Science Papa Gets Flack Over Blatant Rip-Off…

and I say, “Who cares?”

Chibi Einstein is creepy.

Chibi Einstein is creepy.

As some of you may recall, I spent an entire post ranting about the lack of quality mini-games for girls. And yes, I know that Science Papa is not aimed specifically at girl gamers, but with a name so eerily similar to the hit Cooking Mama, I’m sure a few of them will be picking this title up.

So who’s responsible for lifting the patented Cooking Mama formula and using it for ill-gotten education? Activision! And WHY is it a blatant rip-off you ask? It takes the formula of “recipes” and tasks kids (or, presumably, adults) with creating a finished product. All while Chibi-Einstein looks over your shoulder to make sure little Jimmy isn’t about to explode the lab. Or, as the press release put it…

…using fundamentals from a wide variety of sciences as a basis for fun skill-based experiments, Science Papa will turn living rooms into virtual laboratories that will fuel kids’ curiosity.

“With Science Papa, we’re taking real-world elements of science and giving players the chance to interact with them in safe and creative ways,” said David Oxford, Activision Publishing.“While the focus here is clearly family fun, the game can stimulate interest and discussion about science.”

In Science Papa, the player is the newest member of Science Papa’s research team, looking to become the greatest scientist in the world. It won’t be easy, however, as players must prove their scientific worth against a crazy cast of rival scientists in intense competitions. Science Papa features over 30 different experiments for players, and by utilizing motion controls or Nintendo DS stylus, players will pour and mix chemicals, pound objects into dust, monitor Bunsen burners, fix and use lab equipment and more. Players can also invite their friends into the lab, and compete against each other in split screen science competitions to see who can finish an experiment first, and with the most precision.

To give you a better visual, I found a couple of screen captures over at Gamespy.com.

Live Slimer! Live!

Live Slimer! Live!

Thanks to Gamespy for these screenshots!

Thanks to Gamespy for these screenshots!

So yeah, I can see the similarities, but realistically it’s not that big of a shocker. Either it’s a slow news month or game journalism is picking up tabloid headlines through osmosis. Damn you Wal-Mart check out lines!!!

Lots of games borrow properties from titles that came before. Hell, every platformer worth its salt borrowed from Super Mario Bros., then Sonic (before he met his tragic fall into Gaming Hell) and so forth. And if my kids are suddenly being tricked into learning like I was when I played The Oregon Trail on my Apple II in third grade, then I for one am not going to give Activision any crap for it.

Science Papa is coming to the Wii and Nintendo DS this July.

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Square Releases Spanking New Final Fantasy Trailer

ff-xiii-agito

Is there no gaming genre that developers WON’T shoe horn Hitler into? I mean, I know he’s the embodiment of evil but when he’s using swords and steampunk aircraft to destroy a replica of the Space Needle on top of a city behind the Great Wall of China…that’s a stretch. Oh wait, it’s the new Final Fantasy game for PSP. Now it all makes sense.

Originally slated to come out as an mobile application, somewhere along the way Square decided not to sell their dignity entirely and took a sharp right turn. The new look, for PSP, is right on par from what you expect from a Final Fantasy game. Take a look!

Sorry I couldn’t embed the video straight to the blog, but I can’t use Flash with my wordpress account and the video is so new that no one has stuck it up on YouTube yet. However, I did find some nice screenshots.


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Konami Wants Us To “Flick & Rub” Them

From the company that brought you Saw: The Game, Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid 4 and the Silent Hill series (along with Elebits and DDR) comes a new IP for the Nintendo DS.

WireWay

According to a press release yesterday…(BOLD added for hilarity)

Delivering a whole new type of gameplay to the DS, WireWay is an interactive action puzzle game that introduces a lovable, yet troublesome alien who has been dropped off by his ship and travels the planet jumping through wacky adventures. The player must take full advantage of DS’ unique touch-screen and online capabilities to flick, rub, and draw as he helps the alien navigate through 60 interactive, pulse-pounding levels. Additionally, the game features wireless gameplay, the ability to create stages, and much more.

In WireWay players utilize the touch-screen capabilities as they avoid dangerous obstacles – including falling rocks, eerie skulls, and spiky floors — while they flick the alien with the wire using the stylus, rub the screen to create wind, and draw wires to assist the alien. As they break walls, open new paths, and collect stars to power up, players have as much time as they need to avoid the enemies and help the alien find his way home.

Additionally, gamers can challenge up to four players wirelessly for an intense multiplayer race using the local wireless feature.

