Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit
that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird
gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy
Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos
destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments
, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations.
It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time
-- an eccentric, richly produced
, and incredibly catchy blend of funk
, bossa nova
, experimental electronica
, bamboo flute
, hair metal
, buoyant parade music
, soaring children's choirs
, Macintalk fanfares
, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros
Called a consumerist critique
by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi
(who after one sequel
moved on to Glitch
, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy
, and playground design
), the series has inspired much celebration
] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit
. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
In the 90s there was a niche Japanese game development house called Human Entertainment
, which was perhaps most famous for its Clock Tower series, and was also the launchpad for the career of Suda51. Before they folded in 1999, they released one final title: the massive open world detective game known as Mizzurna Falls. [more inside]
A month after its release, Naughty Dog
's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us
is being hailed as one of the best games of all time
, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics
Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth
, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps
), leaving behind lush wastelands
of elegant decay
teeming with monsters
and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies.
Into this bleak vision of desperate violence
journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future.
Boasting tense, immersive gameplay
, compelling performances
from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score
from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla
, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men
to Cormac McCarthy's The Road
, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite
and Half-Life 2
as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements
. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages
And don't miss the 84-minute documentary
exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
Until last week, the Nook Simple Touch
e-reader lacked an indispensable feature: a functional PlayStation emulator
Sony is closing its Liverpool Studio
, previously known as Psygnosis
, developer of the WipeEout
and Lemmings games (DHTML version
). The studio created games for 28 years, first gaining attention in the Amiga era for it's high production values and stunning box art
George Hotz, Sony, and the Anonymous hacker wars.
ROM hacking, the act of modifying the "cartridge" data for a video game played in an emulator, has been covered before
). What you may not know is that intrepid hackers have been at work on more modern systems, producing a wide array of new takes on old classics. New worlds for Mario to explore
(also, also, also
). A new adventure for Link.
Goldeneye levels that are a bit... different
. A whole new universe of classes and challenges in Final Fantasy Tactics (gameplay
). And HD texture packs for games that haven't aged as well as others. [more inside]
In the mid-1990s, a man named George Wood created a TV show called Flights of Fantasy
on a Maryland public-access channel. The show was was dedicated to videogames, and gained quite a few detractors; Wood was not known for his playing skills, research, or good taste, and the production was rather cheap. He would also tend to go off-topic, sometimes markedly so.
It had a small following, being a local public-access show, but would have been lost forever had Wood not joined a video gaming association called NAViGaTR, who archived the entire series, edited each episode, and put them online as Gaming in the Clinton Years
In late December 2010, fail0verflow
, a team of European hackers, demonstrated that the Playstation 3's security was fundamentally flawed
and managed to obtain the encryption key
used by the device (see previous discussion
). Utilizing the techniques developed by the fail0verflow team, iPhone hacker George Hotz
released the encryption key
publically, which enables the execution of arbitrary code on the console. Now Sony is suing
both George Hotz and members of the fail0verflow team. [more inside]
Platypus Comix has compiled images from around the Internet of prototype game consoles and peripherals
spanning from the original NES all the way to the Sony PlayStation 3. You'll see the NES's tape recorder, a touch pad for the Sega Genesis, the infamous Nintendo PlayStation, a PlayStation Portable you can clip to your backpack ("...or whatever reckless thing they thought you'd try."), a Wii controller with just one large button, and the embarrassing PS3 "serect" button. [more inside]
Citing security concerns, Sony has decided to release a firmware update
that will disable the "OtherOS" feature on its older (non-slim) PlayStation 3 systems. This is almost certainly a response to the system finally being hacked
two months ago by George "GeoHot" Hotz. To counter Sony's disabling of the feature, Hotz, who previously stated that he would not be releasing custom firmware for the PS3, now plans to do so
"The PlayStation 3 is the only product I know that loses features throughout its lifecycle. Software PS2 emulation, SACD playback, and OtherOS support are all just software switches you can flip. It's unbelievable you would go and flip one, not just on new boxes you are shipping, but on tens of millions already in the field."
