Interview With Barry Hitchens About Game On (Podcast)

Interview With Barry Hitchens About Game On (Podcast)I had a fascinating conversation with Barry Hitchens, the exhibition consultant of the excellent Game On exhibition, which is currently at the Science Museum, it’s eleventh venue in a world tour that started in the Barbican in 2002.

You can listen in to Barry’s vast knowledge of video games and hear about the trials and tribulations of touring the show around the world.

The show has changed over the years, and Barry gives a lowdown on what has worked and what hasn’t, while outlining the history of significant stages of video gaming.

If you like video games, you’re going to love this.

Interview with Barry Hitchens – Exhibition consultant Game On

Excitement Building For UK Wii Launch

Excitement Building For UK Wii LaunchFollowing the success of the launch of the Nintendo Wii in the US where 600,000 units were sold within the eight days – that’s nearly one per second, the buzz about the UK launch continues to heighten.

First came selling out its pre-order allocation of Wii’s within seven minutes – although the number of actual units sold were never disclosed.

During our coverage of its early public unveiling at the Game On exhibition, we noted that the people were really rather excited about the Wii coming out. It looks like it’s going to do pretty well here.

News of a tie up between HMV shops and Nintendo will see the now-expected midnight launch at their Oxford Street flagship store of the gaming platform.

Starting at 11pm the great-unwashed (that’s you and me) will be able to play against some ‘celebrities’ called Ian Wright, Jodie Kidd, Pat Cash and Ricky Hatton (whoever they are).

Excitement Building For UK Wii LaunchGlobally Nintendo is planning to ship 4 million console before the end of 2006, a record for them.

Surprisingly the shipping in Japan starts on 2 Dec (the home country normally gets the product first) with the Europe-wide launch following on the 8 Dec.

The retail price of €249/£179 with Wii Sports game including Tennis, Bowling, Boxing, Golf and Baseball included in the box.

Included with every Wii console is one wireless Wii Remote, a Nunchuk, Wii Sports game, Stereo AV Cable and the sensor bar for Wii’s unique control system.

We can’t wait.

Get Ready To Play PS3 And Wii At The Science Museum

Play PS3 and Wii At Science MuseumThe Nintendo Wii and Sony’s Playstation3 (PS3) will be available for play at the Game On exhibition at the Science Museum from Wednesday. Expect queues.

Don’t bother flying to the USA and queueing for three days to be the first to get your PS3, or splashing out £1,000 to buy one from eBay, that may, or may not actually turn up. If you live in the UK, it couldn’t be simpler – just get yourself down there when the doors open at 11am to get your hands on the first publicly available PS3 in the UK and the attention-attracting Wii.

The PS3 is scheduled for launch in March in the UK, while it’s emerging that only around 150,000 were shipped at the recent US launch. The Wii’s UK launch is much closer – 8th December, having had its US launch already.

Play PS3 and Wii At Science MuseumThe two new boys will be alongside the current exhibition, which cover the history of video games, starting back in the early 1960’s.

We went to the first Game On exhibition when it was at the Barbican in 2002 and were highly impressed with it. Not just the number of games and platforms covered, but the sheer depth of the knowledge on show.

We’ve spoken to the organisers and hear that quite a few of the exhibits have changed from the early days, including items that have been picked up over the years as the show has travelled over the world.

Play PS3 and Wii At Science MuseumWhen you get bored of all the new stuff, by way of a stark contrast, you’ll be able to play the world’s first computer game, Spacewar!, from 1962 as well.

To book tickets or find out further details contact 0870 906 3890 or take a look at the site. The exhibition ends Feb.07. Ticket prices Adults £8.50; Children and concessions £6.50

Science Museum Game On Exhibition
The Original Game On Exhibition

Wireless Voice Chat First: Metroid Prime Hunters on Nintendo DS

At eTech last week I pleasantly surprised to see a hard-core of Nintendo DS users with the majority of them running Animal Crossing at breakfast, to ensure their lands were set up for the day.

This news, literally just in, extends the DS to include wireless voice chat – a significant change that will enable another channel of free voice communication between people that probably like chatting quite a lot.

IN SPACE NOBODY CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM… -At least not until now! Metroid Prime Hunters launches with wireless voice chat technology –

13th March 2006 – The wait for the interstellar bounty-hunters, and gaming’s toughest heroine is finally over as Metroid Prime Hunters launches across Europe on 5th May 2006. This game features touch-screen controls, Wi-Fi game play, a fully-fledged single player 3D first person shooter mode as well as an extensive online multiplayer first person shooter mode. For the first time on a Nintendo DS game, Metroid Prime Hunters include wireless voice chat technology allowing players to talk with friends before and after battle, whilst using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and microphone, wherever they are in the world.

