Dec 25, 2009

Canadian Boxing Day Gaming Deals

By Paul Hunter

Happy Holidays from everyone here at NextGen Player. While you're busy breaking in your new Christmas consoles and games keep in mind that there are plenty of gaming deals all week long across Canadian retailers. Hoping to get Assassins Creed 2 but got Astro Boy: The Video Game instead? Don't fret, there are plenty of hot titles on sale this week (including AC2!)

Full list of deals after the break.

HMV
Dec. 26 only: CoD MW2 $29.99 (PS3/360)
Dec. 26-27 only:
Dragon Age, Brutal Legend, NFS Shift, NHL 10 $39.99 each (PS3/360)
Fable II, Halo 3, Gears 2 $19.99 each
360 Elites $249.99 (excluding CoD bundle)
All PSP 2000/3000 bundles $149.99 each

Blockbuster
XBOX Live Messenger Kit $69.99
360 Wireless controller $44.99
360 Elite Holiday bundle $269.99
Live 12-month $49.99
360 Wireless Adapter $69.99
360 Vision Camera $39.99
Wii Remote $39.99
Wii Motion+ $19.99
PS3 BR Remote $19.99
PS3 USB 2.0 & Cables $44.99

Rogers Plus
$14.99 used games:
Section 8
Bionic Commando
Raven Squad
RB Metal Track Pack
Singstar Queen
Ghostbusters
Riddick

$29.99 used games:
Red Faction Guerilla
Tekken 6
Forza 3
RE5
Wolfenstien
Beatles RB
Fifa 10

Halo 3 ODST + Gears 2 used $40
AC2 + CoD MW2 used $60

75% off all used PS2 games
50% off all used Wii games
50% off all used PSP games

$19.99 new games:
Halo Wars
Gears 2
Halo 3
Fable 2

$39.99 new games:
Mario Kart Wii
Wii Sports Resort
Uncharted 2
Shaun White Road Trip
Tekken 6

$49.99 new games:
Borderlands
Batman AA
AC2
NHL 10

Dualshock3 + GH game bundle $49.99
50% off ALS Game Traveller bag and Wii Speak

Future Shop
XBOX 360 Pro 20GB - $179.99
Playstation 3 160GB with Uncharted, Killzone, and inFamous - $299.99
Nintendo DSi - $149.99
Dragon Age Origins (Xbox 360) - $39.99
Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360 or PS3) - $14.99
Street Fighter IV (PS3) - $19.99
Prince of Persia (PS3) - $14.99
Quantum of Solace Blu-Ray - $9.99

Best Buy
360 Elite Holiday bundle $239.99
Sony 160GB Playstation 3 with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, & LittleBigPlanet: Game of the Year Edition - $299.99
Nintendo Wii Console - $179.99
Wii Sports Resort - $39.99
$39.99 Video Games (inc. Left 4 Dead 2, Assassin's Creed 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Brutal Legend)
$29.99 Video Games (inc. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare GOTY Edition, Tekken 6)
$19.99 Video Games (inc. Gears of War 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4, Spore)
$14.99 Video Games (inc. Afro Samurai, Madworld)
X-Men Blu-ray - $24.99
$9.99 Blu-rays (inc. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Good Will Hunting)
$6.99 Blu-rays (inc. Ocean's Thirteen)
$4.99 DVDs (inc. American Gangster & the Lord of the Rings Movies)

RCSS (West)
$10 "value video games" (limit 6 per customer). Flyer shows Oblivion PS3, Lego Batman Wii, Stuntman 360.
Nintendo Wii - $179.99
Mario Power Tennis, Wii Pikmin and Wii Donkey King - $14.99 each.
Uncharted 2, LittleBigPlanet GOTY Edition, Resistance 2 - $34.99 each
Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Halo 3, Halo Wars - $19.99
Xbox 360 Elite holiday bundle 2009 - $259.99
Video game accessories - $6.99 (Includes HDMI cables, Wii Sports kit, PSP cases and much more)

The Source
360 Elite Holiday bundle $260
Up to 90% off select games

Toys R Us
All $19.99 value games $16.87
DS Lite bundle: includes 2 $19.99 games, 1 $29.99 game, 2 $4.99 accessories, and a DS Lite for $160
PSP 3000 Core $149.97
Dual Shock 3 $34.97 with purchase of $300 PS3
Hannah Montana PSP Pack $139.97
360 Elite Holiday bundle $269.97
Uncharted 2, LBP GOTY, Ratchet $44.97 each
Halo 3, Halo Wars, Fable 2, Gears 2 $19.97 each
25% off all Wii/DS/DSi accessories (excludes clearance and points cards)
Cars Race-o-Rama, Marvel Superhero, Spongebob Truth or Square $24.97 each
New SMB DS, Mario 64 DS, Mario & Luigi Inside Story $24.97 each
New SMB Wii $49.97
Wii Sports Resort $44.97

