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Video Game News from July 2005

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

The year was 1986. I was 9 years old. My NY Mets had won the World Series, William "Refrigerator" Perry and the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl, MIR is launched, Halley's Comet makes a visit, Nitnendo debuts their first games, and a little movie called Top Gun hits summer theaters. Oh yes, that was a great summer! Fast foward almost 20 years and I play video games for a living, the Mets are still my team, Tom Cruise is crazy, and Top Gun is one of my favorite movies. Now that you have that history, you'll be interested to learn that Top Gun is coming out for the Nintendo DS. No word yet on a launch date, but the game will feature 10 single player missions, and 2-4 player head-to-head dogfights. Ah, I still remember trying to land on that stupid air craft carrier in Top Gun (NES). I can't wait for this game.

Continue reading ""Top Gun" Coming to DS"
Posted by Jeremy on July 1, 2005 12:44 PM |

Filed Under: Xbox

In this story at 1up.com, it is revealed that David Jones, creator of the Grand Theft Auto series, under his new development company, will make All Points Bulletin (APB), a new Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game. There are no real RPG elements to the game, in the sense that you won't be leveling up, but the game is set to take place in a large city environment: a "highly volatile world filled with dramatic car chases, shootouts, busts, escapes and arrests." Add in Xbox LIVE and you'll have some very addicted gamers. Sounds like fun.

Posted by Jeremy on July 1, 2005 12:53 PM |

Filed Under: Lunabean

We've returned from LA and it's time to get back to some hard core strategy guide writing. I'll continue writing the LB Destroy All Humans Walkthrough and Allison will pick up Killer7 (GCN, PS2) today. I'm kinda jealous about Killer7 as I have very high expectations for it and as fun as Destroy All Humans is, sometimes you just need to snipe somebody. Anyway, we're back on track and we'll be recommitting to the LB Video Game Radio in the coming weeks, so get your ears ready!

Continue reading "Strategy Guide Update"
Posted by Jeremy on July 7, 2005 10:09 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

As I mentioned in the previous story, Allison and I are back from LA. We had planned on inundating you with news stories we've been putting on the back burner for days. However, due to the terrible attacks in London today, it just doesn't feel right to write news about the video game industry. We'll write up a few of them tomorrow. Our thoughts are with Britons and Londoners and with all of our UK Lunabeanies. Today, we are all Brits!

Posted by Jeremy on July 7, 2005 10:21 AM |

Filed Under:

In the same way GTA: Vice City had KentPaul.com as a fake promotional website, Destroy All Humans has WeAreTheEnemy.net. WeAreTheEnemy.net is chock full of alien and UFO information, but it has become quite popular because of its hilarious videos of alien and UFO sightings. However, Kotaku.com is reporting that three of the original Star Wars themed videos have been pulled because George Lucas got wind of them and pulled the plug. I don't know if I actually believe that, as they don't seem to be infringing on anything copyrightable, but, in case you want to get a peek at these taboo videos, check them out here:
Alien Costume
Star Wars Kid
Posted by Allison on July 8, 2005 10:02 AM |

Filed Under: PC

Coca-Cola and World of Warcraft have joined together for a special promotion in China. While I don't understand the details of the promotion, as I can't read Chinese, the commercial for it is pretty awesome.
View the WOW Coke Commercial here.

Posted by Allison on July 8, 2005 10:16 AM |

Filed Under: PC

1Up.com has put together a fascinating piece about the sweatshop labor behind "gold farming". If you aren't familiar with "gold farming", the phrase refers to gamers who collect massive amounts of in-game gold (usually through game exploits and/or macros), then illegally sell that gold for real world currency. According to 1Up's article, this newfound business grossed roughly $500 million last year. Because those who run online MMOs are aware of this illegal practice, GMs (Guild/Game Masters) often check in when they see suspicious behavior to make sure there's actually a person behind the computer. That's where the sweatshot labor comes in. Thousands of people in Asia are working ten to twelve hour days (with no holidays) and are being paid just over $100/month to be those people behind the computers, while those who employ them are making about $60,000/month.
Read 1Up's Wage Slaves Article

Posted by Allison on July 8, 2005 10:50 AM |

Filed Under:

Soon after last month's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PC release, a mod was made available which allowed gamers who installed it access to various X-rated minigames within GTA:SA. Last week California assemblyman Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who is known for his desire for legislation banning the sale of violent video games to minors, caught wind of this mod and demanded the game be rated AO (adults only). Yee's scornful words have now prompted the ESRB to investigate the matter. According to Gamespot, the ESRB investigation "will examine whether or not the mod unlocks pre-existing code, as appears to be the case, or is actually a purely third-party creation". If this is pre-existing code, the ESRB will take appropriate action and I, for once, will agree with Yee. Slipping X-rated code into a game without warning people of this code is really a sleezy move. It also undermines the hard work of the ESRB and those who believe video games are a form of art and, therefore, are fighting for first amendment protections. Actions like this only hurt the video game industry.

