News Snatch: Rats & Rude Bits.

News Snatch : Taking an irrelevant and light hearted look at the more obscure stories from the world of gaming, poking them with a big stick and hoping to god they don’t bite back.  Let us know what you think of this feature in the comments, please, as usual.

ns2Dink dink dink a-dinky dink dink, dink dink dink a-dink dink dink, dink dink dinky dinky dink. Annoying isn’t it? Bearable for perhaps thirty seconds but imagine if that were the sound of a game, your neighbours would be outside with pitchforks and flaming torches quicker than Sonic with his bum on fire. Someone seems to think this is a good idea though as, after Guitar Hero and DJ Hero, comes.. Cowbell Hero!

It is not an Activision product (the picture is just a mock-up) but the trademark registration is for “Interactive video game programs”. No other information is given, but I am hoping for a blu-tooth enabled digital cowbell to clang, perhaps with coloured buttons down the side to change the pitch of your dink-ing. The question is, what tunes could you tap along with? Can you think of any cowbell classics? The only tune I can possibly suggest is the BBC sports theme that was used for Cricket  (called “Soul Limbo” by Booker T and the M.G’s, in case you were wondering).

ns3Media Molecule, Playstation darlings and purveyors of the finest digital T-shirts, were interviewed by Develop Mag the other day, the topic of discussion being the rafts of LittleBig Planet DLC. Two interesting snippets of information were revealed;  Firstly that Kojima loves the Metal Gear LittleBig Planet DLC (MGSLBPDLC?) and secondly, Media Molecule would love to create some Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli DLC. For those of you not familiar with those names – shame on you!

Hayao Miyazaki is behind some of the finest animated films to come out Japan, most notably the stunningly good anime film “Spirited Away” which won an Oscar and is the highest grossing film ever in Japan. The characters and settings of ‘Spirited Away’ would be perfect for LBP so let us hope this happens.

ns1Celebrities and gaming. Sometimes it is effortless – Brutal Legend and Jack Black looks a match made in heaven and the pairing of LittleBigPlanet and Stephen Fry is pure genius. Other times you really have to stop and wonder what on earth the PR department were thinking – Heather Mills promoting Bionic Commando for example. Today, two more bizarre gaming/celebrity pairings have emerged;

Firstly, Max Spielberg – yes he is the son of Stephen – works for EA, and has listed on his LinkedIn profile  that he is working on an unannounced FPS. Can’t have too many First Person Shooters eh? Secondly, and most definitely a “WTF?” moment, Roland Rat is back and would like to be a in a game. Apparently the 80’s mega-star is hot property right now and is looking for a suitable platform to relaunch himself. Rumours that it will be a third person co-op shooter with Roland and Kevin the Gerbil invading Iraq have yet to be confirmed.

ns4More “WTF?” news. Channel Four, the UK TV station home to such classics as ‘Wife Swap’ and ‘Come Dine With Me’ has set aside 4.5 million to spend on “educational” games that will be distributed for free both on PC and Xbox Live. One of these first games comes from Developer ‘Zombie Cow’ and is aimed at young males and I’m hazarding a guess quite a lot of you fall in that category. So what is this game?

“I’m currently working on a sex education game for Channel 4 about a squad of teeny tiny marines clearing peoples’ rude areas of sexual infection, called Privates,” explains Dan Marshall from Zombie Cow. “It’s a sort of parody of all that gung-ho Space Marine nonsense the video game industry seems to be so hung up on”

I’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw up from the floor.

ns5And finally… Bob Kotick, head of Activision. The man who has threatened to stop supporting the PS3. They guy behind the price increases for Modern Warfare 2, even though the world is in recession. Way back in May 2004, Bob gave an interview in which he ‘..jokes that when he bought in to Activision, his first task was to take the fun out of making video games.’

Well done Bob, I think you’ve succeeded.