Wednesday, August 31, 2005

2005 release after all?

First of all, I have never believed that Nintendo could get the Revolution out anytime before summer 2006. Mainly, because there won´t be a sufficient games portfolio until that time.

However, the good people at Game Asylum think so. Their most recent product page lists the Revolution with a $299 price tag and a Christmas 2005 release. They have had to back down on their release predictions in the past, though. Some months ago, they listed Rev games as available by March 2006. They´re probably just after having their site mentioned everywhere - and as far as this blog is concerned, they got what they wanted.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Update on stereoscopic technology

Before the Games Convention, I sent out mails to a number of companies who work in the field of stereoscopic technology. I just got a reply from the CEO of IO2 Technology, which is rather brief.
Sorry, we cannot comment on the Nintendo console. You may find it interesting though that we did launch our new free-space display system this week and have new videos and images online.

I don´t know if the CEO deliberately wanted to remain vague in order to generate some interest in his company or if there may indeed be a connection. But the former seems more likely. Go check out the clips, though. It´s cool technology.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Revolution will be revealed at TGS

Hi everyone. Sorry for the technical problems on my site. Random Nintendo even has an article up on that. I will recover any lost content as soon as I get ´round to it. Only this morning, I returned from the ´Marc Ecko´s Getting up´ event in New York, so I´m jetlagged like hell and have loads of stuff to do in the newsroom. In the meantime, however, there is big news over at the British gaming site Spong. They claim:
You’ll be pleased to know that a full explanation of Revolution will be made by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata during his Tokyo Game Show keynote address. This news represents completely finalised Nintendo plans – Iwata will fully outline The Secret on 16th September 2005.

Nintendo is assembling key media to attend this year’s show, due to take place between 16th – 18th September 2005. Iwata will make his presentation of current activities at Nintendo. He will outline current projects and will then - unveil the Revolution in all its glory.

The Revolution presentation will include an explicit outline of the hardware and its controller and input mechanic, as well as illustrate exactly how it will work. It will go on to show games running on the system and how they make use of the technology.

Mario 128, or ‘New Mario’ as it is dubbed internally at Nintendo, is expected to be the star of the show.

SPOnG has a record of perfectly outlining what Iwata’s keynote addresses will entail. And we can tell you with 100% certainty that in the next three and a bit weeks, we’ll all be looking at Nintendo Revolution controller hardware and accompanying games. Exciting times indeed.

I have just spoken to the author of the article and I can tell yout that this information is undoubtedly accurate. As far as I could tell from our conversation, he is a reliable journalist with excellent contacts in the industry. He couldn´t name his source, naturally. But his contact is a highly placed employee at Nintendo of Europe. He also confirmed that Nintendo is selecting key media to invite to Tokyo for the event.

Now, you may wonder if he actually knows about the controller features as well. He does not. At least, he is not interested in talking about that. And I understand that. I´m sure we all agree: revealing the controller features prematurely could hurt Nintendo - revealing the date when Nintendo plans to reveal them does not. I´m just glad that, finally, the age of all the fakers like Seriousgamer is over. Finally we get some reliable information and can look forward to a definite date.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Molyneux: "Never underestimate Nintendo."

More news from Leipzig. Peter Molyneux told me this when I asked him about the Revolution: "There is a line at the end of the book ´Game Over´ and it is: ´Never underestimate Nintendo´. That is all I can say about the controller." Sounds good, eh?

EDIT I understand some people are sceptical about my claims. Here is a still taken from the interview.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Naka-San: "You will be pleasantly surprised."

News from Leipzig. This morning, I interviewed Yuji Naka, creator of Sonic. I asked him just how revolutionary the upcoming Nintendo console really was and he answered: "I am under a strict NDA, so I can´t really say much. But I have seen the Revolution and I think everyone will be very pleasantly surprised, when Nintendo reveal everything."

In a few days I will be able to view the tape and write down the entire answer he gave. But this excerpt is good news already. Sorry for the lack of posts while I´m at the Games Convention - but please hang on in there.

