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Video Game News from August 2005

Filed Under: GameCube | PS2 | Xbox

Prince of Persia Kindred Blades (POP3) is in my top three most anticipated games for this Fall. The series is a trilogy with this game being the last in the series. Today, Ubisoft released a Q & A with artistic director, Olivier Leonardi, and what an artistic name he has. Among other things, Leonardi speaks of the outdoor environment of Babylon, as opposed to the fortress of Sands of Time and the island of Warrior Within. In the city of Babylon, there is a "second city" on the roofs, which makes for an openess and huge expanses compared to the clausterphobic feeling of the narrow alleyways below. Also factoring greatly into this game is the mythical Tower of Babel...I sure hope the Prince can communicate after going up there!

Continue reading ""Prince of Persia 3" Q and A"
Posted by Jeremy on August 1, 2005 7:59 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming | PC | PS2 | Xbox

G'day mate. After you get done skinnin' those wallabies, eating your vegemite sandwich, listening to Men at Work, and terrorizing some crocodiles, you should note that Take-Two today released a press statement saying that Australia's Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has banned GTA: SA from being sold or marketed in the land down under, due to the "Hot Coffee" mod. The move by the OFLC had been expected and Take-Two said the financial impact would not alter the Company's guidance. I think Men at Work said it best, "Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover." Ah, Australia. On a side note, our GTA: SA Strategy Guide has not been banned in Australia, yet.

Continue reading "Land Down Under Doesn't Like "Hot Coffee""
Posted by Jeremy on August 1, 2005 8:59 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

The Inquirer yesterday reported on the ad blitz that Nintendo has launched to promote their "Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection" for the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system. The service is set to launch this fall and, judging from the ad, will be a world-wide network. The ad, a one minute, cinema-style movie trailer, is currently playing in movie theaters. Nintendo has a lot more of this campaign up their sleeve, so stay tuned. If you want to see the ad, IGN has graciously put it online for you. It's a good ad. I'm very excited.

Posted by Jeremy on August 2, 2005 9:26 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Many sources are reporting that Final Fantasy XII, in development since 1937, has finally been given a release date in Japan: March 16, 2006. A US release date has not yet been determined, but speculation is it will debut later in 2006. We're not big Final Fantasy fans here at Lunabean, although we do have much respect for the series. If you'd like to read a preview of the game, you can read one here. The screen shots are rather amazing, as Final Fantasy screens usually are, but this time, I mean they're really impressive.

Posted by Jeremy on August 2, 2005 9:43 AM |

Filed Under: PS2 | Xbox

If you're not aware of Rockstar's upcoming game, Bully, you should be. The game, centered around a British prep school, Bullworth Academy, where the main character, as described by Rockstar, is a "troublesome schoolboy" who "stands up to bullies, gets picked on by teachers, plays pranks on malicious kids, wins or loses the girl, and ultimately learns to navigate the obstacles of the fictitious reform school." Sounds like fun, huh? Well, Gamespot today has an article suggesting that perhaps Bully will be just the fodder that the anti-video game/Jack Thompson crowd is looking for.

Continue reading ""Bully" Getting Bullied"
Posted by Jeremy on August 2, 2005 10:21 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PS2 | Xbox

As if I need more proof that I'm getting older, EA has released the official soundtrack for Madden NFL 06 (in stores next week), and I only recognize two of the bands: Godsmack and the Foo Fighters. I could pretend EA is at fault, getting crappy bands that no normal person could recognize, but, deep down, I know the truth. I'm the one who has become musically challenged, not EA.
Check out the Madden NFL 06 soundtrack and see how many bands you recognize.

Continue reading "Madden NFL 06 Soundtrack Released"
Posted by Allison on August 2, 2005 10:29 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

Back in 2002 Allison and I rented a little game called Prisoner of War. The slow paced stealth required to complete the game was a real treat and it required more thinking than the average game at the time. It holds a dear place in our hearts. The creators of POW, Codemasters, are at it again, as I told you back in January, with a new WWII stealth title, Pilot Down: Behind Enemy Lines, for the PS2, Xbox, and PC published by Oxygen due out on August 26. There seem to be many similarities between the games; mainly slow paced stealth and excellent enemy AI. For example, if you leave a few cigarettes around, German troops will be distracted and smoke them, allowing you to sneak by. For more info on the actual narrative of the game, screenshots, etc., visit the newly launched pilotdowngame.com.

Continue reading ""Behind Enemy Lines" Website Goes Live"
Posted by Jeremy on August 4, 2005 9:31 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PS2 | Xbox

Maria Menounos has been chosen to play an evil henchwoman in EA's upcoming Bond game (Fall '05), From Russia with Love. She will play the role of Eva, a character created solely for the game, who is villain Red Grant's driver and henchwoman. Her statement regarding her status as a virtual Bond girl: "I am honored to be a Bond girl and be a part of the Bond legacy...To star in a video game with Connery, the original Bond, is incredible." You may know Menounos from the movie The Fantastic Four where she played a "sexy nurse" or from her recurring role on the WB's One Tree Hill. Hmm? EA could've cast somebody a little better, I would think. Oh well, Connery Bond game, why am I complaining?

Continue reading "Maria Menounos, New Bond Girl"
Posted by Jeremy on August 4, 2005 9:44 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PS2 | Xbox

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction has gone gold and will ship to US stores on August 23rd and will ship in Europe on September 9th. The game will be available for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. This Hulk game allows for a completely interactive experience allowing, "players to jump anywhere, climb anything and smash everything -- even destroy entire buildings". We'll be giving this game a looksy, but judging from past Hulk and superhero game experiences, we're not expecting much.

