Diner Dash 5: Boom! coming

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By Kristina Hernandez
Staff Writer

Have you caught the Flo yet?

PlayFirst, the creator of the popular Dash! PC game series, will launch its fifth installment, Diner Dash 5: Boom! this week.

This time around, its up to the player to rebuild a customized diner using 1,000 possible combinations using tips received after completing each level. (Tips can then be used towards the purchase of fixtures, decor and more, to create your dream diner.)

PlayFirst will release a special Collector’s Edition on Thursday, which includes five advance levels of exclusive Diner Dash 5: Boom! game play, a strategy guide walk through to reach expert level, a behind-the-scenes digital art book (with sketch art and production concepts), an animated screensaver and wallpapers and a “Flo Over Time” Historical Retrospective.

The game also marks the franchise’s first-ever Facebook Connect where players will be able to “gift” special in-game sneakers to their friends on the popular social networking site, as well as post high scores and trophies and take screen grabs of their decorated diners to post on their walls.

The collector’s edition will be available for PC and Mac download for $19.99, followed by a standard edition of the game, which will be available for download on both formats March 4 for $6.99. The game can be downloaded off PlayFirst’s website at www.playfirst.com, as well as other fun titles including a personal favorite of mine, “Cake Mania.”

One ultra-rare Nintendo game – $13,105

Stadium Events is considered one of the rarest of the rare. It’s a Nintendo game from the NES era from Bandai, but its so rare that only 10 of these things are assumed to be floating around still intact. And someone just opted to pay $13,105 for a copy according to BoingBoing. Why so rare? According to Wikipedia’s version of events:

  • It was launched by Bandai America at one Woolworth’s store which doubled as a test market for them in 1987. That’s ONE store.
  • In 1988, Nintendo purchased the rights to the mat technology that it used soon after, tech that would become the Power Pad
  • All copies were pulled from shelves and presumably destroyed
  • Only 2000 copies were believed to have been produced and only 200 of these actually reached customers before being pulled
  • Collectors believe that fewer than 10 complete copies exist today, only one of which is factory sealed.

The real value for this isn’t the game itself, either, which also commands a pretty penny. It’s actually the box that’s pricier. That’s right: a plain, old, cardboard box with an image plastered on it.

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So when this auction shows up with a photograph showing a version of Stadium Events in a pristine box, it’s as if someone had just thrown up the video game world’s version of a rare baseball card. NintendoAge, a huge fansite dedicated to NES collectables, news, and sharing stories about their favorite games, have also caught on to the auction and have even given the seller a bit of friendly advice given the “lottery ticket” she had stumbled upon.

It might seem bizarre to many people to spend that much on a game, even to some that love the industry, but to serious collectors that ply the ‘net and local garage sales for those rare bits of video gaming history, they’re just as valuable as the missing seven minutes to the 1937 film version of Lost Horizon.

Review: Dante’s Inferno

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Dante Alighieri should have been a game designer.

The Inferno section of the 14th-century author’s famed “Divine Comedy” is proof. His depiction of Hell and its punishments featured intricate level design, a stable of potential boss characters and the kind of imagery that could spark an artist’s imagination.

Enter Dante’s Inferno from EA and Visceral Games, who provide six to eight hours of button-mashing fury, a feast for both the eyes and reflexes. But the shadow of the God of War series looms over it, as does a curious design choice near the end that made me practically abandon all hope for a classic finish.
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Super Bowl XLIV in Tecmo 8-bit

Do you remember Tecmo Bowl on the NES?

Do you also remember the impossible that would regularly play out during the game against the AI such as eighty yard returns on a single play on every other play? That’s like what Tracy Porter did during the Super Bowl…but having him do that magic in about as many times. But Tecmo Bowl holds a special place in the hearts of gamers that remember it as one of those titles, the ones that they look back on with a warm smile on their face. Flaws and all, it was great fun before Madden conquered the genre.

And here’s how Tracy Porter’s run would have looked like in the game thanks to one 8-bit fan. It’s not using the original sounds of the game, but it uses the live broadcast replacing the live visuals with 8-bit goodness.

No Dante’s Inferno debut for the Middle East

Dante’s Inferno won’t be coming out in the Middle East according to gaming site, GamesLatest, based out in Dubai. Following an “evaluation process which is based on consumer tastes, preferences, platform mix and other factors.”, EA has apparently decided not to risk publishing the title in the region.

The article indicates that it likely ran the risk of getting banned in the same way that Darksiders and Bayonetta were due largely to the sensitivity that certain topics can elicit there. A ban doesn’t mean that the game is impossible to get, but that it can’t be sold where it takes place in. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t get into the hands of players willing to import it, either.

