In a week when Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift and Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword failed to penetrate any of Europe's charts, the locals instead turned to the non-game. Ubisoft's My Health Coach: Manage Your Weight (My Weight Loss Coach in North America) was the highest-ranking new DS entry on the continent, with a TV campaign ensuring it reached 27th in the UK. Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What To Eat? also enjoyed a more successful second week, rising eight places in Britain and just squeezing into Ireland's top ten.
Next week, Europeans welcome the arrival of Bakushow and Arkanoid DS, and will hopefully not stave off the newest Space Invaders. Let them take you over, puny Earthlings! Heck, they'd run this planet better than us anyway.
As far as serious chart contenders go (because let's face it: none of the aforementioned three are going to sell in the bajillions), the two latest Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games are hitting stores. Expect some top ten finishes from those.
Although some companies (like Ubisoft) have volunteered to do extra epilepsy-related tests for their games, the existing standard isn't enough for some people. Take, for example, famous and loathed mom Gaye Herford, who's responsible for bringing this fight to Parliament after her son suffered a fit while playing Rayman Raving Rabbids DS.
Sprong reports that the House of Commons debate was held yesterday, with members supporting different solution. Margaret Hodge, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, pushed for a voluntary testing system, which could be changed to mandatory in the future if the issue remained problematic.
John Penrose on the other hand led a more paranoid debate, stating, "The point is that some games manufacturers may decide to do that, but there is a huge number of games-makers and manufacturers throughout the world. Some are large and responsible, such as Ubisoft, but as in any industry, there is a large number of manufacturers who are relatively tiny, and although some may be responsible, we cannot be sure."
It doesn't seem as if a final decision was reached, but you know politics -- things take a while to get done.
If Europeans feel their food has lacked variety and flavor this week, they've only themselves to blame. Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What to Eat? was a bit of a failure with consumers, despite our predictions of great things for the title last week, so don't come moaning to us when your beef bourguignon goes awry! Only the UK showed a mild appetite for the non-game, pushing it to 19th. New International Track & Field, meanwhile, didn't even get close to any chart.
Any football soccer-loving Brit of a certain age will fondly recall Subbuteo, and it's presumably those consumers that 505 Games is targeting with a new DS version of the game. For the uninitiated, a quick history lesson: Subbuteo was a miniature soccer board game, played by taking turns to flick small figures on hemispherical bases at an oversized ball, the aim being to get the ball in your opponent's net. Games usually lasted until your dog chewed the little men, or until Dad came in drunk again and stepped on them.
Anyway, it reached the height of its popularity in the '70s and '80s, before decent soccer videogames (hi, Sensible Soccer) showed up and caught the chil'n's attention. The original Subbuteo is still played today (there's even an annual world championship), but is far less well-known, which is probably why 505 Games is making a DS game about it. It's out this September (though probably only in Europe), and will feature fully customizable tournaments, traditional leagues, and even a full online multiplayer. Wooo!
Despite the success, don't bet on more DS Lite models being released anytime soon. "There are now seven different DS colours available, so we have no plans to release more colours at this time," said a Nintendo spokesperson. The new download centers, however, will be rolling out in a "steady and consistent manner," so expect new demos on a regular basis.
Awright, what's all this then? Clunbury Primary School in merry old England has brought on a fleet of DS Lites to help combat stupidity in children. It's safe to say the kids aren't sitting around playing Mario Kart, but instead picking up any one of the maths, language or brain games available.
It's not just one tyke campaigning for Ninteducational powers. Head teacher Andrew Davies said using DS software is an "exciting and alternative way of approaching education." Capital idea, old bean. Just make sure this mother's kid doesn't enrol at your school anytime soon.
Clunbury was voted as the top Information and Communications Technology (ICT) school in England, using mp3 recorders, blogs and podcasts to teach the tots. Where was all the awesome technology when this blogger was battling with the Commodore 64?
Europeans, rejoice! Today brings news regarding release dates for DS titles up until the beginning of next year. The list is populated with plenty of high-profile titles, yet is woefully absent of a certain Professor Layton. There's also a concrete confirmation that Trials & Tribulations is headed your way, even though we kind of knew that already.
Even more odd is the inclusion of Sonic Unleashed in the list past the break. Is the game coming to the DS? Maybe, but it seems more likely that this is nothing more than a typo.
Never, ever, ever, ever rule out the power of Kawashima. We're going to have that tattooed across our foreheads, because despite us slyly noting Brain Training's slow decline in the Euro charts these last few weeks, the blighter has bounced back mightily -- bugger.
Next week could be interesting, mind. Were we gambling types, we'd put good money on Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What to Eat? (which twoof the Fanboy team have already purchased) and My Weight Loss Coach doing pretty well, what with their angle on training and self-improvement (and Europe's baffling collective urge to improve itself). And what of New International Track & Field? Well, as much as we'd like it to do well, we can't see it leaving much of a dent. I mean, a track and field game starring famous characters and mascots from the franchises of a major gaming company? El-oh-el! It'll never work.
