Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Onslaught of old vs. new | Score: Retro - 1 3D - 0

I found something really, really cool today. Cell phones have motion cameras on them and if they weren’t so well known to many Americans, another product would be heard off, not to teens and adults…but aimed to children. A WEBCAM for Gameboy Advance silly! Yes, you can hook up a camera to the Gameboy, and transfer streaming images with sound to another person using a Gameboy Advance with this particular webcam on the other end via internal modem. From what I know - the person sending the data doesn’t need an ISP. He/she needs a phone line, a GBA, and Campho Advance. There are no hidden fees attached. Take a camera on the go! So far Digital Art Corp. only sells it off their webpage listed below. I already thought of it. No PCs, no Internet, no fees! If this thing takes off because GBA is very popular amongst kids, it will have an impact of new devices that do the same thing. The only place to get the Camero Advance is on the webpage, http://www.digitalact.co.jp/. Digital Act also has a webcam product that hooks up the TV.

On Google News, I heard some of the headlines are on retro games! Forbes.com, CNN.com, MSNBC, and CNET.com each had their own version of the story. Yes, these are the same games you can download free off the Internet. However, this is the part the gaming industry doesn’t want you to know. Ya so it’s illegal? Is there any other way to play Genesis though? The fact remains you either own the game or you don’t. Since there are alternative means of playing them, most people aren’t bothered by it being illegal to possess them except for Genesis roms. Sega recently announced all Genesis roms are abandon-ware, and therefore not illegal to have on one’s hard-drive. Anyways, to get back on my original topic, I think Nintendo plays the biggest part in retro gaming. A hand full of old-school games can run on their Gameboy Advance handheld so Nintendo exercises it’s licenses to the limit. Nintendo probably has emulators designed for Gameboy Advance for all the consoles previous to it. There must be more than 15 anthologies out for it. I own one, Super Mario Advance, and I probably won’t invest money in any handheld any more. Anyhow, I found a connection to this retro gaming excitement - all retro craze articles have the word ‘Nintendo’ in them somewhere. It stands too reason, through-out the 80s, Nintendo was a monopoly in gaming industry. I won’t tell why…I think I already know why. Then from 1989 – 1996, Sega had their glory years in the 16-bit generation, publishing very fun, and popular games like Mortal Kombat, Alex the Kid, Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, and Lemmings. I was interested in neither handheld. The 70s and 80s generation grew up, right? So the point I’m getting too is all these former NES and Atari 2600 gamers talk about is the glory days when games were based on sprites, not polygons and much, much simpler. (the NES and Atari 2600 controller only had 2 buttons, and the Genesis controller had six.) Back then, I was a very active kid, riding bike every week, swimming, active in boy scouts. Then I got into N64 for 2 years, and Dreamcast for another 2 before I switched back to Nintendo to support their next generation console in that I was heavily into following the hardware specs, and executive launch titles. Today, I was playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Nintendo Gamecube, and that’s retro enough.

I hear rumors, that in a couple of years, Sega is going to try to issue a Genesis controller packaged with 6 – 10 games that’ll directly hook up to any TV. Atari is already doing this with a higher tech 20 dollar joystick loaded with 10 Atari classics with power cable and RCA connection. I think Atari is breaking even on production costs on their new retro joystick. However, Nintendo is selling 1,000 fold that with Gameboy Advance sales.

Why I never was into the original Gameboy. Poor graphics and too expensive. I remember being a little interested in Sega Game Gear during gym in grade school. Game Gear was in color and looked powerful because of it. It’s erotic that a less powerful system like Gameboy out lasted a newer higher tech handheld because the name brand was Nintendo. I didn’t have access to the Internet so the only games I knew on the Game Gear were a Sonic game and Mortal Kombat. I heard the Gameboy was a popular handheld. It was the clucky green & black original. I bought a GBA in 2001 and played Mario Kart Super Circuit or Castlevania - Circle of the Moon at Renaissance Academy during lunch. After school, I bought a Gameboy Advance SP at the full asking price days before January 1st, but never got back into Gameboy at all since high school ended. Hmm, I was playing Tetris and Mario Kart on GBA in high school. Tetris is a very well known Gameboy game. I was trying to get even rows, and beat the highest score - of course. It is still very addictive videogame. I also thought about getting Pyro Pyro Advance for GBA. I love that game, Bust-a-Groove, for N64, although I never owned one.

I got money yesterday! I spent it on Onimusha 3 - Demon Siege. I liked what Onimusha 2 offered which also introduced me to the popular trilogy. I owned a PS2 after the second Onimusha was at it’s height of popularity. I knew it was popular because the History Channel used the game in one of tributes of modern Japan prospective of ancient Japan. Onimusha 3 is Gamestats.com’s 21st most popular PS2 game. Ya, I know, I really suck. I know Onimusha 2 was an alright hack ‘n slash game, not that it was hugely popular on all continents (and islands). The gaming community calls it Capcom’s answer to Tecmo’s (now very popular) Ninja Gaiden for Xbox. Ninja Gaiden was originally a blockbuster arcade game in the early 1980s. I don’t have much summer break left so I probably won’t have time to get into a new game like Ninja Gaiden. I hear it’s graphics are amongst the best on the console. Gamers who played it will say, “No duh!” Hmm, that went well. Yet there are people who haven’t heard of Ninja Gaiden? Well now those of you who haven’t heard -- have. Both Onimusha and Ninja Gaiden are ninja vs. monster games. Yeah hear? Okay...good.

I have a conversation with Addicted2Yew on messenger. I can’t tell you what she looks like, but I can tell you she likes Sega Genesis and Nintendo 64. She loves to play Goldeneye with her friends, and thinks Alex the Kid and Sonic the Hedgehog are cool. Somehow we got in discussion about baseball cards. I said that I have four, 2 inch, 3 ring binders full of them from fair to near mint condition ranging from 1986 up to 1996. And most of it is upper deck! I found out she’s okay with baseball. I was wondering if Nintendo makes Japanese baseball cards. The fact remains that they were formerly a card company. I hear Nintendo is in the Magic the Gathering business. I was never into pen and paper role playing games myself. It would be very hard playing a two player game by myself – true? Nintendo still makes a big profit off Pokemon trading cards I think. Whatever works for them is fine. I still think the cartoon sucked!

Other very interesting news I came across, Wall Street and other similar world-wide stock-exchange centers agree that the gaming industry is now a monopoly. Microsoft saw this happening long ago. And in some people’s opinion, it was all Sega’s doing when they asked Microsoft to put their Windows CE into Dreamcast. Microsoft isn’t dumb…they probably said to themselves, “Hmm, yets make this more profitable and build our own consoles and make it the most powerful one at that. Instead they have exceeded and failed at the same time. They failed to create a budget friendly console but succeeded in barely breaking even on production costs through software. One reason it’s starting to be a monopoly is take mergers make big publishers – way too big and control way too much value. Electronic Arts (US) is to Vivendi Universal (France) as Nintendo is to Sony Computer Entertainment (Japan). I didn’t mention Microsoft because they are the biggest technology-related company in the world. It would be a little unfair. Most of the gaming publisher monopolies are out of state, and other countries don’t have strict limits on how large one business can be. Exporting millions of dollars into one company in another country has to be eye opening to American businesses. There is also talk about Hollywood studios publishing videogames…oh wait…they already are (Universal and Disney Interactive) Damn. What’s the world coming too? Legalized gambling on Xbox Live? Televised Madden 2004 exhibition matches? Professional Gamer Organizations? A 24 hour cable channel on videogames? A 300% increase in game developer start-up companies in the pass 5 years? The scary thought that all these exist?

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