GameTap Updated - Classic Gaming Multiplayer and More

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Bill Loguidice's picture

GameTap for PCGameTap for PCI keep reporting on these guys like some type of corporate shill, but I think it's hard to argue with the monthly value and the service's focus on classic gaming, now taking small steps towards mulitplayer goodness. Really, when my time permits, I simply must give this a try. I'd like to implement on my regular PC and my arcade machine, so hopefully there's a way without me having to choose one system over another (I'd be using only one at a time and there's no way I'd pay twice).

Anyway, here's the press release:

GameTap Adds Multiplayer Competition, Instant Messaging To The Mix

With its next iteration, the largest broadband entertainment network now offers multiplayer game functionality and enhanced community features

ATLANTA – July 19, 2006 – GameTap, the first-of-its-kind broadband entertainment network from Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), is bringing social networking and multiplayer action to its online gaming arena. Unveiled today, the next generation of GameTap includes highly anticipated community features such head-to-head game play and Instant Messaging (IM). Online multiplayer capabilities have been added to a dozen games in GameTap’s roster of 580 games, and new online multiplayer functionality and turn-based games will be added on a regular basis.

“GameTap is leading the industry in digital distribution with the most games and video on demand at an affordable price,” said Stuart Snyder, GameTap’s General Manager. “Beyond the largest games catalog and exclusive new content, we’re looking for our community to help drive what’s next.”

Challenge Games

In order to foster a robust multi-player gaming community, GameTap will introduce a dozen online simultaneous and turn-play games. With GameTap’s “Challenge Games,” players can put their skills to the test against others by challenging them to some of the greatest turn-based and head-to-head games. Among the highlights are turn-based hits like Burger Time, Galaga, Zaxxon, and Pac-Man. Initial head-to-head games include such favorites as King of the Monsters, 1941: Counter Attack and Bust-A-Move.

“The only thing more fun than playing video games, is talking trash while you’re playing,” said David Reid, vice president of marketing at GameTap. “Whether you’re cheering a teammate on or ribbing an opponent, gaming and chatting are a natural pair.”

Communicate, Compete On GameTap

GameTap users now have multiple ways to communicate with each other from within the GameTap application. A GameTap branded Instant Messaging feature has been integrated into the service that allows users to easily chat with other users within the GameTap network. In addition, GameTap now features a dozen new chat lobbies centered around each of the new online Challenge Games to allow users to freely chat and challenge each other in a group setting. As an added convenience, the AIM® service has also been seamlessly integrated into GameTap to allow existing and new AIM® users to simultaneously access the AIM® network with their AIM® screenname and chat with their AIM® buddies without having to leave GameTap.

To register for GameTap, visit www.gametap.com where you can sign up for the leading broadband gaming network for $9.95 per month and get your first two weeks free.

Comments

Mark Vergeer
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still no word from Gametap on possibility of European customers.

Gametap US Only KnucklesGametap US Only KnucklesAs of yet, no word from Gametap on the possibility of European customers.Amazing how companies say that they will get in touch with you but for some reason fail to do so. Still waiting for an official reply...Anyways, I re activated my original question, through the customer service option on the website. Perhaps European customers just have to resort to hunting for ROMS playing it on MAME in the meantime....willing and paying potential customer resumes waiting as he's very much used to, being European and all. Perhaps BAZIX will grow and provide a GAMETAP like service in the European territories.

-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-

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Bill Loguidice
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GameTap's Limitations

I understand Mark, but considering they just officially rolled out in Canada, there are no doubt licensing issues. GameTap is an offshoot of Turner Broadcasting (and I guess by extension, Time Warner), which is a US company. I'm sure there are significant logistical issues. Frankly I'm surprised no one else has tried this elsewhere. I'm going to try and establish a press contact with them and if I'm successful I too will try your query.

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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mrCustard (not verified)
Hmmm... and Amstrad !

Bazix should do something about their pricing scheme if they ever hope to be considered an alternative to Gametap.

In fact something like gametap has already been attempted in Europe (afaik, the service is still active), albeit on a pretty strange platform: Amstrad E-m@iler phones enable you to download and play ZX-Spectrum games on a rental basis.

Gamertag: Custardo

Bill Loguidice
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Interesting! However, I

Interesting!

However, I consider GameTap unique in the sense that you have access to all 700+ games and whatever other multimedia content for the one monthly or annual price (certain games also allow online competitive play - I believe some of the MAME-style emulations do). It's the game equivalent of Napster, which also fascinates me, but I've thus far resisted that for several reasons.

Back to GameTap for a moment, I'm curious how it emulates a Dreamcast. As far as I know, there is no reliable PC Dreamcast emulator and what's out there requires quite a bit of computing power. Of course I haven't checked on the state of PC Dreamcast emulation in quite some time.

=================================
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[ My collection ]
[ http://www.MythCore.com ]

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mrCustard (not verified)
Chankast!

