FALL 2006

Posts from October, November, and December 2006.

December 11, 2006...  Yo! PSP Raps

The crumbling of the once mighty Sony empire continues with this video, featuring the worst game-related rap since Stivi Paskoski took the mike in the short-lived Video Power television series.  This embarassing film clip and the web site which spawned it was brought to you by the marketing firm Rigatoni, or Zamboni, or Rice-A-Roni, or... well, you get the idea

Whatever they're called, they didn't cover their tracks especially well.  Not long after All I Want For X-Mas Is A PSP debuted, its true origins were revealed, and gamers flocked to the site to ridicule its creators.  Of course, they probably would have done that anyway, but the fact that it was a tacky marketing ploy gave them extra incentive to move in for the kill.

Sony should have followed Nintendo's lead and just let its fans do all the marketing for them.  They wouldn't have to pay a dime for the publicity, and they'd get much better results.

TWIST AND SHOUT: Nintendo DS owners will soon be able to do both with an optional cartridge currently in development. This third party device gives the DS motion sensing capabilities, letting players spin and tilt their way to victory in supported games. MONOTREME KOMBAT: Platypus creator Andy Flack got less than he bargained for when he signed a contract with the shifty developers at MumboJumbo Entertainment. Not only did he lose the rights to his creation, but wasn't credited in the PSP version of the game! STRAP IN FOR ANOTHER ROUND: Due to popular demand (and a few broken television sets) Nintendo has strengthened the fabric strap that keeps the Wii remote in players' hands. You'll find the thicker, more damage-resistant strap packed in new Wii consoles.

December 2, 2006...  Research and Destroy

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated, folks.  I've got a lot on my mind at the moment, not the least of which includes final exams and a towering research paper.  Things are so rough that I've got to wait a little longer to play Castlevania: Portal of Ruin.  I've had it on reserve at GameStop for months, but now that Portal has finally been released, I don't dare distract myself with it.  I guess it'll just have to be my Christmas present for the year... and it'll be my ONLY Christmas present if a certain employer who shall remain nameless doesn't hurry up and cut me a check.

All right, enough whining.  I was thinking about offering a best of year special similar to the one I wrote last year.  The only problem is, I haven't played enough games to really make the feature work!  If you want to nominate some games for the 2006 Endies, please post 'em on the forum.  I'll make a list of all the categories I want to include in the feature, and you, faithful readers, can nominate those games which you feel deserve to be recognized.  If I haven't played a game on your list, I'll try my best to get my hands on it sometime in the next two months.  If all goes as planned, the 2006 Endies will appear on the Blitz at the end of February, March tops.

December 2, 2006...  Plays Like the Real Arcade Game

IGN hasn't impressed me for a very long time... which is what makes this review all the more special.  Sure, it reads like a petition, but Luke Thomas is right to ask his readers to accept nothing less than the official arcade version of Donkey Kong on the Wii.  Yes, it's an ancient game that many players are too young to remember.  Yes, it's a whole lot easier to dump a 32K NES rom on the download service than write a new emulator for Donkey Kong's specialized hardware.  However, if Nintendo is serious about bringing back the thirty-something gamers who were disillusioned by complicated control schemes and a hostile online environment, they would be wise to give them the reason they start playing video games in the first place, with nothing sacrificed.

This is 2006, Nintendo, and the Wii is the most powerful system you've ever created.  The tight memory restrictions that you struggled with in 1985 no longer exist.  There's no excuse for you to give us Donkey Kong without the cement factory, or Super Mario Bros. without the more challenging levels, or Excitebike without the bonus rounds, or Duck Hunt without a chance to shoot the dog.

November 29, 2006...  Sonic Doom

Some people complain that I'm much too negative.  Those people might want to turn off their computers for the rest of the day, pull up a newspaper, and read the latest heartwarming installment of Family Circus. 

I've got nothin' nice to say today, and it's all about Sega.  You know that next-generation Sonic the Hedgehog game that was supposed to save the franchise?  It's crap.  Nearly every professional game reviewer agrees, with the exception of Dave Halverson... and even the eternally "optimistic" editor of Play magazine was pressured to knock his score down from a 9.5 to an 8.5.  This has to be a historical moment!  Dave Halverson, the guy who just couldn't get enough of Cybermorph, has finally found a game that left a bad taste in his mouth after shamelessly kissing its ass.

