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volume 1, issue 41

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

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Game Boy for President: Nick F's love for the Game Boy.

Game Programming in the 21st Century: James Hague's look at the future of the industry, and how the GameBoy will affect it.

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Put a Little Love in Your Pocket!

By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman

 

Red Storm Entertainment's upcoming Rainbow Six is a definite novelty. The PC version of R6 is a squad-based first person shooter, but it also requires a great deal of strategy. Before you can go into any level, you first have to plot out your method of attack, by selecting team members, weapons, and then telling each person where to go. Now, porting this to something as limited as the GameBoy would seem to be downright ludicrous, but they've taken the task by the horns, and are currently working hard to make sure the entire experience is intact. Because the hardware can't handle the first person perspective, they've switched to a third-person, isometric point of view (although I'm told that certain rooms will have you switching to first person temporarily). In all, the game is looking extremely impressive.

Check out these screenshots from Duke Nukem (4 images).

Another interesting title on the horizon, is Duke Nukem, a Color GameBoy version of the popular first person shooter. Like many ports, this one is a side scroller, but in Duke's case, it looks to go back to the roots of the series. See, everyone knows about Duke Nukem 3D, but remember that the first two Duke titles, were side scrollers. While this isn't a port of one of the older games (it's an original game) it does look great, with bright, vibrant colors.

If all of that sounds interesting, remember something: the GameBoy is a decade old. That's right, a decade old. The system is officially the most popular video game console ever, having sold over 100 million units worldwide. You read that right, 100 million. 26 of that 100 million were in the United States, and Nintendo has already sold over 2 million GameBoy Color systems since its introduction this year. A large part of that success is due in part to the Pokemon phenomenon.

If you've never heard of Pokemon, it's looking like you're in the minority. Since its debut last year, the game has created a frenzy in the US, and in Japan it's practically a religion. What's the craze all about? Pokemon is the rarest of the rare. Not only is it an incredibly cutesy (read: marketable) game, it's downright brilliant in its design. Not many games can claim to be infinitely marketable and still manage to be a decent game, and those that do, well those are the ones that change the industry. Recent examples include Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot, and of course, Tomb Raider. To that list, it's now necessary to include Pokemon, a game that has "longevity" hard coded into its cutesy exterior.

The game itself is essentially a role playing game (RPG). You play a Pokemon Trainer, and your task is to collect and train as many different kinds of Pokemon as possible. When you've trained them to a certain level, you can test your skills by fighting your Pokemon against that of a Pokemon Master, and if you win you earn a "badge," which gives you new abilities. Beat all eight Pokemon Masters, and you win the game. Sort of. See, in the game, part of the fun is just catching the individual pokemon. There are a total of 150 different ones out there. Some are easy to capture, others downright difficult, and still others only show up once in the game…if you don't catch them, you'll have to restart in order to try again. But here's where the game gets really innovative. Let's say I've got 40 pokemon saved in my game. My friend has 40 of his own. Now, we can either battle it out in multiplayer, pitting our respective pokemon against each other, or we can go and trade. So I can trade my uber-rare pokemon for his uber-rare pokemon. It's this sort of trading that has made Pokemon such a phenomenon.

 

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Michael Krahulik. This article is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it, or I'll sick my Pikachu on your ass.