Archive for October, 2008


Australian R18+ classification talks canned

In Australia, we have a little problem with video game censorship. Any games that aren’t suitable for people over the age of 18 can’t be released in the country, which is a bit odd considering the average age of the Australian gamer is 30. The good news is that a solution is simple, by introducing an R18+ classification Australian adults will be able to play video games designed for them, a privelage most of the world currently enjoy.

The ball is rolling and it seems work is being done to fill this hole in Australian classification law – but like everything political there is a process that must be followed. I’m sure there is much more to it, but for simplicities sake I’ll condense it to this – the state and territory Attorney Generals must get together, create a pros and cons list (read: discussion paper) and vote unanimously in favour of introducing an R18 classification rating for video games.

Don’t worry that the Attorney Generals are ill-informed and believe the same rubbish that others may spew, before they make such a decision they look deeply into research, statistics and whatever else can assist them in making an accurate and correct decision for all Australians. In addition to this, members of the Australian public will be invited to comment on the issue giving the Attorney Generals some live feedback on what is going on in our hearts and minds, and with the Interactive Australia 2009 report containing survey data showing that a majority of Australian’s (91%, in fact) are in favour of an R18+ classification for games –  it’s beginning to look like this slow, long winded process may soon come to an end.

The bad news is that the process required to correct this problem is itself a little flawed, and can be manipulated in some rather alarming ways. 

Enter Michael Atkinson, Attorney General for South Australia.

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Fallout 3 street date broken, finally!

So it might not be as big a score as getting your hands on LBP a few weeks early, but if you happen to have the afternoon off work and would like to start your post apocalyptic journey sooner (today) rather than later (tomorrow), it might be less hassle than expected. 

Although the official release date is hard coded at 31/10/08, lucky reader Mark has managed to get his hands on his copy today. Although they didn’t have stock on shelves, JB Kedron were happy enough to hand a copy over – I guess the massive embargo, as one JB staff member put it, hasn’t convinced everyone.

EB Games, staying true to their formula have declined to sell the game early or at a reasonable price, and are asking $119 as apose to JB’s $89.

Gametraders Chermside (and assumably other stores) have the game in stock and on shelves today, also priced at $89.

So there you have it, if anyone needs to get a copy a day early you do have options.


My weekend in gaming – Dead Space impressions

On Saturday morning I made the leap and grabbed myself a copy of Dead Space. The game didn’t cost me any money, but don’t be mistaken, the price was still high. I took advantage of JB’s trade in offer, and handed over Resistance, GT5 Prologue and Smash Court Tennis for my copy. It was a difficult decision, I usually choose not to support trade in schemes, stores like EB make a far higher profit margin on second hand games sales than new game sales – hence their constant push to get you to trade in your games. I don’t like to support the system because it cuts the game developers out of the cycle – they sell the game once, and EB can sell it as many times as they can coax the consumer into handing it back to them. 

Of course, the task of selecting the members of my hand picked game collection that I would be sacrificing took some thinking about, getting rid of tennis was straightforward, this was a launch title and I’m sure I can find a newer, better title to take it’s place. GT5P was a no brainer, it’s not even a full priced game, and I’ve been kicking myself for not purchasing the downloadable iteration, I’ve really warmed up to the idea of having full games on my HDD – I know I wouldn’t play Warhawk as much if I had to track down a disk each time.  

Choosing to chuck Resistance took a bit of though, but I know if I ever wanted to play it again I could easily pick it up as a  budget title – things have changed since Playstation’s debut, back then it seemed all games were in limited distribution, getting hold of a quality title that was a few years old was sometimes an impossibility. Now days, if it still capable of selling, they’ll sell it.

So after much deliberation and an extended conversation with the JB games dude about WoW (Yes, I know I’m wearing a Penny-Arcade Rogues do it from behind tshirt – am I the only one that thinks it’s funnier removed from the WoW context?), I walked away with a new game. I’m pretty fucking happy I did.

Dead Space is a good game. Everything EA have set out to do, they’ve done quite well. This does leave some basics a little under polished, but the unique ground this game treads more than make up for anything lacking.

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Consolized Street Fighter IV dated for Australia

The (semi)official statement is that Street Fighter IV will hit Playstation 3 and xbox consoles this winter, a timeframe better known as summer here is Australialand. Thanks for the effort Capcom, but a vague release date doesn’t assist me in my need for this kind of information. Lucky, Kotaku have come to the rescue by contacting Red Ant, the Australian distributor for Street Fighter IV, who’s release schedule lists SFIV for a Friday, February 27 release down under.