Zellers
70% off Warner Brothers Blue rays & dvds (25 titles to choose from)
50% off some games including Assassins Creed 2, Avatar, Shaun White, rabbids go home, just dance
Xbox 360 Elite Holiday bundle $250
$20: Gears of War 2, Halo 3, Halo Wars, Fable 2.
$69.99 Wii Fit Plus Board + Game
$129.99 PSP Core
$49.98 PS3 Dual Shock

Wal-Mart
120GB PS3 Slim + Infamous and Batman AA $300
XBOX 360 Holiday Bundle $250
DS Lite $110
PSP 3000 Black + Family Guy Blue Harvest $150
Assassins Creed 2, Brutal Legend, NFS Shift, Tekken 6 $40 each
Wii Fit Plus (Software) - $14.83
25% off All Video Games under $20

EB/Gamestop

Dec. 26 only

Tony Hawk Ride $99.99
Used Nintendo DS Lite $54.99 (with purchase of two used DS $20+ games)
Used Wii $89.99 (with purchase of two used Wii $20+ games)
Used PSP-1000 $54.99 (with purchase of two used PSP $20+ games)

Dec 26-28
Prince of Persia 2008 - $9.99
Dissidia FF PSP - $19.99

Dec 26-31
PS3 250gb w/ free Little Big Planet GOTY and God of War Collection - $349

Dec 31 Only
Rock Band: AC/DC $1.99

Dates unknown
Mad World $19.99
Fable II $19.99
Halo 3 $19.99

Gamedeals.ca
20% off everything (in-store and online)

SiG (in-store)
DSi $100
PSP Go $150
360 Wireless Adapter $40

Factory Direct
2 refurbished 360 controllers $40

Source: Cheap Ass Gamer

[pic]

Dec 22, 2009

ELAN Awards Announces Host City, Categories

By Clinton Ma


The announcements have come in hot and heavy this week for the 2010 ELAN Awards. We last reported on the Canadian-produced video games, animation and visual effects award show during the summer when rumours surfaced that the event founders were contemplating moving the show south across the border.

That rumour has since been confirmed and the ELAN Award organizers issued press releases earlier this week detailing the new host city and the award categories...

The first three ELAN Award ceremonies were held in Vancouver, BC. No more. The 4th annual ELAN Awards will be held next summer in sunny San Diego. With the show`s move to the US, the ELAN founder & producer, Holly Carinci has also adopted a bigger, bolder approach to her event. Instead of being held in a single night, the awards next year will run from July 17th - 19th and will encompass a VIP-only pool party, a raucous street celebration and finally, the award show gala reception.

The award categories for the revamped show have also been revealed to the games press. Compiled with the help of industry feedback, it`s a comprehensive list of awards to say the least, and shows an astute awareness of the trends relevant to gaming today as well as paying tribute to the various specialties associated with putting out a quality video game. The categories are:

1. BEST GAME OF THE YEAR

2. BEST E-RATED GAME OF THE YEAR

3. BEST TEEN-RATED GAME OF THE YEAR

4. BEST MATURE-RATED GAME OF THE YEAR

5. BEST CONSOLE GAME

6. BEST PC GAME

7. BEST CASUAL GAME

8. BEST DOWNLOADABLE GAME

9. BEST LICENSED GAME

10. BEST HANDHELD GAME (PSP; DS, IPod or other similar devices)

11. BEST MOBILE GAME

12. MOST ACCESSIBLE GAME

13. BEST INDEPENDENT GAME


TALENT AWARDS

14. BEST WRITING in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

15. BEST SOUND in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

16. BEST MUSIC in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

17. BEST ART DIRECTION in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

18. BEST CHARACTER ANIMATION in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

19. BEST VOICE OVER in an VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

20. BEST GAME DESIGN

21. BEST REAL-TIME VISUAL EFFECTS in a VIDEO GAME PRODUCTION

22. OUTSTANDING TECHNICAL INNOVATION

23. BEST NEW TALENT (Student only)

24. VIDEO GAME HALL OF FAME


CONVERGENCE AWARDS

25. BEST ANIMATED PRODUCTION with a LICENSED VIDEO GAME

26. BEST VISUAL EFFECTS-DRIVEN FEATURE FILM with LICENSED VIDEO GAME


MARKETING AWARDS

27. GAMER'S CHOICE

28. BEST IN-GAME ADVERTISEMENT in a VIDEO GAME

29. BEST OVERALL ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN for a VIDEO GAME

30. BEST VIRIL MARKETING PR CAMPAIGN for a VIDEO GAME

Nomination submissions official open on January 4th, 2010. More details regarding the submission and judicial process are expected to arrive next week just prior to the holidays.

