Oct 28, 2009

God of War Collection Trophies Revealed

By Andrew Shin

While many of us wait for the release of God of War III next year, we'll have something to hold us over when the God of War Collection launches on November 17th. The God of War Collection is a PS3 format game that includes the original God of War and God of War II, both remastered in full HD.

So here's a couple of cool things about this. One, you get to play (either again or for the first time) the previous God of War games in high definition glory. Can you visualize how sweet that would be? And two, there's full trophy support for both games. In fact, the God of War team had some fun with this and created some interesting trophies. An example is the "Speed of Jason McDonald" gold trophy achievable in God of War. Jason is the Sr. Combat Designer for God of War III and holds the office record for the best speed run for God of War. To order to gain the "Speed of Jason McDonald" trophy, you'll need to complete the game in under 5 hours.

For the complete list of trophies for both games, have a look below.



1.21 Gigawatts - Acquire Poseidon’s Rage
Rocking Out - Acquire Medusa’s Gaze
Bolt Action - Acquire Zeus’ Fury
Sword Man - Acquire Blade of Artemis
Soul Search - Acquire Army of Hades
Matador - Win the first Minotaur fight
Scape Goat - Win the first Satyr fight
Roll Over … and Die - Win the first Cerberus fight
Don’t They Ever Shut Up! - Defeat the Desert Sirens
Beat a Dead Horse - Complete the Centaur sacrifice to Hades
Kickboxer - Complete the Spike Room Box Puzzle
Rockin’ the Boat - Complete the Sex Mini-Game
Don’t Leave Her Hanging - Rescue the Oracle with 10 seconds to spare
Get the Ball Rolling - Complete the Challenge of Atlas
Totally Baked - Complete the Human sacrifice
Splash - Kiss the Nyad
Get Me a Beer Kid - Free yourself from the depths of Hades
Zero Health = Bronze Trophy - Open a Health Chest when your health meter is already full
Hitman - Get a 100 Hits Combo
Getting My Ass Kicked - Die enough times to get offered Easy Mode


Kratos’ Marble Collection - Collect all the Gorgon Eyes
Stick it in Your Cap! - Collect all the Phoenix Feathers
It’s the HUGE One - Retrieve the Captain’s Key
Take the Bull by the Horns - Defeat Pandora’s Guardian
God Killer - Kill Ares
Head Hunter - Obtain the head of the Architect’s wife
The Power to Kill a God - Retrieve Pandora’s Box
Hitman 2 - Get a 200 Hits Combo
Legend of the Twins - Watch the ‘Birth of the Beast’ Treasure
Seeing Red - Max out all Weapons and Magic


Prepare to be a God - Beat the Game on any Difficulty
You Got the Touch! - Climb the Spiked Column in Hades without taking damage
I’ll Take the Physical Challenge - Complete the Challenge of the Gods
Speed of Jason McDonald - Beat the game in under 5 hours on any Difficulty
Key to Success - Collect all of the Muse Keys


Trophy of Zeus - Unlock all God of War Trophies



Breaking Wind - Acquire Typhon’s Bane
Big, Tuff, Buff and Rough - Acquire Rage of the Titans
Blue Balls - Acquire Cronos’ Rage
Shiner - Acquire the Golden Fleece
Rock their World - Acquire the Head of Euryale
Learning to Fly - Acquire the Icarus Wings
Shaky Ground - Acquire Atlas Quake
Death from Above 2009 - Defeat the Dark Rider for the first time
Resurrection - Climb from the pit of Hades
Rock Hard - Defeat the Titan Minotaur inside Atlas
Pick’n on the Little Guy - Win the battle outside of the Palace of the Fates
Watcha Got on the Hot Plate? - Solve the riddle of the Fire Phoenix Statue
Whip it Good - Whip the Steeds of Time
Lift with Your Knees - Topple the Temple in the Bog of the Forgotten
Swinger - Cross the collapsing Grapple Bridge
Stoner - Stone and Shatter 30 Enemies
Super Sized - Get a 500 Hits Combo
Hitting Your Stride - Power up any item


Eye Can’t Believe it - Collect all the Gorgon Eyes
Go Make a Pillow! - Collect all the Phoenix Feathers
Eye Sore - Collect 20 Cyclops Eyes
Boss Batch 1 - Kill the Colossus of Rhodes, the Dark Rider, and Theseus
Boss Batch 2 - Kill the Barbarian King, Euryale, and Perseus
Boss Batch 3 - Kill the Kraken and all three Sisters of Fate
Daddy Issues - Defeat Zeus
Rise and SHINE - Awaken the Phoenix
Spread ‘Em - Open the wings of the Temple of the Fates
Shine King - Open the door to the Temple of Euryale
Blowin’ Your Wad - Max out all Weapons and Magic


The End Begins - Beat the Game on any Difficulty
Feel the Urn - Collect and use at least 2 Urns of Power
Bleeding Thumbs - Beat the Challenge of the Titans
15 Min Fight Scene - Battle your way to the Loom Chamber in under 10 minutes
You Know the Germans Make Good Stuff… - Collect all Uber Chests


Trophy of Gaia - Unlock all God of War II Trophies

Oct 26, 2009

Win Uncharted 2 Prize Pack With Eye Crave Network and NextGen Player

By Andrew Shin

Now here's a contest we at NextGen Player are excited to be a part of. Our friends at entertainment news site Eye Crave Network are giving away an Uncharted 2: Among Thieves prize pack in partnership with NextGen Player. This means you have the opportunity to win this great prize pack.

Let's just say you'll want to fine tune your acting and filming skills here.

For more details on the contest and how to enter, visit Eye Crave's Uncharted 2 contest page.

NextGen Player Review: WET

By Andrew Shin

If you recall, last year we posted exclusive gameplay video footage of WET that we took at MIGS 2008. At the time, Montreal based developer Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M) did not have a publisher for their game (their initial partnership with Activision didn't work out) and so the only thing one could expect for WET was nothing more than a showcase piece longing for some publisher love.

Well, since then a lot has happened. Bethesda came along and picked up the game. As a result, A2M saw all of their hard work and ambitions come to life on retail shelves across the world. As gamers waited for this game to be released, they commented on comparisons to games such as Max Payne and Stranglehold as well as visual cues akin to the grindhouse genre. The latter description holds true, however comparisons to Max Payne and Stranglehold aren’t completely justified. In fact, after playing the game, I kept thinking a cross between Lara Croft, The Matrix and grindhouse movies.