Of course, this is not an official announcement, but as Kotaku notes, the date is a little too precise to be a placeholder.

So there you go, I’ve satisfied my obligation to report Australian specific content without boring the remainder of the world. Sweet.


Custom MGS4 PS3. wow.

External console mods don’t usually do it for me. When you’ve seen guys build arcade machines from scratch and people transform consoles into a handheld form, a simple repaint isn’t enough to impress me.

But Morpheon Mods latest effort is more than a simple repaint, their custom MGS4 themed PS3 is the real deal and is very fucking cool.

“The entire PS3 and controller is a combination of Carbon Fiber and Midnight Black done in our own digital camouflage technique. A full size Carbon Fiber Fox Hound logo appears amongst the digital camouflage. The final product is a uniform finish that reflects like a mirror.”

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My weekend in gaming

I had such high hopes for last weekends gaming. Tales of LittleBigPlanet copies being sold early spured me into a frenzy to socially engineer my way toward a copy – which, of course failed. If I knew what I know now, I’d probably have tried just a little harder. I can’t help but think the entire LBP delay situation is my fault, allow me to explain. After tasting crushing defeat in my quest to attain a street broken copy of LBP, I searched long and hard for the silver lining. The outcome – with great fervour I tracked down the release date for Dead Space. This game has interested me from day one, but I had written it off as a casualty of the holiday season – sometimes we have to make terrible sacrifices. But now a thirst for a new game and the unattainability of LBP had left a Dead Space sized gap in my weekend gaming schedule. As it turns out, the game isn’t released on our island until this Thursday, of course, sharing what at the time was considered LBP’s release date.

So logically I can only assume my angst about missing Dead Space had been heard by God, whom using his greatest weapons has delayed LittleBigPlanet so I could experience Dead Space. Umm, Sorry I guess?

So now that we’ve covered what I didn’t play over the weekend I guess I should put in a few words about what I did.

I got hold of Generals and Zero Hour, vital steps in my continuing effort to get my girlfriends brother to play a PC game that doesn’t start with the words World Of. I guess I was successful in that respect, although no Generals was actually played. The game acted as more of a poking stick – my explaination of the games mechanics and pacing simply awarded Fletcher with a template on which he could place his disinterest.

I don’t like games where you have to fight. I just want to build stuff. Oh, I have a game just like that.

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LittleBigRipoff? Sony can sell your user content

I may be reading too deep into this, but I’m a little concerned none the less.

Sony have recently made changes to their PSN terms of use, notably adding terms and conditions for user generated content. No doubt, this is a legal precaution leading up to the release of LittleBigPlanet, obviously there needs to be guidelines to allow Sony to define and take action again inappropriate content.

But what really got my attention were some of the rights Sony have concerning your generated content…

You also authorise us [Sony] and our affiliated companies, without payment to you, to license, sell and otherwise commercially exploit your User Material

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Playing on Playstation 3

Red Dead Revolver - I paid about $1000 for my launch model PS3, so I guess it's time I get some use out of that emotion chip crammed inside. I remember Red Dead Revolver looking rather good when it was released, and despite the low resolution and odd blurring (that I attribute to playing on a HD set) the game holds up well. It looks good despite these graphical limitations because the art direction is so precise and awesome. And it isn't just the art direction, the music, dialogue and set design (for some reason, set seems a more fitting word than level) all work in tandem to recreate an iconic Wild West atmosphere. Red Dead Revolver doesn’t aim to recreate life in the Wild West, it allows our imagination to take over and populates the locale with legendary men and their legendary stories.

Playing on iPhone

edge - Well I never thought I'd consider playing a game on iPhone as actually gaming, but edge has turned me around. The game is built for the iPhone. Sure, it could be ported, but the elegance of what has been created is astounding, it boggles the mind and makes me wonder what amazing gems we'd receive if current gen consoles weren't clones of eachother.

Playing on PC

Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, Generals - Zero Hour - It may be a temporary effect as I slowly reintroduce the PC into my gaming diet, but it seems every title I’m excited to play on the platform is either a strategy game, or a cheap indie game. PC gaming isn’t dead, it’s just restricted to titles that require complex input or a pointing device, and games that couldn't be developed or distributed on other platforms. I guess that’s part of the reason the AppStore is so far a success, there were a lot of indie devs stuck on PC for lack of a better alternative.


October 2008
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