Thursday, September 15, 2005

SPECIAL REPORT: Miyamoto unveils Nintendo's Revolution controller

Original Article

This is HUGE!!!!

Legendary game designer gives GameSpot an early look at the key to Nintendo's console and offers a taste of the unique peripheral's promise.

Though the Nintendo Revolution was partially unveiled at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, its controller is the final piece of the venerable hardware manufacturer's next-generation puzzle. Speculation about the device has run rampant, because its manufacturer has made a point of keeping it well hidden. Nintendo has chosen only to drop hints that it would be an integral part of the Revolution's unique gameplay experience.

Today, in his keynote address at this year's Tokyo Game Show, Satoru Iwata touched on those themes again, giving further clues about Nintendo's vision for the future. But while Iwata's speech offered a bit more clarity on what Nintendo is aiming to offer gamers with the Revolution, he was vague about exactly how its controller will fit into the company's grand plan.

Thankfully, GameSpot had the chance to gain a better understanding of what Nintendo is going for with the benefit of a visual and tactile aid--a working prototype of the Revolution controller. Yes, we touched it. Yes, we used it. But is it a "revolution"? It just might be.

Our guided tour of the Revolution controller was led by none other than Shigeru Miyamoto, the industry legend whose talent has been one of the driving forces behind Nintendo's success. But, as always, he was his humble self, emphasizing that the day's presentation was about the possibilities of the controller and not his own upcoming projects. With that disclaimer, Miyamoto and the assembled Nintendo Japan reps unveiled the long-awaited controller, a modest-looking device that is low on flash, but big on functionality.

Miyamoto noted that the impetus for the controller design came from Nintendo's desire to do something "different" after hearing user feedback on consoles. The company felt the current generation of machines was coming close to overwhelming players by taking up too much space in their living rooms and creating briar patches of cables that must be navigated. As a result, Nintendo wanted to offer a solution that starts simple but supports expansion and that offers accessible experiences for casual players and more intricate experiences for hardcore gamers.

The form factor on display wasn't the absolute final design for the Revolution controller, and Nintendo reps noted that it is still a work in progress. That said, it was enough to give us an idea of where the company is headed. The controller itself bears no resemblance to the myriad fan-generated renderings purporting to be the real deal. The unit basically looks like a slim, ergonomic television remote that's about as long as your hand.

As can be seen in the images released today, the controller features core elements along with some you wouldn't expect. A power button at the top left of the unit appears to let you power the Revolution console on or off. An old-school digital D pad rests just below the power button. A large GameCube-controller-style A button is prominently placed below the D pad. Its counterpart B button is located on the opposite side of the remote, like the Z button on the Nintendo 64 controller. Directly below the A button is a series of three buttons: select, home, and start. While it's easy to guess what they do, Nintendo reps offered no details on their exact function.

Below the select, home, and start buttons is another set of vertically aligned buttons labeled X and Y. On some of the prototype controllers we looked at, the X button had a small "B" next to it and the Y button had a small "A" next to it, indicating that the controller can be held sideways to approximate a classic NES controller. Directly beneath those buttons is a horizontal row of colored lights that indicate which controller slot the owner is using--1 to 4 are planned at the moment. The plan is for the controllers to include built-in rumble packs and to run off of batteries, à la the Wavebird for the GameCube.

Finally, the base of the controller features a unique plug that lets you make use of a wide variety of peripherals. One such peripheral is an analog stick attachment with two shoulder buttons. Though it gives the combined items an odd, nunchaku-like appearance (which is actually Nintendo's tongue-in-cheek nickname for it), the add-on demonstrates the controller's versatility. While Miyamoto didn't say much else about what other attachments were in the works, he did note that it's theoretically possible to have entirely different configurations plug into the port--which got us thinking about SNES and N64 controller attachments.

One of the most interesting features of the peripheral is tied to its functionality as a "pointing device." A glossy section of the top of the controller houses a transmitter--much like any remote would have--that was used extensively in the demos we saw. The signal from the unit is picked up by sensors you'll place near your television, which will then reflect your actions on the screen. Based on the responsiveness of the demos that we tried, this feature has the potential to turn the entire base controller unit into a new kind of pointing device. It also has great potential applications for sports games, such as laser-pointer-style play calling.

Overall, despite its unorthodox appearance, the Revolution controller has a comfortable feel. The assorted demos on hand also indicated that playing Revolution games will be a more active, physical experience than playing current-generation games. Whether you're using the pointer mechanic to actively control onscreen action or using two hands to take advantage of attachments, the Revolution controller will likely change how games are played.

Will the change the Revolution heralds be successful? It's too early to say for sure. But given Nintendo's well-documented history of breaking new ground in gaming (such as the DS) we're game to see just how this all pans out. The potential for a revolution is there; Nintendo just has to lead the way with software.

Come back to GameSpot for more on the Revolution controller and system in the coming months. For a more-detailed breakdown of Nintendo's demo of the Revolution controller, visit GameSpot Hardware.

Xbox 360 Will Arrive November 22!!

