News: Deinterlacing classic game systems

scanlines.jpgThe guy who wrote the scanlines demystified article we mentioned way back has a new article up, investigating deinterlacing solutions for old consoles on new TVs. This was particularly of interest to me, as my PC Engine looks absolutely terrible on my LCD television, with artifacts galore. You can view his article here. He doesn’t come up with the definitive answer, but he does evaluate a whole lot of upscan converters for you, so it goes a way toward helping in research. For what it’s worth, I’ve been told the best solution is simply to get an HD CRT television, but that doesn’t help get the maximal signal, even still.

News: Famitsu bits

A bunch of stuff came with the new Famitsu. Scans are floating about, but I’ll just sum up here:

Koei is bringing out a new Gundam Musou, simultaneously announced for PS2, not just next-gen. Koei does not believe!

PSP Hatsune Miku game – rhythm game with custom modes and story. Sega to publish.

Real game from Jaleco, called Kizuna – amazingly Jaleco is making an ambitious-looking Wii action RPG, with the FFXII scenario writer, and a former Level5 producer as director. He’s apparently also the lead programmer on Osama Monogatari. The art direction is great. I never thought I’d see this happen to Jaleco!
Update: The scenario writer’s name is Miwa Shouda.

Death Smiles is coming to 360, Cave’s latest. It’ll be retail, and Cave is self-publishing.

Zwei!! is coming to PSP from Falcom.

Nippon Ichi is making a new PSP game with 100 Prinnies and Etna, which is apparently maybe lemmingsish. Wacky!

Meteos Wars coming to 360 downloadable.

Thanks to the MMC random thread for the news!

News: GP2X Wiz is real

wiz2.jpgThe Wiz, which we mentioned earlier as a rumor, has turned out to be real. There’s an official site, and Play Asia has a perorder listing for it now, with a stock date of October 9. The site is in Korean only, for now, and uses a lot of Byulbram’s art/game work to promote the device. It’s got a gig of flash memory, which is neat, OLED screen, uses the arm9 processor, has stylus support, and seems to be nice and small. Not sure about that dual d-pad situation, but it would certainly have some interesting applications. It comes with 12 pre-loaded games, which you can see here, and there’s a larger sellsheet here, specs here, silly World of Warcraft-style packaging here, hot pix here. The fact that Byulbram’s games are shown working on it lends credence to the idea that games might be recompile-able for the new system… very intriguing. More as it develops!

Youtube: The Runaway Five – game jazz

runaway5.jpgThe Runaway Five (which is maybe an Earthbound reference) is a jazz group which does renditions of videogame music. Check it out here. Particularly neat: Wii Shop Channel, Tetris theme, Puzzle Bobble, and Descarga de Chocobo. Give it a look! They’re not the most together group in the universe (they seem young!), and the sound recording is a bit poor (can’t hear the bass) but it’s good fun, and the arrangements are pretty competent, if unadventurous – these fellows will only get better. Thanks to Persona for pointing it out! I don’t know if he saw it on gonintendo, and I didn’t find it through them, but google says they had it before me, so now I link to them, because that’s how it should be, son.

News: Hirokazu Yasuhara interview

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Yasuhara is basically the guy that made the original Sonic what it was. He was the mapper/planner for the original game, and directed the next two (if I’m not mistaken). He was also responsible for Sonic R, which all things considered is pretty good for a 3D Sonic. He’s been working on the Jak series since the second one, and most recently shipped Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, though he’s now at Namco Bandai Games America. Anyway, this interview is only about Sonic toward the end – mostly it’s about his really excellent and really applicable theories of fun and game design, as well as the differences between games and players in Japan versus the West. I think it’s really worth reading. If you’re curious, the blue images in the text are pictures I took of his illustrations while we were talking, and the little Drake’s Fortune sketches were done specifically for us after the interview was over. I’d love to play a game that just looked like that!

