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LOL makes a lot more sense now

This Gamasutra interview with Q? Entertainment's Reo Yonaga is interesting not just for the talk about the history of Tetsuya Mizuguchi's company (and the Sega UGA studio that preceded it), but also for little-known insights about Japanese gaming culture. For example, did you know that there were expansive, gaming bulletin boards populated entirely by women and children? "Because kids are so blunt, for WiFi games that involve rescue missions - you know what I'm talking about - crazy verbal battles break out. "

The most interesting bit of the interview has absolutely nothing to do with Q. Yonaga describes the creation of Route-24's Archime-DS, known here as LOL. "I don't know how many months it took them, but the staff created that game by getting together every Saturday like you would for any extracurricular activity."

LOL seems a bit less ridiculous as a side project that just ended up getting published than as a product created for a market. A multiplayer-only game with no premade content almost seems anti-commercial. But, as a "product of indie activity initiated by existing industry members," it seems very cool.

Gallery: LOL

Post-E3 DS Fanboy/Joystiq reader meetup in photos

First of all, thanks to everyone that managed to make it out to the party! There were a ridiculous amount of attendees, all of whom enjoyed some Call of Duty 4 on the PS3, Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii and copious amounts of Rock Band and Rock Band 2. It was a blast and, unsurprisingly, the massive piles of swag went fairly quick. It was a wonderful experience and it was a pleasure meeting all of you. Hopefully, we can do this again next year!

For those of you who couldn't make it out there, check out the gallery below. Within, you'll even find a picture of our very own Mike Sylvester (of Revolutionary fame!). He's a local, so thanks to him, but mostly to all of you, for making it out!

Pictoimage's boxart is inspiring

It's appropriate that a game about drawing should have some nice art on its cover, in order to get players in an art mood right away. We happen to enjoy Pictoimage's boxart, which was also used in Japan, a lot. The little characters are somewhere between Miis and MySims, and the literal nature of the art (which basically depicts eight friends playing Pictoimage instead of anything that happens in Pictoimage) gives the cover a sort of "board game" feeling. As if Pictoimage were something you brought out during gatherings to help break the ice. We're also fond of the spectating pets, who just seem happy that their human friends are having such a good time drawing.

While researching, we found something else about Pictoimage that makes us happy: the game was developed by Skonec, creators of the wacky horror puzzle game Joshikousei Nigeru! When you play Pictoimage, be sure to draw some gaping-mouthed dudes as a tribute.

Gallery: Pictoimage

Rabbids to return to DS, may even get noticed

Despite the fact that the first two games appeared on the DS, the Rayman Raving Rabbids series has always been more closely associated with the Wii, either because the original was a Wii launch game, or because the DS iterations are pretty mediocre.

Now, the involvement of the Balance Board is threatening to relegate the DS edition of Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party to an even more insignificant footnote, but we hope the DS game stands on its own. The Rabbids are liked by pretty much everybody we know, and deserve a worthy handheld game. Protip though, Ubisoft: it's probably best to avoid this kind of publicity.

[Via press release]

DS Daily: Peripheral party

The DS might not be a system that can immediately benefit from peripherals, what with it being a portable games machine and all, but that hasn't stopped some from coming up with cool stuff to attach to your beloved. Whether it's something as simple as a stand or a wicked awesome controller, there's been some advancements in the field.

So, we figured we'd ask you what you were all rocking. Whether it's just a simple case that protects your DS, or something home-made, let us know what kind of fun stuff you have for your DS. If we covered it on the site, link it in the comments!

Pictoimage draws near, according to ESRB

Following the trademark registration, we now have more strong evidence that Sega will release their drawing-based party game Pictoimage in the U.S. The title is now rated by the ESRB. Despite an apparent "alcohol reference," it was given an E rating.

Now we want to talk to someone at the ESRB about how you would even rate a game like that. What criteria do you consider when deciding how to rate the content of a game whose content is almost entirely user-generated?

We'll put it another way: what's the first thing your friends are likely to draw in response to any prompt while playing a game like this? Is it suitable for an E-rated game?

Gallery: Pictoimage

European dates for Etrian Odyssey, LOL, Pokemon Explorers

News of a European release date for Super Smash Bros. Brawl has dominated coverage of Nintendo's latest European release schedule, but there are a number of tasty morsels on the list for DS owners.

For a start, the continent will finally be getting Atlus roguelike Etrian Odyssey, and it's about time -- lest we forget, the title made its U.S. debut last May! Notably, there are also dates (of varying specificity) for Race Driver: GRID (May), the new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games (July 4th), New International Track & Field (Q2 2008), and Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What to Eat? (June), the European version of Cooking Navi. "ArchimDS" appears on the list as well, though we presume this refers to LOL, or Bakushow as it'll be known in Euroland.

Add all of those to this morning's Final Fantasy IV announcement, and Europe has quite the line-up of games to look forward to. Check past the break for the full list!

Continue reading European dates for Etrian Odyssey, LOL, Pokemon Explorers

Picture this: a rival for LOL

As family board games go, Pictionary pretty much rocks our world, so the news that Sega's Pictoimage has been classified by Australia's OFLC, while a touch surprising, brightened our day. If it's being classified in Australia, there's every chance this could reach other English-speaking corners of the world.

Pictoimage coming out in the west may not be as random as it seems, however, especially as Agetec announced plans last month to localize Archime DS (as LOL in the U.S. and as Bakushow in Europe). Perhaps Agetec's gamble has convinced Sega that such a game could work outside Japan. Like LOL, Pictoimage will support up to eight players from one card, but also comes with a single-player mode, with a database of 300 drawn images.

