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12 32 66 WELCOME TO LIVE! 102 June has arrived and things are heating up, at least weather wise for our northern hemisphere readers. For those in the southern hemisphere, it’s just starting winter. But, from a gaming perspective, things are definitely heating up. There’s some great new titles coming out including the new UFC from EA and, Attack on Titan from Madman, board games like Sons of Anarchy and a ton of other great titles to get us through the cold winter. With the FIFA World Cup starting in mid June we thought we’d take a look at sporting and sim games. After all, they’ve been a popular gaming genre since the very earliest games with Pong being the first successful arcade game and probably the game that popularised video games in the early days. Since those humble beginnings, graphics, sound and game play have improved immensely with amazing games such as FIFA and NBA refreshing each year and selling in bucket loads. On the racing side we’ve had the always popular F1 games, plus Moto GP, and GRID, with new titles such as Drive Club and The Crew hitting shelves this year. We asked our industry experts what their favourite sports and racing games are and checked in with our retro team on what was, and still is, great on older systems. So grab something to drink, settle back and enjoy this months Live Magazine. We always enjoy your feedback to the team, you can write to us at feedback@ gametraders.com.au Keep warm! Or if Summer’s about to hit, keep cool.
Feature: “Weird Sports” Previews & Reviews
Anime & Manga
THE LIVE TEAM Publisher: Rob Jenkins (Gametraders Operations Centre) Art Director: Giselle Capozza (Gametraders Operations Centre) Game Review & Preview Editors: Nick Getley & Kylie Tuttle (Sticky Trigger) Retro Writer: Paul Monopoli Retro Writer: David Kudrev UK Writer: Elliott Buddo US Writer: Serwa Aboagye Sticky Trigger Writers: Kylie Tuttle Nick Getley Alex Holmes Sam Babu Nick Pearce Aaron Milligan Ben Rachow Elliott Buddo Bridget Sweeney Sean Fox Miranda Nelson Dom Mallett Matthew Raspe
SAMSUNG TO CLOSE MUSIC STORE! Seems the Korean phone and electronics company is closing its’ music hub according to a report in Techradar. The reports states that the close will come along from July 1st and Samsung, after being contacted responded with a statement confirming their commitment to providing rich content… what does that mean? Well perhaps there is too much competition with Amazon, iTunes and Google. To find our more visit the report here: www.buzzfeed.com/kimberlywang/which-sailor-moon-character-are-you
WATCH OUT FOR XBOX ONE UPDATES IN JUNE! Seems Sony isn’t the only one with changes coming. The net is full of stories about external storage options for the Xbox One along with changes in player accounts allowing you to use real names for identifying your online friends. With a Kinect-less version of the Xbox One also scheduled for June it seems to be a busy month for consoles… wonder what Nintendo is up to? More details: http://au.ign.com/articles/2014/05/21/xbox-one-june-update-bringing-external-storage-and-real-names
A NEW PS4? ALREADY? This rumour hot off the presses (as they say) via T3.com. Seems that Sony have registered some new models according to a source from Indonesia. Whilst no one’s expecting major changes it will be interesting to see what Sony’s got planned. Reports from Forbes online suggests that in the current console battle it’s the Sony outselling the Xbox One this time around. It’s a great read and well worth checking out here Sony outselling Xbox from Forbes: www.forbes.com/sites/rakeshsharma/2014/04/18/four-reasons-why-ps4-is-outselling-xbox-one/
Sony rumoured to have new PS4 models coming: www.t3.com/news/sony-prepping-a-new-ps4-model-for-e3
NINTENDO...WHAT’S NEXT? Ok we had to run a Nintendo story. Seems a few sources have put out stories on how to save Nintendo or what the big N needs to do to save itself. Firstly Live Magazine would ask does it really need to save itself or is this talk a bit premature? Sure the Wii U hasn’t been a massive seller, but Nintendo has deep pockets and has the ability to excite gamers. Perhaps it’s true it needs to look at their gaming business and make some hard decisions before those deep pockets start to get a bit low on funds. Nintendo reported an operating loss of $457 million for the fiscal year ending March 2014 so there’s no doubt it does need to get cracking on new ideas. Here’s a few that may never happen, but still.. 1 - Decide if the Wii U is dead in the water and if so move on. In the mean time between console cycles earn big bucks by creating smartphone games of their hottest franchises. 2 - Get 3rd party support across handheld and Wii U and make decent use of that table controller… or get rid of it. 3 - Invest in new ideas. Like Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Google - Nintendo need to put their cash reserves into new ideas. Perhaps it’s time to get creative with allowing staff a day a week to work on whatever they want similar to what Google does with its’ 20% policy. Whatever they do they will need to get planning and researching new ideas, now. We have no doubt the big N will bounce back and be amazing again.
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WEIRD SPORTS 1
CAVEMAN UGH-LYMPICS AKA CAVEMAN GAMES (1988, 1990) (DYNAMIX, DATA EAST, ELECTRONIC ARTS (EA GAMES)) Caveman Ugh-Lympics (released as Caveman Games on the NES) was a collection of mini-games that saw cavemen compete against each other. Upon its release, it was praised for its fun multiplayer gameplay and it humour. The sports featured included obstacle course races, caveman fighting, as well as Mate Toss, a game where you had to see how far you could throw your wife/husband. The NES release of Caveman Games was very popular upon its
release, and featured better controls than the Commodore 64, which was played via a PC-style keyboard. While Caveman Games would not be the first comedy video game (there were others years before) it would be one of the first sports games to involved comedy, and may have inspired developers like Millenium Interactive, developers of The Aquatic Games.
When you think of sports and racing games, you probably think of franchises like NBA 2K, Need For Speed, Gran Turismo and FIFA. These are usually simulations or fantasies offered on real-world sports and past times. In older console generations however, there were some very unusual sports and racing games that were released. Some of these were simply fantasy takes on real-world sports, others were completely original sports or racing creations. Below is a list of some of the unusual sports/ racing games out there. Some have made up entirely new sports, others have a unique twist on a normal sport, and some are just plain weird.
THE AQUATIC GAMES (1992) (MILLENIUM INTERACTIVE, ELECTRONIC ARTS (EA GAMES)) Released on the SNES, Atari ST, Amiga, Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Aquatic Games was a parody of popular sports titles like Konamiâ€™s Track and Field and Hyper Sports. Featuring the popular James Pond from James Pond: Underwater Agent, The Aquatic Games were a collection of aquatic-themed competitive sports; an aqua-lympics, if you will. While the parody itself was paperthin (it still had running races, even with fish), the game provided some surprisingly fun new sports, as well as twists on actual sports.
The Aquatic Games featured the 100m Splash (100m Sprint), Kipper Watching, Hop, Skip and Jump (Triple Jump), The Bouncy Castle (Trampoline Gymnastics), Feeding Time, Shell Shooting, Tour de Grass (Bike Racing), and Leap Frog (Hurdles). Most of the games were good fun, and while the Tour de Grass was fun, it involved rolling your thumbs around the controllerâ€™s D-Pad in a circular motion, like bike pedals. My thumbs are still sore from that one!
ROCK N ROLL RACING (1993) (BLIZZARD, INTERPLAY) Rock N Roll Racing is one hell of a game, there’s no denying it. A car racing game featuring vehicular combat and some of the greatest Rock N Roll and heavy metal songs of all time, it was an instant classic upon its release. It had upgradeable cars, challenging tracks and computer-controlled opponents and best of all... Black Sabbath! It had a diverse range of characters with different stats, all from different planets. These were often clever references to Rock N Roll albums and musicians, such as CyberHawk, who was a reference to a Judas
Priest album cover featuring a metallic hawk and Jake Badlands, who was a reference to Jake E. Lee from the American band Badlands. There were different vehicles too, and all had different advantages and disadvantages. If you were on a swampy planet or ice planet, you might want a hovercraft instead of your standard jet car. If you’re on a track with a mix of terrain types, you might want a dune buggy. You could also upgrade every conceivable part of your car, from the suspension and tyres, to the turbo and weapons. At the end of a cir-
cuit, you can Blast to a new galaxy and take on a whole new series of planets. The new planets and racers added a challenge while still allowing the player to feel rewarded with their upgraded vehicle. There was a pseudo-sequel on the PlayStation, but the awesome isometric gameplay and fantastic music weren’t intact, and it wasn’t anywhere near as popular or as well-received by critics because of this. At the time of writing this, Blizzard is offering Rock N Roll Racing on their website for free. Do yourself a favour and check it out at your nearest convenience.
