Jun 30, 2008
Aside from in-game XMB and Tropies, some of the other key features include an increase in the amount of friends you can have on your list to 100, mini-control panel for your music and internet search that is powered by Google and can be accessed directly via the XMB.
Our good friends at the Playstation Blog have posted a 2 part video on the in-game XMB and Trophies features. Instead of me trying to blog about the contents of the videos themselves, I thought it would be easier just to provide the videos here for your viewing pleasure.
Firmware 2.4 has been confirmed to be available for download on JULY 2nd.
In-Game XMB Feature:
Jun 24, 2008
When used for FPS (First Person Shooter) games, the Falcon allows gamers to experience a more realistic interaction through advanced force feedback (feeling weapon recoil for example) while maintaining highly accurate controls. For an even further realistic experience, a Novint Falcon Pistol Grip accessory is also available.
For those of you who want to take your gaming to the next level, this may be the next game accessory investment for you. However, at a price tag of $189.99 US, it's certainly a hefty one. Start saving up now...I know I am.
That's why I was oh-so amused to read that Entertainment Weekly has posted a list of the top 50 video games from 1983-2008. Actually, they lied - the list really starts from 1985 (unless of course you believe no video game worthy of a top 50 list came out in '83 or '84 - and if so, I say you need to play Jumpman, M.U.L.E., or that Excite Bike game that I hear was okay.)
What I find striking about these all time best lists is that rarely do the publishers provide the criteria used to judge the games that comprise the list. Certainly, it can't be relevance to modern gaming given the innovations of our sophisticated gaming market.
I mean, look at number 7 on the list - Super Mario Kart. Yes, I played the hell of that game back in 1991, in fact I easily put in 150 hours of gameplay time. It had amazing replay value for it's time, and deserves high praise. It was that feeling of nostalgia that prompted me to play the game again earlier this year, but after firing it up, I could only stand playing it for three short races. The game certainly felt dated when playing. When compared to later iterations of the game, the graphics are blindingly bad, there are limited tracks and characters, and the controls don't feel as responsive.
As another example, number 6 - Street Fighter II - isn't nearly as good as it's (milking-the-cow) sequel Street Fighter II Turbo for SNES. So why does SFII make the list and not it's clearly superior successor?
It could be argued that Entertainment Weekly created the list taking into consideration the hype and response the games received when they were released. While this sounds great on paper, I say it's just not relevant to today's gamer. I firmly believe that Top XXX gaming lists need to take into consideration the appeal of the game in comparison to modern games. Let's be realistic, many games on that list, as good as they once were, would make much better door stops these days.
Well it's getting late, I'm off to play some Doom before bed. Yeah, that was a joke. ;)
Source: Entertainment Weekly - The New Classics: Videogames
Jun 20, 2008
Watch for Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ equipped cars in a city near you!
Play: Mario Kart® Wii, Wii Fit, and Brain Age.
While your visiting the Nintendo site don't forget to enter the contest, wait why am I telling you I want to win, to win a SMART car or one of 5 Game night Packs. (content rules)
Prizes are as follows:
Grand Prize (1) - One "smart fortwo coupé" automobile and one Wii video game system.
Jun 19, 2008
Starting Thursday, 6/19, 11 AM PDT, and running till Monday morning, Team Snipers returns to the Halo 3 double experience weekend playlist.
NOTE Modifications to sniper game play:
As of this weekend's playlist all Snipers gametypes (those in the weekend as well as those in full time playlists) are now 50 kills instead of the previous 25.Bungie is also asking for your input:
How would you feel if we made future Snipers weekends 3v3 instead of 4v4?Provide your feedback on the Optimatch Forum.
Jun 18, 2008
According to the Game Developer magazine research cited in the article, the "average programmer or game producer in Canada now makes more than $70,000 US". While high, Canadian employers still pay lower salaries than their US counterparts.
Figures are also given for artists, animators and game designers - they each take home approximately $58,000 on average. Audio techs rake in $57,000 a year, and those poor QA workers make the lowest at $37,000 US.
