The NL issue 891 - Summer Beach Party games and more!
Author: Geoff Larsen
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
January is the gaming year's equivalent to having to cuddle afterwards. The previous year always ends with a kiloton explosion that quickly turns into barely noticeable whimper come NYE. Does 2008 follow this trend- Hell yeah. That is why the NL is on the case, sticking its nose where it doesn't belong in order to provide you with an oasis from this harsh January sun. Drink up.
Here is something you don't hear everyday: Japanese entertainment magazine Barks has stated that when your Nintendo Wii is turned on the console emits a sound frequency that attracts cockroaches. While it is unclear whether this theory was created as a result of scientific study or was just something someone came up with while sitting in a game room full of old pizza crusts, the theory has got the online community talking. Users have conducted their own tests and it does seem that the Wii does emit a frequency that is favourable to the roaches - however no one, as of yet, has complained of any infestation.
This recent development could be a possible explanation for the shortage of Wiis in Australia… the roaches took 'em.
PLAYSTATION 2 STILL KICKING
Here is something for you hardcore RPG gamers out there. Despite having had its superior successor out for quite some time the unstoppable juggernaut that is the PS2 still has a few tricks left up its sleeve. At the end of this month the critically acclaimed and controversial RPG Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 will be reaching our shores in a release that will most likely slip under most people's radars. Exploring the darker side of humanity, the game has been praised overseas and is reportedly now extremely difficult to come by in the States.
Most RPG gamers have had to resort to their handhelds for their level-grinding fix - however, on top of Persona, PS2 owners still have a few games to look forward to this year. Odin's Sphere, a masterpiece of 2D design will be crawling onto our shelves soon - as will Mana Khemia, a spiritual sequel to the Atelier Iris series. Wild Arms 5 will have your screen chock full of random battles in February and the long overdue Tales of the Abyss (which we have been waiting to come over from America for over a year) looks like it will be finally emerging in April.
SUMMER BEACH PARTY!
Like or loathe it, the fact is that the Wii software lineup is mainly populated by mini-game party collections. While some praise the Wii for featuring titles that are easy to get into for the whole family others believe that the console contains more shovelware than the Atari 2600, a console that had such an excess of crap games that thousands of them were dumped into a New Mexico landfill when sales were so low.
Of course, whether or not party games are for you depends on your personal preference. If you are a more casual gamer then invite some friends over, grab some beers and take a look at some of the newest entries to hit the shelves this summer:
Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2
The Rayman games have been around since the days of the Sega Saturn. The original game was a 2-D platformer in a similar vein to the Super Mario Brothers series. Since then the series has seen Rayman do everything from fight gangsters to teach you how to count. Most recently Rayman has taken a backseat in his games as the Raving Rabbids, a band of psychotic rabbits, have taken the spotlight. The latest title sees Rayman disguising himself as a Rabbid in an attempt to hinder their invasion of earth. Like its predecessor RRR2 is a collection of minigames - but it should be noted that the minigames themselves have a lot more depth than most titles in this genre and include everything from Volleyball games to racers. While party games are a dime a dozen on the system, RRR2 has a lot of character and depth to keep the casual gamer interested.
If you are looking for something that will recreate the feeling of those side alley games at the Easter Show minus the fear of being ripped off by the attendant then maybe Carnival Games is for you. With all the games from Lucky Cups, Rotating Clown Heads to that one where you shoot the yellow ducks, the whole sideshow experience is pretty well captured here. The collection boasts 25 minigames - though some of these are admittedly just filler. Still, it's a budget price, so if you are looking to recreate the carnival experience or just something to entertain the little ones, then Carnival Games might be right up your alley. Worst pun ever.
Inspired by the pack-in hit Wii Sports, EA Playground provides a bunch of sports minigames to waggle your Wiimote at. Including soccer, dodgeball, paper plane races, tetherball, handball and others, EA Playground is a nice alternative to turn to if you are looking for more of the action found in Wii Sports. The game also allows you to explore a playground and upgrade your abilities in order to become more competitive. The setting of a schoolyard makes it perfect for the younger crowd and the young at heart.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
About a year ago we were all floored by the announcement that gaming's eternal rivals would be pitted against each other in one uber epic game. While most of us were expecting a huge adventure, the minigame pack that we got still has it charms. Harking back to the old Olympic Games on the C64, Mario & Sonic will have you frantically waggling your Wiimote to get ahead of your friends. While the single player campaign is serviceable, the title really shines when a couple of slightly inebriated friends are around. It may not be the system seller Sega was hoping it would be but it is still a fine effort.
2008 is set to be a smashing year, at the end of the month we have releases of cult favourites: Burnout Paradise, Nights: Journey to Dreams, and Devil May Cry 4 and February has a bundle of smash hits that are bound to keep us up late at night. We only know about a sample of games releases coming out so far but if this entrée is any indication of the banquet to come then I'm sure that 2008 will leave us spoiled. Stay tuned for a year of coverage of games, anime, technology and pop culture.