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Skies of Arcadia comes to PlayStation 2! Har har har! Actually, this here is Looper Hunting, a never ending game of Looper hunting. Loopers, Vyse, music, and more await with this week's additions at Skies of Arcadia World!

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Illbleed
Spotlight:
Illbleed: Get rich saving your friends with your senses. Read about it in our review.
Upcoming Releases:
Confidential Mission - 5/16
Project Justice - 5/17
Coaster Works - 5/17
Giga Wing 2 - 5/17

�� News: Thursday - May 24 - 2001
��� Music, Games, Art, and More At SOA World - Mr. Domino
11:58 PST

Know a little fat kid with cancer, that disease which makes people age really fast, and erectile dysfunction? Then perhaps the recent updates and additions over at Skies of Arcadia World will help cheer the little bugger up!

You can first play him some of the music from Sega's refreshing RPG to get him in the mood, then seduce him with some new Vyse art or the new Skies of Arcadia themed PC games: Looper Hunting and Pinta's Adventure. Skies of Arcadia World is as expansive as the skies of Sega's hit original RPG, and this week's updates help keep the spirit alive while we wait for the sequel. Sure, it won't cure any kind of sickness, but it'll at least keep you entertained until you die, assuming you're planning on dying sometime later today. If you are, then what are you waiting for!?

��� Dreamcast Sold Out In Japan - digitaltaco
10:12 PST

It seems that the supply of Dreamcasts that had been manufactured to last throughout this year may be running very low. According to Core Magazine, Sega has issued a statement claiming that the console has sold out at several major Japanese retail chains and from their own online store, D-Direct. If Japanese gamers still want to get new Dreamcasts, they'll have to purchase them in bundles; there's currently a Net Vpachi bundle that can be purchased. Also, Sega has stockpiled about a thousand units that will be used to create the Sonic Adventure 2 bundle. And then that'll be it... No more Dreamcasts in Japan. They are still available here in North America, but the supplies seem to be running low here as well. I've noticed that it has been getting harder and harder to find them in stores. so if you're considering buying another Dreamcast, do it now. When asked if there's a chance that Sega will ever make any more Dreamcasts, a Sega spokesperson responded, "Under current market and financial conditions, there's no possibility of remanufacturing the Dreamcast."

��� Sega And Namco - The Interview - digitaltaco
9:47 PST

It was a strange day when we found out that Sega and Namco, previously rivals in the arcade game making business, had come together to develop a title jointly. The game in question is Vampire Night, a light-gun shooter. The combined talent of the people who brought you House of the Dead 2 and Time Crisis was sure to create the ultimate light-gun shooter. But how did it all happen? Arcadia magazine spoke with Rikiya Nakagawa and Masaya Nakamura, presidents of WOW Entertainment and Namco respectively, and asked them about their newly formed alliance. Core Magazine has posted it for us all to see. Here's a snippet:

Arcadia: I think everyone was shocked to hear the news that Sega & Namco, perhaps the oldest arcade rivals, plan to cooperate on future projects.

Nakagawa-san: We expected that reaction. [laughs..] We don't see it that way though, especially since we're both essentially third parties now.

Nakamura-san: We began talks at E3 last year. Sega's offshoot division Wow Entertainment said they had heard about our plans for System 246, the arcade version of the PlayStation 2, and they were interested if we could work together. From the very beginning we were very enthusiastic about it.

Nakagawa-san: Right, last spring we kept hearing great things about the PlayStation 2 hardware, and we were getting worried that if we solely focused on Naomi projects, we would be left behind. We decided to announce our plans to cooperate in January, when we confirmed plans to cancel the Dreamcast. In actuality though, discussions had been underway for months.

This is a brief, so brief, taste of the interview. If you'd like to check out the whole she-bang, click here.

��� No Online Play in NHL2K2? - RaptoR
8:43 PST

Swirlvision has reported that the upcoming NHL2K2 will not feature online play. This is strange, as the recently-released cover art for the game displays the infamous "online multiplayer" logo. There's still a small chance that the game's online mode will be included, but, as Swirlvision reports...

