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Archive For November, 2005

Miyamoto Guitar-Sign-O, Cha Cha Cha

November 28, 2005 6:08 AM | Simon Carless

miyamoto.jpg When Shigeru Miyamoto made a rare public appearance in New York in late September to help promote Nintendogs, all kinds of sensible and non-sensible item signings resulted. One of the less sensible, a guitar signed by Miyamoto himself, is now available on eBay with a reserve price of $700, and the frenzied explanation: "Not only is this guitar autographed by Miyamoto, but he is also the last person who played it!"

Apparently, "The chords he played? The opening chords to the Super Mario Bros. theme song!" Pity it's not a Nintendo-themed guitar, though, since there's a precedence for game-themed axes - the Um Jammer Lammy real-life guitars collected by former GamePro and current Future guitar-loving journo Dan Amrich, for one.

BudgetWatch: 'Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures'

November 28, 2005 12:53 AM | Simon Carless

shamu.jpg If, like us, you prowl around your local video game store looking for weird Eastern European-developed family games nobody else cares about, you might have come across Shamu's Deep Sea Adventures, an officially Sea World-licensed adventure title for (deep breath!) PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, DS, and GBA, from Activision Value. As the official website explains: "All is not well within Shamu's beloved SeaWorld Adventure Park - Poseidon wants to steal the magic of the park away from Shamu and SeaWorld." Damn you, Poseidon!

The screenshots show off a surprisingly lush Ecco-esque seascape, and TeamXbox's review reveals 720p support for the Xbox version, calling it "a pretty slick little kid’s game". Plus, in a nefarious piece of 'alternative' marketing, perhaps your tykes found out about the $29.99 game from their teacher, thanks to the LearningWorks lesson plan [.ZIP] posted on the Shamu homepage - sneaky, Activision, sneaky.

Inducing 'Flow' Through Shmups

November 27, 2005 7:20 PM | Simon Carless

uplift.gifThe clever shoot-em-up fans over at Shoot The Core! managed to spot Uplift, an academic project created by a student at the Georgia Tech Experimental Gaming Lab, Nathanael Ng.

Ng explains in his abstract: "It has been found that individuals engaging in challenging activity such as athletics, coding, or playing video games sometimes enter a state of cognition known as 'flow' or 'the zone'. This is, I believe, a fundamental human capability, yet it has not been formally studied to any significant degree." What better way to study it (utilizing "a biofeedback/neurofeedback interface") than with a frantic abstract 2D shooter, too? Unfortunately, the game isn't online just yet, but the screenshots look like Vectrex-esque fun, and the more degrees we grant through Ikaruga clones, the better shape America will be in.

DungeonDoom, Not DangerDoom

November 27, 2005 3:54 AM | Simon Carless

dd.jpg The creators of the 'Roguelike' DungeonDoom mod for Doom III have announced that Version 7.0 XP is now available for download - both Doom III and the Resurrection of Evil expansion pack are required to play. The official page explains of the rather neat mod: "DungeonDoom incorporates most key features of Roguelike games. In particular, levels are largely composed of mazes, which are generated randomly every time a new game is started. Levels have stairs leading either to higher or lower levels of the dungeon. The lower the player descends into the dungeon, the stronger the enemies get. Killed enemies drop gold which then can be used by the player in shops to buy weapons and ammo."

Even wackier, the new version of the mod, V7.0XP, include "alignment system and dynamic storyline influenced by player alignment", and even a new character class, Cardmaster,' based on collectible card gameplay. So that's the Doom III Rogue CCG, then? Sure, I'll take a dozen.

Konami Sees Stateside Style

November 27, 2005 2:52 AM |

vicviper_konamistyle.jpgKonamiStyle, the online shop that represents game publisher Konami's game, music, and merchandise interests, has deployed for United States customers. Previously available only to Japanese and European markets, Konami now gives US-based gamers the option to buy online.

At this point, the only wares available are currently marketed Konami software releases. This pales in comparison to offerings provided by the Japanese iteration, which include pants-wetting goodness like Konami property t-shirts, the Metal Gear Solid 3 Extreme Box, arcade quality Bemani controllers and more. KonamiStyle for Europe is not slouch either, with Silent Hill 4 mugs to prove it.