So allow me to tell you what WET is. It’s a game that does many things well. It’s a very stylistic game that does a good job of incorporating fun and engaging gameplay with some solid voice acting and a great soundtrack. Rubi is the heroine and she’s a looker with a mean streak. To compliment her badass-ness, she has at her disposal an arsenal of very effective weaponry including pistols, shotguns, crossbows and a lethal sword. As I mentioned before, the gameplay is extremely fun due to the well balanced combat cocktail of “bullet time” slow mo gunplay and athletic acrobatics. Take it a step further to string together moves and you can execute combos (all in slow motion). The end result is a highly satisfying and visually attractive shoot em’ up that will have your eyes drooling. It's also very helpful that the overall control scheme is simple in execution and layout so that all of your focus in on the screen where it should be.

As you take out the bad guys, it’s essential to do so efficiently and in continuous fashion. During any shoot up sequence with enemies, you can build up your score multiplier by stringing together one kill after another. You’ll want to build it up as high as possible and maintain it for as long as possible so that you can rack up style points. This in turn can then be used to upgrade Rubi’s abilities and weapons. Throughout the game you will also come across a regular dose of quick time button sequences where you have to respond in time to and press the corresponding controller button that flashes on the screen. Nothing unique overall, but does add another dimension to the game.

Amongst all of the good WET brings to the table, I did have some minor knocks. For one, while the game can be addictively fun, I felt it was too linear. Yes, granted these types of game need to be linear in nature, there certainly could have been some elements of free roaming to make things more interesting. Additionally, the game’s difficulty could also have been a notch higher. Especially boss battles. The few that were in the game proved a bit too easy to conquer, especially at the end of the game which kinda made it anti-climactic.

At the end of the day, WET is a solid game. A2M has put together a good package that is entertaining and has some great visuals. But as well as it executes on many aspects, it does lack some polish that holds it back from being an even better game. All that said, I’d recommend taking the game for a spin as you’ll likely have one enjoyable ride.

- Combat is addictively fun – slo mo gunplay combined with acrobatics
- Grindhouse style makes for great visuals
- Great soundtrack

- Too linear
- Level of difficulty could have been higher

NextGen Player gives WET a...

Oct 23, 2009

Xbox Deal of the Week: Resident Evil 5 Versus Mode

By Paul Hunter

When Resident Evil 5 came out many gamers complained that the versus mode wasn't included in the retail version -- it came out a few weeks later as downloadable content. It also just happened to cost 400 Microsoft Points or $5 depending on which currency you prefer.

There was even a rumour that circulated claiming the versus mode was on the disc all along and the DLC purchase was simply a key that unlocked it. This was later debunked by Capcom exec Christian Svensson who said:

"Keys are 100K or less. It is not a key. We have said in the past, it uses assets from the disc (like levels, models, audio, etc.) but the code is new and does not exist on the disc."

Still, many gamers felt a little cheated. 400 Microsoft Points just wasn't worth it.

Well, if you're in that group how does 240 points sound to you? That's equivalent to $3 in normal money and Xbox Canada Deal of the Week if you feel inclined to buy. Keep in mind that this is an exclusive offer only to Xbox Live Gold members and the deal ends October 25.

I haven't bothered to pick-up the DLC myself, but if you have, let us know what you thought of it.

Got Game Inteviews Vortex Competition's Managing Director

By Paul Hunter

If you follow NextGen Player on Twitter most likely you've come across a tweet or two where I've expressed my love for the weekly video game radio show Got Game that airs on The FAN590.

Got Game's host Zack Cooper and the crew recently talked with Sari Ruda, Managing Director of the Vortex Competition about the Boot Camp and Competition taking place November 3, 4 & 5 in Toronto.

The interview covers a lot of interesting facets of the event including the over-arching goals of the competition, the learnings and opportunities registrants will receive at the Boot Camp, and the lucrative prizing available to the Vortex winner.

This is the 5th anniversary of the Vortex Competition and according to Ruda they have learned quite a bit about emerging game designers over the years and have used this knowledge to fine-tune the Vortex offering to bring out the full potential of each participant.

"One of things we discovered along the way was that people might have a great concept, but they really didn't understand the nuts and bolts of putting together a business," says Ruda, "so what we're trying to do is to help them put a realistic goal together and then when they pitch the judges with these concepts the rest of it falls into place and they'll have a good chance of having a positive outcome."

As an example of how effective the competition has been for previous winners, they will be bringing in a speaker from the 2007 competition and he'll discuss how his Vortex successes have helped him grow a 23 person business since March 2008. That sounds like quite an impressive feat in only eight-teen months.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking on the flash player below or by heading over to the Got Game homepage here and downloading the October 3rd Edition. The Vortex interview begins at the 19 minutes mark:

Capcom to Zombify Torontonians

By Leif Conti-Groome

After infecting locales all over the world, the Resident Evil franchise is setting its sights on the sleepy town of Toronto, Ontario. This time, it is promising to be more of a blast than Resident Evil: Extinction.

Capcom is setting up a booth for the 7th annual Toronto Zombie Walk that will help aspiring undead be even deader. They will be promoting Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles which is slated to come out the chilly morn of November 17th. And just because they're skipping the trend of releasing horror themed games before or on Halloween (I'm looking at you Saw and Dreamkiller) doesn't mean that it won't scare the Wii Remote out your Wii Zapper.

For those unfamiliar, the Zombie Walk is a chance for zombifiles to get their shamble on in a parade like structure where everyone participating are dressed up like infected carriers. The cosplaying for this event is top notch with groups of friends setting up elaborate battles and take downs ala Left 4 Dead or tongue-in-cheek cameos (last year there was the late Ronald McDonald snacking on some McBrain sandwiches).

Not everyone is the best with white foundation and fake blood and that's where Capcom graciously comes in; their booth will feature professional make-up artists who will make you a deadite free of charge. According to the Zombie Walk website, there has been over a hundred people who are dead serious about getting assistance to become a Thriller extra.

If you live in Toronto and want to get in on the action, Capcom's booth will be in Trinity Bellwoods Park and they will exercising their mortician talents as of 12:30pm. The organizers have warned that anyone coming by the tent to get there early and bring a small make up bag just in case supplies run out. The Walk itself will be leaving at 3:30pm after opening ceremonies at 3pm where all zombies will eventually end up overrunning Bloor Street.

Capcom also helped fund some excellent advertisements done specifically for the walk. Simon Pure (which is an agency rather than a person) were the masterbrains behind these hilarious spots:

If this doesn't get you out than you do not have the heart of a true Zombie.

Canadians Are 'Impulse Game Buyers' Says NPD Group Study

By Paul Hunter

The NPD Group have released a report entitled The Canadian Video Game Purchase Process which found that the Canadian video game industry has been overcome by a wave of impulse purchases fueled primarily by creative packaging and online accessibility.

Despite being in a mild recession, 40 per cent of video game buyers stated that they have purchased a game on impulse in the past six months.

