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Video Game News from August 2006

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

A demo of 'Saint's Row', THQ's 'Grand Theft Auto', is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace. The free download is 900 MB and I've been waiting over two hours for it thus far. Currently at 85% complete, I'm sure to get some 'Saint's Row' action soon. According to the press release, the demo offers, "hours of open-world gameplay" and gives "an introduction to the game's intense single-player campaign, revealing a first-look into the in-depth character customization, detailed graphics, over-the-top gameplay and gripping storyline." I'll update this story after I've played it.

UPDATE: Is it just me or *yawn* are GTA-esque games becoming really boring? I think you can only play so many of these games before you just get sick of the genre. That being said, the game is solid and does offer some things that GTA doesn't, namely online play, which isn't a part of the demo. I'll give it another try to see if it lures me in.

Continue reading "UPDATE: 'Saint's Row' Demo Available on Xbox Live"
Posted by Jeremy on August 1, 2006 11:07 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

"The whole ruling defied common sense. I am so disappointed. The federal court said we don't have a right to protect our children, but we protect our children from other things. We don't let them smoke or buy liquor." - Minnesota State Senator Sandy Pappas (D), in response to a federal court ruling against the recently passed Minnesota video game law.

I assume that I am not alone in stating I have never ingested a video game. Not one. What's more, I've never been tempted to do so. I imagine few have. It is for this reason that I ask any and all politicians who compare video games to alcohol and cigarettes to stop. If you can't debate the issue of mature video games without comparing them to drugs that people put into their bodies, then you don't have a grasp on the topic at hand, and, therefore, shouldn't be making laws that have anything to do with video games.

Continue reading "Do you ingest your video games?"
Posted by Allison on August 1, 2006 11:26 AM | | Comments (1)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

I was eleven when the 'Street Fighter' games began hitting the gaming world. I have fond, yet frustrating, memories of hours-long gaming sessions in Jon Swart's basement. He was a master at using Ryu and Blanka (home field advantage). I pretty much stuck to Guile. No matter how much I practiced, though, I could rarely beat Jon. In fact, I still shudder even thinking abot how many times I was electrocuted by Blanka.

Today, however, is the dawn of a new day! Nearly twenty years later, I may finally get my revenge because 'Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting' is now available on Xbox Live Arcade. Yes, even though Jon (the last I heard) is somewhere in Florida, I can play against him on Xbox Live. You sir, are toast!

Posted by Jeremy on August 2, 2006 9:10 AM | | Comments (0)

MoneyCentral has published a TheStreet.com article detailing Nintendo's recent earnings announcement (revenue up 85% year on year) and analyzing the upcoming console war. TheStreet makes the point that Nintendo is the cheap option for gaming, not only because the Wii is due to launch between $200-$250, but because of the Nintendo DS. One can buy a DS and a few games for about $150 and be up and gaming in no time. Posistioned as the cheap way to game, TheStreet mentions that a global recession would greatly benefit Nintendo (hey, what do they know that they aren't telling us?). I agree with the analysis. Nintendo is likely to be a strong second, if not outright win, the next-gen console war, and they always have the ace in the hole that is handheld gaming and first party development of games.

Posted by Jeremy on August 3, 2006 10:03 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

'Gears of War', the highly anticipated shooter for the X360 now has a release date: November 12. "Emergence Day", as the PR folk are calling it, will see the debut of this Epic Games title which, "blends tactical action with survival horror, [and] thrusts gamers into a deep and harrowing story of humankind's epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet." The E3 video demo of the game was very impressive. "Continue Reading" to see it...

