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Video Game News from January 2005

Filed Under: General Gaming

According to this article from Yahoo News, the state of Louisiana is trying to lure the gaming industry to its swampy, drunk, and hurricane-prone borders. Sorry, didn't mean to offend any Louisianans (of course you're probably too drunk to realize it ;) ). Anyway, Louisiana has been luring Hollywood with big tax credits and now they want to do the same for the gaming industry. Currently, the gaming industry tends to be located on both coasts with New England and California/Seattle dominating the business due to universities that offer comprehensive gaming industry degrees. But, Louisiana is out to change that. "Grand Theft Auto: New Orleans" here we come!

Posted by Jeremy on January 3, 2005 8:50 AM |

Filed Under:

The Associated Press is reporting out of Camp Fallujah, Iraq that "the video game generation has grown up and gone to war, taking along its preferred form of entertainment". The article suggests "games are as ubiquitous at Camp Fallujah and around it as tattoos", and it goes on to describe the video game scene there, where the Navy Engineers prefer "Half-Life 2", the Marines opt to pick up their PS2 controllers at the gym for some "Madden NFL 2005" tournament action, and "Neverwinter Nights" reigns supreme in the public affairs office. All of this shows, once again, that a video game's ability to distract people from reality can really be a positive. I'm thinking a Lunabean "Send games to our troops" movement is in order. I'll start working on that, and I'll let you know what I come up with. Read the article.

Posted by Allison on January 3, 2005 8:50 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

We are so pleased to announce the completion of our Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Walkthrough and Strategy Guide for the Xbox. We had one goal in mind while writing this guide, and that goal was to get you through the game. Since the decisions your character makes often determines how the game plays out, we played the game with one constant, and that constant was the Light Side. For more details on how the guide was written, please go here. I will get the ad-free, printer-friendly and bookmarked guide up later today (along with a quick FAQ). Once that is done, Jer and I will go through the game and write a quick "Dark Side" version. Since the majority of the guide has been written already, we expect the Dark Side version to take less than a week. YAY!

Posted by Allison on January 3, 2005 8:52 AM |

Filed Under: PC

Gamespy and IGN are this morning reporting that Microsoft Game Studios and Ensemble Studios today officially announced Age of Empires III for the PC. While we tend to shy away from PC games, the original 1997 Age of Empires is one of a small handful of games directly responsible for peaking our interest in the video gaming industry. We missed Age of Empires II, but, after checking out the screenshots, I can assure you this third game in the series won't get by us.

Posted by Allison on January 4, 2005 12:59 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PC | PS2 | Strategy Guide | Xbox

We are very pleased to announce that our Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Walkthrough and Strategy Guide is complete! The guide details every aspect of the game including all 9 Life Upgrades and all 50 Treasure Chests. The PDF guide, which you can purchase here, is 63 pages, beautifully bookmarked for convenience, and helps to support Lunabean, your favorite video game help site! If you're scared of downloads, you can also purchase the LB E-Guide which we'll send to you as an e-mail attachment or ship to you on CD-ROM. Enjoy the game and if you get stuck, you know where to go.

Posted by Jeremy on January 4, 2005 1:03 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube | General Gaming | PS2 | Xbox

Thanks to Lunabeanie Li9uid2 for pointing out the wicked awesome clearance sale going on at GameFly.com. Not only can you get some of the year's best used games for extremely low prices (Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy for only $9.99, Driv3r for only $7.99, and our LB GotY Tales of Symphonia for only $19.99 are a few that stand out), but if you order by January 9th, you'll get free shipping, too. So, get shopping! , and check out the great deals Li9uid2 received.

Posted by Allison on January 4, 2005 1:40 PM |

Filed Under: Xbox

And who wouldn't want to date an Xbox? Oh, I mean, Doom 3 the wildly popular PC shooter has a release date! According to EB Games and GameStop you can pick up your copy of the game on March 1, 2005 here in the States. Of course, if you're going to buy it, you could help support Lunabean by purchasing it via Amazon.

Posted by Jeremy on January 5, 2005 10:46 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

From the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this morning, George Harrison (Nintendo of America's senior VP of marketing and communications) announced to the world that, "Publishers and game players have only just begun to tap the potential of Nintendo DS." He went on to announce that new games planned for the first quarter of 2005 will expand the current community of 1.3 million new North American DS owners "by demonstrating that there's more to hand-held video games than pretty pictures". Check the press release for the list of said games, along with some exciting GBA and Gamecube titles expected to be released this year.

Continue reading "Nintendo DS Looks to the Future"
Posted by Allison on January 5, 2005 11:10 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

EA and Nintendo today announced a partnership that will bring Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach to the GameCube version of NBA Street V3 (Feb. '05). I never really figured that Mario could dribble a basketball, much less dunk, but I guess he's been working out and has got his "hops" in order. The team of three will be available to play as the "Nintendo All-Stars Team" and are also available individually in the slam dunk contest. Hey, if Spudd Webb (the 5'7" 1986 NBA Slam Dunk winner) can do it, so can Mario.

