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Topics - Yoshidious

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TalkBack / Nintendo's Unprecedented European Success Continues
« on: January 24, 2008, 12:38:20 PM »
New figures illustrate Nintendo's rapidly improving position in historically difficult market: dominant hardware sales complemented by strong showings for casual and traditional games.

 Nintendo Europe has divulged sales figures spotlighting the company's very strong performance across both of its platforms. Six million Wii consoles have been sold since launch, surpassing the GameCube's lifetime sales by a significant margin in some countries, setting records in the process. Nintendo DS has also radically expanded Nintendo's handheld market, racking up twenty million units sold since its launch in March 2005.      

In terms of market share, Nintendo has made huge inroads into the console market compared to the GameCube. In Spain, Wiis account for 51% of all consoles sold since the Xbox 360's launch. Even in friendlier territory for Microsoft, such as the UK, Wii has surpassed its user base in half the time.    

Nintendo's Touch Generations line of software has been a runaway success in Europe. Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training has sold in excess of five million copies across the region; adding in the sales of More Brain Training brings the figure to 7.8 million. Even so, Nintendo's quest to keep minds sharp has been bested by the desire to warm hearts, as the combined sales of Nintendogs have surpassed the eight million mark.    

While the dominance of Touch Generations software for the Nintendo DS closely mirrors the Japanese market, traditional software for Wii has performed appreciably better in Europe. Super Mario Galaxy has sold 1.3 million copies, whereas in Japan it continues to struggle towards 900k. Considering that Nintendo's past console sales are far less than those of Japan, it is impressive that a core franchise should be more successful. While there are now one million more Wii owners in Europe than  Japan, in proportional terms Galaxy has still sold better in Europe, where more than 21% of Wii owners have purchased the game as opposed to around 18%.    

A more stark contrast becomes visible with reference to another Nintendo million-seller, Mario Party 8. In Europe, Galaxy has outsold the party game by 300k, in Japan it trails by a similar amount. Also, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has managed to reach 1.3 million copies sold, much different from its moribund showing in Japan. While not as impressive as Mario's more immediate impact, Zelda's European success perhaps better highlights the sales strength of traditional, core games for Wii in Europe.    

Inevitably, Wii Play constitutes Nintendo's biggest "software" success to date on Wii, delivering 2.3 million extra remotes to European Wii owners over the console's life to date. At a million units clear of the next highest seller, Wii Play does much to inflate the Wii's modest European software attachment rate of 5.6. It is clear, however, that first party games are faring well in both the casual and core categories as phenomenal hardware sales continue to expand the market.

TalkBack / Advance Wars: Days of Ruin Launches
« on: January 22, 2008, 04:35:13 AM »
Post-apocalypse Now! Nintendo delivers a grittier brand of warfare to your DS.


New Look, Storyline and Online Battles Reinvent Award-Winning Strategy Game Series

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 22, 2008 - Forget everything you know about hand-held combat strategy games. With this week's release of Advance Wars®: Days of Ruin for Nintendo DS™, Nintendo is calling on strategy buffs of all stripes to save the planet with a new set of combat-ready characters, captivating visuals and extraordinary wireless features. For new recruits and Advance Wars veterans alike, Nintendo wants you!    

"Days of Ruin is much more than just a new chapter in the Advance Wars series," says Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales & marketing. "Our core gamers continue to buzz about the game's post-apocalyptic storyline, new characters and stylized graphics that bring a totally fresh experience to the series. The focus on strategy beyond raw firepower makes it more rewarding than typical war games."    

Kicking off a bold new story in the series, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin imagines a dark future in which a devastating meteor strike has transformed the planet into a perilous battleground, fraught with disease and barbaric enemy forces. Players must use sharp turn-based strategy to lead their own heroic unit on a mission to restore humanity, rendered in an exciting new dual-screen graphics scheme.    

Players can use local networking or Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection to enjoy limitless replay by designing and sharing their own maps or facing opponents in faraway places. Solo players can command their troops in a series of tactical skirmishes, while the Free Battle mode allows up to four players to challenge one another using one Nintendo DS system.    

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is one of two games Nintendo is releasing this week that demonstrate the way the company has something for all types of gamers. While Advance Wars: Days of Ruin for Nintendo DS is a classic battle strategy game, Endless Ocean™ for Wii™ invents a new genre of video games as it takes users on a remarkable underwater journey of exploration. For more information about Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, visit

TalkBack / Pre-Christmas Search for Wii Finds UK Consumers Caught in Scam
« on: January 13, 2008, 05:26:03 AM »
Ozone Electronics believed to have taken payment for up to thousands of orders before closing their website and selling off their premises.

 The BBC's consumer rights team Watchdog has detailed a scam exploiting up to 2,500 people among the many thousands who were part of the pre-Christmas scramble for scarce Wii supply in the UK.    

Ozone Electronics, an Oldham-based company, appealed to desperate prospective Wii buyers by guaranteeing delivery of consoles by the middle of December, while taking payment upfront. As dissatisfied shoppers watched the month pass by without receiving their orders, those contacting the company by phone were greeted by a recorded message, and visitors to the company website found it disused except for a notice to the effect that orders would not be fulfilled.    

The Watchdog report notes payments by customers of £400 for an order of two consoles, and £258 for a single Wii. It is not clear whether these orders originally included additional software or accessories, or that Ozone Electronics was further exploiting its customers by charging in excess of the Wii's £179.99 retail price – a clear possibility given the widespread reporting of exorbitant prices associated with Wii auctions on eBay.    

With the company's premises up for auction by the end of this month, neither Watchdog nor the local Trading Standards Institute has been able to track down the company's owners, and so customers seeking a refund have been left with their card providers as their only recourse. While credit card providers are legally required to reimburse their clients in this situation, customers who used debit cards will need to apply to their card issuer for a refund and are in no way guaranteed to get one.

TalkBack / New Virtual Console Games
« on: December 24, 2007, 04:15:45 AM »
Blades of Steel, Donkey Kong Country 3 and Rolling Thunder 2 arrive in time for Christmas.

