Friday, 14 December 2012

New Post Alert!

I've not had much chance to do public writing of late, however I have just posted a new article here on Blast Process.

At the link you'll read about my last 3 console game purchases and you'll also find out which one is taking up most of my attention.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

New Podcasts

I've finally got the last two week's worth of podcasts uploaded after some editing and hosting issues.

The first is a slightly more casual offering including information from my journey to Nottingham for the GameCity festival, while the second is back to the usual podcast format with our ebayenetta game and the weekly 'Top 3' segment.

To download the podcasts head to this link or download them via the Blast Process iTunes page.


Friday, 9 November 2012

HTML5: External Article Posted

In my last post I mentioned that I had typed up an article for a creative arts website. Well folks, it is now online!

It was for an organisation called 'Crossover', and you can read my article at this link. Interested in what HTML5 brings to the web development table? Give it a read!

My thanks to the guys at Crossover for letting me write for them. I've already started article number 2!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Updating you, with Updates

Phew! It's been a fairly busy time!

So what have I been up too?

First of all the rest of the Eurogamer videos made it on to BlastProcess.com. They can all be found on the site, however I've started to combine all the videos into one handy post with all the content we captured during the Expo, which I'll link once online.

Next, XCOM. I have been having so much fun playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown on my PC, so much so that I created an online diary tracking Team Blast Process progress through my save file. At time of writing I've written two updates, entry #1 and entry #2.

I've been asked to write technology based articles for a new creative arts website, which will be online soon. Again, I'll post the link once it is online.

I'm now back to selling games too, as I've recently changed jobs.

New podcasts are now online, including the Eurogamer-featured one. All of our podcasts can be found via iTunes or at this link.

Last week Ben and I attended the GameCity festival in Nottingham. It was a week long festive, of which we attended one day of. You can hear all about our exploits in Nottingham, including playing a game while on a trampoline, on the latest podcast, which has been delayed coming online due to editing issues (should be online this evening, and for a third time in one blog post I shall post a link once it's online).

Hmmm, seems as though I've done a poor job of updating you all! Links will be posted in due course. In the meantime I'm still working on a piece regarding videogame reviews (which I still require research for, so if you have a few moments to spare...please please please check out this link). I've also started a new technology piece and I'll be continuing my XCOM diary.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Blast Process: Videogame Reviews: Your Comments Needed!

Blast Process: Videogame Reviews: Your Comments Needed!: Do you still read videogame reviews? I'm writing a piece regarding reviews of games. Do they still have the power to make you go out and m...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Eurogamer Overload!

Wow, that was a lot of fun!

Even though a week or so has passed since heading down to the capital for 2 full days of gaming at the Eurogamer Expo we've still got lots of content over at BlastProcess.com to hit the internet.

Below is a little bit of a recap for the time being of content we have online at the moment:

First of all I wrote up a piece talking about the titles I managed to play during Day One, which you can find here. I'll hopefully be revisiting some of those titles in the coming few weeks. The write up for Day Two will be online in the next couple of days.

We managed to grab a few quick interviews with various people during the show. At the time of writing we have the following online now to watch:

Derrick (SEGA PR: The Cave)
Chris Wynn (Producer: Gears of War Judgment)
Simon Watts (Creative Director: Company of Heroes 2)
Sam Deans (Turtlebeach)

And finally (well, for the time being) here is a video of me interviewing Jason Wright from Silent Studios. Nice guy, shame about the not so nice zombies who follow him around. Keep watching until the end and you'll see why I'm lucky to have made it home alive!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Countdown to the Eurogamer Expo

Over on BlastProcess.com I've posted an article this year's Eurogamer Expo, which is taking place next week.

I talk about which games I'm most looking forward to playing while at the show.

The direct link can be found here.

Friday, 14 September 2012

R.I.P Gamestation

Very soon you'll be seeing Gamestation stores up and down the country rebranding to GAME it has been revealed today.

As the business continues to adapt after being purchased by OpCapita following administration and the closure of over 200 stores they've taken the decision to say goodbye to the Gamestation brand.

They'll be revealing over the coming few weeks changes that will be taken place, which hopefully will please both GAME's consumers and Gamestations.

I've written a longer piece about how Gamestation has come to this over at this link.

Hopefully, from what I've heard on the grapevine, this move coupled with whats in the pipeline for GAME will secure the future for the company, and that they will become a more favoured shop for UK's core and casual customers, while also still being a shop for gift buyers and parents.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Return of the Podcast

Yes folks, the lovely Blast Process Podcast is back!

