Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Wed Dead: No Redemption.

Official complaint by the wives of Rockstar San Diego employees.

Even if you have the best job in the world, it means nothing if there’s no one at home at night to share your successes with. C’mon guys, stand up or walk away.

Amazon’s gift tips.

Picture 1Do you ever look for stuff online? Presents, stuff for yourself, and other things? I did a post on odd recommendations like this earlier this year. But in this case it’s not an annoying, simply quite hilarious, as if you look at the stuff Lex and myself tend to enjoy, you’ll find she buys from the boyfriend pile, whilst my tastes verge on the girlfriend pile. Surreal, isn’t it?

She’s into games, big time, she loves her mp3 player, and she’s very into the automotive industry (along with its associated, shiny, and very expensive products). Me on the other hand? I read Audrey Niffeneger, I have around ten different bags, and I think heart-shaped jewelry is adorable. But as far as I’m aware I’m not a woman.

I suppose it’s part of the growing change in our perceptions of what does and doesn’t constitute masculinity and femininity. What’s weirder still is that we’re still inundated with antique ideals in the form of books like “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.” Are you kidding? Have you seen Hilary Clinton? The day she was compared to her husband in that press conference, I almost hid behind a pillow. That is one angry, angry lady, and I’m pretty sure anger is a emotion of a certain war-mongering Martian patron.

On the other hand, I think men are steadily becoming more and more divided between feminine and masculine. Of course, geeks like myself still proudly sit “outside the circle,” as it were, but there is a growing difference. On the one hand, you’ve now got foppish young lads with pointy shoes and jeans that look like they were painted on. On the other, you’ve got what I like to call “BLOKES, YER?” – a stunning display of raw masculinity and aggression contained in a Burberry and Reebok Classic package.

I suppose for shops and online markets like eBay, Amazon etc, it’s simply a balancing act of stereotypes versus actual cultural demographics. I’d say we’re leaning towards a divided society, with Artic Monkeys-loving, romance-reading, TopShop wearing humans on one end (in London, anyway), and Halo-playing, page-3-of-the-Sun-obsessed, beer-swilling contemporary Vikings. It sucks to generalise so much, and I’m aware there are exceptions, but I’m beginning to wonder if, in a few years, we’re simply going to have a men’s section of Amazon that sells videogames, pornography and sandwiches, and then the women’s section bare because THEY DUNT YOOZ THE INTERWEBS.

*flounces off to read about Jaqueline Wilson, middle finger firmly poised in the direction of his Die Hard collection*

I bought it to see Kevin Smith, all right? Don’t look at me like that.

A Tribute To My Xbox.

Today, just as I was due to finish off the last few bits of Red Faction: Guerrilla, my Xbox 360 Elite decided it wasn’t having any of it, and winked that moody three-ringed red eye at me. I’m devastated. I thought it’d never happen to me, but it has, and I could throttle someone at Microsoft right now.

It seems to be bouncing between three red lights, and simply just crashing and freezing whenever I try to do anything with it. I’m going to experiment over the course of the night, whilst putting up the Red Faction: Guerrilla review regardless, I’ll link to it as and when it’s up. Expect updates.

Update: It’s still not working, though thre three red lights are nowhere to be seen, it just crashes without fail twenty seconds into booting up.

On the upside, I’ve done two podcasts, some articles and I’m seeing Bruce Springsteen tomorrow, so all is not lost. Again, apologies for the lack of writing on the blog itself, but as you can tell from my previous work section I’ve been absolutely swamped with an average of around a thousand words of edited content written a day. Tired, but soldiering on.

This Little Light of Mine.

This is going to be the shortest post ever, but what the hell.

Kieron Gillen mentioned my article on culture in videogames today, in his weekly Sunday Papers feature.

I’m proud of myself, and it’s nice to have one of the people you really look up to say “hey, good work.”

Everything Settles, Equilibrium Returns.

E3 is beginning to simmer down, and GamerNode is finally working, as you can tell by the mental amount of content Jason, Eddie, myself and others have been uploading over the last few days. It also marks the return of my column on gaming narrative, Plot Wholes, the latest of which you can find here.

So… thoughts on various different bits.

Natal is revolutionary, and not only because it looks like something that came straight out of Minority Report. Milo, the game interactivity, christ, even the water was incredible, and I can’t believe it came from a peripheral that, right up until five seconds before they announced it, we’d basically passed off as another EyeToy. I was always jealous, as a 360 owner, of the Wii’s sensor bar, but now it seems slightly out-dated. I think Molyneux’s appearance during the Natal reveal had more to it than they’re letting on, and I think we might even see a Black and White title with the controls coming from you, the player, as it would fit so well into the hand-waving mouse-based concepts brought into the light by Lionhead’s previous two iterations of the franchise.