 Wii-kly Update: Three New Classic Games Added To Wii Shop Channel    

If you hear a rumbling on the roof tonight, don't assume that it's reindeer when there are gorillas on the loose. Yes, this week's merry Wii™ Shop Channel lineup includes a classic adventure title to entertain every reveler in your household, from the nicest to the naughtiest. Plus, you'll find a wicked-cool dose of ice hockey action and a thrilling secret-agent sequel to help keep spirits bright all winter long. You were expecting lumps of coal? Sorry-maybe next year.    

Three new classic games go live at 9 a.m. Pacific time. Nintendo adds new games to the Wii Shop Channel every Monday. Wii™ owners with a high-speed Internet connection can redeem Wii Points™ to download the games. Wii Points can be purchased in the Wii Shop Channel or at retail outlets. This week's new games are:    

BLADES OF STEEL™ (NES®, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone-Mild Violence, 500 Wii Points): With stick in hand and confidence brimming, you are looking to bring home the cup, win the MVP award, get on the covers of major sports magazines and date a beautiful model (not necessarily in that order). But soon you will learn that, in this league, nothing is ever given to you, and before you can reach your goals, you'll have to put the puck in the net and score some. You'll need both the artful skills of a finesse player and the bone-crushing brutality of an enforcer. Defend your own goal against unrelenting power plays, or put the pressure on your opponent's goalie and try a slap shot of your own. Don't forget to defend yourself when anger flares because the gloves come off and fists start flying. So strap on blades of steel and prepare to either make a name for yourself or be put on ice.    

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble™ (Super NES®, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone, 800 Wii Points): Revisit Donkey Kong Island and join the Kong family for their latest adventure. The Kremlings have a mysterious new leader named KAOS and are up to their usual mischief, even capturing Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. Now it's up to Dixie Kong and the newest Kong, a giant infant named Kiddy, to rescue the two missing apes. They'll travel across previously unseen parts of the island in their search, and even take to the skies in a rocket at one point. Lucky for them, Dixie and Kiddy's powers complement each other (including Kiddy's talent for rolling like a barrel), so they form a powerful team capable of major Kremling damage. They're not completely on their own, either, since returning favorites like Funky Kong and Enguarde the swordfish provide help along the way. And in a series known for its abundance of secrets and high replay value, this entry doesn't disappoint, with enough hours of game play to satisfy Donkey Kong himself. Anyone else have a sudden urge for some bananas?    

Rolling Thunder™ 2 (Genesis, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone-Violence, 800 Wii Points): In this follow-up to the original classic, you are once again a member of Interpol's Rolling Thunder task force, and it's up to you to stop the return of the evil Geldra organization. Now known as Neo-Geldra and led by a newcomer named Gimdo, the bad guys are bent on destroying several valuable outer-space satellites. In this one- or two-player game, you can play as Leila or Albatross-both characters from the original-as you venture through several different levels, trying to put a stop to the nefarious efforts of Gimdo and the rest of Neo-Geldra. Use your bullets wisely and make Rolling Thunder proud.    

For more information about Wii, please visit

TalkBack / REVIEWS: Need for Speed ProStreet
« on: December 20, 2007, 07:00:40 PM »
Who knew drummers made the best drivers?

 ProStreet marks the third iteration of EA's Need for Speed franchise on the Nintendo DS, and in most respects it exudes the polish and fine tuning of a series already well-travelled on the platform. An impressive graphics engine, tight controls and robust multiplayer options make for an admirable package. However, there are some questionable design choices that seem to curiously neglect the nature of handheld gaming, and these are very much to ProStreet's detriment.    

ProStreet's core graphics and gameplay make for good racing. The game's engine runs at a solid framerate, a feat that becomes more laudable as the environments shift from the desolate beginners' raceways to circuits winding though wooded hillsides or a Tokyo harbour complete with cranes and tall buildings.  The sense of speed provided is satisfying for a portable game, but most importantly the races proceed smoothly even with multiple computer opponents jockeying around you. Displayed on the lower screen is a simple circuit map that is useful in gauging how sharp upcoming turns are going to be, as the camera views tend to stick fairly close to the cars. Based on a nice range of licensed vehicles, the car models are of good form but lack detailed textures, rendering them somewhat unnatural-looking in their simplistic glossiness.    

The game's controls are intuitive and work well, with one minor annoyance. Steering is handled with the D-pad, but unlike some of its competition on the DS, ProStreet employs the diagonals as a way of executing degrees of turning without analogue control. Holding up on the D-pad and rolling your thumb left or right will enact soft steering in the desired direction, while holding down instead results in a hard turn. The aforementioned annoyance occurs when you inadvertently double-tap down on the D-pad, triggering a look-back function that shifts the camera to a rear view. This can easily be done when utilising hard steering around sharp turns—a most inopportune to time to lose sight of where you're going—so the ability to deactivate this command would have been welcome.    

Alongside manual transmission for gear shifting (mapped to the shoulder buttons) and the car variety, this more nuanced steering control really differentiates ProStreet from more casual racing games on the system. Cornering is not simply a matter of breaking or letting off the gas pedal but rather a more complicated choreography that varies according to different types of cars and turns. Players that would prefer to keep the experience simple can select automatic gear shifting.    

ProStreet offers two game modes from the get-go: Quick Race allows for a custom challenge against computer opponents and Career mode is the primary single player experience that serves to unlock further content. But across all of the game modes there is a variety of events to participate in, emphasising different elements of race driving and providing some variety from the core gameplay. Grip events are standard races around a circuit, while Drift and Drag focuses on sliding around corners and accelerating respectively. Time Attack and Sector Shootout encourage players to race strategically as they attempt to set the best time for a single lap or in a given section of the overall circuit rather than focusing on who is first to the finish line.    

The diversity the events provide is welcome, if ultimately a bit limited. For example, time-based events feel only slightly different from standard races: opening laps become rolling starts and you may handle certain corners more recklessly in an effort to beat a sector record. On the other hand, the drag racing event is akin to a mini-game, though admittedly one that dovetails nicely with the racing theme. In this mode you simply heat up your tires at the starting line by mashing the accelerator, then time the start of your acceleration without jumping the signal and (as long as your car's performance stats compare favourably with your opponent's) shift gears appropriately to claim victory.    

