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EA sports has leaped into the NBA season with their chin up and chest out as they attempt to offer up a basketball simulation that can compete with the yearly offering from 2K Sports, who have taken great pleasure throughout recent times for consistently offering up a better game. Even though purists of the game would agree, it’s hard for kiwis like me to admit 2K Sport’s dominance over the years, as their games have had a relatively short life span on our shores. For years EA Sports went unchallenged in Aotearoa, as basketballers across the country enjoyed pixelated basketball on their Sega Megadrives and other similar systems. Times do change however and a solid release from EA Sports this year have them looking to compete well against NBA 2K10

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If there is one American sport (when I say American, I don’t suggest the game was invented there) that is well and truly misunderstood in little old New Zealand, it would have to be Ice Hockey. Hell, I teach sport for a living and I have no idea about the majority of rules in the game. However, the sport (or game) seems to enjoy quite a cult following in Aotearoa.

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A press release on Take-Two Interactive’s website this morning has announced that GTA: Chinatown Wars will be making it’s way to iPhone and iPod Touch. Sam Houser, founder of Rockstar Games had this to say:

Chinatown Wars is a perfect match for the iPhone and iPod touch. We are very excited to bring this incredibly ambitious version of Liberty City, with this level of detail and immersive gameplay on Apple’s new gaming platforms.

As a potential iPhone buyer this is pretty sweet news. I rarely have time to sink the hours required into an immersive game like this, but having it sitting there in my cell phone ready to play no matter where you are is quite exciting. Chinatown Wars is already available on DS and is due to be released on PSP, so I think it was only a matter of time before we saw an iPhone version of it. Hopefully this version takes advantage of the unique characteristics the iPhone has to offer.

[Press release]

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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.

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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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Hot on the heals of my last post comes another interesting but probably unnecessary accessory, this time for the Nintendo Wii. In a recent patent application by Howard Cheng, Vice President of Research and Development at Nintendo America, plans for a “football” controller have been unveiled. Some examples were given on how the controller might work with the wii-mote:

Throwing – Players firmly strap their hands to the ball and make a throwing motion. The pitch angle and force of the throw determines the trajectory arc of the throw. Side to side motion determines the yaw angle. Pressing buttons on the Wii remote can adjust other options.

Running – The football controller sense body motion, shifting left and right to dodge tacklers and even jumping motions by raising the ball. Running speed is determined by players making a jogging motion.

You really need to see the pictures after the break (enhanced uses incorporating the nun-chuck) , but even I am not convinced this would work!

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Can’t get enough of the hype surrounding Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2? Want to spend even more money than what it’s already going to cost you to pick up the actual game? Well I have some news for you. A recent press release by Mad Catz Interactive has announced a number of unnecessary Modern Warfare themed third party peripherals / accessories will be available around the release of the game. From controllers, to console skins to throat communicators (flash name for mic), November could end up being an expensive month for some. There will also be PC accessories available for purchase.

See past the break for the range of PS3 and Xbox 360 accessories and peripherals (no pictures yet though).

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With each new instalment of Madden NFL, a selection of new and improved features are thrust upon us to interact and play with on the virtual field. Sometimes these features are rich, deep and can envelop us for hours; other times they are small, aesthetic modifications to the game that serve to make the series a tiny bit more pleasing to the eye. Although it must be hard for developers to bring something different to the table each year when the sport of football remains exactly the same, Madden NFL 10 has demonstrated a good combination of new features to keep Madden gamers everywhere content for another 12 months.

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According to a recent post over at IGN AU, future map packs for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will feature a lot of input from we the gamers. Infinity Ward plan to throw plenty of support into the game after it’s release, including at least two confirmed map packs. Community Manager Robert Bowling touched on the subject by stating:

the team will be relying on the game’s community to help shape any future DLC map packs after the initial two are made available.

Post release support for a game as big as this is a given these days, but a developer who is willing and prepared to give the community some say in to what they would like the game to look like is exciting and fresh. Although I am a little concerned about use of the word “shape” and just how much input the community should expect to have. As much as I would love to see a building decked out in a Buttonmasher theme, I hope “community input” doesn’t end up being a map naming competition or something along those lines.

One theory could be that the current exorbitant prices being thrown around for the prestige and standard editions of this game are still not bringing in enough money, so in a cost cutting measure Activision / Infinity Ward are getting us to do their work for them!

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After announcing last week that Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Frank Lampard will be gracing the cover of this years FIFA game, EA have released details of who will be gracing game covers in North America (see cover after break). Major League Soccer stars Cuauhtemoc Blanco of Chicago Fire and Sacha Kljestan of Chivas USA will join Lampard who will feature on both covers. Sadly, EA also announced a delay in this years release, which is now expected to arrive in North America on October 20, nearly three weeks after its previously announced international release date of October 2nd. No word yet on whether this will effect all territories but I imagine it will.

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