Continue reading ""The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction" Goes Gold"
Posted by Jeremy on August 5, 2005 9:01 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Capcom has finally provided a release date more specific than "late 2005" for its PS2 release of Resident Evil 4. You can now look forward to a spooktacular week leading up to Halloween this year, as the zombies of RE4 will take over your PS2 console on October 25th with an MSRP of $39.99 (expect the limited edition to cost more).
I'm expecting a lot from this direct port from the Gamecube version, which was released last January to much acclaim. The PS2 version has been continually pushed back, but this is the first specific date the game has been given, so I'd guess it's going to stick.
Lunabean's Resident Evil 4 9.6 Review
Lunabean's Resident Evil 4 Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

Posted by Allison on August 5, 2005 9:15 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

If you still don't have Xbox LIVE, now is the time. Microsoft today announced two new "Starter Kits", both of which will get you on to LIVE lickety split. The first kit includes Project Gotham Racing 2 (our favorite racing game), a 12 month subscription, and a Communicator Headset for $69.99. The second kit includes demos of MechAssault 2 and Outrun 2, a three month Xbox LIVE subscription, and a Communicator Headset for $39.99. Xbox LIVE is very addicting. My favorite games to play online are Star Wars: Battlefront, Brothers in Arms, and Project Gotham Racing 2. If you have a job or a life, you may want to pass up this offer.

Continue reading "New Xbox LIVE Starter Kits"
Posted by Jeremy on August 5, 2005 9:15 AM |

Filed Under: PS3 | Xbox

ArsTechnica has an interesting article regarding Wedbush Morgan Securities analysts who forecast that the PS3 may be delayed until 2007 if the Xbox 360 launch goes poorly. The thinking behind it is that Sony will lower the price of the PS2 for the launch of the Xbox 360, hoping to draw attention away from the launch. Meanwhile Sony would work on a killer library of games for the PS3, which would then deliver the crushing blow to the Xbox 360 sometime in 2007. This theory is premised on the assumption that the Xbox 360 launch and its initial library of games will be so weak that Sony can just sit back and watch as the Xbox 360 implodes. My feeling is that there will be a number of good titles ready for the 360, and with Xbox LIVE, there is no way that the Xbox 360 will lose. It's all about the online gaming these days and Xbox LIVE has a huge headstart. Plus, almost everybody that is going to buy an Xbox 360 already has a PS2. The market for cheap PS2's won't affect the market for brand new Xbox 360's. We'll just have to wait and see, but I find these analysts ridiculous.

Posted by Jeremy on August 5, 2005 9:46 AM |

Filed Under: PS3

On Friday, I wrote a story about PS3 rumors, one of which is that the PS3 may debut in 2007, pending a bad launch of the Xbox 360. Today, due to Lunabean's magnificent power (or not), Sony has a nice new webpage on their UK site stating that the PS3 will indeed be released in 2006. Granted, that is the UK site, which doesn't technically mean that it will also launch in the US in that timeframe, but I'd bet my Xbox 360 that it will. So, rumor squashed. The PS3 will debut in 2006.

Posted by Jeremy on August 8, 2005 9:02 AM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

The International Game Developers Assoc. (IGDC) recently released the first demographic data of the US video game industry. The industry breaks down like this: 80.5% white, 2.5% black, 3.5% latino, and 8.5% Asian. The lack of minorities in the gaming industry has drawn the attention of Mario Armstrong, NPR tech host, and two of his colleages. They founded the Urban Video Game Academy. Currently, there are three summer camps in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. Each runs for 5 weeks and is free. The camps hope to address Armstrong's notion that, "The problem with a bunch of white guys creating the games is that the story isn't being created with balance." This is interesting because in the 18-24 year demographic, 17% of gamers are black and 18% are latino. Therefore, there is a large disparity between the make-up of the developers and those playing the games.

Continue reading "Racial Divide in Game Designers Addressed"
Posted by Jeremy on August 8, 2005 10:05 AM |

Filed Under:

Thanks to Car1gt for pointing out Jack Thompson's latest attempt at crazy. For those of you who do not know Mr. Thompson, he is best described as the ambulance chaser of the video game industry, and quite lawsuit happy, in general. Not only does he seek out teens who have committed crimes, connect their actions to video games, then get the victims' families to sue the game and hardware developers, he's been know to threaten lawsuits against web sites that have banned him (go here, then search for "BatJack", the handle he chose because of his fondness for everything "Batman"). This weekend, Mr. Thompson was discovered to be threatening another lawsuit, this time against a man who simply responded to an e-mail Thompson had sent to him.

Continue reading "More Evidence Jack Thompson May Not be Right in the Head"
Posted by Allison on August 8, 2005 12:03 PM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Respected video game analyst, Piper Jaffray's Anthony Gikas, based on figures from a Forbes story, has concluded that by year's end Microsoft will ship a total of 1.6 million Xbox 360's: 1 million in the US, 400,000 in Europe, and 200,000 in Japan. Gikas also expects that there will be about 15 launch titles and 25-40 games by year's end, for US and Europe. In Japan, there will be about 10 launch titles and 15 games by year's end. Gikas also guesses at a two-tiered price structure for the console with the base model set at $300 and a bells and whistles model (bigger HDD, extra controller, etc.) at $400. Retail price of games will be $60. Analysts expect the Xbox 360 to ship on time (mid-November) to the US and Europe and perhaps a few weeks later to Japan.

