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Squid of Man

"I got your number...I steal your thunder...I got your mother's maiden name tattooed on my arm..."

E3 Cancelled?!



Next-Gen are reporting that Doug Lowenstein (Mr. E3) is expected to announce within the next 24 hours that the show is to be cancelled. Gone. No more E3.

What does this all mean? It means E3's time is up. And while it's a bit of a shock to hear (it's like Santa cancelling Christmas), it's usefulness as a central spot to check out the latest and greatest has been on a downhill slide ever since we first saw Sony's rubber ducks.

There's just too much shit going on for it to be worthwhile for publishers and developers, apparantly. And I have to agree. As a gamer and, obviously, a consumer, following everything that was going on was just getting impossible. If you didn't shout the loudest you just didn't get heard. And a lot of good stuff wasn't getting heard.

So no more E3. Where to now? Joystiq have a range of possibilities up, but I see this going one of two ways.

1) We see the emergence of platform-specific mega-events, like the Microsoft X events but writ large. Awful, loud, shiny propoganda rallies, which you have to endure because there will be tons of exclusive stuff that will only be shown there. This is the worst possible option. E3 was bad enough for noise, shouting and crap - imagine how many lies Sony could clock up at their own show.

2) Leipzig, TGS and GDC emerge as three "mini-E3s", spaced out over the year so we get drip-fed major announcements and unveilings across three seperate events rather than forcing them all into one. This is the best option. We still get big shows to look forward to, with the bonus that because there's three of them we may even get a chance to see most, if not all, of what's on offer.

So...yeah. That's it. Very unexpected news, but i've got a feeling it'll probably be for the best, both for gamers wanting to really explore everything that's out there, and for developers and publishers who hopefully can find a better way to get their product noticed.

New Wind Waker Levels??!!


In what can only be described as a "Cold Coffee" scandal, Joystiq are reporting that with the use of an Action Replay cart, you can unlock a whole bunch of beta levels for Wind Waker that never made it into the final game.

I am trembling with unbridled excitement. New levels for Wind Waker? Uh, yes please. 20 new levels? Uh, yes please.

The only downside is that, as they're beta levels, most of them are using only placeholder textures and models. So...I dunno, pretend it's Wind Waker: Substance or something, and these are the shitty VR levels.

Apparantly this is "old news", but when most people don't know about, it's still news. So I'm posting it.

If you've got an Action Replay thingy for the Cube, the codes are as below (use only one at a time, though).

HTest (Dungeon with pigs)

VrTest (Basic Island)

ITest61 (Basic Island with Dragon Boat)

ITest62 (Snow Chamber)

ITest63 (Basic Chamber with endless baddies)

I_TestM (Basic Textures)

I_TestR (Basic Textures, swingers)

K_Test2 (Basic Textures, chests)

K_Test3 (Basic Textures, Char Interaction test)

K_Test4 (Basic Textures, Enemy Test)

K_Test5 (Basic Textures, Gen Test)

K_Test6 (Basic Textures, Char Test)

K_Test8 (Basic Textures, Evil Chars)

K_Test9 (Basic Textures, Item Test)

K_Testa (Basic Textures, Switch)

K_Testb (Basic Textures, Roll Call)

K_Testc (Basic Textures)

K_Testd (Basic Textures, Warp)

K_Teste (Basic Textures, Warp Jugs)

TEST (Standard Room)

Christmas in July


Fuck I hate that "concept". Christmas in July. So bloody stupid.

But Small Stone Records announcing the second volume of Sucking the 70s? That's more like Christmas. As in getting cool shit all at once. Without all the Jesus and whatnot.

When one single album has Novadriver, Clutch, Acid King, Five Horse Johnson, Orange Goblin, Los Natas, The Glasspack, Throttlerod and what seems like every other top-shelf stoner rock band on earth, you get it.

Got questions? No you don't. Shut the fuck up. Get it.

The full tracklist is as follows:

1. Acid King - "The Stake" (Steve Miller)
2. Alabama Thunderpussy "Man On The Silver Mountain" (Rainbow)
3. Amplified Heat - "Neighbor, Neighbor" (ZZ Top)
4. Antler - "Those Shoes" (The Eagles)
5. Clutch & Five Horse Johnson - "Red Hot Mama" (Funkadelic)
6. Color Haze - "One Way Or Another" (Cactus)
7. Brad Davis (Fu Manchu) "Outlaw Man" (Eagles)
8. Dixie Witch "Rock Candy" (Montrose)
9. Dozer - "Mongoloid" (DEVO)
10. Fireball Ministry - "Turn to Stone" (Joe Walsh)
11. Gideon Smith & The Dixie Damned - "Season Of The Witch" (Donovan)
12. Greatdayforup- Super Stupid" (Funkadelic)
13. Halfway To Gone - "Honky Cat" (Elton John)
14. Honky - "Snortin` Whiskey" (Pat Travers)
15. Los Natas - "Born To Be Wild" (Steppenwolf)
16. Mos Generator - "Garden Road" (Rush)
17. Novadriver - "Sin City" (AC/DC)
18. Orange Goblin "New Rose" (The Damned)
19. Porn - TBA (Cheech & Chong)... Moss get it togther, make this happen!
20. Puny Human - "Crazy Horses" (The Osmonds)
21. Red Giant - "Saturday Night Special" (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
22. Scott Reeder - "Two Of Us" (The Beatles)
23. Roadsaw - "When The Levee Breaks" (Led Zepplin)
24. RPG - "Parchment Farm" (Blue Cheer)
25. Sasquatch - "Are You Ready" (Grand Funk)
26. Sons Of Otis - "Bad Man" (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
27. The Brought Low - "Don`t Lie To Me" (Big Star)
28. The Glasspack - "Rock n Roll Singer" (AC/DC)
29. The Muggs - "I Don't Need No Doctor" (Humble Pie)
30. Throttlerod - "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" (Foghat)
31. Valis - "Dreamweaver" (Gary Wright)
32. Whitey Morgan and The Waycross Georgia Farmboys - "Running With The
Devil" (Van Halen)

