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Harvest Moon: Back to Nature
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
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Leisure Suit Larry Announced
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April 23th, 2002

"Letters…I get letters…I get sent, sent, sent, sent letters…LETTERS!!!"

Hello boys and girls, and welcome to another turgid installment of the Mailbag! From now on I’ll be here to answer all your thought-provoking, side-spitting, or stomach-turning questions, so send them my way at, k? Go ahead, ask me anything. I know a lot about a lot. Go on, test me…


Q: Do you have any idea if there is a special disc for cleaning the lens on the PS2?

A: You know this is a very good question. My first reaction was "well, I guess you’d just use any old lens cleaner on the thing". That was until I remembered that the PS2’s ability to stand erect calls for an extra-special disc tray. This said disc tray is designed to keep discs from falling out, but also prevents lens cleaners from doing their job! After some hours of searching for "official" lens cleaners to no avail I decided to go ask an expert, so I write to SCEA Consumer Representative "Arturo" who precedes to tell me that not only are no lens cleaners endorsed by Sony for use with the PS2, but that using a lens cleaner on your system can actually damage it! Turns out that most people whose systems are afflicted with the, now infamous, inability to play DVD-ROMs are that way thanks to lens cleaners! Arturo goes on to recommend that you keep your system clean by removing dust from the air vents in the back with a vacuum attachment and wipe your game discs down with those handy little disc cleaners, but never in circles mind you or you might scratch your disc. When asked if Sony plans to release a line of officially licensed PS2 cleaning vacuum attachments I was greeted with a "no comment".


Q: If you were a video game medium format, which you be and why?

a) Cartridge
b) Floppy
c) CD Rom
d) DVD Rom
e) Midget Gamecube CD
f) Other

A: Well, before the creation of Viagra I would have gone with "floppy", but for now I’ll play it safe and stick to the PS2 standard DVD-ROM…


Q: What PS2 games should I keep an eye out on for the next few months?

A: Well of course the answer will differ from person to person base on individual tastes for genres and styles, but the next ‘big’ (read: hyped) titles for the PS2 include Tekken 4, Spiderman: The Movie, Onimusha 2, Medal of Honor: Frontline, Final Fantasy XI, Xenosaga, Kingdom Hearts, Run Like Hell, The Lost, The Thing, The Stuntman, The Getaway, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, and of course Soul Calibur 2. This doesn’t include unconfirmed titles like Devil May Cry 2 and whatever follow-up Take-Two has in store for the Grand Theft Auto 3 franchise and whatever else might reveal itself within the next couple of months. Two titles I’m personally waiting for are UFC: Throw Down, the sequel to a true PSOne classic, Ape Escape, and most of all, the follow-up to the Konami masterpiece Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. To educate yourself further on what games to keep an eye on check out our upcoming feature on games to watch…


Q: My friend asked me a question the other day about how much further computers had to go i told him all the obvious graphics, A.I, more polygons (I explained it to him as more things on screen at once!) less/no loading time etc... however when I went home I thought about it and was amazed to think of how far they have come in the past ten years. even when I watched the making of mgs2 and they show clips of mgs1 I just dropped my jaw. the figures were so jagged and blocky. What do u think may happen between now and ten years? I really can’t wait to see how A.I and polygon numbers will change. imagine it computers that could (relatively speaking) think for themselves and make mistakes (on purpose not a bug or glitch!!) or do absolutely amazing things like swat teams or the sas!!!! Just wondering what you think really can be achieved in the years to come…

A: 10 years from now I see every genre going massively multiplayer, but without monthly fees. This will be made possible through in game advertising, through the selling of "virtual advertising space". For example, ever watch a Fox Sports broadcasted game? Ever notice all the advertisements on the screen, in the stadium, on the players and field, the stadium names, on "crawls" along the bottom of the screen, as logos and symbols during all those fancy menus. You see a few dozen ads before you even reach a commercial break, not to mention when the announcers verbally plug something in between plays.

Now imagine a football game that does the same exact thing. Sports games are having more of a "broadcast" look to them anyway, imagine what they can look like with 10 years of visual advances. With an online game the world has the ability to change as the developer wills, meaning that a company could sell space in terms of time, X amount of dollars can buy you space in X part of the game for X amount of time. You could create a "real world" style game like Shenmue with nothing but actual products populating. The main characters wearing designer clothing, actual billboards in the city, Pepsi machines sitting outside of McDonalds. You could have an infinite amount of advertisers.

Right now most developers and publishers pay companies to put their products in games, once they realize that they have it all backwards things will change. To realize this they will have to think of video games with the same business model as network television: the consumer pays nothing, yet they make billions from selling advertising time. Just think, some day games may be at no cost to the consumer, but the trade off is having them be as Madison Avenue as TRL…
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