The Hydraulics event certainly does qualify as a separate mini-game, and a most incongruous one at that. This is in fact a rhythm game making use of EA's obligatory "Trax" for the game, which can be oddly challenging, considering what a seemingly frivolous addition to the game it is. Perhaps most confounding of all for a mini-game shoehorned into a DS game, it doesn't even use the microphone or touch screen! All that being said, Hydraulics can be an amusing diversion for those not turned off by EA's taste in licensed music, but it feels very awkward amongst the other events in Career mode.    

Lone players will likely spend much of their time in Career mode, which puts you in the role of Ryan Cooper. This identity is largely meaningless as R. Cooper is simply a name that will appear next to your times and scores during Career mode, and nothing more. The non-descript Mr Cooper's career involves participating in Race Days, which consist of a number of events (usually six) that must all be won in order to successfully "dominate" the day. Winning individual events and days overall unlocks further sets of challenges and earns Mr. Cooper money to spend on repairs, new cars, parts, and aesthetic customisation in the garage between race days. Getting behind the wheel of a higher-performing machine is essential to keep pace in later events not grouped by vehicle class.    

The essential effect of this structure is to limit players' ability to jump from event to event, as once a race day is entered it must at least be completed (achieved by winning 50% or more of the events in most cases) before the player can leave that day to tackle other challenges or visit the garage. Perhaps this restriction is intended to encourage players to take care not to damage their cars, as once they are wrecked they will remain out of commission for the rest of that race day. However, the drop in performance and financial cost associated with sustaining damage would seem to be incentive enough to avoid routinely totalling cars, and thus the trade-off made on restricting the players' choice does not seem justified.    

As a handheld game, ProStreet is often at its best when you can quickly dip in to take on a quick event or two, but the restrictive career format often interferes with this. When you realise that you either need to do that extraneous Hydraulics challenge to complete a race day, or retire from it entirely (eradicating the victories that had been registered so far) in order to see what another set of events has to offer, it can be rather frustrating. While it is commendable for a handheld game to aspire to be challenging, the nature of portable gaming shouldn't be ignored and this simply is not a very intelligent or rewarding way of achieving that end.    

Outside of the ups and downs of Ryan Cooper's whirlwind journey to crush all before him by tapping along to Junkie XL, ProStreet's multiplayer options are pleasingly comprehensive. Single-card multiplayer is predictably limited in car and track options but is, as always, a welcome addition for readily accessible fun with up to eight fellow DS owners. Multi-card play opens up the range of courses and cars on offer, including the ability to take your upgraded racing machines from career mode onto the track against your friends. (Please note that I was unable to test multi-card play personally for the purposes of this review.) ProStreet also supports online play with a nice complement of options, including custom vehicles, but online play limits the number of racers to four. In general the wireless mode runs fairly well, but online play seems to suffer from frequent glitching amongst competitor vehicles—shifting position spontaneously when in close proximity to your car—which spoils the feeling of racing side-by-side. Times recorded online are automatically listed on leader boards (and you can also upload your best Hydraulics scores), adding another competitive facet to the game.    

Overall, Need for Speed ProStreet DS offers a substantial package with much merit to be found within, but it is not without its shortcomings. The core gameplay is well crafted and the different kinds of challenges and customisation can be thoroughly explored alone, offering a sophisticated complement to the instant fun of racers such as Mario Kart DS. Ultimately, though, the competitive edge of multiplayer will likely be the driving force in keeping players coming back for more. A few tweaks here and there could have made the experience more accessible and would have cemented ProStreet as a high quality DS game in its own right instead of a handheld derivative of its console cousins. As it is, Need for Speed stands a little awkwardly on the DS platform, but for those in search of a weighty, customisable driving experience on the go, ProStreet is a recommended purchase.


  • Graphics engine runs solidly with impressive trackside scenery and detail
  • Controls are tight and intuitive
  • Diverse, deep gameplay due to different challenges and vehicle handling

  •        Cons:
  • Restrictive Race Day format
  • Significant load times hurt the portable experience
  • Superfluous rhythm mini-game

  •                Graphics:  8.0
           With some interesting trackside environments, the solid graphics engine provides a nice sensation of speed that remains smooth even when the action becomes quite hectic. On the downside, the vehicles don't exude much realism due to glossy texture work lacking in detail.

                   Sound:  7.0
           EA Trax on the DS is the same love-it-or-hate-it proposition as ever. Sound fidelity is inevitably inferior to that of its console counterparts but is by no means unacceptable. The sound effects are merely passable.

                   Control:  8.5
           Sensible button mapping and a nice attempt at incorporating the nuance of analogue steering make for a highly functional and intuitive setup, marred only by the sometimes undesired use of the look-back command while pressing down on the D-pad.

                          Gameplay:  7.5
           The various types of challenges emphasise different elements of race driving, revealing the depth of the game's controls and a roster of differentially able vehicles. The Hydraulics mini-game plays much better than it fits into the game as a whole, but is ultimately an inconsequential aside except for when it impedes progress in Career mode.


           Lastability:  8.0
           With an ample number of racing challenges, extensive customisation and a robust set of multiplayer options, ProStreet has the potential to endure for a long time. Toiling to improve your cars in career mode and then competing with friends off- and online is the most likely avenue for extending the game's life span; for single-player focused gamers the game's admirable variety will wear out rather more quickly.


           Final:  7.0
           ProStreet is for the most part a well crafted racing game of pleasing depth amongst its handheld rivals, but it falls short due to irksome loading times, lag-ridden online play,  and career mode's restrictive race day format. As a game striving to maintain the essence of its console cousins, Need for Speed lacks any significant crossover appeal to those unenthused by race driving games, and yet it may leave genre fans that demand a fully-fledged racing experience unsatisfied, also. For those that sit in the niche between these two positions, ProStreet is well worth a look.      

    TalkBack / Wii Surpasses Xbox 360 User Base in the UK
    « on: December 19, 2007, 05:44:58 PM »
    Nintendo's global dominance asserts itself in Britain as Wii overtakes the 360 despite a year head start; DS smashes its own single week hardware sales record.

