Four Gaming Travesties In Half A Week

One: Nintendo [delays the new Zelda title]( until well into next generation land, guaranteeing the Gamecube won’t have a high profile title at Christmas time. I look forward to again seeing “ONE CONSOLE PER PERSON (EXCEPT GAMECUBE)” signs this holiday season.

Two: Nintendo also, after slashing $20 off the price of the DS, says the Gameboy Micro is going to be priced at $100. For $30 more, you get a DS, with lots more functionality. For $20 less, you get a GBA with a bigger screen. Who is this supposed to appeal to?

Three: Microsoft, not to be outdone by Nintendo, announces pricing for the Xbox 360, and manages to make [nearly every fanboy they had turn against them]( It’s not that there’s [two pricing levels](, it’s that the baseline machine doesn’t have a hard drive, which means developers now have an lower hardware baseline to shoot for than they did for the original Xbox. Also: $50 for wireless controllers, $100 for the add-on hard drive, $100 for a wireless network adapter, and $60 per game make this one expensive console.

Four: Konami decides to [make Beatmania USA purple]( I am not kidding when I say this: this is the ugliest Bemani game I’ve ever seen. Worse than all the 5-key mixes, worse than 3rd Style CS, possibly even worse than DDR Extreme USA. Why did I get my hopes up about this? More importantly, why did Konami tease us with pictures of the 9th Style interface?

I’m going to go cry into my copy of Taiko No Tatsujin PSP now. The pure unadulterated cuteness will surely get me out of this funk.


Beatmania USA Announced

After years and years of it being a joke in the community, Konami is releasing a US version of beatmania IIDX. Over 50 songs, apparently split between a 7-key mode and a 5-key mode. Engine is the 9th Style engine with some tweaks – the stars are back, amusingly.

Aaron Ramsey has dug through the 62 “screenshots” (mostly artwork, not screens) that Gamespot put up, and has generated a partial songlist including the following:

– Metal Gear Solid Main Theme
– La Bossanova de Fabienne
– Hunting For You
– Overblast!!
– Dancin’ Into The Night
– Nothing Ain’t Stoppin’ Us
– in my eyes
– Paranoia Max “Dirty Mix”
– The Shining Polaris
– I Was The One
– Star Field (not totally confirmed)

Most of the players who frequent this site (who already know about the announcement) will groan with this songlist, as it’s certainly leaning towards the easy side of the song list, but that’s to be expected for a first US mix. It’s nice to see the five-key revivals, although I would enjoy it more if they were songs I had more of an interest in (Inclusion of *Feel The Light* would mean I could finally ditch the PSX games).

The implications of this release are honestly boggling my mind to the point where I’m finding it hard to type – I will need some time to digest it all. Needless to say, VJ Army will be supporting the US mix, and any further US mixes down the line.


Deconstructing Konami vs. Roxor

*Please note: I am not a lawyer.*

Big news hit the Bemani world yesterday, as Konami filed a 16 page patent suit in Texas against Roxor Games.

Konami, as most of the world knows by now, are the creators of the very popular Dance Dance Revolution (or DDR) video game series. While DDR was hugely successful in Japan in the arcades and has seen large success at home over the last few years, the series has been unofficially on hiatus since the end of 2002, when the last Japanese arcade version was produce. Players differ in opinion as to what exactly represents a hiatus – Konami continues to make home versions, particularly for the US where only one legal arcade mix was created – but many players realize that without constant new versions in the arcade, their interest in the game was diminshed.

In the last two years, one of the many DDR simulator programs – Stepmania – was spun off into an attempted commercial project called In The Groove (or ITG). Available as a PC setup called a “BoXoR” (as in “*RoXoR BoXoR*”; I will refer to them as “kits”), In The Groove raised eyebrows during its introduction to the marketplace as it required to be plugged into an existing DDR arcade machine to be used. People representing the project, as well as fans, hail ITG as a game designed for fans of the dancing game genre.

Konami’s attempt to get an injunction comes just days before the release of the home version of In The Groove, produced in conjunction with Red Octane, arguably the most successful dance pad maker in the US. The court filings, available in PDF form from DDR Freak, include seven separate counts that Konami is seeking damages for.

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the community about what the exact point of the filing is, and what it means for DDR and ITG in the future. So, I’ll try my best to break it down to easy to digest portions. Click through for my deconstruction and analysis of the claims.