D SPORTS 4
MUTANT LEAGUE FOOTBALL (1993) (ELECTRONIC ARTS (EA GAMES))
Built on the Madden engine, Mutant League Football was, in my opinion, one of the greatest sports games ever made. Why? It took the strategy of American Football and added monsters, mutants, deathtraps and dirty tricks. I was loosely familiar with American Football but after becoming addicted to Mutant League Football, I was able to appreciate the strategy of real American Football. Mutant League Football was set in a post-apocalyptic Earth where a nuclear disaster has caused the dead to rise from the earth and the living to be transformed into monsters. It sounds like a crazy idea for a sports game (and it was) but I’m so glad
EA took the risk they did with Mutant League Football. In addition to mutants, monsters and the undead, MLF also had deathtraps littering the field, such as lava, landmines, fire pits and chasms. Teams could also execute special plays which could utilise anything from exploding footballs (that you would lose possession of on purpose), to bribing the ref, killing the ref (if your opponents have bribed him) using invisibility, or even trying to kill the opposing team’s quarterback. Mutant League Football is an absolute gem of a game, showing what is possible when fantasy meets sport in the hands of a skilled developer. We need more games like this!
HANNA BARBERA’S TURBO TOONS (1994) (EMPIRE INTERACTIVE) What an odd game this was, and not in a good way. Turbo Toons featured characters from Hanna Barbera cartoons running around simple tracks on foot. The game is played from a weird camera angle that isn’t directly above the track (bird’s eye view) or an isometric view, but rather a weird combination of both. The game suffered from terrible controls, and just an overall lack of imagination and creativity. You could accidentally have some mild entertainment due to the awful controls. There is something humorous about Yogi Bear struggling to turn left, as though he is extremely drunk.
UNIRACERS AKA UNIRALLY
(1994) (DMA DESIGN (ROCKSTAR NORTH), NINTENDO OF AMERICA) The early 90s saw a number of interesting racing games released, including Test Drive, Super Monaco GP and Outrun (the Mega Drive/ Genesis version). The majority of racing games, however, involved traditional racing vehicles such as cars and motorcycles. Super Mario Kart opened the door for non-conventional racing games, and one of those games, was Uniracers. Uniracers was a 2D horizontal racing game where players raced unicycles. Yes, unicycles. Only these unicycles were lightning fast, performed tricks, and had no one riding them. If it sounds strange, that’s because
it is. Uniracers’ developer, DMA Design, would one day become Rockstar North, creators of Grand Theft Auto, Bully, L.A. Noire. It’s fair to say then that with a history of games like Lemmings and Uniracers, they’ve always had a penchant for unconventional games. Players would race against the CPU (or each other) along race tracks that were a mix between Hot Wheels sets and platformer levels. There would be loops, half-loops, jumps, inclines and declines that would challenge the player’s reflexes and memory as they would radically change direction and height. Performing simple
tricks would increase the unicycle’s speed, and while these were not anything spectacular, they were more designed to make players take a risk when wanting to compete with each other. A mistake in timing would cause the player’s cycle to stop and crash, costing them crucial seconds in regaining their speed. Uniracers was developed to demonstrate that like the Sega Genesis/ Mega Drive, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System could also have games that had an awesome sense of speed.
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(1996) (NAMCO (NAMCO BANDAI)
Namco’s Prop Cycle was one of the strangest games I had ever laid eyes on in an arcade. It featured a winged bicycle that the player had to pedal to keep from crashing. Throughout the game’s various courses were balloons that the player had to pop in order to keep playing. It was a physically demanding game, and few of my friends could actually play it for long when we all tried. Fortunately at the time I rode my bike regularly and was able to play the game for quite a few levels. I can’t stress enough how hard this game was, and in a Dark Souls kinda way, that’s what made Prop Cycle fun!
(1999) (SQUARESOFT (SQUARE ENIX))
Final Fantasy VII catapulted the Final Fantasy series into popularity both in Eastern and Western territories, and because of this, Squaresoft tried to branch out with as many decent titles in the Final Fantasy universe as possible. One of these, was Chocobo Racing for the PlayStation 1. One would assume that after the immense popularity of Final Fantasy VII, that Chocobo Racing would be a full game based on the Chocobo Racing mini-game featured in FFVII. This however, was a Mario Kartstyle game where a cute Chocobo protagonist races against characters featured in Final Fantasy, such as a Moogle and Cid. It was a pretty strange choice for Square to make a Kart game, when Mario Kart 64 was released 3 years earlier, and featured a superior engine and gameplay. During the late 90s, many developers tried to release their own kart games, but none could match the Mario Kart series in terms of brilliant gameplay or in popularity.
(2001) (CRITERION GAMES, NAMCO (NAMCO BANDAI)) AirBlade is an oddity of a game. Whilst I did own it and enjoy it, it was a bag of mixed results that poorly tried to emulate the style and success of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Instead of a straight-up arcade-sports title, AirBlade featured a goofy story with an even goofier protagonist. It tells the tory of Oscar, a young man who invents a hoverboard, only to have the project he’s worked on suddenly shut down. He is then kidnapped by his former boss, and it is up to his skater friend Ethan to rescue him, using the AirBlade. Gameplay is similar to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in that it involved
completing objectives in a variety of locations against a time limit. These involve tricks such as grinding along searchlights to destroy them, or tricking over guards to knock them out. Performing tricks allows Ethan to jump higher and gain more speed, which is essential to completing for difficult objectives. AirBlade had some strange design choices that hindered it from reaching its full potential. Not quite a dedicated sports game, not quite an action game, it didn’t quite stand out as either. A spiritual successor to TrickStyle on the Sega Dream-
cast (a game that was actually really good), it felt as though the pseudosequel took several steps backward in several areas. There were also extremely difficult levels that came seemingly out of nowhere, such as one level which was made up of pipes. To get anywhere, you had to grind. If you fell, you were penalised, and you will fall a lot. If you’re after a good game with hoverboards, check out TrickStyle on the Sega Dreamcast.
(2002) (SOUTHEND INTERACTIV While the list so far has featured parody versions of sports or slightly altered sports, Deathrow from Southend Interactive features a completely new sport called Blitz. In the year 2219, Blitz is the world’s most popular sport. A full-contact mix of Rugby, Basketball and Hockey, Blitz involved two teams fighting for posession of a light disc. Points are scored by throwing the disc through a score hoop at either side of the play field. Unlike sports today, fighting isn’t penalised, it’s encouraged, and each team has their own fighting style. Each team has their
D SPORTS 11
(2002) (HYPNOTIX, SIMON AND SCHUSTER INTERACTIVE)
A golf game for people who don’t like golf games, Outlaw Golf took the accessibility of golf games like Everybody’s Golf and the Tiger Woods series, and did away with boring career modes. What did it offer instead? Comedy and risqué content! Not one for the kiddies, Outlaw Golf had busty stripper golfers, bikies, hippies, and more. Not only that, it had commentary from funnyman actor Steve Carrell!
VE, UBISOFT) own strengths and weaknesses, so while a team may be great at passing and running, they may be easily injured or terrible at shooting. Whatever your playstyle, you will unlock a number of teams throughout the game’s campaign that will complement it. Deathrow was an extremely violet game. Violent, but not gory. There were beatdowns and injuries, but it wasn’t as violent as something like Mortal Kombat. The game did get its fair share of controversy though for its “Taunting” button (which was often
nicknamed the Sweating button). At any time in the game, players could taunt the other team by pressing the Black button. This would almost always result in a swear word, or multiple swear words being exchanged. This may sound peurile, and it is, but in a good way. I laughed myself silly when I played this game with friends, roundhouse kicking each other and swearing like sailors. Deathrow is well overdue for a comeback, or at the very least, a port to Steam or Xbox LIVE.
The selling point may have been the game’s crude humour and cartoonlike characters, but it also had a fairly competent golf game underneath all the smut and jokes. If there’s one thing Outlaw Golf can teach us, it’s that there’s room for humour in sports titles.
HARRY POTTER QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP (2003) (MAGIC POCKETS, EA SPORTS, EA GAMES) There’s no shortage of Harry Potter games, but the popular fictitious broomsport Quidditch manged to get its own game in 2003. While it had received fairly average review scores, die-hard Harry Potter fans snapped it up quickly upon its release. As the name implies, players go beyond Hogwarts and take part in a Quidditch competition on a global scale. After beating out the other
house teams from Hogwarts, players qualify for the Quidditch World Cup, taking on teams from the United States, Spain, Germany, France, Australia and more. While stiff controls and a few bugs may have held Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup back, it proves that there is room for fictitious sports in the video game market.