Continue reading "Xbox 360: 1.6 Million Units by End of '05?"
Posted by Jeremy on August 9, 2005 8:18 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Nintendo DS | PC | PS2 | Xbox

Are you playing hooky? C'mon admit it, you're home, calling around to the various electronic and video game stores to see when they get their shipment of Madden '06. Well, you're not alone. The first two days of a Madden release have some of the highest rates of "sick days". If you recall, last year's Madden was all about the "D". This year, it's all focused on the offense. New to '06 is "QB Vision Control" where, depending on how good your QB is, you will have a limited field of vision with which to find receivers. If you're Peyton Manning, you'll have a large "cone". If you're Bills rookie QB, J.P. Losman, well, you get the drift (Lord, help my Bills). Anyway, you can check out the official site to learn more. Happy playing!

Posted by Jeremy on August 9, 2005 9:18 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

Lik-Sang International (Lik-Sang.com) has announced they are being sued by Sony for selling Playstation Portables (PSPs) to UK importers before the new handheld has been released to the region. Sony also claims copyright infringement on the part of Lik-Sang, for publishing the Sony PSP manual on its site. Sony did warn Lik-Sang about the manual publication, and Lik-Sang immediately took the manual offline. Despite the compliance, Sony is still seeking damages for the copyright infringement and the distribution of the PSPs.

Continue reading "Sony Sues Lik-Sang for Selling PSPs"
Posted by Allison on August 9, 2005 10:03 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Revolution's controller is one of the best kept and most sought after secrets in the gaming industry today. There is much speculation that the controller will use touch pads instead of buttons and will include a gyroscope so that tilting the controller will control the action. There's even been a guess that the controller will actually be two controllers, one held in each hand. With all of the hubbub around the controller, somebody decided to make a fun little application where you can design your own Revolution Controller from parts and pieces of older Nintendo controllers. Some of the designs are pretty funny. Enjoy!

Posted by Jeremy on August 10, 2005 7:46 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Yesterday, we reported on Piper Jaffray analyst, Anthony Gikas, and his predictions regarding the initial shipment of Xbox 360 and the price point. Today, in an article at GameDailyBiz, Anthony Gikas goes further explaining his belief that there will be two separate SKUs at launch, a $300 version and a $400 version. He expects, out of the initial shipment, that 80% will be the $400 version as that is the version that most early adopters will prefer (extra controller, bigger HDD, etc.). He also reveals that Microsoft's goal is to have 50% of consoles online via Xbox LIVE and that MS has a huge stash of money to help subsidize development costs for third party developers. This all leads to his conclusion that, "They're coming at Sony at 110 miles per hour." Only time will tell if that strategy will pay off.

Posted by Jeremy on August 10, 2005 10:26 AM |

Filed Under:

What goes on in S. Korea that makes gamers game themselves to death? Once again, a S. Korean man has died in a cybercafe after playing an incomprehensible 50 hours of unnamed online games, taking time outs only for bathroom breaks and quick naps on a makeshift bed. The 28-year-old is believed to have died due to, "heart failure stemming from exhaustion."
Again, I ask the question of why this happens so often in S. Korea, and why cybercafes don't kick out customers who game like this, particularly when so many South Korean marathon gamers often use amphetamines to keep them going, which can (and has) resulted in death.

Posted by Allison on August 10, 2005 10:57 AM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Vivendi Universal Games has signed an exclusive deal with the estate of the the late Robert Ludlum, author of the Bourne and Covert One series, to publish games based upon his novels. Since The Bourne Identity came to theaters a few years ago, Ali and I have said what a great game it would make. Vivendi Universal is set to take on the Tom Clancy/Ubisoft juggernaut, "VU Games intends to aggressively establish Ludlum as a top tier games brand with high-quality franchises poised to go head-to-head with other major spy-action games in the industry." Hey, I'm all for a little competition, especially if the Bourne games are as good as the Splinter Cell games. I don't know much about the Covert One series...I guess I have some reading to do.

Continue reading "Vivendi Universal Games Plus Robert Ludlum Books"
Posted by Jeremy on August 10, 2005 11:03 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Nintendo of America has officially launched its Geist website in preparation for the game's August 15th release. While the "Enter the Experience" section of the site has yet to be accessible, the "Game Info" portion is chock full of movies, screenshots, production art and wallpapers.
Visit Geist-the-game.com and prepare your Gamecube for possession.

Posted by Allison on August 11, 2005 1:06 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

An Alabama jury yesterday deliberated for just over an hour in handing down their "guilty" verdict of Devin Moore, the then 18 year old who killed two cops and a police dispatcher. Upon his arrest Devin was heard saying, "life is a video game; everybody has to die sometime." This utterance, in conjuction with an admitted obsession with GTA: III and GTA: Vice City, was Devin's defense for the original car stealing and successive murders. The defense team argued that Devin was not mentally competent due to his video game playing. The jury would have none of that. Nonetheless, Wal-Mart, Gamestop, Sony, and Take-Two all still have pending civil suits filed against them for being complicit in the murders. Read more in the CNN story.