Much like gamers overall, the male/female split for impulse buying is almost even and are dominated by the 13 – 17 age group (26%) and the 35 – 44 age group (23%).

“Clearly gamers are becoming much less reluctant to spend on games,” said Matthew Tattle, Group Manager, The NPD Group. “One would think it is a little unusual to see impulse purchases during a recession but it’s clear that hardcore gamers will find a way to satisfy their need for something new, different and enjoyable.”

This upswing of shoppers picking up a game on impulse is correlated with a rise in low-cost used games, which has performed exceptionally well during the recessionary months generating $65 in sales. In Canada we've recently witnessed a number of major retailers get into the used gaming market including Best Buy Canada, Rogers Plus, and Future Shop. HMV has also announced intentions to enter the used game market but specifics have not yet been made public.

Motivations behind impulse shopping include images or descriptions on game packaging (40% said this was extremely important), and in-store demonstrations of the game (25% are swayed after viewing one).

Says Tattle: “Game packaging is the most influential form of advertising for game manufacturers and retailers. Particularly among impulse shoppers, game packaging is considered a much stronger motivator than TV commercials, online ads or trailers. The graphics and images on game packages should be chosen strategically to ensure buyers are attracted to the game.”

Referrals also play a key role for retailers looking to attract impulse buyers, 1/3 of whom said they were motivated to make their last game purchase by having played the game at a friend’s house or receiving a referral from a family member or friend.

Furthermore, 19% of impulse buyers said a store clerk’s recommendation is very or extremely important to them and 21% are swayed by a recommendation from another shopper in the store.

Additional study findings include:

* Only 3% of reported purchases were pre-ordered
* Females are more likely to buy on impulse; 46% of impulse buyers are females compared to only 37% of planned buyers
* Sequels sell; almost 20% of gamers said they were motivated to buy a game that was a sequel to one they had previously enjoyed
* 43% of impulse buyers paid only $10 – $20 for their last game purchase
* Only 15% of impulse purchases were made online

The Canadian Video Game Purchase Process was conducted from Aug.10 – 21, 2009 among a population sample of 2,429 gamers (1,758 adults, 371 teens) across the country.


Oct 22, 2009

Xbox Canada Invites You To Drive Your Dreams

By Paul Hunter

Eager Canadian gamers will have their chance to test drive Forza Motorsport 3 before the official North American release date thanks to Xbox Canada's Drive Your Dreams event taking place this Saturday at the CNE grounds in Toronto.

They are also running a pretty sweet contest during the event and all you need to do to enter is register onsite.

The grand prize consists of an Xbox 360 Elite Console, an Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, and a Limited Edition Forza Motorsport game, and a 12-Month Xbox LIVE Gold Membership. In addition, the winner will also receive a gift certificate for the “Thrill of a Lifetime” package at the Bridgestone Racing Academy located in Lindsay, Ontario redeemable at a time of the winners choosing and an Expedia Travel Voucher to be used for travel to Bridgestone Racing Academy. The approximately retail value of the total prize is $3,660 CAD.

There will also be ten secondary prizes which include a Limited Edition Forza Motorsport 3 game (approximately retail value of $89.99).

Here are the event details:

October 24th 2009
12:00 – 17:00
The Better Living Centre, CNE Grounds

Click here for a map

For more information you can check out the official contest website or the event page on Facebook.

Watch Us Construct An Epic Lego Rock Band Jam Session!

By Paul Hunter

Earlier this month I was welcomed to the Future Shop annual "Red Carpet" Game On which is basically a mini-E3 event for their managers so they can learn what's hot this holiday season. At the preview event were many high profile games such as Assassin's Creed 2, DJ Hero, Avatar, Forza Motorsport 3, Wii Fit Plus, and Lego Rock Band.

The highlight of the event was when I was invited on the Lego stage to perform with my long-time friend Elliott Chun, Future Shop's Communications Manager. Also joining us on-stage was CTV's well-known tech guru, Kris Abel, and Future Shop's Marketing Specialist, Kerrie Kindrat. You can check out the whole experience on that YouTube clip above.

If you're interested in reading my full impressions of the event, check out my write-up on the Future Shop Tech Blog.

Oct 21, 2009

DIG Lists 'Top Ten You Don't Want To Miss', Includes NGP

By Paul Hunter

This year's DIG London conference is shaping up to be an amazing industry event. Momentum has been building significantly over the last month with new keynote speakers announced such as Ubisoft Montreal & Toronto's CEO, Yannis Mallat, and Electric Playground's host, Victor Lucas. They join a star-studded gaming line-up that includes senior executives at Digital Extremes, Silicon Knights, Cerebral Vortex Games, Big Blue Bubble, Antic Entertainment, EEDAR and many more.

With all these exciting event draws I was simultaneously honoured and surprised when I read on the DIG London blog today that NextGen Player has been named one of the "Top Ten You Don't Want To Miss" at the conference. Looks like we have some pretty big boots to fill. Hey, at least I have shoe size 11, that's pretty large considering my 5'6" stature.

So, want to know the top ten draws you don't want to miss? I know you do, and that's why I'm going to tell you:

10) Industry DIG 2009 VIP Party – for full conference delegates, sponsors, and speaker!

9) Industry Trade-show featuring sponsors, partners, service providers and more!

8 ) Forecast of economic trends and demographics for the gaming industry.

7) Keynote address by digital media and videogame TV pioneer Victor Lucas.

6) Explosive viral marketing opportunities with the presence of NextGen Player, the GAMES DAY Podcast, GamingUnion.net, and Backbone Magazine.

5) Interactive GameZone with international best-sellers including games by DIG London companies.

4) Game Design Post-Mortem with Big Blue Bubble.

3) Open Forum discussion with James Schmalz of Digital Extremes and Denis Dyack of Silicon Knights.

2) Ubisoft’s Yannis Mallat Keynote Address.

1) One-to-One networking opportunities through DIG’s Partnering Program.

Well, there you have it. If you're going to DIG London 2009 don't miss out on any of the above. Especially #6, I hear the staff writers at NextGen Player are incredibly handsome.

Oct 20, 2009

Vortex Competition 2009 Welcomes Ubisoft

By Andrew Shin

Vortex has announced Ubisoft as a key sponsor for their Vortex Competition 2009. Beyond the sponsorship, the Ubisoft connection with this year's Vortex Competition goes deeper with Ubisoft CEO Yannis Mallat participating as a finals judge for the event.

The Vortex Competition takes place on November 3,4 and 5 in Toronto, Ontario. This is a prime opportunity for budding game developers and entrepreneurs to pitch their own game concept or prototype. In addition to pitching game ideas, it's also a great educational opportunity to learn from industry professionals during the one day intensive Boot Camp session (held on November 3rd).