[via Small Stone]

Nintendo Holding off on Region-Free Decision


For all it's apparant flaws, there's one thing the PS3 has got right: it will be completely region-free. Why Sony of all people are the first to listen to years of gamer's prayers, I have no idea. Then again, paying the GDP of half of sub-Saharan Africa for a fucking games console should get you a couple of perks.

Regardless of why they did it, it's set a precedent for home consoles. The 360 has messed it up. So what about the Wii?

"Clearly, the success of Nintendo DS has offered a lot of lessons about what works in the marketplace -- and we certainly intend to keep our fans satisfied. For the Wii system, we are finalizing all the relevant details and will be making announcements in the coming months. We know that isn't what you all want to hear (or read) but at least we are being honest!"

"We will share a lot of ways people can play globally, regionally, without boundaries. You're right that the region-free approach has proved to be a successful and attractive feature for Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection on Nintendo DS -- we have even blown the doors off our own anticipated numbers! Cost, ease-of-use and player privacy are the three things that were a focus for us with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Those priorities also will apply to the Wii system."

As you say, Nintendo, you started the whole region-free ball rolling with the DS. Mario 64 DS aside, my first 4-5 games were imported from Japan or the US, and that was a delightful treat.

Don't you dare take that away from me.

Don't punish me because I live in Australia, Nintendo. You've done that enough.

[via Kotaku]

Farewell, old friend...


...and thanks for a great three years. As a shiny white 360 prepares to take your place, I think a little retrospective is in order. So I present to you what remains of it's hard drive contents: my saved games. Pretend they're being narrated to you by Morgan Freeman.

Beyond Good & Evil - I loved this game. It was different, exotic, had nice combat controls....but just felt empty after a while, and I never got around to finishing it. Ancel would later reveal it was a mere shell of the game he had in mind. No shit.
Time spent playing: Probably 2-3 weeks.

Burnout 3 - Well. Yeah. Cars, flames, boost. If it hadn't had Slider it would have been the perfect racing game.
Time spent playing: 5-6 weeks

ESPN NFL 2K5 - The best American Football game on the last generation of consoles. It was digital treachery when the NFL sold it's soul to EA, cursing us to endless annual updates of Madden 2001.
Time spent playing: 6-8 months on and off. Mainly when drunk. Was a good multiplayer party game.

Fable - Ah, Fable. You were linear, you were short, you were predictable, and you delivered about 1/10th of what you were supposed to deliver. And I still loved you, because the world was just so rich, and for some reason playing around with the hair and armour became more involving than the quest itself.
Time spent playing: 2-3 weeks.

Fifa 2004 - Blah blah blah. I got this before i'd played Pro Evo. I need say no more.
Time spent playing: Too long.

Fifa 2005 - I HAD played Pro Evo by this stage. I was also suffering from chronic food poisoning, and was at home for a week shitting my asshole out. For some reason, the thought of officially licensed teams and kits soothed my burning sphincter.
Time spent playing: Until I got better. Which was about four days after I got it.

Full Spectrum Warrior - Managed to pick up a free copy through EB, and really got into it. Maybe because it played out like a puzzle game, maybe because it had a decent "story" that steered clear of flag-waving patriotism, I don't know, but I played this out for ages, and then recommended it to a while to a bunch of people who would universally hate it.
Time spent playing: 2-3 months.

Galleon - Got it for a review I was writing. Loved the control method and the fact it actually got released. Hated the stupid level design, which ultimately ruined the game.
Time spent playing: 2 weeks.

Halo 2 - You may have heard about this one. Started great, ended terribly, and the plasma sword thing made MP fantastic. I did not approve, however, of the changes made to Blood Gulch.
Time spent playing: 2 months.

Jet Set Radio Future - It's just not as good as the Dreamcast version.
Time spent playing: 3 weeks.

Madden NFL 2005 - Uh. Yeah. Compared to ESPN, it's rubbish. Only got it because a bunch of friends got it and they kept kicking my ass.
Time spent playing: 3-4 weeks on and off (mainly multi-player)

Mercenaries - Never actually owned this game. Glad I didn't. Great idea, and the sequel should be awesome, but this was an empty and lifeless game. Blowing shit up is always good for five minutes, though.
Time spent playing: 1-2 days.

Need for Speed Underground 2: Another review game. I swear. The scars from this game still haven't healed.
Time spent playing: Long enough to wound me. Inside.

Outrun 2: Criminally underrated. Everything you could ask for in a remake - enough of the original to pay homage, and enough changes to make it relevant. And that blonde girl was fine.
Time spent playing: 1 week

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within - Oh Jesus. What did they do to him? This game poisoned the entire franchise for me. Whoever put the nu-metal shit on the menu screen needs to have his eyesockets fucked dry.
Time spent playing: 5-6 hours

Pro Evo Soccer 4 - Thank you. Thank you, Konami. Football distilled and refined into a video game.
Time Spent playing: 8-10 months

Pro Evo Soccer 5 - See above.
Time spent playing: 8 months and counting.