Posted by Jeremy on August 11, 2005 1:14 PM |

Filed Under: PS2

Electronic Arts has today announced plans to co-publish Namco's We ♥ (Love) Katamari in PAL territories, meaning everyone's favorite Prince will roll onto European store shelves in early 2006. We ♥ (Love) Katamari currently has a September 2005 N. American release date, and is a PS2 exclusive. This second game in the popular Katamari series has over 40 Fan requests to complete, a brand-new 2 player Co-operative Mode and a Battle Mode.

Continue reading "EA Brings Katamari to PAL Territories"
Posted by Allison on August 11, 2005 1:32 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

Ziff Davis Media recently released its annual "Digital Gaming in America" report. The results, based on 1,500 randomly selected households, shows that 24% of game players watched less TV this year than last and expect to cut their TV viewing even more this year. The study also concluded that 76.2 million Americans play games, up from 67.5 million a year ago. Another interesting tidbit is that HDTV viewership increased to 18% from 7% a year ago. So what does this all mean? Sure, games are taking away TV time, but is that due to the fact that games are so good or that TV is so bad? My assertion is that TV is so piss poor these days that it's not surprising people are migrating to other forms of entertainment, including reading, which is also up. Add to the mix the fact that the internet is getting more and more media heavy, not to mention useful, and you can see why TV viewership is down.

Posted by Jeremy on August 11, 2005 1:33 PM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

1up today has an article discussing whether or not the Xbox 360 will be a success in Japan. The article details 10 reasons why Japan will love it and 10 reasons why Japan will hate it. If you don't know, the original Xbox faired very poorly in Japan with an installed base of only 500,000. This time around, the Japanese market is extremely important to Microsoft and they are doing everything they can to make the 360 a hit, including signing major Japanese developers, committing to many RPGs, and announcing that Ridge Racer and Winning Eleven will be available on the 360. My feeling is that Japan will love and accept the Xbox 360.

Posted by Jeremy on August 12, 2005 10:38 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

In a new revenue generating and/or quality control scheme, Microsoft will have strict control over 3rd party produced peripherals for the Xbox 360. The revenue sharing model will require 3rd party manufacturers to share part of the wholesale price of the peripheral with Microsoft. In addition, there will be tight security built into the Xbox 360, so that it will recognize only those products approved by Microsoft. On the one hand, you can look at this as a new way to squeeze money out of the console. On the other, you can look at this as a quality control system for the 360 so that only the best peripherals make it. It's an interesting way to do business, and as CNet points out, is similar to an iPod revenue sharing model for its 3rd party peripherals. I think that MS is following Apple's every move when it comes to the 360...from design, to revenue models, to interface. Hey, it's not a bad model to follow.

Posted by Jeremy on August 12, 2005 11:34 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

The Washington Post today has an article detailing the development of Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The article is as much about the dark dungeon that is the basement production area as it is about the game itself, and what it means to the gaming industry. Bethesda is a rarity in that they are still a small privately held company. However, with the success of their Elder Scrolls series, and the fact that RPGs are the fastest growing game genre, well, we'll see how long that lasts. Anyway, it's a good article to read: Washington Post Article.

Posted by Jeremy on August 15, 2005 10:04 AM |

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Xbox

GameSpot is today reporting that a reworked "M" version of the recalled Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be released on August 22. The game was pulled from store shelves on July 22 after it was re-rated to be an "AO" (Adult Only) game due to the over-hyped "Hot Coffee" mod. Most major retailers will not sell AO games. This shows just how quickly a developer can rework a game and get it back to retail, especially when it's the best selling game of the year. Speaking of adult games getting press, the BBC recently wrote an interesting article regarding a UK study that concluded that "Parents Ignore Game Ratings."

Posted by Jeremy on August 15, 2005 4:27 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Strategy Guide

The long awaited and oft delayed Geist has finally shipped and will be on store shelves tomorrow. We have called around to our various game stores to confirm and indeed, they will be receiving the game around noon. We'll buy the game tomorrow and soon thereafter begin a walkthrough. The GameCube exclusive is being touted as a "thinking man's first person shooter." Right up my alley. In the meantime, you can check out the Geist official site to prepare yourself. We'll keep you updated on our impressions and progress.

Posted by Jeremy on August 15, 2005 4:31 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming | PC | PS2 | Xbox

It's always nice to hear a range of voices on a controversial subject. So is the case with the "Hot Coffee" mod, and the larger question of Government stepping in to regulate an entertainment industry. In this article, Paul K. McMasters, First Amendment Center Ombudsman, makes a few salient points. First, he notes, "the scene [Hot Coffee Mod] certainly was not something we would want a child to see - or a government to regulate." Second, he states, "when we contemplate regulation of speech we consider out of bounds, our real target becomes too much freedom or the misuse of freedom."

Continue reading "First Amendment Expert Speaks on "GTA: SA""
Posted by Jeremy on August 15, 2005 4:52 PM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Nintendo of America has today announced a new $129.99 price tag for the Nintendo DS. The $20 price drop for the dual-screened hand-held will go into effect on August 21st, one day before the launch of Nintendogs. According to Nintendo's press release (and the Japanese sales charts), Nintendogs has become, "a cultural phenomenon and a sales leader in Japan because of its innovative appeal". According to Reggie Fils-Aime, NOA's executive vice president of sales and marketing, "The new price and the arrival of a mega hit like Nintendogs give Nintendo DS a one-two punch that will thrill consumers." I'm thrilled, Reggie. I truly am.