News: Uzebox console

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A fellow who calls himself Uze has created a new 8-bit open-source console called the Uzebox. It’s a hobby console, composed of easy to find components, but with some neat elements to it, like direct midi-in for sound composition, and the ability to program in C, rather than assembler, which many of these hobby consoles use (not making a value judgment here, it’s just different is all). The system can display 256 colors, 240×224 resolution, overclocked speed of 28.61818Mhz, and has a robust 4k of ram. Input is classic NES controllers, and the sound is a bit NES-like as well.

The main benefits of the system are best explained by the creator, via a youtube comment: “There’s no external memory, everything (code, kernelm, gfx, music) is in a single hex file flashed on the main chip. And thats the goal, only one thing to compile and flash. Since the kernel is arranged as a library, its easy to just include it in the compilation along your game.” Check out a video of a game (Tetris clone) running here. Then a demo of the midi capabilities here. Seems like a really neat project for those with the skills to use it! Also check out the nifty looking case idea he has for it. Thanks to Jeff for the link!

Youtube: Actual footage from M2 games

D2Over at my genetically superior forums, PC Games That Weren’t webmaster Timo Weirich has been posting footage of real game code running on what must be real Panasonic M2 hardware! This stuff is a real treat, as game footage from the system — despite its media popularity and close-to-launch-ness — is incredibly rare. Here is what he’s posted so far:


D2:

video #1
video #2

IMSA Racing: (dig that music!)

video #1
video #2

Iron & Blood:

M2 port
Original PlayStation version (for comparison)

While I’m on an M2 kick, here’s a brief collection of videos from Konami arcade games that ran on M2 hardware, to give you a better taste of what the games might have looked like if the console came out:

Polystars
Battle Tryst
Evil Knight
Heat of Eleven ’98

There are also some various other M2-related videos on Youtube, but let’s just keep this limited to real game code running on the hardware. Stuff worth noting: D2 was completely reworked for the Dreamcast and is a different game, Iron & Blood was not a planned game as much as a tech demo, and the announcer from Heat of Eleven ’98 needs to narrate every game ever.

News: Gameboy de-makes

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Way of the Pixel had a competition (if you can call it that, since nobody wins) a bit ago to create Gameboy-ized versions of modern games. They’re here, and I pretty much want to play all of them. If you can’t figure out what one is, just right click and check the image name, that’s what I did. There are lots of great ones in there, but I think my favorites are BioShock (left), Phantom Dust (criminally unplayed game), Odin Sphere, Tenchu, and Dodonpachi. Thanks to Frank for pointing it out.

News: Black Ice, White Noise For Sale

Black Ice, White NoiseBlack Ice, White Noise was an ambitious 3D adventure game for the Jaguar CD that was canceled by publisher Atari right around its Alpha phase. It is an interesting historical footnote for two reasons, the first being that this dark and seedy (and extremely expensive) cyberpunk thing was an internal response to Sam Tramiel mandating a new mascot for the Atari brand (the lady in the red jacket, I guess?), and second because it is a third person 3D game where the main character explores a large 3D city by either walking or stealing cars, designed several years before that one game came out that all the other games copied for a while.

The game itself is old news for readers of this site, but today I learned via gameSniped that copies of Alpha builds of the game are for sale at unreasonably high prices! You can pay $1,500 on eBay, if you’d like, or you can buy direct from the licensed distributor. There are two separate builds of the game – both are in Alpha, and while one is more feature-complete, the earlier one crashes less often. For some reason both builds are $30 each, and you can’t get a deal on a bundle, so I guess you can either spend $60 to get all you can out of the experience or choose what’s more important to you, less crashes or features like “the infamous ‘Zebra Hooker.’” You can also get the soundtrack for $20, which was written by the guy who wrote Herb Alpert’s Rise and, if his disgrace-to-god website is to be believed, Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize. He did some other game music too – the video game discography is kind of hidden on his site, but you can see it here. Before you get excited, no, he didn’t do the soundtrack to The Adventures of Batman and Robin on the Genesis, he composed the music for the beautifully animated cutscenes in the Sega CD version that sounded nothing at all like the music from the show.