Is Nintendo in Trouble?

Nintendo has always been a well-known figure in the video game industry. The company is credited with bringing gaming back into a viable industry following the crash of the ’80s. It has always been on the forefront of innovation and technical excellence, and was practically synonymous with “video gaming.” My how times have changed.

 

 
 

Today, Nintendo is not the power it once was. Sony’s Playstation has captured most of the market and while Nintendo currently enjoys financial success brought on by Pokemon, many industry experts view Pokemon as a passing fad, doomed to go the way of Tamagotchi and others like it.

So is Nintendo in trouble? In the words of the venerable eight-ball, “all signs point to yes.” Here’s why.

(Please note, the majority of this editorial is based on rumor and conjecture, and therefore shouldn’t be taken as absolute truth, but merely opinion)

Rumor has it that back when Sega Dreamcast was announced, both Sony and Nintendo were working on their new systems which were far superior to Sega’s machine. The two companies had a relatively easy time at it, considering the amount of information that was available about the Dreamcast in the year prior to its announcement. The rumor goes on to state that Nintendo was ready to announce its new system, but Sony beat them to the punch.

Some time before the official Playstation 2 announcement, Ken Kutaragi went on record saying that Sony wanted to create an experience that was closer to film than games …

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The online game -Boxerjam

One of the largest areas of growth in online gaming deals with trying to attract the non-hardcore gamer. You’ve seen them and perhaps played them – come on admit it. Usually they are Java based games, possibly trivia or card games. Sure, you know what I’m talking about.

So today we take a look at Boxerjam. A free site supported by a few unobtrusive advertising banners. Participants do attempt to be friendly and occasionally conversations take place during the game. Newbies are quite welcome and receive encouragement and help from veterans, which is nice. JavaScript is necessary so ensure that is enabled before you attempt gaming at this site.

The site is free, as mentioned, and offers prizes based on a drawing. The prizes are, of course, a nice feature but it would make so much more sense if they were related to the scores within the game. Perhaps they should make it more of a contest; highest score wins a prize or whatever.

Boxerjam offers four games, Napoleon, Take Five, Out of Order and Strike a Match (my favourite). Although only four games are offered they are quite a variety. Napoleon is essentially a card in which you get points for coming up with a winning hand. The are hand types that you are required to get, think Yahtzee and you get the idea.

In Take Five you are presented with a series of 9 words and asked to make a sentence using 5 of the words. It’s not …

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Sequels: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny

Some sequels are better than others

  

This week deals extensively with sequels to games and their makers. The developers of perhaps the finest sequel ever have gone out of business; an �unexpected� sequel will be coming in time for Christmas from another; not really a sequel, but one of the best selling games last year finally gets an expansion pack; and a pleasant surprise from the makers of the finest (or at least funniest) adventure series ever. And speaking of sequels, next article will showcase the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo in LA where sequel galore could be found.

 
 

Looking Glass Studios is closing up shop, and quitting the development game. The makers of the highly acclaimed, loved by reviewers, ignored by consumers �System Shock 2,� and the �Thief� series of games, have just run out of money. The remaining projects at Looking Glass, including �Thief II Gold� and �Thief 3,� have all been cancelled. Designer Rich Carlson commented on the affect this will have on the gaming business, �I don’t think the industry will ever be quite the same.” Looking Glass Studios will be sorely missed for their substance over style designs and innovation.

 
 

On a related note, something that should have gone under a while ago, but hasn�t, there will be a new �Tomb Raider� game by Christmas time. Supposedly, in the newest episode, the game play will be completely different. Not much is known about the game yet, but to be worth anything the whole game should be …

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Interview: Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns

Steve Hemmesch, the Lead Game Designer for Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns, took a minute out of his busy schedule at TimeGate Studios to answer a few questions about the new Real Time Stragetgy game that everyone is talking about (Review coming soon!)

 

 
 

How was your typical day spent during the design of the game?

My name is Steve Hemmesch, and I was the Lead Game Designer for Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns. I was responsible for working with the Executive Producer (Alan Chaveleh), who was also the man who defined the game concept at the beginning. It was my job to take his concepts and story ideas and flesh them out, turning them into working gameplay. I was also responsible for creating most of the content of the game: units, spells, heroes, tutorials, and the campaign. My typical day differed depending on what stage we were at in development cycle. During the height of development, I would spend the morning responding to new bugs and content issues sent to me by other team members. Then I would continue work on the campaign map I was currently focused on, defining its look, adding triggers, and writing dialogue. Then I would round out the day with balance testing of recent unit and feature additions, making tweaks and corrections when necessary.