For more details and to register, visit the Vortex website.

And here is the rest of it.

Sponsor and Advertiser Thanks

By Paul Hunter

At NextGen Player we love Canada. We also happen to really love video games. It's a good thing then that Canada is a global leader in the video game industry because it sure as heck keeps us busy. All this content you see on NextGen Player we write in our spare time, and we do it all for you, our devoted readers.

Over the last couple of months, many valued sponsors and advertisers have played an integral part in our rapid growth and have really legitimized this site as Canada's Premier Gaming Blog. It's really amazing to see the original goal we set out to do coming into fruition.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors for all their support:

Montreal International Game Summit 09 - Alliance numérique

GameON: Finance 2009 - Interactive Ontario

DIG London - London Economic Development Corporation

We'd also like to thank our valued advertisers:

Taco Bell - Fill Up On Game Gear

Toshiba Gaming

Trojan Condoms

Interested in sponsorship or advertising with NextGen Player? Click here to find out more.

Oct 19, 2009

VFS Game Design Expo Call for Speakers in 2010

By Clinton Ma

The next Vancouver Film School Game Design Expo has been scheduled to run from April 10 - 11th, 2010. Last year's event featured a host of interesting guest speakers, ranging from Far Cry 2 creative director, Clint Hocking, to Kelly Zmak, president of Prototype developers, Radical Entertainment.

The fourth annual Game Design Expo promises another round of great speakers but the line-up is still in the works. Do you know games? Do you have professional video games experience? Do you like the idea of imparting your inside knowledge to a throng of eager students, enthusiasts and fellow industry pros? Then the Game Design Expo wants you...

The 2010 Game Design Expo is now accepting proposals from game industry professionals wishing to present at the event. This is a great opportunity to share your stories from the trenches, as well as lecture the next generation of game development talent on what you think are the important lessons for success.

All proposals are due by November 6, 2009 so hurry, before next April's expo attendees are deprived of your 133t public speaking skills.

For more information on becoming a speaker, check out their submission guidelines or visit gamedesignexpo.com

Oct 18, 2009

Vortex Competition Registration Extended To Oct. 23

By Paul Hunter

The 5th Annual Vortex Competition is set to kick-off on November 3rd where participants will have a chance to enter Boot Camp for a one-day intensive educational day where they will learn how to successfully bring a video game to market. This year's event will be taking place in Toronto, Ontario.

Registration to Boot Camp and the main Vortex Competition has recently been extended to October 23rd. Getting into both costs $100, and the Boot Camp-only costs $75.

I recently wrote a full run-down on this year's competition on the Future Shop Tech Blog. From the article:

"The Vortex Competition is Canada's preeminent forum for emerging video game designers and developers, where aspiring entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to meet experienced industry leaders, decision makers, financial advisors and mentors in a rich learning environment. The three-day competition, taking place in Toronto from November 3-5, is put on by the McLuhan International Festival of the Future, an organization dedicated to educating, edifying, and entertaining people about media and technology."

If you're interested in learning more about the competition, check out the full Future Shop article here.

NextGen Player will be in attendance at this year's Vortex Competition. Expect lots more coverage in the weeks ahead.

Borderlands Will Sell For Cheap In Canada

By Paul Hunter

Canadian's who celebrated the $38.83 brand new retail price for Batman: Arkham Asylum can all collectively rejoice once again. In a rare moment of welcome déjà vu, Future Shop, Best Buy Canada and Wal-Mart will all be selling the game for the discounted price of $39.99 on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

The upcoming science fiction FPS/RPG by Gearbox releases on October 20. That still gives everyone a couple of days to save their pennies.

Source: Controller Punch

Game Boy Guerrillas Invade Nuit Blanche 2009

By Paul Hunter

Earlier this month I mentioned that chiptunes artist jefftheworld was coming out to the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche for a guerrilla performance at City Hall. Well, I was there and had a great time. Above is a clip I took of an audience member rapping to the 8-bit music. What I found out at the show is that jefftheworld is one member of a group known as the Game Boy Guerrillas.

Over on the Future Shop Tech Blog I wrote a full recap of the event, and included another video of jefftheworld's performance that night. I definitely encourage you to take a look and a read, trust me chiptune music is pretty cool.

You can check out the full article here:

[Click here to read my impressions of the Game Boy Guerrillas concert]

This article appears on the Future Shop Tech Blog where I contribute three times weekly.

Oct 17, 2009

Best Buy Canada Launches Game Trade In Program

By Andrew Shin

It's official. Best Buy Canada is now officially in the game trade in business. In fact, NextGen Player first reported the Best Buy Canada pilot program launch a while back and it appears to have been a success. I fully expected this launch to happen anytime now as I was in my local Best Buy store last week and I noticed they had used game sections for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and PSP.

As advertised in this week's flyer and on the Best Buy Canada website, the game trade in program is available in stores all across Canada. So, how does the trade in program work? Well, much like Future Shop's trade in program, you simply bring in your used games and you will recieve the trade in amount in the form of a Best Buy gift card that can be used towards any purchases in-store.

So add another player to the used games landscape. My opinion has always been that more competitors in the used game business ultimately translates to benefits for the consumer in the form of more competitive promotions and pricing as well more choices in where to sell and buy used games. And that, my fellow gamers, is a great thing.

Cobra Commander Plays Lego Rock Band With Us

By Paul Hunter

At the Playstation Canada Holiday Event me and Alice played a few songs of Lego Rock Band and had a great time. Of course, when Cobra Commander offered to join our band we simply could not refuse. Suddenly the great time turned into a Yoooo Joe! time. Megalomaniac reptiles tend to do that to me.

In the video we're playing "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Jon Bon Jovi. Yeah, we're that awesome.

Interested in knowing why Cobra Commander was at the Sony event? Visit Toronto Thumbs for all the details. Thanks for posting this video guys.

Oct 16, 2009

Bioware Wins Prestigious Top 100 Employer Award

By Paul Hunter

We've heard time and time again that Canada is a world class leader in the video game industry. Simply put, we've got some of the best development studios on the planet. Want proof? I'm glad you asked.

The Advisory Board behind Canada's Top 100 Employers project have announced the winners for 2010. Included on the list is Edmonton-based Bioware, the AAA game developer behind such blockbuster titles such as Mass Effect, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate, and the upcoming Dragon Age: Origins.

But wait, there were more notable winners.

Canadian powerhouse developer Digital Extremes also made the list. They're best known for titles such as Dark Sector, Unreal Tournament and for assisting with the PS3 version of Bioshock. Based in London, Ontario, the company's CEO James Schmalz has recently been announced as a speaker for this year's DIG London in November.

