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Video Game News from January 2006

Filed Under: General Gaming

Amazon.com had a record Holiday season and a big reason for that is video games. According to Amazon, video games and electronics were amongst the top sellers. They cited the Gameboy Advance SP and the Apple iPod as two of its top sellers. Sales in general for online retailers, through Dec. 22, were up 24% from last year to $17.5 billion. And to think, the internet just celebrated its fifteenth birthday.

Posted by Jeremy on January 3, 2006 10:59 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

Joystiq is today reporting on some blog speculation that Apple may have a gaming console up their sleeve. This speculation is based on the upcoming announcement of a redesigned Mac Mini, the impossibly small computer that's about the size of a grilled cheese sandwich, at this month's Mac World Expo in San Fran. You could make the argument that any small PC, that would sit in your TV cabinet, could be considered a "gaming console" as it could play PC games. If the Mac Mini is designed to be the center of your living room, then by extension, it would be a gaming console. Very interesting. We'll just have to wait until Mac World is done to sift through the info.

Posted by Jeremy on January 3, 2006 11:21 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

The BBC's weekly "Go Digital" radio programme (seems right to spell it that way) took on the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) in their latest show, which you can listen to here. The show interviews two colourful (did it again) bloggers and a photojournalist. The show makes us realise (and again...I can't stop) that virtual online worlds are finally making their way into the mainstream. It's definitely worth a listen, especially if you're never heard of World of Warcraft.

Posted by Jeremy on January 4, 2006 10:22 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Many gaming sites, including 1up are reporting on GameFly's recent policy acknowledging scratched Xbox 360 game discs. While there were some initial, but rare, reports of scratched discs, the fact that GameFly now has a policy regarding the problem does "kick it up a notch". The policy is that if you return a scratched Xbox 360 game to GameFly they'll ask that you don't rent anymore. If you return another scratched disc after the warning, you'll be charged for it. Being a member of GameFly (and loving it, sign up for it at the bottom of this page) and currently playing Kameo, we don't have any problems. Apparently, if you move your 360 while a game is spinning, you're asking for trouble. So, don't do that.

Posted by Jeremy on January 4, 2006 10:41 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Bill Gates and Justin Timberlake not only unveiled MS's new music service, URGE, [see related URGE car story], but announced that they would soon make available an external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360. Hmm? Sounds pretty evil to me. First, the tag me for $400, charge me $50 for Xbox LIVE, and then offer me a must-have peripheral. Man, they're good. This move is sure to draw the ire of many an Xbox fan, many of whom are wondering why they simply didn't build the Xbox 360 with an HD DVD drive to begin with. It doesn't matter much to me, though, as we're still using an old-skool 27" curved TV from 1999.

Continue reading "External HD DVD for Xbox 360"
Posted by Jeremy on January 5, 2006 10:01 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

eMarketer.com, "The First Place to Look" for market research information related to the Internet, e-business, online marketing and emerging technologies, is reporting that "Marketers who seek to appeal to teen and young adult consumers should take advantage of their proclivity for using consumer electronics and entertainment devices, and for visiting Web sites about gadgets and gaming." With backing from Forrester research by its side, eMarketer states gaming provides the best opportunity for marketers who want to reach the 12 - 21 market, as 90% of those in that market (US and Canada) own a gaming device. What's more, 80% of that same demographic regularly visit gaming sites.
Interested in advertising on Lunabean? Check out the BlogAds along the left bar to see what's available.

Posted by Allison on January 5, 2006 10:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Nintendo Europe announced today that more than 3.5 million Nintendo DSes have sold in Europe. Add up all of the territories together, North America, Japan, Latin America, Australia, and Europe and the total comes to more than 13 million! That's quite a number, especially considering that the GameBoy hardware is still going strong. European sales of the DS have been fueled by such games as Nintendogs(TM) (1.6 million copies since its Oct. launch) and Mario Kart DS (800,000 copies since its Nov. launch). Pretty impressive. And, with a redesign hopefully in the works for '06, sales of the awesome, yet clunky, machine should continue to soar.

Continue reading "Nintendo DS Sales Top 13 Million"
Posted by Jeremy on January 5, 2006 10:10 AM | | Comments (1)

Filed Under: PS3

Despite much speculation of a delayed PS3 launch, GameSHOUT is reporting that Sony has contacted them and confirmed the console will be released in May 2006, and that reports of a delay are pure "myths". While the article fails to mention specifics of that launch, one would have to assume that means a May 2006 launch in Japan. Another assumption would lead one to believe Sony is not going to follow the lead of Microsoft, as the company is still trying to recover from a "simultaneous worldwide launch" of the Xbox 360. And, since I'm feeling free with my assumptions, I'm assuming May 2006 in Japan means October 2006 in North America, but don't quote me on that. :)

Posted by Allison on January 5, 2006 10:32 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

Vivendi Universal Games (VU Games) yesterday announced that they have acquired High Moon Studios, creator of Darkwatch(TM) (therefore the Jericho Cross reference). According to the press release, "VU Games and High Moon are already collaborating on a soon-to-be-announced project based on a major entertainment license." Oo, ooh! What is it? I truly enjoyed Darkwatch, so I have high hopes that whatever they churn out will be quality.