EDIT I just viewed the snippet again and that is all he said (well, his translator rather).

EDIT I understand some people are sceptical about my claims. Here is a still taken from the interview.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Xbox360 will cost $470 in Switzerland

As has been picked up by too many websites to give credit to, Microsoft has apparently leaked the Xbox360´s price tag. The Swiss Microsoft Partner Portal lists the console as ´being worth 600 Swiss Franks´. Currently, that amounts to a staggering $477,44 or €386,71.

However, this leak may be an indicator of the European price tag only. In the US, things may turn out differently. The predecessor´s European launch price was €479, while the console was considerably cheaper in the US, at $299 (given an exchange rate parity at the time). Consoles are usually cheaper in the US.

As far as Europe is concerned, Microsoft has not learned their lesson, it seems. Only four weeks after the release of the original Xbox, widespread criticism forced them to drop the price by €180 to €299 and reimburse early buyers. This was nothing short of a disaster. If the new console will cost around €399, I anticipate a similar wave of dissent.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Overactive eMagination?

I must admit that I have found no real news to post. There is one thing that bugs me, though: this whole eMagin connection. Some guy on the Nintendo forums claimed Seriousgamer007 sent him a message with the phone number of some person called Bruce, who had apparently just had a meeting with Nintendo regarding stereoscopic technology.

I have spoken to the company´s communications director Joe Runde. He assured me there was no cooperation between eMagin and Nintendo, or any console manufacturer for that matter. He even doubted this technology could be implemented in the price range dictated by this market (in contrast to what Rick Shie of POC was telling me some time ago).

But even if that meeting did not concern any concrete plans, what´s still bugging me is this: How could Seriousgamer007 have known about that meeting in the first place? Don´t get me wrong, I´m convinced he doesn´t work for Nintendo. In fact, this is proof that he doesn´t. If Nintendo went around dishing out people´s phone numbers at partner cmopanies so they talk about classified stuff while being recorded so the whole internet can listen in, they would soon not have many business partners left. But it´s still intriguing to ask how he could have found out. I have no idea. But maybe the infamous Bruce will tell me. When I phoned Bruce up last week, he asked me for my understanding that he couldn´t comment on anything. But he was surprised to find out someone had taped that conversation. In return for sending him the link to Seriousgamer´s blog, I asked if he could keep me updated on his reply. So we might find out who this guy really is - and where he got this info from.

In fact, I will even meet Joe Runde in person. He´s going to the Games Convention, too. And he will show me the Z800 3D visor they just put out. And, of course, I will ask him whether he had any info on this mysterious leak. Finally, I just want to reiterate: there will be no info on the Revolution. Just so you won´t be disappointed. My guess is that Nintendo will unveil the controller at the TGS keynote speech or at the Nintendo World Store.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

ATI / Revolution tech demo screens

Thanks (once again) to Raphael for giving me the link to two of these screens. All of them can be found on the French site They all appear to be pre-rendered, but bear both the ATI and Retro Studios logo.

The screenshots further reference the ´R520´, which is a new ATI graphics chip. No official word on this chip yet. But there is detailed information about the R520 over at the Neowin forums. By the way, the ´R500´ is rumoured to be the Xbox360 GPU, according to some.

There is also a reference to ´ModelShading´, which is followed by the trademark symbol. However, there is no such trademark filed at either the US trademark office or the Industrial Property Digital Library of Japan. That alone makes me very suspicious.

The only aspects that are in favour of the screens are their quality, quantity and that they make a good match. We have never had so many alleged screens before that also really fit together. Remember the Xenias screens? They looked very different. This lot is, at least, done in a coherent style.

However, could the ´Hollywood´GPU really be a super-advanced chip like the R520? and would the first screens that surface really feature unfamiliar Science Fiction characters rather than the famous Nintendo characters? I guess my first stop is to check DeviantArt rather than checking with ATI.

