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by the NWR Staff - October 17, 2000, 7:03 pm PDT

Our happy-go-lucky Postal bro Mike "everyone spells my goddamned last name wrong" Hrusecky has unleased the latest version of the PlanetN2000 mailbag. With it's exclusive "born on dating" and "odor lock" technology...you know it's fresh.

Eyken314 asks, Do any of

you notice that many of the rants about Nintendo being to "kiddie"

is from ignorant casual gamers who would pledge allegiance to the

system with the most blood? The games considered "kiddie"

have some of the best gameplay elements ever, like Mario, Donkey

Kong, and even Pokemon. Why is it they are kiddie games and Crash

Bandicoot isn't? Crash isn't all that mature either. Sony fans

look past the fact that their more mature games aren't always that

good. When a mature game would come to Nintendo it would be a

miracle, because Nintendo = Good Gameplay. A lot of Sony fans

haven't been gamers long enough to see how good games could be,

ala Metroid and Link To The Past. What do y'all think?

Mike H.

Says: My opinion is pretty simple. I DON'T CARE what anybody

labels games. If the content is right and the gameplay is there, I

buy it and I don't give a second thought to how "cute"

it is. "Cuteness" is never a part of my process of

deciding if I want to buy a game or not. In fact, I LIKE

cartoon-style animation. If Mario, DK, StarFox, and Banjo are all

kiddie/cute/child games, then fine -- I like kiddie games. Laugh

all you want.


I don't know if the majority of gamers actually care to label

games "mature" or "kiddie." From my own

experience, and nobody else's, the loudest voice has come from

hardcore PlayStation gamers, and demographically they are

generally older than N64 users. Hardcore gamers aren't the

majority, just the loudest, so that is a bit of perspective as

well. To me, it is just a hammer used to target N64 users to try

to prove why their system is best, just as N64 users have hammers

of their own.

Jonathan

Says: Let me put it this way: a lot of people like to make fun

of Pokemon and call it a "cutesy" game...until they play

it. And then they just lock themselves in a room with the GB and

lots of batteries for the next couple of weeks. Game stereotyping,

as like to call it, is when you make a judgement about a game

before you play it, and it's something that I wish was much less

prevalent in the gaming world. What difference should outward

appearances make? I'm not going to abstain from a great game based

on its kiddy demeanor anymore than I'm going to gush over a

horrible game just because it attempts to appeal to my age group.

(Although, on a side note, I would certainly like to know why a

taste for blood and violence is necessarily associated with a

person's age.)

Anyway, the

only concern I have over this issue is the average person's view

of Nintendo's library, which honestly is usually skewed towards

themes that people associate with children. That's why I'm glad

Nintendo is branching out its image to cover not only Mario and

Pokemon types but also Eternal Darkness and Sin and Punishment.

What's important about this movement is that the quality of

gameplay is totally consistent; Nintendo is simply broadening

outward appearances to appeal to folks who don't look as deeply as

you and I. So, in the next generation, an outsider won't be able

to compare Nintendo's great kiddie games to Sony's crappy adult

games, he'll have to compare Nintendo's great adult games to

Sony's crappy adult games. Makes the decision a whole lot easier,

eh?

Steven Says: pssst

... (let me tell you a little secret).


ALL VIDEOGAMES ARE FOR KIDS!!!


Every single one of them. Face it, it is pretty damn immature to

get consumed by videogames as an adult ... at least by some

"social" standards. The good news is ... some of us

don't care!


The only analogy I can think about for all this, is the theme park

analogy. Well, it applies here in Southern California, anyway. As

a kid of course, Disneyland ruled. As you approach the pre-teen

and teen years, Six Flags was the hot ticket because, after all ..

they had all of the really cool roller-coasters that you had to be

a "certain" age to even ride. As you get older again,

however Disneyland seems to come back into favor. It seems that

the certain child-like "charm" that Disneyland possesses

is rather appealing. Plus, there is the added essence of

additional quality.

