Sunday, 29 November 2009

[Event] GAME For Good

GAME Stores and Activision Blizzard have teamed up to give 360 Modern Warfare 2 players the chance to help the War Child charity (a charity who support children who are affected by war across the globe) .

All you have to do is play MW2 online on the 5th and/or 6th December. The more players who are on Xbox Live playing = the more money ActiBlizzard will give to an awesome cause.

Also GAME will be donating a £1 from every sale of Modern Warfare 2 to the same charity, as well as selling War Child wrist bands in store towards the end of this week.

You can fine more information on GAME For Good here, and to join the Facebook group supporting this event here's the link.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

[Event] Eurogamer Expo

A couple of weeks ago I was invited along by my good friend Ben to the Eurogamer Expo in Leeds. The Expo forms part of the London Games Festival.

Apart from a conference that I had the chance to attend a couple of years ago while working for Gamestation the event in Leeds was my first proper taste of a gaming expo. And I forgot to take my camera! (The Googlephones camera is nothing to shout home about...).

Thursday, 8 October 2009

[Blog] PS3 appears on BBC's Watchdog

I've had quite a few members of the public approaching me at work in regards to a recent episode of Watchdog that was aired on BBC a couple of weeks ago.

For those un-aware BBC's Watchdog aired an investigation about the 'Yellow Light of Death' (the standby light flickers a yellow colour, telling the user their is a fault) that can sometimes occur on Playstation 3s. According to the BBCs research, 12,500 PS3s have had the yellow light of death. This figure is believed to be drawn from Sony's own figures that state 0.5% of the 2.5 million PS3s sold in the UK have developed a fault. As part of the programme, they offered members of the public a free repair service (2 guys, in a van, outside Sony's UK Head Office). The main point of all this is that outside of the consoles normal one year warranty, if you want your console fixed, you'll need to shell out some cash to Sony to get it fixed.

Monday, 5 October 2009

[Game News] Sparkster is Returning!

Awesome, Amazing, Brilliant, Superb!

What's made me so happy? Konami are bringing one of my favourite (not to mention under-rated) retro gaming characters to the 360, PS3 and PC. That everyone, is the Rocket Knight called Sparkster

It's a new game, devolped by Climax Studios (responsible for Silent Hil Origins), a 2.5d platform game, which is being released on Xbox Live Arcade, the Playstation Network and on PC via Steam.

Axel returns as Sparkster's nemesis and is set 15 years after the last Rocket Knight Adventures game. Konami producer Tomm Hulett, who is a fan of the previous games is producing it, which is a very good sign!

All and all, I'm truly excited..and I've got a very good feeling that this will be awesome.

1UP have a 5-day exclusive on the new game, which I highly recomend you check out. They've got a few early images and are set to post the first trailer of the game on the 9th October.

Rocket Knight Adventures is penned for a release in early 2010.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

[Blog] The Great Divide?

After just logging into I had to pause, step back, and then consider what kind of gamer I'm becoming. What could I mean? What caused me to stop and ponder? Ladies and gentlemen, read on...

For those un-aware, when you log into it lists the last 6 games that you've played on your 360/PC. These are mine at the time of posting:

Can you see a certain genre of gaming shining through? In my defence both The Beatles Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5 were new releases, but still, its becoming quite clear to all that I'm currently enjoying living the pretend life of a rock star.

Between myself and my housemates we have enough plastic instruments for 2 full band line-ups. For our house, it seems Guitar Hero/Rock Band is the ultimate in social gaming, a genre of games that brings us all into the front room.

This leads me onto the main reason for this post, and that is the divide between social/casual gaming and the more 'hardcore' gaming community.

Casual gaming has been around for years. Quick, short, pick up and play style games. I'd quite happily sit music games into this category. You can also probably add 80%+ of the Nintendo Wii's catalogue of games into this category, not forgetting the ever-growing popularity of games on Facebook such as FarmVille.
Your hardcore games however, are the kind of games that immerse you into a large complex storyline, and generally a large amount of hours. Take for example gamers who spend a good portion of their days/evenings online playing online shooters such as Call of Duty 4 online, or (like my housemate of late) plunging 50 odd hours into an RPG.

After reading countless articles, its clear alot of people see themselves as one or the other. Even those (and their are many of them) who sit on the fence of the two gaming styles will probably lean more to one than the other.

After seeing my recently played games list I began to wonder if I was becoming more of a casual gamer. A look at my shelves of games dismisses this thought however, as I'm a keen fan of RPGs, which is enforced by Tales of Vesperia sitting between the Rock Bands and Guitar Heroes in my games played list. Not to mention the time I take in catching up on general gaming news. I just feel at the moment I haven't had the time to really sit down and get fully involved with a game.

So what about you guys, what would say you were? A more casual/social gaming kind of person? Or would you say you're more of a hardcore gamer?

Feel free to comment your thoughts, I hope to delve deeper into gaming trends in a future blog post, aswell as discussing any points raised by you guys!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

[Guest Writer] Why I Love EA

The following article has been written by a Mr Ben Taylor, a good friend of mine who has kindly sent me a couple of articles to pop online. This particular one talks about a certain major player in the videogames industry, who over the years have recieved a fair amount of flak... How times change..



Why I love EA

There was a time in my youth where EA would bring forth feelings of derision and disdain in my young mind. I viewed them as the scourge of videogames, dispensing of heart and soul for capital, releasing the same game year in, year out; Fifa being the main culprit, along with Need for Speed. I remember the heartache I felt when I found that EA had bought Criterion, and braced myself for ‘Burnout 7: Low Rider Destruction Tour’ , where you played Jean Claude Van Damme and had to fit your low rider with guns and blow up the other pimps, as all the ho’s would flock to you. It was very similar to Burnout 6: Sizzle Pimps.

