Late Night Consoling


A controversial documentary on Nintendo is set to run on the BBC next week...titled Outrageous Fortunes: Nintendo, this is the latest in a series of such documentaries, and aims to showcase some of the skeletons in Nintendo's closet. It sounds like much of it will focus on the fact that former president Hiroshi Yamauchi amassed a fortune of some $1.4 billion and retired, while poor Shigeru Miyamoto still rides a bike to work every day. I have a hard time feeling sorry for poor, poor Miyamoto, who from previous reports lives modestly by choice, and is quite well off himself. Other inflammatory stuff to be aired in this documentary is evidence that Nintendo "knew in advance" that some of their games could trigger epileptic seizures (well no kidding...any flashing lights can cause siezures). It sounds like a bunch of cheap shots at Nintendo, a company that I'm sure has a lot of real dirt that could be dredged up. Personally I'd like to know about the real power struggles in Nintendo towards the end of Yamauchi's reign, hear a first-hand account of the infamous Nintendo-Philips-Sony spat that resulted in the creation of the PlayStation and CD-I, and the extent to which Nintendo bullied third party developers during the SNES days. But the stuff in this documentary? That's just sensationalism.
Xbox X-ternal HD for Xbox 2? Okay this one is from the "totally unsubstantiated rumor" department...gadget blog Engadget ran a rumor yesterday from a reader who claims to have met J. Allard of Microsoft's Xbox division while skiing in February. Anyway, according to this reader, Allard (who was buying rounds of a particularly gross sounding concoction involving Red Bull and tequila, two things that should never, ever be combined) told him that the current plan for the Xbox 2 was not to include an internal hard drive, but instead offer a portable, external one, that would serve as a sort of "iPod killer" and include digital audio functionality. Now, I've poked around and have gotten absolutely nothing to suggest that there's any truth here. However I was told by one source that Allard was skiing in February. Take that as you will, although if I were a betting man, I'd say this is pure fiction.
n-gage N-Gage 2 Revealed? Gizmodo, the other gadget blog of note, ran something interesting themselves today...submitted by an anonymous reader are what appear to be the first photos of Nokia's next iteration of the N-Gage. Assuming these are real (and they're good enough to pass for real), here's the good stuff: no more Sidetalkin', a way to change games without removing the battery, and what looks to be at least a slight improvement on the system's lousy button layout. The bad? It's still got that vertical screen (ditch the phone legacy guys, it ain't helping) and it appears to be in a really repulsive pea soup color.
Xbox EA on Xbox Live Suddenly Possible? IGN Sports has conducted an interview with Greg Thomas, the president of Visual Concepts, who talks a bit about their next round of sports games. As someone whose eyes glaze over at the first sight of anything sports related, I totally missed this, but thankfully over at Slashdot Games they're a bit more interested in such subjects, and they point out that Greg states that next year, Microsoft will be opening up their network, and will allow publishers to run their own servers. That's huge, as that really was the big hurdle that prevented EA from supporting Xbox Live. I never thought I'd say this, but after reading this, I wouldn't be at all surprised if EA announces Xbox Live support next month at E3.
GameBoy Advance Final Fantasy 1 & 2 Advance Announced Good news for Final Fantasy fans...Square's finally announced plans to port two of the regular FF games to the GBA. No, it's not FFVI (I can still dream), but instead Final Fantasy 1 & 2 Advance, a single cart containing the two games that were recently released for PSOne as Final Fantasy Origins. The PSOne ports were largely straight ports, with only a few extras thrown in, but these appear to be a bit more substantial, with a whole new dungeon being added to FF1, and a new chapter in FF2. If this is a success, hopefully Square will release the rest of the series (or at least FFVI) on GBA. And you know, Chrono Trigger would be great too...
GameCube Nintendo's New GameCube Gadget IGN is reporting that Japanese news outlet Kyoto Shimbun ran a story today claiming that Nintendo will unveil a new peripheral for GameCube at E3 next month, which will "add entirely new gameplay functionality" to the system. I'm guessing it's a new, hi-tech version of the ROB robot from the NES. Anyone backing me up here? Huh? Okay, maybe not.