Let me illustrate to you just how poorly received the game has been.  Remember Sneak King, the stealth action title sold at a fast food restaurant for a few dollars?  That game is getting better ratings than Sonic the Hedgehog

Wait, there's more!  Did you hear about the Game Boy Advance remake of the very first Sonic the Hedgehog game?  Well, it's been released, and it's completely terrible.  It's like someone took the Genesis title we all loved as kids and fed it through the rusty meat grinder of half-assed American game design (hey, just like Sega's other GBA "gems" Comix Zone and Revenge of Shinobi!).  Even Play couldn't give this one the thumbs up, although their review is predictably near the top of the heap of low ratings on MetaCritic.  Let's again put this into perspective... the latest Veggie Tales, NickToons, and Naruto games all received higher scores than this piece of crap.

This is the 21st century, Sega.  Your days as a big game developer are long gone; flushed down the crapper when you cancelled the Dreamcast and snuffed out what little love that gamers had left for you.  Maybe this isn't clear to you yet, but now that your most promising developers have vacated and your other flagship titles have been left rotting on the vine for years, Sonic is ALL YOU HAVE LEFT.  You don't have many more chances to get it right.

LOST PLANET EQUALS LOST EYESIGHT: Some people just never learn! In a recent demo version of Lost Planet, players were horrified to discover that Capcom brought back the microscopic text in the company's last Xbox 360 release, Dead Rising. Will this be fixed in the final release, or does Capcom just like to torture its fans? THOSE ARE THE BREAKS!: Complaints are coming in from disgruntled Wii owners that the system's remote flies out of their hands and into their expensive television sets while playing Wii Sports Bowling. Nintendo offers a wrist strap as a precautionary measure, but the strap can (and will) break during strenuous gaming sessions. STEP UP TO THE BAR: Unsatisfied with the wired sensor bar included with the Nintendo Wii, gamers have experimented with various replacements. One is a homemade wireless bar powered with AA batteries. The other is a pair of... wait, wax candles? Gaming blog Destructoid claims they work, but then again, Destructoid claims a lot of things.

November 25, 2006...  Keep It Simple, Stupid

If there's one wish I have for this generation of consoles, it's that it will spark renewed interest in the simple but endlessly fun games I remember from my youth.  Over the past ten years, video games have gotten longer and deeper, without actually going anywhere.  The Tony Hawk series is a perfect example... the developers keep stretching the stages and dumping dozens of new tricks into each new sequel, thinking that more random features will automatically result in an improved experience.  They're not only wrong, but are pushing away both newcomers who can't deal with the added complexity, and purists who'd rather skate than play what has become an RPG on wheels.

With luck, the industry will distance itself from this distressing trend over the next five years, instead of more tightly embracing it.  After all, what's the point of playing a video game for eighty hours when half that time will be spent hunting down slimes, or sailing around the globe for submerged Triforce pieces?  And why give players fourteen thousand different moves when they'd be just as happy- and certainly less confused- with a few dozen of them?

All I'm saying is that game developers need to recognize the difference between improving on a winning formula and burying it under a pile of extraneous features.  Nintendo claims that its Wii will do just that, bringing accessibility and fun back to an industry which has become obsessed with placating a small but vocal audience.  Let's hope they keep this promise, and that their competitors will be inspired to follow in their footsteps.

THE PRICE OF LOYALTY: When fanboys and eager eBay sellers riot over the chance to buy a PS3, someone has to clean up the mess. And in Thomas Menino's opinion, that someone should be Sony. The Boston mayor demanded that the electronics giant cough up big bucks for all the damage done to the city in the wake of the PS3 launch. WII DISCONNECT: The Wii online service, called WiiConnect24, is now active, allowing players to purchase and download classic video games. Sadly, not much else is available at the moment. You can't surf the Internet, you can't check the news or weather, and you can't even play against other Wii owners online. Try harder, Nintendo. WELL, EXCUUUUSE ME, NERDS!: At the Massachusettes Institute of Technology, the term "geek" is not an insult, but rather a badge of honor that must be earned through feats of extreme dorkiness. One example is the Triforce some daring dweeb planted on top of one of the buildings on campus. Now there's a man who's earned his pocket protector!

November 19, 2006...  The O'Reilly Factor

Well, it's finally out!  No, not the Wii... I'm talking about the third chapter of Systematix 2006.  I was more than a little verbose in my reviews of the worst game consoles to be released in the last thirty years, so I hope you'll bear with me.