Continue reading "A Nintendo DS Price Cut"
Posted by Allison on August 16, 2005 9:39 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Microsoft today announced the manufacturers for the Xbox 360. And the winners are: Celestica, Flextronics, and Wistron. Huh? Never heard of them? Well, you're not alone. Not many people know the actual companies that sign contracts to produce video game systems. Flextronics and Wistron both built the original Xbox. Celestica is new to the Xbox brand. Having three companies produce a single systems gives MS a lot of wiggle room in case, say, one of the plants has a fire, or a strike. A strike? Wait, all three companies are located in the Pearl River Delta region in Southern China...there aren't any strikes allowed! Anyway, I'm sure production is currently being tested and full scale real production will start soon in order to get these systems out by the pre-Thanksgiving release date (release date is still a guess).

Continue reading "Xbox 360 Manufacturers Announced"
Posted by Jeremy on August 16, 2005 9:43 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Anyone who has ever been excited for the release of a Zelda game knows Nintendo release dates are fickle. Nintendo teases you with a date that seems within reach, then, right about the time when your stomach gets butterflies thinking of the excitement of actually playing the game, they push it back. However, even preparing for the blow doesn't make it hurt any less when Nintendo announces the Holiday 2005 release date for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has been pushed back to an undisclosed date in 2006. All we now know is the game will be released after the end of the fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2006.
Before you get too depressed, Nintendo, in true Nintendo form, has tried to soften the blow with the release of 7 new The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess screenshots. Enjoy, and try not to think about what could have been this holiday season.

Continue reading "Zelda: Twilight Princess Delayed + New Screens"
Posted by Allison on August 16, 2005 11:05 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Microsoft today announced and many sources are reporting that there will be two price points for the Xbox 360 when it launches this Holiday season. For $299 you'll get the "Xbox 360 Core System" which includes the Xbox 360 (without silver accents), one wired controller, removable faceplate, and standard AV cables. For $399 you'll get the console (with silver accents), a 20GB hard drive, one wireless controller, removable faceplate, wireless headset, component HD AV cables, and a bonus media remote control. Both systems come with Xbox LIVE Silver, a limited access version of Xbox LIVE.

Continue reading "Xbox 360: We Have a Price!"
Posted by Jeremy on August 17, 2005 10:09 AM |

Filed Under: PS2 | Xbox

Sick of the same old same old when it comes to video games? Want something new? How about Capcom's Darkwatch, a "Vampire Western" for the Xbox and PS2? Developed by High Moon Studios, Darkwatch is the story of Cowboy/Vampire Jericho Cross, who accidentally unleashes the son of Satan while cleansing the Wild West of the undead. As Cross, you must find and eliminate the son of Satan, all while trying to save your own blood-thirsty soul.
We'll let you know if the game warrants a Lunabean walkthrough within the next few days.

Posted by Allison on August 17, 2005 10:37 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Nintendo of America has today announced a September 19th ship date for the retooled and tiny Game Boy Advance, the Game Boy Micro. At launch, the GBM will be available in both silver and black, each with three removable, "fun" faceplates. The GBM measures just 4" x 2" x 0.7", it weighs 2.8 ounces (about the same as 80 paper clips) and boasts the same power and library as previous GBA models. It also features a 2-inch, crystal-clear screen, and Start/Select buttons that, "glow with the cool, neon-like blue found on many cell phones." As much as I hate to admit it, I'm a sucker for neon-blue buttons on anything, and with the $99.99 price tag, I might find myself with this new fall accessory.

Continue reading "Game Boy Micro Ships September 19th"
Posted by Allison on August 17, 2005 10:51 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PC | PS2 | Xbox

EA has today announced details of its fourth annual Madden Challenge which kicks off on August 27 with a grand prize of $100,000! Wow. This is getting serious. The coast-to-coast tournament hits every city with an NFL team. Players will battle each other in Madden '06. Winners from each city will compete in Hawaii during Pro-Bowl week for their chance to take home all of that cash, and some bragging rights. Don't worry if you're not a "Pro". There is also an "Amateur" level at each city where you can simply play for fun. For more info, check out the official site.

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

Filed Under: GameCube | Lunabean | Strategy Guide

We are pleased to announce that we have begun the LB Geist Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. It's currently in the "in-progress" rough draft stage as we play and write our way through this great game. Geist is an extremely fun First Person Shooter that will challenge your mind as much as your shooting skills. In fact, with Resident Evil 4, it seems that the GameCube has two of the best games of the year so far. Anyway, if you're in need of help or are stuck in the game check out our LB Geist Guide often as we'll update it each day.

Posted by Jeremy on August 18, 2005 9:15 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Dean Takahashi, gaming columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, has a good break down of the two-tiered pricing schema for the Xbox 360. He says, Microsoft "is actually paying attention to making a profit. The quest for profits has always conflicted with the quest to dominate." He concludes, "The problem is that Solomon-like balance in making a decision isn't going to win the console war." I agree with the conclusion, but not necessarily the premise that MS is backing off on their shock and awe strategy. MS is ready, willing, and able to continue is huge Xbox money hemmorage in order to beat Sony. They know that in a few years, if domination happens early, they will be profitable and perhaps more importantly, have bragging rights. Nonetheless, a very interesting and well thought out analysis.

Posted by Jeremy on August 19, 2005 11:21 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Back on June 9 I reported on the Advent Rising Million Dollar Giveaway contest. The contest, which ran for six weeks, had players log onto Xbox LIVE to find a hidden icon placed in the game at the beginning of each week. If you read my story, you'll see that I am not a big fan of Advent Rising. Today, I discovered this announcement on Xbox.com which effectively cancels the contest due to technical difficulties that would not, "allow the contest to continue in a fair and secure manner."

