Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Sony PlayStation Vita overheats, tech watchdog investigates – Console news

Mind your fingers, gamers — the Sony PlayStation Vita has suffered problems with overheating while charging.

More than 30 people have complained about the Vita heating up: 23 in Japan and eight in the US, Europe and Australia. That’s not many in the grand scheme of things, but it is enough for Japanese consumer body the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation to investigate the complaints.

The Vita is reported to overheat while charging, with the cable burning out and changing colour. Sony blames customers getting their Vita grimy: “When the PS Vita or multi-use terminal on its USB cable have foreign matter or liquids on them and are connected for charging etc, a partial short that leads to the terminal burning out can occur.”

Sony adds, “There is no defect”, and will not be recalling any units.

Anyone affected by overheating can exchange their Vita, but for a fee — so don’t get liquid, food or general gunk on your charging cable, you mucky pups, or you’ll have to fork out.

The Vita suffered early problems when it was launched in December last year. It sold in the hundreds of thousands in the first weekend on sale in Japan but some of those wouldn’t turn on.

Still, it’s a rare bit of kit that works perfectly for everyone from day one. The new iPad, iPod nano and Sony Bravia TVs have all been known to overheat to varying degrees of meltiness.

Does your Vita overheat-a? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Slim-PS3 is updated regularly every day with all latest Free Sony Slim PS3 news and reviews.

Posted on July 27th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

We Dare: possibly the most ill-advised game ever – Console news

It has sparked controversy but the reality is it’s a terribly boring, mostly broken mini-game collection

It almost made sense. After Heavy Rain was a hit last year, and its quick-time event sex scene wasn’t a humiliation for everyone involved, there was a feeling that games could do adult content now. Maybe that was what inspired Ubisoft to get behind (fnarr) “adult-oriented party game” We Dare – one of the shonkiest, most ill-advised products to be offered to gamers … well, ever.

For most of us, it started with the trailer, which appeared on YouTube on 24 February. (The original link is now marked as private.) Four blandly pretty 20-something models – two men, two women – cavort awkwardly to a clunking sex-funk soundtrack. In just over a minute, every joke you’ve ever heard about motion controllers looking like sex toys was realised, as the cast pulled their most strained smiles to convey the enjoyment they experienced as they took part in We Dare’s cartoon swingers’ game. The girls mashed their faces against either side of a dangling controller, almost as if – ooh! – they might accidentally kiss. A boy spanked a girl in order to propel a cherub flying on screen. Then another girl stepped in. It was horrifyingly awkward and deeply unsexy.

Not unsexy enough to avoid the inevitable act two, of course, in which outraged moral guardians demanded to know why a spanking game was being marketed to children. The Mail even found a red-faced father to say, “This sort of computer game will only serve to fuel sexual tensions and, in a worse-case scenario, sexual touching or assault.” Normally, Gamesblog would be dead against the moral guardians, but in this case they sort of had a point.

Not about We Dare fuelling sexual tensions, of course. I’ve played the game, and I’ve had saucier romps in Green Hill Zone. It’s a terribly boring, mostly broken mini-game collection, squeezed into a leopard-print thong and told to look sexy. By the time you’ve been through the tedious menus (you can’t search for individual games, but have to navigate through mysterious categories such as “Adventurous”) and tolerated the drab bits of smut-related trivia (did you know the first bra was made of hankies and ribbon? Phwoar!), you’ll be seriously looking into celibacy. The bobble-headed cartoon characters who guide you through the awkward gyrations of miming dancing or stripping might as well have your mum’s face on them, for all the encouragement to eroticism they are.

But the marketing was clearly disastrous. Because We Dare’s content is as tame as a neutered puppy, it received child-friendly ratings – PEGI 12 in Europe, and PG in Australia. Which left it in a thoroughly non-erotic bind. People looking for console-based sexytimes (even people who like disgracefully feeble mini-games) aren’t likely to be impressed with a 12 rating, while publishers (even publishers of disgracefully feeble mini-games) would probably rather not be seen to push erotica onto the kid market.

