Lara anniversary game in the works

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Eidos announced “Tomb Raider: Anniversary” for the PS2, PSP and PC, a new adventure that’s being inspired by the very first game that started the sweaty, lustful fanboy ball rolling.

Here’s an excerpt from the Eidos release:

Inspired by the first Tomb Raider videogame, originally released in 1996, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a totally new 2006 adventure for Lara, faithfully preserving the elements which made the original Tomb Raider such a classic, selling over 7 million copies worldwide. Using an enhanced Tomb Raider Legend game engine, the graphics, technology and physics bring Laras adventure and pursuit of a mystical artifact known only as the Scion right up to todays technology standards and will offer gamers a completely new gameplay experience.

Hopefully, the old-school inspiration means the game will be much longer than Legend, which I liked, but could also finish in one work shift.

What the … ?

I’m a little late to the party commenting on this, but I finally saw the PS3 baby commercial while watching the Saints-Ravens game on TV.

You’ve got a toy baby sitting in a windowless, doorless white room across from a PS3. Then it cries (and you can see gameplay in the tears) before reaching out it’s dead hand to make the console levitate.

This does not make me want to buy one — at least, not without bringing it to church and having a local priest exorcise the evil spirits inside it. Do both models come with demonic toy possession, or just the $600 one with all the trimmings?

Piercing the Wii’s aura — fanboys beware

At E3, many folks (including myself) played Nintendo’s Wii for a scant playing session and came away singing its praises, or at least voicing how intrigued we were. Then came the whole “changing the way everyone plays” bandwagon, rolling into our collective gaming psyches.

To that, Ryan Garside of Bit-Tech says: Whatever. He got to play Nintendo’s new console for an extended period of time — away from the buzz, drooling fanboys and hype of the big conventions — and writes that while new, the Wii might not be the revolutionary force of nature a lot of people are expecting it (or want it) to be. It’s a solid, comprehensive read that brings up a lot of good points.

I’ve always looked at Wii as something with the potential to be great — which is no different from any other game console that’s come out during the holidays. However, the most negative aspect facing the Wii is it’s potential to be seen as nothing more than a silly toy — the Elmo of game systems.

“Cute” and “silly” can be pretty damning places to end up when it comes to gaming tech, especially when the industry and gamers have worked hard to dispel the games-are-for-weird-kids image. From what I’ve seen, gamers don’t like novelties and doo-dads — remember the Power Glove and Virtual Boy? Heck, how many people were ready to embrace the DS and its stylus right off the bat?

It’s true, I really enjoyed Wii — for the half-hour (at most) that I got to play it. Could I do it all day, every day? I don’t know. Gaming is a lifestyle now, and it’ll be interesting to see how much the Wii fits into that.

My Xbox 360 out with sore hamstring

My Xbox 360 has failed me. I try every once in a while to use this space to offer up my first impressions of new releases, because sometimes waiting to file the review isn’t quite enough. Plus, since I buy a lot of my games out of pocket, you can at least expect a nice chunk of honesty.

But instead of getting impressions of “Splinter Cell: Double Agent,” I’m sharing my problem — my game system can’t play any games. It can play movies, it works on Dashboard — but now when I’m trying to play something, the system locks up. This is NOT the legendary story of the console overheating, as 360s do. I have no red lights of death, nor do I have the orange or black screen. Everything just freezes — like an old-school game crash. Sometimes I think it mocks me, letting me significant progress before crapping out.

So, off to the shop it goes, which means no 360 for at least a week. This means more time at Arena, as I’m pretty sure the 360s work there — but that also means I’ll probably have to tune out someone playing “Guitar Hero” next to me.

The “Bully” review comes out this week, and in case you didn’t hear the Friday discussion on AGI, I enjoyed it a lot. Yes, it’s a PS2-only game, but seriously, it’s worth checking out. This is coming from someone who was expecting to lay down some negativity on it. It’s that good.

Electronic Arts announces PS3 titles

Well, they did. Actually 30 of them, but the e-mail I got featured 11. And here they are:

*Army of Two
Burnout 5
Battlefield: Bad Company
Def Jam: Icon
Fight Night Round 3
*Madden ’07
*Medal of Honor Airborne
NBA STREET
Need for Speed Carbon
SKATE
*Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07

*makes more use of the Sixaxis features — since people seem to love it so much.

Game journos honored

Check out this list put together of the top 50 journalists. If you keep a relatively watchful eye on the scene, there shouldn’t be any real surprises on it: Shoe, Brian Crescente of Kotaku (a former cops reporter) and Dennis McCauley of GamePolitics are all there, along with Morgan Webb and Adam Sessler.

