Wednesday 28 April 2010

Glee's social media gleekery

E4's Misfits was a game-changer! The producers embraced transmedia storytelling from the get-go! Read the Six to Start case study here.

Fans of the critically acclaimed US television drama Mad Men had previously leveraged the power of social media and created fictional Twitter accounts for the Drapers and creative folk at Sterling Cooper. But, the network baulked at the idea and tried to close the profiles and blogs down, which was, ultimately, counterintuitive and self-defeating. The fans won a reprieve once the studio understood the positive benefits of raising awareness via the social media space. When there's goodwill, it's a win-win.

It's no surprise to see hit series Glee (Popular meets High School Musical) utilising social media:

Official Glee on Twitter

Official Glee Cast on Twitter
Cory Monteith
Lea Michelle
Amber Riley
Harry Shum, Jr.
Chris Colfer
Naya Rivera
Jenna Ushkowitz
Dianna Agron
Dijon Talton
Kevin McHale
Mark Salling
Matthew Morrison

Official Glee Characters on Twitter
Quinn Fabray
Rachel Berry
Sue Sylvester
Kurt Hummel

Official Glee Cast on Tumblr
Harry Shum Jr.
Dianna Agron
Matthew Morrison

Sue Sylvester is a compulsory follow as suggested by @petehotchkiss. This list is by no means definitive. If I've missed any, please put them in comments or @johnhood, and I'll update. Thanks in advance.

E4, an independent commercial network in the UK, even went as far as using #glee4 during television trails for Glee S1. That's a masterful mashup of old and new media marketing.

Purchase Glee merchandise from, and iTunes.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Ridge Racer Accelerated for iPhone

A few months ago I purchased Ridge Racer Accelerated (iTunes) from the App Store and was disappointed by the control scheme and DLC - so much so that I hastily deleted the game! Aside from PlayStation nostalgia, there was nothing to recommend this mobile port!

Namco has released a significant free update that redresses the issues with the control scheme and has improved the game's responsiveness.

Now if only Namco would rethink its DLC strategy and eschew a nickel and dime philosophy. Otherwise, this is the Ridge Racer we knew and loved on the PlayStation in the palm of your hand.

Gamers looking for a richer racing experience should consider EA's Need for Speed: Shift (iTunes).

Friday 23 April 2010

Avatar: Blu-ray disc review

This afternoon I forgo sunshine to watch James Cameron's Avatar, which arrived courtesy of those fine folk at

How would Cameron's ocular opus translate to home cinema and the limitations of 2D? Rather well as it, unsurprisingly, turns out!

No still image will ever do the transfer, framed in the director's preferred 1.78:1 aspect ratio, justice! Colour, contrast and deep, deep, blacks culminate in a striking image that is the new benchmark for 1080p. There are no noticeable motion artefacts, which is most likely due to the high bit rate (Avatar's footprint almost takes up an entire 50GB disc). I didn't see any artefacts on my Panasonic VIERA LCD TX-37LZD800. Your mileage may vary.

Then there's the glorious DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mix to underscore the abundant eye candy. By turns nuanced, subtle and bombastic when the action goes into overdrive. This bests Terminator Salvation's surround workout, which I use as a reference disc when showcasing the merits of Blu-ray to family and friends. Plaudits to Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL), a creative partner on James Cameron's most technologically ambitious project to date, and THX.

OK, there are no extras on this disc, but James Cameron hasn't pretended that this would ever be the definitive release. Double dipping, later this year, for the win.

James Cameron raised the bar on home video with his lauded special editions of The Abyss and Aliens (even the booklets, masterclasses in film production written by the man himself, were worth the price of admission alone): in doing so creating a cottage industry that has been exploited by less visionary directors.

As in digital 3D cinemas across the globe. Avatar's Blu-ray disc bow is reference material and will sell complete home cinema systems at savvy retail locations worldwide - even without the allure of 3D or the impending 2010 FIFA World Cup. However, make sure that your home cinema is properly calibrated before returning to Pandora!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Chaos Rings only for iPhone

Square Enix has released Chaos Rings (iTunes) a new IP exclusively developed from the ground up for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

About Chaos Rings, from Square Enix:
"The story revolves around a tournament where combatants fight for their lives: the Ark Arena. Upon choosing a pair of characters, one male and one female, you will then have to fight against the other pairs. Each pair has their own story, and the truth behind the Ark Arena will not be revealed until each story is completed."

I've only played this opulent and luxurious RPG for a few hours and it evokes the excitement of playing Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation. This is a premium franchise that redefines the RPG genre on a mobile device. Chaos Rings is a sign of things to come! Bring on Kingdom Hearts...

To celebrate Chaos Rings. Square Enix has slashed the price of the following titles for a limited time:

Final Fantasy I (iTunes) £3.99
Final Fantasy II (iTunes) £3.99
Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes - Encore (iTunes) £4.99
Hills and Rivers Remain (iTunes) £2.99
Sliding Heroes (iTunes) 59p
Vanguard Storm (iTunes) £2.39
Crystal Defenders (iTunes) £3.49

Wednesday 14 April 2010

International iPad launch delayed until May!

Apple has just announced a delay to the international launch of the company's popular iPad, originally planned for a late April release in the UK.

The company has sent out the following press release blaming unprecedented demand in the US for the delay.

"Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April."

"Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month, until the end of May. We will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders on Monday, 10 May. We know that many international customers waiting to buy an iPad will be disappointed by this news, but we hope they will be pleased to learn the reason - the iPad is a runaway success in the US thus far."

Didn't see that coming. Not.

Monday 12 April 2010

Entertainment Weekly Strikes Back

Has it been 30 years since Imperial Walkers first strode across alien snowscapes and Darth Vader's revelation, which became one of Hollywood's defining moments?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Entertainment Weekly has published a special commemorative issue.

If that's not enough to satiate the most ardent fans amongst you. The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (Hardcover), foreward by Ridley Scott, is released in the Fall.

Pre-order from or

Thursday 8 April 2010

iPhone OS 4.0: Game Center a DS & PSP killer?

Apple has revealed upcoming features that will be included in this summer's iPhone OS 4.0 update, at a special event, today.

Amongst the 100 new features announced: multitasking, Folders, iBooks for iPhone and iPod touch, Game Center and iAd.

Game Center maybe the most exciting with Apple crowned as the new king of portables (a view I've extolled for sometime)! This will leverage social networking and prove difficult for both Nintendo and Sony to combat in the mobile gaming space.

Yes, the PlayStation Network (PSN) is available on the PSP, but Apple's vertical integration is peerless, and Nintendo's DS looks dated in comparison no matter what Reggie Fils-Aime would have you believe.

Although my iPod touch (2G) won't benefit from multitasking in OS 4.0, I'll be sticking with it as my money is going on an iPad.