Continue reading "Mario, Luigi, and Peach take on the NBA"
Posted by Jeremy on January 5, 2005 11:13 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Ravi Purushotma, a student who is currently enrolled in the Comparative Media Studies masters program at MIT, has written a terrific commentary concerning entertainment-focused media forms, and how educators need to learn to embrace them instead of looking at them as something "adversarial to educational content". Purushotma begins by explaining the frustration and boredom he once felt while filling out his German workbook in high school, then compares it to what his German experience would have been, had he learned German by playing The Sims. By switching one registry setting, Purushotma was able to play The Sims in German, and found the language to be quite similar to the language in his introductory German textbook. This is a wonderful article which goes beyond The Sims and needs to be read by anyone who is interested in turning the attitude toward the video gaming industry into a positive one.

Posted by Allison on January 5, 2005 11:52 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

No, this isn't the name of a fairy tale, this is the current craziness that is occuring ever since EA annouced it would buy a 20% stake in French publisher, Ubisoft. The big news after that announcement was that the French Government might help Ubi defend itself against a hostile takeover by EA. Now, we're hearing rumors that both Infogrames and Vivendi are in talks with Ubisoft regarding a possible 'white knight' purchase. Both Infogrames and Vivendi are French companies and neither want to see Ubisoft become an American company. We'll keep you up-to-date with any further developments.

Posted by Jeremy on January 5, 2005 11:52 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

At the Consumer Electronics Show today in Las Vegas, Electronic Arts announced its line-up of PSP launch titles, to be released alongside the Sony handheld this March. Along with previously announced EA Sports titles (Need for Speed Underground Rivals, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, NBA Street: Showdown (working title), and NFL Street 2: Unleashed), EA will also make available at launch FIFA Football and MVP Baseball. All six games feature "original game modes, head-to-head wi-fi multiplayer, unique content, party play and EA Pocket TRAX". For more details, check the press release, or go directly to www.psp.ea.com.

Continue reading "EA Announces PSP Launch Line-Up"
Posted by Allison on January 6, 2005 11:20 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

TechWeb is today reporting that Bill Gates' keynote presentation last night at the Consumer Electronics Show was chock full of glitches, including the dreaded blue screen of death emerging from the on-stage Xbox. Late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien, who shared the stage with Mr. Gates, said of the glitches, "right now nine people are being fired," and "Who's in charge of Microsoft? Oh.". Sadly, the Xbox crash is just about all of the Xbox news that has emerged from the CES.

Posted by Allison on January 6, 2005 11:49 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Konami of Europe today officially unveiled a new Castlevania game for the Nintendo DS. The game, set in 2036, a year after the event of Aria of Sorrow (GBA), places the protagonist, Soma Cruz, in the middle of a secretive cult's plans to resurrect their lord and master, Dracula. While the 2D side-scroller will maintain the classic gameplay fans of the series have come to expect, the DS's touch screen capability will bring to the game "innovative gameplay elements". For example, according to GamesIndustry.biz, there is a new "Magic Seal" system where, "by using the stylus directly on the screen, players must connect a series of symbols in the proper order to unlock an enchanted opening and disperse their enemy's magic into it when they are weakened." Read more...

Posted by Allison on January 6, 2005 12:25 PM |

Filed Under: Xbox

CNet News sat down with Bill Gates at the CES. The fairly in-depth interview covers many areas of Microsoft's plans for '05. Of course, we're interested in the Xbox 2 information. The basic gist is that Gates wants to see the Xbox 2 become your home media center with the ability to connect to your PC in order to share pictures, music, etc, intimating that he wants, "Media Center PC and Xbox [to] become totally complementary." In addition, Microsoft wants to make sure that games are accessible to a wide audience of people saying, "We can make these hot, super great graphics games something that are easy for people to use." Continue reading for more excerpts...

Continue reading "Gates on Xbox 2"
Posted by Jeremy on January 7, 2005 11:32 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

OK, so not such a big deal here in the States, but for you international Beanies, EA has today announced EA Sports Rugby 2005 for the PS2, Xbox, and PC due out in spring of 2005. The game, "incorporates all the major Rugby teams, players, and tournaments, including the Tri-Nations, Super 12 and many more authentic and prestigious events from the world of Rugby." Hey, I always enjoy watching Rugby, I just don't have a clue what's going on.

Continue reading "EA Announces Rugby 2005"
Posted by Jeremy on January 7, 2005 11:43 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Ubisoft has released its first set of PS2 Splinter Cell 3: Chaos Theory screenshots for everyone's viewing pleasure. As always, we have made these screens available for viewing, watermark-free (after all, we didn't make the screenshots, why ruin them for you with our logo), right here. If you want to use these images to spread the Splinter Cell love, please save them and upload them to your own server. Otherwise, we'll have to hunt you down and kill you, Sam Fisher style. The screens can also be viewed (but not saved) on the official Splinter Cell PS2 site.

Continue reading "Ubisoft Releases First PS2 Chaos Theory Screens"
Posted by Allison on January 7, 2005 12:03 PM |

Filed Under: Lunabean

As we continue to make our way through the Dark Side of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (to complement our KOTOR 2 Light Side Strategy Guide, already complete), we are preparing this weekend for a few fun games to be released next week. We are very much looking forward to the release of The Getaway: Black Monday (PS2), a sequel to one of the best GTA rip offs ever (plus, it takes place in London, which, somehow, makes it more fun), as we are also extremely excited (and a little anxious) about next week's Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube). To prepare for that one, Jer has been working hard, jumping out of closets and corners to scare the crap out of me at every chance. Only the strong will survive! Finally, we are very interested in the LucasArts Mercenaries game, also to be released next week. The Getaway 2 and RE4 will definitely get priority, but Mercenaries will give us something to play during the inevitable February gaming lull. Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted by Allison on January 7, 2005 12:36 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Nintendo DS

Nintendo today unveiled their release schedule for 2005. Notable on the list for the GameCube are Resident Evil 4 (Jan. 11), Star Fox: Assault (Feb. 14), Geist (Q2) and "an all-new adventure of The Legend of Zelda from Nintendo is in development." For the DS, we're looking forward to WarioWare: Touched (Feb. 14) and Retro Atari Classics (March). For the GBA:SP, look for The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Jan. 10) and Winnie the Pooh. I'm kidding about Winnie the Pooh. Anyway, it's not a stellar line-up but there are enough good games in there to make me happy. To see the full list, continue reading...

