Voice acting vs literature

Ok, soapbox time. I’m going to alienate a lot of people and say that ubiquitous voice acting in many games, particularly roleplaying games, is a bad thing. The reason is that it’s constraining the ability of script writers, particularly in conversations. It’s obvious really - recording voice is more expensive than text, both in terms of the time required to produce it, and the space it consumes on the final media.

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Foo Fighters & Chili Peppers full album DLC for RB2!

Music rock band

Oo, has just revealed (picked up via that there are more full albums on the way for Rock Band after the release of Rock Band 2: **Foo Fighters (The Colour and the Shape) Red Hot Chili Peppers (Blood Sugar Sex Magik) ** Jane’s Addiction (Nothing’s Shocking) Megadeth (Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying) Stevie Ray Vaughn (Texas Flood) No Doubt (‘Best Of’ Collection) I don’t know about anyone else, but the top 2 are instant purchases for me, since both are regulars on my iTunes playlists.

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Queen in SingStar is a promising sign

Music queen rock band singstar

At the Leipzig Games Convention Sony announced several updates to its venerable SingStar franchise, and whilst the inclusion of Barry Manilow is wince-inducing, the inclusion of several Queen tracks on their compilation issues, and the announcement of a dedicated Queen disc for SingStar can only be a good thing. Not because I particularly like SingStar - we had it on the PS2 and to be honest the novelty wore off pretty fast - somehow picking up the microphone and crooning on your own or in a duet just feels like you should be in a seedy bar, full of beer with your arm around your best mate, desperately hoping the next morning that nobody had a video recording mode on their mobile.

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Cultural white-washing

Ugh. I’ve liked the Prince Of Persia series (although I only mostly only experienced the latest lot as a spectator, my wife played them more), but I have some misgivings about the gameplay trailer for the latest one. My gripes: Firstly, all that jumping & grabbing. It really doesn’t seem very fluid, more of a vertical shuffling game than the graceful acrobatic series of moves I’ve come to expect of PoP.

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Geometry Wars 2

arcade Games geometry wars

Damn, this game is good. The first one was great of course, but suffered from being a bit too limited in scope - it was great for a quick blast but the fact that there was really only one game mode worth playing (the other being a retro take on the same thing) made long sessions unlikely. The sequel resolves this by including 6 different game modes, with competitive and co-operative multiplayer variations thrown into the mix.

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Okami, Boom Blox & Prof.Layton

Damn, it’s not a bad situation to be in, but I suddenly feel even more swamped than usual with gaming opportunities. Rock Band continues to be a bottomless well of fun, with its continuous drip-feed of new content and experience-driven gameplay, it just seems to get more enjoyable as time goes on as the song library expands, and you get to grips with the less known tracks. However, my birthday just passed and I received 3 new games, two for the Wii and one for the DS, both fairly neglected platforms of late.

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E3 - looks like I didn't miss much


E3 was on while I was away, so on my return I eagerly checked the various gaming news for what juicy nuggets had emerged - and that would be almost none. It’s telling that probably the biggest news was that Final Fantasy XIII is no longer to be a PS3 exclusive - not even a timed exclusive, it’ll be multi-platform at launch (in the US and Europe anyway). A headline grabber for MS for sure, but while I get the feeling that this will be greeted with equal amounts of teeth-gnashing and gloating from the Playstation and XBox fanboy camps respectively, for everyone else located on planet Earth it’s really not that interesting.

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My Monster's Bigger Than Your Monster

Gears of War and Resistance are obviously quite similar game franchises, exclusive on different platforms, and as such rivalry between the teams is to be expected. But I couldn’t help but laugh at the blatant one-upmanship in one of the latest Resistance 2 screens (GOW on the left, for the uninitiated): I can just see the Resistance 2 team sticking their toungues out and going ‘nyaa’ 😀 It’s all irrelevant of course since they’re all pipsqueaks compared to my well-nurtured Katamari.

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Rock Band 2 - oh yes

guitar hero rock band

Oho, I haven’t been rocking out that long to the original yet, but Harmonix unleashed the worst kept secret in music gaming today by confirming Rock Band 2. What they’ve announced isn’t that surprising, but it’s good to have official confirmation that: The instruments from RB1 will work DLC from both titles will be interchangeable Now, really Harmonix would be off their rocker if they didn’t hit these 2 feature points, but it’s worth noting that in particular the cross-title DLC is actually a first, and Harmonix had to liaise with Microsoft and Sony to make sure it happened.

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My take on the RE5 racism debate

racism resident evil 5

The debate about whether Resident Evil 5 is racist or not continues to simmer. It’s easy to coldly and calmly rationalise the scenes that RE5 depicts on the basis that since it’s set in Africa, the chances are that the majority of the zombies are going to be black - it would be pretty stupid for it to be otherwise. Makes perfect sense. But, the fact is that the depiction of a white guy striding through an African village, gunning down the local populace, even if they are zombies, cannot be taken in isolation when there is far too much painful and rather recent history involved here - RE5 may be just adhering to common sense, but it invokes imagery which has strong parallels with real-life racism and oppression.

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