Aug 28, 2008

ECA Offers Membership to Canadians

The ECA announced today that they have begun offering membership to Canadian gamers. The organization has been providing advocacy and lobbying services for American gamers since 2006. It should be interesting to see what kind of impact the ECA will have here in Canada.

Here's the full release:

WILTON, Conn. (Business Wire) -- The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), the non-profit organization that represents video game enthusiasts, today announced they have begun offering membership opportunities to gamers and consumers who reside in Canada. Canadians who sign up to become ECA members can now take advantage of a host of discounts and benefits and will be immediately plugged into an extremely active social network of gamers that want to give their passion a voice.

"With a thriving gaming community already present and growing in Canada, we are proud to extend the opportunities and benefits that our U.S. ECA members have been enjoying over the years," said Hal Halpin, president of the ECA. "Canada is an important area of growth for us and we are excited to welcome Canadian gamers who are interested in community and any issues that affect gamers."

The ECA will soon be unveiling a host of unique benefits and programs that will be specifically targeted towards Canadian consumers. Canadian chapter organizations are already underway in local gaming communities and these newly-formed networks will continue to grow and offer a great way for videogame players to stay informed and connect with like-minded ECA members in their area.

For more information on the ECA or to take action and sign up for membership, please visit: www.theeca.com.

Aug 27, 2008

Photos From The Past - Metal Gear 4 Launch Party In Toronto

It seems I've been taking more photos than I seem to have time to post, but instead of completely ignoring them, I thought that I'd throw some of them up on the website in the next week.

As a start, here are two photos I took at the Metal Gear 4 Launch Party at the HMV downtown Toronto. From my count there were about thirty people who showed up to buy the game at midnight, and honestly, I was expecting more. I suppose for many people, Metal Gear is a game that can wait until stores open at 9am to buy the game. For me? I just had to be there at midnight.

Enjoy the photos. I have many more that I will be posting in a few days!

  

NPD Group - Canada LTD and YTD Console Sales

Chalk up another milestone for the Wii as it has become the first next-gen console to surpass one million units sold in Canada. The NPD Group has announced that as of July, Wii has sold 1,060,000, with the PlayStation 3 selling 520,000 and Xbox 360 sales totaling 870,000 units despite a year head start on the competition.

From January to July of 2008, Wii has managed to outsell both the Xbox 360 and PS3 combined. So far this year Canadian consumers have bought 376,000 Wii consoles, compared to 200,000 PS3's and 154,000 Xbox 360's.

The NPD Group said that Canadian sales of hardware, software and accessories were up 54% in the first seven months of the year to just under $920 million.

Source: Wii surpasses one million consoles sold in Canada [CTV]

Aug 26, 2008

My Sad Attempt at a Gaming Haiku

It's late, I'm tired, here's a haiku:

Haikus are so fun
I can talk about Mega Man
GutsMan was tough shit!


(Editor's note: In order for this poem to follow the rules of proper haiku construction, you must say Mega Man in two syllables)

NextGen Player Goes Postal Contest

I was thinking to myself the other day that we should run a contest on NextGen Player. A contest so exciting that all our faithful readers would ohh and ahh with sheer joy. And then, when I realized that I didn't have any prizes to give away I got frustrated, then mad, then I went absolutely insane postal!

That's when it dawned on me. Let's give away Postal the video game. Actually let's give away the Fudge Pack compilation pack that includes Postal 1, Postal 2: Share the Pain, Postal 2: Apocalypse Weekend, and more.

But that's not enough. I also thought it would be really cool to give away some copies of the Postal DVD (street date is August 26th), as well as a handful of Postal posters.

So yes, it's decided, this is a real contest, with real prizes!

Here's the deal, to enter all you need to do is email us a haiku about going crazy, or insane, or loony, or postal if you will. The deadline for submission is September 15, 2008.

Send your haikus to contest@nextgenplayer.com.

Here's an example from NGP Co-founder Matt Vernhout:

Craziness pulses
Thinking about delivering the mail
I must be postal


Remember, haikus go 5 syllables, then 7 syllables, then 5 more syllables. Actually, I'm not going to count syllables, so just send us something that sort of resembles a haiku.

Since we're such nice people here at NextGen Player we'll even give everyone a chance to enter twice. All you have to do is subscribe to our email newsletter by entering your email address into that subscribe box in the top right corner of our website. Please note that in order to get two entries you need to use the same email address for both entries! Or else how would we know it's the same person? We may be super cool, but we're not that smart.