How wrong I was. Burnout 6 instead has been a forerunner in how to really work download content. Giving content away for free to entice the player to keep playing, then using that trust to ease the fanbase into paid content, culminating in the creation Big Surf Island, a place that is big enough to be a game within itself. It has also shown publishers how to combat the pre-owned market, giving away content means people hold on to their games, a method which is now being employed by all the biggest games, at least on 360. Gears, Halo, CoD, Fable and Fallout have all trickled through the download content, following the path set by Burnout Paradise and EA.

The two games I mentioned at the start of this have also been given new impetus thanks to the turnaround at EA. Fifa is finally the king of the soccer game. Anybody who says Pro Evo is still better hasn’t played Fifa 09. Fifa, although not the first to do it, as good as gives you two games in the box with its excellent Be A Pro mode, and is the first Fifa to dip its toes into something I feel will be incredibly important going forward. You can opt to have one league have its players skills improved or diminished based on how they are performing in real life. One league is free, any more and you have to pay, a very fair deal. I foresee this as the future of sports games. Small updates to the game and transfers done real time based on a subscription model. Fans given the option of either a 1200 MS point fee to update all the players and add the new tweaks to the game but keep the same front end and visual engine or to buy the new retail game at £40. If you want to play against the players with the new game you can update your older version. Madden is already plotting a course with a similar method and I feel it will be a success, EA setting the course for the rest to follow.

Need for Speed is also going through the changes. Back when Criterion was bought who’d have thought that they’d end up being a team working on one of 4 Need for Speed SKU’s including an online only game.

Spore would never have been funded by any other publisher. The Sims would never have existed, let alone 3 iterations. And Henry Hatsworth would be a drawing in the back of a Maths book.

What other company has the gall to release two massive ip’s at Christmas, one with an untried game mechanic. Dead Space and Mirrors Edge didn't perform as expected and I really hope it hasn’t put EA off trying new ip’s as Dead Space is phenomenal and Mirrors Edge, when it’s clicking and you’re not stop/starting with gunplay, is exhilarating.

EA have also recognised the diminishing returns of games. They have recently dumped the Godfather license and the Lord of the Rings license, stating that no more games will be made from those licenses.

Listening to the 1up podcast it was hypothesised that Command & Conquer 4 would be the first major PC game without a retail version, something that I wouldn’t bet against.

The irony regarding my youth was that I was a Nintendo fanboy. A company that has left its major core franchises with so little breathing space. Metroid is now being made by Team Ninja, Mario had to go into outer space for refreshment and Zelda, well, and I don’t think we’ll be seeing Zelda for a while. Zelda has become so stuck in its ways and it will take a major over hall to become in any way relevant to modern gaming.

I don’t know who initiated the turnaround in EA’s outlook but I’m glad it happened. I think it could have been influenced by EA’s biggest publisher crown being passed to Activision, giving them more reason to innovate but whatever it was, I’m glad it happened.


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

[Update] Remember Me?

Remember the guy who promised you further round-ups following on from E3? Yep..that was me..and I'm very sorry for not following through with my promise. I've made the decision to stop making promises based on blog posts until I get into the swing of making regular updates. You could argue that I'm making a promise not to make promises, but enough about that...

Anyway, with the apology out of the way, lets move on...

A couple of weeks ago, the UK government published the 'Digital Britain' report. Within this report were a few key points in regards to the games industry, the major one being the decision to side with PEGI video games rating system, instead of the long standing BBFC ones.

For those who aren't sure what it is I'm talking about, PEGI (Pan European Game Information) ratings are already seen on some games. Their ratings come in several different flavours, such as 12+ and 16+. Aswell as a recommended age they also provide little markings on the back of the box which show if the game includes violence, sexual themes and swearing, using symbols.

The BBFC rated games however (that's the British Board of Film Classification) can be identified by the recommended age of the product (U, 12, 15, 18), surrounded by a circle, and can also be found more commonly on film titles.

Within the next year or so, you'll see more and more PEGI rated titles and less BBFC ones, until finally PEGI completely takes over the reins.

What's my view on all this? Personally, I find BBFC ratings to be more prominent, which is helped by the fact parents see BBFC ratings on DVDs and the such. The way in which the ratings are displayed are clearer. PEGI have shown since the report that they will be slightly changing the way in which their age ratings will be displayed, adding a bit of colour to the mix, which should hopefully make them stand out a little more than they currently do. I do like the symbol system PEGI use in conjunction with the age rating, as it helps to identify what makes that particular game the age rating that it is.

The important thing will be the transition between the two. As always, alot of the pressure of enforcing and educating the new single form of age ratings to the general public will fall to retail members of staff.

I can't see it affecting the general public too much. Yes, in most cases the ratings will look different, but the concept is still the same. For more information on PEGI ratings, visit their website, which can be found here.

Before I close up this post, I though I'd share this with you:

That folks, is the contents of Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition. And yes, they are working night vision goggles. The price? $149. No word on a UK release as of yet. Check Kotaku's article for full details of the contents.

Oh, and one more thing. I've just read an article on MCV in regards to a statement made by Sony executive Peter Edwards. He revealed that currently less than 30% of PSN users who download and use Playstation Home return after their first go. That's a huge 70% of people who haven't returned (of which, I am one of). In Sony's defence, they have increased the content within Home over the past few months, but, well, in my case, the time in which it takes to download all the needed updates (not to mention all the downloading of areas that you walk into) is a massive put-off. The content in Home just doesn't seem worth it just yet. Sony took a gamble with Home, it's a massive project, and I would like it to become a better product, as it has potential, but with figures like the ones above, it must feel to the people behind Home to be a massive uphill climb.

Just to add to the end of this post, I'm now in my new room. That's right, I've spread my wings and am now living with 3 of my friends. I just hope they can encourage me to stop being lazy and get writing on a more regular basis.

