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Namco bundles DVD with National Geographic Panda

Namco Bandai just dished out a press release about upcoming National Geographic Panda. With the game hitting U.S. retail shelves this fall, the prospect of playing with virtual pandas on your DS is not the only enticing aspect panda fans should be focusing on. All copies of the game will come packaged with a DVD titled Secrets of the Wild Panda. What is Secrets of the Wild Panda? Well, it's an hour-long special produced by National Geographic on the subject of, you guessed it, panda bears. So instead of just being a DS game full of cute pandas to play with, it also holds some educational value, as well.

[Via press release]

Namco trademarks newest Tales name in North America

Fans of the Tales series, it would appear the possibility of the latest DS title, Tales of Hearts, to come to North America has become a bit more plausible. Thanks to Spencer over at Siliconera, we have word that Namco has trademarked the term for North America? Coincidence? We think not!

So, it would seem that eventually the game should be making its way to our shores. Until then, we'll just sit back, relax and wait for an official announcement.

E308: Namco Bandai's Panda game dated for U.S.

The first English-language screens of Namco Bandai's National Geographic Panda have emerged from E3, as well as a North American release window of this fall. We also received a smattering of gameplay details, listed beneath the almost unforgivable title of "It's PANDA-MONIUM!"

According to these, the aim of the game is simply to rear your own Baby Panda or Giant Panda (you can tickle and play with them via the touchscreen, as you would a Nintendog), keeping them fed, clean, and happy during their time in Panda Park (which, incidentally, changes depending on whether you play at day or night).

To do this, you'll get a daily allowance which can be used for panda food or toys (such as ... gherkin-shaped see-saws?), and as you play more, further Baby Pandas will gradually begin to "move" into Panda Park, which is probably just Namco Bandai's way of avoiding the whole panda sex thing. Probably for the best.

[Via press release]

National Geographic Pandas are no slackers

We simply can't fault Namco Bandai's inspired decision to develop a game based on panda bears. When it comes to pandas, there is no universal divide in opinion (as there is with dogs and cats) -- everybody is a panda person. That kind of popularity can only be gained from being extremely cute and extremely rare.

Launching in Japan on July 31st, purchased copies of Panda-San Nikki (National Geographic Panda) will probably be anything but rare. That's because this game is freakin' adorable, as the latest screenshots in our gallery demonstrate. There are more pandas on see-saws, pandas trying to roll on a ball, pandas using a slide, pandas in hats -- in fact, Game Watch reckons there are over 800 animations (pandamations?) on display here. We always thought these wonderful creatures just sort of sat around, but they seem to be rather active!

Tales of Hearts: the full monty

The recent press event for the Tales series gave us a brief glimpse at the world within Tales of Hearts, the latest lamentable stunner from Namco Bandai. Stunner because it looks gorgeous, lamentable because the chances of gamers seeing it in North America are slim to none. Regardless, the full TOH trailer has been commandeered in the video above, so hit play and enjoy the fruits of an unattainable RPG.

The environments themselves look stunning (especially the CG), but the characters are still colorful little sprites. One can argue the power of sprites in almost any game, and they certainly command some charm in Tale of Hearts. Is the contrast between 3D levels and 2D characters too off-putting? Not really -- but let us know if your eyes start bleeding.

[Via Nintendo Everything]

'Tales of a series' event births new footage

At a promotional event in Japan for all things Tales, a number of guest speakers showcased plenty of new ideas and media for the groin-grabbingly popular RPG franchise. Some footage from the upcoming Tales of Hearts was featured along with running commentary, but our general stupidness prevents any translation. However, you can still see the game in action, as the charming little sprite characters duke it out in a beautifully detailed world.

This is self-inflicted pain. If you allow yourself to get excited over each superb entry in the Tales series, you'll wind up cold and alone. There's nothing more depressing than a neglected RPG.

[Via NeoGAF]

Larger than tiny Tales of Hearts screens

Scavenging for screens of rare and awesome DS games in the making is a tedious yet rewarding task. Oftentimes one will be granted a tiny sample of media from an upcoming RPG, while sometimes being rewarded with decent scans from the best game ever. What's the second-best game ever? Tales of Hearts, that's what -- and we have a couple of new screens that fit right around the middle size-wise.

Along with the rather colorful display right here, you can check out another dialogue shot after the jump. The Japanese has us scratching our heads stupidly, but the game itself looks good. Tales of Hearts is scheduled for a Q4 2008 release date in Japan, and we want it. In the meantime, check out the empty, pretty official site.

Continue reading Larger than tiny Tales of Hearts screens

A hearty addition to the Tales series

Not one, but two amazing RPG announcements have been made for the DS this morning. First up, a timeless masterpiece of epic proportions -- second, a brand-new addition to the acclaimed Tales series. We could go on about what we prefer, but it really doesn't matter. Life is good.

Tales of Hearts has been scanned from Shonen Jump and shipped over the intertrons for your viewing enjoyment. The image is skint on details, but two characters make an apperance in anime and real ... human form. The release is scheduled near the end of the year -- just hope it makes it to America, unlike another awesome game.

[Thanks, Shawn!]

Say 'awww' to these new National Geographic Panda screens

Seriously, if there was anything that could melt the heart of the most cold individual, it's images of a panda bear playing with a beach ball. And, we have just that, in our gallery below, courtesy of Namco Bandai.

We have to say, that with each new National Geographic Panda screen we're exposed to, our desire for the game grows. We just want to take care of cute little panda bears. Is that so wrong?