Continue reading "Nintendo's 2005 Line-Up"
Posted by Jeremy on January 10, 2005 9:53 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

According to many sources, including CNNMoney, EA today announced that it will develop a football game based on the AFL (Arena Football League). The deal would see the first EA AFL game in 2006 and as part of the package, EA will share in the profits of future expansion teams. The AFL, which has been around for 19 years, has 17 teams throughout the country and uses a 50 yard field and 8 players. It is broadcast on NBC, who also share in the profits. I can see it now, the California EA Gamers vs. the Grand Rapids Rampage. Oy. Here is the official announcement from the AFL.

Posted by Jeremy on January 10, 2005 10:55 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

As reported in various publications, including Reuters, Rockstar has announced a "Grand Theft Auto" game for the Sony PSP. The PSP is due to launch in March and rumor is that the "GTA" game might be ready. The game will be set in Liberty City. I have yet to figure out if it'll be a 2D god-view or a third person view like the recent "GTA" console games. I would guess it'll be a third person view. This is good news for the PSP, which I still contend will be the next N-Gage. I do believe that I'll be proven wrong on that point, but I'm sticking to my guns. For more information on the new "GTA" game, go here.

Posted by Jeremy on January 10, 2005 11:26 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

If you're a fan of the Stealth/Action genre then you may want to look for "Stolen" in March (Xbox, PS2, PC). The Stolen Website just launched and, although a bit sparsely populated at this point, it gives you a good idea of the game with some screenshots, movies, and background. Basically, you'll play as Anya Romanov, a sexy, high-tech thief who needs to break into various high-profile locations and steal priceless items. Of course, there is a "mature story" to go along with all of this action. We'll update you when we hear more about the game.

Continue reading "Stolen Website Goes Live"
Posted by Jeremy on January 11, 2005 11:47 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

While perusing the game pages at Engadget.com, I came across a piece of gaming news which gave me a serious giggle. According to the article, Nintendo is working on a new game for the DS called Nintendogs, or Puppy Times in the US. It's a puppy simulator, and it's frikin' adorable! I can't wait to take care of my puppy. I love him so much already! Check it out here.

Posted by Allison on January 11, 2005 12:11 PM |

Filed Under:

Since The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA) officially launched yesterday and is beginning to trickle into stores today, you may care to stop by your favorite gaming shop to pick it up, and to see if they received an early copy of today's huge releases: Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube) and The Getaway: Black Monday (PS2). While reviews have been mixed for this Getaway sequel, the RE4 reviews have been glorious. As for the Zelda game, well, it's a Zelda game. You know what to expect, and you'll love every minute of it.

Posted by Allison on January 11, 2005 12:36 PM |

Filed Under: PC | Xbox

Lately, you've probably been thinking, "Hmm...I really want a squad-based FPS Star Wars game where I'd command four elite Republic Commandos set in a time period between Ep. II and Ep. III." Well, my friend, if that is indeed what you were thinking (and why wouldn't you be) then boy is Lucas Arts going to make you happy. The Star Wars: Republic Commando (Xbox, PC, March 1, '05) website recently launched and this game looks awesome! Using the Unreal engine, you will be in charge of four elite Republic Commandos much like other squad-based games like the "Conflict" series and "SOCOM". The Xbox version will feature lots of XboxLIVE play and the single-player campaign has 14 missions for you to attempt.

Continue reading "SW: Republic Commando Website Launches"
Posted by Jeremy on January 12, 2005 8:59 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Yesterday, G4TechTV announced that it is dropping the "TechTV" from its name and simply going with "G4", thus consolidating and concentrating their lame programming. Example: They also announced two new shows for '05: "Formula D," and "Girls Gone Wired." "Formula D" covers the Drift Racing world. Drift Racing is very popular in Japan and is gaining ground in the States. Basically, the sport is about skidding out and keeping control of your car rather than worrying about time. Think of it as Kudos points in "Project Gotham Racing". Still, dedicating lots of time to it? Hmm? Meanwhile, "Girls Gone Wired," is an abomination of a show that is essentially a beauty pageant for digital women. Tentatively hosted by Hal Sparks (who I do find funny, grr!), he and a panel of other "experts" will rate 2D and 3D digital women on a, "quest to crown the hottest video game vixen." And then what? Where's your show after that? Are we ever going to elevate the culture surrounding video games or are we stuck watching what a 12-16 year old boy wants to see? May as well throw in some WWE while you're at it.

