TGS Updates Force N-Run To Update
While we normally don't update on Saturday, the sheer amount of new information coming in
on Friday afternoon and evening means we almost have to. Aren't you lucky?
Pac-man Release Details
The Pac-Man GBA/GC minigame Nintendo showed off at e3 will be distributed as a free
extra in three upcoming Namco GC games. If you preorder I-Ninja, you will get a bonus
disc containing the Pac-Man multiplayer game; if you buy R: Racing Evolution,
Pac-Man will be included with the game; finally, Namco plans to rerelease Pac-Man
World 2 as a $19.99 title this December, and Pac-Man for GBA/GC will be included.
Now we can only hope Nintendo continues to do things like this. Perhaps we are in for a
surprise with the Mario Kart: Double Dash preorder disc?
Quick TGS Bits and Pieces
for the GBA Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire.
Baten Kaitos is something worth mentioning again.
had updated versions of the original Adventure Island and Bonk's Adventure on
display, to be published by Konami as part of the Hudson/Konami joint venture deal. The games
appear to be 3D graphics in a 2D playing field, much like Super Smash Bros. Melee and
Iwata's Keynote Address
Iwata gave a keynote address at the game show in Tokyo. He ran through the history of the video
game industry, then pointed out his fears and expectations of the future. According to Iwata,
3D graphics became the primary selling point of games in recent years, resulting in a loss
of diversity and gameplay (he noted that Pokemon sold extremely well during that period, even
though it was two dimensional and not very pretty). He also thinks games are getting too complex
and difficult, making it hard for new and casual games to get interested in them; his fear is
that this will lead to a death of several genres, much like fighters and shooters died, because
in his view they became overly complex and put new folks off. Also, online gaming is risky,
especially when you charge the consumer. Iwata made some comments implying that it bordered
on being unethical to demand monthly fees to play online games.
If we could summarize all of Iwata's address into one statement, it might be that gameplay
is more important than anything else.
Of course, none of the N-Run staff can understand Japanese, so we might be completely wrong.
In that case, just assume Iwata said something that the most vocal gaming voices on the Net
will say is inane, except for "old school gamers" and Nintendo fans who will agree.
Club Nintendo Japan
It seems NCL has set up the Japanese Club Nintendo website.
At this point there isn't much on it, but you might as well visit it. Hopefully the USA version
of this promotional reward system will appear soon.
Amazingly Great GC Bundle Deal
(Which Will Probably Be Sold Out By The Time You Read This)
Wal-Mart's website has a special
GameCube & GB Player bundle for sale at the insanely low price of $99.99, a savings of $50
on top of the recent $50 reduction by Nintendo. All the bundles may be sold by the time
you read this, but give it a try anyway.
F-Zero Tournament Has Begun
The worldwide F-Zero GX
tournament has begun. While there is still no mention of any kind of reward for winning,
other than the title of "Best in the Universe", it is interesting to note that Sega and Nintendo
have come up with a fairly clever way to prevent cheaters from winning. Players in the high
score tables may be required to submit their memory card, with a saved replay of their record.
Presumably this will prevent people with cheating devices from filling up the charts, as the
cheating would be fairly obvious when the replay file is viewed.
GBA Wireless Adaptor
Nintendo and Motorola have developed a wireless adaptor for the GBA. When used with the
appropriate software, such as the upcoming Pokemon Leaf Green and Fire Red, up
to five players can play without needing link cables. The adaptor is not compatible with
standard link cable gameplay, which means that the game must be programmed to work with the
adaptor. At this point the only wireless compatible games are the upcoming Pokemon titles.
No word on the maximum range for the device, either.
Nintendo in China Update
It seems the tentative name for the Chinese Nintendo system will be "iQue Player"
and that it will have 10 games when it launches near the middle of October. One of those
games will be a port of Super Mario 64.
Tokyo Game Show Underway
The grand Tokyo Game Show runs from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th, and is currently underway
(aren't time zones fun?). Expect to see some interesting news over the next few days.
Kingdom Hearts GBA
Square Enix will be bringing the Disney/Square crossover title Kingdom Hearts to the GBA,
with the title Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. They will also be working on a PS2 sequel
to Kingdom Hearts. Sadly, once again the GC seems left out. Poor fellow.
Yet Another GameCube Mega Man Game
Mega Man X: Command Mission will be arriving on the GameCube and some obscure system
called the "PS2" sometime in 2004. It's being referred to as an RPG, but it's possible it
could use the same kind of game mechanics as the Mega Man Battle Network games on the
GBA. The game will feature Mega Man X, Zero, and Axel. Mega Man Battle Network 4 is
also coming to the GBA.
Australian GC Price Cut
The GC will be officially discounted to $199 in Aussie cash. Animal Crossing is coming
to Australia. Nice combination.
