Tuesday, June 03, 2008

ThePlanet Downtime Part II

Our shop at www.ncsxshop.com came back online yesterday at about 5:00PM EST and we restarted services without issues. There was a slight lag as the network dealt with the traffic but everything seemed okay. However, the floor of the data center where our server is located was running on backup generator power. Sometime last night, the generator encountered a breaker problem and shut off so the servers on that floor are down again.

We're assuming that the servers will be back online today but in the interim, our shop at www.shopncsx.com is operational. We can also accept orders by phone at (718) 353-2803. Apologies for the inconvenience. For other ThePlanet customers who are experiencing problems, their updates page is located here and the main forum page may be viewed here.

Densetsu no Stafi Taiketsu! Daihru Kaizokudan - Preorder

The irrepressible Stafi (aka Stafy) is back in another side-scrolling platform game where the five-pointed action hero jump, spins, and shoots his way through candy-colored levels. Stafi's sister Stapy also returns to give her brother a hand with the cooperation feature where two players can join up and tackle bosses and stages together. Stapy is similar to her sibling in that she moves and spins just like Stafi but she's colored pink and wears a bow.

A new feature in the game is Stafi's ability to transform into a fire-breathing dragon or a ghost to contend with different obstacles encountered on the various stages. Similar to previous Stafi adventures on the Gameboy,
vehicles and animals may be used as carriages to travel through the levels in grand style. In addition to the overall adventure, a number of mini-games (card tricks, matching games, etc) may be enjoyed to break the monotony of the platform action.

Preorders are welcome to ship on July 10, 2008 at JPY4800 or US$48.90 from NCS. Jan Code: 4902370516722

Tactical Guild - Import Preorder

As a genre, tactical strategy games have been around for a long time. They're usually considered premium titles (think Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics, Super Robot Wars) that command a premium price point of JPY6800 or JPY7800. Japanese manufacturer Success breaks from tradition by announcing a tactical strategy game that's priced at a measly JPY3800. What's the world coming to?

In Tactical Guild, players assemble a team of adventurers who vary in class and profession who then roam out into the world in search of adversaries, treasure, and experience. There's a bunch of mission-based side quests to contend with as well. It's a reliable formula that generally guarantees reliable sales. Preorders ship on August 28, 2008.

Survival Kids Wii - Import Preorder

Two more kids are stranded on an island when Survival Kids (aka Lost in Blue) sails to the Wii this summer. Players control a lad named Jack who's accompanied by his dog or a young waitress named Lucy. Both were on a luxury liner before unfortunate circumstances brought them onto a deserted island. By using wits, reasoning, and simple survival skills, Jack and Lucy establish living quarters and gather enough food to make it through each day. When Jack or Lucy are hungry, you'll know it by the incessant growling that emanates from their bellies.

The Wii version of Survival Kids features Wii Remote-waving control to accomplish tasks such as making fire, catching fish, and befriending the local fauna. If you squint at the two pictures to the left, Jack's hanging onto the edge of a cliff for dear life while a pale-colored rodent hangs on for its own dear life right on Jack's back. The dog which looks like Lassie also helps out to make sure Jack or Lucy don't wander astray on their path to eventual salvation and exodus from the island.

In addition to the survival action, Konami touts 35 mini-games which draw on the survival theme and require Wii Remote control. Preorders for the Japanese Wii version of Survival Kids are welcome starting today to ship on August 7, 2008. Jan Code: 4988602142549.

Wario Land Shake - Import Preorder

When Wario Land Shake ships next month, it won't be the first motion-sensitive Wario game. Semi-old timers may remember Mawaru Made in Wario from 2004 which was packaged in a cartridge that included a "rotate" sensor to detect movement. Instead of using the D-pad to maneuver, players moved the Gameboy itself in twisting motions.