EDIT All of them are fake. They are the winning entries to the ´Grand Space Opera Challenge´, a computer art challenge. Find them here. Thanks and kudos to Alex and Benihana for posting the link in the comments. That´s another one down, only another million alleged Revolution screenshots to go.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Icarus Revolution promos

Wow, they just keep pouring in tonight. Here´s two promo screens for an alleged ´Icarus´ game for Revolution, being developed by Capcom. These look very professional. Also, dropping the word ´Kid´ from the title would go along with current Nintendo strategy. Zelda is getting darker and more grown up. Even Mario was said to become more mature, I seem to recall. I got these screens from RevoGaming, though. And I am hesitant about that source, to say the least. They did get them from some forum, though. Here´s what they had to say about the images:
An image has surfaced on various internet forums that is supposedly some sort of artwork for the rumoured Kid Icarus Nintendo Revolution game. (...)

The image portrays a more mature, realistic and gritty Icarus, who has dropped the 'Kid' name as well as the theme. Although the image is probably a fake, it is interesting that it bears the same glowing Nintendo logo as many of the supposed Nintendo Revolution advertisements.

Well, do you think this is a realistic overhaul for the franchise?

Zelda Revolution screenshot

People on this Nintendo forum thread have come across this alleged Zelda screenshot on the Revolution. It originates from, who have had this to say about it:
This screenshot popped up out of nowhere, seems to have no source and above all, looks fake. Sorry guys, there is no Zelda Revolution material yet.

The screenshot certainly made me go ´wow´ - but it´s almost futile to discuss this one seriously without knowing where it came from. I´ll mail You go ahead ;)

EDIT It´s confirmed fake. Thanks to Neodozzprime for opinting this out to me and for finding the original. It´s 3D art by some artist called Dragos Jieanu. The piece is called Bridge to Avalon.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Some comic relief

Slightly off-topic: If you have had enough of all the fake controller pics, why not create your own? Try this fantastic Nintendo Revolution controller mock-up creator, courtesy of Claudio Marinho. Good job, mate!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Games Convention, Leipzig

Now, I´m a bit surprised so many people are expecting Nintendo to reveal more details about the Revolution at Germany´s game fair, some even expect the controller to be shown. Mark my words: it won´t happen. I´ve been to the Games Convention twice already. It is Europe´s biggest event in this industry. But it would just alienate the core markets Nintendo needs to target: the US and Japan.

Another indicator of what Nintendo will focus on is their invitation, which I received today. The front (which I scanned) reads ´Follow the trail...´ and is covered with pawprints. The back reads:
... to Nintendo at the Games Convention 2005.

Prove your keen nose and get to know "Nintendogs" and other new products for the Nintendo DS. Look at promising Nintendo GameCube titles like "Mario Smash Football" or the next "Zelda" adventure and hold the Game Boy Micro in your hands.

The motto is "Expand the Definition of Gaming" and we invite you to the Nintendo Press Show on 17th of August 2005, 10:30 - 11:30, right next to the Nintendo booth.

I think you realise there will be no big revelation here. The motto relates to ´Nintendogs´ and that looks set to be the most important title, alongside Zelda. Naturally, I will be there. And I will post news of just what was announced as soon as possible.

EDIT As we have had to reschedule our newsroom rota because of the Youth World Day and the pope coming to Cologne (You heard me, Anonymous!), I actually won´t be there on Wednesday. I will be at the expo the two following days.

And another logo

While we´re still at it, people on this Nintendo forum thread are discussing another logo already. It reads ´Nintendo ?!´, which some people thought was an original way of writing ´Nintendo 21´.

Now, you can find the entry by going to the Industrial Property Digital Library of Japan and clicking on Japanese Trademark Database. Then, enter ´Nintendo´ into the top query field (trademark for retrieval) and click on search. A line appears confirming 43 search results. Click on ´index´ next to it and on entry number 13 (registration number 2487112). The application date is 1987, which would suggest this is totally unrelated to the Revolution. Mind you, the date of reclassified registration is 2004/08/25. So the company does still have plans for this, it seems.

