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Peter Vrabel
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Leaving the corporate telecommunications world behind, Pete is earning his wings on PSP and PS3 Fanboy. Finally, a healthy outlet for all that extensive gaming. Or so he thought. He loves his music, his iPod, his music on his iPod, long walks on the beach, intense RPG's, chocolate cake, dogs (Beagles or Lab retrivers), energy drinks and all things Sony. Insanely addicted to Blu-Ray movies and at times, a certain MMORPG set in the world of Azeroth...

Peter Vrabel
- http://

Leaving the corporate telecommunications world behind, Pete is earning his wings on PSP and PS3 Fanboy. Finally, a healthy outlet for all that extensive gaming. Or so he thought. He loves his music, his iPod, his music on his iPod, long walks on the beach, intense RPG's, chocolate cake, dogs (Beagles or Lab retrivers), energy drinks and all things Sony. Insanely addicted to Blu-Ray movies and at times, a certain MMORPG set in the world of Azeroth...

Pursuit Force designer promises "the whole cow" for meatier PSP sequel

Designers say the darnest things sometimes. Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice lead designer for Chris Whiteside recently sat down for an interview with IGN and immediately responded to past forum suggestions and direct pleas for more content in the sequel. According to Chris, "many people commented on forums that they wished there was a little more 'meat on the bone', and with Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice you get the whole cow." No kidding.

For the second go-round, the team of developers decided to sit down for a fireside chat with Hollywood script writers to encapsulate that "blockbuster-type feel" and from the sounds of it, it worked. The extra content includes Pursuit Force "recruits" that will have "their own behaviors and characteristics" of which to help the player progress. The game will also feature a new "Boss" feature, in which the boss battles seem more of a stage on their own, taking the player "onto huge vehicles and navigating huge hazards to reach your opponent." Lets see. 24 new weapons (including our all-time favorite in just about any game, the flamethrower), assault rifles, rocket launchers, 54 drivable (and more responsive) vehicles, control sentry guns, hovercrafts, 4-player ad hoc wireless, story mode with purchasable content, three difficulty settings and more ... the whole cow, no kidding. Look for more on Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice as we near its September release.

Gallery: Pursuit Force Extreme Justice

Tomb Raider Anniversary looking less chunky in new screens

A fresh batch of screen shots from Lara Croft's upcoming Tomb Raider Anniversary go-round on the PSP shows a prettier and less "chunkier" Tomb Raider than Legend was, though at this point we're more curious as to how it plays. Last year's Tomb Raider Legend turned out pretty decent, but frame rate issues, chunky textures and clunky controls hurt the overall reception of the title. Feast your eyes on the recent released screenshots of the PSP-bound title and let us know if this reiteration is still on your radar. Despite the slight delay from its original June release, Tomb Raider Anniversary is still on the agenda for a late July arrival. Lets hope the extra time spent on its development results in a classier and smoother ride.

Gallery: Tomb Raider Anniversary

Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution coming to PSP

Not to be left out of the Civ lovin', the PSP is getting a Civ fix in the form of the brand new rendition, Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution. The official press release is a bit loose on exactly which handhelds will be getting this title, saying only that Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution will be coming to "next gen consoles and handhelds." We think we can safely assume a Nintendo DS version will be dropping in tune with the Sony PSP's release but hey, why get the Nintendo version? (wink, wink). The game is said to have "extensive multiplayer capabilities" with "integrated video and voice chat." Voice chat on the PSP? Maybe not, but at least having "extensive multiplayer capabilities" and "downloadable content" should prove a worthwhile venture on the PSP, especially for Civ gamers on the go. 16 civilizations are making the grade here, with Sid Meier himself in the hotseat as lead designer. Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution is set for a Spring 2008 release, so we imagine it won't be much longer before we can share some screen shots. Stay tuned.

[Via Joystiq]

Demo for Ape Escape spin-off, headed for Japanese gamers only

Introducing another shining example of Sony shafting non-Japanese gamers, Sony is releasing a demo of Sarugetchu: SaruSaru Daisakusen (a take off their popular Ape Escape franchise) at the World Hobby Fair on June 23rd. This same demo will also be available for download on the PlayStation 3, through the Japanese PlayStation Store, and later on June 29th, through means of an 8MB downloadable demo off their website. The full game is set for a July 26th release and as with most Japanese-originating releases, there is no official word on a North American translation or confirmed release at all. How many more Ape Escape fans do we have with us here that are hoping this title makes its way to other territories?

