Wednesday 29 July 2009

Space Invaders evolves for iPhone

In a week that witnessed the arrival of The Secret of Monkey Island: SE and Resident Evil 4 on the iPhone and iPod touch. Along comes the video game that started it all - for me at least - the Granddaddy of shooters. Space Invaders. Triumphantly returning in a newly-evolved incarnation; Taito splices Space Invader and OS 3.0 DNA to create a species surpassing spellbinder.

At only £2.99 Taito's Space Invaders Infinity Gene is a scrolling shooter that uses Space Invaders characters, but incorporates shooter elements from RayForce, RayStorm, RayCrisis games, and RPG elements.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene embraces a new OS 3.0 feature that allows applications to access your iTunes music library on the iPhone/iPod touch. Doing so, not only lets you listen to the latest Black Eyed Peas' single or relive childhood dreams of being The Last Starfighter. An algorithm creates a unique level design, which provides, potentially, infinite replay value. I played a level listening to "Boom Boom Pow" and the screen was transformed into retro razzle-dazzle with Tron neon as icing on the cake. No hint of slowdown whatsoever.

For all the abundant technological prowess, on display here, there's a fly in the ointment! For some inexplicable reason my iPod touch (2G) prompts me to repeatedly reboot due to lack of memory! Hopefully this memory management issue will be fixed in a future update that also ushers in so-called "augmented reality" with OS 3.1. Just in time for the rumoured iPod touch (3G) this upcoming gift giving season.

Quite possibly one of the best video gaming experiences on any platform: Space Invaders Infinity Gene should be on every video gamers "must-have" list.

***** out of *****

Monday 20 July 2009

New Doctor Who costume revealed & companion named

Production started today on the new series of Doctor Who in which viewers will meet the Eleventh Doctor and his companion for the very first time.

The latest incarnation of the iconic character is played by Matt Smith (Party Animals). Upon arriving on set in Cardiff, for his first day of filming, Smith commented: “I feel very privileged and proud to be part of this iconic show. The scripts are brilliant and working alongside Karen, Steven and the rest of the crew is an inspiration because their work ethic and passion for the show is so admirable. I’m excited about the future and all the brilliant adventures I get to go on as the Doctor.”

The Doctor's new costume evokes Patrick Troughton's 'Cosmic Hobo' and Professor Henry Jones, Sr from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade! I can foresee Cybermen, Daleks and Yeti in the Eleventh Doctor's future...

Aside from an updated wardrobe. The Doctor will also have a new companion - Amy Pond (any connection with 1990s video game character James Pond is purely coincidental) - played by Karen Gillan, who meets the Time Lord in episode one of the new series.

The new series follows on from three Doctor Who specials starring David Tennant which will transmit later this year. Early next year Tennant passes the iconic baton, AKA Sonic Screwdriver, to Smith.

About the series Steven Moffat commented: “And here it is, the big moment - the new Doctor, and his new best friend. And here's me, with the job I wanted since I was seven. 40 years to here! If I could go back in time and tell that little boy that one day all this would happen, he'd scream, call for his Mum and I'd be talking to you now from a prison cell in 1969. So probably best not then. Matt and Karen are going to be incredible, and Doctor Who is going to come alive on Saturday nights in a whole new way - and best of all, somewhere out there, a seven-year-old is going to see them, fall in love, and start making a forty year plan...”

The actors' smiles are reassuring; I'm looking forward to Steven Moffat's tenure at the helm of Doctor Who! As in the past, a change in production team will, hopefully, witness an updated opening title sequence, theme (a fly in the ointment since the series triumphant return in 2005) and a new TARDIS console.

Thursday 16 July 2009

The Man in the Iron Mask

Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke grace the cover of Entertainment Weekly's second annual San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) preview issue!

A few months ago I started renting films from LOVEFiLM. The ideal means to 'try before I buy' and to see films that I may have otherwise overlooked sans sky movies subscription since moving to Freesat+.

