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by the NWR Staff - December 4, 2000, 10:18 am PST

The latest edition of the Mailbag has been posted! Topics covered in this round include Gamecube's camera stick, character voices, racing games, system "bits" and even... the possibility of a new Mario Brother?!? Get your dose of Mailbag love today.

PMthruROTJ asks, Nintendo

has typically stayed away from having the main characters, like Mario or Link, talk in

their games. Do you think this will change on gamecube, or will it stay?

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Mike H. Says: I

would think Nintendo is open to using more audio in the games, especially for character

dialog and things like that. The two main issues have been cartridge space limitations and

Nintendo's interest in using text for those that can't hear.

With the Gamecube, I think we'll get a lot more

voice overall, but we'll still have text to go along with it.

Ed Says: If Nintendo does use voices for our

beloved mascots in their Gamecube games, I hope they have quality voice actors behind

them. Giving voices to Mario, Luigi, and all the other members of the Mario universe seems

pretty natural to me since we've already been given brief samples of what they sound like

(Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario 64, etc). Actually, now that I think of it, a fair amount

of Nintendo characters already have voices. The Starfox characters already have

established voices, too. Likewise with Kirby. Pokemon already have "voices" too.

I don't think Link has really spoken so hearing him talk would be odd... same with Samus.

But as I said before, if Nintendo uses a good voice actor, then I'll be fine it. Hmm, what

do you think, electronically distorted voice for Samus, a la Bousch the bounty hunter/Leia

in disguise from Return of the Jedi?

Max Says: Ed brings up a good point; we've

already had a smattering of "mascot voices" in many N64 games indicating what

many of our favorite characters sound like. Ed forgot to mention Rare's Banjo and Joanna

Dark... We know what they sound like too & they're two characters who talk a lot!

Mario & Luigi sound bites have been audible in numerous games, so it won't be too

strange to hear them speak more. Even though Link has primarily made simple sounds,

like grunting and exclamations, I don't think it would be too surprising to have him speak

in the same voice in upcoming games.

I expect to *hear* more from Nintendo characters in

future (GC) games, as space won't be as much of a limiting factor. Lack of space is the

main reason Nintendo hasn't given MORE voice to characters & this out of the way,

voice will become increasingly prevalent in next generation games. Like Mike, I believe

voice won't replace text altogether, since text is definitely appreciated by

hearing-impaired gamers.

We've already had an appetizer of what some our

favorite characters sound like & each time I haven't been disappointed (save for Wario

in Mario Party). I say bring on the main course!

(I also gotta admit that I dig Ed's idea for

distorting Samus' voice. After all, there is a WHOLE new generation of gamers who won't

know Samus is a gal!)

Adrian asks, When I was reading the last Mailbag

and saw the words, "Mario cubed" together, it made me think. If Nintendo were to

introduce a third brother/character into the adventures, and have a cooperative adventure

between Mario, Luigi and a third person, do you think it would ruin the Mario bros

franchise?

Mike H. Says: Nintendo would have to foul

up pretty big to ruin the Mario franchise. I think there are interesting ways to

introduce new characters that wouldn't hurt at all. Mario Brothers 2, which wasn't

originally a Mario game at all, introduced 4 selectable characters. And, of course, it was

a smashing success.

I wouldn't personally want to rock the foundation of

the Mario Brothers legacy by going, "Oh, by the way, I am your long lost brother,

Enzo! Let's have some pie!" But having supporting characters like Toad, Peach, and

others in there as selectable characters, and maybe even riding Yoshi, wouldn't bother me

one bit. In fact, I think riding Yoshi would be a great addition. Think Super Mario World

in 3D. One can hope, eh?

Ed Says: Hmmm, interesting idea there. Mario,

Luigi and... Zeppo! As odd as something like that would be, I doubt it'd ruin the

franchise. I mean, Mario and Luigi survived Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo so adding a

third brother wouldn't kill it. As long as it didn't detract from the gameplay, I think a

third brother could work. Now having said all that, I think we'd be more likely to see

another character from the Mario universe like Mike suggested rather than a third brother.

Mike S. Says: I don't think a third Mario Bro

would ruin the franchise, though I do think it would taint it. They'd have to have a

pretty good story to introduce him/her. If it was just, "Hey, I'm your other brother

who came out of nowhere," it would suck.

Max Says: Mario, Luigi

and... Guido? Do we NEED a third Mario brother? Luigi is neglected enough as it is! I'd

hate to see a *third* brother jump into the picture at this point & try to take his

place in the already over crowded spotlight. Having Luigi overlooked as long as he has

been, I've actually been thrilled at the prospect of the next Mario game just featuring

both brothers -along with (hopefully) a co-op mode of play. Why get greedy?