Project Gotham Racing 2 - Easily the Xbox's best racing game, made twice as good with Fu Manchu on the custom soundtrack. Kudos to you, Bizarre.
Time spent playing: 4-5 months

Puyo Pop Fever - Easily the worst game on the Xbox. It's just awful. Tetris with J-pop? Christ, it was torture.
Time spent playing: 30 minutes

Red Dead Revolver - As a game, it was pretty average, but Rockstar managed to squeeze so many Leone references into it that it becamse quite awesome. The quick-draw mechanics were sweet as well. Especially the "tournament" at the end. Oh yeah.
Time spent playing: 3 hours, 54 minutes to complete. Still picking it up now and then over a year later.

Republic Commando - Fuck you Lucasarts.
Time spent playing: 3-4 days.

Chronicles of Riddick - Halo got the sales, but this was the Xbox's finest FPS moment. The "presence" of your legs and hands made the world a lot more believable, and the stealth combat was unusually enjoyable. The carnage of the finale was a sheer delight.
Time spent playing: 1 week.

NRL Rugby League - Some of my friends are "blokes". They like Rugby League. And this game. They are fucking idiots.
Time spent playing: 2 nights. Both drunk. Both God-awful.

Shadow Ops: Red Mercury - Another sacrifice in the name of a review. Everything that Riddick and Halo did right, this did wrong.
Time spent playing: 2 days.

Star Wars: Battlefront - Fuck you Lucasarts
Time spent playing: 1 day

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King - A repetitive, boring cut-em-up that I just didn't stop playing because I'm a loser fanboy of the whole damn franchise.
Time spent playing: 1 month

Lord of the Rings: The Third Age - Sweet merciful Christ. When you want to copy an RPG, you do not copy Final Fantasy. And you do not kill Sauron by climbing the tower and hacking his eye with an axe. Ungh.
Time spent playing: 3 weeks.

UEFA Euro 2004 - Fifa in fancy dress. As crap as Fifa, but the tournament was on and I needed to satiate myself with officially licensed electronic entertainment. Then Greece won, and I realised it was rubbish, and returned it for my money back.
Time spent playing: six days

And so there you have it. And before you say it, no, I never owned Halo.

Video Gaming is NOT a joke


Oh, this is awesome. A Pac-Man "joke" book from 1982.

I...don't get it. I don't get it at all. The Pacson five are...what? What are they doing? And why is Michael black? And "Pac-Man and Robin"? What, has Pac-Man eaten Robin? What the fuck? Is that some gay sex joke? "Oh, haha, Pac-Man ate Robin, and there are feathers everywhere".

And this? Taxes and income? Did Pac-Man have an accountant? Who was he paying taxes to? Were he and the ghosts citizens of some pixellated, neon-lit state? Was it a state crippled by rapidly-rising tax rates, aimed at offsetting the cost of a burgeoning welfare system?

Should you feel the need to test your intellectual mettle against more of these puzzling "jokes", you can get them over at Bits & Bytes & Pixels & Sprites (an "adult" gaming site with a decidedly crap name)

"Heroes" Unveiled. De Ja Vu sets in....


Looking very nice, Grasshopper. I like what you've done with the Wii. It all looks very similar to your last little project. there an actual game in there this time?

Oh, and a main character called "Travis Touchdown"? There's kitsch and there's fucking silly.

"The one, the only, DJ Shadow..."


Shadow and Lateef doing a live "Lady Don't Tek No", to the accompaniment of me wetting my pants

DJ Shadow, supported by the mighty mighty Mos Def, was a bit surprising on two fronts.

1) Mos Def sucked ass. He just phoned the whole set in, stretching a 25-minute set over an hour's worth of repetition by bellowing "Syd-a-ney Aus-tralia!" a lot. I haven't really heard much Mos Def since Black on Both Sides, because I'd heard his newer stuff was kinda shitty. It probably is going on the strength of last night. Very disappointing.

2) But Shadow...Shadow kicked all kinds of ass. I'd been quietly preparing for disappointment, as his show in November 2002 I caught is still my all-time favourite, and you can only go downhill from perfection. I thought his new album would be weak, and that his impending super-stardom would be starting to take it's toll.

WRONG. Awesome, awesome show. His "greatest hits" medley for the first 30 minutes was fucking spectacular, his new stuff sounds cool and bringing Lateef himself out on stage to do a live version of Lady Don't Tek No? Oh, Christ, my pants could barely take the strain.

Only let-downs were the inexplicable inclusion of some whiney, limey bastard known only as "Chris James" to belt out some very shitty rock/pop tracks, and that it all ended on a bit of an anti-climax.

But no way could that detract from the overall show. DJ Shadow is a god amongst men as far turntablism goes, and this show just confirmed it. Best damn hip-hop show i've seen since...well, since the last time I saw Shadow.

Next-Gen Star Wars "footage" leaked


Some leaked "pre-viz" footage of a new Star Wars game has popped up on YouTube.

It's "pre-viz", so it's completely useless. Not one bit of any final game that comes out of this is going to look anything like this. But it's still very pretty, for two reasons:

1) It looks like it's using that new animation tech Lucasarts was showing off at E3. Throwing bodies around in mid-air looks sickeningly realistic.

2) We all seem to have an amazing capacity to forgive Lucasarts for every crap Star Wars game they release by getting excited about the next one. I see no need to bring a stop to this tradition.

