News Snatch: Natal & Bikers

natalProject Natal is back in the news with Microsoft announcing a raft of publishers who will be supporting the technology and giving a lesson in PR hype in the process. Let’s first turn our attention to the press shot on the left, what exactly is that woman doing? Is that how you are going to play Halo in the future? It appears MS have photoshoped some aerobics class in front of the game,

“.. aaand reach, two, three, four and step, two, three, four, come on Master Chief, get those knees up, and reach, two three, four..”


Some of the big names were rolled out as rent-a-quotes for Natal, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot enthusing,

“Ubisoft sees enormous opportunities with Project Natal. With the 3D camera, your body can become the interface. Any barrier related to the use of pad controllers that may have existed for potential gamers is now abolished.”

Mr. Guillemot obviously has not heard of this new gizmo called the “Wii” which allows anyone to wave a stick at the screen and play a game, no complex gamepads required. EA Sports president Peter Moore also seems to be suffering from Wii amnesia,

“Project Natal could fundamentally change the way players experience sports games,”

Am I the only one who can’t seen much of a difference between waving your arms whilst holding a stick – and waving your arms not holding a stick? Clever clogs who suggest “The Stick” will be sent to the back of the class. In terms of technological achievements, well done Microsoft, you are the best at  inventing new technology buying assets, but from a gaming point of view there is little difference between the motion controllers on PS3, Wii, and Xbox – you wave your hand (with or without stick) to play the game. Each technology has it’s own unique features but they all involve gyrating around like a demented octopus. The final quote on Natal goes to Capcoms R&D boss, Keiji Inafune,

“Personally, I too am extremely excited about Project Natal. It’s really going to stir up our creative spirits. I think it’s going to bring new ways to play and new surprises to Xbox 360 fans and help further the development of completely original content.”

Capcom were so excited about Natal they went on to announce the Residet Evil 5 directors cut for the PS3 Motion Controller, closely followed by “Samauri Heroes” for PS3 and Wii  which will feature “identical gameplay” (*cough* motion control) on both systems.

angryIs there a person being a total <expletive deleted> and ruining on-line gaming for everyone else? Some <expletive deleted> who is running about killing his own team members as he thinks it is funny? Sony look like cracking down on the little <expletive deleted> as has been registered and is mentioned in the User Agreement of the EU Uncharted 2 Beta. It’s not live yet  but presumably whoever is reported will get a warning and if compaints continue to flood in, get banned from the PSN. Talking of people being banned, a user over on the Teletext site has posted that he was banned from the PSN for a month for game sharing. For younger viewers, Teletext was the top form of digital communication before the internet, quite why people are still using it is another question.

hellKoch Media – stop laughing, the company is pronounced “Coke Media”– have some news that Prison Break, the game of the TV series will be hitting PS3 and Xbox on December 31st.  In the game you will play as Tom Paxton, an agent of the ‘Company’, sent to investigate why Michael Scofield is in the same prison as his brother, Lincoln – in other words you do not get to play the heavily tattooed guy. Kind of missing the point there, if they game is called ‘Prison Break’ I expect to be playing the main character and breaking out of prison. Also from the same compant comes “Ride To Hell”, a game set at the end of the sixties featuring ‘Sex, Drugs and Bikers’ which sounds like a perfect weekend to me.  I can’t think of any other 1960’s chemically enhanced Hells Angels simulations so kudos to the developers for finding an unexplored theme for a game.

c64Retro news: There is a new version of Guitar Hero out. The gazillion selling series is now available on.. The Commodore 64. The unofficial 8-bit version of the game is called “Shredz” and is the work of a man with far too much time on his hands, Toni Westbrook. The tunes are all lifted from classic Commodore 64 games with game play following the usual Guitar Hero pattern – use the customised PS3 Guitar Hero controller to correctly play notes increase your score and applause meter. There is also a ‘shredocity’ meter that racks up extra points when you are really rocking out. Check out the video.

handclawAnd Finally.. Bionic Commando did not set the world on fire when it was released gaining fairly average reviews ,but would you turn down the opportunity to have a bionic claw instead of an arm? Inventor Christian Ristow to the rescue with the cunningly named “Hand Claw”.

“The claw tips are uniquely designed to be able to punch into an object, such as a TV tube, with the claw in the closed position, and then by opening the claw, explode the item from the inside out.”

Replace the words “TV tube” with anything you like – Watermelon, Microwave, Kitten* – and its sounds like fun. If running about like a freakish version of the Six Million Dollar Man is not your thing, why not pretend to be Harry Potter and get yourself a wrist-mounted flamethrower instead. Toastius Flameballus!

* No Kittens were harmed in the making of this Snatch, or should ever be harmed. I love kittens, especially the new Ginsters Kitten Pasty. Yum.