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CURRENTS
Issue #60
August 17, 2007
Clarity
Front Page

In a rather random series of events, I took a few days off of my Twilight Princess adventures to absolutely annihilate Megaman 2. To all of the non-believers (all three of you), go and play that game! Granted, it's pretty much understood to be the greatest Megaman game out there, but I was skeptical of my ability to make it through any Megaman game, let alone the second one (I had a bad experience with Megaman 6 when I was five, okay?). Use save states, play the normal mode, do whatever you must to play through the game. I admit I save state-d my way through it the first time, but now I can blaze through it in the most enjoyable of ways. It's all about finding what makes you happy and Megaman certainly does that.

Now that my news flash from 1990 is over, let's get to the column! A rather brisk column this week due to the lack of substantial news that happened this past week. Let's hope for a better one next week, shall we?

Nintendo Gives Ms. Aran Her Long Awaited Dues
Nintendo finally kicks off a whole month dedicated to gaming's first lady in their "Month of Metroid"
Title

Nintendo hasn't been quite as kind to their leading lady these last few years as they have in the past. Sure, the Metroid Prime series turned out to be a lot better than any of us "traditional" fans could have ever hoped for, but Pinball and her other dual screen handheld adventures have turned out mediocre at best. And to add insult to injury, Nintendo's first heroine that did more than be "trapped in another castle" has had very little time in the limelight lately (just ask IGN's Matt Casamassina), causing many of Samus's biggest fans to be left in the dark as to the details of her "final" adventure.

Enter Nintendo. Just when we all thought that Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was either delayed, cancelled, or currently being translated by loving fansubbers due to a multitude of problems, they go out of their way and announce a whole month of Metroid! That's right, Metroid fans! For all of you who have been dreaming of the day to watch Samus run around in (just) her bailey on the Wii, your time has finally come. The questionably-aged first title in the series, which made its mark on early gaming with its unmistakable atmosphere and the early NES's trademark "bomb-everything-and-pray-for-a-secret-passage" mechanics, was deployed to the Wii early on this week. While I think the glowing reviews are slightly overwrought with nostalgia, the unshakable masterpiece of a game known as Super Metroid will be making its way to the Virtual Console next week to start the Metroid party off right. All these perfectly timed releases lead up to the unveiling of the last piece of the Prime trilogy, Corruption, which will be released just a little over 20 years since the original title hit the NES on August 27.

Source: 1up
RUMOR ALERT: Holiday Bundle Packs For Xbox 360s?
Good things come to those who wait
Title

Oh those tricky little Frenchmen and their ways of uncovering random news tidbits. Let me start off by saying that I really have no clue what this website says, but maybe a few of you French-Canadians can tell me where exactly it explains the pretty little picture that seems to be announcing special holiday bundle packs for the Xbox 360. According to some French speaking Kotakans who have cracked the elusive code known as the French language, Microsoft will be releasing some very special bundles around the holidays to lure in prospective buyers and make their recently dropped prices seem even more attractive.

According to the French website who unearthed the bundle pack's existence, the special "Chacun son pack" (which according to the extraordinarily wonky BabelFish translator means something like "each one its pack"), or as Microsoft puts it, the "Xbox 360 Elite/Premium Holiday Value Bundle," comes with the standard pack-ins that the two wonderful consoles have always had, in addition to Forza Motorsport and Marvel Ultimate Alliance; an extremely generously estimated $90 value! Curiously enough, the outside of the box states that the two titles pictured are indeed two "Full Games," as opposed to simply demos or three-inch discs that seem to cut off abruptly halfway through. Does this mean that the titles might have been/need to be directly downloaded to the drive and the sticker addresses a possible misconception about the games that some buyers might have? Probably not, but rumors are only really fun when you add a little bit onto them every time that they're told.

Source: Kotaku
Warhawk Servers Have a "Special Component"
"Towers of Terror" or "Walls of Wonder?" You decide

Servers are something that we're become increasingly familiar with in our current information age; just about everything we use every day seems to be controlled by these mysterious machines that allow for us to use every single one of the internets (thanks!). I've always wondered where those magical machines are and what they look like, but didn't quite expect programmers to get so...resourceful.

Apparently taking a note from Chris Hecker's ideas on console construction, Sony's Warhawk servers appear to be constructed entirely out of leftover in-house components - namely a TON of PlayStation 3s. Hecker and everyone else who harped on the Wii as simply being "two Gamecubes duct-taped together" should take a peek at these severs, which are literally nothing more than two (hundred) PS3s duct taped together. So this is what's been driving up those NPD numbers as of late!

