The Spot 081001

by

By Shane Satterfield

I thought last week was a slow week in video games but it was only a primer for this week. Not much is going down at present but your old pal The Spot will always be here for a shoulder to cry on. Things are looking up, however. Space World is right around the corner and ECTS is immediately after that. Enjoy the final lull before the upcoming whirlwind that is Q4 2001. Oh, and if you ask questions by clicking here, they just might get answered. Provided you know how to use a spell-check. It's Friday and I think we all deserve a collective woo-hah for making it through a week where the biggest news is a handheld version of Tekken. And they're off!

08/10/2001

PS2 Power

Hi guys, I am just writing to you because of a couple things. You say that the PS2 can't push the graphics as well as the other two systems but from what I have heard, their specs aren't that different from each other. Now for my second thing, I heard a report that says the dude that made MGS 2 said that MGS 2 wasn't even pushing the system. Besides, if you look at first- and second-generation games for the PS they weren't nearly as good as the four and fifth generation games. So, that makes me believe that most of the developers aren't even pushing the PS2 yet. What do you have to say about that?

--SyphonJedi


Some developers are certainly pushing the PS2. I get letters from people all the time talking about how no developer has tapped the PS2's hallowed vector units and how they think someday a magical switch is going to be flipped and the PS2 will suddenly become capable of producing twice the quality of visuals it currently does. First off, the vector units have been more than utilized. The result is gorgeous games like Jak and Daxter, GT3, Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy X, etc. Some PS2 games have already made a huge leap over the graphics found in the PS2 launch roster. But the point is, the best second- and third-generation PS2 games can only compete with the first-generation GameCube and Xbox games from a visual standpoint. The latter two consoles still have the same revolution to go through that the PS2 is currently enjoying. Not to flog a dead horse or anything, but please don't base your decision on which system to buy based solely on its graphical capabilities.


Root Down

I was just wondering if Nintendo is planning on re-releasing any of its N64 games such Legend of Zelda (Ocarina and Majora), Mario 64, and Paper Mario? Some of us who ditched Nintendo for Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid were just wondering if we will get the chance to own these classics if we decide to come back to our roots and buy GameCube.

-Luke


Negatory. Nothing announced at all on that one. But I have a feeling you'll forget all about the N64 Zeldas once you feast your eyes on the GameCube version.


PS2 Drivers

Hey this is a really great site, especially since you guys answer questions almost every day now. I have two questions:

(1) I have just about convinced my wife to get a PS2! It hinges on one thing though. She says all she hears is that the DVD functions are not as good as a standard DVD player. Is this true? Is Sony going to update them in the near future? (Like by Christmas!)

(2) How much info does the DVD disc that Nintendo is using hold compared to a standard DVD disc? Will this affect gameplay on games like Madden and College Football? Thanks Shane!!

-JONATHAN B.
Atlanta, GA


There were supposed to be updated DVD drivers included on the Gran Turismo 3 disc, but if the new drivers were installed I can't tell any difference. The PS2 works just as well at playing movies as most bottom-of-the-line DVD players, but you have to pay an extra $25 if you want to enjoy the luxuries of remote control. The GameCube discs are 1.5GB whereas normal DVDs hold 4.7GB and can be dual-layered to hold double that. 1.5GB will be plenty of storage for any game that does not contain a great deal of FMV. In that case, the game would ship with multiple discs like so many PlayStation and Dreamcast games.


Just to Prove We're Not...

To me it seems that everybody on this site doesn't want the PlayStation to lose. To me, the PlayStation 2 is just living off its name. Sony couldn't make a bunch of good games if their life depended on it. It's funny how it seems that people don't want Microsoft to win because they will mess up the video game industry. Too late, Sony already did. Yeah, they brought video games to the mainstream but they also made it easy to market BS. And that's what they do. For example: GameDay 2001. Whoa, that screamed quality. What about ShootOut 2001? Now that had to be the weakest video game ever made. What about Tomb Raider 3 and 4? How the hell did those games sell? By marketing. So before you say what Microsoft won't do and let's hope it does do something. Because if Sony wins this war and the video game industry to itself, the video game industry, to me, is in trouble.

