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News Around the Watercooler

April 26, 2009

News Around the Watercooler, back after a bit of a hiatus.

Nintendo will be releasing their MotinPlus snap-on attachment for Wii remotes on June 8th. Utilising the new attachment, that makes the wii remotes work properly; is Sega’s Virtua Tennis 2009 (released May 19th), EA’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (released June 16th), and EA’s Grand Slam Tennis (released June 18th). Nintendo themselves won’t be releasing a game using the new attachment until a month and a half later.

$300,000 worth of federal funding has been spent on ‘Missing‘, a game designed to warn parents and children of the dangers of online predators. It follows the adventures of a teenager named Zachary Taylor, who enters into an inappropriate online relationship with someone called Fantasma. Then Zachary goes missing, and players must follow clues to find them. The program will help students “see how easily they could get drawn into that”, according to Paul Hamann, Chief Information Officer for the Jessamine County school district.

Activision Blizzard has jumped off the PC Gaming Alliance bandwagon. PCGA promotes “the PC gaming industry and the PC as a gaming platform”. Members include figureheads such as Dell, Epic Games, Intel, Logitech, Microsoft and nVidia. However joining the organisation is Sony DADC, widely-known for their SecuROM software, the DRM that destroyed Spore and similar game releases.

GameStop makes my list again as they broke Demigod’s Street Date and in doing so ruined Stardock’s Easter. Stardock employees were called in from their Easter break to start up and configure all the multiplayer matchmaking servers as thousands of players now had acquired the game earlier than expected. To help ease the frustrations and strain, Stardock also released the game on their Impulse early, so it’s also available online.

Will Wright, the creator of The Sims, Sim City and Spore, has left Electronic Arts to work on his own company called Stupid Fan Club. Founded in 2001, Stupid Fan Club is described as “an entertainment think tank developing new Intellectual Properties to be deployed across multiple fronts including video games, movies, television, the internet, and toys”. EA CEO John Riccitello has said, “We believe in Will’s vision for Stupid Fan Club and we’re looking forward to partnering with Will and his team long into the future.”, granted EA has an equity investment in the company.

Bethesda Softworks applied for a tradmark on the word Fallout for “entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program.” Is is covering all bases or is something in the works? We’ll have to wait and see.

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear Jack Thompson’s Appeal of his lifetime disbarment. One would think this would end Thompson’s fight to have his permanent disbarment overturned, however knowing dear Jack he’s definitely determined.

“I have four more options, all better than this one”, Thompson said after the Court’s decision was published through the various media, “This was the longest of shots. All four of the others are much, much shorter shots. Stay tuned. As Winston Churchill implored: ‘Never give in. Never, never, never, never, never.’”

Sony has been slammed for “exorbitant royalty demands” by Emmanuel Olivier, the President of French publishing outfit Microids. Olivier has stated that Sony’s refusal to sell a number of Microid games in the US is a key reason why the group has delayed production of Syberia 3. Royalty demands are also grinding Microids up the wall, with them appealing to fans to support their campaign to pressure Sony into a rethink.

A press release sent out on April 1st saw the announcement of the new Syberia Game however the release of the potential console version already in doubt.

“It will be released on PC for sure,” said Olivier, “however, on PS3, this could actually turn into an April Fool’s joke because Sony is the only decision-maker on this point, as strange as it may seem to some people.”

EA and DICE have confirmed that Battlefield 1943 will be available digitally on Xbox 360(1200MS Points via the Xbox LIVE marketplace) and PS3 (US$15 via PlayStation Network) inJune this year, with the PC version to be released in September. Along with the announcement DICE also showed off a new trailer for the game, featuring the Battlefield series coveted “Wake Island” map.

Dead Rising 2 is in the works, according to a source close to Canadian developer Blue Castle Games“Everyone’s really excited; the team has obviously seen the rumours and it’s been hard to keep quiet, but they can’t wait to show off the game”, stated the source.

Activision has gone all out with X-men Origins: Wolverine being released on Wednesday. The game comes in two forms, your regular “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” for Wii, PSP, and i’m guessing PS2 & DS because it seems it’s being milked for all it’s worth. Xbox 360, PS3, and PC get “X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Uncaged Edition” which looking at the console rundown means it’ll look a whole lot better. Unusually though it’s being released 2 days before it’s released in the United States. Maybe it’s because we gave the world Hugh Jackman.

Also being released on Thursday is The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena being released for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The game previously making headlines over the install limit of 3 per game, as similar to Spore when it was released. Though PC users voices have practically fallen on Atari’s deaf ears. The game itself does visit the Butcher bay world that fans of the game loved so very much. However the actual assault on Dark Athena, a massive mercenary spaceship, boils down to you’re standard FPS which is a bit of a let down in the end as it takes away from the whole Riddick style of gameplay. The Multiplayer is pretty average too except for the Pitch Black mode where in an online format one player is Riddick the rest are mercenaries with only a flashlight to guide them. Multiplayer has never been so tense as it is in this one gameplay mode.

Finally Stalin vs. Martians on the PC, when i first saw the trailer for this game I laughed so much it hurt (not hard since i had dental surgery last week). It comes out this week, I cannot describe it anymore to you. Go look it up on YouTube because it’s worth it.