Continue reading ""Advent Rising" Contest Cancelled"
Posted by Jeremy on August 19, 2005 11:42 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Nintendo DS | PC | PS2 | Xbox

Gamespot is today reporting that Madden '06 sold 1.7 million copies in its first week at retail. EA claims this number represents the biggest Madden launch in its 16 year history. The amazing numbers come only weeks after the launch of EA's NCAA Football which topped the sales charts in July (not that there was a lot of competition). Adding a nice twist to this story is the fact that last December, EA announced that it had signed an exclusive deal with the NFL, effectively forcing out all major competitors.

Posted by Jeremy on August 19, 2005 12:04 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube

We've been playing Geist for three days and we are very impressed. It is a rare mix of action, puzzle solving, and creepiness all rolled into a first person shooter. The game has yet to be boring or annoying but it is difficult. That is why we are writing the LB Geist Walkthrough and Strategy Guide; to help you get through this tricky, thinking man's game. We'll be working on it all today and this weekend so check often as we'll upload our progress each day. Enjoy!

Posted by Jeremy on August 19, 2005 12:14 PM |

Filed Under: PS2 | PS2 | Xbox

Rockstar Games has launched its official website for the upcoming PS2 and Xbox game, "The Warriors". "The Warriors" is based on the 1979 Paramount Pictures cult film classic of the same name, and is expected to hit North American store shelves this October. Considering the fact that the film was often blamed for gang violence of the time, I think it's fair to say Rockstar will fail to sidestep controversy once again. Ah well.
Visit "The Warriors" Website

Continue reading "The Warriors Official Site Launches"
Posted by Allison on August 22, 2005 9:57 AM |

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Nintendogs, the highly anticipated puppy simulator for the Nintendo DS, has finally made it to North American store shelves. Will it be the runaway hit that is was in Japan? Only time will tell.
If you're not quite sure what kind of puppy you want, perhaps I can help you narrow down your choices. If you purchase Nintendogs - Dachsund & Friends, you'll get to choose from Mini Dachsunds, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Pugs, Siberian Huskies, and Shih Tzus. With Nintendogs - Lab & Friends you'll have your pick of Labrador Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Toy Poodles, Corgis, Mini Pinschers, and Shiba Inus. Finally, if you're a fan of Chihuahuas, German Shepherds, Boxers, King Charles Spaniels, Yorkshire Terriers, or Shetland Sheepdogs, you're all about Nintendogs - Chihuahua & Friends. Personally, I'll be getting Dachsund & Friends, as a simulated Pug is the only kind of Pug Jer will let into this house.

Posted by Allison on August 22, 2005 3:06 PM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Nintendo DS

Attached to today's Nintendo Nintendogs press release came a whole slew of updated Nintendo release dates. The games/dates we're most looking forward to are: Metriod Prime Pinball (DS - Oct. 24th - rumble pack included), Trauma Center (DS - Oct.), Mario Kart DS (DS - Nov. 14), Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (DS - Nov. 28), Animal Crossing (DS - Dec. 5), The Nightmare Before Christmas (GBA - Oct.), Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GCN - Oct. 17), DDR: Mario Mix (GCN - Oct. 24), Mario Party 7 (GCN - Nov. 7), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (GCN - Nov. 8), King Kong (GCN - Nov.), The Chronicles of Narnia (GCN - Nov.), James Bond: From Russia with Love (GCN - Fall), and Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (GCN - Fall).
For the complete list of Nintendo's new release dates, go here.

Continue reading "Nintendo Updates Upcoming Release Dates"
Posted by Allison on August 22, 2005 4:06 PM |

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Last Friday, at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting, a study was released concluding that violent games do impart at least short-term aggressive behavior in kids. The co-researchers from St. Leo University in San Antonio, Florida, reviewed 20 years of previously published papers and found that kids who play violent games are more likely to have aggressive behaviors in the short-term, are more likely to argue with adult "authority" figures, and are becoming desensitized to violence. Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) responded that the new review is, "little more than a rehash of old papers repackaged as 'new findings.'"

Continue reading "Video Games Cause Violence?"
Posted by Jeremy on August 23, 2005 11:22 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Variety.com has confirmed a Summer 2007 release date for Master Chief's theatrical debut in the upcoming Fox and Universal film based on Microsoft's Halo. So far, the details are few and far between. Peter Schlessel, who served as Microsoft's Hollywood liason, will be producing the film, and Alex Garland, who wrote the scripts for both The Beach and 28 Days Later, has already written a Microsoft/Bungie approved script for Halo. Fox and Universal will be paying Microsoft $5 million against 10 per cent of the gross, and "several employees" at Bungie (the Microsoft-owned development studio that created Halo) will serve as Microsoft's creative consultants for the film.

Posted by Allison on August 23, 2005 11:56 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | Strategy Guide

One week after the game hit store shelves, we're pleased to present you with our Geist Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. Of course, it is temporarily in rough draft form, as we're going to spend the rest of today taking screenshots and locating each and every Ghost and Host Collectible. Once that's done, we'll get our final version and PDF guides up for your strategy guide pleasure. Enjoy!
LB's Geist Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

Filed Under: GameCube

Nintendo today announced the Super Smash Bros. GameCube bundle starting in the last week of August. The bundle is fairly self-explanatory and includes the most popular game in the GameCube library and the GameCube itself. This is the perfect time to pick up a GCN (GameCube), get a free game, and then purchase either Resident Evil 4 or Geist, both wonderful "M" rated games.