Microsoft said in March that a Darth Vader game would be turning up sooner or later on the 360 and PS3. There's no sign of Vader in this vid, but it's safe to assume this is the tech we'll be seeing in that game, whenever it materialises.

You can watch the video over at Kotaku.

Peter Cullen cast for Transformers "movie"


Well, there are stories of hope to be salvaged from even the most tragic circumstances.

This is one of them. Word reaches us from Comicon in San Diego that Peter Cullen, the voice of Optimus Prime from the original cartoon and movie, will be reprising the role for next year's live-action wank-fest.

It'll be good to hear his voice again. Unless, that is, they change it to make him sound more like a drunk wrestling fan.

Now where are Frank Welker and Chris Latta?

And no, Mr. Bay, this does not keep the wolves from tearing you limb from limb. This but stays their hand for a day.

[via: cinematical]

[edit]: OK, thank you loyal readers, so it appears Chris Latta is dead, and has been dead for some time now. So Frank Welker it is.

Tad Stone, who is producing the first two of what are sure to be more than two Hellboy: Animated features for Cartoon Network, has revealed a lot of info about the upcoming movies, and...well, there's a bit to get excited about, and a lot to be...less excited about.

Apparantly they focus almost entirely on Hellboy, so there's little love for the rest of the B.P.R.D. No Johann. No Roger. AND NO LOBSTER JOHNSON. You fucks. Kate Corrigan will feature in the second film, though, so hopefully the animated films can get Hellboy's love interest right.

The plot for the first movie, "Storm of Storms", is apparantly very Alice-in-Wonderland-ish. Hellboy falls down a well, and some big bad guy is moving Japanese monster-like chess pieces into his path. He also gets a sword. And, I may be going out on a limb here, but I also presume he punches the shit out of things.

All sounds...well, dependable enough, but in the wake of the Screw-On Head pilot there's not much to get excited about with these films. It shows what an animated feature on a Mignola comic should look like, and this...this doesn't look like it. It's cool that Ron Pearlman is back as Hellboy, but the return of the entire film cast along with him just makes me think this is going to be a spin-off of the films, not the comics.

Which is bad news.

..and it looks badass.

It only took 15 years, but we may just be getting a Ninja Turtles movie that does the original comic books some justice. It's only a teaser, but it shows off the new designs nicely, as well as a darker, grittier tone than the old live-action movies.

The screenplay was written with the help of original comic co-creator Peter Laird, and Thomas K. Gray, who produced the first two live-action films, is also onboard.

Apple are hosting the trailer. If you like TMNT, it's definitely something to get excited about, which makes for a pleasant change these days.

Oh Jesus Fucking Christ


The Australian Urban Music Awards? Oh give me a fucking break.

An awards night voted on by the "people", in order to recognise...what...all commercial R'n'B artists in homes?

The list of winners include Guy Sebastian, Jade Macrae, Savage and my favourite Aussie douche-bags, the Hilltop Hoods.

If the Australian hip-hop community had any sense they'd distance themselves from this event. Fast. The very term "urban" music is bullshit, designed to forge a mighty "umbrella" genre out of all 21st century minstrel shows and wigga-wannabes. If you're sharing a stage with Guy Sebastian and being voted on by people who think Kanye West was the best international hip-hop act for the year, it's time to take a good, long look at yourself in the mirror.

Here's hoping the inaugral awards was also the last.

Atari Test Drives Lower 360 Game Pricing


Get it? "Test Drive"? So very witty.

Atari are up to something. Allow Bruno Bonnell, Chairman, CEO and Chief Creative Officer for Atari explain:

“Innovation should be available to everyone, not a privilege for those who can afford high price tags,"

I can hear the Soviet national anthem creaking into life behind them, red flags fluttering gently in the breeze. That sounds pleasantly egalitarian of them.

"We believe it is our mission to deliver triple-A games that are accessible to the masses. As such, we are offering Test Drive Unlimited – a game that is being positively touted and recognized by the media – for $39.95-," he continues, as the anthem fires into life, the ghosts of Lenin and Trotsky nodding sombrely in the background. He's sounding awfully generous with all of this...

"-and furthermore, will continue users’ experiences past launch by featuring new cars and free music for download". Ah. Right. So, there it is. Just like Soviet Russia, you're trying to get us all onside by mouthing the right platitudes about equality and the masses, then when we've signed on you're going to fuck us all royally.

Safe money is on Atari releasing a game that's only 2/3 finished, then they'll charge for the extra content over Xbox Live that you should have got in the first place. And they'll charge enough over 2-3 downloads that it probably ends up costing USD$70 to get all of it. And suddenly, you've spent more than you would have on a regular-priced game, and Atari are pissing themselves all the way to the bank.

You heard it here first, kids. It's a trap!

[thanks next-gen]

Blackfilm have news that Mos Def and Jack Black have signed on to star in Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind, a movie that sounds a lot like a 2006 "update" of Vidiot or Hollywood Shuffle.

Through some comedic mishap, Black's head becomes magnetised, and when he walks into a video store (owned by his friend, played by Mos Def) it erases everything on all the tapes. The store only has one regular customer, a sweet old lady suffering from dementia, so for some godforesaken reason the two decide to re-enact scenes from a whole bunch of films.

The premise itself is a bit weak. The bitch can go rent from another store. But it's the actors and the films they attempt that are going to make or break this film. Jack Black and Mos Def are a good start. Some of the films they'll be "re-creating"? Lion King, Back to the Future and Robocop.