Single-player Pictionary doesn't exactly sound like a mountain of fun, but we'll remain open-minded for now.

Gallery: Pictoimage

DS Daily: OMG LOL, amirite

Skip, the creators of Chibi-Robo, surprised us last year with Archime-DS, one of the most bizarre games on a system known for bizarre games (seriously, its most popular games are about doing math and walking dogs). Then Agetec surprised us by announcing plans to (sort of) release it in the U.S.! It's about the weirdest and most simplistic concept for a game we can think of, basically a chat client with a configurable timer and a voting mechanism.

We normally don't like to rely on our friends to create a game's content, but at the same time we can't deny that Pictionary is fun -- and LOL is even more freeform than Pictionary. It's designed with the idea of voting on the best answer to player-submitted questions, or best prompted drawings, but you can kind of do whatever you want. There's definitely the possibility of fun to be had here, but do you think you'll be able to get past the strangeness of the game to seek it?

Gallery: LOL

Europeans get to LOL with Bakushow

We won't bombard you with more details about LOL (we can really only LOL so many times in one day), but news just rolled in that Rising Star would be bringing the game to Europe. Instead of being called LOL, though, it will be titled Bakushow, which means "big laugh" in Japanese.

There's no word yet on whether Rising Star will follow in Agetec's footsteps and make the game available online only, but even if it is available in stores, we're sure it won't be the easiest game to find. Rising Star also gently reminds us that "Billy No Mates need not apply," since this software includes no single player mode. You probably already knew that, but we just wanted an excuse to write "Billy No Mates."

If that doesn't deter you, we've added some new screens to our gallery (for the love of all that is holy, we get it, you can ask people to draw pandas!) should you feel so inclined to check them out.

Gallery: LOL

[Via press release]

Look Online for LOL

Skip and Route24's LOL is seemingly a very freeform game. It has no prescribed content, just an open canvas with which you can design your own trivia or drawing game -- or anything else you want that involves sending pictures and text between DS systems. It provides the infrastructure and a timer, and that's pretty much it! But LOL is defined as much by its constraints as it is its freedom, in that it is a strictly multiplayer-only game. Don't have any friends around? It doesn't work.

Now it seems there's another restriction: according to Agetec's product page, LOL will only be available online when it is released on May 30th. This has the effect of ensuring that what was once going to be just a bizarre game will be a very expensive bizarre game within a year's time. Also found on the product page: new screens (in our gallery!) and the boxart, with the ESRB "Game Experience May Change During Online Play" notice. Online play?

Gallery: LOL

[Via Siliconera]

A multiplayer-only drawing game? LOL!

"If the game is boring, you are boring." That's how Agetec is choosing to market a localized version of Skip's bizarre Archime DS, a multiplayer-only game that is entirely dependent on user-generated content. And we mean entirely.

LOL DS is little more than a networked drawing pad. One player issues challenges to the others and determines a time limit. It is then up to the other players to fulfill that challenge using drawings or words. The group then votes on a winner, who is then the leader of the next round. And that's LOL!

Is this emergent gameplay, or no gameplay? It's a very bold move on Agetec's part to release this, much as it was for Skip to release it in Japan.

Gallery: LOL

[Via press release]

Continue reading A multiplayer-only drawing game? LOL!

A real Mario party, with drinks to match

Have you ever wanted to try a Yoshi cocktail? If so, you probably should have hit up the Scrollbar in Copenhagen on February 15th.

A bunch of students attending Copenhagen's IT University decided to deck out the Scrollbar in Mario goodness, and topped it off by serving original Mario themed drinks.

If you're looking to make some of these alcoholic beverages for yourself (assuming, of course, that you're the proper age to do so legally), you can check out the recipes for drinks like the Goomba or the 1up shot here.

Too bad -- it looks like we missed out on the video game party of the year.

[Via Tokyo Mango]

Catch these Ninja Reflex screens in your chopsticks

It's no Wii, but the DS still has its fair share of mini-game compilations. Nevertheless, the crucial ingredient of ninja means we feel compelled to cover Ninja Reflex, EA's forthcoming selection of ninja-based party games.

More information on the once mysterious title has stealthily found its way to our inboxes, including the news that the game will feature a series of six reflex-honing martial arts challenges. These include such exercises as hunting koi with your bare hands, taking down attackers with either shurikens, nunchucks, or a samurai sword, testing your quickness against the flash of a firefly, and catching flies with chopsticks. Regrettably, there is a crushing lack of painting fences or waxing cars.

Having prepared with EA's game, we appreciate some people will want to go one step further, and become a full-time ninja. If you are one such person, you'll want to head here for full instructions. Thank us later.

Gallery: Ninja Reflex

[Via press release]

Oh, oh-oh, oh, ohhhh! It's Mario Party DS!

We were pretty skeptical of Mario Party DS, having been nonplussed by the previous portable Party (and most of the console versions, as well). In fact, we had resigned ourselves to just not being Mario Party people. But then we saw this commercial, with its bouncy, nonsensical Kidz Bop song, and ... let's just say we were successfully advertised to. If the song is in the game, we're definitely buying it; if it's not, we're still buying it to show our support of the song.

At first we thought this must be some other region's crazy Mario Party commercial with the speech overdubbed into English. It appears on the American Mario Party DS website, though, which means that it must be a U.S. commercial. Is the song even ... language?

[Via GoNintendo]

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