I See Wii People, Double Dragon on Live, & Taito Legends 2 conspiracy – Welcome to the column that has died many times over and still kicking it known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. This week has been particularly rough on me. Why may you ask? Well some of you know, some of you don’t..and I’m usually a pretty open guy. So…*waits for dramatic effect*. I’m getting a divorce; actually it’s been going on for quite sometime…. The final court date in fact is next monday at 8:30. After that I’ll be free to be…to be….alone. Yeah, it’s as exciting as it sounds. Long story, but here is a little tip for the kids at home. If your best friend (opposite or same depending on your lifestyle)ever wants to get married, try to steer away. Sure you work as friends, but if there is no you know what, then you will have a miserable marriage.
Ode To Morgan Webb
Here is Morgan Webb signing an autograph for an adoring fan. (just envision that it’s for me, okay?) Notice how she’s laughing at my jokes. That casual look in her eye as she seems actually interested in talking to me. Okay, I need a new hobby sure. But if one doesn’t have dreams and one doesn’t have aspirations then I’m just another guy writing a column with bad jokes and cute clichés.
Quick news stories of interest
At first glance, it would appear that Microsoft’s Xbox brand has been a phenomenal success. It’s home to Halo, one of the most popular gaming franchises ever, is outselling the PlayStation 3 by a wide margin, and over six million gamers are competing and downloading content over Xbox Live. But in spite of all this success, Microsoft has yet to make a single penny on either Xbox console. The cost of entering the console market, developing and manufacturing the units, and marketing has so far outweighed the returns. The head of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division (EDD) believes that is all about to change, however. 2008 may be the year the console turns a profit.
Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division “We’ll make money next year and that will be the first time, which is pretty exciting,” Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft’s EDD, recently told eWeek. “And then the next two or three years are the place where you need to make tracks, and the next two or three years are where you have to make money.”
Bach explains that the profitability of the Xbox brand is looked at over long life cycles, and that the brand, although five and a half years old now, is still in the early “losing-money phase.” The plan is to lose as little money as possible, and then harvest as much as possible in later life cycles.
There are three ways to make money off of Xbox, Bach continues: games, Xbox Live, and peripherals. Microsoft doesn’t expect to ever make money off of the console hardware, and instead hopes to eventually break even.”Right now we’re doing a pretty good job,” Bach says. “We’re humming pretty well in the business. Our costs are a little higher than we’d like, [but] we’re pushing those down; there are good initiatives underway to drive that. Game attach rate [is at the] highest level in history for a game console at this stage in the life cycle. The same with our peripheral attach rate.”
Well, we’ve heard this story or variations on this theme before. Console makers for those who don’t know make jack off the actual console. In fact they lose money. People like Microsoft or Nintendo lose money for each console made but make it up in software and accessories. I’m willing to bet MS and Nintendo are making money hand over fist in regards to XBLA and VC though. It’s digital media and people buy them like hotcakes. (hence why they try to push digital media down our throats so much). Eventually somewhere in the process, with the ever cheaper to produce electronics theory, you start to break even and maybe even make a tiny profit. Only problem is, that you also have to lower the price on your console over time. So it never ends and by the time you might turn a profit then your next system comes out. And how Sony makes any money at this current point in time is a question for the ages. (oh right, they are still selling their PS2..that’s how).
Wii For The Dead (ironicgamer.com)
The Chinese has a tradition to burn incense paper or joss paper for the ancestors or the deceased in funerals. It is believed that the dead can recieve the joss paper or ghost money after they are burned.
In Taiwan, the Nintendo Wii has been made into a joss paper model. The joss paper Wii package consists of the Wii console, the Wii Remote (Wiimote), one Nunchuk attachment, external power adapter and a 3-game Wii Sports paper DVD. The whole paper Wii package will be burned so that the deceased can enjoy the hottest video gaming, even in hell.
Ahhh, funeral traditions changing with the times. I always wondered about being buried with your belongings of interest and if that truly makes it with you as you journey into heaven (if you believe in that of course). Burning joss paper fashioned into these belongings is also an interesting twist as some of these people are truly talented and can make models seem extremely lifelike. But you got to think; why didn’t they make a paper DVD of Twilight Princess and do people in heaven (or hell) get access to VC? I mean Super Mario goodness is essential :). By the way, I am currently having constructed a joss paper model of Morgan Webb with red hair. (maybe they could throw in a blonde wig for those unusual moments). Some of us have certain needs.
