Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

Sony Wins The iPhone 7 Content War

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

I’m not sure if Sony’s decision to reveal the new PlayStation hardware today and force a head-to-head with Apple’s reveal of the iPhone 7 family is a suicidal marketing move or a tactical masterstroke, but I’m leaning towards the latter.

Although the iPhone is going to dominate the digital pages (and is likely to make the main evening news bulletins on television and radio around the world) there’s always going to be a hunger for the story that isn’t about Tim Cook showing off a new iPhone that looks and acts remarkably like last year’s iPhone. With the reveal of the PlayStation Slim, the PlayStation Neo, and details on a new DualShock controller and the PlayStation VR headset Sony has put together everything a technology reporter needs for a solid piece of counter-programming.

To take one practical example, I’ve written extensively about the iPhone 7 in the run up to today’s launch. I’ve got a number of angles that I want to explore after the launch, about the ebb and flow of Apple and its iPhones taking on Google and the Samsung Galaxy family, the slowing speed of progress, and the practicality of the iPhone design and the missing headphone jack.

But not today.

Every tech site has lined up iPhone coverage, every second stringer has an opinion hoping to strike it lucky today, every mainstream media publication will become an expert on all things Cupertino, and the fabric of online news will get gummed up. Today is the day to forget about the page views, to have some fun, and let others chase for a single gold medal. I picked up my medals last week and I know there’s a better chance of picking up more next week.

If I really must file some copy, I’m not going near the news from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Thanks, Sony.

The Killer ‘5 Day’ for Virtual Reality

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Because what VR really needs is Fruit Ninja:

“After the latest VR technology was released, we felt that there was no better game suited to VR than Fruit Ninja,” Halfbrick’s Adam Wood, product manager for Fruit Ninja VR, told IGN earlier today. “The simplicity of Fruit Ninja with the total immersion of VR creates an experience like no other.”

Simplicity and VR get along very, very well. That’s because with something like the Vive’s hyper-accurate motion tracking, your hands and arms quickly transform into whatever weapon or other implement is in the game world. Nailing targets with a bow & arrow? Perfect. Swinging a sword? Super satisfying. It’s also more challenging than you might expect, thanks to the 1:1 tracking.

More from Jason Evangelho at TweakTown. Halfbrick’s other masterpiece is Jetpack Joyride… hurry up with that one!

The PS Vita’s First Death

Monday, October 26th, 2015

I think it’s been a good run for the PS Vita, and it’s ability to offer third-party titles and act as a remote station for the PS4 means it still have a lot of utility (and a great back catalogue), but Sony’s SVP Massyasu Ito confirms that there are no first-party titles in production for the portable console.

Ito told the Japanese gaming website 4Gamer (translated by DualShockers) that “first-party studios have no titles in development for PS Vita,” confirming what many have suspected and feared for a while now.

According to the senior vice president, Sony Computer Entertainment’s game plan now is “to focus on PS4,” as it is “a new platform.”

That said, because of the third-party apps (and the popularity of MInecraft on the PS Vita) the Vita is still for sale, and is getting the non-update update of ‘new colours’ in the run up to Christmas.


The dark side of ‘Free To Play’ games

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Eil Hodapp edits an interview with a producer behind many of the well-known ‘free to play’ mobile games on just how much you give up for a free download to play games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, and pretty much anything with an in-app purchase.

Even users who don’t really use Facebook or fill it with “fake” data actually tell us a lot. You might not use Facebook, but your connections give you away. If you play with friends, or you have a significant other who plays, we can see the same IP address, and learn who you are playing with. When we don’t know information, we try to gather it in a game.

Have you played a game with different country flags? We use those to not only appeal to your nationalistic pride, but to figure out where you are (or where you identify). Your IP address says you are in America, but you buy virtual items featuring the flag of another country, we can start to figure out if you are on vacation, or immigrated. Perhaps English is not your first language.

We use all of this to send you personalized Push Notifications, and show you store specials and items we think you will want.

Read it all on Touch Arcade.

There’s McGames In Them There Hills

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Brian Baglow brings together a comprehensive list of games published by Scottish companies during 2014. Naturally it includes Grand Theft Auto 5, but there are another eighty-four gems to explore via the Scottish Games Network.

Taking a week to solve a Rubik’s Cube

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Admittedly the cube is 17×17, so it’s slightly larger than your standard 3×3, but the edited highlights with commentary show the power of the human spirit, and the time-lapse is strangely hypnotic.

70 yes/no questions to the No Man’s Sky development team

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Possibly because it was pitched as a PS4-only game, the hype passed me by. I’m all caught up now – thanks to Paul Tassi’s profile, and this interview with the lead developer from Game Informer.