We have a firm base and believe you'll only be playing this game offline.
This is a shame, but there's not a lot the gaming public can do... Anyone else smell a petition?
��� More Virtual On Wallpaper - RaptoR
8:37 PST

If there's one thing that Japanese developer Hitmaker are good at, it's gaming wallpaper, and lo and behold, the company have churned out yet another desktop pic, featuring another Virtual On mech. Links to the image can be found below.

Windows:
800x600/560k
1024x760/772k
1280x960/1MB

Macintosh:
800x600/644k
1024x760/896k
1280x960/1.1MB

More gaming wallpaper can be found at the Hitmaker homepage.
��� You Speaks Good England? - RaptoR
8:31 PST

Understand English? Then head over to the newly-opened English version of the Smilebit homepage. While there's still a comparatively small amount of content to be found on the page, its still worth checking out for new Jet Set Radio Future and Gunvalkyrie information. The page can be found here.

��� Outtrigger Delay for Japan - RaptoR
8:28 PST

Japanese owners looking forward to playing Outtrigger this June will be disappointed. The game has been knocked back to late July, but thankfully this won't affect the US release date, which stays fixed at mid-June. We'll keep you notified of any changes to the US or Japanese release dates.

�� News: Wednesday - May 23 - 2001
��� Yuji Naka Plays Pikmin! - digitaltaco
12:03 PST

I thought this was very interesting... A reporter from the Gaming Age saw Yuji Naka, head of Sonic Team, at E3. Surprisingly though, he was not at Sega's booth. He was at Nintendo's booth. "What was he doing there?" you may ask. He was playing Pikmin, the innovative new title from Shigeru Miyamoto, probably the most famous game designer in the world. (Mario, Zelda, etc) He was being interviewed by Japanese press at the time, but the reporter was able to snap off a few pictures. They are worth checking out. I actually played Pikmin and it was definitely one of the best, and most innovative, games at the show. So if you're planning to pick up a Gamecube later this year, you should give that game a look.

��� New Sega Arcade Movies - digitaltaco
11:50 PST

Remember the Sega games that were shown at the Press Conference I told you about yesterday? If not, go back and read yesterday's news. If so, then I bet you'd like to see movies of those games in action. Am I right, or what? We're lucky then, that Gaming Age has posted movies from the following games: Spikers Battle, Beach Spikers - Virtua Beach Volleyball, WaveRunner GP, Dynamic Golf, Super Major League 2001, Virtual On 4- Force, and of course Virtua Fighter 4. So what are you what for? Go check them out! Oh, I forgot to mention... They will require Windows Media Player and the DiVX codec that are linked from the page. Have fun!

��� Bleem! Sues Sony! - digitaltaco
11:37 PST

It looks like Sony's not the only company who can throw lawsuits around... Today, IGN is reporting that Bleem! Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Sony Computer Entertainment of America. Bleem is accusing Sony of interfering with the marketing of the recently released Bleemcast! product. Though the product is still sold through Electronics Boutique and EBGames, Babbage's has cancelled almost their entire 7000 unit order of the product. This is due to a threat that Sony made to the company recently. David Herpolsheimer, president and CEO of Bleem! Inc., had this to say about the lawsuit:

"Sony has already asked the judge to pull bleem! from the market in three separate motions, and each time, they�ve lost. This is nothing more than an end-run around the justice system � Sony is using its huge market power to force retailers into giving them what the courts won�t."

This is very interesting news. I don't know why, but it's nice to see the little guy take it to a giant like Sony. It's kinda like David and Goliath, no? It's not like Bleemcast! wasn't selling well either... EB sold out all 11,000 units that they had ordered. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens with this one. Sony has a lot of money and a lot of lawyers. They'll be tough to beat.

��� AM2 Interview - digitaltaco
11:22 PST

AM2 is responsible for some of the best games that Sega has ever released. Hell, the group is responsible for the best games ever released, ever... So anytime they decide to speak, you can bet I'll be listening. And when I hear something, you'll find out about it. So, when I saw that Core Magazine had posted an interview that the group did with the Japanese publication Arcadia, I just had to tell you guys about it. This interview deals with the upcoming Virtua Fighter 4 and the changes they've made to the series. Here's a snippet:

Arcadia: Looking at the transition from Virtua Fighter to VF3, the series has come a long way. Does AM2 pay special attention to certain aspects in each sequel, perhaps a formula?

