Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The Christmas Toy

Christmas 1986 my parents gave me an Omnibot MkII (replete with 'ejecting' cassette deck), by Tomy, along with an assortment of Transformers and Zoids toys! To this day it remains one of my most cherished holiday memories! Therefore, whilst watching The Gadget Show on five (a UK-based commercial television network), it was with some amusement that I learned of Takara Tomy's latest addition to its burgeoning Omnibot family! i-SOBOT!

i-SOBOT, looking not unlike Transformers Decepticon Shockwave sans weaponry and alternate mode, retails for a hefty £200 and, inflationary factors aside, matches the original Omnibot's price tag! Not exactly an impulse purchase at the best of times let alone during a serious economic recession! Yet, how could I resist buying an i-SOBOT for £100 and adding Meccano's Spykee to my Amazon order too? Keep your eyes peeled for future robotic antics in my Flickr photostream!

This is my final post of 2008 (I can be found on Twitter)! May I take this opportunity to thank all my readers and sponsors for their continued support. Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a Festive Festivus. I hope that 2008 was a good year for you and that 2009 will be even better. I'll be back in the New Year...

Rudolph's Rustic Reindeer

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Review of the Year 2008

An irreverent Review of the Year. And the prizes go to:

*Web - Twitter. There's so many reasons! Join now and see for yourself! Runners up: Adobe AIR and RSS.

*Application - Adobe Photoshop CS4. Tabs! Runners up: Boxee and Flash CS4.

*Gadget - iPod touch. A paradigm shift and the future of portable gaming! Runners up: Nintendo Wii and PlayTV.

*Video Game - Valkyria Chronicles (PS3). Runners up: Mario Kart (Wii) and LittleBigPlanet (PS3).

*Album - Out of Control (Girls Aloud) Runners up: Chasing Lights (The Saturdays) and Circus (Britney Spears).

*Single - The Promise (Girls Aloud). Runners up: Take A Bow (Rihanna) and Up (The Saturdays).

*Movie - Wall-E. Runners up: HellBoy II: The Golden Army and Batman: The Dark Knight.

*Blu-ray (formerly DVD) - Sleeping Beauty. Runners up: Wall-E and The Incredible Hulk.

*Television Drama - Dead Set. Runners up: Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

*Television Sci-Fi - The Big Bang Theory. OK! It's a wonderfully written sitcom about a group of geeks obsessed with Doctor Who, Star Trek and Halo. Runners up: Doctor Who and Torchwood.

*Merchandise - Star Wars New Millennium Falcon. Even better than the real thing! Runners up: Doctor Who Classics and Transformers Crossovers.

You should follow me on twitter here.

Friday, 12 December 2008

The Watchmen aren't Home Alone on PlayStation

As predicted in The Sunday Times' ingear section, Sony's PlayStation Home is now in Open Beta and can be freely discussed! I can't compare PlayStation Home with Microsoft's New Xbox Experience (NXE) as I don't have access to an Xbox 360! Lets not dwell on minor technicalities!

My initial impression of PlayStation Home is favourable despite the inherent danger that Sony's answer to Second Life is nothing more than a walled garden promoting the vertically integrated company's products and little else! Such churlishness aside, I'm confident that this won't be the case in the mid-to-long term.

The latest trailer for the highly anticipated (an understatement to be sure) The Watchmen movie premièred on PlayStation Home this week! I have an acute interest in this adaptation as I interviewed The Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons for an audio documentary I made at Bournemouth University in 1995. At the time there was speculation that Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton would be undertaking directing chores and I asked Dave Gibbons what his thoughts were? Dave, unsurprisingly, welcomed both! It would be interesting to ask him, again, now!

From a social networking perspective. PlayStation Home affords the perfect platform for virtual Tweet-Ups or Tweet Meets! I've already met several Twitter peeps and played games in the bowling alley! And I welcome the facility that games such as FIFA 09, Resistance 2 and Call of Duty: World at War can be launched from within PlayStation Home (PSN members must each own a copy of the game).

I can foresee Sony BMG Music superstars Britney and Beyoncé performing virtual stadium concerts on PlayStation Home.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

PlayStation Home Open

Highly Anticipated Service Open For All PLAYSTATION 3 Users

Tokyo, Foster City, London, December 10, 2008 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) today announced that its highly anticipated PlayStation®Home Beta service for PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) will become available for all PS3 users around the world *1 on December 11, 2008. Following the successful completion of the closed beta service, PlayStation Home’s open beta service will continue to evolve with new features and functionality.

PlayStation Home is a ground-breaking 3D social gaming community available on PS3 that allows users to interact, communicate and share gaming experiences. By leveraging the power of PS3, PlayStation Home delivers overwhelming visual graphics and rich gaming social experiences only possible on the PS3 platform. Within PlayStation Home, users can create and customize their own unique avatars and explore the virtual community in real time where they can communicate freely through text or voice chat. PlayStation Home users will not only be able to enjoy variety of entertainment content such as mini-games, videos and special events along with their friends, but will also be able to create their own community by using the “Club*2” feature to create clubs with other PlayStation Home users who share the same interests. PlayStation Home also allows groups of users to launch directly into their favourite online games together from PlayStation Home.

PlayStation Home, available as a free download*3 starting December 11, will launch directly from the PlayStation Home icon on the PlayStation®Network column of XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) on PS3. Users will be able to experience basic features and services of PlayStation Home, free of charge*4. PlayStation Home will allow open interaction among users, business partners and SCE, and will evolve with additional features including dedicated game spaces, special events and exclusive themed items, to further enrich the entertainment experience on the PS3 platform.

