Late Night Consoling

By Chris Remo, Sep 19, 2006 8:30pm PDT
  • RedOctane Seeks to Become Lawsuit Hero

    [ps2]

    According to a GameSpot report, Activision and recently acquired Guitar Hero publisher RedOctane filed suit against peripheral manufacturer The Ant Commandos. Activision alleges that, by selling its Guitar Mania series of Guitar Hero guitar controllers, the company has infringed upon Activision's trademarks and copyrights, engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices, exhibited unfair competition, and released false advertising. The lawsuit claims that the Guitar Mania packaging emulates the Guitar Hero packaging and makes use of RedOctane's protected materials to promote the Guitar Mania product. The front of the Guitar Mania box states that the controller is "Compatible with PS2 Guitar Game;" elsewhere it notes it is compatible with Guitar Hero. Activision takes issue with this as well, claiming that the controller's motion sensor, which activates Guitar Hero's "Star Power" mode, does not always function propertly. A comparison of the Guitar Hero and Guitar Mania boxes is presented here. The Ant Commandos also makes alternative mat controllers for dance games and an alternative drum controller for Nintendo's Donkey Konga (GCN) and Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GCN) games.

    The lawsuit is somewhat ironic, given RedOctane's past (and current) positions as a defendant in copyright- and trademark-related matters. In a similar matter, Konami sued RedOctane in 2005 for publishing Roxor Games' dance game In the Groove (PS2), which Konami alleged infringed on a number of patents it holds for its long running Dance Dance Revolution series. A company named Knucklebonz also sued RedOctane over the use of the Guitar Hero name. Since June 2004, Knucklebonz has used "Guitar Hero" as a brand name for its series of collectible figures based on rock guitar greats. However, it appears the company failed to properly register the name until late last year.

  • BioWare Branches Out to DS

    [nintendo]

    Acclaimed RPG-oriented developer BioWare today announced that it has formed a new development group specifically targeting handheld platforms. The company's first title in the portable arena will be an unnamed project for Nintendo DS. No details were given regarding the game's setting or gameplay. Today's news comes only a month after BioWare sent out a survey to its community members inquiring whether they would buy a portable game based on Baldur's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, or Neverwinter Nights, or whether they would be willing to buy a portable system to be able to play such a game.

    In addition to the announcement of the game and its development group, BioWare also stated that it is looking for developers to fill out the new team, which will be based at the company's main studio in Edmonton, Alberta. BioWare recently also opened up an MMO-focused studio in Austin, Texas.

  • EA Confirms SKATE

    [ps3] [xbox360]

    Electronic Arts has publically confirmed that, as revealed this week, it will indeed be publishing a skateboarding game simply titled SKATE. The game is headed to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Today's announcement reveals that long time Need for Speed series developer EA Black Box, an EA Canada studio, will be handling the game. Professional skaters such as Danny Way and PJ Ladd will appear in the game. SKATE also features a "reactive city" environment as well as context-sensitive in-game cameras. "Our game offers a skate mecca for both skaters and gamers in search of the definitive authentic skating video game experience," said executive producer Scott Blackwood. "We're focused on capturing the actual feeling of skating with the innovative control system, the physics driven animations, and the intelligent cameras working together to really deliver the closest thing to being on a board." The game apparently offers a trick control system that is based on the two analog sticks, rather than the time-honored stick (or d-pad) plus face buttons method that is used in Neversoft's Tony Hawk series.

    EA Black Box's SKATE is set to ship for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2007.

  • Ubisoft Announces Q4 Releases

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo] [ds] [psp] [gba]

    Ubisoft today announced its official release list for its third fiscal quarter, the fourth calendar quarter of 2006.

    - Ubisoft Montreal's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, Wii, PC)
    - Ubisoft Montpellier's Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii, NDS, GBA, PC; other versions to follow in 2007)
    - Ubisoft Montreal's Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3, X360, PSP, PC)
    - Ubisoft Montreal's Far Cry Vengeance (Wii)
    - Gearbox and Ubisoft Shanghai's Brothers in Arms D-Day (PSP)
    - Ubisoft Romania's Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII (PS3, Wii)
    - Pipeworks and Ubisoft Montreal's Prince of Persia Rival Swords (PSP)
    - MTO's Petz (NDS, GBA, PC)
    - Ubisoft Paris' Red Steel (Wii)
    - Arkane and Kuju's Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (PC)
    - MTO's GT Pro Series (Wii)
    - Ubisoft Montreal's Open Season (PS2, Xbox, GCN, X360, Wii, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC)
    - Ubisoft Casablanca and Ubisoft Montreal's Star Wars Lethal Alliance (NDS, PSP)
    - Ubisoft's Monstre 4x4 World Circuit (Wii)

  • Xbox 360 Players Have a Vision, Get Patched

    [xbox360]

    Despite apparently having been available for a few weeks now at various retail locations, according to internet reports, the Xbox Live Vision peripheral for Xbox 360 has now officially been released. The USB video camera allows for in-game video chat as well as the ability for players to make a custom gamer picture viewable to friends. Currently, Carbonated Games' UNO makes use of the video chat feature. As of tomorrow, the functionality will be added to PixelStorm's Bankshot Billiards 2 as well as Silver Creek's Hardwood Hearts, Hardwood Spades, and Hardwood Backgammon.

    Xbox Live Vision is available for $39.99 and includes an Xbox 360 headset, UNO, and FreeVerse's gesture-based game TotemBall. The $79.99 Xbox Live Vision Gold Pack includes those components as well as Digital Eclipse's Robotron 2084, 200 Microsoft Points ($2.50).

  • Wii Playable on Fusion Tour

    [nintendo]

    This summer, Nintendo announced its Nintendo Fusion Tour (warning: site features loud sound), a series of over 35 rock concerts being held across the United States from September 27 to November 11. Nintendo stated that Wii would be present in some form at the shows, but did not state whether the machine would be playable by attendees. Today, the company confirmed that each show will feature multiple playable Wii consoles, along with Retro's Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Nintendo's WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Toys for Bob's Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Nintendo's Wii Sports, and Monster Games' Excite Truck playable for showgoers. Nintendo DS consoles and games will also be playable, though the only example of a playable DS game given was iNiS' Elite Beat Agents.

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2/PS3

GameSpot checks up on Insomniac's Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3). 1UP has a team interview on Namco's Ridge Racer 7 (PS3).

Xbox/X360

1UP checks out Gastronaut's Small Arms (X360).

GCN/Wii

1UP has details on Marvelous' Harvest Moon Heroes (Wii).

Portable

Game Informer speaks with Keiichi Yano, game designer and co-founder of iNiS, the company behind Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (NDS), Elite Beat Agents (NDS), and Gitaroo-Man (PS2, PSP).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Golf for the NES. "I remember back when you could name games simply "Golf"." (submitted by famine101)

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