Grand Prize (best haiku)
- Copy of the Postal Fudge Pack (5 games in 1 game compilation)
- Postal DVD
- Postal movie poster

Two Almost-Grand Prize winners will receive: (2nd/3rd best haikus)
- Postal DVD
- Postal movie poster

Seven runner-ups will receive: (Random)
- Postal DVD

This contest is restricted to our Canadian visitors only. Remember the deadline for submission is September 15, 2008. Winners will be chosen on the 16th of September.

For our standard contest rules and all that legal jargon, check our contest page.

Aug 25, 2008

New Xbox Dashboard Update Coming Soon?

When Microsoft revealed details about their newly designed Xbox 360 dashboard at E3 a few months back, many folks started getting fairly excited about all of the new features that would be included such as the ability to create avatars, Netflix partnership (US only...boo hoo...maybe an opportunity to team up with Zip.ca in Canada???) and the revised menu system.

RPG-TV was able to get some interesting news from the Microsoft UK team that hinted at a November release. NextGen Player will keep our ears open and update you as more news comes out on this. Make sure to visit NextGen Player regularly to received the latest news on this story.

New House of the Dead coming for the Wii

For those of you who really enjoyed the House of the Dead rail shooters back in the day, SEGA and Headstrong Games bring you the latest installment of the game to the Wii. The new game is called House of the Dead: Overkill. This game is due out in 2009.

In the meantime, here's the trailer for the game courtesy of our friends at X-Play. Looks good.

The CPL is coming back?

Just announced today the Cyberathlete Professional League has been acquired by a Middle Eastern Investment Group and is planning a come back (full release).

Keep an eye here for more details as they become available.

Middle Eastern Investment Group Acquires CPL

Monday 25 August 2008Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate and Dallas, Texas, USA – NewWorld.com, Inc., a leader in the interactive entertainment industry in the USA has announced that its intellectual property, Cyberathlete Professional League® (CPL) has been acquired by an investment group based in the United Arab Emirates.

Ms. Angela Summers, a spokesperson for the acquiring investment group, said, “We are planning to launch a new company which will be named “CPL, LLC” and will be headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. The new company will organize videogame tournaments worldwide.”

Aug 24, 2008

NextGen Player at Xbox X'08 Canada Event

The NextGen Player team was at the Xbox X'08 CANADA event that was held a few days ago to preview and demo some of the hottest games coming out for the Xbox 360 later this fall and for the holiday season. We've sacrificed our time (ya, right...) so that we could share all the goodies with you...our valued readers.

This year's event brought much excitement because of the large number of anticipated titles that are due out between now and the end of the year. The usual big names in the gaming industry were present including Ubisoft, Activision, EA, Konami, Eidos/Crystal Dynamics, Harmonix, Bethesda and Epic Games to name a few. The event was held at Circa nightclub in the heart of downtown Toronto...fitting considering that Circa used to be the Playdium entertainment centre years back.


With so many upcoming titles to preview and demo, here is my recap of some of the titles I was able to check out.

Oddly enough, I decided to first wander to the back of the main floor and somehow found myself chatting with a rep from Disney Entertainment. Immediately the rep started to demo their newest action/adventure game called Bolt. This is actually a game based off of Disney's upcoming animated movie by the the same name. Without going into too much detail, Bolt is about a movie dog that believes he has superpowers. At this point, I was thinking to myself 'great...what a first game to demo...'. But I have to admit that as the rep was going through the demo, I found this game to be charming. Let's put it into perspective, it is a game targeted at the 7 - 12 year old demographic and based on that I was quite impressed with what I saw. The game's graphics are quite clean and sharp and akin to watching a CG animated movie. The game play is well thought out and adds just enough complexity in that it provides a moderate level of challenge and not a simple button masher. This looks to be a potential hit with the kids for the holiday season as the game is set to launch on November 18th which will coincide with the movie's release in the theatres.

The next game I checked out was Naruto: The Broken Bond by Ubisoft. For any of you who are anime fans will know Naurto and most definitely will know or probably have played Ubisoft's first Naruto game called Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. Broken Bond is the much awaited sequel to the original game and more importantly continues the Naruto storyline as you play through it. Stephane Cardin who is the producer took the time to walk me through a demo of the game and point out some key features and improvements. The same great 3D cell animated graphics are back and look better than ever. In addition, the environments are vast and more explorable. Aside from being able to run around in the village of Konoha, you can now explore the forests outside of Konoha as well as another village. Another key change is that teamwork is now part of the game. You get to take control of 3 characters and can switch between them when playing. This is useful of course as certain characters have certain abilities that will come in handy when advancing through the game. In battles, you can pull of special moves that require assistance from a teammate for greater impact. Finally, a big new addition is that all the original voice acting and music from the anime have been incorporated into the game. A huge plus for Naruto and anime fans looking forward to this game. Naruto Broken Bond is scheduled for an October release.