WHOA!
Engadget recently uncovered the details on the PS3 kiosks, and probably didn't surprise anyone who has used their PS3 at home to start up their own local server for a quick game of Warhawk. I don't think anyone could have seen the official set up for Sony's online play being a roomful of PS3s held together with a crafty concoction of steel, Ethernet cables, and twine, but it goes to show how anything is possible with the advanced consoles that we have today. That reminds me, does anyone know where I could get about 20 Dreamcasts for cheap? I think I just figured out how to make a space shuttle.

Source: Engadget
Static Prevails: UK Censors Questionable Sony Ad
Odd commercial aimed at adults removed due to "glamorization of violence or anti-social behaviour"
Title

When I think videogames, the first thing that usually comes into my mind is a man of questionable Eastern European descent wallowing in a bathtub with a gun, muttering about his prior experiences killing people for various reasons. Or at least that's what Sony would have liked for me to think, with there mondo bizarre ad campaign that featured a certifiably creepy killer named Kovac muttering about his emotional instabilities and pension for killing.

Why this would convince anyone that the PS3 is a good purchase is utterly beyond me, but as we've seen, Sony's track record with European advertising is less than stellar. Even though the ad was specifically targeted at adults (and not the "impressionable" crowd of young whippersnappers who would consider a life of crime a viable vocation), MCVUK reported that the Advertising Standards Authority thought that the advertisement "could be deemed to condone or glamorize violence or anti-social behaviour," which could assumedly have catastrophic consequences considering the anti-social nature of most videogames already.

Being the lazy revolutionary that I am, I'm usually against censorship as a general rule; however, I find myself hard pressed to be upset or even annoyed by Sony's loss of terrible advertisement. I don't understand why they can't focus on advertisements that make me want to buy games instead of killing animals and becoming some sort of washed up and depressing contract killer. Let's just hope that Kovac's terrible line, "the music plays Puccini in my head", doesn't become part of some terrible viral marketing campaign that emerges later on this year. Looking at just about any Sony ad so far, it doesn't really seem to be as much of a longshot as one might think.

Source: MCVUK | Joystiq
RANDOM: Things worthy of a quick mention for their obscurity, or sheer awesomeness
Bite size portions, since no one really likes those awkwardly sized "big" Mini-Wheats.
  • In a very special RPG related news bit I overheard over at 1up, Microsoft is officially allowing developers to require harddrive space for console MMO games. While this comes as little surprise seeing how many, if not all, MMORPG's require downloadable patches and updates to keep the content fresh, due to the Xbox 360's quasi-optional harddrive, downloadable content has been a tricky issue since launch. The amount of space required by each game is ultimately left up to the publisher to decide what a reasonable amount of space to use would be. As Microsoft's Ian Lewis aptly noted, the space usage should be a well thought out process. Developers can "Feel free to require 30GB for your game," but ultimately "that's just going to make your potential audience a lot smaller." Well put, Ian, well put.

  • Annoyed with your malfunctioning (if functioning at all) PlayStation Network games? Sure, there's only a few of them that have been known to cause some problems according to EuroGamer, but if you're a distraught owner of the downloadable version of Spyro 2 or MediEval, feel free to walk up and collect your prize. After reviewing the games' "technical issues", Sony has decided to refund the full amount of the game to dissatisfied customers and allow them to purchase something more worthwhile (like Jumping Flash!). Hey, it's not every day a company actually pays you back for their oversights!

  • Curious about the current victor of the next-generation removable media war? Probably not, considering how much more publicity that Blu-Ray gets in comparison to HD-DVD. Unsurprisingly, Blu-Ray is currently in the lead thus far in 2007 with total sales that are almost twice that of HD-DVD. What could possibly be the reason for this? It just might have something to do with the way that Blu-Ray seems to be the disc of choice to demo HD products in many larger chain stores (such as Best Buy) or possibly with the fact that Blockbuster has officially adopted it as their HD choice for movie rentals. Us here at RPGamer think it has something to do with a little overpriced grill-shaped game player that has Blu-Ray standard, instead of an asinine add-on. Yeah, that just might be the kicker right there (thanks GameDaily)
Sources: GameDaily | EuroGamer | 1up

And the wrap up is complete. Tune in next time for more wonderful videogame goodness that only RPGamer can bring you. Maybe next time I'll have more Twilight Princess updates, or possibly a new take on a random NES game I stumbled upon the other day, Little Samson. For those who don't know about it's awesomeness, it can be best described as Megaman meets Super Mario Bros. 2 (a.k.a. Doki Doki Panic). If that doesn't confuse you in a wonderful way, I don't know what will.

Cole Jones
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