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Step into Viva Pinata video paradise

Gamespot has uploaded five new videos from Rare's upcoming DS romp, Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise. The videos focus on what matters most: gameplay. While they are brief in length, the combination of all five make for a nice little diversion in the usual rigmarole of your day. We suggest you take a break and check out the rest of the videos past the break.

Continue reading Step into Viva Pinata video paradise

Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise media is for mature audiences

This latest set of Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise screenshots contains adult content, and should be viewed with parental guidance. Be sure that your state or municipality does not have obscenity laws against viewing scenes of piñata romance before venturing into our gallery.

In addition, we've embedded the first two Viva Piñata videos after the break -- they're too hot for the front page due to graphic Whirlm content. Well, one of them is. The other one's mostly gardening. Although, now that we think about it, considering that the Piñatas are basically ambulatory plant matter, it's all mostly gardening. Naughty gardening.

Continue reading Viva Pinata Pocket Paradise media is for mature audiences

Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise gets its own little oasis online

Rare has kept quiet for the most part about Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise, preferring, for the most part, to limit themselves to releasing one screenshot every couple of months and making some joke about the game's progress. Now they've boldly opened a website for the game! Which even has information! And screenshots, which we've added to our gallery. There's an interview with some of the Pocket Paradise team as well, which is mostly jokes!

Looks like players who have already broken open the 360 game will have something to look forward to here: new piñatas, which will also appear in the 360 sequel Trouble in Paradise. The DS game will also use a new episodic format in addition to the Playground mode.

Viva Pinata almost had DS/360 connectivity

The new Viva Piñata game on the Xbox 360 uses the Xbox Live Vision camera to read codes found on Viva Piñata cards, unlocking new piñatas. It's an impractical feature (if only there were some other way to enter short text strings into a game ...) but it's a fun gimmick. And it's designed such that the camera can read card images not just from physical cards, but from screens on computers and portable devices, which enhances the possibilities for sharing.

The DS has a Viva Piñata game (Pocket Paradise). The DS has screens. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could use the DS game to send stuff to the 360 game? It would be -- and is! Rare had it implemented, according to MTV Multiplayer's interview with Rare's Justin Cook, but too late. "We got it to work, but it was too late in the development cycle," Cook said. "It's one of those things where you just kick yourself." A strange statement coming from Rare. Can't they just delay the game for a couple of years?

IGN smashes open Rare producer, gorges on new Viva Pinata details

With development on Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise now wrapped up, IGN got some face time with producer Paul Machacek to discuss numerous aspects of the project, from the challenges of remaking an Xbox 360 game on the DS to some of the modes that the handheld version will support.

The most heartening news of all is that Pocket Paradise sounds likes a fairly faithful interpretation of the charming 360 game. Technical limitations mean that the fully 3D world has had to be scrapped in favor of a hybrid 2D/3D environment, but every piñata is fully modeled in 3D (to aid "really fluid, smooth animation"), and Rare even managed to echo some of the papery fur rendering in the grass texture. There are FMV sequences galore, featuring both romance dances and excerpts from the TV series.

Absolutely everything can be controlled with the stylus (buttons can be used for shortcuts), and there's a wireless mode which allows players to send crates packed with whatever they like to their friends' gardens (though no online mode, unfortunately). Oh, and alongside the main garden, there is a Sandbox mode, described by Machacek as "great for younger players to play with their favorite pets [or] to demonstrate a particular piñata to your friends that you've already found but have since removed from your garden."

As much as we're irritated by Viva Piñata for repeatedly making us hunt for that "n" with the funny squiggle above it, we're now getting increasingly keen to give this a whirl. Anyone else feel the same way?

Viva Pinata development is 'complete'

Rare has yet to provide a release date for Viva Pinata: Pocket Paradise, but according to the company, the game is now "complete." The announcement came in Rare's community letter, Scribes, which tongue-in-cheekly stated that the software would be sold this Sunday at flea markets. (Because we don't know how high your gullibility meter is, we'll state the obvious -- they were joking.)

Apparently, though, all that's left for the title is the manufacturing phase, so we'll assume that the game will be available for purchase in a matter of months. We've learned that DS carts take about two months to assemble, so could we seeing Pocket Paradise as soon as July or August? Your guess is as good as ours!

[Via Game|Life]

Viva Pinata lives, gets subtitle

The BBFC seems to have confirmed two things about Rare's upcoming DS game, Viva Pinata. The first is that THQ will be publishing the software, and the second is that the subtitle for the game (at least in Europe) will be Pocket Paradise.

Until we hear something more tangible, though, we'll chalk this one up as a rumor.

Gallery: Viva Pinata DS

[Thanks, jimmcq!]

Rare talks Viva Pinata DS with the fans

The folks over at Rare on the Viva Piñata DS team have been busy answering questions from their fans about the game. The questions asked pertain to both the Xbox 360 and DS games, as it's revealed that the DS game is more or less just a portable version of the Xbox 360 title. But, the DS game will have some different piñatas in it, as well as an Episode mode.

