Friday, 19 July 2013

PAX Australia, Day One

PAX Australia has started with a bang, as thousands of video gaming fans descended on the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds in windy weather to indulge in their beloved hobby.   The show gave punters a chance to socialise with other like minded enthusiasts, dress up as their favourite characters, compete in video game tournaments, and view the latest offerings from big publishers and independent developers.  

It was also a chance for the big names in the industry to present panels on the important issues in pop culture and gaming.  It had appearances from studios such as Ubisoft and Microsoft, as well as Internet gaming-personalities such as the popular gaming-comedy team behind Rooster Teeth.  Whatever your game was, there as one thing for certain: this show rocked!

Inside the exhibition room, avid gamers could check out the latest big titles coming for release in the near future.  This author was privy to some amazing exclusive game play demonstrations for some great looking independent games, as well as the upcoming Ubisoft titles Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Watch_Dogs and the Caribbean themed Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.  Sega also showcased their upcoming strategy game Total War: Rome II in an extravagant Roman themed tent display.

There was a demonstration of the hotly anticipated Oculus Rift, as well as a displaying of the upcoming Xbox One; confirming to us exactly how big it was (honestly, it looks the same size as the Xbox 360), and what we will be able to plug in the back of it:

PAX Australia was also the venue of choice for the League of Legends tournament, which kicked off today. The winners that come out of this competition will be heading to Gamescom in Germany for some serious cash in the grand finals.

Gamers could also browse lengthy merchandise stores with an awesome array of paraphernalia; perhaps you have always wanted the Portal gun, or the cleaver from Gears of War, or a figurine of Miranda from Mass Effect?  Well, it was all here, provided you had a wallet or credit card that could take the punishment.

In one corner of the Expo, players could take a trip down memory lane with a fully functioning piece of gaming hardware from each generation, all the way back to the days of the Commodore 64, Amiga and ColecoVision.

The event also hosted a complete section dedicate to just tabletop gaming, including sections for both new and vintage board games, as well as insanely popular card games, such as Magic: The Gathering (which has recently just had a digital edition released: Magic the Gathering: Duals of the Planeswalker 2014).

If I had one complaint, it was that the exhibition room was too packed, and food catering was too sparse.  In addition, we waited in line for an hour for a popular panel before deciding we had enough and left.  In that case, people weren't even being ushered into the hall at the designated start times, and people were becoming agitated.  However, as is the case with these events, the organisers usually learn from their first gig and hopefully use the experience to ensure next year's event runs much smoother.

PAX Australia continues into the night, and will be firing on all cylinders as it continues throughout the weekend.  If you missed out, take heart because the show has been confirmed to return in 2014.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Sega to Showcase Total War: Rome II at PAX Aus

Sega has detailed its upcoming Total War: Rome II booth at PAX Aus in Melbourne, confirming that 3 members of the Creative Assembly development team will present some fascinating sessions, including gameplay of the upcoming game in action.  

The team, which will be comprised of lead battle designer Jamie Ferguson, community manager Craig Laycock, and P.R. manager Rebecca Attard, will also be taking questions from the audience.  The best part though?  All attendees will be given a sample of the David Gibbins novel "Total War Rome: Destroy Carthage".

Total War: Rome II will be marching onto PC on September 3rd.

Friday, 12 July 2013

State of Decay rated R18+

Undead Labs' survival horror game State of Decay, which was previously refused classification by Australia's Classification Board, has been re-rated R18+ after being resubmitted with minor changes to alter any references of "stimulants" to "vitamins" instead.  

This is a bittersweet moment for those of us who would prefer not to have our games censored in such odd ways, especially when it was all contextual in the first place - If I'm running for my life from zombie hordes, I wonder how effective vitamins would actually be in the real world.  It's also a bit strange that I can watch a television series about a high school teacher manufacturing meth amphetamines from a mobile drug lab, but am not allowed to see any textual reference to "stimulants" in a game.

State of Decay currently has no release date for Australia.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Pokémon Tournament Time and Date Confirmed

We previously announced that this event would be held at PAX Australia in Melbourne, but now Nintendo have confirmed exact dates and times for their upcoming Pokémon Video Game Championship Nationals tournament.  Winners at PAX Aus will get to compete in the big Pokémon Video Game World Championship in Vancouver Canada!

From Nintendo's website:
Masters Division: Born in 1997 or earlier
  • When: Saturday 20th July
  • Registration: 10am – 12pm
  • Competition: 12pm – 6pm
Junior Division: Born in 2002 or later
  • When: Sunday 21st July
  • Registration: 10am – 11am
  • Competition: 11am – 2pm
Senior Division: Born in 1998, 1999, 2000, or 2001
  • When: Sunday 21st July
  • Registration: 2pm – 3pm
  • Competition: 3pm – 6pm

Hotline Miami Developer Criticises Australian Classification Board Speed

Looks like the Australian Classification Board (ACB) is causing trouble for our New Zealand neighbours, at least according to one developer; Indie title Hotline Miami for the PS3 has had its release delayed in NZ because the Australian Classification Board took too long to rate it, and by the time they did it was rated too high.  You see, if a game is rated as "Mature" or lower in Australia, then the game can be released immediately in New Zealand without it being subjected to their own classification process.  In this case, Hotline Miami was rated MA15+.