Until next time...which shall hopefully be sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

[Delays] Updates and Excuses

First off..sorry for not yet posting the next of the E3 roundups (Nintendo is the scheduled next one). I signed in just now to finish/post the next update, only to find its disappeared...fantastic...

I promise, if not tonight, then in the morning, you shall have the next part of my E3 roundup!

In other news, and less gaming related, I turned 25 last saturday. Can't say I've noticed a difference, apart from mentally knowing that I'm yet another year older. All and all though, was a fantastic birthday weekend, kicking off with getting my hands on a Muse ticket (call it a present for myself) on Friday morning.

A big thank you to everyone for making it such a fun weekend!

On another note, I can't believe I wasted a couple of days without relizing that Final Fantasy VII had appeared on the UK PSN Store. It has now been purchased and installed, on my PS3 and PSP. If you haven't played it before, or, like myself, played it and loved it the first time round...then..well..what are you waiting for? It's £7.99, and worth every penny.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

[E3] Microsoft Round Up

With the big 3's conferences out of the way, and the real show-floor gaming beginning, I thought I'd take some time going over what each of the major console manufacturers have announced this week. Once I've completed the posts for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, aswell as mentioning other muti-platform announcements, I'll take some time out to pick out some of my early impressions. But anyway..that's for later!

First up (and in order of conferences this week) is Microsoft:

Project Natal

Alright, lets get the big announcement out of the way first!

Project Natal is the current codename for the Xbox 360's new motion sensored controller. A new Live Vision Camera you ask? Well..not quite...

Sitting just below your T.V. this new camera from Microsoft is capable of mapping your body movements, facial recognition and voice recognition. The best way of imagining how this all could work can be left to the following video:

Pretty impressive huh? I was! It was inevitable that Microsoft were bringing some form of new motion sensored device to E3, in an effort to steal some of the Wii's gaming audience, but I wasn't expect what Project Natal offers.

Lionhead Studio's Peter Molyneux went on to demo 'Milo', a virtual boy, using the 360's new camera. I highly recommend reading Stephen Totilo's experience with Milo over at Kotaku. If you weren't impressed before, I'm sure you'll be at the very least a little impressed now!

Social Networking, Music and T.V.

Before Christmas Xbox 360 users, for no extra charge, shall be able to access Facebook and Twitter on their 360. Along with this, and again for no extra charge, you'll also be able to access Last.FM straight from your dash.

Not so free, will be Microsoft's 'Games on Demand' service, saving you a trip to the shops, allowing you to download the latest 360 games straight to your console. Microsoft have also formed a partnership with Sky, which yet again is scheduled before Christmas. This will allow users to watch popular Sky programs, movies and sport much like their online offering, but through their 360s with no addition hardware required.

Halo Reach, Forza 3, Left 4 Dead 2 and Crackdown 2

Forza Motorsport 3 has been rumoured to be in production for some time, but now its official, and is being aimed to be instores come Christmas. Graphics have been improved aswell as the frame rate thanks to a new engine powering the game, new cars are to be added along with ofcourse new tracks. Another interesting addition is the ability to create, edit and upload your own racing videos to Forza's website, of which you can then download.

Left 4 Dead 2 will be set around the timeline of the first L4D. Introducing 4 new survivors its also expected to offer 'deeper cooperative gameplay' aswell as being longer than its predecessor. Improving upon L4D's A.I Director, the A.I. Director 2 shall not only change the location of the zombies each time you play, oh no, now it'll also change weather effects, objects and pathways. Backed with new weapons (which include a chainsaw!) and more close combat melee action, it aims to be more than just L4D with a little more content.

We haven't had chance to buy Halo 3: ODST yet, but that hasn't stopped the announcement of a new entry into the Halo franchise. Dubbed Halo: Reach, it shall be set before the events of the original Halo game. No other information has been released about the game, apart from the fact (as stated at the end of the video teaser below) don't expect it before fall of next year:

You'll also note that for those who purchase Halo: ODST shall get an invite code for the multiplayer beta of Halo:Reach.

Not alot has been mentioned regarding Crackdown 2, apart from it'll be slightly different than the first. Some form of virus has infected the cities residents, causing them to act like zombies. The title shall also have cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes.

Metal Gear Rising

Now..I wasn't too sure on where to put this. When Microsoft first announced this title on Monday during their conference, although never really stated, everyone assumed it to be an Xbox 360 exclusive. This apparently is not the case.

Staring Raiden as the lead character (not Solid Snake) you can check out the teaser trailer below:


Alan Wake

Remedy Studios new title has been rather quiet as of late..that's all changed now as new screenshots and a trailer were shown off to the public.

Its scheduled for Spring of next year.

Perfect Dark

The original N64 hit, Perfect Dark, will be hitting Xbox Live Arcade later this year. Rumoured to be able to run in 1080p, along with being able to have online multiplayer matches. I..cannot..wait... One of my most played N64 games!

360 Avatars

As the year progresses, expect lots more clothing for your avatars, aswell as props and awards that can be purchased or awarded (by completing game achievements possibly?)

Joy Ride, a new XBLA racing title is also being produced, which will support your avatars.

Sorry for not going into much detail, and yes, I know I've missed some announcements out (as mentioned at the start of the post, multi-platform releases shall see its own post). My intentions are to round up some of the major news, some of which I shall break down into more detail, along with personal reaction.

Keep an eye open for Nintendo's round up, which should be online in the coming few days.

Many, many thanks to Kotaku and Gametrailers for the coverage provided over this week!

Monday, 1 June 2009

[Events] E3 is Upon Us

E3 kicks off today, with Microsoft's conference only a few hours away (at time of posting).

Lots of rumours and leaks have been appearing over the course of the last few days, including the (officially may I add) leaked information on the new PSP Go!