Next up is Tomb Raider Underworld. The game's graphics seemed fairly similar to that of Legend. The demo took place in the Thailand level and immediately the richly detailed and vast environment brought back memories of the original Tomb Raider game. As soon as I was done reminiscing, Lara was being attacked by a couple of tigers that she had to eliminate. Oh...more flashbacks. While battling the tigers, Lara's new gun play mechanics were demonstrated. You can now use both guns to lock on and shoot separate targets. Very cool. While hanging off a cliff or ledge, Lara can shoot at enemies as well. Another key addition to Lara's repertoire of moves is the ability to perform wall jumps. Think Super Mario. Some new weapons such as the sticky grenade were shown off. Lara can also further interact with the environment around her with introduction of "portables". Portables are items that Lara can pick up and use as a weapon or as a means to solve a puzzle or to help her get to an out-of-reach spot. All in all, this latest iteration of the Tomb Raider franchise looks to be promising. Look for it in mid November.

Lastly, the big game everyone is waiting for...Gears of War 2. I was able to get some much important time in the multiplayer mode. The type of game that was going on was similar to capture the flag where the objective is to take control of the flag for as much time as possible. While playing, all of the basic game play from the original was easy to get used to and a few new features such as using an injured enemy as a shield or a chainsaw battle between lancers added so much more enjoyment. Graphics are stunning and audio is crisp and clear. And as before, taking out the enemy is spectacularly gruesome. With the first Gears of War having been executed so well, it is probably safe to say that the folks at Epic Games have another winner on their hands. I guess time will tell later this fall.
Other games I got to check out included NHL 09 from EA (great graphics and controls), Guitar Hero: World Tour from Activision/Neversoft (vast play list and studio mode 'rock' but drums are fairly noisy), Silent Hill Homecoming from Konami (still as creepy as ever), Wanted from Universal Pictures Digital (takes place after the events of the movie - game is like a cross between Gears of War and The Matix with its cover, bullet-time and bullet curving mechanics...the rep called it "cover and curve") and Call of Duty 5 from Activision (we're back to WWII with the same great game play and same great graphics from COD4).

There are much others that I haven't touched on, but doing so would have me take up more real estate on this page than I can afford. That said, NextGen Player is confident that the fall 08 line up of games for the Xbox 360 will be strong one. So save up your hard earned cash as you'll likely ante up for many of them when they come out.

Aug 21, 2008

Star Wars The Force Unleashed Demo Available

You heard right. The demo for the highly anticipated Star Wars The Force Unleashed video game is now available for download on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.

You can now have the chance to take control of Darth Vader's Secret Apprentice if you already haven't done so in SoulCalibur IV.

Download and enjoy!

Controller Keypad coming to PS3

Sony recently announced that they would be releasing a wireless keypad accessory that snaps onto the PS3 controller.



Some unique features of this wireless keypad includes a mode that turns the keypad into a touch pad - like on a laptop - that allows you to run your finger over the keypad to move the cursor on the screen and tap it to enter. There are also a couple of shortcut buttons that will allow you to access the XMB Friends and Message Box sections. When attached to the PS3 controller, the wireless keypad can be simultaneously charged when connecting the controller to the PS3 via USB cable.

In addition, the wireless keypad is Bluetooth enabled and can be used with other Bluetooth devices that support a keypad functionality (such as smartphones). The wireless keypad is set to launch in late November.

Aug 20, 2008

Best Buy Canada Dates Starcraft 2 Release

Does Bestbuy.ca know something we don't? Their website lists the supposed release date of the highly-anticipated Starcraft 2 as December 3rd, 2008. Excitement should be tempered, as many retailers have been known to invent release dates in order to secure pre-order sales when in fact even the developers have no idea when their product will be finished. Still, it's nice to believe that we'll be stomping Zerg before Christmas, but given the high chance of Wrath of the Lich King being released around the same time, it seems unlikely that we'll be doing so in 2008. The link is here if you'd like to check it out yourself.

Aug 19, 2008

Blind Release Dates

By now, you've likely heard the megaton announcement Blizzard unveiled at their Worldwide Invitational event in June. Like most Diablo fans, I logged on to my computer on the 28th to see what the announcement would be related to. When the archangel Tyrael greeted me on Diablo3.com, I broke into a wild smile. Much like a fat kid devouring a box of donuts, I tore into the cinematic teaser trailer, dozens of screenshots, concept art, Deckard Cain's journal and best of all, a 20 minute gameplay video.