What's also interesting is to read that Canadian video game employers are increasing requiring job applicants to have post-secondary degrees as a requirement for employment.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Josh Holmes, Studio Manager at Vancouver-based Propaganda Games said:
“In the past, you might have seen people breaking into the industry through self-schooling or working their way from the ground up (in product testing). The new recruits now come with a much more focused skill set, and they’re able to hit the ground running.”It's great to see the industry in Canada mature from the garage developer roots of the 70s and early 80s to the highly skilled professional industry we have today. With acclaimed developers such as Bioware, Silicon Knights, Ubisoft, EA and many more, Canada is becoming a hotbed for rapid video game industry growth.
Source: Metro News via The Associated Press
Console gaming represents the largest category, and will grow from $24.9 billion last year to $34.7 billion in 2012. The PC gaming market will continue it's downward spiral and is predicted to have a -1.2% growth rate and drop to $3.6 billion by 2012.
PwC cites a few factors spurring this explosive growth in gaming revenue, including:
- mobile gaming is increasing becoming a viable platform with wider screens and better graphics
- increased penetration of broadband connections
- popularity of MMOs that include subscription fees and microtransactions
- game companies will keep on pumping out video game sequels that generate high revenue
Jun 17, 2008
Sony recently confirmed on their PlayStation Blog the new v2.36 firmware upgrade to be coming soon (no specific date given) with the main feature being improved stability when playing certain PlayStation software titles.
In addition to this announcement, Sony also confirmed that the soon to follow v2.4 firmware upgrade will include in-game XMB (Cross Media Bar) support as well as...wait...wait for it...a new feature currently named "trophies". From what I understand so far on this feature, it sounds as though it's the PS3's version of the XBOX 360 Achievement feature. As PS3 gamers can obtain trophies for reaching various points of progress within a game.
Some exciting news for PS3 owners as these are all features many of us are looking forward to. I will be following this story and provide any updates as the come.
This is great news for Canadian gamers as the competition between Future Shop and current used game leader - EB Games - could mean lower prices for us hard working video game consumers.
The Globe and Mail article discussed Future Shop's marketing strategy with their Director of Merchandising, Michelle Grawe:
"To lure customers, Future Shop seems to be prepared to undercut EB on prices: While EB's margins on used videos are as much as five times those of new ones, Future Shop expects its margins to be just four times, she said.Cheaper used games on the horizon...this is indeed great news for Canadian gamers.
And because its target customers shop online, Future Shop plans to sell used games from its website by the end of this year or early in 2009."
I'll be tracking this story closely, stay tuned to NextGen Player for updates as they unfold this summer.
Source: Globe and Mail - Report On Business
[Picture courtesy of Mahesh Hedge - thanks!]
Jun 16, 2008
World tour dates for the 2008 / 2009 season were recently announced on their website, including 50 new shows. The press release also mentions that EMI Classics will be releasing the first Video Games Live album - entitled 'Video Games Live: Volume One' - available worldwide this summer.
The Canadian tour dates announced thus far include:
Oct. 29, 2008
Orpheum Theatre - Vancouver Symphony
March 13, 2009
Centre in the Square - Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony
May 15, 2009
Jack Singer Hall - Calgary Philharmonic
May 16, 2009
Jack Singer Hall - Calgary Philharmonic
Tickets are on sale now for the Vancouver show. Sales for the Calgary show begin July 1, and for Kitchener on August 11.
More dates will be added weekly, so make sure to check out the Tour Dates section often.
Medals in action:
- Double Kill - right
- Tripple Kill, Overkill, double Beat down - below
Do you have images of Griffball games your proud of share them with us by commenting or sending us an email with your screen captures.
Did you know that one in five (20.5 percent) players of casual video games have a physical, mental or developmental disability. And that this is significantly higher then the average for the population of 15 percent or one in seven people. Another significant fact it the benefit that casual gaming provides to these Disabled Gamers; Fully 94 percent of disabled players of casual games said they believe playing casual games "provides physical or mental benefits"
The most common types of disabilities, medical conditions and reasons why they play (findings issued by PopCap):
- Physical: Rheumatoid Arthritis/Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis.
