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Monday, Dec 22, 2008
New releases for the week of 2008-12-22...

Know what I’ve been doing this weekend?  Well, while I really wanted to be playing all the latest games and delivering some top-notch journalism action to you, the readers, I was actually shoveling and snowblowing all damn weekend.  As with any major snow event, the coverage on CNN starts with Buffalo, so go ahead, follow the link, and feel sorry for me.


How is this relevant?  Well, as it turns out, shoveling your driveway would be more productive than paying much attention to this week’s release list.  The Wii’s putting out a couple of games on WiiWare, but I’ll be honest, they’re both dwarfed by the release of Phantasy Star IV on the virtual console, one of the better Sega Genesis RPGs out there, but still dwarfed by Phantasy Star II.  Those who picked up Phantasy Star II back when it got “Virtual Consoled” are probably still working on it anyway, so it’s hard to recommend another huge classic RPG download.


I suppose if you’re a new-release junkie and you just have to pick up something new, Mystery P.I. is a decent way to kill some time.  It’s an expansion of an online release which is basically a big Where’s Waldo experience, and the take-home versions for the DS and PC look to be more of the same.  Want to give it a go?  There’s a one-hour demo download of the New York edition of the game, which may well be all of it you need to play.  I had fun for my hour, and I’ll also be OK if I never see it again.


Moving Pixels is going to be quiet for a while after this, so enjoy your holidays, all.  The full release list is…well, it’s right here:


Nintendo DS:


Dreamer: Horse Trainer (23 December)
Dreamer: Puppy Trainer (23 December)
Mystery P.I. - Portrait of a Thief (23 December)



PC:


Mystery P.I. - Portrait of a Thief (23 December)



Wii:


Fun! Fun! Minigolf (22 December, WiiWare)
Phantasy Star IV (22 December, Virtual Console)
Tiki Towers (22 December, WiiWare)


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Sunday, Dec 7, 2008
New releases for the week of 2008-12-08...

Say what you will about Sony, it is nothing less than a major technical achievement that they created when they put out the PlayStation 2.  I, along with millions of others, bought that thing in 2001.  It’s almost 2009, and here we are, looking at a release week in which a game for the PlayStation 2 towers over everything else on the list of releases.


Granted, it’s a slow release week.  Also granted, the game we’re talking about is a niche title for a devoted, but comparatively small audience.  Still, there are few games that I’ve waited for with such anticipation this year as I have waited for Persona 4.  Having played and enjoyed the third installment in the franchise, particularly with the FES add-ons that came with it, Persona 4 has looked like a shoe-in for game-of-the-year consideration since it was announced to be coming to American audiences in December.  I’m happy to have already had the pleasure of reading some positive reviews of the game, so I’m anticipating a fantastic, engrossing time sink much like the last game.  If you’re not playing Persona 4 this week, I hope you don’t consider yourself an RPG fan.


Dungeon Maker II

Dungeon Maker II


As for the rest of the release list…did I mention that it’s a slow release week?  I did?  Um, good.  Well, the DS has a couple of…well, they’re games, I know that.  Slingo Quest sounds fun, right?  I mean, it combines gambling and adventure gaming! How can you go wrong with that?  The PC and PS3 are a bit late to a couple of parties, with Prince of Persia and Sonic Unleashed respectively, and the Wii will be getting the Neopets Puzzle Adventure, which as I mentioned when it game to the DS version of the game is surprisingly good.


Oh!  And the PSP actually has something coming out this week!  Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War may not actually convince anyone that the PSP’s not dying, but it’s something, right? 


A trailer for Persona 4, along with the full release list, is after the jump.  Give it a look, and tell us all about your adventures with the Persona series in the comments, won’t you?


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Sunday, Nov 30, 2008
New releases for the week of 2008-12-01...

Another painfully (some would say mercifully) slow release week is upon us as the year winds down and publishers allow the games that they’d never put up against anything to trickle out. 


The lone truly big-ticket item to be seen in the bunch below is Prince of Persia, for which the lack of numbers or subtitles would seem to indicate a restart for the franchise.  Interestingly, it’s a franchise whose momentum seems to be building, given some recent high-profile shoutouts from the likes of Yahtzee and the news of an upcoming movie version of the game starring none other than Jake Gyllenhaal.


