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Nintendo

Journal: Wii Launch Party a Disappointment

Journal by Pluvius
To promote the upcoming launch of the Wii, Nintendo held an event called 'Wii.Play' last night with various celebrities and industry representatives attending. Among these was Netjak critic and Atlus employee Clayton 'Alkaiser' Chan, who wrote a report on the proceedings. How did things go? Well...

The place is dead. Super dead. I think the only time I've seen a dance floor this un-utilized is the time I went 'clubbing' in Vancouver, and there were literally 12 people in the entire place who weren't me, and they all came as a group. ... Nobody gave a crap about the Wii. At the beginning of the party, the PR guy and I wondered whether or not we were able to play the games, because only the people Nintendo hired were playing them.

The quick hands-on previews of the available games aren't exactly flattering, either.

Real Time Strategy (Games)

Journal: Left Behind RTS Due Out Tomorrow

Journal by Pluvius
Video games based on Christianity have always been less than stellar, but Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a real-time strategy game inspired by the infamous Left Behind series of novels detailing the story of Earth following the Rapture, is hoping to change that perception. The game, due out on November 7 according to its website, charges the player with control over the Tribulation Force which must convert the remnants of the world's population and fight against the minions of the Antichrist. Wired reporter Clive Thompson gets a hands-on look at the game and judges it positively. From the preview: 'Each of your team members has a "spirit" ranking. If you let them get too fatigued or hurt, their spirit drops into "neutral" territory and you lose them. You can sway enemies to your side by unleashing your "spirit warriors" or Christian-rock singers, whose joyful noises raise the spirit of anyone near them. (You can even convert evil forces if you're persuasive enough. Of course, the Antichrist has his own evil heavy-metal musicians who work precisely the opposite effect.)'
The Media

Journal: Something Awful Bemoans Video-Game Journalism

Journal by Pluvius

As a foil to all of the yearly 'Top 10' lists being created by the gaming media as well as the rise of New Games Journalism, Zack Parsons of the comedy website Something Awful has posted the first part of his list of the five worst gaming articles of 2005. Added bonus: The Escapist, "worst new gaming magazine of 2005," as Awful Link of the Day. From the article: 'Roger Ebert doesn't go to the set of "King Kong" and get the vapors over dolly shots. Leonard Maltin didn't ride a trained seal around the ocean during the filming of "Into the Blue" and start hooting "I smell Oscarrrrr!" over a bullhorn. Even cover articles full of huge pictures and adjective-laden text in Entertainment Weekly don't dare to claim that the movie is going to be great. Why does the gaming press think it's acceptable to prematurely ejaculate all over every major developer's upcoming games?'

It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal: Kentucky Students Create Katamari-Playing Machine

Journal by Pluvius

IGN reports that three University of Kentucky students have found a way to automate the infamous rose-collecting quest in We Love Katamari by designing a device so ingenius that it could only be named "THE MACHINE" (capital letters required). The task in question requires players to collect a million roses with the katamari, something which normally means many weeks of tedium, but THE MACHINE managed to do it in roughly a hundred hours of near-continuous gameplay without causing the two PlayStation 2 consoles to explode. From the article: "At least according to Hickey, acquiring 1,000,000 roses just plays a new song that doesn't appear in the sound library and also swaps out We Love Katamari's loading screens with rose screens. That's terribly uninteresting. 'Basically the King just laughs at you and says it was pointless.'"

Sony

Journal: Sony Ad Infuriates Catholics

Journal by Pluvius
According to Reuters, a recent ad placed by Sony in Italian periodicals has raised the eyebrows of certain national Catholic groups, leading to Sony apologizing and stopping the campaign. The ad, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the PlayStation in Europe, featured a young man wearing a crown of thorns, where some of the thorns were shaped like the distinctive symbols of the PlayStation controller's face buttons. The caption for the ad states, "Ten years of passion." This is a reference to the Christian Passion, when a crown of thorns was placed on Jesus Christ's head before His crucifixion. From the article: "'This time they've gone too far,' said Antonio Sciortino, editor of Famiglia Cristiana (Christian Family), a mass-circulation Catholic weekly. 'If this had concerned Islam there would have been a really strong reaction.'"
Role Playing (Games)