Nintendo 30 DS Games at E3? In a Reuters story today that reported on Nintendo's continued stance as the #1 game software publisher in Japan during the fiscal year that ended on March 31st, Hirokazu Hamamura, the president of developer Enterbrain, claims that Nintendo will showcase as many as 30 titles for their new DS handheld system at E3. I'll go out on a limb here and guess that's a major overstatement. If there's more than 15, I'll be shocked, but 30? No way.
PS2 Two New Tales Games Confirmed Namco has a teaser on their Japanese-language site announcing a big announcement for their Tales series, but it looks like the cat's out of the bag a bit early. GameSpot is reporting that next week's issue of Jump magazine (which has leaked out already) announces two new PS2 titles: a port of last year's GameCube game Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Rebirth, an original entry in the series, which has a surprisingly non-nonsensical title. Sadly, my dreams of Tales of Count Chocula will have to go unfulfilled for another year.
PS2 Xbox Xbox Sales Double, Sony Ready to Drop? Further proving that lower prices == bigger sales (at least in the short term, anyway), Microsoft has announced that following their price cut to $149, sales of the Xbox doubled. Also, while this has been rumored for some time now, is reporting that current rumors suggest that Sony will announce their own $149 price drop, but also include two bundled games.
Nintendo Nintendo's Previous "DS" Systems A fun little article is up at Pocket.IGN tonight, looking back on some of Nintendo's previous systems that utilized two screens. This list includes the two-screen version of the Game & Watch, the craptacular Playchoice-10 arcade system and what I firmly believe is the worst system ever made (yeah, you read that right), the Virtual Boy.
PS2 Viewtiful Dante? Citing "a highly placed US source operating close to Capcom", Computer and Video Games is reporting that the still unannounced PS2 port of Viewtiful Joe will feature Dante, the lead character from Capcom's Devil May Cry as a bonus playable character. Since the game still hasn't been announced (or even officially confirmed), it's hard to guess as the legitimacy of this story, but I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be true.
PS2 Roy Batty in Killzone? Several places today (here's IGN's story on the subject) reported that Rutger Hauer, the actor who delivered one of the greatest improv lines ever put on film in Blade Runner, appears in some manner in the upcoming shooter Killzone. Their source for this is the Internet Movie Database, which added Hauer to the cast list for the game. The IMDB isn't always right about this sort of thing (they've jumped the gun many times in the past), but this is less implausible than most. Expect an announcement at E3.
GameBoy Advance PlayStation Rockstar Acquires Mobius Rockstar Games announced yesterday that they have acquired Mobius Entertainment, the developers of the recent GBA port of Max Payne. The company will be renamed Rockstar Leeds, and will concentrate on creating games for GBA and PSP. Full disclosure: In just over a week, I will become a full-time employee of Rockstar Games/Take Two Interactive.
  Misc. Media/Previews
GameCube IGN has new stuff from the bizarre Killer 7 and the somewhat less bizarre Baten Kaitos.
PS2 GameSpot has some new details and media from Suikoden IV as well as the first screens from Resident Evil Outbreak File #2, new previews of UFC: Sudden Impact and Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain and new media from God of War and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, IGN has their own media from Metal Gear Solid 3 and new stuff from Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, and GameSpy previews the truly insane Katamari Damashii: The Snowball Effect and Bujingai: The Forsaken City.
Xbox New footage from Full Spectrum Warrior is up at GameSpot, IGN has a new look at Jade Empire and a ton of new shots from Rallisport Challenge 2, Games Are Fun has new shots from Fable and 1UP has a Rallisport Challenge 2 "crash test".
GameBoy Advance New shots from Sonic Advance 3 can be found at Gamespot and IGN has the first shots from Puyo Puyo Fever.
GameCube PS2 Xbox GameSpot has new media from Van Helsing, Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy and Powerdrome (all PS2, Xbox) and Resonance (GC, PS2, Xbox), IGN has new media from StarCraft: Ghost (GC, PS2, Xbox), The Red Star (PS2, Xbox), and Red Dead Revolver (PS2, Xbox) and GameInformer goes hands-on with Serious Sam: Next Encounter (PS2, Xbox).
Console Game of the Evening: Blaster Master for the NES. "Not only did this game have some of the best graphics of its time, but the soundtrack was rather amazing as well. Get bored driving your land rover? Jump out of it and run around looking like a mini version of mini me. This game had it all!" (submitted by bozer).

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