FREE RUNNING (2007) (REBELLION, UBISOFT) Developed during the peak of Parkour/Free Running’s popularity (when internet videos made Free Runners seem superhuman), Free Running was a game developed with actual Free Runners as consultants. If there’s one thing we all know about Parkour, it’s that it’s fluid. This game was anything but. Stiff controls and an awful camera made even the simplest of running and vaults extremely difficult, which killed any enjoyment the game might have offered. I regret buying Free Running without looking up any reviews, but I felt I could be confident in buying it without hesitance. Why? It was pub-
lished by Ubisoft, who are the company responsible for developing and popularising Parkour mechanics in video games, thanks to games like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. While they didn’t develop Free Running themselves they could have at least been a bit more mindful of Free Running’s inaccuracy and poor quality before releasing it. Even as a curiosity, this is one risky sports title that offers no thrills or enjoyment. Thankfully, Free Running/ Parkour became a beloved feature of many other games. Hardly any of them, however, are sports games.
So there you go. A round up of some of the more unusual sports and racing games that have been released over the years. Some took huge risks paid off, or at least made their game memorable. Others left people scratching their head wondering why anyone would want to race Snagglepuss on foot, or how a game with a hoverboard managed to feel like a chore.
Written by Nick Getley
“I WAS A HUGE WRESTLING FAN AS A CHILD, AND PLAYED EVERY WRESTLING GAME..”
“..I CAN’T SAY I WOULD EVER REALLY TURN DOWN A GAME OF NBA JAM.” Having been a gamer for a solid 18 years of my 28 on this plane of existence has given me a bit of time to watch as games have progressed and evolved during their franchises, sometimes even swapping developers hands to give someone new a shot at greatness. In the later years of my gaming I have steered away from both racing and sporting games a little, but there are always going to be fond memories of some. Sporting wise, I can’t say I would ever really turn down a game of NBA JAM. The over the top moves and fun multiplayer made it a game I would always jump into with friends to have some major hang time, flaming shoes and supreme dunks. It has seen game consoles come and go with SNES, Gameboy, Sega machines, PS3, 360 and even the standalone Arcade Machine! At the time I first got my hands on NBA Jam it was a great game to start with having to only worry about four players, two you controlled and two opponents. How easy to get into right? You could not foul another player, didn’t have to worry about free throws and the only violations you really got hit with was goaltending (this happened to me a lot when I was younger) or holding the ball too long (that didn’t happen as much.) All in all, NBA Jam was a great take on a good sports game, and to me is just as enjoyable in its forms today as it was the first time I put the cartridge in. Props for NBA Jam!
ADRIAN CURTIS ‘HITTIN CRITS’: FORMERLY TGEEKND.COM
I’ve never been a huge fan of sports video games. I can go years without regularly playing a racing game, and even longer between playing a soccer game. There is, however, one particular sports franchise that has always drawn be back to it - The WWE games developed by Yukes. I was a huge wrestling fan as a child, and played every wrestling game that has ever been made. From the numerous official WWF/WWE games to the lesser known games like Wrestle War and Saturday Night Slam Masters. As technology improved, games were able to reflect the craziness of professional wrestling increasingly accurately, and no one pulls this feat off better than Yukes does. The first game, WWF Smackdown! on the Playstation 1 managed to capture the action and the atmosphere of a televised WWF broadcast perfectly. It also introduced gamers to the game’s near-flawless Create-a-Wrestler mode, a feature in the series that is still one of the best character creators today. The series has always been decent, but my personal favourite game in it has to be WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain. It saw vastly improved graphics and new grappling mechanics, as well as the best story lines in the series. It featured body damage meters, which allowed strategic gameplay and more balance between wrestlers, making for fairer matches. I’m looking forward to WWE 2K15, but now that I’ve talked about it I’m definitely going to track down a copy of WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain for PlayStation 2 and relive one of the greatest sport (sports entertainment) games in history.
What’s your favourite sports/racing franchise? Industry Comment.. “MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE SPORTS FRANCHISE ON THE C64 IS THE STREET SPORT SERIES BY EPYX” When playing retro games I’m usually shooting at spacecraft in games like Bio Hazard Battle on the ‘Sega Megadrive’, or going a few rounds on Street Fighter 2. However, sometimes I like to change it up a bit with a sports game with a friend or two. I’m generally not much of a sporting fan, but when I was a child playing on the C64 there were some I really enjoyed. One, in particular, deserves some recognition… My all-time favourite sports franchise on the C64 is The Street Sport Series by EPYX. Love it to bits as it is really hard to get tired of the games in the series; Street Sport Football, Baseball, Soccer and Basketball, which is my favourite, playing against the computer or a friend is awesome. Of all the sports I found Football (NFL) the least exciting one out of the lot, but that’s probably because I’m not familiar with the game.
Starting off is done the same way for each game by selecting which ground or court you want to play in; stages include Ally, School, City and Suburbs. Once the stage is chosen it’s time to select your team of young street kids - the kids have different abilities and advantages; for example, faster movement, more accurate scoring or ball stealing, you get the idea. All games had a pumping soundtrack that only the Sidchip could deliver. And although only one button is used, the controls were perfect, it worked a treat. It’s a load of fun I had a ball, and still do, playing mainly Basketball and Soccer with mates. Want a sport series with a different spin on things? I definitely recommend grabbing a copy and giving it a whirl, you will not be disappointed.
DARREN (DAZ) BORG: WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/RETRODOMINATION
“THESE WERE TRUE FACTS, IF YOU WANTED TO PLAY IN SCOTTISH LEAGUE 3, THEN YOU COULD AND WITH REAL PLAYER NAMES AND TEAMS.” Let’s go back in time to the early 90’s, during my high school years, I was highly addicted to the Sensible Soccer series, in particular Sensible World of Soccer. SWOS was designed and developed by Jon Hare, co-owner of Sensible Software and released during the USA 94 World Cup. It was a sequel to Sensible Soccer and made for the Amiga 500. What was so great about this game was the simplicity of the mechanics, (Just 8 directions and one button was needed). When I was lucky enough to interview Jon, he said “We played Kick Off constantly on the Amiga, all we thought whilst playing was that we can make this better”. What made it remarkable was the vast database of players and teams from around the globe. These were true facts, if you wanted to play in Scottish League 3, then you could and with real player names and teams. What it also offered was a true managerial experience, being able to buy and sell players to make your team better and qualify for any of the
European, Oceania and South American competitions, depending on the league you are playing in. It also offered depth by way of the likeness of an individual player, now I’m not comparing this to the FIFA series, where you can see the actual facial expressions, it would have been difficult to do so from a birds-eye view, I’m talking about the colour of a players hair, or whether or not they had any facial hair. SWOS was rated the best game of all time by Amiga Power and we were lucky enough to receive a series of updates on different platforms, SWOS 95/96 for the Amiga, SWOS European Edition, in time for the UEFA Euro 1996, which was released on the Amiga, PC, as well as the Sega Master System and finally SWOS 96/97 for the Amiga, PC CD-ROM and much later in 2007 on Xbox Live Arcade. SWOS is one of those special gems that has lasted the test of time as one of the all-time greatest football games in existence and personally it means so much to me during my childhood years.
MATT CRAWLEY: WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/RETRODOMINATION
“What’s your favourite sports/ racing franchise?” Industry Comment..
“THE GAME COULD CASUALLY DRIFT BETWEEN RACING, ROAD RAGE AND CRASH MODES WITHOUT DISRUPTING THE FLOW OF THE GAME.” Burnout will forever hold a very special place in the combustion engine, under the hood of my inner wannabe road fiend. Specifically Burnout 3: Takedown for the original Xbox, I still have my copy of it and multiplayer contests still commence in my house between my brothers and I. Burnout 3 was also a pinnacle of the franchise, it was challenging, ridiculously fun, cringeworthy and terrifying all at the same time. The soundtrack was also spectacular and still holds up today when one goes back to the 2004 entry into the Burnout games. Takedown has this perfect combination where the player can feel immensely powerful and scared out of their minds at the same time while they careen through the urban-rural courses. It’s a mix of ambition and anticipation where the player is confident enough to go as fast as possible while praying to whatever deity or making whatever Faustian bargain they can in hopes that they don’t crash the car in the most spectacular way possible. Of course Burnout 3 also granted players the chance to have fun with the game’s mayhem, for
as frail as the cars were and as easy as it was to smash into a pedestrian vehicle – it was just as equally satisfying to steer the wreck into your upcoming opponents while it spun wildly through the air. The game could casually drift between racing, road rage and crash modes without disrupting the flow of the game. You could easily lose track of time going between modes, checking out the cars, listening to Jimmy Eat World or The F-Ups and listening to the Disc Jockey “Stryker” making an assortment of comical traffic announcements. That’s also another thing that impresses me to this day, a game with a radio DJ that I wasn’t hoping would shut up as soon as possible and so that man deserves a medal for somehow managing to entertain me while I tried desperately to avoid t-boning a gas-tanker. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to this day that Burnout 3 turned out to be backwards compatible with the Xbox 360.