I've got a good feeling that atleast one of the big 3 are going to blow us all away with something we weren't expecting (and no, a motion-sensered peripheral from Microsoft does not fit that category!).

I've got my fingers crossed for Zone of the Enders 3, but sadly I expect we'll just see more news about a new Metal Gear from Kojima instead...

I'll post round ups of the news from L.A. over the course of the week.

Oh...and if your like me, and were un-happy that Final Fantasy VII got a release on the Japanese Playstation Store and not ours, well.. we could be in luck! It's appeared on ESRB's website for the U.S., meaning they'll get it soon hopefully. Fingers crossed we'll be next!

With thanks:
PSP Go! Info Leaked - Develop Magazine
ESRB Website confirms Final Fantasy VII for PS3/PSP - Kotaku

Thursday, 14 May 2009

[Demo] Afro's and Chocobos (Updated)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting down with a good friend of mine who'd received an item that he'd purchased off eBay..that item being the recently released Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete Blu-Ray set, which includes the demo to the upcoming Square Enix title Final Fantasy XIII.

First things first...the demo is Japanese, with no option of English subtitles or dubbed voices, meaning guess work is required. Luckily, after the first two battles it sort of all fell into place which 'button' did what.

The demo was surprisingly longer than I anticipated, giving you a chance to play through sections of the level with two groups of characters. I'll be honest, I've not read that much on the storyline/characters set to appear in XIII, so I'm afraid I can't give you more of an idea of who you get to play as. I'm trying to keep my mind clear on whats going to happen in-game, as I personally think that's one of the great things about the Final Fantasy series, meeting the characters for the first time and entering their in depth stories from the beginning with no thoughts on what may happen along the course of the game's storyline.

The combat works well, utilising a 'combo system', allowing you to choose up to 3 attacking/defending techniques in one turn, with each technique ether taking 1 or all 3 combo bars to use. With the game being totally in Japanese, its quite hard to explain exactly how it all works!

It was a very enjoyable experience. I was already excited for its release, and now the demo has made me even more so. The opening cinematic is fast and frantic, and sets you up well when it comes down to taking over the controls.

As for the Blu-Ray edition of Advent Children, I didn't sadly get the chance to view it all, managing only to see the opening 5 or so minutes of it...although within those few minutes I saw new/extended scenes not seen in the original release.

At the time of writing this article, Square Enix are set to release Final Fantasy XIII in Japan before Christmas, with no word on a date for the West. I've got my fingers crossed for before Summer 2010.

[Update] Advent Children has the option to have English speaking, but sadly no English subtitles.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

[Events] i36 Review

Day 1
Leaving at 4:30am wasn't fun, though it was needed, the car was full and on the way we got lost a few times. Got there about 8:30pm where we parked the car and grabbed our bags. Upon entering Stoneleigh Park the sheer amount of tents were incredible, and therefore gained the name "tent city" on the forums and irc.

We got our multiplay lanyards and visitors badge and entered to find our seats. I went with a TUP (Turn up and play) ticket which game us access to everything but also included a Packard Bell computer instead of bringing our own, I plugged everything in to find that my mouse had a hissy fit on the way there and decided it wanted to double click everything or not click at all. So I kindly went up and asked if I could borrow one, and received a old Razor mouse, but a mouse none the less.
Some of the main games were all ready installed and therefore only needed a CD Key entering. I locked my computer and went to look at the M-Festival exhibition in which I would be able to see some games and hardware that haven't been released to the public. After getting inside 20mins after the annonced openning time. I was able to see a dozen or so stands with some interesting kit, but they were flocked by the rest of the participants and I was unable to get a good look in, but on stage they were giving out some free stuff and annoncing the line up for the days to follow and what the exhibitors were doing during the weekend. I then proceeded back to my computer and decided to play some COD4, of which there were only 10 dedicated LAN servers in the listing but played on them none the less. Until we retreated to our hotel at approximately 5pm.

Day 2:
We woke up late as we were tired and didn't get to the venue to later on, I went to get another mouse as I returned the one I used yesterday, but was told there weren't any other mouse's left, so I decided to buy one from the Kustom PC stand, a Razer Copperhead would do the job. Today being the FIFA group stages, I went to the tournament area to find such chao's, I didn't know when my match was going to be played or who with or on what machine, so i decided to forfit and not turn up to any matches (I wasn't going to win anyway). We went around the exhibition more today but only really a glimpse and didn't look into anything much, though got my first free Rustlers burger. Mainly played some COD4 again today, but played a few other games to fill the time up. Went home about 8pm just after the pub quiz had started, we were going to enter but we were still quite tired and decided to have a few beers at the hotel.

Day 3
We woke up today, got to Stoneleigh and setup only to hear on the tannoy about Seinheisers's easter egg hunt, they had ran it yesterday but we hadn't found anything and all the prize's had gone, so we had a fresh start today, I had a look at a few of the stalls today, including Overlord II which was very buggy (I walked through two building) though acceptable as its not been released yet publically, I've never played the first one but seen it being played, there was a little improvement on the graphics, the level I played was set in the snow, the storyline seemed interesting. The next game I tried was called Fuel by Codemasters which seemed pretty good, though a great copy of Motorstorm but more open. Again I played some more COD4 and had leveled up around 8 - 10 levels by this point.

Day 4
The last day, we went in to see whole rows of computers missing and lots of packing up being done, I installed Farcry 2 and again played some COD4, when I heard the raffle draw tannoy annoncement. Everyone flocked to reception to hear Wizzo (Craig Fletcher) announce the winning ticket, I unfortunatley didn't win anything (There was one on the back of the visitors badge and I bought 5 more). The lucky guy infront of me had won a G15 Keyboard and a Seinheiser headset, combined win was around £150. Everyone was packing up, so I uninstalled all my games, I didn't have to but I wanted to be safe, as I was leaving I spoke to someone abit further down sking if he was leaving to and found out he lived about 3 miles away from my house. As we were leaving I was surprised to see how much empty rubbish including many Pizza Box's were there.

