual upgrade given to these games (although Fantasy Zone still looks the same as always).
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Buffy Previews
Hands-on previews of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, the cross-platform follow-up to last year's Xbox game, can be found at both IGN and GameSpot tonight. Each features impressions along with new screenshots.
PS2 PS3 RAM Provider Announced
In an unusually specific bit of PlayStation 3 news, Bloomberg Japan reported the other day (as noted here at GameSpot) that Sony has selected Elpida Memory to provide DRAM for the PS3. It's said to use Rambus technology.
Xbox Inside Pitch Tournament Announced
Microsoft has announced an Xbox Live tournament for Inside Pitch 2003, where gamers can compete for the chance to attend the MLB All-Star Game. The finals will be held in Chicago, and if you're interested in competing, you'd better start playing online now: around June 12th, Microsoft will be inviting the top 1,500 players on their leader-board to enter the tournament. Details are up at their official site.
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The Hobbit Previews
GameSpot has posted a hands-on look at The Hobbit for GameCube, PS2 and Xbox, while over at IGN (where they previewed that version earlier this week) they have a look at the Game Boy Advance version of the game.
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No New Console from Panasonic
Famitsu news (translated at GamePro) is reporting that Panasonic's Kazuo Toda confirmed to a Japanese publication that they have no plans on releasing a new console system any time soon. Panasonic has dabbled in this market before, with their big push for the 3DO some years ago (including being the driving force behind the failed M2 system) and more recently with their GameCube-compatible DVD system known as Q. This comes as a surprise, as they had previously announced plans for a less cubic version of the Q system last year.
Xbox New Wolfenstein Map Released
The game's only been out for a few weeks, and already Activision has released a new multiplayer map for Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War. Just connect to Xbox Live to download and enjoy.
Xbox Another Xbox Price Drop?
In a leaked internal e-mail, Microsoft CEO and all-around goofball Steve Ballmer mentioned plans to reduce the cost of products in their MSN and Xbox divisions. Now, whether that means reducing the price or just the cost to create the thing on their end is still up in the air (I'd guess it's the latter, since they're still losing a fortune on hardware sales).
Xbox Crimson Skies Interview
Venerable gaming site Games Domain has conducted an interview with Jim Deal, the project lead on Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge (thanks Slashdot Games). Jim provides an introduction to the series for newcomers, and explains why this game is significantly less linear than its PC predecessor.
NeoGeo - thanks Sur3aL! N-Gage Interview
An interview with Ilkka Raiskinen of Nokia's mobile entertainment division is up at Computer and Video Games tonight. The interviewer asks a number of the right questions here, including asking about the N-Gage's extreme price tag and cumbersome experience as an actual mobile phone.
PS2 Maximo 2 Interview
Also at CvG tonight is a Maximo 2 interview, talking with some Capcom people about Maximo vs. The Army of Zin, which for some reason every time I read I think of the title card for Army of Darkness.
GameCube Japanese Phantasy Star Online III Beta Soon
Well, I guess we'll know for sure if this game really sucks or not...the first 10,000 people to pre-order Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution between July 24th and August 31st will be entered into the beta test program for the game. No word on whether or not you can cancel your pre-order if you decide you'd rather play card games without the fancy graphics and monthly fee.
GameCube GameBoy Advance Nintendo Cracking Down on European Importers
Nintendo of Europe has started cracking down on retailers that sell imported Nintendo games. The extent to which they're taking this is a bit obscene...they're asking retailers to sign agreements saying they'll stop selling these imported games, and furthermore, they're being asked to disclose the details of their suppliers (!).
PS2 A Brief History of Shinobi
Thanks to Slashdot Games for pointing out this brief history of Shinobi. The piece goes game-by-game, and includes the regrettable Cyber-Shinobi for the Master System. Noticeably missing is the oft-forgotten (perhaps rightfully so) Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.
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Misc. Media/Previews
GameSpot has posted a look at Namco's upcoming cross-platform Spawn game, along with new screenshots from NFL 2k4 (or whatever it's going to be called) for the PS2 and Xbox. They also have a hands-on preview of The Italian Job based on their impressions of a build of the PS2 version of the game. Over at Cube.IGN they have new media from Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and Beyond Good and Evil, as well as a hands-on look at the GameCube port of Hitman 2. Elsewhere in the IGN-verse, there are trailers for Madden 2004 and NHL 2004 (Everything), some new movies from Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (PS2) and a brief preview of Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (Xbox). PS2.IGN also has some more goodies...there's a progress report on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and new movies from Way of the Samurai 2 and Winning Eleven 7. Over at CvG they have some screenshots from Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (PS2), and Games Are Fun has some screenshots from Dino Crisis 3 (Xbox). And tonight's bit of weirdness comes from GamerFeed, where they have posted a link to a Japanese commercial for Giftpia (GC). There's also a link to some gameplay footage.


Console Game of the Evening: Rygar for the NES. "One of the best games to implement non-linear movement in a game (aside from the original Zelda, of course)." (submitted by CrunchTime4l).

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