-Derek


I admire your heartfelt compassion and caring for the video game industry. But without the PlayStation, the industry would not be worth $7 billion dollars a year and I probably wouldn't be here to answer your question today. Some of Sony's first-party games may be poor, but there are stinkers on every console. Third-party support for the PS2 is strong enough to fill any software gap that Sony leaves open with a quality game. Why would we print this letter if we don't want the PlayStation to lose? We want everyone to win and be happy!

Bump-Mapping Worthless?

Just a really quick question/point I keep reading about the fact that the Xbox and GameCube do bump-mapping (hardware) and this is supposed to be some great thing. I have never seen bump-mapping used well in games (on pc) and in most screen shots it looks cheap and out of place. Can someone point me to a good example of bump mapping? As far as I can tell it's really unnecessary as well designed textures give a good feeling of texture (duh) and depth anyway. Anti-aliasing is also highly overrated. For the most part games don't use it and for the most part it isn't neccesary (in my opinion). I think there has been too much focus on this effect in light of some of the early PS2 games being all jagged. From what I've read, this is due to other issues with how the high-res was done or interlaced frames or something, is this true? Most of the newer games look fine, i think most of the exitment over anti-aliasing can be out down to developers still getting to grips with the hardware and people making there minds up that a lack of anti-aliasing was the problem. I have just finished playing Ring of Red and this game looks fine, but I will happily eat my words if you tell me that it did use AA.

-Greg


Take a look at screenshot of Tokyo Extreme Racer: Zero for the PS2 and tell me it wouldn't have benefited from anti-aliasing.


Jealousy

I have finally got my girlfriend addicted to video games! All it took was a sweet hour's worth dose of Final Fantasy VII. Now she can't stop. Just thought I'd share this with you.

-jookalot13


Congratulations! You're now part of the .01 percent of gamers with girlfriends who play video games. If only I were so lucky...


Pigskin Paradise

Is it just me or has anyone noticed that there are 5 football games coming out for the PS2 this year. There's Madden, Gameday, NFL2K2, QBC 2002, and ESPN NFL Primetime all coming out in the next few months. Is Madden the clear cut favorite or is there a serious contender for the football title this year? Will it come down to your personal preference because I liked NFL 2k1 and Madden 2001 but I don't think I can wait until October to play NFL 2K2. Thanks!

-Isaac


Well, I can tell you right now that Madden for the PS2 is the same game as last year with a few additions like cheerleader Madden cards, mulligans, and other worthless dribble. I personally prefer the 2K series' gameplay and an extra month or two would be worth the wait for me if I already had last year's Madden. Acclaim would like us to believe it's committed to getting Quarterback club right this year but we have yet to receive a playable build. Not good.


Space World Anxiety

Hi,

It's been a long time since I first began to check this great site, and since that day I'm always coming back to read any update or anything new. So this site of yours is marvelous. Ok, enough, here's my question.

Do you know the web adress to the Nintendo Space World and the one to the Tokyo Game Show, if they exist of course, because I would like to check them when the shows are on. Even though I would still rely on you guys for the latest news !

Well I just hope you can reply, and keep up the great work you guys do . . . as usual !

-Rodrigo


Nintendo's Japanese Space World site is already up but NOA has yet to unleash the US version. Here's a quick link to the Tokyo Game Show site. There's not much up yet, though.


Xbox in the Dorm Room

Hey,

Just one quick question: Will the Xbox's Ethernet capabilities be compatible with a network Ethernet connection like that of a college? I live in a college dorm so that's why I am curious. Tight site. Peace.

-Anonymous


Yep, the Xbox should work fine with the Ethernet in your dorm. Sounds like a good time! Can I come over and kick it with your crew?


Lay-Ups and Missed Jump Shots

I'm curious, with all the sport titles being released, why hasn't there been a WNBA game? I've heard several places that the female demographic is the most elusive for developers to pin down. Doesn't this seem like a perfect opportunity to at least scratch the surface of that market? I know most will say the market simply just isn't there, but judging by the growth of the WNBA itself I tend to disagree. So if you would be so kind as to lend me your wisdom, it would be greatly appreciated. By the way I'm under the impression there are men who would like to see this title as well.

