Westerns are almost an untapped area of inspiration in the current console cycle and have been massively overlooked in the past as well, the recent attempts haven’t managed to capture my attention so I was interested to see what Red Dead Redemption would have to offer when the Rockstar guys showed up to let us have a look at an early build. Will it be the adventure that the shooter that gets people interested in the old west? That’s a question that will have to wait for the final release, but my level of interest after the walkthrough is something that can be gauged.

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Downloadable titles have really started coming into their own, and the latest flurry of titles has proven that you don’t have to spend $120+ on a decent gaming experience. Splosion Man, Monkey Island: SE and Shadow Complex have all shown themselves to be worthy of purchase, but only one title has really exploded within the ButtonMasher community and brought everyone together in a surge of competition, frustration and joy, and that title is Trials HD.

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Scrap Metal has been in development for a while now, but Slick Entertainment, who also collaborated on N+, have announced XBLA as the game’s final destination, releasing sometime in 2010.

Scrap Metal is a top-down, combat racer in the vein of Mashed and Micro Machines. It’s the kind of game that’s been sorely missing on the Arcade. The development video after the break features the developers as well as some gameplay footage.

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A combined study by Gamematrix (research dept. of 11 Prozent Communication) and the University of Offenberg has highlighted some “positive” indicators for the efficiency of in-game advertising. They collected data from 65 test subjects while playing Need for Speed and FIFA 08, measuring ad recall and analysing eye movements. They have said that some brands have benefited quite well from placement in video games already (recognition rates increased by 30%), but it is important to consider placement and design as well as the context of the brand.

I’m all for a clever, entertaining commercial to promote a product or brand, but this is not what we are talking about here. In my opinion it is strictly a revenue collecting venture, similar to that of what the New Zealand Police do with their speed cameras. Here’s the difference though, [I assume] at least some of that revenue collected by the Police is pumped back into research and safety campaigns. If we as gamers are being bombarded with in-game advertising, some of that revenue needs to be passed back on to us. Whether that equates to cheaper game titles, I don’t know. But it is bound to be a controversial issue as in-game advertising becomes more wide spread.


Heard of Stoked? I know at least a few of you have because I’ve had more than one person asking me about it in the past. It is an open world snowboarding game which features dynamic weather systems and the input from many of the worlds leading snowboarding companies all set in the back country over five mountains. It released in the States earlier in the year and will be heading to PAL regions, including New Zealand this September.


Following the $100 USD price cut of the Xbox 360 Elite console in the US comes the announcement today from Microsoft NZ that from September 22 we will also enjoy a $100 price drop. That is the $499 Elite price point predicted here last week on the back of the press release from Microsoft about the bundling of Halo Wars and Halo 3 with Pro consoles for $499.

The Pro and Arcade consoles remain the same price, and for a limited time after release of the $499 Elite, purchasers will also get a free copy of Halo 3: ODST. Artists impression of the new Elite appears after the break.

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The on-again, off-again saga of The Beatles: Rock Band instruments in New Zealand may be drawing to a conclusion – and it is a good one if you are a fan of The Beatles and the Rock Band series. The “Limited Edition Premium Bundle” has been priced at $399.99 for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii versions.

The Beatles: Rock Band Limited Edition Premium Bundle includes:

  • Large scale replica of the Höfner bass controller famously used by Sir Paul McCartney
  • A Ringo Starr inspired and Ludwig-branded Rock Band 2 drum set
  • Microphone + microphone stand
  • Game software
  • Special game accessories

Did you see that? That’s right – New Zealand finally gets a Rock Band drum set that isn’t completely flawed. Are you excited about this? Will you be adding the software only to your existing setup, or are you going to bypass this altogether?


It may seem trivial to some, but along with the confirmation of the rumoured $100 USD price drop on the Xbox 360 Elite and the death of the Pro SKU comes confirmation that no new Xbox 360 Console will ship with a high definition video cable.

In a move that seems more to be a cynical attempt to sell more official accessories (Xbox 360 HD Component cables, Xbox HDMI cable) as opposed to reducing manufacturing costs, all new Xbox 360 consoles will only include a COMPOSITE cable in the box. So much for “the next generation”.

The (not-so) Elite SKU will continue to come with a black Xbox 360 controller, providing stark contrast to white PS3 controllers.

venezuela flag banner copy

As stupid as it sounds, a bill is in front of Venezuelan Government being reviewed this very moment. The "Bill for the Prohibition of Video Games and Toy Weapons" aims to completely ban the sale of violent video games and toy weapons in their country. Yesterday it was approved by the National Assembly, now it just needs approval in one more debate before it is handed over to the president to become law. Maybe someone should get their act together and come up with a cool 9 million dollars and run a bit of a national referendum on the topic? I can get them started on the wording if they like.. (see picture after the break)

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