Continue reading "Jericho Joins Vivendi Posse"
Posted by Jeremy on January 6, 2006 11:43 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2

1up is reporting that buried in Take-Two's disappointing financial statement is word of plans to port the PSP game, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories to the PS2 for a Q2 launch. Speculation is that due to hard times in the video game biz, Take-Two wants to sell as many games as it can, and an easy way to do that is to port an already made game. GTA: LCS was a phenomenal game and an amazing technological achievement. There are also plans to release another PSP GTA game later this year.

Posted by Jeremy on January 6, 2006 12:01 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Strategy Guide | Xbox 360

It's been a long time coming, as the LB Perfect Dark Zero(TM) Walkthrough and Strategy Guide took longer than expected, but we're pleased to announce we've begun work on the LB Kameo: Elements of Power(TM) Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. While I was initially annoyed with the game and doubted its worthiness as a Lunabean Strategy Guide, I've discovered that the extra time has completely changed my view. It's a fun and beautiful game, and it's short. So, expect completion of this puppy sometime next week!
LB Kameo: Elements of Power(TM) Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

Posted by Allison on January 6, 2006 12:22 PM | | Comments (0)

NextGeneration has a great article discussing the history of video game controllers, with an emphasis on Nintendo controllers. The NES's two button controller is the controller on which all others are based. Over the years, controllers have become more complicated, mostly due to the adding of buttons. Nintendo's unique Revolution Controller is an attempt to regain that simple, user-friendly two button controller of yore. Will others follow or will we be stuck with twelve buttons forever?
Read the article

Posted by Jeremy on January 9, 2006 10:12 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

A new study by a team from University of Missouri-Columbia has discovered a casual link between violent video games and agressive behavior. The team of researchers, "found that people who play violent video games show diminished brain responses to images of real-life violence, such as gun attacks, but not to other emotionally disturbing pictures, such as those of dead animals, or sick children." This is understandable and doesn't suggest anything more than desenitization to images. As Jonathon Freedman, a psychologist for the U. of Toronto says, "There's no way to show that this relates to real-life aggression."

Continue reading "New Study: Violent Video Games and Aggression"
Posted by Jeremy on January 9, 2006 10:59 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

It has been announced that Tetris(R) is coming to the Nintendo DS(TM). We reported on this rumor back in January and now it is true. On March 20, not only will you be able to control the hypnotic blocks with your stylus, but you'll be able to battle up to 10 people with the wireless feature and compete in two and four-player battles via Nintendo(R) Wi-Fi. The game will feature six modes of play and themes based on Mario(R), Zelda(R) and Metroid(R). Well, I know what I'll be buying on March 20.

Continue reading "Touch Your Tetris - Tetris DS"
Posted by Jeremy on January 10, 2006 9:57 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

The Seattle Times has an interesting article discussing how viewers of the hit ABC show, "Lost," "play" it like a video game. The show itself places many subtle clues, be they visual or in dialogue. Hard core fans, armed with their TiVo remotes, pause, rewind, and dissect every frame of the show watching for specific clues and hints. The article discusses the difference between hard core and casual viewers (terms from the video game lexicon). The show has such a rabid following that a fan-podcast, "The Transmission," has cracked the iTunes top 10 podcast list. I have never watched an episode of "Lost". I think I'll have to get the DVDs.

Posted by Jeremy on January 10, 2006 10:23 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Anti-video game activist Jack Thompson has temporarily haulted his attacks on the entire video game industry to focus on the Florida Bar Association, with his domain registration of TheFlaBar.org. Thompson is using the site as a launch pad for attacks on the FBA.
Thompson and the FBA have always had a tumultuous relationship. However, this most recent episode, and the reason Thompson is presumably taking such action now, cpncerns the FBA's current investigation into Thompson's behavior in Strickland v. Sony, where the Alabama judge felt the need to kick Thompson off the case and revoked his temporary license to practice law in Alabama.

Continue reading "Jack Thompson's new site"
Posted by Allison on January 10, 2006 10:38 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

I am sad to admit that I have yet to play one of the best-reviewed FPSers to date. Far Cry(TM) games always seemed to come out at a time when other big games were debuting. Well, now that Ubi has announced two new games (one for the Xbox and one for the Xbox 360), I don't think I'll be able to avoid them any longer. Far Cry Predator(TM) for the Xbox 360(TM) will feature both Far Cry Instincts Next Chapter(TM) and an enhanced version of the original Far Cry Instincts game. I recall reading that FCI for the Xbox had some of the most amazing distance parameter (long sniper shots, etc). I can't wait for how it will look on the Xbox 360. Both games are slated for release in Spring '06.