Ever since Microsoft revealed that it was going to launch the Xbox 360 worldwide this year, gamers have been asking themselves one question: When? The majority of industry-watchers agreed that it would likely be in mid-November. After all, that would coincide with the fourth anniversary of the original Xbox's November 15 launch and the third anniversary of Xbox Live going online. It would also give developers the maximum amount of time to polish the first games for the console while allowing Microsoft to take full advantage of the holiday shopping season, which traditionally starts the day after Thanksgiving.

As the fourth quarter of 2005 approached, more clues to a mid-November launch surfaced. Even before Microsoft unveiled the machine on MTV on May 12, the network accidentally revealed that the first games for the platform would be "due in November." Later that month, a Canadian subcontractor accidentally told a newspaper that the company had "a huge mandate for getting [the Xbox 360] out for Thanksgiving this year."

Now it appears that Microsoft will make its pre-Turkey Day mandate…barely. In its pre-Tokyo Game Show conference on Thursday afternoon, Microsoft announced that it is shipping the Xbox 360 in North America on Tuesday, November 22, two days before Thanksgiving. The company also said the console is already being manufactured en masse, with "state-of-the-art facilities producing millions of units."

As previously revealed this week, Microsoft will stagger the release of the Xbox 360 by territory. Europe will get the console on Friday, December 2, while it will hit Japanese store shelves on Saturday, December 10. Microsoft also announced the Japanese price for the Xbox 360. Instead of the two SKUs announced for North America and Europe, Japanese gamers will have only one available for 37,900 yen ($343.20). It will be the equivalent of the $399 Xbox 360 package in the US and will come with the 20GB detachable Xbox 360 hard drive, a wireless controller, a media remote control, a component HD-AV cable, an ethernet cable, and batteries. The first Japanese shipment will include a number of commemorative packs that also bundle in an Xbox 360 headset valued at 2,500 yen. The possibility of a "core" system sans hard drive being released in Japan in the future wasn't ruled out, but there are certainly no plans to do so at this time, even though the only announced game that requires it at this point is Final Fantasy XI.

There will be seven games available for the Xbox 360's Japanese launch:
· Ridge Racer 6
· Frame City
· Dead or Alive 4
· Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
· (eM)-eNCHANT-arM
· Tetris: The Grandmaster Ace
· Everyparty

Other games confirmed for release during the Japanese Xbox 360 launch period (up to and including January 2006) include:
· Dynasty Warriors 5 Special
· Need for Speed Most Wanted
· Wrestle Kingdom
· Ninety-Nine Nights
· Project Gotham Racing 3
· Tengai Makyou Ziria

Xbox 360 accessories confirmed for the Japanese launch period include:
· Wireless controller
· Controller
· Faceplates
· Memory units
· Wireless LAN adapter
· Play and charge kit
· Rechargeable battery
· D-connection HD AV cable
· Component HD AV cable
· VGA HD AV cable
· S-video HD AV cable
· Headset
· Media remote

"This holiday season, gamers in Japan, Europe and North America pining to experience jaw-dropping high-definition graphics, unmatched online play and compelling digital entertainment features of Xbox 360 will finally have the chance," said chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach. "Renowned development studios around the world are busy putting the finishing touches on their Xbox 360 games. We expect a strong portfolio of titles on launch day and through the holidays that will appeal to fans of every genre and gamers in every region, and with more than 200 games currently in development, continuous new additions to the library are on the way."

Of the 200 games Bach mentioned, 27 will be on display at the Xbox 360 booth at the Tokyo Game Show. Those in bold are expected to be playable.

. (eM)-eNCHANT-arM (FromSoftware Inc.)
· Bomberman -- Act Zero (Hudson Soft Co. Ltd.)
· Call of Duty 2 (Activision Inc.)
· Chromehounds (Sega)
· Dead Rising (Capcom)
· Dynasty Warriors 5 Special (Koei Co. Ltd.)
· Everyparty (Microsoft Game Studios)
· Far East of Eden -- Ziria (Hudson Soft)
· Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix Co. Ltd.)
· Frame City Killer (Namco)
· Gears of War (Microsoft Game Studios)
· Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios)
· Mobile Suit Gundam (tentative title) (Bandai Co. Ltd.)
· Need for Speed Most Wanted (Electronic Arts)
· Ninety-Nine Nights (Microsoft Game Studios)
· The Outfit (THQ)
· Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios)
· Resident Evil 5 (Capcom)
· Ridge Racer 6 (Namco)
· Rumble Roses XX (tentative title) (Konami)
· Shutoku Battle (tentative title) (Genki Co. Ltd.)
· Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega)
· Saint’s Row (THQ)
· Test Drive Unlimited (Atari Inc.)
· Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Ubisoft Entertainment)
· World Air Force (tentative title) (Taito Corp.)
· Wrestle Kingdom (Yuke’s Co. Ltd.)