Now on to the news!  Apparently Bill O'Reilly (the man responsible for such upstanding journalistic endeavors as A Current Affair and his own nightly blabfest) has an axe to grind with gamers.  In one of his recent rants, he blamed the violence that broke out in some lines for the Playstation 3 on the system itself, along with our society's dependence on machines.  Well, you know there Bill, there's one machine in our society that numbs more minds than any other.  It's called a television set, and I'll be sure to turn it off the next time your show airs.

Jerks like O'Reilly make me ashamed to call myself a Luddite.  At least I want people to make the most of the technology they already have, instead of throwing it all in the garbage!

RESERVE JUDGMENT: Bad news for anyone who reserved a Playstation 3 at GameStop. We're talking really, really terrible news. Only half the people who pre-ordered the system will get one, due to the even lower than expected supply of units. Gamers who get screwed out of their reserve get a free budget-priced game as a booby prize. Yay? HEART-STOPPING ACTION: The Wii could be a killer system, and not just for fat guys who can't handle the exercise! Early reports suggest that the system's remote controller will interfere with pacemakers. If true, this might put a crimp in Nintendo's plans to sell the console to the rocker-jockey set. LITTLE TRANSACTIONS, BIG COST: Electronic Arts is hooked on microtransactions, and they just can't admit they've got a problem. When asked about the decision to charge real walking around money for items in the Xbox 360 version of The Godfather, reps from EA responded that it's all about choice for the user. As opposed to big bucks for you?

November 14, 2006...  Standing on the Edge of the Next Generation

Three days and counting until the Playstation 3 is released... and two days after that, we'll be treated to the Wii.  I haven't had any hands-on experience with the latter system, but I did give the PS3 a quick spin at Target last week (you know, the week I didn't update).  I gotta say that I wasn't impressed.  Motorstorm in particular is nothing special at all; it's just last-gen gaming with a shiny new luster.  The developers tried to find a halfway point between the down and dirty thrill of off-road racing and the visceral impact of Burnout, but in the end, you're just left with a lot of pretty explosions on the top of a jagged (sometimes not intentionally) mesa.  Hmm... come to think of it, the game isn't as lustrous as you'd think after all the hype.

As for the Wii, the news that Nintendo is already working on a DVD-enabled model has got me thinking that I'd better wait on a purchase.  Come on, guys, this was the system you were supposed to give us in the first place!  I was willing to buy minor upgrades like the Game Boy Advance SP, Game Boy Micro, and DS Lite, but my generosity only extends so far.  Sorry Nintendo, but this time, I'm holding onto my money until you do things right.

Before I go, there's a new chapter of the Pac-Man history page on the site.  Go read it, will 'ya?

BUSHNELL BUSHWHACKS PLAYSTATION 3: Atari founder Nolan Bushnell looked into his woodgrain-lined crystal ball and predicted doom for the Playstation 3 in a recent interview with Red Herring. Bushnell claims that a high price tag and user-hostile development tools will ultimately be the system's undoing. SANTORUM CLEANED UP: When you attack video games, sometimes the games fight back. That's what Senator Rick Santorum discovered when he was defeated in a Pennsylvania election after airing an ad which tried to get political mileage out of vilifying the industry. Unfortunately, Conneticut's Joe Lieberman managed to retain his own Senate seat. SEX AND VIOLENCE: Dead or Alive creator Tomunobu Itagaki may have picked a fight he just can't win. Itagaki was recently accused by a Tecmo employee of sexual harassment. The company turned a deaf ear to the woman's accusations at first, but could no longer ignore them once the Japanese press caught wind of the story.

November 7, 2006...  Living in the Eighties

The third chapter of Josh Lesnick's Pac-Man retrospective is comin' right at 'ya!  This time, the celebrated underground artist and former editor of Video Apocalypse chronicles Pac-Man's comeback in the late 1980's, reviewing everything from proto-platformer Pac-Land to the rather loose conversion of Ms. Pac-Man for the Sega Genesis.

