Train2Game News 20 years of Goldeneye


​Friday marks 20 years since Goldeneye for N64 was released to the world. 

Keystone Games – a new AAA developer and publisher with the mission to give the majority of RRP to help terminally ill and disabled children – has a surprising link to the game, through its COO and CTO, Jane Whittaker.

In the same week Keystone Games has signed off the final release build for its new game, in collaboration with Big Fat Alien, Rogue Islands.

Keystone Games COO and CTO, Jane Whittaker – former Development Director, and later Executive Vice President in addition to becoming a director of the UK arm of United Artists – comments:

“ Its 20 years this week since the release of Goldeneye for Nintendo 64, a landmark game in the FPS genre. I am privileged and honored to have played a part in the evolution of the genre and Goldeneye itself during my career.

Before talking Goldeneye, I want to cast your minds back to its spiritual predecessor. My involvement with the FPS “corridor shooter” began with Purple Hampton, Mike Beaton and myself developing Alien Vs Predator for the Atari Jaguar.

Trailer for Alien Vs Predator on YouTube (the gameplay was done by Whittaker)

Hold your breath for this tidbit of information. AvP was actually the second proper 3D corridor shooter made after Wolfenstein! It is the first shooter to feature full 3D environments with floors and ceilings in the history of gaming and, as per this year’s Guinness Book of Records, the first ever game to allow you to play the monster! (Thank you Purple for that idea!) Mike and I put our heart and soul in to developing AvP as programmers and designers alongside the production genius of Purple.

Developed for the most part in Sunnyvale, we actually shared an office with the Id Software guys as they were developing Wolfenstein Jaguar version. To the cubicle to my left was Wolfenstein, to my right the icon who is Jeff Minter, developing Tempest 2000! What an incredible creative environment.

Fast forward further in my career and I find myself at Metro Goldwyn Mayer as Director of Development and this great idea that we could do a high-quality shooter with Nintendo for the N64 based around Goldeneye. Let’s think about that, the N64 was renowned for cutesy fun games like Mario.

Could the console demographic really support an audience of gamers eager to play James Bond? sniping and exploding their way through multiple game levels? At MGM, we owned the license and were very keen that we created a true James Bond game and not some watered-down parody or something like Mario Bond. It had to be James Bond, it had to be authentic, it had to be gritty. It also had to be fun!

The best development team in the world at that time, Rare, picked up the mantle to build something very special around a franchise we protected very carefully at MGM. I had done a massively successful FPS, could we put a team together with the Nintendo guys to create another watershed game?

For my part, I like to do my research. I spent hundreds of hours with Fox researching the Alien and Predator movies and now I am all ready to go researching James Bond.

The advantage of being Development Director at MGM is that you can actually go to the James Bond stage at Pinewood and see the real movies being filmed! I defy anyone not to be creatively enthused by watching Pierce Brosnan (or at least his double!) jump over obstacles amid all the noise and pyrotechnics of a Bond shoot at the massive Bond stage in Pinewood. I was a little kid in a candy shop. Well actually it was all serious research for Goldeneye honestly! (if you believe that you will believe anything as I literally had a blast and was allowed to trigger an explosion by the special effects team!)

I came back to the USA from Pinewood Studios refreshed, invigorated and with a mind whirling with ideas. Would the powers that be take the plunge and create something new and exciting for Goldeneye? Would Nintendo be happy with James Bond fighting his way across their new console in typical MI6 style.

Trailer on YouTube for Goldeneye N64
Well you all know the answer to that, as it sits in the annals of history thanks to the talents of Rare, some very forward-thinking executives and a willingness from everyone to make a game that stands the test of time. Me being me, couldn’t resist sticking my oar in to the game, with AI, gameplay and environment stuff and generally annoying comments at every turn.

Yet my association with FPS is far from over, 34 years after starting my career I have been involved in the development of Rogue Islands, a new procedurally generated FPS that is taking the gaming world by storm. Will Rogue Islands follow its illustrious predecessors such as AvP and Goldeneye? Will I be celebrating the 20th anniversary of an iconic game in 20 years ’ time from my retirement home? Only time will tell.

I have had such a privileged career with working on titles such as AvP and Goldeneye. Each has allowed me to grow as much as the gameplay has grown over the years. That Goldeneye has stood the test of time as one of the greats is indisputable.

Goldeneye N64, I wish you a very happy 20th Birthday this week. You set the standard in FPS gaming that others still strive to follow. More than that, you let us all be James Bond! Let me raise a glass of vodka martini in your honor. The games industry was, and continues to be shaken and stirred! ”

Train2Game News Pokémon Super Bowl Ad

image

The Pokémon Company International today unveiled a new TV commercial that will air during Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7.