What little we've seen on the game so far has us intrigued. We think the game is the perfect pick-up-and-go title, to tell the truth.

[Via Go Nintendo]

Viva Pinata DS as learning experiment for small-scale games

Microsoft Game Studios UK's Phil Spencer spoke to Develop magazine about the lessons the company is taking from Rare's scaling down of Viva Pinata. While it might seem strange to put one of their flagship titles on a competitor's system, the DS is a great platform on which to learn about casual and shorter games, while also making piles of money.

Speaking about Rare's previous handheld experience, Spencer said the following: "When we acquired the studio that expertise was there and the team was there. As Microsoft we had a discussion – do we want to build that expertise? We decided yes. Not so much because we need to support Nintendo – their platform will do fine without us – but because it is important for us to build that experience as a publisher and game developer and understand what it means to build lightweight, maybe shorter session experiences, and maintain that design innovation."

Where does Microsoft hope to apply the lessons learned from Viva Pinata? Not the DS! As it turns out, Microsoft has their own platform for small-scale games. We don't know exactly how a portable version of a full-size Xbox game translates to Xbox Live Arcade development, but if it drives the company to experiment further, it's a good thing.

[Via Next-Gen]

Look! It's another single screenshot for Viva Pinata!

Dear Rare,

Listen, guys. We love you. We're always thrilled when you return home to Nintendo fans and put something together for us, and when it's something as genuinely neat as Viva Piñata, we're all in. We're resting comfortably on the hype train. So stringing us along with one screenshot at a time isn't really necessary. We can wait a few weeks and see three or even four at once. Really! We won't forget about you, okay? So don't worry.


p.s. But we'll keep putting those single screenshots in our gallery here. We'll do this for you, out of love. Hugs and kisses!

New Viva Pinata screens burst out

We're very slowly getting a look at Viva Piñata; Rare is letting screens drip out a bit at a time, just to keep us interested. Normally, that would worry us, but this is Rare, and at least we know how they're handling the port, so we'll let them take their time. Aren't we nice?

We wouldn't mind having some idea of a release date, however. Jeux-France theorizes that we'll see the title by the end of the year, but we've yet to see any official word on that. Are we alone in thinking it's much more likely to be sometime next year? But all release date speculation aside, we've compiled the new with the old in a gallery below for your viewing ease.

Rare talks Viva Pinata on the DS

We all know about the whole prerendering thing with the DS version of Viva Piñata, it being the only way the fine folks at Rare could squeeze the title down to cartridge-friendly size. But, we didn't know about some of the other alterations Rare made to the title, such as the stylus-exclusive control scheme, allowing for more accuracy in digging and planting seeds, etc.

James Thomas and Justin Cook, software engineers who conducted this interview, also talk about some other DS title they've been playing and drawing inspiration from. These games include Theme Park and SimCity DS, other "god-type" games.

Rumor: Donkey Kong 64 coming to the DS?

The folks over at NeoGAF are reporting that the latest issue of Ngamer has an interesting chunk of rumor in it. In the latest issue, a reader writes in asking if Donkey Kong 64 could appear on the Virtual Console for the Wii, what with the game requiring the expansion pack and all. Apparently, the folks at Rare have been thinking about that game too, but they've been thinking DS and not Wii.

Given that Mario 64 DS doesn't have the best control scheme, we worry about how this game would handle itself in that respect should this rumor turn out to be true. Other than that, we say bring it on.

Rare says Viva Prerendering

Were you wondering how Rare would manage to cram the full Viva Piñata experience onto the DS? They've gone deep into their bag of tricks and pulled out a favorite Rare technique: prerendering. Like Killer Instinct and Donkey Kong Country, Viva Piñata uses 2D sprites made from 3D renders of Piñata characters. If it allows them to put the whole game on DS-- including achievements?-- and then add stuff like an "Episodes" mode that ties in to the TV show, then we say "prerender away."

If you want to read the news item that accompanies this single screenshot on Rare's website, you'll have to navigate to the "News" section. Annoying, right?

[Via Kotaku]

Viva Pinata goes portable on the DS

As had been hinted at earlier this year by Microsoft VP Shane Kim, Rare officially confirmed at the San Diego Comic-Con that its much overlooked fiesta / garden sim Viva Piñata will be smashing its way onto the DS.

While all we have currently is a blurry photo taken at the convention of what the game will look like, Rare has confirmed on the popular forums (well, popular if you played the Xbox 360 version) that Viva Piñata DS will use the same gameplay principles as the original garden-sim title, as opposed to the recently announced party game for the 360. That means all the produce-tending, romance dancing, and savage piñata-on-piñata combat your little portable can handle.

Beyond that, all we can tell you at this point is that it's being cultivated by the original Viva Piñata team and according to Rare, "The DS team have done an amazing job at getting most of the features from the original into the DS version." Wi-Fi connectivity and official release date are still unknown, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it sprout up for purchase in time for the holidays.

We're expecting an official announcement from Rare any time, but for now, check out that action shot after the break.

Continue reading Viva Pinata goes portable on the DS

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