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Posted 2007-12-05 by Tony Walsh
  DS Lite: First Impressions  
Posted 2006-06-12 by Tony Walsh
I braved rabid crowds of Toronto-based Insert Credit readers to pick up Nintendo's little white DS Lite yesterday, as well as a copy of Nintendogs for the wife. The updated console may be lighter than the original DS, but it's still heavier than I was expecting. It's not totally uncomfortable in the hands, although I'd still prefer the device to be more rounded. And, while the twin DS screens are bright and colourful (and just begging to be scratched), I still feel like I'm playing with two Game Boy Advances stacked on top of each other--but worse, since there's so much space on either side of each screen. The GBA SP was pretty much all screen. Too bad Nintendo couldn't squish the DS down to such efficient proportions.

You may be asking yourself why I'd bother to buy the DS, considering I'm not gushing over how amaaaazing it is. Because it's not going away, that's why. And I need to pay attention to sticky technologies. Once the Opera Browser add-on is available in North America, I'll be looking into creating some DS-specific web content.
  Squeezing More Out Of Play  
Posted 2006-02-23 by Tony Walsh
David Thomas of writes about how his kids have taken to playing Simpsons Hit and Run hooked up to a broken screen. "At first, I thought this was an obsessive, or maybe desperate, attempt at entertainment," writes Thomas. "But my house is filled with games and alternative game systems—including Game Boys and Game Boy Advances among other things."

Gonzalo Frasca of writes in response: "Maybe this kind of behavior is not often seen in rich societies, where children have tons of toys and games at their disposal. I've seen children in South America with only one game on their console that invented new ways to play that arcade game over and over. They inverted the gamepad; they tried to complete the game without firing, just by dodging the bullets (it was a space shoot'em'up)."

Continue reading: Squeezing More Out Of Play
  ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ And Sister-Hurling  
Posted 2005-11-15 by Tony Walsh
Buena Vista Games has announced the retail availability of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (the game-adaptation of the movie-adaptation of C.S. Lewis' book) for the Xbox, Playstation2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS and PC. I had a look at the Xbox version recently, where I discovered that the game involves throwing your littlest sister across the ice towards large boulders in order to smash them to bits. Clearly an example of clumsily stitching video-game elements onto an otherwise-charming children's tale. The game is rated for Teen audiences by the ESRB, making me wonder if sister-hurling was added to appeal to teens, or if the game was designed for kids but overstepped its bounds.
  ‘Tringo’ Puzzles ‘Game Boy Advance’  
Posted 2005-09-19 by Tony Walsh
Tringo, a game originally launched within a virtual world, will soon be coming to the Game Boy Advance handheld console, courtesy of inventor Kermitt Quirk and Crave Entertainment. The puzzle game substantially altered the culture of Second Life's virtual community earlier this year and was originally licensed by Donnerwood Media, but doesn't seem to have been exploited on mobile phones as was hoped. According to an official announcement, Crave will be bringing Tringo to the Game Boy Advance this November at a suggested retail price of $19.95USD.

In the virtual world of Second Life, Tringo is one of the main social activities for many residents, involving casual betting (not unlike real-world Bingo). I have my doubts about any implementation of Tringo that ignores the social aspect of the game. Perhaps Kermitt Quirk and Crave have concocted some additional game play aspects that will make solo Tringo have lasting appeal.
  Why Play Card Games on Your Game Boy?  
Posted 2005-09-09 by Tony Walsh
Which do you think is the easiest and most enjoyable way to play classic card games: With a deck of cards? Or with your Game Boy Advance?

Majesco Entertainment Company has just announced the availability of its budgetware Game Boy Advance title "Majesco's Kids Kards," which features time-tested card games such as Go Fish, War, Crazy Eights, Old Maid and Slap Jack. So, instead of handling an easy-to-manage deck of cards, you can squint at the GBA screen and poke tiny buttons. I can understand bringing board games to a portable format, but cards are already palm-sized. Besides which, a deck of cards never runs out of batteries. Oh, and you can buy a deck of cards for about a twentieth of the price of "Majesco's Kids Kards." Someone over at Majesco needs a good sacking.
  UPI Gets ‘Game Boy Micro’ Wrong  
Posted 2005-08-19 by Tony Walsh
United Press International brings us news that: "Nintendo [is] to sell cell-phone-size games." In case you thought the games themselves were the size of a cell phone, as the headline would suggest, UPI clarifies that Nintendo "will launch a video-game console that will be as portable as the cell phone." It's arguable that every Game Boy handheld console Nintendo has ever produced is as portable as the cell phone of its age, particularly where the Game Boy Advance SP is concerned. What UPI refers to is the newly-released Game Boy Micro, which is smaller than the SP, but plays the same games.

UPI later says in the same news story that Nintendo expects to "sell about 10.2 million of its desktop Game Boy Advance consoles..." There is no such thing as a Game Boy Advance desktop console. The Game Boy product family is handheld. UPI has obviously hired hedgehogs to write its news. Congratulations, hedgehogs, on beating a million monkeys to the mainstream media arena.
  Xbox 360 Not So Backward-Compatible [Updated]  
Posted 2005-05-19 by Tony Walsh
Microsoft's cryptic PR statement about the Xbox 360's backward-compatibility earlier in the week seems to be misleading, according to information uncovered by It seems the definition of "backward-compatible" is being stretched, perhaps beyond its limits. A selected list of best-selling Xbox games will need to be re-published in order to work on the 360, leaving gamers to wonder (for the time being) not only which titles will get converted, but whether or not they'll have to pay for the converted versions of titles they already own.

[Update: has posted a clarifying statement from Microsoft's PR manager Michael Wolf: "Our goal is to have every Xbox game work on Xbox 360. You will NOT need to purchase a new 'version' - your original games will work on Xbox 360." The backward-compatibility confusion could have been solved definitively by a clearer statement in the original Xbox 360 press release, which stated "Xbox 360 will be backward-compatible with top-selling Xbox games." Thanks to reader Slayve for pointing out the GamesIndustry update.]
  Game Boy Micro  
Posted 2005-05-17 by Tony Walsh
In an attempt to distract us from their substandard next-gen console, Nintendo has revealed a new handheld gaming device. Is it the Game Boy Advance II? Nope. It's the "Game Boy Micro," which is yet another rehashed Game Boy Advance console. This one's teeny tiny, and without the Game Boy Advance SP's clamshell design is begging to be scratched all to hell in your pocket.

The GB Micro features removable face-plates and "the best Game Boy screen ever," in other words "lipstick on a pig."

Continue reading: Game Boy Micro
  TRON 2.0: Killer App (GBA)  
Posted 2004-12-15 by Tony Walsh
"TRON 2.0: Killer App" (GBA)
Publisher: Buena Vista Interactive
Developer: Digital Eclipse
Game Web Site:
Available Now
Price: $39.99CAD
ESRB Rating: E
Substance: 70%
Longevity: 70%
As fantastic as the colourful computer world of TRON is, it's built upon actual computing terminology, even when the terms aren't realistically represented. TRON isn't a metaphor, it's "real" in the fictional sense: TRON's characters are not like computer programs, they are computer programs. Given this truism, it's astounding that in TRON 2.0: The Killer App for the Game Boy Advance, Tron (the program) isn't "extracted from the archives" to perform his duties: Instead, Tron is brought out of 20 years of "stasis," a throwaway sci-fi reference with no particular relationship to real computing. This semantic faux pas sets the tone, in many ways, for the rest of the game.

Continue reading: TRON 2.0: Killer App (GBA)
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