0 TO 60 IN TEN MINUTES?: Arcade racing fans who want to get the best possible experience from Ridge Racer 7 will have to put it in park and wait ten minutes to install software on their Playstation 3 hard drives. Joystiq reports that the installation is optional, but recommended to keep load times at a minimum. AND THE BEAT GOES ON: One very handy feature from the Xbox and Xbox 360 may be coming to a Nintendo Wii near you. Kotaku reports that the Wii may give players the option to choose their own soundtracks for games, using MP3s stored on SD cards. There's no news on whether or not this feature can be used with external hard drives. CAPCOM CASH CRUNCH: In a recent interview, a representative from Capcom expressed frustration with the rising costs of software development in the 21st century. His solution, aside from closing Clover Studios? Cross-platform releases that let the company squeeze every ounce of profit from its properties.

October 3, 2006...  Song of Solomon

Wow, I feel like I've stepped into Bizarro World!  GamePro (yes, the game magazine with almost as much street cred as Tickle Me Elmo) is taking over the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and Phil Collins is complaining that people aren't taking him seriously as a recording artist.  Hey Phil, that'll happen when you spend six years crooning about orphaned bears and gorillas who sound (and look... and smell!) just like Rosie O'Donnell.

There's good news, though.  Someone has finally recognized the brilliance of Solomon's Key, the best puzzle game not designed by shaggy Russian number crunchers.  It will be one of the first titles released for Nintendo's Virtual Console service, along with other unappreciated classics such as Ristar and Super Star Soldier. 

Oddly, no light gun games are included in the list of launch titles for the Virtual Console, but hopefully, Nintendo will rectify this gross oversight in time to satisfy the itchy trigger fingers of Wii owners by the end of the year.  And while you're at it, guys, give us the arcade version of Duck Hunt so we can finally shoot that blasted dog!

October 29, 2006...  You Can Do the Pac-Man

As promised, here's the second chapter in Josh Lesnick's Pac-Man feature.  I've also taken the liberty of working out the kinks in my God Hand review.  You never seem to notice these mistakes in your work until after you've published it, you know that?

Speaking of recently published articles, you might want to head over to 1UP for Game Breakers, my laundry list of the worst play mechanics in video games from the past and present.

HABEUS CORPSE-US: Spiteful, self-righteous attorney Jack Thompson is on the warpath yet again after finding himself in the game Mortal Kombat Armageddon. Thompson plans to sue Midway for this grave injustice, forgetting that he was only added to Armageddon by players using the game's character creation tools. ENOUGH WII FOR YOU AND ME?: Nintendo's Paul Gonzales has made a stunning announcement... even during the holiday rush, there will be enough Wii systems for both customers who reserved them in advance and those who plan to pick one up on November 19th. Gonzales makes no promises about the day AFTER the official launch, however. GOLDEN JOYSTICK POLISHES ROCKSTAR'S KNOB: Believe it or not, games that haven't even been released yet can win Game of the Year awards. Edge Magazine seemed perfectly content to call Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories the best handheld game of 2006, even though the game won't be released until the 30th of October. Hooray for objectivity!

October 28, 2006...  Huh Huh.  He Said, "Golden Joystick."  Huh Huh.

Man, I don't even know how they determine the winners of some of these video game awards.  Let me get this straight, Golden Joystick judges... you're making Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories your choice as the best handheld game of the year, even though it hasn't even been released yet?  I'd tell you to wait until the END of 2006 to make that determination, but I don't think it would matter much, especially when you're also telling us that Lara Croft is the year's best video game character.  What year... 1997?

Happy thoughts, Jess... happy thoughts.  All right, here's one!  I've written the first full-length game review for the Blitz in... uh, forever!  You'll find it in the usual place, next to the canned beans and Grape-Nuts.  Tomorrow, I'll publish the second page of Josh Lesnick's Pac-Man retrospective.  That ought to hold you over until Halloween, at least!

LICKED-SANG: Hong Kong importer and reliever of long European system delays Lik-Sang has been driven out of business. Sony used an avalanche of lawsuits to bankrupt the Asian retailer, preventing it from shipping Playstation 3 units to Europe months before the system's official debut in that territory. BIG JACK ATTACK: Attorney and anti-fun activist Jack Thompson may ultimately be burned the most by the Hot Coffee scandal. Annoyed with Thompson's constant legal harassment, Take 2 Interactive has requested that Florida judge Ronald Friedman charge the litigious lawyer with contempt of court. Why didn't Janet Reno think of this? A VERY CASTLEVANIA CHRISTMAS: If you preordered Castlevania: Portal of Ruin from GameStop or EB Games, you're in for a very pleasant surprise! Reserve copies of the eagerly anticipated DS release will include everything from a CD soundtrack to an art book filled with Ayami Kojima's gorgeous Gothic paintings.