That said, I loved the original SMB2 with its four

selectable characters & have long hoped that this system would again be utilized. How

many times can Princess Peach Toadstool *really* get captured by Bowser?!? It gets old, so

it'd be cool to see her actually rising up against the Koopa Empire and have her as a

selectable character. I'm also praying Yoshi can be ridden around next time too.

Having him in a lame cameo in Mario 64 was a total disappointment. If he's in the next

Mario, I'm crossing my fingers that it will be in a more active role. As it is, there are

already too many existing great Nintendo characters being wasted as passive &

non-playable... I'd rather take control of some of them over a NEW "Mario

Brother."

Besides, if you think about it, we already have a

set of "evil twins" for the Mario Bros, Wario & Waluigi! Can you imagine if

THEY were selectable in a mode where they actually worked against Mario & Luigi (ala

something like PD's "Counter Agent" mode)? Now, THAT would be cool!

Jonathan Says: I would rather see Wario and

the new Waluigi integrated into one of the primary Mario games. Just think, if they teamed

up with Bowser... and maybe Wart came back... wow. The Mario series has always been about

the heroes... I want to see the villains make a stand for once, do something new and

insidious and make us pay them some attention.

Zosha Says: Max, I always thought that the

Princess got bored and then hired Bowser to kidnap her so there'd be some excitement.....

uh....

Er anyway, a third Mario? I dinna think so. The

other staffers have the right idea about Waluigi and Wario adding to the evil, although I

kind of consider Bowsie and the Wario Bros. to be rivals of some sort.

Kobayashi asks, I would like to see a GOOD racing

simulation on gamecube, like gran turismo or sega GT. Nintendo really needs good racing

games, maybe a 'good' return of the Top Gear series. Any thoughts or ideas?

Mike H. Says: Oh boy! More

racing games. :)

It may be the fanboy in me, but I think

all genres will improve in some fashion with the new generation of consoles. I'm waiting

for more racing games that are truly more than just racing. I want something with a story

behind it where winning actually means something. But that's the typically dormant

cerebral part of me talking.

Ed Says: I think Retro might be

able to deliver a good realistic driving game with the Thunder Rally project. Of course

this assumes that Thunder Rally is going to be a realistic type of racing game. Then

there's that rumour that Rare has been working on a Gran Turismo type game. Also, the

gaming industry has seen how well a quality racing sim like Gran Turismo can sell so I'm

sure if Nintendo or one of their second-party developers don't make one, some third-party

developer will take a shot at it for Gamecube. And don't forget the car model demo at

Spaceworld. Those cars could very easily have been part of a bigger project. So overall,

yeah, I think racing sim fans should have a good chance of seeing a quality title on

Gamecube.

Mike S. Says: I would really

like to see something to Tokyo Xtreme Racer on Dreamcast. I love how it handles racing.

Driving around until you find a rival to challenge and when you race you have a

"health" bar and whenever you are behind your rival you lose health depending on

how far ahead he is (and vice versa). The loser is whoever's health bar is gone first.

It'd be really cool to see some kinda mascot racer using that system.

Max Says: "Racing" has

probably been the most plentiful genre for N64. In fact, when I first started doing

this whole "online game review" gig, I was hired onto the 64 Source as a racing

editor -and was kept pretty busy!!! Because of the number of N64 racing games, 64 Sourcer

Rob Stevens and I developed the theory that racing games must be fairly easy to make,

allowing developers to "cut their teeth" on new console-hardware with racers.

Whether or not this theory is true, I'm

sure we'll see a kaboodle of racing games of all shapes and sizes heading to GC & GBA.

There's a really good chance we'll see some good racing-sims, along with mascot kart

racers, futuristic racers, stunt racers... Etc. etc. I'd love to see something along the

lines of GT too; let's hope some developer's working on one already. But until anything's

confirmed, we'll just have to wait and see.

Zosha Says: Racers?

Hrm I remember having this discussion

on a message board somewhere. Nintendo loves to do its own thing. The only true

"racers" the company has made are relatively off-the-wall concepts like Mario

Kart, F-Zero and Waverace. It's seems to me that Nintendo would rather spend its time on

something like that instead of making a "me-too!" racer.

Of course this doesn't discount all the

2nd and 3rd parties, I just wanted to mention this because so many people seem to hold it

against Nintendo that they haven't created "The Ultimate GT-Killer".

