Go back to school with your Mac, iPhone and TUAW

Andrew Yoon
New York, NY - http://www.pspfanboy.com

After a fairly lengthy stint as a Community Manager, maintaining websites for Konami, Square, Namco, and others, I became absorbed by the Joystiq crew, and work blog full-time. As the lead PlayStation writer, you'll see my work prominently on PSP and PS3 Fanboy, although I contribute to all the other Joystiq sites as well. As a big anime fan, you'll notice that I'm also the managing video game critic at Anime News Network.

  • Noteworthy games: Ikaruga (DC), Pokemon (GB), Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64), Half-Life 2 (PC), Metal Gear Solid (PS), God of War II (PS2), Resident Evil 4 (GC), Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA), Otogi (XB), Chrono Trigger (SNES), Gitaroo-Man Lives! (PSP), Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS), Gears of War (360), Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii), Super Stardust HD (PS3)
  • Currently playing/reviewing:
    Hot Shots Golf 5 (PS3), Persona 3 (PS2), Jeanne d'Arc (PSP), Metroid Prime 3 (Wii), Bioshock (360)
EMAIL: andrew @ joystiq .com

Do you want Galaxy's End?

Remember Galaxy's End? The PSP-exclusive RTS game from Tiki Games was never finished, but the advent of the PSP-direct PlayStation Store has created an opportunity for the developers to continue work and release it to the masses. "When we started Galaxy's End we absolutely needed a publisher at some point - not just for the financial aspect but to get it into stores. Now that the PLAYSTATION Store has been added for the PSP we have the opportunity to finish the game and release it as a digital download (like NOVASTRIKE)."

But, there's still a year's worth of work left for the team before they can prepare the RTS for release. And, there's the question of money. "Quite frankly we don't have the finances to finish Galaxy's End right now. So we'll likely have to look for another loan. And I'll need to convince my family (who are presently self-funding Tiki Games) that there's a large enough audience that would be willing to purchase a downloadable real-time strategy game for the PSP."

So how can you help? "If you feel you would purchase a well-designed and fun real-time strategy game for the PSP near the end of 2009 then I'd appreciate if you can email with a simple 'Finish it' in the subject line."

To read more about the game, check out our Galaxy's End category.

Users report screen issues with PSP Brite, Sony investigating

The newly released PSP-3000 series should have a better screen than the old 2000 model. Not only does it have an expanded color depth, it's supposed to get rid of the ghosting that plagued every PSP since. While it succeeds, it appears that a new problem has emerged: scan lines, which make things look worse than they did in the 2000 model. A well-populated thread on the PlayStation forum shows the cries of dozens that are reporting the same problem.

Our test unit (which arrived today) also features the same problem. In fact, we're not digging the 3000 model at all. While the colors look nice, we're disappointed by its performance in sunlight. Even worse, the plastic on the new model feels cheaper than ever before.

Sony told Joystiq that they're currently "looking into this." Hopefully, it'll only take a firmware update to fix -- otherwise, many may opt to buy the 2000 series instead.

Tom Clancy's EndWar coming to PSP this November

Ubisoft is bringing yet another Tom Clancy game to the handhelds. This time, EndWar is getting the PSP treatment. The upcoming game takes place during World War III. Players take control of the U.S. Joint Strike Force, European Enforcers Corps or Russian Spetsnaz Guards Brigade in three separate (but intertwined) campaigns. Each campaign includes over 30 battle scenarios taking place on real-world battlefields including Paris and London.

EndWar also features two-player versus multiplayer mode, including additional missions specifically designed for multiplayer battles. There's also a mission editor, which allows players to share and create custom battlefields and scenarios. Expect EndWar on November 4th.

Gallery: Tom Clancy's EndWar

Downloadable games will 'ignite' PSP library, says Sony exec

"I have to be careful what I say but publishers are definitely exploring more opportunities in terms of the types of games they can release on PSP, even in terms of more female-oriented games, puzzlers and less hardcore games," Zeno Colaço, vice president of publisher and developer relations for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, told Pocket Gamer. "The opportunity we're providing with digital distribution will ignite those thoughts."

The release of firmware 5.00 has enabled direct access to the PlayStation Store from the PSP system. The incorporation of the Store shows a growing emphasis on the importance of digital distribution on Sony's handheld. While original games on the Store have been limited to just a handful of games (beats, Syphon Filter: Combat Ops), publishers have slowly been moving their entire UMD catalog onto the Store. For example, D3 Publisher has made Dead Head Fred, Puzzle Quest, and PQ2 all available on the Store.

By providing developers and publishers a way of making games without relying on retail or UMD, the Store gives companies a chance to make all new kinds of games on the system. The opportunity to sell smaller games directly to PSP owners at higher profit, with less chance of piracy, should look attractive to many. Hopefully, it won't be long until we start seeing new games coming from this endeavor.

[Via GameDaily]

Watch: Neverland Card Battles gameplay

In preparation of the upcoming release of Neverland Card Battles for PSP, Yukes has sent out a brand new gameplay trailer of the game for PSP Fanboy readers. Keep in mind, this is based on an earlier PS2 game which never saw the light of day here in the States. While the localization effort appears strong, will it have what it takes to stand out in the crowded genre of the SRPG? Take a look for yourself.

Gallery: Neverland Card Battles

TGS 08 hands-on: Bleach Soul Carnival

There are probably two questions our readers are most likely to have about Bleach: Soul Carnival, PSP's upcoming 2D chibi-reworking of the popular Shonen Jump series. First: is it good? Second: will it come out to the States? In spite of a strong following in the States (and a slew of other Bleach titles on the Wii and DS), it doesn't appear as if there are any plans on bringing any of Sony's Bleach games out of Japan. And that's a shame, really. Soul Carnival looks to be a worthwhile addition to the PSP lineup.