October 24, 2006...  The End of Lik-Sang

I'm stunned by the fallout over Sony's legal actions against import retailer Lik-Sang.  Angry gamers have been shouting from the mountaintops that they'll boycott every Sony product that comes down the pike, whether it's the Playstation 3 or the latest Will Farrell flick. 

There's only one thing I can say in response... THIS is the last straw for you?  After everything Sony's done to make the lives of gamers miserable, from the refusal to publish 2D games to the outrageous price of the Playstation 3, you're going to stop buying Sony products because they drove a stake through the heart of an expendable and easily replaced Hong Kong importer? 

Maybe I'm just saying this because I've always preferred National Console Support, but geez people... a sense of perspective is in order here!  There are plenty of good reasons to hate Sony.  This one is pretty far down the list.

DOOOON'T YOOOOU BELIEVE IT!: If you've been hearing rumors that Zelda: Twilight Princess won't be released for the Nintendo GameCube, well, disregard them. Joystiq reported the cancellation after the game disappeared from the GameStop web site, but the truth is that the store just ran out of copies to reserve for customers. Tsk tsk, Joystiq! THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE SPINE: Eagle-eyed Xbox 360 owners were able to download Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 nearly a week before its official release on Xbox Live Arcade. The game briefly appeared on the download service before Microsoft realized its mistake and pulled the plug. Looks like good things come to those who can't wait! FIVE WAY PLAY: Good news for Playstation 3 owners with more friends than money. Sony has announced that downloaded games for the system can be shared with up to four other PS3 owners. This comes hot on the heels of the recently discovered Xbox 360 hack that lets two players split the cost of a single Xbox Live Arcade release.

October 21, 2006...  RIP, Computer Gaming World

First things first... Josh Lesnick's popular Pac-Man History page has been completely rewritten, with a better layout and even more information about Namco's insatiable sphere.  The first installment of this six part series is now available on The Gameroom Blitz, with more to come in the next few weeks.  Special thanks go to Josh for all his hard work on this outstanding feature!

So, have you heard about the recent cancellation of Computer Gaming World?  It's funny... I never read the magazine (I was more of a Compute! and Ahoy! man myself), but I still mourn its loss.  After more than twenty years of publication, the magazine will be retitled Games For Windows, effectively ending both its life and an era where games were available for other operating systems.

As hard as it may be to believe now, there was a time when there was real competition in the computer industry.  Back when Windows was just a shell for DOS, there were four or five brands of desktop computer, all very incompatible with one another and all fighting tooth and nail to become the dominant force in the market.  The first 16-bit computers had just hit store shelves, introducing concepts like multimedia, multitasking, and arcade-quality gaming which helped shape the modern computing experience.

Those were exciting times.  The limited technology of the mid 1980's made every advance a monumental achievement, and each user had a distinct identity due to the wide selection of competing products available.  Today, nobody pays much attention to brand names, but twenty years ago, the model of computer you purchased made a big difference in the way you worked and played.  After you adapted to the unique quirks of your own machine's interface, anything else seemed foreign and backward to you.  This bred a fierce loyalty to home computers that makes today's gaming fanboys seem utterly indifferent by comparison.  After all, you didn't just own a computer... you owned a Commodore, or an Apple, or an Atari.

All that ended ten years ago, when IBM compatibles had saturated the market and Windows 95 became the operating system of choice for a new, less geeky generation of home computer users.  It's anyone's guess why it took so long for Computer Gaming World to reflect this paradigm shift.  Perhaps the editorial staff was reluctant to let go of the time when diversity in the computer market was commonplace.  If you'd like to relive the days before Microsoft monopolized the industry, you can download back issues of Computer Gaming World from this archive.

October 18, 2006...  Lumines: Yours for Four Easy Installments of $9.99

Well, this ought to kill any enthusiasm that may have remained for Lumines.  Bandai's got a lot of nerve forcing the player make not one, not two, but FOUR seperate purchases before they can have the entire game!  By the time Bandai is done shaking you for loose change, you'll have paid nearly forty dollars for Lumines Live.  That's just too much for an Xbox Live Arcade release and way too much for a simple puzzle game, even if it does feature Madonna shaking her saggy booty in the background.