Continue reading ""Far Cry" Series Coming to Xbox 360"
Posted by Jeremy on January 11, 2006 10:38 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS3

Chris Morris, over at CNNMoney's Game Over column, has some interesting speculation that the price of the PS3 may break new price barriers with much of the industry guessing at a $500 price point. Morris does offer up a grain of salt, suggesting that Sony may just be letting all this speculation go unchecked and then coming in lower than everyone expected, as was the case with the launch of the PSP. Fortunatey for us, no matter how much it costs, it's a business expense. However, I do feel that both Microsoft and Sony are pricing their consoles outside of the average person's budget. Will this leave room for a strategic launch of the Nintendo Revolution? I'm guessing it will.

Posted by Jeremy on January 11, 2006 11:01 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Many sources (Spong, Lik-Sang, etc.) are reporting that not only is the Nintendo DS due for a redesign on or around January 16th, but that the new design will be a square clamshell, inspired by cell phones, which will have the capability to make free VoIP calls from any Wi-Fi hot spot. When the Nintendo Wi-Fi network launched, many were wondering how far Nintendo would go with it...just online gaming, or internet chat and VoIP. Well, according to the rumors (and I'm offering my own grain of salt on this one) it looks like we have our answer. Will Nintendo be the next Skype or Vonage? You never know.

Posted by Jeremy on January 11, 2006 11:23 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

An old "Crossfire" interview with the late (and great) Frank Zappa is currently circulating around the political blogosphere. It seems some worrry Zappa's 20 year-old concerns regarding censorship and his fears that we're moving toward a "fascist theocracy" seem particularly relevant these days.
While the debate was specific to the dangers of music and "words", I couldn't help but transfer it to the current video game regulation threat we're facing. As Zappa states, "Anybody in his right mind wouldn't desire the government to install a censor board that keeps certain things from being said." This is exactly why we are against the regulation of video games. Our government is not elected to tell us what's artistically tasteful.

Continue reading "Frank Zappa on Crossfire '86"
Posted by Allison on January 11, 2006 11:51 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PSP

Ubisoft today announced the title of their upcoming PSP(TM) Splinter Cell(R) game...drum roll please...Splinter Cell(R) Essentials. From the press release, "Experience all-new missions and objective exclusive to the PSP system, and discover the untold story of Sam Fisher through flashbacks to various missions from the entire Splinter Cell franchise, including Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent(TM)." The game starts where Double Agent ends, focusing on when Sam Fisher was still a Navy Seal. It will feature Wi-Fi multiplayer for Spy vs. Spy action around the world.

Continue reading "PSP: "Splinter Cell Essentials" Announced"
Posted by Jeremy on January 12, 2006 10:34 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Slate.com's Edward Jay Epstein has written quite the tragic article about the future (or lack thereof) of Blockbuster Video. In the article, titled Hollywood's New Zombie The last days of Blockbuster, Epstein explains how a series of bad decisions by the heads of Blockbuster absolutely screwed (for lack of a better term) the video and game rental chain. And Epstein's not talking about "The End of Late Fees".

Continue reading "The last days of Blockbuster"
Posted by Allison on January 12, 2006 11:23 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2 | Xbox

EA's anti-Splinter Cell shooter (read: blow 'em up...no stealth), Black(TM) (PS2, Xbox, Feb. 28), now has a website. The site contains the normal features you'd expect from a game site: movies, screens, game info, etc., and one feature that you wouldn't expect: you can shoot the site. On each page of the site you are given a different weapon and can use your mouse to shoot holes in the web page. My favorite was shooting the steam valves using the sniper rifle. Black is a highly anticipated shooter made by Criterion Studios (Burnout series). Looking at the footage, it has a bit of a Mercenaries(TM) feel to it...all out carnage, if you will. I don't know if we'll be doing a guide for this game as blow-'em-ups are light on strategy.

Posted by Jeremy on January 12, 2006 11:33 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Thanks to Joystiq.com for posting Japanese video game sales information for the weeks of December 26 - January 1 and January 2 - January 8. Both of these charts (here) show complete and total Nintendo DS domination.
In the week following Christmas, the DS held eight of the top ten slots, with only Kingdom Hearts II (#4) and Front Mission 5: Scars of the War (#6), both PS2 titles, able to infiltrate the chart. The following week, the Nintendo DS maintained its 8 out of 10 slots, while Kingdom Hearts II fell to #6, and Front Mission 5 fell off the chart completely, only to be replaced with a GBA title. Also, feel free to note the number of Nintendo published games on the charts.

