Date archives for April, 2007

April 22nd, 2007
Blog Entry

Episode 6 – Playtime!

With practically nothing of note happening in the world of games, this week’s podcast has a rather patchwork feel to it, which I like. The big news is today’s excellent Carnival of Video Game Bloggers, but I also let loose a few first impressions of Okami, Phantasy Star Universe and wax lyrical about the all-conquering, universe-changing Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution.

Let’s hope something interesting happens in gaming this week, otherwise in the next episode I’ll let you know what rares I found in PSO:Blue Burst (actually, two Snake Spires and a Black Odoshi Domaru!)

Related links

Carnival of Video Game Bloggers – the April edition, hosted by my brother Phil at Excellent articles and a great post too. Well worth your time!

Virtua – the best VF site ever created.

April 15th, 2007
Blog Entry

Episode 5 – Sega’s Wii franchises

Thanks to Hiro, this week’s podcast has a tremendous subject: are Sega’s franchises enjoying a renaissance on Wii? As well as discussing the upcoming revivals I also touch upon which games from their rich past would make for fantastic sequels on the Wii.

You can listen to the podcast here, and subscribe to the feed with this link.

Thanks for coming by, and feel free to make suggestions and leave comments!

April 8th, 2007
Blog Entry

Episode 4 – Innovation in NiGHTS into Dreams

The James Newton Podcast continues apace with the fourth show, and the first one done by request – thanks to Jeffrey White for the inspiration behind this one!

Following on from last week’s show about my hopes for NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, today I go into more detail about my favourite features of the original NiGHTS into Dreams and why it’s so innovative and enjoyable. I explain Nightopians, the incredible remixing music and a few little touches that are just plain cool.

You can listen to this fourth episode here, and don’t forget to subscribe and leave a comment. There’ll be another episode next week, and you’re free to request or recommend content!

I’m listening to Be My Somebody by Norah Jones, from Not Too Late

April 2nd, 2007
Blog Entry

My Personal Journey of Dreams

It’s Sunday November 24th 1996, and I’m in the Derby branch of Dixon’s – you know, the one in the Eagle Centre. I’ve come out with my parents to buy my Christmas present: a Sega Saturn. I’ve had the Master System and Mega Drive, so it’s a natural step-up for me; I’ve done my homework and know the games I want, and how much it should cost. I’m a pro by now.

The thing is, I’m not even looking at the deals or getting caught up in that wonderful pre-console rush. I’m stood frozen to the spot in front of two TVs, and have been for a good ten minutes or so. I can’t take my eyes off the beautiful falling stars beneath the blinking face I knew, even then, would grow to mean something special to me.

I keep watching and see a rendered movie of a young boy playing basketball. At one point, the ball is thrown into his chest and, as it falls to hit the concrete, the ground turns to liquid and the ball falls straight through. My jaw falls and my heart skips a beat.

Now here we are, ten years later, and I’ve got exactly the same feeling. The first screenshots of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams (NiGHTS: Mugen no Tabiji according to my poor Japanese!) have emerged, scanned in from a Portuguese magazine, and there’s a definite lump in my throat. The visual style is breathtaking, and I get the feeling that graphically it’s showing the kind of ideas the Saturn just couldn’t cope with – a shimmering coral glow on the groundwork, gilded bronze on the boss chambers, stitches in the fabric texture on the boss itself. The images are easily as captivating as the original game, and stay up on my monitor practically all night.

The initial fear of a NiGHTS sequel has gone now: In Sega I Trust. They’re not the powerhouse developers they once were, but I take this as a marked step back towards greatness – giving players what they want and also taking a risk as they did originally. Of course, in their hardware days Sega had to take risks in their first-party software to sustain them as a company (the cruel irony!). The reasoning behind this NiGHTS sequel, according to Iizuka, is that he wanted to create a sequel that would offer more than just new graphics (my paraphrasing). I’ll drink to that!

I didn’t actually get the game with my Saturn that Christmas – although Sega Rally and Virtua Fighter 2 kept me going! – but I bought it from Makro in Loughborough after my birthday in January. They didn’t have the analogue pad so I played it digitally. For six hours. By the end of it, I could hardly move my left thumb, which remains to this day my only gaming-related thumb injury. I’m proud of that. When I first got Sonic and the Secret Rings I played it for eight hours, and when I went to bed that night I could still “feel” the controller in my hand, like some sort of phantom limb.

If NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams is everything it could be, you’ll have to prise the controller from my cold dead hands.

Blog Entry

NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams – Podcast Episode 3

Let’s face it – there was only ever going to be one topic for this week’s podcast!

With the first screenshots of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams on Wii revealed last week (scans are available here!) and the promise of a sequel to what I consider the greatest game of all time, this week’s episode features me discussing the original and the promise of the sequel. 

(Credit to Hiro for the tip-off about the name!)

Expect much, much more on the NiGHTS sequel in the coming weeks and months as I get incredibly excited and share all my thoughts, hopes and fears.

Listen to the podcast here, or here to subscribe to the website feed!

Related links: – home to videos and techniques from the world’s greatest NiGHTS players.
NiGHTS into Dreams – my in-depth scoring article on the original’s addictive appeal.

Complete Archives