The ad, shot in Rio de Janeiro, celebrates the millions of Pokémon fans around the world, encourages them to enjoy the Pokémon references hidden in the ad and Train On. A 30-second version of the ad will be aired at the beginning of the third quarter of Super Bowl 50. An extended version can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1KzQloU.

“For 20 years, the Pokémon world has inspired fans to train hard and have fun,” said J.C. Smith, senior director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company International. “This ad is reflective of that passion, and I can’t think of a bigger stage to share this story than the Super Bowl.”

The ad is part of a yearlong campaign celebrating 20 years of Pokémon. First introduced in Japan in 1996 with the video games Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green for the Nintendo Game Boy system, Pokémon has delighted fans of all ages around the world for two decades. With more than 275 million video games sold worldwide, 21.5 billion TCG cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 18 seasons, Pokémon is one of the most successful entertainment brands in the world.

Be sure to visit Pokemon.co.uk/20 for more information about Pokémon 20, Train On projects and join the conversation using #Pokemon20.

Pokémon. Twenty Years. Train On.

Train2Game News Pokémon 20th anniversary

image

2016 will be a landmark year for the Pokémon Company International.

On February 27, Pokémon celebrates 20 years since the first games launched in Japan. The company is gearing up for a period of festivities centered around the best-known Pokémon experiences—video games, Trading Card Game (TCG) and animation…plus much more!

Since the video games Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green were first launched in Japan for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996, Pokémon has delighted fans around the world. Over the past two decades it has become a hugely successful and popular entertainment brand and continues to be held dear by fans of all ages. More than 275 million copies of Pokémon video games have been sold worldwide, 21.5 billion TCG cards have been shipped to 74 countries in 11 languages and over 450,000 players take part in Pokémon events every year. There are also more than 800 episodes spanning 18 seasons of the animated TV show.

Pokémon fans can follow all the 2016 celebrations at Pokemon.co.uk/20, where they’ll find information about events, product details, and video messages from some of Pokémon’s best-known followers. They are also encouraged to join the conversation by sharing their own memories of Pokémon using the hashtag #Pokemon20 on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

To kick off the year-long celebrations in style, a new TV commercial will air during the US Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7. From then on, a series of exciting activities are planned to mark Pokémon’s milestone year. A special app—Pokémon Photo Booth—has been designed for the occasion and will be available to download at no charge for iPhone and Android later this year. Numerous limited-edition toys, figurines and plush items from TOMY will be available to be discovered and collected at participating retail locations. The fun will continue throughout 2016 with new video game releases, TCG expansions, movies and more.

·         VIDEO GAME:

Timed to coincide with the birth date of Pokémon on February 27, the games that started it all—Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue and Pokémon Yellow—will be relaunched on Nintendo eShop for systems in the Nintendo 3DS family .

On the same day, three new Nintendo 2DS Special Edition bundles, sure to trigger warm feelings of nostalgia, will also launch. The Special Edition bundles include a Nintendo 2DS system in transparent red, blue or yellow and are pre-installed with Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue or Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition, corresponding to the system’s colour.  These Nintendo 2DS Special Edition bundles feature classic packaging reminiscent of the original Game Boy games, a sheet of 15 stickers that can be used to customise the system and a download code for a HOME Menu theme.

Numerous collectible Pokémon characters will be distributed to owners of the hugely successful Nintendo 3DS games Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y throughout the year . Mew, Darkrai, Arceus and other popular Pokémon will be distributed via various methods in Europe, bringing fans a number of Pokémon to collect throughout the 2016 celebrations!

·         POKÉMON TRADING CARD GAME (TCG):
Pokémon TCG fans can celebrate 20 years of Pokémon with the Pokémon TCG: Generations expansion. It contains more than 110 cards to collect and play with, including Pikachu, Snorlax, Ninetales-EX, Jolteon-EX, plus Mega Charizard-EX, Mega Blastoise-EX and Mega Venusaur-EX. The expansion covers every stage of a Trainer’s journey, from the choice of a first partner Pokémon to the most elite of Trainer battles.

Pokémon TCG: Generations boosters will be available within the specially labelled and designed range for this special year, starting with the first Mythical Collection released in late February in the UK and Germany and slightly later in other European countries. New Mythical Pokémon Collections will be released throughout 2016, each containing additional Pokémon TCG: Generations boosters, and four Red & Blue Collection boxes will be released containing even more boosters.

For more information, visit Pokemon.co.uk/20.