One of the most popular game franchises around is FIFA. Firstly thought, who or what is FIFA? FIFA stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association and is the governing body of the association of football, futsal and beach soccer.. yes the football with the round ball. FIFA’s membership has 209 national associations according to their website and is governed by Swiss law founded in 1904. FIFA is based in Zurich and employs around 310 people from over 35 different countries. FIFA the game is a football simulator released annually by Electronic Arts according to Wikipedia - the game, like a number of other sporting titles comes under the EA Sports label. The first game in the series was FIFA ’94 and came out during the 16 bit era of gaming. It was an isometric view game compared to other soccer titles like Kick Off, and was number one in the U.K charts. It was released on a number of formats including: PC Amiga Sega CD 3DO SNES Mega Drive/Genesis Master System, and others.
It came out in July 1993 and started a franchise that’s grown in popularity since. Each release results in sometimes small improvements and with updated player information. Each release sees updated cover images featuring new players alf in later versions, title songs by artists such as Fatboy Slim (FIFA 99), Robbie Williams (FIFA 2000) and Sleigh Bells for FiFA 12. New releases also feature new moves to be discovered making FIFA the most popular soccer game on any system. AI too improves with each new release and so combined with new player and club information, gamers tend to update with each new release. With the 2014 World Cup just around the corner, gamers across the planet will be getting ready for the World Cup by playing tournaments with friends in the lead up to the June 12th start. If you’d like more information on the World Cup, head over to www.fifia.com/worldcup and keep up with the latest news.
Written by Rob Jenkins
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gaming in the US
5 THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT REAL LIFE FROM VIDEO GAMES One level can make a really big difference
When you meet enemies, you’re going in the right direction. Winston Churchill, one of the most badass people to ever live, once said: “You have enemies? Good. That means you stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Now, I’ve spent twenty-two years on this wonderful Earth, and I can attest that this is one of the most true statements ever spoken by anyone, anywhere, ever. For as long as every living human being has an intelligent mind, they also have opinions. Figuring out what you believe in, why you believe it, and then standing up for it… will always be a difficult journey. There will always be people who disagree with you, sometimes to an even violent extent; but these people are small, they’re not your “enemy” so much as they are just a person in your way. I believe that true enemies have equal distain and respect for each other. The enemies you make by standing up for something tend to be better people than the friends you make by being on the fence. Meeting enemies as you grow up isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means you are beginning to stand on firm ground.
Contrary to popular belief, people are constantly changing. They’re changing haircuts, clothing styles, friends, values, and beliefs all the time. Some more slowly than others. But I’ve discovered that life is supposed to be about change. You are not supposed to be the same person you were ten years ago, or five years ago, or one year ago. Hell, you’re not even supposed to be the same person you were yesterday. Living life has taught me that you need to do something each and every day that will improve yourself somehow. Whether that means taking up a new hobby, listening to someone who believes and thinks differently than you, telling someone you love them, watching a movie or TV show you’ve never seen before, going out for a jog, reading half a book, learning to swim, meeting someone new, trying the chef’s new signature dish and not altering anything about it, going somewhere you’ve never been before, graduating high school, getting a degree, working hard to make your boss happy because you know performance evaluations are coming up… there is an endless supply of things you can do to improve the life you have and person you are, every single day. Nothing is too small or too big, just do something better today than you did yesterday. Train yourself to be better than you were before.
It pays to have friends. You cannot do this alone… well, I guess technically you could, but it’s definitely going to be a hell of a lot harder that way. In video games, nothing thrills me more than an intelligent NPC by my side. Whether it’s Sully helping me solve puzzles, Ellie throwing bricks at Infected, or my own personal three man army gunning down Reapers, having friends makes things so much easier. I’m a strong believer in the phrase, “friends are the family you choose for yourself.” I can’t even begin to explain how many bad situations my friends have helped me out of: I’m talking about friends who lent me money when I needed it and never asked for it back. Friends who came to pick me up when my car broke down. Friends who not only take my bullshit, but also call me out on it. Friends who take care of me when I’m too drunk to take care of myself. Friends who listen to me go on and on about something they don’t care about. Friends who will lie for me, and cover for me, and create “don’t tell my parents” stories with me; and I would (and have) done the same
for them. I swear I have the best friends on planet Earth. Lucky for me, I also have an amazing family to fall back on. But after you move out of your parents house, possibly to a place you’ve never been before and where you don’t know anybody… trust me, you’re going to find out rather quickly how much you’ll desire the company of another human being. Good friends just make life easier.
Life is not fair, and you have to be okay with that. Sometimes, I really feel like life is one massive game of Mario Party. No other game has been able to accurately replicate the sheer amount of WTF moments you’ll experience
during your time on Earth. It’s also one of the few games which casually threatens to end friendships simply by existing. One time I didn’t speak to my best friend for three whole days because he beat me at the end of our game by a single star; a star which was given to him for being “the player which landed on the most red squares” (for those of you not familiar with Mario Party, landing on a red square costs you 3 coins. it’s a bad thing). I was livid. I had done everything right then entire two and a half hours we had played: I beat him at mini games, I stole his coins, and I stole his stars. Granted he did the same to me, BUT I DID IT BETTER. Damnit, I should’ve won! But you know, sometimes life is exactly like that. You think you do everything right and they still give it to the other guy instead. Then
you’re left feeling bitter and jaded. But here’s the thing my friends: you have to work hard to earn everything that comes to you, and even then, sometimes it still goes to the other guy for no good reason at all. The lesson to learn is: you have to be okay with that. There’s an excellent saying which goes like this: “Life is 20% what happens to you, and 80% how you react to it.” I believe that more and more everyday.
Learn to live with yourself. Every day you are given choices, most small and some big. But everything you do equates to the person you are. I try to ask myself the same question every morning, “Are you who you want to be?” The answer often dictates my mood for the rest of the day. When I don’t feel like I measure up to the person I should/could be, it bothers me a lot. The industry has been moving towards decisiondriven storytelling for a while now, and I believe these particular games force us to examine ourselves as we play them. Yes, you have the option to make completely different choices on your second playthrough, but I believe the first playthrough of a decision-driven game is the most telling of the kind of person you are. I believe the first choice, the choice of
your gut instinct, is the reaction you would have in real life as well. You’ll have a plethora of decisions to make throughout your life, and each will be telling of the kind of person you are. Some days will be better than others, but before you go to sleep each day, I dare you to ask yourself, “Who was I today?” Let me know if you like the answer or not. I’m not saying I’ve learned everything I know about life from video games, not by a long shot. But I am saying that art imitates life, and it’s ridiculous to say you can’t learn something about life from a video game. Or rather, have certain ideals reaffirmed by playing a video game.
Written by Serwa Aboagye
DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION “I’ve seen more of this war, than you can imagine. None shall be untouched by the fires above. Fate lies in ashes. Our fragile alliances crumble to dust, as this world is torn asunder.” It is with these cryptic and grim words that story of Dragon Age: Inquisition takes its form - where evil has ripped apart the very fabric of The Veil, a mystical barrier put in place to prevent a world of horrors from instilling chaos and death amongst the living. Without the protection of The Veil, the citizens of Thedas are not safe from the demons and other hellish creatures, who now bleed endlessly from The Fade. You assume the role of the hero known only as The Inquisitor, a hero forged amidst tragedy brought about by the events of the Breach. It is your mission to seal the breach and stop those responsible for unleashing it. As is with previous Dragon Age titles, you will not be without your band of companions. Together, you form The Inquisition, travelling to great lengths across a vast array of environments and scenery - including desolate wastelands, lush forests and gloomy ruins of the arcane. Bioware, the developer behind this
fantasy epic, has boasted that the game features an open world landscape, allowing players to immerse themselves into the world of Thedas without having to stop and load the next instanced zone. Players will have the ability to charge into battle in specific areas and claim the land for the Inquisition, similar to the fort battles in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Returning in Inquisition is the turnbased combat system, allowing players to pause the battle at will to
Players will be able to assign default behaviours to all characters in your party, meaning you can give strength based characters the ability to charge head on whilst leaving more squishy characters to keep their distance so they don’t become axe fodder (healers, am I right?) For the first time in the Dragon Age saga comes Bioware’s signature dialog options interface wheel. Much like in Bioware’s other titles, such as the Mass Effect and The Old Republic, each option has its consequences and effects on the story
“THE LIGHTING LOOKS INCREDIBLE, THE COLORS VIBRANT, AND THE OVERALL FEEL IS THAT OF A WELL-POLISHED TRIPLE-A TITLE.” plan their next attack and strategies, rearrange party members or simply view the battle at hand in all of its bloody glory.