Continue reading "G4 Announces '05 Plans"
Posted by Jeremy on January 12, 2005 9:41 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Want to make a couple hundred bucks? Think you can beat George Costanza's "Frogger" hi-score of 863,050? Can you get through Halo 2 on Legendary difficulty without losing a single life? How about beating "Silent Hill" in less than 30 minutes or beating the world record of 67,310 for "Pole Position"? If you can accomplish these, or any of the other bounties at TwinGalaxies, they will send you cash money! That's right, they have $20,000 to give away this year. Get those thumbs warmed up!

Posted by Jeremy on January 12, 2005 10:09 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

In a press release issued today, Oxygen Entertainment has given a release date of May '05 to "Pilot Down: Behind Enemy Lines" (Xbox, PS2, PC). The game is set during WWII and follows downed American pilot Bill Foster who has landed in Germany and must battle both the harsh winter and the elite German soldiers as he makes his way to the safety of the Swiss border (and some hot chocolate, I'd presume). The game is played in the 3rd person and is drawn in a comic book style and looks almost like a WWII version of Ubisoft's underrated XIII. This game has been in development for 3 years so it's nice to finally see a flare!

Continue reading "We Have a "Pilot Down""
Posted by Jeremy on January 13, 2005 12:37 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

The ESA (Etertainment Software Assoc.) recently released a study of gamers. Their findings: gamers are people, too. Amazing, I know. The study says, "New research...shatters myths about the profile of typical American video game players, revealing that they regularly volunteer, exercise, and attend religious services." What I find most interesting is that gamers are very well informed and caring people: 93% read books or the daily newspaper, 94% follow news and current events, 78% vote, and the average gamer volunteers an average of 5.4 hours/month. Hugs for everyone! What's next? TV viewers are people, too? NEVER!

Continue reading "Amazing! Gamers Are People, Too."
Posted by Jeremy on January 13, 2005 12:52 PM |

Filed Under: Lunabean | Strategy Guide | Xbox

We are very pleased to announce our Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - DARK SIDE - Strategy Guide and Walkthrough is complete! We also have a Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - LIGHT SIDE - Strategy Guide and Walkthrough which has been finished for a few weeks now. Having both the Light Side and the Dark Side also allows us to offer a wonderful KOTOR II - LIGHT AND DARK SIDE COMBO guide, available in our Downloadable/On-Demand Guide Store or as an E-Guide (e-mail or CD). Of course, you can purchase either of the guides individually, as well. Continue reading for more details...

Continue reading "KOTOR II - Light and Dark Side Strategy Guide"
Posted by Jeremy on January 13, 2005 1:10 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube

According to various sources, Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata called the successor to the GameCube (codename: Revolution) a "paradigm shift". And for any of you losers out there who didn't study in english class: paradigm. Iwata hints that the innovative thinking that went into Nintendo's DS is the same kind of thinking they'll apply to the Revolution. Iwata also wants to make sure that the Revolution is extremely easy to use. We should get our first glimpse of the Revolution this May at E3. Maybe Nintendo is working on a home entertainment system and it'll surprise TiVo, MS, and Apple? That would be sweet.

Posted by Jeremy on January 14, 2005 9:02 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

If you're not in the know, I have a weird fascination with lambasting the Nokia N-Gage. That's why my evil meter spiked yesterday when I read this piece on Engadget. It appears that ChartTrack has removed the N-Gage from their ELSPA charts saying, "The N-Gage chart, though still produced, is of little interest to anyone. Sales of the machine and its software have failed to make any impact on the market at all." So sad, I may even shed a tear...wait no, that's a tear of joy for seeing such a terrible product get what it deserves: irrelevance. The N-Gage is not to be confused with the N-Gage QD which will probably be joining its older sibling in the land of misfit toys sometime in the next year.

Posted by Jeremy on January 14, 2005 9:18 AM |

Filed Under: Lunabean | PC | Strategy Guide | Xbox

Yesterday, Allison and I finished up the LB "KOTOR II" Dark Side Strategy Guide. As a SPECIAL BONUS to all of you who bought the LB "KOTOR II" Light Side Strategy Guide before January 13, 2005, we will send you, via email, a FREE LB "KOTOR II" Dark Side Strategy Guide. Simply visit our Contact Form and send us your request along with your Name and Order ID/Confirmation. We'll verify your purchase and send you the FREE guide!

In other LB News, we picked up Resident Evil 4 and Zelda: The Minish Cap. We'll begin play on RE4 and shortly thereafter, start a Strategy Guide for it. Enjoy the weekend!

Posted by Jeremy on January 14, 2005 10:39 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

According to this story from Reuters, EA is in talks with several TV production companies regarding a "Sims" interactive TV show. The basic premise is that viewers would control the actions of a family by voting on such things as when to go to bed and when to eat in the kitchen. I imagine it'd be a reality TV show of some kind, but when the show is based on a video game, that line becomes a bit blurry. I think it's a bad idea. America's love affair with reality TV is waning and unless it were something revolutionary, I don't think people would tune in. And, I've never been a fan of internet vote shows (like Big Brother). But hey, that's just me.

Posted by Jeremy on January 17, 2005 8:42 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Recently, the Liverpool (UK) city council installed Playstation-equipped exercise machines in several of the city's gyms according to this article from Digital-Lifestyles.info. Since then, the gyms have seen an increase of usage amongst youths of 15% and also sees interest growing in adults. We tend to follow gaming/exercise stories as Allison had the brilliant video gaming gym idea several years ago. Of course, Allison's scheme is still better, combining DDR, the Eye-Toy and lots of PS2s/Xboxes for the stationary devices like bikes and treadmills. Perhaps LunaBeanercise is still a possibility.

