News: Raiden IV coming to Xbox 360

A port of Raiden IV for the Xbox 360 is apparently in alpha stage and is scheduled to be released in the US at some unspecified point in the distant future. This news comes from an interview with one of UFO Interactive’s managers recently conducted by Team Fremont. (And don’t forget, UFO is also bringing to the US the PS2 port of Raiden III later this month.)

This is all very surprising, especially considering that it’s going to be a while before Raiden IV is even released in Japanese arcades (it’s currently slated for July). Moreover, no news of a Japanese 360 port has emerged through any of the usual sources. What has me worried the most is that UFO is considering releasing this on XBLA, which could very well mean a shoddy port in unsuitable resolution and with no option for tate. On the other hand, even if this is a regular disc release it could turn out ugly. By Royal decree all Xbox 360 games have to be 720p minimum and Raiden IV is a 640×480 game — which is not even a widescreen resolution. G.rev faced the same problem when porting Senko no Ronde, but then again their game was in yoko so things were much simpler. It will be interesting to see how this gets handled.

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News: Wonder Festival 2007 Winter and more AC4 stuff

gotcha_wonder_festa_07_1.jpgIt’s that time of the year again and otaku have descended upon Tokyo Big Sight to look at various toys and model kits. Apart from the delectable scratch built fair, there are also several instances of commercial goods getting a preview. Anyway, hit the link to feast your eyes on the miniature army.

AC4 on the PS3 has also received another Regulation file (Ver. 1.30) and its main change is that of aerial boosting; you can stay airborne for a lot longer now. They’ve also balanced various parts.

As of today though, AC4 will make it’s way onto Xbox Live Markletplace as a demo (in Japan admittedly, no word of a Western demo as yet). Finally, we’ll see what the 360 version has in store and whether any kind of graphical change has taken place. In addition, From Software have covered the “original content” for the 360 version on the official AC4 site (it’s down the bottom on the left). It’s nothing particularly earth shattering though; namely pad rumble, Xbox Live voice comms and other online shenanigans.

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News: Art of Fighting Anthology coming to the u.s.

aof.jpgAs the title says, the Art of Fighting Anthology for PS2, which we’ve covered a few times before, is coming to the u.s. This news comes from SNKP’s u.s. forums, which indicate that the game is coming out here in spring. It’s a bit of an odd choice for localization, as Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, Last Blade, Mark of the Wolves, and others still haven’t had their remakes released here. But perhaps they’ve just given us too many versions of the same game? Either way, I won’t really complain. This compilation, as you may know, contains all three AoF games. Thanks to ishmael’s post on the Madman’s Cafe bbs for the news.

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Youtube: The making of Atlantis

If you like old stuff, you may appreciate this three-part series on the making of Atlantis, by Imagic (they did some of the better graphics of the day, especially on Intellivision). Here are parts one, two and three, a half hour in all, with actual decent reporting! Thanks PBS! Indeed, if reporters today were half as savvy as the clearly 70 year old reporter who put this together, we’d be much better off.

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Link: Gamesniped – rare game auctions

Gamesniped is a new website I stumbled upon, which finds rare/interesting videogame auctions on ebay. It can be a bit overwhelming, as there’s a lot in there, but I quickly found some good stuff like this talking Seaman can, or these quite rare military-adapted Multi Arcade Cart Simulator M16 lightgun and carts, which are made from SNES bits. That went for quite a lot of money! Anyway, seems to be updated pretty regularly, so might do with a check now and again.

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News: Microsoft hungary Minesweeper competition

So, after talking about the hyakumegashock Minesweeper Vista announcements some time ago, as promised, top-10 Minesweeper player damien moore has informed me about the upcoming Microsoft hungary Minesweeper competition announcement.

First of all, Microsoft hungary doing anything is interesting enough for me, but a competition that advises you to bring your mouse, and not to mention the Minesweeper competition when getting a visa to enter hungary – that gets my extra attention. That’s sound advice, too! Right now there are 10 competitors, but the competition was announced quite recently (on valentine’s day). Registration is free, and I do not believe there is any prize other than the knowledge that you’re the world’s best. The competition takes place on april 14, 2007. Here’s a nice excerpt from the site:

This is the first time Microsoft has sponsored a tournament related to one of its integrated games. gergely nagy, organiser of the event, has been working behind the scenes since the last competition to secure the deal. As a result, the session featuring the popular variant Nonosweeper will be moved to the following day. The event is being timed to coincide with the hungarian release of Windows Vista.

Incidentally, Gamesetwatch has a huge post up on minesweeper right now, if you just can’t get enough.

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Shock: The number of bits in the PS3

Remember when bits were everything? 32 bit versus 64 bit…the “24-bit” neo geo, the Jaguar “do the math” controversy – then the Dreamcast came along, the first 128 bit system, and pretty much everyone stopped talking about it. I even remember a time when I thought the intellivision and 2600 were 4 bit, because they came before the NES. You doubled the bits with the next system, that was just how it worked! But then it started to be about how emotional your engine was. Anyway, I decided to mail sony and ask how many bits the PS3 has. A gajillion? Six? Here’s the official answer (bless them for indulging me, thanks to Sony PR boss dave karraker for getting a tech guy to respond to this – I can’t think of anyone else that would do something this awesome):

The PS3 is 128 bit, but it is more 128 bit than the others.
The number of bits isn’t really a very good measure anymore.
To be honest, it hasn’t been a good measure since PS1 days.
That said…

Most single pieces of data fit in 32 or 64 bits. The benefit
of 128 bits is that you can operate on 4 pieces of 32-bit data
at the same time, which is called SIMD (Single Instruction,
Multiple Data). This is only useful for data that needs the
same operation on all 4 pieces, which is common in games
for things such as 3D graphical transformations, physical
simulation, collision detection, etc. 128-bits is the “sweet
spot” of price and performance, so that is what everyone
seems to have settled upon.

