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Nintendo's DSi was originally launched back in October 2008. A redesign of the wildly successful DS Lite, it featured a slimmer body and bigger screens as well as dual-cameras, an SD Card slot, and MP3 playback support. It launched in Japan last November, and was an immediate success.
Since then, Nintendo US and Europe remained coy about release dates for their territories. The former market's release was officially confirmed yesterday as April 5, with a $169.99 (£119) price point. When contacted by GameSpot UK for a local release date yesterday, Nintendo UK declined to comment on an equivalent announcement for British fans.
Less than 24 hours later, Nintendo has officially dated the DSI for Europe as April 3--two days ahead of its US release. Nintendo hasn't set a firm retail price, however, leaving it up to the discretion of retailers to set the final selling price. Several high street chains have already started taking pre-orders including HMV, pegging the price at £146.80 in both white and black versions--the two colours that will be available in the UK. The console is also selling for £149.99 on Game's Web site.
Nintendo Australia has also announced that the DSi will be making its way Down Under one day earlier than Europe, launching on April 2 for A$299.95 in black and white variants.
Mindscape announces new game based on the UK's longest-running soap, Coronation Street; will be "adventure- and task-based."
First it was Desperate Housewives, then Lost, and now one of the UK's biggest TV dramas is set to receive its own video game. Casualgaming.biz reports that publisher Mindscape is going to bring Coronation Street, the UK's all-dominating soap opera, to the Nintendo DS, the gaming world's all-dominating handheld console.
British TV viewers will know Coronation Street, which has been running for 48 years, as the home of Ken Barlow and the Rovers Return pub. The series is officially the UK's longest-running television soap in the UK, and focuses on the residents of one of Salford's cobbled streets. ITV claims that the show was viewed by more than 78 percent of the UK television population in 2008, despite the fact that it hasn't been watched by a single member of the GameSpot UK team.
Publisher Mindscape is taking on the game adaptation of Corrie, following on from other TV classics such as Deal or No Deal, Golden Balls, and the upcoming Ready Steady Cook . According to Casualgames.biz, Mindscape is billing the game as "an adventure- and task-based concept set within the theme of the famous fictional street."
Coronation Street is set for release on Nintendo DS in Q4 this year, and you can find out more about the show on TV.com in the UK.
Back in October 2007 when BioShock was crowned as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' game of the year, few thought that they would have to wait until March 10, 2009 to don their tuxedos and head back to see the industry gathered to celebrate at the UK's preeminent gaming awards, but wait they have had to. Thankfully that wait is almost up, with the 2009 ceremony now just less than two months away, and the Academy announced today that the ceremony will be hosted by TV comic Dara O'Briain.
Announcing the news, BAFTA chairman David Parfitt said, "We are thrilled that Dara is hosting the Awards this year because he ticks all the boxes--he is a real gamer and also incredibly funny. It will be a great night with Dara at the helm!" Dara himself, best known for his hosting of topical panel show Mock the Week on BBC2, unsurprisingly expressed his excitement at hosting the awards, describing the current time as "probably the greatest era in video game history."
There are 13 awards up for grabs on the night, including genre categories, a handheld gong--open to any game published on any handheld device--and trophies for best gameplay, artistic achievement, score, and more. Unlike many similar awards, the BAFTA Video Games Awards have no platform-specific categories, but the Academy will present a Gift of the Academy for "games or gaming technology worthy of special recognition," as well as its annual fellowship and the Ones to Watch award, which is the culmination of a search for top indie talent that kicked off at last year's Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment festival.
The news of O'Briain's hosting follows the announcement earlier this week that specialist retailer Game was to be the title sponsor, which gives the store the right to run the voting for the People's Choice Game of the Year award, the shortlist for which will be announced alongside the main nominations on February 10.
After conquering PCs, PlayStations, and Xboxes, Rockstar's crime saga is heading to the Nintendo DS after it passed the British Board of Film Classificaton today with no cuts.
