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News from November 2006

CoNtest 2006


Caves of Narshe Site News
The Caves of Narshe forum community has seen a number of very interesting and amusing new users. There's the Kimono^_^Kitsune the Japanophile, The Green Mage the aspiring author, Inque the capitalizer, and chou the obnoxious jerk. Just one thing you should know about those four....

Each of them was a staff member posting in disguise.

This is where the contest comes in - we will be awarding Amazon.com gift certificates to anyone who can correctly guess the true identity of those four users. Each of them is one and only one unique staff member - no staffer did more than one fake, and no staff member shared a fake with any other staff members. The prizes will be Amazon gift certificates ranging from $20 to $30, depending on how many perfect entries we receive, but we will guarantee that at least one user will win one, even if no one gives a perfect entry. We'll stop accepting entries and determine the contest winners two weeks from today's date. If you aren't sure who's a staff member and who isn't, then check the staff link here - any current staff member on that list is a possible candidate.

To enter, just send an email to contests@cavesofnarshe.com, with a subject line of "CoNtest". Your entry should clearly and concisely show who you are and what your guesses are, sort of like this:

laszlow's guesses

chou is Rangers51
Kimono^_^Kitsune is Tiddles
Inque is Neal
The Green Mage is Mr_Thou

Now, I'll give you an extra hint and say that the above entry isn't 100% correct. Aren't I generous? Anyway, have fun! You guys didn't actually think chou was for real, did you?
Posted in: CoN Site News

New PSP Marketing, Same Price


PSP
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, Sony is pouring their efforts into selling the console they can actually stock: the PlayStation Portable, or PSP. Their lagging foray into the handheld market currently dominated by the Nintendo DS will be bolstered by a new marketing campaign that, oddly enough, mimics features the DS has had in place for a while.

The new PSP Download Stations will allow PSP owners to visit and download content via a wireless connection. (Sound familiar, yet?) Available content will include demos, movie trailers, videos, and game sharing. Sony is also launching a new advertising campaign pushing the PSP.

Unfortunately, Sony isn't doing the thing that fans have been most hoping for: lowering the PSP's $200 retail price as an added incentive for people to buy.

Source: GameSpot

Really, I don't see how Sony thinks that the PSP can possibly win in a head-on battle with the DS. Sure, it can show movies (if you can find anywhere to buy them), but, when it comes down to it, the PSP is just a Playstation you can take with you...but with shorter games and inferior graphics. The DS has innovation on it's side, not to mention the fact that the DSLite retails for only $129.99. In fact, if you're really on a budget, a refurbished DS will cost you only $80, compared to $170 for a used PSP. Then you factor in the complaints about dead pixels on the PSP's screen (which Sony claims are not a true defect and hence not a reason for repair or exchange), and it's really not hard to figure out why I don't own the only handheld to feature a Katamari game.

Of course, lowering the price would have gone a ways toward putting the PSP back in my ballgame, and doing so right before the holiday season could have done nothing but boost sales.

I don't think I need to call Sony an arrogant corporation this time. They pretty much speak for themselves.

Wii Is (Are?) Here!


Wii
After long waits and much anticipation (though, oddly, not as much as for the PS3), the Nintendo Wii has finally made it's North American debut.

Nintendo's newest console made it's official debut at 12:01 this morning, though many chains that opened for midnight launches for the PS3 forced gamers to wait until normal store hours.

Another marked difference from the PS3 launch was the attitude of the fans. While anxious PS3ers aggressively guarded their places in line, the Wii lines were more quiet and orderly, with some customers even displaying attitudes of friendliness. One Manhattan man and his friends even brought previous Nintendo consoles to the line and invited other hopefuls to play while they queued.

Furthermore, the much-anticipated Virtual Console is officially up and running, with games from all pre-Gamecube Nintendo consoles as well as the Sega Genesis system currently available for download. More titles are promised by year's end.

