Mirror’s Edge has gained massive attention since the first trailer debuted earlier in the year and it is one of the titles on my radar that I am following with an almost religious fervour. As you probably already know the game is set in a near future society governed by a heavy handed government that controls a lot more than the amount of fluoride in your drinking water.

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There were 6 entrants in the PC World case modding comp at this year’s xLAN.

click for full sizeTwo were standard fare: Shiny bits in shiny cases, with water cooling and all the toys. Another was an impressively garish Worms themed case. The real standouts though, were the Spongebob Squarepants case, an impressive Steampunk brass, wood and clockwork overclocked quad core beast, and an entire Toyota MR2, complete with dash-mounted touch screen, and a high powered wireless lan antenna with a range of over a kilometre.

Gameplanet’s Dan Cheer, aka Jon Valjean, won the overall prize for his 25kg handcrafted steampunk masterpiece.  Karlo Dunatov won craziest mod, and Matthew Foot takes home the honours for best engineered.

More photos after the break.

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For the second World of Warcraft expansion, Blizzard are accepting applications from players, rather than inviting randoms like they did for The Burning Crusade.  The so-called opt-in started late last week, so if you’re a WoW player and want an early look at the upcoming expansion content, get over to the beta opt-in page and sign up.

Now, I’m a recovered WoW addict, but the forthcoming Death Knight hero class is oh-so fricken tempting…

With Diablo 3’s existence (if not its release date) confirmed, the intertubes have been becoming clogged with discussion on this new iteration of Blizzard’s classic action RPGs.  Just not how I’d expected.  Fans are having massive arguments on message boards around the world about the quality of the graphics in the videos and screenshots released thus far.

There are even photoshopped versions of official screenshots showing how it “should” be done.  Never mind that the title is still at least a year away from release, and that all the old school Diablo and Diablo 2 players appear to be looking back at those games through rose-tinted glasse…  er…  brown and grey tinted glasses, at any rate.

The complaints are that Diablo 3 is too bright, cartoony, and overall WoWish.  I feel they’d have to scale the happy tree of hippy elves a fair bit higher to approach the levels of happy-go-lucky gnome-bopping that’s prevalent in World of Warcraft, but that hasn’t stopped Diablo fans from going fairly batshit in their condemnation of the latest instalment.  There’s even a petition, as reported by Kotaku.
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With anticipation for Maxis’ new “Sim-Everything” – a game humbly entitled Spore – reaching new levels of absurd, EA has given gamers an interim fix in the form of the Spore Creature Creator.
It’s an editor that allows you to create your own creature out of a myriad of different parts, each with its own levels of customisation. It’s possible to create almost any kind of creature you can imagine, and the intertubes have disgorged many critters that most of us would never have thought of.


Trogdor the Burninator

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Update: We are now able to confirm the our earlier report, that EB Games will be purchasing the retail chain “The Gamesman“. ButtonMasher have it on good authority that the changeover at the retail level will happen on Monday 14 July, although it is unclear at this stage when the rebranding of stores will be occurring. Now would be an extremely good time to cash in any remaining Gamesman gift vouchers – there could be no guarantee that these will be valid at EB Games from 14 July onwards.

Also, the talk in the industry today is that The Gamesman’s online store (www.gamesman.co.nz) will remain open for business even after the acquisition of the retail stores. This will be of some relief to gamers who fear that this latest business takeover leaves little choice in the New Zealand gaming market from specialist stores. However this news will not be of any comfort to other competing webstores in New Zealand.

ButtonMasher has been told unofficially that New Zealand’s largest independent gaming store (“100% KIWI owned and managed”) is going to be bought out by retail giant EB Games. This follows the demise earlier this year of the GamesPlus stores, which were born from the failed Central Park Interactive.

First E“A” and now E“B”. Each engulfing smaller independent companies in their quest for global domination. While there remains a reasonable degree of competition from non-specialty stores, this latest news will basically mean that for most New Zealanders, a “gaming store” will become synonymous with “EB Games”. Will somebody please think of the children! (viz. future GTA gamers)

Our sources have been told that all 8 stores in Auckland, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, and Christchurch, will be rebranded and refitted as EB stores by late July. These centres all have current EB Games stores, but the official word (as presented to staff members) is that there will be no job losses. However as we all know, these can hardly be taken as reassurances. More than likely, EB stores will just not replace staff as they resign, and leave the downsizing until this has happened. And in areas where two stores are not justified, it is hard to see this not happening.

ButtonmMasher tip: Make sure that you cash in any remaining Gift Vouchers you might have.