Overall a good experience and definatly would go again, though would:
Bring My Own Computer
Stay on site
Go as part of a clan
Bring more money
Buy more raffle tickets.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

[Events] Ready for I36

Hey just a quick post before I go bed,

Im all packed to go to make my way down to Stoneleigh Park for this Easter weekend, as I'll be attending the i36 and M Festival.

Got my Mountain Dew and Jolt Cola packed ready for an exciting weekend. This being my second games exibition and my first major LAN festival.

I'll be bringing you all the information in the next few days. Including previews of Overlord 2, Jumpgate Evolution, Fuel and Damnation from Codemasters. Also any ongoing's of the i36 LAN competition.


P.S. Wish me luck in the FIFA 09 Tournament, cause I'll need all the help I can get.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

[Warhammer] Something a bit different

A quick, but slighty different update for GamePad

I collect/build/battle with Warhammer minitures from time to time. I'm currently collecting a Tau army for Warhammer 40,000.

Something I don't usually do is paint, as to be honest, I'm a poor painter. I don't have the arty skills required, not to mention the co-ordination and patience.

However, I'm currently painting one of my Tau battlesuits, of which below, is an image of how it currently looks:

I know its got bits of paint where their shouldn't be, as well as looking patchy, and some paint has ran, and the red and white look a little poor..and so on.. But hey! I'm still pretty happy with it!

I'll post more pictures of my Tau as I paint them, as well as posting a picture of the battlesuit once completely finished.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

[News] OnLive: Reaction

Just a quick update for you folks!

BBC News have done an article on the upcoming OnLive service, which can be found here have a new article online, as they look to answer the all important question 'Will it ACTUALLY work?'.

Meanwhile, Penny Arcade's Tycho compares OnLive to the Phantom (remember that?), and have posted a new comic strip for the occasion, which is below:

For those of you who don't read Penny Arcade, you really should...

With thanks:
BBC News: Streaming Games Service Launched
Eurogamer: Why OnLive Can't Possibly Work
Penny Arcade: Lunch

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

[News] OnLive: A New Era for PC Gaming?

Over in San Fransico at the moment is the Games Developers Conference. Aswell as previews of the new Crytek engine, and new features for the Unreal Engine comes a new little device that could banish the need for upgrading/buying a new PC.

The device I'm talking about is called OnLive. In essence its a little adapter which can be plugged into a low budget PC and yet allows you to play the latest PC games, on their maximum graphical settings.

How does this work? Put it this way, you'll basically be streaming the game via your broadband connection from a server that has the game installed on.

Taken from popular gaming site Kotaku:

Using patented video compression in tandem with algorithms that compensate for lag, jitter and packet loss, OnLive delivers video at up to 720p resolution at frame rates up to 60 frames per second. Of course, the quality of the video feed relies on your connection.

For standard definition television quality, a broadband connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second is required. For HDTV resolution, a connection of at least 5 mbps is needed.

What about lag, you say? OnLive's technology "incubator" Rearden Studios claims that its servers will deliver video feeds that have a ping of less than one millisecond. Its patented video compression technique is also advertised as blazing fast, with video compression taking about one millisecond to process.

All very fancy? It certainley sounds like an interesting product. It also has the big names on board already, such as EA, Atari and Epic Games.

It's currently being beta tested internally, with a possible launch being penned in for the end of this year.

Kotaku have posted 2 Tech Interview videos on their site, the first is below. To view the article and to see the second video, here's the link

For the full article by Kotaku about OnLive can be found here.

What does everyone think? Could this mean no more need to splash the cash on a new gaming rig? Or will the promise of lag-free streaming gaming be too hard to pull off, especally in regards to playing online matches? Post your comments!

With thanks: OnLive Makes PC Upgrades Extinct, Lets you play Crysis on your TV
See OnLive in Action

Monday, 23 March 2009

[Update] Playing Catch Up

Well, its been a while!

My apologies for not posting for a while! I've been experiencing PC problems, and have been kept busy with work and whatnot. However, back down to business...

I'm off work for 2 weeks, so I'm going to get new content posted online, and put the finishing touches to a couple of articles I've been writing. One being the 2nd part of the Year Ahead article started back in early February.

The results from the sites first poll are in. Thanks to all those who made their selection.
Leading the way is the 360, with the Wii in last place. Somewhat surprised to see the PSP with 1 more point than the Wii. I'll look at re-doing that particular poll once the site becomes a tad more popular, so that we can hopefully get a few more votes!

In the up and coming weeks I'm going to try my hand at writing preview and reviews, and then posting my attempts on here.

Keep your eyes open for a contest aswell (altho don't expect a super amazing prize!)

Monday, 16 March 2009

[News] New Sega Mega Drive set for April

The BLAZE SEGA Mega Drive is dated for the 24th of April 2009 and is available to Pre-order at

"The Blaze Sega Mega Drive two player console is the ultimate home retro games console, bringing back the glory days of the Sega Mega Drive!

This stylish 2-player console features 15 Sega-licenced games built-in, including Sonic And Knuckles, Alex Kidd, Golden Axe and many more! As well as these built in games, you can use original Mega Drive and Genesis cartridges from all regions!

Easy to set up straight out of the box, the Sega Mega Drive Twin Player Console really is the perfect home retro console."

The console will be delivered by the same company who brought you the SEGA Megadrive Handeld and Megadrive Twin pads.

The console will be delivered by the same company who brought you the SEGA Megadrive Handheld and Megadrive Twin pads at a RRP of £39.99
SEGA Mega Drive

Thursday, 26 February 2009


Thought I'd update you with what I have been trying out recently, first off I have been downloading a few demo's on Xbox live.

