QuickJump QuickPeek 31: Of Dark AleX’s pre-Valentine’s homebrew loving, PS3-360-Wii magical acts, and Mass Effect’s mass effects

QuickJump QuickPeek 31 - Image 1(Editor’s note: L’amour, l’amour! It’s sure as hell driving us mad, but who’s complaining?)

It’s not even Valentine’s day yet, and already, people are spreading the love all around. And that’s with or without Barry White songs stuck in our heads right now. The fireworks are over; time for the season of love! QuickJump QuickPeek is brimming once again with some loving, and here’s the latest box of chocolates, from us, directly to you!

QuickJump QuickPeek 31 - PSP, PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Sci-Tech and industry news - Image 1

(Editor’s note: It’s not even February yet, and already, people all around us are showing some love. Developers, publishers, homebrew coders… Everyone! Even we here in the QJ.NET blog-o-hives are showing you some love too with a brand new QuickJump QuickPeek edition. We’re now rolling out issue #31, and you best believe it’s nothing like the regular box of chocolates that Forrest Gump gets his grubby hands on.)

The infamous holiday that Hallmark Cards popularized* is already creeping up in front of us. Already, we are seeing some patches of reds, pinks, and purples wafting in front of our eyes and we can’t shake off Barry White songs from our heads.

Well, quite frankly, Dark AleX is spreading the love – typical DAX style, with all the bangs and whistles to boot like last week. Yeah. Don’t go changing… To try to please us… You never let us down befo – D’oh! Barry White songs aside, we also got some magical acts being performed on the side. Magically appearing demos or mysteriously disappearing games; quite a spectacle they pulled off, the lot of them.

Cupid’s arrows missed a couple of people though, as you’d soon find out that there are some unfortunate news scattered here and there. (Well, so what else is new?) But all in all, it’s still all about the luuuurve…

* Just a bit of trivia: contrary to popular belief, Valentine’s Day dates back to as early as the Middle Ages care of Geoffrey Chaucer (yes, he’s the guy who wrote The Canterbury Tales) and was not invented by Hallmark Cards. It was popularized by the company, to a certain extent, yes. But not invented. More so, the term “Hallmark Holiday” helped fuel the misconception that Hallmark did indeed start Valentine’s.

QuickJump QuickPeek 31: PSP - PlayStation 3 - Image 1

PSP: Hitting the right (hot)spot

Last week’s harvest of custom firmware releases from Dark AleX got many a PSP go blinky-blinky with their LED lights. Have you updated your CFW yet? If you have, are you sure you got the latest version?

Hear, hear. Dark AleX rolled out CFW PSP 3.80 M33-5 this week. It’s fixed a couple of bugs that some of you might have been experiencing with the previous versions. And as before, if you’ve already got 3.80 M33, you can fire up your PSP’s WiFi and run the Network Update feature. Or, if you’re in a dead hotspot zone, you can just download it on your PC and hook up your PSP to install it.

Many thanks to Buttonsoft for sending in multiple updates on this, as well as Johnny McKinney for a follow up email!

Link: Dark AleX: CFW PSP 3.80 M33-5 now available

Now, if you’re still pretty bummed with the whole possibility of ending up with a bricked PSP due to whatever fancy-shmancy installation you’ve done (tsk tsk… someone didn’t check out the readme…), don’t sweat it. Dark AleX and Team M33 save the day yet again.

On top of the latest M33-5 CFW, they also released the fourth version of their universal PSP unbricker. Despertar del Cementerio v4 works on both the PSP Slim and PSP Phat, and instead of installing the previous 3.71 M33-3, it now supports 3.80 M33-5.

Link: Despertar del Cementerio universal unbricker version 4 released

Following up on the latest CFWs, Ahman is already getting a move on. He’s already working on the latest version of iR Shell – a new version that supports Dark AleX’s PSP CFW 3.80 M33. Last we heard, Ahman’s actually already in the beta test phase for the application, and we can probably expect the release any time now.

As a side note though, Stonecut, the guy who sent out word in our forums about Ahman’s upcoming release, also explained that this might be final release for iR Shell (as coded by Ahman, at least). Yep. Turns out that Ahman will be leaving the PSP homebrew scene for good.

Hats off to SBrown for cluing us in on this news tip!

