Game for a laugh
Wilce got a glimpse of future fun at the semi-annual Tokyo Game Show.
The Tokyo Game Show Spring 2001 was full to bursting point with a total of 118,000
eager-to-get sneak previews of the latest offerings from the 53 exhibitors. The Hand-held
Game Zone, which made its debut, drew plenty of fans who took advantage of the test
consoles to try out new releases for the Game Boy Advance (JY9800). Just over a month old,
the Game Boy Advance (GBA) - a new "milky pink" version hits the shelves April
27-was popular with visitors waiting in line, although nobody was making use of its
multi-player function. Due for release in the US in June, the GBA already has a fair
selection of games on sale - one that was hot with visitors was Mr Driller 2
(JY4800), a kind of cutesified take on Tetris. Other popular titles just released
were Super Mario Advance (JY4800) and Bomberman Story (JY5200).
Currently scheduled for a Japan-only release is Game Boy Music, a revolutionary piece of
software that turns the GBA into a music-maker. With the ability to synthesize 50
different instruments and 50 music scores, players can also compose their own songs or use
the band function to jam with friends using the multi-play links.
|The Xbox drew large crowds.
Shown here is the unique controller only for release in Japan.
Courtesy of Microsoft Corp.
The GBA's main competition
comes from the Wonderswan Color. Dubbed "the mobile entertainment system for the 21st
century," Bandai is planning to add a USB port to the Wonderswan to allow it to
connect directly to the PS2, PCs, phones and the Internet. They also project that future
versions will be able to play MP3 files. Upcoming releases gamers can get their hands on
sooner are Final Fantasy II (May 3 release, JY5200), the RPG sci-fi Star
Hearts (July release, JY4980) and Pocket no naka no Doraemon (May release,
|The Game Boy Advance was a firm
favourite with young gamers.
The big buzz was naturally
about Microsoft's long awaited venture into the game console market-the Xbox. Inflated by
the appearance of Bill Gates himself-who gave a PR-driven keynote speech to a packed
auditorium of 4000-the hype surrounding the Xbox centered on a huge stand where guests got
a glimpse at the revolutionary piece of hardware. Containing a DVD drive, Pentium III 733
MHz processor, 64MB RAM and an 8GB hard-drive, the Xbox is set to revolutionize game
design with its unprecedented memory capacity, provided by the addition of the hard drive,
and its state-of-the-art sound and graphics capabilities. Gates trumpeted Microsoft's
commitment to Japan and revealed the unique-to-Japan controller, the first ever designed
for a specific market. Gates' speech emphasized partnerships with domestic software
studios and announced Microsoft's tie-up with NTT to promote their ADSL Internet access
and the Xbox's online gaming capabilities. No doubt the Xbox, with a scheduled autumn
release, will also dominate the fall Game Show, which will be a definite hot ticket for
all Tokyo game fanatics.
The Fall Game Show will be held in October. For further details check the CESA website: www.cesa.or.jp