Nintendo launches fake Metroid sites

"Channel 51," "Orbis Labs" stealthily hype next month's release of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

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Following in the footsteps of ilovebees.com and the many fake, humorous Web sites that Rockstar creates leading up to the launch of its Grand Theft Auto titles--as well as the parody Web site Nintendo launched tp create some buzz for Perfect Dark on the N64--Nintendo has launched at least two fake Web sites to drum up some viral awareness of the upcoming GameCube title Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, which ships on November 15.

Channel 51 seems like your typical alien-abduction-Bigfoot-chupacabra-conspiracy-theory site until you read about its "author"--a certain "Samantha Manus" from "Sumas, Washington." Doesn't take too much effort to figure out that the first and last few letters of her name spell "Samus," which also happens to be an anagram of "Sumas." Oh, and Nintendo's headquarters are in Washington state, too. But if that's too hard for you, the grainy, blurry Quicktime clips of what the site refers to as the "Rossler Transmission" are obviously taken directly from Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.

Click on the advertisement on the bottom of Channel 51's home page to check out Orbis Labs, a company manufacturing some new-age military technology--a "self-contained armored machine" called a Battle Sphere. Well, it's pretty easy to figure out what Orbis Labs is really selling. And when "Samantha Manus" writes about Orbis' invention, she notes that "the greatest problem I see facing the Battle Sphere program, if it's real, is that the current male soldier is physically too large." Hmm. We might know one way to solve that problem.

Other easy-to-miss references to Metroid and Nintendo abound. A link to a Time Magazine article on sunglasses with a built-in MP3 player seems to be something of a non sequitur unless the reader clicks to the next page of the piece, which is a feature on the Nintendo DS and Metroid Prime: Hunters.

Of course, perhaps one of the most subtle references to Nintendo is Orbis Labs' slogan: "Striving to be the new leader in Next-Generation Military Technology." Shades of Revolution, perhaps?

It seems like Channel 51 and Orbis Labs will both be updated in the weeks prior to the release of Metroid Prime 2. Channel 51 seems to have new stories every week, and Orbis Labs promises that test videos of the Battle Sphere are coming soon. In addition, there is a name and password login on the Orbis site, which we expect will be leaked--or even "hacked"--later on.

Should any important information about Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime: Hunters, or the Nintendo DS be disseminated through these or any other cleverly disguised Web sites, GameSpot will give you the heads-up.

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