The Wii launch was marred by none of the violence and crime that affected the PS3 release. Were video game fans simply tired out after a weekend of camping out on sidewalks for the two new consoles, or was the Wii's relative abundance responsible for the calmer atmospher? Whatever the case may be, despite reports of Wii availability being as much as ten times greater than initial PS3 availability, stores still sold out within minutes.

Source: Gamespot

Finally, my personal story. I dragged my husband out of bed at six o'clock to take me down to the local Target while he went to Best Buy. He was number 69 in a line for 63 available Wiis, and I wound up being just three people too late. However, one of the earlier people in line kindly sold me his ticket for a mere $10. ($10 for two hours of standing in line that I didn't have to endure? Well worth it, in my opinion.) So, I walked out of there with my very own Wii and a copy of Twilight Princess.

So far, I'm loving the new console. All of the reports about the Wiimote being incredibly responsive, intuitive, and easy to use are absolutely true! The Mii feature is highly entertaining (my plaza is already populated with the Mario Bros., Link, Zero Suit Samus, and a few others of my own creation), and Twilight Princess is looking to be the best new Zelda game since A Link to the Past, way back in the SNES games.

Am I a Nintendo fangirl? Up until this morning, I would have said I was primarily a Sony fan. But, as far as I'm concerned, the Wii might have just won my heart. We'll see if others feel the same way--this just might be Nintendo's coup in the console war.

PlayStation 3 Debuts in US


Playstation 3
After numerous delays and much anticipation, the PS3 has finally reached the American market, greeted by cheering crowds, overt displays of capitalist greed, and, of course, muggings.

Patrons of Sony's flagship epnoymous store in San Francisco were treated to a grand display of the console's arrival as a flashy SUV guarded by armed security pulled up to make a delivery. Of course, the actual product was already waiting inside the store, but that didn't stop the crowd from going wild.

In New York City, where hopeful fans had been waiting in line for days, line cutters and rainy weather tried the patience of many. Celebrities entertained the crowd, but the real fun came when the doors to the SonyStyle store opened: everyone admitted knew they were guarenteed to walk away with a PS3.

And, of course, if you missed your chance at one of only 400k consoles, you could always try eBay, where American entrepreneurship has led some of your fellow citizens to sell for well over $2000--more than three times the price of the $599 tricked-out version.

Unfortunately, some of your fellow Americans saw launch day as nothing more than an opportunity to line up exciting new crime. A Gamestop in Elk Grove, California, was robbed of several PS3 and XBox 360 consoles by a pair of armed men, and line-waiters in Connecticut and Oregon were mugged.

Source: various Gamespot

PS3's Launch in Japan, Looking Back and Ahead.


Playstation 3
Playstation 3, despite, shall we say, a technical fault that we should probably stand by on in the US and Europe, launched this weekend in Japan with a few scenes that may have shocked some. Reports of all 100,000 available consoles being sold on the first day have been made, though Reuters have stated a more reasonable figure of around 88,000 consoles sold, and reports of massive queues show that despite the price woes, the low availability, and the slim choice of games at the start, Sony still hasn't succeeded in losing all 100 million of its customers who bought the PS1 and PS2 despite it's best apparent efforts to do so.

The sales on the first two days have almost beaten XBox360's Japanese campaign from December 2005 to April 2006 when they sold 105,000 units in the period from December 10th to April 2nd, and around 60,000 of those in the first two days, placing Sony marginally ahead comparatively. Assuming that Sony manages to shift approximately another 50,000 units in Japan by March, they will at least be on a par with the rival that many people expect them to have to duke it out with as Wii seems set to capture the marketplace, and XBox360's year head start is almost null and void in Japan.

However, amid a launch that was better than some people seemed to anticipate, there were further setbacks, but this time, in the form of con artists (Of the swindling variety, not the sort who post fanart in Site Submissions). Reports that businessmen were paying homeless persons and poor Chinese immigrants to stand in line and purchase a console for resale at a vastly inflated price on internet auction sites have appeared in more than one major media source and a quick scan of even ebay.com will find PS3's going at no less than $1000 US and even up to $1500.

