I think they’ve passed the audition

Beatles rock band. Absolutely blown away by the trailer for this. It isn’t an original game. It isn’t an innovative game. It is a license game, which the vast majority of suck incredibly hard. So why has it impressed me?

It has been done right. It oozes the source material. Right outfits, right look and feel, even the right sideburns for the characters. Little side comments at the end of songs. It just feels so accurate. And it sold me. It also doesn’t hurt that I know all the songs. I was brought up on them, these are some of the first songs I was taught to sing. Blame a liberal education in the seventies for that if you like. This is how you make a licensed game, you basically pay a load of attention, and then make it right. Should be fairly obvious, but in a lot of cases people just don’t bother

I’m not going to shell out for the fancy instruments, but I’m definitely getting the game fairly early on.

Bizarre Creations Next Live Game – Kotaku

New Xbox 360 Live game coming from the makers of Project Gotham:

Bizarre Creations, the guys behind Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved and Project Gotham Racing, are working on a new Live Arcade title.

Boom Boom Rocket, set to go live this spring, is described as a hypnotic rhythm music game conceived by Electronic Arts’ casual game site Pogo.com.

The game has players firing off rockets to the beat of music as they travel through a 3D city. The goal is to choreograph the firework-like explosions to the music. The game features 10 original tracks.

Link

Blue Burst

Have now downloaded Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst for the PC, and now they have the servers set up, will hopefully be playing that tonight. Suspect it will mainly be nothing new until the actual launch, where they will bring out a whole round of new content, but will have a bash and start building up a character I reckons. Has a new team function, which is essentially Clans for PSO, will be looking forwards to trying that out

Have been reading up on XML etc today. Bit perplexed actually, understand the basics of it, what I don’t get is how I am required to use it. Need to have a good hard think about that today, see if I can get it to come together in my head.

It would be wonderful if it was the weekend today. Round about now would be ideal.

And finally, firefox 1.0.4 is now out, definitely worth updating, get the latest security fixes you need to have.

Only 10% of Burnout 3 to go

Unfortunately of course it is going to be the hardest part. I still seem to be knocking off a couple of gold medals a session at present though so I am getting there, just not sure how long it is going to take me now. Must get back into some online gaming with it soon, see how I measure up to the evil Americans now I have unlocked some more cars.

Cold is still dragging on, very very bored of it now. Still, got nice things to look forwards to this weekend, first wedding anniversary. Bit scary to think that was only a year ago, seems miles away now. Has been a damn fine year 🙂

Nintendo woes

Thoughts that came to mind having read the following articles about the Gamecube:
GAME refusing to stock Modem and Broadband Adaptors
Dixons clearing out Gamecube

Question – Are Microsoft responsible for GAME’s attitude towards the Gamecube?

Microsoft do have a great deal to do with it, but I suspect not directly. They will give GAME and dixons the best terms they can, the best point of sale possible, and negotiate shelf space because they have the market share in overall terms (i.e. all software they supply as well as xbox hardware) to do that. Nintendo just doesn’t have the same leverage, cold hard fact.

Question – Are Nintendo to blame for GAME’s attitude towards the Gamecube?

Nintendo Europe’s attitude to their European user base is frankly shocking. Great games are being held back, like Animal Crossing. Nintendo should have had a AAA game out at Christmas. They released Mario in October, and then the next equivalent game, Metriod Prime, is out in a couple of weeks. Their timing is shocking. Christmas is all important, certainly from the point of view of the big electrical retailers. This is where nearly 50% of sales for a year are done. It is that skewed. If you have a must-have title in the shops timed to hit for that period, you can substantially increase your hardware and software sales if you get things right. Everyone in the industry knows it, so you can’t guarantee it will work. BUT IF YOU DON’T DO ANYTHING THEN IT DEFINITELY WON’T, AND YOU WILL MISS OUT. Both GAME and the Dixon’s Group complained of poor console sales over Christmas 2002.

Animal Crossing is a localisation problem, in that in order to be profitable, they feel that every game must be released in all of Europe. Now animal crossing is heavily text based, so lots of localisation costs for multiple languages. The thing they are missing out on is that, shit, just release it in English, sell plenty, be happy.