Rounding out the video game employer recipients this year is Vancouver-based Next Level Games. They have a really close relationship with Nintendo and have produced several popular titles including the Wii remake of Punch Out!!, Mario Strikers Charged, and Super Mario Strikers. They were also responsible for the Xbox 360, Wii and PS2 versions of Spiderman: Friend or Foe.

From all of us here at NextGen Player -- we say congratulations to these representative Canadian video game employers!

NGP Mentioned In Torontoist, Toronto Thumbs

By Paul Hunter

Someone recently made a comment on our Twitter account that NextGen Player really gets around. My response was yes, yes we do. But in a good way. You see, we have this inexplicable desire to be approachable and friendly to just about everyone. Especially gamers, we have a real soft spot for them.

It just so happens that recently two of our gamer friends mentioned our site in their recent write-ups on the Playstation Canada Holiday Event. That being Lori Dance from the Torontoist and Shaun Hatton from Toronto Thumbs.

We're very grateful for being mentioned in their articles and thought we'd pass along a link to their most excellent coverage of the event.

Torontoist -- You Must Be at Least This Awesome to Play

Toronto Thumbs -- PlayStation Holiday Preview Event, LEGO Rock Band

And you know, whoever said that nice guys finish last I bet has never had their name mentioned in widely read online magazines. Take it from me, nice guys always finish second last or better.

Forza Motorsport 3 -- Just As Sexy In Real Life

By Paul Hunter

While leaving the Microsoft Canada's X'09 media event last month the entire NGP team took a gasp at the beauty that awaited us at the exit doors. Microsoft has conveniently placed a pristine, high performance Audi R8 V10 sportscar encircled by a black velvet rope in plain sight.

We couldn't help but snap a few photos of this breathtaking vehicle. It's too bad a free voucher wasn't included in our swag bag. One can dream, right?

A better, side-view photo after the jump.

Forza Motorsport 3 drops on October 27 in North America.

Oct 15, 2009

NextGen Player Review: NHL 10

By Andrew Green

Sports videogame franchises have it rough. Year after year, you have to crank out your product and make a case to the consumer for buying your incrementally better game (at least better in theory). Not only do you have to bring something original to the table to set the new game apart from previous years, but the core gameplay can't change to the point where you risk alienating long-time fans of the series. NHL 10 is a game that offers a robust feature set that should keep hockey fans busy long after the Leafs have been statistically eliminated from playoff contention.

NHL 10 comes with more ways to play it than you might expect. There are the usual suspects of quick matches and season modes, but beyond that you have the options of GM or Be a Pro mode. Either of these modes will offer you a very different experience, as either the Machiavellian GM pulling the strings, or an up and coming player who goes through the drafting process to your first NHL game (and subsequent dismissal to the AHL if you play as poorly as I did). Be a Pro mode quickly became my favourite way to play the game. The level of feedback you receive on what is expected of you as a player really made me want to improve my performance the next time I was on the ice. Additionally, the RPG-style stat improvements that you unlock by scoring points contributed to more than one instance of "just one more game", all in the name of unlocking a stat boost. Unfortunately, the uglier side of DLC rears its head here, as you can purchase stat upgrades with actual cash for your star rather than unlock them through merit. I realize this is a growing trend within many games whereby the "I don't have time to do this" argument inevitably crops up as justification for paid unlockables, but to me that just takes away from the overall experience.

Of course, none of these modes matter at all if the hockey found within them is flawed. Sadly, this is the case with NHL 10. If you're planning on playing entirely online against human opponents or with your buddies in your living room, then you can safely disregard this criticism. If you're like me though, and the thought of being schooled by the online equivalent of Ovechkin brings a sour look to your face, then you are probably going to be slugging it out primarily with the AI, and that my friends is going to raise some issues. Issues like defensemen who love to put the puck in their own net. Not once every 50 games either. In the first ten matches I played, it happened 4 times. I'm not talking about my team-mates either, but rather the opponents who decided I was so bad at the game that they needed to put a few in their own net to even things out. While I certainly appreciated the help, it couldn't help but feel like a hollow victory.

This is really only the start of the AI issues though. Errant passes aimed at no one are frequent. Don't mistake these for dump-ins either. These passes were clearly intended for some sort of phantasm that only the AI can see, because my mortal eyes saw nothing but empty ice. This is particularly frustrating in the Be a Pro mode, because you'll be controlling one person, thus much of the passing is out of your hands.

If there is one area where the game really trips over the blue line, it has to be the audio commentary. There is way too little player identification, you'll hear far more "he dishes it over to the wing" rather than a player name. They will also say things that are completely inaccurate from time to time. For example, during a 1-1 tie, they were discussing how a team "needed to finally get on the scoreboard". Huh? Good commentary goes along way in creating an authentic hockey experience, but they shot it over the boards with this game.

It's far from all bad news though. The new first person fighting system is a hoot the first time you drop the gloves. And speaking of penalties, they seem to have cut down on bad calls. For the most part, it reflects the current state of the NHL penalty calling, and regardless of what you might think about that, it can at least be said to be as close to the real thing as possible. The graphics look crisp, and famous players are recognizable. The soundtrack was passable, I believe you can throw your own tracks in there if you wish.

In the end, you are left with this question of how much average AI behaviour you are willing to put up with to experience the plethora of game modes. If you can put aside the issues I mentioned, I think there's enough to keep you playing for a long time. I fully expect to go back into Be a Pro mode and get a certain left-wing back into the NHL. Fame and glory sure to follow.

NextGen Player gives NHL 10...

Pick of the Pics: Team NGP Rocks Out

By Paul Hunter

Proving that NextGen Player is full of spunk, seen here are team members Andrew Green, Andrew Shin and Alice Stancu. They are rocking out while playing Activision's upcoming Band Hero game.

The photo was taken at the Playstation Canada Holiday event on October 6, 2009.

Oct 14, 2009

GameON: Finance 2009 Keynote Speaker - Yannis Mallat

By Andrew Shin

The speaker line up for the GameON: Finance 2009 event has stepped up again with today's announcement that Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto CEO, Yannis Mallat will be the keynote speaker.

This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear from one of the most influential individuals in gaming today...specifically the Canadian gaming industry.

For full details on GameON: Finance 2009, click here.

Rogers Ultimate Gaming Experience: Video, Pictures, Interview, Oh My!

By Paul Hunter

As I mentioned last month, I had the opportunity to check-out the Rogers Ultimate Gaming Experience at the Courthouse in downtown Toronto. I chronicled the entire experience on the Future Shop Tech Blog if you're interested to know what took place that day.

Above you'll see an interview between NextGen Player correspondent Alice Stancu and the UGE lead organizer Jonah Midanik. There is also footage of the Muay Thai artists that were performing, as well as a live t-shirt artwork creation from a graffiti air brush artist.

