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Author: Darryn King
Monday, 19 May 2008
BIOSHOCK: THE MOVIE

Those Big Daddies just might get bigger. American film director Gore Verbinski, who we believe directed Mouse Hunt and apparently a few other movies about pirates or something, is set to direct the film adaptation of one of 2007’s biggest games releases, Bioshock. “Gore is an avid video gamer and true fan of Bioshock. That was extremely important to us in deciding to move forward with this project,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K Games, who happened to be holding a bulging sack with a dollar sign on it at the time.
The movie will be made by Universal Pictures, who we remember were supposed to give us Halo: The Movie this year; and John Logan (Gladiator, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) is apparently in talks to sign on as screenwriter.

BOOM BLOX

Last Friday 16 May, Activision and LucasArts held a Sydney VIP event to celebrate the upcoming Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Fracture titles.
The NL looks forward to delivering more news on these titles in future months, but gamers in want of their fix of Spielberg-endorsed action need look no further than Boom Blox. Well, actually they’ll have to look a little further, specifically to their favourite games imports site, since it’s not available in Australia yet. EA developed the game for the Wii under the guidance of the great director himself, who reportedly wanted a game he could play with his children.
The game is described as the bastard child of Tetris Blast and Jenga – yes, trust Spielberg to be behind a family-oriented title. “The game plays on the enjoyment of building and knocking down blocks, something that can appeal innately to kids and adults of all ages,” Spielberg said. Apparently, he was entranced by the Wii after playing Shigeru Miyamoto in Wii Sports Tennis at E3 in 2006, to which The NL was not invited.
Boom Blox is one of three games that Spielberg is set to oversee with EA – no reports yet on an Australian release date, or whether the game will feature Spielberg’s ‘absent father’ motif.

THE BOURNE CONSPIRACY

The upcoming High Moon Studios Bourne Conspiracy videogame will not feature the soothing voice work of Matt Damon himself. Speaking to the Boston Globe in another (wahay!) piece about video game violence, Damon explained his decision to not get involved, and revealed something of his own peculiar videogame taste: “I lobbied hard to not make a first-person-shooter game but to make it more like Myst, which was a great, interesting puzzle you tried to solve – you know, to play with his amnesia or his memory. They weren’t interested.” Now that’s naïve.

X-BOX MOVES

Just a couple of years ago, Bill Gates was downplaying the importance of the motion-sensing capabilities of the PS3 and the Wii. Well, there are increasingly louder whispers that Microsoft is desperate to get in on the waggling action. 8bitjoystick.com is confirming initial reports from MTV that Microsoft is hard at work on a project dubbed the Newton (get it-). 8bitjoystick goes on to speculate on everything from the possible price or the motion-sensing accessory (around the same price as the Wiimote), its release date (late 2008) and the range of colours it may come in (black, white and pink).
The NL contacted Microsoft for comment, but we were told that “Microsoft does not comment on speculation”, so we glassed them in the face.
8bitjoystick is also running an interview this week with an unnamed technician embedded with Microsoft, speaking candidly about 360 hardware failures and the Red Ring of Death. Okay, so 8bitjoystick is indulging in some shoddy tabloid mag-style journalism here, but for the most part the interview just confirms many gamers’ suspicions: “MS was so focused on beating Sony this cycle that the 360 was rushed to market when all indications were that it had serious flaws. The design testing was insufficient and incomplete when the product was released to production.”
The NL promises to stop ragging on the 360 starting… now.

IN-GAME ADVERTISING INEFFECTIVE

Queensland University of Technology PhD student Kerri-Ann Kuhn has found that in-game advertising – such as the billboards that you whiz past in racing games – is largely ineffective on gamers. “The problem is that there is too much already happening in the game,” she said, “so the user is concentrated on game play. As a result, there are not enough cognitive resources left to take in any advertising messages.”
It’s an insight that might decelerate the trend towards in-game advertising – it certainly provides a fascinating insight into what QUT PhD students can get away with.
But what about the shameless plugging that goes in music videogames- There must be different rules here. Guitar Hero III revived flagging (non-existent) digital sales of a certain Weezer album that came out in 1994 – and Def Leppard is probably hoping for something similar, having revealed recently that their tracks will be appearing in the next Guitar Hero title.
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