As MCV reports, the game has been given a rating of 18 by the UK ratings board. True to its nature, Chinatown Wars carries a consumer warning that the game "contains very strong language and drug references." According to a spokesperson from the BBFC, Chinatown Wars is the first game on the DS to recieve a rating of 18, which is the highest possible before a game is refused classification.
Revealed at last year's Nintendo E3 press conference, Chinatown Wars was originally due out before Christmas. However, it was subsequently postponed until March 20 (March 17 in North America). The handheld installment returns to Liberty City, the same setting as 2008's ultrapopular Grand Theft Auto IV, as well as the original Grand Theft Auto and the seminal Grand Theft Auto III.
Chinatown Wars has yet to recieve a classification by the US Entertainment Software Rating Board or Australia's OFLC; however, Rockstar's vice president has previously said he was aiming for an M-for-Mature rating stateside.
For more details on Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
SFIV is just around the corner, with a February 20 UK release date on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Due to launch alongside Capcom's beloved fighter are a range of officially cool arcade sticks and pads from Mad Catz. Pricing has yet to be confirmed on the four controllers as well as other accessories, including Xbox 360 and PS3 faceplates and "console skinz" and an official Street Fighter IV vinyl wall scroll.
Both the standard and Tournament FightSticks include dual-speed turbo on each button and a switch that, by the sounds of it, allows you to swap between D pad and analog modes on the stick. However the rather solid-looking Arcade FightStick Tournament sounds like the most interesting of the two, and according to the press release it's "sourced directly from arcade manufacturer Sanwa Denshi [and] uses the same Japanese style ball-handled joystick and 30mm Action Buttons found in the official Street Fighter IV Vewlix arcade cabinet, marking the first time such components have been used for a commercial product outside of Japan." With that kind of build quality, we expect there will be no blaming of worktools from now on.
The UK's Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint about a recent TV ad for EA's Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, in which Tiger Woods is shown swinging a Wii controller as characters from game footage in the background mimic his actions, with footage in the background that did not appear, according to the complainant, to be from the Wii. To top it off, the only console logo featured in the advert was for the Wii--although the end of the advert was punctuated with a note saying that the game was available "on all platforms."
EA admitted in its response to the complaint that it had indeed used 360 footage for the ad, despite the use of the Wii Remote and Wii logo. The publisher's response was that it was preferable to use 360 footage, which was closer to broadcast definition, than to "up the resolution" of Wii footage. The publisher then asserted that despite the Wii branding for the ad, the note at the end should have been sufficient to avoid any confusion.
ASA upheld the complaint, saying that it "considered that viewers would infer from the ad that Tiger Woods was playing the game on a Wii console and the graphics shown behind him were representative of the actual game he was playing." The agency concluded that "Because viewers would not be able to achieve the graphical quality shown in the ad on a Wii console, we concluded that the ad was misleading." As a result of the ruling, the ad will no longer be shown in its current form.
Lawmakers are rarely known as friends of the games industry. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg took issue with GTAIV's likeness of the city, Hilary Clinton has been a longtime critic of violent and sex-themed video games, and then of course there's British Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, dubbed by some as "the Jack Thompson of the UK."
But not all elected officials are out to get games, at least according to UK tabloid the Daily Mirror, which quoted Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson as saying that he thought playing games was "a good thing."
"I'd rather my boy be playing on his Wii than passively watching telly... Most games are educational. They make you think, focus, challenge, and change--500 years ago, a medium that did this would be called art." Apparently Watson's 3-year-old son learned to count via a Teletubbies game, and a friend of the child in question learned to make bronze through the role-playing game Runequest.
Sony Computer Entertainment's virtual world, Home, has been talked about, written about, and demoed for a long time now. After being announced back in March 2007 during Phil Harrison's GDC keynote address, Sony's take on the massively popular Second Life was originally planned for release in 2007 and was subsequently pushed back until early and then late 2008.