Finally, just to add an element of mystery, compare the logo with the ´ON logo´. It is very similar. Same square with beveled edges, the letter ´n´ looks almost exactly the same. Also, a ´?´ is somewhat similar to the ON symbol (i.e. the ´O´), only upside down. However, this need not have any bearing on the ON clip at all. The person who designed the ON logo (a friend of Pablo Belmonte) might have snooped around for old Nintendo trademarks to rip off. I can see how the above logo might have been the inspiration for designing ON. Still, an interesting find you should be aware of.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

To Nintendo Infinity and Beyond

You´re going to love this story, taken from this GameFAQs thread. The logo is cropped from this large image (585 KB), showing a scan of an A4 sheet of paper, entitled ´E3 2005 presentation´. Below the logo, there are the following keypoints:
* ElectroPlankton/Nintendogs
* DS Wireless Gaming
* Game Boy Micro
* Revolution Revealed
* Mario´s Magic Mirror

The best is the story about how this guy apparently got hold of this paper:
I found this paper while cleaning one of NoA offices (I work for a janitorial services company in Redmond WA) I thought it was a simple discarded E3 presentation sheet. (Me being the huge N fan I am I kept it, but didn't think anything else of it.)

Wow, this guy must be the coolest janitor in gaming history since Roger Wilco! Anyway, so he apparently kept this sheet and decided to post it now, because he came across this GameSpot thread:

To all interested in info concerning the Nintendo Revolution:

I Work for Nintendo of America and have some information you all my find very interesting concerning the "Revolution" and E3. What was presented to the public during Nintendo’s press conference was not what was originally intended to be shown. What you all saw was a rush job slapped together because of a panic due to a security breach. One week before the press conference the company had reason to believe that someone had stolen a copy of the "Revolution" presentation. (If it was by hacking r physically taken it I do not know.) Do to the risk that the video may have fallen into the hands of competitors Nintendo scraped all of their original plans for the conference. (And are reworking some of the aspects of the "Revolution" console and controllers just to be safe...thus the reason they are not done yet.) Originally, the presentation lineup included: the final version of the next gen console...complete with controllers, information and stats concerning the "Revolution" and a video clip of a new next generation Mario game. The next gen console’s actual name is Nintendo Infinity. (Assuming they don’t change that too.) You can in fact see part of the Infinity presentation in the notorious "Nintendo On" video clip. Both the scenes of the Mario 64 castles and of the next gen Mario game are from the original presentation. When questioned the maker of the "On" video he claimed to that he found the presentation on a P2P file sharing network, and he himself thought it to be fake, but decided to use part of it for his own project. The "Infinite Castles" scene as it was called was intended to represent the Nintendo Infinite’s ability to play virtually every Nintendo game ever made in addition to all the new games that would be releced. The Mario scenes (and screen shots found on some websites) are from a game called "Mario’s Magic Mirror". The game tells the story of how one day, Mario, Luigi, and Peach were walking in the castle. They turned a corner and suddenly found themselfs in an unfamiliar corridor. Upon inspection they found a mysterious magical mirror which Luigi is sucked into. Peach and Mario must rescue him by searching through the Mirror World with "Mirror Mario" and "Mirror Peach" to help and guide them. Mario has all his classic moves with the addition of the old ability to throw fireballs. Peach has similar moves as Mario but instead of throwing fireballs she has a makeup compact that she can use to shine light on enemies in the Mirror Wold. (The effect is much like if antimatter would come in contact with matter.) Also the four characters can even team up to do battle combos! In the game you can switch between the two worlds to change the mirror’s position in Mario’s world. This unlocks new areas and causes different can even change the size of Mario and Peaches’ mirror counterparts! If you re-watch the press conference you will noticed that the presentation seems very awkward and thrown together. As I said, to protect their new investment the company had to scrap everything. This is also why Nintendo had to label their new system with the hideous last minute "Revolution" logo, and naturally why the final console and controller were not displayed. I hope this helpd shed some light on some things.

