The BBC recently aired a film of theirs called The Gamechangers. This 'factual drama' aimed to tell the story about Grand Theft Auto and the controversy surrounding the series around the release of San Andreas. Daniel Radcliffe starred as one of the game's creators, Sam Houser, and Bill Paxton played the infamous Jack Thompson, the lawyer hellbent on suing Rockstar and destroying the game.
We were cautiously optimistic, but alarm bells started to ring months ago when RockStar sued the BBC for using the GTA brand without permission. It turns out that the BBC's 'facts' were gathered via third-party interviews rather than direct from Rockstar or the Housers. Not long after it aired, Rockstar were quick to jump on Twitter and ask the BBC, "What exactly is this random, made up bollocks?"Click here for more and a link to the film.
The Horizon documentary series turns its gaze to the world of videogames this week in an episode called 'Are video games really that bad?'. The most recent (August 2015) reports are discussed, where psychologists claim to have found a link between gaming and aggression/violence. These same arguments are then refuted by other experts. More interesting is how games have been studied with the approach that they might actually be beneficial to players of all ages and even how they can improve the cognitive abilities of seniors.Click here to read more...
There's not long to go now before the BBC's The Gamechangers airs on BBC Two. The controversial documentary focuses on the development of the Grand Theft Auto series and the conflict between the company and outspoken US lawyer (now disbarred), Jack Thompson. Despite Grand Theft Auto developers, Rockstar, suing the BBC over the film, it would appear it's going to air anyway.
Sam Houser, a Rockstar co-founder will be played by Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame), while Thompson will be played by Bill Paxton (Aliens, Apollo 13). Oddly, the BBC have not worked with Rockstar on the project, instead opting to base it on court documents and third party people who were apparently involved with events.Click here to see the air date and trailer...
As part of the 2015 Make it Digital initiative intended to get kids coding, the BBC will be giving away BBC Micro Bit boards to every 11-year old in the UK.Click here to read more...
Rockstar are taking legal action against the BBC in relation to Game Changer, the broadcasting company's upcoming drama about the Grand Theft Auto series. Rockstar are suing for trademark infringement and have released a statement (via IGN):
"Take-Two Interactive has filed suit against the BBC for trademark infringement based on their movie currently titled 'Game Changer' as it relates to Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto video game series"
"While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project. Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC's pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games."
"We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary."Click here to read more...
When it comes to role models for the youth of today, Grand Theft Auto isn't exactly the first name that springs to mind. However, the BBC plans to shoot a drama about the making of the legendary series in order to help glamorise the UK software industry and get more children interested in coding.Click here to read more...
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is a legendary "trilogy in five parts" (and an even better radio show as far as I'm concerned) that should be read by literally everyone, but some of you may remember that it also spawned a hilarious text adventure back in the 1980s. As part of the franchise's 30th anniversary celebrations, the BBC has announced that this ancient videogame will be resurrected free of charge on the Radio 4 website, complete with revamped HD graphics and achievements to share on social networks.
Be sure to pack your towel in advance of March 8th. As far as we remember, playing the text adventure is a little like getting your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a gold brick.Click here to read more...
We very rarely run articles that fit into the “And Finally” feel-good area, but this more than meets the requirement. BBC News has posted a report online about Hilda Knott, an 85-year-old that has been playing video games for over 40 years, which looks at the positive aspects of gaming. In Mrs Knott’s own words, she states that games have helped to keep her mentally active, seeing them as puzzles where players are “working out how to do something [and] when to do it.”Click here to read more...
This one's for Dr. Who fans who also happen to be PS3 users. Unfortunately, with the exception of the visuals, this one's rather mediocre, although it might provide you with a quick fix until some new episodes hit our TV screens later in the year. Play are parting with copies of the game for £14.99, which should make you a saving of just over £4 on the next best offers out there.
It's here. It's happened. Xbox LIVE's great white elephant, the addition of BBC iPlayer to the service, has emerged, and it's absolutely free.