Though the game has been in a closed beta program for some time, Sony has still to announce an official release date. However, according to The Times, Home might be closer than you think. In an article published yesterday, Home is apparently "slated for release in the next 10 days." According to the British broadsheet, SCE has deliberately timed the release to coincide with increased demand for gaming hardware leading up to Christmas and is hot on the shoes of the New Xbox Experience face-lift for the Xbox 360 dashboard, which officially launched worldwide on November 19.
SCE Europe declined to comment on the rumour, or indeed confirm an official launch date, when contacted by GameSpot UK. For more on Home, read our hands-on preview from SCEE's PlayStation Day earlier this year.
"Now I was sitting, waiting, wishing...."
This week we're going a little competition mad at GameSpot UK.
To join GameStation's top 10 games of the year , we're offering five Limited Collector's Edition copies of Call of Duty: World at War on PC--but only for a day!
There's a reason for this madness, and that's because this weekend and for much of next week (from 8pm this Friday until the same time on Friday 12 December) all owners of the LCE will get double experience points on both Xbox 360 and PC when playing online, and we want to make sure five more of you can get in on the action. All you need to do to win is tell us how many emblems we gave the game in our recent review, and do so by email to email@example.com by 1800 on Wednesday. That way we can make sure we get you your copy for the weekend should you win.
Thousands of people of all ages queuing in the freezing cold for hours on end can only mean one thing: It's time for another World of Warcraft expansion.
Last night saw the release of World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King, and there were 16,000 midnight launches of one sort or another across Europe and the world--including a disco-dancing spectacular in San Francisco--and London was no exception, though it was a decidedly more traditional affair. HMV's flagship Oxford street store once again played host to the UK's main launch event, with fans turning out in the thousands.
Numbers seemed likely to dwarf those who turned out for 2007's Burning Crusade launch at the same store; though official figures haven't yet been released, the queue stretching right the way around the store was longer before the store opened than it had been for last year's event and showed no signs of dissipating even after doors opened, as more fans arrived shortly after midnight.The event was hosted by Paul Sams, Blizzard's chief operating officer, who whipped the crowd into something of a frenzy shortly before midnight with traditional shout-outs to Horde and Alliance players in the baying mob. As a true-blood troll, this reporter was disappointed that the Alliance cheer was louder, but so it goes.
Sams wasn't the only high-profile Blizzard presence there; Lee Sparks, an associate producer on World of Warcraft, was also in-store to sign copies of the game alongside Sams once the tills opened.
Some of the thousands of people queuing said that they had been there for up to 36 hours. One of the two people at the front of the queue, Scott Hamshere from Bromley, was so overcome at the excitement, he actually passed out shortly after walking through the doors.
Check below for our full gallery of photos from the event, and make sure to check out Start/Select on Monday for our full video feature on the launch.
When Mr Freeze cheesily declared that "A freeze is coming" in Batman and Robin, it seemed that he wasn't the only one intent on dropping the thermometer.
World of Warcraft fans have certainly been a patient bunch. After WOW launched back in February 2005 (November 2004 in the US and Australia), they had to wait almost two years, until January 2007, for the first expansion pack, Burning Crusade, which introduced WOWers to the Draenei, Blood Elves, and the Outland region. Now the wait is almost over for the much-awaited second expansion pack. When Wrath of the Lich King launches tonight worldwide, fans will finally be introduced to the frozen wasteland of Northrend, as well as the Death Knight hero class.
HMV will be hosting the official UK launch at its Oxford Street flagship store tonight, with the festivities kicking off from 11:00 p.m. when doors open. According to the high-street retailer's Web site, "Customers who attend the event will be able to purchase the standard edition of the game as well as the limited Collector's Edition. [Blizzard] COO Paul Sams and associate producer Lee Sparks will also be present to welcome players and sign their copies of the game."
The company's Web site also lists a few precautions for what's expected to be a sizable turnout. "Fans are advised to arrive no earlier than 6:00 p.m., when there will be sufficient HMV stewards on hand to manage the official queue. Doors will open at 11:00 p.m. when fans will be let into the store ready for the game to go on sale at midnight."
