Also: Looks like another Nintendo news day. Most of it is good, though!
Also: Downsides to updating from a gaming lab include loss of my extensive bookmark collection. From my end, that means trying to remember far too many URLs. From your end, it means no Console Game of the Evening. OH NOES!!
Revolution Revelation Rumor Real?[nintendo]
Reports have surfaced today that Nintendo is planning on fully unveiling its upcoming next-gen Revolution at Tokyo Game Show on September 16-18. Company president Satoru Iwata will allegedly display both the console and its mysterious and much-hyped secret controller. It is also claimed that the long-delayed "Mario 128" will be displayed. However, there's one problem: the report originated from SPOnG. Those who tend to keep up with the rumor mill will be familiar with the precocious website, which has a general propensity for hyping unconfirmed rumors and speculation, though it does sometimes break a good story.
GameSpot has chimed in in its weekly Rumor Control column, giving SPOnG the benefit of the doubt due to their own "sources close to Nintendo" claiming "a next-gen Mario is a strong probability."
For my part, it is worth remembering that Nintendo as a company will not actually be present at TGS, though Iwata himself will of course be there to deliver a keynote. It would at first seem a bit odd for the company to fully unveil its new console during an event at which it is not technically present. On the other hand, announcements of major hardware and the most anticipated games are usually done in keynotes, and since Nintendo will obviously not have a full lineup of first- and third-party software to display, the company may have simply decided that Iwata's presentation (plus at least a few other executives, one would assume) will be sufficient. Basically: who knows? It has to happen sometime, but whether it will be in a few weeks is anybody's guess.
Metroid Prime Hunters Online Confirmed[ds]
Your hopes and dreams have been fulfilled. Nintendo of America has confirmed that Metroid Prime Hunters, recently delayed until Quarter 1 2006, will feature online functionality over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which will launch sometime in 2005. The company also noted in the press release that a new single-player mission demo will be available at this weekend's Penny Arcade Expo in Bellevue, Washington. However, it was not specified whether the demo would be playable only on demo kiosks or whether it will be downloadable to users' DS consoles. At this year's E3 and Comic-Con, Nintendo made DS demos available over a wi-fi network.
Microsoft Plans to Share Plans at TGS[xbox]
In other TGS news, Microsoft has revealed that it will be holding a press conference the day before the show, highlighting the manufacturer's Japanese Xbox 360 plans in more depth. The console's price point and release date for that market have still not been confirmed. Rare's Kameo: Elements of Power will be playable at the event. Chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach will also deliver the keynote address preceding Satoru Iwata's.
Finest Hour Deal Goes Sour[ps2] [xbox] [gamecube]
The developer of Call of Duty: Finest Hour (PS2, Xbox, GCN), Spark Unlimited, has sued publisher Activision for breach of contract. Spark claims that Activision broke the terms of a contract stipulating that Spark would develop three Call of Duty games. Spark is not working on the sequel, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (PS2, Xbox, GCN). Additionally, Spark alleges that Activision has failed to pay the developer its due royalties on Finest Hour, which was released in November of 2004. Spark is seeking damages of $10M.
Halo Trifecta Priced, Dated[xbox]
Microsoft and Bungie have confirmed the existence of the previously-rumored Halo Triple-Pack (Xbox). The bundle will contain all three commercial releases from the Halo franchise: Halo, Halo 2, and Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack for a combined price of $59.99. A release has been set for October 4. Might Microsoft take this opportunity to add Xbox 360 compatibility code to the games so they can be played in HDD-less 360s? Possibly, but don't bet on it.
Sony VP Slams Nintendo[ds] [psp]
Phil Harrison, VP of studios for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, has some pointed words to say about Nintendo's handheld audience and strategy. Sony's European PSP launch is now one week away.
Some Harrison highlights: "[DS] won't have a lasting impact beyond that of a gimmick--so the long-lasting appeal of the platform is at peril as a direct result of that." "Nintendo knows its target audience, because it has really narrowed that down; and it's pretty much defined by a boy or girl's ability to admire Pokemon." "The idea of a handheld rivalry with Nintendo is an irrelevance. Those formats dont appear in our planning. It's not a fair comparison; not fair on them, I should stress. That sounds arrogant, maybe, but it's the truth."
Them's fightin' words. Nintendo might well have responded with the following news post:
DS Still Reigns in Japan[ds] [ps2] [psp] [gba] [gamecube] [xbox]
According, to the latest Japanese sales charts, Nintendo DS extended its dominance on its home turf even more this week. The portable console inched up to become a majority of all gaming hardware sold with a 50.61% market share. Its closest competitor, PS2, netted 20.82% of the market. The rest: PSP (14.96%), GBA (10.97%), GCN (2.48%), Xbox (.16%).
Game sales were a little more evenly spread than hardware sales. The top 10 contained four PS2 games, three DS games, two GameCube games, and a GBA game. Bandai's Naruto: Uzumaki Ninden (PS2) took the top slot, Nintendo's Super Mario Stadium Miracle Baseball (released in North America on Monday as Mario Superstar Baseball) climbed up three spots to #8, and the DS had a notably cerebral presence with Nintendo's Gentle Brain Exercises and Nintendo's DS Training for Adults: Work Your Brain appearing at #4 and #5 respectively. However, the top-selling DS title was Nintendo's Jump Super Stars at #2.
Dance Dance Immolation Ow It Burns
Gizmodo is reporting on a version of Dance Dance Revolution called Dance Dance Immolation. You know how when you hit the wrong arrows in DDR, words like "Poor!" appear on the screen and the announcer calls you a monkey or something? Well, in DDI, the game just engulfs you in white-hot jets of flame. So... I guess you better be good. Appropriately, the game will be on display at "radical self-expression and radical self-reliance" event Burning Man 2005.
Build a Duck Hunt Sniper Rifle[nintendo]
Not too much to say here. You can build a sniper rifle. For Duck Hunt.
Ernest Adams at Gamasutra drafts a pretty convincing Bill of Players' Rights in the context of game design.
IGN has three pages about the site's time with Game Boy Micro, noting that it has a few flaws but is otherwise a solid gaming device.
IGN also interviews Takashi Iizuka, producer for Sega's Shadow the Hedgehog.
1UP previews the PS2 version of Capcom's Resident Evil 4 (PS2, also GCN).
GameSpot has a developer interview and new Mario-containing videos of the GameCube version of EA Canada's SSX On Tour (GCN, also PS2, Xbox, PSP).
Screenshots: Super Mario Strikers.
Screenshots: Tamagotchi: Shop Simulation (DS).
Videos: Madden 06 (PSP, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, DS, GBA, X360, PC).
Eurogamer examines Neversoft's Gun (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, PSP, PC). IGN previews Ganbarion's One Piece: Grand Battle (PS2, GCN). GameSpot previews Codemasters' TOCA Race Driver 2006 (aka TOCA Race Driver 3) (PS2, Xbox, PC). GameSpy looks at Cranky Pants' Evil Dead Regeneration (PS2, Xbox, PC).
Screenshots: From Russia With Love (PS2, Xbox, GCN).