Within weeks, the game’s release was cancelled in the UK (it was never intended for release in the US, according to Ubisoft). After all, this was shortly after Fox News had accused Bulletstorm of inciting rape with sexually suggestive kill names – it’s no surprise if a publisher would rather not be the next target for outrage. Does that and the fiasco of We Dare mean that games should keep their hands clean of the sex stuff from now on? No – and with Rockstar’s grown-up crime drama L.A. Noire and Mass Effect 3 on their way, there’s no likelihood of games putting on a promise ring anytime soon. But hopefully it’ll be a long, long time before anyone tries to foist another tarted up box of Just Dance knock-offs and weak Buzz!-alike quizzes on to easily aroused console owners.


Sex in games

Puzzle games

Sarah Ditum © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds is updated regularly each day with all latest console news and reviews.

Posted on April 18th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

Best of Chatterbox: the longest day

All the good stuff that people talked about in our Chatterbox forum a couple of weeks ago.

This could be a first, even for Best of Chatterbox: a week’s worth of compiled discussion arriving a week after the following week’s edition. Yes, we’ve already reminisced over the week of January 17-21, so now, let’s head back, prequel-style, to the seven days that immediately proceeded it. Perhaps that way we can work out how and why the chat developed as it did. Though I seriously doubt that.

So let’s forget continuity; let’s embrace the concept of a quantum universe in which causality and linearity are mere illusions, rebounding along the planes of the multiverse.

Edited by Lazybones, this week’s Best Of may contain boasting, a Doom boardgame and a Chatterbox text adventure.


People have conducted studies and found the second Monday of January to be the most depressing day of the year. Some will have you think it’s the first Monday, or even the third. But they are wrong. The most depressing day of 2011 was Monday the 10th of January.

Misery loves company, however, and what better way to spend it than with a miserable bunch of borderline sociopaths, on the internet.

A day like this might read as follows:

People boasted. They boasted about their weekends. They boasted about how much they could drink. They boasted about how big and expensive their houses were, their cars were, their gardens were. People boasted about what games they’d played, completed, bagged platinum on, then traded away (at a profit). They boasted about how fast they could fall asleep in public. They boasted about what music they liked, what bands they had been in, how many millions of records they’d sold. People boasted about how their dreams were better than everyone else’s.

“A friend of a friend of mine is a professional footballer” said one.


A 90 minute break for lunch, and the inevitable sandwich boasting followed. People then began to moan about how things were so overrated. “The Day of Heresy”, they called it. Killzone 2, pensioners, Scott Pilgrim, Bob Dylan, fat people in mobility scooters. Star Wars. All rubbish. All cultural tat.

“A couple of choice efforts aside, The Beatles were a bit shit,” someone snivelled.

“**** off you ridiculously biased has-been”, came the reply.


Tuesday began, with several updates, from those with family affected by floods in Australia. No one had suffered any losses, thankfully, other than those of possessions and property. CountGinula offered his own balm to the Australian psyche: “Losing the Ashes in such a pathetic manner must burn deep.” Sensitive stuff.

The morning parade of gaming then began: AssBroHo, Blops, NFS, PES and BFBC2, followed by Blood Bowl chat as the Chatterbox Open League kicked off. This prompted the age-old quandary over which were the “cheatiest” Blood Bowl teams (Dwarves, Norse, or just anything CunningStunt picked.)

SerenVikity thwarted a James Bond wannabe attempting to inveigle her into a workplace fraud. Limni was particularly praising: “Well done dealing with James Bond. You should try and give him some work to do, then when he says ‘do you expect me to process all these invoices today?’ you can say ‘No Mr Bond, I expect you to die.'” You see, it is possible to have fun at work.


Were someone to picture the week as a typhoon – a whorling tempest of chat – then Wednesday would be the eye. The empty centre. Chat to not blow a house down.

1. Blood Bowl2. Football3. Marvel Pinball

Three ball-based games. The chat itself was like a ball, languidly chucked about.