Raised by an ancient alien race, Samus is the galaxy’s top bounty hunter, utilising her advanced Varia suit to give her near super-human powers and using an arm mounted cannon to blast her way past any opposition. Now Samus has been hired by the Galactic Federation to recover powerful alien artefacts before deadly bounty hunters get their hands on them. In space there’s no law and no back up, Samus will have to use all of her skills to return alive.

Featuring some of the most advanced 3D graphics for a held-held system, playing Metroid Prime Hunters brings you the great graphics seen in Metroid Prime on Nintendo GameCube with the added benefit of it being on a portable handheld system. The vast single-player mode in Metroid Prime Hunters is among one of the most exciting seen on a hand-held console to date and the game can also proudly claim to be the first multiplayer first person shooter to grace a hand-held system. While playing, the fast-paced seamless levels are displayed with perfect clarity on the top Nintendo DS screen, while a map and radar showing enemy locations is visible on the bottom.

The gameplay possibilities that the Nintendo DS can offer really allows Metroid Prime Hunters to stand out from the rest. Players use the Nintendo DS d-pad to walk around while the stylus is used to look about the area and aim their weapon, much like a PC based First Person Shooter. The stylus control allows players to turn and target with pinpoint accuracy. Icons strategically placed on the touch-screen also allow players to switch weapons and convert Samus into her Morph Ball form with ease.

The fun doesn’t stop there either! You might have proven yourself against intergalactic bounty hunters in the game’s single player mode, but there is still much more to experience with the game’s expansive multiplayer modes. Metroid Prime Hunters features numerous online and offline multiplayer modes, allowing players to compete locally with friends using the Nintendo DS wireless link and then battle people across the globe thanks to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.

Players without access to Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection service can use Single-Card Play to enter battle in a selection of arenas with three friends, using only one cartridge. Or if all players have copies of the game, they can engage in one of the game’s seven multiplayer modes in Multi-Card Play with a selection of seven characters and ten arenas to choose from.

Playing Metroid Prime Hunters using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection allows players to take their newly honed skills and show them off to players around the world for free* using their home broadband connection or one of Nintendo’s public Wi-Fi hotspots. Players can select Find Game to play against opponents from across the globe, chosen by their skill level or battle friends from the list saved on their Nintendo DS in Friend’s and Rivals mode.

Prepare for the ultimate space mission as Metroid Prime Hunters goes on sale across Europe on 5th May 2006 at the estimated retail price of around £30.

Opera Web Browser Now On Nintnedo DS

Opera, Opera, everywhere

Opera have had a concerted effort to place their Web browser on _everything_, most recently, with AJAX support on digitalTV.

Nintendo have made an interesting move here. The DS has always been focused on providing gaming, so to take the jump to making it a Web-access device is significant.

Those interested in running it will need to buy a Opera on a DS card and they’ll be away – browsing over Wifi on the dual screens.


February 15, 2006: Opera Software today announced that it will deliver the World Wide Web to Nintendo DS users in Japan. In Opera’s agreement with Nintendo, Nintendo DS users will now be able to surf the full Internet from their systems using the Opera browser. The Opera browser for Nintendo DS will be sold as a DS card. Users simply insert the card into the Wi-Fi enabled Nintendo DS, connect to a network, and begin browsing on two screens.

Earlier this year, Nintendo reported that 13 million Nintendo DS systems were sold to consumers around the world within just 13 months of its debut in November 2004. Nintendo DS combines unique dual screens, touch screen, voice recognition and wireless and Wi-Fi communications capabilities. According to an independent market research company in Japan, Nintendo DS has become the fastest selling video games machine to top the 6 million sales mark in Japan in just over 14 months since its Japanese debut, breaking the old record held by Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance.

“The incredibly popular Nintendo DS is already Wi-Fi enabled to support real?time gaming, so adding Web browsing capabilities was a natural evolution for this device,” says Scott Hedrick, Executive Vice President, Opera Software. “Gaming devices are growing more advanced and a great Web experience is becoming a product differentiator for gaming manufacturers. Opera is excited to work with Nintendo to deliver a unique dual screen, full Internet experience on Nintendo DS.”

With an on?screen keypad and stylus, users can easily navigate the Web from their Nintendo DS with PDA?like functionality. Based on the same core as the Opera desktop browser, Opera delivers superior speed and rendering of Web pages on the Nintendo DS.