But what to do when the binge was over? While my initial glee was off the scale, it quickly diminished when I realize this was after all, a Blizzard product and therefore not likely to see retail shelves for several years. There are some small, insignificant games called Starcraft 2 and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King which are probably in line ahead of the game I'm most eager to see. Assuming Lich King makes it out by the end of 2008, we can hope to see Starcraft in 2009, though that might be hoping for too much.

When can we hope to be charging into Hell to face the fallen hordes? 2010? 2011? Can we even conceive of a far-flung time when apes on horseback will have surely conquered our pathetic armies? Prophecies aside, it's not going to be on our desktops any time soon. The greater issue here isn't necessarily the wait we have to endure. What is really going to make those months (or more likely years) seem worse is the activation of a lumbering contraption known as the Hype Machine. This machine spews forth a barrage of screenshots and preview info designed to make Product X seem all the more desirable. The problem with Mr. Hype Machine is that he likes to stretch. You see, Hype Machine's owners sometimes forget to fill his gas tank with new screenshots, movies and descriptions. When that happens, he begins to show you the same things over and over. My October issue of PC Gamer arrived recently, promising "The Complete Revelation" and "Sizzling New Screens and Info!"right on the cover. With headlines like that, you'd think I would get some new information that Blizzard held back to this point. It's not uncommon for print magazines to secure some sort of rare gem (or skull if you prefer) of information from a company, I assume in exchange for a giant sack of money. Even the first page of the article gave cause for worry though. It was written by Dan Amrich. Nothing against Mr. Amrich, but the last I heard he was writing for Official Xbox Magazine. I've enjoyed his contributions to that magazine, and for all I know he's an avid Diablo player. But why would PC Gamer rely on someone who is associated very closely with Xbox to discuss the biggest PC game announcement of 2008?

Initial concerns aside, I continued the article to read that Diablo 3 is going to contain:

• Destructible Environments
• A Barbarian Class
• A Witch Doctor Class
• Enemy Types such as Dark Vessels, Walking Corpses, Wraiths.
• A New Interface

Now, you may be wondering where in that list does the new stuff come in? The answer my friends, is nowhere. Everything discussed in the article had been known since people watched the 20 minute trailer in late June. There was nothing but recycled information and the same screenshots we've all seen featured in online previews of this game. I don't mean to single out PC Gamer, I still read their magazine faithfully, though I suspect that it's more out of nostalgia than genuine satisfaction with the product these days. What it made me realize though is that this kind of recycling of limited information is going to continue right up until the eventual release of this game, and I'm officially bowing out. I'm excited for D3, make no mistake. In order to avoid falling prey to the Hype Machine and his slow-drip I.V. bag of screens and info for Diablo junkies, I'm going cold turkey. When Blizzard is good and ready to release this game, I'll be in line on day one. Until then, Deckard Cain will just have to find someone else to talk to

Montreal To Host World Cyber Games Canadian Championship

The World Cyber Games, described as the world's largest cyber-gaming event, will be coming to Montreal, Quebec on August 31 - September 1. This three day event will be held at La Ronde, Eastern Canada's largest amusement park. According to the WCG Canada website this is the second time in three years the gaming event is being staged at the Six Flag theme park in Montreal.

The event is expected to attract over 150 players across Canada who will be competing for a chance to represent our country at the 2008 WCG Grand Final in Cologne, Germany from November 5 - 9.

The Official game list for the e-sports competition is:

PC
Warcraft III
Starcraft
Counter Strike
FIFA 08
Need For Speed
Command & Conquer 3
Age of Empires III
Carom 3D
Red Stone

Xbox 360
Project Gotham Racing 4
Guitar Hero III
Halo 3
Virtua Fighter 5

Considering the last time I played a pro gamer in Halo 3 I got my ass kicked 95 kills to my paltry 25, I don't think I'll be competing at this year's WCG Canadian Chapionship. But that's not to say you shouldn't, in fact, I really think you should. Get practicing!

Source: World Cyber Games Canada

PS3 Music Peripheral Compatibility Coming Soon

Sony announced on their PlayStation blog site that the have been working the past few months with Neversoft and Activision, Harmonix and Konami to develop a basic level of game play compatibility between different guitars and drum sets.

Current compatibility development is aimed at titles such as RockBand 2, Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Revolution. This means you would be able to use RockBand 2 peripherals with Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Revolution software or Guitar Hero: World Tour peripherals with RockBand 2 and Rock Revolutions software and so on...you get the idea.

Also, both RockBand 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour will support Singstar microphones.