Continue reading ""Super Smash Bros." GameCube Bundle"
Posted by Jeremy on August 24, 2005 10:36 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

Ubisoft today announced two new coop missions for Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. The missions, titled "Nuclear Plant" and "UN Headquarters," "continue the Coop story and bring it to the end." Ubisoft always does a great job of releasing extra content via Xbox LIVE making their games for the Xbox all the more valuable. To download the content pop in your copy of Chaos Theory and connect to Xbox LIVE. Then, follow the instructions. It's that easy.

Continue reading ""Chaos Theory": Two New Coop Missions"
Posted by Jeremy on August 24, 2005 10:53 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

The other day, Atari announced that TimeShift, the highly anticipated original first person shooter for the Xbox 360, will debut in the Spring of 2006. The game utilizes the power of the Xbox 360 so that players can control time in ways they never have before: "TimeShift's unprecedented technology empowers gamers the ability to slow, stop and reverse the flow of time around them while remaining completely unaffected." The game will also be released for the Xbox in the Summer of '06. Reading early reports on the game has me very excited.

Continue reading ""TimeShift" to Ship Next Spring for Xbox 360"
Posted by Jeremy on August 24, 2005 11:05 AM |

Filed Under: PSP

Gamespot is today reporting that Sony has finally released it's version 2.0 firmware for North America. The update, already available in Japan, patches a number of security holes and includes a much-sought-after official Sony browser. For more information and to download the update, head on over to the PSP's official version 2.0 firmware update site. Enjoy.

Posted by Jeremy on August 24, 2005 11:19 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

While most people have been able to pre-order Xbox 360s at their local video game retailers for a couple of months now, online retailers have only just begun taking such orders this week. It seems places like Gamestop.com and EBgames.com were merely waiting for Microsoft to announce the official Xbox 360 pricing plan before they threw some games and accessories together and announced they have "Xbox 360 Bundles" for sale. Have $1200 burning a hole in your pocket? Then read on!

Continue reading "Let the Xbox 360 Bundle Pre-Orders Begin (or not)!"
Posted by Allison on August 25, 2005 11:51 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

While most people would assume that any new version of Final Fantasy XI would require a hard drive, as previous versions (PS2 and PC) have relied so heavily upon one, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that Microsoft may be a bit on the embarrassed side as its first Square Enix offering may not work on many of its Xbox 360 consoles. The consequences of providing an optional hard drive are beginning to sprout.
Read the article.

Posted by Allison on August 25, 2005 12:20 PM |

We are pleased as punch to announce the completion of our Geist Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. In addition to our ad-heavy and free version of this guide, we are also offering Downloadable PDF versions. For those who want the easy to read/navigate, ad-free and printer-friendly version, go here. For those who like a little more color to their guides, check out our easy to read/navigate, ad-free version of the guide, which includes over 200 helpful screenshots. Of course, all of our LunaPass members get both of these Geist guides, plus every other guide in our catalog, for one low price. No one will ever be able to say "Lunabean doesn't provide options".
LB's Geist Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

Posted by Allison on August 25, 2005 12:39 PM |

Filed Under: General Gaming

I stumbled upon this article on Blogcritics.org which essentially makes the case that perhaps the solution to gratuitious violence in video games is to make games more violent. The author uses Saving Private Ryan as an example of how violence and gore, used correctly, can make a bigger impact than the watered down faux violence of, say, the "cartoony" GTA series which he compares to a Looney Tunes cartoon. What the author fails to conclude, however, is that Looney Tunes, while "art" in its own right (entertainment art), isn't the same kind of "art" (classical art) that we see in a movie such as Saving Private Ryan...the kind of art that is Guernica, meant to move you, bring you to a place and time, make you feel what those who were going through it felt.

Continue reading "Would More Violence Make an Impact?"
Posted by Jeremy on August 26, 2005 9:56 AM |

Filed Under: PS3

Chris Morris, CNNMoney's "Game Over" columnist, wonders in this week's column if Sony is "playing a high stakes game of chicken" when it comes to their constant reminders of a potentially high price for the PS3 console. Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi has, on several occasions, stated the console will be "expensive", and that some people might have to, "work more hours and buy it", but has always refused to provide a price point. What if bluffing about the high price is part of Sony's PS3 marketing plan?

Continue reading "Is Sony Bluffing with PS3 Pricing?"
Posted by Allison on August 26, 2005 10:20 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Microsoft is at it once again, and I'm a sucker for it. If you head over to origenxbox360.com you'll see, what I can only guess, is Microsoft's latest viral marketing campaign, this time for the Xbox 360. The two previous campaigns were OurColony.net and ilovebees.com, which had us trapsing around Portland with our GPS in hand. Anyway, like previous iterations, this site has a countdown clock which is set to expire on September 27. Don't get your hopes up. I don't believe this to be a release date for the Xbox 360. Instead, much like the ilovebees phenomenon, the countdown was not the release date of Halo 2, but simply a date where "winners" of the "game" were invited to one of four US cities where they could play Halo 2 for the first time, a week before the release.