It's been a fairly busy summer for the entire team over at Blast Process, but we're well and truly back...just in time for the mass of games heading our way this Christmas (yes, that's right, I mentioned Christmas and I'm fully aware it's only September!).

You can download the podcast directly from here, or alternatively you can download it from iTunes.

Ben and Tom return to co-host the show with me, and our 'Top 3' segment returns. The News section is back, albeit a little differently, however our 'Guess The Game' game has been replaced with 'The Auction House'. Listen to the podcast to find out more!

If you have any feedback please feel free to drop a comment on Facebook, tweet to us @BlastProcess or email us at contact@blastprocess.com.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Finishing The Fight

Just a quick update!

I've only moments ago posted a new article on GamingUnity.com entitled 'Finishing The Fight' which can be found here.

In that piece I'm basically talking about my inability to finish games due to being distracted by other new games. Have a read and comment ether here or on GamingUnity if you're often stuck in the same boat as me!

Anyway, I need to go back to editing something new for BlastProcess.com (which sadly, has been incredibly quiet recently).

Keep Calm and Carry On Gaming.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

PEGI + Charity Update


Before I mention anything regarding today's videogame ratings hand-over from BBFC to PEGI I'd first like to update you all on my charity quiz evening.

A massive thank you to all those who took part. I know it wasn't a packed room, but seeing as it was my first time hosting such an event...I'm glad I didn't have to talk over a massive room of people. 6 teams took part in total, and thanks to everyone paying £2 to enter the quiz and then purchasing raffle tickets and cakes we managed to raise £120 for Special Effect!

Also, a massive thank you to my mum for baking a large fruit cake to be raffled off, along with some smaller cupcakes which could be purchased on the night.

Redshift Radio's 'Reboot' Show Co-host Edward with the cake he ended up winning!

And finally a huge thanks to Hollie Bennett, Namco Bandai's Community Manager, for bailing me out at the last minute with replacement prizes including signed posters of The Witcher 2 and Tales of Grace (of which both were raffled off, with the rest of the donated prizes going to the winning team).

I really enjoyed hosting the whole thing and I've already started thinking about another quiz on a larger scale (although I wouldn't expect it anytime soon).

So who won? It was the team below!


The red-hot favourites in my eyes, as they even had Blast Processor Mike in the squad. However, they were nearly beaten by a two-person team, if only they'd known the name of the 4th ghost from Pac-Man! Both teams came joint first, so the overall winners were declared via a 'Guess The Game' game, which for those who don't listen to the Blast Process Podcast basically involves giving the teams clues on a mysterious game, of which they then need to name.

Thanks again to all those involved. The money will be winging it's way to Special Effect's HQ this week to help those who ordinarily wouldn't get the opportunity to use game consoles and computers. While that may not sound like a great cause to everyone, I urge anyone who hasn't looked into this amazing charity to have a read of this page right here. I'd hope it would change your opinion.


And so, moving onto today's news on the gaming front. PEGI (Pan European Game Information) has taken the official legal reins from the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) when it comes to videogame age ratings.

So, what does this mean?

Before today, a large number of videogames featured a BBFC rating (the round-shaped age rating). These ratings, by law, could not be sold to anyone below the age stated on the product. From today PEGI ratings (the square-shaped ones) will take over as the primary age rating on games, and as such will be illegal to sell to those under the age stated (apart from those rated 3+ and 7+).

PEGI ratings have been around for some time, although they were more so for guidance. From now on though they will be the only organisation that will be rating videogames. While games rated 18+ and 16+ have been around for a while it's now worth noting that 12+ games cannot now be sold to anyone under that age.

It's great for our industry to have one voice in the way games should be rated, and one that retailers should have no issues in adapting too (as I know PEGI has been abided by for some time anyway when recommending and selling games by some major retailers).

One other thing to come out of today's press is that the website AskAboutGames.com has been relaunched alongside PEGI taking over from the BBFC.

Simply put, the aforementioned website, in my eyes anyway, should be given a greater spotlight. While it's easy to blame retailers, publishers and developers for kids getting to play adult-rated videogames we all mustn't forget that a large number of parents/gift buyers buy games 'blind', by which I mean they are unaware of the content and importance of ratings when purchasing.

'Ask About Games' gives jargon-free advice on age ratings and general content within games. It's also a very social site, with several blogs and videos.

Like several other people within the industry I'd hope to not have to read another article involving violent games being blamed for an act involving a minor. Changing from two different age ratings to one UK market-wide system is great news, but we need to make sure that the message to all consumers is that the ratings are there for a reason.