Iron Man was one such rental. And, to my delight, the film was far superior to what I'd expected, which was very little in the spirit of full disclosure! Robert Downey Jr. was most charismatic in the lead role of Tony Stark. So, it's with glee that I eagerly await Iron Man 2! Especially with the addition of Scarlett Johansson playing the Black Widow. Presumably providing romantic trammels for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Stark.

I'd love to get my hands on a copy of Entertainment Weekly.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Download droidMAKER for free!

On June 29th Michael Rubin made his critically-acclaimed book droidMAKER: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution available as a free download!

Twitter proved its invaluable credentials as people tweeted links to the news, which was broken by Binary Bonsai. I dutifully played my part by retweeting too. However, it was while exchanging emails with Michael, that it was decided a belated blog post would be beneficial too! Especially for readers that do not follow me on Twitter.

From an insiders perspective: droidMAKER breathtakingly chronicles the rise of Lucasfilm, paradigm shifting digital production methodologies, the genesis of PIXAR and the legacy of Star Wars! To find out more, please read Michael Rubin's original blog post here.

I am providing the following download links to the "3 Acts" as a courtesy. The files maybe removed, without notice, at the discretion of the author:

Act 1: Intro plus Chapters 1-6 (PDF - 1.8MB)
Act 2: Chapters 7-17 (PDF - 3.7MB)
Act 3: Chapters 18-26, Index (PDF - 4.3MB)

Not only for Star Wars fans, but anyone with an interest in media production, I'd recommend purchasing droidMAKER from Amazon! You won't regret it.

You should follow me on twitter here.

Thursday 9 July 2009

mimobot® Maul 'give-away' contest

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Star Wars Episode 1 releasing to massive and adoring crowds, we're proud to present the dual-bladed Iridonian Sith Lord, Darth Maul! The protege of Darth Sidious preceding Darth Tyrannus and Darth Vader, Maul and his iconic soundtrack immediately became a favorite of fans throughout the Star Wars world - at least until Obi-Wan Kenobi cut him in half and dropped him down a pit.

Mimoco – the Boston-based designer toy studio/consumer electronics brand responsible for the world’s only character-based designer USB flash drives – and myself are offering one lucky reader a chance to win Darth Maul in his fantastic mimobot incarnation!

"Tatooine is sparsely populated. If the trace is correct, I will find them quickly, Master."

Required entry details
To enter for a chance of winning this really cool prize. Browse mimoco's range of Star Wars characters and tell me which character(s) you would like to see released next via comment on this post and subscribe by RSS to this blog.

Optional extra entry on Twitter
Follow me on Twitter. Copy and paste the following into Twitter: "RT @johnhood: @mimobot® Maul 'give-away' contest: #starwars". Please tweet me and/or post a second comment.

Optional extra entry via blog post
Blog about this 'give-away' contest with a link back here.

The competition is open to everyone and closes August 31st 2009. The winner will be randomly selected by me. My decision will be final! Good luck.

Special thanks to mimoco for supplying the competition prize. See the entire mimobot® range here. Follow Mimobot and mimobotMichelle on Twitter.

You should follow me on twitter here.

Thursday 2 July 2009

HBO's True Blood on FX

On July 17th HBO's Golden Globe-winning series True Blood exclusively premieres on UK television network FX.

True Blood is an American television drama series created and produced by Alan Ball (American Beauty and Six Feet Under). It is based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris.

After watching episodes 1 & 2 on the preview DVD included in FX's press pack: True Blood is best described as a darkly comic soap noir in the vain of Twin Peaks and Six Feet Under.

True Blood's not for the faint-hearted or easily offended! Anyone expecting Twilight the television series should look elsewhere! However, I'll most certainly be watching the rest of the season, with avid interest, once it's available on Blu-ray disc. Buffy maybe long off our television screens. But, vampires outlive even her epic feats!

Sans FX? Download True Blood S1 on iTunes here.

On Twitter? Follow TrueBloodFXUK for all the latest news.

You should follow me on twitter here.