Continue reading "OrigenXbox360.com: New Viral Marketing?"
Posted by Jeremy on August 26, 2005 10:34 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

There have been many famous triples over the years: the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Beastie Boys, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost...well, add to that list the Halo Triple Pack. To be released sometime in October, the Halo Triple Pack contains the original Halo, Halo 2, and the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack all for $59.99. If you have yet to get into the Halo world, now is the time.

Posted by Jeremy on August 29, 2005 10:37 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

Thanks to BoingBoing.net for pointing out full-length and legal episodes of the late-80s cartoons Super Mario Bros. Supershow and The Legend of Zelda. Both cartoons, along with several others from the decade, are available for free at Yahooligans. I think it's fair to say I'll be spending part of my day today with The Littles, and the other part singing the Mario Bros. rap.

Posted by Allison on August 29, 2005 10:48 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Starting today and running for nine weeks, Mountain Dew is giving away an Xbox 360 every ten minutes. All you have to do is buy specially marked Mountain Dew, go to everytenminutes.com, and enter the code under the cap (Yahoo account required). I'm not usually a soda drinker and we already have a 360 reserved, however, contests like this work for me. I can't tell you how much Michelob Light Ali and I drank the summer of '98 in hopes of spelling "M-I-C-H-E-L-O-B". Oh, how far we've come.

Posted by Jeremy on August 29, 2005 11:05 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube

They've played tennis, they've golfed, they've raced, and they've partied. Now it's time for the superstars of the Nintendo Universe to take a whack at America's favorite pastime. That's right, Mario Superstar Baseball is on its way to North American store shelves. Play as DK, who doesn't feel the need to use a bat, and uses his boxing glove, instead. Try to hit one of Mario or Luigi's fireball pitches, or one of Diddy Kong's curving banana balls, all while avoiding tornados, Bullet Bills, bombs and barrels. Play exhibition games for one or two players, or "journey through the land to complete baseball-related missions in Challenge mode on the way to a showdown with Bowser". I, for one, will be working on this Bowser challenge, as it's just not right to let a Mario game go by without showing the big guy who's boss.
Buy Mario Superstar Baseball | Rent Mario Superstar Baseball | Read Nintendo's Press Release.

Continue reading "Mario Superstar Baseball Ships"
Posted by Allison on August 29, 2005 11:31 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PC | PS2 | Xbox

Activision today announced that they have signed much of the talent from the Steven Spielberg WWII mini-series, Band of Brothers, to do voice acting for Call of Duty 2 (Fall '05, Xbox 360, PC) and Call of Duty 2: Big Red One (Fall '05, PS2, Xbox, GCN). Both games promise to raise the bar for the World War II genre with unparalleled graphics and a brand new proprietary game engine. Call of Duty 2 will have players play through the eyes of four different soldiers in a variety of grueling campaigns while Big Red One "recreates the U.S. Army's famed Fighting 1st Infantry Division...among the most decorated units ever." Sounds like a good time. Will it be better than Brothers in Arms? We shall see.

Continue reading ""Call of Duty 2" Signs "Band of Brothers""
Posted by Jeremy on August 30, 2005 10:07 AM |

Filed Under: Xbox

According to this article from the Seattle Times, Microsoft is considering opening a retail store in Times Square in New York City. The store would help raise the profile of the launch of the Xbox 360 and provide MS a permanent place to promote their retail products and demonstrate their software applications. The only surprise is that it took them so long to do this. Apple has many outlets across the US and Sony has a store in NYC. Granted, MS doesn't have as many retail products as those companies, but the times they are a changin'. If anything comes of this, we'll let you know.

Posted by Jeremy on August 30, 2005 10:23 AM |

Filed Under: PS2

The favorite prince of Playstation 2 gamers has rolled his way to the video game factory for replication and distribution. In other words, We ♥ (Love) Katamari, the highly anticipated sequel to last year's sleeper hit Katamari Damacy, has been tweeked to perfection, and the master copy is now complete and ready for mass production. Expect to find the little prince on North American store shelves on September 20th.
Pre-order We ♥ (Love) Katamari for only $29.99 | Rent We ♥ (Love) Katamari

Posted by Allison on August 30, 2005 11:11 AM |

Filed Under: PSP

Although it's not Sept. 1 here on the West Coast, in many places across Europe, New Zealand, and Australia it is and that means that the Sony PSP has finally launched. It's been a long time in coming, too, with a delay due to strong consumer demand in the US. Sony promises that there will be 60 games and 100 movies by Christmas. In related news, we recently purchased a PSP and Ali will today begin a Death Jr. Walkthrough and Strategy Guide, our very first handheld guide. I imagine there will be a few people calling in sick tomorrow.

Continue reading "PSP Launches in Europe"
Posted by Jeremy on August 31, 2005 10:19 AM |

Filed Under: GameCube | PC | PS2 | Xbox

Yesterday, I wrote a story regarding Activision's signing of much of the talent of Band of Brothers for their upcoming Call of Duty 2 games. Today, I found this article at Gamespot which details a $10 million lawsuit filed against Activision by Call of Duty developer, Spark Unlimited, which alleges, "breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation, and breach of an implied contract." In summary, Spark created and pitched the idea for Call of Duty, there was a bidding war, Activision won and promised a three game deal. Activision then went behind the back of Spark and decided to make the first sequel in-house, edging out Spark for a higher profit margin. Spark wants an injunction against Activision releasing Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. I'll keep you updated if anything comes of this.

Posted by Jeremy on August 31, 2005 10:36 AM |

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