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News & Frivolity 9/4/10

TIME To Get Real

Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, creators of Penny Arcade and the spin off geek extravaganza PAX, have made it into Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, numbering in at 13, however, the number 1 spot went to Lady Gaga and even Robert Pattinson was at 6, suffice to say this list means bugger all. But kudos to the guys, even if they are being recognised on such an otherwise, odious list.

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Minus Linux

We all have our qualms with the various firmware updates the big console companies drop upon us from time to time, but usually, they don’t retract functionalities that have existed for years. However Sony ostensibly doesn’t care for such traditions and has removed the ability to install Linux on the older (previously crowned heaviest console ever) PS3, citing “security concerns”. Granted the feature isn’t exactly a ‘must-have’ for your regular user, but it was a nice touch so it seems madness to simply remove after all this time.

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Wii Hatin’

With the release of Sony’s and Microsoft’s attempt at the motion control market drawing ever closer, it was inevitable they were going to try to smear the current monolith of motion control, Nintendo, and so they have. Peter Dille, SCEA Senior VP of Marketing, had this to say about the Wii: “it’s not a very precise experience and it relies on the wand”. He went on to try to justify the Move’s place in the industry, emphasizing again and again its (yet to be confirmed) precision and what that meant for core gamers. I remain skeptical given the rumours of Move lag and the fact that it’s a complete rip off of the Wii.

Xbox Product Manager Aaron Greenberg couldn’t help but get in on the action too. Greenberg focused on Nintendo’s alleged lack of support and success of 3rd party developers “Over 70% of third parties that are selling games today are actively making games for Project Natal…Look at Wii — while it’s done really well, third parties have struggled”. While he has a point, I hardly think it’s fair to blame Nintendo for the lack of successful 3rd party titles. Regardless, expect much comparations and one-up-manship concerning the Wii in the coming months as the motion controlled storm brews, while Miyamoto gracefully praises the innovation that Nintendo given rise to.

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Featured Films

It looks as though, for one reason or another, video game movies are once again an attractive prospect for companies looking to build upon existing franchises, despite past failed attempts, and the very fact that everyone whether nerd or neuroscientist knows game movies generally suck. THQ’s Danny Bilson explained CVG that they’re taking on an initiative, also being employed by others such as Capcom, to regard games not as games, but “media properties” with organised movie tie-ins and other products encompassed within one idea. This treatment, it seems, is to be undergone by the Red Faction series. Whether a Red Faction film is successful is anyone’s guess as the premise isn’t bad, but it certainly isn’t unique, as there are plenty of good science fiction/colony uprising/mars related movies out there.

Red Faction clearly isn’t the only game poking its paws into the perilous film industry – as most will know the Prince of Persia movie is out soon, and we’re all eager to see what Gyllenhaal has done to our beloved prince, so if you’re interested in that go see it, and also check out this interview Destructoid conducted with some of the people in front and behind the movie.

And where would a piece on movie video games be without an update on the possible Halo offering? Will we see some Master Chief on the big screen? Well the answer is probably, but not extremely soon. During the MI6 conference in San Francisco last week, 343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor stated “We’re going to make a movie when the time is right,” explaining that it made sense financially – and since it doesn’t take a genius to work out what motivates companies, it’s pretty clear we’ll be seeing Master Chief soon enough.

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Modern Warfare Stimulation – Mapathy is cured for now

Whether you’re cursing Infinity Ward/Activision over the $15 price tag of MW2’s recent Stimulus Package or not, in all likelihood, you still bought it, because the content has been download over 2.5 million times in the first week alone! and bear in mind this is just for the 360. Despite the shenanigans over at Infinity Ward and the COD-gate scandal, the cash is still most certainly rolling in. This news coupled with the recent mind-blowing tweet from IW’s Robert Bowling “Wow. Modern Warfare 2 players have invested more than 1.75 billion hours (200,000+ yrs) of MW2 gameplay on Xbox Live alone since release” leaves little doubt that Modern Warfare 2 is a huge success, at least in Activision’s (dollar-papered) eyes. The DLC will be available on the PSN in the US on May 4th, and everywhere else on the following day.

Of course this isn’t the only manner in which Infinity Ward has been making news recently. The new Activision, following its quiet restructuring, have filed a cross-complaint against Zampella and West, the IW founders who were fired following allegations of disobedience in relation to their contract. The claim calls the two “insubordinate and self-serving schemers” – needless to say some harsh words are being thrown about; if you’d like to get stuck into the matter further, check out VG247’s summary.