It’s not that surprising considering the Xtreme angle that the marketing for Dante’s Inferno has employed to drum up excitement over the game despite the controversy it brought down on them from last year’s E3 to the last minute changes to their proposed trailer for the Super Bowl. But its interpretation of Dante Alighieri’s classic has also drummed up as much concern here, especially from those that had actually read the original work it is based off of.

One thing that I honestly don’t think it’s going to do is to get more players to look up the classic despite the efforts being made for the book. It’ll bring more attention to it, that I have no doubt, but I’m not entirely certain that players will be hitting up Amazon to get to it, either. How many players do you know had read through Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms after picking up the latest iteration of Koei’s Dynasty Warriors?

But you have to give them props for even trying to bring attention to a classic like this and it will be interesting to see just what kind of imaginative interpretation the designers bring to it, even if the kind of attention it brings doesn’t necessarily fit between the covers of the original book. Or within the public boundaries of every culture.

Xbox Live online support ending for Xbox originals

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“Originals” as in the games that were made for the first Xbox according to this open letter from Xbox Live’s general manager, Marc Whitten. From the announcement, it sounds like this is being done in order to pave the way for more positive changes in moving forward with Xbox Live as a whole on the Xbox 360 and those changes simply weren’t compatible with what was leftover from the old Xbox.

You’ll still be able to play a majority of your old Xbox games on the Xbox 360, but forget about any multiplayer support that you might have enjoyed with them particularly if you’re still hooked on Halo 2. On April 15th, it all ends, so get in as many of those online match ups as you can with your favorite classics before it’s over.

And as big as Halo 2 is, Bungie’s also planning to mourn the passing of an era in their own way with plenty of gaming goodness on April 14th, so be sure to keep an eye on their site for the latest news on how that’s going to go down.

Nazis from the Moon! Gasp!

It’s not a new WW2 game or a sequel to Cinemaware’s Rocket Ranger, but it’s an independent film called Iron Sky that has been developing over the past two years or so. Premise: In 1945, the Nazis fled to the Moon thanks to secret super science (and a base in Antarctica). In 2018, they’re planning to come back and conquer the world. It’s the kind of plot that Buck Rogers would have been proud of.

The film is being made by the same group that did Star Wreck, a Star Trek parody from Finland, and has also invited the ‘net to participate in its making. How this works is that the filmmakers will create a few tasks that they need help on and basically anyone is free to contribute their own ideas by posting at the amusingly named Wreckamovie site such as what they would like to see in an official poster. There are also quite a few other films there that are also embracing this kind of fan-participation approach so if Nazis in space isn’t your thing, there should be something else to help flex your imagination.

I’ve been keeping an eye on this production for awhile and they’ve already cast the parts with one or two names that I recognized such as the incredibly prolific go-to guy for evil, Udo Kier (Bloodrayne, Blade), and Gotz Otto (Tomorrow Never Dies, Der Untergang) as the head bad guy.

You can find out more about Iron Sky at their official site. As for when the movie is going to be done, they’re aiming at a release sometime in 2011, so they’ve still got a way to go. But at least there’s the trailer.

Viva New Vegas!

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From Bethesda Softworks arrives an official press release for Fallout: New Vegas, a completely standalone adventure under development by the crew at Obsidian Entertainment. If you didn’t have enough post-apocalyptic fun with Fallout 3, get ready to head back into the wastes with a completely new adventure this Fall for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Games for Windows for PCs.

Does that mean this is Fallout 4? Nope, but it takes place in the same world pioneered with the first Fallout (and continued with Fallout 3) when members of Obsidian had worked on it as a part of the development team at Interplay before striking out on their own.

Read that again: members of the original Fallout crew (i.e. the ones that came up with the whole Fallout idea) are working on this. It might not mean much to those whose first exposure to the series was with Fallout 3, but for old-as-dirt Vault Dwellers like myself, it’s a big deal when Fallouts 1 and 2 were undeniably classic material. Where do you think Fallout 3 got the idea to be able to plant live grenades in people’s pockets first? I’m also hoping they include the nuclear car from the second game. So much fun.

And in checking out the trailer, it looks like Obsidian is making more than a few nods in that direction. In Wasteland, considered the granddaddy of Fallout,urban legend held that the reason Vegas dodged a nuke was because the house had bet against one hitting the city…and no one wins against the house. The New California Republic flag waving at the end was a very cool touch. Haven’t seen them since…Fallout 2.

Seems that the last century’s been really good to them. Really good.

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You can read the official release after the jump.

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