Why they play: Stress relief and distraction from issues related to disability
- Mental: Moderate/Severe Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder.
Why they play: Stress relief and mood-lifting
- Developmental/Learning: ADD/ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia.
Why they play: Improved concentration and improved coordination/manual dexterity
Jun 15, 2008
Mile High Club
Sky dive to safety on Veteran difficulty
Sigh...I don't think I'll be joining the club any time soon. Have you managed to join it yet without resorting to Youtube walkthroughs? I fear it may come to that soon.
Jun 13, 2008
They are the seven little words that speak volumes about the game you just walked out of EB with. They seem innocent at first, perhaps you’ve never even noticed them before, but those 7 words in the ESRB box merely hint about what is going to happen the first time you make that leap from single-player isolation into the dank waters of multiplayer gaming.
Multiplayer gaming is a concept that looks great on paper. You’re taking something you presumably already enjoy (i.e. the core game) and sharing that enjoyment with similar, like-minded individuals. You seek the same thing when you take in a movie at your local theatre. Everyone is there to go and enjoy a cinematic experience, right?
Well…maybe not. Maybe some of the people at that theatre are there to talk on their cell phone, or with a friend in the seat next to them. Perhaps they’d rather lob their confection of choice at the screen, or terrorize hapless patrons with gummy bear carpet bombs. It’s not that most of these people set out to ruin your good time, they’re just bored. Or amused more by your discomfort than the film. Or perhaps the simplest answer, they’re just unpleasant people. Either way, the likelihood that you’ll experience a film in silence with a theatre full of orderly moviegoers is very small.
I don’t seek to complain of the lack of manners in our society; that is for older folks who pine for “the good old days”. What I do wish to examine is why the online gaming community fails in its one ultimate goal; to provide a safe, entertaining atmosphere for people who wish to extend their enjoyment of a product into a social setting. One might argue that human nature itself is the unsolvable problem, but I tend to reject that explanation. If we all know that every online game community is made up of say, 40% jerks, why is it Xbox Live fails to provide a system of effectively filtering these people from those who simply want to enjoy the game? The current system of “Reputation” is useless. It seems like it might work at first glance. Your online profile starts out at 3 stars out of a possible 5, suggesting that Microsoft is willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are in fact, not a jerk. The problem is, the rate at which your stars go up or down seems far too quick. By my 3rd day on Live I was at 5 stars, yet I hadn’t said much to other players or made friends, it was just some random person giving me a reputation increase. While I certainly appreciated the boost, it didn’t say much for the system as a whole. Conversely, I encountered the first in a series of profanity-spewing, racist frat-boys who insisted that I was a (adjective removed in the interest of professionalism, Ed). I suppose I would have been more accepting of this label if I had say, cut the fellow in half with the lancer in Gears of War, but what had triggered this outburst was the playing of a wild card in Uno. So what are my options at this point? I can mute him, but isn’t that defeating the point of playing against people, instead of the computer? I could leave the game, but what if I’m winning, or just don’t feel like finding a new game because of one guy? There’s the Reputation system, but we’ve talked about that already. So what’s left? It breaks down to this – I can tell Live that I don’t want to play this guy again when I search for random games, and as far as I know it will make sure that never happens again. Isn’t the damage done at that point though? I had already received my new title of (horrible bad words removed again, jeez, Ed). In other words, there is no warning when I join a game that the guys in the room are misogynistic, homophobic, racists or think Ben Stiller is funny, and for some people, that is a deal-breaker in the online experience.
Jun 12, 2008
I'm sure most of you playing GTA4 are either deep into the game or have completed it (how many of you can boast the 100% completion...huh...huh?).
That said, you may or may not be aware of some helpful cheats that can really boost your progress within the game. Either way, I thought I'd share some of this vital information and help you strive towards that 100% achievement.
When playing the game, get access to the internet. From there, type the following web address into the game's web browser.
This will take you to a forum style webpage with the title WHAT THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW - GET THE MOST OUT OF LIBERTY - ALL THE SECRETS ARE HERE (incidentally, if you type this same url into an actual browser, it will redirect you to Rockstar's GTA4 website).