Max Says: Actually, I

have to disagree with our distinguished Mr. Steven Thomas. Saying

"all video games are for kids" is pretty short-sighted.

It's like saying "All movies are for kids" or "all

comic books are for kids." Bollocks to that! I mean, isn't

this kind of philosophy part of the reason the entire

entertainment biz is in politically hot water right now? Some

games, movies, comics (or whatever medium) contain content that is

absolutely not for kids. For example (stickin'

w/games), is Resident Evil for kids? No way! Without writing an

editorial, I'll just say that content can totally transcend the

child-like target audience of its medium.

What I will agree to

is that most video games are for people who are "kids at

heart." This is why I like Nintendo games so much. But at the

heart of my "Nintendo luvin'" is the sheer enjoyment I

get from the unaparalled gameplay. Few games, "kiddie"

or no, match the depth and innovation of gameplay in most of

Nintendo's software. Anyone who's overly concerned about "kiddiness?"

Well, they're missing out if ya ask me! (And what do ya know, you

did!)

Zosha Says: Hmmm...

Well from what I can see about the N64 final big holiday season

and the NGC's launch, I don't believe that anyone will be

mistaking Nintendo's consoles as for "children".


Ogre Battle isn't for kids, despite the "cutesy"

graphics. Eternal Darkness certainly is going to be rated

"M". Hell even Zelda is a bit "darker" than

usual.


Max is right though: not all games are for kids. If my

sisters had been 12 or 13 instead of 16 when I was playing

Resident Evil, I wouldn't have let them watch.


But even then, I never considered Star Fox, Zelda or Mario to be

particularly "childish" anyway. I suppose that people

who can only find satisfaction in slandering other consoles with

no true facts to back them up are the true "children"...

Billy Says: As far as

I am concerned, that's a WEAK BS excuse. All of Nintendo's games

aren't kiddie. Granted Mario-esqe games are a bit, but, if a gamer

wasn't shallow, they could see right through it.


Nintendo's games have what no other have...and that's personality.

I own a PS, DC, and a N64. Nintendo has the most character of them

all. Sega also has some impressive game play. Sony...well they

need to take some lessons. Hell, Sony doesn't even really make

games.


I guess what I am saying is this. If a gamer is a true gamer they

would see through the kiddie image and just enjoy the game. I'm

not making excuses for the fact that I am 28 and am in love with

Mario Tennis, Pokemon, and Samba de Amigo. Cough. I love the

games. Hell, I hate Mickey Mouse but I'll get Mickey Speedway USA

in a heartbeat. The racing is too good not too.

jac-jer asks, Nintendo

Gamecube uses 1T-SRAM. What is it and why is it good? Do you think

Nintendo's plan to use 64MB SD memory cards is better or worse

then a hard drive the PS2 might use?

Mike H. Says: 1T-SRAM

is good. 1T-SRAM is God. You will blindlessly love 1T-SRAM just

because Nintendo is using it. You will use 1T-SRAM as a reason to

explain why Gamecube is superior to PS2 and XBox, even though you

don't know what it is. 1T-SRAM is good. 1T-SRAM is God. You will

be assimilated.


But seriously, 1T-SRAM (or 1 transistor-static RAM) is a method

Nintendo is using to pump data to the CPU as fast as possible. To

achieve the graphic intensity of the Gamecube that they do, they

need a fast memory system to offset the bottleneck from RAM to

CPU. This sucker is fast -- 3 nanosecond cycle time compared to 60

nanoseconds for DRAM.

In terms that matter to us,

it means that graphic performance will be primo. Things like

framerates will not drop for the sake of graphic detail, or vise

versa. We can have both.

I don't know if using 64MB

memory cards would be worse than a theoretical hard drive. It

depends on their applications, and I'm not clear on what they are,

if they even have any in the works.

I tend to think that people

would be more likely to go out and pick up a memory card than they

are a whole system add-on. Also, including a memory card with a

game would be easier to do that including a hard drive. But hard

drives store a LOT more, so they both have their advantages and

disadvantages.