Prince of Persia would seem to be the one game this week that is being released because its publisher wanted it to get the release day highlighting—and the holiday promotional push—it deserves.  It’s not too late for the Christmas rush, and yet it’s found a window in which there is very little to distract us from its release.  The Prince himself is new (and quite frankly, he sounds like kind of an ass), but the plot is basically the same—evil dark spirits are released upon the world, and the Prince must save the world with the aid of a mysterious woman named Elika (who becomes the means of saving the Prince from death when we players are inadequately suited to such a task).  If you liked the Sands of Time trilogy, it sounds like you’ll like this, and with the inadvertent spotlight put on the series thanks to the similarity of Mirror’s Edge‘s acrobatics to those of Prince of Persia, now might be just the time to get into it.


There are a couple of Mushroom Men games coming out this week as well, which may be worth a look.  The Wii version of the game (subtitled The Spore Wars) has been the recipient of some pretty decent preliminary reviews, and who doesn’t love a good platformer?  Platformers not based on already-established franchises are pretty rare these days (LittleBigPlanet notwithstanding), so it feels like something I’d want to support, anyway.


Elsewhere, SingStar Abba might just be the game that finally gets my father into video games, WiiWare might have some buried retro treasure on its hands with Space Invaders Get Even!, and The Tale of Desperaux is on its way for the kids.  Finally, there’s A Vampyre Story, which at first glance looks like your run-of-the-mill PC adventure game, but a closer look reveals that it’s been in production since at least 2004, and the folks behind it are former LucasArts adventure game developers.  If this doesn’t make you squeal with joy, you must not have played PC games in the ‘90s; for the rest of us, this could be a classic in the making.


What are you playing this week?  Have you recovered from your turkey hangover?  Let us know in the comments, and enjoy the snow.


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Text:AAA
Monday, Nov 24, 2008
New releases for the week of 2008-11-24...

In a week that appears to signal the end of the tremendous 2008 holiday gaming glut, it’s nice to see that there are still a few essential buys that are impossible to ignore, even if they are of a decidedly smaller nature than most of the big ticket items we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks.


The first thing I’m going to be doing this week is rediscovering my Shoryuken thumb for the sake of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.  Actually, “rediscovering” might not be the right word, as I never was able to pull off the damn dragon punch with anything approximating consistency.  Why can my thumb not master the mechanic of forward-down-down/forward?  I dunno, but I’ll be getting more practice at it this week with my boy Ken.  Seriously, this is another stop on the nostalgia train that’s shamelessly torn through the downloadable console services this year, but it looks like another fantastic one.  No fighter has ever come close to the pick-up-and-play appeal of Street Fighter II, and to see it all prettied up for an HD audience ought to be just enough to convince a whole bunch of people to lose their lives to it again for another month or so.


Of course, while I’m talking about the nostalgia train (which I’m sure looks a lot like a steam engine), I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the DS update of Chrono Trigger, which finally hits this week.  You know, since it almost broke the internet when it was announced back in the summer, I’ve heard almost nothing about this re-release…I guess with so many new properties making their way to portables and consoles this time of year, we don’t really have time to be spending on the graphical tweaks of a classic RPG.  Still, classic it is, and you’re going to be glad you have it next summer when you’ve got 30 hours to kill and no more Xbox games to play.


Other than those two?  Not much to see!  The DS’s Neopets Puzzle Adventure is actually a surprisingly challenging puzzler in a crowded DS market, so that’s certainly worth a look.  Band Manager, on the PC, could be fun or it could be a snooze (but if it has to do with music I may give it a run-through), and the Wii gets a couple of cooking games where you cook food that you can’t actually eat (I may never understand the appeal of this).  Am I overlooking something?  Banjo-Kazooie, maybe?


It’s a slow week, so maybe this is the time to catch up on some of the stuff you missed over the last month and a half or so (surely there’s something, yes?).  Happy Thanksgiving, all.


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Text:AAA
Monday, Nov 17, 2008
New releases for the week of 2008-11-17

(Schiller is taking a break this week as his body attempts to recover from a business trip gone loopy.  He’ll be back next week with his normal weekly wrap-up.


The Last Remnant

The Last Remnant


He does want to mention that he doesn’t see what the big deal is with Final Fantasy when Square Enix keeps putting out full-featured, innovative RPGs like The Last Remnant...


He also thinks Lips is going to be a bigger hit than anyone realizes…


He’ll probably end up buying a whole pile of sequels in the form of Raving Rabbids, Cooking Mama, Sonic, and Tomb Raider...


And he really hopes the new DS Tecmo Bowl game actually comes out this week (as opposed to its originally scheduled release last week)...


He left a trailer for The Last Remnant for you, along with that humongous list of releases (among which the PSP’s list looks…well, sort of pitiful), after the jump.)


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