“Within just five seconds of turning on the system, the Nintendo DS is already fully operational. This makes it the ideal device to enable people to swiftly obtain the latest information from the internet, wherever they are,” says Masaru Shimomura, Deputy General Manager of Nintendo’s R & D Department. “Opera exceeded our expectations with its user friendly interface, quick access to all your favorite sites, ease of use and, most importantly, in making the best use of the Nintendo DS system’s unique double screens and touch screen features. Opera is an important partner for Nintendo in our efforts to further expand the users of the Nintendo DS.”>Nintendo Co., Ltd. held a presentation today in Tokyo, Japan, to announce updates for the Nintendo DS. Information on the availability of the Opera browser DS card has not yet been announced.

DS Lite: New official Nintendo photos

This just in … New official photos of the Nintendo DS Lite. Since the end of January, there’s been mockups and photoshop’d images appearing on gadgets sites all over the Web.

DS Lite: New official photos

Well, you know that good things come to those that wait and we’re here to deliver to you – witness the very latest, hot off the wires images of the DS Lite.

Nintendo top man Satoru Iwata announced it on 26 Jan, telling the world the Nintendo DS Lite would be less than two-thirds the size of the original DS and more than 20 percent lighter. He also revealed, to the relief of many, that it would also have a brighter screen too.

It’s expected to hit Japan in March – the start is rurmoured. Europe and elsewhere sometime after.

DS Lite: New official photos

DS Lite: New official photos

Nintendo Japan DS Lite site

UK Pets Ousted By iPods And Consoles

UK Pets Ousted By iPods And ConsolesA report by compilers Mintel International has revealed that pets are being ousted by consumer electronics in British homes.

The percentage of British homes with a pet has fallen from almost 55 per cent in 1999 to 48 per cent, with consumers so obsessed with fragging space aliens and listening to iPods that there’s no time for looking after cute little Tiddles and frisky Fido.

UK Pets Ousted By iPods And ConsolesThe study observed that, “In those families with children, the demand for pets may not be as strong as it once was, since many children now prefer to immerse themselves in the world of computer games and TV programmes”.

The report suggests that the decline in pet ownership has also been exacerbated by modern living, exemplified by “longer working hours, the increase of overseas holidays and the trend to live in flats and smaller homes”.

UK Pets Ousted By iPods And ConsolesBut it’s not all bad news for our precious pampered pooches and treasured tabbies, with the report revealing that sales of pet food, accessories and pet insurance have rocketed by 24 percent in the past five years, reaching a total of US$6.5 billion.

“Amongst the gloom of reduced pet ownership shines the very bright light that is the continued willingness of owners to indulge themselves and their pets,” purred Katy Child, senior retail analyst at Mintel.

“Despite a decline in the popularity of some pets, the remaining pet owners have shown themselves willing to spend more than ever before,” she added, stroking furiously.

UK Pets Ousted By iPods And ConsolesWith the rise of home entertainment robots like the Sony Aibo and the forthcoming Nintendo virtual pet game, Nintendogs (where virtual dogs will respond to voice commands and bark at passing Nintendog consoles), we wonder how long it will be before children think that pets live on batteries.

And with no pets in the house, hen-pecked husbands looking to slip out to the pub for a sneaky feast of lager are going to have to find a new excuse as, “Honey, I’m taking the iPod for a walk,” isn’t likely to convince.

Mintel International
Nintendogs (in Japanese)

A Teenage Take On Digital-Lifestyles

We all sit around postulating about what changes the digitisation of media will bring and how that will affect us. We thought it would be a good idea to ask the generation that have grown up with digital media (CD’s) what their view of the news was.

15 year old Lawrence Dudley has a strong knowledge of technology and digital media, so he’s well placed to reflect on the weeks news.

PS3 Launching Spring 2006: Sony At E3Games:
So, it’s come to that time again: The whole “my console’s better than yours” and subsequent scramble for market share between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Although I personally really dislike Microsoft, I have to admit that their console is looking the most tempting so far: It’s the only one that has properly been launched and its feature set is looking more than promising.

This leaves Sony and Nintendo: Personally, I tend to dismiss most of Nintendo’s offerings out of hand, as I don’t believe that their gear really appeals to me. It’s all so… gimmicky and childish. I mean, who would you rather have? That hot-looking chick from Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball, or The Mario Bros.? Answers itself really…

Xbox 360 SkinI don’t currently own an Xbox, but I have been quite a fan of Sony’s Playstation for a while: I had two of the original Playstations, PS1 and PS2 for various reasons. You might’ve thought that I would’ve been looking forward to the The Worst Foods To Eat Over A Keyboard
This article brought a big smile to my face: There’s nothing better than watching various Linux zealots argue over which food they ate over their keyboards. Nothing too serious, but you know … gotta have something to do while you’re, erm, doing your homework or something like that =) So which do you think it would be? Pizza? Coke?

That’s it from me, enjoy!

Nintendo Revolution Console Details Revealed: E3

Nintendo Revolution Console Details Revealed: E3After the high profile launches of Microsoft’s next generation consoles, Nintendo disappointed razzamatazz-seeking visitors at the E3 show by serving up a rather understated presentation.