Let's face it, folks.  Microsoft's support of Xbox Live Arcade has been, to put it politely, sad sack.  They've been missing deadlines left and right, and when they do finally release the games they promised over a month ago, they're underwhelming and overpriced.  They could afford to phone it in for the past year, but now that they actually HAVE competition, Microsoft will need to step up their game.  No more weekly offerings, if they feel like it.  No more charging five dollars for games we've already purchased on a half-dozen different platforms.  Finally, no more gouging customers for the few titles that actually ARE worth the download.

If Microsoft settles for business as usual, they won't stand a chance against Sony's high-quality original offerings and Nintendo's enormous back catalog of classics.  Both the Playstation 3 and the Wii are playing to win... will the Xbox 360?

CLOCKED OUT: Overclocked, the tongue-in-cheek emulation news site by David Lloyd, is no more. The site, best known for its reviews which took a decidedly MST3K-ish look at lame video games, mysteriously vanished from the Internet, along with a number of sites hosted on the Overclocked server. WII ARE NOT AMUSED!: There's evidence that Nintendo may have broken another of the promises it made about the Wii. On the GameStop web site, titles like Super Smash Bros. Brawl are being advertised for sixty dollars, ten dollars higher than the maximum price Nintendo had set for its games. CLOVER IS SO OVER: Okami producer Clover Studios will be shut down by Capcom next March, due to tepid sales of the subsidiary's games. Rumor has it that there's another motive for the decision... Clover's best designers are leaving Capcom to form a truly independent game design team.

October 15, 2006...  New Digs

It's a new era for The Gameroom Blitz!  After being hosted on Overclocked for five years, the site has packed up its bags and headed for Lakupo.com.

In celebration of the move, I've redesigned the front page, giving it all the functionality of the previous index with a lot more style.  I was nostalgic for the old days of the Blitz, with its banners which paid tribute to the great video games of the past.  Now that the site has gotten a fresh start, I hope to recapture that wide-eyed admiration for the hobby that's been missing from the Blitz for the past three years.

I've also taken this opportunity to trim some of the fat from the site.  It's gotten rather bloated over the past ten years, bursting at the seams with graphics and other files that haven't been used for years.  All of this debris has been swept away, along with a couple of pages which I felt should be left in the past.  I will bring back the Sega Saturn reviews that are currently absent from the new site, but first I'll need to decide whether to integrate them into the blue page design or just leave them the way they were on Overclocked.

There's one other thing missing from the site which you probably won't miss at all... advertising!  You shouldn't find any of that nonsense on the Blitz while it's hosted here at Lakupo; a sharp contrast to the mountain of pop-ups that covered the site back at its old home.  To those offers of homemade cigarettes and herbal Viagra, I give a hearty and heartfelt goodbye... and good riddance!

One last thing before I go... I'd like to thank Lakupo for the server space, and my buddy Freakservo for pointing me in his general direction.  Kudos to you both!  Now, without further ado, let the games begin!

BOLL BEATS TROLL: There is no joy in Goonville, for the mighty Kyanka was knocked out. The Something Awful editor was clobbered by awful movie director Uwe Boll in a boxing match sponsored by online casino Golden Palace. After the assault, Rich Kyanka angrily accused Boll of deception, claiming he was promised a clean fight before being thoroughly tenderized by Boll's fists of film-challenged fury. KONAMI WAITS TO WHIP IT OUT: Dracula's greatest fear is not garlic, wooden stakes, or even the vampire-hunting Belmonts, but Final Fantasy III. That's probably why the release date of Castlevania: Portal of Ruin has been moved from November 14th to the beginning of December, weeks after the Square-Enix RPG hits store shelves. Both games will debut at $39.99. SCAN-A-RAMA: What do you get when you cross a Dreamcast with the express lane at your local supermarket? Why, Mattel's Hyper Scan game console, of course! The recently released system reads lets players select their characters by passing special cards over a barcode reader built into the unit. It's like the Nintendo e-card reader, but with even less software support!

October 2, 2006...  The Debut of Silver Dynamic

The Game Boy Advance has one.  The PSP has one.  Hell, even the frickin' Gizmondo has one!  It's long overdue, but at long last, the Nintendo DS has its own section on the web site.  Check it out and let me know what you think of it on the forums!

I wish I had more to say, but that's pretty much it for now.  I'll catch you on the flipside!