8 Ways to Make Beatles Rock Band More Appealing to 14 Year Old Boys
Quick recommendations to make the next edition of Beatles Rock Band more appealing to fourteen year old boys, based on the findings of my investigation.
"It's a secret to everybody"
-- an unbelievably comprehensive blog post about the etymologies of the names of famous (and not-so-famous) video game characters.
No reset button here, kiddo.
What happens when you decide to drop a novice into the middle of the 24-hour race in your Nissan 350Z race car...?
game designer Kazunori Yamauchi
decided to find out.
has been lifted on the newest
research on growing internet infrastructure insecurity
. Using an army of Playstations
have managed to forge a RapidSSL
(owned by Verisign) CA certificate
in a couple hours due to known flaws
Cute five-year old breaks out moves
, kicks out jams
, etc. (Warning: Fun streaming video links.)
Not only does the Playstation 3 play Blu-Ray discs, it also knocks out the fat!
On the Eve of the Big Release
Just in case you haven't drowned in the flood of stories about the new consoles, Businessweek is offering a few more. For the PS3, we have a summary article giving information on Sony's current situation
, along with a 4 (out of 5) star review
. In the Wii's corner, we have an interview with two of Nintendo's developers
, who discuss the rationale behind the controller redesign, pricing, and keeping their gamers happy. Call it a little light reading before you hit the lines tonight.
to my left is a youngish software developer from Yokohama, incandescent with rage. To my right is the finance officer of a major games publisher. Worryingly, he is tapping sums into a pocket calculator and shaking his head...
It shouldn't have been a surprise (...
) but yesterday's announcement (pdf)
from Sony has crushed
14 year-olds of all ages. The Playstation 3
is shaping up as a great IT Disaster
. The 'Times' man in Tokyo - Leo Lewis
, muses on being a games geek in Akihabara (with cash and a proper job) and explains the delights of "beer flavored alcohol"
, just what we need to drown our sorrows.
SEGA Fantasy VI
- Our intrepid band of console heroes battle the evil of the Playstation Portable. [Flash, long, extremely nerdy]
Lightning begin their Stanley Cup Defense
During the lockout and cancelled season, a Tampa Tribune sports writer has been using a popular hockey simulation game to play out the 2004-2005 season, and has been covering each game as if it were real. Yesterday the SimBolts took a 2-0 lead in their first round match, on the strength of Ruslan Fedotenko's hat trick. Final standings
and league leaders
. ¶ The Virtual Ottawa Senators have a 2-0 lead over the SimLeafs. I'll be checking back to see faux Ottawa choke.
Sony Ordered to pay 90.1 million in damages,
and immediately stop selling Playstation 2's that come with a dual shock controller. Why has this not been in the news?
Sony fesses up
and admits that they've screwed up in the past. But they say they're sorry, and they promise that they'll stop hitting consumers with ATRAC
, half-baked PSX units
and flawed PlayStation Portables
Thinking of buying a PSP anytime soon?
Before spending up to $400
for an imported unit, check this out: Engadget, among others
, reports that the new PlayStation Portable will eject the currently-playing disc if the device is twisted a certain way. And if you don't believe it, see it for yourself
(avi & mpeg, last link NSFNintendoDS).
is a game for the PS2 set in a realistically modelled representation of London. You'd have to be really bored to go and find all the locations in the game and re-create the missions for real, wouldn't you
Sony is attempting
the term "Shock and Awe" for a computer game. having scored a hit with its original PlayStation game, Conflict: Desert Storm
. It is among a swarm
of companies scrambling
to commercially exploit the war in Iraq (which has killed thousands of civilians and soldiers on both sides).
Buy Bush a Playstation 2.
If the fundraising goal is met, the President will be given a PS2 with a copy of SOCOM
and Conflict: Desert Storm,
hopefully distracting him long enough to forget about the real war. Send your donation and you'll save a lot more people than just Karyn.
Under 5,000 Xboxes sold in Japan last week.