Mos Def as Robocop? Sign me up, motherfucker. That is awesome.

[via cinematical]

Gamesindustry is reporting this morning that Sony is seriously considering slapping a "minimum deposit" condition on all PS3 pre-orders in the UK. Apparantly this will be in the form of a $370 (£150) deposit.

I expect consumer outrage.

But Sony may have a point. The swindling of 360's on eBay really tarnished that console's launch, creating not only negative sentiment from the consumer base but also unfairly punishing those willing to adopt a machine early.

Sony are obviously keen to avoid the same thing happening again (they got a taste of it with their own PSP launch), and so are asking consumers to put their money where their mouths are. And fair enough. There are not going to be enough of these things to go around at Christmas, so if you want one, you're going to need to cough up more than $10 to get your name on one.

While this may punish a few kids who just can't cough up that kind of money up-front, on the whole it's a positive step towards curbing the mad dash for eBay, where no doubt we'll be seeing PS3's selling for $3-4000 come December. The more consoles Sony can get into the hands of genuine customers the better.

Of course, the flip-side is that Sony may have just fucked over that very group of people. Scared off by such a pricey deposit, many may shirk from it altogether (since you can almost get an entire 360 on-the-spot for that kind of money), and it'll just play into the crook's hands come launch time, only worsening the situation.

I guess only time will tell. But regardless of whether or not it works, at least Sony are attempting to do something about a problem that's becoming increasingly acute for console launches.

Animal Crossing: The Movie Trailer


OK. Not quite sure what to make of this. Don't get me wrong, I love Animal Crossing as a game. But movies based on games are not a rich vein of quality cinema.

So a movie based on a game where you spend hundreds of hours walking, fishing and running errands has me sceptical. 127 minutes of a kid paying off a mortgage does not fill me with any sense of excitement.

If you can read Japanese, the official site will be of some worth to you.

If, however, you cannot understand a fucking word they're saying, here are:

- Characters
- Teaser Trailer
- Poster

This thing could go one of two ways. It could be Pokemon v2.0, the first salvo in a campaign aimed at prying money from Japanese (and ultimately THE WORLD'S!) parents.

Or it could be just a nice, easy, laid-back cartoon about a kid and a bunch of animals. I am prepared for the former, but ultimately hoping for the latter.

Animal Crossing: The Movie is due to hit Japanese cinemas in December. There's no word on a western release.

[via eurogamer]

Zelda Movie Announced!


Well, I guess it was just a matter of time. Despite repeated assurances by Nintendo that it had "no plans" to allow a Zelda film, it's now clear that not only has the project been green-lit, but it has a director and cast onboard and has even begun preliminary shooting.

Joel Musch has been penned to bring the legend to the big screen, and David Blane will amazingly not only produce, but also star as Link. Also on-board is Hannah Fierman, who beat out Lindsay Lohan for the coveted role of Princess Zelda (Lohan was reportedly "furious" at the decision).

Musch is still "undecided" on whether the film will be released in theatres.

Blane, a surprising choice as producer (Peter Jackson and James Cameron were both overlooked in favour of the Atlanta native), had the following to say about the gruelling pre-production schedule:

"We didn’t want any of the film to look like it was shot in or anywhere around Atlanta; which it was. We had all sorts of shooting preferences before we started. Such as, no broad daylight, no pine trees, no power lines, cars and airplanes etc. "

Of special note for hardcore fans is that the crew has already ammassed over 30 hours of documentary footage, which should make the inevitable "collectors edition" of the film a must-have.

For more information, including the first teaser trailer and a whole bunch of photos from the set, visit the official site here.

The Endless Forest


Odd one, this.

On the one hand, it's a soothing, relaxing "interactive screensaver" that is...well, it's a complete knock-off of that big deer-god thing from the end of Princess Mononoke. And a big deer-god-thing simulator is a niche genre i've been wanting to explore for a while now.

On the other hand...I think it's a gay dating site. The official introduction to the game is as follows:

"You are a stag, a male deer. So are the other players. "

Right then. Odd, but in the the interests of fair play, you may continue.

"You meet each other in an endless forest on the internet. "

O-kay. Um...

"The setting is idyllic, the atmosphere peaceful. You communicate with one another through sounds and body language."

Did I mention it was made in Belgium? And has the words "lovely" and "pretty" on it's main news page?

I leave the final judgement on it's sexual orientation (can games have a sexual orientation? Is Gears of War a man? The Sims a woman? Devil May Cry a.....woman?) to you, dear reader, but what I can tell you is this thing is pretty bloody good.

It's a nice enough screen-saver on it's own (if a bit hefty at around 50mb), but as a piece of "interactive communication" it's quite interesting. No 14 year-old loud-mouth Americans here, no chatting, no screaming, no "l33t skillz". Just...lots of deers. Male deers. Nodding a lot.

Which is new, and different, and definitely worth a look. You can grab it here.

I don't like Prey. It's Doom 3 with the lights on and assholes on the walls. I especially don't like the hype it's receiving, as it's a generic shooter with a couple of gimmicks that are highly restrictive in how you use them.

Take the portals, for instance. They're doors. Nothing more. You go through one, you exit at the other end. No control over where you go, no control over where the portals are. That's not a feature. It's a fucking door. I am familiar with those. They have featured intermittently in games for some time now.