Continue reading "'Gears of War' Dated: November 12"
Posted by Jeremy on August 3, 2006 10:37 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

With today's announcement that a 'Dead Rising' demo is now available on Xbox Live Marketplace it really hit me that this summer has been the summer of Xbox Live. From 'LotR: Battle for Middle Earth II' to 'Saints Row' to 'Table Tennis', game demos offer hours upon hours of fun, and free, gameplay. Going beyond the demos, Xbox Live Arcade has been adding a new, high profile, game every Wednesday, like 'Frogger' and 'Street Fighter II'. These games are cheap and addictive, plus you can usually download a demo of them, as well. Finally, there have been several good expansion packs for games like 'PGR3' and 'GRAW'. Microsoft's strategy is quite savvy. During the summer gaming doldrums, offering new content and a slew of game demos is refreshing.

Posted by Jeremy on August 4, 2006 8:47 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii

Ubisoft today announced that it will have seven Wii titles ready for the "launch window" (launch through Xmas) of the Nintendo Wii. In addition to the previously announced and displayed, 'Red Steel' and 'Rayman Raving Rabbids', Ubisoft will offer five additional titles: 'Far Cry,' 'Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII,' 'Monster 4x4 World Circuit,' 'Open Season,' and 'GT Pro Series'. With seven titles ready at or near launch, Ubi will have a huge advantage over other publishers, who were taken by surprise. For a good interview with Ubi NA Pres., Laurent Detoc, regarding these games click here.

Posted by Jeremy on August 4, 2006 9:43 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

US Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) has introduced HR 5912, "The Truth in Video Game Ratings Act". The bill would do four things: 1) Force the ESRB to rate games based on playing the entire game; 2) Make it illegal for a publisher/developer to hide content, ala the Hot Coffee mod; and 3) Prohibits the ESRB (or any person/entity who rates games) from, "grossly mischaracteriz(ing) (as defined by the Commission in such rules) the content of the video or computer game"; 4) Open a General Accounting Office (GAO) study on the effectiveness of the ESRB. Keep in mind, Stearns in the guy who said that, in 'Grand Theft Auto', a player could fly a plane into a skyscraper, obviously with the intention of illiciting a 9/11 reference. And, can you fly a plane into a skyscraper in 'Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas?' I never tried because the thought never crossed my mind.

Continue reading ""Truth in Video Game Ratings Act""
Posted by Jeremy on August 7, 2006 10:56 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC

While I really don't understand "Second Life" (see Chris Pirillo's "Second Life" blog entry and apply it to me), I do love reading about those who do understand such "games", and use them to their advantage. Enter Duran Duran.

BBC News is reporting that the band has purchased a virtual island in the game, which will be used for live performances for all in "Second Life" to enjoy. The idea came from BBC Radio 1, which rented an island earlier in the year to host music festivals. These festivals present live music, as played in the real world, to the vast audience of the virtual world.

3-D avatars for each of Duran Duran's members have been created, but have yet to be revealed. No official concert dates have been given.

Posted by Allison on August 7, 2006 11:57 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2

Sony has added five games to the popular "Greatest Hits" lineup (now with 169 titles). The games retail for $19.95. The five new additions are: Shadow of the Colossus, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, SOCOM 3, Ratchet: Deadlocked, and Jax X: Combat Racing. Sony does have some legitimacy when they claim that the PS2 is the "Best Value in Interactive Entertainment.

Posted by Jeremy on August 8, 2006 9:23 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2 | Sony

While there is no specific release date to announce, Reuters is today reporting that Bully, the highly anticipated and controversial game by those who gave us the "Grand Theft Auto" series, will hit North American store shelves sometime in October. The game will be made available exclusively for the PS2 (a recent development, by the way).

In Bully you play as 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, who is attending Bullworth Academy, a fictional boarding school in the US (although previous reports of the game stated it would be in the UK...details, details). As Jimmy, you must protect yourself from various bullies at the school with such weapons as baseball bats, stink bombs and marbles.