Despite the many problems, Sony can perhaps take heart from the fact there is still huge interest in upcoming games such as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and of course, Final Fantasy XIII, as well as the fact that as current market leader it appears nothing short of exploding consoles would cause them a devastating loss, and with such huge prices seemingly being paid for by those with perhaps larger reserves of funds than common sense, even the hefty price tags on the console are not discouraging some people with disposable income. On the other hand, the apathy in the west seems to be growing as more and more people are discouraged by the flaws and price, and perhaps a few maybe even concerned by the organised chaos of the Japanese debut, though it remains to be seen what will occur this Friday in the United States. Even the latest setback should really be discounted as for all that is known the situation may not be as bad in the US... Or may possibly be worse to remain realistic.

The traditional Playstation strong point of backwards compatibility seems to have hit a significant snag, but it remains to be seen what effect this will have long term should the problems be repaired. It should be noted even PS2 had a small selection of games unplayable, and XBox360's backwards compatibility was reliant on emulation in many cases, a scenario apparently to be repeated with PS3 albeit on a smaller comparative scale.

All eyes now rest on the US as PS3 launches with 400,000 consoles said to be available in the States this Friday, presumably to further lines and near-riots, only to be followed on the Sunday by Wii launching, unusually in it's global debut outside it's homeland . It's clear that Nintendo, with a reported $200 million advertising war chest and the charismatic/hyperactive press conferences of Nintendo of America President and Chief Operating Officer Reggie Fils-Aime spearheading the attempt to win the hearts and minds of gamers young and old, have all but sewn up at least the propaganda war in the US. This weekend will be when the first blood will truly be drawn in this latest console war, and despite all we have seen so far, nothing can be predicted with any degree of accuracy, and anything could happen.

Wii will apparently gain a European foothold far in advance of PS3, launching on December the 8th in the EU (including the UK and RoI) compared to the delay to March of Europe's PS3 launch. With a rushed launch on the whole by Playstation, perhaps this is a good thing long term for European gamers as teething troubles will be rectified... and perhaps even the library of games will be greatly expanded.

Sources: BBC Launch Article, a Look at the console itself, still looking at the console, and then a look at the teething troubles, and finally the reports of foul play at the launch.

CNN: On the Launch, on the the technical troubles and the reduced sales figures.

Sony Press Release on US launch.

PS3 Has a Problem...Again.


Playstation 3
Despite Sony's claims that the PS3 would be backwards-compatible and hence capable of playing games from the PS1 and PS2 consoles, it turns out that several games from both systems are producing errors in the PS3...and that Sony knew about this.

The problem was announced on its Japanese page November 11, the day the console went on sale in that country. The problem is expected to persist in the US version of the console.

When an incompatible game is placed in the PS3, strange sounds or images may result. Some games will simply not function at all. Sony refuses to list the incompatible games or give an estimate of how many will not work (Reuters, however, claims that the number is about 200). However, a search function on the webpage allows users to find out if a particular game will function properly. Among games that won't work? Final Fantasy XI, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, Tekken 5, and, one of my personal favourites, Silent Hill 2.

SCE spokesman Fukuoka Satoshi apologized for the problem, but claimed that it was unavoidable. [Insert some iceburg metaphors here.]

Source: AOL news, Gamespot

I've taken some knocks from you guys for my negative Sony postings before, but...wow. Try to find some good in this.

This might have undone my decision to purchase a PS3.

Penny Arcade Hosts 3rd Annual "Child's Play"


It's official: for the third year in a row, the creators of the webcomic Penny Arcade will be hosting a benefit to support children who have to spend the holidays in a hospital ward. Called "Child's Play", this multi-pronged attempt to make Christmas a little brighter involves auctions, a charity benefit dinner, and donations through amazon.com, dstore, and paypal.