Chris asks, Is it possible

that developers can use the camera stick as maybe a second analog stick? For instance,

games like Virtual On, Gundam, Macross and Custom Robo could be able to use two analog

sticks to control movement. It would be sort of interesting, but the only problem is that

with your thumb tied down to your analog sticks, you have access to about three different

buttons: Z, L, and R.

Mike Says: I'll bet that the

second stick on the Gamecube controller can technically be used for whatever the

programmers program it to do, just like the "camera" buttons on the N64

controller. But that's speculative. I'm talking out my ass again, as usual. :)

Ed Says: Hey, Mike. If you're a

smart-ass, then you don't really need to worry about talking out of your ass. Also, don't

your butt cheeks get tired after talking? Mine get tired enough after [censored]* I mean

really, when I [censored]* Back to the subject at hand, I agree with you that using the

camera stick could be used as a second control stick especially if the controller is as

comfortable as IGN makes it out to be. Also, about the button concerns, I think the

buttons on the Gamecube controller aren't that much further away from the c-stick than on

a dual shock controller. Now if you excuse me, I'm off to [censored]*

*ed. note: This material was censored

out of concern for public welfare. While PlanetN2000 generally does not condone

censorship, this stuff was just some sick sh!t that's just too bizarre to mention. And

besides, there may be minors in the audience. PlanetN2000 offers its deepest apology and

Louie will punish Ed appropriately.

Max Says: Yeah, the camera stick

will probably end up seeing a variety of uses. It's all in how each developer tackles it

& the type of game being designed. It will probably be used to manipulate the camera

in games like 3D platformers, though in FPS games, it might be used for aiming with the

primary analog being used for movement, similiar to the Dual Shock (& Dual Shock 2)

has been used for FPS titles appearing on Sony consoles.

I don't know what else to say except

that I think Ed Shih is really crazy & he scares me. =)

Jonathan Says: I think

it depends on the nature of the stick itself. It would be great if the camera stick

rotates just like the primary analog stick, but we have no guarantee yet. It's got a

shorter projection and a lower position than the other one, and it may not be as

responsive (which could be a good thing in terms of camera control). I guess we won't know

until we get to hold the controller and actually use the buttons and sticks in May!

Zosha Says: As long as the damn thing helps

convince programmers to use it ala Grandia's camera control scheme I will be happy.

I see no reason why it couldn't be used as a second

analog stick, but I do like the idea of a dedicated Camera stick. No more changing the

damn view with the L/R buttons. Play Grandia with a DS controller to see what I

mean. You won't be able to go back to using the L/R buttons after that.

Moe012k1 asks, Hi, I've been meaning to ask this

question for a long time. Some say the GameCube is a 128-bit system. I've also heard

others call it a 512-bit system. What the hell are these people talking about? What's

correct?

Mike H. Says: The Gamecube is 16,384-bit. I

don't know what everybody out there is smoking. Get your facts straight, people!

But seriously, at this point "bittage" is

more marketing than anything else. N64 had 128-bit and 32-bit parts, but we still consider

it 64-bit. Gamecube probably has 64-, 128- and arguably maybe even 256-bit

registers somewhere in there. But if the system's bittage is really unsettling for you,

then consider it 16,384-bit. I know I do.

Ty Says: You can't weigh systems this way

anymore. Let it go, folks.

Ed Says: Werd. Bittage is a meaningless way

of judging a system's power now. There are so many more things to consider when evaluating

a systems power. Now if you just wanted to know what the actual bittage is, then listen to

what Mike said. But if you are looking to bittage as a measurement of system power, then

you should [censored]*

*ed. note- Our apologies again, Louie is seeing to

the situation now.

Mike S Says: Mike's right. Bits are nothing

more than marketing stuff now. The bits don't matter. They didn't really matter that much

back in the day. The most important things now are graphics processor and RAM.

Zosha Says: Meanwhile on a message board not

too far from home:

Average Sony Fanboy: Hahahahah! Nintendo SUX0RS! The

Lamecube is only 64 bits! Hahah! PS2 4EVER!

*Sigh* Just as the others have mentioned bits mean

nothing. I could go into a long technical explanation on this, but I'm too bloody lazy.

The only question I have is that Nintendo really pushed the N64's "64-bits"

thing... Could this marketing idea now come and bite them in the ass? Aisha.

Anyway, for all the nay-sayers who are currently

jumping all over my response: Just go look at those grahi ni demos from Spaceworld.

Those are, for the most part in real time. And the ones that aren't (such as Rebirth),

could have been had Nintendo given enough time.

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