Masssive update of gaming release news etc from Lik Sang [br][br] Welcome to the latest issue of Lik-Sang's Weekly Gaming Update. This week the Japanese have been celebrating O-bon, with the Famitsu Team and most Japanese taking time off to celebrate the occasion. With the holidays in Japan over after this week however, things are picking up with over 30 games coming in the next two weeks including the latest story in the Suikoden series, The new Virtua Fighter Action/RPG and Mario bounces back in Mario Pinball.[br][br]Suikoden IV - The Latest in Konami's Epic RPG series, shipping today[br][br]Suikoden IV is inspired by an actual Chinese tale in which 108 ordinary people come together from different backgrounds to do great things. In Suikoden IV, players step into the shoes of a young hero who obtains the Rune of Punishment and follows his path into a strange and fascinating world filled with huge ships, beautiful islands and vast oceans.[br] [br]A deep RPG story awaits gamers who are ready for an epic 3D adventure. For the first time in the series' history, Suikoden IV will feature full voice-overs for many of the characters in the game. Navigating through numerous mysterious islands, players will collect party members and build a home base for their crew. The drama escalates as the characters engage in heated one-on-one battles, party battles and group battles, including ship-to-ship and army battles with countless island enemies. The new dynamic camera system in Suikoden IV heats up the action by presenting the conflicts from multiple angles. With dozens of playable characters including ones returning from previous adventures, and the return of numerous fun mini-games such as fishing and dice games, RPG fans will have their hands full in Suikoden IV.[br] [br]The Suikoden series launched in 1995 in Japan and was released in the U.S. on the PlayStation in December of 1996. Instantly hailed as one of the most innovative RPGs, Suikoden delivered a unique battle system, an intriguing storyline with numerous plot twists and multiple endings to provide a fun experience for all RPG fans. Since its debut, the Suikoden series has receive numerous industry accolades for being one of the top games of all time. Suikoden IV started shipping from today and all pre-orders are now on their way. New orders are of course welcome at only US$59.90. Also to complement the game, Sony have released a new Suikoden IV memory card, which is now also available at only US$29.90. [br][br]Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Ambition of the Judgement Six[br][br]Years ago, as Sega's Saturn console fought a futile battle with Sony's PlayStation console, a tasty rumor of a Virtua Fighter RPG began circling the internet. That game disappeared, apparently to become Dreamcast's Shenmue. Now Yu Suzuki's vision of an Action/RPG Virtua Fighter is finally achieved. Unlike other entries in the series, this latest VF game takes the form of an Action/RPG rather than a fighter. There's fighting included as well, although it takes the form of 3rd person street brawls with your character facing off against multiple enemies. Cyber Generation takes place in the near future in the floating city of Acropolis and inside the virtual realm called the Nexus -- a young kid stumbles across a conspiracy inside the online realm, and now must fight to save himself and his world. Luckily, data of the legendary fighters from the classic Virtua Fighter tournaments has made it into the Nexus stream, and by studying from these masters in the online realm, he'll have the skills to defeat the enemy! [br][br]In the game you play as an original character Sei, a 14 year old treasure hunter who lives in the sea city Acropolis, his father is a software engineer of a virtual reality simulation application called Nexus. His companion is a 15 year old girl named Toka, who lives in the Acropolis. As time passes by, the network system of Nexus becomes unstable, many treasures in the system were lost due to management errors. Sei becomes a treasure hunter to search for these lost data in the VR world. In the game Sei can fight with various characters in the VR world of Nexus, such as the Virtua Fighter characters, in a 3rd person action game style. Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Ambition of the Judgement Six is scheduled for release on both Playstation 2 and Gamecube on the 26th August and preorders are now welcome for both version at only US$59.90 each. [br][br]Get rolling with Mario Pinball[br][br]When Bowser kidnaps Peach and escapes to another dimension, a scientist uses his Spherifier to transform Mario into a ball and fires him after the fiend with his Super Cannon! Mario has been turned into a ball and drawn into another dimension, and now pinball will never be the same! Whether you're ricocheting after stars, bouncing off Goombas and Monty Moles or battling big bosses, you'll flip over this rolling adventure! As you play through the varied worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom areas, you'll have to bounce Mario through all sorts of challenges to move on! Collect Star Keys, defeat enemies, buy special items and rack up the points as you rebound through dangerous locales full of familiar enemies! [br][br]Unlike typical pinball games, which employ a scrolling screen, all the worlds of Mario Pinball are single-screen, 3-D isometric view. The graphics are wonderfully animated and call to mind Mario's adventures in Super Mario Sunshine. Nintendo has also launched the official website for the game, along with gameplay videos and a trailer commercial. You can view them both by clicking on the links below:[br][br]Weekly Sales Charts from Japan[br][br] Platform Title Publisher This week [br]1 PS2 Winning Eleven 8 Konami 696,521 [br]2 GBA Legend of Stafy 3 Nintendo 41,668 [br]3 GCN Mario Story 2 (Paper Mario 2) Nintendo 41,330 [br]4 GBA Final Fantasy I & II Advance Square Enix 39,525 [br]5 PS2 Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 11 Konami 25,514 [br]6 PS2 Jissen Pachi-Slot Hisshoho! Hokuto no Ken Sammy 25,514 [br]7 PS2 Taikou no Tetsujin 4th Generation: Gathering Festival Namco 19,736 [br]8 GBA Power Pro Kun Pocket 1.2 Konami 18,017 [br]9 PS2 SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALS Sony 17,661 [br]10 PS2 One Piece Land Land Bandai 16,405 [br] [br]Famitsu takes a break to celebrate O-bon[br][br]Over the past month there have been many mid-year celebrations in Japan, one of the most celebrated being the O-bon festival. O-bon is a Buddhist event and one of the most important traditions for Japanese people. It is the period of praying for the repose of the souls of one's ancestors. People believe that their ancestors' spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during o-bon. People clean their houses and offer a variety of food such as vegetables and fruits to the spirits of ancestors in front of a butsudan (Buddhist families altar). The butsudan is decorated with flower and chouchin (paper lanterns). On the 13th, chouchins are lit inside houses, and people go to their family's o-haka (graves) to call their ancestors' spirits back home. In some regions, fires called mukaebi are lit at the entrances to homes to guide the ancestor's spirits. On the 16th, people bring the ancestor's spirits back to ohaka, hanging chouchins painted with the family crest to guide the ancestors' spirits. In some regions, fires called okuribi are lit at entrances of homes to send the ancestors' spirits. The air in houses and cemeteries are full of smoke and the smell of incense called senko at this time. Due to the holiday period, Famitsu Weekly was not published this week and was presented as a double issue the week previous. We wish the Famitsu team a good holiday and welcome them back next week for the return of our Famitsu Most Wanted Charts and Reviews. [br]