Jul 31, 2009

Recertified Xbox 360 Controller for $24.99

By Clinton Ma

Hi boys and girls. I usually don't do a lot of hot sales and bargain posts because I've never been the most diligent bargain hunter. I am a man of impulses and convenience. Luckily, I recently pawned off a spare Xbox 360 to a friend of mine who also happens to be a penny pincher extraordinaire. It's a win/win situation really, as I now have a new online gaming buddy and I have someone to do the legwork of sniffing out gaming deals for me.

He recently gave me a scoop on cheap Xbox 360 controllers that can be had from NCIX for $24.99 CAD. Note that these are the wireless flavour and "recertified". Recertified, refurbished, reconditioned... it doesn't matter how you slice it, these are 50% off the regular retail price. There's a very limited number of these reconstituted goodies, so if you're looking to complete your 360 controller collection, this is your time to shine.

Independent Games Festival Still Looking for Your Canadian Masterpiece

Guest Post - Leif Conti-Groome

Why wait for Canadian game news over a quiet week when you could be making Canadian gaming news? The 12th annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) situated in sunny San Fran has almost reached its first month of accepting submissions from the public and that public includes our very own country.

With a $20,000 grand prize, guaranteed feedback from notable judges in the indie game scene and an excuse to spend a cold week in March in a much warmer California, there is absolutely no reason to not enter this contest if you’re a designer. Just make sure you have a credit card with at least $95 on it and, of course, a game and you’re set. Best of all, if you’re selected as a finalist, NextGen Player will have to do a write up on you, your game, your story, your entire family and your pet iguana Steve because you’re doing justice to Canada’s booming independent gaming scene.

The precedent has already been set with Jonathan Mak’s Everyday Shooter in last year’s IGF; the Asteroids meets Rez arcade style game won a score of awards and then made it all the way to the PlayStation Network. Mak, the creative force behind Queasy Games is currently working on a new project and only hinting at it through vague game theory ‘tweets’ so we might see him once again going for the gold in 2010.

ES Team was another Canadian competitor last year winning the best Best Multiplayer FPS Mod award with Eternal Silence, opening the doors to anyone who knows their way around games with source engines like NeverWinter Nights and, in this case, Half-Life 2. The group from Beaconsfield, Quebec recently released a patch for this very game proving that finalists are still active with their award winning games and fan base even after the competition.

So what are you waiting for? The deadline for submissions is November 1st, 2009 or November 4th, 2009 if you’re a student. Get cracking on that game, aim for the beginning of the eleventh month and keep NextGen Player up-to-date on your progress. You never know, you could be gracing our (virtual) pages very soon!

So, Who's Leading in the EP Fan Threads?

By Paul Hunter

Remember back in high school when popularity contests were all the rage? Heck, maybe you're in high school and they're currently all the rage. Whatever your situation is, you'll either be quite familiar being in the enviable, cool kid group or the really, extremely, awkward nerd squad. Me? I'm damn cool, always have been. Just ask my high school BFF named SNES.

Just because we're adults doesn't mean we always have to act that way. Sometimes, it's fun to turn non-competitions into real competitions just because we can. So that's exactly what we're going to do this evening.

On the Electric Playground forums there are a number of sticky threads where viewers of the show can self-identify as fans of the five television hosts. As expected, some hosts got more replies, more thread page views, leaving me to conclude that they simply must be cooler. Oh sure, my methods aren't scientifically sound, but since when do judgmental people ever subject themselves to scrutiny?

So, who exactly is leading the pack?

1st place (tie) - Donna "Mei Mei" Park
Thread Replies: 29, Thread Views: 8858

1st place (tie) - Fubar a.k.a. Jose Sanchez
Thread Replies: 34, Thread Views: 5036

3rd place (tie) - Briana "Bei Bei" McIvor
Thread Replies: 5, Thread Views: 306

3rd place (tie) - Miri "The Jedi" Jedeikin
Thread Replies: 4, Thread Views: 241

Results notes:

- it was a horse race between Donna Mei-Ling and Fubar and it's hard to determine who is leading. Fubar has 5 more replies but is trailing by over 3,800 thread views. Considering that replies can be interpreted as a vote, they are clearly much more valuable than passive views. For this reason alone, Fubar's 5 additional replies ties Donna's 3,800 thread view lead.

- for Briana and Miri, it's clear that Briana is marginally in the lead with 1 extra reply and 65 more thread page views. With that said, their numbers are so close that it's hard to definitively conclude who's cooler. I think we're just going to have to wait until more data is available to know for sure.

Note: Victor Lucus was disqualified for being too popular. If he was allowed in it would be a no-contest. His thread reply count and thread view count was significantly higher than the rest of the group's scores combined. It's got to be the hair, it just has to be. There's no other way to explain this:

Victor Lucas
Thread Replies: 360, Thread Views: 51600

Jul 30, 2009

Rumour: Zellers BOGO on Games Under $20

Guest Post - Leif Conti-Groome

We all have seen the value bins at our favourite retailers; from the massive cages at Wal-Mart to the elusive boxes at Best Buy, they come in all shapes (and by all shapes, I guess I just mean cube) and sizes. They have been able to set many a gamer’s imagination aflutter with the possibilities of finding a Grand Theft Auto or a Forza buried under piles of plastic cases, or better yet, a previously undiscovered gem that will make your console whir with glee.

Well, if the rumours are true, Zellers is making the process of diving into those bargain bins even sweeter. According to a forum post on Cheap Ass Gamer, Zeller’s flier starting July 31st features a BOGO promo where all games under twenty dollars can be paired with a game of equal or less value and that second game can go home with you for free.

To help prep everyone to wade through the sea of bargain bin games, we've prepared a simple five-step process:

Step one, go out and buy a diving mask but make sure it’s not too expensive or it will make this deal moot.

Step two, find the bargain aquarium inside your closest Zellers and jump in.

Step three, admire all the local specimens as you wade through the pile with too many large sales stickers. You should look for schools of DS games or Wii games you've never heard of swimming in various spots.

Step four, find your catch and come up for air. Dry off and head to the checkout counter to weigh and mount your whopper.

Step five, mount your newly acquired games on your wall. By which I mean, play them.

Xbox Ambassadors in Canada Can Show You the Ropes

By Paul Hunter

If you're a gamer who enjoys online play then there's no better community in Canada than on the Xbox 360. I don't say that because I have a particular affinity to the Xbox brand, it's simply the truth. Not only is Xbox Live buzzing with users, it's also the most robust and refined online experience you can find on a home console.

To support the Xbox Live experience, Xbox Canada has a strong, online community forum where you can go and discuss your favourite games and have general discussions. The forums are available in both of our official languages, English and French.

For new gamers to the Xbox Live experience, Xbox Canada has designated over 40 highly active community members to fulfill the role of "Xbox Ambassadors in Canada". These veteran Xbox users have been around the block a few times and are available to help newcomers navigate the community. All you need to do is add one of the Xbox Ambassadors to your friend list and they'll show you the ropes.