in the game. So for example, if you were to tell a character that you’re going to kill them, chances are that their death may come back to haunt
PC, 360, PS3, PS4, XB1
9 OCTOBER 2014
you somewhere else in the game. The visuals and aesthetic design brings the game into the current age of visual splendour. The lighting looks incredible, the colors vibrant, and the overall feel is that of a wellpolished Triple-A title. Dragon Age: Inqusition releases October 9th, 2014 on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Written by Matthew Raspe
MARIO GOLF: WORLD TOUR The Mario Golf series (and its Tennis sister series) has been around since the Nintendo 64. It returned on the Gamecube and Gameboy Advance, but oddly skipped over the Wii entirely. And now after a 10 year hiatus Camelot have returned with a new instalment for the 3DS. The game is divided into two major segments, the first of which is Quick Round. This mode contains modes such as Single Player (just a quick game) with various options to choose, such as playing for the amount of strokes, time limits, or competing with other CPUs for the most holes, VS Mode (for multiplayer of course), Challenge Mode, where you must perform tasks such as collecting coins or hitting the
Club. An expansion of the customisation features from Mario Tennis Open, Castle Club is a hub where your Mii can be customised with clothing and gear to change his stats, learn tutorials, enter Championships to defeat famous Mario characters and compete in Online Tournaments. Clothing and gear are purchased with coins earned during play, and the range of options is astounding. Unfortunately, the difference they add to you stats is minor at best, serving a cosmetic purpose more than intended. The Courses you unlock here are the ones where items and gimmicks are non-present, as well as the challenging Sky Island; a course where every hole must be completed in two shots. A great challenge for the pros! Despite Castle
simpler to use, while Advanced, despite being harder to use, allows for more control with the ability to use more advanced shots like topspin and backspin. The game has a power meter that shows you how to perform a perfect shot, and it works fine on the fairway, but it annoyingly doesn’t seem to take into account slopes and altitude when on the green, causing many a missed Birdie. There are also items (a first for the series) that can affect your shot, which are only available in the Mario-themed courses and challenges. These range from the Fire Flower, which lets the ball go through objects that would normally block it, such as trees, to the Note Block, which lets the ball have a second bounce near the end of where it
“IF YOU’RE A FAN OF THE SERIES, MARIO GAMES, OR JUST GOLF GAMES IN GENERAL, THIS IS MUST FOR YOUR COLLECTION.” ball throw rings, and Tournaments, where you compete in various challenges against the ghost records of other players online. Completing challenges in Challenge Mode earns you Star Coins, which are used to unlock characters, as well as the Mario-themed courses, which I’ll get to a bit later. The other big mode is the Castle
Club having a minor plot about your Mii rising to beat the Mario crew on the golf course, it’s not really much more than a justification for being there, and Castle Club serves more of a training centre at best rather than an actual story mode. The controls in Golf come in two flavours: Manual and Advanced. Manual is easier for beginners and much
would have originally landed. These items add a range of strategic choices and a new layer of depth on top of the already solid mechanics of the game, and the best part is if you dislike playing with gimmicks there are regular courses for you to play without them. Speaking of the courses, there is a nice variety of them, with even more
to come as DLC. You can enjoy regular courses of varying difficulty like the Forest, Seaside and Mountain courses, and the afore mentioned Sky Island, or you could try your hand at the more challenging Mario world-themed courses, such as the Yarn Yoshi-based Yoshi Lake, the underwater Cheep Cheep Lagoon, complete with different physics, or the Donkey Kong Country Returns-inspired DK Jungle, featuring. There are ten courses in all, and all offer a different experience, either gameplay-wise or visually. The character roster is solid, featuring all the regulars, plus fan favourites such as Kamek and Rosalina (the latter being DLC). Oddly, the characters’ stats don’t make too much of a difference, but overall this is a good thing, as it means you can play as any of the characters without being at a disadvantage. The game is also receiving some solid DLC support, with three separate packs confirmed that each come with a new character and two new courses each. You can also purchase all three packs in one deal with the added bonus of Gold Mario, who makes grinding for coins much easier. Each pack is priced at around five dollars, which is not too shabby for the amount of content they provide. One minor gripe I
8.5/10 have with it however is that the first pack is available on Day 1, which means it could have easily been in the retail game, but overall, the value for your money wins in the end. Overall, Mario Golf: World Tour provides a solid golfing experience with a nice range of content and DLC support. Camelot have really made some nice additions with the new courses and items, and the Castle Club is a neat, if unrealised, feature, and it will be interesting to see where the series carries on from here. Mario Golf: World Tour is easily the best golf game you can get for 3DS. If you’re a fan of the series, Mario games, or just golf games in general, this is must for your collection. Have fun golfing!
Written by Jacob Getley
PROS • • • •
Good for both pros and newcomers
Not forced to use gimmicks unless you want to
Tutorials and Golf terminology explanations DLC Support
CONS • • •
Castle Club could have been fleshed out more Mii Customisation isn’t as effective as it could be
That darn perfect shot can screw you over on the green
FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN
Most gamers are familiar with Final Fantasy. Arguably one of the biggest JRPG franchises in the world, it is a part of gaming history and one that I feel is vital to experiencing some of the best stories told in entertainment. I myself have played and finished almost every Final Fantasy there is, and even bought a Gamecube and four Gameboy Advances so I could play Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles with my friends when it was released. Square Enix’s first Final Fantasy MMORPG was Final Fantasy XI. Released in 2002, it proved that Final Fantasy could work as an MMO. Despite being released on the PC, PS2 and Xbox 360, it never truly gained the attention it deserved in Western
PlayStation 4? Read on, kupo... As with any MMORPG, there’s a staggering amount of content to mention in a review, so I’ll do my best to mention the game’s story, setting, gameplay and new features. Being a Final Fantasy MMO, players can expect all the things that make Final Fantasy one of the world’s most favoured RPG franchises, including airships, Chocobos, Moogles, magic, weapons and more.
The Story Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn takes place on the world of Hydaelyn. Hydaelyn is made up of three continents, with the game taking place on the continent of Eorzea. Eorzea is said to be the land where the Twelve (Hydaelyn’s deities) lived, and cre-
nist, even more so than Link from The Legend of Zelda. Where Link made noises when he was in combat or jumping around, your character in FFXIV does not. I was even knocked to the ground in a boss fight, and even then I still didn’t emit a noise. It would have been nice to have some sort of input or reaction during story cut scenes, but the game delivers its story adequately. Fans of dialogue, decision and consequence heavy MMORPG storylines like those seen in Star Wars: the Old Republic may be slightly disappointed. Throughout your adventure(s) in the land of Eorzea, you will encounter a great number of things from previous Final Fantasy games. At
“THE PLAYSTATION 4 VERSION OF THE GAME HAS SEEN A SIGNIFICANT GRAPHICAL UPGRADE..” territories, though thankfully Square Enix did not give up on their idea of a Final Fantasy MMO. Now, we have ‘Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn’, a fresh Final Fantasy MMO previously released on PC and PS3. Now FFXIV:ARR has made its way to the PlayStation 4, with some sexy new graphics and a couple of nifty new features. Is FFXIV:ARR a decent title? Is it worth picking up on
ated all life from the Mothercrystal, a sentient crystal entity. The crystal beckons you (the player) to save the world from an eternity of darkness. There are over 180 quests in the main storyline, and unlike other story-driven MMORPGs, it doesn’t take long before you get an understanding of the world and your role in it. Your character is a silent protago-
level 15 I unlocked airship travel, and from the beginning of the game there are plenty of players running around with different companions (like Moogles and Tonberries) and mounts, such as Chocobos. After the poor response from the original Final Fantasy XIV (not FFXIV: ARR), I had my doubts that Square Enix really could deliver a game that fuses the best parts of an MMO
with the best parts of Final Fantasy. Thankfully, all doubts were allayed, as Final Fantasy XIV: ARR really is the MMO Final Fantasy fans are looking for.