If you're not going to be near central London tonight, stores across the nation will also be opening their shutters at midnight. Blizzard has posted a list of all participating stores on its Web site. Alternatively, Londoners can also head down to 24-hour Tesco stores in Leytonstone, North Finchley, Upper Edmonton, Beckton, and Rotherhithe.
The British Red Cross released one of the first online charity alternate reality games (ARGs) today, capping months of speculation after the project was announced earlier in autumn.
The response to the game--in which players help Joseph, a fictional Ugandan teenager, trace his family in the midst of a civil war--has already pleased the Red Cross, with double the amount of users signed up than expected. "We've had a phenomenal response to the game so far," explained Dorothea Arndt, the new-media manager for the British Red Cross. "We can't wait to see how people respond now [that] the game is live."
According to the humanitarian organisation, 4,500 players have signed up to the game since late September to receive teaser updates building up to the launch.
Traces of Hope "combines storytelling, detective work, technology, and treasure-hunt-style gameplay...as players seek to reunite Joseph with his mother." It is scripted by one of the creators of KateModern, the UK's biggest online interactive drama series.
To join the game and see what all the fuss is about, you can register here.
One of Nintendo's big announcements at E3 was confirmation that Animal Crossing, its successful animal-collecting series for the GameCube and Nintendo DS, would be arriving on the Wii this year. Alongside Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City (City Folk in the US), Nintendo also revealed the Wii Speak peripheral: a microphone that will allow online chat with other players around the world.
At its recent event in San Francisco, Nintendo of America announced that Wii Speak would arrive in the US on November 16 alongside a new Wii Speak channel, but gave no information about the dates for other territories.
Today, Nintendo Europe has confirmed that Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City will be released in the UK on December 5. The Wii Speak peripheral will be bundled with the game, but will also be sold separately. Pricing was not revealed for either the bundle or the stand-alone Wii Speak kit. In the US, the microphone has been priced at $29.99 (around £17).
The Wii Speak channel (opened up for free via the Wii Shop by using a code supplied with the microphone) will link up to four consoles for chat, or to share text and picture messages. Nintendo says that rather than an individual headset, the microphone will "pick up the conversations from an entire room of people" to allow a wide range of social interaction. The players' Miis will represent the conversation online by matching the sound the microphone picks up, according to Nintendo.
Rumours sparked today suggest that Woolworths could be slashing the price of its Xbox 360 in time for Christmas after a leaked version of the shop's Christmas catalogue found its way to tech blog Engadget.
Earlier this month, Woolworths cut the price of the Nintendo Wii by £20, and this recent information suggests that the Xbox 360 could fall by even more in the coming months. Documents seen by GameSpot earlier in the year suggested that a price cut would be hitting all retailers towards the end of September, so it appears that this might not be a one-off offer. No official confirmation has yet been received from Microsoft UK, however.
The Xbox 360 Arcade was shown in the catalogue at a price of £130, the Premium at £170 and the Elite at £230 - a fall of around £30.
Similar price cuts have paid off overseas, with sales reportedly doubling after the recent US price cut.
While the PlayStation Network has produced many high-profile downloadable titles, Sony has also offered boxed versions of many of its first-party titles. The tide seems to be turning in that respect, though, as Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty follows Wipeout HD by being an online-exclusive release in the UK.
Perhaps the strangest part of the news is that while the UK won't see a Blu-Ray version of Quest for Booty, the rest of Europe will. On August 18, Sony Europe announced that the game would hit the whole of Europe via PSN on August 21 and Blu-Ray September 11, both for £9.99 in the UK. However, today the publisher corrected that statement with us, saying that the game won't be hitting the UK in any physical form. The rest of Europe remains unaffected.
Titles such as Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, Warhawk and Siren: Blood Curse have seen dual releases for download and Blu-Ray; however the upcoming Wipeout HD will also be released online only. For more on Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty, check out our full review.
British gamers wanting to meet Will Wright, creator of Spore, Sim City, and The Sims, are going to get two chances tomorrow when he appears in London at the Apple Store on Regent Street and HMV on Oxford Street.
