New round of The Game begins

You may have heard of ‘The Game’ from PlayStation. It’s a vast array of online mini-game challenges for your PC or Mac – ranging from old-school arcade games to hard to guess quizzes. The site is here at –

I’ve been contacted from PlayStation, and this is what they’ve had to say:

The Game is a global game between two teams, Team A and Team B. We launched it back in January and since it has been played by thousands of people globally fighting it out in either Team A or Team B, creating their own leagues, their own challenges and generally having a lot of fun. The first round ended a couple of weeks ago with Team A scoring on the top of the leader board and ultimately winning the Game.

We have Facebook pages for each teams, where you can meet the team captains and other players.

Team B –

Team A –

I’ve been told that there’s a PS3 game voucher up for grabs, so I’ll see if we can arrange a giveaway of some sort.

Filtered: Gamescom 09

I’ve been catching up on all of the announcements focusing on the PlayStation brand at Gamescom 09.  I’d like to share with you a list news items that have caught my eye and what I think about them:

  • PS3 Slim– About time!  The reduced price has been needed for months, the brand cleanup is a wise move, and Sony have finally found a voice with their marketing campaign!
  • LocoRoco Midnight Carnival– I’m a die-hard LocoRoco fan, and this upcoming PSN download looks really… well, fun!  New gameplay mechanics should keep things fresh.
  • PlayStation Home update– universal game launching from within Home looks quite compelling, but there are still numerous problems with accessing Home for some people: downloading areas, connection issues etc, that might prevent them from utilising this functionality.
  • Digital Comics Store for PSP– I’ve got to hand it to Sony- this looks pretty damn sweet!  Why has it taken this long though?!  Unfortunately though, it’s only for the US at the moment.  Boo.  Hiss.
  • New Uncharted 2 footage goes without saying *drools*
  • Firmware 3.0– Hopefully this should expose ‘what’s new’ on the PlayStation Store, and across the PlayStation Network, helping people feel more connected to the PlayStation community and kept up-to-date with what’s going on.  The rest of the firmware update is incidental in my opinion.
  • LittleBigPlanet Water!– This should be a very interesting new game mechanic, and may persuade me to visit LittleBigPlanet once again.

And that’s it!  If there’s anything I’ve missed, I’ve either forgotten about it, or I’m not really bothered about it.

PlayStation.Blog.Europe now live

PlayStation.Blog.Europe now live– These guys are my new best friends in the world of PlayStation news.  Billed as “Your daily fix of PlayStation news from across the SCEE region”, I look forward to reading all the great content that’s going to be hitting my screen from now on.  Fantastic.

PlayStation Home: The next chapter?

Welcome to the final article in my series on PlayStation Home.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve looked at different aspects of Home, but I’ve dodged answering what exactly Home is, and where it might be heading.

People have been complaining that PlayStation Home simply lacks things to do, content etc.  And we’re all told that to attract consumers, ‘content is king’.  So where is it?  Well, in the article ‘Sony: Home is the “perfect storm” for publishers‘ by, Sony describe Home as a platform upon which third parties can engage directly with PlayStation gamers with their own content.
Continue reading PlayStation Home: The next chapter?

PlayStation Home: We’re all going to Xi

As the penultimate article in my series on PlayStation Home, we now delve into the mysteries of Xi which pushes the limits of what you’d think possible from a virtual world merely for socialising.

What gets me most about Xi, is the sheer genius of it all.  PlayStation Home as a cohesive online world has the potential to have lots of secrets, some of  which Xi is exploiting fully, creating it’s own mythology around Home which I find very compelling.  The first glimpse of Xi you’ll see will be through a secret Home area called the Hub.  It’s worth reading what Joystiq has to say both about Xi in general and about the Hub in its article, ‘Xi infiltrates Home- and it’s kind of neat‘.  My own thoughts echo Joystiq’s: why aren’t other Home spaces this cool?  Quickly followed by the demand: let’s have more of this!

Continue reading PlayStation Home: We’re all going to Xi

It’s good to be back Home

Updated 25th April, 2009

Welcome to the first in a series of articles on PlayStation Home this April.  This article serves as an introduction to the other articles and so I’ve referenced future posts,  but of course the links aren’t live yet, so please don’t be mad if you’re clicking them and nothing is happening!  This article will be updated as the next articles go live.