To read my full review of the event, including some photos, check out it out here:

[Click here to read my impressions of the Rogers Ultimate Gaming Experience]

This article appears on the Future Shop Tech Blog were I contribute three times weekly.

Oct 13, 2009

GameON: Finance 2009 One-On-One Meetings With Speakers

By Andrew Shin

If you've registered for IO's GameON: Finance 2009 event taking place later this month on Oct. 27th and 28th, then you'll have a great opportunity to participate in their one-on-one meeting with select speakers.

Starting Wednesday, October 14th, the GameON: Finance website will open up their delegate area to allow event registrants to sign up for these one-on-one meetings with speakers. As they describe on their website, these are 10 minute speed dating style sessions with select speakers. These sessions will be offered on a first come, first serve basis...so make sure you sign up asap.

And as an additional perk, registrants can also sign up for one-on-one consultations with legal and tax experts.

KPMG LLP, Canada is part of a global networking of professional firms (KPMG International) providing audit, tax and advisory services.

Cognition LLP, is an innovative virtual law firm specializing in providing affordable and business-focused in-house counsel and corporate legal services for startup and growth businesses. 
Pre-book a special, complimentary mini-consultation with Joe Milstone or Rubsun Ho, the founding partners of Cognition LLP - available for sign-up in the delegate area on Wednesday, October 14th.

For more details, visit the GameON: Finance's Connect page.

World Cyber Games Crowns Canadian Champions

By Paul Hunter

If you recall, this year's Fan Expo played host to the 2009 World Cyber Games Canadian National Finals. Wow that was a mouthful. Anyhow, the WCG announced late last month that they have crowned their Canadian champions. The winning pro-gamers have secured coveted spots on Team Canada and will represent the country at the World Cyber Games Grand Final.

You know, I think it's about time that we regard pro-gamers like their athletic counterparts, and I mean that earnestly. I've been following the pro-gaming scene for the better part of two years now and I can certainly testify that a tremendous amount of effort and dedication goes into each competition. Just because these cyber athletes use a controller as their tool of the trade doesn't mean it takes any less work than athletes that wield a baseball bat or a hockey stick.

My guess is the lack of media coverage is partly to blame, which I suppose is where we come in. So, here are your 2009 WCG Canadian Champions:

FIFA Soccer 2009 Canadian Champion:
Matt Wood (Windsor, ON)

Guitar Hero: World Tour Canadian Champion:

Daniel Piacampo (Woodbridge, ON)

Virtua Fighter 5 Canadian Champion:

Owen Lewis (Burlington, ON)

Counter-Strike 1.6 Canadian Champions:
"Team Blight": Garett Bambrough (Stouffville, ON), Scott Bishop (Delta, BC), Jamie Cross (Kelowna, BC), Kory Friesen (Abbotsford, BC), Brennan Webster (Vancouver, BC)

Canada's reigning Guitar Hero Canadian champion, Daniel Piacampo, had this to say:

"It’s hard to believe that playing Guitar Hero through WCG has given me the opportunity to travel to Germany and now China. I look forward to competing against other players from around the world and I’m grateful to sponsors like Samsung who make this competition possible."

All 8 members of Team Canada will be off to compete against the world's best at the WCG Grand Final in Chengdu, China, from November 11-15, 2009.

Oct 12, 2009

LittleBigPlanet GOTY Edition Features Levels Designed By Canadians

By Paul Hunter

Here's something I bet you didn't know. Or maybe you did, but either way it's still pretty cool. I received a heads up from Playstation Canada last month that the LittleBigPlanet Game of the Year edition features 18 never-before-seen levels developed by select LittleBigPlanet fans, three of which were designed by Canadians.

Those levels are:

- Reconstruction Crew
- Cereal Isle
- Tales of Little Big Crystal

So how were the 18 levels selected? According to Sony:

"Each creator was hand picked by developer Media Molecule based on previous levels that these enthusiasts have created and shared online. Once identified, all 18 consumers were commissioned and monetarily compensated to design a completely new environment for the LittleBigPlanet world, allowing each fan to truly become an amateur video game developer."

LittleBigPlanet GOTY edition also includes free downloadable content packs with themed levels and costumes, and exclusive access to the upcoming ModNation Racers online beta.

Since the games launch last fall, over 1,000,000 user generated levels have been published to the Playstation Network since LittleBigPlanet hit shelves. Or as Sony likes to put it, one new level has been created roughly every 21 seconds since launch.

I tell you, these Canadians are taking over the world. We have amazingly talented AAA developers, indie developers and yes -- even LittleBigPlanet developers.

It makes sense when you think about it, I mean we have so much time to just sit around and be cool here in Canada.

Halo 3: ODST Review: Nighttime Is The Right Time

By Paul Hunter

Earlier this month I wrote a review of the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo 3: ODST on the Future Shop Tech Blog. Since then, I've tried playing the game on Legendary difficulty and have got smoked by the Covenent big time. I think I'll need to get online an play some campaign co-op in order to get the most coveted achievement. ODST is a good addition to the Halo franchise, and oddly enough my favourite part is not the campaign or the competitive multiplayer -- it's Firefight.

From the review:

"For long-time Xbox 360 FPS fans you'll immediately draw a parallel to Call of Duty: World at War's Nazi Zombie mode or Gears of War 2 Horde Mode. In my opinion, Firefight mode is even more addicting and provides thrill-a-minute action with varying wave-after-wave of relentless Covenant forces. The AI of the Covenant has been tweaked upward and they will now seek to rout you out with much more aggression than in the campaign. What's more, as you progress further into the match, difficulty-multiplying skulls get triggered on, making survival increasingly unlikely. If you can manage to survive for an hour or longer you'll have so many skulls active that your enemies will easily bulldoze you if make one wrong turn."

[Click here to read the rest of my review of Halo 3: ODST]

This article appears on the Future Shop Tech Blog where I contribute three times weekly.

My Uncharted 2 Haiku

By Paul Hunter

Looks like with today being Thanksgiving and all here in Canada that no retailers are open for midnight madness parties for Uncharted 2. Phooey.

Regardless, I'm still hyped for the launch tomorrow and have prepared this nifty little haiku to express my excitement. I hope you find it better than my Mega Man poem I wrote last year. Well, enjoy:

Tomorrow's the day
When UC2 will release
Hollywood is dead

Best Buy Anniversay Sale - GoW 2 - $19.99, and More

By Paul Hunter

Best Buy Canada has an anniversary sale on from October 9-15 with a whole slew of video games at reduced prices. The best deal has to be Gears of War 2 which is slashed by $30 for the low, low price of $19.99. You can check out the price online here. I also noticed that Future Shop also has Gears 2 on for the same price until the 15th.

