News Snatch: Crystal Balls

ns1Our favourite psychic, Michael Pachter, has spent the past few evenings rubbing his crystal balls and has seen the future and it’s not looking pleasant if you own an Xbox. Psychic Pachter foresees a one year Gold subscription doubling in price,

“You really want to hook every gamer who has a 360, you want them to buy all their games on 360, play everything multiplayer, pay you 50 bucks a year so that, in a couple years, it’s a 100 bucks a year,” Pachter said. “And that’s going up, we all know that – it’s a profit deal.”

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I presume by ‘we all know that’ Psychic Pachter is referring to his fellow Crystal Ball gazers as no one else has mentioned price increases to Xbox live. To paraphrase C3-PO, Pachter has been known to be correct.. from time to time. The bad news for Xbox owners continues as Halo Waypoint will only be available to Gold members and an upcoming dashboard update will block all unlicensed memory cards and only official memory cards will function.

“When Preview Program members start receiving the Xbox 360 system update next week, one of the changes is that unauthorised memory units will no longer work with the Xbox 360,” said Xbox Live’s Larry Hryb.

“If you’ve moved your profile or saved games onto one to ‘back it up,’ you’d better move it back onto an authorized Xbox 360 storage device prior to taking the update. If you continue to use an unauthorised memory unit after the update, you will not be able to access your stored profile or saved games.”

ns2This PS3 case mod has been doing the rounds, it’s a laptop, it’s a PS3 – yes it’s the PS3 laptop! Whilst undeniably clever and sleek, to paraphrase Star Wars for the second time, ‘Look at the size of that thing!’ It’s chunkier than Kerry Katona after a week at ‘Hotel Du Burger King’. The raison d’être of a laptop is to make computing portable but this frankenstein of a console is as thick as a normal PS3. To make it less useful, the laptop does not have a battery and requires mains power supply. I happen to have a mains power socket here, my PS3 is plugged in to it as is my “obviously compensating for something” 52 inch TV. Given the choice, I’d rather use my monster equipment rather than something small and fat.

ns3‘It’s not the length, it’s the experience’ say Infinity Ward, possibly to their wives and girlfriends late at night but also to us gamers. Speaking to IGN, Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling defended the short campaign of Modern Warfare 2.

“We try and focus on the experience we’re trying to deliver, and we really let the story dictate how long the game is, ” he said, “We never go into development saying ‘We’re going to make a 20 hour game because people want a 20 hour game’ – we want to deliver an intense experience where you walk away and go ‘wow, I want to play more'”

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with a quick fumble with your joypad, Modern Warfare 2 has a premium price and I was expecting something a bit longer than the alleged six hours of solo pleasure. A whole night of adult 18-rated co-op entertainment for two or even four consenting adults would be perfect, especially if I can sit in the corner and watch with my night vision goggles. If this doesn’t feature in tomorrows Daily Star I shall be very disappointed.

ns4If you are reading Daily Star, here is another headline for you: Video Games Can Play Havoc With Kids’ Joints! This shocking research was carried by leading scientist, Deniz Ince, aged 11. Wait. What?

‘With the help of his rheumatologist dad and researchers from New York University, the fifth-grader handed out questionnaires to 171 of his schoolmates aged 7 to 12 years.’

Well that sounds very scientific to me. I’m slightly annoyed that Deniz’ research is being reported across the internet but no one ever took notice of the survey I did at school which accurately recorded the colour of cars going down the main road during 12-1pm on a Friday. Nintendo should be worried as Deniz has discovered,

‘Playing a Wii exclusively resulted in more self-reported pain, independent of age or hours played’

More astounding news from top researcher Deniz! Waving you arms about like James Cordon trying to flag down a kebab van is going to wear you out more than using a joypad! After publishing his survey results Deniz, who wants to be an orthopaedic surgeon, is planning to cut back on his gaming and is urging his fellow younglings to do the same. Deniz – a word of advice: No one likes a smart arse.

ns5As Snatch is in a smutty mood it seems the perfect time for Bayonetta. The very first time she winked at the screen and purred ‘Do you want to play with me’ I knew she was going to be fun. This months Famitsu magazine in Japan has awarded Bayonetta a top score of 40/40, joining eleven other games with a perfect rating including Metal Gear Solid 4, Zelda and.. er.. Nintendogs. Bayonetta is a good as MGS4? Really? ‘Netta spends half her time naked, flirting at the camera and generally acting like a naughty secretary in a hardcore pr0n film but I’m sure that has nothing to do with the score. The review is for the Xbox game, no mention of the apparently inferior PS3 port.

ns6Gran Tourismo 5 is a bit more than ‘Prologue with added damage’ which should cheer certain people up. How can we tell this? Because it is going to come on three Blu-rays. Let’s just say that again. THREE BLU-RAYS. What the hell can take up the space of three Blu-Rays? If you check the video and pause at 53 seconds in the package contains three discs, one black, one red, and one blue. I would hazard a guess that at least one of these is a video disc and features behind the scenes footage, interviews and the like but that still leaves two blu-rays to fill with game data. The video also shows a 3D model of the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG within GT5.

ns7Anyone remember Xenogears from the PSone? The Square release from 1998 had an original soundtrack produced by Yasunori Mitsuda and for the last three years the ‘Human and Gears’ project have been working hard on the ‘OverClocked Remix’. The result is a double album featuring remixes and reinterpretations of the music from Xenogears. According to the blurb on their website,

‘The first album features songs with a focus on natural elements and a “Human” touch. The second album is dark in tone and electronic in texture, symbolising the fear and destruction of “Gears.”’

The album features tracks such as ‘Shattered Dreams’, ‘Smooth Criminals’ and, er, ‘Shit on Citan’ and is available to download for the princely sum of zero pounds, from http://xenogears.ocremix.org/

ns8New Game Alert! Say a cheery ‘Hello’ to ‘Inversion’ from Namco. This third person shooter will be arrving on PS3 and Xbox and features a “revolutionary gravity manipulation engine.” Your character has a ‘Grappler’ that allows you to pick up objects and fling them at your enemies, the ‘Lutadore’ who are an invading alien force also armed with Grapplers. You play a cop (yawn) and his neighbour as they battle across a ravaged city to rescue his daughter (yawn). Reports that the neighbour will be Harold Bishop are unconfirmed. A quick scan through the screenshots reveals you can pick up a bus to use as a weapon and that could be all sorts of fun. The screenshots also reveal you character looks rather like a slightly tubby Chris Redfield on his day off.

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And Finally.. The price cuts continue on the PS3 with a recent Amazon listing the console for the bargain price of $1,000,000. If you want an extra controller and a Blu-ray remote then it’s $1,000,058 for the bundle. How can you refuse?

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