I first stumbled my way through the front door of my swanky new Harbour Studio shortly after the PlayStation Home open beta was made available. I got immediately bored after spending literally a minute looking round my teensy little pad and learning the controls.  To go elsewhere, like the Home Square or the Shopping Centre etc, they had to be downloaded first.  So with a bit of spare time on my hands and for lack of something better to do, with the limited amount of furniture initially available I proceeded to cram as many chairs, tables, units and desk lamps as I possibly could into my modest-sized studio.

The end result, as you may have guessed, was a cross between an airport departure lounge and a poorly organised alcoholics anonymous meeting.  But without the people.  I don’t really know who was going to visit my apartment as I have few contacts on the PlayStation Network, and I’m totally anti-social when wandering round PlayStation Home.  Which is kind of ironic, seen as the whole idea of Home is social interaction.  The worst thing about my set up was that I didn’t even have a TV or entertainment system.  That could have produced a few awkward moments for my imaginary guests.

Continue reading It’s good to be back Home

PlayStation Home: a series of articles for April

Update: All articles are live, see below!

Over the course of April, I will release a series of articles on PlayStation Home to mark its continuing improvements, reflecting on what has been achieved so far, and what the future holds in store for both PlayStation Home and the community.

Publishing schedule:

This post has been updated as and when each article has gone live, linking back to them and acting as a sort of hub for them.  Whilst all articles have been published, I wouldn’t call them fully complete yet, so if you want to participate in shaping this series whith addition content, then contact me: comments or emails are most welcome.

Retro Gaming Memories: Gran Turismo

Cover art for Gran Turismo, the first game in ...
Image via Wikipedia

I’d like to share with you some memories of gaming days gone by, when times were simpler, and true 3D gaming was a novelty…

Schoolboy shenanigans

In the mid 90s, I’ll always remember finishing school on a Friday, and spending it with my mate.  First, I’d go out with him and help him do his paper round, munching on some sweets we’d got at the newsagents.  Later on we’d fire up the PlayStation (original) and play Gran Turismo- with a difference.

We weren’t gamblers by any stretch of the imagination, but we’d place ‘penny bets’ on each race which made things interesting.  Every so often we would up the stakes by placing all or nothing bets on one race.  In times like those, it felt like the world was on my shoulders- if I lost, I could end up losing as much as 50 pence!  But I digress…

Ready, steady, go

For a young lad then, Gran Turismo was a slice of gaming heaven.  You had gorgeous 3D graphics, with hundreds of cars rendered beautifully.  And they were fast.  That’s what mattered.  But the Gran Turismo series heralded more than just racing, it brought out the whole ‘driving experience’.  The music was perfect; it varied between being fast and satisfying, to having some haunting melodies.  Just thinking about it is sending shivers down my spine.

They say the car’s the star, but the racing tracks were equally impressive.  Each track became a thing of legend; Trial Mountain, Grand Valley Speedway, and Deep Forest Raceway to name a few.  Sure, the AI was a bit unforgiving as they never made mistakes, just following their own perfect racing line flawlessly.  Quite a strong constrast to AI behaviour in the games of today such as Race Rriver: GRID in which yes, your competitors can and do make mistakes.

Everyone will remember saving up and buying their first car.  The patience required to hold off on any rash purchases, holding out for the high-end model that you really wanted.  I would be doing Gran Turismo a disservice if I didn’t mention the detailed customisations you could make to your car: fitting turbos, racing chips, choosing the right tires and tweaking the suspension.  This was to many people, including myself, a level of detailed never seen before in a racing game.  But Gran Turismo was never just another racing game, was it?  It was the real driving simulator.

A vintage

So, do I think that Gran Turismo has aged well?  Of course it has.  It is a classic game that showed everyone just what a driving game could be.  The series has gone from strength to strength, gathering new fans with each successive game.  Whilst I do admit to prefering to sample the delights of Collin McRae: DiRT, and Race Driver: GRID for my driving fix these days, I will always look back on my gaming memories with Gran Turismo fondly.

Do you have any retro gaming memories that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Don’t bite the hand that feeds

Don’t bite the hand that feeds (aka Konami financial results show incredible reliance on PlayStation)- Some choice quotes: “So long as PlayStation can offer these kinds of numbers, Konami may continue being one of Sony’s greatest partners”, “Xbox 360 is home to most of Konami’s multiplatform efforts, and that’s yielded quite an insignificant return”.  Full article is worth a read.