Continue reading "'Bully' gets October release date"
Posted by Allison on August 9, 2006 9:28 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2 | Sony | Xbox | Xbox 360

According to a recent marketing study performed by Anderson Analytics, there are significant differences between the way that young people perceive the Xbox and Playstation brands. The pychological study concluded that boys who were exposed to Xbox images had higher "power motivation" and were more self-confident than those who viewed the Playstation images. Also, boys had a higher level of distrust after seeing the Xbox images. No such phenomenon occured after seeing the Playstation images. It's not surprising that the Xbox brand would illicit distrust as most of these kids grew up with Playstation and Xbox is the new kid on the block. That would be similar to my generation which grew up with Nintendo and saw Playstation as the dark man lurking in the alley.


Posted by Jeremy on August 9, 2006 10:38 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

As part of a PR blitz to hype people up for the third season of "Battlestar Galactica", the Sci-Fi Network will soon be offeringing Xbox Livers the opportunity to download a special episode of the show from Xbox Live Marketplace.

The episode, titled "Battlestar Galactica: The Story So Far", provides the the storyline of the Peabody Award winning series so far (hence, the name). The show will be airing on NBC Universal stations, which includes Bravo, USA, and, of course, the Sci-Fi Channel. It will also be aired on West Coast affiliates of NBC. And, finally, it will become downloadable on the Xbox Live Marketplace. At this time, we do not have a date, download size nor a price for the first full-length show to be made available on Xbox Live. However, since it's part of a PR campaign, the show is expected to be free.

While I have never watched the show, I've heard great things, and I'm just dying to know what this "shocking cliffhanger" that ended the second season is all about. Count me in!

Source: GameSpot

Posted by Allison on August 10, 2006 8:43 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo DS | PC

Today's New York Times (free reg. req.) has an interesting article reviewing games which can be played for 5-10 minutes at a time. The first game is called 'Virtual Villagers' and is a PC/Mac game which, "falls somewhere between the Sims and a pet simulator." What I'm interested in is the mention of two "Touch Generations" games for the Nintendo DS: 'Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day' and Big Brain Academy. If you don't know about these games, they are an addictive collection of arithmetic, memorization, logic, and other puzzles meant to give your brain a quick workout. In a press release today (Continue Reading... to see it), Nintendo announced that it has sold 4 million copies of 'Brain Age'. The article concludes with a review of the most recent 'Nancy Drew' game, which, apparently requires some massive brain power. 'Nancy Drew' doesn't fall into the 5-10 minute category.

Continue reading "NYT Article: Quick Gaming for the Time Challenged"
Posted by Jeremy on August 10, 2006 8:50 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

For a limited time Canadians can get an Xbox 360 bundle which includes the Xbox 360 with HDD, 'Project Gotham Racing 3', three months of Xbox Live Gold, and 1250 Microsoft Points (about CA$20) all for CA$499. This bundle had been rumored and my guess is that Canada is a test ground and that this will be the US bundle come the holiday season. In this way, Microsoft gets around its promise to reduce the price every year by basically giving away about $100 worth of product while at the same time giving gamers even more reason to not purchase the PS3.


Posted by Jeremy on August 10, 2006 9:23 AM | | Comments (0)

I've watched countless "round-table" discussions on various cable news channels, often getting angry as one guest attempts to out-shout the others. At a certain point, you just can't watch anymore. Alas, I came upon such a discussion on G4TV between infamous anti-video game lawyer, Jack Thompson; host of X-Play, Adam Sessler; and GameDaily CEO Mark Friedler. Why must all such discussions dumb-down the discourse? It makes me crazy. *turns on News Hour with Jim Lehrer*

"Continue Reading" to watch the interview via YouTube. Pointed out by Joystiq

Continue reading "Jack Thompson vs. Adam Sessler vs. Mark Friedler"
Posted by Jeremy on August 11, 2006 10:21 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo

Ah, it's Friday. And, what's a Friday without a little ukelele distraction? I'll sweeten the deal and make it a Zelda ukelele distraction.