Now call me immature, but doesn’t anyone screen this stuff before it’s sent to press? Surely there are less…titillating word choices than “Flick & Rub the Alien”

While there are no trailers or gameplay video yet (the game isn’t scheduled until the Fall of 2009) clicking on the WireWay link above, or here for you lazy shits, will take you to Konami’s website where you will be inundated with more screenshots than you can flick OR rub. Without more information, I will be cautiously optimistic about this new puzzle game.

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WTF Product:Company To End Nintendo Blowjobs

Thanks to 1up.com for this awesome picture.

Thanks to 1up.com for this awesome picture.

Hey, remember how to fix any non-working NES? Barring the Wii and the Gamecube anyway. So any cartridge based NES. Yeah, you blow in it. Now, IGN has a hilarious blog entry about the “types” of blowers out there, and you can find numerous debates about whether getting human spit on the contact points is the equivalent of dropping your game in acid, but the point is…IT WORKS. And it’s free.

But no more! Save yourself the embarrassment of inevitable “blowjob” jokes by purchasing this handy new third party product. (Because third party products are not subject to randomly destroying your system or anything)

There are no words.

There are no words.

It’s the world’s first automated cleaner (assuming you don’t have a functional mouth). It boasts the following impressive features:

The new BLAZE battery powered cleaner ensures that your console and games stay in perfect condition using its unique automated, mechanized action . This 2 part automated device works on both the DS Lite, where it can clean both the DS and GBA game slots as well as game cards, and the DSi where it can clean your game slot and also game cards. How it works is easy; simply plug the device into the appropriate slot, press the “on” button and allow the static free microfibers to clean the internal connectors, thus ensuring years of trouble free gaming. This device is perfect for anyone who likes to take care of their game consoles and game library and ensure their items stay in tip top condition.

Hey kids, don’t forget to pre-order now. This baby isn’t available until May but by then all the cool kids will have snatched them up. Since wasting batteries is totally rad, or something.

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Atlus Holds “Steal Princess” Hostage

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Really, really long ago, there was an evil Demon King. He was evil. Really, really evil. And he did a lot of really, really evil things to a lot of people who didn’t deserve it.

But then the Hero appeared. (Applause!) He defeated the evil Demon King, and everything was good. Really, really good.

But now, centuries later, a new evil has appeared. It’s another demon, not quite as evil as the previous one, but still quite noticeably evil. And he wants to unlock the old Demon King’s power, so he can become even MORE evil.

Does anyone have the courage to stand up to this new evil? Unfortunately, no. However, a lone thief has been volunteered to rid the land of this demon and his minions.

She’s a little reluctant and a little lazy, but she’s ALLLLLL Hero!

No, I didn’t write that. o_O

The above is the official plotline of the new Atlus game for the Nintendo DS. Steal Princess somehow slipped under my radar. I knew it existed and that it was supposed to be quirky and fun (two things that instantly draw me to DS titles) but then I got distracted by my attention span of a fruit fly. But no more!

Steal Princess is a 3-D puzzle platformer with a twist. Instead of the usual save the princess mechanic, you’re playing as a reluctant female thief (or Steal Princess…get it? Ha ha.) who is tasked with saving the kingdom’s prince. Yay feminism? The game has over 150 levels of play, an array of items to collect and utilize and enemies based on the elements to kill. Unlike Pokemon though, where each type is damaged by its opposite, in Steal Princess the creatures can only be hurt by the SAME type. So say you have a flame kobold. Water won’t hurt it but fire will.

But the really cool thing about Steal Princess is the mapmaker. If 150 levels isn’t enough for you, make your own.  As you progress through the game, you will gain access to everything you’ve seen. Use it to create an unlimited number of combinations and then challenge your friends through the DS Wi-Fi capabilities. Or take it to the next level and create something so epic that you become famous throughout the DS world.

Originally slated to be coming out April 21st, the game has unfortunately been pushed back to May 19th. But Atlus has sweetened the news by promising a mini-poster with beautiful art inspired by the game for anyone that pre-ordered Steal Princess or picks it up at launch. And some of the marketing artwork is stunning. This isn’t the mini-poster but the artwork will probably be similar to this style.

steal_princess_touzoku_oujo_ds_17848

But why are they delaying the game you ask? Well, it’s not buggy or anything. An Atlus spokesperson tried to shed some light:

Releasing a few weeks later gives us more time to familiarize gamers with this creative, original title,” stated Tim Pivnicny, VP of Sales and Marketing at Atlus. “Because Steal Princess will be available through fewer sales channels and in smaller quantities than other Atlus releases, finding the optimal launch conditions is critical to ensuring that this daring new release avoids getting lost in an already busy April.

