Yesterday on the forums, Mriceguy brought attention to the call for registrations to preview the next major Xbox LIVE update which is set to launch the downloadable "Games on Demand" service, as well as the Avatar marketplace, and the new Netflix movie parties (obviously not yet available in New Zealand).

Kotaku report that hidden away in a Comic-Con annoucement from Microsoft, is the revelation that if you are not one of the lucky chosen few to preview the update, you won’t have to wait long before it is released to the public. Microsoft have confirmed that the update is due August 11, and will include the Xbox LIVE Games on Demand service launching with over 30 games. These include Assassin’s Creed, BiosShock, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Mass Effect, and Sonic the Hedgehog.

beatlesrockband

New Zealander gamers’ favourite Australian friend JB Hi-Fi have listed The Beatles: Rock Band on their website with a price tag of AUD $349 for the Limited Edition Premium Bundle which includes the game, a Höfner Bass controller, Ludwig/Beatles branded drum kit, microphone and stand, and "additional special content". EA are yet to confirm this pricing for the region, but it would be unlikely that the price is far off the mark. The US pricing is a whopping USD $249, making the JB Hi-Fi price about USD $30 above this. We can only speculate about NZ pricing, but it seems likely this will definitely top $400, and probably be much closer to $450.

Meanwhile 15 new songs have been confirmed for the 45-track setlist, including "Twist and Shout", "Can’t Buy Me Love", and "Yellow Submarine". This brings the total confirmed song list to 25. In addition to the on-disc included songs, there will be some DLC available immediately upon the worldwide release on 09-09-09. The entire "Abbey Road" album will be downloadable for all platforms, while "All You Need is Love" will be an Xbox 360 exclusive, with proceeds being donated to charity "Doctors Without Borders".

Click past the break for a full list of the newly confirmed and previously confirmed songs.

Continue reading

iceagebanner

A sloth, a woolly mammoth, and a sabre tooth tiger walk into a bar, Surely there’s a great joke to be finished there. The game is obviously the interactive offering for the Movie which came out a few weeks ago and is targeted at an age bracket younger than most of us would fit in but perhaps appropriate for the parents reading this.

Continue reading

cursedmountain

Mountains are pretty scary, there are many examples of them being used in literature and media to scare us, you might remember examples such as Escape to Witch Mountain, Under the Mountain, or Twin Peaks…….. DeepSilver are attempting to tap into this subconscious phobia of big hills to create suspense and drama in their upcoming title Cursed Mountain. Even if the game doesn’t turn out to be as scary as it is claiming to be at least these promo videos got made. It is scheduled to release here in NZ in October.

I’ve embedded them after the break along with the trailer for the game.

Continue reading

pilates

In the continuing trend of tapping unexplored areas of fitness and health, Sega is bringing Pilates to the Wii next month in the US. No word on a local release yet, and at face value this seems to be a title with strong regional interest given that it features former America’s Funniest Home Video’s and MTV Latino presenter, Daisy Fuentes.

While many will dismiss the game as gimmicky with healthy doses of waggle, perhaps the weakest point of the game will be the underpowered graphics engine that is unable to do the presenter any justice. Just Google Daisy Fuentes and you may suddenly take interest in whether or not the game will make it to New Zealand.

 

Ubisoft have created a casual games division on Facebook called Ubifriends. Their first little game is called TickTock and it’s pretty neat really, a time-based quiz game based upon your friend’s status messages.

TickTock has you sending ticking time bombs to your friends. To disarm a bomb that a friend sent you, the game presents you with one of your friend’s status updates and you need to select the right friend out of a choice of three. You can use lifelines to keep going if you wish. To send a bomb you need to do the same thing but this time the more answers you get right, the more powerful your bomb will be. Your friend will need to disarm it within 24 hours. You can also spend game money on lifelines and more powerful weapons.

With the success of applications like Mafia Wars and Farm Town, it was only a matter of time before the big boys showed up to play. How they’re going to make money from it though is anybody’s guess. Try it out on Facebook.

In today’s commercial world, advertisement are a reality (hello banner ad above!). They sponsor the service that you are using, meaning that you use it for free. Paid subscriptions are usually available as an option, giving you an uninterrupted, advertisement free experience.

An Xbox LIVE gold subscription costs around $90 per year, which is no small change given that you could buy an extra game a year for that. However most Xbox gamers are happy (or at least resigned) to paying for what many regard as the best online console gaming experience available.

Until now, only static advertisements have appeared on the Xbox 360 dashboard/NXE, but one gamer was so upset by the appearance of a video advertisement (complete with sound), that he recorded it and uploaded it to YouTube (video appears after the break). Frankly I’m miffed too. Aside from the annoyance factor, these advertisements are set to take up all-precious bandwidth  – something that is already in short supply in New Zealand.

Continue reading

watchoutbehind

Gay groups are infuriated over an online flash game where players have to shoot gay men to prevent being "raped" by them. "Watch out behind you, Hunter" was actually launched in 2002, but had it not been for the attention brought to the news wires by calls to ban the game, I would not have even been aware of its existence.

The game plays like a bad joke, and isn’t particularly of a high standard, but more important it raises issues about whether such themes are appropriate in the video games we hold so dear to our hearts. At what point (if at all) does it all just become too offensive?

Is it ok to have what one deems as "fun" at the expense of others just because of who they are? Discuss below or in the forums.

obama

President of the free world, Barack Obama, last week continued his negative comments about video gaming, calling for parents to accept responsibility for learning in the home by (among other things) "putting away the Xbox [and] putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour".

Microsoft must have loved Obama for mentioning its console (after all no publicity is bad publicity), and have come out with a measured response to ensure that the spotlight remains where it belongs on the Xbox. A spokesperson for the company has said:

"We agree with President Obama that it’s a time for families to work together so that kids use media in ways that are safe, healthy and balanced. Xbox 360 is the only console gaming system that has a timer feature allowing parents to set time limits for their kids, as well as parent controls to enable parents to set limits on what their kids are playing and watching."

Great comeback from the spin doctors! via IGN

image

Last week we made note of the appearance of the triforce logo (from Zelda, BorDAr) in several of Google’s "doodle" banner images that appear on dates of special significance such as Nikola Tesla’s birthday. It appears that Google has turned to the dark side, and has gone back and scrubbed out the offending logos from the various doodles in which it has featured previously.

The artist alleged to have included the triforce in the doodles is Susie Sahim, who has previously been snapped dressing up as Link (see image after the break). The triforce logos have now also disappeared from Susie’s own website, which shows some of the doodles she has designed for the Google page.

Only in China?

Continue reading