It’s strange to see a list like this, especially since it was hard to name even a handful of game journalists 10-15 years ago. I think it’s safe to say to the haters — gaming is NOT a fad. Understand this, and move on. It’s not going anywhere.

‘Bully’ for you, ‘Bully’ for me

First off, apologies for the silence yesterday.

There are a LOT of new releases this week — “Splinter Cell: Double Agent,” and “Battlefield 2142″ among them, but the one the mainstream folks are going to be checking out is the much-delayed “Bully,” the newest Rockstar game that will serve as the poster child for non-gaming politicos everywhere.

On my end, we’re doing a story looking at the concept of bullying and how it’s changed. The story is coinciding with the game’s release this week. I’m going to have a short review of the game to go along with the story, and check out how much a game like “Bully” fits into the discussion. I talked with Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute for Media and the Family today while he was weaving his way through Dayton, Ohio traffic. He had some interesting things to say in the small amount of time we had.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth review of the game itself, I suggest you check back here later or see if the discussion pops up on All Games on Friday (or perhaps earlier). If you want a little more info on the game itself, check out the game’s Web site. Is it a “Columbine simulator” as Jack Thompson has called it (reportedly without playing it), or is it another example of expression for the edgy Rockstar? Well, now many of us get to find out. It’s already sold out at some of the local stores here.

Clover Studios … GONE

So, I take a break from playing “God Hand” to find out that Capcom is planning to dissolve Clover Studios (which also made “Okami”) by March of 2007. Wow. You know, we hear gamers of all kinds whine about how innovation is dying in the industry, and how games aren’t creative enough — and then they treat games like “Okami” like they have anthrax in the instruction manual. “Oh my god, it’s different, we can’t POSSIBLY try something new! Give me my sequel! Where’s my Halo?”

So yes, I’m a little disturbed by Clover’s impending shuttering. Perhaps they’ll form their own company and bring us more stuff, but who knows? I saw a forum post about this by Scot Rubin on All Games, then bounced over to GameSpot to get more of the story.

Here’s the quote from the press release:

“Clover Studio Co., Ltd.f promoting a business strategy that concentrates management resources on a selected business to enhance the efficiency of the development power of the entire Capcom group, the dissolution of Clover Studios Co., Ltd. has been raised and passed at a Board of Directors’ meeting.”

Thanks for playing.

Catching Tiger

“Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007″ was offically released yesterday, and EA celebrated in front of Graumann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood with the arrival of Tiger Woods himself to help promote the game. I’d never really seen the golf Jedi in person — so, I went to check it out.

EA set up a pseudo golf course that worked its way up the steps leading to the Chinese Theater. It started with a green carpet, then widened out to a full-fledged faux fairway, complete with sand traps, some fake rocks and trees, and ultimately, a hole. Tiger’s objective was to “golf” his way up the steps and into the hole, ending play right next to a mini-lounge featuring the 360 version of the game.

Tiger then met with some kids from the TIger Woods Learning Center, who showed off some of their putting skills before playing against him in the game. I didn’t get to see much on screen, namely because a select few people were allowed near the stage. But it sounded like Tiger got pwned, especially by one young fella who nailed a shot from about 30 yards in.

“That was a sucker move, that what that was,” said a smiling, miked-up Tiga-woo. “You just suckered me right in.”

I had my camera phone with me, so I took some pics. Just a few problems — I’m short, and I suck at taking pictures. Plus, it was a little hard to find space among the other ACTUAL photogs without whipping out a hurricane kick.

Anyway, I hope these precious few shots are at least mildly enjoyable.
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Google grabs YouTube for $1.65 billion

You could just FEEL this coming. Reuters reports that Google is going to acquire YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock.

The purchase is the first one that puts a more than $1 billion dollar value on a user participation Web site, the story says.

It’s quite a formidable sounding combination — the Skynet-like Google, which everyone uses to find practically anything in the Internet universe (and then some), and what many people see as the site that ushered video-sharing into mainstream pop culture.

First question I have — what does this mean for Google Video? Is YouTube going to be assimilated or is it still going to be treated like a separate entity and maintain its (what I think) user-friendly interface?

Second — and this has been brought up already in other parts of the blogosphere — what does this mean in terms of copyright lawsuits? Google, of course, has a godlike amount of money, so are companies going to be crawling out of the woodwork to sue over copyrighted stuff that’s been posted on YouTube? The site might not be responsible for what’s put up there — but that doesn’t stop people from firing off some legal bullets. Or takedown requests.

Mark Cuban talked a little bit about this Friday at an Online News Association conference. Here’s the story.

For a little extra food for thought, here’s the Hollywood Reporter’s take on the union.