Sony also announced their intention to support compatibility between the current RockBand and Guitar Hero titles.

One key thing to note is that not all game play features will be cross compatible across all peripherals as each game has it's own unique features specific to its own controllers.

This is great news for fans of these music games and have been looking for flexibility in being able to share peripherals across the different titles and not to mention the potential to save money in not having to purchase an entire new set of peripherals to be able to play across the different games.

Aug 18, 2008

Meridian4 and Steam Want to Say “Tanks”

Montreal, Quebec, Canada – August 18, 2008

Meridian4 is excited to announce that for all Steam clients who pre-order Tank Universal before its release date on August 21st, receive a copy of our highly-successful, critically-acclaimed Action/Shooter; Shadowgrounds free of charge.

For more information regarding the pre-order visit the Coming Soon section on www.steampowered.com.

Tank Universal will be available on August 21st for $9.99 on most digital online channels including Steam, D2D, Impulse, GamersGate and many more. For more information visit www.meridian4.com or any of the digital sites listed.

About Tank Universal

Tank Universal creates a huge virtual ‘Tron-like’ world where you take part in immense 3D tank battles involving scores of units both friendly and not so friendly in wide open levels!

Players can bombard the enemy from a distance or close the gap and dodge shells point blank - all in an immersive first person perspective.
  • 20 levels of highly addictive and intense tank battles
  • Some missions require you to leave the safety of your tank and explore the world on foot
  • Ability to upgrade weapons and tank equipment
  • Fight alongside allies against highly intelligent and numerous enemies
  • Spectacular looking virtual world and eye-popping particle effects
  • Take the battle in any direction with wide open levels allowing freedom of play
  • Intriguing storyline switching between the 'real world' and the digital virtual world
  • Enhanced resolutions, including widescreen support up to 1680x1050
About Meridian4

Meridian4 is an interactive software publisher located in Montreal, Canada. A new publishing company, with new ideas and a different approach to forming partnerships with developers, Meridian 4 aims to actually form a partnership – a true relationship characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility to achieve the best possible performance for developers’ products. For more information, visit http://www.meridian4.com.

About Dialogue Design

Dialogue Design is a small independent studio dedicated to bringing exciting and creative 'indie' games to an emerging market. Based in Hamilton, New Zealand, Dialogue Design has just released its first title, the acclaimed action tank combat game - Tank Universal. For more information, visit http://www.tankuniversal.com.

Space Trader does Business with Meridian4


Montreal, Quebec, Canada – August 15, 2008

Meridian4 (http://www.meridian4.com) is pleased to announce that they have signed a publishing agreement with Hermitworks Entertainment Corporation for their unique, habit-forming Action/Trading game; Space Trader – Merchant Marine.

"We're really excited to be working with Meridian4. They share our vision in offering players a unique game play experience. We've changed the rules of traditional action games to challenge both new and veteran players and Meridian4 supports us in this." said Cameron Tofer, President and Co-Founder of Hermitworks Entertainment.

“When we were first presented Space Trader, we were thrilled to see a small, independent developer, close to home producing such a unique title.” said Andy Sher, CEO of Meridian4, “With its clever mix of FPS and Trading, we were, as I’m sure gamers will be, hooked immediately.”

About Space Trader – Merchant Marine

In the far future, humanity is ruled by The Ministry of Accounts, an oppressive bureaucracy that tracks, records and taxes every transaction of daily life. From the depths of Red Tape, a new breed of marketeer arises to challenge the authority and make a profit: the Space Trader is born!

As a Trader, you will attempt to amass a fortune beyond your wildest imagination, buying and selling commodities and taking up arms against the oppressors or even accepting bounty missions, hunting down crime bosses and their thugs.
Trader Campaign: Start as a rookie trader and earn your way to Master Trader using shrewd trades, back alley deals, bribes, a well placed bullet and more through a challenging 5-level single-player campaign.

Three Ways to Challenge: Master your trading skills in three unique challenge missions; Moon Madness, Free Trade and Red Eye Trader.

From Iron Ore to Organs: Turn misfortune to profit. Buy low, sell high. Over 40 different commodities to supply the demand.

Have Ship, Will Travel: Visit seven planetary locations, their moons and stops along the way and interact with over 100 characters.

Conflict Builds Character: Using an assortment of unique weapons, bring dozens of crime bosses to justice and turn a tidy profit.

Competitive Cooperative: Challenge your friends and family, not just your peers. Working together has never been so competitive!
About Meridian4

Meridian4 is an interactive software publisher located in Montreal, Canada. A new publishing company, with new ideas and a different approach to forming partnerships with developers, Meridian 4 aims to actually form a partnership – a true relationship characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility to achieve the best possible performance for developers’ products. For more information, visit http://www.meridian4.com.