Buyer beware: KonamiStyle American-style currently lists Microsoft specific system requirements (hiss...), but using other alternatives has yet to hurt our browsing experience.

Steed Plays Emma Peel With Waitresses

November 27, 2005 12:14 AM | Simon Carless

cw.jpg Over at sister site Gamasutra, they've added a 'Playing Catch-Up' column with former id artist Paul Steed, particularly 'famous' for his somewhat controversial 'Crackwhore' model for Quake II, as well as his larger-than life personality.

Steed's fascination with the female form continued even post-id, though, as he explains: "I was doing these visualizers for [popular MP3 software] WinAmp, this plugin where you have 3D dancing girl at about 10,000 polygons... I came up with the proper solution to the breast bouncing one night over seven Guinnesses with a waitress. I showed her my laptop, and what I was working on, and she happily jumped and bounced for me." After a stint at Microsoft working with James Cameron on Battle Angel demos for Xbox 360, Steed is now a Creative Director at Atari, with an eye for the less carnal and more practical: "I always wanted to work with a publisher, in the sense that I want to affect games and make them better."

Guitar (Greatest American) Hero

November 26, 2005 8:24 PM | Simon Carless

guit.jpg David Edery, the manager of the CycleScore exergaming project at MIT, has his own weblog, Game Tycoon, and, quizzing a fellow bulky-peripheral utilizer, has interviewed Harmonix's Greg LoPiccolo about the awesome PlayStation 2 axe-wielding, plastic Gibson-totin', critically drooled-over title Guitar Hero.

Among the highlights? LoPiccolo suggests of the game's late-lifecycle timing: "The major franchises are all out toiling with their new dev kits, so there aren’t that many compelling PS2 titles out there, which is great for us!" There's also hints that "you can sell people more music for the existing game, new features via expansion content" - maybe the "solo improvisational mode" that Harmonix recently mentioned in an Edge interview will make it into an add-on pack? We can only hope. (Via Ludology.)

Mario's Chiropractor Is A Busy Lady

November 26, 2005 7:22 PM | Simon Carless

mario.jpg Jim Munroe runs the No Media Kings website, and if you're into games and art, you might have heard of his piece 'My Trip To Liberty City', narrating a trip to Grand Theft Auto's home town in typically tedious holiday-home-video style. (He also wrote the excellent futurist sci-fi novel Everyone In Silico, which you can download as an ebook.)

In any case, Munroe has now publically released another game-related short live action film, 'Mario's Pain', in which "the played-out plumber talks about his back problems", and if you like to see stuffed-toy Nintendo characters complaining of intense lumbar conniptions, then you may want to check this out. Also because it's pretty darn funny.

'The Movies' Gets, Uhm, Movies

November 26, 2005 7:08 PM | Simon Carless

movies.jpg A handy update over at the official website for Lionhead's 'The Movies' compiles some of the best films recently uploaded to the site, after having been created in Peter Molyneux's critically well-received hybrid PC strategy-creation title.

Some of the best? Well, much remarked on already is 'The French Democracy', "an original French movie about the recent French riots in the suburbs", but also well worth checking is 'The Movies Ad Contest!", in which "Peter Molyneux is upset with the marketing of his visionary product, The Movies... [and] dives into full Evil Genius mode and begs for a new advertising campaign." Wait, that movie is just a movie... right?

Digital Leisure announces 15 "360 games"

November 26, 2005 9:49 AM |

now that's entertainment!Digital Leisure, which owns the rights to a host of classic laserdisc-based arcade games (the likes of Dragon's Lair and Thayer's Quest - and even some atrocious live action FMV games like Mad Dog McCree), has announced that the company will be releasing the games for the Xbox 360. Truth be told though, these are simply DVD titles that are compatible with the 360 hardware by virtue of the 360 controller's doubling as a DVD remote. The (unlicensed!) games are not exactly affortable, at $30 a pop, and might be better presented in compiled form, perhaps with official license from Microsoft.

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