Education is the key to stopping kids from playing games aimed at older audiences.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Project Updates + 3DS XL

As mentioned in my previous post here on GamePad, I am indeed hosting a videogames quiz for charity. While the event has been confirmed I've decided not to advertise it for the masses, as I'm going to try and control who attends. This is mainly due to this being the first time I've held such an event solo.

If you are interested, and would like to request an invitation to the event, please feel free to email me at daveyshambles@gmail.com. It is to be held on Wednesday 25th July, with the quiz being aimed to start around 8pm.

As you may have guessed, I've been busy coming up with questions for the aforementioned quiz, so my writing online has slowed a little. I am however, working on a couple of exciting little projects I hope to share online in the near future.

Yesterday myself and Processor Mike filmed our third video for Gamestation Crewe which should be online in the near future (I'll link to it once it is). The main topic of conversation during the video revolves around Nintendo's new (well, ish) handheld console, the 3DS XL.

It's a very comfortable little device to play on, considering it's size. I was genuinely impressed with how the games look on up-scaled screens, compared to the original 3DS. If you've played on one of the older DSi XLs you'll know what size and weight to expect.

A little grievance, but when the lid is closed it seems to leave a large gap between the lid and the main body of the console. While this isn't a major issue, I do think it would have looked tidier if the two sat closer together, like the 3DS does when it's own lid is closed.

Like I said...only a little grievance, perhaps I'm being a little harsh on the poor thing.

One major point however, is that the console does not include a charger from the looks of things. While the one that Gamestation Crewe has is of course a promo console from Nintendo to demo to consumers, the box clearly states that it doesn't include the charger. It does mention that you can purchase one separately, or use one from a DSi/XL/3DS. While many gamers may have had one of the older versions and so may have a charger lying around, I find the decision to not include one out of the box a little bizarre.

A large number of people tend to trade in their older consoles against the upgraded ones, which would mean giving up the charger too, meaning they'll have to purchase a charger separately.

Like I said, an odd decision by Nintendo, and one that may confuse buyers. (Further research has revealed that the retail console will not include the charger. Also worth noting that the chargers for the very original DS and DS Lite consoles won't work on the 3DS XL).

Anyway, that's it from me for the time being. I'll post any and all updates in the coming few days.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Charity Event

Sadly, due to work and personal 'stuff' the last week hasn't been very productive in regards to getting articles and such online in relation to gaming. Sorry about that!

However, I have some good news to report. I'm going to be hosting a charity games quiz in my hometown towards the end of July. Inside from a few minor details it's pretty much organised now. Due to the size of the venue, and it being the first time I've ever hosted anything for charity, sadly it'll be by invitation only. If you are interested in attending please feel free to drop me an email, daveyshambles@gmail.com

I'll post more details once all details are 100% confirmed, which should be in the next day or so. After the event I'll make sure I post plenty of images and information about the event, along with the results!

Right, enough from me for now...I've got a review to finish and a video to edit. Must dash!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Phew!! Wahay the Alex!!

What a weekend!

While I had lots going on at the weekend, the most important item on the agenda was Crewe Alexandra's (my local football club) play-off final against Cheltenham Town. Up until Sunday morning (the day of the match) I thought I was heading out for a meal, meaning I'd have had to watch the match via Sky Sports. Turns out...that was a lie..and in fact I'd got tickets for the final as a surpraise birthday gift!

The atmosphere was amazing. I had been to Wembley before, for an Alex playoff final in the past, but that was at the old Wembley. While Crewe Alex lost all those years ago when I saw them in the capital, this year I'd get to see them win. The match ended 2-0, but we rode our luck several times during the match. We had to clear the ball off the line 3 times, and they were luckly offside when they did put the ball into our net. I had an amazing time, and I hope we push on and do well in League One.

I've done a number of different gaming-related pieces since my last update on here. They can all be found below:

Podcast #23 [Audio]
Sonic X Nike [News]
ReTrack Review [Video]
Stickems Promo [Video]
Starhawk and Minecraft [Video]
Z.O.E 3 [News]

Friday, 11 May 2012

[Updates] Awesomenauts + Podcast

I've done a new video! My latest video focuses on Awesomenauts. You can watch it here.

Also I forgot to mention that the latest podcast is now up and ready for downloading. You can find the details of how to listen here.

Monday, 7 May 2012

[Video] Witcher 2 and Ridge Racer Unbounded

I've been playing around with a PVR and decided to start a new video series. The first of which hit BlastProcess.com two days ago. I've embedded it below:

Friday, 4 May 2012

[Article] Eurogamer: The Big GAME Shutdown

A few days ago I had a conversation with Eurogamer's Senior Staff Writer Robert Purchese in regards to the fall of GAME based on my personal experiance from within the company.

