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by the NWR Staff - July 18, 2000, 12:07 am PDT

The ye 'ol merry Mailmen are back with another Mailbag! See what's new (and old) this week...I think you will find this edition "revealing."

T. Mucaki

asks, I know Nintendo has been saying it would show Dolphin at

Spaceworld since before the new year, and I know they have said it

again and again, but I hate this nagging feeling that they won't

have it ready, and the GBA is NOT good enough for me!

With that rant

over with, with Rayman 3 and Tribes announced, do you think more

3rd party developers will admit to their games before Spaceworld,

or will they wait until then, or what? I know Nintendo will be as

tight as a virgin on her wedding night about the matter.

And will

Nintendo announce games at Spaceworld that they won't show? Back

in the day, at the Spaceworld where the N64 was shown, they showed

the public something like 14 games, but did not say a damn thing

about any other games they were developing.

Mike Says: Now

that you got the entire staff and audience turned on by your

analogy, I think there could be a few more titles

"leaked" out before Spaceworld, but I think the show

will be the big dance to showcase and officially announce their

wares.

As for announcing unshown

titles, that could be anyone's guess. I tend to think Nintendo's

absolutely best stuff will be at the show in some fashion, though.


Ed Says: I'd expect most third parties to wait for

Spaceworld to reveal their projects. As for announced but unshown

games from Nintendo, I would expect any games from Nintendo to

have some demo or video footage to accompany them, perhaps with

the exception of a Metroid game, which they could get away with

only showing some conceptual art if they had to. But who knows for

sure... we'll just have to wait for the wedding night, er,

Spaceworld for Nintendo to open up... um, reveal their goods... er,

spread 'em... ah you get the idea... and hopefully there'll be

something good inside. :>

Billy Says: Where

the hell are the virgins? Hehehe. As far as what I know about the

NDAs that Nintendo is holding over these developers and

publishers, is that they aren't allowed to say anything official

until post-Spaceworld.

If Nintendo takes the wraps

of Dolphin (which I still believe they will) at Spaceworld this

year... there will be more information than most people can deal

with. I don't expect many developers to announce much before hand.

You don't want to get Shiggy mad!

Kosta

Says:

Shouldn't the analogy be "as tight as a virgin before her

wedding night," because on her wedding night she would...

[snip - Ed]. Anyway, onto the question.

If, and I use the word

loosely (ha!), the Dolphin and or software that Nintendo plan to

unveil at Spaceworld isn't ready, then the show will get delayed.

There's just no other way around it. I'm pretty sure they're on

track for August and will have some definite aces up their sleeves

to show to the public. If any third-party companies have games

that they wish to reveal, then they'll have to be approved by

Nintendo before they allow it into the show. Let's get this clear,

Nintendo do not want the Dolphin to be shown without the very best

software displaying its capabilities. This is not your average

half-assed Playstation 2 or X-Box demonstration. This is the real

deal. Oh and... Virgin! (Sorry, everyone else wrote it so I had to

too.)


Some Jabroni asks, Will Dolphin launch with

internet capabilities, and if so will it be broadband or

narrowband?

Mike Says:

Short answer, Yes. Dolphin will definitely have networking

"capabilities" from the start, be it 100% built-in or

not. For the type of connection, narrow is the easiest, given the

still-limited availability of broadband solutions. Broadband will

be the future of video gaming, however, it's just not ready (or

available) for primetime yet.

Ed Says:

I'm not as positive as Mike, but I can't really see them not

having some sort of network solution, though. It's just that there

hasn't been any official word yet. Granted, there hasn't been much

official word on many things. With luck, you can get a definitive

answer come Spaceworld where the virgin Nintendo will hopefully

reveal all. Damn that imagery... think unsexy thoughts, think

unsexy thoughts!

Billy Says:

Personally I just want to hook my 300 baud c64 Modem up to this

thing! Kidding... obviously.

Nothing has

been made official, but what I would like to see is consumers

having a choice. Modem, Cable Modem, etc. It's easier to have an

actual set standard, yes, but after playing Q3A, and UT over a

cable modem, I don't want to go back to a 56K connection.

Hopefully we'll know more at Spaceworld.