Posted by Allison on July 8, 2005 11:22 AM |

LISTEN NOW (MP3, 4.5MB, 38 Minutes)


We're so excited to be back and will once again be on a regular schedule! In this edition we discuss recent walkthroughs that we've written (MOH: European Assault, GTA: SA Screenshot Version), and the guides on which we are currently working (Destroy All Humans, Killer7). We also break down the brewing storm surrounding "GTA:SA" and the ESRB investigation into the "Hott Coffee" mod which unlocks some racy content on the PC version, in addition to other gaming news. Finally, we give you this week's video game releases.

Continue reading "LB Video Game Radio - We're baaaack!"
Posted by Jeremy on July 10, 2005 4:18 PM |

Filed Under:

GamesIndustry.biz is this morning reporting an announcement from Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi (via Japanese publication Nikkei Electronics) stating the PS3 will no longer act as a home network router. The basis for this decision, according to Kutaragi, was purely one of cost, as eliminating the PS3's router functionality will allow Sony to offer the PS3 for less money. The future of the three Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back of the machine remains unclear.
Read the article

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

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Video Game Politics | Xbox

On Friday we told you about the current ESRB investigation into the "Hot Coffee" mod for the PC version of GTA: San Andreas, which, when installed, unlocks a little GTA porn. We also discussed this topic at length on yesterday's Lunabean Video Game Radio Podcast. Today we have a couple of updates for you.

Continue reading "Update to GTA Sex Scandal"
Posted by Allison on July 11, 2005 2:24 PM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

While the Nintendo DS vs. Sony PSP sales battle ensues (the DS is keeping one step ahead of the PSP in Japan, but in North America the PSP is constantly gaining ground), an interesting report came out this weekend stating that, when it comes to overall system satisfaction, the Nintendo DS is the clear winner. Wavemetrix, a company that researches what customers think of products, studied responses on various (and unnamed) internet forums, and concluded the "DS is better than the PSP in every important area." According to Prodigious Gaming, these areas include games, quality, screen and value. For the detailed, and somewhat surprising, report, please go here. We also discussed this topic in detail on yesteday's Lunabean Video Game Radio Podcast.

Posted by Allison on July 11, 2005 3:10 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Heavy.com, the world's leading broadband network, yesterday announced that "Pimp My Weapon", a God of War machinima, has streamed 5.5 million episodes. I watched all three episodes and while they do give the occasional laugh, especially if you played God of War, I'm just not a huge fan of machinima in general. Still, it's very interesting that this is the world's first example of "Branded" machinima, having been created in conjunction with Sony. So, see for yourself. Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3

Continue reading ""God of War" Machinima"
Posted by Jeremy on July 12, 2005 9:40 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Fable, the highly regarded, yet short, RPG which debuted for the Xbox last September, now has an enhanced version coming to stores this fall. Fable: The Lost Chapters, "builds upon the original best-selling Fable with loads of new content including new regions, quests and enhanced story elements that further enhance the mystical world of Albion." Allison and I skipped over Fable last year due to other games which took precedence. I feel like I missed out on a great game. Perhaps I'll check out this version if time permits. The game will also be available on the PC.

Continue reading ""Fable: The Lost Chapters" Coming to Xbox Fall '05"
Posted by Jeremy on July 12, 2005 9:52 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

The original Sid Meier's Pirates was one of the first multiplatform titles ever released. In 1987 the game was made available for the PC, Atari, Commodore 64, NES, and Apple II. Because of the game's history, it only makes sense that the highly acclaimed and terribly popular remake, which was released for the PC last November, has, at least, one port. That port is for the Xbox and is being shipped to stores across North America today. All early reviews claim the port was virtually seamless. For more information on this game, which Jer will be playing as soon as he wraps up his Destroy All Humans Walkthrough and Strategy Guide, please check out the Official Pirates! Site. If you like what you see, buy Pirates today.

Posted by Allison on July 12, 2005 9:57 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

A post on nwizard.com states, "Nintendo will soon be producing a router that will allow access the Nintendo Wi-Fi Network on both the DS and the Revolution. The router plugs into a USB 2.0 port and transfers your computers internet connection wirelessly into your next-gen Nintendo devices." Sounds great to me! I hope they bundle that router with the Revolution. Whether or not this is true, is another story. We'll keep you updated.

Posted by Jeremy on July 12, 2005 9:59 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

While the political world is currently embroiled in the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame leak scandal, the video game world is undergoing a similar groundbreaking news story, that of the ESRB investigation into the "Hott Coffee" mod in GTA: San Andreas, which unlocks a graphic sex scene. The developer of the mod has claimed that the code already existed and all his mod did was unlock it. Today, Rockstar has released a statement contradicting that claim, "In violation of the software user agreement, hackers created the 'hot coffee' modification by disassembling and then combining, recompiling and altering the game's source code."