The writing was on the wall but people would not format it. If this was graffiti, on the blank walls of the Guardian website, then it was penises and scrawled jokes. This was no cultural explosion. This was not the street …

EnglishRed was down on Gypsies.SerenVikity was down on London.SuperSmashin was up on London. A dunk in the net – a burst of positivity, but it was simply more boasting.

CunningStunt told SuperSmashin to “man up”.

People made their excuses and left.


Ever since übergeek Umboros fled the safety of the gamesblog to live the dream of working for Games Workshop there has been space for a new pretender to the bejewelled geek throne. One of the newest bloggers, R042, came out blazing: “If people are interested, I have been working on recreating the actual map layouts from Doom 2 to play in the board game, complete with secrets, where they should be and so on.”


At lunch, thoughts turned to alcohol, and ended up at the British Film Institute bar. Accusations of poor service unless impeccably dressed were met with quick rebuttal by BeardOfBees: “the BFI is a serious place, for serious people to watch serious films. I’m guessing the bar is also serious.”

There then came grumbling. Things weren’t as good as they used to be, people said. The chat had become moribund. Someone pointed out that making double entendres out of pedestrian statements was just well … lazy: “a poor joke. It’s not funny!” Seconds later new kid on the block Fegbarr earned his spurs: “Talking about your sex life again?”

“BOOM! That one is outta the park!”


A burst of life and Amipal greeted the dawn …

“Hello residents of Gamesblog City. To the south, we have the beach-side condos, where on any sunny day a bronzed TonyHayers may be seen topping up his tan. The financial district to the east is home to many bloggers whose unfortunate jobs are in banking, such as myself. Over to the west, the poet’s district hosts those who have a way with words – enter a pub, and you’re sure to find HereComesTreble holding a crowd transfixed with his rambling. And to the north, we have the suburban area for everyone else. Of course, we don’t really talk about the shanty-town that has sprung up on the outskirts, home to the lurkers. A dirty place.”

There was talk of Blood Bowl, Black Ops and Bad Company 2, as usual, while the Chatterbox’s NaN Clan appeared to be going from strength to strength. Some regarded this as a betrayal of the Clan’s core values – namely to have fun whilst remaining useless. EnglishRed explained: “Being generally poor at games is what NaN is all about –if you’re too good it smacks of being a socially inept recluse.”

SteveST cruised into view, gristly thighs pumping. The stogy being chewed? Classic D-Day film – The Longest Day. “… Couldn’t help wondering how much it would cost to bring so many big stars together in one film nowadays, and indeed whether such a coming together could work at all let alone as well as it did in TLD.”

Amipal referenced The Expendables as a modern-day equivalent. A spurious claim. Pdmalcolm mooted A Bridge Too Far and The Great Escape, boasting, as they do, similar all-star casts. EnglishRed posed The Thin Red Line. A good shout.

But the law of entropy soon took hold. The chat broke down into talk of “big ones”, implications and blood-stained pitches.

Another week gone. The cycle of chat, again, complete.

Quotes of the week

“Scadenfreude is a valid emotion. Stop oppressing me or I’ll bottle up everything and become a crazed gunman.”Sheep2 – many a true word is said in jest (and, just in case, we have informed the authorities)

“Most interview situations can be successfully resolved by the introduction of a signed picture of Dolph Lungren.”Loser flexes his life-coaching muscles

“I’m up to speak in 10 minutes. It’s been incredibly boring so far. Time to take it to the max. Or not. Whatever, I’m not really in the mood today. Probably all the James Blunt I’ve been listening to. Have you heard of him? Fantastically talented guy. Just listening to his lyrics, it’s like he can see into my heart or something. Powerful stuff.”Herecomestreble – man enough to listen

End game

Join the official Gamesblog spotify list and share your own favourite tunes. Last addition – ‘Sexy Music’ by the Meat Puppets [great choice, WeeCooper! – Keef]

Check the Gamesblog wiki for everyone’s game tags and more!

