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Spike's New Years Party

Japanese NBA2K players, and amazing Halo fanart.

 

I'm not sure why Spike decided to wait until the end of January to celebrate New Years. My theory is that they were celebrating Chinese New Years, which just happened last week.

Whatever the case, it was New Years at the Microsoft office in Daitanbashi yesterday as Spike and Microsoft held the "Spike -- Xbox 360 New Year Party 2009" event. In between a trip to Akihabara to try out Star Ocean and a trip to Shinjuku to try out Ryu ga Gotoku 3, I stopped by for my yearly fix of seeing Japanese people play NBA2K.

As detailed in this story on the main channel, the event offered attendees a chance to sample NHL2K9, NBA2K9, Tomb Raider Underworld, Midnight Club Los Angeles, and Way of the Samurai 3. These are all multiplatform titles, but obviously only the 360 versions were shown.

Here are a few pics.

[end_preview /]

At the entrance to the event was a huge banner that, as explained by a Spike rep, was signed by attendees of past Xbox 360 events, including some celebrities.

Yes, even the amazing Halo art was drawn by a fan!

The Blue Dragon artwork as the "do! do! do! Shiyouze!!" slogan that Microsoft was using at the time of the game's release.

The main attraction for the event, I presume, was the playable debut of the 360 version of Way of the Samurai 3. I've never played the PS3 version, so I can't compare the two, but the 360 version looked like it was running smooth.

The event closed off with a raffle in which a few lucky players could win a Midnight Club Los Angeles soundtrack, 3,500 yen Microsoft Point cards, special Way of the Samurai 3 slippers, a set of games that included Tomb Raider, Bioshock, and Kane & Lynch, and -- the grand prize -- an Xbox 360 wireless steering wheel with a PlaySeats cockpit!

The guy in the middle of the final pic is Spike president Mitsutoshi Sakurai.

Due to lengthy waits at the Star Ocean 4 event, I was extremely late for this event and missed out on an initial stage presentation. Famitsu.com was there, and filed this report.

According to the site, Spike announced a few major things. The biggest announcement was presumably the new Spike World Major Selection publishing label. This label will see overseas sports games released to Japan at a "reasonable" price and as close as possible to their overseas versions. Spike will be including a Japanese manual, but everything else will be kept as is -- meaning English menus and voices.

NBA 2K9 and NHL 2K9, previously announced for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PS2, will be the first titles under this label. They all have the word "Eigo-ban", or "English Version" in their titles.

Spike also announced that download content will be released for Midnight Club Los Angeles. I haven't been keeping up with this game (although boy did it look stunning at the event!) so I'm not sure if this is anything of note for overseas players.

Wondering who all the people in all those Famitsu pics are? In the shot above the Spike world Major Selection image, you'll see Spike producers Yasuhiro Iizuka and Daisuke Yamamoto. The girl in orange is idol Azusa Takagi, and standing next to her are Akinaga Toyomoto, Satoshi Iizuka and Akihiro Kakuta of comedy unit Tokyo 03.

The celebrities were there to demo Way of the Samurai 3 in front of the crowd, but Takagi and Toyomoto revealed that they compete in Halo 3 all the time.

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