Continue reading "Update 2: "GTA: San Andreas" Sex Scandal"
Posted by Jeremy on July 13, 2005 10:01 AM |

Filed Under: Strategy Guide

Just a quick word to inform you of our current strategy guide status. Jer is four missions away from completing the storyline portion of his Destroy All Humans Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. Once he finishes that up, he's going to sweep the game for missed probes, then he'll put it all together in a nice little PDF guide, complete with screenshots. Look for that this weekend.
As for me, well I'm still plugging away at my Killer 7 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. It was slow going at the beginning, as everything in this bizarre little game warrants an explanation, but now that I'm past the first chapter, things are moving much faster.

Posted by Allison on July 13, 2005 10:05 AM |

Filed Under:

I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised by EA's newly released The Godfather gameplay screen shots and videos. While I've been excited for the game since the announcement of it last year, I truthfully believed it wouldn't go much further than a GTA game with a Godfather theme. These new gameplay screens and videos have me thinking I should expect more out of it, and I now do. EA has truly impressed me.
In other Godfather news, The New York Times published an article (subscription only) earlier this week about the effort going into this game, and broke the tragic news that Marlon Brando's voice recordings for the game were of poor quality, and, because of this, an impersonator's voice will be used throughout most of the game.
View The Godfather screens and videos
Read the NYT article

Posted by Allison on July 13, 2005 10:43 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

EA yesterday announced that John Madden has signed a multi-year deal to continue to license his name and image to the "Madden NFL" series of games. EA CEO Larry Probst says, "John Madden personifies authentic football in any medium -- television or interactive." And, even though the comments get repetitive, for those of us who grew up watching Sunday football listening to John Madden, there is something familiar and comforting about his voice (or maybe that's just me). Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Continue reading "EA and Madden Sign Multi-Year Deal"
Posted by Jeremy on July 14, 2005 11:23 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Ubisoft today announced a brand new Versus multiplayer map for Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. "Steel Squat," set in Brooklyn is now ready for download free of charge for the Xbox and PC. Also look for two new Co-op maps, "Nuclear Plant" and "UN HQ", in the coming weeks followed by yet another Versus map in late summer. In addition to the new map, the download will also include an auto-update which addresses various glitches in the game including coronas around lights, camera detectors, and various other small fixes. Good for you Ubi! I love that you release free downloads to keep us coming back for more as opposed to say, Halo 2 and its new maps, for which you'll have to pay.

Continue reading "New "Chaos Theory" Map!"
Posted by Jeremy on July 14, 2005 11:35 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PS2 | Xbox

As the August release date creeps closer, VU Games has given The Incredible Hulk Ultimate Destruction an updated and revamped website. While the site is still pretty bare bones in terms of content (there are a few screens, a trailer, and some game information), it sure is pretty. I wonder if this is reflective of the game. Hmm. Look for the new Hulk game to hit North American retailers on August 28th for the Gamecube, Xbox and PS2.
Visit the new Hulk site

Posted by Allison on July 14, 2005 12:36 PM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Microsoft and Marvel recently announced a deal which will give MS, via the Xbox 360, exclusive rights to make Massively Multi-Player Online (MMO) games based on Marvel's superheroes. The Marvel superheroes include Spider-Man, The X-Men and, The Hulk. This agreement only affects MMO games based on Marvel characters. I see why this is a good thing for Marvel, but for Xbox 360, I guess just having "Spider-Man" and "Exclusive" in the same sentence is a good thing. The Matrix Online and other sub-par MMO's simply don't have the draw that a World of Warcraft or Star Wars Galaxies has. I don't see the world of Spider-Man, The X-Men, or The Hulk being deep enough to support a game where hundreds/thousands are playing at any one time. They'll just end up as semi-popular games. I'll just have to wait and see what kind of games come out of this agreement.

Posted by Jeremy on July 15, 2005 10:46 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming | PS2 | Xbox

According to CNN Money, EA has pushed back the release of the highly anticipated The Godfather to the first quarter of 2006. The move sent shares of EA down nearly 3.86% or $2.33, with some time left in today's trading. My feeling on this is don't release the game unless it's perfect. EA knows that this game is getting a ton of attention and if they release a crap game, well, then they'll be lambasted for it. Games with so much riding on them need to be error-free. What is funny is that Wall Street has reacted so negatively to the news. EA isn't a Take-Two, with only a few good franchises. Even if The Godfather came out this Fall and tanked, it wouldn't affect EA too much.

Posted by Jeremy on July 15, 2005 10:53 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Based on the media coverage and political discourse surrounding the latest GTA scandal, the M-rating plastered on the cover of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas means absolutely nothing. The discovery of the sexually explicit "Hot Coffee" mod, which may or may not have been created by the makers of the game, has suddenly turned a product the ESRB deemed unsuitable for persons under the age of 17 into a product politicians deem unsuitable for persons under the age of 17. So, why the big hubbub? Because keeping violent and sexually explicit video games out of the hands of kids is a very popular platform to stand on, as everyone supports it. The problem, however, is the politicians don?t have a clue what they?re talking about when it comes to video games, so they end up undermining the only hope we have at realistically keeping kids away from these games, which is the ESRB.

