All Together Now

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This week Playmates I am going to try and bring you some good news – instead of my usual grumbling. ELSPA, the European trade body for the games industry has called for the industry to pull together in the face of negative media coverage. And who are we to argue?

And ELSPA spaketh unto the gaming community: Thou must resist the temptation to bad-mouth the industry at every turn. Thou wilst not keep good news to thyself, but spread the word and the glory of gaming to all.

Development trade body, TIGA, spoke out from the crowd: Bah! Developers have fallen on hard times, what good whilst it do us to hold our tongues?

ELSPA roared: Whilst thou dare go against our word?

And TIGA said: Yes!

Then they all forgot about their differences and had a nice cup of tea.

Um"that last bit might have been made up, so don't quote me on that.

So, anyway, back to my point about good news"well I thought it would be better than facing the wrath of ELSPA. So here goes"

There is good news for the whole of Europe because not only is the SP launched this week, but we finally see the arrival of the much heralded Metroid Prime – that's right, we're only just getting a PAL release (he-hem, sorry, slipped off the good news bandwagon). The even better news is we get a limited edition cube with a Metroid name plate and I've got one! Yay!

Nintendo is also celebrating this week with the news that GameCube is at the top of the hardware charts and Metroid Prime is at the top of the software charts. Poor old Ninty has had a hard time of it in the UK with one major retailer dropping the Cube altogether and others slashing prices drastically. The fact is the average price of a Cube is now significantly lower than a SP, which seems ludicrous, but has probably had something to do with the increase in sales. So Nintendo can breathe a sigh of relief for a while, especially with Zelda winging its way.

UK television audiences are about to get ready for ITV Gamestars, which heralds itself as the first ever major TV celebration of consumer video gaming. This is a nationwide competition to find the greatest gamer and the nation's favorite games in an MTV Music Awards kind of way. So folks will be able to slump back on the sofa, hand in trousers, Al Bundy style, and sigh, "Ain't gaming great."

This much mainstream coverage can only be a good thing. It may even help to dispel some of the nasty myths that are going around about gaming being a violent, anti-social pastime – how violent can Dancing Stage get? I'll keep you posted.

And when it comes to the good news on the gaming front, we can't ask for more than Kojima's Bok Tai for SP. I've seen screens and it looks bloomin' gorgeous – I'm talking Monet style, impressionist images here, not your usual handheld fodder. If you didn't already know, Bok Tai has a light sensor, so some bosses may need sunlight and some enemies can only be battled at night. The sensor can tell the difference between natural and artificial light too, so no cheating!

Oh and before you try and tarnish my good news with grumbling about not being able to play it in Europe because of poor quality of light compared to Japan or America – Kojima's thought of that and the sensitivity will be altered for each territory. Cool, I could kind of get into this good news malarkey. There's also been news that Konami are bringing out another Castlevania for SP, which has made me a very happy girl.

And last but not least, Capcom is bringing good news in the form of their new cube game P.N.03, which is joyful to behold. Hooray for Capcom!

I know I'm kinda getting into the swing of all this good news malarkey but without bad news there can be no good news – it's a kind of a light and dark, good versus evil thing.

Anyway, I would like to take a few moments to make tribute to a lifetime of service to the games industry. I am talking about the red and gold Konami logo that is so familiar to us all and that will sadly no longer exist as of April 1st. Is it a cruel April Fools joke? We can but hope.

And what is it to be replaced with, I hear you ask? Is it a new take on the wave symbol we all know and love? Nope, ‘fraid not – enter stage right, dull, corporate logo. Soon the old Konami logo will be emblazoned across T-shirts Atari-style, so that we can all rekindle our gaming past and of course go in for some ‘geek chic.'

Then there's the departure of a fellow GiN alter-ego, the General. Although this is balanced somewhat by the arrival of Hargosh's latest incarnation (whatever it may be,) but I shall leave you to decide whether this is good or bad news.

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