"Today’s launch builds on a core BBC value, to reach all audiences on a universal basis at no extra charge," said iPlayer head, Dave Price, proudly. "So we are delighted that BBC iPlayer content will be available to all Xbox 360 users, for free. Indeed the BBC is the only UK content partner to make their service available free to all Xbox Live Gold members and Xbox Live Free (previously known as Silver) members."Click here to read more...
Microsoft made a strong pledge back at E3 that they'd be taking the entertainment bull by the horns this year and finally transforming the Xbox into a media centre to finally rival the on demand trinkets offered by its competition. Well, that process finally begins to get rolled out tomorrow with the new Metro update and Microsoft have provided a full list of partner along with a vague indication of when we might expect to see their products on Xbox LIVE. The BBC is on there, but slated for 'Early 2012.Hit the jump for more details and the full list of TV partners...
Recent visitors to Microsoft's official Xbox site will have noticed its new 'Metro' design which, along with a few aesthetic changes, also includes a couple of extra features, such as the ability to cancel the Xbox Live Gold auto-renewal feature. While it's currently unclear as to whether these features will make it into the 360's next major dashboard update, Microsoft have announced that their new 'Metro' design will be hitting consoles on December 6th, bringing it in-line with the rest of their products' user interfaces.What else to expect from the new dash...
Call of Duty: Black Ops finally launched yesterday to rave reviews- but the coverage hasn't stopped yet. Several reports indicate that the PC version frequently suffers from mysterious crippling bouts of lag, even during singleplayer cutscenes. There are plenty of fixes, tweaks and suggestions doing the rounds at the moment, but the current consensus is that it's having real trouble with multiple-core processors. Something to watch out for.
Secondly, Treyarch has responded to the glitchers and hackers who are already starting to ply their pathetic trade on the servers.
We are disinterested in making mini-celebrities out of douche-bags. You better think twice before you glitch. You never know who in your game doesn't like glitchers who reports you and saves the game in their File Share and tells us about it. Our forum admins and VIPs along with JD_2020 (Community Manager) will be managing the communication directly. - Black Ops multiplayer designer David Vonderhaar on the CoD forums
Remember, folks- the new file share allows you to shop hackers and glitchers straight to Treyarch with all the proof they'll need to swing the banhammer.
In other news, Activision found themselves in hot water this week for only printing male avatar codes in the Hardened and Prestige editions. Springing into emergency damage control, they've now issued two universal codes to nab the female avatar gear. Girls, start your downloading!
Redeem code GYVF8-PF7RY-28D7V-VGWV8-CFGRM will snag you the SR 71 Flight Suit, and R76BQ-CR3MF-G2TTF-9G36R-BQWJD provides the Woods Outfit.
BBC iPlayer was once again conspicuously absent from the latest Xbox 360 title update despite both Sony and Nintendo adding it to their consoles. However, Xbox UK boss Stephen McGill has revealed to Eurogamer that Microsoft is still in “discussions” with the BBC about finally making this happen.
There are conversations going on. The thing for us is, how do we add some magic sauce to that so that it’s different? A lot of people are watching that on their PC. How many people are going to watch it on the console unless we add something different?
Here's an idea, Steve. Stop trying to make money from it (as an anonymous BBC source claimed earlier this year) and don't add any magic sauce at all! Just upscale, stick it on the dashboard and have done with it.
Well we've been banging on about it long enough. Microsoft's vaunted motion capture camera peripheral has released today, with many retailers predicting that they'll sell out in as little as 24 hours.
Already got one? Waiting on a delivery? Why not check out our automatic software buyers guide for the cheapest deals?
Some people say that dreams don't come true, but today's top story from Level 5 begs to differ. At their press conference earlier this morning, the renowned studio confirmed that they were bringing two handheld puzzle legends together. The irrepressible Professor Layton will be teaming up with the legendary defence attorney Phoenix Wright to solve a devious "combo of puzzles and crime mystery."
Watch the (offscreen) trailer. And weep with joy.
Level 5 is also working on Professor Layton: Mask of Miracle for the 3DS, which will apparently feature daily downloadable puzzles.
