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Who's Your Main - Randolph Ramsay

Street Fighter II | Arcade 1991 | Guile

iPods. Cell phones. Flat screen TVs. GPS. The internet. These are all things that came into prominence AFTER the release of Street Fighter II in 1991, so it makes me feel positively Jurassic thinking back to my early days with this iconic brawler. That was back when the only action was arcade action, where one dollar got you a few credits, and when I sucked so hard at Street Fighter it made black holes look like underpowered vacuum cleaners by comparison (I'm a bit better now, thanks for asking). I still remember my first few attempts at a hadouken--the instructions read down, forward down, and forward, so there I was, trying to rapidly jab in those directions individually, as opposed to doing a smooth, quarter-circle motion. Duh.

Because of my quarter circle dyslexia, I tended to favor charge characters in those early days. Blanka was a favorite, as was E. Honda, but the character who I ended up playing the most was that no-nonsense all-American, Guile. Guile, with hair you can slice a steak with and a powerful double-hit leg sweep. Guile, with his easy-to-pull off sonic boom and difficult to defend against flash kick. Guile, who was so simple and so cheap that you could easily annoy even the most patient of your friends. Guile was the first ever character I defeated M. Bison with, and he retains a special place in my heart because of that.

Fatal Fury | Arcade 1992 | Terry Bogard

With the huge success of Street Fighter around the early '90s, I often found it difficult to find a spare machine to hone my skills on. And even when I did find a spare, I would usually be challenged by someone who, you know, was actually decent at fighting games. Luckily, the success off SFII spawned a host of imitators, and for my dollar, SNK's Fatal Fury was one of the best. Sure, the original Fatal Fury didn't have a huge list of fighters to choose from--there were only the two Bogard brothers and Joe Higashi initially--but it had a great cast of characters that were genuinely distinct from each other and great to line up against. Plus Fatal Fury was the first ever King of Fighters Tournament, and we all know the success that series has gone on to achieve.

As for the brothers, Terry was the stand-out for me. Terry had a great mix of killer moves--a projectile with the power wave, an anti-air with the rising tackle, and a rush with the burning tackle. Plus he had a sweet hat, which I've always wanted.

Tekken Tag Tournament | PlayStation 2 2000 | Lei Wulong and Jun Kazama

Up until Tekken Tag Tournament, I'd always preferred to do my virtual fighting in an arcade. Why? It wasn't until the power of the PlayStation 2 that the arcade experience could well and truly be replicated at home (with an honorable exception going to Street Fighter II for the SNES), and Tekken Tag Tournament was the pinnacle of home fighting at the time. As well as sporting a hefty character list, plenty of extras, and most impressively at the time, looked even better than its arcade counterpart. Tekken Tag was one of the main reasons I bought Sony's latest console.

In Tekken Tag, my go-to combination was always the deadly team of Lei Wulong and Jun Kazama. Lei had become one of my favorite characters since his introduction in Tekken 2 (being heavily into Jackie Chan films back then), but Tekken Tag was my first serious attempt at playing Jun. Jun had seriously deadly combos and was tough to defend against, and is one of the characters I'm seriously hoping makes a comeback in the next Tekken Tag. Do you hear me series producer Katsuhiro Harada? Bring back Jun!

--Dishonorable Mention--

Pit-Fighter | Arcade 1991 | Buzz

Many may think Mortal Kombat was the first time digitized actors were used instead of animated characters in a fighting game. But a year before fatalities were in vogue, Pit Fighter had already tried to make a more "realistic" fighter. And boy, was it the pits (see what I did there?).

Good fighters give you nuanced, interesting characters to play and tough but fair opponents to go up against, but Pit Fighter gave you neither of these. Each of the three characters had extremely limited movesets, and your opponents were cheaper than copies of Rock Revolution. What was even worse were many of the game's home console ports, which took an already average looking arcade game and made it crappier to look at. Ex-pro wrestler Buzz was my favorite, if he only because he could take the most punishment from the oh-so-cheap enemies.

Randolph Ramsay Ornament

This blog is a part of the scavenger hunt.