About Hermitworks

HermitWorks Entertainment Corporation is an independent game company founded in 2004 by industry veterans Cameron and Marcia Tofer. HermitWorks is an innovative company interested in developing games that casual and hard core gamers can play together. Using current and emerging technologies the HermitWorks team is known for inspiring new ideas. For more information, visit http://www.hermitworksentertainment.com/.

Aug 16, 2008

Canadian Olympic Flag-bearer Says We Need to Get Our Kids Off the Couch

So the story goes like this: Adam van Koeverden, a celebrated and decorated Canadian kayak racer and flag-bearer for the Beijing 2008 Olympics was speaking to The London Free Press about our country's dismal olympic showing thus far. His message for those people whining about our low medal count: Get your kids off the couch.

He continues:

“I’d like to ask the people who are complaining about our results are they playing Xbox or are they playing sports? Are they going to (amusement parks) on the weekend or are they swimming? Do they do swimming lessons? Are they encouraged to play sports at school?

“Do they have phys-ed at school? Most kids don’t and that’s a real cultural issue in Canada. “That gets me pissed.”
I think if you want to get gamers off the couch we need olympic sports games that inspire us. Games that move us even. Personally though, I don't see that happening anytime soon.


Flag-bearer to medal whiners: Get your kids off the couch [The London Free Press]

You'll Like Being a Sith Lord Apprentice, Guaranteed

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed looks like it will be a good game. An amazing game even. It looks like EB Games Canada agrees, as they have a Gaming Guarantee promotion on their website right now that where they're banking you'll like the game so much, that they are willing to give you full trade-in credit within one week of purchase. As usual, this offer is only given to people who pre-order their copy.

Of course this isn't the first time EB Games has offered such a bizarre promotional offer. They did the same thing with Haze earlier this year. But let's be honest here, Haze was average at best. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed looks much, much better. I'm not sure if I'd want to return the game within 7 days from purchase. Oh the pressure!

LittleBigCanada Pre-Order Goodies Announced

Last week on the Official Playstation Blog, Mark Valledor, SCEA Marketing Manager, announced a whole slew of LittleBigPlanet pre-order promotional giveaways and I salivated. A few seconds later when I realized these giveaways were U.S. only, I sobbed. Fortunately, Media Molecule didn't want to a see a grown man cry, and have announced on the Official LittleBigPlanet blog that Canada will also have pre-order campaigns. Two in fact! Oh sure, our U.S. brethren will be getting five pre-order campaigns - but hey, at least we're not completely left in the cold.

Okay, so sure I could be pissed that I won't be able to get my hands on a LittleBigPouch, instead though, I think I'll consider myself fortunate that come launch day, I'll be able to dress my Sackboy with Kratos' signature goatee and the Blades of Athena.

If you're interested in scoring yourself a free Kratos downloadable SackBoy or a Nariko downloadable SackGirl, get your O Canada ass down to your local EB Games. They should be taking pre-orders in Canada right now.

What do you get when you cross a DS and Twitter?

An application that lets you microblog from your Nintendo DS to the Social Network Twitter (follow us).

Today on Mashable they are reporting about Twitter's Invasion on the Nintendo DS via the Wifi connection on the DS. This tool is described as:
A new entrance to the Scenery Beta 2008, this time in the category of applications for the DS. It comes in first for the contest, and with it we can conveniently enjoy the phenomenon Twitter. Blogs, so fashionable lately, are evolving into social networks such as this, where you can post at any given moment what you're doing or see what your friends are doing (and now, thanks to DSTwitter, using the DS anywhere). Certainly an original application, simple to use and with details so appreciated as multilanguage support (detecting the language of the DS automatically) or use of cache for downloading icons.
This sounds like a very cool application, get installation instructions here. Note that this was developed in Spanish, and is in BETA, so you may need to translate the page... Mashable has a translation available to help you out.

Let us know how it works for you - send us a direct message on Twitter from your DS.

Aug 14, 2008

Cineplex To Offer Theatres For Xbox 360 Gaming Parties

Beginning tomorrow, Cineplex will be offering theatre rentals for gamers interested in playing Xbox 360 titles on the big screen with surround sound. For $179 plus taxes you get access to a two-hour private theatre gaming session for up to 12 people. Cineplex will be rolling this rental program out at 29 of their theatres across Canada.