[Via press release]

99 Tears Vs. 96 Tears

Remember that time you spent fifteen minutes on all fours on the kitchen floor, violently bawling your eyes out over the final, bitter departure of a loved one, or the sudden death of your dog in a road accident? Good times, right? Well, 99 no Namida (Tears of 99) will be aiming to replicate those surges of emotion throughout Japan from tomorrow, when the sob-inducing game gets released. It's intended to be for your own health, apparently.

In case you somehow doubted the game's efficacy in making you blubber through one of its 200 short stories, Namco Bandai has attempted to scientifically prove just how much inner turmoil the title can generate. The pie charts above came about after the company conducted a survey of 500 people to highlight the effectiveness of 99 no Namida.

And this is where it gets a bit obscure. We know that the white areas in the pie charts represent people who didn't cry, and the dark blue indicates those who cried heavily. We also know that the right chart depicts the proportion of people who cried while playing 99 no Namida, while the left chart displays how many cried when ... well, we're not actually sure, but the headline does reference 1960s rock and roll band Question Mark & The Mysterians and their song "96 Tears." Man, beats us.

Whatever the first chart represents, the central message remains the same: 99 no Namida will make the majority of players cry big, salty tears. Now weep your sad selves into our gallery for six new shots.

Gallery: 99 no Namida

Listen to J-pop and roll a panda

We're oddly fascinated with the upcoming, uh, panda simulation game, National Geographic Panda. Well, it's called Panda-San Nikki in Japan, but in North America it's important to tag an environmentally-conscious magazine to the title. That way, gamers can save endangered wildlife while riding the bus to knitting college. Everybody wins!

Adhering to the recent Nintendo trend of browser-based demos, Namco has set up a virtual DS on their official website so you can actually play the game (no see-saws ... yet). Sure, gameplay consists of making one single swipe to roll that big cutie over, but it's addictive. Turn the sound up and enjoy the happy.

Follow this link, and hit the pink box to start up the DS demonstration. Several areas of the site are blanked out, so we're sure to see some new interactive content coming soon for this unique title.

[Via Siliconera]

Namco reveals National Geographic Panda and Digimon World Championship

Today is a very happy day for us here at DS Fanboy. We had no idea that pandas on see-saws would be making their way to our country. Back when we saw the scans showing the Japanese game, we thought it was much too quirky and original to be released over here. Oh how glad we are to be wrong.

So, what is the game, exactly? National Geographic Panda and it will release this fall. The game has you interacting with panda bears at Panda Park. Mistreating the bears will cause them to leave your park, whereas nurturing them and making sure they're having fun means new pandas will come to your park and stay. Sounds great to us!

The other game Namco announced in the press release we received is Digimon World Championship. The new game will feature over 200 kinds of Digimon and will feature Wi-Fi support for battling online. Those of you familiar with the Digimon series of games should know what to expect here. No word on a release window for the game.

Check out our galleries below for screenshots of both these games.

Gallery: Digimon World Championship

[Via press release]

Boxart battle: Emblem of Gundam vs Front Mission 2089

Above, we have the covers for two upcoming strategy titles, Emblem of Gundam and Front Mission 2089. Both series have similar themes -- giant mechas battling it out against an intricate backdrop of political drama -- so it's startling to see the different approaches in their packaging designs.

Front Mission 2089 puts more emphasis on its character lineup, masking a lone Wanzer in the mist, and the result is a lusterless jacket that looks as unexciting as the starring crew's listless expressions. Emblem of Gundam's cover has more action to it, giving its mobile suits and story characters even billing. One guy is flying through space with a rapier! Another has a gun! And a massive Gundam oversees the entire scene, jets blasting and fingers positioned like a master pianist preparing his next attack. This is how you design a box!

Today's lesson: If you have huge robots, use them. Pilot your mecha past the post break for a better look at the two covers.

Continue reading Boxart battle: Emblem of Gundam vs Front Mission 2089

Taiko Drum Master ships 500k

Those of you who pay attention to Japanese sales have probably noticed that week after week, Taiko Drum Master DS sits comfortably in the top thirty. It may not sell absurd quantities (according to Famitsu, usually around 6,000 copies per week as of late), but it can't be argued that the game has legs, especially considering that it debuted nine months ago. In fact, it's the only third-party game for a Nintendo system that shows up on the charts with such consistency.

It was only a matter of time, then, before the game hit the 500k landmark. We're glad to see Namco's game doing so well, and hopefully the DS sequel will find similar success.

[Via GoNintendo]

Namco not spinning any Tales outside of Japan

In speaking with Cubed3, Hideo Baba-san from Namco has presented those of us not lucky enough to reside in the gaming capital of the world with some grim news: Tales of Innocence, the latest DS entry in the Tales series of games, won't be leaving Japan. At least, for now, as Namco has no plans to localize the game for other territories. This all comes from an interview which is set to run later this week on Cubed3.

What's odd, though, is that they would choose to bring a Wii title and Xbox 360 game to the U.S., yet would completely ignore the DS. It's just ... it's just, well ... odd. We just don't know how else to put it.

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This Month's New Games

Name Date
Bleach: Dark Souls
Oct 6
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FIFA Soccer 09 Oct 14
Populous Oct 14
Rock Revolution
Oct 14
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Oct 21
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Away: Shuffle Dungeon
Oct 21
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Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Oct 21
What's Cooking? With Jamie Oliver Oct 21
MySims Kingdom
Oct 28
Ninjatown Oct 28

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