Free 1-year Subscription to EGM

I usually do this about once a year. I actually started getting my free issues of EGM and Gaming for Windows just the other day. It may a take a few weeks to get there, but you WILL get your magazines. Definitely not a scam 😮

From joystiq:

Surely you leave the house and/or office? And perhaps if your phone doesn’t support our lovely, lightweight mobile page,
you find yourself reaching for the comfortable contours of a print
magazine. Something familiar. Something that reminds you of the days
when you had little more to worry about than remembering to grab your
lunchbox out of the fridge before catching the bus. Something like …
EGM, which has always been there for you.

To make sure you’re comforted in those dark times, we’ve buddied up with the good folks at Ziff once again to give away 22,000
45,000 (we went ahead and added some more for y’all) free 1-year
subscriptions (US readers only, alas!) to their flagship gaming mag.
How free? You won’t need to provide your credit card information; your
subscription won’t be automatically renewed at the end of the year; and
you’ll need to “opt-in” to renew your subscription before receiving any
bill for the magazine. Free. Our way of saying thanks for spending your
computer time with us.

PS3 Does Well In Japan, X-box 360 Left Out…

…in the cold, apparently.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately on news articles such as these mainly because I look for perspective on the gaming industry. Well, I found an interesting one in this article. Apparently Sony’s PS3 has, for the first time since launch, sold more in Japan than Nintendo’s Wii. I thought that was pretty amazing considering PS3’s launch was a horrible, horrible lesson in supply and demand, as well as proper pricing, as you have seen from the more recent $100 price drop on the PS3.
Also, and probably more importantly, X-box 360 is having compatibility
issues with Halo 3, according to the article, gamers are complaining
that it’s not fully compatible with the hardware. As if that wasn’t bad
enough, there is also a class-action lawsuit that has been filed by
said gamers. On top of console “meltdowns”, literally, as well as
breakdowns, Microsoft has put aside somewhere in the neighborhood of $1
billion to address the issue.

Also, for you investors out there, EA and Activision stock is up. Huzzah!

For more information, please read the article itself, as well as check out the forum thread I’ve started over at OverClocked Remix for discussion.

Chrono Trigger Retranslation Patch Released

After a long month of grueling work by ZeaLitY and others, a patch for KWhazit’s Chrono Compendium Chrono Trigger Retranslation is out. In addition to inserting the entire script, the hack uses a fix to mimic Ayla’s nickname for Crono, adds in Sky / Dark elemental icons to replace Lightning / Shadow, and restores the Japanese ending art for the Marle searching for Crono with the Epoch ending. The only external changes are a pre-title screen and changes in the ASCII credits; there are no easter eggs. The linked page also connects to a “making-of / how-to” feature and a pack of three patches allowing users to implement the changes described above on personal projects. So, surprise! And have fun.

Retranslation Patch (7zip)
Retranslation Patch (zip)

National Video Games Day

From kotaku:

“Happy National Video Games Day! I know you’ve all been eagerly awaiting
this day, reserving a day off of work or school to spend a lazy
afternoon participating in our favorite hobby. I am sure you’ve got
some massive parties planned, so be sure to send us photos of how you
celebrate the holiday with your friends and loved ones! Yeah, we had no
idea either, but Holiday Insights and American Greetings indicate that September 12th is NVGD. You’d think someone would have mentioned it to us.”

Celebrate National Video Games Day by playing video games.
If you are off from school (or if you are a big kid off from work),
make this a marathon day for video games. Better still, invite a few
friends and hold a competition. Just make certain that you have enough
controllers.

That’s the blurb from Holiday Insights, which
goes on to state that they have no record of the origin of the holiday
or that indeed it even exists. Whatever. American Greetings needs gamer
money too you know.

National Video Games Day [Holiday Insights]

Console Digest: Modchip Raid, PS3 gets Recording Capabilities

U.S. Customs agents raid 32 homes and businesses in an attempt to curb illegal console modding, and Sony announces an expansion of the PS3’s capabilities.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency served search warrants on 32 homes and businesses which were involved in creating and distributing methods of circumventing copyright protection on game consoles. Although no details were released with regard to arrests or seizures, the raids were related to the sale of mod chips and swap discs for the PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Wii.