The PSP Go! is an amazing piece of kit, and I can’t wait to play the various different games on it, let alone simply just own one of the damn things. But, at the same time… I can’t help feeling like it’s seriously overpriced. At two hundred and fifty big ones, regardless of whether you trade in Euros or USD, it’s mad. I’m a pound sterling man myself, but let’s be honest, unless they’re taking off the region lock on that sleek little number, I won’t be getting my hands on one for anywhere near the same price as a DSi. Just when the pound to dollar rate finally swings our way, bam, two amazing consoles region locked and taunting us with it. As for Gran Turismo, I’m not that interested, though LittleBigPlanet PSP looks fantastic and something that would be hours of fun on a long plane ride until the loud child near you notices you’re God made out of felt.

The whole time Nintendo’s conference was in session (ooh, it sounds so much more stern now, doesn’t it?) I was hoping for a Metroid title. Then, not only was it announced, but it’s practically Metroid Gaiden thanks to Team Ninja’s involvement in the project. I can’t actually wrap my head around how amazing an idea that was, and how in the name of all that is holy and orange robot-suited they kept that under wraps. Team Ninja did a lot for Halo 3, and I can see them doing a lot for the Metroid franchise, so long as Ridley isn’t suddenly wearing a lot of dodgy leather and talking about honour.

Speaking of Halo 3, I was wowed by Halo 3: ODST, but not anywhere near as much as the revelation that Halo: Reach was real and actually being developed. To think that we’re actually going to see John’s origin story is mindblowing, as I’m sure anyone who read The Fall of Reach can testify. To think we’re finally going to see the process that turned Master Chief into who he is now, to see him as a child, and most importantly, without a mask, is something I’ve been crying out for since I played the progenitor to the whole Halo universe. I like the games, don’t get me wrong, but would giving Master Chief a little more humanity have harmed him so much as the faceless space marine we’ve all come to know (and for some, love)? Look what revealing Samus’ face did to the videogame community: she was the true woman of video game characters, and you can shove your Lara Croft, chauvanistic tight clothing and all. Samus was so terrifyingly cold, efficient and Nintendo rockstar-esque that we never thought it’d be a chick, and you know what? If anyone did females justice in the realm of sci-fi videogame escapism, it was her.

Is anyone else disappointed that FFXIV is an MMO title? I literally couldn’t speak for a long, long time after that announcement, and I think the shocked noises made by five thousand people in the audience probably underlined that a fair bit. But to see that amazing trailer, to see a handful of people fighting for their lives on a storm-tossed boat in front of a huge dragon-serpent coiling around them out of the waves, and then to know it was a god-damn MMO is something of a kick in the nuts. I’ve seen boats in MMO titles, and all they make me think of is World of Warcraft’s loading screen and ganking, though if you’re a gnome and his mate, irritating the big stupid Tauren in tier five armour was probably pretty damn tempting. I still feel that while FFXIII looks stunning and fun to play, that we’ve covered the whole technological era of the FF universe. For me, no industrial-tech game will ever come close to Midgar in FFVII, though the announcement that that came out on PS3 (and therefore the PSP) yesterday has basically sold the PS3 to me as a console, which is shocking when you consider some of the amazing titles coming out. Mod Nation Racers probably being my favourite, as that’s my sort of deal, being a child of Nintendo upbringing for the most part.

Sony’s answer to Natal and the MotionPlus was a little ridiculous. I liked how funny the presentation was, but the actual tech just didn’t do it for me that well. For one, the wand looked like something you’d find in an Amsterdam massage parlour, and secondly after seeing someone have a real-time conversation with a boy who was upset because the player was telling him off for not doing his homework really did blur the cool images being beamed into my head by Sony yesterday.

Final thought: E3 doesn’t need big names and celebrities, though the one person who should’ve shown up was Hannah “aim for the head lest she reincarnate as a greater daemon of the fifth hell” Montana, considering the amount of times her games popped up in conferences all through the weekend. That and Paul McCartney starting off Microsoft’s conference with “who thought we’d ever end up as androids” was a clear sign that arrogant, talentless (it was all John and George, you know it, I know it) musicians have no place on the stage. However, James Cameron does, and I’m at a loss as to everyone going on and on about him spoiling the film. He states, so clearly, the premise for the film, but not the end. Does a paraplegic getting to walk again sound like a spoiler? No, it sounds like the opening paragraph outlining a protagonist’s plight and motivation for success. The sort you find on DVD boxes. Oh, and Shepherd’s still alive, but apparently we can accidentally kill him prior to the final game in the (current, hopefully) timeline in various different ways. Permanently. Bioware, you’re sick.

Live Blogging Is Lethal.

I just finished my Microsoft Conference live-blog, and lemme tell you this. After 3,282 words written in just over an hour, not only is it the longest one you’ll find on the intertubes, but my god, it nearly killed my hands.