Posted by Jeremy on January 17, 2005 10:53 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Bungie.net has been doing a great job keeping its site up-to-date regarding everything that is Halo 2. Last week's Bungie Weekly What's Update addresses the concern that many gamers are being banned from XboxLIVE. Why you may ask? Generally, because they were being asses. More specifically, "Cheating, network-exploiting, cursing, swearing, threatening or abusing other players." I'm happy that Bungie and XboxLIVE are concerned about the level of respect amongst gamers and are trying to address any cheating. It makes XboxLIVE a happier, better place for us all!

Posted by Jeremy on January 17, 2005 10:55 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Strategy Guide

We had every intention of playing and writing this Resident Evil 4 Strategy Guide as we play and write most of our strategy guides. This is a process which usually entails a good two to three hour sit down with a game to "get to know it", then restart where we begin to write the walkthrough. However, a funny thing happened while playing this latest Capcom release: We simply couldn't put it down.
Purchase from Amazon | Rent RE4 from GameFly.com

Continue reading "Resident Evil 4 Strategy Guide Update"
Posted by Allison on January 17, 2005 10:57 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

GamesIndustry.biz is this morning reporting that Sony has come forward, admitting to the authenticity of a leaked PSP update, but warns PSP users against installing the software on the handheld, as it may damage the hardware. The file, which accidentally became public on Sony's website, was found to include a wide range of new applications for the PSP; from web applications (a browser and e-mail client) to various tools (a word processor, a text to speech utility and a spreadsheet utility). Read more...

Posted by Allison on January 18, 2005 10:43 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

EA and ESPN have announced a 15 year integrated marketing deal allowing all of EA's sports franchises access to ESPN's programming, online content, and personalities. No financial terms were announced although some are putting the value at $850 million. The deal begins in 2006 as ESPN still has a year left on their Sega contract and coincidentally, EA has a year left on their Madden contract. EA, I'm betting, will be dumping the aging Madden at the end of this year. This move happens after the recent exclusive deals with the NFL, AFL, and being snubbed by the NBA. Knowing that 20% of the gaming market is sports games, that EA has always dominated sports games with few exceptions, and Sega's ESPN NFL 2K5 actually challenged Madden '05 this year, EA is simply out to crush the competition. They are showing no mercy in securing long term deals with huge properties. And, they're after Ubisoft. Is there any stopping this behemoth? And, is this a bad thing? Comment...

Posted by Jeremy on January 18, 2005 11:12 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

According to The NPD Group, a leading marketing information provider, U.S. retail sales of video games, hardware and accessories, saw sales of over $9.9 billion in 2004. This represents a decline of less than one per cent when compared to the 2003 annual sales of $10 billion. Interestingly enough, while dollar sales were slightly down, unit sales were up 4%. This can be explained by a number of factors, including an increase in sales of lower cost portable game titles (which broke the $1 billion mark for the first time), a price drop in both PS2 and Xbox consoles, and a widely publicized shortage of certain consoles, pointing holiday buyers to the lower cost handhelds.

Continue reading "NPD Group Reports 2004 Video Game Retail Sales"
Posted by Allison on January 18, 2005 11:22 AM |

Filed Under: Lunabean

Every once in a while, we do enjoy a good academic discussion of the video game business as a whole: culture, government, narrative, perceptions of gamers, losing TV audiences to games, etc. This seems to be a shared sentiment amongst many "adult" gamers who are looking for more than simple "fanboy" reviews and comments about games. Things like, "The graphics were a 9 out of 10," and "Boy is Rayne sexy." Recently, Matthew Sakey of the International Game Developers Assoc. (IDGA) wrote this piece regarding the downfall of video game print magazines and why that downfall has occured. Thank goodness you have Lunabean! From Governors trying to ban violent video games to covering the Phantom and all the sketchy people behind it, we do our best to give you interesting and useful video game news, reviews, and of course, walkthroughs! In a desert of fanboys, we're your oasis.

Posted by Jeremy on January 18, 2005 11:36 AM |

Filed Under: PC

Last week I spotted a little rumor on the black & white flag suggesting Blizzard's World of Warcraft had been pulled from store shelves as the game had "oversold" and Blizzard didn't have the server power necessary to maintain all the players. While I can't confirm the actual "pulling" of this product from shelves, a quick internet search does suggest the game is backordered on many gaming sites. Today, after a miserable World of Warcraft weekend, where 20 of the 88 WoW servers were down, Gamespot has put together an interesting article which looks further into Blizzard's WoW problems, and the inevitable ensuing backlash.

Posted by Allison on January 19, 2005 10:54 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Capcom has today launched the official Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening website for your interactive pleasure. It seems, this time around, players will explore Dante's demonic past, including the happenings of his evil twin brother. The new website features new game details, screenshots, downloads and even a DMC3 trailer. In all honesty, we've never been fans of the Devil May Cry series, but, with the awesomeness of Capcom's Resident Evil 4, we're more than willing to give DMC3 a fair chance. DMC3 is expected to be released for the PS2 the first week of March 2005.