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iPaid For Itself

Following the insanely over-hyped announcement of the iPad last month and the flame wars between Apple cultists and haters that ensued, the ruddy thing was actually released, and sold a whopping 300,00 units on day one, along with a million apps. But what does the shiny slab mean for gaming? Well, you may be pleased to hear that Mr. Steve Jobs has been considering this too, in his own special way, and along with a slew of announcements you can visit one of the millions of tech blogs to find out about, a centralised gaming service was announced for the new firmware with everything you’d hope for: achievements, leaderboards and matchmaking. Very few details other than this are known, so it’ll be interesting to see what this means for the developers and whether Apple will make them adhere to their system or not, no matter it’s success (Apple’s track record in caring for its app store contributers doesn’t bode well for aspiring games developers). If the notion of the iPad’s potential for core gamers such as ourselves still interests you, it may be worth checking out this article on VG247, written by Patrick Garratt.

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April Fools

In case you some missed the day that sends the internet into frenzy, due to gullibility or indifference, here are some of the best game related April Fools attempts, picked out by yours truly.

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Ri-god-damn-diculous

Now the frivolity of this update has set in, following the April Fools features, I might as well throw up some more awesome/pointless/creepy delights for you to ponder over, then promptly move on:

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Gold Plated Xbox 360

Pretty much does exactly what it says it does, besides confirming that you’re douche if you own it. The console and it’s controller have been plated  in 24kt gold. If you’re interested, the gold PS3 starts at $5000 – so clearly a worthwhile investment!

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Wii Believe

I’m not even sure what this is, so garner what you will from this ludicrous advert.

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If Games Were Real

Many have entertained the notion of games characters and rule being applied to real life, so YouTube producers Smosh, have russled up a little video to give you an idea of what it might be like. Low-budget hilarity proceed.

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If Games Are Going To Be Real

Well, I worded the title of this story as such because I wanted to be hilarious, but what this actually is, is a fascinating little video from GameTrailers TV which explores the science in Mass Effect 2, and whether any of it is possible in the future, and if so, to what extent. Much nerdy goodness to be found through the link.

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Immersion

Immersion is a new show from Rooster Teeth, which is basically Mythbusters for the video games world in bite size chunks. In this first episode, the team discover whether or not it’s as easy to drive 3rd person in real life rather than in games, or not – you can probably guess the answer, but it’s worth a gander anyway.

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Red Dead: Regret?

Some nutter has gone and got himself a tattoo of an admittedly bad-ass cowboy and here it is; problem is, however, that the cowboy is the main character in Red Dead: Redemption, a game that isn’t even out yet – what if it’s terrible? (though trailers like this make me fairly sure it’s going to be a corker), either way I’m struggling to see how the fella came to the decision to have this drawn on his arm, we’ll just say he was in a drunken stupor and give him the benefit of the doubt.

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Belladonna

Turns out smut-star Belladonna loves her video games, especially MMOs, and so by logical thought has decided it would definitely be great to mix gaming and porn (perhaps a more enticing idea than this). Speaking to Original Gamer, she said “I’d love to dress up as my Priest on World of Warcraft and do a scene like that.” Don’t pretend you don’t wanna know more.

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Duke Nukem: Forever Goes Gold (in alternate dimension!)

The other day some new footage of the doomed Duke Nukem project was leaked, and would have been released and gone gold on April 1st according former Take Two producer Jason Bergman. Apparently the release date was intentional. But alas it is not to be.

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Loose Ends…

There are a few bits of news which are interesting enough, but I couldn’t myself bring to elongate this article yet further with separate sections, so here they are: Crysis 2 got it’s proper world premiere today with many a promise, from unique gameplay both multiplayer and single, a raise of the graphical benchmark on the PS3, no FPS lower than 30 and more. Call of Duty 7’s setting was initially rumoured to be vietnam, then set through different periods under the title Black Ops but the magazine OPM UK promises to reveal the truth on May 16th. Ralph Baer, The Father of Video Games, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The genius, who we’ve all to thank, created what became the Odyssey in 1972 and console peripherals as we know them. Finally the UK games industry breathed a sigh of relief as a number of tax breaks for the industry were included in the budget; CEO, Dr Richard Wilson, said that the measures would “create or protect over 3,500 jobs” and “increase or safeguard £457 million in development expenditure” as well as encourage the UK games industry to innovate and grow. Bloody brilliant.

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By the way, this is awesome.


April 9th, 2010
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