Link: iR Shell for CFW 3.80 M33 soon, Ahman to retire from scene?

Over at Japan, there’s been a bit of a hitch with the upcoming launch of PSP Skype. Originally set for a release towards the tail end of this month, Sony Japan experienced a set back in the production of the microphone accessories to be used for the Skype feature. As for other regions, this delay won’t be affecting the launch of Skype PSP. (And some are still envious of how Japan “always gets things first;” boo…)

Link: Sony postpones Japan’s PSP Skype launch due to official mics

And hey, what’s this? UMD Movies, eh? Yeah, you better believe it. Sony announced that they would be releasing some UMD movies this week, in collaboration with MTV. Each disc is sold US$ 15 each, and you got a choice between ten titles. Just to name a few: Jackass, Viva La Bam, Wildboyz, Aeon Flux (Oi! The original animated series; not the live-action movie!), and Beavis and Butthead.

Link: MTV UMDs to hit the PSP this week

Oh, and just in case some of you guys are keeping tabs, that petition for an Assassin’s Creed on the PSP is now running high with about a little over 11,500 signatures under its belt.

– QJ.NET’s PSPUpdates team

PlayStation 3: Phased out, phased in

And so starts the great magical act of appearing and disappearing stuff.

Whether it’s just an unfortunate coincidence or an ominous portent of things to come, the Best Buy website no longer has 80GB PS3 units up for sale. The only thing we found up there were 40GB units.

There’s been no official explanation as to why Best Buy has phased out the 80GB units from their product listings (as clued by an internal memo), and at the other end of the line, nothing official has come from Sony – much less any word about a new kind of SKU. Right now though, other online sites still offer the 80GB units

Link: Rumor: 80GB PS3 models to be phased out at Best Buy
Link: No more 80GB PS3s on Best Buy website

Why? What about new kinds of SKUs? Is it really possible? Well, partly. Considering that Sony just updated their FCC filing with a white 40GB PS3 model…. Wait… What?!

Hold yer horses, kids. Don’t go ga-ga just yet. Now whether or not you truly are hankering for a white-colored Cell baby, Sony’s released a statement that the FCC filing doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be launching in the US and that it’s simply routine practice for them to submit these kinds of filings. For now, the white PS3 unit is only exclusive for Japan.

Link: Sony updates PS3’s FCC filing with white 40GB model
Link: SCEA: FCC filing doesn’t mean US will get white PS3

Now, just to clear things up, some of you might also have heard of two games supposedly coming to the PS3. Operative word is “supposedly.” Both Ninja Gaiden 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction this week have been debunked for the PlayStation 3 platform.

Link: EGM admits typo: Ninja Gaiden 2 not coming to PS3
Link: Ubisoft: no Splinter Cell: Conviction for PS3

All this talk about things popping in and out of existence, and still, it’s not over yet. This week had MGS fans drive their hopes high again due to another hint of a Metal Gear Solid 4 demo. This was sparked by a line from the PlayStation World magazine, stating that a demo would be hitting the PlayStation Store next month.

And this, despite Ryan Payton’s statement a few weeks ago that an MGS4 demo wasn’t likely. To reaffirm this statement, Payton himself spoke up earlier this week, squashing the rumor flat like a bug: there is no MGS4 demo coming this February. (Ok, how ’bout March then?)

Link: Metal Gear Solid 4 demo coming to PSN next month?
Link: Ryan Payton denies February Metal Gear Solid 4 demo

Moving on to another hotly anticipated game, we’ve got some updates on Grand Theft Auto 4. After all those months since Rockstar announced that the game will be delayed, it’s been revealed now that one of its contributing factors is development of the PS3 version.

VP of Rockstar’s product development, Jeronimo Barrera, told MTV News that the PS3 version did pose a setback on their schedule, but fortunately, everything’s been mended now. How so? We’re sharing the love, and letting the Xbox 360 team tell you guys in just a jiffy… (and no, it’s not about a GTA4 demo this February)

Link: Grand Theft Auto 4 on PS3 definitely a contributing factor to delay

Take it away, 360 team!