Posted by Allison on January 19, 2005 11:15 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Online game retailer EB Games has updated their site to reflect a new limited edition of Bioware's Xbox exclusive RPG Jade Empire, which, among other things, will include a bonus character and fighting style. Sadly, they have also updated their site to reflect a one month delay in the release of Jade Empire, putting the release date at April 26, 2005. Perhaps you could play BioWare's KOTOR while waiting for the game. After all, in BioWare fashion, both RPGs allow you to choose your good or evil path, affecting how others interact with you. And, really, a lot of those KOTOR moves are of martial arts fashion...with the addition of a lightsaber, of course.

Posted by Allison on January 19, 2005 11:39 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Microsoft today announced some amazing stats for XboxLIVE. First, XboxLIVE now has 1.4 million users worldwide. Second, Halo 2 has sold 6.4 million copies, logged 91 million hours and nearly 61 million logged sessions (averaging 90 minutes per session) on XboxLIVE. Third, 2005 is shaping up to be a good XboxLIVE year with Star Wars: Republic Commando, Doom III, and Conker: Live and Reloaded. Still, my favorite XboxLIVE game so far has been Star Wars: Battlefront followed closely by Project Gotham Racing 2.

Continue reading "XboxLIVE en Fuego"
Posted by Jeremy on January 20, 2005 9:42 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

As reported in GamesIndustry, Nokia is denying that it is shutting down its N-Gage product line. The rumor began when tech site, The Inquirer, reported that Nokia is shutting down an N-Gage R&D facility in Germany. To boot, as we reported, the UK's ChartTrack delisted the N-Gage from its sales charts saying, "Sales of the machine and its software have failed to make any impact on the market at all." Nonetheless, Nokia claims it is "completely committed" to the N-Gage. It would make sense if Nokia would ditch the N-Gage but still offer the N-Gage QD (the 2nd generation which was rushed to market due to the atrocious design and universally bad feedback of the original). The N-Gage is a poorly designed plastic albatross hanging around the neck of the cell phone maker and the sooner Nokia realizes this the better for us all.

Posted by Jeremy on January 20, 2005 10:12 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Spong.com is reporting a "world exclusive": the release date of the next generation Xbox, well, at least the time frame. In an unpublished press release from EA in regards to Need for Speed: Most Wanted, that only Spong received (fishy?), EA says that the game will ship in late 2005 for all major platforms including a, "?simultaneous ship, with the Xbox2 platform." Hmm? Yes, we all know that MS is on track to launch the Xbox 2 for Holiday 2005 but I just can't see EA being so sloppy with a press release that only one online gaming mag received. I also can't see MS being so sloppy as to let EA be so sloppy. We'll keep you updated if any confirmation takes place.

Posted by Jeremy on January 20, 2005 10:38 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Thanks to Slashdot and Engadget for bringing us the story of edisoncarter over at GTAforums.com. It seems that Mr. edisoncarter connected some 3rd party PS2 controller to a parallel port for signal injection, then used a custom app to run key combinations through his controller until he game up with a handful of GTA: San Andreas cheats unreleased by Rockstar. We applaud you edisoncarter!

Posted by Allison on January 20, 2005 10:41 AM |

Filed Under: PC

InformationWeek.com is reporting the American taxpayer funded video game/recruitment tool America's Army has a few "security holes", of which hackers have started to take advantage. The producers of the game have a warning for these hackers: "The Army is angry, and we're coming for you". According to article, executive producer Phil DeLuca posted on the AA site, "We know who you are, and can track down where you play from", then states he'll have help from, "the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations." In case that warning isn't enough, DeLuca reminds the hackers of the lesson Japan learned in the 1940s. Which lesson is that, Paul? Are you going to nuke the hackers? My guess is it was the Japanese reference that caused the removal of threat from the America's Army website.

Posted by Allison on January 21, 2005 8:58 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

The University of Wisconsin, Madison, is doing some great video game research. The article, Games that make leaders: top researchers on the rise of play in business and education, discusses the increasing use of video games as a training medium for various industries, particularly the Military, Biomedical, and Emergency Response fields stating, "Video games let their players step into new personas and explore alternatives. Not only that, but people can try to solve problems they?re not good at yet, get immediate feedback on the consequences and try again immediately."

Posted by Jeremy on January 21, 2005 9:29 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Ken Kutargi, Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) President, recently admitted that Sony's reticence to adopt the MP3 format and it's insistence on proprietary music and movie formats was a huge mistake. As reported in many news sources, including Forbes, Kutargi criticized Sony's managment for missing out on an iPod-esque device and claimed that Sony lost its sense of innovation and research. He now claims that Sony has it's act together, saying, "We have to concentrate on our original nature - challenging and creating."

Continue reading "SCEA Chief Admits Mistakes"
Posted by Jeremy on January 21, 2005 9:30 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Just a note to let you all know we are flying through our Resident Evil 4 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. We expect to complete it by late today or tomorrow, and we're hoping to get the final version up by the end of the weekend. Also, since it's moved so quickly, and because it's such a beautiful game, I'm thinking a screeshot version of the strategy guide may be in order. If you haven't played this game yet, do so. It's easily the best gaming experience we've had in at least a year.
LB's RE4 Guide | Buy RE4 from Amazon | Rent RE4 from GameFly.com

Posted by Allison on January 21, 2005 9:36 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

According to this article from GamesIndustry.biz, EA has announced 13 games for late 2005 and early 2006 which will be playable on the Xbox 2. None of the games are exclusive to the Xbox 2 with most of them also being made for the PS2 and Xbox. Some of the highlights include, Burnout 4, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, James Bond: From Russia with Love, SSX 4, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The fact that most of these games will be available on both the Xbox 2 and the Xbox may signal that there will not be backwards compatibility built in to the Xbox 2. Get ready, 2005 is going to be a good gaming year!