·         TV ANIMATION:

Pokémon fans can look forward to a programme of promotional stunts with broadcast and video-on-demand (VOD) platform partners screening the animated series and movies to celebrate 20 years of Pokémon. Beginning early 2016 and continuing throughout the year, several Pokémon full-length feature films will be screened by key broadcasting partners across Europe. The same films will also become available for digital download from key VOD platforms such as iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.* Pokémon movies will also be featured on Pokémon TV each month.

An interactive iBook will accompany the release of Pokémon: The First Movie on iTunes and can be viewed in English on any device that supports iBooks, including Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The year-long programme of screenings will kick off with digitally remastered versions of the first two feature-length Pokémon movies, Pokémon: The First Movie and Pokémon: The Movie 2000, with more slated to follow throughout the celebrations.†  

*VOD availability may vary by territory and platform.
†Broadcasting dates and times subject to territory and broadcaster scheduling. For more information, keep checking Pokemon.co.uk/20.

·         20 YEARS OF POKÉMON: IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING!

Pokémon is respected for its quality, adaptability and attention to detail. The joy of collecting, battling and trading runs through everything the company does. Consistently innovating and moving with the times, Pokémon is a brand that combines a deep and respected heritage with a strong and exciting future. Pokémon fans are a unique band, spanning a range of ages and interests; they have been—and continue to be—a positive, committed, sociable and interactive community like no other fan base.

2016 will be a landmark year for Pokémon in many ways. Not only will the Pokémon Company International celebrate a rich 20 years of history, it will also evolve by developing plans for a bright future!

New video game titles are slated for release during early 2016—Pokkén Tournament arrives in spring 2016 for Wii U, Pokémon Rumble World releases on January 22 and Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon releases on February 19 for the Nintendo 3DS family systems. 2016 will also see Pokémon fans catching ’em all in the real world with the release of Pokémon GO, a game for mobile devices which was announced in September 2015. The project is a collaboration between the Pokémon Company, Niantic, Inc., and Nintendo Co., Ltd. It is a groundbreaking mobile game designed to encourage fans to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon. Pokémon GO will be available for download at no charge on the App Store and Google Play in 2016.

Be sure to visit Pokemon.co.uk/20 for more information about Pokémon 20, Train On projects and join the conversation using #Pokemon20. Pokémon. Twenty Years. Train On.

Train2Game News Celebrate retro gaming

image

Help Celebrate 30 Years of Super Mario at the Centre for Computing History.

Whilst Xbox One’s and Playstation 4’s strive ahead with high definition graphics, immersive online gameplay, and seductive surround sound scores, there are some people that see through the gloss and yearn for the simple 8-bit tunes and addictive 16-colour graphics of their childhoods.

With Mario turning 30 years old (yes really!) and the Sony Playstation turning 20 the Centre for Computing History is holding a special Retro Gaming Night on September 25th that celebrates all that is wonderful about those simple video games of yesteryear.

Adrian Page-Mitchell, volunteer at the museum said “Our retro gaming nights have been attracting more and more people with each event. They’re a really great mix of people – both young and old(er) – who have a shared experience of gaming and enjoy the opportunity to talk about, and re-play, the games that once rocked their world!”

It’s not just for guys – a recent poll showed that 52% of gamers are women. With the rise of gaming on social media platforms and mobile devices video games are now played in stolen moments on the train, waiting for a meeting, or making the most of a lunch break.

The games created specifically for these platforms need to be non-gender specific and just as playable in 5 or 30 minutes, or even more. Game developers turn back to the classic games of the 80s for inspiration and you can see elements of those games in the some of the most popular online games today.

Simplicity is king. Games like Flappy Bird are ingeniously simple yet insanely addictive and rooted in the easy to understand (but hard to master) gameplay of games you may have played on your Sinclair ZX Spectrum back in ‘82. In fact Flappy Bird is such a simple game that a version has recently been written for the Sinclair ZX81 and is on display at the museum!

Flappy Bird is even used to show a new generation of potential game designers how to create a game in a modern programming system called Scratch. Children at school use Scratch to learn the fundamentals of programming and can create a simple game in a single lesson.

So have the retro games had their day now multi-million pound block busters like Call of Duty rule current gen consoles? It would seem not. There is just as much love for Pacman and Mario as there ever was, in fact with a new generation discovering the classics there is now even more!

If you’re missing your old Sega Megadrive, Nintendo SNES, or Sony Playstation the forthcoming retro gaming night at the Centre for Computing History could just be the answer. With possibly the most complete collection of game consoles and over 8000 games in the archive, you’ll have the chance to play not only on the consoles you remember but also the ones you lusted after!

The event on the 25th September opens at 7pm and is open to anyone above the age of 18.

Booking is essential. Visit www.ComputingHistory.org.uk to book online.