Continue reading "LB Opinion: Hillary, Hot Coffee, and the ESRB"
Posted by Allison on July 15, 2005 2:22 PM |

Filed Under: Strategy Guide

Since I have to be away from my beloved computer today, I put some extra time into my Killer7 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide last night. I have about an hour left of gameplay on the guide. So, unless you're looking for final boss help, this rough draft version of the guide should help you with all of your weekend Killer7 needs. I'll finish the rough draft up tomorrow, then it will be time to take screenshots.
LB's Killer 7 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

Posted by Allison on July 16, 2005 8:07 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Video Game Politics | Xbox

Last week, when Rockstar was directly asked by Gamespot as to whether the code for the now infamous "Hot Coffee" mod was on the manufactured GTA: San Andreas disc that was distributed, Rockstar's spokesperson said, "It was not". This came after, of course, the ESRB launched an investigation into the mod which unlocked (or wrote) a "pornographic" scene to PC versions of the game. Today Gamespot is reporting that the same mod (or one that's strikingly similar) has been found on the PS2 version of the game. Since the PS2 version comes on an unmoddable DVD, it cannot have any content added to it, which means the code to the sexually explicit scene was, indeed, on the manufactured discs. Yes, it requires a lengthy cheat to unlock (or a mod to download), but it does seem as though Rockstar lied to Gamespot (or was very slick with its wording), and misled the ESRB. What the ESRB will do about it is another question. Gamespot is saying the PS2 scene is raunchy and tacky, but question whether it's actually pornographic.
Personally, I'm annoyed with Rockstar for feeling the need to add this code. They may get a kick out of the negative publicity the game is getting for it, but they're hurting the video game industry by acting as though they're above it.

Posted by Allison on July 18, 2005 10:37 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Geist developer n-Space has confirmed on its website that the upcoming Gamecube game "went gold" on July 8th. For those of you not familiar with the term "went gold", it simply means the master copy of the game is complete, and its ready for mass production. This usually happens about one month before the game is released, meaning Geist, once slated for a Holiday 2004 release, should, most definitely, make its new and unofficial August 16th release date.
Geist screenshots

Posted by Allison on July 18, 2005 10:48 AM |

LISTEN NOW (MP3, 5.2MB, 31 Minutes)


Things are a little slow in the video game world but we have lots to talk about including our most recent Strategy Guides, Destroy All Humans and Killer7, which we almost have finished. In addition, we continue to cover the ongoing furor surrounding the "Hot Coffee" mod in GTA:SA and what Hillary said about it. Finally, we cap off with some late breaking The Godfather news.

Continue reading "LB Video Game Radio"
Posted by Jeremy on July 18, 2005 10:51 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

If you've ever frequented video game message boards, you're familiar with the type of person who constantly claims to be privy to secret information. At Lunabean, we've learned to ignore and laugh at these people. However, it seems that someone over at the Gamespot forums has decided to put his money where his mouth is. 360Hacker.net has the story, along with the pictures. Oh, and before you find yourself becoming too jealous, note, he may have an Xbox360, but he has no furniture.

Posted by Allison on July 18, 2005 11:19 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Electronic Arts and Valve yesterday announced a multi-year publishing/distributing deal which will bring gamers Half-Life 2: Game of the Year Edition (PC), Counter-Strike: Source (PC) and Half-Life 2 (Xbox), which is slated for an October release. This move is part of "EA Partners", a segment of EA which seeks out top studios who are underserved and offers them EA's world-wide distribution channels, making for a good deal for both companies. This is an odd case, however, as it is not as if Valve is a struggling second tier developer. Still, the more good games that get into the hands of gamers, the better.

Continue reading "EA and Valve Strike Publishing Deal"
Posted by Jeremy on July 19, 2005 9:36 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Online retailer Amazon.com has made available for pre-order the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. What's more, Amazon has provided a "release date" for the game of November 14, 2005, which has caused quite the stir in the gaming world, as Nintendo, itself, hasn't provided a specific release date for the game. Now, I love Amazon as much as the next guy, but we've all been through this before, and we should know that Amazon doesn't provide pinpoint accurate release dates...they're more like guesses. So, Nintendo says Zelda: TP will be released during Holiday 2005 and Amazon lists it with a date smack dab in the middle of Holiday 2005. That's all we should read into it...for now.
Pre-order Zelda: TP from Amazon.com

Posted by Allison on July 19, 2005 9:49 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

With the recent uproar surrounding GTA: SA's "Hot Coffee" mod (Story, LB Op-Ed), online magazine, Slate.com, has written an informative piece discussing the "ABC's" of how a game gets rated. From the developer initially filling out a questionaire and making a video of questionable scenes to, "At least three raters [who] watch the videotape and answer a series of questions about its content. They are more likely to be homemakers than hard-core gamers," this piece will give you the basics of game rating.

