Thursday, 27 May 2010

Misfits returning to E4 this November

The following press release arrived in my inbox this morning. Hope I get an invite to the screener.

‘This sort of thing only happens in America...’

Filming begins on E4’s BAFTA-nominated smash hit drama series MISFITS II; so strap on your ankle tags and lock up your kids, it’s all about to kick off again.

“Misfits blazed onto the screen with a terrific sense of humour, self confidence and brio” Daily Telegraph

“..a script that fizzes with wit and invention and a charismatic cast of next generation talent” Time Out

“Misfits is funny, scary, full of emotion and character and…banter that would drop Joss Whedon from a hundred paces” Bleeding Cool

“Misfits is the most brilliantly aimed teen gang adventure there may have been on TV” London Evening Standard

Everyone’s favourite ASBO teens, Nathan (Robert Sheehan), Kelly (BAFTA-nominee Lauren Socha), Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), Alisha (Antonia Thomas) and Simon (Iwan Rheon) are back for a second series of E4’s hit comedy drama Misfits.

So to recap; a freak storm left our posse of social outcasts with slightly crap super powers; Curtis can turn back time, Kelly can read minds, Simon can turn invisible and Alisha can send people into a sexual frenzy with just one touch. Then there’s their two dead probation workers (one is buried under the local environmental monitoring station; the other stored in a freezer in the community centre). And finally, unbeknownst to the others, Nathan is trapped six feet under in a coffin, immortal and very much alive.

But it’s not just the ASBO Five who were affected by the storm. With the super-charged local townsfolk going the way of Gotham City, each week as we head back to the community centre our gang will be faced with a whole new world of weird and wild characters.

And just who IS the masked, hooded stranger who seems to be watching their every move? A force for good? An evil arch-nemesis intent on bringing about our gang’s destruction? Or just another kid in a hoodie?

The 6 x 60 min series will be produced by Clerkenwell Films (Afterlife, Persuasion) for transmission on E4 in November 2010.

Director Tom Green (Misfits I) returns to the helm along with writer Howard Overman (Misfits, Merlin), producer Kate Crowe (Misfits I) and executive producers for Clerkenwell Films Murray Ferguson and Petra Fried. The new series has been greenlit by Drama Commissioning Editor, Robert Wulff-Cochrane.

Monday, 24 May 2010

No objection! Phoenix Wright for iPhone

Capcom has released Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (iTunes) on the App Store!

Capcom has successfully brought its Mega Man, Resident Evil and Street Fighter franchises to the App Store.

Phoenix Wright continues that trend and is almost a direct port of the Nintendo DS classic - including original art assets. Capcom has rightly, in my opinion, eschewed DLC (and micropayments) by including all 5 original cases (internet connection not required) for an incontestable bargain price of £2.99.

Hopefully Capcom will release further games in the Phoenix Wright series and an iPhone exclusive in the future.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Twitter for iPhone

Yesterday Tweetie 2 was removed from the App Store following Twitter's acquisition of Atebits last month. This prompted speculation that Twitter for iPhone (AKA Tweetie 3), the free official Twitter application, would appear on the App Store imminently. According to various online sources it's still propagating on the App Store.

Will Twitter for iPhone (iTunes) witness the demise of third-party applications, particularly as Tweetie was regarded as the best Twitter client for iPhone with high profile support from celebrities?

For the record I have had a love hate relationship with Tweetie, Twitterrific and Echofun! All of which have been halfway houses.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep for PSP

Square Enix has confirmed that Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep is coming to North America and Europe this September exclusively on the PSP.

The following is an extract from the press release.

Long before Sora was chosen by his Keyblade, the worlds' safety lay in the hands of true Keyblade Masters.

Three youths — Terra, Ventus, and Aqua — have been training long and hard under Master Eraqus to prove that they, too, exhibit the Mark of Mastery.

But they will soon find themselves in the middle of a crisis affecting worlds far beyond their own — just as another Keyblade Master, Xehanort, goes mysteriously missing.

Three friends, three destinies. Everything will link back to the beginning.

An essential piece to the KINGDOM HEARTS series arrives on the PSP system: From world-renowned creator and character designer Tetsuya Nomura comes the latest installment in the beloved KINGDOM HEARTS series. The vibrant and colorful KINGDOM HEARTS world comes to life in 16:9 widescreen presentation, through stunning graphics made possible by the PSP system hardware

Disney worlds and characters new to the KINGDOM HEARTS series: Disney worlds and characters never before seen in KINGDOM HEARTS, such as Enchanted Dominion (Sleeping Beauty) and Castle of Dreams (Cinderella) will make their first appearances in KINGDOM HEARTS Birth by Sleep

Three distinct gaming experiences through the eyes of three protagonists: Unravel the mystery surrounding the origin of the KINGDOM HEARTS saga through the tales of three unique characters — Terra, Ventus and Aqua. The whole story is revealed only after playing through with all three characters

An action-packed combat system with intuitive controls: The familiar action-packed experience that KINGDOM HEARTS fans have come to embrace returns with an enhanced battle system and all-new features such as Command Styles, Command Decks, Shotlocks and Dimension Links. KINGDOM HEARTS Birth by Sleep is the most advanced KINGDOM HEARTS title to date

Four exciting multiplayer modes: Experience the excitement and fun with your friends with four brand-new multiplayer modes: Versus Mode, Arena Mode, Command Board and Rumble Racing

New game features: The North American release will include a number of new features including an extra boss, additional multiplayer options, and Crown Stickers: a reward system where players earn prizes by collecting and placing stickers into an album

An outstanding voice cast: KINGDOM HEARTS fans will surely be in for one unforgettable experience, thanks to an impressive voice cast featuring the talents of Mark Hamill, Willa Holland, Jesse McCartney, Leonard Nimoy and James Woods, among others

Looks like I may have to reinvest in a PSP if I want to play the latest instalment in the lauded Kingdom Hearts franchise. How about Kingdom Hearts for iPhone?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Gameloft's "iPhone Happy Hour" on Twitter

Gameloft is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a free iPhone game giveaway each day on Twitter!

Gameloft turns 10 years old this month, and because this is such a special event we’ve decided to launch our “iPhone Happy Hour” to celebrate with all our fans out there. What this means is that for 2 hours every day from May 10th to May 21st (except weekends), one of our iPhone/iPod touch games will be available for free! Yes, you’re reading it correctly, FREE! It’s our birthday but we’re the ones offering you presents – 10 great iPhone games!

Titles have included Castle of Magic, Ferrari GT Evolution and Chuck Norris.

Follow @Gameloft_UK to discover which game and when! I'm off to play Resident Evil Zombie Infection (iTunes).

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

May The Fourth Be With You

Happy Star Wars Day to all my readers. It's almost inconceivable that the first Star Wars movie was released over 30 years ago...

The adventures of Luke Skywalker and friends never ceases to enthrall and captivate generations of fans the world over.

For any readers remotely interested in Star Wars and/or media production, may I suggest the following books from

The Making of Star Wars
The Making of The Empire Strikes Back
Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution
Star Wars (BFI Classics)
Generation Star Wars: Inside the Fan Phenomenon

This blog is tribute to my late mother and a galaxy far, far away.

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