Share a couple of items on your Christmas wishlist this year.
A Rock Band 3 Fender Mustang Pro controller
A 3D TV
Doc Brown's DeLorean (although no one ever gets me this)

What games will you play during the holidays?
Super Meat Boy, Limbo, Rock Band 3, and trying to finally finish Dragon Age before Dragon Age II ships.

What are the kinds of food or drinks you must have during the holidays?
Roast Pork and trifle. Sweet, sweet trifle.

ORNAMENT HUNT ANSWER - CLUE 11

Behind the scenes pics from GameSpot HQ at E3 2007

Hi all. Direct from San Diego, here are a few pics from inside (and outside) GameSpot's E3 2007 headquarters at Venice Beach. We've taken over a two-level space right on Santa Monica pier--check out a few shots below.

Welcome to GameSpot on the beach!

Here's the view from our front window onto Santa Monica pier and the beach beyond.

The second level houses all of the editorial staff. If you look closely, you can GS AU's Dan Chiappini typing away.

GS' studio. This is where all of the live action from the next few days of E3 will happen from. Wave to Rich!

Come back soon for more photos!

And the winner of Marvel Ultimate Alliance Face Off competition is...

If there's one thing we've learnt about you--our loyal and loving GameSpot AU readers--it's that you all seem to love Spider-man and Wolverine. Or at the very least you'd love to see them bash the crap out of each other.

In our Marvel Ultimate Alliance Face Off competition, we asked you to come up with your ultimate hero battle. Reading through the gazillion entries (OK--thousands) we received, we found many cool suggestions--but also many, many, many entries asking for a Spider-man/Wolverine smack down. And while having ol'webhead and Logan square off is a pretty nifty idea, we decided to award our prizes to the most creative, different and downright funny entries we came across. Besides, we all know who'd come out on top in a Spidey/Wolvey battle anyway -- Spider-man FTW! (Sorry, showing my Spidey bias there...)

So without any further ado, let me introduce you to the winner of GameSpot AU's Marvel Ultimate Alliance Face Off competition--Daniel McFadyen, who's also known by his GameSpot username of evilmanman. Daniel has scored himself AU$5000 worth of goodies, which includes an Xbox 360 Premium Pack, Panasonic 81cm HD LCD TV, Panasonic home theatre system, an Xbox 360 wireless controller, an Xbox Live Vision Camera and a copy of Activision's Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Daniel's entry was a little strange, slightly un-PC and made us laugh:

"I would like to see Professor X fight some sort of stair monster. Maybe a mutated stair machine that is out of control. Can you imagine it? "Eat stairs, Professor!" "No, my only weakness!" Naturally, hilarity will ensue."

We also chose 10 runner-up winners, each of whom receives their own copy of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Below are some of the runner-up entries--we're not listing them all because if you've won, you probably already know about it because our marketing team would have notified you by now.

"Wolverine versus Iceman, because summer is coming up and everyone loves snow-cones."

"Wolverine and Mario. One possesses keen reflexes and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound while the other has an ass that can flatten opponents and doesn't even complain about saving the same person hundreds of times."

"My dad, against your dad. Come on, let's just end this 1000 year old argument once and for all. P.S My dad can kick your dad's ass."


"Dr. Who vs. Prof. X... both are pacifists and intellectuals, so there wouldn't so much as a big battle, but instead lots of intellectual banter, which could be very thought provoking. Eventually they both might get tired and fall asleep."

Congratulations to Daniel and all the runner-up winners. Have fun with your new toys. And for the rest of you, don't stress--GameSpot AU will be bringing you more competitions in the New Year. Thanks for all of your support!

Go Spidey!

Wii--the new King down under

Nintendo--for years the distant third place in the console race--must be chuffed at the Wii's Australian sales figures.

The Wii is now officially Australia's fastest selling console, with sales of 32,901 Wiis in the first four days after last week's launch. It has eclipsed the Xbox 360, which sold 30,421 in its first four days after its March launch this year. And not only is the Wii the country's fastest selling home console, it's the fastest selling piece of game hardware including handheld devices.

The record of fastest-seller is a great one for Nintendo to hold, and it looks like one it may hold for a few years. The only other foreseeable game hardware launch is that of Sony's PlayStation 3--and if the scarcity of available units from the PS3's international launches are anything to go by, it's not unreasonable to think that Sony may find it hard to even ship 30,000 units locally when the console launches here in March 2007.

