Yeah, that thing with real strings that you’ll need to pay extra for DLC if you want to use it in Pro Guitar mode? It’s coming to NZ via the Rock Shop. The news posting states that they expect stock to arrive early next week, and it’s priced at $599.00 for the guitar, plus an extra $89.00 for the MIDI box that will let you connect to your platform of choice. Personally, I was keen as anything for this, but a price tag that rivals the total retail value of all my Rock Band gear to date seems a little daunting. Is anyone else thinking of rocking out pro-style?

Now this may appeal more to our friends in Australia but EB Games will be holding the biggest gaming event in Australasian history. To be held on Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th of October, EB Games EXPO will showcase the hottest new release and upcoming titles playable for the first time in Australia plus exciting live presentations from international game developers spanning across 10,000 square meters at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre (GCCEC), Gold Coast, Queensland. Full press release past the break.EB Games Expo LOGO

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I love the spin that executives give their topics to illustrate their perspective, it’s always less about actual verifiable data and more about pushing agenda. John Riccitiello (EA’s CEO) recently discussed both advertising of games and advertising in games at an advertising conference.

The fact that the world is promised to be bombarded by adverts for Battlefield 3 and the next Call of Duty to the tune of $100 million dollars plus shouldn’t really surprise any observant gamer. Almost every company in NZ has been seen advertising on TV, Radio, Billboard and Bus… and I don’t mean my brother’s childhood Dutch friend, for a number of years.

While some parts of his speech ring true, as they should for someone in his position of both immense experience in the industry, and as a person holding the keys to one of gamings’ largest kingdoms. There are also some points that raise my eyebrow.

Primarily the fact that John (and perhaps most other industry suits) seems to immensely overestimate how captive his audience is. My ability to block out everything unrelated to what I am doing in a game is prodigious. If I can ignore my children pestering me about playing with Ben 10 action figures and a Barbie pool party, then overlooking that ‘Axe’ billboard in Ghost Recon isn’t really a stretch for me. At this point in time it seems like the benefit in advertising in games is that it generates interest in the online gaming communities talking about the advertising more so than by actually reaching a passive gamer glimpsing at something in passing as they explode an NPC’s head. Most of us will have recognised ads in the past that didn’t work, and others that seemed to fit in and add to the experience.

There is a rather bold statement that while a person is playing a game they aren’t doing anything else. So no forum browsing, no social network checking, no talking to family/friends, while gaming, and obviously the drinking of alcoholic beverages while shooting the breeze with your E-Buddies isn’t even a possibility. Gaming can be an incredibly immersive activity that sees you engrossed in an experience, but it can also be something very casual that you do between other more essential life activities. @6:06 John also doesn’t seem to be familiar about the activity universally enjoyed while waiting for an game install.

For those interested in hearing more from John about marketing in and for games you can view the entire video here. Beware though. most of the speech comes across as John regurgitating pro gaming industry propaganda as if he’s worried about the audience taking him seriously.

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Have you ever considered what impact your gaming has on the environment? Don’t get me wrong. I’m no “Greenie”. I personally disagree with the Emission Trading Scheme (won’t make a jot of difference), and think Earth Hour is a waste of time. But I do recycle, and do make modest efforts to minimise waste and my “environmental footprint”.

So when I opened the 1500 Microsoft Points for Xbox LIVE that I purchased at a retail store, I was a little irked by the continued wasteful packaging that has plagued the Xbox 360 from the outset.

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That Dead Island trailer was something moving, to be sure, but only one gaming related video on the internet this week managed to make me feel all kinds of morose and wonder why I don’t keep a bottle of hard liquor in my kitchen at all times.

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Metropolis Street Racer confused and intrigued me. Project Gotham Racing just intrigued. PGR2 made me believe that online gaming on consoles could be a real thing. Geometry Wars made me glad to know that I wasn’t along in thinking retro games still had appealing factors. PGR3, PGR4, and the subsequent GW: Retro Evolved games were like a friendly nudge and a wink that said “we think it’s good, you know it’s good, stick with us; there’s more to see.” The Club made me hopeful that there were people interested in challenging the norms of the FPS genre. And Blur? Well, Blur was just cool. Thanks for the fun times, BC.

It’s relatively old news now, but somehow things like this become more real to me when someone changes up the lyrics to American Pie to fit the situation.

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For those unaware, the latest earnings call for Activision announced that the Hero brand would no longer be exploited. Probably because there was nothing left to exploit. I’ve been spouting the superiority of the Rock Band franchise for the longest time, but no one wants to be right in this fashion. With the ill-fated Power Gig: Rise Of The Six String and Rock Revolution, this latest development leaves Rock Band with an unquestionable monopoly on the grander music gaming experience. DLC for DJ Hero and Guitar Hero is also seemingly at an end, with no plans to release any more after the already announced packs for February. Hopefully some good will come from this, in the form of a hard lesson learned by Activision: Squeezing the goose that lays the golden eggs generally has a detrimental effect on the goose, whilst providing no boost to production.

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It can be a long time between drinks when it comes to quality games worth playing on the Wii, and more often than not it is a Nintendo first-party title that gets Wii owners turning on their consoles again. The long list of colourful Nintendo characters and IPs always somehow manage to freshen their appeal, usually without making dealbreaking changes to the classic formula, and Donkey Kong Country Returns is one game that will regenerate interest in the Donkey Kong series for old and new fans alike.

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For your viewing pleasure we’ve got some of the hit trailers from the 2010 Video Game Awards. Not much in the way of actual gameplay, but it’s something to whet your appetite for the games coming out next year and beyond…

Stay tuned as these are updated.

Batman: Arkham City (Sep-Nov 2011)
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (11 November 2011)
Forza Motorsport 4 (Sep-Nov 2011)
InSane (2013! Guillermo Del Toro)
Mass Effect 3 (Holiday 2011)
Mortal Kombat (2011. Kratos)
Portal 2 (April 2011??)
Prototype 2 (2012)
Resistance 3 (6 September 2011)
SSX: Deadly Descents (?)
Thor: God of Thunder (3 May 2011)
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (1 November 2011)

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Most ingenious products share a common theme – a simple concept that immediately has you thinking “why didn’t I think of that”. The newly released “Grip-iT” analogue stick covers fall into this category – an incredibly simple (and inexpensive) product that serves a useful purpose and is hard to fault.

Grip-iT covers are simply rubber covers for your analogue sticks, which serve several functions:

  • Provide additional grip between your thumbs and analogue sticks, which allegedly improve your k/d ratio (YMMV)
  • Protect your analogue sticks from wear – the sticks are usually the first and fastest part of your controller to deteriorate
  • If your sticks are already worn down or damaged, these covers will breathe new life into an old controller which might otherwise have been thrown out

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Hate mail isn’t something we normally receive, I guess people just don’t care enough about things. In a round about way this could probably be considered my form of hate mail.

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