-Chuck


I'm not so sure anyone would give a squat about a WNBA game for the same reasons there aren't men's middle school basketball video games. No one wants to watch people shooting lay-ups and blowing wide-open jump shots for two hours. No offense to the ladies, but the game just isn't as advanced or exciting as the men's game. I'm not sure where you're getting that the WNBA is successful. The league had to give away tickets to its all-star game to fill the lower seats so as to look good on TV.

Free Gaming Mags?

I used to read EGM. It was my bible. But over time I've realized that it's not the best. It's content is inconsistent and most of the time I can't even see how they call themselves a magazine. Once a week a boy chucks a rolled up rubber-banded black and white Manney's Shopper at my door, free of charge. I don't call this a newspaper and neither do the people at Manney's Shopper. The reason is because it is chock-full of advertisements. That's all it is. Free. So if I want to be sold something I'll just wait for Saturday to come and I won't have to drop down $5 for it, as is the case for Electronic Gaming Monthly. What I'm trying to prove here is a simple concept...being printed in black and white doesn't make it a newspaper. And just because you can subscribe to it and it's in full color doesn't make it a magazine. I'd have no problem with EGM if it was distributed like it should be: every Saturday, free of charge. Ziff and his buddy Davis don't have the hard-hitting news-breaking periodical they'd like to have. If they want one of those they should consider making a bid on Game Informer. I understand that it might be impossible to let everyone read this in any edition of The Spot. I did just bash EGM and promote Game Informer and I'm sure that isn't quite commonplace on videogames.com. All I'm saying is that EGM is most likely making enough money in advertising that they shouldn't have to make a penny more off the people who buy games.

-Monte


You don't work for Game Informer do you? All magazines are 70 percent ads, not just EGM. It's the way of the periodical. I'm not here to defend EGM, but you don't seem to understand how magazines work. They survive solely on advertising. For the money it costs to print a glossy mag, they're practically giving them away at subscription prices.


PS2 Exclusives

I am just a little confused about all these different games coming out on different consoles. So on that note I just wanted to know what games (popular ones or AAA titles) do you think are PS2 exclusives that are coming out in the near future? I am not sure, but I think I know that FFX is one of them. But what about MGS 2 or Devil May Cry?

And one more thing is it worth getting the resident evil code veronica X, which is just a prettied up version from the Dreamcast or should I wait for the total package of Resident Evil 4?

-Anonymous


Final Fantasy X will probably remain a PlayStation 2 exclusive but I wouldn't count on XI or XII. Both MGS 2 and Devil May Cry will probably come to the Xbox, but I doubt either will make it to the GameCube based upon previous statements made by Konami and Capcom. If you haven't played the Dreamcast version of Code: Veronica then don't think twice about picking up the PS2 version. It's the best Resident Evil yet.


PSO on PS2

Shane,

I am very curious about this question and I am so anxious to know! I heard that there will be a Phantasy Star Online version for the PS2 or something about cross-platform gaming. I just want to know if you can play PSO for the PS2. Also, if I'm right, do you know any release dates for it yet?

-Mike n' Ike


Sega has not announced any version of PSO for the PlayStation 2 or Xbox. For now you'll have to get your Ragol on with the Dreamcast or GameCube.


Golden Sun in the US?

I have a couple questions to ask. Is Sega still going to port their Saturn classics to PlayStation or not? And also do have any idea when Golden Sun is coming out in the USA? I mean it just looks so different than any other handheld RPG out there. Keep up the good work!

-Anonymous


I would assume that the Saturn classics are still coming to the PSOne. But we haven't heard anything about them since Sega's huge multi-platform announcement. Golden Sun still isn't confirmed for the US market, but it looks so good that I'm certain Nintendo will eventually bring it stateside.


PS3

You might have gotten my other email but I don't think it had a title so I'll just write it all over again. Sorry. I read that PlayStation 3 is under development. I read this in the Official PlayStation Magazine (OPM). So is this true? I hope it is. Can you give me some info on this? Thanks for your time. And is there another Ace Combat title(s) under development for the PS2 other than Ace Combat 04? Great site keep up the good work and once again thanks for your time.