– QJ.NET’s PlayStation 3 team

QuickJump QuickPeek 31: Xbox 360 - Nintendo Wii - Image 1

Xbox 360: A week in demos (and the lack thereof)

Springboarding from the PlayStation 3 team’s capping remark (thanks guys!), let’s start with the good news!

Yeah, delay-shmelay. We’re tired of all the whining about how long it’s taking GTA4 to come out. And finally we get to sink our teeth on a solid release date, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

Rockstar Games finally announced the street date for Grand Theft Auto 4 this week. And yes, it’s already set for April. Pull out those calendars and get ready to notch down a big red X mark! Check out the specific release date behind the jump.

Link: Rockstar Games reveals Grand Theft Auto IV release date

Fine. No word about any GTA4 demo, true. But that doesn’t mean we (and the PS3 crowd too) are devoid of any sick ass DLC this week. It was confirmed earlier this week, and right now, it’s already available on XBL (and PSN): the Devil May Cry 4 demo is live!

Link: Devil May Cry 4 demo now on Marketplace

Speaking of Live, we’ve got other stuff to look forward to next week. And if you’re lucky, you might not even have to dish out some MS Points for it.

Recently, there’s been quite a fuss about Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Rez HD. It’s set to be released next week already – January 30, to be exact – but in case you haven’t heard, there’s a contest from Q Entertainment.

All you got to do is sign up in their website and you get a chance to be one of fifty to win a prepaid code to download Rez HD for free. If you haven’t entered the sweepstakes yet, you better get a move on. Deadline for entry is tomorrow, Sunday, the 27th.

Link: Xbox Live Arcade promo: Q Entertainment offering 50 free Rez HD codes
Link: Interview: Tetsuya Mizuguchi describes Rez HD as his ‘life’s work’

Remember last week when that whole hullabaloo about GoldenEye 007 for XBLA hit the scene? Yeah, that’s getting quite a lot of our hopes up. Even more so now because of that leaked video of what people claim to be GoldenEye 007 as it would look like on XBLA.

One of the most convincing evidences is found at the end where the screen tells the user that it’s saving the game. But for some though, despite the smoother graphics shown, they’re still not convinced by the video, saying that it’s just the N64 game run on a PC emulator.

Link: GoldenEye 007 for XBLA footage?

You guys all heard that bit about Fox News‘ report on Mass Effect? Scroll down below and get caught up in the debate (if there was a valid debate to begin with anyway).

– QJ.NET’s Xbox 360 team

Nintendo Wii: Super Smash Satoru! Wiiiiiiin!

This week saw a big bulk of info from the big daddy of Nintendo himself, Satoru Iwata. We haven’t heard much from him recently, but finally, we get to hear about his recent sit-down with some developers, in a segment we all know as “Iwata Asks”.

First up, we hear of his apology to the fans about the delay of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Yes, it is a bit of a let down. But as we all say, better served once its cooked to perfection rather than a raw pile of meat that’s not even hot.

Link: Iwata on Super Smash Bros. Brawl: an apology and an interview

As the week progressed, we got more and more updates from Iwata Asks, in three succeeding parts. The whole bulk talks much about Brawl. And if ever you’ve been living in under a rock (a rock that’s, say, situated in Pluto or something), then consider this as your crash course through Smash.

Mostly every basic thing that you needed to know about Brawl, Iwata sheds light on. From online game modes and other fun mini-games, the Subspace Emissary mode, and the casual game aspect brought about by the game.

Link: Iwata Asks featuring Super Smash Bros. Brawl: on casual gaming trends
Link: Iwata Asks, part 3: on the online features of Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Link: Iwata Asks, part 4: Subspace Emissary mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Despite all these, we’ve also got the regular updates straight from the official Smash website. This week, we are now formally introduced to Princess Zelda’s final smash attack. The Manphy Pokeball item was also revealed as were the tunes for the Super Mario Bros. Ground Theme and Mushroomy Kingdom. Classic beats, those.

Best update this week though has to be the Masterpieces mode. In it, you can play demos of the original games where certain Brawl characters appeared, including Super Mario Bros., Super Metroid, Kirby’s Adventure, and Starfox 64!

Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: Zelda’s Final Smash
Link: Super Smash Bros. Brawl update: pokeball item, Manaphy
Link: SSBB update: Super Mario Bros. Ground Theme and Mushroomy Kingdom
Link: SSBB update: Retro-gaming with the the Masterpieces mode

The delay of Smash is rather dismaying, but at least we got a very good haul of updates this week! Check back next week for the latest scoop!