Continue reading "Nintendo DS rules Japan's charts"
Posted by Allison on January 12, 2006 11:49 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

EA has today announced the highly anticipated PC game The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II will make its exclusive console debut on the Xbox 360 this summer. This will be the first game in the LotR series that will be playable on Xbox Live, giving players the ability to, "challenge friends online and engage in intense, action-packed real-time battles".
The PC version of the game is expected to ship in late February.
Read EA's Press Release

Continue reading "EA's LotR: Battle for Middle-earth II coming to Xbox 360"
Posted by Allison on January 13, 2006 9:35 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2 | Video Game Politics | Xbox

Apparently Jack Thompson can walk and chew gum at the same time. While we were thinking the anti-video game advocate was distracted by his current campaign against the Florida Bar Association, he managed to pop his head out long enough to send a letter to the California Attorney General suggesting California police officers, "seize and destroy each and every copy of 25 to Life," upon the game's release next week.

Continue reading "Jack Thompson: "Destroy each and every copy of '25 to Life'""
Posted by Allison on January 13, 2006 10:25 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

As reported in the Miami Herald, a video game bill banning the sale and rental of violent video games to minors has passed a Florida State Senate committee and will move forward. The bill, almost identical to a CA bill that was recently blocked by a CA judge because it violates the First Amendment right of freedom of speech, would require stores to place a large "18" sticker on the games and any store found in violation would face a $1,000 fine.

Continue reading "Florida Video Game Bill Passes Senate Committee"
Posted by Jeremy on January 13, 2006 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Strategy Guide | Xbox 360

I'm pleased to announce the rough draft of our LB Kameo: Elements of Power Walkthrough and Strategy Guide is complete. I'll go through the game again this weekend to take a few screenshots and collect a few missed Elemental Fruits, but I expect to have a completed version (and our PDF versions) available early next week...just in time for the release of 25 to Life.
If you need Kameo help this weekend, please feel free to use our Kameo guide. She's not pretty in this current state, but she'll do the job.

Continue reading "LB's "Kameo" Strategy Guide (Rough Draft) Complete!"
Posted by Allison on January 14, 2006 8:39 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | PS3 | Xbox | Xbox 360

Electronic Arts today announced the next installment in the Medal of Honor(TM) series. The new game, due out in Dec. '06 for the PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Xbox, and PC, is titled: Medal of Honor Airborne(TM). The game will feature an open-ended FPS experience featuring the ability for you to choose your drop point at the beginning of each mission. Where you land will alter the path you take to your objectives. Sounds like a walkthrough writer's nightmare...oy. As the first MoH game to be released on the next-gens, it will have high expectations. Hopefully, it'll deliver.

Continue reading "EA Announces "Medal of Honor Airborne""
Posted by Jeremy on January 17, 2006 10:55 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Over the weekend, NPD Group, a market research firm, reported that only 600,000 Xbox 360s have sold in the US (story). Another firm, Media Create, crunched some Japanese numbers. The incredible result? Only 7,477 Xbox 360s have been sold in Japan (story). Wow. While US gamers suffer from a huge supply shortage, Japan continues to give the Xbox the cold shoulder. It'll be interesting to see if Microsoft's efforts to woo Japanese developers will pay off when they launch highly anticipated games like Mistwalker studio's RPG, Blue Dragon. In Japan, the software will sell the hardware, as the DS has proven...just look at these sales charts.

Posted by Jeremy on January 17, 2006 11:33 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Strategy Guide | Xbox

Despite Jack Thompson's promise to keep 25 to Life from reaching the market, Eidos's entry in the GTA genre has officially shipped (finally) and is expected to arrive in stores today.
In 25 to Life gamers will get to choose if they want to play as a cop or a criminal in a online battlefield where up to 16 players can compete at a time. If online isn't your thing, the game also promises a rich single-player experience. We will be looking at that single-player experience over the next couple of days to see if it's Lunabean walkthrough worthy. We'll let you know when we figure it out.
Buy 25 to Life for the Xbox or PS2 for $39.99, or for the PC for $29.99.

Posted by Allison on January 18, 2006 9:42 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

If you've watched any cable news over the past few days you're sure to have come across the horrible beatings of homeless people in Florida. It didn't take long for the beatings to be linked to video games. GamePolitics today has a good post regarding the assertions that the beatings were inspired by video games, as Jack Thompson and the Center for Media and Child Heath at Children's Hospital Boston have suggested. The GamePolitic's post has a nice twist, detailing news reports from yore of similar beatings. The conclusion, of course, is that man has been beating man for millenia with clubs and bats; video games or not. That doesn't excuse this behavior, by any means, but to blame it on video games is an easy out, allowing the real problems to be brushed aside; problems like poverty, lack of medical insurance, under-funded schools, and parents who have to work three jobs just to get by.