Journal: FF7 Merchandise Reflects on Square's HR Practices

Journal by Pluvius
There is currently an eBay auction for a leather jacket, one of less than a hundred which were given to Squaresoft employees to celebrate the release of the PC port of Final Fantasy VII, bearing the Squaresoft and FF7 logos. What's notable about this piece of memorabilia is not its rarity or subject matter, however, but the story behind it. From the auction description: "It is a physical representation of the HR/Marketing department at Squaresoft, Inc. deciding that the Quality Assurance team didn't count as actual employees of the company. ... Everyone who was an employee of the company who was NOT in Quality Assurance got one. This included the Quality Assurance Manager AND the temp receptionist who had been there a total of 3 months. ... The QA staff then asked for the manufacturer, so they could just order extra and pay for them out of their own pockets, and the QA staff was rebuffed a final time with the response, 'They're too expensive for you guys to pay for.'" With the North American release of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children looming, this is an interesting look at the developer back when FF7 was a relatively new game. One wonders if Square's treatment of QA engineers has changed since merging with Enix.
PC Games (Games)

Journal: Apogee Shoot-em-up Released as Freeware

Journal by Pluvius
3D Realms, the developer of Duke Nukem 3D and Max Payne, has released as freeware the full version of Stargunner, a side-scrolling shooter and the last game that the developer released when it was still known as Apogee Software, and consequently the last 2D game that it released. The gameplay is reminiscent of Apogee's earlier (and much more popular) Raptor, with the ability to buy power-ups for your ship using money earned by fighting through the levels. The front page of the 3D Realms site also notes comments by project leader David Pevreal and Apogee president Scott Miller regarding this release (look at the news item for June 22).
PC Games (Games)

Journal: Sam & Max 2 Resurrected?

Journal by Pluvius
On the forums for online adventure gaming magazine The Inventory, Wolfgang Kierdorf, the director of adventure game developer Bad Brain Entertainment, stated, '[T]here are negotiations with LucasArts but I can't get into detail here. maybe this will be the surprise release of 2005. the game you all wanted but didn't get.' This is an obvious implication that Sam & Max 2, a highly anticipated game that was canceled earlier this year, is Bad Brain's target. (It's also possible that the company is seeking rights to Full Throttle 2, but that game was hardly something that we 'all wanted.')

[I dunno why this one didn't get posted, especially since this submission, which was basically the same thing except in reference to a possible developer instead of a possible publisher, did. Speaking of which, I made a mistake in referring to Big Brain as a developer. The fact that it is a publisher leads to interesting speculation that they may work with Telltale Games to make the Sam & Max sequel.]

[UPDATE: Zonk posted this story himself, with the only real difference being that it was based on a subsequent Adventure Games interview with Wolfgang Kierdorf instead of a forum post by him. Whatever.]

User Journal

Journal: Rejected Submissions

Journal by Pluvius
I will use this journal from now on to post rejected submissions. I don't do this to stroke my ego (though maybe that's part of it), but because some of my rejected submissions may be of some interest in the /. community despite not being accepted by the editors.

I haven't archived most of my submissions up to this point, so for anyone who cares, a summary of those:

Sam & Max Sequel Canceled: This one was actually posted. On the front page, no less. Don't ask me why /. says that it was rejected.

Square-Enix Producer Reveals GBA Plans: I don't remember exactly what this one was about, but it probably had something to do with the possibility of an English version of Final Fantasy 3 being ported to the system. This could've been rejected for any number of reasons.

Braben Finally Reveals Details on Elite IV: Read here.

Link Between IQ and Voter Preference?: A submission about that state IQ hoax that came out soon after the election. This was rejected because it was an obvious joke/troll submission. I had to give it a try, though, since the Politics section has basically been dead since the Democrats gave up.

Broussard Asks for Duke Nukem Forever Ideas: George Broussard is asking fans for ideas to put into his game, even though said game has been in development for somewhere between seven and nine years. I guess making fun of DNF is too passe for Slashdot. Incidentally, this submission took around five days to be rejected.

So, uh, here we go then.

Rob

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither liberty not saftey." -- Benjamin Franklin, 1759

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