This week’s ‘Best of’ was written by Herecomestreble, Crispycrumb, Lazybones, RustyJames and Limni. It was edited by Lazybones

Keith Stuart © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Posted on February 5th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

How many people really play Evony? The questions we’d like answered

If you go by its website, Evony has 18m or 20m players; if you believe its representatives, 16m. But if you do some calculation, you get a very much lower number

Hype is a wonderful thing: it can keep campaigns of all sorts afloat. But sometimes it just yearns to be punctured. One claim that looks very suspiciously like raw hype is that on the front of the MMORPG game Evony’s front page, where it claimed – a few months ago – that “Evony: Age II is played by 20 million players in over 167 countries.”

Besides the fact that Evony: Age II was only launched in April, so that would be some helluva lot of growth, you’ve got to love that “over 167 countries”, give that there are reckoned to be 195 countries on earth. So we asked Triple Point PR, Evony’s PR company in the US, and Benjamin Gifford, the “vice development director” (Evony’s description) of Evony’s legal and intellectual property strategic division, based in Australia, a simple question:

In which countries is Evony [in whatever version] not played?

That was back in April. No reply.

We also asked about that fabulous “20 million players” number. The strange thing is that since April, the number of players seems to have gone down: our screenshot taken today (main picture, above) shows that it’s claiming only 18m players (though still in “over 167″ countries). Look at the screenshots – we fortuitously took one on 12 April, and you can clearly see the difference. (Interesting that if you look at the notifications – the hyperlinks on the light brown part of the screen – there doesn’t seem to have been anything much since April.)

Here’s the screenshot we took on 12 April. (Click here for larger version.) (Note that the dates on the brown panel are in American MM-DD-YYYY format – not UK DD-MM-YYYY format.)

Even so, this is still contradictory, because in an email to the Guardian on 8 April, Gifford told the Guardian “both Evony, LLC and Regan Mercantile, LLC hope attention will turn to the game that 16 million people have enjoyed.”

So that’s a sudden addition of 4m players in the course of four days, followed by a dropoff of 2m. What on earth is going on? Where have all the “players” gone? More to the point, were they ever there?

Bruce Everiss, who was the victor when Evony tried to sue him for libel – except that Gifford’s testimony was torn apart in the court in a way that would make Perry Mason whistle appreciatively – is quite clear that the 18m (or 20m or 16m) number is just a bit of inflation:

“The Evony figure for players is for all the people who have ever registered for the game,” he told us by email. “The overwhelming majority register, see that it has no breasts, then leave.” (A reference to Evony’s infamous web advertising campaign of mid-2009.) “Very many players have multiple registrations which confer great advantage when playing the game,” Everiss notes. “Evony have regular purges and kick large numbers of people off the game for “cheating”. ie using bots, scripts etc.”

‘Twas ever thus on server-based MMORPGs, of course. Another former Evony player – who we’ll call “Thor” because, well, why not? – told us how he came up with an estimate for the number of players:

“In my estimation, Evony has probably has a maximum of a half-million to million active players. They have approximately 200 “worlds” [aka servers], and each world has between 8000 to 25000 accounts. Of those, only 300-500 show any activity on a regular basis (daily or weekly change in prestige totals – prestige increases anytime you make troops or build something in the game).”

Thor explained that Evony cleans out “inactive” accounts every so often, which is why the number of players on the servers can fall: “An inactive is defined as someone who hasn’t logged on for 30+ days and has never paid Evony money to buy game coins.”

But there’s inactive and there’s “inactive”: “If you paid, ever, your account is never wiped, even if you haven’t logged in for 6 or more months,” Thor explains.

Thor made an estimate of the number of active players by logging into the servers then operated (around 200 – except some were merged servers, because there were too few players on an individual server to get any, you know, war action/payment going: “the reason Evony merges servers is the player rate on servers starts to drop so low it is virtually impossible to support active gameplay with players attacking back and forth. Prior to themerge of our server, it wasn’t uncommon for me to go weeks without someone attacking me (or vice-versa) and I’d either have to ‘port a war-city around the grid to find targets, or have insanely huge army march distances measured in hundreds of miles to an active target”) and counting the clearly active players.

So any number of servers for the game that Evony claims to have should be taken with a pinch of salt, because old server numbers aren’t retired.