So spread the word people, lest they decide to hold this game hostage to their marketing ploy indefinitely.

Steal Princess has been rated “E10” for Everyone 10 and older with Language, Mild Fantasy Violence, and Suggestive Themes by the ESRB.

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Discovering Mobile Gaming

Glorious gaming.

Glorious gaming.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m out of the loop. But the last time I had a phone that could play games, I was moving a pixilated snake around the screen to eat dots. I’ve been living in the darks ages of “need to eat” instead of “spiffy phone” for too long.

But no more! I’ve thrown off the shackles of low tech phones (thanks Unlce Sam!). And boy, have things come a long way.

The phone sucked me in with its pretty graphics and demo of Guitar Hero. ‘How do I play that without a guitar?’ I wondered. That was what they wanted me to ask. Sneaky bastards. Turns out you play with the top row of the QWERTY keypad but that’s not the point. The point is the damage was done. Before I knew it, I was at my provider’s website scrolling through dozens, nay, hundreds of games. It was like video game Mecca in there. All this time, I could’ve been playing Oregon Trail while waiting in the checkout line! How have I even lived without this?

Sure I knew that games like Bejeweled and Diner Dash and other casual games were out there for the phone. I like those types but never thought I’d buy them. However, killing zombies while waiting for my lunch? Shooting spaceships to keep the road rage at bay in bumper to bumper gridlock? Hell yes! And all in wonderful detailed color reminescent of the SNES or Sega.

So, all two of you readers, don’t be surprised if a mobile review or two pops up here and again. But for now, I’m off to die of dysentery.

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DSi To Hit American Shores This April

Shiny.

Shiny.

By now, everyone and their mother knows that Nintendo finally revealed a release date and price point for the Nintendo DSi. In case you happened to be not in the internet for the last few days, it’s coming April 5th for $169.99. It will be available in black or blindingly bright blue.

Bloggers and fans have already drawn lines in the sand. Either it’s the holy grail of Nintendo or the seventh sign of the apocalypse. But really, let’s break it down into why Nintendo put out this latest version.

STATS

  1. Larger screens: Yes, the concept of larger screens are nice and I would enjoy it, but slimming down the already small DS only makes people with large hands (like my husband) even more frustrated. Convenient for keeping in my purse though.
  2. Cameras: The DSi will incorporate two cameras into the system. One that faces the players and raises some interesting questions about future games and one that faces outward like a camera phone. Some argue that the .3 megapixel isn’t enough to take quality photos. True, but really, are you going to be working on that photography dream with your DS? No, but you might want to take a picture of that cat being chased by a pigeon.
  3. Internet Access: Yes, finally the DS is moving fully online. It will come with a browser and a DS store much like the WiiWare or Apps store on Itunes. Not much of a drawback here considering games will start as low as 200 points or $2. However, with the removal of the GBA slot that does leave some gamers with a bad taste in their mouth that they will be forced to buy GBA favorites all over again. That, and Wii Points have become Nintento Points but will not be interchangeable between systems. WTF Nintendo?
  4. SD Slot: Huzzah! We can store music, movies and games oh my! With the addition of the SD slot, Nintendo overcomes one of the biggest weaknesses of the DS…its lack of storage. Now people can download as many games as they want, listen to music, etc. This brings me to…
  5. Audio Enhancement: The DSi will have features that not only allow the playback of music but also the ability to control pitch and speed. Podcast going through a slow spot? Fast forward to the good parts. There are also a few fun quirks thrown in like the ability to play your MP3’s as 8-bit tunes.

The technical specs for the DSi are as follows as taken from Wikipedia:

  • CPUs: Two ARM processors. The main processor is an ARM9 clocked at 132MHz, a significant upgrade from the original 67MHz ARM9 processor that was in the DS and DS Lite. The co-processor is the same as the previous generations, a 33MHz ARM7 processor.
  • RAM: 16 MB of RAM (four times more than previous models)
  • Storage: 256 MB of internal Flash memory[30]
  • Wireless: 802.11 internal wireless connectivity

So love it or hate it, the DSi is coming to American shores before summer gets here. I’d love to own one, but not enough to cut out things like paying bills, or scrimping by without eating out. The siren song of my inner fangirl will break through one day and force me to shell out money for this spiffy new upgrade. Eventually Nintendo, eventually.

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