Two hundred fans will be able to question the legendary designer when he appears at lunchtime in at HMV's flagship store at 150 Oxford Street, as well as having the opportunity to get sleeves for Spore signed ahead of the game's release. Those bringing signed sleeves back after the game's launch next week will then receive a free T-shirt when they buy a retail copy.
If you're interested, then head down to HMV from 9 a.m. on Wednesday, at which point 200 wristbands granting access to the Q&A session will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. HMV also warns that "due to the whimsical nature of the entertainment industry, events are subject to change without notice."
Shortly after that, Wright's going to be making his way down the road to the Apple Store on Regent Street for a 3 p.m. session in-store, and is currently scheduled to be there for about an hour, with no limitations on numbers currently in place. According to Apple, this event will give you the chance to "learn from the creator himself how to take your avatar from primordial soup to intergalactic supremacy."
The new season of Premier League is almost here, and unless you're disconnected from all forms of technology and media it seems hard to ignore the buildup. If catching your favourite team on TV at your local pub isn't enough for you, you'll soon have another way of getting a dose of football fever.
On-the-go footy fans will be able to catch 45-minute "extended highlights" of their favourite matches from August 17 using the PlayStation Portable's Go!View service, a partnership between Sony Europe and Sky. In a nutshell, Go!View allows you to download video content to a PC, which is then transferred to your PSP, in a similar manner to Apple's iTunes and iPod video integration.
Sky Sports has the broadcast rights to 92 live matches and 242 "near live" matches this season. While it's not clear if highlights of all of those matches will be available, the companies claimed in a statement "all GO!VIEW customers will be able to access games involving their favourite Premier League team."
Premier league highlights are part of Go!View's sports package which currently costs £5 per month and is available from www.goview.tv.
Konami has announced a pan-European Metal Gear Online competition for PlayStation 3 owners. In addition to competing for bragging rights among the burgeoning Metal Gear fanbase, entrants will also be vying for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the global MGO finals at the Tokyo Game Show this October.
Gamers over 18 years of age who want to show Europe just how solid their stealth actions are should head on over to www.konami-mgo.com/wc2008 and register. There will be four preliminary tournaments each week, with the first being held August 15. Each team will consist of six players and one backup player and will need to play 16 15-minute games against 15 other teams in the team deathmatch: direct elimination mode, with maps changing after each round.
The top two teams from each first round will then join the European final tournaments, split into two groups. The two best teams from the Euro finals, hosted in September, will have to pack their bags for Japan, to compete in the Grand World Finals at Tokyo Game Show 2008 where, according to Konami, "further prizes await the successful teams."
According to the competition's fine print, "Konami will arrange flights and accommodation and general expenses necessary for transportation to and from the event and will provide tickets for Tokyo Game Show." Due to Japanese visa limitations you'll have to be a resident of the following PAL territories to be eligible to compete: Austria, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Andorra, Bulgaria, Czech Rep., Estonia, Hungary, Latvia Lithuania, Monaco, Poland, Slovakia, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and Israel.
With just over a week to go until the new Premiership season kicks off in England, thoughts are starting to turn toward the next iteration of the major football franchises. The engine improvements in UEFA Euro 2008 and Konami's missteps with Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 mean that there is even more interest than ever in FIFA 09, EA Sports' next offering.
However, EA is clearly not content to just let the hype build up on its own. Wayne Rooney was shooting an advert for the upcoming game in Manchester yesterday, despite it having been widely reported that he was going to miss the first game of the Red Devils' campaign through an illness allegedly picked up during the club's preseason trip to Nigeria. The source of that illness is a matter for some debate, however, with The Sun reporting that the man responsible for organising the Nigerian tour described the suggestion that the virus had been picked up in the country as "a lie from the pit of hell."
The Daily Mail reported that fans turned out in droves for the chance to be extras in the advertisment, which was shot outside a pub in the city's Ancoats region. Photos of the event published in the Mail showed an unshaven Rooney sporting an image of his in-game persona on his T-shirt, and holding a PlayStation 3 controller.