– QJ.NET’s Nintendo Wii team

Mass Effect - Image 1

General Gaming: Spanning the globe

Horde and Alliance members unite. At least for just a few seconds, maybe. Time to go hand-in-hand and dive into the World of Warcraft patch that is 2.3.3. It was released this week – have you downloaded it yet? – and carries with it a couple of bug fixes and improvements to the system.

Link: World of Warcraft Patch 2.3.3 now out

More results are in for sales data spanning over 2007. What’s the verdict: Infinity Ward‘s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare bagged the king’s throne. Yes, we do know that you have a couple of your own opinions about how this happened – we’ll get to than in a few… But for now, congratulations to Infinity Ward and Activision for dishing out the top-selling game worldwide.

Link: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare best-selling title worldwide for 2007

Science and Technology: The unbearable lightness of being

Here’s something made of pure win – or to be more apt, pure cool. Over at Harvard, a couple of researchers have been tinkering with Absolute Zero. In this state, atoms collapse back into a different kind of quantum particle, something scientists call Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC for short).

The cool thing here, so to speak, is that the research team is now able to manipulate light that hits the BEC particle. They can actually control it in such a way that they can stop light right there, dead on its tracks, and if they so choose it, they can release the light that they’ve trapped in the BEC particles.

Practical applications, you ask? Already the team is experimenting on new ways of data storage. Also, they’re eying how it can benefit computer processor speeds. Hmm… Are we about to see the birth of a new Cell?

Link: Experimenting with Absolute Zero

Speaking of light, Sony’s made some new development in hardware production. Their latest feat: the world’s smallest Blu-ray laser. It’s so small that you can lose it in a haystack. Ok, fine, you can lose a lot of other small things in a haystack, but the point is, this baby’s pretty small as they come.

On its longest side, the new Blu-ray laser measures just three millimeters.

Sony is thinking of including this 3mm Blu-ray laser in 9.5mm laptops, maybe before the year is out. Once this kicks off, manufacturing costs in mass production could drop, thereby possibly paving the way for the proliferation of Blu-ray products. Will the format wars end care of a 3mm laser? We’ll see…

Link: Sony develops 3mm Blu-ray laser

Odds-and-Ends: Joining new circles and going in circles

So you thought you’ve seen the last of Jeff Gerstmann? Well, some of you may have thought that it would take a while before he made his presence felt again after the whole controversy behind his termination at GameSpot, but actually, he’s back in the game, folks. He just recently guested on an IGN podcast episode, talking about trends in the gaming industry and more.

This doesn’t mean that Gerstmann works for IGN now though. For what it’s worth, it’s a good sign that he’s still making his presence felt in the industry. Could we expect the same from also former-GameSpot reviewers Frank Provo and Alex Navarro, perhaps?

Link: Jeff Gerstmann guests on IGN GameSages pilot podcast

Ah yes, the infamous debate about nudity in a game. But really? Is it enough to be considered nudity? With the release of Mass Effect from last year, certain issues arose when Fox News aired a report about certain… details in the game.

It involves one Cooper Lawrence (author of The Cult of Perfection) and our gaming industry’s very own Jeff Keighley (of Spike TV). Claims were made, and research data thrown awry, but ultimately, it’s none other than Electronic Arts who later gave their very own statement on the matter, asking that Fox News release an errata about their report on Mass Effect.

Link: EA responds to Fox News’ “‘SE’XBOX” report of Mass Effect
Link: Fox News mum on Mass Effect mistakes, EA to fight back

Comment of the Week: Vanilla and chocolate, sometimes you can have both

At times, looking at the bigger picture helps out a lot. Especially if you’re crunching numbers like sales figures. This time, we award the the Comment of the Week to two people for pointing out certain details when trying to assess sales data. Given that Call of Duty 4 reigned supreme, some might be asking… where’s Halo 3? Take it away, Shatterdome and Nevers! As for Infinity Ward, congratulations again! That was one mighty award you bagged right there!

Comments of the Week: Shatterdome, Nevers - Image 1

*Originally posted Jan 26, 2008 at 03:04PM

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