Personally, I think it's a great initiative and really shows how far Microsoft is willing to go to welcome and grow the Xbox Live community. It's no wonder the majority of tournament and LAN events in Canada focus on the Xbox 360.

Jul 28, 2009

Wii Sports Resort: I've Escaped To Reality

By Paul Hunter

This past Friday I had the opportunity to visit Ontario Place in downtown Toronto for the Wii Sports Resort Escape To Reality launch. At the event I had a chance to meet Nintendo of Canada's Sr. Communication Manager, Matt Ryan, and watched him shoot some hoops using the Wii MotionPlus. I have some pictures that I'll post soon on the site.

I also had a chance to try out all the sports for myself, and played a few rounds against the event organizers. It was pretty cool, and I'll be doing a full write-up on the game soon so look out for that.

In the meantime, check out this video I recorded and posted on the Future Shop Tech Blog yesterday.


Future Shop Games Trade-In Experience

By Andrew Shin

Last night I paid a visit to my local Future Shop with a handful of older video games I was looking to trade-in. Up until that point, I hadn't engaged with the program as my games trade-in activity was primarily with EB Games. So you may be asking what prompted me to alter my behaviour this time around? Well, a couple of factors. One, Future Shop was offering some fantastic trade-in values on various titles and two, I wanted to purchase an iPod Touch and the opportunity to receive in-store credit for my trade-ins was very appealing.

So off I went with the following games in hand.

- Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360)
- Little Big Planet (PS3)
- Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii)
- Gears of War (Xbox 360)
- NHL 09 (Xbox 360)
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (Xbox 360)
- Need For Speed: Undercover (Xbox 360)
- Grand Turismo 5: Prologue (PS3)
- Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360)

I already had a sense for the trade-in values I'd receive for the first 3 games on the list above as they were premium trade titles. I wasn't sure what the rest would bring in and so I really had no expectations. Lets just say I was pleasantly surprised. In total, I received $171.80 of in-store credit. I was literally taken aback for a few seconds when the sales rep relayed the good news to me.

So here are the trade-in values for my games:


- Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) - $40.00
- Little Big Planet (PS3) - $37.00
- Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) - $30.00
- Gears of War (Xbox 360) - $13.20
- NHL 09 (Xbox 360) - $13.20
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (Xbox 360) - $13.20
- Need For Speed: Undercover (Xbox 360) - $13.20
- Grand Turismo 5: Prologue (PS3) - $8.40
- Battlefield: Bad Company (Xbox 360) - $3.60

I was quite impressed with the games that yielded $13.20 as I didn't expect titles such as NFS: Undercover, Tomb Raider: Underworld and Gears of War to be valued that high. In addition to the fantastic trade-in values, the sales rep who assisted me with the transaction made my first interaction with Future Shop's games trade-in program an efficient and positive experience. But best of all, the in-store credit I received was well utilized towards my purchase of a 16GB iPod Touch. Now I can begin playing some very cool iPod Touch games and likely do some future reviews.

The next time you are considering trading in some old games, I would recommend giving your local Future Shop try. You may get some great trade values and more importantly can use the in-store credit you receive towards the purchase of anything in the store.(NOTE: In Calgary, in-store credit received from games trade ins must be used towards a video game purchase).

Jul 27, 2009

Vancouver's Video Game Family Tree Keeps on Branching Out

By Paul Hunter

I found a nifty image on The Straight's website earlier this month that illustrates the Vancouver area developer family tree.

As expected, the company formed by Microsoft's Don Mattrick in 1982, Distinctive Software, seems to be great, great grandparent to pretty much every other studio that has sprung up in the city. It's pretty cool to see how one studio gave birth, or at least contributed significantly, to a thriving hotbed of the gaming industry.

So for all you Xbox 360 bashers out there, just remember that if it wasn't for the Donny-boy, we likely wouldn't have EA Canada, Radical Entertainment, Relic Entertainment, Black Box Games, Action Pants, Slant Six Games -- I could go on but really, what's the point?

[Pic]

Forza Motorsport 3 Pre-Order Car and Collector's Edition Details

By Andrew Shin

It's no question that one of the Xbox 360's major exclusives for 2009 will be Forza Motorsport 3. The Forza series has always been a favourite amongst racing game fans and this latest installment looks to continue in this tradition.

Today new details were announced regarding a pre-order car and the Limited Collector's Edition version of the game.

If you pre-order the game, you will receive a custom painted Audi R8 V10. In fact, this is a special custom painted car from Forza community member Justin Van Dusen II. Justin's design was selected as the best car design by community members with approx. 300,000 votes.

For those who decide to dish out a bit more for the Limited Collector's Edition will receive instant VIP Membership status within the Forza community that includes special recognition in the new Storefront feature, the online Auction House, scoreboards, ForzaMotorsport.net and more. A Collector's Edition keychain and 2GB USB thumbdrive will be included as additional perks. There is also exclusive access to the following high end performance cars:


• 2009 Aston Martin DBS
• 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
• 2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia
• 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera
• 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS (997)

There is also the addition of the Exclusive Collector's Car Pack featuring cars picked, painted and tuned by the Turn 10 team. These include:

• Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro
• Acura NSX (Forza Motorsport Cover Car)
• Nissan Fairlady (Forza Motorsport 2 Cover Car)
• Aston Martin DB9 (Forza Motorsport 2 European Cover Car)
• 2008 Dodge Charger Stock Car (with Xbox 360 livery)

Turn 10 will also create a number of special designs and tune kits for VIP members. This certainly seems like a nicely packaged Collector's Edition and will no doubt have many fans looking forward to its release on October 27th.

Jul 26, 2009

Spice Up Your Summer With IO's Mixer

By Paul Hunter

Interactive Ontario, the not-for-profit trade organization that represents the Ontario video game industry, will be having a patio mixer this coming Tuesday, July 28. The event will take place at the Spice Route restaurant located in downtown Toronto.

The venue looks to be a swanky Asian bistro that has welcomed a number of high profile celebrity guests including actor/director Woody Harrelson, NBA star Chris Bosh, and former WWE diva Trish Stratus.

If you're looking to meet people in the interactive industry in Ontario, or just want to have a few drinks with some video game professionals then this is an event for you.

The social is free for IO members and $5.00 for non-members and includes one drink ticket and snacks. So, basically the admission price and the free drink cancel each other out. Sounds good to me.

NextGen Player Review: Prototype

By Clinton Ma


Prototype is this year's ultimate power fantasy. Vancouver-based Radical Entertainment has produced exactly the kind of game that gets video game watchdog groups salivating, particularly those regions in Europe where the tolerance for extreme violence in media is much lower.

Bloody, ceaselessly violent and morally bankrupt, Prototype still rises above the chaos to stand tall as an amazing wish fulfillment for the adolescent male in us all. But even more than that, it's a fulfillment of what we've been searching for in our superhero-themed open world games for a very long time.