Posted by Jeremy on July 19, 2005 9:52 AM |

I'm afraid this very bizarre and unique game will remain under the radar of many gamers, which is a shame. Truth be told, you're going to love it or you're going to hate it, and with the majority of Blockbuster Videos shunning the game, giving it a test run isn't much of an option (unless you're one of the smart people out there who subscribes to Gamefly). Anyway, if you do get your hands on it, you're going to need a guide, as Killer 7 is a tough game to grasp, and it's chock full of many odd little puzzles. For that reason, we have created, for your gaming pleasure, LB's Killer 7 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. As always, we've also made available an ad-free and printer-friendly PDF version here.

Posted by Allison on July 19, 2005 10:13 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PC | PS2 | Xbox

Truthfully, the images aren't all that impressive, as they're rough around the edges and serve to confirm that the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire video game will be just like every one that came before it. However, as I'm currently reading the newest Harry Potter book, and as I just watched the trailer for the Goblet of Fire movie, "more of the same" sounds great to me. If it has the Harry Potter name on it, I'm in.
Look for the game to be released alongside the film this Holiday season (for the PS2, PC, Gamecube and Xbox).
View the newest HP: GoF screens and video via GameSpy

Posted by Allison on July 20, 2005 11:17 AM |

Filed Under: Strategy Guide

Well, it only took a month (don't ask), but we are happy to announce the completion of the LB Destroy All Humans Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. Of course we have the beautifully bookmarked and highly recommended PDF version (Screenshot Version, Text Version) which also contains detailed descriptions for all 184 probe locations, as well as, the free online version which will take you through the story mode and gives you some of the probe locations. There is also a review of the game now available for your reading pleasure. This guide is now available to our many LunaPass Members. Enjoy!

Posted by Jeremy on July 20, 2005 11:22 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

According to Eidos Interactive's web site 25 to Life, the already controversial PS2, Xbox and PC third-person shooter, has been pushed back from its original August release date to an unspecified October release date. This news comes after much speculation that two other highly anticipated Eidos games, Tomb Raider: Legend and Hitman: Blood Money, have been quietly pushed back from Holiday 2005 to Winter 2006. What's going on over there, Eidos? Did the SCi Games buyout shake you up that much?

Posted by Allison on July 20, 2005 11:42 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

The ESRB (Entertainmenst Software Rating Board) has decided to change the rating of the previously M-rated Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to AO (Adult Only), after Take Two Interactive (Rockstar's parent company) admitted, for the first time, that the code for the controversial and pornographic "Hot Coffee" mod was, in fact, on the manufactured GTA:SA discs. What's more, the code is not only on the PC version of the game, as previously thought, but can also be accessed on the Xbox and PS2 versions (we reported on the PS2 "Hot Coffee" cheat on Monday). Rockstar, which previously denied the existance of the code, now says it will begin to manufacture copies of the game which will satisfy the M-rating. Because of this action, Take Two says it will "suffer financially".
Personally, I hope it does suffer financially. They lied to the ESRB when presenting the game, they lied when they were initially caught, and, because of these lies, big time politicians are pushing to federally regulate the sale of video games. When people threaten my constitutional rights, I'm not impressed.
Read the AP Story

Posted by Allison on July 20, 2005 4:24 PM |

Filed Under: PS2

Sony today announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Epic Games, creators of Unreal Engine 3, "a complete games development framework." Developers receiving the PS3 Software Development Kit will now have access to an evaluation version of Unreal Engine 3. The Unreal Engine is one of the best known development tools and is based on Epic Game's highy successful "Unreal" franchise. This is pretty much a no-brainer for Sony and Epic Games as it helps both companies.

Continue reading "Sony Sublicenses Unreal Engine for PS3"
Posted by Jeremy on July 21, 2005 12:54 PM |

Filed Under: PS2 | Xbox

Capcom announced yesterday Resident Evil 5 is in the works for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. There was no mention in the announcement of the game coming to Nintendo's next generation console, the Revolution, nor did it reveal any game details. However, the staff of IGN seems to have learned a few things, including the possibility that Chris Redfield will be returning as the main character. What's more, IGN has some pretty kick ass RE5 screenshots, along with the first RE5 trailer.

Posted by Allison on July 21, 2005 1:00 PM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Bungie yesterday announced an autoupdate for Halo 2 which essentially swings the banhammer at anybody who is cheating and/or using a modded Xbox. Over the past few weeks Bungie has been inundated with cries for help due to a large amount of invincible players who have been using cheats, hardware mods, or softmods to ruin the experience of legitimate gamers. Be warned, you cheaters, if you log on to Xbox Live you will be banned.

Posted by Jeremy on July 21, 2005 1:14 PM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Yesterday we reported the ESRB's decision to rerate GTA: San Andreas, as the kinky and controversial "Hot Coffee" code was found to be on the manufactured discs. We told you about Take Two's claim that they would "suffer financially" because of the new "AO" rating, and, today, it seems the financial suffering has begun...or has it?