There is a freeware DC emulator called Chankast that is able to provide more than decent emulation for a lot of games. You do need a PC of around 2 Ghz to get the most of it though. I think you also need the DC Bios images, which aren't legally available on the web. You can extract your own images from the DC though. The biggest problem legality-wise is that as far as i know it doesn't play original GD-roms, only CD images.

Gamertag: Custardo

Mark Vergeer
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GameTap replied - they want to spread GameTap across the world.

James, from GameTap customer service mailed me the following today:

"Dear GameTap Customer,

Currently we are working with International Licensing Laws in order to get GameTap
spread across the world. We are currently in negotiations, and we hope to have the
matter resolved soon. We do not yet have an estimated time that this will be
resolved, but check back with us from time to time. We definitely want to share
our gaming universe with you!

Thank you,
GameTap Associate"

Now this is good news. I hope International Law doesn't post too many problems for GameTap so that they indeed can expand across the globe. I'll be a customer no doubt!

-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-

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Mark Vergeer
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Chankast and on-demand gaming musings.....

I did manage to extract my bios with help of a program on a bootdisk you can create on your pc that sends it (there's more than one file!) over the broad band adapter.
I configured chankast and it does manage to boot quite a bit of homebrew stuff. It's quite freaky to see the DC bios coming up on the PC screen, even the sound is good!
I truly am wondering what the performance would be on my 2.8Ghz P4 when it comes to commercial games....
But hey I got two DC's sitting in my game attick, what do I need an emulator for.....only if the DC's died on me.

The playstation emulators are able to use the real media on your PC, that makes them more interesting. I do use various ps1 emulators on the PC because quite a few of the emulators provide a better resolution or offer savestates that the PS1 game itself doesn't provide. On Windows98 I used Bleem quite a bit. Now it's a few others on XP as Bleem is not compatible with XP. The good thing is that you just have to pop in the actual game disc and it will be played. Even better is that you can also pop in import games and they can be played.
A grey area of course is that people pop in backups and play those. I use my real PSX disc on the PC most of the time but I did create ISO images from my Gran Turismo discs and other Racing games (Ridge Racer, Rage Racer etc) that I use through an emulator on my PC - it's convenient I don't have to search for the discs.

That's the reason I actually use quite a bit of 'Stream' (Started by Valve, but now other companies have entered) to play Halflife and quite a few others without having to insert discs. I hate the fact that I have to search for my Oblivion gamedisc every time I want to play the game, even though it's sitting on my harddrive. GameTap offers similar ease of use very much like 'Stream', from what I gather. If GameTap would offer me a service in Europe where you can select a game you want to play through a standard interface and you download en play the game through that interfac I wil lbe thrilled and a definite customer.
There's no hassle with gamediscs or cartridges, misplaced manuals etc. The great thing is that you are able to play the games that you've always wanted to play but couldn't because you didn't own the console. Also quite a few PC games seem to be on offer.

Ease of use, offering an experience that is actually quite like Xbox 360's Live Arcade - download a game and play - might bring PC gaming to another user-friendly level. Is it the future of PC gaming?

Bill, I am might curious after your experiences. Using a X360 wired controller or Logitech Cordless PS2 like controller the gaming experience will be sublime no doubt.

-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-

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Bill Loguidice
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PR: GAMETAP LAUNCHES THE 5TH EPISODE OF SAM & MAX: SEASON 1

The series has been fun so far, so it's good news that they're keeping up with the "episodes":

PRESS RELEASE:

GAMETAP LAUNCHES THE 5TH EPISODE OF SAM & MAX: SEASON 1

“Reality 2.0,” the latest episode in “Sam & Max: Season 1,” launched today exclusively on GameTap.

With an internet crisis looming and a viral video game holding its players hostage, in this episode Sam & Max need to slip into a new reality to set things right. Can our heroes crack this virtual case in time to avoid a worldwide system failure?

Find out now only at www.gametap.com/samandmax. Plus, GameTap TV offers exclusive Sam & Max extras like the 1997 hit cartoon series and all-new machinima shorts released each week.

If you missed an episode or just can’t get enough “Sam & Max: Season 1”, the first four episodes are also available as part of the regular GameTap membership. Join now to catch up on the story and experience the best in episodic gaming.

Named one of The New York Times Top 10 PC Games of 2006, episode 1 “Culture Shock” kicked off the season with a bang. Just last month, Joystiq called episode 4, “the best episode released thus far.” GameDaily also said, “The video game industry could definitely use more games like these.”

Sign up for GameTap today and get your first month of service for just 99 cents. This flat rate means 24-7 access to all that GameTap offers, including GameTap Originals “Sam & Max: Season 1” and “Myst Online: Uru Live,” as well as more than 800 of the greatest games on-demand and over 600 videos of original programming, interviews and game trailers on GameTap TV.

To view Sam & Max trailers and machinima shorts or to download screensavers and wallpaper – visit www.gametap.com/samandmax. For screenshots and downloadable video that you can post on your own site, visit http://vip.telltalegames.com.

Caroline Capers

Access Communications for GameTap

415-844-6246

ccapers@accesspr.com

Wendy Rutherford

TBS Inc.

404-827-5097

wendy.rutherford@turner.com

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