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Gaming News Round-Up: November 1st, 2004

Today's round-up includes the return of the Commodore 64 in 'TV Game' form, more patents being leveled against developers for basic game functions, and Half-Life 2...
Today's round-up includes the return of the Commodore 64 in 'TV Game' form, more patents being leveled against developers for basic game functions, and Half-Life 2 taking the opportunity to wander into arcades, courtesy of Taito. - In a post to Usenet, one of the creators of the Commodore 64-licensed 'TV Game' unit, the C64 DTV, has revealed that the unit is on track for release throughout North America on November 26th. Apparently, retail vendor QVC is holding the exclusive rights to sell the unit through the first of the year, at which point it will be generatlly avalable. On the hardware front, 250,000 C64 DTVs have currently been produced or are in production at the Mammoth Toys factory near Hong Kong, with all units currently being NTSC in format. Meanwhile, the software list for the 'TV Game' has expanded significantly beyond the initial Epyx titles mentioned, and includes games such as: Championship Wrestling, Cyberdyne Warrior, Cybernoid, Cybernoid II, Eliminator, Excelon, Firelord, Gateway to Apshai, Impossible Mission, Impossible Mission II, Jumpman Jr., Paradroid, Pitstop, Pitstop II, Ranarama, Silicon Warrior, Speedball, Summer Games, Supercycle, Sword of Fargoal, Tower Toppler, Uridium, Winter Games and World Karate. The C64 DTV has been licensed from Dutch firm Tulip Computers, who currently holds the rights to the Commodore name. - In the ongoing and continuing barrage of general patents being used against facets of the games industry, business website GameDAILY has reported that Texas-based law firm McKool Smith has filed suits against 12 major publishers, including Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive, Ubisoft, Activision, Atari, THQ, Vivendi Universal Games, Sega, Square Enix, Tecmo, LucasArts, and Namco Hometek. Also naming several smaller companies in the case, McKool Smith is contending that the above parties infringed on the company's patent, "Method and Apparatus for Spherical Planning," or patent number 4,734,690. Originally patented back in March 1988, the patent has to do with a method of displaying 3D images on screens. While further details are unclear, it seems that eight of the 12 publishers named in the suit are being defended by law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, and as such, the case could yet make it to court. - Early this morning, Taito announced the signing of an agreement with Valve Software which will see Taito releasing Half-Life 2 in arcades. Set to run in Taito's upcoming Windows XP-based Type-X arcade hardware, the arcade version of Half-Life 2 will be customized from the PC version, including modes of play that span co-operative, story, and network modes for other versus modes. The game will also support wide-screen and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. Taito's looking to release Half-Life 2 worldwide, with the game currently on track for a summer 2005 release. It's particularly interesting to note that Counter-Strike: Source, a much more likely candidate for arcade release from Valve Software, has already been licensed for Japanese arcade release, in an adapted form called Counter-Strike Neo, by Namco with its Nvidia System N2, a Linux-based PC arcade board.

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