Mr. H

Now, this whole thing is a complete and utter fake, of course. Pablo never said that any part of the ON clip was taken from a P2P network. And who should have put the presentation there in the first place, if not the janitor? Nintendo´s dinner lady?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Another controller mock-up

Spooky. I got this pic from this Nintendo forum thread called ´Nee advertisement (56K)´ and while I´m reading page two, the thread gets deleted. Now that could just be related to something someone posted on page five. But it may also be related to the mock-up itself. I´m not going to shout *woo woo* here, but the mock-up looks a likely contender. The ad´s style is what could be expected for a teaser campaign, while you can see enough of the controller to see this wasn´t knocked up in five minutes by some teenager on PhotoShop. So, I´ll give this one a hesitant ´perhaps´.

Xbox360 will cost $299, PS3 set for $500?

Totalvideogames may not be able to spell ´Walmart´ correctly, but they have had word from one employee working there. Let´s tune in:
Wallmart slaps an unsurprising price-tag on the 360...

Unconfirmed reports stemming from Walmart employees have today suggested a North American retail price for the Xbox 360 and its launch titles, allegedly set to arrive in shop stores on November 4th.

Naturally a smidgeon of sceptism should be maintained until Microsoft makes an official announcement, however the $299.99 price point hardly appears to be out of the bounds of possibility and suggests a pound/dollar equation when Microsoft's next-gen format is launched upon UK shores later in the month. As widely believed games appear to be slightly more expensive then many would hope with the likes of Perfect Dark Zero and Project Gotham Racing 3 marked at $59.99.

No surprise there. But still interesting to know exactly what the Revolution will be up against in terms of price tags. As we probably all know, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) is preparing everyone for the fact that their PlayStation3 may cost quite a bit. In an interview with Beyond3D, NVidia´s CEO writes:
Jen-Hsun Huang: My customers aren't concerned about my costs, but they are concerned about my price. I have to sell it too them at a price that makes sense, they care about power.

Beyond3D: But [GeForce] 7800 [GTX] has now firmly exceeded the perceived $499 price barrier...

Jen-Hsun Huang: I'm not even too sure there is a perceived barrier at $499. We need to price it at a level the enthusiasts will buy it at, that's the way that we think about pricing. We think about the pricing of this in the same way that Sony thinks about Playstation 3's - its not about how much is costs, its about what is the price it needs to sell at, and we need to figure out how to make money underneath that.

Downtalking the $499 barrier while mentioning the PS3 is quite something, I must say. To recap: In July, SCE president Ken Kutaragi said (according to GameSpot): "I'm aware that with all these technologies, the PS3 can't be offered at a price that's targeted towards households." Only a month before that, IGN quoted Kutaragi as saying: "Our goal for PlayStation 3 is for consumers to think to themselves, 'I will work more hours to buy one'. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else."

After all, Merrill Lynch Japan Securities was quoted (by GameSpot) as estimating the initial production costs per console to be around 54,000 yen, which comes to $494.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Whatever that is supposed to be...

Apparently, this is “a component of the Revolution’s interface”. As fake as the image looks, as unusual is its source. It´s from the otherwise very critical people at Joystiq. They received it through some poster called echo_machine, who in turn received it by an inside source that he claims to be “very reliable, and (...) connected to DigiPen and Nintendo”.

EDIT I uploaded the image again, from its apparent origin at the Newground forums. On the previous image, there were a few lines missing at the bottom. To me, it is unclear if the Revolution console is part of the object or if its base is just similarly designed. This guy echo_machine has a DeviantArt page. On it, he doesn´t appear like the kind of person that would be able to create an image like this one with Photoshop easily. Mainly, there´s just photos. He does come out as a Nintendo fan, though.

Also, on page two of the same thread, this guy admits to it being fake.
Haha I fooled all you dumb bastards, lol.


Well, maybe not all of you.... but some of you.... come on -- you were fooled.

