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Sim City 2 constructs Japanese release date, new screens

Town-planning enthusiasts who are also adept at reading kanji rejoice! EA just declared that Sim City 2 DS will be layin' pipes and buildin' roads in Japan on March 19th.

Don't get too excited, though. One look at any screens of Maxis' build-me-do should let you know that this is not most people's idea of an import-friendly title. There are lashings of Japanese text, and if the user interface is anywhere near as confusing as the one found in the first Sim City DS (which we struggled to understand in English), we may as well just give up now and wait for news of a western release.

Go past the break for a sprinkling of new screens.

Gallery: Sim City 2 DS

Continue reading Sim City 2 constructs Japanese release date, new screens

Spore Creatures producer Jason Haber talks up the game

To say that Spore Creatures is a radical departure from the PC game is an incredible understatement. But, we're not complaining, because hardware limitations on the DS are a lot harder to work with than say, oh ... a PC. But that doesn't mean all hope for the game is lost, as producer Jason Haber says Spore Creatures will be worth your time.

One of the things that has been most criticized about Spore Creatures is its look. Haber describes the inspiration for the look of the game as being from "the look and feel of flat Japanese rod puppets and shadow box art, and how their creators would customize scenes to bring them to life." He goes on further, adding that this "was something that we wanted our players to be able to do on the DS, allowing the game to feel completely unique while supporting an intuitive and open editing system."

Haber also hinted a bit in regards to DS-to-Wii functionality, responding to the question with "for Wii features and connectivity, we have not announced anything in particular, but that is the future and who can really predict the future?" The remainder of the interview is pretty interesting, so be sure to give it a read.

Gallery: Spore Creatures

DS Daily: Spore, Spore, Spore (How Do You Like It)

EA recently revealed the design for the DS Spore game, Spore Creatures. To be blunt, it's ... not the whole Spore. Instead of shrinking the whole game down for the DS format, Maxis decided to make a different, smaller-scale game about the life and adventures of one evolving critter. We kind of assume they know what they're doing (they're Maxis), and we know that Will Wright is a fan of the DS, so we have reason to believe that this is a good decision.

But we aren't sure. Are we getting screwed over by a half-assed Spore, or has Maxis made the right decision by designing a more portable-friendly game? Obviously we haven't all played it, but we're sure you have some kind of feelings already.

Gallery: Spore Creatures

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

Joystiq gets their hands dirty with Spore Creatures

For many of you, yesterday's news meant that life would have to take a break on September 7th of this year. Friends will be lost and your job will likely alter to one of playing God instead of filing paperwork like you currently do. Yup, it should be a very good year.

That is, until we read up on Joystiq's impressions with the DS version of Will Wright's game. First of all, it's being developed by Foundation 9 and not Maxis. Although Maxis did say they're handling "design" internally, we're not all too pleased to know that another developer is making this game and it won't be under the scrutinizing eye of Will Wright day and night.

Second, this game is going to be very different from Spore on the PC. In Spore Creatures, you're abducted by aliens, along with a pal of yours, and you must go on a long quest to save your friend. You'll make other friends, evolve and fight to survive. But, the focus is clearly on collecting items and maintaining one creature, rather than all of the awesome stuff one can do in the PC game.

That isn't to say that Spore: Creatures is a completely lost cause. The game will allow players to trade creatures over Wi-Fi Connect, so we're glad to see that. Also, the creature creation system sounds robust, from what Joystiq found. And, also the game will benefit from a good stylus-driven control scheme.

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]

Screen City 2, population: some

We tried building a city on rock 'n roll, but it turns out that the citizens prefer stuff like pipes and roads. So, though we're horrified to learn that Starship misled us, we're going to start Sim City 2 with a plan to build a city on actual good ideas about city planning. And thanks to the opening of the Sim City 2 DS site, we can start pre-planning now, as we look at the neat new options available. Will we build (and subsequently ruin) a Renaissance-era European city? A prehistoric settlement? A Sim Edo-era Japan? Or will we end up with two squares of grass and a lapsed budget, like always?