     The latest Chart Track data on UK hardware sales has revealed that, with the sale of 100,000 units last week, Wii has exceeded the installed user base of the Xbox 360. In spite of globally constrained supply limiting hardware allocations to the UK, Wii has attained this position in only half the time that Microsoft's console has sat on store shelves.    

    The hardware statistics also reveal that Nintendo DS has once again broken the single week hardware sales record in the UK, setting the bar at 212,584 units during the week ending December 1.  That is a more than 11% improvement on the previous mark set immediately beforehand by Nintendo's handheld sales juggernaut.    

    These are the latest amongst several UK sales milestones for Nintendo this year, which saw Wii become the fastest console to sell a million units in addition to eclipsing the  GameCube's lifetime sales.

    TalkBack / Wii Chess Announced and Dated for Europe
    « on: December 19, 2007, 10:11:32 AM »
    Coming early in the new year with regional online play.

     Wii Chess comes to Wii    

    13 December, 2007- Make sure your mind is sharp and you’re ready for battle as Wii Chess comes to Wii. Whether you are pitting your wits against the computer, or taking on a friend, strategic thinking and planning ahead are the order of the day, so make sure you’ve drawn up your battle plan as Wii Chess launches across Europe on 18 January 2008, only on Wii!    

    Following the rules of a traditional game of chess, Wii Chess is a must for any fan of the original board game. Players will play on an 8x8 chequered board, with the usual 16 pieces each, and must aim to ‘checkmate’ their opponent. Wii Chess emphasises long-term strategy and requires both players to have a good understanding of their opponent’s potential movements, whether playing against the Wii console or a friend.    

    Featuring one of the best chess-dedicated Artificial Intelligences on the market, Wii Chess allows players the ultimate opponent in chess. The Artificial Intelligence can be adjusted from a low to high level allowing players to match their skills to their opponent. The game also allows players to record their games, which they can then watch back, or even jump into at any point and play a move differently. Effectively players can re-play a saved match, correcting an error and reversing the course of history! Alternatively, gamers can play a friend using the two-player function, or take on other Wii Chess owners using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. With so many options to choose from you’ll never be stuck for an opponent!    

    The interactive elements of Wii Chess allow users to customise the look of the game they are playing. Whenever they wish, players can change the style of their pieces and background to create a different atmosphere. There is also a visual aid to help beginners which can be turned on or off at any point. In addition to this, the status window displays data such as the player’s name, enemy pieces captured so far and a summary of players’ moves in the game. At any point in the game, players can press the B Button, which will display an extensive menu offering the players options such as reconfiguring the game, changing options or even quitting the game.    

    Make sure you are ready to play your pawns as Wii Chess launches across Europe on 18 January 2008 for the estimated retail price of £21 / €30.

    TalkBack / Grasshopper behind Decision to Tone-down European No More Heroes
    « on: December 12, 2007, 06:00:30 AM »
    Suda 51 notes the "broadly growing Wii market" in choosing to deliver the bloodless Japanese version of the Wii exclusive to PAL territories.

     The developers behind the forthcoming Wii exclusive No More Heroes have declared that it was their decision to present the game to European audiences in a form significantly toned-down from its planned North American release.    

    Grasshopper CEO Goichi Suda and Marvelous Digital Contents Company president Yashiro Wada issued the following joint statement: "The sales point of the game is action. Both I and Wada san have concentrated on making the best possible action game for the Nintendo Wii. We have chosen to release in Europe the same version as has shipped in Japan considering the broadly growing Wii market."    

    Though the statement specifies No More Heroes’ European release, it is likely that the game will appear in the same form across all PAL territories where the game will be published by Rising Star Games and its distribution partners.    

     Asked by Games Radar (prior to Suda’s statement) if the decision to go with the Japanese cut was influenced by the difficulties experienced by Manhunt 2 in being classified by the BBFC, Rising Star answered “maybe." It therefore appears possible that Goichi Suda (widely known as Suda 51), having promised to attempt to make No More Heroes more violent than Rockstar’s aforementioned horror sequel, has continued to use Manhunt 2 as a benchmark for tuning his game’s content - notwithstanding significant stylistic differences – for different regional audiences.

    TalkBack / Rockstar’s Appeal of British Manhunt 2 Ban Succeeds
    « on: December 10, 2007, 08:59:18 AM »
    The BBFC’s refusal to certify Manhunt 2 is overturned by the Video Appeals Committee.

     Rockstar has won its fight to overturn the BBFC’s decision to refuse Manhunt 2 classification.    

    The Video Appeals Committee voted four to three in Rockstar’s favour, leaving the BBFC to either classify the game or appeal the Committee’s decision at the High Court in pursuit of maintaining the ban. "We won't make a decision until we've seen the full printed judgment, which we're expecting this week," said Sue Clark, spokesperson for the BBFC talking to    

    Rockstar has not yet signaled its plans for publishing the game in the UK. The publisher did respond to the decision with the following statement: "We are committed to making great interactive entertainment, while also marketing our products responsibly and supporting an effective rating system."    

    Rockstar continued, "we are pleased that the decision of the VAC has recognised that Manhunt 2 is well within the bounds established by other 18+ rated entertainment."

    TalkBack / Club Nintendo Europe Begins Stars for Wii Points Program
    « on: December 08, 2007, 04:59:42 PM »
    Nintendo’s European site re-launch expands reward scheme to include trading for software purchases.

     In a move foreshadowed by previous website tests, Nintendo of Europe has launched the Wii Points Card Shop alongside its redesigned website. This service facilitates the trading of stars, accumulated by registering Nintendo product purchases at, for Wii points at a rate of four to one in denominations of 100, 300, 500 and 1000 points.    

    After linking your Wii Shop account to the email address associated with your Club Nintendo membership, purchasing a points “card" provides a code which can then be entered in the Wii Shop to obtain Wii points as with retail cards.    

    In addition to Wii points, the “Stars Catalog" of rewards also includes physical goods such as t-shirts, caps and toys along with downloadable gifts. However, the extensive library of PC wallpapers and ringtones included in previous incarnations of the catalog are no longer present in the new edition.