He did a fantastic job of taking my spoken words and translating it into the article that is now online here.

[News] Keith Vaz

A little while a go I wrote a piece about an MP called Keith Vaz.

The same MP is back in the news, and yet again it concerns videogames. This time his early motion (of which he has submitted many), centres around the case of Anders Breivik and Call of Duty.

Anders Breivik was of course the Norwegian responsible for the tragic events in Norway where 69 people were shot and killed. He accepts that he did kill those in question, but did so to defend Norway from multiculturalism.

During his trial he spoke about using Call of Duty to prepare for his attack. Keith Vaz has used this statement to launch his campaign to change the way in which videogames are rated. He feels the current PEGI (Pan European Game Information) system doesn't put across the level of violence involved in games such as the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare titles.

In his Early Day Motion statement he says:

"...concerned that PEGI as a classification system can only provide an age-rating and not restrict ultra-violent content; recognizes that in an era of ever-more sophisticated and realistic game-play more robust precautions must be taken before video games are published; and calls on the Government to provide for closer scrutiny of aggressive first-person shooter video games."

The last couple of Call of Duty titles, including the most recent edition have been rated 18. Alongside the age rating they also state that the game involves violence. Sadly, like I did back when I wrote the article mentioned at the top of this one, I still feel that parents/adults need to be more aware of the content involved within these sort of games. The BBFC and PEGI both use the 18 certificate often and within good reason. Retailers in the UK have strict policies when it comes to selling 18 rated games.

Mr Vaz...

"..(and) calls on the Government to provide for closer scrutiny of aggressive first-person shooter video games."

Does he want it to be clearer on the box when describing the content? Perhaps he wants to increase 18 rated titles to 21? He surely can't mean that realistic games based on scenarios such as as the World Wars should be prohibited?

The film industry has (in some cases) portrayed war in more graphical detail than most videogames based on the same subject, so perhaps he should raise an Early Day motion towards them as well?

You can read the motion here.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

[News] Black Ops 2 + Podcast

So..after all the leaked information and images, it's official. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is incoming. I've written up a post about it here.

This week's Blast Process Podcast is also online and ready for downloading. Enjoy!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

[Update] MvC2 on iOS + Beer

Not much has been written this weekend, mainly due to being in Manchester for most of it drinking. Drank large quantities of Peroni and didn't feel too bad Sunday morning. Result.

I did, however, prior to the weekend post a little review of Marvel Vs Capcom 2 on the iOS. If you don't fancy reading the whole thing, it's great..and cheap...which makes it greater.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

[News] Talking, Filming, Reporting

Few updates to report.

1. Newest Blast Process Podcast is up for download. You can find the links to download it from here.

2. Me and Mike recorded a video review of Hauppauge's HD PVR, of which we will now be using to record in-game footage.

3. New news post on Gaming Unity in regards to the incoming TV ads on Xbox Live.

Monday, 23 April 2012

[News] Spectrum and Call of Duty

My memories of playing on my dad's ZX Spectrum aren't very clear sadly...although I do remember having to wait an age for the games to load. Today marks it's 30th birthday, of which I've written a small piece about here on Blast Process.

Also, Call of Duty fans maybe interested in my latest news post on Gaming Unity.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

[News] GRIMLOCK!

I'm an 80s child, so I grew up with Transformers. The cartoons were great, the action figures were great...hell...I even enjoyed the recent Michael Bay adaptations (of which I know many of you out there slated). I've also enjoyed one or two of the brand's videogames. This includes High Moon Studio's Transformers: War for Cybertron.

While I liked the recent Bay films, my heart still prefers the cartoon versions of Optimus, Megatron and co, so I was majorly excited by War for Cybertron. It wasn't a perfect game, but it did bring back strong childhood memories. The teaser trailer for the game's sequel filled me with joy as I watched it, for it was another cartoon-styled Transformers game...

...and then Grimlock appeared.

For those unaware of who Grimlock is, he's a Dinobot. A transforming T-Rex. He appears at the end of the teaser trailer. He's badass, plain and simple.

Check this link out if you don't believe me, for I have posted a news story at that link on Gaming Unity featuring the first gameplay footage of Grimlock in action.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

[News] Crysis 3

Just a quick post. Yesterday I posted a news story on GamingUnity.com in regards to the announcement of Crysis 3. You can check it out here.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

[Videos] Gadget Show + Interviews

As promised, here are the links to the videos shot during this years Gadget Show Live.

