What a couple of weeks. First my computer started overheating and spontaneously shutting off. That got fixed. Then, the next week, Comcast took over the lease from Millennium Digital Cable in my apartment building. So, for the past three days, as they reinstalled their equipment in all of the units, my internet connection was off, on, and off again. Mostly off. The good thing is that the service from Comcast seems to be much better than that of Millennium Digital.
So here I am. Saturday at noon and I am trying to build a Game.Ars from scratch. Gosh, don’t you love reading about my trials and tribulations at the beginning of every Game.Ars column? Yeah, me neither, so let’s get to it.
Music to my ears
Electronic Arts announced last week that the soundtrack CD to its popular NBA Live basketball game had officially achieved platinum status. That’s one million copies sold. Think about it, that’s more than most games sell, period. I’ve seen game developers sink a ton of money into a solid game, put it out on the market, sell only 70,000 copies, and then go out of business. If they had a good soundtrack, they might have recouped their investment. They should have been in talks with Madonna first.
Someone call Eminem, I’m re-releasing Pong!
A new look at Frozen Throne
When Blizzard sneezes, game editors tend to bum-rush them with handfuls of Kleenex. So, as the beta test moves along, Gamespot is keeping the public on notice. With the latest impressions of The Frozen Throne, Blizzards WC3 expansion, Gamespot took a close look at what’s in store for the Night Elves and Orcs.
“The Frozen Throne’s new troll shadow hunter hero… …is extremely powerful and versatile; his abilities include healing wave (a healing spell that works just like chain lightning by bouncing off of allied units, healing less and less damage with each bounce).” – Gamespot.com staff
“The warden is the new night elf hero. …her abilities allow her to quickly strike vulnerable units in the opposing army. The blink ability allows her to instantly teleport anywhere on the screen.” – Gamespot.com staff
There’s a lot more cool information, so go read the full preview.
Molyneux makes a plea
In a recent plea to the UK government, Peter Molyneux said that “…making a successful video game has become too expensive for the smaller, independent developers.” Molyneux, the head of Lionhead Studios and creator of Black & White, is seeking government funds to help support Britain’s game-development industry.
In an article at bbc.co.uk, he is further quoted as saying “The small independents are the creators of all the new, fresh, and different ideas, and that is definitely going to suffer.” And indeed, we here at Game.Ars share his concerns. Molyneux believes the industry could be helped by setting up a government fund, such as the Film Council, which helps the British film industry.
But right now, Molyneux says: “Let’s put it this way, I’m not holding my breath.”
Read the full article here.
Get yer game on
The game is afoot! Gamecaster has announced that it is holding a big-time game competition in Las Vegas. The event will be a week-long, tournament-style Olympics of gaming goodness. Television crews will be on hand for a post-event broadcast. The official press release says:
The seven-day competition, which will be shot “live-on-tape” for a national television broadcast, will culminate with three Gamecaster Champions emerging in three respective video game genres.
[Insert Rocky soundtrack here]
More details are promised in the near future. For now, check out the Gamecaster Web site or the Gamecaster registration site.
Top of the pops
NPD has released its best-sellers for the week ending March 1. The month has come in like a lion for MOO3, a game that has disappointed me greatly. Ah well, they can’t all be winners, but they can still sell big-time!
- Master of Orion III – InfogramesCommand & Conquer: Generals – EASplinter Cell – Ubi SoftThe Sims Deluxe – EAGrand Theft Auto III – Take TwoThe Sims: Unleashed – EASimCity 4 – EAZoo Tycoon – MicrosoftBattlefield 1942: The Road to Rome – EABattlefield 1942 – EA
Make a match
Game.Ars usually focuses on PC gaming, but a friend of mine, and a clever game designer in his own right, sent me a link to his new game matching system. While this service, which comes to you via FlyingSheep.com, only supports PlayStation and PlayStation 2 at the moment, there are plans to expand the service in the future (hopefully). Here’s a bit of the official press documents:
Well, with FlyingSheep’s Game Match Service, you can compare like/dislike lists with gamers around the world in seconds! You can just browse the list and see which games are the most popular, or you can build your own gaming profile to get increasingly accurate recommendations.
Check it out here.
Bullet newsStar Wars Galaxies delayed. April release will not happen.Electronic Arts gets publishing rights for Black & White II.No One Lives Forever 2 patch brings new multiplayer modes.Arush to release Devastation demo late this month.The Week in PatchesNo One Lives Forever 2 to version 1.3.Command & Conquer: Generals to version 1.4.Neverwinter Nights to version 1.29.Gone GoldIndiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb – LucasArtsBlack Hawk Down – NovaLogicKeep Gaming. It’s low in saturated fat.- Carl