AM2: The differences between Virtua Fighter, VF2, and VF3 are fairly distinct. We've been worrying about how to truly distinguish Virtua Fighter 4 from the previous installments in the series. If we just did the normal upgrades associated with working on new hardware, Virtua Fighter 4 would end up looking almost identical to VF3. This time we've been asking ourselves; 'What can the Naomi2 really do?,' rather than approaching development from a conceptual angle.

Arcadia: So the focus is to push the Naomi2 hardware?

AM2: Moreover we're not setting specific conceptual goals. For example, if we set our sights on creating photorealistic graphics and we couldn't accomplish that, our entire focus would be lost. So we sat down and really tested the hardware, then figured out what we could do and applied it to development.

If you'd like to check out the rest of the interview, where a question about weapons in Virtua Fighter comes up, then you should click this link. If not, then just ignore me...

�� News: Tuesday - May 22 - 2001
��� Craxy Taxi 2 Impressions - digitaltaco
11:56 PST

Okay, so E3 happened a few days ago... And you've read our coverage of the event. You probably said to yourself, "Where the heck is the Crazy Taxi 2 action?" Well, I'm sorry to say that those impressions just hadn't been posted yet. But guess what? They're up now! So why don't you head on over and check them out, G! And if you haven't yet checked out the rest of our E3 coverage, be sure to give that a look too. We'll be back with a review of Crazy Taxi 2 shortly after its release next week, so stay tuned!

��� NHL 2K2 Cover Art - digitaltaco
11:18 PST

So, NHL 2K2 wasn't really showing at E3 this year. In place of a playable version, or even video footage, Sega was running highlights of actual hockey players playing hockey with the NHL 2K2 logo atop the television. How weak is that!? So it is strange then, that Swirlvision has already found the cover art for said game. Let's just hope that Visual Concepts gets this one ready soon. I'm sure all you hockey fans out there are really thirsting for more.

The cover art can be found here.

��� Bleem Gets Fantastic - Finally... - digitaltaco
11:08 PST

The eagle-eyes at Swirlvision picked this one up... Bleem's website has gone through a very major redesign recently. This new design comes in the wake of the recently released, first of many, Bleemcast! bleempacks. The first one allowed users to play the Playstation game gran Turismo 2 on their Dreamcasts. And it appears that the second will allow us to play Final Fantasy IX. the proof is in the pudding, err... well, these screenshots rather. So go check it out, and we'll let you know when the next pack is officially announced.

��� Sega's Arcade Press Conference - digitaltaco
11:00 PST

This past weekend, Sega held a press conference in Japan to show off some of the company's latest arcade games, according to the Magic Box. Beach Spikers, A Naomi 2-powered beach volleyball game will be coming soon from AM2. The game will feature interactive environments such as those in Virtua Fighter 4 where footprints will be left in the sand. Also appearing was Wave Runner GP, a jet skiing game which will feature a full sized jet ski in its cabinet. Also shown were Crackin' DJ Part 2, Super Major League, Club Kart European Session, Spikers Battle, and of course the star of the show, Virtua Fighter 4. All twelve characters are now in playable form and the game is undergoing final tweaking before its July release.

��� Sega Smash Packs For The GBA - digitaltaco
10:52 PST

Now here's some rather interesting news. It seems that Nintendo won't be the only company bringing their 16-bit classics to the Game Boy Advance. According to the Magic Box, Sega has announced that the Sega Smash Pack series is on its way to the Gameboy Advance. Each cartridge will contain at least two classic Genesis/Mega Drive games. This is great news, as long as they choose some great titles to add to the GBA library. And, hopefully they can get the sound cleaned up a bit from what we heard on Sega Smash Pack: Volume 1 for the Dreamcast. We'll give you more information as it breaks.

��� Capcom Vs SNK 2 On The Dreamcast? - digitaltaco
10:43 PST

Right now, the answer looks like a giant "maybe." As you may or may not have heard, Capcom vs SNK 2 was announced for a US Playstation 2 later this year. And the title is coming to the Dreamcast in Japan. So, why should we be left out? IGN recently spoke with Matt Atwood, Public Relations Manager at Capcom Entertainment, and they got a little bit more positive answer than the expected, "it's not coming to the Dreamcast in the US." He believes that Capcom will release the title here later this year since it's already coming to Japan. But the final word on that will be left to the bigwigs at Capcom of Japan. So at least there is a chance we'll see the title over here. And I guess that is worth something. If not, you'll either have to import or pick it up on the Playstation 2.