Source: PC World

Sony announced a new feature due out in March 2008 that will allow the PS3 to be used as a digital TV recorder, much like other DVRs like TiVo. This continues Sony’s trend of marketing the PS3 as more than just a gaming device, which has been sold in some markets primarily as a Blu-ray player and not as a console.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

PS3 Price Cut, 360 Policy Change, Wii Still Winning – Update 2

Is $100 enough for Sony?Sony first denied, then confirmed a planned $100 price cut for the PS3 after retailers leaked the information. The price cut is part of a plan by Sony to boost the console’s poor sales, after strategies based on exclusive software failed to differentiate the console enough to spur sales. The announcement comes alongside plans for an 80GB model to be sold at the old price point of $600, and a yet-unannounced UK price cut, where the console currently sells for £425 (over $800 US).
Microsoft has their own plans to please customers, announcing a grandfathered upgrade to the warranty, giving full repair coverage for three years from date of purchase for the “three red lights” failure, at a cost of about $1.1 billion US. Since the console has yet to hit its second birthday, the three-year plan covers every console sold to date, and MS will be issuing refunds to those who have already paid for repairs.

Meanwhile, the Wii’s strategy of a low price point and unique features have kept it on top of the console war. Wii sales are continuing to grow and are outpacing supply in Japan, outselling the PS3 by a factor of six, where the console was “only” selling four times as many units three months ago. The robust sales of the latest Nintendo console are probably the reason for their relative silence in relation to Sony and Microsoft, but we’ll probably see a lot of action in the next few weeks as E3 rolls into town.

Sources:
TimesOnline
The Inquirer (UK)

PS3 Update

It seems the PS3 price cut is just a ploy to make room for a cheaper-to-produce model to come back at the original $599 price point. A lot of interviews and confusion later, and the unfolding story is that the 80GB model is cheaper to produce for Sony since, rather than having hardware support for PS2 games, it will rely on software emulation like the European models. So in the end Sony’s taking less of a loss on each of the new units, by taking more of a loss on each of the old ones. Confused yet?

Source: salon.com

DDR used to combat obesity in HS gym class

Reported on ArsTechnica, the niché market aerobic arcade game is being pioneered as a bridge between sedentary gaming habits of the American youth and traditional gym class activities, such as basketball, which require a pre-existing level of fitness for participation. In the studies reported most students were found to have halted weight gain and increased fitness (although no guaranteed weight loss).

Go to www.arstechnica.com for the full article.

RomHacks: Super Demo World

For as long as there have been ROMs, there have been RomHacks. Most of them are terrible, just making Mario blue, Sonic brown, or breaking the game entirely.

But amidst all the piles of what we will call ‘donkey dung’ for the sake of self-censorship, a few gems shine brightly. This is the first of a series of articles on some of the better ones.

This week, we cover Super Demo World. From the hack’s site:

Super Demo World title screen“Demo World is a hack to demonstrate how well Lunar Magic can modify Super Mario World. […] The third version of Demo World was released on September 21, 2003. Called “Demo World : The Legend Continues” (DW:TLC), it’s a full hack of Mario World that’s complete right to the end. It showcases many of the features in Lunar Magic, including the new tile and palette animation feature included in version 1.60. And as with the original Demo World, it has new custom blocks such as screen-scrolling type pipes that are similar to what you’d see in Mario 3. A version 1.1 update was released about a month later to fix a few bugs.

I was introduced to this hack from a thread on SomethingAwful, where I was treated to a commentated attempt to beat the game, not without frustration or error. Intrigued, I tracked down a copy and started playing myself.

The ice worldBeing a romhack, they definitely had the full features of an emulator in mind when designing the levels. I certainly wouldn’t have reached as far as the second world without savestate abuse.

To complete the presentation, here’s a tool-assisted speedrun of the game from Google Video.