This one features footage from the show floor along with a short interview with presenter Jason Bradbury (technical issues meant we couldn't use the start of the interview footage sadly).

While this one is focused on Sniper Elite V2, which includes an interview with Rebellion's senior producer Steve Hart.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

[Event] Gadget Show 2012 -Edited-

Well, yesterday was a lot of fun!

Me, Mike and our friend Jason went to the press day at The Gadget Show Live yesterday. Much fun was had.

We managed to bag a short interview with Steve Hart from Rebellion Studios in regards to their latest game, Sniper Elite V2. Although their were a couple of other new titles there (namely Dirt Showdown and Spec Ops: The Line) we sadly couldn't get anyone on film to answer a couple of questions.

Speaking of Spec Ops however, last night I posted my first impressions of the title on Blast Process

We also played a little of Kinect Star Wars. Man, what a disappointment that is. True, I may have only done a small amount of 'lightsabering' and a tiny portion of the space combat, but it just wasn't precise enough to warrant my cash. I just couldn't see myself playing that game through to it's conclusion. I've heard a lot about the dancing side of Kinect Star Wars. I don't think I'm missing much there. Although it made a poor first impression I'm not going to lie...I will pick it up in the future once it's dropped a few pounds off it's current RRP.

The moment of yesterday though was managing to grab an interview (short...and while walking..but still) with Jason Bradbury, one of the presenters of Channel 5's The Gadget Show. He sadly was pretty busy, but was a legend for allowing us to film a quick chat with him. Sadly a technical hiccup has resulted in us only having just over half of the interview on film, but we'll still feature it in our upcoming Gadget Show video.

I'll link the Blast Process Gadget Show video here when it's online. It'll feature both the interviews already mentioned.

EDIT: As promised, here is the video interview with Jason Bradbury...while at this link you'll find my interview with Steve Hart.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

[News] BBC Article on Kids and Games

A few moments ago I was just harmlessly reading articles over on the BBC News website when I came across this.

A number of school ministers and teachers will be talking about the effects playing videogames has on young children to the The Association of Teachers and Lecturers Conference in Manchester.

Most of the comments on the article are aimed towards violent games that kids have been seen re-enacting at school:

"The inspiration for this motion was when I watched my class out on the playground throwing themselves out of the window of the play car in slow motion and acting out blood spurting from their bodies," Alison Sherratt - Teacher
What is refreshing about this article (compared to similar violent videogames articles) is that the teachers/ministers and such involved are looking at parents, and whether or not they're controlling the use of gaming consoles. They report that a large number of children stay up later at night due to playing games, thanks to many kids having access to games consoles in their bedrooms:

"If children come into school exhausted the next day - it's difficult for that child to participate and difficult for the school to teach that child properly." Nick Gibb - Schools Minister
A small dose of gaming can be fun, however children shouldn't substitute other social activities to play games at home. Worth noting as well that they should be playing games suitable for their ages.

I'll link the original article here too, just in case you missed the link at the top of the article. A little while ago I posted a piece about videogames and kids after reading a statement from MP Keith Vaz, which you can read here.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

[News] Goodbye Gamestation

And so...with heavy heart I have to announce that I no longer work for Gamestation.

The company entered administration on Monday, which in turn saw the end of Gamestation Congleton.

I've loved working for both GAME and Gamestation over the years, and am very thankful for meeting so many wonderful people along the way.

While I now face the task of searching for a new job, I'll be using this extra free time to write a lot more here, as well as on BlastProcess.com and GamingUnity.com.

Blast Processor Tom is back in the UK this week, and we've got some great video ideas to run with while he's back over. I look forward to posting them for you all to see!

I've also managed to get a press pass for this years Gadget Show Live, so expect lots of stuff from there.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Monday, 5 March 2012

[News] Xbox Showcase Overload

I've just posted over on Gaming Unity and Blast Process about the news coming out from the media following on from the Xbox Showcase last week in San Fransico.

Impressed with the behind the scenes look at Halo 4, however, I'm still a little skeptical. I really like the Halo games, but the change from Bungie to 343 Industries could go ether way. On one hand they may impress me with the changes made to the Halo series, while on the other hand they could 'break' what has been so far an impressive series of games.

You can tell by the folk interviewed in the video that 343 wants to make Halo 4 there game, and not just a carbon copy of Bungie's work. I applaud them for that, I hope their passion shines through when we get to finally play Halo 4 at Christmas time.

You can see a number of videos shown from the showcase here on Blast Process.

I've never been that big on the Assassin's Creed games. I don't know why, although perhaps its due to me playing a heap of other games whenever a new AC game lands. Well..for whatever reason I've never really played enough of one.

