What we lack in decent page design, we make up for with lackluster articles and late reports.
Friday, March 26, 2004
IGN Pulls NES GBA SP Story
A few days ago, we ran an article concerning a flier advertising an NES themed GBA SP, and what appeared to be the U.S. versions of the Famicom Mini series of games. At the time, IGN was also running a story about mysterious flyer, with a picture of the supposed flier itself. Strangely, this article is now missing from IGN's website. In the past, IGN has reported rumors which have been later proven false, but they have left their original articles up; in some cases IGN has added a disclaimer ("We've now learned that this is incorrect") or posted a follow-up article discrediting the rumor itself. For some reason IGN deleted this rumor article. Perhaps the flier is accurate, and either Nintendo or Electronics Boutique asked them to remove it? At this point, there is really no indication as to why IGN removed the article -- in fact, it could merely be a temporary glitch in their database.

Although we doubt it.

Click here to view the mysterious flier
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Portable Gaming Summary
At the Game Developers Conference, a few bits of information came to light regarding the next batch of portable game system...

  • Microsoft has no plans to release a portable game system at this time. They are, however, supporting Windows CE and Pocket PC development. If you recall, some of Rare's GBA titles are also making their way to Pocket PC devices.

  • A short demo for the Sony PSP game Death Jr. was shown. The game will be exclusive to the PSP, although it may have begun as a cross platform (or even a GBA) project, as Digital Eclipse has been running a teaser web site for the game since the middle of last year. The game developer was given as Backbone Entertainment, and appears to be somehow associated with Digital Eclipse, a software house known for their GBC/GBA development and commercial emulators.

  • Nokia plans to release the N-Gage, with modifications. This time, you'll be able to change games without removing the battery! Nokia also mentioned that the N-Gage 2 will be backwards compatible with the entire seven game N-Gage library.

    New Online GameCube Game
    Chunsoft, makers of the Mysterious Dungeon games, recently told Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu that their upcoming GameCube game Homeland would feature an online mode. The game will come with two discs; one disc will be the standard Homeland game, while the second disc will actually be a server disc. When run on a GameCube, the server disc will allow up to 30 other GameCube systems to connect to the server GC to play the online version of Homeland. The person running the GameCube Homeland server won't be able to play the game, but he will be able to manipulate game settings and such. Providing the capability for any GameCube owner to run a Homeland server allows Chunsoft to provide an online title without having to worry about the costs of running a server. There is, as of yet, no news on whether Homeland will come to the USA.
    3D GBA Game by Konami
    Konami plans to a release a 3D GBA game, based on the Japanese manga Pyuu to Fuku: Jaguar Byoti Deru Megane Kun. The game appears to be a standard side scrolling action game, but aspects of the game will appear three dimensional when viewed with a pair of 3D glasses. The glasses, which appear to be standard 3D film glasses, will be included with the game.
    Kirby Given a New Japanese Release Date
    The upcoming Kirby title (roughly translated as Kirby: Great Labyrinth of the Mirror) was delayed last week, due to some unknown problem in the game. NCL recently gave the title a new release date of April 15th. Whatever the problem was appears to be relatively minor, as this delay is hardly long enough to allow for the manufacturing of a new set of cartridges.
    Pikmin 2 Website Activated
    NCL recently update the Pikmin 2 website. It features a new promotional video clip of the game.
    Game Developers Choice Awards
    The Game Developers Conference hosts an industry awards show known as the Game Developers Choice Awards, now in its fourth year. While the game of the year award went to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, several Nintendo and Nintendo-exclusive titles received awards as well. WarioWare Inc.: Mega MicroGame$ and Capcom's Viewtiful Joe both received the Game Innovation Spotlight award, and the Excellence in Visual Arts award went to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
    Wednesday, March 24, 2004
    More DS Touchscreen Rumors
    More and more media outlets are reporting that the Nintendo DS will feature one touch sensitive screen, possibly for use with a stylus. There has yet to be any official confirmation of this, of course.
    Zelda News from the Game Developers Conference
    Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma, director of Wind Waker and Majora's Mask, held a conference minisession at the Game Developers Conference this week. His conference, entitled "The Evolution of a Franchise: The Legend of Zelda", primarily concerned itself with giving an overview of the development of the Zelda series, along with interesting insights into the proper "feel" of a Zelda title. During the conference, Aonuma displayed a slide showing a timeline of the Zelda game released ... and, interestingly enough, the final item on the list was "Wind Waker 2 -- 2XXX"; the implication being that a new Zelda game (using the Wind Waker engine) is coming at some point in the near future. He mentioned that the upcoming DS system offers potential for new Zelda "development". Aonuma did confirm that The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures would be displayed at e3.