Beginning with a talk about their plans for their other consoles, Nintendo revealed their upcoming Game Boy Micro and the “Nintendo WiFi Connection”, a free worldwide gaming service for the DS.

Of course, what the assembled hacks really wanted to know about was the new Revolution console, but Saturo Iwata, Nintendo’s main man, was coy on specific details, offering a black prototype box with a blue front-loading disc drive.

This, Iwata explained, was still only a prototype and the small size – about the same as three DVD cases stacked on top of each other – may become even smaller by the time the Revolution hits the shops.

Nintendo Revolution Console Details Revealed: E3A few facts did emerge: the Revolution will come with 512MB of internal RAM, an IBM CPU, ATi GPU, an SD slot, built-in WiFi, wireless controllers and a selection of USB2 ports.

The expected whizz bang, jaw-dropping demo videos were not in attendance, although Itawa assured the audience that the Revolution’s graphics will “wow” gamers when they finally get an eyeful of them.

Not everyone is convinced about these claims, with some industry pundits predicting that the Revolution’s processing power will be but a mere squeak compared to the mighty powerhouses lurking inside the PS3 and X360 consoles.

But Nintendo’s success has been built on gameplay not sheer grunt, a fact highlighted by Itawa, “It is the game experience that will most separate Revolution from its competitors.”

Nintendo Revolution Console Details Revealed: E3Nintendo’s new machine will be their first console capable of playing standard storage DVDs, but they haven’t forgotten their old-school fans, with the Revolution able to accept Ye Olde Gamecube discs.

Impressively, the company has ensured that backward compatibility goes all the way back to the dawn of time, offering support for every single game that has ever been released for a Nintendo home system – including N64, SNES and NES consoles.

Nintendo teased the crowd with talk of a new online content delivery service, although actual details were thin on the ground.

Unlike Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo were unable to roll out an all-star glittering cast of big name game partners, although Itawa was able to confirm several games under development for the Revolution including Metroid Prime 3, The Legend of Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong.

The Final Fantasy series is also expected to appear onto the Revolution as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicle.

Nintendo Revolution Console Details Revealed: E3Rumours persist that Nintendo may have a surprise up their sleeve for the end of the expo, but so far reaction to their presentation seems a little muted.

The Revolution faces fearsome competition from Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 as manufacturers move to create digital entertainment hubs rather than simple video games consoles.

“They are all pursing strategies that really play to their own strengths,” said P.J. McNealy, a senior analyst at American Technology Research. “At this point it is primarily marketing and position, that’s the main goal here.”


Game Boy Micro Launched by Nintendo

Nintendo Game Boy Micro LaunchedAlthough Nintendo’s Revolution launch yesterday was a bit thin on detail, the company have now released full details of their itsy-bitsy addition to the Game Boy family, Game Boy Micro.

Sizing up at a diminutive four inches wide, two inches tall, and 0.7 inches thick, Nintendo are billing the Game Boy Micro as the “smallest and sleekest Game Boy product” they’ve created, claiming that it will fit comfortably into the pocket of your “tightest jeans.”

We’re not quite sure that they’ll find space in the straining waistband of Billy “20 Pints” McQuaffer, but it is a wee thing with dimensions only slightly larger than an iPod Mini and weighing just 2.8 ounces (“the same weight as 80 paper clips” as Nintendo bizarrely informed us).

The Game Boy Micro offers the same processing power as the Game Boy Advance SP models and plays all the same titles while, apparently, lending you an air of “industrial-hip cool.”

Nintendo Game Boy Micro Launched“We’re making the gorgeous Game Boy Micro for image-conscious folks who love video games, the ones who want the look of their system to be as cool as the games they play on it,” waffled George Harrison, who has one of the longest job descriptions we’ve seen for a while: Nintendo Of America’s Senior Vice President Of Marketing And Corporate Communications.

But Harrison (NOASVPOMACC) wasn’t quite finished with the ludicrous marketing tosh: “Because of its diminutive size and industrial-hip look, Game Boy Micro immediately identifies the person playing it as a trendsetter with discriminating style.”

So there you have it: any hopeless buffoon walking around with a Micro will automatically be transformed into a style icon….

Back in the real world, Nintendo are well chuffed with their new two-inch backlit screen – “the best Game Boy screen ever” – which lets users adjust the brightness of the screen to adapt to indoor lights or outdoor sunshine.

Nintendo Game Boy Micro LaunchedWrapping up the feature list, the Game Boy Micro comes with a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, supports standard headphones and comes with a removable face plate for that all-important customisation thang.

Game Boy Micro is expected to be released this autumn.