Late Night Consoling

By Chris Remo, Nov 17, 2006 8:15pm PST Okay, so I know it's not a hardcore game at all, and I don't know how long it will remain super compelling, but I really enjoy Wii Sports a lot. Bowling in particular is really fun, and I'm incredibly impressed by how responsive it is to things like putting spin on the ball. Obviously it's forgiving to a certain extent to keep things accessible, but you can really get pretty specific about what you want the ball to do.

Interestingly, while the standard game for each sport--tennis, bowling, golf, baseball boxing--is fairly entertaining, I'm having much more fun with the training mode, where you have specific goals to accomplish. In bowling, there are various patterns of pins laid out as if you're trying to pull off a spare, and it really gets you to think about what kind of spin you want to put on the ball. That kind of goal-driven gameplay is a bit more satifsying to me as a gamer than simply "play a round of bowling," which I could do at a bowling alley.

  • PS3 launch brings long lines in San Francisco

    [ps3]

    Last night, hundreds of gamers--and profiteers--were lined up outside the Metreon shopping center in San Francisco, waiting for the chance to buy a PlayStation 3 from Sony's PlayStation Store at midnight. Shacknews was on the scene to speak with some of the crowd, many of whom had slept overnight on the sidewalk. The first person in line had been waiting outside the store since 8:00am on Wednesday, putting his total time braving the elements at about 40 hours. That lucky gamer, a fellow named Chris, was there with four of his friends, each of whom was also buying a system. So were they buying them to keep or to resell? "We're all still undecided," he admitted. An informal poll conducted by Shacknews among the first line section showed indecision to be by far the most common reaction to the question, with many people saying they would make their decision after checking eBay prices in the morning.

    Sony was very receptive to those waiting in line, going so far as to provide water bottles and snacks at various points throughout the day. Despite the low overall launch numbers, a full 700 units were said to be available at the PlayStation Store, making it the safest bet around for those without a preorder. Even after all of the console-guaranteeing tickets had been distributed, some hopefuls hung around. Three young men who had been at the Metreon since 6:00pm that day did not have any expectation to pick up a system, but were enjoying the atmosphere nonetheless. "I just want to see the people walk in to buy it," said one.

    To keep things civil, several members of the line organized a roll sheet, documenting the first five hundred or so of those lined up for the system. They would take a numbered roll call every two hours, ensuring that nobody had cut into the line or let new people in. "Everyone has this sort of paranoia, and everyone wants to keep their place and not let anyone go ahead of them," said Jason, one of the volunteer line organizers. "Some of the bigger guys, like Alberto and one of the DJs--a giant man--really intimidated some of the people who were cutting, and got them to leave. People were looking out for each other, it was really cool."

    Despite many people remaining undecided about whether they would keep their consoles or sell them, nearly everybody in line stated that the wait had been worthwhile. One dissenter claimed that the experience "was like suffering," but most others were in good spirits. "It was totally worth it," said Chris as he paid for his console. Many of those in line were console launch veterans. Shacknews asked one GameCube launch buyer if he would be standing in line for the Wii on Saturday. "No, I did the smart thing this time," he said. "I preordered."

    Sony's Phil Harrison and Jack Tretton were on hand at the event, with Tretton congratulating and shaking the hand of the first customer. Hoisting his console above his head, he shouted to the crowd, "Get yours!" among cheers and laughter. When asked what he would be doing with his new gaming machine, he replied, "I don't have any games yet, so I might just go home and watch Talladega Nights."

  • PS2 fans demonstrate loyalty, Xbox/GCN fans demonstrate purchase plans

    [ps2] [ps3] [xbox] [xbox360] [gamecube] [nintendo]

    A study published by technology market research firm ABI has determined that, among owners of the three current generation consoles--PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube--PS2 owners are the most brand loyal, with 60% planning on picking up its successor, the PlayStation 3. GameCube and Xbox owners, on the other hand, trailed significantly in that statistic, demonstrating 46% and 45% loyalty, respectively.

    On the other hand, when it came to who actually planned to buy a next-gen system within the next year, GameCube and Xbox owners came out on top, once again coming within a percentage point of one another with 54% and 55% respectively; PS2 owners trailed with 42%. This is likely due at least in some part due to the broad install base of the PlayStation 2, giving it buying habits more reflective of the general public, in contrast to the more targeted Xbox and GameCube.

  • MP3 player comes to European DS

    [nintendo]

    Nintendo's MP3 player for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS has long been available in Japan under the name Play-Yan, but the company has never brought the device to non-Japanese territories. That will change next month when Europe receives the creatively named Nintendo DS MP3 Player, which, like the company's Wii console, accepts SD cards. It will be available in the UK on December 8, also like the Wii, for 20 GBP (not like the Wii). It will hit the rest of Europe on the same day for 30 euro. No North American release plans were announced.

  • Rainbow Six and NCAA go live

    [xbox360]

    Two new Xbox 360 demos have been made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace, NCAA March Madness 07 and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas. The Rainbow Six Vegas demo is a sample of the game's multiplayer, containing an Attack and Defend team versus mode as well as a Terro Hunt cooperative mode.

Misc. Media/Previews

PS2/PS3

Photographs: PlayStation 3 San Francisco launch event horrible camera photos.

Xbox/X360

Movies: Lost Planet (X360) single-player video.

GCN/Wii

We've taken a long look at a retail Wii unit, including its various components and functionality.

Movies: Madden 07 (Wii, also PS2, Xbox, GCN, PS3, X360, NDS, PSP, GBA, PC) movies: minigame commentary, kicking controls commentary.

Multi

Screenshots: The Shield (PS2, PC). Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas (PS3, X360, PSP, PC).

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

Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]

Amplitude for the PlayStation 2. "One of the best music/rythm games ever made. Brilliant music, great controls and excellent difficulty ramping" (submitted by ravvy)

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  • Flash!Bang! Episode 6- PS3 Launch Coverage
    http://www.FlashBangShow.com/Episode6.html

    My friend and I spent the morning filming the PS3 launch all over town and finding out all about the shortages and whether anyone was actually playing the PS3. What we found out might surprise you.

    In this episode we find out:
    Only 80,000 PS3s Shipped

    In our town Wal-Mart only received 6 of them

    Most pre-orders are not going to be able to be filled until next year

    Not one person we talked to was buying the system to play, but to Ebay

    Security was tight at most stores and people were agitated

    Only game anyone was buying was Resistance: Fall of Man (To bundle on Ebay)

    A whole lot more with our review of the system, coverage of the games, and coverage of the opening from big chains, to small ones, and to boutique shops we cover it on Episode 6.