Prototype's story is your typical remix of every sci-fi, government-conspiracy-amnesiac pablum you've come to expect from our lazy modern-day screenwriters. Players take on the role of one Alex Mercer, a man presumed dead until he wakes up in the morgue of a military compound located smack in the middle of Manhattan. Far from being a tourist attraction, the base is just one sign of an increased military presence on the island. See, there's a viral outbreak on the loose and it's not the swine or fowl variety. This nasty strain turns everyday citizens into foot-dragging zombies, or if you're really special, various fleshy looking muscle-bound creeps who run on all fours and have a penchant for hiding in water towers.

Alex has no recollection of who he is or why he suddenly possesses super-human strength and agility, yet the predominant thought in his mind is to seek revenge on those who did him the favour. He acts as if being able to scale office towers in seconds is the worst thing that's ever happened to him. It's a necessary motivator to drive the plot perhaps, but it's not something that endears Alex to you as a hero or makes you sympathize with his emotions.

After the lengthy intro sequence that sets up the story and provides you with a tutorial that teases all the powers you'll gain over the course of the game, the whole of Manhattan is open for you to explore. Main story missions are clearly marked on an overhead map and you could happily complete those in turn and be done with the game in about 10-12 hours. Of course, what open world game would be worth its salt without several dozen optional side missions thrown in to pad out the play time? While the story missions are generally thrilling and quite varied, Radical sadly ripped too many pages out of Crackdown's handbook and littered the game world with amusing exercises completely irrelevant to the story. Rooftop races, timed massacres and various other contests against the clock comprise these side affairs. By themselves they provide some fun but as a whole they seem out of place and eventually get a little boring to play.

They are, however, a bit of a necessary evil. You'll want to finish a bunch of these side missions if only to reap the rewards. Measured in EP or "Evolution Points", Alex earns heaps of these for almost every action performed. EP can be used to purchase a staggering number of attribute and skill upgrades, ranging from simple strength and mobility enhancements to more complicated attack powers that require specific button presses and contextual situations. It's a vast array of powers, made all the more impressive when you consider that nearly every one of them is useful or is at least fun to perform in the middle of a crowded intersection.

Which brings me to the highlight of Prototype, and that is how brilliantly the upgradeable skills, the combat system and the open world combine into a whole that singularly defines what the often used term "emergent gameplay" really means. The Manhattan of Prototype is a true playground. This is that rare game where you feel like nothing is off limits and you can do anything. Of course it's all combat-oriented, so you won't be acquiring real estate or enjoying a game of ten-pin with your virtual friends. This is an open world of destruction: "criminal life simulator" buffs may want to dust off their copies of GTA IV or Saints Row 2 because Prototype is very single-minded in its area of expertise.

This game is at its best when it is assaulting the senses and continually amazing you with yet another cool new ability or random bit of mayhem that makes you exclaim, "Oh sh--t! I don't believe I just did that".

So it's a bit sad when the games fails to nail down design features that would have elevated it from a merely good title into greatness. For one, the difficulty curve is not smooth. The various dips and peaks in difficulty between missions can be jarring, mitigated somewhat by the generous mid-mission checkpoint system. The mission themselves, particularly the boss fights, hamstring the player by demanding supreme application of 1 or 2 valid techniques in order to achieve victory. In a game where anything can happen during a heated battle (and often does), the boss battles do nothing but up the frustration levels and break your immersion. The final boss encounter is especially painful: it's poorly staged, anti-climactic and shamelessly punishes the player for trying to use all the skills at their disposal. There are just a couple methods to go about defeating the boss and if you need a dozen tries to figure it out, so be it.

I also was not impressed with the poorly directed cutscenes and the story in general, which only served up one video game cliché after another without a hint of wit or irony. I can barely recall anything memorable about the cinematics or characters and the supposed twist revealed near the end was telegraphed far too early. A blissfully naive or inexperienced gamer you would have to be to feel surprised by anything in the story. Prototype, for better or worse, also leaves little room for a sequel, with the climax whimpering out to a hum-drum conclusion and Alex moping off into the sunset. Given the weakness of the storytelling, it's probably for the best that they don't stretch things out into a trilogy.

I still highly recommend Prototype to the action-oriented set. Mechanically, it is one of most sophisticated and ambitious action romps of the year but the poor effort shown towards the deeper content such as mission design, storytelling and play balance drag down the game's score considerably. On paper at least, a 5 out of 5 would not have been out of the question for a game of this magnitude. Execution of solid ideas, however, is still the defining factor of the best games and it's clear that Prototype is an experiment that escaped from the lab just a bit too early.

Pros
- Extensive and deep upgradeable skills & combat system
- Truly feel like a super-powered bad-ass
- Buttery smooth frame rate
- Elegant controls (for the most part)
- Up to 20 hours per play through if you include side missions
- Many great "holy crap" gaming moments

Cons
- Weak characters, plot, dialogue and cut scenes
- No moral center: Alex Mercer is this year's least likable hero
- Frustrating difficulty spikes
- Shallow but occasionally enjoyable side missions
- Unremarkable graphics and art direction
- Final boss fight from Hell

NextGen Player gives Prototype a...

Pure Pwnage Working on Something Called "Project X"

By Paul Hunter

Last year the Toronto-based Pure Pwnage team suffered a devastating loss when Troy Dixon, who played T-bag in the internet mockumentary series, died in a car crash on December 6, 2008. It was a tragic event that has really shaken the team, the Gamer Army and the Pure Pwnage community members.

Series creator Jarett Cale mentioned on their blog back in January that another episode is underway and however depressing given the circumstances, the show will continue. No release date for the episode, the 19th in the series, was given.

A curious new blog post was released back on July 20 on the Pure Pwnage website stating that:

"Pure Pwnage web series is temporarily on hold. A new and exciting development, which we will call "Project X", is the cause of this delay. We will be able to make a formal announcement sometime in the coming month, so please consider this an announcement of that announcement (they seem to be all the rage now)."

No other information was provided, leaving the guessing game wide open. Considering the popularity of Pure Pwnage series, and that we know episode 19 was being worked on back in January, I would find it hard to imagine the show wouldn't continue at some point, but you never know. Maybe they're planning a spin-off or a new show entirely.

Stay tuned for more details as they come.

See GAMERS, The Documentary at Fan Expo




By Paul Hunter

We already know about the Gaming Expo featured guests at this year's Fan Expo, but there are certainly many more attractions for us gamers.

On my must-see list is to attend the screening of GAMERS – A documentary film, a humourous flick that explores the obsessed fan base of MMORPG games like World of Warcraft and Everquest. Have a look at the trailer above to get a sneak peak at what the documentary has to offer.

Hey, if nothing else, at least you get to see the Predator, R2D2 and a perky elf with an obscenely large shield. Reason enough for me.