Posted by Jeremy on January 18, 2006 11:21 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC

I wish I had the time to play "World of Warcraft". I am reminded of how much I'd like it when I get press releases, such as the one later in this article, that details the plans for the Lunar New Year. The festivities begin on Jan. 27th in the towns of Stormwind, Thunder Bluff, Booty Bay and Moonglade. Decorations will be placed in every capital and there are special quests which will result in holiday-related items such as fireworks and memorabilia to honor and celebrate one's ancestors. Special holiday items will include a variety of rockets and fireworks, festival dumplings, recipes to create red holiday clothing, and a special red lockbox with a surprise inside (Al Gore?). Finally, there will be a large raid encounter boss, Omen, who will only appear at this time of year.

Continue reading ""World of Warcraft" Lunar New Year"
Posted by Jeremy on January 19, 2006 10:40 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

The Sudoku craze is coming to the GBA (and therefore the DS) with "Dr. Sudoku" in March 2006 and a new study from the University of Edinburgh suggests that it may help you to live longer. The study finds that challenging brain games, such as Sudoku, can awaken so-called "survival genes" that lay dormant in the brain. These genes make brain cells live longer, resist disease and strokes, and lessens the effects of drugs. Of course, your eyes will be burnt out by then. I enjoy Sudoku although it is very frustrating. Sometimes I'd just rather do a crossword...math is not my forte.

Continue reading "GBA Sudoku Good for Your Brain"
Posted by Jeremy on January 19, 2006 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo Wii

According to this story at 1up, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata claims the Nintendo Revolution will debut in the US prior to Thanksgiving. One can assume, based on prior history, that the console will first launch in Japan. Given that there is usually at least a few months between the Japanese launch and a North American launch, I would guess that we'll see the Revolution launch in Japan in the summer to be followed by a November launch here in the States. Iwata also made the ostensibly bold announcement that Nintendo will sell more Revolutions in their launch window than did the Xbox 360. If he's talking about Japan, Nintendo need only to sell about 8,000 Revolutions to trump the 360, due to poor Xbox 360 sales. Hey, as long as I get my Zelda on the GameCube, I'll be a happy man.

Posted by Jeremy on January 19, 2006 11:14 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

"Silent Hill" was the first survival horror series that we played. Through the years, we have enjoyed the games, some more than others, but all of them have definitely freaked us out in one way or another. Enter the Silent Hill movie. Although the plotline doesn't sound familiar, it definitely fits into the Silent Hill world of children gone missing, desperate parents, a cop with no idea what's going on, and of course, the darkness that is the town of Silent Hill. If you are brave enough to watch the trailer (it's quick, but disturbing), you'll come away with the heebee jeebies, especially after seeing the Silent Hill nurses come to life. Oh, and they seem to attack ankles. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Posted by Jeremy on January 20, 2006 11:17 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo Wii

As reported in Bloomberg.com, Nintendo shares jumped 6.4% to 16,090 yen (US$140) on news that the Revolution will launch at or under the $300 mark. This is no surprise to anyone who has been watching Nintendo's plan for the Revolution, and, in all honesty, I'd be surprised if it launched above $250. Nintendo's goal is to get the Revolution into as many gamer's homes as possible via a low price (for example, it won't feature HDTV output) and engaging and simple games. Couple this strategy with their Revolution controller and a committment to cheaply developed games, and they may just have a hit on their hands. Hey, I didn't think the DS would be as successful as it is, recently reaching the 5 million sold mark in just over a year's time. I have a feeling Nintendo knows what they're doing.

Posted by Jeremy on January 20, 2006 11:39 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2 | Xbox

I truly enjoyed DRIV3R(TM), my first experience with Atari's Driver series. Whereas that game was really a GTA rip-off, granted a conscious one (the main character was Tommy Vermicelli), the next Driver game seems to have embarked on its own. Driver: Parallel Lines follows the exploits of T.K., a driver-for-hire in 1978 New York City. After going away to jail, T.K. is released some 25 years later. You'll play as T.K. in both 1978 and modern day NYC. It looks like a lot of fun and I'm sure we'll play it to see if it's Lunabean walkthrough worthy. It is due out in March '06 for the PS2 and Xbox. Official Site.

Continue reading ""Driver: Parallel Lines" Website"
Posted by Jeremy on January 23, 2006 1:44 PM | | Comments (0)

Electronic Arts has confirmed the highly anticipated The Godfather, based on the film of the same name, will not be made available for the Sony PSP nor the Xbox 360 upon release in March 2006. The PSP and X360 versions are still expected to be released on an undisclosed date in 2006.
While the PSP and X360 are my preferred gaming platforms these days, I'm looking at this glass as half-full. I see this news as the first sign that EA is really going to release the twice-delayed game for the PS2, Xbox and PC in March 2006. A part of me worried it would suffer another delay, pushing it into holiday 2006, where "The Godfather" will have to compete with games released for the Nintendo Revolution and, possibly, the PS3. If that were to happen, The Godfather, I fear, would be overlooked by the masses, and I have a feeling that would be a shame.