-Anonymous


I would hope that the PlayStation 3 is at least in the design stages by now. Nintendo and Microsoft are likely already thinking about the GameCube 2 and Ybox respectively. Companies always work on consoles several years prior to their release. It's the way it's always been. And no, we don't have any details and likely won't for at least another year or two.


GameCube Really for Kids?

A while ago I read an article on Hideo Kojima, it stated that making MGS for GameCube would be ridiculous, because GameCube was aimed at a younger audience. Later he went on to say that he was misinterpreted and that he'd actually like to make a game for GameCube. A couple of days ago I read an article about the creator of Devil May Cry, it stated that the game would not be suited for the GameCube. This F#$*@& makes me mad how Konami developers seem to think that Gamecube is a kiddy machine. Have they not seen Eternal Darkness coming to the GameCube from a second party. This game could possibly be better than Devil May Cry or any Resident Evil game. Is it just me or does it seem that Konami is being influenced by all this talk of GameCube being a kid's machine?

Please help me out by answering my question or I'll go insane!

-Luis


Yeah, we saw the comments by Kojima on the official MGS 2 message boards. Have you ever heard the saying perception is nine-tenths of reality? If the majority of people perceive the Cube to be a kid's machine then it is a kid's machine regardless of how many adults own it. It's a sick, sad world isn't it? I would pass on a port of MGS 2 in favor of a 3D version of Castlevania done right by Kojima. As a side note, has anyone thought about what's next for Konami after MGS 2 and Silent Hill 2? The company is being awfully quiet about next year don't you think?

More Nintendo Censorship?

When is Final Fight One coming to the US? And will it be censored like the SNES version?

-Anonymous


We still do not have a definitive release date for it but we expect it sometime later in the year. Initial reports have indicated that it is censored in several ways. Gah!


Lies

I have a question for you and I hope I may get a response for it. If the PlayStation 2 can render 65 million polygon per second and the GameCube can render about 20 million, how come the GameCube would be better graphically? Is it because of the VRAM?

-Sam Donttell


The PlayStation 2 will never even come close to rendering 65 million in-game polygons per second. I would be surprised if it ever made it to the 20 mark. Sony's numbers are misleading and apparently its tactics have worked on some. At present, the best-looking PS2 games rarely push over 8 million polygons per second. It's all about horsepower. It has nothing to do with the VRAM. The VRAM is all about textures.


GS Investing Inc.

Hello,

I am 31 and I don't really know very much about video games. In fact, I don't know anything. The only reason why I was on your Web site is because I am a stock market analyst, and recently I have noticed that video game stocks are on fire! I was thinking that maybe I could get a piece of it! For example: Activision (ticker: ATVI), Acclaim (ticker: AKLM), Electronic Arts (ERTS), THQ (THQI), and Take-Two Entertainment (TTWO) have all more than doubled in stock price, and in AKLM's case, more than quadrupled off of its lows. So the stock market analyst inside of me decided to analyze the market, so I clicked here.

Anyway, my questions are:

1. How many units of game does a company have to ship for it to be a hit?

2. Considering the average development and production costs of a game, how many units of a game would have to be shipped for the company to break even? Do you think Resident Evil Code Veronica for the Dreamcast was profitable?

3. I noticed some negative hype on Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox system. Do you agree? I hope it sells well I have about 700 shares of Microsoft and so do many consumers, it is a widely held stock! That being said, what three games for Xbox do you think will sell the best? Because it's the games that Microsoft makes money on.

Thanks,

-StockBrokerNVDA@aol.com

PS: Of the companies I mentioned at the top, which do you think has the best fall lineup of games? Probably Electronic Arts.


I'm normally paid exorbitant amounts of unmarked bills for information like this, but we always enjoy getting letters from the "real world" so I'll make an exception.

1. Normally the cut-off is around 500,000 copies.

2. Depends upon the development costs of the game. Code: Veronica on the Dreamcast likely made Capcom a little money but not much.

3. I agree that it has some negative hype but no one's quite sure just how well it will sell.

4. Electronic Arts definitely stands to make a healthy chunk of change this holiday season.


The Original System War

Hi! I have a question that doesn't concern the 128-Bit system war, but more the 16-bit system war.

I got a Genesis last year, and wanted to know what were your favorite Genesis games that you would recommend. I already have all of the Sonic games, and don't care for RPGs. Other than that, anything you'd suggest? Thanks.

