On 18 march 2004, Sega and Imagination Technologies announced licensing agreement to develop the next arcade platform based on the latest high end PowerVR chip. It's not the first time these companies work together since PowerVR chips already handle the graphics in Naomi and Atomiswave systems. After one year and a half of development comes the result: Lindbergh! PowerVR chips are known for the undisputed quality of their graphics. It even gets better this time with the usage of high definition screen! The followers in several successful series will be released on this system; Virtua Fighter 5, The House of the Dead 4 et Afterburner Next (return of the R360?). These games were presented at E3 2005. You can download the video of the presentation by clicking here. The recording quality isn't very good but pay attention to e.g. the VF5 characters animation, it's never seen before and is the proof that Sega masters this hardware. Of course this is a high end system so to follow Sammy's philosophy (formerly Sega) which tends to offer a relatively low-spec affordable system, another system is being developed. Named Aurora, it's based on a all-in-one chip solution lowering the production cost. This processor will include an optimised Hitachi SH-4 CPU clocked to 300Mhz (the same processor that's powering the Naomi, tuned a bit and running faster), a PowerVR MBX GPU (with an additional Vertex Geometry Processor) running at 150Mhz and a basic SPU. Performances should be between Naomi and Naomi 2. The rumor says the Aurora is running Linux embedded. This system which is jointly developed with SI-Electronics is aiming at replacing both Naomi and Atomiswave but the first titles will only be released in 2006. Whatever, we're looking forward to review the first Lindbergh powered games!
The Tekken 5 nationwide U.K. Tournament saw the victory of Ryan Hart. This 26-year-old londoner defeated Eze Izundu during the final that was held on saturday at the Namco Station County Hall (London). This tournament began three months earlier in several arcades accross the country and gathered U.K.'s best Tekken players. Ryan, who works as a product specialist in the consumer video games industry, received a cheque for £1000 (about €1480) from John McKenzie, Namco Europe Commercial Director. He also won a unique IC card embedded with "UK Champion" status. Well done Ryan!
Three months after its release, here comes at last the OutRun2 SP review. Sega brought many changes and new features to its well-known title making it more attractive. Go to the articles section to learn more about today's best racer. This game is the first one in a series reviewed in february. You'll discover the other reviews in the forthcoming weeks.
Maximum Tune 2 has just started shipping, this follow-up to the well-known streetracing game from Namco features 6 new cars, 10 new adversaries, a new ranking system, the legendary Hakone circuit and up to 4 players simulatneous play! The ability to save your progress and your vehicule's tuning on a IC card is ofcourse still present. Interesting fact, cards are totally interchangeable between both versions of the game. Another streetracer; Faster than Speed by Sammy offers you an amazing sense of speed, especially with the nitro boost enabled. Above this, 12 different (tunable) vehicles are available to race on the 12 featured circuits. This game is available as a dedicated cabinet, a kit (fitting almost every existing cabinet) or a simple Atomiswave cartridge (to replace very easily and at low cost the disastrous Maximum Speed). Like all Atomiswave games, its low price is its most appealing characteristic. While we're at talking about racers, a Mario Kart Arcade GP location test will take place in the UK, we'll give you the date very soon.
Here's the final ranking of this european championship that took place last weekend in Norway. The swedish Kasu wins the cup. The 2nd and 3rd positions are occupied by the englishmen K-Dogg and Stelisevil. The norvegian Snute finishes fourth and the dutch T_Bone_X_Zeo is fifth. Follow; 6th: Haggar (Norway), 7th: Drummer (Italy), 8th: Bonzo (Norway), 9th: OJK (Norway). Notice our national Eric's very good performance who ranks 10th! Well done Eric! Considering this ranking, we see that players from the northern countries are the best at this kind of game. This event was the opportunity to experiment large scale multiplayer gaming with a demonstration of 20 players simultaneously dancing on 20 different mats... You can consult the complete ranking at this URL: http://home.samfundet.no/~sesse/ec2.pl.
