Gaming news for the rest of us.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I interrupt whatever you are doing...

Pickle wrote:
To give you some footage of gameplay for Assassins Creed, from X06. So check this out and start wanting it, it looks amazing. I mean social stealth is a fantastic concept. Enough me more video: Assassins Creed X06 Gameplay

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"Sid Meier's Railroads!" Interview

Railroad Tycoon fans rejoice, Sid Meier's "Railroads!" is nearing its October 17th release date and ShackNews has a nice interview (including pictures) with Dan Magaha , the game's producer. Follow this link to read more about this forthcoming remake of the classic Sid Meier game that started it all.

Thanks to wytefang for pointing this one out.

Friday, September 22, 2006

TGS: New Metal Gear Solid 4 and Portable Ops trailers

Piniata wrote:
Another huge gaming festival, another huge Metal Gear Solid trailer. The time of the year means it is time for TGS, and after months of waiting we get a new Metal Gear Solid trailer. Well, infact two. That's right. Trailers for both Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops are available.

You can view the MGS4 trailer here and download the Portable Ops trailer here.


Microsoft to Offer Free 360 Repairs

If you were one of the lucky ones to score a 360 at launch you may have had some issues with that console and may have even paid to get it repaired. While that does in fact suck, Microsoft has come to terms with the fact that a batch of the initial run of 360s did have a higher than normal defect rate. As such, any consoles made before Jan 1, 2006 are eligible for free repairs. Those of you that paid for repairs should be eligible for a refund.

I think this is a great move for Microsoft, but it took them a little too long to realize those machines had issues.

TGS: All PS3s get HDMI and Price Drops in Japan

A while back Sony was struck with a tough decision on whether or not to include HDMI in the low end version of the PS3. After all, the last thing you want to do is be accused of forcing people to pay for a feature they may or may not want... This caused a huge uproar in the gaming community. What good is HD gaming and Blu-Ray without HDMI?

Sony must have heard the uproar as they announced in the Keynote today that all levels of the PS3 would be getting the digital HDMI ports. I think this is a smart move on Sony's part and I am glad to see that they listened to the consumers on this issue.

Another interesting point that Ken talked about at the Keynote was that they dropped the price of the 20GB (think Core system) version of the system for the Japanese region only. The console was originally priced at 62,790 yen and was lowered to 49,980 yen. XE Currenty Converter shows that as a $110 price drop. Of course this has sent the industry analysts into a frenzy about what a pre-release drop will mean to losses and sales and all that jazz.

The consensus coming out of TGS so far is that the presentation was a focused technological discussion and didn't introduce any new products. This was a strategic move in a time when Sony needs to ramp up the momentum to launch. We will see how that plays out for them.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Free Unlimited Media Downloads? Doubtful

When I wake up in the morning my Inbox is generally full of Press Releases from various PR companies. Some of these PR companies specialize in sending out releases for anyone willing to pay them a few bucks. This is more the exception than the rule as far as the emails that I get, but one email arrived this morning that peaked my interest. It was titled “Gamers Want Unlimited Free Game Downloads, New Web Site Delivers”. I would tend to agree with that statement so I figured I would give it a read. The email goes on to talk about a new website that is offering downloads of games, movies, songs, and tv shows to members of the site. This is a legal site that someone is actually advertising through the use of Press Releases?

"We give gamers what they want -- unlimited free downloads," said Tim Foss, owner of the site. "These are complete games, not demos. We offer legal software from a massive list of games, as well as music, DVD copy and backup software, MP3 players, CD burning software, online music search, lyrics, Internet radio, popup and spyware removers, and much more."

"You will find all of the latest tools for accessing the largest file networks on the planet plus some new methods using special web sites and networks. Members have access to the necessary tools to search and download all kinds of files for your Xbox 360. Basically, you will be able to find whatever you need for your Xbox 360. This includes movies, software, games and much more," explained Foss.

The site claims to offer games for all current and next gen platforms. They are currently advertising an introductory special of “free” membership to take a quick survey, which happened to be some sort of credit score thing that requires a credit card as proof of ID. I am fresh out of credit cards I want to give to anonymous people and don't have a quick way to get a prepaid card for verification purposes so I haven't signed up… yet.

The original email claims that you can download Xbox 360 games and use the software provided to members to transfer them to your 360 from your PC. The fee you pay is a one time membership fee and not a subscription and they offer a 60 day full refund guarantee for those of you not getting in on this “free offer”.

Obviously I am curious what the catch is or what it is that they are actually peddling so I fired off an email and obvious Microsoft has no official comment at the present time. We will follow up with this interesting new website if it is in fact legit and makes it through the night.

The site address for interested parties is here, but I would exercise caution and not sign up unless identity theft is your idea of a fun time or unless someone verifies that this is a legit venture.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wii official box art sighted

EB Games and Gamestop have updated many of their Wii game listings with what appears to be original box art for the new system. While some people seem to not care for it, I think it looks pretty cool.

The asymetrical space that the logo occupies doesn't bother me one bit. How do you feel about it?