Continue reading "Stores Pull "GTA: SA" from Shelves"
Posted by Allison on July 21, 2005 1:58 PM |

Filed Under: PS2 | Xbox

Ubisoft's first foray into the GTA genre, 187 Ride or Die, now has a website, 187game.com. As is the case with most game websites you can find news, screens, movies, character info, car info, and various other tid bits, like the plot line. In the game you'll play as an upcoming thug who must impress Dupree, the most respected street racer who rules South Central, that is until he gets some competition from the East Coast. The game will be online capable on both the Xbox and PS2. The soundtrack is being produced by Guerilla Black. The game is due out this Fall.

Continue reading ""187 Ride or Die" Website Goes Live"
Posted by Jeremy on July 22, 2005 9:58 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

1up today has gathered an interesting assortment of reactions to the GTA: SA "Hot Coffee" mod from people inside the gaming industry, many of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. One interesting point, "We've done some unauthorized stuff like that. But if I didn't want it to be seen, I wouldn't have put it in there. You put stuff in because you want hardcore gamers to look for it, to find your stuff, because they are your best evangelists. If we're gonna have our stuff [videogames] taken seriously, we have to do this right." Other interesing tidbits, God of War had more and more high-rez breasts than the "Hot Coffee" mod and Psychonauts has two suicidal kids, minor swearing, and some adult situations and it got a "T". Lots of gray area here, folks, no matter what you think.

Posted by Jeremy on July 22, 2005 10:14 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Nintendo of America has today provided release dates for three of its Fall 2005 Gamecube releases. First up, Pok?mon XD: Gale of Darkness will be made available to North American gamers on October 3. Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance will hit store shelves on October 17. Finally, shine your dancing shoes by October 24 for the release of Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix (and its included Action Pad). Of the three, I'm looking most forward to DDR: Mario Mix. There's something incredibly satisfying about the thought of actually stomping on Goombas.

Posted by Allison on July 22, 2005 10:37 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

The Wall Street Journal is today reporting on a new feature from Massive Inc., a NY company that distributes ads in video games, which will allow for full-motion ads to be shown in-game. Particularly interested are the Movie Industry who sees this as a way to plop 15 second trailers in game. Prior to this move, most in-game ads tended to be billboards or wall ads. Soon, in-game, we'll be seeing flat screen TV's showing us everything from movie trailers to commercials for high-tech products.

Continue reading "Full Motion Ads in Games"
Posted by Jeremy on July 25, 2005 10:03 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Last week, Cynthia Bowers, reporter for the CBS Evening News, did a piece on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the "Hot Coffee" mod. In CBSNews.com's Gamecore section, reaction to the story was consistent: it was terrible. Brian Crecente, editor of Kotaku.com, wrote, "Jesus Christ, if you?re a national news program covering a national issue you would think you would devote, I don?t know, five seconds to a bit of research before making a complete ass of yourself... Apparently, not if you?re CBS News." There are five different opinions on the piece, and you can read them here. My opinion is that Cynthia Bowers and those who gave her the story should be fired. An insecure mom who doesn't even try to understand the story which she is covering has no place on the nightly news. It's bad enough already.

Posted by Jeremy on July 25, 2005 10:19 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Among many other announcements coming out of the Xbox Summit in Tokyo today is the major news that Capcom's Resident Evil 5 will be coming out for the Xbox 360. This fact underscores Microsoft's success at wooing Japanese developers for the Xbox 360, something that is sorely lacking for the Xbox. Other games that will be made for the Xbox 360 are, Ridge Racer 6, Dynasty Warriors 5, Winning Eleven, and various other unnamed titles from many Japanese developers. All I have to say is, "boo ya!"

Continue reading ""Resident Evil 5" Coming to Xbox 360"
Posted by Jeremy on July 25, 2005 10:27 AM |

Filed Under: PC

Anti-video game advocate Jack Thompson is riding the coattails of last week's GTA: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" scandal, and is now taking aim at EA's The Sims 2. Like GTA: San Andreas, and countless other games, cheats and/or mods can be downloaded and/or activated to change the the game. The "Hot Coffee" mod added sex scenes to GTA: San Andreas, causing the ESRB to change the rating to "AO" (Adults Only). Thompson is now calling for the same treatment for the relatively harmless and non-violent The Sims 2.

Continue reading ""Sims 2" Under Fire"
Posted by Allison on July 25, 2005 11:05 AM |

LISTEN NOW (MP3, 4.8MB, 28 Minutes)


Things are heating up around here, despite the lull in games. We have been working hard on a site redesign for the past week and we fill you in on our progress. Also, we discuss Sid Meier's Pirates, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Black Hawk Down. In News, we discuss the continuing GTA: SA "Hot Coffee" mod scandal and the resulting fall out and the announcement of Resident Evil 5. Finally, we give you the release dates for the week.

Continue reading "LB Video Game Radio - July 25, 2005"
Posted by Jeremy on July 25, 2005 6:04 PM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

Holy wow! I had forgotten that Star Wars Battlefront II is due out this fall. Then, I read the press release from LucasArts telling me that they have dated the game for November 1! And, that is only half the fun. It was also announced that Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith DVD will debut on November 1, as well. The original SW: Battlefront is one of my favorite games and is the best selling Star Wars game ever. Battlefront II's epic single player story line will follow Darth Vader's elite 501st legion as they battle across the galaxy. The game will be available for the PS2, Xbox, PC, and PSP.