You'll see a number of discussion topics that you can click on to get more details. Each topic provides valuable information ranging from cheats (using Niko's mobile phone is key here) to locations of all 200 pesky pigeons to shoot down.
One cool cheat is the ability to raise your wanted level. This comes in handy if you are still trying to get the One Man Army achievement (survive a 6 star wanted level for 5 mins). I just pulled out Niko's mobile phone and dialled the number 267-555-0150. Doing so raised my wanted level by one each instance until I maxed out at 6. From there I was able to survive the wanted level for the required 5 mins for my 40pt achievement. Saaawwweeeeetttttt!
However, be careful when using the various cheats as some of them block certain achievements.
Well, I hope you find this info useful and that it adds more enjoyment to your GTA4 experience. Until next time.
Don't know Video Games Live?
Video Games Live concerts present video game music performed by a live orchestra and choir.Need to see some examples?
Web videos of VGL: Zelda Medley and Final Fantasy VII music.Why is it free?
This event, sponsored by Futureshop, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Activision.What other events are happening during the day?
All day gaming activities
- Test your metal - compete to be the Ultimate Guitar Hero
- Gaming demos and more
- Free activities start at 10:00am
- Costume Contest
- Poster signing
- Guitar Hero finals
- Free pre-show starts at 6:00pm
- Video game music performed by a full orchestra and choir
- Game play and video footage on the huge screen
- Free performance starts at 830pm
Jun 11, 2008
The HMV is located at 333 Yonge Street, just north of Dundas street. For a Google Maps visual please click here.
I'll be heading down there tonight to participate in the festivities. Hope to see you there!
Jun 10, 2008
Given that the fourth installment of the Metal Gear Solid franchise is expected to the be hottest game this year for PS3, if not the hottest this year on any console - you would think a midnight sale would be a given. Boy were we wrong!
After scouring the internet for weeks and finding little to no evidence of any major retailer hosting a midnight launch party for MGS4, I finally had my hopes dashed when I checked out the Future Shop message board. In a consumer inquiry forum post from yesterday, a reply from Future Shop Software and Gaming Product Expert, Daniel_D_PE, read as follows:
"As far as we've been told so far, there won't be a midnight launch like there was with Grand Theft Auto IV or Halo 3, but you would do well to contact your nearest store and ask them directly if they have any special plans for the new system's launch."Given the tight promotional relationship between Future Shop and Playstation Canada, our best bet at a midnight launch is dashed. I've checked with a few Toronto-based EB Games, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart and all have given the same "no midnight launch" response.
The only lead I have left to follow is this recent post on the Cheap Ass Gamer Canadian forum. According to a few forum members, there might be a midnight madness launch party at the HMV downtown Toronto, or the EB Games at Yonge & Eglinton.
But as it stands now, it looks like most Canadians will have to line-up in front of stores at 10:00am on Thursday.
Stay tuned tomorrow for updates on any last minute Metal Gear Solid 4 midnight launch events.
Jun 9, 2008
My friend Mike runs a website called The Dollar Store Toybox where he rips apart cheap dollar store toys for our amusement. Last month he decided to pick up some construction paper from his local dollar store and create a (ahem...) genuine looking Guitar Hero guitar. This sick-looking guitar took approximately 3 hours to create and the raw material had a total cost of $3.50. One look at the paper guitar and I'm sure you'll agree me - it's a must-have product.
At the same time, Zellers is selling another must-have product - the Guitar Hero Air Guitar Rocker. According to the product description, the air guitar "utilizes patented technology consisting of guitar picks and a rockin’ belt bucket that when connected to a wearable mini-amplifier allows air guitarists to jam freely". Basically, you strap an amp to your waist, strum the air like an idiot, and pretend you're making making. The regular price of this item is $29.99, but it's currently on sale for $29.97. That's right - you save 2 cents! You'd better hurry though, the deal is only on until June 13th.
So here's the question I'm putting to you. Which product would you rather own?
