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It’s Good to be Nintendo [Game Overview]
Aug 21st, 2009 by Dan

Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.

July was an interesting month for sales. It seems that if your name wasn’t EA or Nintendo, you didn’t even crack the top ten list for game sales. In fact, Nintendo’s month of dominance is even more astounding when you consider that the top sellers included New Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart DS, games well past their prime. This tough economy is making it rough to be anyone but Nintendo, but I’m sure that the holiday season will bring other games to the forefront. There’s lots of good stuff in the pipe.

Speaking of dominance…

Pokémon Platinum launched about a year ago in Japan (September 2008). As of right now, lifetime, worldwide sales of that title have reached 5.66 million. That’s a lot of pokémon. Even more ridiculous are the lifetime sales figures for the franchise, which stand at 193 million units. It’s astounding to see just how well this series has done.

Expect that 193 million to increase by two come spring 2010, since Nintendo has announced that HeartGold and SoulSilver will be launching then. I’m a sucker for catching them all, so I’ll be picking both copies up, probably in the mail to spare myself some embarrassment at the store.

Expansion!

My most recent WoW relapse occurred around the launch of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. I can safely say that I’ve been cured of the need to grind in Azeroth, but that doesn’t mean I’m disinterested in rumors pertaining to the game’s expansions. While we’ll probably get most of this confirmed or denied at this weekend’s Blizzcon, there’s no harm in talking about proposed changes.

It’s MMO 101 to raise a level cap and open up classes to races to loosen restrictions and bring in more players and it’s MMO 201 to add in new races, so you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the level cap will supposedly be 85, classes will be available to more races, and there are rumors that the Worgen and the Goblins will become the next playable races, but it’s most surprising to me to hear that they might remake classic Azeroth. That would be a monumental undertaking and it would seriously alter the way that people play the game to start. It would be cool to see them shake things up a bit.

I’ve also heard they’re buffing Onyxia so she’s less of a joke. Good on you Blizz.

Quick Update

While we’re talking about Blizzard, the Starcraft II LAN petition has reached 100,000 signatures. Unfortunately, 99,000 of those people (maybe more) will still buy the game when it launches, regardless of this petition. My guess is that Blizzard still doesn’t care. With how much money WoW makes them, they can easily shrug off a few lost purchases.

1776 Grudge?

Everyone loves when a company starts to talk price changes. Who wants to spend so much money on those consoles, right? I’m sure that the UK was thinking it was a good day when they heard that they were going to be changes to the MSRP of the 360, but it turns out that Microsoft is raising the price. By £30. That’s about $50.

Sorry England, I don’t know why M$ is treating you so poorly. I still like you guys.

OBJECTION!

Phoenix Wright is getting an UDON art book! Those guys are responsible for the fantastic Street Fighter comics and the new sprites in the HD Turbo Remix and they do fine work.

You can see images from the book here.

OVER 50%?!

It’s hardly scientific, but a Game Informer magazine survey suggests that the hardware failure rate for Xbox 360s over their lifetime has been over 50% (54.2%). This was revealed based on a survey of 5,000 of their readers and it’s kind of alarming. To be fair, the new hardware boards are supposed to have fixed this, but it’s still at a highly unacceptable level.

Also unacceptable, Microsoft is planning on cutting HDMI and component cables out of their packaging, forcing users to buy cables that used to come bundled. Thanks for being cheapskates guys, but I guess the economy’s pretty bad right now, so I can’t complain too much.

PERSONA!

I think it’s fair to say that I love the Persona series. A lot. I love seeing new games in the series announced and I’d love to see a remake of Persona 2 (both games). That’s what makes the announcement of a PSP version of P3 so strange. That game came out nearly two years ago and it’s getting a remake that allows the player to play as a female? More details as they become available, but I think I’m just bitter because I don’t have a PSP.

The Real Slim

After months of leaks and speculation, Sony finally confirmed the PS3 Slim at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The new hardware SKU will replace the older hardware and retail at $300 with some slight changes.

There will no longer be a power switch on the back and the power and eject buttons will be actual buttons instead of whatever tech they had there before, the system is obviously slimmer and smaller, there are only two USB ports, no media card slots, a new, faster disk drive, and, unfortunately, no custom OS (no Linux!), and no backwards compatibility.

Still, it’s a great deal for a blu-ray player and a fine system for gaming. Good to know it’s for real.

There you have it, the biggest news (to me) of the week. To those of you keeping score at home, yes, this is the first week I’ve gone without a Left 4 Dead 2-related story since forever ago and I’m devastated about it.

Video Game Music [Game Overview]
Mar 12th, 2009 by Dan

Inspired by a Rebel FM podcast, I found myself seeking video game remixes and music again, starting with my absolute favorite track from the Mega Man 2 soundtrack, Flash Man. Having seen a video on Youtube before, I started my search with The Minibosses.

The Minibosses

Ever wonder what your game themes would sound like played by a rock band with real electric guitars instead of synthy squeals? The Minibosses are for you. Their catalog is not large, with only two CDs available right now, but the benefit of their music is that you can get most of it free at their website. I’ve yet to listen to their full CD, but let me be the first to say that their Mega Man 2 medley is fantastic.

Wikipedia provided me with more links from there, one of which pointed me in the direction of a site I’d already been to, OverClocked ReMix.

OverClocked ReMix

I’d been to OCR once before seeking the soundtrack to Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, a project the were commissioned for not long ago that they provide for free on their website. What I discovered was a varied catalog of game music remixes that I wasn’t quite ready to download yet. I’ve since downloaded the rest of their 12 albums and the large torrents of miscellaneous songs, but it will be a while before I’m able to say anything definitive about those. I can say that their Street Fighter album is fantastically done.

Albums:

Relics of the Chozo – Super Metroid – 2003
Kong in Concert – Donkey Kong Country – 2004
Hedgehog Heaven – Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 2005
Rise of the Star – Kirby’s Adventure – 2005
The Dark Side of Phobos – Doom – 2005
Chrono Symphonic – Chrono Trigger – 2006
Blood on the Asphalt – Super Street Fighter II Turbo – 2006 (Inspiration for the HD Remix album)
Project Chaos – Sonic 3 & Knuckles – 2006
Voices of the Lifestream – Final Fantasy VII – 2007
Thieves of Fate – Radical Dreamers – 2008
Delta-Q-Delta – Doom II: Hell on Earth – 2008
OC ReMix: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack – Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix – 2008
Summoning of Spirits – Tales series – 2009

The Rebel FM podcast and wikipedia also led me to The Megas

The Megas

What if the old Mega Man 2 songs had lyrics and a story weaved in? That’s precisely the ground that The Megas tries to cover. I’ve only heard part of their rendition of Flash Man, but I think the premise is promising and I will try to listen to more.

Which leads me to my final Wiki discovery, The OneUps

The OneUps

There are lots of metal and rock video game music bands out there, but what do you do if you’re not a fan of metal or rock? That’s where The OneUps come in. With two albums jam-packed with jazz covers of video game music, I’m sure that you’ll find a really interesting and cool arrangement of a song you’ve heard many a time before. Standouts for me include Terra from Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger from…Chrono Trigger. Check them out if you get the chance.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but if I run into more cool stuff, I’ll be sure to let you guys know.

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