Double Dragon – Xbox Live Arcade: May 8th, 2007
You read it right. Oh babie! By the time you read this article; if you have 400 points to spare you too can own arguably the greatest beat em up of all time. The one that gave birth to the genre & even spawned a movie with Alyssa Milano (okay, maybe I’ll cut out that piece of history, but she was hot with short hair). Anyhow, they will again be giving us the classic and enhanced version of Double Dragon and at a very affordable price. I was pretty good at this back in the day and can only hope the achievements are reasonable. (nothing like the Turtles Arcade where you had to beat bosses without being hit or something else that was just a wee bit insane). To be honest, I remember helping many a fellow player thru the difficult stages; especially near the end. (The last boss, Wiley I think (the guy with the machine gun)…I can honestly say I was quite adept at beating). Of course my accolades were many years ago so it might take sometime to get backup to fighting superiority.
Arcade Classic of the Week
In 1987, the shooter era had been going along steadily. In the beginning it was games like Galaga, Time Pilot and 1942 leading the way with decent graphics and great gameplay. To be honest, there was no real pretty shooters. All the ships were small and the enemies typically about the same size. Furthermore the stages were designed rather simplistically as it was just open landscape where they stuffed planes and enemies into. R-Type changed that. First it was a horizontal shooter which had been done before but rarely. Also, it was a graphic masterpiece sporting beautiful graphics and huge monsters of all shapes and sizes. But what truly set it apart was the level design. This was the first shooter where you weren’t beat by the enemies; you were beat by the level design. Traps and small passageways would confine you to finding the “right way” out of each level. That and the game was just darn difficult. Levels would be played over and over only to finally get it right over time. Truly a spectacular piece and one that is currently on the Virtual Console for the Wii. It has also been on various older consoles.
Legend of the Dragon
Taito Legends 2
Dot.Hack G.U. Vol 2 Reminisce
Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
Taito Legends Power Up
Winx Club: Join the Club
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
Shrek the 3rd
A mixed week this week, it seems small but there are some decent titles in the mix. PS2 gets a few titles to start off with. Dot.Hack fans get yet another installment and another random Tony Hawk title enters the fray. Of particular interest is the Taito Legends 2 controversy. Well for me it is. This title is being released on PC, PS2, XBOX, and PSP. Of course, the interest to me is the PS2 or XBOX version. The two also sport exclusive titles. PS2 is a couple of random shooters, nothing too much. However, the XBOX version has exclusively Cadash (one of my faves) and Bubble Bobble Symphony which is the sequel to Bubble Bobble. Okay, so the XBOX is the winner right? Close, however there is no guarantee the minds at Microsoft will work to make sure this title is 360 compatible. So I have no idea what to do. I guess I’ll have to wait until MS makes this 360 compatible which they should or they release Cadash on XBLA. Interestingly enough, EB / Gamespot does not show the XBOX release at all (I only found information on it thru Taito themselves). I have some small hope it is being held back for a 360 release. I’d pay $40 (budget pricing for 360 titles) for Taito Legends II on XBOX 360 in a heartbeat. However, I’m sure MS would confer with Taito and get them to milk the proverbial cash cow known as XBLA if this was true though. (But in essence I would probably only want Cadash, Bubble Bobble Symphony, Legend of Kage and Elevator Action Returns, the others are just mainly icing on the cake). For list of arcade titles in this release, go here. In other platforms, 360 gets Command & Conquer. Around the world, little strategy geeks cheer. Cool game, don’t get me wrong. However, I still yet to play my copy of the Lord of the Rings strategy game for 360. And I got the strategy guide for it this week! (I’m a sucker for a good cheap guide). I miss the old Warcraft games.
Some Final Thoughts and Mutterings
Gaming wise as mentioned above, I bought some strategy guides this week at Half Price Books. I got the LE to Final Fantasy XII, Suikoden IV, Breakdown, Jade Empire, and Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II as previously discussed. The latter 4 were a mere $5 a piece. The first one was understandably more since it was a LE, and had two books inside. I think I got a fair price though (and I have almost all of the FF guides minus Chronicles and Anthology from the PS1 days). However, actually playing the games I find myself kinda out of it besides the usual time dedicated to Guild Wars (Level 16, almost 17). I am going to find sometime this week to play a couple of XBLA titles from previous weeks. I think I am going to go ahead and spend points on Centipede/Millipede & Double Dragon. Have fun kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)