Currents Top Ten I Epic Vice President Rips Nintendo a New One I Developers Unhappy with PS3? I Florida Jumps on Game-Banning Bandwagon I PS3 to Run Games at 120 FPS I Wal-Mart Takes Down Xbox 360 Kiosks I Revolution to See Simultaneous Global Release I Stock Ticker
Issue #26 Fall Forward October 29, 2005

Front Page

It's that time of year again when we Americans defy the omnipotent powers of Father Time -- not just because we can, not just because we're Americans on a perpetual ego trip who think that everything else should bend to the will of our nation and not the other way around, but because we actually care about the environment -- at least when it means having to spend less money on energy, anyway. So don't forget to set your clocks back or forward or sideways or whatever it is this time. Unless of course you live in Indiana or Arizona and actually let time tell you what to do. I scoff at your invertibratism.

Fun and games aside (my grandparents lived in IN and I had a buddy who went to ASU, so I actually don't scoff at those states, despite their invertibratism), it's time to get down to business. I have for you, on a silver platter, the severed head of a Currents column. Below is the body. It's quite a mess, I know, but put on your fishing boots, and you'll make it safely to the end. Father Time compels you to.

 Currents Top Ten

We're seeing a lot of newcomers making their debuts this week, so congratulations to them all. DBZ: Tenkaichi, Shadow of the Colossus, The Warriors, Blitz: The League, American Wasteland, and Fire Emblem are all making debuts. The only returning game, in fact, is SOCOM 3.

The top spot goes to the new Dragon Ball Z game, followed closely by Colossus, from the makers of Ico, and former first-placer, SOCOM 3. GameCube RPG Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance debuts at 9th this week, and the 10th place spot goes to the Xbox releases of Tony Hawk's American Wasteland.

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi Atari
2 Shadow of the Colossus Sony Computer Entertainment America
3 SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALs Sony Computer Entertainment America
4 The Warriors Rockstar Games
5 The Warriors Rockstar Games
6 Blitz: The League Midway
7 Blitz: The League Midway
8 Tony Hawk's American Wasteland Activision
9 Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Nintendo
10 Tony Hawk's American Wasteland Activision

Source: GameSpot

 Epic Vice President Rips Nintendo a New One


The vice president of Epic, Mark Rein, showed up at an IGN Live event and evidently decided to burn all bridges with other game producers. At the event, Rein bashed Nintendo, Sony, Electronic Arts, and Activision for various reasons. He did, however, balance out all the anger with some kind praises for Microsoft.

Nintendo received the bulk of the rant with Rein taking on the company's recently revealed Revolution controller. "Don't kid yourself," he began. "You're going to see more gimmicky, crappy, cheap, I-wish-I-hadn't-bought-it gimmick games based around that controller than you can ever possibly imagine.

"I guarantee you there's going to be lots of people who say the whole reason for this game is this controller, we made the perfect game for the controller. And all it'll be is about the controller, and not necessarily a great game."

Rein was later asked if he could imagine a better control set-up for first-person shooters than the current keyboard-mouse combination, to which he replied: "I could, but it's not the Nintendo Revolution controller... Didn't you see when Iwata-san held it up? The two controllers are the little wand controller and the other one is a joystick - and it's a joystick with a bunch of ribs under it.

"Remember the one that nearly destroyed your thumb on the Dreamcast, and on the N64 remember how after you played a game for a couple of hours you had to suck your thumb for a month? It's that kind of controller."

Another developer at the event defended the Revolution controller, saying that it would be perfect for first-person shooters, but Rein wouldn't give ground. He simply held up the Xbox 360 controller, saying: "This is the Xbox 360 controller, and there's nothing wrong with it.

"It works just fine for playing games, and it works fine for first-person shooter games, as evidenced by the fact that they sold more first-person shooters on consoles than anybody's ever sold on PCs."

Rein then went on to take shots at the PS3 prototype controller that was on display at E3. "I don't think anybody knows what the PlayStation 3 controller looks like," he said. "I think we all sure as hell pray like hell it's not that stupid-looking thing they showed at E3."

Not stopping to catch his breath, the Epic vice president went on to make sure that rivals Electronic Arts and Activision couldn't walk away from the event unscathed, either. He claims that the two publishers are thinking too big for the next generation games. "I've heard EA and Activision make absolutely ridiculous statements about, 'Oh, it's going to take 30 million dollars to make a game and we need 300 people' - that's just a bunch of bullsh--.

"They're just covering up for their own management and incompetence. Or mismanagement I should say.

"Our team size is only about 50 per cent higher than it was last generation, and we're making fantastic games. Gears of War [Epic's forthcoming Xbox 360 title] is only about 25 people, and that's smaller than most current-generation game teams."

Wow. Is it just me or is this console war starting to look more like last year's presidential race? In the end, I think all that this name-bashing really accomplishes is that it makes the companies not involved in the bashing look a hell of a lot more poised and mature. I'm looking at Nintendo when I say that. Microsoft seems to be dealing out the most dirt, though Sony's hands aren't entirely clean. But I think everyone should just stop talking unless they're going to say something about their own system.


 Developers Unhappy with PS3?