Thor gave it up when Evony began cracking down on bots: “I actively botted to support the insanely huge army sizes necessary to compete. As a professional with a mortgage, kids, a dog and a cat, I didn’t have time to sit there and manually ‘farm’ for food.”

Everiss suggested to us independently that Evony has up to a million players – some way short of that “16m/18m/20m” figure, and if there were a web Advertising Standards Authority, you could probably take Evony to them over that “played by” quote. Though you’d likely have already taken them there for the adverts’ unfounded implication that there was somehow something errr, sexy in the game, whereas in reality it’s a grind where you’re required to pay money which gets passed to a Hong Kong company connected with one in the tax and corporate secrecy haven of the Marshall Islands.

Probably not a problem for younger players, but the question is whether the rewards are really there – and whether Evony can get out of what looks awfully like a corporate habit of inaccuracy in its claims.

For the record, we put these questions to Gifford and Triple Point PR in April but received no response:1) given that Evony:Age II has only just been launched, is this simply carrying over players from the previous version of Evony?

2) what does “played by 20m players” actually mean? Does that mean -there are 20m human players actively playing the game? or -there have been 20m accounts registered in the lifetime of Evony? or-Evony has made up a nice big-sounding number to put on its website? or-some other explanation (we’d love to hear it)?

3) How many humans (different accounts, different people – as I take it that a single person can have more than one account) actively played Evony in the course of the past month?

4) How does Evony prevent bots from playing? I understand that there was a sweep which removed bot accounts last year. How many accounts were removed in that way?

5) I understand that Evony removes inactive accounts which have never spent any money in the game. How many accounts have been removed for that reason in the life of the game?

6) I understand that Evony retains accounts that have spent money, even if they remain inactive. How many such accounts which have spent money have not been active for three months (90 days) or more?

7) What is the largest number of humans (not bots) who simultaneously played Evony at any time? When was that?

8) The website says Evony is played in “over 167 countries”. As there are generally agreed to be 195 countries on Earth, in which countries is Evony [in whatever version] not played?

Obviously, if anyone from Evony or Triple Point PR wants to answer, the comments are open.



Charles Arthur © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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Posted on June 19th, 2010 by  |  No Comments »

news: PS3 News – Playstation 3 Insiders

The latest Slim PS3 news: As the Cannes film festival gets into its second week, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is preparing to launch a new highbrow film service for the PlayStation 3.
Called MUBI, and already available for PCs, the online service will be bringing a collection of over 300 films to the home console ranging from Jacques Audiard (director of Read My Lips and The Beat My Heart Skipped) to Franco Zeffirelli (Brother Sun, Sister Moon; Jesus of Nazareth).

The auteur output of Pedro Almodóvar, the Coen brothers, Jean Luc Godard, Takeshi ‘Beat Takeshi’ Kitano, and Gus Van Sant are also being touted as likely candidates for the service’s console debut.

MUBI also has a strong community aspect, encouraging viewers to discuss the films they’ve seen with each other and recommend new cinematic experiences to friends and MUBI members.

The company have also managed to tie up online distribution rights for various pieces of world cinema which have not yet been released on DVD, including Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation that specializes in restoring neglected films.

The MUBI service is tabled for an autumn launch, expected to coincide with the availability of new Wii-like motion controllers for the PlayStation 3, and helps to associate the machine with an aspirational lifestyle – as does Sony’s links with 3D TV.

CEO Efe Cakarel confirmed to PlayStation Europe that launch territories will be the UK and Ireland; France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar and Andorra; Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; and Australia and New Zealand. Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark are also expected to be brought onboard before the service goes live.

Efe also revealed that short films are to cost £1 and feature length works £3 for UK users. The MUBI website currently prices shorts at €2 and features at €4.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is also preparing a marketing effort to promote and expand the multimedia and social capabilities of the Xbox 360, which has been able to link up with Facebook, Twitter and since November 2009.