Continue reading ""Star Wars Battlefront II" - Nov. 1st!"
Posted by Jeremy on July 26, 2005 9:05 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

The US House of Representatives yesterday voted 355-21 to ask the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Rockstar Games and Take Two Interactive regarding the "Hot Coffee" mod that was found to be on original game discs of the PC and PS2 version of GTA: SA (HR 376, PDF) (Roll Call). I would think that with the ESRB completing their investigation in a timely manner with the AO rating as a result, with a war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with mass transit security to deal with, and the embarrassing lack of health care for kids, that the US House of Representatives would know better than to waste our tax dollars on this issue. Write your Congressperson.

Posted by Jeremy on July 26, 2005 9:39 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Gamespot, on July 21, spoke with ESRB president Patricia Vance, regarding the GTA: SA "Hot Coffee" mod. In the interview, Patricia Vance makes some interesting and key points, "What we're saying is that if you, as publisher, produce content that's pertinent to a rating, and leave it on a disc--risking that it might be accessed by a modder--then it's your responsibility. And if it undermines the accuracy of the rating, it's your responsibility," and, "It's up to publishers to take action against third-party modders, not ours. Our only obligation is to make sure that the rating is accurate." It's a good read and gives some great insight into how and why the ESRB changed the rating.

Posted by Jeremy on July 26, 2005 11:52 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Various sources, including Gamespot, are today reporting the announcement by Sony of p-tv.jp, Sony's portable TV service for the PSP, only available in Japan via the Sony-owned ISP, So-net. The service will initially offer about 100 free selections including movie trailers, independent films, and TV pilots. Also, there will be a premium, or paid, service which will offer TV shows and feature length movies. This is an interesting move by Sony and may be the testing ground for a future US release of a similar service. I'm sure Sony is keeping an eye on Apple's plans to make an iPod Video, which would play movies, TV, music videos, etc. So many cool gadgets, so little time.

Posted by Jeremy on July 26, 2005 12:12 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Electronic Arts (NYSE: ERTS), yesterday announced its first quarter financial results for the period ending June 30. Net revenue was down 16% to $365 million from $432 million for the prior year. Net loss for the quarter was $58 million as compared with net income of $24 million for the prior year. The biggest sellers this quarter were Medal of Honor: European Assault and Battlefield 2. Other highlights include the news that EA has a 26% share of PSP revenue, EA signed John Madden for another 12 years, and that Valve and EA entered a multi-year agreement to bring games including Half-Life 2 to the Xbox. 'Tis the season for slow game sales. Just wait for Xmas of this year and then the chaos that will ensue for Xmas '06.

Continue reading "EA's Net Revenue Down 16%"
Posted by Jeremy on July 27, 2005 9:08 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

Midway's, The Suffering was one survival horror game that flew under our radar last year. It received decent reviews but, at the time, we had bigger games to tackle. This September sees the release of the sequel, The Suffering: Ties that Bind (PS2, Xbox, PC). Midway yesterday announced that they had signed Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, Armageddon, The Scorpion King) to voice Blackmore, the behind-the-scenes manipulator in the game, and Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Blow) to voice Jordan, the woman in charge of a strange paramilitary research outfit. Hmm? Will this new voice talent be enough to draw us in? Depends on our schedule, but I'm willing to give it a go if time permits.

Continue reading ""The Suffering" Sequel Get Major Hollywood Talent"
Posted by Jeremy on July 27, 2005 9:19 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

On August 7, between 1pm and 3pm GMT, you can play and chat with super DJ's, Paul Oakenfold and Seb Fontaine. The two will be stashed away at the Xbox Villa in the hills of the white isle and will be connected to Xbox Live playing Forza Motorsport. Maybe you too can give Paul a starry eyed surprise, if you know what I'm sayin'. Future "Game with Fame" events include The Strokes, Kasabian, Simon Webbe, Embrace, Maroon 5, The Thrills and The Bees. I'm still waiting for Buffalo Bills running back, Willis McGahee, to play Halo 2 again.

Continue reading "Play "Forza Motorsport" with Famous DJ's"
Posted by Jeremy on July 27, 2005 9:34 AM |

Filed Under: PS3

Speaking at the PlayStation meeting in Japan, Ken Kutargi, Sony President, stated that the PS3 will have a 10 year life cycle and will be expensive, according to CNet News. Kutargi confirmed backwards compatibility and HD compatibility. Speaking about the price, Kutargi said, "I'm aware that with all these technologies, the PS3 can't be offered at a price that's targeted towards households...I'm not going to reveal its price today. I'm going to only say that it'll be expensive." So, um, where are you targeting it, Ken? Toward research facilities? If that isn't the dumbest statement I've heard... Meanwhile, the Xbox 360 is on schedule to ship this fall and will be around $300. Do I hear a new king of the console war? Only time will tell.