Jul 25, 2009

NextGen Player Preview: Faunasphere

By Shondra Kayd

When I was younger, I was madly addicted to Asheron's Call, so it should come as no surprise that when the game's lead-designer paired up with Big Fish Games to come out with a different kind of MMO, I would end up madly addicted to it too! Warning, if you are like me and have an addictive gamer personality, this game will suck you in and keep you there.

Unlike many MMOs, this is a non-violent, adorable eco-friendly MMO. In the game, you collect and raise cute little animals called fauna and are tasked with destroying the evil pollution that is making their world inhospitable. You are given your own little world, where you can grow food that certain species love or hate, depending on their dietary preferences. You also find different building blocks to construct your faunasphere, and can shape the environment in many ways by adding terrain such a beautiful, lush garden, or a frigid, icy arctic. Your faunasphere can assembled any way you choose as long as you have the appropriate building blocks, which are found all over your landscape.

The critters of the game, the fauna, remind me a lot of Ren and Stimpy, but with better animation. Personally I love this quirky look to the game. To start you can be a Scooter (turtle), Sniffer (dog), or a Hoofer (horse). These come in only a couple of pre-defined looks. However you quickly procreate, laying eggs, and these species can have a variety of baby types that are born with a random colour and have a distinct look to them. Not only is there a large variety of babies, but thanks to gene food you can change the looks of the animals you already have, as well as give them new and exciting abilities, like being able to survive in the harsh icy climates of glaciers or fiery lava pits.

The community aspect of this game is one of the best I've seen in a long time. Early on you are shown how making friends, and lots of them, is good for you. To encourage social interaction, each player is given a totem, which is a structure that creates items to help build things in the world. When a friend visits the totem in your personal faunasphere, it can give them useful items and also makes you lots of Lux (the in-game currency). You can also buy items from your friends' totems to help you advance in the game. Not only does that help you rebuild the world and advance you financially, but by having friends you can also trade eggs to get even more pets. Personal advancement isn't the only reason to get into the community, since the game places a strong emphasis on building a fun and playful community.

The controls are easy to get into, and all tasks can be completed by just using the mouse. The graphics are quirky and fun, especially for a free-to-play MMO. The concept is unique and interesting, and gamers of any age can get into this game thanks to the non-violent and addictive, eco-friendly presentation. Best of all, you don't have to download anything since the game is browswer-based. If you want you can buy Bux, another game currency, to add interesting extra goodies to the gameplay experience, including more fauna and a bigger personal faunasphere, but the game is amazing even without those extras.

The game is still in beta right now so what few glitches are will likely get resolved when the game releases this August. If you're looking to dive in and play the demo, visit the Faunasphere website here. As for me? I'm going back to play some more.

Mysterious Bedlam "Next Gen" IP Gets a Name

By Paul Hunter

While we're talking about new IPs that may have been leaked by the Telefilm press release, let's add another one shall we.

I've been following they mysterious game being developed by Toronto-Based Bedlam Games, a company formed by industry professionals from Rockstar, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft. They've had a "next gen" in development for some time now, and if you go to their website and click on projects, you'll see some cool concept art. It looks like the game stars a gladiator protagonist equipped with a round shield and sporting a bear mask.

Well, on the Telefilm website they list a Bedlam game called "Last Ones Standing" that has qualified for funding. I have no doubt it's the same game, and with this new funding it looks like the project will be pressing forward.

I'll put in a word to Bedlam Games to see if we can get more details.

Jul 24, 2009

New Silicon Knights IP leaked by Telefilm Canada?

By Andrew Green

A curious bit of news today, courtesy of this press release. Apparently, St. Catherines-based developer Silicon Knights have a new project underway. The new IP is currently known as "Siren in the Maelstrom", and is listed as a console project. Silicon Knights is best known for being the creators of Too Human and the Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for Gamecube. Should further details emerge, NGP will burst out of the shadows yet again and hastily snap some pictures before being escorted off the premises by security.

Wii Sports Resort Party: Wuhu, Let's Play Table Tennis!!

By Paul Hunter

I'm always one for island resort getaways and that's why I'm especially looking forward to Nintendo's Wii Sports Resort event happening tonight (July 24th) at Ontario Place in Toronto.

If you're in or around the area, all you have to do is make your way to Ontario Place between the hours of 12:00pm and 8:00pm. The game officially comes out on July 26th, so by attending you get an exclusive sneak-peak at the next entry in Nintendo's flagship franchise for the Wii.

I'll be heading down to the event around 6:00pm and so feel free to say hi and even challenge me to a game of Table Tennis. Trust me, I suck at real table tennis and I expect I'll be an easy win.

In case you're wondering, standard admission into Ontario Place does apply, so make sure to bring a few dollars with you.

Full ad for the event is after the jump:

Jul 22, 2009

Ads on the Xbox 360


By Clinton Ma

So I wanted to talk a little bit about advertising today. Specifically, it's the advertising within the Xbox Live dashboard that has begun to grab my attention and remind me of how much I dislike being served ads as a paying subscriber.

Back in June, Xbox Live's Major Nelson posted on his blog about the upcoming integration of Silverlight-powered advertising to the Xbox Live interface. While he allayed fears of there being more ads cluttering the dashboard, the whole deal still managed to rub many Xbox users the wrong way. These new ads may be better integrated and less obtrusive but I have my doubts. After all, "unobtrusive ads" is an oxymoron if I ever met one.

Silverlight has yet to be implemented but my false alarm was triggered last weekend when I noticed a Telus advert subverting one of the "slots" in the Inside Xbox channel. It's a bite-sized TV-style commercial that plays automatically when the slot is highlighted. Clicking the ad takes you to the 1 vs. 100 channel, thus revealing Telus as the game's sponsor.

I won't mince words about my reaction to seeing Telus on my console. I hate the Telus animal ad campaign. They've been milking the same campaign for nearly a decade and they're shown prior to almost every movie I catch at the Cineplex theatres. They are annoying to me, plain and simple.

Without getting into a rant-filled and messy philosophical discussion about the advertising business, I wanted to throw out the question to our smart, opinionated readers here at NextGen Player: What do you think about advertising on Xbox Live?

I would also love to read your comments on the topic. Is advertising too ingrained within our modern, media-saturated lifestyle to avoid? Do paying subscribers have the right to be exempt from advertising? How easily can consumers protest with their wallets?

Jul 21, 2009

Getting Connected With a Canadian LAN Party Guru

By Paul Hunter

I had an opportunity to sit down and chat with the team behind Sun & Gun, a Canadian-based console LAN party by the folks at Eh Button that took over the Blackfoot Inn in Calgary this past weekend. There were plenty of lurid zombies, wanna-be rock stars and even a feral Brazilian street fighter with green skin. All in a weekend's gaming I say.

It featured tournaments for many popular console games including Left 4 Dead, Rock Band 2, NHL '09, and Street Fighter IV. The event took months of planning, including many restless nights but according to Nolan all the effort was well worth it.

Here's how it went down...