This is compared to 100k Playstation2s and 25k Gamecubes. Since its launch, the Xbox has sold 190k units in Japan versus the Playstation's 980k units sold in the first 3 days.
Is the Xbox doomed in the notoriously tough Japan gaming market, or does the Xbox just need a price cut to stay competitive?
2 hours of Playstation vs. 2 hours with a good Book
If true, (big if given source) life as a parent just got more complicted. Maybe our children's toys really do need to be "smart"
Hand-arm vibration syndrome may be associated with prolonged use of vibrating computer games.
Prolonged in this case means seven hours per day, which seems to be "excessive and exceeds the manufacturer's recommendation." Methinks this is the least of his problems.
Say goodbye to Bleem.
If you don't know, Bleem made emulator software that allowed you to play Playstation games on another console system or your PC. Their 'farewell' is kind of funny in a sad way.
chip to be designed by IBM.
The three companies (Sony, IBM, and Toshiba) aim to design a "super-computer on a chip" with a wide variety of consumer applications, they said in a joint statement.
"The result will be consumer devices that are more powerful than IBM's Deep Blue super-computer, operate at low power and access the broadband internet at ultra-high speeds," the statement added
PlayStation 2 not quite what it was promised to be.
"Japanese have purchased about 3.5 million PlayStation 2s, but there are signs that sales have leveled off."
"Analysts had predicted a runaway success, but now they are forecasting Sony losses of more than $200 million on its game business in the year ending next March—its first such loss in years."
"That wasn't me, that was the guy before me!"
This is like "A bear walked in the door and ate it" from a little kid... What scares me is that people are stupid enough to fax him pictures of their credit cards. Wait until they see their next bills!
Now while these guys
are not exactly the most unbiased source for an evaluation of the PlayStation 2
, they have nonetheless backed up their evaluation with a lot of convincing hard information on the performance
and in particular about the financing
. If these guys have got it right, Sony's going to take a bath on this; they'll never come close to recouping their costs of production, let alone all the research they did. If these guys have it right, Sony will lose money on the PS2 as long as they sell it. This Is Not Good. (Unless you hate Rambus, like I do, because this means both of their markets will collapse.)
How to have fun
with your new Playstation 2!
How could Sony be low on cash when
Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City all have lines of people around the corner who have been waiting since yesterday morning? All waiting to get their very own PX2.
Think about this - approximately 500,000 of the units will sell today, at $300 a pop, plus numerous purchases of games in addition to the console. Let's estimate that each lucky customer will spend $400 (1 PX2, and 2 games per customer - a modest estimate). That's a one-day gross of $200,000,000.
My bet? Sony will not only turn itself around by the end of the day today, cause a major boom in US currency flow, but also cause a sharp decline in spending for the next month - people will be at home playing their new games, and will have little interest in going out to buy anything else!
Did you pay for a Playstation 2 already?
I did, through Kay-Bee online, and I better get one, though half of the expected US launch will not arrive on Oct. 26th
Ahhh Yeah - Portible Sony Playstation
Wether you are into gaming or not this ranks as cool as the Apple IIc, Sony Sports Walkman, Swatch, Palm VII, you name it! Portible gaming with connectivity...
has nothing to do with the web.. But in case you're like me and the time you spend away from your computer usually consists of drinking beer
and/or playing on your neato video game system
. You NEED Tony Hawk
. the graphics on the DC version kick playstation's ass and its the perfect game to waste hours of time and lots of beers and to destroy your friend's ego.
Hard drives in PlayStations!
"Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony (NYSE: SNE) will reportedly include a hard drive and modem in the U.S. version of its second-generation PlayStation gaming product set for a fall release."
Slashdot reported that linux would be the development platform, but my question is how soon to expect a linux port to a Playstation?
The Playstation 2,
just like the G4 is considered a Supercomputer too. It's nice to know that hostile nations won't rip apart the system after they get gunned down in Metal Gear Solid.
Sony web site mobbed...
The number of nline orders for the PSX2 at the Sony web site forced Sony to close down the page temporarily as they were getting 100K hits in one minute yesterday.
The PSX2 is projected to be released on March 4th. =)