In a surprise move, Nintendo announced that the official price of the Wii in the US will be $249.99, which is actually $50 or more than many were predicting. "There is one price, one configuration and one color -- the same white Nintendo uses in its Nintendo DS." It is also expected to ship November 19th worldwide.
This will no doubt be dissapointing to some (to put it mildly), as the low end Microsoft Xbox 360 is priced at $299.99 and may drop a bit lower by November (the low end PS3 is expected to be $399.99). We'll see as events unfold and do a more complete value comparison once all three systems are actually released, but Nintendo superficially at least is not really offering superior value over the competition with what the Wii comes with and what a second controller set and games cost.
"The Wiimote has a MSRP of $39.99 and the nunchuk has an MSRP of $19.99 -- they are sold separately."
"Wii points [similar to Microsoft points] will be used to purchase Virtual Console titles. 100 Wii Points equals a dollar, NES titles cost 500 points ($5), SNES titles 800 points ($8) and Nintendo 64 titles cost 1000 points ($10)."
"Citing a series of quotes from developers supporting the Wii, Fils-Aime points out that 30 titles will be available in the launch-window, with about half of them available on day one. They will, as reported, retail for $49.99 (ten bucks less than [most third party] Xbox 360 titles)."
Mobile gaming blog Modojo recently featured an article on the Top 15 GB Games.
I enjoyed how they kept their list to only the old-school black and white GB games, but disagree with several of their choices.
However, they did make a few decent ones. Here's one of them.
Gargoyle's Quest This spin-off title takes it's main character from the famous Ghosts n' Goblins series. However, you won't be playing as Arthur, but instead as the fiesty gargoyle Firebrand. Firebrand is destined to become the Red Blaze, the mighty savior of the Ghoul Realm, and defeat the evil King Breagar. The gameplay differentiates between an overhead world map, and side-scrolling combat levels with light RPG elements. Missing out on this wonderful GB gem is a shame that's not so easy to live down.
There's lots of interesting news in my Google Reader today. Perhaps the best place to start is an article on Gamasutra called Will 'Casual' Games Dominate the Future of the Industry?. This is a question Bill and I have been asking a lot lately on AA, and it's interesting to see how the opinions of the "professional analysts" GS pulled together compare with our own. I also have some news about upcoming Wii remakes, news of another "eye-based" controller, and more funny ads from GameSetWatch.
Someone was kind enough to record and post "G4 Icons: NES" to YouTube. I'm not sure how long this video will be available (I can't believe that anyone involved acquired permission for the file), so you'd better watch it while you can, either at the link or below the fold. While Bill will undoubtedly be able to point out a zillion mistakes, at least they have lots of comments from folks on-the-scene at the time, such as the president of Nintendo America--and there's also interviews with Steven Kent, game historian. There are also lots of nice shots from NES games and Robbie the Robot. While I don't much care for G4's spastic, ADD-style editing, it's an entertaining way to spend 22 minutes--though for some reason the audio sync is off by quite a margin. Nintendo fans will also want to check out 1UP's Ten Great Mario Moments, an outstanding multimedia feature all-about Mario: "It's a look at how the series' influence has triple-jumped from crusty carts to TV shows and home-made videos, speed runs to full theater productions (with Mario and Luigi duetting on the marimba)." It's a bit frightening, but it does demonstrate just how wide an impact Mario and the NES had on American gaming culture (and beyond!)
For those of us that love playing old classic consoles, but have moved on to newer monitors and TV's with video inputs, this site is for you: http://www.vikingvideogames.com. They offer modification services for most older consoles (in addition to other services). A few people on a ColecoVision forum I frequent have upgraded their CV consoles and say the work and results are very good.
IGN has a surprisingly balanced look at the challenges, risks and promise of Wii sports titles, here. While I know it's an unpopular view, particularly with Nintendo's relatively recent goodwill as the supposed underdog and champion of innovation (and good business practices, and peace and harmony, blah, blah, blah), I think the article is worth reading because it illustrates my basic point about the control scheme itself. If you even look at the videos, whether it's Shigeru Miyamoto at E3 demonstrating Wii tennis or the promo video showing the enthusiastic Japanese three-some playing baseball, while having an alternative control scheme is great and fun and all that, you also lose a certain "crispness", a certain level of control that you don't get with direct intervention like you have with a typical, non-virtual, control scheme. In other words, pushing left on a little stick is instant reaction, while moving left in a virtual space achieves the same thing, but in a very different, approximate, manner.
Author and Screenshots: Mark J.P. Vergeer
Editing: Cecil Casey, Mathew Tschirgi and Bill Loguidice
Online Layout: Cecil Casey and David Torre
How well do you know Mario? Did you know about all of Mario's Bastard Children? Read about some truly obscure Mario Bros.-licensed titles of all sorts--is "Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up" on anyone's top ten list? It seems that Nintendo's brief spasm of cross-platform licensing didn't last long, and, judging by the looks of these titles, that's a good thing. When will parents learn? Educational games suck--and so do devices that try to trick you into learning or getting in shape.
The last "fun" watch I got, save for a relatively recent MP3/WMA/Voice Recorder/FM Radio/512MB Storage/USB watch, was a Nintendo Tetris watch, which I believe I got around 1998. I just found out about this new watch from Fossil, based around Atari's Centipede (and here are the others). Unfortunately, unlike the classic watches of old - like the ones from the early 80's based around Pac-Man and Space Invaders - you can't actually play this one. That and the high price make this a bit of a dissapointment, despite being well designed and in color. I'll take a classic 70's/80's computer, red LED or playable game watch any day over this, though if I ever saw it cheap enough...
Though it looks like it makes unusual use of the bottom screen and may have a little too much detail in its visuals, fans of top-down console shooters going all the way back to Carol Shaw's legendary River Raid for the Atari 2600 VCS should keep an eye on Nibris's upcoming Nintendo DS game, Raid Over the River.
Here's the official press release from the Polish developer (note, the Nibris Website appears to be down at the moment):