Nintendo in China Update
Various sources, including the Associated Press, report that Nintendo's
entry into the Chinese market will be with a system using flash memory cartridges to allow
downloading games from a local store for a nominal fee, much like the Nintendo Power kiosks
for the SNES and GB in Japan. All that is known so far is that the tentative name is "Nintendo
Compact", the system may be based around the N64 architecture, and estimated costs are
$60 for the system and $5 for a game download to the 64MB flash cards.
Nintendo News Conference - GC Price Drop Confirmed
During a press conference this morning, Nintendo confirmed that (as of September 25th) the
GameCube's MSRP will be $99.99. There are no current plans for a GBA SP price drop; when asked,
Nintendo representatives pointed out that you could now get a GC and an SP for the same price
as a PS2. Nintendo also claimed the GC is the second best selling system in the world, and
that it is also the only system to see an increased sales rate from 2002 to 2003. They shared
the fact that the GC version of Soul Calibur II is outselling the PS2 version by a ratio
Nintendo's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, George Harrison, noted
that the GC library will expand by more than 100 titles between now and January 1st, and stated
that Nintendo believes Mario Kart: Double Dash will become the best selling new release
title for the remainder of the year. GC production is scheduled to begin again this fall.
It is worth noting that Nintendo also stated they have no plans to market new GC software
bundles this year, seemingly deflating the "rumor" of the Zelda compilation/GC bundle.
Nintendo News Conference - GBA Details
Nintendo also reported that 45% of GBA SP owners are 18 years
of age or older. Metroid: Zero Mission and Mario Golf for the GBA now have
"early 2004" releases. Mario Golf, when linked to the GC version, will unlock new courses
in both versions of the game.
Nintendo in China
As mentioned earlier this year, Nintendo plans to begin game sales in China. Recent news reports
indicate that Nintendo plans to enter the Chinese market in October, presumably with the GBA
and/or the GC. Some news reports claim Nintendo will sell a "new system" there, but this seems
quite unlikely. As the GC is still piracy proof, Nintendo is confident it will not suffer from
piracy losses -- one of the major reasons other game companies haven't entered the Chinese market.
Atari Cancels Some GC Titles
At a gaming event in the Netherlands, Atari announced that they will not be releasing the
GameCube versions of Mission Impossible: Operation Surma, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,
and Driver 3, but they have no plans to drop all GameCube support. It should
be noted that this announcement may only deal with European releases, as it was made in the
Blood Monitor GBA Game Coming
Guidance Interactive is working on
a device called the Glucoboy, a diabetes blood monitoring system that plugs into your
GBA and works as a video game. Regular monitoring of blood sugar will unlock levels and elements
for the 10 games on the Glucoboy cartridge, making self monitoring more fun than it
historically has been. The device is licensed by Nintendo, but won't be sold in normal
software stores. Visit their website
to find out more.
Club Nintendo Promotion Update
NOE's successful "Club Nintendo" promotion will be extending to Japan and the USA, although
specific dates for the promotion are sketchy. The Japanese version will start this fall, with
the release of Wario Ware for the GameCube; the most interesting point is that Nintendo
said the promotion would cover not just Nintendo published games, but third party titles as well.
Toys R Us Selling GC for $99
Perhaps confirmation of the $99 price change rumor, the online
Toys R Us store site has the GameCube listed for $99. The GBA SP is also $99.
In Stores Now
Or sometime soon, at least: Billy Hatcher for the GameCube, and Shining Soul for
the GBA, as reported yesterday.
New Pokemon Games are Official
NCL and the Pokemon Company have set up a
webpage for the upcoming Pokemon games. Pokemon Fire and Leaf have now been officially
announced, and seem to be the "big game" rumored a few months back. All that is known so far is
that they are remakes of the original Pokemon Red and Green (those outside Japan got Red
and Blue), and that they will link up with the GBA Pokemon titles. Now we just need
Gold & Silver.
Delays, Delays, Delays
Shining Soul was delayed by a week, so expect to see it in stores sometime this week.
Rockstar Makes a GBA Game
Impressive, isn't it? Max Payne Advance has been announced for the GBA. Now if they'd
just announce some original titles for the GameCube...
Nintendo Gives Colleges Development Systems
Four U.K. universities are receiving GameCube development kits from Nintendo and SN Systems,
so that the schools can use the kits in their development programs. Perhaps Nintendo plans to
gather new design team recruits from the U.K.?
Rumors: $99 GameCube, Zelda & Metal Gear Release Dates
Rumors are bouncing about that the GameCube will have a price drop to a mere $99 sometime soon.
While this is still very unofficial, alleged Wal-Mart and Blockbuster circulars and advertising
have been popping up around the web with the $99 price.
In other news, online game stores are giving a late December release date for Legend of
Zelda: Four Swords and a March 2004 release date for Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes,
although there is no evidence or news from Nintendo as of yet for either date.
Shameless Self Promotion