The first demo I downloaded was Resident Evil 5, which has two playable levels. I quite like the look of it and was quite impressed when I saw that its the first ever game to use a virtual camera. The only bad points of it was that when shooting you can't walk back slowly, you have to remain stationary while shooting.

Second demo I downloaded was Halo Wars, which looks really good but I didn't play it much, the demo looked pretty limited, so I'm now waiting for my rental copy to come through the post and hopefully I will have time to write a review for it.

The last demo on Xbox live was Tom Clancy's H.A.W.K which is a Jet Fighter simulation game based in the future, the control's I found really easy to use, I had a few games on it and will look forward to picking up a copy of it soon. Here's a trailer for it.

Other than that I have allowed into a closed beta of the Battlefield Hero's game, a free cartoon shooter, similar to Team Fortress 2. The game is basically Battlefield 1942 but with a cartoon and comical twist. I'm quite enjoying playing that, here's a trailer for it.

I hope to update soon.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

[News] Quake Live is Open!

"Born from the Legendary QUAKE ARENA Multiplayer Shooter Games, a New QUAKE Rocks the Internet with a Totally Free Browser-based Experience"
Quake Live was first announced during the keynote at QuakeCon 2007 under the code name of Quake Zero as a free to play version of Quake 3.

I've been in the closed beta for sometime now and if your a fan of Quake games or competitive online games in general, be sure to check this game out.

The game is now in open beta so get on fragging over at Quake Live.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

[News] More New Stuff!

What an interesting few days in the world of gaming...

Following on from Rory's previous post EA have gone and released a trailer of the now confirmed Battlefield 1943:

Valve have annouced the new expansion for its zombie survival horror game Left 4 Dead. L4D Survival Pack will include a new 'Survival' multiplayer mode, aswell as adding two brand new campaigns to the Versus mode. Both 360 and PC gamers will have access (for a small fee no doubt) to the new content come the spring time, with PC gamers also getting the SDK pack for Left 4 Dead around the same time.

Other news includes SEGA keeping hold of the International Olympic Comitee licence, meaning that its very likely we'll be seeing a Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games.

Switching your 360 on this evening? You really the Halo Wars demo has gone live today. Mines currently downloading at a painfully slow rate.

Don't despair PS3 owners! You too have a new demo! Killzone 2. I've heard whispers of it possibly being in the running for this years game of the year already, so download it and get your first impressions in.

With thanks:
MCV: SEGA Keeps Olympic Licence
Kotaku L4D Expansion

[Update] Annoncements

There's been ALOT of announcements been made recently such as....

The games developer Crytek, famous for Crysis and Farcry games, have acquired Free Radical Design off Administrators ReSolve Partners. No details of how much was paid for the company, and no news what has happened to there IP's and ongoing projects such as Timesplitters 4, Star Wars Battlefront 3. I doubt whether they will release a sequel to the poor selling PS3 exclusive Haze.

Also some new game announcements have been made, imparticular EA which have announced that Mass Effect 2 which will be Multi platform, and also Battlefield Bad Company 2, will be released in late 2009/early 2010. Though also EA announced delays for The Sims 3 and The Godfather 2. Thee Godfather 2 should be released in the next fiscal year and The Sims 3 in June.

Sega announces Iron Man 2 which will tie in with the film, both to be released in May 2010

Warner announces Lego Battles set for a summer release on Nintendo DS. The game is a strategy based game with multiplayer capabilities using the Nintendo DS's built in WiFi.

Tom Clancy's Hawk game which was due to be released last year will now be released on March 6th for PS3 and Xbox 360 but PC Gamers will have to wait till March 13th.

Rockstar announce a sequel to there 2004 PS2 and Xbox title Red Dead Revolver. Due to be released on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The game will be using Rockstars Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) which was used for GTA4.

Also RUMOURS of EA announcing Battlefield 1943: Pacific at the New York Comic Convention. Which would bring the series back to World War 2 timescale. The game is thought to be released for both PS3 and Xbox 360.



Tuesday, 3 February 2009

[Films] Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

A new Transformers movie hits us on the 26th of June this year, and with a new trailer been posted during the SuperBowl adverts, I thought I'd update the blog with a snippet.

Really can't wait till the release of this film.


Links: Official Website

[FEATURE] Let's see how it all began...

So, you've just bought a new game and you rip off the packaging, have a quick flick through the instruction manual and then put it in the disc drive and fire it up, ready to spend a few hours working your way through it.
It's then that it starts to occur to you that you are missing something from the story.
It feels like there should be a lot before this, some important plot point that you have missed, but upon checking the manual again, the game starts exactly where it should have...

'Prequels' in the film industry are old news now, what with The Godfather Part 2 (well, half of it), Star Wars Episodes I-III and more recently, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and the upcoming Wolverine: Origins, but this trend has seemingly started to influence game writers more too.

The highest profile 'prequel' is undoubtedly Halo Wars. In case you've been asleep for the last 8 years, you'll know what Halo is and will more than likely have seen it running if not played it, but when you get into the first game, you are told you are the last of your kind.
So, hang on. If I'm the last of my kind, what happened to the rest of them?
Like the much lauded Clone Wars was mentioned throughout the Star Wars  trilogy and we had to wait many years to witness that, it has taken 8 years for Bungie to allow us access to the horrific events leading to the downfall of the Spartans that we have only heard about before.
At last we can see how the Covenant wiped out this supposedly unbeatable creation.

Another case of returning to roots is House of the Dead: Overkill on Wii.
This new instalment shows us G as a younger agent, but for this privilege we have had to wait a massive 13 years from the release of the original game, although the narrative within the games has always made good ground in explaining just what was going on, asking the question of why we even need to see previous action at all.

