Invitation open to all to join the ButtonMasher crew for a game of Texas Hold’em tonight around 9pm New Zealand time. Requirements are simply to have a copy of the game (also found on the “Arcade” compiliation disc that comes with the Xbox 360 Arcade bundle), a microphone, and a gold membership on Xbox LIVE.

Check out the details in the forum thread.

Microsoft New Zealand has announced a new Xbox 360 Pro bundle available “for a limited time, while stocks last”, which includes Halo 3 and Halo Wars. The press release says that these two games “will come bundled with Xbox 360 Pro consoles through participating retailers”. The bundle will sell for an RRP of $499, which is just slightly above the Pro console’s $449 price tag.

If the Pro console is going to be phased out as predicted by circulating rumours, then I would predict the Elite to drop to this $499 price point, rather than the current $449 Pro price, and it is possible that this represents a “run-out” on the Pro SKU.

Full release appears after the break:

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Most people will probably recognise Heavenly Sword before they would the development studio Ninja Theory that made the game. They have teamed up with Namco Bandai to work on a new IP that is targeted to release next year. No details on exactly what we should be expecting have been released at this point but they have stated that it will focus on rich story telling, cutting edge technology and exciting gameplay.

We’ll have to wait and see when more details are released in the coming months.

News today from the US that the PC version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be have the same $59.99 price point as its console counterparts has caused anger and controversy in the US. Not only is the game $10 USD above the usual $49.99 price point for new release PC games, the Hardened and Prestige Editions of the game will not be available on PC.

Back here in New Zealand, not only have the console versions had their prices jacked up by a further $10 on top of an already inflated $140 “premium” price point, the PC version is being sold for $30 cheaper. To be fair, the PC version seems to have had a price bump also, above the $100 price point PC games often release at.

It is really time gamers voted with their wallets. Activision are issuing a challenge with their pricing. They think that their game is worth $150, and it is not up to me to say that it is not. If gamers think that it is worth the asking price, then Activision will be fully justified with the decision. But if not, then spending your hard earned dollars elsewhere is the only way to send a clear message that you are not happy with the pricing. If ever you needed any proof that consumer power can make a difference, you need only look at Cadbury’s decision this week to revert to the former Dairy Milk recipe in the face of a consumer backlash.

Earlier this week MCVUK brought us the news that “SingStar: Beatles” was headed exclusively to the PS3 “within days” of the release of The Beatles: SingStar. However MTV Games/Harmonix have been quick to denounce the news as fake, blaming the report on a “misheard rumour”. A statement was issued to Kotaku saying:

MTV Games and Harmonix have the exclusive rights to create music games based on The Beatles per our exclusive partnership with Apple Corps Ltd.

Contrary to the rumored reports, there is no Singstar: Beatles software product. There is only The Beatles: Rock Band hitting shelves worldwide on 9/9/09 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii in which players can play as a singing game or as a full band game.

So there you have it. MTV Games/Harmonix would have to be pretty certain on this one in order to release a statement about another franchise’s rumoured product. The “misheard rumour” may have come about from possible plans to later release a special The Beatles microphone bundle. This would complement the game’s increased focused on vocals, which is in keeping with the Fab Four’s renowned vocal harmonies.

For the first time in the history of podcastery all four of us have been playing the same game, we are all a little crazier for it. Lots of GamesCom new discussion and a Wolfenstein mini review.

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Straight out of Gamescom in Germany, Peter Molyneux announced Fable III for next year. Not a big surprise but it’s good news all the same. It sounds like Lionhead are aiming for something more broader this time around, where you rule over a kingdom, manage food and taxes etc. It sounds a bit like Little King’s Story.

The Fable II episodes split Fable II into five episodes, and you can purchase them episode by episode or together as a package. The first episode is free and all five episodes are releasing on September the 29th. Might be interesting for those that haven’t played the game, depending on the price. Although I really think they should have brought out this option when Fable II came out, it seems far too late to be doing this now.

Sacred 2 was originally released on PC late last year to some fairly average reviews.  Now it’s made its way to Xbox 360, as well as PS3.

The PC release was criticised for a convoluted interface, a weak storyline and more than a few bugs.  The port to console was an opportunity to address at least some of these issues, but also a chance for further problems to creep in.

Sacred 2 is at face value a fairly straight-forward hanck and slash RPG.  At times it feels almost Diablo-ish.  At others it feels like World of Warcraft minus the character.

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Ashes Cricket 2009 is the follow-up game to Ricky Ponting International Cricket 2007, developed by Australian company Transmission Games and published by Codemasters. While the name of the game has changed, Ponting remains the coverboy for the local game, while Kevin Pietersen adorns the cover of the UK edition.

Cricket games have always been a fairly mixed bunch, ranging from the downright terrible, to the barely playable. Games have always struggled to get the balance right between batting and bowling, usually leading to hugely imbalanced scores. Some games made batting too easy, allowing for boundary-fests, while others were punishingly difficult so that even slightly mistimed shots were hit straight up the air to catching fielders. Can Ashes Cricket 2009 deliver an enjoyable experience to satisfy ardent cricket fans?

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Ever have one of those conversations where a specific word or name comes up far too often and all of a sudden it looses all significance? Well if I meet a person called Joe in the near future I will surely be on the receiving end of some strange stares as I try to wrap my mouth around it hoping that forming my mouth in various shapes might give it a resemblance of meaning. Joe…. Geo…….JJJoooooo, this game says Joe far too much. But you didn’t come here to find out about that did you, you want to know if it is any good.

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