Guitar Hero to go Multiplatform

Earlier this year RedOctane, developer of Guitar Hero, was acquired by Activision. Activision confirmed today that the Guitar Hero franchise would appear "on every significant new format". This could mean guitar solo action for the Wii, Xbox, and Xbox 360 sometime next year. This is great news for gamers and guitar enthusiasts everywhere. RedOctane hasn't commented on the news released by their parent company.

Guitar Hero 2 is still due out this November for the PS2.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wii Not Region Free after all?

Nintendo UK is now reporting that the Wii is region locked after all. Nintendo of America is credited with the initial statement that the Wii would be region free. At this point we have 2 different statements from different arms of the company. I think it's safe to say that any plans on the Wii being region free should be put on hold until NOA confirms or denies the initial comment.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Console Subsidization

There is a funny "battle" that I want to chime in on real quick. First, some history:

The bottom line of the Joystiq issue says that consumers are more likely to buy a console that has a higher subsidy built in, all other things equal. If you aren't familiar with the practice of subsidizing, it's the concept of selling things at a loss, which I just mentioned in another news post. Basically, the article equates selling at a loss with getting a discount and saving money. Penny Arcade rips on the article and basically calls it crap, which I am going to have to agree with. Joystiq didn't find that funny and responded.

The basic premise boils down to, what is the biggest determining factor for you purchasing a new console? Is it how much Company A is losing on it, factored in as a discount, or is it the overall price of the system?

For illustration purpose let's say the MS loses $100 per 360, Sony will lose $200 per PS3, and Nintendo makes $50 per Wii. That would put the consoles priced like so:

  • Xbox 360 $399 ($499 before loss)
  • PS3 $599 ($799 before loss)
  • Wii $249 ($200 before gain)

Do you buy the PS3 because it has the biggest subsidy despite the $599 price tag? If so, do you feel like that $200 is a discount and you scored a deal? I personally think, all things equal, people gravitate towards an overall lower price despite "discounts". The article builds into thinking a major fallacy that consumers factor in the loss the manufacturer takes on the hardware when looking at the price.

Since the original article factors in ceteris paribus, Latin for "all other things being equal", so let's go back and pretend the pricing is equal across all systems:

  • Xbox 360 $299 ($399 before loss)
  • PS3 $299 ($499 before loss)
  • Wii $299 ($249 before gain)

Does the price before the profit or loss make a lick of difference? Again, do you buy the PS3 just to "save" $200? I personally think the loss is not factored in to consumer consideration. Now that I have thrown a ton of match and hypothetical situations at you, which console would you buy?

Full Wii Launch details

Everyone in Europe and Australia can relax now. The newest details regarding Nintendo's worldwide launch plans for the Wii include December dates for Europe and Australia.

The Wii is slated for release in Europe on December 8 for £179. Australia will see the console one day earlier for A$399.95. Joystiq has a great page that they are continuing to update with all the Wii info you will ever need.

All around, not a bad launch plan for Nintendo. Probably the best bit of news for the company is that, as usual, the Wii will be profitable from day 1. Everyone knows that Microsoft and Sony have made a bad habit out of huge losses on hardware sales. Nintendo has always approached things with a more simplistic design and their profit margins definitely reflect it.

Nintendo's Reggie says they plan to sell 6 million units by March of 2007 and instead of disputing those numbers, analysts are actually expecting them to surpass those and hit closer to 8 million units. I don't think Nintendo could wish for better momentum going into the launch of this console. I, for one, am glad to see things in our industry getting a shake up.

Source: Gamespot

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Paltalk sues Microsoft over Live

Say what? A strange little company from up North is suing Microsoft alleging patent infringement. The company holds 2 patents related to group messanging and even though Live has been online for 4 years now, they are just getting around to defending those patents. They have lost in the tens of millions of dollars according to documents filed in an East Texas court today.

This is an obvious attempt to file a ludicrous suit in a known court that has a higher than average number of guilty cases by a company that is obviously grabbing at straws to make a quick buck. In the event that this is not throw out, which I expect, and that Paltalk wins, which I doubt, I can see a nice settlement from Microsoft to keep Live running.

Source: Ars

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Winds of Change

So there has been a lot going on here at Snackbar Games. This past week we added a new writer who goes by the name of Aceinet. He is a vet and is going to be a welcome addition to the writing team.

Yesterday we also launched the beginning of the online presence of Snackbar Media, the parent company of Snackbar Games. The website is very simple for now, but will serve as the central corporate hub for everything under our umbrella.

Last and closest to my heart is the news that we are going to be splintering off the GBA DS Cover Project to it's own website. That's right, the GBA DS Cover Project in it's current state will cease to exist and it will be replaced with an awesome site that will eventually be the number one cover site on the net. Once that site goes live it will be located at

Look forward to more exciting news as Snackbar Media and all of our sites continue to grow.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Moment of Silence

I've been slammed today and meaning to put this up since I got to work. Today is the 5th "anniversary" of the 9/11 attacks here in the US and I just wanted to take a moment to remember that horrible day. I use the term "anniversary" loosely as anniversaries are typically happy times and what happened on 9/11/2001 was anything but happy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Angry Europeans Launch Website about PS3

People upset about Sony's decision to delay the PS3 in Europe have launched a new website called This is Waiting. The site looks more like a Photoshop Friday from Something Awful with a forum for discussing what could be one of Sony's major mistakes in this debacle of a launch. Some of the parody movie posters are just classic including the "Failure to Launch" one.