The Heat the Soul series on PSP were met with fan excitement, thanks to their diverse rosters and impressive graphics. However, with five iterations in less than five years, it was clear that Sony had milked that franchise a bit too much. With Soul Carnival, the Bleach series moves away from being a serious fighter, to a cute 2D sidescrolling brawler.

Well, we approve of the transformation. While the chibi Bleach characters will be love/hate amongst series fans, we have to say that these new cute interpretations of series favs looks rather charming on the PSP's small screen. They style works very well with the gameplay as well. The intuitive beat-em-up controls make the game instantly accessible -- an aspect crucial in good portable games design.

Gallery: Bleach Soul Carnival

Continue reading TGS 08 hands-on: Bleach Soul Carnival

Macross Ace Frontier number one seller in Japan

It's been a while since we've seen a PSP title top the Japanese sales charts. Well, surprise surprise: a PSP anime-licensed game has taken the top spot in Japan. With over 100,000 units pushed in a week, Macross Ace Frontier is an unsurprising victor to this week's charts, edging out a slew of DS and PS2 games, like Pokemon Platinum and Dynasty Warriors 6 Special.
  • 01. Macross Ace Frontier (PSP)
  • 02. Pokemon Platinum (DS)
  • 03. Rhythm Tengoku Gold (DS)
  • 04. Dynasty Warriors 6 Special (PS2)
  • 05. Super Robot Wars Z (PS2)
  • 06. Wii Fit (Wii)
  • 07. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
  • 08. Powerful Major League 3 (PS2)
  • 09. Dragonball DS (DS)
  • 10. Daigasso! Band Brothers DX (DS)

Go inside the PSP-3000, literally

If for some reason you wanted to rip open a PSP Brite system and see its innards -- well, PC Watch will let you satiate your fantasy vicariously. There's no need to waste hundreds of dollars to buy a new system simply to open it and see what's inside. Let these guys do it for you instead.

To check out the comprehensive gallery, click here.

TGS 08: Phantasy Star Portable coming to US fo' sho'

Sega of America quietly told reporters at TGS that their "secret PSP game" was in fact, a localized version of Phantasy Star Portable -- a fact made not-so-secret when Kotaku ran their story today. It's true: PSP is coming to the PSP. Phantasy Star features the same addictive Ad-Hoc multiplayer that made Monster Hunter such a hit amongst Japanese gamers -- and it looks pretty, to boot.

Hopefully, this early announcement will appease the American masses that are currently experiencing a PSP games drought. You see? Games are coming. We swear.

[Thanks, Ben!]

Could Yuusha come to the US as 'Destroy All Heroes'?

The cult PSP hit, Yuusha no Kuze ni Namaikida, is getting a sequel in Japan rather soon. However, will this retro-styled game make its way to the US under a new name? Perhaps. The PlayStation Japan TGS site lists the game as Destroy All Heroes 2 -- very different from a standard translation of the Japanese title. We're thinking this English title must've come from somewhere. However, it's similarity to THQ's Destroy All Humans series does put a shadow of doubt on this theory.

With the US software library so dry right now, a release of Yuusha onto the PSP Store (for direct download) makes a lot of sense. Hopefully, the fine folks at SCEA see things the way we do.

Gallery: Yuusha no Kuze ni Namaikida or2

Trailer: DJ Max Fever

It's finally happening. DJ Max is coming to America, and in a big way too. DJ Max Fever is the ultimate version of DJ Max so far -- and best of all, you won't have to pay for crazy import fees. Check out this new trailer to see all the features Fever is packing.

How Japan advertises the PSP-3000

While the PSP Brite may be launching rather stealthily in America, Japan is taking a different approach. Sony has two ads for the newly redesigned system, one for the black system and one for the white. The system isn't changed too much, but at least Sony Japan's customers will know that this system exists -- something we doubt Sony America will let happen here at all.

See the other ad, after the break.

Continue reading How Japan advertises the PSP-3000

TGS 08: See the second Tales of the World

The TGS trailer for the upcoming PSP fanservice RPG, Tales of the World 2, is rather epic. Once again, this game features a number of characters from various games in the Tales universe. With the current popularity of PSP, and Japan's eternal love for the franchise, this will undoubtedly be a best-seller.

Gallery: Tales of the World 2

PSP Firmware 5.00 now available

The recently-announced PSP firmware 5.00 is now available for download. Just hit Network Update on your PSP, or download it here and copy it to your Memory Stick (it should look like this: X:/PSP/GAME/UPDATE/EBOOT.PBP). This update includes:
  • The [PlayStaiton Network] category has been added, and [PlayStation Store] is now available under this category.
  • PlayStation format software can now be output in interlace format on a connected device.
  • PlayStation format software can now be output in full-screen size on a connected device.
  • The sleep timer feature can now be used under [Music].
  • The system will automatically change to USB mode when a USB Cable is connected.
  • The [Original] theme has been redesigned.
[Thanks, lorderk!]

PSP firmware 5.00 also coming soon to US, PC Store temporarily down

While firmware 5.00 was confirmed for Japanese release this week, it appears that America will also follow suit. The big update in 5.00 is the ability to access the PSN and PLAYSTATION Store directly from the PSP. The PC-based Store will be temporarily down in the interim.

While this is great for our Mac-owning friends that weren't able to purchase games in the past, this deal will be far more enticing if it ensured that our weekly PSN updates were slightly more robust than wallpaper downloads. Let's hope that the US can have a downloadable lineup as great as Japan's.

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