Kosta Says: Count the days

until Spaceworld is probably the only answer with any real 'truth'

that we can provide. Sure, my colleagues like to pass of their

speculation and opinion as educated guesses but who are we

kidding. We're dealing with one of the most secretive and

perplexing companies in the business. Nintendo.

Oh, and yes, I

believe the Dolphin will launch with internet capabilites 'out of

the box' so to speak.

Mike Says:

Did someone say "box"?

Jason asks,

Will the Dolphin likely have a VMU type device like Dreamcast, and

could that be used somehow with th GBA? (I don't even know what

the VMU is exactly for...)

Mike Says:

For all intents and purposes, I think the GBA will be Dolphin's

"VMU". The difference is, the GBA won't absolutely suck

like some others that shall remain nameless.

Ed Says:

Yes, GBA will be a VMU for the Dolphin, and then some. I believe

VMUs let you store data and play simple mini-games. Expect to be

able to do more than that with GBA/Dolphin connectivity. Playing

mini-games is just scratching the surface, as is playing one game

so you can open up new areas/items/cheats on its handheld/console

counter-part. Dolphin and GBA have been designed to work together

from the start. This is one area that people seem to overlook when

assessing strengths and weaknesses of the next-gen consoles. It

could very well revolutionize handheld/console gaming. I'm looking

forward to seeing what developers (NCL in particular) do with the

connectivity.

Billy Says:

As far as what a VMU does, it's basically a memory card with a

little (and I mean LITTLE) LCD screen on it. You're supposed to

play mini-games and things on this, as well as see some in game

statistics on it. It's a nice device, and I hope Nintendo decides

to do something like this. The concept of choosing Football plays,

or seeing a character's inventory in an RPG would be very nice.

But cost is an issue too.

Kosta Says:

Then its agreed, the GBA or AGB or GAB or BGA or ABG will be the

VMU for the Dolphin. Case closed.

Devin asks,

Nintendo has been keeping very quiet about their next-gen plans,

and I really doubt they would have slipped the name of their next-gen

console. I read tendo-box's article on the Starcube name, and I

believe that it will be the device that connects their console to

everything else like the GBA and an online network. To me, this

makes more sense. I would like to know if you guys think this may

be true.

Mike Says:

I thought of this also, and I haven't made up my mind either way

yet. It's really going to continue to be speculation until

Nintendo opens their mouth... which is as tight as a virgin on her

wedding night.

I don't really

like StarCube as a console name, but the possibilities as an

accessory suggests the unit would have a lot of potential. It

would be kind of cool for a wireless networking device, don't you

think? Check out Apple's Airport device for what I mean. Being a

wireless LAN hub would make it a lot easier to connect to networks

and other compatible devices.

Hmm, the wheels

are turning. ::goes back to his lab::

Ed Says:

I'm not totally convinced about Starcube being the console name

either. However, I'm pretty sure the GBA should connect fairly

directly to the console without the need for some other device. I

guess it's an assumption, but I always pictured the GBA being able

to hook up directly to the console. Still, it is definitely

possible that there's a central device for all networking needs.

Man, all this

talk about virgins, opening up, and connecting is getting to me.

"If anyone needs me I'll be in Holodeck 4!" :>

Billy Says:

Starcube. Well, if you couldn't tell, I haven't been all that

impressed with that name. As I've stated before, I could give a

rats ass what they decide ultimately to call this thing.

I still think

Starcube will have to do with the networking between the GBA,

Dolphin, GBC and more. That's my opinion.

Kosta Says:

StarCube. StarCube. StarCube. No matter how many times I hear it,

I'm still not convinced that this will be the name of Nintendo's

next console, yet I wouldn't be suprised if it indeed turns out to

be. First time I heard the name Dolphin, my facial expression

pretty much read "????" and the same thing happened when

I read the name 'StarCube'.

At this point

in time the name 'Project Dolphin', which was changed to 'Next

Generation Nintendo Console' by the big N themselves, is the only

way in which most people refer to the mysterious console. All it

takes is time and everyone will get used to the name 'StarCube',

whatever it's referring too.

Slim asks, I hear everyone

saying online gaming will be great, and this and that. But let me

tell you my opinion. First of all, I think game consoles are made

to play with your friends in your house. Get a killer game like

Perfect Dark or Goldeneye, and play like mad. It's not that I

don't like online gaming; I think it's great.

