Friday, April 06, 2007

The day of trailers continues with Biohazard Umbrella Chronicles

I'm not sure how I feel about the recent news from Capcom that the Wii-only Biohazard/Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles is going to be an on-rails shooter a la Sega's House of the Dead series.

I'm not a hardcore fan of the series, so the new controls don't bother me (in fact, I've always had a hard time with the game because I find it awkward). I think what bugs me is that most people will see it as a side story of the Biohazard/Resident Evil series and not deem it worthy to be purchased.

Anyway, if you're interested, here's a short clip of the game that shows a lot of cut scenes and a bit of actual shooting action. Looks pretty good to these eyes.

Regardless of how you feel about this release in particular, there are plenty of Wii games to be excited about these days--with Super Paper Mario being at the top of my list.

Watch a bit of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates

Square's obviously working its fans into frenzy in the run-up to next week's Square Party 2007. Earlier in the week we got a load of screenshots for the company's upcoming DS games Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and It's a Wonderful World, and now we get a new trailer for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates.

Not a whole lot going on it, but at least it's in motion, right? Besides, I'm sure we'll be seeing more and more trailers of this game sooner rather than later, especially since FFXII: Revenant Wings is about to ship.

Is there anything wrong with the PSP?

That's the question of the day over at Writer Howard Wen posed the wide-open question to a handful of industry insiders and pundits and came back with some interest responses.

The piece is fairly positive overall, which may shock some considering the overwhelming amount of moaning going on about Sony in the gaming press and on the discussion boards.

If you look at the numbers, though, it shouldn't be all that surprising that the machine isn't considered a failure by many in the industry. Simply put: The PSP is getting its butt kicked by the DS, but consumers continue to pick them up and put money in Sony's coffers, which is all that really matters in the end.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Say hello to Nintendo's latest chick game

No, I'm not talking about Super Princess Peach 2--though I wouldn't be upset if that game were to be announced (as long as it's a bit deeper than the first go-round).

The game I'm talking about is Chick Chick Boom, a new online Flash game "powered by Nintendo." I blew about 25 minutes on this nice little time-waster this morning when I should have been writing or interviewing or doing whatever else us writer folks are supposed to do during the day.

What's the point of the game? Well, you're responsible for protecting five little chicks who flit along aimlessly on the left side of your computer screen. You see, a cute little baddie who goes by the name Poster Bunny wants to kill your chicks for some unknown reason--using bombs, lightning, poison mushrooms and more. You counter his attacks by using the mouse to direct your chicks to one side of the screen or another, hoist a lightning rod above them, give them medicine, etc.

The game isn't just about protecting your chicks, no sirree. To win, you have to kill Poster Bunny's little minions (also chicks) using some attacks of your own.

All moves--defensive or offensive--are performed using the mouse. Drawing an arrow to the left pushes your chicks out of the way of a bomb, for instance, while drawing an s-curve of sorts puts up a lightning rod to protect them from electrocution. While on the attack, drawing a bombs sends one careening at your foes, while a zigzag pattern calls a storm of lightning bolts.

I've heard some online complaining that the game's hard to control with a mouse. Personally, I thought it was easy as pie, and quite enjoyable. If you fall into the anti-mouse camp, though, there is another option: Play the game on your TV using the Wii! Yup, Nintendo thankfully made the game fully compatible with the Wiimote, giving us all a reason to boot up the otherwise pointless (in my opinion) Wii Web Browser.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Take a look inside Nintendo

For some wonderful reason, Nintendo's Japanese and U.S. websites have been running interviews with various Wii development teams over the past few months. The Japanese interviews have been translated (though not always well) and are quite fascinating, as are the interviews that appear on the U.S. site.

For links and a lengthy discussion of each interview, go to the NeoGAF forums. (These forums are a great site for overall news, too!)

One bit of information that really made my mouth water: One of the guys who has worked on the Wii Shop Channel commented that he would like to see an arcade channel, where people can download and play arcade versions of games like Donkey Kong.