Conveniently, one could hit two birds with one stone by purchasing items on hospitals' wish lists by doing it through the CoN's link. (Though not quite in the league of sick kids, this website could use a little charity, too.)

Source: Penny Arcade
(6 Comments – Last by chou)
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"Named by Gamers" Contest to Rename E3


E3 Expo
Not long ago the gaming world was shaken after being informed that the highly revered Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) was to be drastically toned down for future shows, reducing itself to a mass digital gathering poised to take a far less expensive yet more "intimate" approach. Then, just earlier this week, a benefactor in charge of GamePro magazine and slews of trade shows the world over, the International Data Group (or IDG), declared that it had taken up the reigns to the newly dubbed "GamePro Expo," the Los Angeles-based successor to E3 scheduled for a mid-October opening in 2007 (which, contrary to several publications, will be open to the public); the expo's set to kick off at the LA Convention Center starting the 18th and will run through the 20th, with three-day tickets priced at around $100 apiece. Designed to more or less recreate a similar media impact as the former E3, it's indicated to GameSpot that the event's show floor is expected to be packed with various publishers, developers, platform holders, content delivery providers, and retailers.

Despite all this, another statement also proclaimed by GameSpot last week explained how IDG's latest title for the tamed exposition turned out to be rather short-lived; the benefactor last divulged a plan to come up with an alternative name for the previously labeled GamePro Expo sometime in the near future. This, as it happens, is where the fans come in.

The International Data Group is encouraging gamers to think creatively in order to come up with the superb final name for this new event: By using the "Named By Gamers" entry form, each participant is to submit his or her best name idea before the contest deadline of November 20th, 2006. Hoping to acquire a lavish group of submissions, entrants are permitted to enter as many times as desired. Prizes include two round-trip airline tickets to the rechristened show, local transportation and hotel accommodations, plus much more!

The winning name and entry will be announced November 21st, 2006.

NoA Frowns Upon Western Mother 3 Release


Nintendo
For several months now, Western fans of the notorious and quirky Mother/EarthBound series of RPGs have been anxiously awaiting a diffinitive answer to one very agonizing question: Will Nintendo of America finally deliver the third installment to the franchise - only recently launched in Japan this past April - to North American GameBoy Advances? As far as localization is concerned, the official word suggests we shouldn't hold our breath.

Although lacking in great detail, NoA's localization manager Nate Bihldorff, as reported in an interview by Planet GameCube, explains what could perhaps be considered the nearest thing to a true conclusion: "I'm not working on Mother 3. I don't have all the writers under me, so there may be other people in discussions going on with it, but I wouldn't look forward to it in the immediate future, no. Sorry, I know! There's a big Mother fanbase, there is." Bihldorff further advises, "At least everyone can go back and play Melee to get your Ness on."

Certainly this all comes as little surprise to those familiar with Nintendo's track record attributed to handling the Mother series; even the GBA re-release of Mother and Mother 2 (EarthBound) was denied the slightest prospect toward a domestic launch. So does this mean we'll never again see a legally distributed Mother RPG within this hemisphere? If Nintendo of America, like Nate Bihldorff, has begun to contemplate the true depth of the game's fanbase, then the chances otherwise may in fact rise to more realistic proportions.

Source: EuroGamer

A Special CoNtest


Caves of Narshe Site News
That's right, for the first time in over a year, Caves of Narshe is holding a contest. The exact nature of this contest won't be revealed until later this month. At the moment all I'll say is that it's only open to forum members (not staff members) and that your chances of winning will *probably* be higher if you've been frequenting these forums for some time.

In any case, the prizes will be Amazon.com gift certificates and the contest will be unveiled sometime around Thanksgiving (the USA's version), with the winner selected a week or two after the contest's announcement. Let the speculation begin!
Posted in: CoN Site News
(29 Comments – Last by Neal)
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Caves of Narshe Version 6
©1997–2017 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.