��� New Virtua Fighter 4 Screens - digitaltaco
10:33 PST

Everybody's favorite Sega fighting franchise is almost ready to return to your neighborhood arcades and even you homes later this year on the Playstation 2. Virtua Fighter 4 has begun testing in Japan and will be released "for real," as they say, this July in the arcades. So, if you'd like to check out some brand new screenshots taken from the game, you should probably consider heading over to Core Magazine. They have not one, not five, not ten, but fifteen brand new images posted for your perusal. Now I'll admit that the Virtua Fighter series isn't my favorite fighting franchise ever, but I'm willing to take another look. Maybe you should too.

The aforementioned screenshots are located here.

��� Interesting Capcom Interview - digitaltaco
10:17 PST

You like Capcom... I like Capcom... Some call then the last company who truly thinks about the "hardcore" gamer. Not only that, but while almost every other third-party developer has cancelled their in-development Dreamcast titles, Capcom continues to release quality games for the console. Do you wonder why this is? Now that Sega is a third-party developer, how will their relationship with Capcom change? What am I wearing? If you'd like the answer to the first two of these questions, and many more, you should check out an interview with Yoshiki Okamoto over at Core Magazine. Okamoto-san is a producer over at Capcom and the interview deals with his company's relationship with Sega. Here's a snippet:

FamitsuDC: Have you changed your software lineup at all since the cancellation of Dreamcast?

Okamoto-san: Our lineup was already well into development, so we didn't change it. We could move our titles to another platform, but that would only disappoint the remaining Dreamcast users. From a financial perspective, it would probably be more profitable to abandon the Dreamcast, but we're sticking with it through the end. Besides, I suppose we [Capcom] feel a bit responsible for everything. We worked alongside Sega, but we've been a weak partner. We put serious work into the Dreamcast, but only one original title Biohazard Code Veronica went to it, and others like Onimusha went to PlayStation 2. [laughs..] I suppose our relationship and its impact will be left to the players to judge.

FamitsuDC: In the past Capcom has always developed for multiple platforms, will that strategy continue?

Okamoto-san: Yes, that won't change. There's only a 50/50 chance you'll see any genuinely 'new' titles on Dreamcast though. But we're already working on several PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and Game Boy Advance projects. We're also considering supporting the WonderSwan Color. We will continue to port titles to different platforms as well, including the Dreamcast, for the near future. It wouldn't make sense for us to support just one console. Many people, including children, still own and support the Dreamcast. So we want to continue providing them with games. I suppose some people in this industry would think we're very foolish, or have no business sense because of that. [laughs..]

If you'd like to check out the rest of this rather interesting interview, be sure to click this link. Sega-lovers should keep in mind that Okamoto-san does have some rather strong words for Sega. So if you can handle hearing your favorite game company get a little beaten up, then you may want to pass. You have been warned.

�� News: Monday - May 21 - 2001
��� E3 Summary: Sega and Beyond - Mr. Domino
0:02 PST

You remember Sega. It's the company that means "masturbation" in Italian. Sega also made the Dreamcast and several tons of great gaming software for the system. This year will be the Dreamcast's last big hurrah, as Sega stops Dreamcast production and begins focusing development on other systems.

This couldn't have been more evident at this year's E3. Most of Sega's new games are being developed for other platforms, with a few remaining Dreamcast games in development being finished and pushed out the door. Get a wrap-up of Sega's E3 showing and a better sense of where the company is headed in PDC's E3 summary.

��� K-Project To Use Special Device? - digitaltaco
10:22 PST

The guys at Swirlvision have posted a new item about one of the coolest looking games at E3: the K-Project. The game's creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, said in a Sega press conference that the K-Project would make use of a "secret device to promote the new experience." What this new device may be is completely unknown. Judging from the gameplay footage shown at E3, I'd say that the device could be anything from a new controller with a small wheel on it, a la Arkanoid, to some sort of musical controller. We'll just have to wait to see what United Game Artists unveils.