New details and screens for Jackass: The Game

All Jackass haters may scoff at the notion that the Jackass game could even be mildly fun, but with new details emerging about Jackass: The Game, we're getting a little excited. The entire Jackass crew will represent themselves on the PSP, complete with authentic voicework and motion-captured animations. Of the 30 included stunts, the screenshots here show that a trolley race and Whack-a-Weeman are sure to make the list. Multiplayer appears to be faring quite well, with the inclusion of head-to-head, as well as downloadable episodes and user-created content. That's right, user-created content, as in the ability to record, edit and upload your most vicious snippets of carnage for the world to see. We dare say, this feature list may be enough to bump Jackass: The Game from our "rent" list to "buy." We shall see.

Gallery: Jackass: The Game

Rengoku moves from PSP to mobile phones

Ah yes, remember Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory? Doesn't register a blip? How about its sequel, Rengoku 2: The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N.? If neither game registers anything resembling warm or fuzzy, the metareview scores say you are not alone. It would seem that after two lackluster efforts on the PSP system, Hudson Entertainment has decided to stake its claim on the mobile phone market with yet another of their franchise titles. This Rengoku go-round has the cybernetic hero GRAM, "searching for the truth behind his existence." John Greiner, CEO of Hudson Entertainment believes its new home on the mobile platform is "a perfect fit" since it "features a healthy dose of action and adventure that cell phone gamers are sure to relish." Good riddance to bad rubbish, we say.

Remote Play reveals unique features for Mainichi Issyo [Update]

For PSP owners itching to test out the game-playing capabilities of Remote Play (made possible from the last firmware upgrade), you'll want to go here for a walkthrough on setting up a Japan PlayStation Network account for your PS3. Mainichi Issyo has been (and still is) only available through the Japanese PlayStation Store. As reported during the firmware 3.50 release, the Remote Play functionality will allow Mainichi Issyo gamers to "interact with Toro the cat" through any available internet access point. New details unveil the game's unique ability to complete microtransactions through the PlayStation Store in-game, instead of dumping you out to the PSP built-in browser. Feel free to have yourself a look-see. We'll be sure to update you with our in-depth impressions on Remote Play, as promised.

[Update: Changed the wording of the post to reflect the newly unveiled features within Mainichi Issyo, using Remote Play. The post title changed to reflect the description of these new in-game features.]

Level 5 answers a few easy questions on Jeanne d'Arc

SCEA recently lobbed a few softball questions for Level 5, the talented team behind Jeanne d'Arc, a title we've had our eye on for some time now. The questions ranged from asking how long the game has been in development [2 years] to describing the overall world and story behind the game. The full interview has been included for your reading pleasure, after the break.

New details on the combat system are given, which imply importance on stance and character position in order to maximize combat skills. One of the combat particulars "Burning Aura," deals additional damage by trapping enemies between two playable characters whereas "Unified Guard" involves lining up your characters side by side to lessen the blow of damage from bad guys. We're already hooked, how about you? Anyone else got this one on your immediate radar? Jeanne d'Arc should be hitting stateside in August.

Continue reading Level 5 answers a few easy questions on Jeanne d'Arc

SCEA admits PSP needs a few killer apps to motor sales

In the tell-us-something-we-don't-already-know department, SCEA's chief financial officer Robert Wiesenthal admitted software potential has been lackluster, and is considered to be slowing PSP hardware sales. "Clearly on the software side, any real killer title will galvanize the sales," he said. This mirrors similar thoughts from Hiroshi Kamide, director of the research department at KBC Securities Japan, who believes the PSP hardware is stellar while the compelling reason to own one is not. "Most of the software is knock-offs of PlayStation 2 titles and that won't do Sony any favours," he says. We tend to agree, which could explain why some of us are so smitten with the refreshing game play in one of the PSP's newest releases, Crush.

Compelling reasons to own a PSP are definitely coming. For those that haven't yet seen our coverage of the recent Sony Gamers Day (SGD '07), we implore you to take a peek behind the curtain of planned content. This summer should prove even more rewarding for RPG fanatics with the Final Fantasy I and II remakes, Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics, Jeanne d'Arc and much more. It would seem developers have been already working on a solution to a problem Sony is, just now, admitting to. Better late than never, we suppose. So lets get that ball of content rolling!

D&D producer says PSP could handle an MMO

Anyone wondering if an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game would be possible on Sony's PSP can thank Lawrence Liberty for opening the window of opportunity with a few forward-thinking statements. The producer of the hotly anticipated Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics recently told Eurogamer that he believes the PSP to be perfectly suitable for MMO. "Even if it relied on a sizable memory stick," he says, "it could certainly handle something like EverQuest Online Adventures."