Jonathan Says: I'll

pass on the RAM question, so as to avoid making a fool of myself

amidst our more technically enlightened staffers. ;-)

Sony and Microsoft seem to

be touting their hard drives as ways to buy games and movies and

such online and make use of their broadband networks. It all goes

back to the focus on games, really; Nintendo probably isn't

designing their network to be nearly as integral to the system as

the other guys are, and subsequently, a hard drive would not be as

useful. Plus, the big memory card has the advantage of

portability, relative cheapness, and hot-swapping. It has more

than enough room for game saves and rewritability material, and

you might even be able to put a game mod on there that you

downloaded off the Net. So overall, I think it's the better

choice, especially for the kind of functionality that the GameCube

is designed for.

Steven Says: Heh .. I

only wish that Mosys was a publicly traded company. I seem to

remember getting rather knowledgeable about Rambus back in 1996

when I got my N64. Read all the stuff about how it could be used

in PC's, started watching the stock saying that "I would buy,

if I had the money".

Sure enough, some of the big

boys announced Rambus support .. 2 years after Nintendo used it in

the N64, and the stock went through the roof. I literally could

have quadrupled my money.

1T-SRAM is the next great

thing. There should be no question as to whether Nintendo is

serious about always using the best stuff available to make their

machines. It was true at the time with the N64, and it is even

more true now with the Gamecube.

On the subject of stocks and

technology, there have been a few calls that I have made that have

always proven true. I only make a few calls, I'm not an expert ..

but when I give something my seal of approval, I have always been

right so far. Next on the list for hot stocks is SGI and ATI.

Trust me. I wont go into detail here why.

Yes, I think the decision to

use the SD Disk is better than the choice to use a hard drive.

With a twist. Here's why: Transportability and expandability. More

cards can be added to give greater overall capacity, and you can

take em to your friends house. Im not a big fan of the hard drive

philosophy. Consoles have proven that games can be made to run

smoothly off of one CD or DVD. The only reason why PC's still only

use this media to install from is because of the various

performance capabilities that PC's have. PC's should be more like

consoles in this respect ... make the game so that it runs off the

CD that it is printed on, instead of taking gigabytes of install

space on my hard drive. I don't see the benefit of hard drives in

consoles. I don't want to have to install something on a

console, and I dread to think about the fragmentation issues that

are going to come about even if the hard drive is only used as

a cache. I don't really care about downloading Sony contracted

music artists MP3's onto a console, and I don't really care a

whole lot about potential TiVo capabilities in the Xbox.


However, I have my doubts about the SD Disk. I know a lot of

people have faith in this thing, but similar technologies over the

past few years have proven to be far too expensive to be lucrative

for the types of applications that we are thinking about in

regards to the Gamecube. Panasonic is trying to push it, but we

will just have to see how hard. Every indication that I have seen

so far points to one of these things costing more that $100 each,

which is well out of the ball park for game saves. I have feeling

that the SD Disk on the NGC is going to end up being one of those

pie-in-the-sky dreams that never happens. I hope I am wrong.

Zosha Says: Insider

tips Steven? >;)=

Anyway, about the SD card vs

Hard Drive. As Mr. Stock Option himself said, installing games is

a pain. That's one of the reasons why I hate PC games.

Why the hell would I want a

console that needs to defrag it's Hard Drive? All I ask is that

when I put the disk in the drive, and I hit the ON switch, I get

to play a game.

The SD card I believe will

be a major success. As long as Matsushita can bring the price

down, this will be One of The Next Big Things. If Nintendo goes

and packages one SD card with a game that destined to sell well, I

don't think we have to worry.

In essence I'd pick an SD

card over a Hard Drive for two reasons: Ease of Use, and No

Maintenance Required.

Billy Says:

Someone say HELL YEAH. I love screwing with my PC, and I love my

PC games. But, I also like the concept of just flippin' on a

console, and the game is ON.