Luckily, we're much more successful at building galleries. Check out the screens to see all the new historical settings to be found in Sim City 2 DS!

Gallery: Sim City 2 DS

New listings for The Sims: Castaway Stories on Wii and DS

The Sims 2: Castaway Stories, the new tropical island-themed entry in the series, may be heading to DS. Gamefly, the online rental service, has the game listed on its site. According to the listing, it's due for an October 11th release.

It's a shame this is coming out in October, as this would make a great summer title. Who wouldn't want to sit on the beach, stylus in one hand, cocktail in the other, designing the perfect holiday island paradise?

The stylus should suit the series perfectly; getting that beach furniture in just the right spot should be a cinch. As well as the usual Sims fare, there will also be a story mode wherein you'll be able to guide your character through life's various challenges; don't be surprised if there's a whole heap of romance in there, too.

[Via Siliconera]

Japanese hardware sales, Feb. 19 - Feb. 25: Angry ranting edition

Not I!You know, you know what? We've had it up to here with some of the things we have to deal with everyday, and dammit, we think it's time we let people know. This crap has to stop.

Where to start? Let's talk about the freaking CPUs they stick us with here at the Fanboy offices. Intel Core 2 Duo's: pathetic. We mean, what the hell? It's like two normal Intel processors duct-taped together. Look, we need insane processing power to make these blog posts funny and interesting, you know? These conditions are unworkable.

And let's not even mention roller coasters. Mechanical and electrical engineers just aren't taking these things seriously enough; they need to start using the medium for proper artistic expression. We need to tell a story full of meaning and character depth during these rides, or people are going to feel unfulfilled and pissed off, like us. And we're really pissed right now.

Finally, to Maxis, developers of the best-selling PC game of all-time and the future title Spore, expected to perhaps exceed that mark set by the exemplary Sims some years back: make a game that doesn't suck ass, okay?

Ugh, these numbers? Where is the emotion? Where is the meaning? Life is so meaningless ....

- DS Lite: 111,814 24,314 (17.86%)
- PSP: 66,156 34,054 (33.96%)
- Wii: 57,972 20,534 (26.16%)
- PS3: 44,000 24,685 (127.80%)
- PS2: 15,364 310 (2.06%)
- Xbox 360: 3,379 804 (19.22%)
- Game Boy Micro: 805 102 (11.25%)
- GBA SP: 738 297 (28.70%)
- Gamecube: 303 20 (6.19%)
- DS Phat: 112 20 (15.15%)
- GBA: 25 34 (57.63%)

[Source: Media Create]

The return of Sim City

I love that ticker.
That's right. The game that sucked up hundreds of your precious hours as you lovingly crafted your commercial zones and coal-based power plants is coming to a DS near you...as long as you live slightly east of the Asian mainland, that is. The latest issue of Famitsu has confirmed a special DS version of the classic Sim City 3000 (considered by many to be the best in the series) coming to Japan, complete with full stylus control. And that's not all! They've even thrown in some extras: mini-games and a special advisor to help you fend off those alien invasions. Sweet.

Sim City does nothing but bring back ever-so-fond memories for a very, very large group of people. Though a North American release has not been confirmed, it would be absolute lunacy for EA to ignore such a guaranteed and obvious profit. With any luck, you'll be giving those silly college-trained civil engineers a run for their money soon enough.

[via Joystiq]

Will Wright confirms Spore will hit the DS

Ray Almeda, of AMN, sat down with the Spore creator yesterday evening and asked if gamers would be able to play the upcoming title on the DS (and Sony's handheld...thing), with which he responded "Yes...definitely."

Will's past attempts in gaming have been nothing but gold, with his Simcity and The Sims franchises being easily accessible to people in all walks of life (heck, some of my assignments back in middle school were to build fully-functioning cities in Simcity) and pushed the envelope of conventional game design. It's no wonder that so many eyes are on him and his upcoming project. We just hope Spore on the DS will be WiFi compatible in some way.

Spore is currently slated for a 2007 release.

 [Update: Definitely fixed a typo.]

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