Here is my problem. I live

in Venezuela, South America, and no game companies care for us

here. I mean c'mon, we're a major market. People at Nintendo don't

even make games in Spanish for us, yet Spain gets some Spanish

games. Don't get me wrong, I love Nintendo and think they are and

always will be the best video game company ever, but let's get

real. Sega at least had a Spanish option for Sonic, which was

nice. My problem is that all these networks coming out are only

for American people, like Sega.net. We Latin Americans are also

important, aren't we?

Ed Says:

I like the experience of having friends over for multiplayer

sessions, too, but online gaming doesn't necessarily eliminate

that scenario, it should just compliment it.

As for games in

Spanish, well, make enough noise and hopefully people will listen.

The Spanish versions of games for Spain that you speak of are

should be PAL formatted. I'm assuming Venezuala is NTSC which is

why they haven't released them over there. Though if you're using

PAL, then it shouldn't be too hard to twist Nintendo's arm to

release it there. Either way, I'd say your best bet is to write to

Nintendo and get your friends to do the same. I believe Nintendo

catered to the Quebecois when they demanded French games, you may

be able to do the same since the Latin American market should be

larger than the Quebec market.


Billy Says: Personally, I am 27 years old, and very few of

my friends that are near me play console games. If they do, I

crush them with my mad skills. The concept of getting into an

online tournament with real people that are actually good at games

excites me beyond belief.

For example,

this fall Sega will be unleashing a bunch of games that will be

playable online. I have played a bunch of these at E3, and let me

tell you, they will be HUGE.

It's too bad

you live in a country that doesn't get as much attention as the

U.S. and Japan with language and formatting issues. Seeing is that

Spanish is probably one of the top 5 languages spoken in the

world, I am very surprised. Hopefully with Dolphin, things will

change. As Ed said, a letter writing campaign is a good idea!

Adam asks, Has

there been any info on Dolphin's projected price? I've heard

anything from $150 to $300! What would you estimate it to be? I am

hoping for a $175 launch without a Panasonic DVD, maybe $300+

with. If It costs below $200, then that will REALLY help the

sales. Not only is the system CHEAPER than PS2, it has better

games, and the controller HAS TO be better than that re-worked

piece o' crap PSX controller. Also, do you think that the physical

layout of the controller for a system is important? I do... just

wondering what you think!

Ed Says:

Nintendo has repeatedly said that Dolphin/Starcube will be

competitively priced. I've taken that to mean that we'll see a

launch cost of $200 at most.

The physical

layout of a controller is definitely important. If the controller

is uncomfortable or unwieldy to a lot of people, you're bound to

lose some customers. Of course, with the plethora of third-party

controllers, it shouldn't be too hard to find a controller that

feels good (whether it's as reliable as a first party controller

is another issue). Personally, I liked the N64 controller a lot.

People with large hands had complaints, but seeing as my hands

aren't too big, I was fine with it. I'm hoping we'll see something

just as cool, or better, for the new controller.


Mike Says: I definitely agree with Ed in the price target.

As far as I know, Nintendo hasn't even yet so much suggested a

price point like they had very early on with the N64. $200 for a

later '01 launch sounds very plausible.

I think the

controller is the second most important aspect of gaming because

it's your connection to the action on the screen. Second only to

the game content, of course. I really like the N64 controller

myself. The one thing I disliked was how the legs extended from

the body perpendicularly. Extending them from the body at, say, a

45 degree angle, would offer a much more natural and comfortable

grip, especially for those of us with bigger hands, so I am all

for some sort of condensed, ergonomic variation to the N64

controller. I wanna have a nice, tight grip... as tight as a

virgin on her wedding night. C'mon, Big N, spread those legs

apart.

Billy Says:

Well I'll agree with the others on this one. $200 seems about

right. With a proprietary DVD, don't expect to be viewing DVD

movies on this puppy. It's probably not going to happen here in

the U.S.

Nintendo's

controllers are and have always been, revolutionary. I also do

believe that the layout is important. That's why I will never pick

up a 3rd party controller for the N64. Anything but the original

doesn't feel right in my hands. I expect something revolutionary

with the Dolphin controller as well. IGN has posted up some mock

up concepts on their site last Friday. Those designs are

interesting, but I feel Nintendo has something interesting up

their sleeves for this design. I can't wait to get my hands on

whatever it is, this August at Spaceworld.

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