PlayStation 3

According to a recent issue of the Japanese economic periodical Weekly Diamond, next-generation game developers aren't too happy with the PlayStation 3 tools that Sony has provided them to work with. As a result, software for the PS3 will likely arrive a little later than was perhaps hoped.

The specific article states that the PS3 development kits have only just recently begun to arrive on the doorsteps of deveopers. In contrast, software tools for the Xbox 360 were shipped out as early as last summer, granted that the 360 does have an earlier market launch date. Finally, to add salt to an open wound, Sony has also yet to announce the pricing for the middleware tools, prompting a feeling of restlessness among potential PS3 developers.

Hirokazu Hamamura, the president of Enterbrain, said of the situation, "We are unlikely to see games exhibiting a level only PS3 can achieve until the end of 2007."

Source: GameScience

 Florida Jumps on Game-Banning Bandwagon

It hasn't even been one month since last action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a California bill banning the sale of mature games to minors into law, and already another state is beginning a nearly identical process. With bill SB492, Florida joins the steadily growing group of states that have, or are attempting to, ban the sale of video games to consumers below their target age group.

SB492 was introduced by state Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla and defines a violent video game using the same vernacular used in the California mature games bill. The bill also imposes the same $1000 fine on violators of the proposed law, as well as requires game vendors to brand all violent games with the same 2-inch-by-2-inch sticker depticting the number "18." There is one difference between the Florida bill and the California bill, however: the Florida bill also covers games in arcades, unlike the California bill.

There has yet to be a response from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). But considering that the ESA has already teamed up with the Video Software Dealers Association to repeal the California bill on the grounds that it violates the first amendment, opposition to the Florida bill seems imminent.


 PS3 to Run Games at 120 FPS

PlayStation 3

The father of PlayStation, Ken Kutaragi, showed up at the Tokyo International Digital Conference this week, and he brought big news: Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 console may be capable of running games at a blinding 120 frames-per-second. For those who don't know what that means, that's twice the speed that games run today. 120 fps is so fast, in fact, that even some of the newest televisions hitting the market today are still incapable of displaying video at that speed. Since televisions will likely be able to display video at that speed within the life span of the PS3, Kutaragi is planning to be fully prepared in advance.

Source: GameSpot

 Wal-Mart Takes Down Xbox 360 Kiosks

Xbox 360

Though some Wal-Mart stores only just recently received and activated their Xbox 360 kiosks, complete with videos, playable demos, and downloadable content, it looks as though the retail mega giant is going to begin deactivating the kiosks. Some Wal-Mart stores have yet to even receive the stations, leading some to possibly question whether they ever will now.

The reason for the deactivations is that the 2.4 GHz wireless signal emitted by the Xbox 360 interferes with the network-based inventory management systems in some Wal-Mart stores. Microsoft has promised to investigate the situation and hopefully will have it solved before long. Not all Wal-Marts are necessarily suffering from this problem, so the best way to find out if your local store will remove its kiosks is to head on over and see for yourself.

Source: GamesAreFun

 Revolution to See Simultaneous Global Release


The title of this story pretty much says it all, but in case you want some details too, then you should probably read on. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata announced plans this week to release the company's next-generation console globally on the same date. In an interview with Nikkei Business, Iwata said, "I can only say that it's coming out during 2006, but it will be after the current fiscal year. We hope to make it a simultaneous worldwide release as much as it's possible." This places the range of possible the date to anytime between April 1 and December 31.

Iwata also went on to verbalize his hopes for the success of the system, stating that "[the Revolution] would be a complete failure if we didn't sell more units than the Nintendo GameCube." Since this June, Nintendo has shipped 18.75 million units of its GameCube console.

Source: GamesAreFun

 Stock Ticker

Well I'll be. All numbers are green for the day except for one. I'd say that's pretty good, however, it's not that great for some companies. Though most finished higher for the day, others, such as Activision, have dropped nearly $6.00 since last week. This isn't good. As far as the rest of the companies, their changes from last week aren't as drastic and some are positive. Any slumps incurred during the week, though, look to be vanishing a bit if Friday's numbers are any indication. But like I've said many times before, this market is too sporatic to predict at times, so we'll just have to see what happens.

Electronic arts is taking home the gold trophy for biggest increase of the day at $1.54. Obviously, the one company in the red is at the low end for the day: Ubisoft loses $1.02 per share.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 10.28.2005

Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 32.43 0.61
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 25.53 0.68
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 14.10 0.15
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 56.72 1.54
SQNXF Square Enix PNK 28.02 0.41
KNM Konami NYSE 20.88 0.72
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 15.54 0.30
MWY Midway NYSE 17.90 0.30
SGAMY Sega PNK 17.80 0.20
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 46.47 (1.02)

Source: CNN Money

 Back Page

That should be it for now. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait an extra hour more than usual for next week's issue due to the time change. I hope you don't mind. Actually, I don't really care at all what you think, so bug off, you hoodlums.

I've been playing some Advance Wars: Dual Strike, and hoo-boy does that game get your blood pumping. I'm only on mission 10 of the campaign, but I feel like I've been playing it for much longer. It just takes so long to get through the missions; I spent 31 days on mission 8. So yeah, I look forward to many more hours on my DS. Until then, make sure you get your pets spayed or neutered and don't forget to recycle.

I love you.

Elliot "Challenging Father Time to duels and losing every freaking time" Guisinger

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