Hat tip to Wonderland

Posted by Allison on August 11, 2006 10:25 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS2 | Sony

I check YouTube daily for any interesting gaming videos (or any interesting videos in general). Today, to my surprise, I found that the sponsored video (in the upper right of the site) is for Rockstar's controversial upcoming game, "Bully". "Bully" has gotten a bad wrap due to its supposed premise: that you are a bully who beats up other kids and does harm to teachers. In reality, the game follows the path of the main character as he tries to weave his way through a school full of bullies and teachers who dislike him. Obviously, the main character isn't an angel, but I think this game will actually be closer to the reality of navigating the popularity contest that is high school than to the all-out violence fest that critics are charging. The game is due out in October and you can watch the video if you click, "Continue reading..."

Continue reading "'Bully' Trailer on YouTube"
Posted by Jeremy on August 14, 2006 9:32 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

As Nelson from 'The Simpsons' would say, "Eeehhh, heeehhh". Not long ago, an Illinois bill banning the sale of violent games to kids was ruled unconstitutional. Now, the same federal judge has ordered the state of Illinois to pay $510,000 in legal fees to the Entertainment Software Assn., the Video Software Dealers Assn. and the Illinois Retail Merchants Assn. (the people who sued). As satisfying as it is to see a bad law (and the bill's sponsors) get its comeupance, it's actually quite upsetting that a law which everybody knew would be declared unconstitutional was pushed through for political reasons. In addition to the cost to taxpayers in terms of legislators' time and defending the bill in court, they now have to pay half-a-million more. I'd guess the entire bill cost about $1 million. I wonder how many kids the state could have helped with that same million? Jerks.

Posted by Jeremy on August 14, 2006 10:08 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | Xbox | Xbox 360

We are pleased to announce that within the next week (or so) we'll have an unofficial Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Walkthrough and Strategy Guide available to our users. Yes, we know the game has been out for a while, but it's a masterpiece of a game and it deserves the Lunabean treatment. Per usual, we'll offer an instantly downloadable PDF version of the guide, free to our LunaPass subscribers and only $5.95 if purchased a la carte. I'll update you on the progress of the guide over the next few days.

Posted by Jeremy on August 15, 2006 10:16 AM | | Comments (1)

Filed Under: PS3 | Sony

Sierra Entertainment has announced that its award-winning paranormal shooter F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) will be a launch title for the Sony PS3 and will be made available to PS3 gamers on November 17th. The game will be ported from its PC version by Day 1 Studios, which is the company also in charge of porting the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Gamespot is reporting that the PS3 version of F.E.A.R. will have exclusive content, although no details regarding the specifics of said content were provided.

For the record, F.E.A.R. is the first announced launch title for the PS3. While I'm quite excited for the game, I don't know what it means, if anything, that the first title is a port of a game that launched a year ago. Ah well.

Official "F.E.A.R." site

Posted by Allison on August 17, 2006 11:12 AM | | Comments (1)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii

Good news coming from an interview by USAToday's Byron Acohido and Nintendo of America's new president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. When asked about the online strategy for the upcoming Wii console, Fils-Aime answered, "We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for. They'll be able to enjoy that right out of the box. The Wii console is going to be Wi-Fi enabled, so essentially, you'll be able to plug it in and go. It won't have hidden fees or costs.

Fils-Aime elaborated on the non-subsciption fee model by stating, "We view online gaming as essentially an enhanced way to enjoy the gaming experience and drive more sales of hardware and software."

Have I told you how much I'm loving Nintendo these days?

Posted by Allison on August 17, 2006 12:14 PM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo DS

Last month we told you about the upcoming DS title, "A Fresh Tingle's Rose-Colored Happy Land DS", which is the first "Zelda" spin-off title for any console. Today, we are pleased to present the Japanese commercial for this odd little RPG.

Posted by Allison on August 18, 2006 10:19 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii | PS3 | Sony | Xbox | Xbox 360

A report out of The Yankee Group (a financial company) predicts that the PS3 will be the winner in the next-generation console battle with 50% market share by 2011. The report suggests that the Xbox 360 will end up with 32% and the Wii will come in at 18%. Can I tell you right now how wrong that is?