But wait, there's more.

Best Buy has the PS3 exclusive inFAMOUS on sale for $39.99 (save $20). As well, a handful of Xbox 360 games and one PS3 game are receiving $10 price slashes for the week, including NHL 10 (PS3), Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (360), Guitar Hero 5 (360), Batman: Arkham Asylum (360), UFC 2009: Undisputed (360), and DiRT 2 (360).

I don't have a direct link, but you can check out the flyer by going here and typing in your postal code.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

By Paul Hunter

Wow, I am lethargic. I just got home from a gluttonous weekend consisting of excessive amounts of mashed potatoes, stuffing and homemade pumpkin pie. This morning I weighed myself and came in three pounds heavier than when I arrived on Friday evening. Looks like I'll have lots of Wii Sports Resort to play this week to burn off all this surplus poundage.

Over the weekend I had a chance to dabble in some older PSP titles that I've been meaning to play for some time, namely Crush and LocoRoco. Both games were fun in their own way.

For those of you who haven't played Crush, it's a puzzle game that reminds me of Paper Mario insofar as you have this ability to compress 3D landscapes into a flat, 2D world. It also reminds me of Echochrome since seemingly impossible platform become instantly accessible by rotating the world and "crushing" it into 2D. I'm on level 23 of 40 so I still have a few hours of gameplay time to go.

LocoRoco on the other hand is just plain weird, but in a good way. It has charm, I'll give it that. I'm only on the fourth stage but already I'm hooked. Your character is this small, circular yellow critter (called a LocoRoco) and as you progress through a stage you consume berries and grow fatter. Eventually you become this amorphous, gelatinous blob that you need to help bob and bounce its way to victory. The game can be a little over-the-top at times (e.g. your LocoRoco constantly lip synch to chessy music as you play), but overall I'm enjoying the experience.

So, what about everyone else -- any cool games you played this weekend?

Oct 10, 2009

Blockbuster Assassin's Creed II Pre-order Deal

By Andrew Shin

Well just as the title reads, Blockbuster Canada is definitely offering a blockbuster deal on the pre-order of Assassin's Creed II Limited Edition. As advertised on their website, pre-order Assassin's Creed II Limited Edition at any Blockbuster location in Canada between October 12th and October 25th and you will get the game for only $69.99. That's $20 off the retail price. In fact, it's the same price as the regular version of the game.

This is a fantastic deal considering you'll recieve all of the following sweet extras that makes up the limited edition:

- Ezio collectable figure (8.5 inches tall)
- Exclusive in-game map: Santa Maria Dei Frari
- The Art of Assassin's Creed II hard cover art book
- Additional disc with bonus features
- Premium collectable tin

I suppose I know what I'll be doing this coming Tuesday...

Oct 8, 2009

Are You Gonna Be At MIGS 2009?

By Andrew Shin

In case you haven't noticed, NextGen Player is a proud media sponsor and partner for this year's Montreal International Game Summit - MIGS 2009. Last year our very own Paul Hunter was there and he was able to conduct some fantastic interviews with the likes of Jonathan Blow (creator of critically acclaimed XBLA game Braid) and Alain Lachapelle (event Director) as well as hang out and make friends with the one and only Donna Mei-Ling Park...so Paul, when do I get introduced eh??? We also shared exclusive gameplay footage of WET which was featured at the conference.

This year, MIGS 2009 looks to be just as good as last year with an impressive line up of guests and speakers. Most notably Yoichi Wada, President and CEO of Square Enix. Both Paul and I will be shipping off to Montreal in mid November to attend MIGS 2009 - taking place on Nov. 16th and 17th at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel Montreal. We're really looking forward to covering the entire event and bringing back some great content to share with our NextGen Player readers.

That's said, we know there are some hardcore gamers out there who are planning on being there in person as well.

So, ARE YOU GOING TO MIGS 2009? If so, let us know...who knows, we may run into you.

Not sure how to register for MIGS 2009? You can do so here.

Oct 6, 2009

Surprise! The PS3 Is Also Cheaper In Canada

By Paul Hunter

A few days ago I mentioned on the site that the PSPgo is in fact cheaper to buy in Canada than it is in the States.

Kombo Senior News Editor, David Oxford, picked up the story and added some additional insights, most notably that the PS3 is also cheaper in Canada.

If you were to enter a US retail store you'd pay the now heavily advertised price of $299. If you decided instead to enter a Canadian retail store that same console would cost you -- wait for it -- $299. That's right, the exact same price. Only difference is, the US dollar is worth more than the Canadian dollar. The Bank of Canada says the current exchange rate for 1 US dollar is 1.0596 Canadian. Therefore a PS3 bought in the US costs $316.82 Canadian plus tax. Of course Canada's tax rate is higher, thus eliminating some of the price difference, but overall, Canada is still cheaper.

So, take those extra few dollars you saved by buying Canadian and go rent yourself a movie on Sony. Surely you've earned it.

And on a personal note, thank you Sony for your price parity ways.

Forza Motorsport 3 Demo Impressions

By Andrew Green

I spent a little time with the Forza Motorsport 3 demo this afternoon. While the full game will not be out until October 27th, XBLA Gold members are currently able to download a demo to have an early taste. I took 3 of the 5 cars in the demo out for a spin. My impressions of the 1.2 gigs of racing action within!

What I took away from my time with the Forza 3 demo was a feeling of being catered to. You see, I'm not what you would call competent when it comes to most racing games. I've spent a lot more time with Burnout Paradise than Gran Turismo. Forza 3 looks like it is trying to bridge the gap between the hardcore and arcade racer crowds. The game offers numerous options designed to ease you into the world of "realistic" racing, including a braking line, auto-braking and even a rewind option that winds the action back 15 seconds or so, letting you make a graceful turn rather than your initial head-on crash into a barrier.

If the thought of so much assistance turns you off, rest assured that all of these features can be disabled to offer a more difficult experience. This kind of adjustable difficulty is something I like seeing in games, why lock out any one particular crowd when you don't have to, right?

As for the graphics, the cars models are looking impressive, though I saw a mere 5 out of hundreds that will be in the final game. I always enjoy when a demo goes out of the way to remind you that this is NOT representative of the final product, usually in the form of little blubs of information at the bottom. It all comes back to that feeling of being given whatever you want. More cars? Done. Suck at driving? Fixed. You like leaderboards? Covered. Carmen Electra at your side, cheering you on? Can't help you there pal.

Give it a look and see what you think! I'd love to hear from some of the more knowledgeable racing fans out there on how they think the series is shaping up. Or you know, if you just want to write "GT5 RULEZ!!1!" in the comments, do what you have to.