But it really isn't a 3D model. I actually used a real photo and just photoshopped the hell out of it, lol. Sorry if I actually got anyone worked up. Just a joke.


Further on, though, on page four, he claims he wasn´t serious admitting to faking it.
It's not a fake. I've been trying to get you guys to listen for 2 days now.

By the way, all you guys are pretty dumb. I even intentionally called it fake, just to see the reaction, and you were STILL saying I faked it, lol. Without even reading, haha. Serves you right.

The image IS, in fact, real, and it was gathered from a friend at Digipen who is interning at Nintendo.

That's all I can say.

Oh, all the IGN and 1up crap WAS fake, though.

Or was it.....

LOL. You guys are dumb. Have I EVER posted speculation? Rumors? LIES??? I've been coming here for almost a year, and have ALWAYS been a straight shooter. And I'm the biggest Nintendo advocate here!!! Anyway, I can't say anymore about the source, or what it is for, because I fear the (added) attention will be directed toward him.

There. Are you all happy?

Oh, well. Anyway, since some of you are comparing this one to SEGA´s ´Hologram Time Traveller´, here are some images of that machine. I remember playing this. It was around 1992. It was expensive to play but it was quite amazing.

EDIT The poster claims that the source of the picture is a friend who is an intern at Nintendo through DigiPen. Now, I read up on that institution and the DigiPen Institute of Technology is described as ´an accredited, college-level program that teaches its students how to program and design for today's demanding video game applications.´ This description is courtesy of the Nintendo company FAQ. In fact, Nintendo is sponsoring the school apparently in return for students researching and developing for Nintendo systems. On DigiPen´s history page, they write:
In 1994, DigiPen officially accepted its first class of video game programming students. Offered in cooperation with Nintendo of America, this program was created to address the industry's need for a formal source of qualified personnel.

Nintendo describe the cooperation like this:
Nintendo and DigiPen's relationship dates back to the formation of DigiPen Applied Computer Graphics School in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1993. In 1998, in cooperation with Nintendo of America, DigiPen opened its Redmond, Wash., campus, making it the first school in the world to offer bachelor degree programs for video game programming.

So the school does have a campus in Redmond, which is exactly where their summer workshops are held. And these workshops really do get students to actually work directly on Nintendo games. Sounds unlikely? Read on.

According to an extensive three-part interview with GameCritics (part one, part two, part three), the school is ´located right next door to Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington´ and ´Mr. Miyamoto has been there (he even signed the table in the conference room at DigiPen). (...) DigiPen maintains a pretty close relationship with Nintendo, so it's only natural that Nintendo takes an active interest in what's going on at the school.´ Amazingly, some students are even given the chance to get inside proper game development. Like the interviewed student Ben Hopper.
I'm interning for Nintendo Software Technology Corporation (NST), which is a second-party developer for Nintendo, and actually shares the same building as DigiPen (students aren't allowed into NST, naturally). NST is the only division of NOA that develops games and is overseen by Nintendo Company Limited (NCL) in Japan. NST management actually reports directly to Shigeru Miyamoto's EAD team.

Now, it´s unlikely that those students would be shown Revolution details deliberately. At the same time, it might just be that an intern like Ben comes across some hint. After all, they are inside Nintendo of America.

A new Xenias?

Thanks to an anonymous poster on my last entry for giving me a link to this screenshot. Nice work, but both the logo (reading ´ARGHUSS´, as far as I can make out) and the copyright line (without a proper Retro Studios logo or a copyright sign) look very amateurish. My guess is it´s from DeviantArt. That would explain the quality of the image contrasting with the hastily added logo and the rest.

EDIT A number of people commenting on this story have pointed out that this could be a screenshot of ´Too Human´, a game being developed by Silicon Knights. It does look reasonably similar, but I´ll go out on a limb here and state that it´s not. I have checked a fair number of sites out there and that particular screenshot is nowhere. I have also searched DeviantArt for at least an hour. I would still say it´s fake. But where the screenshot comes from I don´t know.