Jak and Daxter: 21st Century Captain Planet?

Obligatory platformer "lava level"

Obligatory platformer "lava level"

So yeah. I wish this was an April Fool’s Day joke. But no dice kids. This is the real deal.  That picture up there is from Sony’s newest game.  Jak and Daxter are back in a brand new adventure for PSP and Playstation 2. That’s right; they’re pre-emptively admitting to failure by not even putting the game on Playstation’s flagship system.

All right, maybe that was a tad harsh. As far as platformers go Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy was pretty cool. So cool in fact, it spawned two sequels, a spin-off racing game, and Daxter even got his own time in the spotlight on the PSP.

The original Jak and Daxter was an open world platformer in the vein of Super Mario 64 or Sly Cooper where the player was tasked with collecting items and saving the world in standard light-hearted fare. Jak II, on the other hand, went much darker (I assume in an attempt to “grow up” with its audience) and had more melee combat and an almost “Viva la Revolution!” and “Heroes Are Villains Too!” feel to it. Jak 3 continued this trend by having Jak outcast for helping the Underground (Viva la Revolution!…sorry) and him coming to terms with helping people that have turned their back on him.

Right. Now that we’re all up to relative speed, back to the topic at hand. Now, all of the Jak games have utilized “Eco” in some way; sometime it’s Dark or Light or Green, Yellow, Blue, etc.  But it was used as a gameplay element ONLY. For health or abilities or a plot device. I have no problem with that. But Sony and developer High Impact Games seemed be taking advantage of the Environmental Awareness Renaissance to plug their next game. Which is what I have a problem with. According to the press release (Bits in bold are for emphasis):

Hero Jak and his mischievous sidekick Daxter are back together… and for the first time-ever they’ve joined forces on PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable). Get set for the latest addition to the smash-hit Jak and Daxter™ series, Jak and Daxter™: The Lost Frontier from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Prepare for non-stop action and adventure as the duo travel across mysterious lands and take to the sky on a mission to save their planet from destruction. Take this incredible adventure with you anywhere on your PSP™, or play it at home with PlayStation®2– both out this autumn for PAL territories.

Picking up from where the original Jak and Daxter trilogy left off, Jak and furry friend Daxter team up with their friend Kiera on her quest to become a Sage and save their world from the threat of darkness. As the environment of their planet slowly dies, our two worldly heroes embark on a mission to protect their world from the threat of“dark eco”.

Beginning on foot, you’ll run and jump across undiscovered lands, before taking flight in one of five different aircrafts. With cheeky Daxter and our serious Hero Jak together on the adventure, fun and laugher is never far away. Blast airborne enemies and battle sky pirates with your powerful Gunstaff– a brand-new weapon that can transform into other new weapons.

The latest installment takes players to the long awaited“Lost Frontier” reached by the much-loved Jak and Daxter. Get set for a sky-high, laugh out loud and colourful new adventure with Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier. The future of their planet is in your hands with PSP – or save the day at home with PlayStation 2.

Oh, and from the Playstation US website:

…they must battle their way past air pirates and sinister creatures in their quest to find a cure for the world’s eco shortage.

Captain Planet, he's a hero...wait. Wrong genre.

Captain Planet, he's a hero...wait. Wrong genre.

Maybe I’m too jaded? Or cynical? Maybe this isn’t a blatant cash in on a pop culture trend. After all, this game must have been in development for years. But the timing does seem mighty handy. Even if it wasn’t Sony’s original intent, I’m sure their marketing department will slant this in a way to add to their 6 million units of Jak and Daxter games sold.

Comments from the peanut gallery?

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Sony Announces Fix To Backwards Compatibility

What's old is new again!

What's old is new again!

Great news today for anyone that has bought one of Sony’s new Playstation 3 systems that aren’t backwards compatible with PS2 and PSOne games. A peripheral has been released for only $99 that will play ALL of those dusty games on your shelf!

For over a week now, the internet has been buzzing with rumors and theories about Sony’s big announcement. Some thought it would be a sequel for one of their blockbuster titles, some thought it would be a PS3 price drop. Some even ruined the surprise through their network of moles.

Well, I for one am glad to see Sony stepping up and taking some initiative. Too many PS3 owners are hampered by their inability to play PS2 or PSOne games on their systems. But with new and, most importantly, affordable add-on, playing the old games will be a breeze. According to Sony’s website, installation of the “Playstation Two” (interesting marketing ploy that they’re reusing the name of their last generation system) is a breeze:

  1. Connect the flat end of the AV Cable to the AV MULTI OUT connector on the back of the PlayStation 2 system.

    toggle_box(getObject(‘expander_box1_link’), ‘expander_box1’);

  2. Connect the plugs on the other end of the A/V cable to the audio and video inputs on the back of your TV or VCR, matching colors. (If you will be using your PlayStation®2 to watch DVDs, connect the A/V cable to the VCR instead of the TV for best results.) If there is no red input on your TV or VCR, let the red plug dangle.
    Make sure the connections are secure.
    NOTE: Some TV inputs are not color-coded correctly, if this is the case, plug the yellow plug into the VIDEO IN input, the white plug into the AUDIO IN Left input, and the red plug into the AUDIO IN Right input. If there is no input for the red plug, let it dangle..

    toggle_box(getObject(‘expander_box2_link’), ‘expander_box2’);

  3. Connect the AC adaptor to the AC power cord. Connect the AC adaptor to the PlayStation 2 system.

    toggle_box(getObject(‘expander_box3_link’), ‘expander_box3’);

  4. Plug the AC power cord into a working electrical outlet.
  • Set Playstation 2 system on top of Playstation 3 system.

In all seriousness though, what the hell was Sony thinking? Getting everyone all worked up with their super secret secretness about a “Big Announcement” only to reveal it’s a price drop on the PS2. I mean yeah, it is the one system they have that actually SELLS but other than kids and poor saps that sold their systems to buy the PS3, who doesn’t already own one of these?

What do you think?

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Nintendo Dominates December Sales

npdlogoNumbers released this month by the NPD place Nintendo as the clear cut winner in December game sales. Six out of the top ten belong to them.  Five for the company’s Wii and one for the handheld DS.

Microsoft came in second with three titles in the top ten and Sony trailed behind with only one game ranking in at number nine.

Below is the list of December’s best selling video games as rated by the NPD group along with how many units sold.

1.   Wii Play w/ Remote (Wii)                     1.46M
2.   Call Of Duty: World At War (360)     1.33M
3.   Wii Fit (Wii)                                                999K
4.   Mario Kart (Wii)                                       979K
5.   Guitar Hero World Tour (Wii)            850K
6.   Gears Of War 2 (360)                             745K
7.   Left 4 Dead (360)                                   629K
8.   Mario Kart (DS)                                       540K
9.   Call Of Duty: World At War (PS3)     533K
10. Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)     497K