I know a few of us here at NextGen Player have expressed concern about the ELAN Awards moving into the US market, a place already awash in award shows and industry events such as E3, PAX, GDC and the recently held Spike VGAs. Following these recent announcement, however, I`m inclined to think the ELAN organizers are on the right track. With a run of three days, they are sparing no expense to make a big splash and the comprehensive, thoughtful award categories give it an air of legitimacy even established shows like the VGAs seem to lack.

My only reservation right now is the timing of the event. Award shows that honour the best of the preceding year typically hold their celebrations early in the new year. Getting people to care about the best of 2009 during the sweltering summer of 2010 may be a stretch for some. This is usually a time of looking forward, in the wake of big conferences like GDC and E3 where publishers are showcasing their latest offerings for the remainder of 2010 and beyond.

How the ELAN Awards will fare in this climate is anyone`s guess. It will certainly be an interesting experiment and provide a welcome bit of competition for the established players down south.

Dec 19, 2009

Gaming Deals For This Week

By Andrew Shin

With the holidays fast approaching, NextGen Player is here with another weekly update for gaming deals. I've been scoping out flyers and online for any deals I could find. Here's some great gaming deals for this week.

Future Shop (From Dec 18th to Dec 24th)

- DualShock 3 Controller Bundles (w/ Ratchet & Clank or Uncharted: Drake's Fortune or GT5 Prologue) - $59.99
- Rock Band Special Value Edition w/ The Beatles Rock Band game (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $99.99
- Band Hero Band Kit (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $169.99
- Section 8 (Xbox 360) - $39.99
- Tekken 6 (Xbox 360 and PS3) - $29.99
- Rock Band Track Pack AC/DC Live (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $9.99

Best Buy (From Dec 18th to Dec 24th)

- DualShock 3 Controller Bundles (w/ Ratchet & Clank or Uncharted: Drake's Fortune or GT5 Prologue) - $59.99
- Rock Band Special Value Edition w/ The Beatles Rock Band game (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $99.99
- Band Hero Band Kit (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $169.99
- Rock Band Track Pack AC/DC Live (Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii) - $4.99
- inFAMOUS (PS3) - $39.99
- Assassin's Creed II and COD: Modern Warfare 2 Bundle (Xbox 360 and PS3) - $99.99
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Zelda: Spirit Tracks Bundle (Nintendo DS) Bundle - $79.99
- Nintendo Wii Console - $199.99

Walmart (From Dec 18th to Dec 24th)

- Xbox 360 Gaming Bundles (either a controller and 2 games pack or a 3 game family pack) - $39.99
- Assassin's Creed, HAWX, FarCry 2 or CSI: Deadly Intent (Xbox 360) - $14.99
- NHL 10 (Xbox 360 and PS3) - $39.83

Staples (From Dec 16th to Dec 24th)

- Too Human, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 and Madden NFL 09 (Xbox 360) - $7.97
- inFAMOUS and Motorstorm - $17.47
- Gears of War 3 and Halo 3 - $29.97

That's so far. Happy game shopping all.

Dec 16, 2009

Wanna Win An Alienware Desktop?

By Andrew Shin

Hello Canadian PC gamers. I recently came across a contest open to Canadian residents to win an Alienware Aurora Desktop with Killer Zeno Pro. As well, there is a daily draw for six lucky winners to receive a copy of NCsoft's AION.

This is a great opportunity to win and get your hands on Alienware's new Aurora gaming PC desktop.

For more details and to enter, visit the ZAM contest site.

Good luck!

Dec 14, 2009

NGP Talks With The Mark

By Andrew Shin

NextGen Player has certainly been busy talking about gaming recently. Paul Hunter has made recent appearances on Webnation and other shows to chat gaming. In addition, I recently spoke with The Mark news site about my article on the EA layoffs that occured last month.

In this audio interview, I spoke about the EA layoffs and what that means for the Canadian video game industry.

Check it out here.

Enjoy.

And here is the rest of it.

Dec 12, 2009

NGP Media Round-Up: Globe and Mail, Webnation & Intel Webcast

By Paul Hunter

It's been a busy month here at NextGen Player HQ and with the holiday season upon us media outlets have been knocking at our doors for interviews and commentaries on some of the hottest game titles lining store shelves.