What did you try and accomplish with Kohan?

Our primary goal in Kohan was to blend the truly strategic gameplay found in most turn-based computer and strategy board games with the exciting, quicker paced gameplay …

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Microsoft forces Bungie towards X-Box: More to follow?

The PC Gaming industry may be slipping

 

 
 

Microsoft, the glutton of smaller companies, has taken over control of game developer Bungie in an unexpected move. Bungie, the makers of the Myth series, were not a serious contender in the market, and the purchase by Microsoft surprised many. However, Bungie is developing one of the most anticipated games in the foreseeable future, “Halo,” something Microsoft probably wants to get their hands on. On the plus side, with Microsoft’s enormous amount of resources, shouldn’t Bungie produce a superior product for PC gamers? They should, but Microsoft may not let them. With their eventual release of the gaming console X-Box, Microsoft has been recruiting developers everywhere to make games for it. Bungie will now direct their focus towards development of “Halo” for the X-Box, with a possible port for PCs afterwards. The head of Microsoft’s gaming division, Ed Fries, mentions that “Only a few very special games will work well on both PC and on X-Box.” Those PC gamers anticipating “Halo” may have to extend their wait from much longer to forever.

 
 

PC gaming is now walking a razor sharp tight-rope. At the end of the rope is the acceptance and embrace of the world’s developers, producers, and gamers, plus the support that will make the computer a viable platform for games. On either side of the rope is failure. The “Halo” episode is only one of the many examples that show the PC is slipping from its perch. As the PC progresses …

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The Next Generation Of Portable Gaming is Coming

Tokyo was the venue for a gaming announcement that will change portable gaming forever. Since the original PSP released back in 2005, Sony’s portable gaming franchise has been on a downward spiral.

The problems with the original PSP were several, the limited number of games, limited network features, and a overall drop in sales which threatened to ruin Sony’s market for portable gaming. But with yesterdays announcement of the PSP 2 which is also known as NGP (Next Generation Portable), the gaming world is a buzz with the possibilities of what this sexy new console can achieve in the gaming world.

The Features Of The PSP2/NGP

The system incorporates multi-touch, 5-inch display. It is touch sensitive and will feature touch sensitive areas on the back of the console as well as the front. One major new aspect of the PSP2 is the inclusion of Joysticks, much like you see on the Dualshock Controllers… this brings a whole new way of gaming to the portable system.

 
 

The PSP2 will feature a new gaming medium, gone is the UMD to be replaced with Flash Memory Cards which will be games to play on the system. The Flash Memory Cards will also feature save data, and game add ons. The system will feature 2 cameras, one on the front and one on the back. It will feature 3G and Wi – Fi network connectivity which is good for online gaming, a big part of the PSP2 for sure. The big new feature is …

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Miniatures for siege warfare

Gaming siege warfare

Siege warfare was predominant in the middle ages. Forget about the battles with massed ranks of knights, men-at-arms and spearmen — for each of those there were hundreds of sieges. The next few articles will offer suggestions for gaming siege warfare – covering miniatures, defences, fortifications (model castles, etc.), reference books, a glossary of terms, and (hopefully) wargaming rules. For this first article we take a look at 25/28 mm scale miniatures.

Siege engines
There are a few manufacturers currently offering quality miniatures:

OldGloryMiniatures.com is one of two on-line representative for Old Glory (one of the stalwart manufacturers of wargaming miniatures). Check out their Dark and Middle Ages catalogue for Siege Equipment (OGSE).

The models on offer include a penthouse and ram, trebuchet (counter weighted beam and sling stone throwing engine, see illustration left), a 7″ tall siege tower, an onager ( stone throwing engine dating back to Roman times), a crow (crane used to hook ladders and men scaling the castle walls or to pull men hiding behind cover), as wells as palisades or mantlets, and incendiary wagons.

The illustration of miniature trebuchet is courtesy of Old Glory Miniatures.com, please note that this picture is copyright protected.

Essex also have a range of siege equipment. Miniatures are tailored to the end of the Roman Empire with different forms of catapult, or to the latter part of the medieval era when gunpowder first appeared (Edward I used gunpowder at Stirling in 1304, and guns were later used …

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