    TalkBack / Smash Bros. Brawl Apparently Delayed in Europe Beyond Q2 2008
    « on: December 06, 2007, 04:37:46 AM »
    Nintendo UK’s first half release schedule omits Brawl, spokesperson confirms a pre-July launch is "currently not planned." Updated: Clarification leaves door open for Q2 release.

     Nintendo UK has unveiled its early 2008 software release schedule for Wii and DS, revealing the dates for several already released holiday titles in other regions such as NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure (both coming in January) and Battalion Wars 2 (February 15th). The list also provides a Q2 launch window for Mario Kart Wii, but is most notable for a single omission, that of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.    

    Set for a February 10th launch in North America, the highly anticipated all-star fighting extravaganza’s absence from the schedule quickly prompted inquiry from the media. Speaking to CVG a Nintendo UK spokesperson confirmed that Brawl "is currently not planned for a release in Q1 or Q2 of next year" without expounding on the causes for what would constitute (at minimum) a four month lag from the North American release. Such a delay will assuredly apply to all the PAL territories including continental Europe and Australia along with the UK.    

    Also missing from next year’s first half slate is Wii Fit, which is widely expected to launch in North America within the first six months of 2008 following its launch last week in Japan.    


    Updated: Nintendo UK has responded to the speculation regarding Brawl’s PAL release by clarifying its position on the early 2008 schedule with CVG. The list "confirmed launch dates for Nintendo titles launching in Q1 2008," and while it also included some listings for beyond that period, "all Nintendo software titles launching in Q2 2008 have not been finalised or confirmed to date" according to a spokesman.    

    This stance is not entirely inconsistent with the previous statement that there are no current plans for a PAL Brawl launch inside Q2 2008, but does make explicit that the door remains open for a pre-July release. It also reaffirms that Brawl will not be arriving in Europe immediately after the North American launch; rather, there will be at least a near-two-month lag for PAL Wii owners waiting for Smash Bros.

    TalkBack / Merger of Major British Games Retailers to Go Ahead
    « on: December 06, 2007, 04:09:28 AM »
    The £74 million GAME-Gamestation deal has been given provisional approval by the UK Competition Commission as concerns regarding the pre-owned software market are dismissed.

     The merger of the UK’s two largest videogame specialist High Street retailers, GAME and Gamestation, will proceed after being cleared by the Competition Commission.    

    The £74 million deal announced in May had been delayed following its referral to the Commission by the Office of Fair Trading in September. At that time OFT chief executive John Fingleton explained that "without better evidence that competition from other suppliers will be sufficient to prevent the merged firm from raising prices or cutting back services in a way that would harm consumers – in a market where retail sales amount to around GBP 1.5 billion - we must refer to the CC for fuller inquiry."    

    Having conducted research by talking to various retailers, a crucial issue cited by the Competition Commission’s inquiry was that of competition in the trade-in and sale of pre-owned software. Two of the five members of the commission decided against approving the deal on the grounds that it would create significant monopoly power in this area. With another two members voting to the contrary it was left to inquiry chairman Diane Coyle to cast the deciding vote in favour of clearing the deal, concluding that though there are relatively few retailers involved in the second hand market "we see that several competitors are expanding rapidly and customers are increasingly making use of alternative retail channels."    

    The commission also noted that in general they have not observed a high degree of brand loyalty amongst British gamers, rather they "appear to switch between different types of retailers to look around for the best deals" according to Coyle. On this basis the capacity for the merged GAME-Gamespot entity to extract surpluses from consumers by raising prices will be very limited. Furthermore competition amongst the many different outlets for new products effectively imposes a price ceiling on pre-owned software sales.    

    The Commission’s final report on the merger will be published at the end of January.

    TalkBack / Square Enix Date Three for Europe
    « on: December 05, 2007, 08:06:58 AM »
    Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings (DS) and Dragon Quest Swords (Wii) head to PAL territories next spring, along with It's a Wonderful World (DS) under a new name.


    London (5th December 2007) – Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in Europe and other PAL territories, today announces that the eagerly awaited FINAL FANTASY® XII: REVENANT WINGS™ will be released on 15th February 2008, exclusively on the Nintendo DS™ handheld system.    

    Set one year after the events of the best-selling FINAL FANTASY XII, FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS answers all your questions about what happens next to your heroes Vaan, Penelo, Fran and Balthier. Return to the land of Ivalice, meet new characters, visit unexplored locations and embark upon a breathtaking new adventure.    

    FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS sees the evolution of the innovative Gambit system that allows automated commands to be issued during real-time combat. Smart Touch Screen controls provide complete power over your actions and allow you to play solely using the Nintendo DS stylus.    

    John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix Ltd. comments, “I am delighted that we are providing fans with another opportunity to enjoy the beautiful world of Ivalice. With the same high-production values including movies and music, FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS is a stunning sequel that expands upon the original game and that makes full use of the Nintendo DS hardware."    

    More information about FINAL FANTASY XII: REVENANT WINGS can be found at    




    “Purvama, the floating lands. In the border-skies they wait. Untrodden, unknown."    

    So the legend went. And the children who heard it turned their eyes to the skies, and dreamed. The Cache of Glabados is the key, throwing wide the doors of fading memory.  There, above, an all but forgotten land – demesne of the winged ones.    


  • Experience a tale that takes you beyond the amazing events of the PlayStation®2 smash FINAL FANTASY XII
  • Stunning 3D graphics, music and video bring the land of Ivalice to life and push the capabilities of the Nintendo DS
  • Take control of your favourite characters using the intuitive stylus and Nintendo DS Touch Screen
  • Experience real-time battles using the innovative Gambit system
  • Collect and synthesise items and treasures to create new rare items
  • More summons than in any other FINAL FANTASY game
  • Epic soundtrack from the composer of FINAL FANTASY XII
  • Fully localised for Europe with French, Italian, German and Spanish translations and adjusted difficulty levels



    London (5th December 2007) – Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in Europe and other PAL territories, today announces that THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU™, an exciting new title from the makers of KINGDOM HEARTS, will be released exclusively on the Nintendo DS™ handheld system across all PAL territories in spring 2008.    