While the idea of 'prequels' has surfaced before within gaming, Yoshi's Island after all gave us a glimpse of a certain plumber as a baby, and that series has gone on further since then, this new wave has also branched out into other media, the most notable being Dead Space.

You begin the game in a derelict spacecraft where something has happened, but what?
Well, to find that out, you could always watch the animation that precedes the action in the game and leads right up to the moment you arrive there.
But again, something seems to have happened before the animation, but what was that?
You could always download the animated comics available on XBOX LIVE or read the actual paper copy to see what happens right up to the moment the animation starts.
But then you feel like something is missing again, and you're right, there is.
If you took the legal way off acquiring the animation and got the paper copy of the comics, what's missing is upwards of £20 from your wallet on top of £40-50 on the game!
Why not include these as basic extras on a bonus disc? They already gave the comics away for free on the LIVE server so the cost there can't have been an issue and it would have helped those who wanted to know to understand the whole story.

So while I like to know what's going on I obviously understand that to keep space to a maximum they can't provide the whole story on one disc, but if you're going to do that can't you release them in the right order?
Or at least get them out to us sooner than 13 years please! We really would appreciate it.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Well the Blog is officially opened now, I posted earlier about some of the Games Conventions that I am going to.

Like Dave, as soon as I posted, more news came. Unfortunately we both had bad news.

The Leipzig Games Convention has been changed to the Games Convention Online which also moves the convention nearly a month early, to the 31st of July to the 2nd of August. Which means I won't be able to attend.

Good news is that I'll be able to have a nice well earned break during those weeks, as I have booked holidays off work.


[News] Hello!

And so the countdown ends...

For many of you this shall be the first time you've seen this site, as I've started to advertise it a bit more. So if you are one of those people...Hello!

For those unaware, I've created this blog to talk about all things gaming (while sometimes touching upon other topics/subjects). Myself, as well as a team of friends will be working towards keeping this site as updated as possible. Whether it be a new game trailer, rumours, new releases or general news about the industry, we shall try to keep you all informed.

From time to time we shall also be posting reports and articles, such as this article I typed up back in December regarding EA, and this article in regards to upcoming releases this year (of which part two shall be appearing in the coming few days).

Although this site is something thats being working on in spare time I'll be looking to improve and expand over time. Everyones comments and feedback are welcome as we want to keep people returning to this site.

A new poll has been created down the right hand side of this site...yes its a question thats asked time and time again, but its a good one to get us started! The poll shall close at 8pm next monday.

As already mentioned, please feel free to post your comments or even drop me an email. Ideas are always welcome.

And finally, a big thanks to all those who have helped get this site going, and to those who shall help it progress.

Thanks for reading!

Dave, and everyone from GamePad

P.S. Don't forget, you can add this blog as a RSS feed to your browser!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

[News] A Casual Word

I had a brief chat with a Microsoft rep in work today.

He didn't have much in the way of new news, however he did go on to say that Xbox Live's first gameshow, 1 vs 100 should be released very soon. Aswell as that, he went on to point out that Microsoft were still working with BT to get the BT Vision service via your Xbox 360, with no need to purchase anything extra for your console (all you need is a BT Vision account). Hopefully we should see that service before the year is out.

Both of those points further point towards Microsoft working to further improve its Live Experiance this year, which is good stuff, bearing in mind the slight reduced number in exclusive titles to be released this year compared to last on the 360 (as mentioned here).

He went on to show a gameplay trailer for Halo Wars...which shall be the first console RPG I've bought since Command and Conquer Red Alert on the Playstation. He was very confident that people will find it easy to use the 360 pad. We shall all see for ourselves come Feb 5th, as thats when the demo hits Marketplace. Halo Wars is due for release on the 27th Feb.

For those interested, here's the gameplay footage:

And saw the release of a new trailer to Final Fantasy XIII. Click away to be taken to the official site.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

[News] Countdown...

You may have spotted that clock over on the right hand side, and you maybe wondering why its there. Allow me to explain...

Up until this point, apart from a few select people, this site hasn't really been advertised. This has allowed myself and the guest bloggers to edit the general look of the blog, aswell as get some early content typed up and posted.

As from Feb 2nd this site shall be more publically advertised, in effect 'opening the blog'.

From that point, myself and the guest bloggers will be looking to making the posts alot more regular, hopefully giving most of you new content to enjoy each time you visit.

Any newcomers to this site, don't forget to check the Archives for past postings.

Thanks to all who have helped to get this blog to this point. Roll on the 2nd!

[Events] Games Conventions

Hey its Rory,

Just thought i'd add a post saying where I am going this year in terms of conventions and festivals regarding technology and games. I'll be taking my camera to both and update the blog when possible.

First of all im going to the i36 tournament or the newly dubbed name of the "M Festival", which is regarded as the Glastonbury of gaming in the UK. It's main attraction is the Bring Your Own Computer LAN Event, which is the largest in the UK. The second attraction is the Exhibitors hall where the latest hardware and gadget's is shown. I'll be attending all weekend, its my first i-tournament so I thought I'd rent a Turn up and Play place where I rent a computer, rather than taking down my own box. If your interested in attending the website address is here.
This takes place from the 10th to the 13th of April.

Here's a Promo Video of the event:

Secondly I am going to the Leipzig Games Convention, in Germany, this hasn't been booked yet but I hope to book in the next month or so. This takes place between the 19th and 23rd of August, I will probably attend all days. There will be lots of publicity about this event and has seemed to supercede E3. Lots of games are annonced and first screens and video's are normally published at this event. I really look forward to going to this. If all goes well I will try and get tickets for PAX and E for All either in 2009 or 2010.

M Festival
PAX (Penny Arcade Expo)
E for All
Leipzig Games Convention

Friday, 23 January 2009

[Update] Spoke too Soon...