Saying that though, I have been increasingly tempted to pick up a copy of the latest one, Revelations, mainly after changing to a number of people..including a couple from work. The latest game is to be set during the American Revolution, and it's first trailer is set to hit the internet at around 5pm today.

I'm really looking forward to it. Perhaps its just my mind jumping on the hype train. It wouldn't be the first time.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

[Old News] Vaz Statement

This was originally written for a gaming website, however...although it was meant to appear online at some point...it never actually did.

And so, after digging it back up, I figured why not post it on here anyway. So here it is.

---------------------

Violent Videogames + Kids = An Issue.

I've just been reading about Keith Vaz, a UK politician who is one of those people who have an issue with videogames. He's recently put together an 'Early Day Motion' which states the following:

That this House welcomes the call by Shigero Miyamoto, creator of Super Mario, for people to drop their joypads and venture out into the sunlight once in a while; recognises that video games have addictive properties; notes that children flourish when they undertake a variety of extra-curricular experience; further notes the current Hungarian EU Presidency priority of protecting minors from harmful audiovisual media content in media legislation; is concerned about the potential impact of violent video games on those under 18; and calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 is carefully controlled and that parents are encouraged to limit the amount of time children spend on video games.

Keith has been in the headlines before in regards to gaming. He was against the release of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Manhunt and Bully. His motion can be found here.

OK, so yes, people need sunlight. And yes, I know a few people who'd rather spend most of their life in front of gaming consoles. I don't  have an issue in encouraging kids to get outside and have some real fun (even if it is running around with fake guns acting out Call of Duty). That's not the issue I've personally got a problem with. Its the violent games bit...

Mr Vaz calls upon the government to ensure that the purchase of 18+ games are being carefully controlled, which is fine, if it weren't already for the fact it is being controlled.

I've been selling games for years, and during which time I've had to read and sign countless of documents in relation to selling games to minors. Anyone who purchases alcohol will be aware of the Challenge 21 policy, which is now in place when selling games. The whole weight of the law can come crashing down upon me if I were to sell an 18 to someone under that age without I.D. There are already people out there watching us covertly to ensure we stay true to our training, and god help us if they see us not doing this.

Not only that, and I know this can't be said for everyone...but I've worked with a large number of fellow employees who all agree with me when I say its morally wrong to be selling GTA to Little Timmy anyway. We're not all bad people who don't give a walnut about who buys the game as long as its cash in the till, which makes Mr Vaz's statements about making sure the purchase of games is being controlled feel a little like being slapped in the face. I know of course that some people don't care who they are selling to, which is a real shame...as it is those people who make the rest of us look bad.

So, how can we control what kids are playing?

Education.

Not education for the kids playing them, but education for the parents buying them.

I've lost count on how many times I've gone through a conversation similar to this...

Oh, they'll only go and play it at their friends house anyway!
Perhaps you should chat to their friends parents then? Just because they are playing it elsewhere doesn't mean they have to play it at home too.

But it's only a game!
Correct, but he/she will be blowing heads off. Drug running. Stealing cars. Listening to a swear word after every other word. This isn't Mario you know.

Well I can't stop them playing it eventually
YES YOU CAN! Just don't buy it!

Oh I'll just get it, I'll just watch him while he's playing it
But...he's six years old! *sigh*, that's £19.99 please.

I once had a guy say to me after a conversation similar to the one above, I'll just mute the TV. Great..that's just...great.

Thank goodness not every parent/guardian is like this however. A number of them, once I've explained the reason behind the age rating (or even in some cases pointed out what the 18 in the corner actually means) they've then decided to not go ahead and purchase it, which is quickly followed by evil looks from the kid who wanted to play it aimed in my direction.

I'm not saying it would be an easy task to educate parents/guardians about videogame ratings and content. A T.V advert perhaps, making people aware that the content in 18+ games are along the same lines as 18+ films. We've all seen the...

You wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a handbag, DOWNLOADING FILMS IS STEALING
...advert. It could be directed along the same lines. Maybe even something like a government backed day/week of awareness about gaming.

Anyone who is willing to buy a game with an age rating higher than the age of the child needs to be educated more in the content within these games. It's too easy to constantly blame retailers for selling these products, or even blame the developers for creating it in the first place. What older gamers don't want is to see less of these games being released due to kids 'possibly' getting their paws on it.

Developers create these games as there is a huge market for them, and millions of people have a ton of fun playing them. Retailers have procedures in place to prevent the sale of age related products to minors. The only variable which isn't currently being monitored is the people responsible for purchasing/choosing to let kids play these games.