Your Character One of the most important parts of any MMO, is one’s character. It’s a tough balancing act, as players like to feel like individuals as well as important members of a team or clan. There are also the bragging rights and impressive weapons and armour that come from completing difficult quests and spending many hours in the game. FFXIV: ARR doesn’t disappoint in this regard, as there a ton of option to cater to every type of gamer. At the start of the game, you’ll choose which race, which clan (a subcategory of the race) and gender you want to be, as well as which deity you worship. You will also choose your class, which determines what type of role you will play both on your own and in a team. The races in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn are mainly a cosmetic feature, but some races are better suited to some classes and abilities than others.
Here is a brief rundown on the races: • The Hyur - Bascially Hydaelyn’s version of humans, the Hyur have well-rounded stats and are able to handle a wide variety of classes and roles within FFXIV. • The Elezen - Tall and graceful, the Elezen could be called the elves of Final Fantasy. With high dexterity, these forest dwellers make great Archers. • The Lalafell - Small and child-like in appearance, the Lalafell came to Eorzea through the burgeoning trade routes. They’re highly intelligent, and make great magic casters. • The Miqo’te - The Miqo’te are easily distinguishable, with their large, furry ears and their long tails. The males of the Miqo’te are loners, with very few living amongst the other races in Eorzea. • The Roegadyn - The Roegadyn are huge, beast like people that came to Eorzea from across the seas. Despite a few differences between starting stats, any race is able to pursue any class or job they wish. Gender makes no difference to statistics, so both male and female characters are on even ground when starting out as an adventurer.
The different deities you worship in the game (passively) offer different resistances to the elements.
Your Class Classes are what will determine the weapons, armour and skills you will use throughout your adventures. Here’s a quick introduction: • The Gladiator - A warrior who specialises in combat with a sword and shield, which functions as a tank class (tanks take most of the damage/attention of enemies when in groups). • The Marauder - The Marauder is a warrior class that favours all-out offense with large, two handed axes. Also a tank class. • The Pugilist - The Pugilist specialises in swift, hand to hand combat, and is a DPS class (high damageper-second). • The Lancer - Lancers are a DPS class that specialise in combat using polearms ie spears. • The Archer - Archers are a DPS class that specialise in ranged combat using bows. IF you prefer attacking and supporting your team from a distance, this may be the class for you.
• The Conjurer - A magic-user who specialises in Wind, Earth and Healing magic. The Conjurer is a healing class. • The Thaumaturge - The Thaumaturge specialises in Fire, Blizzard and Thunder magic. A DPS class, the Thaumaturge is the offensive magic caster. • The Arcanist - The Arcanist can summon monsters to aid them in battle. In addition to combat classes, there are also crafting classes that the player unlocks once they hit level 10. These classes allow the player to gather resources and crafting items and craft them into weapons, armour, food and potions. What’s great about the combat classes and crafting classes is that you can take on as many as you’d like after you reach level 10. Feel like taking on carpentry and mining? You can do that. Feel like learning how to use a bow and a great axe? You can do that too, and the best part is, your stats will slightly alter in your favour to accommodate your wide interests.
Gameplay Gameplay is pretty standard MMO fare, and that’s not a bad thing. Players are able to adventure on their own, as well as in various groups. You begin in a city relative to your starting weapon class. Archers, Lancers and Conjurers begin in Gridania, the city in the woods for example. When you first arrive in your starting city, you will be introduced to several key characters who will get you started on your adventures. There are guilds, factions, characters and numerous side quests and activities to complete, which will reward the player with loot and experience. I’ve played the PlayStation 3 version of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and as great as it is, the PlayStation 4 has a few nifty features that I now couldn’t live without. For one thing, it uses the touch pad on the controller similarly to a touch pad on a PC. This allows the player to manually click on anything on the HUD for more information, which is extremely handy. I frequently click on the names of quests to read a more detailed description, and then click again to an objective’s location on the map. There’s also remote play via the PlayStation Vita, which is handy for more relaxing activities such as fishing and wood chopping. Graphics
The PlayStation 4 version of the game has seen a significant graphical upgrade. Because of this, FFXIV: ARR really is a breathtaking game. The game’s environments in particular are jaw-dropping, and I frequently found myself stopping to take all the scenery in. The power of the PlayStation 4 allows for hundreds of players on screen at once, and the large group quests (F.A.T.E.s) are no longer laggy glitch-fests that they used to be. There are times with reviewing games where words simply can’t do a game justice. As a Final Fantasy fan, I can’t sing the praises of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn enough. It has a fantastic amount of depth and gameplay, without any boring quests or losing that Final Fantasy charm. If you love Final Fantasy games, want an MMORPG on your PlayStation 4 or are after a different kind of RPG to play, then check out Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
Written by Nick Getley
9.5/10 PROS • • •
Everything you loved in previous Final Fantasy games, melded with the social aspects of an MMO. Gorgeous graphics.
A Staggering amount of fun content. Excellent value for money.
Learning the classes, quests and controls can take some time if on your own. Thankfully, there’s other players and online communities!
BOUND BY FLAME
It seems like nowadays, all games have to have some degree of familiarity to them. This was true when I first started playing games (though it was less obvious) and it is true now. It’s why we see (saw?) so many FPS games set in modern times. It’s why platformers usually involve bright colours and cartoon characters, and it’s why a lot of RPGs are showing influence from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. ‘Bound By Flame’ from developer Spiders and publisher Focus Home Interactive is a game that dares to be different, in not just its art direction or gameplay, but both. While this can often lead to some slight annoyances for the player, it also makes for a fun and original experience too. At the start of the game, players will create their character’s appearance and name. While I appreciate being
where our muscle-bound protagonist struggles to defeat a rotting corpse, the player is tasked with meeting the rest of Vulcan’s mercenary company and the game’s crafting mechanics. I hope you’re paying attention, because you can craft at any time, and if you rush through this part, you will end up filling your inventory with all manner of ore and no idea what to do with it. Vulcan works with a group of mercenaries who are body guarding the Red Scribes, a group whose motives aren’t that clear to Vulcan or the player at the start of the game. Perhaps Spiders left this part of the game deliberately vague, as there is a fair bit of gameplay to learn, such as the combat. In any case, players will be forgiven for wondering what the hell they’re doing at the very beginning of the game. Persevere
“I FEEL AS THOUGH I SHOULD MENTION AT THIS POINT THE AMOUNT OF CURSING..” able to customise my character’s appearance (I am a glutton for creating myself), there really isn’t a point to naming your character, as he will forever be referenced by every character by his default name, Vulcan. After that, you’re thrown into the main story. After a goofy cut scene
though, and you will find an interesting game with pretty fun levelling up mechanics and engaging combat, even if it is at times somewhat goofy and sluggish. Vulcan and his mercenary crew are tasked with protecting the Red Scribes while they decipher various texts in some mysterious ru-
ins, though Vulcan quickly discovers that the Scribes are in fact, performing some sort of ritual. While fighting to protect his mercenary brethren and the Red Scribes, Vulcan is possessed by a demon, who chooses to inhabit Vulcan’s head. The demon both speaks to Vulcan inside his own mind, as well as to other characters by using Vulcan’s mouth. The demon has remarkable insight into the motives and personalities of other characters, and it’s not always easy to determine whether or not the demon wants to help Vulcan, or take over his body completely. I feel as though I should mention at this point the amount of cursing in Bound By Flame. At times, it feels like it belongs in the game and at other times it feels extremely forced, as though swearing was mistakenly recognised as mature writing. Our (as in, real-life humans) type of cussing will always attract attention to itself in an RPG, which is why games such as the Elder Scrolls series and Shadowrun Returns have
their own made up cusses, such as “N’wah” and “Drek”. Bound By Flame seems to think that a Resoirvoir Dogs amount of swearing is perfectly acceptable between characters who have just met, which just rubbed me the wrong way. Throughout the story, you will be presented with moral choices similar to the Mass Effect and Fable series of games. The outcomes of which aren’t often very obvious. One “decision” I made was simply to disagree with someone. The situation escalated rather quickly and one person ended up dead. It seemed like a discussion until that point. For the most part, these are executed adequately but I would suggest saving often if you’re not sure which way you’re leaning in a moral predicament. The combat has a number of unusual choices that at times left me showering the game with praise and other times, scratching my head. For one thing, there are direct attacks, which target a single enemy
and do average damage. Then you have area attacks, which are usually spinning and swirling attacks that leave Vulcan open to attack from his enemies. Instead of most actionRPGs, where any attack hitting any character or enemy will damage them and cause them to stop whatever it is they’re doing, Bound By Flame has stats to determine how much chance the player has to interrupt an enemy or to be interrupted by them. Sounds confusing? Well it is, and it isn’t. You can still block your opponent, but swinging around an enormous axe isn’t recommended until you’ve levelled up a few times. Otherwise you will be constantly struck down by your enemies. At other times, you will have the illusion of choice with how you wish to enter combat. You have three different stances: Ranger, Warrior and Stealth. The Warrior uses heavy weapons, the ranger uses two
smaller daggers and using stealth is basically useless. I mean, I appreciate that you can eliminate a single enemy (or most of a single enemy’s health), but it’s not very often that stealth is a viable option. For one thing, the “stealth” moments don’t feel natural or opportunistic at all. Rather, you will have one idiot enemy with his back to the entrance of somewhere, and they never turn around. These are pretty much the only times you will get to use stealth - when the game wants you to. The Ranger stance plays like the Warrior stance, only it is much faster and weaker. Both of these fighting styles feel as though they have a rhythm to them, and while they both have skill trees, it feels as though you will pick one or the other and stick to it. I never moved past the Warrior stance, despite trying out various weapons.