Sadly, although mentioned we'd be seeing it on our shelves this year in my previous post, Final Fantasy XIII has been delayed until next year for us folks in the west. Boo!
Japan shall still get it this year, although only on PS3.

Some good news however, Ubisoft have announced today that we'll see Assassin's Creed 2 before the year is out. Also the much delayed Splinter Cell: Conviction and a new Ghost Recon title shall be released before March 31st 2010.

Survival title I Am Alive, also from Ubisoft, was orginally suppose to be released during the first quarter of this year, however, thats been delayed aswell. Its now been put into the same time frame as Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon.

With thanks: MCV - Assassin's Creed 2 out this year

Monday, 12 January 2009

[News] The Year Ahead - Part One

So here we are, 2009...and we're still not living on the moon, oh well...

Last year was a fantastic year for gaming. The PS3 finally started making its mark (that much so, that I now also have one!), the Wii continued to show that it wasn't just a gimmick and the 360 (albeit had its hardware problems) had a very good year of sales.

So, what about this coming year? Well, it hasn't started amazingly well for a selection of the industry, with major reduncies coming from most of the big name studios (EA, Sony and Microsoft naming three) as the financial situation contiues to worsen. Even the gaming media has felt the full force of credit crunch with the demise of the popular US publication Electronic Gaming Monthly, and the selling of the online gaming site 1UP.

What can we be looking forward to be playing on our consoles this year?

Xbox 360: Its going to be a quieter year for Microsoft now that we've seen Gears of War 2, Fable 2 and the New Xbox Experiance update for the console's dashboard. Saying that, we do have more Halo goodness to look forward to this year. I'm also looking forward to more appearing on Xbox Live, in the way of downloadable content for their AAA exclusive titles. I can see Microsoft further tempting gamers who have both a 360 and a PS3 to buying their multi-platform releases, such as Resident Evil 5, on the 360 instead of the PS3 by more exclusive deals offering extra online content and such. Speaking of which, we'll get to see Rockstar's 2 new 360 exclusive downloadable content for GTA this year.

Playstation 3: With the arrival of the Playstation Home beta just before Christmas, expect a whole host of improvements and additions to its online MMO style community, which will make or break it, as at the moment it has its work cut out to be a true selling point for the console. Sony will be pushing its first party titles, such as Killzone 2 (of which a demo will be avalible on the PSN to download in the near future) and the eventual release of its flagship racing title Gran Turismo 5. Losing the exclusive rights to Final Fantasy XIII will have left a bitter taste in Sony's mouths, however they still get Versus XIII and Kingdom Hearts 3 all to themselves.

Nintendo Wii: Wii games have dominated the UK sales charts this year. Its sold very well over the Christmas period yet again, so kudos for Nintendo, who have proved everyone wrong with the direction they took with their next generation console. However, they need to keep people playing and they are still struggling to get third party studios to make the most of the hardware. It also needs to take a look at its more 'hardcore' gamers, as its easy to see its core market is more towards the casual gamers. Sega's Madworld is one to look out for this year (for those old enough to play it, as it'll probably be an 18 rated title) as its looking the part, and will tap into fans of the under rated title of 2008 No More Heroes.

PC: Last year saw the rise and fall of a couple of highly anticapted MMO's. Tabula Rasa sadly failed to leave its mark, with the games servers now being shut down. Even today, news has surfaced about Age of Conan taking steps to stay online by merging and closing some of its servers. Warhammer Online started well, and has continued to improve, while the MMO it strives to be more popular than (none other, than World of Warcraft) saw the launch of its 2nd expansion. So will this be another PC year of gaming dominated by MMOs? I don't think so... Although their are a few in devolpment (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Star Trek Online, and ofcourse Lego!) a fair number of them won't be ready for release this year. No, I personally feel this will be the year for RTS fans, with the arrival of the new Starcraft, Dawn of War 2, Company of Heroes and Supreme Commander 2 to name a few. Its battle against piracy will continue to be a major factor.

[Keep an eye open for Part Two, which will mention the PSP and DS, aswell as more on the financial problems striking the industry]

Aswell as all this, their is a whole host of multi-platform releases. Resident Evil 5 is looking to continue on from the popularity of Resident Evil 4 and its forerunners, while Square will be hopeing for big sales from Final Fantasy XIII, which not forgetting, will be avalible on both the 360 and the PS3. Street Fighter 4, Bioshock 2, Assasins Creed 2, Ghostbusters... the list goes on...

One scary fact which has really sunk home while typing this article is the lack of new original titles. They seem lost amognst the tide of sequels.

My gaming hopes for this year? A UK release of Studio Ghilbi's DS title (from Level 5, the studio that gave us Professor Layton) Ninokuni. Oh, and some sort of agreement for the 'nearly finished' Goldeneye to appear on Xbox Live Arcade...c'mon Nintendo/Microsoft/Rare/Activision...sort it out!!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

[Hardware] Logitech's New Toys

With CES announcements now bursting through the news, I thought it was time to write a post about one of the announcements. Logitech fired up the convention today by unveiling its new G-series gaming peripherals. The three new products in the G-series will be released for sale in March/April time.

The G19 Keyboard boasts and amazing 320 by 240 pixel colour tilting Gamepanel LCD that can show pictures, videos or in-game details from 60 games. Its includes 12 programmable keys with 3 macro's each and two USB ports and a button that disables the windows key for those in game accidents. Selling Price: $200/£134.

The 7.1 surround sound headset includes a microphone, six voice morphing options and three programmable keys, and also includes three swappable headbands. Selling Price: $130/£87

The G9x Laser Mouse has up to 200 to 5000 dpi on the fly. Two grips, on board memory to store up to 5 profiles, weight tuning system and custom coloured LED's. Selling Price: $100/£67

Very expensive equipment but looks pretty neat to me.

Source: Kotaku