First of all, they assume that people will only be buying one console. More accurately, there will be many households who own an Xbox 360 and a Wii, or a Wii and a PS3, or whatever. Secondly, if we are to stick to the one-console mindset, the Wii will do much better than 18%. Add in the fact that the Xbox 360 already has a head start and the PS3 costs $500! What do you think?

Read more

Posted by Jeremy on August 18, 2006 10:33 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

According a blog post over at GamerScoreBlog (the blog of Microsoft Games' marketing team) there are no HD-DVD games in the works for the Xbox 360. The HD-DVD player which is due out later this year will be exclusively for movies. Sony is claiming that their Blu-Ray disc will offer gamers better games with bigger worlds. MS points to 'Oblivion' as an example of a huge game that fits fine on a standard DVD.

Posted by Jeremy on August 18, 2006 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | Strategy Guide | Xbox | Xbox 360

We are pleased to announce that the LB Unofficial 'The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion' Walkthrough and Strategy Guide is complete! This guide is so chock full of information, strategies, and tips that I wouldn't even know where to start to describe it. Let's just say it's everything you need to explore every nook and cranny of this huge game.

Per usual, we have a beautifully bookmarked, easy-to-navigate, and printer friendly version of the 'Oblivion' Walkthrough as a downloadabe PDF in our brand new store, LunabeanGuides.com.

Continue reading "'Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion' Walkthrough Complete"
Posted by Jeremy on August 21, 2006 9:24 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii

Word came out today that 'Zelda: Twilight Princess' will have more Wii functionality than was originally planned. In the Japanese magazine, "Nintendo Dream", Nintendo Pres., Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that the player will be able to swing the Master Sword with the Wii controller. Prior to this announcement, the plan was to swing the sword with the "B-Button". This freeing up of the "B-Button" has also improved the Bow-and-Arrow action, meaning that you can now hit the "B-Button" to fire your arrow after you have drawn the bow with the Wii controller. Finally, what I find most interesting, is Miyamoto's announcement that Nintendo may retrofit some Gamecube games for use with the Wii controller. Obviously, the Zelda series pops to mind, but how much fun would a Pikmin game be with the new remote? Ow-wowee-wow.


Posted by Jeremy on August 21, 2006 10:20 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PS3 | Sony

Oy to the vey! In an interview with GameSpot, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) pres., Kaz Hirai, has admitted that production of the PS3 has not yet begun, even though launch is only about 3 months away. Despite this shocking announcement, Hirai asserts that Sony will have the 2 million consoles promised for launch in the three main territories (Japan, US, Europe) and that they will be able to manufacture 1 million per month after that. Judging from the quality of launch products from Sony, I'd be very wary of buying a launch console, especially since production will be rushed. That being said, I doubt that many people will be able to get their hands on a PS3 prior to Xmas anyway. Hirai didn't announce distribution plans, but my guess would be 1 million for Japan, 600,000 for the US and 400,000 for Europe. Some lotteries have better odds.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Nintendo has been manufacturing Wii's since July and that the price may be well under $200. I laugh at the Yankee Group and their extremely wrong prediction that the PS3 will win the console war!

Posted by Jeremy on August 21, 2006 11:13 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

Hop on over to EatPES.com for an impressive stop-motion film that uses a few household objects (candy corn, tile, leaves, bugs, watches, flowers, etc.) to recreate some old school arcade video games.

While I was amazed by each and every one, my vote goes to "Frogger", as PES perfectly recreated, not only the scene, but the tension felt when trying to cross through the dense and speeding traffic.

Source: BoingBoing.net

Posted by Allison on August 22, 2006 9:24 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii

Living in Portland, OR, which is in the Willamette Valley, it cracked me up a few months ago when the Nintendo Wii name was revealed and it was discovered that wii.com was owned by Willamette Industries Inc., a paper and building materials company owned by Weyerhauser. At the time, Nintendo claimed that they didn't care about the domain and were not going to pursue it. Well, as pointed out by cubed3, Nintendo has indeed gained the rights to wii.com. A quick look at the whois database confirms it. When will we see wii.com go live? My guess is soon, when they announce the price.

