grid Codemasters have a long list of reasonably well respected racing games. TOCA Touring Car Championship was released towards the end of 1997 and proved popular in territories like Australia where motorsports are very prolific. A number of sequels followed and the TOCA series was renamed V8 Supercars in Australia and New Zealand. 2006 saw Codemasters bring out TOCA Race Driver 3 which continued with the theme of ever expanding motorsports available to contest. Race Driver GRID is the evolution of the TOCA series, a mix between the arcade and simulation type racing games and is probably best described as a hybrid of the two.

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Update: We are now able to confirm the our earlier report, that EB Games will be purchasing the retail chain “The Gamesman“. ButtonMasher have it on good authority that the changeover at the retail level will happen on Monday 14 July, although it is unclear at this stage when the rebranding of stores will be occurring. Now would be an extremely good time to cash in any remaining Gamesman gift vouchers – there could be no guarantee that these will be valid at EB Games from 14 July onwards.

Also, the talk in the industry today is that The Gamesman’s online store (www.gamesman.co.nz) will remain open for business even after the acquisition of the retail stores. This will be of some relief to gamers who fear that this latest business takeover leaves little choice in the New Zealand gaming market from specialist stores. However this news will not be of any comfort to other competing webstores in New Zealand.

ButtonMasher has been told unofficially that New Zealand’s largest independent gaming store (“100% KIWI owned and managed”) is going to be bought out by retail giant EB Games. This follows the demise earlier this year of the GamesPlus stores, which were born from the failed Central Park Interactive.

First E“A” and now E“B”. Each engulfing smaller independent companies in their quest for global domination. While there remains a reasonable degree of competition from non-specialty stores, this latest news will basically mean that for most New Zealanders, a “gaming store” will become synonymous with “EB Games”. Will somebody please think of the children! (viz. future GTA gamers)

Our sources have been told that all 8 stores in Auckland, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, and Christchurch, will be rebranded and refitted as EB stores by late July. These centres all have current EB Games stores, but the official word (as presented to staff members) is that there will be no job losses. However as we all know, these can hardly be taken as reassurances. More than likely, EB stores will just not replace staff as they resign, and leave the downsizing until this has happened. And in areas where two stores are not justified, it is hard to see this not happening.

ButtonmMasher tip: Make sure that you cash in any remaining Gift Vouchers you might have.

mgs4 Metal Gear Solid 4 is perhaps the first PlayStation 3 exclusive title to really get people fired up. While games such as GT Prologue and Uncharted did cause a spark, they simply did not have as much of an impact. MGS4 brings a much loved PlayStation franchise to the more powerful PS3 hardware. The Metal Gear games have a certain stigma to them though.

Full of nuance, finicky control schemes and absolutely absurd storylines. It has very much fallen into the "love it or hate it" category. Most people who have played through MGS4 will say that those who did not like the previous Metal Gear games are unlikely to enjoy MGS4. I disagree. I have played the previous Metal Gear Solid games. Not more than three hours each…but I played them.

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