First up for the wii ware game is Protöthea - a top down space shooter courtesy of UbiSoft. Cost - 1,000 Wii Points
Followed by Toki Tori - For everyone who loves collecting items and solving puzzles. Publisher: Two Tribes, Cost - 1,000 Wii Points
And the console game of the week is Ninja Combat - Originally released in 1990, this side-scrolling combat-action game will set you back 900 Wii Points.
Images thanks to nintendo.com
Jun 8, 2008
If your used to the keyboard shortcuts, your out of luck this time but you won't be disappointed. The jump from the PC to the console was actually much better for Civilization then it was for the Railroad Tycoon franchise (Playstation) offering intuitive controls and easy to use features for fortifying units, grouping units to form an army, and map movements.
My only negative about this transition is the Simlish (No, I'm not making it up) that each of your advisers speaks to you in... After using the voice of Leonard Nimoy in Civilization IV I would have like the trend to carry forward. Voice acting is such an important part of video games now, and relying on Simlish gibberish for your games gets old fast. There are truly not that many different characters that a few good voice actors pould have really made a difference.
Still, I'll be out at the local EB looking to pick this up on or around release day.
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis Games
Platform: PLAYSTATION®3, Xbox 360®
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)
Release Date: July 8, 2008
Web Site: http://www.civilizationrevolution.com/
Photo Courtesy Games Press
Jun 7, 2008
For those unfamiliar with the Fan Expo, the convention's Wikipedia entry reads:
"The convention is the largest of its kind in Canada and among the largest in world, filling the entire South building of the Metro Toronto Convention Building with over 43,000 attendees in 2007."
The list of scheduled Gaming Expo 2008 featured guests includes:
- Jon Bates, Business Development & Strategic Marketing, Mindark / Entropia Universe
- John Meadows, writer of LOST video game for UBISOFT
- Johnny Yong Bosch, Nero in Devil May Cry 4
- Steven Jay Blum, Vincent Valentine in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII
- Michelle Ruff, Arioch in Drakengard
- Wendee Lee, Alyssa Ashcroft in Resident Evil Outbreak
(note: guest list is subject to change without notice)
Source: Gaming Expo 2008
Jun 6, 2008
Yes, yes I do actually. I may not have any real fans, no entourage to keep me safe, and I definitely don't possess any vocal talent - but I do own two SingStar PS2 video games that let me be the best damn fake rock star alive!
Fortunately for people like me, Playstation Canada has a solution to really let our inner rock stars come alive. On Tuesday, June 10, Playstation Canada is having it's inaugural SingStar night at Revival Bar in Toronto.
And here I thought karaoke was the pinnacle of live amateur performance - man was I wrong!
The best part though has to be the blurb on the Playstation SingStar event on Facebook, it reads:
"Swing by for an awesome night of music and drinks (19+ of course, sorry kiddies). We’ll be giving out some cool prizes for the evening’s top performers, but your real reward will be the roar of the crowd!"
Hmmmmm...drunkards fake singing in public in front of an audience for cool prizes? Yes, this is why I love video games so damn much.
Source: Playstation.ca - Think You're a Rock Star?
Jun 5, 2008
Around the 6:30 mark Bosh gets into his love for video games, including his current favourites - Grand Theft Auto IV & Halo 3.
For those people who have been checking out NextGen Player since our inception back in April, you may recall me mentioning Best Buy Canada giving away 5 limited edition Grand Theft Auto IV Xbox 360's during the game's midnight madness launch. Well - guess who else got one! Yep, Hot Boy's best bud - Chris Bosh.
"Speaking of GTA IV, first off let me say thank you to Microsoft for the Grand Theft Auto IV Special Edition Xbox. I use it every day - it's the best."
He then describes the console further:
"Well, I mean umm, it's pretty much, it's an Xbox 360 elite, it's pretty cool. Umm, pretty much they put a scan of something, I don't know what they did, but envision, uhh if you know what the cover looks like, place the cover on top of an Xbox. And that's kinda what is looks like, you know what I'm saying?"