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:
At the bottom of a GamesIndustry.biz story about some PS3 game (Metal ... something) failing to sell PS3s in the UK, we found news of how those new, Europe-only DS colors had fared in Britain.
And here's a surprise: Chart-Track (the company tasked with the exhausting job of tallying how many copies of Brain Training sell each week in Europe) has revealed that while the swish new red, turquoise, and green models had a "massive impact" on sales, none could dislodge the current top-seller, which is ... black. How boring!
Despite being the most delicious of all DSes, the red version could only come in second, and was followed by pink, white, turquoise, green and silver respectively. Sadly, Chart-Track doesn't dispense actual sales figures, but come on, Brits! Show some adventure in your choice of DS colors! Be crazy and live life on the edge like us!
Everybody knows that Europe is frequently treated like a second-class citizen of the gaming world, and one of the best examples of this is Etrian Odyssey, which was finally released in Euroland last week, a whole damn year (and then some) after it arrived in the States. Predictably enough, it's not appeared in one European chart during its opening week, but are we surprised? Are we heck. Anybody with a serious interest in Etrian Odyssey would have already imported the game, completed it, and be looking forward to importing the second title. In fact, this sort of makes the European release feel futile; you have to wonder why they even bother in the first place. Oh, woe, woe.
It's not as though much else is selling on our beloved handheld, either -- even though the Spanish charts weren't released in time for this week's update, the current charts are worryingly low on DS software. Hit the break to see what we mean.
With those new DS Lite colors arriving in Europe this weekend, we were wondering how many of you planned on picking up a new handheld? Like our own Chris, are you in love with that red beauty? More of an Ice Blue kind of gamer? Wait ... don't tell us! You want that puke green one?
Let your voice be heard! Tell us which you plan on picking up in our poll below.
Over the last year, UK mom ("mum" is the word over there, we believe) Gaye Herford has been fighting to change the way games are tested before they are sent to retail. Her 10-year-old son, while playing Rayman Raving Rabbids, went into an epileptic fit. She had no idea that games could send players intophoto sensitive epileptic (PSE) seizures. We guess she hasn't seen the intro splash screen Nintendo has had around since the Pokémon incident.
But, after a long year, she has won her battle. Ubisoft has volunteered to do the testing itself and will try to ensure such a thing does not happen again. Herford also managed to secure a debate in Parliament, for a future date that is yet to be determined. "As a parent myself, I was shocked that a single game could possibly trigger a sudden first-time seizure, with its life-long implications," says Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose, who helped Herford in her battle. "Right now, most electronic game publishers simply issue written warnings about PSE on or inside their products - and that's on a voluntary basis. But that's no good for the thousands of people with dormant PSE because they don't know the warnings - if they even read them - apply to them."
At the time of the article, no comment was made by Nintendo. Ubisoft did say, though, that testing of Rayman: Raving Rabbids on the DS "showed that no images posed a high risk for photosensitivity epilepsy. However, we made a corporate decision to pre-screen and pre-test all Ubisoft in-house developed games regardless of platform, prior to publication."
Nintendo is taking the whole portable connectivity concept one step further in the UK, with 33 brand-spankin' new DS Centers installed at various retailers. There used to be a bunch of creaky old "Download Stations" dotted about the place, but these latest models outstript the dated machines with their sleek superiority and high levels of rad.
The official website has launched, where you can learn what these white towers of fun can do for you and your DS. We love making generalizations around here, so we'll assume every UK citizen lives in a quaint little cottage in the countryside, always having scones and raspberry jam for tea. If you want to try one of these DS Centers, you'll need to crank up your old Reliant Robin and pop down to the local big-shot retailer to bust out some Wi-Fi fun.
These centers are a pretty good way to physically show UK gamers that their DS can do more than sit unloved at the bottom of a bag while waiting around for the next Coronation Street house party. You can download the latest demos, try a game you may have missed, and even get global with a worldwide network of DS players. It'll be just as fun as downing a pint at the Rub-A-Dub, right lads?
DS software is feeling the strain in Europe this week as big names on other consoles continue to shake things up. This week it's the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Codemasters' Race Driver: GRID that have mostly disrupted the standings (note: the DS iteration didn't appear in any charts), forcing Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training to actually drop out of the UK top ten for the first time in several months (though the polygonal prof has still performed respectably in Ireland, Holland, and Germany).
That aside, it's mainly all about Mario where DS games are concerned. The plumber has sprinted, jumped, and karted his way into a number of Euro charts, and it was also nice to see Phantom Hourglass rise back into the UK top 30 (it's currently 28th). Next week, we'll see if European folk have the stomach for an Etrian Odyssey (yes, the first one), though we suspect that LEGO Indiana Jones is more likely to register high on the chart.
Make the jump for this week's full rundown of numbers from Europe!