    Previously known as Subarashiki Kono Sekai™ on its release in Japan. THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU is an innovative new title from Square Enix that fully utilizes the capabilities of the Nintendo DS, and takes major influence from Japan’s modern day culture including its people, music, clothes, food and design.    

    Set in Tokyo’s trendiest district, the story begins with the lead character Neku waking up to find a phone message stating he has only 7 days before he will cease to exist. Only with the coolest fashions, friends and fighting skills can Neku restore hope to the city’s population and prevent being stricken from existence altogether!    

    John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix Ltd. comments, “Square Enix has traditionally been associated with RPG’s set in fantasy lands, but THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU is our first ever game to be set in modern times and real-life locations. The use of the Nintendo DS functionality is second to none. We believe gamers of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy all that THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU has to offer."  More…    



    The story begins as our hero, Neku, wakes up amidst the hustle and bustle of Shibuya, Tokyo. Confused and disoriented, he receives a message on his phone warning him that he will cease to exist unless he completes a certain mission. With his life seemingly on the line, Neku plunges into the back streets of the urban labyrinth...    


  • Experience the urban grit and neon of the coolest district in Tokyo with a distinctive, high quality style of in-game artwork
  • Meet an achingly hip cast of characters each with an interesting personality and stylish sense in fashion, music and culture
  • Highly innovative and intuitive combat system that makes full use of the Nintendo DS Touch Screen, Dual Screens and Microphone like no other game before it!
  • Use fantastic psychic powers to read the thoughts of the population, put words into people’s minds, and move objects to help you progress in your adventure!
  • Immerse yourself in an amazing audio soundtrack featuring a diverse fusion of bleeding-edge hip-hop, rock, and techno
  • A tale of friendship, hope and overcoming your challenges, creatively told with a modern edge
  • Shop till you drop! Keep abreast of the latest Trends to stay one step ahead of the fashion scene and your enemies. Trade items with friends using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection too
  • Action-packed minigame fun that can be enjoyed by up to four players via DS Wireless Play!
  • Engage the Chance Encounter mode via DS Wireless Play to share data with fellow game users you bump into in the real world



    London (5th December 2007) – Square Enix Ltd., the publisher of Square Enix® interactive entertainment products in Europe and other PAL territories, today announces that DRAGON QUEST® SWORDS: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors® for Wii™, will be released across all PAL territories in spring 2008.    

    DRAGON QUEST SWORDS: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, available exclusively on Wii, is an action-packed Virtual Experience where the player becomes the hero of the story. As the hero, the player must use the Wii controller to control their legendary sword, and fight off horde after horde of monsters. Slice at enemies, parry with your shield and block attacks to launch powerful counter-combos.    

    DRAGON QUEST SWORDS contains all the familiar features people have come to expect from the DRAGON QUEST series, such as a system to power up weapons and the ability to perform a large array of powerful attacks. Additional mini-games add to the fun as you catch darts with your shield and try to defeat Slime monsters as quickly as possible to win bonus items.    

    John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix Ltd. comments, “We are delighted to be announcing our first Wii title for PAL territories. The DRAGON QUEST series is a phenomenon in Japan that has already sold over 43 million units worldwide, but is still relatively new to Europe. With today’s announcement of DRAGON QUEST SWORDS and the forthcoming release of DRAGON QUEST MONSTERS: Joker on the Nintendo DS™, the series is set to charm more fans throughout the world."    

    About DRAGON QUEST SWORDS: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors    


    In the town at the foot of Avalonia Castle, a young man enjoys a peaceful life with his father. That young man is you. It is your sixteenth birthday at last, and time to take the Walk of the Worthy, the trial of strength which all young Avalonian males must undergo upon coming of age.    

    You will need to put all of your training in the ways of the sword into practice if you are to pass the test, and take your rightful place amongst Avalonia’s warriors. Should you succeed – who knows what adventures await you!    


  • The first DRAGON QUEST title to be developed exclusively for Wii
  • Use the Wii Remote as your legendary sword! Immerse yourself fully in the action as you slice at the enemy!
  • Explore a rich, vibrant 3D world in first-person perspective
  • Engage a variety of diverse and colourful enemies, who are brought to life with detailed animation and graphics
  • Series creator Yuji Horii, legendary manga artist Akira Toriyama and renowned composer Koichi Sugiyama, team up once again to create an unforgettable gaming experience
  • Become the hero in a dramatic storyline that is suitable for all
  • Beautiful audio score fully immerses you into the world of DRAGON QUEST
  • New International version includes revised gameplay offering a more intense and challenging experience
  • In-game text is localised into English, French, German, Italian and Spanish

    For more information about DRAGON QUEST SWORDS, please visit:

    TalkBack / Kuju Unveils Specialist Development Studios
    « on: December 04, 2007, 10:48:55 AM »
    Double Six and NiK NaK will focus on downloadable and children’s games respectively.

     Kuju Entertainment has announced the creation of NiK NaK, a studio focused on developing titles for young gamers, as the latest in a series of moves restructuring the UK-based independent development house. According to, Nik NaK will limit its output to content rated 7+ or below by the PEGI and is currently working on a series of games based on a “big IP" that will be revealed early next year.    

    The announcement comes only a week after Kuju unveiled another new team, dubbed Double Six, following its assembly from the developers behind the recently released Geometry Wars Galaxies for Wii and Nintendo DS. This new studio will exclusively create content to service the expanding market for downloadable games across all major platforms, including WiiWare.    

    The founding of these studios has furthered Kuju’s strategy of specialisation that began with the rebranding of two existing development teams earlier this year. “The studios are increasingly autonomous, and the strategy is for each studio to find a focus on a particular kind of game and then become specialists" said Ed Daly, head of Kuju’s music and party game-focused Brighton studio after its renaming as Zoë Mode in March. Furthermore, the use of separate studio branding is intended to create “a clear understanding with our trade partners as to what each studio does" according to Kuju CEO Ian Baverstock.    

    NiK NaK and Double Six join five other development teams including the Action/Tactical division Kuju London, creators of the Battalion Wars games for Nintendo Gamecube and Wii.