Also, Bosh mentioned his Xbox gamertag ("XBOSHLIVE") and encourages his fans to add him as a friend. But be warned, when Hot Boy asks if he plays online, Bosh had this to say:
"Yeah, and and umm you know, it's a funny story about that is, you know sometimes, most the times I play - but I don't chat. Like I play, I don't chat. Umm because, uhh everybody can't, everybody's not mature for that."
You hear that Xbox Live users - it's time to grow up!
I definitely recommend giving the video game portion of this podcast (skip to 6:30) a play if you've got 5 minutes to spare:
Jun 4, 2008
Pepsi-QTG Canada have announced Amp Your Game, a nationwide event touted as "the biggest gaming tour in Canada". The event is, as described on the website, totally free to attend, and will feature:
- Opportunity to compete in game tournaments for prizes
- 80 gaming stations playing the latest games
- Compete for a spot to be a pro-gamer and join Canada's first professional gaming team
- Game tips and coaching from pros
- DJs and live music
- Chance to meet local celebrities
I checked out the tournament schedule and you can compete in any of the followings games:
- Gran Tourismo 5 Prologue
- EA Sports (game is TBD)
- Call of Duty 4
- 2K Sports (game is TBD)
- Scene It
- Rainbow 6: Vegas 2
- Gears of War
The Amp Your Game National Gaming Tour will stop in nine cities over the summer. The event will run for four days, from Thursday to Sunday, in each city between 12 noon and 11:00 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sundays).
Halifax / June 12 - 15 / Halifax Commons
Montreal / June 19 - 22 / St-Laurent Boulevard
Ottawa / June 26 - 29 / Kanata Centrum
Toronto / July 3 - 6 / Harbourfront Centre
Winnepeg / July 10 - 13 / The Forks
Edmonton / July 17 - 20 /West Edmonton Mall
Calgary / July 24 - 27 / Eau Claire Market
Vancouver / July 31 - August 3 / Richmond Centre
Saskatoon / August 7 - 10 / Saskatoon Ex
Toronto / August 22 - 24 / MLG Toronto Pro Circuit
Jun 3, 2008
I decided to take some photos of my experience opening the KLIK-on and share my personal review. The dispenser, surprisingly, is quite comfortable in your hands, and feels exactly like you'd think a miniature Wii Remote would. Since it's sans-batteries the KLIK-on weight is much lighter than a Wii Remote, however you can store candy in the battery compartment to add that little extra milligram of authenticity.
Well enough of the descriptions, for the unveiling of the KLIK-on it's all it's grandeur please visit our Page on Facebook.
Jun 2, 2008
Well, without any further slothfulness, I present to you the workout video:
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is a mere 10 days away from release, but if you're like me, you might need a refresher on your Metal Gear back-story. I was first introduced to the series with Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation and I've been hooked ever since Snake picked up his binoculars and looked at Shadow Moses for the first time. Younger gamers may be surprised to learn that this wasn't Snake's first mission though, the hero was a vet long before he met the likes of Sniper Wolf or Psycho Mantis.
Gametrailers.com is running a series of retrospectives on the Metal Gear games. They provide detailed information on the plots, characters and series-ruining metrosexuals who whine to their ladies about how tough the mission is. Be warned, they are spoilerific, and one might argue that the stories are best experienced for the first time by actually playing the games rather than in movie form. If you just need to get caught up before Snake takes to the battlefield for the last time, then set your codecs to this frequency.
Jun 1, 2008
They had six Wii Balance Board stations set up, and I had the opportunity to watch mall shoppers test out a number of the included games. Many of them looked rather fun to play, especially the collection of balance games - such as Penguin Slide, Balance Bubble and Tightrope Walk. I don't think I have ever seen game players so happy in my entire life ...seriously.
The crowd was a very diverse mix of kids, parents and 20-something gamers. The reaction was so overwhelmingly positive it was almost shocking (I was expecting bubbly people, but not Miyamoto-happy people). Nintendo really has a nice cash-cow on their hands.
To view the full event picture album visit the NextGen Player Page on Facebook.
I've included a few teaser thumbnail photos below...