Posted by Jeremy on August 22, 2006 9:25 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

Attention all Silver and Gold Xbox Live subscribers! At 1am this morning (PDT) Microsoft added "Texas Hold 'Em" to its Xbox Live Arcade lineup. For the next 48 hours (well, we're down to 40 now), you can log onto Xbox Live and download the full version of the poker game for FREE. That's right. You have until 1am PDT on Friday (0800 GMT) to get online and do what needs to be done...otherwise, be willing to give up 800 points ($10) for the card game.

Once you've downloaded the game, look for LUNABEAN online, as my little love of gambling (even for fake money), is sure to consume me for most of the day.

Posted by Allison on August 23, 2006 9:53 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii | Xbox | Xbox 360

If you're not in the video game biz, then you probably don't know that the Games Convention, an annual trade show, is currently in progress in Leipzig, Germany. This is actually quite a big event, especially for European gamers, and is a place where new products and big announcements are made. So far, we don't have anything earth shattering, but rather, a few interesting bits of info have come out.

In the Nintendo camp, Nintendo have announced two games for the Wii: "Mario Strikers Charged" (working title) and "Battalion Wars II" (BWii, if you think about it).

In the Xbox camp, Microsoft revealed several peripherals and confirmed the release of the Xbox Live Vision Camera for the US on September 19. The new peripherals are a wireless steering wheel, a wireless headset, and an Xbox 360 controller for the PC.

In the Playstation camp, Sony have finally relented and reduced the price of the PS3 to $299. Just kidding! It'll still cost you your first born, the blood of a virgin, and a pinch of saffron (although you can pre-order it with just the pinch of saffron).

Posted by Jeremy on August 23, 2006 10:25 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming

Cabel, a fellow Portlander, made quite the discovery when examining his last three issues of "Electronic Gaming Monthly". It seems the magazine is suffering from "two guys with guns" syndrome:

This prompts Cabel to ask the question, "Where are the genres?". After all, we're presented with different kinds of films every weekend, why not games? This, of course, led to comments along the line of "That's why we're excited for the Wii". I agree. And, I do think gamers need more genres from which to pick, so I applaud the question. I do, however, want to remind people that the state of video games in America is slightly different from the state of video game magazines in America.

Continue reading "The State of American Video Games"
Posted by Allison on August 23, 2006 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Nintendo | Nintendo DS

Nintendo of America has today announced that US gamers will be able to pick up two new colors of Nintendo DS Lites on September 13th. For the gaming bad ass, we have Onyx, a beautiful and sleek black. For the gaming gal, we have a shiny and lovely shade of pink:

As someone who usually buys consoles when they come out, I rarely get the opportunity to choose between fun colors. Since I decided my regular DS was working just fine when the Lites came out, I opted to wait it out to see what colors would come my way. Now I must choose.

As I'm getting a distinct "Grease" feel from these new options (T-birds or Pink Ladies), I feel I must represent the Pink Ladies. That way Jer will stay away from my very own DS. WooHoo!

Continue reading "Coral Pink and Onyx (Slam!) DSes coming to the US"
Posted by Allison on August 24, 2006 9:19 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | Xbox | Xbox 360

Every now and again I have an urge to undermine a foreign government. I have yet to act upon this impulse mainly because I lack the know how, equipment, manpower, financing, and well, the physical and mental prowess to accomplish such a thing, much less the fact that Allison wouldn't let me.

Thank goodenss for video games. In "Just Cause", a new action-adventure game from Eidos, you play as Rico Rodriguez; undercover operative sent to take down the government of a small banana republic with eyes on developing a WMD. The early scoop on the game is that it takes this genre over-the-top, in a good way, giving you access to 89 different vehicles in which to travel around the 250,000 square miles of San Esperito.