Gran Turismo 5's recent delay has put a few backs up, and as you'd expect, Series Creator Kazunori Yamauchi has issued an apology. Since Yamauchi is a known perfectionist, however, he's not actually apologising for the inconvenience- rather a technical issue that might occasionally lower the frame rate from 60FPS.
Our engineers complain every day: 'Isn't it enough that it's in 1080p? Does it have to be 60fps too?' But I think 60fps is very important, so we're working towards perfecting that.
There might be times when you have a certain combination of conditions that come together - especially with the weather effects - [when] the game might briefly drop from 60fps, and for that I beg your forgiveness! - Kazunori Yamauchi to PSM3 magazine
Okay Kazunori. We can't stay mad at you. Just make sure it releases in time to fill our Christmas stockings... and that these "certain combinations that come together" don't coincide too often. [CVG]
Another day, another new study that 'links' mature games to violence. This newest experiment involved subjecting a group of 22 teenagers to a series of violent clips from games, films and TV and measuring the amount of brain activity. It seems that the mental impact of violent media lessens with time, which Dr Jordan Grafman reckons is due to a desensitising effect that could lead to the acceptance of violence as a mundane occurence.
The implications of this include the idea that continued exposure to violent videos will make an adolescent less sensitive to violence, more accepting of violence, and more likely to commit aggressive acts since the emotional component associated with aggression is reduced and normally acts as a brake on aggressive behaviour. - Dr Jordan Grafman
This conclusion was countered by Professor Buckingham, Director of the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media; who suggested that the entire premise was completely flawed.
This debate has been going on since before we were all born. In the 19th Century people were panicking about the effect of 'Penny Dreadfuls'.
If we are truly interested in violence and aggression, rather than blaming the media for everything wrong in the world, we need to look at what motivates it in real life. - Professor Buckingham
Our duelling doctors raise some valid points about the nature of so called "violent media." Here's a thought. Maybe parents ought to sit their kids down every once in a while and explain that virtual violence has no place in the real world. Or just spend some time with them. Or, you know, maybe we shouldn't let 14 olds play violent 18-rated games. [BBC]
The Tokyo Game Show is now over and several very promising titles have been announced including a new Devil May Cry, several Kinect games from Legendary developers and From Software's Project Dark. However, the ghost at the feast was Keiji Inafune, Capcom's head of R&D. He's convinced that Japanese gaming is at it's worst position in years and is headed for a bigger slump, trailing Western studios by five years.
“I look around Tokyo Games Show, and everyone’s making awful games; Japan is at least five years behind. Capcom is barely keeping up. I want to study how Westerners live, and make games that appeal to them.” - Keiji Inafune, head of global research and development at Capcom
These comments come in the wake of dismal annual Capcom profits- as well as some weak sales figures across the board. Since most of the biggest global hits now hail from the likes of EA and Activision, there's no doubt that several Japanese studios need to shake up their development routines and dig themselves out of the rut... but maybe Inafune ought to mind his manners until the Dead Rising 2 sales figures come in. [New York Times]
Sumo Digital's free-to-download Dr. Who adventures turned out to be a real hit, resulting in 1.6 million downloads and some half decent reviews from us. Matt Smith and Karen Gillen will return to provide their faces and voices to the project, and Steven Moffat will reprise his role as producer.
The last episode of the first series will be released by the end of the year, and I'm sure we'll have a review for you when it does.
We've featured a few deals from Good Old Games over the last few months thanks to their DRM free re-releases of classic titles... but according to their front page, they're not just out of beta. They're out of business. Apparently, members who are waiting to download their purchased games will be presented with a solution on Wednesday.
However, a Polish business forum contains a mysterious missive from GOG's co-founder (via ShackNews). Michał Kiciński mentions a press conference dated for this Wednesday with a suspicious translated message: "Information about this soon on GOG.com (please do not panic after reading the information contained there:)"... which suggests that this whole thing may well be a publicity stunt to launch their next venture. As much as we like them, we hope that they weren't willing to deny their members to their games collections over a weak bit of publicity. We'll keep an eye on the situation.