Imagine; you want to play Connect 4 with your friend. However, you and your friend are nowhere near each other. It’s a good thing the ButtonMasher Podcast is here to tell you about Connect 4 on the Xbox Live Marketplace for only 800 Microsoft points! Somewhere in the middle, me and Brian have a chat with David Hine from Sony NZ, and I confuse Prototype with Infamous again.

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Also, we put Buzz!: Brain Of New Zealand and Scene It: Box Office Smash side by side, Gar gets angry about the consolation points in the latter, and utters some terrible words towards the end.

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We do have some smart/talented people that have started working on a new site design, we hope to have it up as soon as possible while still making sure it is working properly.

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We hope you enjoyed the MuttonBasher day of news as much as we did putting it together.

It hasn’t been more than half a day since we went live with our new site design and focus but  the accolades are rolling in from gamers, sheep lovers and knitting enthusiasts already.

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Past the break are a few comments from people that have just found the site and some existing users that have been overwhelmed by the new direction of the site.

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Rt Hon John Key, NZ’s tourism minister as well as Prime Minister, spoke today about the possibility of expanding New Zealand’s already impressive tourism portfolio into the realm of online “e-tourism”.  Mr Key praised the efforts of New Zealand game developers in capturing the attention of the world, “like a ewe catches the eye of a randy ram.”

Possible future ventures might include live webcasts of sheep shearing, guided e-tours of notorious NZ sheep-related websites, and various online competitions and challenges.

Mr Key says that in-depth statistical analysis of the sales of Red Band gumboots versus sheep population in Australasia prove that NZ has “a lot more to offer than just pretty mountains and mud pools.”

Former tourism minister, Damien O’Connor, appeared disturbed by Mr Key’s comments, saying only that “You can’t exploit our nation’s most valuable resource by whoring it out on the internet.  Our sheep have earned better!”

Mr Key declined to comment on the exploding sheep censorship scandal that has been dogging his government these past weeks, saying only that “I should hope that every New Zealander already knows how treat a sheep properly.”

For years, exploding sheep in video games have entertained gamers across all cultural boundaries. There just seems to be some universal joy to be found in the destruction of innocent sheep. Blizzard has today signaled an intention to bring more exploding sheep to their current line-up of games, as well as announcing a brand new IP based around the theme, but the days of this form of cheap entertainment may be numbered, at least in New Zealand.

Form a group Against Games with Sheep (FAGS) spokesperson Agnes Lamb has called for a ban on exploding sheep in video games, saying that: “for too long sheep have been treated with indignity in video games, been the butt of jokes and been subjected to gory and cruel explosions.”

Green MP Sue Kedley has thrown her support behind FAGS, saying “There are no benefits, only risks, to New Zealand from allowing the torture of sheep in video games”. She added that while she didn’t question that certain religious groups have their own beliefs about what is culturally appropriate for them to do with sheep, “we don’t have to participate in extreme cruelty”.

ButtonMasher contacted Chief Censor Bill Hastings, but received no reply. Bans on exploding sheep could have far reaching effects – other publications with exploding sheep would also require reclassification. Classic Kiwi films such as Bad Taste would need to be reclassified and almost certainly edited to comply with any such ban.

Blizzard’s press release appears after the break.

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