“PlayStation Home is truly a promising network community service on the PlayStation platform, made possible with the powerful combination of PS3's overwhelming computational power and PlayStation Network that covers many countries around the globe,” said Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, SCE. “We are committed to providing PS3 users with exciting gaming experiences with PlayStation Home and together with our partners and users, expand the new world of interactive entertainment as we move forward.”

For users accessing PlayStation Home in the Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) regions, themed virtual environments will be available to explore. Starting with a themed Far Cry 2 space, PlayStation Home will offer game inspired environments that allow people to discuss the specific games, plan strategies and access content and clues that will enhance the gaming experience. The number of gaming environments such as this will regularly increase, with spaces for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune™, Warhawk™, Motorstorm and SOCOM following very soon. SCEE is working with leading publishers such as: Electronic Arts, UBISOFT, Midway, Sega and Atari to create engaging environments that will provide users with an on-going gaming experience.

“We are very excited to be bringing PlayStation Home to Europe and the PAL territories, offering users an interactive, social, gaming experience,” said Daniel Hill, Home Service Manager, SCEE. “PlayStation Home is unique to anything else in the gaming world and by partnering with both global and regional gaming and non-gaming brands, we are able to offer exciting and entertaining content that will enhance the PlayStation experience.”

SCEE today also announced the first partnerships with some of the world’s most respected lifestyle brands for the Open Beta. Fashion leader Diesel, contemporary furniture designers Ligne Roset, energy drink Red Bull, film studio Paramount Pictures and video content providers Hexus TV and Eurogamer are the first on board. They will offer resident’s virtual clothing for their avatar, virtual furniture for their PlayStation Home apartments, exclusive video content and a virtual flying challenge: the Red Bull Air Race.

Visitors and residents will be able to explore PlayStation Home with their avatar character and, thanks to Diesel, avatars can look great from the start with Diesel offering the latest men’s and women’s designer avatar clothing, with items ranging from free of charge to €1.50. So for those visiting PlayStation Home, they can dress their avatars in the latest jeans and jacket prior to getting out and about.

On the home front, PlayStation®Home gives everyone their own apartment to spend time in and entertain friends - who will now be able relax on exclusive Ligne Roset furniture. At the virtual store, people will be able to choose from a selection of the most popular Ligne Roset designs, including the iconic Togo and Facett upholstery collections. It will be possible to personalise furniture by selecting from a wide selection of fabrics and leathers allowing a unique and individual look. This is an opportunity to get acquainted with Ligne Roset’s cutting edge designs created by some of Europe’s most talented designers.

As the very first consumer brand space, Red Bull has created the Red Bull Island where visitors to the Island can interact and take part in many of Red Bull’s unique events. Initially there will be the opportunity to get inside the cockpit of a Red Bull Air Race plane and compete against the PlayStation community. The real-world Red Bull Air Race World Championship has become a global phenomenon in just four years, attracting millions of spectators. Now those spectators can leave the stands, become a pilot and tackle the Red Bull Island course themselves. The Red Bull Island will continue to expand, adding new and exciting content in early 2009.

Taking full advantage of the PlayStation Home Theatre, SCEE has partnered with various content providers to enhance the cinematic experience. Offering a wide range of content, the PlayStation Home Theatre will provide lifestyle technology programming from Hexus TV, gaming content from Eurogamer and exclusive film content from Paramount Pictures. Starting with the release of the highly anticipated film, Watchmen, Paramount Pictures International will use PlayStation®Home to promote its latest films. Initially, PlayStation®Home residents will be able to view an exclusive video greeting from Watchmen Director Zack Snyder as well as the latest Watchmen trailer. A selection of virtual Watchmen merchandise e.g. T-Shirts with the smiley face logo, Doomsday clocks and character statues, will also be available in the New Year, ahead of an exclusive Q & A event where cast and filmmakers will meet selected press and competition winners fans within the Watchmen themed environment.

PlayStation Home is exclusive to PS3, free to download and easy to join. It’s the ultimate online community – a place where you can meet friends, try the latest games, hear new music, watch videos, relax in the apartment of your dreams and much, much more. With more and more spaces being created and partners like Diesel, Ligne Roset and Red Bull coming on board, the PlayStation Home experience is just getting started.

SCE will vigorously promote the expansion of the world of PS3 by introducing new services that will open up new possibilities and enjoyment in interactive entertainment.

*1 PlayStation Home will not be available in some regions.
*2 To be a “Clubhouse” owner, user will need to buy the entitlement to run the club.
*3 When the service is available, PlayStation Home icon will appear after booting/ re-booting the PS3 system. To enjoy PlayStation Home, users will need broadband network connection and PlayStation Network account in addition to the PS3 system.
*4 Some content and services are charged.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

GO!VIEW 'give-away' contest

To celebrate the launch of GO!VIEW on PSP, which is currently showing Universal's The Bourne Identity and House. GO!VIEW and myself are offering several lucky readers a chance to win some seriously cool prizes including Bourne and House t-shirts, Heroes clocks and limited edition comics!

To enter for a chance of winning one of these prizes, just answer this simple question. How many steps are there to registering at Please post your answer in comments!

The competition closes December 31st 2008 and the winners will be randomly selected by me. My decision will be final! Good luck.

Special thanks to GO!VIEW for supplying the competition prizes. Sign up for GO!VIEW, and trial it free for a month! PSP. More than just gaming...