[Read the rest of this article]

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

GDC Canada Returns May 6-7, 2010

By Paul Hunter

This past May we sent one of our veteran writers, Clinton Ma, to attend the inaugural GDC Canada. The event took place in Vancounver, from May 12-13. In case you haven't seen his two write-ups, have a look-see here and here.

On the official GDC Canada website they've announced the dates for next year's event will be May 6-7, 2010. The industry conference will once again be held in Vancouver, B.C. and will be held at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center.

A write-up on Gamasutra notes that the first ever GDC Canada brought in more than 800 attendees -- representing a doubling in attendance over last year's Vancouver International Game Summit.

It's great to see the such rapid growth with the event, and with the GDC name now associated to it, I expect next year's conference to be even bigger.

Jul 20, 2009

ELAN Awards Moving to Los Angeles?

By Paul Hunter

NextGen Player readers are probably quite familiar with our extensive coverage of the ELAN Awards. What can I say? It's very Canadian and very much about video games. It's a natural fit for us.

That's why I'm a little ambivalent to read a news report on The Straight indicating that the ELAN Award producer, Holly Carinci, is contemplating moving this event to Los Angeles. I say ambivalent because as much as I want the annual awards show to remain a Canadian event, I do understand her plight.

Since its conception in 2006, the ELAN Awards have been hosted in Vancouver. It's a growing event that used to focus exclusively on Canadian video game developers. This year it opened its nominations to the international community, and attracted a sizable number of developers from California. As large as the B.C. video game industry is, it's hard to compete with the likes of California, a state home to such juggernauts as Activision Blizzard, Disney Interactive, EA, Infinity Ward, Insomniac Games, Naughty Dog, Nintendo, Sega, and SCEA.

Add to the fact that Los Angeles has the necessary infrastructure to support Holly's goal of making the ELAN Awards the "Oscars" of the video game industry. For example, a natural *dream* location for the ELANs I'm sure would be the grand Kodak Theatre.

With all that said, I wish the award show would stay in Canada. This country's video game industry is already third in the world, and our influence on the global gaming market has been steadily increasing over the years. To me, it's a natural fit to have video games largest annual award show happening right here at home.

EB Games Door Crasher: GTA IV for $19.98

By Paul Hunter

Well, we haven't received confirmation that these titles will be an EB Games door crasher, but a reputable source on the RedFlagDeals forum claims that GTA IV (Xbox 360 & PS3) will be on sale tomorrow for $19.98. I say reputable because well, she's been right on the last 16 door crasher deals. Like all July door crashers at the retail chain, this will be a one day only sale.

If you're part of the handful of people who have not picked up this game, you really don't have an excuse now. Trust me, it's the cheapest you'll ever have to pay to see a stripper.

Source: RedFlagDeals Forum

GameON: Finance 2009 Registration Now Open

By Andrew Shin

Recently NextGen Player posted about Interactive Ontario's GameON: Finance 2009 event taking place from October 27th to 28th in Toronto, Ontario. This is a yearly event that provides game developers an in-person forum to meet and network with investors for potential business opportunities.

Registration for this year's event is now open and tickets can be purchased at www.gameonfinance.com.

Interactive Ontario has also confirmed the GameON: Finance 2009 Advisory Board.

They are:

Jason Della Rocca (Chair), Senior Consultant for Perimeter Partners and former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association

Steve Bocska, President, Pug Pharm Productions

Trevor Fencott, Managing Partner & CEO Bedlam Games

Jussi Laakkonen, CEO & Founder, Everyplay

Wanda Meloni, Founder and President, M2 Research

Robert Shoniker, Principal, Courage Capital

Dean Takahashi, Writer, Venture Beat

NextGen Player Review: Tales Runner



By Shondra Kayd

A few weeks back I mentioned a great site, gpotato.com for free MMOs. Normally I'm heavily into the RPGs if I'm to play an MMO, but I gave this game a shot. Tales Runner is a racing MMO where you chose characters to play from a few different choices. I would have loved to have a few more options on character customization from the start, but later on the outfit customization opens up quite a bit. Really this game felt like one big excuse to shop. Hair accessories, outfits, shoes, and an insane amount of costume ideas are all out there for the buying, either with game money or real money to buy credits for purchases. It would seem the game's main focus is customization. I guess in a sense most games inject some level of customization for your character to be able to progress, but I just didn't feel like I needed more outfits to get further in the game.

The controls are very simple, a few things to do with the mouse and the rest is easily accessed on the left of the keyboard. You run, jump, run, dodge, run, ski, run, swim, and run some more. There sure is a lot of running in Tales Runner! There are a number of game modes from individual races, all the way up to racing against large groups. Other modes include relays, team races, or even just trying to be the last to survive in a complex race. Some races even challenge the mind by making you do math.


A recent patch opened up some interesting features where you can build your own farm area to customize. You can invite your friends to see things you've won or bought in the game or you can check out their farms. Another excuse to go shopping!

Even with a really nice community, I just couldn't get into this game. The graphics are decent, there are many interesting features and it's a unique twist on racing - just not my cup of tea. I will say though, it's a free game to play and you can meet lots of interesting people. Additionally, if you like to play dress-up with cute looking avatars, run around a lot and make your own little space to show off...which so many people enjoy doing, then you'll probably like enjoy this game!

NextGen Player gives Tales Runner a ...



Jul 19, 2009

Nintendo of Canada Summer 2009 Events

By Andrew Shin

So we're already about a month into summer and so far the weather hasn't been stellar. Too cold and too much rain. But don't despair, Nintendo is here to inject some fun and heat this summer with a few interactive events across Canada.


Wii Sports Resort at Toronto Blue Jays

If you plan on attending any Toronto Blue Jays home games in July, then visit the Nintendo demo area located near gate 9A. You'll have the opportunity to be the first to play Wii Sports Resort before its launch on July 26th.

Wii Sports Resort will be available for play at the following home games:

• Friday, July 17 at 7:07pm (Jays/Boston)
• Saturday, July 18 at 1:07pm (Jays/Boston)
• Sunday, July 19 at 1:07pm (Jays/Boston)
• Tuesday, July 21 at 7:07pm (Jays/Cleveland)
• Wednesday, July at 7:07pm (Jays/Cleveland)
• Thursday, July 23 at 12:37pm (Jays/Cleveland)
• Friday, July 24 at 7:07pm (Jays/Tampa Bay)
• Saturday, July 25 at 7:07pm (Jays/Tampa Bay)
• Sunday July 26 at 1:07pm(Jays/Tampa Bay)



Experience Nintendo Tour

Starting on July 2nd, the Nintendo Summer Tour offers everyone an inclusive venue to try out the new Nintendo DSi, play Wii or get to know the new loyalty program, Club Nintendo.

Visit the Nintendo DSi Zone and spend time exploring the new features. Bring along friends and family, and enjoy creating something personal together such a customized photos and music. Or try some of the new, downloadable titles available through DSiWare.

