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A very interesting move from Nintendo – the fellows of Kotaku just received a press release wich states that the Japanese company will be kindly skipping Leipzig’s Game Convention this year. The reasons are plenty – and not that, God forbid, GC would somehow totally suck ass, but because, well, “the country where the sun shines” (to quote an illiterate and extremely retarded ex-colleague of mine, who, sadly, is not dead yet) already hosts too many similar events that Nintendo has attended so far. And will probably do so even more, as the time casually passes by.

And the results, being the positive results they are, convinced Nintendo to skip this year’s most awesome European gaming gathering. So, after E3, they will stick their heads back in their asses and return to Japan and their daily routine, because:
1. Japanese girls are the best.
2. Japanese girls look the youngest.
3. Local legislation is many times tolerant regarding doing various things to Japanese girls.
4. Akihabara.

This decision should only last one year though.
Tired of chasing around little sisters on your old, rusty, and filled with God knows what bodily fluids keyboard? Fear no more, friends, for both PSM and Electronic Gaming Monthly combined (they are a sort of Captain Planet) will feature cover stories in their next issue, regarding the fact that Bioshock, the game that put “pedo” into “pedophile” (except Japanese visual novels, of course), is paying a visit to Sony’s next-gen console.

So, what will this version bring new to the table? I guess, nothing much. Some graphical improvements here and there, tweaks, blah blah, but I expect nothing groundbreaking. Just the fact that you will mindlessly steer through Rupture via a gamepad, not a keyboard. Fascinating. According to EGM, we should see this new Bioshock out on the store shelves somewhere around the 2008’s holiday season.

Personally, I’m pretty curious, as always when it comes to ports, about the controls. Really.
We, real men, take great pride (and joy) in the majestic art of peeing. Especially after a long, well sustained drinking session, where beer flows just like the Spice should flow, where vodka glitters friendly from the nearby glass, and where every God damned woman looks like she is hot. I pee, therefor, I am. Seriously.

And since some of us do these things quite often (both peeing and drinking), two Belgian drunktards fellow citizens decided to make it even better – just think about it, what is better than drinking with friends? No, not weed. At least not in this certain context – it’s gaming, booze and friends! We all know Belgians like to drink. And that they have more than exquisite beer. Hell, even I, who enjoy strong drinks only, have a certain fetish for Belgian beer – especially Leffe. And we also know that (some) Belgians are smart. Take these two for example, a software developer, Werner Dupont, and an electrical engineer, Bart Geraets – they went out for a (couple of hundreds) drinks, and came up with an excellent idea.

A video game, folks, but not your ordinary, top notch, “I invested 100 milion dollars in this shit” kind of video game – just a fine urinal sport that allows you to ski or to shoot some evil aliens, using… The Unleashed Force of Your Pee! So, you go to the toilet, and you start doing your job. Inside the urinal, you will “spot” several sensors that, vigorously motivated by the power of your toxic waste, will move the characters on the screen. Even more, you can challenge the guy next to you for some multiplayer matches… As long as he can keep up.

Women are also part of the equation, since these guys designed a special paper cone that lets the ladies do what they usually cannot do – shoot straight. Heh, this little game made my day. So in the near future, watch out for a... strange toilet near your favorite pub. It might get interesting.

Arigatou, Reuters

As I have stated before, along side good ol’ Uwe Boll, Jack Thompson is one of my favorite characters related to the gaming industry. He is a fascinating man, with strong, yet terribly unnatural beliefs, who still thinks, after years of practice, that all the world spins around his misconceptions. Well, too bad for him, it seems.

Game Politics, a website that also loves Jack Thompson almost as much as we do, tells us the story of a Florida Judge who decided to… recommend Mr. Thompson as guilty for no less than 27 counts of misconduct. In other words, if the Florida Supreme Court is sane enough to say yes, Jack is screwed. Initially, there were 31 such counts, most of them (21, to be more precise) are related to his infamous epic-fail crusade against Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto, while others hint at his (again failed) attempt to “convict” Bully of being a major suck-ass game.

I guess it all started with that kid who went rampage and Starfire-critted two police officers and one dispacher, an indeed sad event followed by a lawsuit, in which Thompson represented the victims’ families. The kid was playing, amongst other games, GTA, and Jack quickly assumed that this here title, and only this, is the sole unquestionable reason for the murders.

We are passionately awaiting to see the results of such great events. Hell, we should probably start to write a script for a Jack Thompson-inspired soap opera - until then, we’ll leave him in his medicine’s care.
One must, with the power of mighty Thor, love Internet rumors. They are just fabulous. Recently, the dudes and dudettes (and all their little sisters combined) from Blizz Planet gave the fanboys some new wanking material, stating that the more-than-purple, legendary gaming guru magazine, PC Gamer, will feature a full fledged Diablo 3 announcement, from the golden mouth of Blizzard itself.

You have to realize the insanity this little thing spawned on the web. I bet if those people reading the said “news” had guns, they would have gone to some country in South Africa and start a revolution, proclaiming the Everlasting Empire of Diablo’s Left Kidney. Ah well, sadly, things are not so bright beyond the Looking Glass, since the ladies at Voodoo Extreme just received word from PC Gamer itself that the whole thing whas just a big, smelly fuss. More exactly, We're officially squelching the Diablo rumor. We've got two big announcements coming in our August issue, but neither is from Blizzard.

Rumors come and go, and folks should be accustomed by now that no rumor regarding Blizzard is true until they say so. As for the said two big announcements, who gives a crap.