The last sentence Mr Vaz put into his statement I can agree with...limiting how much time kids spend playing games. Perhaps he didn't realize the hint that the problem could lie with parents/general people who supply games to minors.

Perhaps my little rant here is a bit too critical based upon his short statement. I just find that a lot of people who don't understand gaming and indeed gamers quickly jump to the wrong conclusion.

GET 'EM EDUCATED!

Monday, 20 February 2012

[News] Tax Relief for the UK Games Industry

I was pointed in the direction of an interesting article over on The Guardian website the other day by fellow Processor Ben.

In said article, which you can read in full here, it covers this bit of news...

"Industry trade body Tiga has submitted a fresh report to the treasury claiming that tax relief for the games industry will create jobs and earn millions for the country."

The UK film industry already gets tax relief on its projects, while videogames do not. The report by TIGA submitted to the government uses strong evidence to press for a similar tax relief for games which would mean...

"...20% relief on the UK core expenditure for games costing over £3m to produce, and 25 per cent of the UK core expenditure for game projects budgeted at between £50,000 and £3m."

Game development provides this country with billions of pounds in income, with studios such as Codemasters, Evoulution Studios and Media Molecule turning out fantastic games such as LittleBigPlanet and the Motorstorm series. And thats not to mention the big daddy of sandbox gaming, Grand Theft Auto, which is also created here in blighty.

A tax relief would create more jobs and encourage more studios to set up business in the UK. Perhaps we may even see the return of old studios who have left the UK to re-set up shop in countries that already have tax relief, such as Canada.

"Tiga has estimated that 41% of the jobs lost in the UK games development sector between 2009 and 2011 relocated overseas"

That's lost revenue for the UK as well as jobs.

We've currently got  a growing number of un-employment in Britain, many of which are students fresh from university...who's skills could be adapted to the gaming industry.

Videogames such as Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 have outsold most blockbuster films, and a large number of popular musical artists. As a form of media, games have never been as popular as they are now.

Labour MP Tom Watson agrees with the report (see his own personal blog account on the situation here), and lets not forget that we almost had this relief before the government came into power. (But scrapped the plans once in power).

We already have a strong base of which to build on in this country with the studios we have producing games now. A tax relief would help to further cement the UK as a great place to do business, and would help those who are looking for work get involved.

You can read the whole report here.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

[Prize] Blast Process Competition

Head over to this link over on BlastProcess.com to find out how you could win a tshirt from InsertCoinClothing.com, and an original piece of art created by friend and artist Mici Oliver.

GO GO GO!!

Monday, 30 January 2012

[Announcement] I'm a News Writer!

Yay! I have my first position outside of Blast Process...

I'm now a News Writer for upcoming gaming community site, GamingUnity.com.

I've already done a couple of news posts on there, so keep checking back.

Friday, 27 January 2012

[Blog-a-day] FAILED

Well..after that terrible last post, you may have noticed I haven't posted anything since.

Sadly due to events, I was unable to post 2 nights ago, and again last night.

I managed 3-ish...I'll attempt another time to go a few better!

However, tonight I've been updating and playing on a certain new console for work, which I've done a small spot of filming for. I'll be writing up about it this weekend too...will keep you all posted!


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

[Blog-a-day] Day Three

I've got 3 minutes to type something quickly!

Erm...erm...

I've spent most of the evening editing the podcast..and eating...and cleaning...

Normal daily blogging will continue tomorrow

x

Monday, 23 January 2012

[Blog-a-day] Day Two

Well...I've kept this up for a second day running! Would it be too early to break open the wine?

...probably...I'll wait a few more days.

Just before typing this blog entry up, using the power of Ventrillo and Dave from CrashToDesktop.co.uk, I recorded this weeks podcast. With Tom, Ben and Mike being unavailable it was good for Dave to step in and help out this week. Was very odd doing it without my usual co-hosts (also the fact it was recorded over the internet instead of crowding round one mic in a room) but still, it went well and should be online tomorrow evening.

Had a good chat to Blast Proccessor Tom earlier (again using the internet, it really is a wonderful thing isn't it?). Great to hear that he is settling in fine at LEGO in Denmark. He's also set up his own blog charting his new career, which I'm going to be keeping a close eye on.

Oh! You know how I only shared last weeks news video yesterday? Mike has already edited and posted the one for this week! Huzzah!

(Again, we're still playing around for ideas on where to take this concept...however I still hope you enjoy it!)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

[Blog-a-day] Day One

Right, this week I've decided that I'm going to create a new blog entry EVERYDAY this week. Starting with this one right here.