For a taste of the game, you can download the demo either on Xbox Live or, for the PC, at justcausegame.com. My download is currently in progress. Foreign governments, beware!

Posted by Jeremy on August 24, 2006 9:49 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Video Game Politics

U.S. District Judge James Brady has issued a preliminary injuction against the recently enacted Louisiana state law which punishes retailers for selling games deemed "patently offensive" to minors.

According to Judge Brady, the injunction was put in place because the video game industry, "has a substantial likelihood of success of proving a First Amendment violation." Odd, because Jack Thompson, the author of the bill, told everyone that his bill was, in fact, constitutional.

It's too bad that the Louisiana state legislature didn't know what every political gamer knows about Mr. Thompson, or they might not have wasted the tax payers' money by passing something written by a man who is so obsessed with his own mission, he's lost all sense of reality. And, by "too bad", I mean it's really too bad, as there's no excuse for EVERY legislator to vote for this bill during a time when a) the state needs to be using its money for rebuilding and b) a wee bit of research would have given them all the info they needed on Mr. Thompson's history, along with the history of similar laws that have also failed the test of Constitutionality.

It's getting to a point where these victories for the video game industry have become bittersweet. Sweet because censorship is never the answer. Bitter because our elected officials don't seem to understand that.

Posted by Allison on August 25, 2006 8:48 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

GamesIndustry.biz has confirmed that Microsoft has reduced the price of the "core" Xbox 360 to 199.99 in the UK. This is and isn't a big deal. You see, the previous price was 209 and many retailers had already begun selling the core system for 199, taking a hit on their own profit margins. So, no, a 10 price drop doesn't seem like much, and it isn't.

However, this is a big deal because it's the first "official" price cut for the Xbox 360. Prior to this announcement, MS was extremely tight-lipped about it, even hinting that there would be no price cut of any kind. What does this mean for the US market? Well, if MS follows suit, and reduces the price of the core system, we may just see a $250 Xbox 360 this Christmas. With Sony scrambling to replace lap top batteries and begin production of the PS3, such an announcement would be salt in the wounds. We'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by Jeremy on August 25, 2006 9:08 AM | | Comments (0)

Hey, did you hear that there's a HUGE gaming season just around the corner? Within the next three months we'll see the launch of two new consoles (the Wii and PS3), along with countless eagerly anticipated games ("LEGO Star Wars II", "Okami", "Bully", "Splinter Cell: Double Agent", "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption", and "Zelda: The Twilight Princess"...just to name a few). To keep up with these changing times, we have launched a new site: LunabeanGuides.com.

LunabeanGuides.com will serve as our catalog for ALL of our downloadable video game walkthroughs and strategy guides. It is ad-free, easy to navigate, and easily searchable (just like our PDF guides!). What's more, it serves as a catalog for our LunaPass members, too. If you're a LunaPass member, all you have to do is locate the special LunaPass link on every guide's description page to access your guide for free!

Not a LunaPass member yet? Well, you're here at the right time. To kick off the launch of our new site, we are offering a $5 discount to anyone who signs up for a 12 month LunaPass subsciption and uses the coupon code: 1C12F8FA4A. That's one full year of all of the Lunabean walkthroughs and strategy guides you can handle!

If you're already a LunaPass member, you, too, can take advantage of this offer. Just sign into the Your Profile and add another year (it will be tacked onto the end of your current term). Use the same coupon code, and you're in!

This offer is only good for one week, so take advantage of it soon! Sign-up for the LunaPass

Posted by Allison on August 25, 2006 9:25 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: General Gaming | PC

Wonderland Blog has an interesting observation regarding games for girls. Judging from this week's top 10 PC games, Alice points out that 5 of the games are girl friendly, the most overt of which is 'Nancy Drew: Danger by Design', which is the #3 best seller. Alice went back in time to the August 2004 charts and noted that there were 4 girl-friendly games. Granted, the majority of these girl-friendly titles are part of 'The Sims' franchise, but nonetheless, we're sure to be seeing more games aimed at girls as developers and publishers are finally waking up to the fact that girls play games too.