Posted by Allison on January 23, 2006 1:57 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Strategy Guide | Xbox 360

We're pleased to announce the completion of our LB Kameo: Elements of Power Walkthrough and Strategy Guide for the X360. Per usual, our guide will walk you through the entire "Solo Quest" portion of the game, and the Kameo PDF version includes all Elemental Fruit, Elixir, Crystal Eye and Alternate Skin locations in a nice printer-friendly, bookmarked and easy to read format.
LB's Kameo Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

Posted by Allison on January 23, 2006 2:12 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: GameCube | PS2 | Xbox

Like the migration of geese and the flooding of the Nile, there are certain things that we have come to expect. One of those things is a price drop in current generation games the year that the next-gen consoles debut. So it is with Electronic Arts. EA today announced a price drop in their current gen sports titles to $29.99 (Madden '06, NBA Live '06, FIFA '06, NASCAR '06). In addtion, Harry Potter and the Gobet of Fire is now $29.99, MoH: European Assault is now $19.99, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted is now $39.99. These prices only affect the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube versions of the games. X360, PSP, and DS prices are unaffected. Although none of these games are spectacular, keep your eye on game prices over the next six months. You'll be able to pick up some bargains on some great games.

Posted by Jeremy on January 23, 2006 2:24 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under:

CNNMoney's "Game Over" columnist, Chris Morris, has a good piece regarding Majesco Game's recent financial troubles and their decision to stop making premium titles, instead refocusing on handheld and value software. Unfortunately for Majesco Psychonauts never found an audience, selling less than 100,000 copies. Add to that the personally disappointing launch of Advent Rising (I had very high hopes for the game), the mediocre BloodRayne 2, and the flop that was Aeon Flux and you can see their woes. However, if only one of those games had been a hit, it probably would have saved the company.

Continue reading "Majesco Fades Away"
Posted by Jeremy on January 24, 2006 10:04 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

For the first time in recent memory, a prime time news program aired a piece on video gaming that wasn't about the evils of our favorite form of entertainment. Instead, "60 Minutes" focused on professional video gamer Johnathan Wendel, aka "Fatal1ty", and the debate concerning video gaming being classified as a sport. It was quite refreshing to see a video gamer being interviewed who explained the importance of outside exercise to good gaming, as it ensures "your neurotransmitters are working properly". Also, despite the fact that I work in the video game industry, I'm still fascinated by massive LAN parties and the skills that people like Johnathan possess. Truly, it's amazing.
Watch the segment on "60 Minutes"

Posted by Allison on January 24, 2006 11:05 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

An extensive study on the gaming habits of UK gamers, ages 6-65, has been released by BBC Creative Research and Development, providing pages upon pages of pretty and easy to read charts, along with a ton of information, including the hows, the whens, the whys and the wheres of UK gamers. The study, commissioned in Summer 2005, truly does provide much eye opening information, which has made me rethink Lunabean's exclusion of PC games from our strategy guide list. Seriously. We need to work on that.
Download the report (1.2MB PDF)

Posted by Allison on January 25, 2006 10:19 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | Strategy Guide | Xbox 360

I have begun work on the LB Condemned: Criminal Origins(TM) Walkthrough and Strategy Guide for the X360 and PC. So far, I'm pretty impressed with the game's technical merits, but I'm not completely sold on the narrative yet. Of course, it has frightened me to the point of jumping out of my chair at least a half dozen times, so it's not disappointing in that area. Keep checking in on the guide as I'll update it each evening with what I've accomplished. Pssst. There's something rattling in that cabinet.

Posted by Jeremy on January 25, 2006 10:37 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

One could argue that Konami's Dance Dance Revolution single handedly brought exergaming into existence. The game requires you to use a dance pad to match the steps shown on the screen. From experience, I can tell you that it provides a very good workout, although when you live in the second floor apartment, it's not so good for the neighbors downstairs...thus ending Allison's and my DDR career. However, if we were to go back in time and attend any West Virgina public school, we could play DDR in gym class. The program kicks off with an Xbox and at least one DDR pad to each of WV's 157 middle schools. The program will then extend to all 765 public schools. Obviously, they'll need more pads, and I hope that manufacturers chip in some freebies for some good PR. Otherwise, the only thing I fear is that West Virginia will soon dominate the US in dance-offs!

Posted by Jeremy on January 25, 2006 11:34 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | PS2 | Strategy Guide | Xbox

While 25 to Life has suffered from horrible reviews (Gamespot rated it around 5.0 while IGN gave it a nastier 3.0), I have opted to write a strategy guide for it, as it's one of those games that's so very bad, it's kind of challenging to play. It also has going for it the whole "so bad, it's funny" thing, which does make it kind of entertaining. Don't get me wrong. If any other decent game came out this week, I'd toss this one in a second. But, since none did, look forward to our growing 25 to Life Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. However, don't hold your breath for a screenshot version.

