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Reimagining the Zelda franchise's characters as Spore Creatures

The internet has been set on fire by the recent release of Spore Creature Creator, which has been used to create not only some really weird and interesting things, but also variations of characters found in other games. Above, you'll see 19 different characters from The Legend of Zelda games.

The full spectrum of characters is covered, from the incredibly annoying Navi, right down to the ferocious Beast Ganon. So check out the video above.

[Via Go Nintendo]

Brits: Drill your way to HMV for cheap games

Summer in the northern hemisphere officially starts today, which means one thing: sharing strawberries with a loved one in a tranquil hay meadow as you soak up the rays grabbing cheap games in the sales! The folks at HMV know the heat turns us Brits into mushy-minded impulse buyers, and so they've gone and slashed prices on approximately 30 DS titles to around the £12 - £15 mark. Here's the best of what's on offer:
Remember also that HMV offers free shipping to the UK, so you won't need to leave your La-Z-Boy and expose yourself to that nasty summer sun.

What is the deal with these Apartment Pets?

Off the top of our head, here's a quick list of questions we immediately asked after noticing several odd details with this The Sims 2: Apartment Pets cover:
  • What are those lines on the woman's pants? We swear to Pete, those better not be some damn convertible pants. It is 2008, lady. You should know better.
  • Why is she walking around the building's hallways, puppy in hand, teasing kittens with toys?
  • Is that cat on the bottom right corner cuddling with the PEGI rating? This might be the only creature in the world who has actually taken a liking to the unsightly box.
  • Why didn't this guy block the door when he opened it to grab the morning paper? He could have prevented this gang of animals from spilling out of his apartment.
  • Is that stoic rabbit doing the shoulder lean?
Grab a leash and meet us past the post break for more insightful commentary!

Gallery: The Sims 2: Apartment Pets

Continue reading What is the deal with these Apartment Pets?

Take this, animal-hating landlord

We've already seen The Sims get portable with pets, but now it's time to move those animal-loving sensibilities into trendy, high-rise apartments. Getting very specific with Sim titles these days, EA has announced The Sims 2: Apartment Pets for the DS. Don't leave the penthouse window open for Fido to go barrelling out.

Apartment Pets features a bunch of different animals, including cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits and snakes. Question - can you let the snake loose in the loft with all the other furry critters? Can the snake be a King Cobra? Funny if possible, but highly unlikely.

You can run your own pet spa, and interact with fellow upstart professionals who fill their lives with a bunch of wildlife. It'll be just like Seinfeld, only Jerry is a nonchalant house cat while Kramer is the wacky next-door macaw.

Apartment Pets is scheduled for an August 28 release, and you can check out the first images in the gallery. We urge you to pay attention to your real pets for a while before this one comes along. They don't want some hot-shot hamster stealing the limelight.

Gallery: The Sims 2: Apartment Pets

SimCity Creator creates a release date, readable screens

After the announcement of the brand-spankin' new Wii title SimCity Creator, EA has announced that the latest edition in the DS range will sport the same name. Cool, then. But wait, there's more!

We've been sitting pretty on Japan-only screenshots thus far, because the game is already released over there under the less-inspiring moniker SimCity DS 2 (which we thought would be the name over here, too, but creativity must be executed). That won't phase us, yo -- we've nabbed some English screens for your perusing pleasure! Settle in for a long viewing session, because you won't be playing this hopefully not lousy game until September 22.

Gallery: Sim City 2 DS

[Via press release]

EA spills the beans on MySims Kingdom for DS

Ever since MySims Kingdom was revealed, we've been patiently awaiting details regarding the title. Now, we've got a bit more to go on, as EA lets us know what this game is all about. It is "a story of adventure, discovery and exploration to help King Roland and his subjects revitalize the Kingdom." Okay, sounds simple enough.

The DS version of this game, specifically, will offer several different mini-games and very much resembles Animal Crossing. EA's Rod Humble (is that not an awesome name?), whom heads up The Sims division, said MySims Kingdom will contain "rewarding quests, building houses, bridges or even making contraptions powered by electricity or water." It sounds like the title will have a lot of customization options, however we wonder if it won't be the simple little game that EA promised it would be back at launch. Is this not getting to be a bit too big for a casual title?

Be sure to hit up our gallery below for first screens from the game.

Gallery: MySims Kingdom

[Via Joystiq]

Sim City 2 almost as cute as My Sims

The characters in Sim City 2 (which released today in Japan) may act like robots, but they sure look adorable -- check out our gallery if you don't believe us. They also seem to have hooves for feet, which we don't understand. Would it have been that hard to give them real feet? Yet, we can totally support a game that gives cavemen glasses and distinguished looking facial hair.

The characters and the Sim City name aren't the only appealing things about Sim City 2, though. The game lets you start in ancient times (hence the caveman) and progress to the modern era. Certainly not a novel idea for a civilization sim, but one we enjoy nonetheless.

Unfortunately, this game is virtually unplayable for folks who don't read Japanese. Sim City fans, let's hope it gets localized -- and, while we're at it, let's also hope that this game is better than the first Sim City DS.

Gallery: Sim City 2 DS

GDC08: Now for some Monkey Business

As you already know, we're in love with wacky 2D platformers, the crazier the better. You need only look to our romantic exchanges with Barnyard Blast, Sanuk Software's low-budget Castlevania spoof, for evidence of our forbidden flirtations.

At an IGS session yesterday, EA Tiburon's Kyle Gray demonstrated a new DS game, tentatively titled Monkey Business, currently in development and after our own heart. The colorful game's hero, a British explorer named Hatsby, could be seen battling an opera-singing boss and a robotic construct of Big Ben.