Developer Nigel Lowrie told Gameplanet website that “The Australian rating took forever and ended up being too high for NZ.  We hope to get it submitted to New Zealand soon."

This should act as a reminder to developers of violent games that Australia has a very strict classification board, and that they should consider submitting their games to New Zealand simultaneously.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

CD Projekt RED confident The Witcher 3 wont be Refused Classification

CD Projekt RED is confident that their upcoming action role playing game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt won't be rejected by Australia's Classification Board.  The Witcher 2 was previously refused classification due to depictions of a sexual act that fell outside contextual rules specified by the Board, forcing the developers to re-submit a modified gimped version for us Australian adults who are obviously too fragile to handle these things.  

Agnieszka Szostak told’s Tim Colwill:
The fact that there’s a higher rating now available in Australia might potentially mean we won’t be forced to do any changes to the game to release it there and that’s a good news of course for both us and Australian gamers.  But we’ll know that for sure once the game will be sent for rating.  We don’t create the game with any specific rating in mind.  Whether those are meaningful choices, deep relationships between characters, sex scenes, bloody combat or curses. If we think they are needed there to make the game world living, breathing and believable they will be there.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be casting a spell on PC and next-generation consoles sometime in the future.

Monday, 8 July 2013

New Releases: Week of July 8th

It doesn't matter what console you have, because this week we have a little something for every gaming market:
  • Civilization V: Brave New World (12th July): PC
  • Mario and Luigi Dream Team Bros. (13th July): Nintendo 3DS
  • NCAA Football 14 (9th July): Xbox 360 and PS3
  • Pacific Rim: The Video Game (12th July): Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MSP

AFL Live 2 Announced for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Hey footy fans, are you ready to lead your team to glory and win the Premiership flag? Tru Blu has announced that it will be developing AFL Live 2 for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, and will be published by Home Entertainment Suppliers later in the year.  The game will allow every budding virtual coach to take their team to victory in single-player and multi-player arenas.  

The game includes licenses for more than 60 AFL teams; including the TAC Cup, the VFL, the AFL, and also some extras from the Big V, the Indigenous All-Stars, and the International Cup.  While you can use the game's Footy Factory to craft your own footballers, it will also include over 200 real-life modelled footballers currently in the league.  Make sure to keep your ears open throughout the match, as your game will receive expert commentary from the professional Dennis Cometti and Tom Harley.

In an exciting new feature, AFL Live 2 will allow players to manage their teams throughout an entire 15 year career that takes them from the TAC Cup all the way through to the Peter Jackson VFL and into the Toyota AFL Premiership Season. Players can manage how the footballers in their team are trained and gain experience, while also dealing with sponsorships, staffing, tribunals, emails, drafting and trading.

Managing Director Sebastian Giompaolo states:
The demand for a new AFL game on Playstation®3 and Xbox 360® has been staggering. We have listened to our fans and improved the gameplay, by improving your ability to out-manoeuvre your opponents, and selecting meaningful team tactics that give you control of your team. In addition the comprehensive 15-year career mode, new gameplay and new additions will allow AFL and sports fans alike the chance to experience all the action of the AFL from the best seat in the house
If you are keen to one day live out your fantasy of unleashing mighty torpedo goals from outside 50, be sure to keep an eye on the latest AFL Live 2 news via Tru Blu's Facebook page.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Computer Games Bootcamp Ready for Action

The Monash Computer Games Bootcamp will commence tomorrow morning at the University of Monash's Clayton campus in Melbourne, with the event running until Friday 12th.  Registrations and check-ins are from 9:30 am sharp, followed by a whole range of gaming tournaments, exhibitions, and discussion panels that should not be missed.  

The Monash Computer Games Bootcamp was first started in 2009, and covers a range of topics including multimedia development, digital imaging, games development, sound production, 3D, "Machinima" and Flash animation.

This year the boot-camp has support and appearances from Autodesk, Bandai Namco Partners, Konami, Microsoft, Mindscape, the television series New Game Plus, New Scientist, Team Immunity, and Thermaltake.

If you are interested in a career in video games, and I know that you are, be sure to check out the action.  However, a LiveStream broadcast is available online for those that cannot attend.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

League of Legends Tournament to be Massive

The Australian Cyber League has confirmed that an outstanding 845 teams have registered for the upcoming League of Legends Oceanic Season 3 Championship.  As previously reported, these teams must now face off in online tournaments between 6th July and 14th July.  From this tournament, only four winning teams will be chosen to compete at PAX in Melbourne where cash prizes max out at $20,000.  Winners at PAX will also proceed to the Season 3 Wildcard event held at Gamescom in Cologne.

All team captains are urged to keep an eye on their email inbox for confirmation letters between now and the beginning of the online tournament starting this weekend.