Oct 5, 2009

Pick of the Pics: Emperor 1510 at Taco Bell

Meet the Emperor 1510. It's the grand prize of Taco Bell's Fill Up On Game Gear promotion and retails at around $10,000. This redonkulous gaming experience makes any chair and PC look like they’re from the Dark Ages.

Could you imagine going through a drive-thru in that bad boy?

Oct 4, 2009

Super Street Fighter IV...Are You In?

By Andrew Shin

When Street Fighter IV was released earlier this year, it did so to the delight of hordes of Street Fighter fans all over the world - both hardcore and casual fans of the series. The game is a true evolution and a big step forward when compared its predecessors.

Recently at the Tokyo Game Show, Capcom announced plans to release Super Street Fighter IV in Spring of 2010. I fully expected the possibility of a new iteration of Street Fighter IV when the game first came out...after all, history has demonstrated this is Capcom's moniker with the series. All that aside, many questions arise. What's new? What's different? Any improvements? And more importantly, how much?

Capcom confirmed that SSFIV will be released as a new game disc that is separate from SFIV. There will be new content in the form of new characters - 8 is the number at the moment. T.Hawk, an old favourite and Juri a new character to the series have been confirmed. Other improvements are said to be in the form of adjustments character balance, new ultra combos to returning characters and enhancements to the online component - possibly a lobby system?

Now all these new features and additions sound nice, but then it comes down the the question of how much. Capcom has stated that it will release the game at a cost below full price. So...again, how much? What does that exactly mean? $20, $30, $40, $50? If it falls within or anywhere near the latter two amounts, I'm really not sure how well this will go over with fans who already own the orginal...even though Capcom has promised that SSFIV will contain a surprise for those who own SFIV.

So here's our Mind Games question to you the reader...especially if you're a current owner of Street Fighter IV.

Will you purchase Super Street Fighter IV when it releases?

Telltale Games, Queasy Games At GameON: Finance

By Paul Hunter

We've previously mentioned a number of high profile speakers that will be at this year's GameON: Finance, but there are a couple more we're looking forward to meeting at the event:

Dan Connors - CEO, Director, Founder Telltale, Inc.

Dan Connors co-founded Telltale in 2004. The company has been responsible for launching more than twenty games on PC, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, working with high-quality licenses such as CSI, Sam & Max, Aardman Animations' Wallace & Gromit, and Strong Bad from HomestarRunner.com. Most recently, Dan and the Telltale team introduced the first new adventures in nearly a decade for the landmark Monkey Island series with the monthly Tales of Monkey Island series. Dan's credits include Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, X-Wing: Alliance, and Sam & Max Hit the Road. In 2008, he was recognized by Develop magazine as one of the top 25 people reshaping the games business.

Jon Mak, President Queasy Games

A couple years ago, Jonathan Mak made a game called Everyday Shooter for PS3 and PC. Prior to that, he worked on a lesser known, multiplayer, action-rts game called Gate 88. He also contributed to TOJam #1 and TOJam #3 with the games Flowers of Error and TOJam Thing. Currently he's collaborating on his next game with Toronto musician, I Am Robot And Proud.

Interactive Ontario have recently announced an extension on their early-bird pricing. For more information on tickets to GameON: Finance, click here.

NextGen Player Senior Writer, Andrew Green, along with our newest contributor, Alice Stancu, will both be at this year's GameON: Finance. Expect plenty of great coverage to come.

Oct 3, 2009

20,000 Readers Can't Be Wrong - Canada Kicks Ass

By Paul Hunter

NextGen Player is on a freakin' roll. For the third month in a row we've had over 20,000 readers. This time last year we attracted 3,000 readers, meaning the site has grown by over 500% in only twelve months. If last year we were small potatoes, then this year we're a giant 100 LB burlap sack of potatoes.

Of course, what this clearly means to me is that Canadians from coast-to-coast and gamers around the world are extremely interested in what's happening in the Canadian video game scene. And by rights they should be. As Clinton recently pointed out, Canada is now the third largest gaming industry in the world, just behind Japan and USA. Everyone wants a piece of Canada these days, including Funcom, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft -- companies that have all recently announced new offices in the country.

And by rights they should want to open up shop here. Not only does Canada provide some of the best tax incentives in the world, we also have some of the best gaming talent in the world here.

You know, for a long time now I've been sick of international gaming websites making snide remarks about how Canada is full of beer drinkers and giant ice spiders but I think it's now time I start to interpret these comments as raw envy. Who wouldn't want to live in a country where all we do is make and play the most kick ass games on the market?

Thanks for reading everyone.

jefftheworld Plays Nuit Blanche. Tonight. Toronto.

By Paul Hunter

Listen up Torontonians, tonight is the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the citywide cultural celebration of contemporary arts.

Don't miss your chance to see jefftheworld perform his famous guerilla chip music performance at a free concert tonight. See the clip above for a sample. Other chip music artists performing tonight include deadbeatblast, Eastern Block, and (maybe) J Athur Keenes.

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook. See you there!

[Thanks to Crazy Joe for the tip]

Uncharted 2 Is A Thrill-a-Minute Cliffhanger, Guaranteed

By Paul Hunter

If the 97% Metacritic average and 14 perfect review scores aren't enough to convince you that Uncharted 2: Among Thieves will be in serious contention for Game of the Year, then perhaps GameStop's Gaming Guarantee will convince you to pick up the game on October 13.

This promotion is one in a long line-up of guaranteed games from GameStop, including Halo 3: ODST, Resident Evil 5, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

It's pretty simple, if you pre-order Uncharted 2 from a GameStop or EB Games location and don't end up liking the game, they are willing to give you full pre-tax in-store trade credit within one week of purchase.

Considering that Uncharted 2 has an addictive new competitive multiplayer mode to play after you complete the 25 chapter campaign, there's easily more than a week's worth of content in the game. I've been in the multiplayer closed and open betas and can't stop playing. A week guarantee seems about three months too short for me.

PSPgo Cheaper in Canada? For Now, Yes.

By Paul Hunter

As a Canadian, whenever I read announcements about hardware or software suggested retail prices I generally have to take the extra step to find out what the price will wind up being here at home (most gaming websites quote US prices). Invariably, the cost here is $10 higher for games and about $10-$40 higher for consoles.

In a nice twist of fate, Sony has bucked the industry trend and has priced their new PSPgo at $249 CDN -- the exact same price as in the US. When you perform a currency conversion at the current rate, the handheld device winds up being about $10-15 cheaper in Canada (taxes included). With that level of savings, you could pick up a PSPgo and a handful of PSP minis for the same cost as our southern neighbours.

Not bad Sony, thanks for thinking of us.