In the Wii Zone, get up and play some of the latest titles including the much anticipated Wii Sports Resort, along with the Wii MotionPlus accessory.

The Nintendo Summer Tour will be at six major events across Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.


Tour Dates and Locations:

BRITISH COLUMBIA
August 22 to September 7 Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)-Vancouver

ALBERTA
July 2nd to July 12 Calgary StampedeCalgary
July 17 to July 26 Capital ExEdmonton

ONTARIO
August 21 to September 7 Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)-Toronto

QUEBEC
July 14 to July 19 La Fete du Lac des Nations-Sherbrooke
August 8 to August 16 Rogers Cup-Montreal


For more details, check out Nintendo.ca.

Rumour: Bioshock for $9.89, Dead Space for $19.89

By Paul Hunter

Normally I don't give a lot of weight to rumours about upcoming deals, but considering how accurate the RedFlagDeals post has been at predicting EB Games door crashers, I thought I'd entertain the latest pieces of gossip.

Going by the most reliable source, RFD user KC108, tomorrow's door crasher is going to be SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation. No price is given but if true, expect the game to be less than $20.

What's more interesting though, is another RFD user by the name of Setz claims to have talked to a friend who works at EB Games and was told that next week we'll see Dead Space (PS3) for $19.89 and Bioshock (360 + PS3) for $9.89.

Considering how great some of the past deals have been (e.g. MGS4:LE for $9.89, Prince of Persia $9.89), and that both of these games came out last September for PS3 -- Bioshock for Xbox 360 even earlier -- it wouldn't too far-fetched to see them go on sale.

Typically the door crashers for the upcoming week get passed down to EB Games staff on Monday, so hopefully we'll have an update tomorrow.

Is the PS3 Slim Fake?

By Paul Hunter

It's another lazy Sunday so that must mean it's time once again for another edition of Mind Games, a feature where we ask you, our loyal readers, questions that are slowly eating us up on the inside.

A week ago a YouTube user from the website ultimateplaystation.com uploaded a s-s-s-shaky cam video that is purportedly the first ever footage of the much rumoured PS3 Slim.

According to an Engadget write-up, there was a hot rumour in June that Sony has already signed manufacturing agreements with Foxconn and Pegatron to build the revised model in time for July delivery.

Adding fuel to this rumour, in IGN's latest Game Scoop! podcast, there appears to be a slip-up around the 45 minute mark with an IGN staffer seemingly confirming the site has a PS3 Slim in-hand.

With all these unconfirmed reports circling the internet, I want to know your opinion dammit -- is the PS3 Slim fake, or real?

Jul 18, 2009

MIGS Issues a Call For Volunteers

By Paul Hunter

The Montreal International Game Summit has put out a notice on their official website indicating that volunteer registrations have begun.

They are looking for people available to help on Nov. 15, the day before the event begins, as well as the two days of the summit, from Nov. 16-17.

If you're a gamer enthusiast looking to get an inside glimpse at the industry in Canada, this a great opportunity to check it out.

On the MIGS website, they list several benefits to volunteering, including:

• The chance to participate to the MIGS for free
• The opportunity to meet the major decision-makers of the game industry from Quebec and abroad
• Breakfast, lunch and drinks during MIGS and the day prior to the event
• The chance to attend the conferences you are assigned to during your free time
• An invitation to MIGS networking activities
• A reference letter

I was at last year's MIGS and had a blast. During the two-day event I was given plenty of opportunities to meet notable gaming personalities including Jonathan Blow, the authors of Grand Theft Childhood, and MIGS Director Alain Lachapelle.

We'll be out once at this year's MIGS. If you're a volunteer, perhaps we'll run into each other!

Team NGP is Fan Expo 2009 Bound

By Paul Hunter

We had so much fun at last year's Fan Expo, hangin' with the cosplayers, watching pro gamers frag each other in Halo 3, and chillin' with cool gaming guests such as Mega64, that we've decided to return again this year. Not only that, we'll have a much larger presence at the Expo with several members of the NextGen Player team joining me, including Andrew Shin and Shondra Kayd.

There will be plenty of exclusive event videos, pictures, interviews and news to share with you starting August 28th and continuing for the whole week.

For all you feisty cosplayers out there, be prepared to strike a pose and smile for the camera. We have plans this year to capture the best of the best and we'll be posting them right here on NextGen Player.

If you're interested in coming out the Fan Expo 2009, visit their official website here.

World Cyber Games Torch Relay Comes to Canada




By Paul Hunter

The World Cyber Games, the largest e-sports festival on the planet, has announced the torch relay route for the WCG 2009 Grand Final. This 80-day, virtual online journey is the ceremonial beginning of the WCG and is symbolic of "lighting the passion & spirit of Cyber World".

The online relay will travel around 11 countries to finally end up in Chengdu, China, the host city of WCG 2009 Grand Final. At each stop, the torch icon will appear on official WCG country websites with greeting messages from past WCG champions.

[Read the rest of this article]

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

Jul 16, 2009

PSN Favourites On Sale

By Andrew Shin

Alright PS3 owners. If you already haven't noticed, the PSN has reduced the price on a number of its very popular PSN games. You may want to check them out soon as this is a limited sale that will end on July 23rd (next Thursday).

The discounted games include:

WipEout HD - was $19.99, now $14.99
Flock! - was $14.99, now $7.49
Savage Moon - was $9.99, now $4.99
Crash Commando - was $9.99, $4.99
PixelJunk Eden - was $9.99, now $4.99 (Fantastic price)
Brain Challenge - was $9.99, now $4.99
3 on 3 NHL Arcade - was $9.99, now $4.99


Take advantage of these fantastic deals while they're still available.

Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines Q&A and Trailer

By Andrew Shin

Today Ubisoft shared some more details on their upcoming Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines game for the PSP. Bloodlines continues Altair's story from Assassin's Creed in his quest to hunt down the Templars in Cyprus. Ubisoft has shared a new trailer for the game as well as a Q&A with Producer Frederic Lefrançois.

Here's the Q&A and game trailer.


Could you introduce yourself and explain your role in the project?
My name is Frederic Lefrançois and I’m 3rd Party Producer on Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines. My role on this project is to ensure that this game releases on time for the Holiday at the highest level of quality.
I’m working hand in hand with the “Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines” developer and Assassin’s Creed Core Team at Ubisoft Montreal to develop a great game that will respect all of AC brand pillars.

Who is in charge of the development?
The game is developed by the Griptonite Studio under the supervision of Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassin’s Creed Core Team.

How is Assassin’s Creed PSP linked to the Assassin’s Creed universe?
“Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines” follows Altair's story right after the events of Assassin’s Creed as he hunts down the ascending Templars in Cyprus. It’s the only game that explains the link between Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed 2. If you want to understand how Ezio is born and where the Codex comes from you need this game.