So today, along comes Valve. They say, "Uh, yeah, portals? I got portals. I got portals comin' outta' my wahzoo". They've announced...Portal, a glorified tech demo/FPS Mario Kart (more on that later..) that's built around a very simple premise. You create portals. You don't run through designated portals. You create them, an entrance and an exit, and in doing so solve puzzles and I presume kill a few things as well.

Most appetising is the fact you create these portals in a world governed by Havok physics, so if you open one on the floor and set the exit in the roof you'll just fall into an endless loop. Awesome.

The potential for this thing as a multi-player game is dizzying. No multi-player has been announced yet, but come on. It's Valve. A four-player stoush in this thing would be the finest FPS party game since Blood Gulch. It would be random, funny and challenging all at once. Just like Mario Kart.

Best of all, it will be bundled free with Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

I love you, Valve. You can check a video of the game here.

[via joystiq]

["Portal" Count = 9]

Nintendo Connection Tour '06 Report



I really don't know what's wrong with Nintendo Australia. Maybe it's a lack of money. Maybe their hands are tied. Maybe they just don't care enough. I don't know. But for a 20th birthday party for Mario, this was pretty weak.

They had some demo pods with such DS "AAA hits" as Over the Hedge, X3 and FIFA: World Cup, a SNES in a glass box playing Mario Kart and some bored-looking 15 year-old girls "hosting" the thing. It was...horrible.

As an event, it was a failure. It failed as a games event because there were poor games on display, and it failed as a PR event because there weren't enough freebies on offer (are stickers not cool anymore?).

Perhaps the most galling thing was the stench. As you can probably surmise, this thing was attended exclusively by small boys and large..boys. Large, sweaty teens aged between 14-19, with wispy facial hair and official Nintendo-themed DS carry cases. Fanboys. And merciful God did they stink. There must have been 100 of them crammed in there, and the pungent fumes were over-powering.

The upside? Got my photo taken with the man himself, who was a lot shorter in person than I was expecting.



OK kids, get em while you still can. Paramount have been quite vigilant in taking these down.

For an encore presentation, here's Optimus Prime in all his "glory", plus some other shots from the "set".

I...can say no more. That's for realz. On location. I hear when he transforms all the JD bottles and Kenny Rogers tapes on the front seats just go flying out the side windows

Some tank. No doubt it transforms into....shit, Thundercracker, I don't know. That could be Galvatron for all the respect Bay is paying to this.

Well. Yeah. At least there'll be titties to look at.

[Update 1] Looks like it's at Comicon in San Diego. What's worst is that they're clearly hinting at "classic" Prime by using this red truck, but keeping it covered because it's not the actual one they'll be using in the movie. Lying bastards.

[Update 2] Another shot of "Prime".

[Big thanks to Brian at]

Jaffe Sees the Light, Chucks it in


GameLife are reporting that David Jaffe, creator of quasi-homo whack-em-up God of War, has had it with "stories in games" and just wants to have fun.

Bravo, David. I thought God of War was a bit rubbish, too.

"Since God Of War, I have lost interest in the genre of single player action/adventure games. In fact, I’ve really lost interest in making any kind of game that does not fully and only embrace interactivity in the most purest sense."

"I don’t want to tell stories with my games anymore."

You can read the rest here, at his developer blog. He's working on some mystery PSP game called "HL" right now, a game which obviously has very little story and embraces interactivity in the purest sense. And excessive load times. Buddum-ching.

Bless You, Sirs. Bless You.


Amen. In three panels, you summise what it has taken a million wailing fanboys months to achieve - a cognizant snapshot of the butchery this "man" is performing on the bleeding carcass that once was my most beloved childhood memory.

The Last Straw....


What EB Games must consider their typical 2006 customer

EB Games have never been big on customer service. Their fundamental lack of knowledge of either their current or upcoming stock, coupled with the "aww, gee sir" rawness of the young staff, does not bode well for any customer who is after something even a tiny iota above your standard, "Credit, please. No, I don't need a bag," transaction.

But what transpired today at EB Games in The Galeries, Sydney, escapes belief.

The Manager of the two city stores, a man I know only as "Beardo", was behind the counter. My goal? Ask a simple question: will EB Games price match a bundle deal their neighbours, JB Hi-Fi, were offering on the 360?

It required a simple yes or no response. I was prepared for a little more, since he has shown himself on previous occassions to be what i'd like to call mentally handicapped. What I got was an absolute tirade. I won't reproduce it in it's entirety, because to be honest i've forgotten half the random shit that flew out his mouth. But it went a little something like this (my futile interjections are bracketed):

"Hi, I'd like to see if you guys would price match this offer JB are running..."


By which point I had turned away and walked out, and could still hear his ramblings trailing off into the distance. Honestly, i'd barely asked the question before all this shit started flying around like a retard blowing out his birthday candles.

It's not often I walk into a store intending to spend nearly $1000 on video games, only to walk out empty-handed. I thought only spontaneous combustion would have prevented that transaction. I guess I can add being grievously insulted by a complete fucktard to that list.

You're a fucking video game store, EB. You sell video games. Which means, the people in your store want to buy video games. It stands to reason they know a little bit about what they're buying. So stop insulting our intelligence with shit like this.

I am familiar with the "internet". I need not look up anything but alternate locations to purchase an Xbox 360.

Jim Guigli, a retired mechanical designer and dementia sufferer from California, won the Bulwer-Lytton literary parody prize this week.

I've never heard of this "accolade", but it's apparantly a contest where people win prizes for making up the worst shit they can think of and sending it in. Guigli's winning entry was this:

"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick the shovel clean."