-Max Terry


Yep. Shadowrun, Ninja Gaiden (import), Battletoads, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Streets of Rage, Ecco the Dolphin, NHL 94, Gunstar Heroes, any Shinobi, any Splatterhouse, Thunder Force II, and the list goes on...


The Belt!

I have a queston, you know in WWF No Mercy for the N64 how if you have a championship belt like the European you walk down to the ring with the belt (you can see it with the superstar). Will this be the case in SD! Just Bring It? Will you be able to see the Championship belt with the superstar?

-John


I'll tag Gerald in on this one.

Gerald responds: While I can't conform this feature for sure, I would be greatly surprised if the belts weren't modeled for the reigning champs in Smackdown JBI. Wrestling fans out there may also want to do some research on the web about the upcoming sequel to Men at Work, directed by Emilio Estevez and starring (you'd never guess it) Hulk Hogan and "The Macho Man" Randy Savage. Oh yeah!


Mario Kart Influential?

After looking extensively at both the staff's and the readers' 15 Most Influential Games of All-Time I knew something just wasn't right. After looking through the archives of games I found the game which everyone forgot. How could everyone forget Super Mario Kart? It showed the world a pseudo-3D world and it single-handedly created the most copied genre ever. The kart racer has been copied by practically every company sometime or another. Anyway I just wanted to get your thoughts on this.

-Steve Timberman


We threw Super Mario Kart into our voting mix but since it only inspired a niche genre we decided it was not worthy. In retrospect, it might have deserved a spot but GameSpot is a democracy.


If You've Got it, Flaunt it

I don't plan on buying an Xbox, but I am still rather interested by it. What I'm wondering is why they don't buy every game coming out to get it on the Xbox?

-snoopdawwg22


Microsoft has already done this with some games. Look at the Matrix video game as an example. And then there's Halo. Microsoft bought Bungie to make sure this game would only be coming to the Xbox. Regardless of how much money Microsoft has, it can't force people to buy its console. If third-parties had some sort of assurance that the Xbox was going to succeed they would be more willing to accept the wheelbarrows full of money that Microsoft is throwing at them. But at this stage of the game it's too much of a gamble to commit to just one platform.


Agetec Making Moves?

There has been a slight feeling in my bones that even though it's kinda stupid and lame. That something is going down at Agetec! After long thinking, I concluded that the ever-popular RPG Maker would see a rebirth in enhanced form! Or perhaps there was another game in the designer series in the works. RPGs are my thing, but action/adventure fit the bill along with fighting. That said, do you know of any titles that are actually involving the designer series created by Ascii/Agetec? Does anyone know where I can get Crispin's Quest?

-crowland_17


Is there ever anything going on at Agetec? Good luck finding Crispin's Quest. Anyone?


Movie Cube

Hey, what's up? First of all, loving the subtle changes you guys have been making to the GameSpot site (very sweet). Now back to business =) I've been planning on getting a GameCube when it comes out. However, the only thing really holding me back is no DVD playback feature. Recently I heard that Panasonic would be given rights to sell a GameCube with the DVD playback function. Is this true? If so, how much is it going to be, and how long are we going to have to wait for it after the initial launch of the Cube?

Peace and keep up the good work,

-Joe S.


Yes, Panasonic will be releasing a DVD player with the GameCube hardware built-in. It will sell for $325 in Japan so you can count on $299 here in the US. It will be released in the early half of next year but it is one funky-looking machine.


Online PS2 Games

I was planing to buy a PlayStation 2 in the near future. But before I buy it, I wanted to know if you knew what PlayStation 2 games you can play online with. I think that it was a good idea for Sony to put a modem inside their new system. Thanks!! Your Web site kicks butt!

-Tommy Crews
Folkston, GA


For starters, there's no modem in the PlayStation 2. It will be sold separately for $39 at the end of the year. So far the big online PS2 games Sony has announced include Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, SOCOM: Navy Seals, Final Fantasy XI, and Tribes 2. There won't be a great deal of online PS2 games to play until this time next year.


Thanks for stopping by and have yourselves a lovely weekend. We'll get the engine revving again on Monday so drop us a line. Out!

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