As far as the SD card, it's

basically the concept of the Sony Memory Stick. Grab your face off

a digital camera and use it in a hockey/football/FPS (damn you

Rare) game. You'll be able to plug this sucker in a multitude of

devices. I am looking forward to see how Nintendo uses it. My only

concern is cost. Hopefully by the time of launch the cost will be

low for a fat card.

Peter Pants asks, Last

generation brought controllers filled with innovations such as

analog sticks and limited force feedback. The extra dimension

demanded such advances. This generation, the innovation doesn't

seem to be there. Until I see some radical and ingenious use of

analog buttons, I can only consider them a baby step in

innovation, not much more than a gimmick. My question: Do you feel

the same way? If so, What do you feel is the next innovation in

control?

Mike H. Says: Oh

yeah, I do feel the same way. I think the innovation in the

controllers isn't there because the innovation in the new game

systems isn't there either. As Miyamoto explained, I think the

Gamecube and PS2 are just maturations of the current generation of

gaming. The leap from N64 to Gamecube is definitely not the same

leap it was from SNES to N64. Gamecube is like N64's the big

brother. The controller tends to reflect that also.

That said, Nintendo has not

disclosed everything there is to know about the Gamecube's

controller. What we saw and know about it is a mock-up and

preliminary device that will probably change between now and E3 on

a visually small, but significant level. As least that is what I

am hoping.

As for the next innovation,

wow. This is a perfect tie-over for us. We covered the

next-generation of gaming in a previous Mailbag, now we're gonna

cover the next generation of controllers. We want lots of

feedback! Send your thoughts on the next-generation of controllers

to mailbag@planetn2000.com.

We'll post your thoughts and offer some of our own in the next

Mailbag.

Jonathan Says: Well

as it stands, the GameCube controller is at least revolutionary in

layout; instead of adding tons of new buttons that could get

confusing, Miyamoto instead focused on button placement to

organize and simplify the controller. I do think he's got a couple

more surprises for us though, and certainly at least one of them

will be quite revolutionary in some way. There was A LOT of talk

back at E3 of a microphone being built into the controller, and I

can certainly think of some amazing applications for one. The

rumble motor(s) in the controller could also be a lot more

significant than we realize. I'm really hoping that they'll be

sophisticated enough to provide a much wider range of feedback

than the throbbing and jolting we've gotten used to from the

Rumble Pak. Imagine if they could redistribute the controller's

weight on-the-fly, for more accurate sensations of things like

water waves and gravity...

Billy Says:

Remember...the controller isn't finished yet. Nintendo stated at

Spaceworld that there were certain things that they weren't ready

to show with the system, and the controller. I think you're

innovation loss is waiting for us at E3.

One of these

things I think is a headphone/headset jack or peripheral. We are

talking about voice over IP technology here. I want to scream and

rant and someone while putting someone in the corner in Mario

Kart. This is something I really think will happen. This will

bring multiplayer games to a whole new level.

The Camera

stick (c) is a pretty damn good innovation by the way. I think

I'll like it a lot better than the C button array.

Isn't the

button layout revolutionary as well? Not a diamond shaped layout

of the face buttons?

I am pretty

happy with the GC controller. I can't wait to get my hands on one.

Steven Says:

Heh. I remember when we started dreaming about what we wanted in

the next controller well over a year ago and nearly almost 2 years

ago.

We wanted

built-in rumble support. We wanted the ability to use the Game Boy

as a display for things like football formations and stuff. We

wanted better, beefier analog sticks. Some people wanted analog

triggers, I wanted analog shoulder buttons.

Seems like we

got everything we wanted in the NGC controller. And now all of the

sudden people are looking at the thing as if they are

"somewhat" unsatisfied with it because they don't see

any glaring revolutionary features? What gives?

Mike S.

Says: Well there can't be anything revolutionary about the new

controller really. I know it's been said before but it's true.

Without a major innovation in the gaming hardware and or games

there can't really be a radical change in the controller. What

Nintendo has done this round is to refine the current controller.

They've added a stronger stick like the PSX and Dreamcast use, and

they've added analog buttons. What more could you ask for? Well,

there are those rumors about a mic/headset port, but who knows.