In North America, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii can all be used in conjunction with a Netflix subscription in order to stream a wide range of films. For European users, the MUBI deal works to bolster the existing PlayStation Video Store which provides more mainstream movies to North America, Oceania, and some European countries.

]]> is updated regularly per day with the very latest Free PlayStation news and reviews.

Posted on June 11th, 2010 by  |  No Comments »

Slim PS3 news: Follow the FIWC live from Barcelona

Be part of the action as the top EA SPORTS FIFA 10 players in the world face off in the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final.

Since October 2009, over 775,000 FIFA 10 players have been flexing their thumbs and brushing up their skills via PlayStation Network and at Live Qualifier Events around the world.

Now, the 32 top virtual footballers on the planet have landed in the Catalan capital, home to one of the best loved football teams in the world, and are less than 24 hours away from creating their very own piece of sporting history.

Up for grabs is a prize that money cannot buy: for the winner, 20,000 USD awaits as well as the chance to meet footballing royalty at the FIFA World Cup Player Gala 2010 where they will officially be crowned FIFA Interactive World Champion 2010.

This year’s field is as strong as ever, featuring Alfonso Ramos Cuevas and Bruce Grannec, winners in 2008 and 2009 respectively, as well as entrants from as far afield as Singapore, Brazil, Australia and Sudan. In total, 22 countries are represented as the players descend on Barcelona’s Port Olimpic for the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final.

The event takes place by the beach and is free to enter to spectators who can cheer on their favourite as well as savouring the thrilling atmosphere. Away from the screens, they will be able to enjoy an afternoon of entertainment, from watching champion freestylers to live music and the chance to show off their virtual and real-life skills.

To cap it all, following the Grand Final itself, Groove Armada’s Andy Cato will play an exclusive DJ set.

Want to follow the action as it unfolds? Then head over and look out for any posts which include the tag #fifaiwc. From the moment the doors open at midday local time to the final whistle, we’ll bring you updates, including results, quotes, and photographs.

Want to get involved? Send us your questions via the Twitter feed and, if you want to show your support for one of the finalists, post a message at and we will pass as many on as we can. Just remember to include the tag #fifaiwc in any questions or messages you send.

Our site is updated several times each day with the latest Free Slim PS3 news and reviews.

Posted on May 1st, 2010 by  |  No Comments »

news: Australia Bans Aliens Versus Predator For the Saftey of… Adults?

One of the more interesting days in my Video Game Theory and Design class is when we chat about censorship. Not only are many students shocked to find there is no legal banning of games in the U.S., but that countries they assumed were more liberal, namely Germany, the U.K, Italy, and Australia (list of banned games).
So while it’s no shock that Australia banned Aliens Vs. Predator (and can we get a subtitle on this game to avoid confusion with the other AVP games and films?), the fact that the decision was publicly defended is quite interesting.

Michael Atkinson, Australia’s Attorney General, defended the ruling to not classify Sega’s AVP game (thereby banning it) by saying, “You don’t need to be playing a game in which you impale, decapitate and dismember people.” Of course one does not need to surf, drink beer, or swim with sting rays, yet these are all things Australian adults, and their visitors are allowed to do.
He added, “This is a question of a small number of very zealous gamers trying to impose their will on society. And I think harm society. It’s the public interest versus the small vested interest. I accept that 98 per cent, 99 per cent of gamers will tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but the 1 per cent to 2 per cent could go on to be motivated by these games to commit horrible acts of violence.”
Of course the same argument could be applied to any media, any intoxicating ingestible substance, many foods, and some pets.
The differences in legal theory here could not be more pronounced. Do you ban books or simply make publishers responsible for harm they do?
Personally, I find Australia’s stance both saddening and hypocritical. The burden to prove that games cause harm is completely ignored and paranoia is allowed to rule this situation.
It’s not that AVP looks to be a must have game, only that it is absurd that governments dictate what their citizens read, watch, and play.
[Source: GI]
Australia Bans Aliens Versus Predator For the Saftey of… Adults? originally appeared on PlayStation Games on Friday, December 11th, 2009 at 21:43:48.

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Posted on December 17th, 2009 by  |  No Comments »