Talking to CBC, Pat Marshall, Cineplex's vice-president of communications said that Cineplex theatres will have "about 12 to 24 hours" of available rental hours each week, and that they will have more available time come September.

Each theatre will provide an Xbox 360 console, four wireless controllers, and an in-house library of Xbox 360 games to play. Renters will also have the option to bring their own games to the party.

At least initially, Cineplex has partnered exclusively with Microsoft's Xbox 360, so gamers looking to play Wii or PS3 titles are out of luck. But let's look on the bright side, now at least we can all watch our Viva Piñata's
'romance dance' on 50 foot tall screens!

Source: CBC

Aug 10, 2008

3rd Annual Elan Award Categories Announced

The organizers of the 3rd Annual Canadian Elan Awards, a Vancouver-based video games and animation festival, have revealed the new categories featuring in this year's ceremony. The event will take place on Saturday, February 28, 2009.

From the press release:

There were many leaps forward announced today by the producers of the Elans - an awards show that has for the last two years honored video games and animation with big-name hosts such as William Shatner (1st year) and Seth MacFarlane (2nd year) - not the least of which being their addition of Visual Effects award categories to their next show taking place in Vancouver on Saturday, February 28, 2009.

Adding VFX to their categories isn't the only big step forward the Elans are taking; the 3rd Annual Elan Awards will also become the first ceremony of its kind to have all of its categories open to world-wide submission.

"Expanding the Elans to international content is an exciting next-step," says Ian Verchere, Producer/Creative Director/Faculty, Masters of Digital Media Program. "Vancouver's video game, effects and animation industries compete on the world stage for commercial and critical success, so it's appropriate for the world's best games, animation and special effects to compete for the Elans on a Vancouver stage."

For the full release, check out the Elans website.

Aug 8, 2008

Summer fun with Xbox Live Arcade


As I'm checking my email this evening, I see an email had arrived this afternoon from Xbox Canada promoting their Xbox Live Summer of Arcade contest.

The email reads: "Play the Xbox LIVE Arcade Game of the Week (free trial or full version) and you'll receive an entry into a weekly draw for a chance to win 4,000 Microsoft Points.* It's also an automatic entry in the grand prize draw for a chance to win 100,000 Microsoft Points or other cool prizes!Each week is a new opportunity to play a great new arcade game—and another chance to win."

Week 1 is already done as it was from July 30 - August 5 (so why did I only receive this email today??? The marketing people at Xbox need to brush up on their timing ;-) )

Well, there's still four more week's to enter the contest. Week 2 ends this coming Tuesdays. All the details can be found here.

Good luck.

Please


Someone talk me out of buying this right the hell now.

Aug 7, 2008

UPDATE: PS3 Greatest Hits Spotted In The Great White North

Last week my fellow NextGen Player colleague Andrew Shin posted an article about the announcement of the Playstation 3 Greatest Hits series.

Well, I can now officially confirm that I have seen some of the "red plastic" Greatest Hits titles in Canadian stores, including:

Resistance: Fall of Man
Motorstorm
Warhawk
Assassin's Creed
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas
Ninja Gaiden Sigma

Wal-Mart seems to have the widest selection available, with HMV a close second. Oddly enough, I haven't seen any Greatest Hits games at EB Games or Best Buy.

One word of caution - HMV was selling Ninja Gaiden Sigma for $34.99. You can find that same title at Wal-Mart for $29.83.

As a rule of thumb, I wouldn't pay more than $29.99 for any of the Greatest Hits titles (that's the MSRP). If you see a higher price, most likely you can find it for $29.99 elsewhere. My advice - shop around.

How Canadians Can Apply To The PS3 Home Closed Beta

I've been reading on various gaming websites today that Sony has announced via their Official PlayStation Blog an expansion of the closed beta test for PlayStation Home to begin at the end of the month.

The Playstation Blog announcement doesn't mention whether the application instructions apply to just U.S. or if Canadians can also apply in the same manner. Fearing the worst, I assumed it was U.S. only.

Fortunately, a commenter by the name of geekdadcanada asked if Canadians can also apply for the Playstation Home beta.

Jack Buser, Director of PlayStation Home had this reply:

"Canada is included."

Ah, such sweet words you speak Jack.

So if you're a Canadian gamer, and looking to apply, here's the scoop on how you do so:

Today the PLAYSTATION Store will be updated with a PlayStation Home theme. By downloading the theme, users are submitting an application to join the PlayStation Home Beta test community. Sony will be using a variety of criteria including activity on the PLAYSTATION Network to determine eligibility for the Beta community. Existing beta testers have automatically qualified to be part of the expanded beta.