Posted by Jeremy on January 24, 2005 9:16 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

There's a rumor floating around today that Tetris may be coming to the Nintendo DS. On EBGames' website there is a listing for Tetris DS, publisher: THQ, release date: March 8, 2005. I see that other gaming sites have contacted THQ with no reply. I have also sent a request to THQ from from Lunabean. Coincidentally (or is it), THQ's front page currently has a poll asking, "What's the longest amount of time you have played Tetris?" Hmm? Tetris on the DS would be great, especially if you could wireless play against other DSers.

Posted by Jeremy on January 24, 2005 9:33 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Strategy Guide

We are pleased to announce the completion of our Resident Evil 4 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. At this point, the RE4 Guide is only available in its free and ad-heavy form, as we're going to play through the game one last time to snap a few screenshots for a special version of the guide. When we complete that, we'll put up our RE4 .PDF guides for your gaming pleasure. We only expect this process to take another day or two, as we are now professional "RE4" players. While you're waiting, please enjoy our Free RE4 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide.

Posted by Allison on January 24, 2005 10:13 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Take-Two Interactive yesterday announced a semi-exclusive deal with the Major League Baseball Player's Association. The seven year deal starts in 2006 and prohibits third-party video game publishers from using the name or likeness of any MLBPA member. The deal does not yet extend to team names and stadiums, but Take-Two is working on that. This deal comes in the wake of EA buying exclusive rights to the NFL and ESPN and EA's 15 year deal to publish games. Take-Two seems to have made a bad deal.

Continue reading "Take-Two's Semi-Exclusive Deal with MLB"
Posted by Jeremy on January 25, 2005 10:48 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Every once in a great while a video game sneaks up on me from out of nowhere. Oddworld Stranger's Wrath is one of these games. I'd seen it mentioned here and there, but I had no idea it was near ready to ship, nor did I know that EA was the publisher of this title. I have only played Oddworld Munch's Oddysee (published by Microsoft Gaming Studios), and that was when the Xbox first came out. At the time I thought it was pretty, but I wasn't too impressed with the gameplay of it. It was fine, but I had more pressing Xbox games to attend to. Now, having read the press release announcing the shipment, and Team Xbox's review of the game (which shares my disappointment of Munch's Oddysee), I think it's fair to say I'm excited about this release. I love it when surprising news is good news.

Continue reading "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath Ships for Xbox"
Posted by Allison on January 25, 2005 11:21 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Being the hard hitting video game news source that we are, we're pleased to bring you rumor based on speculation, as posted on a video game forum by someone we've never heard of. With that being said, a post on the Gaming Age Forums reveals some "leaked" Nintendo Revolution details by someone who, apparently, has some credibility, as he was correct in some of the secret Nintendo DS information before it was released. Since even he is only 65% sure this information is accurate, I'm not going to go into detail here about the rumors. But, I will say, it has me quite curious. For further details, check out the Engadget and Gamespot articles.

Posted by Allison on January 25, 2005 12:16 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

UPDATE: Take-Two has signed a deal with Firaxis Games for the rights to the Civilization franchise. Civilization IV will be released under the 2K Games brand later this year.

As we reported yesterday, Take-Two Interactive purchased Visual Concepts, the sports studio of SEGA, for a bargain $24 million. Today, Take-Two has announced a new label named, "2K Games." This label will encapsulate Visual Concepts, Indie Built (a sports studio purchased from Microsoft), Venom Games, PopTop Software, Frog City Software, and Kush Games. The sports label for "2K Games" will be "2K Sports" meaning that the popular "NFL 2K5"-esque titles will probably still be in effect. The new studio isn't all sports, though. The studio will handle the Close Combat franchise and the upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory game.

Continue reading "UPDATE: Take-Two Launches New Label"
Posted by Jeremy on January 26, 2005 8:56 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Boy, there sure is a lot of deal making going on these days. In response to Take-Two's deal with the Major League Baseball Player's Association, EA's vice president of corporate communication said, "As far as we're concerned, this looks like stupid money...They are paying an exclusive price for a nonexclusive agreement." That pretty much sums up what I think about the deal as well. It's as if Take-Two felt so pressured to make a deal to offset the EA-NFL and EA-ESPN deals that it didn't care about the terms of the deal. Nonetheless, the current sports deal craze is exciting to watch. Stay tuned to see what happens with the NBA, NHL, PGA and NASCAR.

Posted by Jeremy on January 26, 2005 10:25 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Strategy Guide

While the free version of our Resident Evil 4 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide has been available for a few days, we're more than pleased to now offer you our Lunabean RE4 .PDF guides. They are ad-free, printer-friendly (text only version), and beautifully bookmarked for ease of navigation. Purchasing these guides also supports Lunabean, which we greatly appreciate. If you're curious as to what our .PDF guides look like, please check out our sample RE4 SCREENSHOT guide. If you like what you see, please visit our download store.
LBs RE4 Strategy Guide w/ Screenshots | LBs RE4 Strategy Guide (text only)

Posted by Allison on January 27, 2005 9:42 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Many sources are this morning reporting Konami's announcement of a European release date for its widely praised Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2). On March 4th our friends across the pond will be able to experience the greatness that is Solid Snake in its latest incarnation. Enjoy it, Europe. It's a super stealthy kick ass time! Oh, and if you need help, check out our MGS3 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide.