Here's a rundown of media appearances with links to the videos/article:

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Webnation Episode 5 - November 11, 2009

I had the opportunity to meet Amber MacArthur, tv and netcasting personality, as a guest on her Webnation show which airs on CP24. In the segment I discuss Modern Warfare 2, Lego Rock Band and Band Hero. Skip to 2:20 for the clip.

Webnation Episode 5 notes can be found here.

----

Intel Live Webcast - November 27, 2009

Future Shop invited me to join tech guru Marc Saltzman, Doug Cooper from Intel Canada and Amber MacArthur on a very special webinar where we discuss the hottest PC games and accessories for 2009. I provided commentary on eight games (4 hardcore, 4 casual) which starts at the 39:00 mark.

----

Globe and Mail - December 3, 2009

Dave McGinn from the Globe and Mail interviewed me about the gay sex scene in Dragon Age: Origins. I hadn't considered myself an expert in gay sex in video games until that day, but surprisingly I had a lot to say.

The Dragon Age: Origins scene in question can be found embedded in the Globe and Mail article.

Dec 11, 2009

Nintendo of Canada Wishes You and Your Pets a Happy Holiday

By Paul Hunter

With the holidays fast approaching I received a nice eCard in my mail today from Matt Ryan, PR Manager for Nintendo of Canada. The card, or rather flash game, is a fun snowball flinging romp featuring the cast of New Super Mario Bros. Wii: Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad and Yellow Toad.

In Holiday Snowball Toss, the object of the game is to throw snowballs at various inhabitants of the Mario universe that pop out of seven pipes or dangle from the ceiling. The characters include: Bowser, Stars, Boos, Bomb-ombs, Spinies and four Koopalings -- Larry, Iggy, Roy, and Ludwig Von Koopa.

It's a fun little time-waster if only to put your face on Waluigi and see yourself decked in his lanky, purple overalls.

My highest score is 550 and that's for one of two reasons: 1) I'm playing on a laptop without a mouse and have limited accuracy; or 2) I'm so used to being the victim of a snowball that I have no tossing skill of my own to speak of. I'll let you decide which one of the two is reality.

And while you're playing, know that Nintendo of Canada wishes you, your family, and pets a happy holiday season.

Dec 10, 2009

Fashionably Late Left 4 Dead 2 Demo Impressions



By Paul Hunter

I know what you're thinking, why I am posting a Left 4 Dead 2 demo impressions video when the full game is already out? Well, simply put, this video was created several weeks ago by my good friend Darren Price and I took my sweet ass time publishing it. Well that and the fact that YouTube peeps decided the content in the game was unsuitable for Canadians and blocked it from IPs originating in the country. Weird, I know.

Thankfully it's now been unblocked so everyone can enjoy this excellent commentary on a most excellent sequel to Valve's hit zombie franchise.

If you like the video, I encourage you to check out Darren's YouTube channel. He's a huge gamer and always has interesting commentaries.

Oh if you want to read my impressions of the retail version of the game, check out my full Left 4 Dead 2 review on the Future Shop Tech Blog.

Ubisoft Employee #1 Reveals Toronto Studio Location



By Paul Hunter

He hinted, then teased (see video above), and now he finally revealed. Ubisoft Toronto's very first employee, Derek Lebrero, announced on his Facebook page the location of the company's new studio.

Ubisoft Toronto is officially making 224 Wallace Ave. their new home. You can see where that is in relation to the downtown core on Google Maps here. The building is located on the west-end of Toronto, just north of the Landsdowne subway stop.

Want to see what the new studio looks like? Hit the jump for a photo.

Dec 7, 2009

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

Andrew Shin

So Nintendo of Canada's monthly newsletter popped into my inbox recently and as usual, they've listed their top Wii and DS games for the month. Nothing too surprising or unexpected for December 2009 with the exception that the recently released New Super Mario Bros Wii didn't make its way onto the list. Maybe next month.

So here's what the list looks like:

Wii

Punch-Out!!
Wii Sports Resort
Mario Kart Wii
Wii Fit
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Excitebots: Trick Racing
New Play Control! Mario Tennis
Metroid Prime: Trilogy
Wii Fit Plus
Animal Crossing: City Folk
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

NINTENDO DS

The Legendary Starfy
Personal Trainer: Cooking
Pokemon Trainer: Math
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box
Pokémon Platinum Version
Rhythm Heaven
Fossil Fighters
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story
Style Savvy

Deertase Game Lampoons Toronto Police's Handling of Wild Doe

By Paul Hunter

On November 24, 2009, a wild deer made headlines when it was spotted downtown Toronto near the city's largest bus terminal at Bay and Dundas. The incident bewildered the Toronto police Emergency Task Force and onlookers who were unsure how the doe managed to find its way to the heart of Toronto.