Of course, if you wanted to be completely pessimistic, you could say that the Wii didn't exactly smash the Xbox 360's sales records. A margin of 2000 isn't really that much, especially when you consider that the Wii is several hundreds dollars cheaper in Australia than the Xbox 360 was at launch. Plus, you could say that the Wii had the added advantage of being launched so close to the Christmas buying rush. If you wanted to be pessimistic, that is.

Bottom line, however, is that Nintendo needs to be congratulated on having such a successful launch. And the best news is that while Wiis may be sold out in some locations, anecdotal evidence is that Wiis are still available out there in Australia-land--perfect for those still wondering what to buy for their gaming needs this Christmas.

Nintendo Wii: Inside the box

With just over a week to go until the Nintendo Wii's Australian launch, we get our hands on a final retail box of the next-generation console. Want to see what's inside? Then check out the pics below.


The Wii retail box itself is not bulky, and sports a clean white design.


The contents of the box are divided into two sections -- the first carries the Wii unit itself, while the second has the accessories (such as remote controller, nunchuk and Wii Sports).


The Wii itself is fairly small -- in fact, its power brick is almost half its size.


The second section of the box carries the remote, nunchuk, sensor and more.


The contents of the second section spread out. As you can see, you get several instruction manuals as well.


The remote sensor unit is quite small and discreet.


At the front of the unit is the Wii's SD card slot, which is hidden behind a white panel.


At the top of the unit are four GameCube controller ports.


The back of the Wii is clutter-free. Here you can see the power, AV multi-out and sensor ports.


Behold the Wii60. As you can see, Microsoft's Xbox 360 is much larger than the Wii.


Just like the 360, the Wii can also be stored flat on its back.

Is Australia a party games island?

What is it about party games that we Aussies just can't get enough of?

Here at GameSpot AU, we've been tracking game sales charts for Australia for a little while now, and for the past few months there have been three constant entries in the top 10: SingStar, Buzz and Brain Training. Compare that to the US charts and there seems to be a world of difference. US gamers still tend to lap up racers, shooters and action games, with nary a 'non-traditional' genre in sight. And when I say non-traditional, I mean titles that don't fall into what most people would typically consider as games -- such as karaoke, quiz, music, puzzle or fitness-type titles. The most popular of these non-traditional titles down under are, of course, party games such as Sony's extremely successful SingStar or Buzz series.

Sony, for its part, obviously doesn't think US gamers like these types of titles that much, having not released many Buzz or SingStar games stateside. Australians, on the flipside, are lapping these games up. Is it because Aussies just aren't as "hardcore" as US gamers? Or do we just have a natural affinity for making fools of ourselves at karaoke?

Here's a controversial thought: maybe the Australian games market is actually a little more mature than the US. Before you howl me down with stats and figures on how huge and advanced the US games market is, let me assure you that I'm not trying to compare size here. In pure dollar terms, the US is a behemoth, and Australia in comparison is miniscule. And I don't mean mature in the sense of being more adult or dignified. What I mean is the shape of the Australian market -- the people who game, those who own consoles and use them regularly -- may actually be what the US will be like in a few years' time. The three big players in gaming -- Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo -- have all acknowledged the need to expand past the "core" audience of gamers in order for the industry to prosper and grow. The big three are planning to expand the market by developing new titles to attract people who aren't interested in shooting Nazis, or going on mythical quests, or killing aliens in a post-apocalyptic future. Sony's already produced these type of games in their party series, while Microsoft is about to test the waters with Viva Pinata. Nintendo's entire philosophy with the Wii is to attract as many people back to gaming as possible.

It's clear that with SingStar, Buzz and Brain Training such Top 10 stalwarts in Australia, our market may already include plenty of these new types of gamers the major games companies are trying to attract. Who knows? Maybe our Top 10 charts are a sneak peek into the future of US gaming.