GameSpot will have details about chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach's keynote address and Xbox 360 game impressions fresh off the show floor as part of our ongoing coverage of the 2005 Tokyo Game Show.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Violent games bill passes California Legislature - News at GameSpot

Violent games bill passes California Legislature - News at GameSpot: "The California Assembly has adjourned until next year, but not before squeezing a few bills in under the wire. One such bill was Assemblyman Leland Yee's AB1179, which looks to prohibit retailers from selling violent games to minors, lest they be fined $1,000 for each violation.

AB1179 was passed by the California Senate yesterday by a vote of 22-9. The bill then went back to the Assembly, where it was approved 65-7. Now the bill goes to the desk of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who must sign or veto the bill by October 9.

"Governor Schwarzenegger is no longer an action star but an elected representative of all Californians; I am hopeful that he will consider our children's best interests by signing this commonsense legislation into law and giving parents a necessary tool to raise healthy kids," said speaker pro tempore Yee in a statement.

If signed by Schwarzenegger, AB1179 would go into effect January 1, 2006.

Yee has previously introduced similar legislation to this effect, and while one such bill was signed into law by Schwarzenegger last year, it had been thoroughly watered down along the way. Yee's AB450 (which eventually became AB1179), stalled in the legislature earlier this year, but the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Hot Coffee scandal once again attracted public attention to the issue and spurred the bill out of its legislative limbo.

Yee's bill also would require violent games to be labeled as being for sale to adults only by way of a solid white "18" sticker no smaller than 2 inches by 2 inches on the front of the package; the "18" would be outlined in black. For an idea of how visible that sticker will be, keep in mind that Game Boy Advance boxes are slightly smaller than 5 inches by 5 inches.

The bill makes no mention of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) or its ratings system, instead offering its own definition of what constitutes a violent video game. According to the bill, that would be "a video game in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being," so long as it's offensive to community standards and without artistic merit or allows players to hurt other characters "in a manner which is especially heinous, cruel, or depraved in that it involves torture or serious physical abuse to the victim." The bill also defines terms like heinous, cruel, and torture. However, with no definitive governing body set up to determine in advance which games fall into this category, it appears publishers and retailers will have to decide for themselves what fits the government's definition of a violent game, and worry about fines and legislation later.

Other states have instituted laws like this before, but previous attempts have been declared unconstitutional. At the moment, an Illinois law banning the sale of violent games to minors is being challenged, and the dispute is likely to be fought on a nationwide level in the coming months. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) called for federal legislation in the wake of the Hot Coffee scandal, though nothing has come of that yet.

Interestingly enough, Yee's bill, the full text of which is available by searching for AB1179 on the State Assembly's Web site, does not require labeling of games containing consensual sex of the sort that tipped off the Hot Coffee controversy in the first place.

By Brendan Sinclair -- GameSpot
POSTED: 09/09/05 12:33 PM PST

Monday, September 05, 2005

School's Starting... Hooray?

If I may (as if you have any choice in the matter), I apologize for going so long without writing an original article. I got lazy and such with my obsession with Photoshop and Star Trek; deadly combination that is. I'll try to post more here, just hang in there!

So, school's started. First day of High School. Sure, I'm excited [?] now about the big High School but soon enough I'll become as jaded and resentful toward it as I was toward Jack Young Middle Prison. Loathsome place it was; I feel sorry for my little sister as she's just begun the hellish odyssey of that place. But enough of my ranting as I'm sure you neither have the time nor the inclination to care.

Now, back to me. I have to say that HS really wasn't all that different from the prison. Take the analogy that elementary schools are like maximum security prisons: you can't leave, you're constantly supervised by at least two adults, and it's completely unruly. Then you have the middle schools, the medium security prisons: You can leave if you have special permission, most of the time you're watched, and it's completely unruly. Then there's high school, the minimum security prison: you can leave during lunch, you have more liberties, more activities, and it's terribly unruly.

I really don't have much more analysis to discuss with myself as I've only been there for two days. So... see ya lata!

WGF finally branded as DirectX 10 - A WinCustomize Article by Brad Wardell

WGF finally branded as DirectX 10 - A WinCustomize Article by Brad Wardell: "Microsoft had been referring to their next generation graphics API as 'Windows Graphic Foundation' (WGF). But in a moment of sanity, Microsoft has finally decided to rebrand it as DirectX 10.

It gave some details to the developers officially about its upcoming API and we know that it plans to release this API together with Longhorn. Or Vista, as we must learn to call it.

The DirectX 10 API will have completely new and faster dynamic link libraries (DLLs) and is supposed to run much faster. The company decided to cut the backward compatibility with DirectX 9, 8, 7 and lower in this API but there will be a way to use games programmed for those APIs. Microsoft will enable support for DX 9 or lower games through a software layer, meaning it might run slower.

The company did this to make the next API faster, it said, and at the same time will take some burden of the CPU runtime. At the same time we learned that DirectX 10 will have support for Shaders beyond Shaders, model 4.0.

It's coming with Longhorn but we learned that Shader Model 4.0 might come even before Vista."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Vegetarian Starter Kit : Eat right for your health, the animals, and the Earth.

KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) Does Chickens Wrong

AlloCiné Vision : Bandes-annonces