Posted by Allison on January 25, 2006 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

Two new bills proposed by state lawmakers in Utah and Iowa aim to curb the sale of violent video games to minors by regulating them. It's no surprise that the bill in Iowa (HF2104) is modeled after the now-defunct California and Illinois video game bills. It seems every state wants to jump on the regulation-of-video-games bandwagon, as it is a popular and easy way to get votes, however, how stupid do state lawmakers have to be to continually plagiarize other states' video game bills that everyone knows will be found unconstitutional (as is the case with CA and IL)? It's a waste of taxpayer's money, but we've already covered that. What is surprising is the new tactic underway in Utah.

Continue reading "Utah, Iowa, Join Game Legislation Band Wagon"
Posted by Jeremy on January 25, 2006 12:11 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

Singer and Moesha star, Brandy, is set to release a sci-fi video game starring her persona early in 2007. According to CNet, "Brandy will play a strong female character who is put into a situation that she must react to--one which has the fate of the world hinging on it." Hmm? A sci-fi adventure, starring Brandy and her music, and a "fate of the world" kind of situation. Sounds like a hit to me! If you detected sarcasm, you're following along. The yet-to-be-named game does make for entertaining guesses. Here are a few of mine...feel free to post yours in the comments: Brandy 2080: The Retrieval, Brandy: The Warlord's Revenge, Brandy the Vampire Killer, and my final entry, The Entertainer Prophecy (Starring Brandy).

Posted by Jeremy on January 26, 2006 9:17 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Many sources are reporting the announcement by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata of the Nintendo DS Lite, a lighter and slimmer version of the Nintendo DS(TM).
The Nintendo DS has been a runaway hit around the world, with 14.4 million units sold and 3 million online connections.
For known details (few at this point) and released pics, please click here.

Continue reading "Nintendo Announces DS lite"
Posted by Allison on January 26, 2006 9:24 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under:

Microsoft are dipping their toes into the handheld video/music/game device market, according to this article from BusinessWeek. They have, "learned that the software giant is working on plans to develop its own portable digital media device to rival the iPod, rather than just providing technology to partners." The article does a good job pointing out potential pit falls, like alienating current device makers who use MS software or risking making a device that is the jack-of-all trades, but the master of none. Obviously, MS will want to use the Xbox brand somewhere on the device, however, that is also problematic.

Continue reading "iBox or XPSP?"
Posted by Jeremy on January 26, 2006 10:01 AM | | Comments (0)

EA has announced March 21st as the day The Godfather(TM) will reach store shelves in North America. Three days later, on March 24th, Europe will be hit with the highly-anticipated, open-world, and old-school gangster game.
In The Godfather you star as "a young man just entering the Corleone family". Your goal is to take that young man to the top as you move through 1940s NYC alongside unforgettable characters from the film and book. The game will be initially released for the Xbox, PS2 and PC, with expected Xbox 360 and PSP launches later in the year. For more details, check EA's press release.

Continue reading ""The Godfather" gets dated"
Posted by Allison on January 27, 2006 7:40 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: GameCube | PS2 | Xbox

Hidden amongst the data in Ubisoft's most recent earnings report is the tidbit that Splinter Cell: Double Agent will be pushed back: "The game will be launched in the first half 2006/07 and not in the fourth quarter of 2005/06 ending March 31, as originally planned." The excuse? The delay was attributed to "synchronising the release of the game on the various gaming platforms" So, what does that mean? The first half of the '06/'07 fiscal year is Apr - Sept. Could we see a release date as late as Sept. 30th? At the very least, we know the streak of March Splinter Cell games is over. Hopefully, it'll release in June or July, giving all of us a quality game in the heat of summer. Oh, and if you're wondering how Ubisoft fared financially...

Continue reading ""SC: Double Agent" Gets Pushed Back"
Posted by Jeremy on January 27, 2006 7:55 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PSP

Eidos Interactive has announced a version of Tomb Raider: Legend will find its way to the Sony PSP upon the game's console debut this spring. According to the press release, the PSP version will be "based largely on the PS2 version of the game", and will include exclusive game modes and Bonus Reward Content. I have to admit, I'm a bit confused by the PS2 comparison, as the PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360 and PC versions are supposed to be the same. Ah well.
In addition to Tomb Raider: Legend, the PSP will also host Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary. According to Gameshout, TR: 10th Anniversary "is a 'special edition' of the original Tomb Raider released for the PSone and PC way back in 1996."