To get more power, people have instead now been moving
to more processor cores. (PS3 has 8, Xbox 360 has 3,
Wii has 1, PS2 had 1 + 2 special-purpose, Xbox had 1, etc).

For graphics, it is even trickier to explain. The biggest difference
is that in the past, graphics chips were “fixed-function”. Now,
they are programmable. But people don’t really talk about it in
terms of bits; instead, they usually measure in terms of flops.

Aside from maybe a little fudging in terms of the PS2 cores, because by that logic the Saturn had three, that’s pretty interesting! So the PS3 is 128 bit – just like the Dreamcast! Which means the Dreamcast is still top of the line! The Intellivision, which I mentioned before, was actually 16 bit, according to the all-knowing wikipedia. So this clearly means the PS3 is worth 8 Intellivisions! I was also assured that the 360 and Wii are 128 bit as well. So while I knew bits no longer really ‘mattered’, I guess this is official confirmation that the bits war is over. It’s all about cores now, and flops. Now that’s a loaded word! As a bonus, here are some fun equations for you. Create your own!

Jaguar + N64 = PlayStation 3
Intellvision + Genesis + Jaguar – Saturn + Neo Geo + NES + 32X = PlayStation 3
Dreamcast – Wii + NES x SNES = PlayStation 3
Dreamcast / PS2 x supergrafx + PC-FX + Neo Geo Pocket Color – CD-i + Nintendo 64 + 3DO + MSX + (Pippin / CD32 x Game Gear) = PlayStation 3

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MIA: Ghouls & Ghosts online

Here’s another thing that’s gone MIA – Ghouls Ghosts Online. It was being developed by Game Factory in taiwan (many people thought it was developed by Zona, because of this poser, but Zona is actually an online middleware provider), and was very very early. No enemies yet, just a trailer, and a playable environment. Why they showed something so early is beyond me, but I was glad they did!

Anyway, I got basically the only footage of it that exists, as far as I’m aware, so give it a gander if you’re curious. The intro, and several gameplay segments are included – incidentally I have absolutely no idea who the person standing behind me making comments was! Ah, the mysteries of our time. The game was cancelled pretty early on without much pomp and circumstance – though it was further along than Metal Slug Online, which was supposed to have its first beta in december 2004. In fact, Game Factory’s website is no more, so I wonder if they’re still around? Here‘s the best other source for info on this game, in the form of an official press release. I’ll excerpt a few clips:

This is the first time that a Chinese digital
entertainment company has been authorized to re-design a classic Japanese game
and develop into a Massive Multi-Player Online Game (MMOG), which will be the
first product launched into the international market since Game Factory
Digital Entertainment Studios established its own brands.

Mr. Monte Singman, founder and Chief
Executive Officer of Game Factory, states, “It is Game Factory’s honor to be
authorized to network Ghouls and Ghosts. It shows Capcom’s confidence in the
research and development capacity of Game Factory. Game Factory will create a
brand-new version of “Ghouls and Ghosts” by integrating the essence of this
classic game with the most cutting-edge 3D technology for the online game. We
will offer ‘Ghouls and Ghosts Online’, a game created by the Chinese that
meets the international standard. Game Factory hopes to navigate a new path
for the Chinese game industry, that is, to initiate a development pattern
incorporating international markets into originality.”

“Ghouls and Ghosts Online”, currently under development, is projected to
be finished in the middle of 2004. At GDC, two versions, PC and Xbox, were
disclosed, which will be displayed at E3 in the United States next May and
will be launched into markets in the United States, Japan, South Korea, Europe
and Greater China region.

Obviously that last part is the most interesting – PC and Xbox development. I’m not sure that an Xbox build was playable at the time. Another odd bit of info from my own post, was that there was a title called ‘Ghouls & Ghosts Match Fight’ as well – not sure if that was simply a renaming, or if it was a second title in development. At this rate, we may never know…

Update: A number of people have written in, not the least of whom was my boss, saying that Game Factory is indeed defunct, as the CEO (monte singman) has moved on to form Radiance Digital Entertainment, also in china. He used to work at Capcom with Yoshiki Okamoto, thus the license crossover. Slateman also wrote in to send a batch of concept images from the game. Unfortunately I can’t confirm the origin of these files to prove they’re legit, but they sure seem to be.

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Youtube: Sonic and the Secret Rings ending

Another game, another wacko ending. Beware of spoilers obviously, but here’s the clip. Greeeeeat voice acting in there. Ways this could’ve been made better:
No crying human girl (or elf or whatever).
“Coming back to life” meaning zombies.
At least one explosion in a base or flying fortress.
Fighting a mech version of yoursel.f
No crying girls. Did I mention this already?

Anyway…not as bad as the 360 game ending, but still, we’re not there yet! Thanks to James for pointing it out.

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News: Classic Gaming Expo plans…for failure

The Classic Gaming Expo is making its triumphant return, after a year hiatus. It’s coming back to vegas as well, where it all began (sort of). That’s good! But the bad news is, it’s right at the end of Comic Con. Amazingly, they actually knew this, and didn’t think it would be a big problem.

Unfortunately, most of us are going to have to choose, and while the choice is difficult, it’s clear what conference is going to win out in my book. Another limiting factor for some is that it’s actually on the strip this time, meaning slightly pricier hotels, and more obnoxious tourists. But I can imagine the strip is a draw for some! The ‘guys who like old stuff’ market has a difficult choice ahead. I love the Classic Gaming Expo, but it looks like once again, I’ll just be hitting California Extreme instead.

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