By Chris Morris
When it comes to collecting video games, JJ Hendricks knows his stuff.
Earlier this week, he completed a two-year quest to obtain one of the rarest of Nintendo cartridges in existence, shelling out over $12,000 to do so. But the story of how he finally got the collectible is even more fascinating than object itself.
At stake was a Nintendo PowerFest ’94 cartridge for the Super Nintendo, which was created specifically for a video game competition Nintendo held in the mid-90s across the U.S. and Canada. The cartridge contains tournament versions of three SNES games — Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Kart and Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball. A mere 32 were made, and while they were all supposed to be recycled after the tournament, it didn’t work out that way.
By BARBARA ORTUTAY
NEW YORK (AP) — A scruffy, young Steve Jobs worked at Atari before he founded Apple. “Pong,” one of the world’s first video games, was born there, as was “Centipede,” a classic from the era of quarter-guzzling arcade machines. “Call of Duty” creator Activision was started by four of Atari’s former game developers.
The iconic video game company turns 40 years old this week, much slimmer these days as it tries to stay relevant in the age of “Angry Birds” and “Words With Friends.”
But Atari’s influence on today’s video games is pervasive.
by John Gaudiosi
The company enters the video game business with a product that offers hundreds of streaming games through Gaikai cloud service.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., is showcasing its cloud-based gaming service, Samsung Cloud Gaming, at E3 2012. Samsung Cloud Gaming, developed in partnership with Gaikai, a leading cloud-based video game platform provider, will stream a mix of family-friendly and AAA video games directly to owners of 2012 Samsung LED 7000 series and up Smart TVs in the U.S. Within 12 months over 40 million TVs are expected to be able to stream console-quality hit games without needing any console or upgrades.
By Ben Fritz
After virtually disappearing from sight since late 2010, George Lucas’ video game company is attempting a comeback by plunging back into the Star Wars universe.
LucasArts on Friday announced that it has been developing a new title, “Star Wars 1313.”
Set to be unveiled at the E3 conference next week in Los Angeles, the game puts players in control of a bounty hunter ensconced in a “ruthless criminal underground,” according to a company statement. Unlike the plethora of Star Wars titles aimed at kids, the company is describing “Star Wars 1313” as a “mature-themed video game.”
By DERRIK J. LANG
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Is the Wii U right for you?
At last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Nintendo captured most of the spotlight by unveiling the Wii’s successor, a high-definition console called the Wii U that utilizes a tablet-like touchscreen controller. Attention alone wasn’t enough to declare a victory. Folks weren’t, well, feeling it. Critical reaction was mixed, and the Japanese gaming giant’s stock dropped.
“Nintendo has an uphill battle this year,” said Morgan Webb, co-host of the G4 gaming show “X-Play.” ”It’s really a branding problem. I think a lot of people are still confused about the Wii U. They’re going to have a hard time convincing people that this could be a better gaming experience than the iPad.”
Texas electronics company allegedly begins production.
by Mitch Dyer
The next Xbox console is apparently in the manufacturing stages. According to an IGN source, assembly of the next-generation Xbox hardware started recently at the Austin, Texas branch of Flextronics. This is the same electronics company currently assembling Xbox 360 hardware, and is the manufacturer of the original Xbox.
Prior to reaching the manufacturing stage, Flextronics created a new testing group separate from the rest of the company. This team was solely dedicated to comprehensive marketing, software, and hardware tests of the next Xbox. With that activity concluded, Flextronics started building the hardware — but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see the Durango soon.
The most likely case here is that new manufactured hardware would be development kits, consoles created specifically so game designers know what they’re working with. Microsoft said flat-out it wasn’t debuting a new console at E3, so rumors regarding new manufactured boxes probably wouldn’t stack up to a reveal.
If we’re under the assumption the Durango will release in the next couple years, potentially at a shockingly low retail price, it makes sense that game companies would be working with new development hardware now.
Microsoft provided IGN with the following statement upon inqury:
Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend its lifecycle like introducing the world to controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention. Beyond that we do not comment on rumors or speculation.
Flextronics, meanwhile, provided IGN with no comment.
The notion that the next Xbox is under assembly is certainly plausible, but without any official word we’re left to continue speculating. IGN will endeavor to bring more information on the next generation as it develops.