That is awesome. Like Max Payne-meets-Sin City awesome. I await the furious bidding war for the movie rights.

More Transformers Lies!


The treachery continues unabated!

Hasbro have just announced a new "Transformers Classics" line of figures, intended to "pay a special tribute to the rich history captured in the saga that is MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE".

I don't know about you, but that's a straight fucking lie.

See exhibit A, to your right. "Megatron". Lies.

The figures are supposed to portray "a more comparable appearance to the character seen on the original TV show and animated movie".

Again, lies. See exhibit B, to your left. I had no idea I had been mistaken all this time. I had no idea that Optimus Prime was in fact Ned Flander's RV with the four seperate burners for the four seperate pieces of the chicken.

It's not the re-designs that are the issue. Prime now has a yellow head and uses a sword to fight mini-cons or some shit, and I can deal with that. But telling us these are meant to be the closest thing to the original cartoon series? No dice. That's a lie.

Megatron was not a fucking super-soaker.

Final Wiimote Tech Specs Announced


In what must surely rank as a firm break with tradition, IGN have taken it upon themselves to post something informative. Their Wii staff have managed to get their hands on the final specifications of the Wiimote, and have posted them up so we can all take a look, and have any lingering questions regarding the thing answered.

(Actually, to be fair, "Matt" and the Nintendo staff at IGN are probably the best of that sorry bunch).

Of note are the following:

- It uses 2 AA batteries, giving between 30-60 hours of gameplay depending on how much you swing the thing, and how much rumble you use.

- It has 6kb of "non-volatile" memory. No, I have no idea what that is either. 4 Color Rebellion have hypothesised that it's where your unique user information is stored, and at this point I think they're probably right. So if you take it around to a friend's house, it'll store your basic settings and preferences. Or something like that.

- There's something about "megapixels", and how you might be able to use the pointer as a camera, but that all sounds like a bit of horse-shit to me.

There's some other blah blah blah stuff in there as well, but, come on. AA Batteries? What a fucking gip.

Are You there, Nintendo?


Like 1,243,983 other available-only-on-the-internet, non-retail games out there, Cloud, the product of a bunch of American college students with the help of some grants money and EA, is a game I'd never heard of.

Damn, I wish I had earlier.

It's just...beautiful. The perfect antidote to a gaming calendar dominated by next-gen games about big men with guns.

You Around a stunning world that's bringing back a lot of happy Wind Waker memories. Making the link with Wind Waker brought me to the next logical step:

Nintendo? EA? You there? Give these kids some more money and bring this thing to the Wii. It's exactly the kind of thing the console is pitched at. Offer it up on the Virtual Console and get it running with the Wiimote.

It'd be perfect.

You can download Cloud for the PC here.

Amazing Screw-On Head Pilot Episode



I knew the Amazing Screw-On Head cartoon that was announced a while back was going to be a more faithful adaptation than the Hellboy movie. That wasn't going to be very hard.

What was entirely unexpected was just how insanely good this thing is. The entire pilot episode is up over Go and watch it. Right now.

Paul Giamatti is perfect as Screw-on Head, as is David Hyde Pierce as Emperor Zombie. The pilot largely follows the same plot as the comic, with a few additions and tweaks made to establish the story for the series to continue from.

What's best, though, is just how literally the animators have translated Mignola's style. Seeing it all in motion brings a tear to the eye if you're a fan of Mignola, with the only downside being it really gets you longing for a series of Hellboy shorts in the same style.

There is lots of stabbing and cool shit going on, and possibly the greatest animated scene involving smoking ever. Plus, all the best one-liners have made it, including the timeless, "Anything. So long as we have progress".

Genius. Check it out, then make sure you vote in the survey to make sure we get a whole series of this thing.

Praise the Lord & Pass the Ammo!


Praise the Lord & Pass the Ammo. Personal "diary" of a Mr. Chad Coleman.

Who are you Chad? Care to tell all our listeners out there?

"Just some honky. Married with a daughter. Home owner. Gun owner. Hunter. Church goer. NRA member."
Couldn't have put it better myself.
I really needs to be read. You can't write shit like this. It's awesome.

See? Awesome.

Check it here.

Fuck You Michael Bay


This is Michael Bay.

Michael Bay is "directing" the new Transformers movie.

This photo is not from the set of Transformers.

How can you tell?

Because he's not wanking into a bucket of money cackling like a fucking maniac, that's why.

Michael Bay, I have never met you, but I swear to God, for what you've done to Transformers you deserve to die a thousand deaths in the firey depths of hell.

Optimus Prime is not a black truck with flames. He does not listen to Country music and watch American Chopper. Nor does he watch Nascar or Wrestling. He is the fearless leader of the Autobots, and he is a giant red truck. He is not a fucking redneck hick.

I would have posted pics of this abomination for you to share in my pain, but Paramount have hunted them down across the vast expanse of the intrawebs like Nazi attack dogs, destroying all who would dare expose to the world the hatchet-job they are performing on this once-beloved franchise.

Rest safely tonight in the knowledge you have not seen the picture.

Edit: OK, so the actual picture was taken down and the intraweb has been scrubbed clean, but here's a pic of a real Peterbilt truck that's pretty damn close to the mark:


Nintendo Heads West


Ah, Nintendo.

You promise me a day where I can meet Mario for realz, get Animal Crossing shit for free and generally just revel in an orgy of fanboyism.

Then you tell me I have to cross the entire fucking city, braving the cultural wastelands of the western fringes, to get there.