Posted by Jeremy on July 27, 2005 9:50 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

If you don't notice an interface it means it's well designed. That's the goal with the new interface (dashboard?) for the Xbox 360. Design Interact has a great multi-part feature on Russ Glaser, interface design manager for the Xbox 360, and the trials and tribulations that he and his team faced while attempting to make a brand new interface which must span worldwide tastes and be completely intuitive. If you've ever wondered how these types of things actually get done, you should read this article.

Posted by Jeremy on July 28, 2005 12:55 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Nintendo DS

If you haven't signed up for Nintendo's online summer camp, Camp Hyrule, now is the time to do it, as registration ends at 5pm PST this evening. Camp Hyrule will take place the week of August 15 - 19 and promises several fun and exciting activities, many of which will have to do with the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. To boot, there's even the promise of a little Nintendog activity. A new Zelda game plus the dog of my dreams? I love Camp Hyrule!
Register for Camp Hyrule now!

Posted by Allison on July 28, 2005 1:02 PM |

Filed Under: Lunabean

We are pleased to announce the completion and launch of our site redesign which we have deemed Lunabean 4.0 (hey, it sounds good). The new site loads much faster, is better organized, and is simply a happier place to be. Due to the redesign you can now navigate to the walkthrough you desire with much greater speed, in fact, we shaved 5.32 seconds off of the average trip to our site. Well, I just made that up, but you get the point. Of course, in addition to our amazing walkthroughs and strategy guides, we still scour the web for daily industry news and record our weekly LB Video Game Radio podcast. Enjoy the new site!

Posted by Jeremy on July 28, 2005 1:06 PM |

Filed Under:

We'd like to give a special thanks to Steve Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You, for his open letter to Hillary Clinton in yesterday's LA Times. In the letter, Johnson reminds Clinton that the introduction of violent video games to the market has actually coincided with "the most dramatic drop in violent crime in recent memory", which damages Clinton's unfounded fight that these video games are making kids more violent. What's more, Johnson explains how video games are good for today's kids as the level of difficulty and mental exertion required to get through these games prepares them for the "digital workplace of tomorrow".
Again, no one is suggesting that violent video games be put in the hands of kids, but the stigma that people like Clinton (who I normally support, btw) are putting on the industry as a whole could, in fact, be damaging to the future of this country's workforce.
Read the editorial

Posted by Allison on July 28, 2005 1:34 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Nintendo yesterday released financial results for the April-June quarter and they aren't pretty. Profits are down 78.5% but the forecast of 3.1% growth for the year still held. Sales of the Gamecube were down 14% and are expected to fall 34% over the coming year. The Gamecube isn't really that relevant anymore, until Zelda: Twilight Princess comes out later this year, as Nintendo makes most of their money on sales of GBA and Nintendo DS software; games like Pokemon. The Nintendo DS has held its own against the PSP and retains a 94% market share of handheld consoles. Various articles about Nintendo's results.

Posted by Jeremy on July 29, 2005 9:31 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

On September 13, 2005, Mario will celebrate his 20th birthday. This milestone will not go uncelebrated by Nintendo and the rumors are flying as to what to expect. Most people's money is on the release of the Game Boy Micro, the mini-sized GBA, which would also happen to coincide with the release of the white PSP in Japan. Another possibility includes the release of a Mario DS game. Confirmed, however, are three new GBA titles, Mario Tennis, Doctor Mario & Puzzle de Pon, and a re-release of the original Super Mario Bros.. I know I'll be eating some birthday cake on Sept. 13 to help celebrate. I wonder what I should bring to the party? Maybe some magic mushrooms?

Posted by Jeremy on July 29, 2005 9:46 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and the evil Russian nemesis of Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Supremecy" are set to star in the upcoming "Doom" movie. So far, we've only read about the movie, now, you can watch the teaser trailer. Sure, it looks like every other teaser trailer in this genre and definitely has an "Alien" feel to it, sans Sigourny Weaver. Still, the movie should be a blast, even if it may insult one's intelligence.

Posted by Jeremy on July 29, 2005 10:24 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

I have nothing against Game Dork columnist Doug Elfman. I'm sure he's a nice guy. I've read some of his music columns, and they are fantastic. Clearly music is where his passion lies, as his video gaming columns, as syndicated by my home town paper, The Oregonian, are among the worst I've read. I've written the editors of the paper, with polite, but blunt criticisms, only to be brushed off with a, "Your suggestions and opinions will be given the appropriate consideration. Good day." Good day? Isn't that the e-mail equivalent of someone "politely" hanging up on you? Anyway, I let it go. Jer and I continued to shake our heads every Friday as the A&E section continued to publish the writings of a "gamer" who, clearly, doesn't spend an appropriate amount of time playing the games he reviews. However, today's Game Dork column has broken me. I can deal with people criticizing games I love. That doesn't bother me in the least. However, when someone criticizes a game I love while getting the most basic of all details wrong, it kills me. This was the case when Elfman decided today to review Psychonauts as "a typical American children's game".

Continue reading "Psychonauts for Kids?"
Posted by Allison on July 29, 2005 11:24 AM |

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