The combo system seems reminiscent of The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night, and there's some unclarified puzzle mechanic played out on the touchscreen -- what's there not to love? We were surprised to hear that EA greenlit the project, even if only for its EA Casual Games division, but Kyle explained, "It's this weird new face of EA ... They're actually looking to do new things, now."

Swing past the post break for more videos from the Flash prototype of this very interesting platformer.

Continue reading GDC08: Now for some Monkey Business

Watching Sim City isn't as fun as playing it

There's something compelling about Sim City games, even though it's hard to capture exactly what that is in a trailer. You can see that evidenced in this video for Sim City 2 DS, which borders between dull and downright creepy. The trailer just fails to capture the magic of Sim City, making us think that the game has to be better than this video makes it look.

Or, maybe we're just being too harsh. Maybe those slow-blinking characters that talk in robot voices don't creep you out. Either way, the gameplay seems deeper in this title than in the DS's first foray into Sim City, and we'll be keeping a close eye on the game as more information comes forth. As of now, it's only planned for a Japanese release in March.

Europe to get Spore two days early

According to Maxis's Patrick Buechner, "Europe is the priority for Spore." After years of being shafted and having to wait while American and Japanese gamers get titles first, how does that make all of you in Euroland feel?

Of course, it helps that there's a ton of PC gamers in Europe. Fortunately, for those of you planning to get the DS version known as Spore Creatures, the games are set to release on both platforms (and Macs) simultaneously.

The goal for the European release is September 5th, which happens to be two days before the American one. Buechner also says that these dates are very makeable, so gamers shouldn't expect delays. We can't help but be a little bit skeptical on that issue, but we're willing to believe him for now.

Gallery: Spore Creatures

Spore gets dated for September as DS details emerge

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. It seems that Spore has finally been given a release date (or at least, the DS, PC, Mac, and mobile phone versions were). The much anticipated game will be gracing our favorite dual-screened portable on September 7th. Yes, that's quite a long way away, but it's better than the "possibly 2009, but who really knows?" window we had before.

We're wondering, though -- how many of you potential Spore buyers plan to get Will Wright's game for the DS? While there's been a lot of hype for the game, it's usually not on the handheld front. The lack of excitement might be slightly justified, however. Obviously, the DS and mobile phone games are going to suffer some cutbacks when compared to their computer counterparts.

According to a Newsweek interview with Lucy Bradshaw, the vice president of Maxis and executive producer of Spore, the DS version will be called Spore Creatures and will focus mainly on creature creation. The title will also have a different, Japanese-based art style, and features "unique abilities" for the creatures in the game. The Wi-Fi will be similar to that of the PC and Mac titles, however, and allow players to trade or share their creations with friends.

While the game might not be as deep as the computer ones, it still appears to be pretty epic, so having the option to carry it around at all times might be a good thing.

Hey, and it beats getting the mobile phone version, amirite?

[Via Joystiq]

Orcs & Elves & a John Carmack autograph

As if having the words "Orcs & Elves" emblazoned on your DS isn't enough to get you made fun of at school/the office by fantasy-hating jocks/co-workers, id Software went the extra mile and slapped on some dragon artwork onto this customized system to multiply its dorkiness rating tenfold. Oh, and the John Carmack autograph on the lid is sure to bring in a few putdowns, too: "Who is this John guy supposed to be? Your boyfriend?" So what if he is?

Thankfully, we won't ever have to worry about Alisha heckling us for carrying one of these around, as only two were made, and they've both already been given away as part of a recent GamePro contest. We just might end up printing out a similar decal for our own DS, however -- the idea of designing our handheld to match the dragon posters we've put up in our cubicle is too tempting.

First blurry look at Populous DS

Almost two months since its game was announced, Electronic Arts has finally published tangible details and the first screenshots for Populous DS in this week's issue of Famitsu.

Due next February 21st, this remake of the god game will feature both touchscreen and classic controls, though these isometric sims seem to lend themselves to the former. In addition to four different modes -- Challenge, Free Play, VS (up to four players, and Gallery -- Populous DS will come packed with popular maps from its many, many previous editions on PCs and consoles. Peek past the post break for a camera-phone shot of the Famitsu page.

Continue reading First blurry look at Populous DS

A trio of Boogie videos come out from hiding

You know, it's been quite some time since we've seen or heard anything on Boogie for the DS. While the game might have flopped on the Wii, we're hopeful it can provide us with so much more on the DS. Looks like we'll find out soon enough, as the title releases later on this month.

Check past the break for some more videos.

Continue reading A trio of Boogie videos come out from hiding

The Simpsons pushing envelope on DS audio, FMV

We're not yet sure where we stand on the DS version of The Simpsons. On the one hand, it's The Simpsons, and thus automatically has the potential to be pretty great. We also applaud the idea of parodying other games; even if other companies want to stomp their feet about being cutely mocked, that send-up of Nintendogs is just too irresistible. On the other hand, the gameplay itself, the meat of the package, looks just a little ... vanilla.

One thing it probably won't lack, according to producer Eric Dallaire, is top-drawer production values, particularly as it's EA throwing big bucks at this release. Chatting to IGN about the title, Dallaire spoke of "pushing the limits" of the platform, and discussed how the game will boast "the most audio lines and total FMV on a DS cartridge to date." How much, precisely? "We've crammed one-fifth of the audio lines from the console versions [and] the equivalent of a TV episode's worth of FMV onto the cartridge."

All of which will mean diddly-squat if they don't nail the gameplay, but it's always good to see boundaries being pushed, right?

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