Reality Hits NBA Live
NBA Live will be in the spotlight in ESPN’s reality competition series Bring it Home.
NBA Live: Bring it Home will be airing starting Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. EST as part of a six-episode series. Eight players will be competing for cash prizes and bragging rights while ESPN will be bringing in columnist Scoop Jackson as the host. Bring it Home will also feature cameos by NBA players Vince Carter, Carmelo Anthony, Baron Davis, Antawn Jamison, Dwyane Wade and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
The players will compete to advance through elimination and earn home court advantage – the right to play on their own turf surrounded by family and friends. After the first few rounds, the winners will then have to coach an actual NBA player in NBA Live, whose success determines home court advantage for the semi-final rounds. The final two players will square off at the American Airlines Arena in Miami for a shot at $100,000.
Nintendo Snags Awards
The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences honored Nintendo with five achievement awards Thursday night at the Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit in Las Vegas.
Three of the five awards went to the Nintendo Wii launch title Wii Sports – outstanding innovation in gaming, outstanding achievement in game play engineering and outstanding achievement in game design. Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day for the Nintendo DS was recognized as the handheld game of the year.
Along with the recognition of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess recently reaching one million units sold for the Nintendo Wii (also making it the fastest-selling launch title for a new video game system in the United States since Super Mario 64), it was awarded in the category of outstanding achievement in story and character advancement.
Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime noted the awards are determined by those involved in the industry and are among the most respected honors to be received.
“These awards, granted by a group of our industry peers, demonstrate that it’s possible to please both new and experienced game players,” said Fils-Aime. “To see honors given to games as varied as Twilight Princess, Wii Sports and Brain Age tells us the industry hungers for new ideas and great games. We believe both Wii and Nintendo DS are specifically equipped to deliver those experiences.”
While Nintendo took home five awards, in total, it was nominated 19 times in 11 different gaming categories.
Odin to Spring on PS2
While a number of online release lists have long been teasing a release date for Odin Sphere for the Playstation 2, Atlus announced Friday a confirmation to publish the title in North America.
The title is developed by Vanillaware, who previously developed Princess Crown for the Sega Saturn. The title will feature hand-drawn artwork and animation detailing the main character warrior princess Gwendolyn, in a tale of “power, loss and love.” When a bloody war between two nations acts out an ancient prophecy, it will be up to Gwendolyn, daughter of Odin, to bring it to an end before it means the destruction of the entire world.
A total of five playable characters will make their way into the game, which features side-scrolling action. The artwork carries over into battle with a number of promised attack and magic effects with fully voiced dialogue to further detail the story. The title also features a cooking and alchemy system so players can create new attack and recovery items.
Currently Odin Sphere is scheduled to release in North America this spring.
Log On to Xbox Love
A number of events and features are planned for those logging on to the Xbox 360 this Valentine’s Day.
Catering to those who are dateless and with no reason to go out today, Xbox Live will play host to an all-night Lost Planet fest. Capcom is looking to give away free swag to random gamers who write about their all-night experience. A number of online features are being plugged for the Microsoft title Viva Pinata and the official Xbox Web site has a feature for those guys who are trying to get their special girls into gaming.
Gilbert Recognized for GDC Nomination
Manifesto Games recently recognized Dave Gilbert, who has received a Game Developers Choice Award nomination in the category of best new studio.
Gilbert’s studio, Wadjet Eye Games, has released The Shivah and The Blackwell Legacy within the past six months, each distributed by Manifesto. The conference will be held this year in San Francisco on March 7 at the Moscone Convention Center.
“You know how people say it’s an honor just to be nominated,” commented Gilbert. “Well it really is – my co-nominees are incredibly talented and accomplished and I really didn’t imagine things would take off like this. The Shivah was my first commercial game and for while I was waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that the reviews and sales weren’t real, or that there was some kind of mistake. I think it’s great that the industry has evolved to the point where it not only accepts games like mine, but also takes time to honor them.”
The other studios nominated in the same category include Gastronaut Studios, Iron Lore Entertainment, Naked Sky Entertainment and Ready At Dawn Studios.
9Dragons Beta Now Open
Acclaim recently announced its martial arts-based MMORPG 9Dragons has now entered open beta testing.
The game, like Acclaim’s other public game, B.O.T.S., is free to play and download. Interested players must register on the official Web site and download the 9Dragons game client.
In addition to the announcement of open beta testing, Acclaim has also added a European server to the game. The server will initially be located in the United States and later moved over to Europe at a later date.
Canessa Hired at PopCap
PopCap Games, renowned for its development and publishing of casual games, recently announced it has hired Greg Canessa to the newly created position of vice president, video game platforms.
Canessa, formerly the general manager of Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade service, will begin his role with the company next week.
“From the Xbox 360 video game console to handheld video game devices and more, PopCap’s lineup of casual games are really well suited for a wide range of platforms and I’m excited to have this opportunity to help guide PopCap’s future growth,” said Canessa. “The fact PopCap is both a recognized leader in its space and a pioneering company with a start-up mentality is very appealing to me and I’m really looking forward to helping the company bring their award-winning suite of games to these platforms.”