They say that any press is good press, but in this case I am going to have to disagree 100%.

LEGO Batman

With LEGO Star Wars 2 due out next week and LEGO Star Wars a huge success it only makes sense that LEGO would run with this momentum and they have. CVG is carrying a story that the new character to get the LEGO treatment is the Dark Knight himself. That's right, LEGO Batman is coming.

Unfortunately there aren't any screenshots available, but you can bet this is going to be a sweet foray into the world of one of the darkest comic book cities, Gotham City.

Source: CVG

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Podcast: Storylines

Pickle wrote:
Podcast time and we want you good opinionated people to chime in. This week's topic "Storylines In Gaming". How many times have you heard "the story line was terrible" about a game that you really enjoy. How about when you feel a storyline truly is weak? How much pull does a storyline have in your decision to buy a game, or opinion of a game? We want to know, so please post away and get your take in the Snackbar Games Podcast.

Piling on Sony

I hate to kick them when they are down, but it seems like the rumors of problems with the PS3 have come to a head today. First Sony has to scrap their attempted worldwide launch of the PS3, which everyone should have known was a bad idea. Microsoft attempted it and basically couldn't meet demand here while the 360s sat on store shelves in Japan.

Next, they have scaled back the number of shipping consoles at launch to around 500,000 (according to this AP report). That puts 100,000 consoles in Japan and 400,000 in North America. The revised end of year consoles has been pushed down to 2 Million with the company still committed to shipping 6 Million consoles by the end of March 2007.

I know sometimes we are a little hard on Sony around here, but the reality is that having them drop from this business would be bad. Competition is always good and I love to see a little rivalry between platforms. I think at this point we just have to wait and see what happens.

Source: Ars

Playstation 3 delayed in Europe

Wayne wrote:
Wow... Sony must really hate Europe. They claim that due to a shortage of a specific part needed to make the Blu-Ray drive operable, Sony must cut back on production. They've decided what is most important to them.

We decided to focus on the Japanese and U.S. markets,

Isn't that special. This doesn't affect me in any way because I'm not interested in getting the Playstation 3, nor am I living in Europe, but I could see how some of our european Snackbar members might be a bit miffed about this.

I wonder how many times Europe can get abused by gaming companies before they completely give up. Only time will tell.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Team Fortress 2 Video

An old co-worker of mine shot me a link to a video of Team Fortress 2 hosted on You can check out the video here. Talk about sweet looking. This is definitely something I could get geeked up over.

The idea of a cartoony/fun Serious Sam style game of this caliber should get PC gamers ready for some action. Let's just see if the game actually makes it to retail this time.

Review: Crystal Quest - Xbox360

Title: Crystal Quest
Platform: Xbox360
Author: Mythological
At the thrifty price of only four hundred Microsoft points (five bucks) you really can’t go wrong with Crystal Quest.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Labor Day

I just wanted to wish all of you in the States a happy and safe Labor Day. We'll see you back here on Tuesday.

Atlus to Publish Etrian Odyssey

It's been a veritable flood of info from Atlus this week. They just informed us that they acquired the North American publishing rights for Etrian Odyssey. Etrian odyssey is another DS title headed for a Q1 release in 2007. The Etrian Odyssey website is not yet live, but here is an exceprt about the game from the press release:

In a vast and fertile land lies a small town known as Etria, a peaceful village that became famous for a startling discovery. A crack in the vast forest opened at Etria's edge, leading downward like a gaping maw. It all began there...

Those who hear rumors of the labyrinth of Etria, whether young or old, begin to harbor dreams of exploring it.

I don't know much about the game, but the guys behind it were involved with Trauma Center, Shin Megami Tensi: Devil Summoner, and Actraiser so expect it to be pretty solid.

Assassin's Creed headed to 360

Despite the lack of an annoucement earlier, most of the gaming world expected Assassin's Creed to come out for the 360. UbiSoft made that official this morning by announcing that Assassin's Creed would in fact be coming out for the 360 at the same time as the PS3 version, which is currently slated for Q1 2007. UbiSoft's Montreal team is hard at work on the game. This is the same group that put out Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia. Expect this to be a spectacular game.

Source: Everywhere (IGN, Gamespot)

Contact Website Live

Atlus launched the website for yet another upcoming game late yesterday. Contact is a new game headed for the DS in October. The premise behind Contact is a rather interesting and quite simple story. Terry, a young lad who has a tendency to ditch class far too often, is whisked away in a spaceship by a strange professor. The why is not really touched upon, but it's your job to save Terry and the Professor from the unknown planet they end up on.

The screens make Contact look like a very unique game. For more info, head over to the official Contact website.