That's still speculation at this point.

Zosha Says:

I'm kinda glad that there's only 4 face buttons. I missed the SNES-style

layout that the 64 abandoned. I don't see what the big fuss is

about. The thing is guaranteed to be more comfortable than the

Dual Shock, and the DC's pad: both of which give me handcramps

after too much use.

As well, did

you all forget about the Wavebird? That's pretty

"revolutionary" in itself. After reading (and

subsequently translating) an excellent article from Famitsu, I

realised that Bluetooth (the technology that Wavebird is

utilizing) truly will be the next real Standard in wireless

technology. What I'd like to see is Nintendo come to us at E3 and

say "Hey guys, we decided to lose the cords, so now the

Wavebird is the standard for gaming."

WizzardBaseball asks,

Do you think Nintendo will charge monthly for their dial-up modem?

I am interested in getting one, but I don't want to pay a monthly

20 bucks. And what about their broadband modem?

Mike H.

Says: Well, if Nintendo's plan is to start a gaming ISP of

sorts, they'll need to charge for it or else it's a bottomless

money pit. This is one method.

Another method

would be to allow us to connect to our existing ISPs with the

modem or broadband adapter, and play that way.

I'll take

option number 2, thanks, because like you I don't want to shell

out more money than I already do for cable service, $40/mo.

It would be

great if they offer both methods, because one size will not fit

all on this issue.

Jonathan

Says: Yeah, what Mike said. Also, let's hope game companies

will start to move away from Capcom's "pay per play" and

EverQuest's "pay per month" mentalities. I wouldn't even

mind paying up to $100 for a game, as long as there was an

assurance of well-maintained online gameplay indefinitely

afterwards. Surely this isn't a pipedream; I just cannot and will

not pay ten dollars a month to play Earthbound Online or what have

you, after I've already put down $50 for the disc itself.

Mike S.

Says: My guess is that it'll go down like Sega did it. They'll

probably set up an ISP (Star Road) and have it work for both your

computer and your Gamecube, or they'll let you connect through

your normal ISP. Broadband is another question. It depends on what

kinda broadband they're using. From the pictures, it looks like

that's an ethernet plug on the back end. So the question is, if

you already have cable or DSL, will you be paying Nintendo another

$20 to $40 a month for their internet? I hope not.

Zosha Says: What

I hope to see is the option to choose your own ISP, although I'm

not too sure how realistic that idea is.

However, I wouldn't mind

having to pay for a Nintendo ISP if I then get unlimited play on

any online game. While this would work fine for all first (and

probably most second) party titles, I don't know if this would be

agreeable to those third parties that Nintendo is so desperately

trying to win over.

Steven Says: I think

the option will be there to use your own ISP. The fact that there

is a broadband adapter almost necessitates this. It's not like

Nintendo is going to start running cable modems and DSL lines to

your house.

I say the Blizzard

philosophy works pretty good as far as costs go. Tack on an extra

$10 per game, and use the money to run the network. 'Cept of

course Nintendo has to have an adequate network, not something

that is going to be brought to it's knees when "Zelda

Online" ships 1 million games in one day (::cough:: .. Diablo

II)

Billy Says:

I agree totally with Steven. I don't really want

to add another ISP. Granted I would since I'm rather addicted to

Nintendo (so I probably would in a second)...but...I think giving

a person an option would be the smartest. With the Broadband I

think that'll be the case. And I cannot wait.

I think that's the route

Nintendo will go. I'm sure they'll have some sort of partner up

with some provider (or just buy one), so people without an

internet connection can connect.

Max Says: If the games are

good enough (which they probably will be) then I could be easily

persuaded to drop some $$$ on a Nintendo network. I think Nintendo

may use some kind of subscription to the service like they did

with the 64DD and RandNet in Japan, though could hopefully make if

affordable. Maybe you could get a couple months free as part of a

Nintendo Power subscription promotion or some such. Of course, I'd

definitely prefer to consolidate costs & running off my own

ISP would be a welcome option.

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