PS3 envy from Down Under

While most Australians can only look on in envy as Japanese and US gamers get their hands on Sony's PlayStation 3 next week, we lucky GameSpot AU staffers have been fortunate enough to have spent some quality time with the new console this week. Of course, we're not as lucky as Greg and the gang over in GameSpot US, who have already been playing with the console for a while--check out our Launch Centre for everything you need to know.


Up close with the PS3 at Sony PlayStation's AU HQ.

The Australian launch of the PS3 isn't until March 2007, but Sony took us deep inside PlayStation AU HQ this week to give us an extended play session with the next-gen behemoth. And behemoth it was--our first impression upon laying eyes on the shiny black PS3 was that it was a pretty hefty unit. Looking more like a small bar fridge than a gaming console, the PS3 is certainly far removed from the petite slimline PS2. If you're planning on buying one of these babies next year, better start making room for it now.


Riiiiiiiiiidge Raaaaaaaceeeeeerrrrrrr!

The games themselves, as you'd probably expect, looked stunning. We played Ridge Racer 7 (amazingly detailed cars and tracks), Genji: Days of the Blade (impressive use of colours), Motor Storm (excellent rag doll animations on the riders) and Lair (you get to ride dragons--'nuff said). The standout was Resistance: Fall of Man. This first-person shooter looked gorgeous, with realistic locations and enemies linked with some decent gameplay.

There's a caveat to all this positive eye candy, of course. We viewed all of these games at Sony HQ through a high definition projector--the 1080p capable Sony VPL-VW100, which retails for a hefty AU$15,000. Right now, it's probably safe to assume that most gamers who shell out the cash for a PS3 won't have an AU$15,000 projector in the house, let alone a 1080p-capable display that would make full use of the PS3's visual capabilities. And as with the Xbox 360, this could potentially lead to disappointment if the console is hooked up to a normal old CRT television, or even an SD-only flatscreen. In Australia, 1080p-capable screens are just beginning to hit the consumer space in decent numbers, so it might be a while before the majority of gamers can get the most out of their PS3s.

But there is a positive. Our PS3 launch delay gives us Aussies until March next year to save up for a new HD screen. It looks like 2007 is going to be a pretty expensive year for gamers.

GameSpot AU at GAME1 Melbourne

GameSpot AU visited the first GAME1 Electronic Gaming Expo and Tournament held in Melbourne's Convention Centre last weekend (4-5 November), and yours truly had the chance to get up on stage and talk with some key developers in front of a very enthusiastic audience.

Hundreds of Melbourne gamers attended GAME1 to check out the latest games from Microsoft, Activision, THQ, Ubisoft, EA and more. On display where such anticipated games like Guitar Hero II, Rainbow Six Vegas, Need for Speed Carbon, Fury (from Aussie developers Auran), Call of Duty 3, Splinter Cell Double Agent and more.

But by far the most popular stand on the day belonged to Nintendo, who was showcasing the brand new Nintendo Wii. Gamers were lined up all day to get a chance to play the new console, and were extremely enthusiastic during Nintendo's on-stage presentation to explain the Wii's capabilities.

Consumer game shows are pretty thin on the ground for the average Aussie consumer, so it was great to be at a show where gamers could come along and sample upcoming titles weeks ahead of their official release.

GameSpot AU will also be at the Sydney leg of GAME1 (2-3 December, Sydney Olympic Park), so come along if you want to say hi to the team.


Nintendo's Wii stand was by far the most popular.


Gamers patiently lined up for their chance at the Wii.


I was lucky enough to chat with Irrational Games' Jay Kyburz about their upcoming game, Bioshock.


Next up on stage with me was Activision's Joel Graham, who spoke at length about Guitar Hero II.


Joel and I shredding it to the Foo Fighters on stage.


And yes, booth babes were present at the show.

Dagnabit... no Guitar Hero wireless controller for Oz until 07

Hi all. Our GameSpot newshounds reported yesterday that Red Octane will be bringing out a wireless guitar controller in the US in time for the release of Guitar Hero II for the PS2 in November.

The bad news for us is that Activision locally has confirmed that said wireless controller won't be making it to Australia until "early 2007".

No further details were available -- but we'll keep you up to date of any more info that comes to hand.

I guess we'll all have to do our shredding while shackled to a PS2 for a little while longer...
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