With that being said, Allison is currently beginning work on a LB 'Nancy Drew: Danger by Design' Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. Stay tuned for more info.

More on Nancy Drew: Danger by Design

Posted by Jeremy on August 28, 2006 9:08 AM | | Comments (0)

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

If your jury is still out regarding the purchase of the latest incarnation of the "Madden NFL" series, hop on over to Xbox Live and download the 750MB demo now!

Keep in mind, it's a demo, so options and time are limited. Your taste of "Madden NFL 2007" will come by playing as either the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Seattle Seahawks in quarters that last a minute each. Is it enough of a demo to determine a purchase decision? Hey, beggars can't be choosers. If you don't like this free option, there's always renting...

Posted by Allison on August 28, 2006 10:08 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: Xbox | Xbox 360

Microsoft yesterday added a slew of games to the backwards compatibility list, bringing the number of Xbox games you can play on the Xbox360 to nearly 300. This is a great way to play some great older games, which you can probably find in the used-games bin for under $20. Some notable new additions: "Sid Meier's Pirates!," "Over the Hedge," and the upcoming "LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy." Happy gaming!

PDF of Backwards Compatible Games

Posted by Jeremy on August 29, 2006 9:03 AM | | Comments (0)

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

Because you can never play too many WWII based first-person-shooters, Codemasters has today announced "Fall of Liberty" (working title) for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Along with the game announcement came the news that Codemasters would be working with Spark Unlimited, the developer that gave us another WWII shooter, "Call of Duty: Finest Hour", to bring us this new title in Q4 2007.

There is a twist in this game which should keep the genre fresh, and that's that it is to be based upon an alternate history. According to Gamespot the game kills off British Prime Minister Winston Churchill three years before WWII begins. Without this man's superb leadership, the Nazis occupy Great Britain, which, in turn, gives them the reach and power necessary to move across the Atlantic, invade the U.S., and occupy Washington DC. In other words, lack of good leadership meant we failed at fighting them over there, so we were forced to fight them over here.

Continue reading "Nazis take over the White House in Q4 2007"
Posted by Allison on August 31, 2006 10:29 AM | | Comments (0)

Filed Under: PC | Strategy Guide

As Jer noted a few days ago, I opted to pick up last week's third best-selling PC game in the nation, "Nancy Drew: Danger by Design". While I'm not a PC gamer (I just don't have the time to throw another platform in the mix), I thought I'd give this little number a try, as I used to be a big "Nancy Drew" reader, AND I wanted to see how this title was so popular. By doing so, I discovered a few things.

1. I still love Nancy Drew (and Bess and George).
2. Point and click games can be a lot of fun AND quite satisfying.
3. Puzzles in these games meant for 13-15 year old girls are hard. In fact, they're some of the hardest puzzles I've ever had to solve in a game.

The difficulty of these puzzles made me realize that we're raising a very smart generation of girls AND this little game needs a walkthrough. It is for this reason that I have begun work (and almost completed) our LB 'Nancy Drew: Danger by Design' Walkthrough and Strategy Guide. Please feel no shame in using it. Again, these puzzles are extremely difficult!

Posted by Allison on August 31, 2006 11:13 AM | | Comments (3)

Filed Under: Strategy Guide | Xbox | Xbox 360

When I met Jeremy at Boston College a few years ago, I would have never expected to be announcing that he would, some day, be fighting a gang war in my living room. However, that's exactly what he's doing. And, of course, he's doing it well, as he's become quite experienced with fighting gang wars over the past few years.

It is for this reason that you can trust the growing LB "Saints Row" Walkthrough and Strategy Guide that he is currently writing as he plays through the game. Experience in gang war tactics AND an English degree, proving he knows how to write. What more could you want from a video game strategy guide writer?

LB "Saints Row" Walkthrough and Strategy Guide

Posted by Allison on August 31, 2006 11:27 AM | | Comments (0)

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