Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
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Friday, April 01, 2005


Nintendo: The GameBoy Revolution

It's a little known fact that Cathode Tan employs a Japan office. Well, "employs" is a strong word and "office" is an outright lie. But friends come on many shores, and sometimes even the occasional island. OK, just England and Japan actually. Plans for global domination are coming along slowly.

Anyway, my agent in Japan is one Hiroko Toyoda. She's a PR assistant for Nintendo and I sent her an email on Saturday asking her about what she thought of the PSP launch. She forwarded me this, but then apparently remembered I don't read kanji. She said a PR release was due for Thursday, to coincide for a week after the PSP launch - when they thought Sony would release the numbers for PSP sales. I asked her if we could do a quick interview that I could release the same day. This was over a cell phone, so it's a bit quick and fast.

And here it goes. And it's a doozy.

Greets, Hiroko. For those readers who didn't attend college with you - can you give us a quick background?

Hiroko Toyoda:
My name Hiroko Toyoda. I'm a public relations assistant with Nintendo here in Japan.

Any relation to Ken Toyoda?

Hiroko Toyoda:
*laughs* No. I didn't get this job because of Ken, so please stop telling people that.

What did you think of the PSP launch for North America?

Hiroko Toyoda:
Typical Sony fanfare, I guess. Where are the numbers to support the hype? All this press last week - but we haven't heard anything since. The DS, however, was selling quite well in Europe.

But the PSP was on South Park last night.

Hiroko Toyoda:
Was it? I'll have to download that.

Are you saying that Nintendo isn't at all worried by this release?

Hiroko Toyoda:
Sony is attempting to leverage their PlayStation hardware to break into GameBoy markets. So we're going to attempt something similar.

Use the GameBoy to break into PlayStation markets? Didn't you try that with connectivity for the GameCube?

Hiroko Toyoda:
That was more about rewarding our core fan base, people we could rely on buying both products. For our next generation of GameBoy. Well, the next generation GameBoy is the Revolution.

You guys are having a lot of revolutions over there.

Hiroko Toyoda:
*laughs again*. No, no. You're not hearing me right. The next GameBoy is the Revolution. The Controller is the GameBoy. The GameBoy Revolution will have have GameCube quality graphics, be TV ready out of the box, and have WiFi support for 16 players.

The Revolution is the GameBoy? You're making a Portable GameCube?

Hiroko Toyoda:
Actually, the graphics will be considerably better than the GameCube. IBM and ATI have made a mobile chipset of their next generation tech. Basically we'll be pushing their notebook technology about a year early.

For a handheld? Or is it a controller?

Hiroko Toyoda:
We think of it as both.

What about rumours of a hard drive? DVD capability? All the things we expect from a normal console?

Hiroko Toyoda:
There will be a add-on specifically for media playing and storage. You'll be able to store all your saved games, your music library, your movies. You'll then be able to transfer the media you want on the go to your GameBoy Revolution.

OK, this isn't fair. I'm sure I've got like a gajillion new questions now.

Hiroko Toyoda:
They'll have to wait *giggles*. The official press release will have more information in it. This is all I can tell you for now.

There was some bantering but I couldn't cajole any more from here. But holy cow! Screw the PSP! Supposedly the full press release is due out today.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Touching is Good

oooo ... Nintendo sounds just dirty sometimes. This time they're just odd - with their touching is good contest where they ship you a mannequin hand for you to pose with in an attempt to get a free DS. Of course, this works on me - I'd definately take wacky pictures for a DS. Sadly, their website seems broken right now, so I might be stuck with a lousy 2D hand.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Damn Fine PSP Review

Ars Technica has a PSP review (thanks gizmodo) that almost makes me want to get the damn thing. It's seems completely honest and balanced and thorough enough to give a feel for the device without physically having one in your hand. I'm still debating whether I need anything even remotely resembling such a device, and if the Zodiac still isn't a worthier candidate. But that screen. That big, beautiful screen. I had at one point thought about getting the GBA Movie Player and just call it a day, but with a screen as wide and pretty as the PSP's ... I don't think I could sleep at night with that decision.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What a morning

Normally makes me grin, but it's hard to move those facial muscles when you've got both Hilary Clinton and Jack Thompson making statements about video games being the fifth column that will bring down our youth. Dear god, they're coming from all sides now. Democrats might try to use this to make their morality points seem higher - meaning the lunatic fringe for this issue could form a complete circle.

Course, these people might be seriously underestimating gamers. Jack Thompson has long shown that he thinks gamers aren't victims - but mindless idiots ... a fact he recently proved again when people tried to have a rational conversation with him. And Hilary probably hasn't looked at the demographic numbers on males 20-35 who will gladly let her political career die for making inane comments about their favorite games.

Dungeons & Dragons Blamed Again

Thanks to Slashdot, I stumbled upon this piece of brilliance:

"I mean, you have many, many stab wounds and those 'Dungeons and Dragons' fantasy games involve swords and knives and daggers and things of that nature. There may be a connection but I can’t say for sure.”

You gotta be kidding me. Are they handing out law degrees in cereal boxes these days? For the record - there's also alot of swords, knives and daggers and things of that nature in:

  • Kung Fu Movies
  • Cooking Shows
  • Your mom's house
  • Hospitals
  • Shakespeare Plays

    I mean, as long as we're making idiotic connections for the purpose of making a murder more interesting - why not play the whole field? Besides, Mr. Lawyer Man ... you're about two decades too late to lame role-playing games for anything.

  • Monday, March 28, 2005

    Game In A Day

    I had apparently stumbled on this earlier, and then forgotten to actually read through it. I would say "how odd" if it weren't that I do that about 20 times a day. At any rate, GID is a NanoWriMo style contest for quick game dev. For those not in the Nano, that means it isn't really a contest and people basically play on the honor system. It's more of a communal bragging-rights competition than anything else. So basically a small group of indie developers get together for a day and egg each other into starting and finishing a game from scratch before collapsing.

    I'm sure I'm not explaining this well, so check out their website for more. I'd heavily consider participating this year, being a new owner of a shiny Torque 2D SDK, but this weekend is already filling with social excuses.

    TV Spotlight: The Office and Bruce Campbell

    The girl and I are fans of the British comedy, The Office, and as such were suspicious of NBC making a rendition. Most British shows that work over here are more along the lines of game shows or reality shows - comedy gets chewed up through American studios. I remember stumbling upon the American attempt at Ab Fab I'm still talking to a therapist about that one.

    I'll say NBC has done a remarkable job of not falling into that syndrom. The American remake is quite close to it's source. They seem to be relying much more on the antics of the boss (and obviously, Steve Carrel himself). Much of the pacing, style and offbeat quality remains in place - it will just take some time to tell if it can be as hypnotic as the Brit's work.

    On the flip side of disappointment - that being where disappointment does set in and beat you senseless - we taped Bruce Campbell in Alien Apocalypse. Holy ouch. That was painfully bad. I know Sci Fi spends all of $50 and a six pack on these Saturday matinee affairs - but Bruce...Bruce? Someone should have casted him in Doom to make up for all the Duke Nukem malarky. I mean, Bruce, my man, whenever the script calls for an ass-kicking chiropracter ... just say no.