In today's podcast, Frodo and The Geek discuss Shadow of the Colossus, Video Games Live, Frodo's trip to Canada to meet the developers of Super Mario Strikers, and various other game related things! Oh yeah, they talk about World of Warcraft, too. But who doesn't, honestly?
Special thanks to Nintendo!
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Review: Shadow of the Colossus for PlayStation 2 by Sony Computer Entertainment
Overview: From the team that brought you the incredibly inspired Ico, comes a game that presents a unique experience. The basis of the game is pretty simple: your girl is dead and a mystical voice from the sky says you can bring her back to life by killing some giants. The problem is: all youâ€™ve got is a horse, a sword, and a bow and arrow set. Itâ€™s gonna be tricky.
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This past week, I was lucky enough to be flown up to Vancouver BC by our friends at Nintendo to meet the guys at Next Level Games, creators of Super Mario Strikers for the Nintendo Gamecube.
Now, I am from the Seattle area anyway, so it wasn't too tough for them to fly me out to Canada, but it is still amazing to be able to fly to one country in the morning and be back from said country in the evening. Whirlwind trip, woo! I felt like a little kid who just won a contest in Nintendo Power by sending in the best crayon drawing of Mario eating a mushroom or something. Next Level Games has some pretty nice studios, all in a loft in old town Vancouver. The studios are set up in a very open format, with the producers, programmers, artists, and even testers sharing a big open area. This actually makes a lot of sense, considering it would therefore be easy for an artist to yell over their shoulder if something needs to be tweaked, or for a producer to throw heavy objects at a tester who isn't doing his job properly. Well, maybe in that situation it wouldn't be so good for the tester. After a fancy tour and breakfast, we sat down in Next Level's awesome break room with their GIGANTIC HDTV and got to play the game.
Note to self: avoid playing games against developers of said games. They will most likely school you. Hard.
The game itself is very good, certainly more polished than the version we got to play at E3. The gameplay is also very different from other Mario Sports titles. Nintendo specifically came to Next Level to create a unique experience, and they got a team that seems very passionate about playing games and making them. In Super Mario Strikers, you see Toad with a scowl, angry-face Mario and sassy ass-slapping Peach. Yes, that's right. Peach slaps her own ass. There is an electrified fence all the way around the soccer field, which you can body check other players into, giving them a jolt and causing them to scream horribly. The developers mentioned that they surprised the voice actors they had to work with, because they had never had to make Peach scream horribly, or Toad grunt as if he were exerting himself kicking a ball. And it's true, the visceral sound effects make for a more emotional experience, which is something they really pressed at the meeting. They wanted you to know that they really focused on making Super Mario Strikers more mature, more emotional, more passionate than other Mario sports titles. That may sound silly at first, but when you actually play the game, you notice that attention to detail.
The thing that really sold me on the game, however, was knowing that these guys have been playing this game non-stop for over a year, and they are still playing it every single day, cheering and trash talking like they just picked it up. A game with that kind of replayability, especially when you are looking at people who's job it is to play the game, is worth checking out. I had the opportunity to interview Game Designer Mike Inglehart and Producer Ken Yeeloy, which you can download here. They were very eager to discuss their game, and I think I asked them some fairly unique questions. Download it and enjoy it!
Overall, my impressions of Super Mario Strikers are positive. I think that Nintendo was wise to bring in new blood for a new Mario Sports title, and as long as they market the game correctly and try to seperate it from the other Mario Sports titles, I think that it could be a big hit. There are tons of modes to play through, and Next Level even got to design their own original playable character for the game. Now that is trust.
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In this week's show, The Geek, Frodo and White Mage discuss the GBA Micro, more Jack Thompson craziness, the iPod Video, Shadow of the Colossus and the new World of Warcraft Expansion. I apologize for the delay in recording, we are still trying to get the hang of using Skype for our podcast. Hopefully it is not too horrible on your ears. It really shouldn't be! It should literally sound amazing to you. Your ears may actually thank you later.
Download it here.
- World of Warcraft expansion news
Music by Charles Vestal
Just as we all susupected, self-appointed "moral" crusader Jack Thompson has backed out of his offer to donate $10, 000 to a charity of Paul Eibler's choice if someone made a violent video game to his specifications.
Someone went ahead and did it and now Jack is backpeddaling saying it was intended as satire.
Basically, he didn't realize that he's really as dumb as we all know he is and didn't think anyone would call him on his bluff. Good for you Jack, you promised to give money to charity, and it turns out you lied about it.
But wait, it gets better. Because Jack didn't come through on his promises, the nice boys down at Penny Arcade made their own donation of $10,000 to the Entertainment Software Association Foundation and even did it in Jack's name.
This is the absolute best possible response to Old Man Thompson's crazy antics.
I know this is being posted everywhere on the internet even as I'm typing this, but I just absolutely had to comment.
Jack, I know that retro stuff seems to be all the rage, but McCarthyism isn't exactly what I'd call good retro fashion.
The gaming community is going to keep calling JT on his silly nonsense every time and he'll just dig himself deeper and deeper. And we know that he isn't going to quit no matter what. So we can still expect more highlights from the comedy stylings of Jack Thompson in the future.
Let's all point and laugh.
edited by White Mage 10/18/05
Check out http://www.gamepolitics.com/ or http://www.gamesindustry.biz/ for the latest on the issue.
Click here to download this week's Podcast!
Confused about podcasting? Well, you don't actually NEED an iPod to listen to the show, just download it from our links and listen to it in your favorite media player. If you happen to want to listen to it on your iPod, just subscribe to our RSS feed in your favorite podcasting program (we recommend iTunes). Here are the show notes for this Monday's show!
-Penny Arcade Vs. Jack Thompson.
-The push toward photorealism in games.
-Stuff we hate about E3.
Title: Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
System: Nintendo DS
Overview: Finally we see a turn in the tide for the Nintendo DS. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is one of the first in a long string of very strong titles this season, and it certainly lives up to the franchise name. DoS is one of the "Metroid-vania" Castlevania games, which started with Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation, and is heavily influenced by Super Metroid. Basically it is a 2d adventure game where you collect items to become stronger, learn new abilities, and access new areas. You are Soma Cruz, Dracula reincarnated, and you must fight a spooky cult trying to turn you to the side of evil. You fight through their castle full of spooky creatures in order to save your own soul. DoS features dual screens (do I even have to say it?), a stunning soundtrack and impressive gameplay. Read on...
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Hey everybody. The podcast is changing its time! Well, not on its own. I guess it has some help from us geeks. We are going to be updating the podcast every Monday starting this week! Be sure to download it and download it for your friends as well because they will probably forget to download it.
So, does anyone think we could file a class action suit against Jack Thompson for all the crazy stuff he's always spewing about gamers being bad people? We could get him on libel, slander, defemation of character, etc. Maybe everyone named in the suit could get 50 bucks from him to buy a new game.
If you haven't seen Serenity yet, DO IT NOW.
Seriously, this is one of those movies you NEED to see in a theater. Don't wait for DVD. It's one of those you need the big screen to truly get the full experience.
Also, if you are a fan of the series, sci-fi, or just good movies in general, you MUST SEE THIS MOVIE. This is the best movie I've seen in a very long time. Even if you don't know anything about the TV show Firefly, you will still enjoy the movie. You won't be lost because you didn't see the series. You may appreciate it a bit more, but it's not a requirement.