GAME are being thick about the Gamecube adaptors, claiming that they will not stock it until they have seen for definite that it works. This doesn’t stop them stocking the majority of PC games, which often are sold with a mulitude of bugs, which the developers fix at a later date. Also they are advertising Xbox live kits (more about that later). I think there is a battle of wills going on, I got the impression that GAME was angry with Nintendo over the lack of info and promotion from ninty on several counts. I actually mailed GAME about the gc broadband adaptor last week, to ask them what was going on, and they said then that their buying department had had no information from Nintendo about it at all. This was about 4 days before release. I actually believe them on this, so it does make you wonder what is going on.

Question – are Dixons being short sighted in ditching the Gamecube?

More importantly, do I care if it means I can get some cheap games and accessories? I can understand Dixons logic here, having been in their line of business at one time. Carrying large ranges of software for several diff platforms is expensive, you end up with a lot of unsold software knocking around. Dixons like to reduce wastage as much as possible, they are more of a pile em high sell em (relatively) cheap (but don’t forget your 5 year warranty) merchant than most people who sell consoles, so at the first signs of problems with a product line they are more likely to get the hell out than most. Its more a philosophical approach to stock than being dismissive of Nintendo, even if it does make my heart heavy.

Question – What positives can be taken from all this for fans of the Nintedo Gamecube?

Well for one, dixon’s and GAME’s market shares are falling at the moment, as mentioned earlier. But that market share was 45% in 2001, so it will have a long way to fall yet.

For another, Xbox Live has a few fatal flaws. There are fantastic reports about it, and by all accounts it is well put together. But:

  • Voice communications takes up shitloads of bandwidth, and with the broadband providers like NTL imposing download limits of max of a gig a day, it could cause problems getting it off the ground
  • You can’t use a USB modem with it. Almost all new installs of NTL and Telewest broadband use a USB modem, on the basis it is easier to install (which is just and right for PC’s). If you have a USB modem you will have to pass the connection through a PC. Which is pointless.
  • Word is that it is an arse to integrate into a game. I’ve heard tell that in some cases it could add an extra year to the development time of games. A whole year. In other words, no way in hell are all developers going to use Xbox live.

If online console gaming takes off with a must-have game, like say, Pokemon Online, it could turn the tables substantially. I personally think that this might be our last hope for GC. Pokemon Online. There is a GC pokemon game announced, with bugger all detail known about it so far (thank you Nintendo). It will sell amazingly no matter what (in Japan Pokemon Sapphire and Ruby have sold 4 million copies). No one knows for definite if it will be online, but that is the knowledgeable rumour, and it makes good sense. It could well be the equivalent of Pokemon Stadium for ruby and sapphire, but with online fights too. We’ll see.

But if its not, and if Nintendo don’t pull their finger out soon, it will go the way of the Dreamcast, much loved, well designed, let down by poor marketing and decision-making.

Copywrite

These strange college students with their funny jargon and nerdy ways did more to start the computer revolution than any silicon engineering team. naturally curious, these MIT students had devoted their lives to intellectual tinkering. they believed in a co-operative society and imagined themselves living in a utopian world in which people shared information – sometimes without regard to property rights.

Stephen L. Kent – the first quarter (talking about the creators of the first video game, Spacewar).

what Stephen Kent talks about here is the start of not only the arcade game revolution, but also the attitude which was later to form the basis of the morals of the internet. a world where the right to speak, the right to own is paramount, over any international boundaries, over and above any laws. if it could be obtained through the internet, whether sound, image or text, it has been exchanged. as such, this had led to use by groups finding themselves outside of the law, in the case of pornography and music, or outside of law and morality, such as pedophiles and terrorists.

in recent years, groups who feel that they have rights over information have started to lay their claims more strongly. the music companies have taken Napster to court, and at this moment in time look close to preventing exchange through that means. however it is very likely that by cutting the head off “the monster”, this will only serve to cause many more heads to grow back in its place. this again seems to be part of the nature of the internet.

the latest step forward in these technologies is file sharing between fabbers. fabbers are industrial devices for creating objects from material, normally plastics. they follow a set of instructions to carve or mould (amongst other techniques) a wide variety of things. now one of the companies involved in this process are proposing sharing these sets of instructions online. there could come a time where fabbers are compact and available in the home. if you want to buy sometime, you could download the file for it and create it at home. or potentially, pirate the instructions and create it at cost solely of the materials, just the same as burning a cd from mp3’s you’ve downloaded.

since the internet has “arrived”, it has brought a slackening of the corporate control over property rights, which could potentially lead to a change reversing the industrial revolution, with many consumer products actually created in the home.