The PC platform has an MMO graveyard that seems to grow with each passing quarter. It's no easy feat for an MMO to stay afloat for even the first year. Fanboys or not, persistent online worlds need to draw in the elusive casual gamer in order to retain enough residual support to survive. What do you think? Could the PSP draw in enough of an audience to keep an MMO alive long enough to kick some profit and convince developers to provide additional content?

Work out your PSP on a Trixter X-bike

Cycling with your PSP is becoming quite popular, even more so with a new modification to the Trixter line of X-bikes. Apparently, a PSP can be attached to the bike itself, enabling catered exercise programs to reach your eyes as well as your ears, for your grueling workout. We suppose it's mildly interesting, though the initiative of infusing exercise with gaming is starting to get a little ridiculous. Honestly, we're still holding out for a model of the X-bike series that allows us to play games while the bike works its wonderful magic on our motionless bodies. Playing games while burning fat ... a lovely combination. Come on, make it happen Trixter.

[Via Tech Digest]

Dedicated game sites to browse and enjoy

Handheld gaming has a dedicated fan base, as those that frequent our very own site can attest. When the allure of new releases wears its welcome, it can be interesting to scour the web for sites that cater to very specific game tastes. In case you missed our recommendation for these game sites earlier, Pocket Gamer reminds you of gems like Beyond Loco, which caters to everything LocoRoco, offering wallpaper, music and even themed demos. Dark Alex also brings a unique flavor of PSP homebrew for those daring enough to visit. Something new and for the slightly older crowd that welcomes a trip down memory lane, there's even the HandHeld Museum where you can revisit handheld gaming's finest. The included pictures of box art should jog a few memories, if the title alone isn't enough. We can't be the only ones to remember those Galoob titles, can we?

Six new PSP game demos from Japan

Six new PSP demos hit the internet recently and are available for your consumption. They may not match the excitement of say, a God of War demo, but complaining about anything free seems kind of silly, don't you think? Although all of the demos released here are in Japanese, Homestar Portable appears to be a bit easier to comprehend that the others. We're not so sure about the fun factor quotient in the Computer Science Lab demos, but we're getting ready to fire them up anyhow. Call it our strangely curious thirst for the unexplainable ... or taking one for the team. All six of the demos are zipped up in one convenient file, available here:

1. Download the demo collection zip file.
2. Extract the contents of the zip file.
3. Connect your PSP to your computer using a USB cable.
4. Go to the PSP/GAME folder.
5. Copy all folders into the GAME directory.

Check out our new demos site:

[Via PSP Demo Center]

Dungeon Maker website reveals silly plot

Dungeon making fans, take notice. XSEED's Dungeon Maker Hunting Ground has an official website now, with a projected release date right around the corner in June. XSEED also released Valhalla Knights awhile back, a title that was lampooned by critics for its restrictive game play and lack of story progression. How does the story in Dungeon Maker fare? Well, the new website contains some insight into the background story elements we think you'll find ... interesting.

You control the Architect (not that Architect), a hero that arrives in town wanting to develop a monster-luring dungeon so he can sharpen his fighting skills, net some serious gold coinage and become the baddest dungeon maker who ever lived. The hero must face skepticism from the townspeople that don't believe the Architect has what it takes to make the ultimate dungeon. But eventually, the Architect begins to win support of the townsfolk by luring rare and powerful enemies into his ever-growing dungeon. In turn, the townspeople equip the Architect with new dungeon making abilities. Will our hero be able to lure the powerful and elusive Wandering Demon, freeing the townsfolk from its reign of fear and terror once and for all?

Wow. The plot seems utterly ridiculous so it might be 0/2 for XSEED. On the other hand, a dungeon making game for the PSP is certainly unique. Perhaps its appeal might overcome such a far-fetched plot. We'll know a lot more once Dungeon Maker Hunting Ground is released in a few weeks. In the meantime, check out the game's website for more information.

Adding some color to Game Boy emulation

Just as Technicolor added color to moving pictures, classic Game Boy gems await their colorized update. On the homebrew front, a new video from PSPHardwareHelp (after the cut) shows Super Mario Land running through an upcoming emulator for use on PSP. The notable difference between this and previous offerings is that this emulator converts black and white Game Boy classics into full color. It's certainly a remarkable achievement, one that Nintendo may want to capitalize on if they ever (wisely) bring Game Boy classics into the Wii Virtual Console.

Continue reading Adding some color to Game Boy emulation

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