Posted by Allison on January 27, 2006 4:34 PM | | Comments (0)

The city of Los Angeles is suing Take Two Interactive for deceptive business practices and false advertising regarding the Hot Coffee Mod that was unlocked this past summer. The official press release from the LA City Attorney's Office claims that Take Two, "violated state law...by failing to disclose the presence of pornographic content." The suit is being brought by City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. He claims, "Greed and deception are part of the 'GTA:SA' story-and in that respect its publishers are not much different than the characters in their story." Um, okay.

Continue reading "L.A. Sues Over "GTA:SA""
Posted by Jeremy on January 30, 2006 9:47 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

Nintendo has today announced Brain Age(TM): Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day, the DS application which has caused a "brain-training" craze across Japan, will hit the US on April 17th (followed by Big Brain Academy on May 30th) . Brain Training (as the game is known in Japan), is not a game, in the traditional sense, but more of a brain exercise machine. It has maintained the top position on Japan's video game charts for several weeks now, fueled largely by older players who want to sharpen their thinking skills.

According to the press release, Brain Age, "presents players with a series of fun mental brain-training challenges that incorporate word memorization, counting and reading. It even includes sudoku number puzzles, which have become extremely popular features in newspapers around the country." Sudoku? I'm so in.
Read Nintendo's press release
A great read about the success of the game in Japan

Continue reading "DS 'Brain-Training' coming to US"
Posted by Allison on January 30, 2006 9:50 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has released the results of a study which shows 35% of American parents play video games. According to the study, 80% of these "gamer parents" play games with their kids, and 66% feel that playing these games have brought their families closer together.

What I found to be particularly interesting about the study was that 3/4 of the surveyed parents (gamers and non-gamers) claim to be regular voters with already formed opinions about governmental regulation of video games. While the surveyed parents were split evenly politically (36% Dem, 35% Repub), the vast majority (85%) say that they should take the responsiblity in montoring childrens' exposure to games, not the government, retailers, or publishers. So, all of those politicians who think taking a stand on video games is an easy way to look good in the eyes of voters, well, they may want to start rethinking that.

Continue reading "Parents play video games, too!"
Posted by Allison on January 30, 2006 10:27 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Microsoft is rumored to have an update for the Xbox Live Dashboard which will include fixes for all bugs, including freeze ups in games, and perhaps support for an Xbox 360 webcam. The rumors state that the update will be ready to go today, Jan. 30th, however at time of publishing this story, there is no update yet availabe on my Xbox Live account. I'll plug her in tomorrow to see if it's ready. Here are some of the rumors, for your reading pleasure: Xboxtoday.ca, dlmag.com...stop the virtual presses!!! I just read that the update is now ready. story here.

Posted by Jeremy on January 30, 2006 11:39 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PSP

According to a story from BoingBoing.net, "All PSP owners can now load any software they want onto their devices, even if Sony hasn't approved of it". This is due to a newly cracked version of the latest PSP firmware, which was coded by a group over at PSPUpdates.qj.net. Sony has already downgraded, or "updated", its firmware several times to prevent such free use of software on PSPs. I'd suspect it's only a matter of time until they fix this, only to have the cycle start all over again...

Posted by Allison on January 31, 2006 10:07 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox 360

Yesterday, I reported on the impending Xbox Live update. While I was writing the story, the update became available. Today, I booted up our X360 and, sure enough, was asked if I'd like to update my console. After telling my X360, "Sure, why not?", the update downloaded. I have average broadband speed and the download couldn't have taken more than 15 seconds. The console automatically rebooted to intall the update and all was well. The total process probably took 30 seconds. So, what's included in the update?

Continue reading "Xbox Live Update Not What was Expected"
Posted by Jeremy on January 31, 2006 10:31 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo DS

GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that Nintendo has taken responsibility for the "red tulip problem" in the Nintendo DS community-simulation title Animal Crossing: Wild World. According to the article, many Animal Crossing DS players had received a red tulip in a letter delivered last week. The tulip, when placed indoors, "could not be picked up, covered or removed". This oddity led to speculation that the Nintedo Wi-Fi system had been hacked, and fear that more red tulips were on their way.

Today gamers can take a deep breath, as Nintendo has gone on the record, stating the glitch was not created by hackers, but was, instead, the result of "a temporary error with the upload tool when this letter was posted". Phew. Disaster averted.

Posted by Allison on January 31, 2006 10:44 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo Wii

Please, file this story in the "Rumor, with a dash of speculation" folder: Here is an interesting article from CNET that proffers some potential targets for Cisco's expanding empire. If you're not familiar with Cisco, they make routers, servers, software, etc. that helps to power the internet and many businesses. Over the past few years they've been on a buying spree in an attempt to get into the consumer products business. The article suggests that one company on which Cisco has its eye is Nintendo.

Continue reading "Nintendo and Cisco?"
Posted by Jeremy on January 31, 2006 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)

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