��� Guilty Gear X Domestic Release? - digitaltaco
10:14 PST

Maybe so... One the best 2D fighting games that never made it to America may finally be coming to the States this year according to Segadojo. It looks as if a company called Tommo may be taking care of the publishing and distribution of Guilty Gear X in America. A report from E3 makes it seem as if the game could be here as early as July. This, of course, hasn't been finalized so we'll keep searching for more information. But even so, this announcement should be big news for 2D fighter fans who haven't already imported the title. It's really quite good. And graphically, no other 2D fighter can compare to its high-resolution glory. Capcom take note: High-resolution graphics are very cool!

��� Interesting New Phantasy Star Gamecube News - digitaltaco
10:03 PST

The GIA had a chance to speak with Yuji Naka at the recent E3 show about the Gamecube version of Phantasy Star Online. And apparently Naka-san has a bit more accurate information about the game than the PR rep we were talking to in Sega's booth. First, Naka-san says that all the content from PSO V.2 will make it into the Gamecube version of the game! So all those afraid that they may have to purchase an upgrade to the Gamecube version after its release can calm down. Sonic Team is working hard to add even more features to the game before the Gamecube launch. Also, the four-player, split-screen mode taxes the system four times harder than the Dreamcast version. Luckily, the Gamecube has enough power to run the whole thing without a problem. And like the Dreamcast version, saved characters will only be able to play on one Gamecube. That means that you can't take your saved game on play on your friend's system. What this also means is that if you're playing a four-player, split-screen game, all four of those characters will be saved and playable only on that particular Gamecube. So you better hope all your homies can come over and play a bunch if you want to utilize that feature.

��� Black And White Needs A Publisher - digitaltaco
9:58 PST

Those of you who've been awaiting the Dreamcast release of Black and White may not want to hold your breath for too long. The Magic Box has learned that Sega will no longer be publishing Black and White for the Dreamcast. While this doesn't necessarily mean that the game will never make it out, it does mean that the game needs a new publisher if it's ever gonna see the light of day. And while the chances that another publisher will pick up the game are slim, it could very well happen because of the success of the PC title. I guess we'll just have to play the waiting game with this one, friends.

��� PSO V.2 Delayed In Japan - digitaltaco
9:53 PST

It looks like the Japanese version of Phantasy Star Online Version 2 won't make it out in May, as we had previously thought. According to the Magic Box, the game will now be released on its home shores on June 7th. The reason cited for the delay is network glitching. It's not known if or how this will affect the US release of PSO V.2. I guess since Sega has not yet committed to an actual release date here in the States, it's not that big a deal. We'll keep you posted on the latest with Sonic Team's RPG.

��� New High-Res Shenmue II Shots - digitaltaco
9:30 PST

I was disappointed that Shenmue II wasn't shown in playable form at E3 this year. And the video tape they were showing wasn't really of the best quality. You'd think they could have had a DVD made of the material so the image would be nice and crisp right? Nope. Video tapes. Gotta hate 'em.

Anyway, that's all besides the point. What they were showing of Shenmue II looked very nice. Graphically, it's a small step up from the previous game. Basically, I got the impression that fans of the first game, myself included, were in for a real treat when the game gets released this Fall.

C&VG; has posted six new, high-resolution screenshots from Shenmue II, and boy are they slick lookin'. If you're waiting for this game, by all means check them out. One shows off a Quick Timer Event while another shows the arm-wrestling minigame. And because there are six shots in total, not just two, you probably guessed that there are four more screenshots. But I'm not telling you what's in them. Oh no... You have to look for yourself.

��� Shemmue II Trailer - digitaltaco
9:25 PST

If you finished checking out the screenshots over at C&VG;, then maybe you'd like to look at a little bit of video footage of Yu Suzuki's latest. IGN has posted the entire Shenmue II trailer as it was seen at E3. It is shot off a television with a camera, so it won't be the best quality, but at least the entire trailer is there. The really annoying thing is that it's about a 20 meg file, and for some reason the site's been slow as honey lately. But even so, it's worth grabbing. So if you're interested, click this link. Oh Shenmue, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways....

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