And I have EA’s in an hour and a half. Jeez.

MSLB link: clickity

EA link: clickity

Ubisoft link: clickity

Update: Last one now, so tired. EA’s was a slightly shorter 2481, but still.

Update 2: It’s all done. I’m exhausted. G’night.

Brazen I’ll reply tomorrow with my predictions in the morning.

E3. It Rises.

The wave of news, previews, rumours and massive press conferences that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo begins next week, and I think everyone’s got a fair few expectations of what’s going to happen. These are mine, and comments on some widely-expected announcements I think are either accurate or full of nonsense.

Microsoft:

  • Microsoft motion-camera. We’ve all seen the leaked shots, and it seems like the right time to do this, though the guys and girls behind You’re in the Movies! are probably going to hang themselves if this particular announcement drops.
  • Perfect Dark on XBLA. This goes without saying. It’s been spotted a hundred-and-one times on spreadsheets, screencaps and mole-provided information, not to mention Rare actually having the icon for it on their NXE Dashboard, which was less than subtle. I’m hoping that was deliberate, if it wasn’t… I don’t want to be the owner of that gamertag.
  • MSG4 Final Decision. Either a yes or a no, but we’ll find out. I think Kojima did fans a great disservice by not clarifying whether it was happening or not, and I think we all deserve to know so we can finally either bin that jpeg of the green “on” logo, or make it our desktop backgrounds with an MS Painted-on date underneath.

Nintendo:

  • The Wii will be price-cut. For what it is, the Wii is a ridiculously expensive bit of hardware, at £179.99 in her Majesty’s kingdom. To drop the price now, during the period in which they’re announcing some pretty impressive software bundles (the Metroid Prime collection springs immediately to mind) can only mean good things for the men in Japan who are probably, at this point, wiping their behinds with cash.
  • More Pokemon Games. This doesn’t really need confirming. They’ve done Platinum, so they’re probably already hard at work on the next lot of pokemon to bring the total up into the 5/600s. I wonder what they’ll call it, because at this rate they’re running out of binary opposites in the spectral realm, and the periodic table, at this rate.
  • Another Zelda. It’s been a while now, and I think  Nintendo need to make up for Twilight Princess. Not a bad game by any means, but releasing it on two platforms when the Wiimote compatability felt simply tacked-on was a bad move. Personally, I’d love a return to the Wind Waker era. It was an amazing game, and didn’t deserve to be the only one sitting in a cel-shaded green adventurer’s outfit.

Sony:

  • The price of the PS3 is going to drop by at least 20%. Let’s be honest, statistically speaking they’re losing money for each console they sell unless they shift a lot of software per unit of hardware sold. A price drop is, therefore, illogical in theory, but I think the sheer amount of PS3 consoles they’ll shift will more than outweigh worries about software sales. There’ve been rumours about the PS3 Slim, but I’m calling shenanigans on that one, as it’s far too soon.
  • The PSP Go! will be announced. This is inevitable now, simply because we’ve seen concept screens, people have talked about it constantly when they shouldn’t have, and even the name for it is now in circulation, codename or otherwise. It’s the perfect time to drop a new handheld reveal, as it’ll stomp the DSi. That said, in all honesty I see the DSi as a step backward from the DS Lite – shorter battery life, unneccessary screen size increase, and no GBA cart slot is taking too much away from a good thing for the sake of an online store and some more memory.
  • Obscene amounts of PSX titles on the PSN. Honestly, I don’t really care about anything bar FFVII, though I think the same goes for a few others, too. Not to mention the obscene amounts of cash Squeenix will make if they decide to get it up on the store.

Everyone else:

  • Kojima will reveal what that weird advert was all about. Everyone’s been wondering, from Joystiq readers to Mega64, and I think E3 seems to line up with the countdown, so this all checks out, unless my math is off.
  • Blizzard will withhold their new IP until Blizzcon. C’mon, did you really think they were going to let the cat out of the bag a few months away from their own big, private, Blizzard-only press party?
  • Everyone will hopefully forget about OnLive. I really couldn’t care less about OnLive, simply because logistically it’s just not possible. Streaming that much content over the net is borderline impossible for most people unless you’ve got a Virgin fiber-optic hanging out of the back of that bad boy. It seems to me that they’re trying to do far too much in too small a box, and this will end up very similar to the Gizmondo fiasco.
  • Capcom’s no-show due to swine flu. If this turns out to be some kind of swine-flu inspired press stunt to promote Resident Evil, it’ll be the best press event in the history of the expo. C’mon lads. Have a sense of humour.

That’s it from me in the way of E3 predictions for now, though if any develop nearer the time I’ll be sure to post them. Feel free to disagree or leave your own in the comments thread, as per always.