    Sadly, once again N-Run was forgotten when the press invitations went out. However, it seems that PlanetGameCube has an audio recording of the conference, and 1up has a very lovely set of impressions, so feel free to visit.
    Odd British Developer Working for Nintendo
    British software company Kuju Entertainment (makers of Warhammer 40,000, Microsoft Train Simulator, Fireblade, Reign of Fire, Lotus Challenge, Team Apache and Fire Warrior) has announced that it is developing a new GameCube title, to be published by Nintendo itself. The game will be developed by their "action division", responsible for their Fire Warrior title. The fact that it will be a Nintendo first party title is rather interesting, as it seems to imply that Nintendo has an interest in the company itself. Kuju has a strong wireless gaming division, which is slightly interesting given Nintendo's GBA and upcoming DS.

    Before you get too excited, do remember that Nintendo has published the games of many companies in the past (including DMA, Rare, Lucasarts, Namco, Square, The Code Monkeys, and many more). This could simply be a case of Nintendo noticing a good title, and snapping up the publish rights.
    Rumors of U.S. "Famicom Mini" Series
    What appears to be a badly scanned image of a promotional sheet has been hopping around the net recently. The image shows an NES themed GBA SP, surrounded by several GBA game boxes with the titles of classic NES games (Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Ice Climber, and Excitebike are displayed, and the words "Also Available: Bomberman, Pac-Man, and Xevious" are below the pictures.)

    IGN recently ran an article with the scanned image, as have several other sites. The current story is that Electronics Boutique is running some sort of promotion with Nintendo, and that the EB store to sell the most copies of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles will win NES Classic GBA SP sets for each employee. However, there is simply no valid or concrete information on anything at this point. The scan could quite possible be fake, although the tiny "Nintendo Entertainment System" bar on the top of each logo does make it look a little more realistic than one would expect of a forged image. If this scan (and the NES GBA SP) is real, it seems logical to expect that a commercial release of "Classic NES" series would be coming at some point this year.
    Wacky Deal of the Day
    Amazon/Target is selling True Crime: Streets of L.A. for a mere $20. Whether this price will be carried over to retail stores is another question entirely. The PS2 and XBox versions are still $50, surprisingly.
    Tuesday, March 23, 2004
    6.5 Million SP's in North America
    The GBA SP is just over a year old, and Nintendo claims that the SP sold more than 6.5 million units in North America during its first year, thus becoming "the fastest selling gaming system ever".
    Slew of New Console-to-GBA Ports
    In Europe, Zoo Digital Publishing plans to release a series of console to GBA ports over the course of this year. What makes this newsworthy is the games which are being ported. Pac-Man World, Kill.Switch, I-Ninja, Dead to Rights, and Smashing Drive are all scheduled for release between 2004 and 2005. All are Namco games, but all are also fairly impressive 3D games; whether these will be 2D conversions or actual 3D games is unknown. It seems that Zoo Digital Publish released a slew of "budget" titles in Europe, which makes them sound sort of like Majesco for the USA. If these games are any good, we should hope for a USA release either by Namco or another party.
    Silly Rumor about GC FF Game
    Someone has been spreading a rumor that Square/Enix is busy working on a new GC Final Fantasy game, entitled "Guilty Wing". The problem with this story is that it appears to be entirely based upon a "scan" from the latest copy of the Japanese gaming magazine, V-Jump Magazine. However, the latest copy of V-Jump appears to be completely missing any of this "information", which implies that the "Final Fantasy Guilty Wing" rumor is baseless. Square/Enix might still be working on a secret GameCube project, but if they are, no information about the project has been revealed at this point.
    New Memory Card Coming?
    Game Informer is reporting that Nintendo will be releasing a 1019 block memory card later this year. No other media site has mentioned this, and there has been no industry "mutterings" to support it. However, Game Informer has a fairly good reputation as far as rumors go, so it could well be true.
    Mode Slashed from LOZ: Four Swords
    The "Tetra's Trackers" mode has been removed from the North American version of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, according to a variety of news sources. No one is really sure as to why it has been removed, but for now it seems that Four Swords will only have the "Hyrule Fantasy" and "Shadow Battle" modes. The game is currently scheduled for an early June release, with a MSRP of $50. It will come with a GBA-GC link cable.
    This Week's Game Releases
    In stores this week

    GameCube: Pokemon Colloseum, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life,
    Samurai Jack,
    and Mission Impossible: Operation Surma.

    Game Boy Advance: Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow.

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