Aug 6, 2008

Toronto FC Star Maurice Edu Named the New Face of EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer 09

In a press release today, EA announced that Toronto FC soccer player Maurice Edu will be gracing the cover of the FIFA Soccer 09.

From the release:

Electronic Arts today announced that Toronto FC star Maurice Edu is taking his game to the cover of the world’s most popular soccer videogame where he will join Brazilian International Ronaldinho and Mexican national team goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa as cover athletes and spokespersons for EA SPORTS™ FIFA Soccer 09 in the United States, Canada and other regions in North America.

Edu will also become the first and only Major League Soccer player to appear as a customized Mii™ character exclusively for the Wii™ home video game system in FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play. EA SPORTS has created a unique version of Edu and his character will be playable alongside some of the world’s biggest soccer stars, including Ronaldinho, Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribéry and others— all created as special Mii characters exclusively for FIFA Soccer 09 All-Play.

“I got a kick out of my Mii because it looks like he has a lot of fun on the pitch and he’s capable of pulling off some wild moves,” said Edu. “It’s fun to take control of my character and blast outrageous shots on goal with a flick of the wrist. I’ve never played soccer like this before.”

One of the rising stars of MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team, Edu is in his second season with Toronto FC after being selected first overall in the 2007 MLS Superdraft and then being named MLS Rookie of the Year. Edu has earned caps with the US National Team and is currently training with the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team in Beijing. The 22-year-old midfielder was born and raised in Fontana, California, and prior to joining Toronto FC, played three seasons at the University of Maryland, winning the NCAA National Championship in 2005.

Earlier this month Edu participated in a body motion capture session with the EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer 09 videogame development team at EA Canada in Burnaby, British Columbia. During the session Edu’s body movements, individual moves and playing style were captured and digitized, and will become the life-like movement of his virtual self in FIFA Soccer 09 and future versions of the game.

PS3 Fanboy listing Trophies

PS3 Fanboy has started a page to track all the games that have trophies, and those that will not, dubbed the "PS3 Fanboy Trophy Portal".

This list will be updated to include;
  • Game trophy lists for each game - with regular updates as new games/trophies are released
  • and a Trophy guide, to help explain the tasks you need to accomplish to gain your coveted trophies.
Here is an example Trophy guide for the Bronze Trophies in "Buzz! Quiz TV"
* Sofa Subjugator Bronze - Win 5 Sofa vs Sofa games
* The Barnard Award Bronze - Score over 1500 points in Single player
* Lonesome and Loving it Bronze - Play 5 single player games
* MyBuzz Enthusiast Bronze - Play 1 MyBuzz game
* Sofa Surfer Bronze - Play 1 Sofa vs Sofa game
* Socialite Bronze - Play 5 Multiplayer games
Good luck with your trophy hunting...

Aug 5, 2008

NPD: Canadian Consoles Sales Q1 & Q2, 2008

As gamers we're used to seeing sales data reported on a monthly or weekly basis. If you want Japanese sales data - we've got Enterbrain. If you want UK sales data - we've got Chart Track. If you want US sales data - we've got the NPD Group. And if you want fudged sales data - we've all got VG Chartz!

But if you're Canadian like me, you might have noticed our country's sales data is a little harder to come by. And by harder I mean it's damn near impossible to find. Fortunately for us, the NPD Group also tracks Canadian sales data, and occasionally the like to share! In fact they recently shared some meaty sales data figures with Canadian Business Online - namely console sales for the first two quarters of 2008.

So without further hesitation, here is your Canadian console sales data for January through June:

Wii - 318,000

Playstation 3 - 170,500

Xbox 360 - 129,000

Well, no real surprises there. Big N's on top with a huge margin. Propelled by the recent blu-ray victory and the sweet, sweet launch of Metal Gear Solid 4, the PS3 comes in second. And finally we have the Xbox 360 trailing, but hot on the heels of the PS3 in third.

Now if only the NPD Group would report Canadian data on a monthly basis just like they do with the US. We deserve some love too.

Source: Canadian Business Online

Aug 2, 2008

PS3...meet Greatest Hits...

For those of you who completely ignored E3 last month, Sony announced that they would be launching their Greatest Hits line up of games. This was huge news for PS3 owners, especially new ones because it provides the opportunity to purchase some great titles for a very affordable price of $29.99.


The PlayStation Greatest Hits launch line up is now available in stores and includes the following:

Resistance: Fall of Man
Motorstorm
Warhawk
Assassin's Creed
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Call of Duty 3
Fight Night Round 3
Need for Speed: Carbon

Not a bad selection of Greatest Hits to begin with. Happy PS3 gaming.