News: Miuchiz and Game Wave

2006_11_30_miuchiz.jpgAs a freelance journalist I tend to spend rather a lot of my time lazily flicking through the television channels in the middle of the day when I should be working, and more often than not I find myself distracted by the adverts for the toys currently vying to be placed on children’s Christmas wish lists, in particular the ones that are videogames, but do their best to pretend they’re not (by saying they’re “educational” or “for all the family” or something.) Just off the top of my head there are things like the Game Wave “Family Entertainment System”, and the ridiculous range of educational techo-mcguffins from Fisher Price, such as the Pixter handheld system, or the I Can Play Piano (which brings to mind the Miracle Piano system released for the NES.)

Recently though I’ve been most captivated by the advertising for the Miuchiz handheld system, which, while little more than a Tamagochi-esque trinket, when connected to a PC with the included USB cable, appears to allow the user to take their character into a fully 3D MMORPG, Planet Mion, where they can interact with other users, play games, and that sort of thing.

Is it any good? I have no idea. It’s for kids!

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Brandon’s note about Game Wave: I had meant to do a proper post about this, but mathew’s gotten the ball rolling already. All I really wanted to say was that it’s clearly the game system made “by Canadians, for Canadians,” as the parent company Zapit Games is located in the great white north (Mississauga). That particular system is also a DVD player, and comes with four ‘zappers,’ aka remotes, which allow you to interact with the screen in (maybe?) a Wii-like manner. Or perhaps you just choose up, down, left, and right, and it’s really *only* a DVD player that they’ve inexplicably tried to pass off as something else. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance their games will work on anything that plays the format. The only proper game-like game they’ve got is bejeweled, but I’m always entranced by these half-effort style things.

Mathew’s note about Brandon’s note: As far as I’ve seen from the adverts, there is no “Wii” like functionality; not to say that the games don’t have specifics that mean they could only be played on a Game Wave. What the adverts have is a jingle that promises quiz games and rhymes “big words” with “little nerds”, and is performed by the kind of session musicians that cry themselves to sleep every night.

Brandon’s newest of notes: I found that commercial, and it’s as astounding as he says it is. Check the youtube comments too, as they’re clearly written by people who are, let’s say, “concerned” about the success of the Game Wave.

Link: The Pickford Bros. “Zub Archive”

2006_11_30_zub.jpgI don’t think we’ve ever really talked about the Pickford Brothers on Insert Credit, have we? Well, they’re an astonishingly prolific pair of British siblings who’ve been in the industry since the days of 8-bit computers, and most recently have created Naked War, a rather lovely play-by-email game which is a lot more exciting than “play-by-email” makes it sound (though perhaps not as exciting as “naked” makes it sound) and that you should all check out if you have the time.

But what has piqued our interest most recently is that on their personal website, Zee-3, they’re just uploaded a rather in-depth article about the creation of the first title they worked on as a team, the ZX Spectrum title Zub, which is very informative for anyone interested in what went into making a game on home computers in the 80′s. They’ve also got an article on the creation of Plok, for people who remember the 1993 SNES title with fondness.

EJRW comment: Did you know the Pickford Brothers are actually behind some of Rare’s more interesting NES games, like Solar Jetman and Ironsword? Well, neither did I before I did some research a while ago. Now we all know!

News: Moss shooter planned for 360, MileStone shooter for Wii

Moss (current owner of the Seibu Kaihatsu imprint, and thus the Raiden series) has a shooting game planned for the Xbox 360 in Japan, if the G-rev 360 schedule is to be believed (not to be confused with game maker G.rev). And why not believe them? Interesting news, and the Raiden series has a tendancy to appear on the Windows-based Type X these days…

G-rev’s page for Wii indicates that MileStone will release a shooting game on the console in 2007 – best guess is Karasu (Karous).

News: Last Hope preorder

lasthope3.jpgThis is old news by now, but might as well report it for those who missed it. Last Hope is available for preorder. That’s the German homebrew shooter that was originally released on Neo Geo home cart (and doesn’t seem to have sold out – it’s still available if you’re rich/have mental problems). So it’s coming to Dreamcast before Neo Geo CD somehow, if you’re interested in checking it out.

And in related play-asianess, the weekly special is Magna Carta Portable, for $11.

News: Trigger Heart Exelica – the newest last Dreamcast game ever

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Newest in a long line of ‘last ever’ dreamcast shooters, the mediocre Warashi (it’s a shame to say that) Naomi-based game Trigger Heart Exelica will be hitting the Dreamcast in February 2007. The game will get the standard premium and normal editions, according to Arcadia, who reported the news first. If you want more info on the game or Warashi, check our post announcing the unveiling of the Naomi arcade original. Thanks to Recap for the news, and alex for the screenshot.

Update: The game is actually still called Trigger Heart Exelica, not Trigger Heart Extend, as we’d previously stated.

News: Ryu Ga Gotoku 2 launch freebies

ryu2_jacket.jpgTo commemorate the Japanese launch of Ryu Ga Gotoku 2 (or Yakuza 2 if you’re that way inclined) on the 7th December, SEGA are pulling out various stops to give away launch based freebies.

Most games get these kind of launch incentives but Ryu Ga Gotoku 2′s are particularly cool. In addition to a signed CD, which is pretty standard freebie fare, a jacket and a long sleeve t-shirt will be available. For the latter pieces of clothing however, there will be lottery type events at various stores so acquisition is by no means guaranteed.

News: Gamics

Gamics_01.pngThis is not the first time we’ve seen the idea of a digital comic series for a gaming system – though the chances of getting this in a language other than japanese is still close to zero (Silent Hill PSP comics aside), but coming from Arc System Works, it’s still interesting. The company wil start to publish (through AS Networks) a digitilized version of Sangokushi, the classic manga from Mitsuteru Yokoyama, for the DS next month. It’ll be the first of at least three announced volumes, with new colored scenes and BGM and sound effects for the reader. The series is called ‘Gamics‘ (‘Game x Comics’) so every volume comes also with a game based on its content, being the first one a war tactics simulation.

News: Sonic to Himitsu no Ring (Wii)

sonic_rings_wii.jpgThere’s a slim chance that our collective childhood memories won’t be cruelly dashed against the sharp pointy rocks of modernity. SEGA have announced the release of a new Sonic game for the Wii. The screenshots, thus far, lack hideous humans and the in-game movie looks promising (the latter is tucked away on the official site).

No price or Japanese release date has been set but the game is expected some time early next year.

Brandon’s note: When we met Yojiro Ogawa (the games’s producer) at TGS, he liked our (tim’s and my) idea that any 3D sonic should be more like Sonic R than Sonic Adventure – he agreed. This is promising – so is the fact that he was in charge of the boss battles for Panzer Dragoon Saga, as he was previously in Team Andromeda’s inner circle. This is all from an interview that is unfortunately lost, but it’s true nonetheless.