Posted by Allison on January 27, 2005 10:17 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Earlier today, during Sony's conference call discussing its third quarter earnings, a few somewhat cryptic comments were made regarding the Playstation 3. First, it was announced that Sony will be making a major PS3-related announcement at the end of March (we'll be counting the days until then). Second, it was announced that the PS3 will, indeed, make an appearance at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Sony states the console will be in some "playable" form, but left it at that. With this news, it seems all three next-gen consoles will be at E3. These are exciting times!

Posted by Allison on January 27, 2005 10:37 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Microsoft today announced that European sales of the Xbox have topped 5 million. MS sites hit titles such as Halo 2, Fable, and FIFA Football 2005 as well as value pricing, a limited edition Crystal Console, and XboxLIVE as the main reason for the success. With Europe's 5 million, Asia's 1.7 million, and North America's 13.2 million, that puts total sales of the Xbox at an impressive 19.9 million. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Continue reading "Xbox Milestone in Europe"
Posted by Jeremy on January 28, 2005 11:07 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Konami yesterday announced its 2005 line-up. The biggest game on their list would probably have to be the newest Castlevania game, subtitled Curse of Darkness. In this iteration, you'll play as a new character, Hector, who not only has a power called "Devil Forgery" but can also recruit "Innocent Devils" as allies to help defeat enemies. It is due out this Autumn. Also on Konami's list: Winning Eleven 8 International (Feb. 1), Metal Gear Acid (PSP), and Castlevania for DS (working title, Autumn). For a complete run down of their '05 line-up, continue reading...

Continue reading "Konami Announces 2005 Line-Up"
Posted by Jeremy on January 28, 2005 11:34 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

In other Microsoft news, yesterday, MS announced record revenue of $10.82 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2004. Buried in all that financial data are some glowing Xbox numbers. For the first time, the Xbox division delivered a positive operating income due in large part to strong sales of Halo 2 (6.3 million to date). Microsoft expects the Xbox division to be back in the red during '05 and '06 saying it won't reach sustained profiitablity until '07.

Continue reading "Xbox Makes Profit for First Time"
Posted by Jeremy on January 28, 2005 11:47 AM |

Filed Under: Lunabean

Yesterday, Allison and I decided that our next two walkthroughs would be Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath and The Getaway: Black Monday. We picked up The Getaway: Black Monday yesterday and after playing it for several hours I have to say it's one of the worst games we've played in some time, especially coming off the greatness that was Resident Evil 4. And, we liked the original, so something went terribly wrong. I'm going to put a little more time into it today just to make sure, but we've already decided to trash that idea and instead play Call of Duty: Finest Hour. Hopefully, that will be better. Either way, we're going to start in on Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath this weekend. Happy Friday and get gaming already!

Posted by Jeremy on January 28, 2005 11:57 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Yesterday, "Studio 360," a perennial favorite on public radio, aired a great piece on video games called, Players, Military, Super Mario. "Kurt Andersen and Slate journalist Clive Thompson discuss how video games are taking over the world ? from the art scene in New York to the front lines of the war in Iraq." The show is full of interesting points and perspectives including Nick, a wise 12 year old commenting on "social" aspects of gaming, "Most types of kids right now are social gamers. Usually it's the adults that are the crazed addicts who just sit in their basement and play, play, play." I have no idea what you're talking about Nick. *grabs 2-liter of soda and shuts basement shades* It's a good listen and it's free to stream, so listen in and give your brain a quick work out.

Posted by Jeremy on January 31, 2005 9:56 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

As we reported last week, Take-Two, and their new label, 2K Games, signed a semi-exlusive deal with the Major League Baseball Players Assoc. giving them the rights to players' names. Now, Take-Two has extended that deal to include team names, stadiums, minor league properties, and MLB.com content. They also announced that Derek Jeter, NY Yankees shortstop, will be the cover athlete for 2K Sports Baseball. The new deal did not clarify the fact that Take-Two is the "exclusive third-party" publisher meaning Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo retain the right to publish games for their specific consoles. Seeing as baseball video games are way down on the list of best selling sports titles, you have to wonder if this is a good deal.

Continue reading "Take-Two Hits Home Run...Or Did They?"
Posted by Jeremy on January 31, 2005 10:09 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Polyphony Digital and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe have today announced a March 9th release date for Gran Turismo 4 in PAL territories. The PAL version of the game will also have ten extra cars, in addition to the 700 cars included in the North American and Japanese versions of the game. While the North American version of the game remains undated, most have assumed, for some time, it will be an early to mid-March release. According to GameInformer, a North American release date should be announced later this week.
Official GT4 Site

Posted by Allison on January 31, 2005 10:52 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

I love the constant and overworked movement of the rumor mill during times like these, where we are not only creeping up on the release of the next-gen consoles, but we are without any solid details from the next-gen console creators. Everything is speculation, and stories can be based on drawings from memory by someone who claims to have come across super secret documents which reveal details of one of these consoles. This is the case today, as Joystiq has published the picture someone claims to have drawn from memory, after catching a glimpse of documents destined for a Nintendo shareholder meeting. In that picture is the next-gen console's true name: The Nintendo 21.
Read the article and view the picture.

Posted by Allison on January 31, 2005 11:21 AM |

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