What is the storyline of the game? Can you give us a quick synopsis?
Assassin’s Creed PSP picks up right where Assassin’s Creed ended. After the death of Robert De Sable by Altair’s blade, the Templars, led by Armand Bouchart, fled the Holy Land to settle on the island of Cyprus. Following their tracks, Altair has the firm intention to put an end to their quest for power. Altair will help the local resistance fight the Templar’s’ occupation and get rid of the Templar commanders.

How did Altair evolve as a character from the first Assassin’s Creed to the PSP game?
With most of his preconceptions shattered and cast among the blood of slain Templars, Altair enters the events of “Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines” with an open mind. No longer bound by Al Mualim’s leadership, he forges his own path and destiny. He has become more curious, more inquisitive and far less trusting.

What main gameplay feature can we expect in “Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines”? Will the player get to investigate before every assassination mission?
You can expect to enjoy the core gameplay of the original Assassin’s Creed including the signature free-running and the intuitive combat system. Before killing his targets, Altair will get to complete a variety of missions, not always investigations. There are 8 new mission types and we wanted each mission to feel as fresh and exciting as the final Assassination moment.

How is the open-world and free running that are key elements of the Assassins Creed brand presented in the PSP game?
As it was the case in Assassin’s Creed, Altair will get to explore various large cities. This time around Altair will discover the cities of Limasol and Kyrenia in Cyprus, a beautiful and historically very interesting island in the Mediterranean Sea.
Once again, you can expect Altair to master his environment while performing all of his signature moves. In fact, Altair will free-run, sprint, fly between beams and climb everywhere to take advantage of its surroundings. This is a huge benchmark technology wise as this kind of freedom of movement has never been seen before on the PSP.


Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines Trailer



Guitar Hero Smash Hits: A Spin-Off-and-On

By Paul Hunter

When the original Guitar Hero released back in November of 2005 it was the start of a cultural phenomenon that still seems to be growing by leaps and bounds some three and a half plus years later. The latest entry in the franchise, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, is a spin-off compilation disc that is so jammed pack with features it almost feels like a full-fledged entry in the series. That said, there are a few quirks with this game that doesn't quite make it the best Guitar Hero game on the market.

[Read the rest of this article]

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

Future Shop: $10 off Pre-Orders of Halo 3 ODST

By Paul Hunter

It looks like Future Shop's pre-order of the week is the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo 3: ODST releasing September 22, 2009.

The regular price of the game is $69.99 but if you pre-order the game from Future Shop this week you can save yourself $10. Not bad considering I'm sure that all you Halo fiends out there will be picking up this game on day one.

I wasn't initially that enthused about the game (it was originally positioned as equivalent to DLC in terms of content) but Microsoft says they've increased the scope of the game significantly since the original concept and unveiled a bunch of new features and game modes back at E3. Whether or not that means $70 worth of value ($60 after the Future Shop discount) is up to you.

Source: RedFlagDeals

Jul 15, 2009

Follow NextGen Player on Twitter

By Paul Hunter

It seems we just passed our 350th follower on Twitter today, and while that's not a number of any real significance it got me thinking that some people might not know we have an account because we've never actually formally announced it.

So this is your official note to say we're on Twitter. If you're interested in following all the hottest Canadian video game news you can add us at this address:

http://twitter.com/nextgenplayer

While you're at it, send us a tweet or three. We always love to hear from our great community. :)

Ghostbusters The Video Game: I Ain't Afraid of No Demo

By Paul Hunter

I fired up my Xbox 360 over the weekend to don my grey jumpsuit, Ecto-Goggles and Proton Pack for some spooky Ghostbusters: The Video Game demo action. The game, which released last month, was developed by Terminal Reality for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, while Red Fly Studio developed the PS2, PSP and Wii versions, and Zen Studios developed the Nintendo DS version. All these versions will be published by Atari in North America.

[Read the rest of this article]

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

U.K. Fights Back Against Canadian Generous Tax Incentives

By Paul Hunter

The world of video games used to have a nice balance. The two biggest producers of games, the U.S. and Japan, have enjoyed their perch atop the industry for ages. What about third place though? That spot used to belong to the U.K., but now it belongs to - you guessed it - Canada.

It seems like just yesterday that we were enjoying all these imported games ranging from Final Fantasy to Tomb Raider to God of War. These days though, there is high probability the games we plunk into our games consoles were made right here in the great white north. Canada is home of such heavyhitting franchises as Unreal Tournament, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Army of Two, Far Cry, Fatal Inertia, Too Human, EA's NHL, FIFA, NBA and SSX sport series. And it's only getting bigger.

U.K. based industry group Tiga, which represents developers in the country, has been crying foul since early last year, claiming that provincial tax incentives in Quebec, BC and Ontario are unfair. While I'm not one to judge the truth behind this allegation, what I do know is that U.K. developers have been feeling the pinch for years now, and in a few cases the developers slashing jobs in the U.K. have actually increased their investment in Canada (Eidos immediately comes to mind here).

Tiga went so far as to ask the U.K. government to investigate whether or not our country's tax breaks violate World Trade Organisation rules. The government did look into the matter and concluded that Canadian generous tax incentives are perfectly legal. Speaking to Develop Magazine, Tiga CEO Richard Wilson, admits that they "now know that there are no legal grounds on which to lodge a complaint."

Back in June of this year, Tiga seemed to change their tune to if you can't beat 'em, join 'em as they have approached the U.K. government to stop the brain drain and the lobby group is now asking the government "for investment to keep the sector in its successful position."

On June 30, The Department for Culture, Media and Sport sent a formal request to Tiga to provide evidence that the British government needs to support the U.K. games industry with tax breaks.

In response, Tiga issued a welcome letter with Wilson stating that:

“If the UK development community were granted a tax break on cultural grounds (similar to the French system), this would financially benefit developers and help them to compete more effectively and on a level playing field with our international competitors.”

We'll be following this story with great interest. Keep your eyes glued on NextGen Player for more updates soon.

[Pic]

Cerebral Vortex Games Expanding Casual Games Line-Up

By Andrew Shin

St. Catharines, Ontario, based Cerebral Vortex Games recently announced a series of new casual and multi-platform games to their line-up. Available now is Mysterious Worlds: The Secret of Oak Island. This is a hidden object game where players search for clues and solve puzzles to discover the fabled treasure of Oak Island - this game is based on the real-life mystery of Oak Island, Nova Scotia.

As a bonus offer, a discount of $5 is available if the game is purchased through Cerebral Vortex Games website. Just use the promo code 5Y32CQ in the Coupon Code box when purchasing the game. This offer expires on July 21, 2009 at midnight, EST.

In addition to Mysterious Worlds: The Secret of Oak Island, CVG has also announced that they will be showcasing a number of games at next week's Casual Connect Seattle event. These games will be available in fall 2009. The titles include:


Ghost Breaker (iPhone): Battle murderous phantoms using your iPhone camera, powered by a mystical artifact that drains spectres of their essence. The spookiest part is not the ghosts, but the fact that you battle them in your own home, literally!