I've been hoping Nintendo would implement such a feature since the Shop Channel was first announced, as the NES versions of many of the company's arcade games just don't compare to the arcade originals. Hopefully someone will make this happen sooner rather than later!

Kotaku gets up close and personal with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima

I'm so jealous of all these writers who get to put the screws to folks like Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime, Hudson's John Greiner and many others.

Kotaku's Luke Plunkett is the most recent recipient of my journalistic envy, due to the fact that he got to sit down with Hideo Kojima (best known for creating the Metal Gear series) at the GO3 conference.

Plunkett and Kojima discussed a wide range of topics, with the most thrilling bits of info being that Metal Gear Solid 4 will be exclusive to the PS3 (sorry, 360 fans), that it may or may not include a rumble feature and that it may or may not be the last entry into the series.

A thrilling read regardless of what information you're hoping he spilled.

IGN goes back to school

No offense, but no one goes to for quality journalism. The gaming monolith's many sites are popular because they post lots of news and update often.

You could have called me pleasantly surprised, then, when I came upon one of yesterday's featured articles, Videogame U. Writer Jonathan Miller displays some great reporting and writing in this article about Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cogswell College, one of the growing number of schools offering courses game design.

Full disclosure: I seriously considered applying at DigiPen when it first opened its doors many years ago. I probably could have gotten in too, but I just couldn't bear to leave my family and friends at the time. I don't really regret that decision, but I sure do envy those who get to make a living in the gaming industry.

Nights sequel to connect to Forecast Channel

As if some of us weren't already excited enough about Sega's upcoming Nights: Journey of Dreams. Now we hear that not only will the game's wily jester have access to masks that give him shape-shifting abilities, but we also hear that the game will pull information from the player's Forecast Channel to alter in-game scenery.

Sounds nice to me, though I have one question for the folks at Sega (or Nintendo, who supposedly are planning a similar feature for the Wii version of Animal Crossing): What if the player lives somewhere like Seattle, where the weather can be awfully consistent? Am I going to have to put up with cloudy skies every time I play the game, or be forced to alter by location? That would be a bit of a drag, if you ask me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Mother 3 madness continues

Mother 3 fanatics must have had an interest morning--that is, if they woke up and heard the news that two soundtracks to the Japan-only GBA classic have been released on U.S. iTunes. Yes, you read that correctly: The soundtrack(s) to a game that has yet to be announced, let alone released, on this side of the pond are now available to the American masses.

Not sure if this is some cruel, post-April Fool's Day prank from the folks at Nintendo or if this is a sign that the game eventually will see the light of day in the U.S., but I guess we'll find out eventually. (I hate to add, however, that another possibility exists: That Nintendo simply wanted to make the soundtracks available to fans of the series and nothing else. Please let this not be the case!)

Gamasutra gets into Bonk's head

Anyone who considers themselves a retro-gaming geek--and has a special place in his or her heart for NEC's Turbo-Grax-16--should head over to pronto. Brandon Sheffield, features editor at Game Developer Magazine, recently interviewed a few higher-ups at Hudson Entertainment (including President John Greiner and Director of Marketing John Lee) and in the process asked quite a few questions about the TurboGrafx-16, NEC's ill-fated PC-FX system and the company's plans for the Wii Virtual Console.

I wish we had learned more about the PC-FX precursor to Saturn Bomberman (was it ever completed and why wasn't it released?), the PC-FX version of Tengai Makyou and some of the company's incomplete PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 offerings (especially the promising looking Bonk RPG). Oh, well, maybe we'll get that in the next interview...

Nights sequel officially confirmed

How nice to receive some real news after all the April Fool's shenanigans over the past weekend. There's not much to say here, really, as so much has been said about this game already. If you'd like to read the official Sega press release on the game, go to Besides confirming the game is, in fact, in the works, the release mentions a fall 2007 release date. Sounds good to me! Now let's hope Sega doesn't screw it up...