Good Job, Sony!

The PSP finally launches officially across Europe at midnight tonight, and there’s already a Sony press release out there engaging in a quick round of autofellatio for a job well done. What they seem to be completely blinkered to is the fact that the late and overpriced launch is a fucking insult, made worse by the fact that they thought it would be a good idea to sue people who were importing it for less than the UK price. Then to top it all off they’re only giving 150,000 units for the whole UK which will inevitably lead to stock shortages.

They’re not exactly flying off the shelves abroad so couldn’t they at least bring us a decent amount? The Xbox sold for £300 at launch and managed 250,000 machines, and if I remember correctly the N64 launched here at £250 and also managed 250,000 units, so 150,000 for a world-standard machine is pitiful – it’s not like they need to manufacture a new PAL version. What the fuck were they doing for the last few months? They certainly weren’t manufacturing them.

Continuing with the “Sony is shit” rant, I’ve just seen the planned prices of PS3 games. That’s completely ridiculous and I hope they end up handing this generation to Microsoft on a plate if they try to pull that shit.

PAX 2005

The second annual Penny Arcade Expo came and went this weekend and after reading this writeup on Slashdot I have to say that it sounded like a lot of fun. The guys at PA have always impressed me by both being really nice guys and doing a lot for the fans (not to mention sick children), really doing their part to show that gamers aren’t all the murderous loners that some seem to think, and PAX seems to be the community-orientated thing that is a great foil to the commercialism behind the bigger shows. It may not have the sheer amount of new stuff that E3 brings, but E3 doesn’t have constant LAN parties.

In fact after reading that I’m really tempted to fly over and go to the next show, especially if they hold one on the East Coast as the rumours seem to be suggesting. The first one sounded great and this one seems to be a vast improvement that will only get better next year. It’s never going to break the hold on the industry that E3 has but as more developers see its growth and popularity this could be the perfect show for consumers to see the latest games.


I think I’m really late to the party on this one, but I’ve just discovered Mega64 (more info on their Wikipedia entry) which is absolutely worth a look. I’m a huge fan of the hidden camera stuff like Trigger Happy TV so one that involves video games is always going to grab my attention, especially when they do a hilarious Shenmue spoof, which oddly seems to downplay the “I’m looking for some sailors” line which always seems to be an easy target. You have to love the QTE and the “I’m looking for the man who killed my father”/”Wow, that’s pretty deep” exchange.

If you enjoy that by all means download the rest of their videos, but my personal favourites were Tetris, Metal Gear Solid, and Ghosts ‘n Goblins. I can’t wait for some more.

Nintendogs Update

Just to confirm what I thought in my initial impressions, it does get better when you’ve played it a bit more. Now I’ve trained Poppy with a few tricks (sit, lay down, roll over, spin, and shake) and won a couple of the obedience trials I’ve got some money to play with, and that opens up more things you can do. I have enough to get a second dog but I’m not going to do that until I’ve pretty much exhausted my opportunies to do things with one.

It’s definitely still no deep and long game but I’m having fun with it. It continues to impress me with how lifelike the dogs are, both in terms of animation and in reactions to whatever you’re doing. If nothing else it’s a very impressive technical showcase for what the DS can do with what could be considered fairly limited hardware – the PSP might have power pushing that of the PS2, but it can’t make dogs that yelp if you poke them up the arse.

Not that I’d do that, of course.

A Nintendog’s Life: Nintendogs Impressions

I just picked up a US import of Nintendogs for the DS and have spent the last few hours playing around with it. It’s been a huge hit in Japan with a lot of hype behind it and I couldn’t see why so I mainly blind bought it out of pure curiosity, not really having played with a virtual pet in years.

So anyway, I grabbed Dachshund & Friends because I have a shih tzu and I’m also partial to dachshunds and golden retrievers, and started off with the shih tzu. Since the markings are freakishly similar to my real dog, Poppy, I gave it the same name. One of these two is the real deal, one is from the game, and both are frightened of big sticks:

Spot The Difference

Since then I’ve been fiddling with the game, playing with all the functions and admiring the absolutely fantastic (not to mention impossibly cute) animation. I haven’t used a virtual pet since the whole Tamagotchi thing in 1996 when I queued outside Toys R Us at 7am but Nintendogs, beyond being one of the most graphically impressive, is actually fairly entertaining.

It’s not the kind of thing that you’re going to be playing for hours on end since you’re pretty limited in what you can do in a day without your puppy getting “tired”, but it’s a nice little time waster than I can see myself wasting a few minutes a day on for a while yet, as I’d imagine that once you get over the initial hurdles there’s a lot more that you can do – dog shows, for example. For those who aren’t convinced about the unique interface of the DS it’s also an interesting showcase; as much designed for and around the system (or even vice versa?) as Super Mario 64 was for the N64.

Please God…

I’m an atheist, but if this turns out to be true and not more mindless rumour mongering then I promise to at least consider going to church. Once. With a Game Boy to play.

Seriously, the number of rumours about a Shenmue sequel seem to be so numerous that it’s hard not to believe them. You’d better believe that Sega knows how rabid the fanbase for the series is and the rumours from different sources seem to be building into a crescendo that isn’t helped by the fact that Sega don’t deny it, assuming of course that it isn’t true. Either way getting Shenmue III onto your console makes it a guaranteed purchase on my end; even more so than any number of Halo 3s, Resident Evil 5s, and Grand Theft Autos.