Trace Evidence: The Hunt for the Black Orchid (PC download): Detective work and forensic science meet in a match 3 game! The Black Orchid is a master criminal who swears nobody will ever catch him. Match the tiles to compare DNA, check for bomb residue, detect fingerprints and more. Every clue will bring you closer to arresting the Black Orchid!

Sonus (iPhone): The classic memory and rhythm game gets a high-tech makeover! Four modes and up to 10 buttons will give your brain and ears a challenge they'll never forget!

Word Burst (iPhone): The hit web word game comes to your iPhone! In Word Burst, players are presented with a grid full of random letters while a timer ticks down. Players spell words by rapidly clicking on letters. Creating a word and making it "burst" will award you points and more time-the longer the word, the better!

For more details on any of the games mentioned above, visit the Cerebral Vortex Games website.

Jul 12, 2009

Oh Trine -- Will You Be Mine?




By Paul Hunter

It's not very often that I get infatuated with a video game, but by gosh I'm just smitten over Trine. The debut trailer (above) for the recently released PC game (and upcoming PSN game) by Nobilis and Frozenbyte was released this past December and since then I've looking forward to this game with great interest.

[Read the rest of this article]

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

EB Games: Guitar Hero III $9.99

By Paul Hunter

The door crashers at EB Games keep on rolling in. Today's deal is Guitar Hero III: Legends Of Rock for PS3, Xbox 360 & Wii for $9.99. It's the game only (no instruments).

Remember - it's a one day only doorcrasher, so get it today or else you'll miss out.

Source: RedFlagDeals

Jul 11, 2009

EB Games: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin $19.89

By Paul Hunter

The RedFlagDeals thread that's been tracking the EB Games July door crashers has once again been updated.

The deal for today is F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin (Xbox 360, PS3) on sale for $19.89.

Our own Clinton Ma reviewed the game back in February, saying the game is an "outstanding first-person shooter that should not be overlooked on the Xbox 360 or the PS3"; however, he continues by saying it's "too easy for experienced players" and has an "unrefined and shallow multiplayer." To check out his full review, click here.

Source: EB Games - Daily Doorcrashers [RedFlagDeals]

Jul 10, 2009

Here Are Your Most Wanted Wii and DS Games for July '09, Canada

By Paul Hunter

It's stuffy and it's sweaty so it sure as hell must be July in Canada. To make matters worse, if you happen to live in Toronto you have to contend with a public worker union strike resulting in steaming piles of rotten garbage that give off an extremely offensive smell.

As nice counter-balance, Nintendo of Canada sent out it's monthly eNewsletter and with it the most wanted Wii and DS games for this month, containing perhaps the least offensive games I've ever seen in gaming lists.

You know when three of the five most desired DS games contain the words "Personal Trainer", you've got a pretty slow month. As gamers we've come to expect slow summer release schedules, but come on, this is a bit much.

What really reeks this month is that the Wii list is practically identical to last month's list, except Super Mario Galaxy was given the heave-ho and was swapped for Excitebots: Trick Racing. Seems a little arbitrary to me, if not completely dry.

On the DS side, let me just say that it stinks that great games like The Legendary Starfy and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again didn't crack the most wanted list. Come on, these game have to be more wanted than the nearly two year old Flash Focus.

Anyhow, here are the full lists for July 2009:

Wii

1. Punch-Out!!
2. Animal Crossing: City Folk
3. Mario Kart Wii
4. Wii Fit
5. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
6. Excitebots: Trick Racing
7. New Play Control! Pikmin
8. New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis
9. New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
10. Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree
11. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
12. Wii Music


Nintendo DS

1. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
2. Personal Trainer: Cooking
3. Personal Trainer: Math
4. Personal Trainer: Walking
5. Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir
6. Kirby Super Star Ultra
7. Pokémon Platinum Version
8. Rhythm Heaven
9. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
10. Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day
11. Professor Layton and the Curious Village
12. Mario Party DS
13. Flash Focus: Vision Training in minutes a Day!

Jul 9, 2009

Here is Your Official Canadian Gaming Calendar of Events

By Paul Hunter

Don't be shy, let's all admit together that Canada is the best country in the world for gamers. Not only is our industry on a hiring spree, but we also make some of the best games on the planet. But did you know that Canada is also home to some of the best gaming conventions out there? Oh yes, it's true. Let's have a look at some of the major events that this country has to offer.

[Read the rest of this article]

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

[Pic]

Faunasphere Closed Beta Contest

By Andrew Shin

Hello loyal NextGen Player readers.

I know it's been a while since our last contest. Well, we're excited to announce a new contest in conjunction with Big Fish Games. Recently Big Fish Games announced a closed beta for their upcoming browser-based casual MMO titled Faunasphere. This addictive casual MMO social game is created by the lead-designer of the popular Asheron’s Call for the PC.

Big Fish Games describes Faunasphere as a game that engages a broad casual gamer audience through non-violent game play, rich social networking elements, and an immersive storyline. The game is free to play, and will feature micro-transactions and premium membership to enhance the game play experience.

So here are the contest deets.

Up for grabs are five (5) closed beta invites for Faunasphere. To enter the contest, all you have to do is send an email to contest@nextgenplayer.com with the subject line "Faunasphere Contest". Only one entry per email address will be accepted.

The contest will run from Friday, July 10, 2009 at 12:01am to Sunday, July 19, 2009 at 11:59pm.

Five (5) random winners will be drawn on Monday, July 20, 2009 and the winners will be contacted via email with prize details.

This contest is open to all legal residents of Canada (excluding residents in Quebec) and the United States. You must be 18 years or older to enter the contest. Only one entry per email address will be accepted. For more details on our general contest rules, click here.

Jul 8, 2009

3Pod Recruitment Referral Contest - Summer 2009

3Pod Recruitment ContestBy Andrew Shin

Recently I came across 3Pod's website (www.3pod.ca). 3Pod is a Montreal based gaming and entertainment recruitment company. They specialize in the video game industry and offer additional services including international recruitment and immigration specialization.

Currently they are promoting their summer recruitment contest. It's pretty simple. Refer a friend to 3Pod for any of the current listed positions on their site and if your friend gets hired, you get a gaming console of your choice.

So if you have any friends looking for work in the industry, particularly in Canada, then refer them and enter the contest. If they get hired, it's a win-win. You get a free console and your friend gets a job. Not bad.

The contest is running now and ends on August 31, 2009 at midnight.

For more details, visit the 3Pod website.

Jul 7, 2009

Assassin's Creed II Dev Diary - Part 1

By Andrew Shin

If you're like me, then there's a good chance you're very excited about the second installment in the Assassin's Creed franchise - Assassin's Creed II. Even more so if you happened to view the gameplay demo during last month's E3 event. Simply fantastic and better looking than the first in many ways.

To add to the excitement and provide more insight into the game's story and development, Ubisoft has released the first dev diary for the game. This first video provides insight into the main character Ezio and his background. There's also some comments from an actual historian.

You can view the video below. Enjoy.