In Wario Land Shake, players hold the Wii Remote horizontally and use the d-pad to move Wario across side scrolling levels. However, the game demands the occasional motion-fueled Wii Remote shake to perform certain actions to help Wario out. There's an up-and-down motion and a side-to-side rocking motion as well to make Wario perform special moves to conquer foes and obstacles alike. Since Wario is a world traveler, he'll traipse through the desert, swim in the sea, spelunk through underground caverns, and even wander through the jungle. A number of vehicles may also be operated by Wario for added variety in mobility. The preorder detail sheet lists a total of 20 stages in the game.

Preorders for the Japanese Wii import Wario Land Shake are welcome to ship on July 24, 2008 at JPY5524 or US$55.90 from NCS.

Saturn Grey Pad - Clearance

We found another bag of official Japanese Saturn pads and composite AV cables in new condition a few days ago. This is probably the third bag of Saturn controllers we've located since 2005. There was some thought about retrofitting the pads with USB cables and selling them as PC or MAC game controllers but we eventually decided against it. Better to sell them as new and unsoiled by human hands.

Sale Offering: NCS' inventory of Saturn Grey Pads is new, bagged in the original plastic baggie, and in mint condition. Pricing is set at US$29.90 per unit which includes free shipping by USPS Media Mail within the U.S. Japanese Saturn pads are compatible with USA Saturns.
Larger Photos

ThePlanet Outage Redux

ThePlanet.com is experiencing issues again and www.ncsxshop.com is offline for the time being. Our backup shop at www.shopncsx.com is functioning properly. The latest updates from http://service-update.theplanet.com/ are:

June 3 – 7:30am CDT
As Doug mentioned in his audio message last night, "The explosion and electrical fire damaged, beyond repair, the electrical gear where the utility service enters the building as well as the transfer switch and main distribution panel that feeds the first floor of the data center."Because the transfer switch and distribution panel were damaged beyond repair, we are running H1 Phase I from a temporary generator, while Phase II is being powered by our permanent generator. We tested the temporary generator extensively prior to bringing it into service, and we did not find any indication of the faulty breaker.Our facilities group is working with the generator contractors to repair the faulty breaker as soon as possible.

June 3 – 6:38am CDT
Around 2:20 AM CDT, the backup generator being used to power H1 Phase experienced an electrical issue resulting in service loss for Phase I; Phase II remains unaffected at this time. Our data center operations and facilities teams immediately began investigating the cause of the failure to restore power to the Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC) units and Power Distribution Units (PDUs) for Phase I.The staff successfully tested the 2 megawatt generator without load, so they began powering up the CRAC units and PDUs to restore service to Phase I.

While working through this power restoration, the generator's breakers were tripped by their internal electronics. The generator is rated to handle more than the load required to power the phase, and the generator itself is fully functional, but the breaker system must be replaced to guarantee stable power distribution.

We have attempted to locate a replacement generator and are evaluating the time necessary to repair the breakers on the current generator so we can restore power as quickly as possible. We do not have an ETA for power restoration, but we will be updating you hourly with our current status or sooner, as developments warrant.

June 3 – 4:41am CDT
CRAC units are back online. The facilities and data center operations teams are verifying the stability of the generator, and they will restore power to the PDUs as quickly as possible.

June 3 – 3:33am CDT
The Customer Access Routers in H1, Phase 1 have been affected by the generator issues. While customer servers in racks may be powered on, they will not be accessible until the access routers have power restored.

June 3 – 2:54am CDT
The backup generator issue is affecting around 1/2 of phase 1. From most recent reports, servers have power, but until the issue is resolved, they may not be accessible.

June 3 – 2:25am CDT
Due to an issue with one of our backup generators, we've noted inconsistent power distribution to our CRACs (air conditioning units) and PDUs. Because these key components are fundamental to server racks, customers may note some downtime currently.We have our data center operations and facilities teams checking the generators, CRACs, PDUs and racks to restore connectivity. UPDATE: This issue appears to only affect phase 1.