Late Night Consoling

I was playing good ol' Street Fighter Alpha 3 earlier this evening, when I started thinking about fighting games. As I've said before, I think SFA3 may very well be the most perfect Street Fighter ever made, which no doubt is blasphemy to some of you. I also happen to think the Battle Arena Toshinden franchise was a steaming load of poo, as was virtually every 3D attempt from Capcom. What I love about the genre though is the sheer variety of games we've seen over the years. Sure we've had some real cheese-ball games (Pit Fighter, anyone?), but there have been a handful of really original games as well. If you missed out on Square's Bushido Blade or Tobol, you skipped two highly innovative games. I mentioned in my Soul Calibur II review that it seems like Namco didn't really try for much more than an enhancement over the original game, but in retrospect, what could they have done? Is the genre stuck in a rut? It seems like with Tao Feng, Mortal Kombat co-creator John Tobias tried to move beyond the some of the conventions of the genre, but that seems to have met with mixed results. I don't have any idea what's next for the fighting genre, but I do know that it can't keep going like this. We've already seen how stunning a fighting game can look (let's face it, Dead or Alive 3 will probably remain the high-watermark for the foreseeable future), and Capcom's taken their hyper fighting 2D vs. franchises as far as they can go. So what do you think is needed? More interactive environments? More realism? Less realism? A slow news night like tonight seems like a good one for a discussion of this nature.

GameCube GameCube Price Drop Leaked? It's not that way anymore, but earlier today and right up through this evening e-tailer Amazon.com was selling GameCube systems for $99. So what happened? You got me, but what I found to be particularly odd is that this changed while I was writing this story, so something's clearly amiss here. Update: IGN says that Nintendo is having a conference call with an update of some kind tomorrow. Chances are this is it.
PS2 New Manhunt Footage GameSpot has posted new footage from Rockstar's upcoming Manhunt in the form of five downloadable movies. Unfortunately while we're working on getting them here at FileShack, until then you'll need to register for GameSpot's Basic service in order to download them.
PS2 EQOA Auctions Live Sony Online Entertainment sends word that they have launched their in-game auction system for EverQuest Online Adventures. If you're interested in bidding or selling, find yourself a banker in one of the major towns and go nuts.
n-gage Nokia's Game Dev. Contest Nokia has announced a new contest where amateur game developers are encouraged to send in their demos (using the freely available tools) for the chance to win up to €15,000 and a free trip to the Game Developers Conference this March. Details, links to the necessary tools and more can be found at Nokia's official N-Gage site.
GameCube UK Students Get GameCube Dev. Kits Here's some more cool news for would-be game developers...four major universities in the UK have announced that they have signed an agreement with Nintendo and middleware provider SN Systems to let students work with actual GameCube developer's kits in game technology courses.
GameCube PS2 Xbox Snake Plissken Q&A HomeLAN has conducted a Q&A with Andre Emerson, the producer at Namco on their upcoming Snake Plissken game. There's very little, if any real information about the game here, and as this game isn't due until 2005, it's likely going to be a while before we see anything of any substance.
GameCube PS2 Xbox GameBoy Advance Sammy Expands The company may not be merging with Sega (good lord was that ever a confusing time), but that's not stopping them from seriously expanding...the company announced today that they have opened up a new 66,000 square foot facility in San Diego, and will soon double their number of employees as they ramp up production in this country.
GameCube PS2 Xbox GameBoy Advance New Releases This Week There's quite a bit coming out this week. For GameCube there's BeyBlade: Super Tournament Battle and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, PS2 has DDRMAX2 and Dynasty Tactics 2, for Xbox there's Rent a Hero No. 1 and Voodoo Vince and Digimon Battle Spirits 2, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee and Shining Soul are all out for GBA. On the cross-platform front there's Freedom Fighters (GC, PS2, Xbox), NBA Jam (PS2, Xbox), NHL 2004 (GC, PS2, Xbox), NHL Hitz Pro (GC, PS2, Xbox), Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 (GC, PS2, Xbox) and Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo (GC, PS2, Xbox).
GameCube PS2 Xbox GameBoy Advance Misc. Media/Previews GameSpot has new shots from NBA ShootOut 2004 (PS2), ESPN NBA Basketball (PS2, Xbox), Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (PS2) and Transformers Armada: Prelude to Energon (PS2). Over at IGN there's new media from Tak and the Power of Juju (GC, PS2), Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try this at Home (PS2, Xbox), Sucker Punch (GBA) and SSX 3. Elsewhere online, Fragland.net has the first shots from Eye Toy: Groove (PS2), Computer and Video Games has a hands-on look at Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (GC, PS2, Xbox) and new media from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (PS2), Rallisport Challenge 2 (Xbox)and Mario Party 5 (GC) as well as the first shots from Microsoft's Phantom Dust (Xbox), GameInformer has some new stuff from Links 2004 (Xbox) and HomeLAN has a new hands-on preview of kill.switch (PS2, Xbox).
Console Game of the Evening: World Heroes for the Neo Geo. "This game was clearly a blatant cash-in attempt on the SF2 craze by SNK/ADK, but it still had enough variety in the characters and settings to occupy me while i waited for that CE machine...." (submitted by r1cola).