Killing enemies often yields spoils and other rewards. These can be money, or items used in the crafting of potions or accessories for your weapons and armour. I actually really like crafting various armous and weapon accessories in Bound By Flame. It adds a reward for someone like me who is a thorough explorer, or doesn’t run away from a fight. Speaking of fights, even on the “normal” difficulty setting they can be tough. You can often be outnumbered (even when you have a companion) and there are other factors at play that will see you at a disadvantage. Only with leveling up and smart use of your abilities and items will you find a fair fight in Bound By Flame, which I really enjoy. It reminded me of when Risen finally clicked with me. It might not have been a AAA titles, but it had an interesting story and provided a challenge, two departments that AAA titles such as Fable III and other RPGS like it often falter in. I don’t always mention a game’s art direction in a review unless I feel it is particularly noteworthy or interesting. Bound By Flame blends tradi-
tional 3D graphics with clever use of cel-shading techniques. These helps subtlely guide the player around various environments, as well as make bleak environments more interesting. Quite often the majority of characters you meet are rather boring, but unique characters such as Sybil and Edwen the Witch. Visually, this game won’t set the world on fire, but it certainly has its moments, particularly with some of the enemy designs. When you strip away the goofy cut scenes, awful dialogue and confusing combat, Bound By Flame does offer a fun, challenging and rewarding game underneath. Similar to games like Risen, your enjoyment
• will depend on whether or not you can put up with a few weak elements in a game to experience the few good ones. Definitely worth checking out, as there are fewer and fewer action-RPGs coming out nowadays.
Written by Nick Getley
Rewarding gameplay if you venture beneath the surface
CONS • • •
Confused vision of what mature story-telling is “F@#! S@!# Wh@#%” Goofy cut scenes
If you own (or have owned) and Xbox 360 in the past, chances are you’ve played one of the Trials games. Trials HD and it’s follow up, Trials Evolution are both arcade classics, the former introducing many gamers to cleverly disguised physics-based puzzle mechanics and the latter refining that same gameplay. ‘Trials Fusion’ is the latest in the series, and while it is fun, casual Trials fans might find that the new content is isn’t exactly progressive, let alone innovative. A futuristic coat of paint, it seems, does not a true sequel make. As with previous entries in the series, Trials Fusion is all about getting your rider and his vehicle across difficult obstacle courses. There are bronze, silver and gold medals awarded depending on how long it takes you to complete the courses, and there are some unique challenges throughout
is where Trials Fusion shines in particular, as there is now a wide variety of different tracks and environments for you to conquer. When you first start Trials Fusion, you are greeted by a pretty stylish title screen. The music playing is very similar to Swedish House Mafia or the Presets; the song playing welcoming you to “the future”. It sets the tone for the rest of the game, and
“THERE ARE ALSO LEVEL-SPECIFIC OPTIONAL OBJECTIVES TO COMPLETE, WHICH ADD VARIETY..” the campaign too. Trials HD and Trials Evolution both offered up a ton of content for your buck, though the level design and gameplay were both very repetitive. While the difficulty steadily increased, the variety in the games’ levels did not. This however,
Trials veterans will probably appreciate the very different art direction and music from previous games. While the music and futuristic art direction complement each other and provide a more cohesive atmosphere than previous games, the title
screen/menu music and a few of the other tracks can really begin to grate on the player, particularly on difficult levels where the player will go through a number of retries before beating the level. The levels in Trials Fusion all look different from each other, and to a slight degree they all play different from each other as well. There are also level-specific optional objectives to complete, which add variety, but too often repeat themselves. When you weigh up the good and the bad of the level design, you will still find the majority of levels an absolute blast to play, especially when you nail them the first time. Each series of levels has a different feel and approach to them. The futuristic levels are intense, as they can be full of platforms that launch the player, as well as rotating platforms that will provide safe landing
areas at the exact moment a player needs to land. The desert-themed levels are more of your typical offroad racing affair, with speed and precise control of oneâ€™s vehicle being crucial to victory. Other environments will challenge the player in other ways, with loop-de-loops, multiple routes and steep inclines. Control-wise, Trials Fusion will be immediately accessible to anyone familiar with previous Trials games. New players might find that the controls take some getting used to; however Iâ€™ve found that the vehicles in Fusion all feel different from each other, and the levels are more catered to individual vehicles, meaning that the game is still a challenge whilst feeling a little fairer on the player than previous titles. Eventually, players will unlock tricks they can perform across every track, as well as trick challenge levels. These levels can be pretty
challenging, though not always for good reasons. Tricks are dependent on two things: The angle of your bike and which direction you point the right stick. While this often proves accessible it can also prove to be a pain, as it feels like Fusion needs to think too long before executing a trick. Sometimes you pull of a pretty simple trick, like a Superman (left on the right stick) and then turn it into a back flip (left on the left stick). Other times, you might choose directions that don’t agree with each other, and your rider will cross his legs and leap over the handlebars in a fit of nonsensical gyrations. While this can be hilarious, it often leads to crashing or worse, cancelling your combo score. Sometimes, it seems, less is more. When competing in time trials, the player is presented with ghosts of people of their online friends to compete against. At first, I had my finger down on the accelerator with reckless abandon, but as I began to progress through the campaign, I realised that not only was it fun beating my friends’ scores, but it also helped me gradually improve at the game. I would definitely recommending playing the game online, and getting
your friends to pick up copies too. Like the recently-released Kinect Sports Rivals, one of Trials Fusions greatest strengths is the fact it can create friendly competition amongst friends. In addition to the campaign levels, there is also a level editor included in Trials Fusion. While it offers you every single conceivable tool you could possibly want or need, it does not come with instructions, and as I am not familiar with Trials Evolution’s level editor, I was completely lost. There is plenty of help online, but I do wish that RedLynx took the time to create a quick video or tutorial to help new players. Despite not being as innovative as one would hope, Trials Fusion proves itself to be quite fun. Series fans will love it, and there’s no better time for newcomers to get in on the action. One of the first new-gen must-have arcade titles, Trials Fusion can provide entertainment for people with a few minutes, or a few hours to spare.
Written by Nick Getley
8.5/10 PROS •
More variety than previous Trials games
Awesome multiplayer features
CONS • •
Unforgiving difficulty spikes Trials often don’t work
CHILD OF LIGHT
It’s not often you see RPGs hit digital stores such as the Xbox LIVE Arcade and Playstation Network Store, and aside from Torchlight, I don’t recall the last time I was impressed by one. ‘Child of Light’ from Ubisoft (developed by four Ubisoft studios) is a game that wears its influences on its sleeve. Inspired by JRPGs and Studio Ghibli films, Child of Light offers a unique experience that while charming and fun to play, doesn’t feel much more than a visual experience at times. Child of Light casts players as Aurora, a young girl growing up in Austria in 1895. Aurora contracts a mysterious ailment while asleep one day and awakens in a strange land, Lemuria. Lemuria has had its sun moon and stars stolen by the Black Queen. Early into her journey, Aurora will meet Igniculus the firefly, who
ies and other things, it’s when someone is ripped from their world and they don’t give it a second thought. Visually, Child of Light is absolutely gorgeous. Apparently, Studio Ghibli films were a huge influence on the look of Child of Light, and although it really is a beautiful game, I don’t see anything particularly “Ghiblilike”. That doesn’t change the fact that the characters and environments are stunning, though. It’s not just the environments that lend Child of Light its dreamy atmosphere, but also a particularly impressive use of lighting. Inside some of the caves, Aurora is scarcely visible, and instead of the norm, where characters and foregrounds are visible, backgrounds are bright & cast a shadow over Aurora and the foreground, ala Braid and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.