As we like to say, when we are actually sober and NOT disregarding other people’s opinions, “tastes may vary”. And they may vary a lot. Styles vary, also. Big time. So I tend to find it a bit strange when two big bad ass producers, like Bethesda Softworks, and the younger, much fresher, not yet infested with the “my idea is better than yours” syndrome, Splash Damage, decide to join forces, in an attempt to… well, to do some stuff. What stuff, we have yet to discover. They probably don’t have a clue about it, either.

It’s useless to mention what Bethesda is famous for, but I will restate what it will be Infamous for. Fallout 3. The game that, according to my awesome Nostradamic predictions, will suck so much ass that even the greatest ass sucker in the world will have to bow down and let others do his job. As for Splash Splashidy Splashie, their recent title, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, along side with their very deep friendship with id Studios, says it all.

They obviously intend to do some serious business regarding the gaming industry, but the actual details regarding their future project will not be revealed as soon as it may seem. Let’s just hope for something big, something nasty, and for the love of God, please, no more Oblivion crap. Fallout 3: Oblivion Copycat is enough to fail for ten years to come, already.

Arigatou, 1UP.
As Age of Conan launches today for all North American players (not just those with a 3-day early access), it does so with another decidedly positive PR news. The game's Collector's Edition, totalling 111,000 units in its initial prints, has "completely sold out in all markets". If you've been meaning to get your bloody hands on one, the only advice Funcom can give you is to look on retail shelves, cause there sure aren't any re-orders available.

All in all, Funcom is shipping around 700,000 copies of Age of Conan on day one. This may not seem like a record-breaking figure - considering that World of Warcraft's expansion, The Burning Crusade set a record of nearly 2.4 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of availability last year. Nevertheless, Funcom's Morten Larssen is confident that their pre-order numbers for Age of Conan "represent the highest pre-order number for any global launch of an original PC game, ever, including the original World of Warcraft launch".

So, shipping and sales figures are looking good, the servers held up "exceptionally well" during the early access period, the first Age of Conan review rated it at 9 out of 10 (in the Nordic magazine Game Reactor)... looks almost perfect. Almost, because there was some bad news after all: the DirectX 10 version of Age of Conan is not shipping with the initial launch. They're still working on it, apparently, and they plan to premiere it at the Leipzig Games Convention (August 20-24). Also, a special preview showing off the advanced graphics made possible by the DX10 technology will be unveiled this summer at nVidia’s NVISION event in San Jose, California, August 25-27.

And finally, fellow Europeans, rest assured you're not forgotten: Age of Conan will launch in Europe in just a few days, on May 23.
How many kids on your block own a game console? Less than 20% if you live in a third'ish-world country? Over 50% if you're among the more privileged Earthlings? Well then, imagine a whole country where over 95% of kids (fifth-year elementary school kids, to be more precise) have at least one game console of their own. Welcome... to the land of Japan!

This utopic figure came up from a survey released by the National Congress of Parents and Teachers Associations of Japan (PTA), according to Mainichi (here's a backup of the soon-to-disappear report). The survey, called "Attitude Survey on Children and the Media" revealed a 2% increase from last year (when "only" about 93% of kids had a console), and a similar trend was observed among high-schoolers, almost 91% of them enjoying the same playful status.

Genre wise, action games seem to be the most popular ones (30.9%), followed closely by RPGs (28.4%). And, not surprisingly, adult games with sexual content are also played by elementary school kids, even though only 2.5% of them would admit it. There are a few more mobile- and TV-related stats in the report, if you're curious.
As of today, the new president of Sony Computer Entertainment's Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS) is Shuhei Yoshida. "Who?!", you might ask for various reasons, and I wouldn't blame you. For various reasons. Luckily, for all of us ignorants who haven't been following Sony's constant leadership changes over the past couple of years up close and personal, they provided us with a quick bio of Yoshida-san, which we're generously copy-pasting below.
"Yoshida joined SCEI in 1993, and was one of the initial members in establishing the PlayStation business. He was appointed Producer of the Product Development Department in April 1996, and joined Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. as Vice President of Product Development in April 2000, where he held various positions in product development, producing many global best selling franchise titles. In February 2007, Yoshida was promoted to Senior Vice President, US Studios, SCE WWS."

Commenting on the appointment, the group's CEO and president Kaz "Riiidge Racer" Hirai said that "SCE WWS will accelerate the software development for the PlayStation 3 and PSP platforms and vigorously expand the gaming market", under the leadership of Yoshida. Yeah, like, ganbatte!

Habemus President!
Not that there was any doubt about it, but the Naruto gaming franchise drags on, with the announcement of Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 for the Nintendo DS (based on the second game in the franchise, Naruto RPG 2: Chidori vs. Rasengan). Like its predecessor, the sequel will be a role-playing game developed by Tomy Corporation and published stateside by D3 Publishing, promising to feature "an all-new original storyline, a huge roster of playable characters, an improved combat system and for the first time, exciting Wi-Fi battles".

The release date is currently set for September 2008, and below are some more details about it, complemented by the first batch of screenshots.
"Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 is set to give players a portable outlet for their inner ninja this fall. A deep, original storyline will allow players to access 30 major characters from the series, from standards such as Naruto and Sakura to unlikely allies like the weapons-based Tenten. The improved and intuitive battle system will make it easy for even the newest fighters to get into the combat, using the DS Touch Screen to unleash devastating melee and jutsu attacks on any opponent foolish enough to get in their way. The new Squad Leader and Ninja Tag systems provide even more squad-building options, while the Wi-Fi multiplayer feature offers aspiring ninja the chance to take on challengers from around the world."

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