Damn, if this is as good as it looks, i might have to succumb and get a PS4.

Shut up, it’s not a ZX Spectrum

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Lots of easy headlines from the tabloids for a crowd funding project that runs a ZX Spectrum emulator inside a joypad that looks a bit like a ZX spectrum if you removed all the keys, the programming language, the I/O ports, the edge connector, and Fantasy World Dizzt.

It’s not a ZX Spectrum. It’s a console. And you can say ‘Bah Humbug’ all you like.

Rovio reaches out to social media for Angry Brids levels as staff count is reduced

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Let’s play join the dots. Firstly, Rovio costs 16% of the workforce, announced on October 2nd:

Unfortunately, we also need to consider possible employee reductions of a maximum of 130 people in Finland (approximately 16% of workforce).

Secondly, on October 4th Rovio launch a social media campaign asking the world to create new levels for their hit (only?) franchise Angry Birds

Want to help design a level in the Number 1 app of all time? Want millions of people across the world play it? Well this is YOUR chance to #MakeTheNextLevel! …Send us your ideas as sketches, paintings or photos by October 15th – then we’ll pick our favorites and turn them into levels for the next Angry Birds episode!

Given the majority of Rovio’s visibility comes from app packages of new Angry Birds levels, this seems a rather… curious coincidence. While I’m all for social media campaigns and boosting creativity, there’s a point where ‘make content for us’ starts to cross a line.

The PSP is leaving the Japanese train station

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

As Sony retire the PSP in Japan, I look back at one of my favourite PSP franchises. To me, Densha De Go was the PSP.

I’ve moved on to the PS Vita now — that was a Day Zero purchase on the strength of the PSP system, and again the long-lasting games are the ones that attract me (notably another Need for Speed, in this case Most Wanted, and Little Big Planet). But if there was one game (indeed franchise) that I think of when the PSP is mentioned, it’s Densha De Go.

Read on at

The economics of more new games, but no new gamers

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Jeff Vogel boils down the indie gaming debate (on PC) to a simple equation:

X dollars, Y developers. That’s all that matters. And if X stays constant, the only way to solve the problem is for Y to go down. I’ll give you a second to work out the consequences of that for yourself.

He’s done a wonderful piece on the whole ecosystem, but it does come down to more new games, no new gamers.

Music and Video Games, Emotion and Culture, all in one gig

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Video Games Live is back in the UK, and Metro has a fabulous interview with their leader, Tommy Tallarico:

When I was 10-years-old it was 1977 and Star Wars came out. And when I heard that music and heard that orchestra that’s what got me interested in orchestral music. We didn’t have the Internet back then so I went down to the library and started reading these interviews and articles about this John Williams guy and he would talk about Beethoven and Mozart and then I’d go and rent a record from the library about who’s this Beethoven guy? And when I heard Beethoven for the first time the first thing that popped into my head was, ‘Hey, this is the music from Bugs Bunny!’

And so because of pop culture, because of cartoons and a sci-fi film that got me interested in classic musical. We’re seeing the exact same thing happening now, 30 years later, with video games. People are getting more involved and understanding music, and appreciating the art and culture of symphonic music because of video games. And I think that’s a pretty darn cool thing, and it was mostly really the reason I created Video Games Live in the first place.

Can we please get Tallarico to play at The Proms?

I feel a great freemium disturbance in The Force

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

What the world needs is another poorly implemented collectible card game on a mobile phone, with far too many freemium elements grafted on top of it. But it’s okay, because this one has a Star Wars theme…

Er, no. See my review of Star Wars: Assault Team on All About Windows Phone for the reasons against.

Flappy Bird on the ZX81

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Bob’s Stuff has a rather interesting release:

Everybody seems to be going crazy over Flappy Bird at the moment, and a lot of clones have instantly appeared on the market – so why not one for the ZX81?

Written in an afternoon to captialise on the media frenzy, it’s got all the gameplay of the original, but none of the in-app adverts which have been making the author so much money recently – but you can always use the Donate button on the home and download pages to make me rich!

Looking at the screenshots, I suspect that only really rich ZX81 users with the 16 KB RAM Pack will be able to play this…

Now King have trademarked ‘Candy’ in respect to gaming titles, can we expect freemium licensing?

Monday, January 20th, 2014

The good news is that they will likely licence it out, but you can only use it to compile five games every six hours, and if you want to distribute it in the app stores around the mobile world you’ll need to purchase a one-time ‘upload’ super candy.