While I can't guarantee they'll all be packed full of goodness, hopefully one or two will provide a good minute or so worth of reading for you.

I've picked an odd time to post this, as I'm actually in the middle of trying to sort out the Blast Process podcast for this week. With Tom being in Denmark, Mike otherwise engaged and Ben unable to make it back to Crewe today, I'm having to call in reinforcements so that the podcast can go ahead this week. Seems as though cover has been sourced, so all systems should be good later this evening. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of the podcast, regular listeners will be well aware I've been busy playing iPhone games of late, barely touching the expensive gaming machines I've gathered over the years. This week however I've finally got round to playing other games, such as a couple of freebies from the 3DS Ambassador program (Fire Emblem and Super Mario Advance 3 mainly). I've also jumped back into Final Fantasy XIII, as I'm nearing its end (I think), and want to have it put to bed before Feb 3rd when XIII-2 lands. That's the plan anyway, who knows if I'll be successful...

Time to write out the news for tonight's 'cast anyway. Actually...have you seen our new Blast Process News Show on YouTube? Myself and Mike were trying out a make-shift green screen. Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

[Gaming] Happy New MMO!

It's been a while since I've posted on here...opppss...
Truth of the matter is I've been busy working on BlastProcess.com (whilst battling the hordes of customers in my actual full time position, of which I got a promotion..ahem..).

However, in the spirit of new years and all that, I thought I'd try to start posting on here as regularly as I can (although I'm pretty sure I said that last year, I mean it this year however...I promise).

So gaming-wise, what have I been up too?

Once upon a time I was a massive, and I do mean massive, fan of World of Warcraft. Their was just something about that game, perhaps it was just the mix of EVERYTHING..social interaction, fantasy environment, simple-yet-complicated gameplay mechanics. Eventually, even though I did dip my toes back in a couple of times (mainly for the expansions) I have now retired from Azeroth.

Alongside a number of friends I decided to take the plunge and enter the newest MMO, that is of course Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's very nice isn't it?

What struck me straight away was its focused class storyline. Having chosen to play as a Jedi Consular I very quickly found myself getting knee deep in galactic trouble with cutscenes and dialogue that made me feel like I was playing a single player game. It's very impressive how Bioware early on decided a fully voiced cast of NPCs was the way forward, and mixed with the dialogue wheel found in other Bioware games it does truly feel like your playing Mass Effect. Certain classes can sometimes only enter certain places which commonly start a conversation.

Obviously however, this isn't a single player game, it's an MMO. Even though Bioware have tried to make it seem like your playing a single player game with lots of other people running around your world too the way in which they have included other players feels just right.

If your hanging out with a Jedi Knight for example, and he heads into a zone that only he can enter to carry on a quest you'd think you'd have to stay outside right? Wrong! You can go in too! Well...as long as he allows you too, and you do have to be in a group with him. You all then get to take part in his conversation, and even get to have a say at what you think should be said in that situation. Very classy.

I can't really say more as I'm still relatively new to the game, which leads me to a problem with The Old Republic, and one I doubt I'm alone with.

The trouble with MMOs is they don't end. They go on and on, throwing new stuff at you to keep you playing. Even if you get bored with one character it'll give you a multitude of other characters to try your hand at. Bored of being a good guy? Why not try being a bad guy.

Back when I was younger playing Warcraft was great. Even though I had a full time job, my younger years allowed me to sleep as little as possible so that I could cram in more time in Azeroth. Socialising wasn't an issue ether, as most of my friends at the time we're in the same world I was running around in.

Nowadays though, I just don't have the time to sink into an MMO like I used to. Again, I still have a full time job, but then I also have a girlfriend, visits to the pub/general socialising, family, writing, podcasting and of course playing other games. Although I've got friends playing The Old Republic with me, due to other commitments every ones off at their own level doing their own thing, so no-one can really play the same bit due to differences in levels.

I'm not saying it isn't possible to enjoy this new Star Wars experience. It's fantastic without being a million miles away from what made World of Warcraft great. What Bioware have added works, and they've successfully integrated the single player experience we love about their previous work into a world populated by millions of other players.

However, for me, I can't seem to enjoy it as much as I feel I should...and because of this I'm not sure how much more of it I'll get to play. I've got games from last year that I really want to finish, and lets not forget new releases due from February onwards such as the newest Final Fantasy and the final part to the Mass Effect trilogy.

Kudos to Bioware/EA for a fantastic MMO, and I only wish I could spend more time playing it. Don't fret however, I won't be cancelling my subscription just yet.