Late Night Consoling

So did you guys notice that Double Fine's Psychonauts (PS2, Xbox, PC) has been added to Steam? In case you haven't seen me mention the game eight thousand times, it's from designer Tim Schafer (Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango), and it's more than worth the $20 asking price.
  • Xfire Announces PS3 Involvement, In the Works for Wii?

    [ps3]

    Last month, word got out that online gaming communication and tracking provider Xfire would be offering some kind of service for PlayStation 3, but details were hazy at the time. Today, the Viacom-owned company announced it will be offering its friend tracking and chat services as a PS3 middleware SDK that can be used by other developers if so desired. The first PS3 game to use Xfire will be Sony Online Entertainment's action/RPG launch title Untold Legends Dark Kingdom. Apparently, after logging into Sony's PS3 online service, players will also be able to log into an Xfire account for games that support the service. Messaging and chat seem to be available through both services, leaving it up to players to decide which service they prefer. One advantage of Xfire over the standard PlayStation Network Platform service is that it will allow PS3 Xfire users to communicate with PC Xfire users, similarly to the cross-platform PC/Xbox 360 interoperability with Microsoft's upcoming Live Anywhere service. However, it seems that Sony Online Entertainment's downloadable content will be available only through the PlayStation Network Platform and not Xfire, at least initially. Both GameSpot and IGN released interviews with Xfire CEO Mike Cassidy about the service's details.

    Speaking to those publications, Cassidy made comments that many have interpreted as indicating that Xfire also has a Wii service in the works. He also more openly stated that the company has a working PS2 Xfire prototype, but had nothing official to announce as to that project's status. Asked by IGN whether Xfire would work with Microsoft or Nintendo, Cassidy responded, "Yes, we would like to work with both. Let's just say it is more likely we'll work with one of them than the other." Speaking to GameSpot, he was a little less cagey, admitting, "We are in talks with one other console maker." Given that Microsoft has run its own full featured proprietary online platform for several years on Xbox and Xbox 360 and is already gearing up for its cross-platform Live Anywhere, it seems more likely that Nintendo would be the company in question.

  • DS Goes to Level 5

    [ds]

    Japanese studio Level 5 has long been known for its RPG efforts on Sony platforms, being responsible for the Dark Cloud series (PS2), Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2) with Square-Enix, and the upcoming White Knight Story (PS3) and Jeanne d'Arc (PSP). Today, the company announced a new game that marks a deviation both in the company's usual platforms and genre. It is developing and publishing an adventure game for Nintendo DS entitled Professor Layton and the Mysterious Village; this will be Level 5's first self-published game.

    Level 5 president, and frequent director and producer, Akihiro Hino will be heading up the game's development, while the game's puzzles will be supervised by mental training author Akira Tago. According to IGN, Level 5's Hino enjoyed Tago's books as a child, which led to Tago's involvement in this game.

    Visually, the game seems to draw as much or more from European animation styles as from the Japanese anime traditional that has been associated with most of Level 5's work. The company has released a few initial screenshots and pieces of artwork. Interestingly, the official site announces a voice cast for the game, suggesting it will have a substantial amount of voice acting. The game tells the story of protagonist Ruke and the titular Professor Layton, who must visit a mysterious village (surprise) and uncover a hidden inheritance by way of solving the game's puzzles.

    Level 5 plans to release the game to Japanese store shelves in February 2007. No North American release has been announced, but it is very unlikely the studio would self-publish abroad, and may be looking for a third party publishing deal.

  • PS3 Cable Clarification

    [ps3]

    Apparently confirming inferences dating back from last month, various publications are reporting on news from Japanese publication Famitsu that PlayStation 3, both in its 20GB and 60GB hard drive incarnations, will come bundled only with a composite video cable, and not a component video cable or an HDMI cable. This makes the "premium" Xbox 360 model the only next-gen console confirmed to ship with component cables. However, in a nice touch, PS3 will accept the same multi A/V out cable as its predecessor PS2, meaning that if you're got PS2 component cables lying around, you'll be all set to run your PS3 in HD.

  • Wii Cable Clarification

    [nintendo]

    Yesterday, Nintendo held a Japanese event focused around announcements for the upcoming Wii launch. The conference was intended for retailers, and thus was more concerned with discussing accessory availability and pricing information than with game announcements. The company released a list of cables and other extra components to be made available when the machine launches in Japan.

    Several A/V output cables were confirmed. All prices given are for the Japanese market. As previously revealed, the system will ship with a composite video cable; replacements can be purchased for 1000 yen ($8.38). S-Video and Component cables will also be available for 2500 yen ($20.95) each. Finally, a D-Cable, which is unlikely to be sold in North America, will be available for the same price.

    Nintendo will be offering a branded 512MB SD card for 3800 yen ($31.84), though it is worth noting that it is simply a standard SD card and players will be able to buy third party cards, likely for significantly fewer yen/dollars per megabyte.

    For users who do not have a wi-fi network to get Wii online, Nintendo will offer an ethernet adapter for 2800 yen ($23.46). The system can also get an internet connection through the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector, released earlier for Nintendo DS.

  • Nintendo Announces Nintendo World, Shows People Playing

    [nintendo]

    Nintendo has announced initial details for a series of events in Japan that will feature playable Wii and Nintendo DS consoles open to the public in major cities. Tokyo Game Show is known for being a big industry event that is open to the public, but Nintendo does not generally attend TGS, making this a major opportunity for the Japanese public to try out the device before its December launch in Japan. Nintendo World 2006, as the tour has been dubbed, will travel to Nagoya on November 3, Osaka on November 12, and Tokyo from November 25 to 26.

    In line with its professed goal to bring gaming to new audiences, the company also released a series of video clips under the heading "Wii Experience," showing individuals and couples from countries throughout the world trying various Wii Sports titles for the first time.

  • Nonexistent Consoles Crop Up on eBay

    [ps3]

    Yesterday's one-day PS3 preorder rush at EB and GameStop retail locations apparently turned out rather like a console launch itself, with many gamers lining up for hours waiting for stores to open and begin accepting reservations for the upcoming console. Of course, following such shenanigans, numerous PS3 eBay listings have popped up, promising bidders the chance to be the first with Sony's next-gen console for the low low price of two to ten times the suggested retail value. At time of writing, "Buy it Now" prices start at $1,200, and some auctions run as high as $5,000 for a minimum starting bid. Many PS3 auctions have already been won.

    PlayStation 3 goes on sale in North America on November 17, at $499 for a 20GB hard drive model and $599 for a 60GB hard drive model. Sony expects to ship only 400,000 units to North America, which is likely a strong factor in the high reseller asking prices.

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2/PS3

GameSpy previews Harmonix's Guitar Hero II (PS2).

Xbox/X360

Game Informer has an overview of Seta's Project Sylpheed (X360).

GCN/Wii

IGN has a preview of Amusement Vision's Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz (Wii). GameSpot takes a look at Ubisoft's Monster 4x4 World Circuit (Wii).

Portable

GameSpy checks out Vicarious Visions' DS version of Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (NDS, also Wii).

Movies: Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (NDS, also Wii).

Multi

Up on FileShack we have Part 1 and Part 2 of a video interview with voice actor Michael Ironside about his work on Ubisoft Montreal and Shanghai's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent.

Movies: Superman Returns: The Videogame (PS2, Xbox, X360, NDS).

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Nightstalker for the Intellivision. "Who can resist that background music... Or that robot that could destroy your base... Ah, Intellivision, how I miss thee." (submitted by BioSector)