Fuck you, Nintendo.

If I get shot, get my wallet stolen or my car gets "jacked", i'm blaming you, Reggie. I'll take your name and your ass, you putz.

EA to "innovate" on the Wii


Two EA stories in a row. Whoah.

John Schappert, Senior VP and General Manager of EA Games, said this:

"Once we started to experiment with Madden on Wii, there was an explosion of innovation. Everyone in the studio is energized by the creative opportunity afforded by both the hardware and controller."

OK, John. Wonderful, lovely sentiments. I feel all warm and gooey inside. So what ground-breaking new games, forged in a whirlwind of exploding innovation and creative opportunity, will EA be releasing for the Wii?

- The Godfather
- Harry Potter
- Madden NFL 07
- Need for Speed Carbon
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour


You fucking prick. If I could push a button that would block your windpipes, condemning you to a painful death, I would wear the thing down to a nub.

EA Announces LotR: White Council


I can not get enough of this Lord of the Rings shit. We're nearly five years on from the release of "Fellowship", and i'm still throwin' down money on sub-par LotR video games. Two Towers and RotK? Check. Third Age? Check. Both Battle for Middle Earths? Check. Most have sucked balls (BFMEII and RotK excepted). I know this before I buy them. Thus, my continued purchasing of these games is a cause for concern.

Today EA have "announced" they're releasing another one. I don't know why, I remember reading about this thing months ago, even before E3, but..meh. Apparantly it's a big RPG where you can play as a man, elf, hobbit or dwarf. And will be "open-ended".

Looks like the lid is off the poorly-kept secret that "Project Gray Company", as it was formerly known, is EA's crack at stealing Oblivion's crown. I'd like to hope they can pull it off, if only to console me with the fact i'll probably spend $100 on this thing regardless of how good it is. But all signs point to EA just fucking this up like they have everything else lately.

DMZ Volume 1 is rather good


I don't venture out into "new" comics too often. I have a trusty stable of a half-dozen series I trust and read up on and that's about it. I just find there's so much shit out there that if you start really searching through everything on offer you'll just wind up dismayed and disappointed.

But "DMZ" is...well, it's fantastic. Set in a near-future world where middle America has risen up and rebelled against the "liberal" states, New York is the frontline between US and "Free States" forces. Volume #1 focuses on a journalist who winds up trapped in Manhattan, the "DMZ" between both forces where most of the fighting takes place, and how he adjusts to the surreal life that millions of residents have been forced to adopt since the outbreak of the war.

Everything is top-shelf, writing, art, design, everything. The "counter-culture" in Manhattan isn't kitschy, the political back-story is dealt with in a really polished way, not going into too much detail, and the whole thing has a really cool "Escape From NY" vibe. As always you can get it for the best price at Kinokuniya in the city, where with a member's discount it's, like, $10.50.









Whoever dressed that camera up as a bucket of fried chicken is a fucking genius.

Mark Rein opens mouth, truth ensues


Overnight at the Develop Conference in Brighton, Mark Rein, VP of Epic "Games", went on a little tirade against episodic gaming. Cue boos and howls of derision from the oh-so-cutting-edge developer set.

"But what of Steam?!" they wailed.

Mark Rein seems to be an outspoken dick. His comments about the Wii were way off the mark, and I think in general he may want to think before he speaks. But here? He's right on the money.

Episodic gaming is fucked. We will get bite-sized portions of a game months apart. I don't want that. I want to feast on a game. Developers keep comparing it to comics and television, but there's a key difference: I don't wait six fucking months between issues of Ex Machina or episodes of [insert television program here]. I get them weekly or at worst, every month or two.

I could also go into how it's ripping us off as consumers (Episode 1 was $35 for four hours of gameplay), but then i'd just be ranting.

So bravo, Mark Rein. Now shut your mouth before you ruin the moment.

Loveless #1 out now....


If you...

a) Like cowboys/Deadwood/Leone movies and...

b) can "read"

Read "Loveless" by Brian Azzarello and Marcelo Frusin. In Volume 1 there are copious amounts of spitting, swearing, shooting, "Y'all's" and my personal favourite, the eating of cunt.

That pic is no fake. That's his brain under that hat. Mr. Lif can pick up shit with his mind. He's a superhero.

"Mo Mega" is his, what, second full-length LP? And is probably the only bright spot thus far on what has otherwise been a fucking awful 2006 for hip-hop. Go and get it. It's very, very good. Not "I Phantom" good, but still worth however much it is you end up paying for it.

Call of Duty 3 Preview


The lovable chaps at Eurogamer have a preview up for Call of Duty 3, and it looks....well, it's hard to get a real feel for the game at all, seeing as they were shown a "controlled demo" and it sounds like Call of Duty 2 with shinier models. Which makes it pretty much Call of Duty 1. With shinier models.

I loved the first Call of Duty, and while the second was nowhere near as enjoyable it still had it's bright spots. It definitely left me with the impression though that the series, like Medal of Honour before it, had run out of steam. This preview does nothing to change my mind.

New Oblivion Download Available


So Bethesda have released another Oblivion download. It, 5 extra little things in a game that already has a trillion-billion-gazillion things in it. Just in case, you were bored by now of trawling through identikit dungeons, closing your 94th Oblivion gate or speaking to the same three people for 300 hours. So now for USD$1.89 you can...I dunno, wander around the forest hacking crabs or something for another 10 hours. Bargain. - Buy Video Games for Consoles and PC - From Japan, Korea and other Regions!