The police were gawked by several local and national media outlets for their handling of the situation, which involved tranquilizing the animal and, after failing to subdue it, a taser shot was fired. The doe was in good health after the jolt and was released back to the wild.

Local gaming website Toronto Thumbs created a flash-based game, called DEERTASE, which lampoons the incident by letting players assume the role of an officer of the law with the goal of subduing a wild deer that has been caught sauntering in the Downtown Core.

The game's developer, Shaun Hatton, commented about the police handling of the wild doe:

"I just thought it was absurd that an officer would use a taser on an animal. If you look at the footage, you actually see the deer is just sitting there not bothering anyone. They basically tased her like she was an unruly thug."

DEERTASE has been a big hit for the website, with the game receiving over 600 plays within the first 24 hours.

For more information on DEERTASE, or to play the game free, visit http://www.torontothumbs.com/deertase/

Dec 6, 2009

Pick of the Pics: This Game Sucks

By Paul Hunter

As seen on Threadless. It's their new This Game Sucks tee.

Poor Pac-Man.

Best Buy Canada & Future Shop Running 'Buy 2, Get 1 Free' Deal

By Paul Hunter

Best Buy Canada and Future Shop announced a 'buy 2, get 1 free' promotion on this past Friday for all video games for the following platforms: PS3, PS2, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PSP, and PC.

If you own multiple platforms you can mix and match by buying any combination of games, so you could say get Modern Warfare 2 for Xbox 360, Assassin's Creed II for PS3 and then get New Super Mario Bros. Wii for free.

There are two restrictions to be aware of: the free game must be equal or lesser value with a maximum value of $69.99 and the deal is limited to one per customer. The in-store only promotion finishes on December 10, 2009.

Looks like Toys R Us will have to take a backseat this year as this is the exact same promotion they ran last December. Something funky must have happened since Toys R Us down in the States had this promotion back in October. But hey, at least we got the deal here in Canada, even if it jumped retailers!

Exclusive Halo Xbox 360 Bundle Hits Canada

By Paul Hunter

Microsoft announced a new holiday Xbox 360 Elite bundle that is exclusive for Canada featuring their #1 hit franchise Halo. The bundle, which should be on store shelves nationwide now, includes:

* 250 GB Hard Drive Xbox Elite
* two black wireless controllers
* matching black Xbox 360 Headset
* copy of Halo 3
* copy of Halo 3: ODST

The complete package has a suggested retail price of $399.99.

This is the third exclusive bundle that has come to Canada this year, joining the GTA IV Xbox 360 bundle back in April and the NHL 2K10 Wii bundle that came out in September. It's very encouraging to see the console makers targeting Canada with exclusive hardware pack-ins, let's hope that trend continues in '10.

I did a price break-down over on the Future Shop Tech Blog to see just how good of a value this bundle is and found out you save roughly $100 if you were to buy all these items separately.

If you're interested in seeing the analysis, check out the Tech Blog article here.

Dec 5, 2009

THQ Selects Montreal For New Studio

By Paul Hunter

THQ have announced plans to move into Montreal with the opening of a brand new studio by mid-2010. The new facility will house 400 employees to be hired over the next five years. Jobs will be available in a variety of disciplines, including design, engineering, art, content and technology development, quality assurance and localization.

The company has stated that the new Montreal location will become the largest in its global studio system.

THQ has appointed Dave Gatchel, former general manager of their shuttered Paradigm Entertainment studio, to serve and the Montreal studios general manager.

Montreal was selected because of it's outstanding pool of digital media talent and the availability of fresh talent from the city's university system. Moreover, the Quebec government's support, in the form of reimbursable tax credits and other incentives, gives the company favourable economic conditions to produce their core, big-budget titles.

The first game from the new studio is expected to hit shelves in THQ's fiscal 2013 year.

Interested applicants may send their resumes to THQ Montreal at: Montrealcareers@thq.com.

Wii Fit Plus $9.99 At Future Shop, 2 Day After Hours Sale

By Paul Hunter

Future Shop has an after hours sale going on today and tomorrow with Wii Fit Plus retailing for $9.99. The sale runs on Dec. 5-6 (8pm-10am) and resumes again on Dec. 6-7 (5pm-9am).

This deal if for the game only so you'll need the Wii Balance Board in order to play.

The regular price of Wii Fit Plus is $24.99. At the time of writing there are 938 units in stock.