    TalkBack / Appeal Against British Ban of Manhunt 2 Awaits Ruling
    « on: November 28, 2007, 05:36:08 PM »
    Rockstar and the BBFC make their respective cases to the Video Appeals Committee.

     As reported by, the first day of the Video Appeals Committee hearing on the case of the British Board of Film Classification’s banning of Manhunt 2 saw Rockstar’s representation explicitly question the motives behind that decision.    

    In making Rockstar’s case on Monday, Geoffrey Robinson asserted that "there is no evidence that playing interactive video games leads to a propensity to act them out in real life" and "we wonder why Manhunt 2 has been singled out for special treatment." Furthering his argument, Robinson accused the BBFC of being "simply ignorant of the gaming experience" and directly charged the body with imposing the ban "not because of any likelihood it will harm gamers, but the likelihood it will harm the reputation of the BBFC."    

    Expert testimony was utilised in an attempt to substantiate Rockstar’s case, specifically that of psychologist Guy Cumberbatch and Fred Hasson, president of the game developers representative body, Tiga. Hasson remarked to the panel that he was "surprised at how tame [Manhunt 2] is compared to some very graphical scenes…in other games which have received certification", and stood by prior comments apparently accusing the BBFC of reaching its decision based on media coverage of the game rather than on its content alone.    

    Cumberbatch presented to the panel findings from a survey he conducted regarding the public’s perception of the intensity of violence found in Manhunt 2. 68% were found to consider the content of other games equally as violent as that of Manhunt 2, while 80% perceived that there are equally violent films available. The psychologist personally concluded that "[Manhunt 2 is] fairly sanitised as a work compared with what you might expect in a film."    

    While conceding that there has not been demonstrated a causal link between playing video games with violent content and the conduct of physical violence, the BBFC defended its decision by making a significant distinction between video games and other media. The board’s representative Andrew Caldecott argued that while film may be the more involving medium in one sense due to its greater visual realism, video games can provide "this very distinctive point of view of being the person wielding the weapon, and is rewarded for killing in the bloodiest way possible."    

    In addition to addressing the nature of video games as a medium, the BBFC representation specified the realism of Manhunt 2’s violent content as a crucial factor in refusing the game certification: "the victims are people... you see lots of human beings quite mercilessly kicking and punching other human beings as you move through the game." The ban was also justified on practical grounds as Caldecott acknowledged the effect of video games’ "social prevalence" on the board’s decision. He stated that research finds videogames are "inherently less likely to be strictly supervised" than films and subsequently would more commonly be seen by minors.    

    Having made their respective cases the two sides now await the ruling of the Video Appeals Committee, which concluded the hearing without setting a date for its results.

    TalkBack / Nintendo DS Sets Single Week UK Hardware Sales Record
    « on: November 27, 2007, 06:28:31 AM »
    The handheld surpasses the mark set by rival PSP with 191,000 units sold.

     Nintendo is celebrating more record breaking in the British market as  official ChartTrack sales data shows that the Nintendo DS has sold more units in a single week than any other hardware format has managed in history. The 191,000 units finding homes last week edged out the previous UK record held by the Sony PSP’s September 2005 launch when 185,000 units were shifted in seven days.    

    A spokesman for Nintendo UK said, “momentum has been increasing on DS sales and to achieve the highest weekly sales figure in history is fantastic." With a strong celebrity-driven marketing campaign behind it, the DS is set for its most successful holiday season in Britain to date. Also the presence of Brain Training in two of the top five positions in the UK software charts demonstrates that it won’t only be hardware that Nintendo cashes in on this Christmas.

    TalkBack / Standalone Guitar Hero III Controllers Coming Early Next Year
    « on: November 27, 2007, 05:20:55 AM »
    Those seeking extra wireless guitars without extra copies of the game will have to wait until 2008.

     Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Wireless Guitar Controllers Hitting Retail Shelves in Early 2008    

      SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov 26, 2007: Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATVI) today announced that standalone wireless guitar controllers for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock will be available at retail stores nationwide by early 2008.    

    Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock lets fans thrash and burn with new wireless guitar controllers available for each platform, including exclusive Gibson Guitar's Les Paul model for the Xbox 360TM video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Wii™ home video game system from Nintendo, and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. PlayStation®2 gamers will also get to shred on an exclusive shape, Gibson's Kramer guitar, popularized by hard rockers and known for its body design, pickups, electronics and construction for furious finger fretting.

    TalkBack / IMPRESSIONS: Super Mario Galaxy
    « on: November 21, 2007, 03:45:44 PM »
    A tale of Mario, Martinet, cold, and cosplay.

     Super Mario Galaxy launched in Japan and North America (on November 1st and 12th, respectively) to unprecedented critical acclaim, and added a colossal exclamation point onto Wii’s sensational first year of existence by putting Nintendo’s indefatigable superstar back in his console element after a five and a half (and some might say eleven) year sojourn. But such excitement is all too often tempered for PAL gamers by the dread of a significantly delayed release. Mario began his journey into the third dimension in March 1997 on these shores, and even the irony of Super Mario Sunshine being released in October couldn’t prevent a sizeable delay for the plumber’s vacation to Isle Delfino in 2002. Moreover, several major 2007 Wii titles have arrived multiple months after their debuts across the Atlantic, a huge disappointment given the promise shown by last year’s European system launch taking place within weeks of North America to get the ball rolling.    

    Taking all this into account, European gamers would have had every reason to be somewhat pessimistic regarding the prospect of a timely release for Mario’s latest adventure, but Nintendo finally stepped up by not only getting Super Mario Galaxy out within weeks of its North American release, but within the same week. As laudable as this relative achievement might seem, the highly anxious European Mario enthusiast might worry that the game would be underexposed here as a result; press tours were often blamed for staggered theatrical releases before piracy forcibly condensed global schedules. More importantly, Nintendo’s European marketing record has generally been poor even when utilising additional time (those months in 2002 yielded the realisation that both Mario and Des Lynam are moustachioed), so the quality of their efforts in a crunch is justifiably questionable.    