After Will Wright (Sim City), Yuji Naka (Sonic), Gunpei Yokoi (Game Boy) & Marc Cerny (Marble Madness), Eugene Jarvis received the "Game Developers Choice Award for Lifetime Achievement" during the ceremony that took place on march 9th at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. This prize, awarded once a year by the International Game Developers Association rewards developers who dedicated their life to improve video gaming. Former Midway employee, Eugene Jarvis is known as the creator of Defender, Robotron: 2084 and more recently the Cruis'n series. While developing games, Eugene always tries to offer the highest amount of "fun" to the player and always managed to find the means to achieve that. You can enjoy the meaning of the word "fun" by playing his two latest titles (made by his "Raw Thrills" company); The Fast and the Furious and Target: Terror. Both distributed in Europe by Namco. A new version of this last one was just released. Named "Target: Terror Gold", this upgrade offers 10 bonus games, new graphical effects and a new scoring system. This game is available as a kit fitting any cabinet (whatever the screen resolution is)!
The DDR European PG Cup 2005 will take place this weekend during The Gathering 2005 demoparty (that began yesterday) at the Vikingskipet in Hamar (Norway). Organised for the second time in a row by Positive Gaming & M-Games, this tournament gathers the 20 best european Dance Dance Revolution players and 40 highly skilled challengers. The opponents will do their best on 3 Dancing Stage EuroMIX 2 machines from Konami. Here's the schedule: on friday 25th at 18:00, surprise tournament lasting 40 minutes, then at 20:00, local communities leaders meeting to talk about including all communities into a large european one. On saturday 26th: official tournament from 9:00 to 19:00. Finals will begin at 17:00 and will be displayed on big screens. Eric Fjøsne from Brussels will represent Belgium at this tournament. Good luck Eric! S'Tsung who ranked 2nd at the DDR Belgian Tournament will represent Czech Republic. The event can be followed in real-time on IRC: #ddrnorway on efnet. And for the Dancing Stage addicts, one URL: www.ddrbelgium.be.
The next big european show about arcade games will undoubtedly be Enada Spring 2005 that will take place from 10th to 13th march in Rimini Fiera (Italy). All the latest machines will be showcased; from video games to pinballs, jukeboxes, billiards, automatic dispensers, kiddie rides, gadgets, and other equipments. One goal of this show is to make exchanges and meetings easier. Many seminaries are planned, talking about the market evolution and the way to encourage its changes. Some pratical infos: entrance (10 €) is of course limited to professionals. Open hours are from 10:00 to 18:00 on thursday, friday and saturday and from 10:00 to 16:00 on sunday. Here's the official website: www.enadaprimavera.it.
A small report of the open days that took place last week can be found in the articles ("Reports" section). We rather talk about the showcased products than about the event itself but we kept is short since we'll review all these titles soon. So, keep an eye on this page! We noticed that many visitors have been very interested in the latest video games, notably OutRun 2 SP, Ghost Squad and The Fast and the Furious.
You dreamed about it, Namco made it! Unveiled yesterday at the AOU Amusement Show in Chiba (Japan), this version of Nintendo's famous racing game promises epic duels between friends. With its first Triforce title, Namco causes a stir. Presented in a modified Maximun Tune cabinet, this game will offer 24 different tracks divided in 6 "cups". You'll have to choose 3 bonuses before race start including various projectiles to launch at your opponents' face with a button on the steering wheel. Jumps are back in this "GP" edition (press both gas and brake pedals simultaneously to activate it). The cabinet features a camera allowing the game to display your face above your kart. Announced characters are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Wario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Bowser, Toad, Blinky the ghost, Ms Pac-Man and her well-known husband. Let's finally mention the possibily to use a magnetic card to save your best times and acquired objects... The japanese release is scheduled towards the end of the year. You'll find pictures here, here and there and some videos there.
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