    Nintendo endeavoured to allay such fears in the UK by teaming up with retailer giant GAME in offering Mario’s Wii debut a day early on Thursday November 15th at eight locations across the country. The tireless voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, was dispatched to London’s Oxford Street to meet with the media and sign copies of the game for fans. My deep love for Mario (along with a negligent attitude towards pre-ordering and fear of shortages) compelled me to wait in line on Oxford Street for over three hours. At first there were few other hardy folk waiting patiently to procure this most sought after product of Nintendo’s collective imagination, but as the already dim light faded, a starry beacon was shone from the store-front onto adjacent buildings, and the queue swelled into a disorderly crowd. According to the cap and overalls-clad MC, over 400 people were on hand before the game went on sale, amongst whom a sense of camaraderie built with time as tales from past product launches, Captain N reminiscence, and even DS Friend Codes were traded without fear of feeling violated. Nintendo’s decision to use a competition to encourage (not universally gender accurate) cosplay only embellished the surreal feel of the occasion, especially when the bin bag- crafted Chain Chomp showed up.      For those on the outside looking in, the main draw was the sight of Charles Martinet in a sectioned-off portion of the store front, demonstrating the game while discussing it with various media outlets. A particularly fun moment was watching Martinet behind the camera effectively puppeteer an in-store Mario giving an interview to national television, gesturing wildly while providing his signature voice. But as the temperature dropped, more was needed to keep the crowd’s spirits up, and those on hand obliged with goodie bags containing Galaxy keepsakes and practical items (the warm hats proved welcome to many, while the raincoats were fortunately not needed). A mobile Wii demo pod was then wheeled up and down the line to give the shivering gamers a chance to sample what they clearly wanted to play very badly.    

    Those at the front of the queue (including myself) were granted the warmth of the store interior during the final minutes until 6pm, when the game would finally be made available. Mario and Luigi even helped man the tills as the buying frenzy kicked off, with the sealed copies then being rapidly unsheathed for the chance to join, that’s right, yet another queue and get the case signed by Mr. Martinet. Unwaveringly gracious, the voice of Mario not only signed Galaxy copies but various Nintendo handhelds and posters along with posing for innumerable pictures. After picking up a signature and a handshake from Mr. Martinet, my long journey of standing still was ended.    

    In addition to aching legs and a signed copy of Galaxy, I left with the feeling that (while hardly overwhelming) Nintendo had done well with this event, along with other PR stunts, to generate buzz for the game outside of the extraordinary critical reception in the enthusiast press. Raising awareness in this way is necessary for the game to sell to those Wii owners who apparently paid £179.99 for Wii Sports and not for the prospect of future titles. Furthermore, by virtue of his games’ accessibility and sheer quality, Mario serves as the perfect bridge for these gamers to become interested in purchasing more traditionally structured games, and so represents Nintendo’s best chance to boost software sales across the Wii platform. But let us not forget the event also served the die-hard Nintendo zealot, and to the extent that it simultaneously marketed Galaxy to casual gamers and helped unite a man-Peach with his Mario a day early, it can only be a good thing.

    TalkBack / Code Lyoko: Quest for Infinity Hits Retail
    « on: November 20, 2007, 08:05:00 AM »
    The French animated TV series arrives on Wii.


    Second Wii™ title delivered to the shelves by the Game Factory!

    SANTA MONICA, Calif.—(November 20, 2007) — The Game Factory, a publisher of video and computer games based on leading international children’s brands,  today announced the release of Code Lyoko : Quest For Infinity, its first action/adventure videogame for Nintendo Wii™. Based on the new season of the popular animated action-adventure TV series, the game combines high-tech gadgetry and adrenaline-packed missions in an innovative blend of adventure, combat, platform and space shooting gameplay. Code Lyoko : Quest For Infinity for Nintendo Wii™ was developed by Neko Entertainment, is rated E10+ and is available now for a suggested retail price of $39.99. This release marks the second game for the Wii™ platform from The Game Factory, following April’s debut of Legend of the Dragon.    

    Code Lyoko: Quest For Infinity features include:    

  • Characters Weapons & Activities : Arm Ulrich, Odd, Yumi and Aelita: The Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers are used for a variety of game activities featuring the Code Lyoko characters Ulrich, Odd, Yumi and Aelita- from flying to projectile-weapon aiming. The game features incredibly precise aiming control using the Wii Remote controller. Use the controllers for sword swings, defense shield and throwing metallic fans throwing.

  • Exciting Adventure: Players can virtualize into battle against hordes of evil creatures and wield weapons and shields with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers, then take on massive bosses that must be seen to be believed.

  • Brain & Power : Many puzzles stand between our heroes, Lyoko and the fulfillment of their quest, so players must sharpen their wits as they hunt for the annihilation of the evil super virus X.A.N.A.

  • Explore the digital sea and fight your enemies aboard the Skid, the Lyoko Warriors’ new vehicle created by Jeremy


    TalkBack / British Demand for Wii Unlikely to Be Met This Christmas
    « on: November 19, 2007, 09:58:26 AM »
    Hordes of holiday Wii-seekers look abroad and prepare for heartbreak.

     According to a report from the Telegraph amongst others, British retailers are conceding they will not be able to meet the "unprecedented" demand for Wii as their fresh stocks, consisting of thousands of units, are exhausted within hours and even minutes of being made available.    

    Stock alert services have seen their websites inundated with over 100,000 visitors per day, presumably looking to avoid resorting to online auctions where one can expect to pay nearly double the £179 retail price in order to secure a system. Importing units from continental Europe, where demand for Wii appears significantly weaker than it is in the UK, is emerging as an attractive alternative to relying on eBay or retailer reservations.  This was acknowledged by Nintendo UK’s Rob Saunders last week while addressing consumers’ concerns in a Q&A with the BBC, also assuring the public that Nintendo is in no way artificially constricting the supply of the console and/or manipulating its price.    

    This pronounced imbalance between demand and supply appears to be driven more by the UK’s extraordinary desire for Wii rather than lacklustre allocation of units, as retailers expect a "steady flow" of units and a "good level of sales" from now until Christmas. Regardless, prospective Wii purchasers may need to be much less casual about purchasing the console than they are about playing games if they are to be bowling come Boxing Day.

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