formers, although Child of Light refreshingly allows the player to explore and progress through the game at their own pace. As everything with Child of Light is extremely appealing from a visual perspective, players may want to take their time exploring and really take in all that there is around them. At the start of the game, Aurora can only walk at an average pace throughout her surrounds, but eventually, players will unlock flight and other quicker means of travel. As one would expect of a platformer, Child of Light offers a mix of puzzles and exploration. It also offers JRPG-esque combat, which is actually quite engaging, unlike most JRPG combat. I thought that I had experienced every type of puzzle there was to play in a platformer, but Child of Light managed
“THE BATTLES ARE VERY MUCH LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF FINAL FANTASY BUT DO HAVE A MORE FUN AND ENGAGING SERIES OF FEATURES.” will accompany her on her journey to restore the celestial bodies. As interesting as the story is, not one hint is given of Aurora’s actual fate. Yes, it is highly likely that resolving the indream (other dimension) story will also awaken Aurora, but if there’s one thing I’m tired of in games, mov-
There really aren’t any flaws or faults with Child of Lights visuals, as every individual environment and creature in it perfectly complements the other. Even Aurora’s red hair flows around her like a crimson cloud. Gameplay is similar to other 2D plat-
to prove me wrong, in the best possible way. Early in the game, Aurora encounters a locked door. On the wall behind the door are three large symbols, which are like elongated versions of the symbols on a pillar in front of her. The player must then guide Igniculus in front of the
symbols and project them onto the wall. Moving him around slightly will stretch the light and shadows to match the longer symbols on the wall. It didn’t take long to figure out but it did make me appreciate how clever its design was. Unfortunately not all puzzles in Child of Light are equally clever, as I regret to inform you that you will encounter the annoyingly-dated, “find a way to get this heavy box onto a switch that opens a door for you” puzzle. When walking or flying around the environment, Aurora will encounter monsters also wandering about. If the player collides with them, a battle ensues. The battles are very much like something out of Final Fantasy but do have a more fun and engaging series of features. For one thing, in addition to being able to hit your enemies and cast spells, you can time your attacks so that they interrupt your enemy’s at-
tacks, forcing them to take longer to attack. At first, this isn’t very useful as they will still manage to attack you again briefly, but when you have a companion in your party, this tactic manages to be more advantageous, as your companion can use that time to interrupt them again, or cast a spell or skill that takes slightly longer to pull off. When you’re not in combat, you’re also able to find usable augmentations that can be placed on you, your attack or defense to have various effects, such as inflicting additional elemental damage, increased defense or health or even gaining extra experience from each battle. Now while Child of Light is a great game (and it is) there is one thing in
particular I take issue with. It feels as though a few things have taken a back seat to the game’s beautiful art direction. For one thing, there can be large gaps between story events. Even though I like the gorgeous art and exploring the world, it feels as though I’m on my own for an almost unbearable amount of time. Sure, Aurora has Ingiculus to keep her company, but the two never talk throughout the majority of Aurora’s adventure. Child of Light is a gorgeous game that has fun and rewarding gameplay. Unlike some JRPGs which have influenced it, it manages to be engaging and accessible, and truly does combine the best parts of all of its influences. JRPG and platformer fans won’t want to miss this one.
8.5/10 Written by Nick Getley
PROS • •
Gorgeous art direction
Takes the best of multiple genres and combines them
Large gaps in story events
JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: ALL STAR BATTLE
Normally with a game review you can have a rough idea in your head of what to expect. Despite being slightly familiar with the 1993 anime Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, I was still taken aback by how wonderfully insane ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle’ on the PlayStation 3 is. What surprised me the most though, is how polished and addicting a fighter lies underneath the eccentricity. For those of you unaware, ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle’ is based on the Japanese manga, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, which was first published in 1986 in Weekly Shonen Jump, and has seen a number of anime adaptations, the first being released in 1993. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has been continuously running since 1986, and there are currently 8 active stories within its universe.
The first campaign in story mode is set in England in the 1880s. Jonathan Joestar must thwart his adopted brother, Dio Brando’s plan to usurp their father’s power and claim their inheritance. When confronted by Jonathan, Dio reveals an ancient mask which turns him into a vampire. Jonathan must team up with Will A Zapelli and Robert E.O. Speedwagon to defeat Dio Brando, who now wished to conquer the entire world. If that sounds crazy, it only gets crazier as All Star Battle attempts to condense all 8 of the storylines into one video game. For the most part, it does this exceptionally well. The only real problem comes from the fact that once you finally get a feel for the different characters (and their stories) they abruptly end and you are introduced to the next descendant in the Joestar family. It does,
“WHEN I FIRST FIRED UP JJA:ASB, I DIDN’T THINK THE GAMEPLAY WOULD BE AS POLISHED AS IT WAS.” Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle allows players to experience all 8 current JJBA storylines, as well as battle each other using 40 characters from those storylines, either in story mode or in free battles of their own creation.
however, make me want to go and find as much of the manga and anime that I can to learn more about the characters (and to experience more of the crazy story). Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is known
for a number of things: over-the-top muscle-bound characters, bizarre fighting styles and personalities and poses. So many weird poses. All of these are intact in the game. Each character is as unique and bizarre as the next, whether they shoot champagne bottle corks at each other, throw squirrels at each other, or sprout wings claiming everyone should “celebrate their rebirth”. My favourite part of each character, are their Heart Heat Moves. Receiving damage and dealing out special moves fills the players Heart Heat gauge, and when that gauge is full the player can unleash some of the craziest super moves I’ve ever seen in a fighting game. Will A Zapelli stabs at his enemy with his little finger, and then unleashes a spiral of light energy. The camera cuts are very cinematic, similar to Street Fighter IV, although I feel they have more effect because of the kanji that flashes on screen. The most popular element of JJBA’s multiple storylines, are the “stands”, incredible guardians of energy that protect their users. In Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, stands can be enabled via special moves or permanently enabled, with each use having different strategies attached to it. The Stands come into play in the third chapter of the game, though players are able to use them in free
play immediately. Characters with stands do feel a little overpowered compared to some characters, but fights in Story Mode are completely balanced. Now, onto the gameplay. When I first fired up JJA:ASB, I didn’t think the gameplay would be as polished as it was. At first, I had my butt thoroughly kicked, but after coming to grips with the basic controls and techniques, I was well on my way to mastering the Hamon techniques (Ripple techniques, AKA special moves). Each character plays extremely different from the rest. Some move quickly, other are slower (though less likely to lose their footing when attacked), some have ranged attacks but short reach, and other have extremely long reach compared to others. There have been some complaints floating around on line about the original Japanese release saying that the characters are completely imbalanced, but I feel that each character possesses as many strengths and weaknesses as the rest, they just aren’t as obvious as in other fighting games. JJBA:ASB has three normal attack buttons, instead of your standard three punch and kick buttons. In addition to your quick, normal and strong attacks (which are used to form combos), you have dodges, and a char-
acter specific “Style” move. The Style moves can be anything from counter attacks, to weapons attacks and even Stand attacks, such as a spirit extending from your body and unleashing a powerful high-count combo. In addition to normal moves and special moves, there are also counters and dodges. Dodges are used to avoid projectile attacks and can also be used to move your fighter to a better position. The counters involve delicate timing, but when pulled off, are extremely impressive and rewarding. Once I got the hang of them, I was ducking and weaving (And femininely twirling) around my enemies and using their attacks to rack up a powerful counter attack combo. When two players learn to counter each other, you can have epically intense matches, similar to Dead or Alive, but more accessible as the counters are a single button. Where other fighting games have tried to add more depth via a series of needlessly complicated additions and different fighting systems, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle feels like a classic fighting game from back when fighting games were king, except with modern graphics. Because of this though, some fights really boil down to one or two different tactics or moves used during a fight, without much
variation. Most of the time though, the sheer challenge of difference between two fighters make for highly entertaining match ups. In terms of game modes, you have the Story Mode, which takes you through the 8 stories of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Campaign mode, Arcade Mode, Versus mode, Practice mode, as well as a gallery and game options. Campaign mode, is actually quite strange. It serves as a means of unlocking additional customisation items for your online profile and characters, but features an energy bar and real-life money transactions like a smart phone game. What bothers me about this is opposed to genuinely working your way up to a good challenge, the game simply nerfs you, meaning no matter how good you fight, you do less damage to a boss, and have to either pay for damage increases or fight the same person multiple times to beat them. If it takes five or six identical fights to beat someone (even if your skill is much better), what is the point? It
really doesn’t feel like anything but a way to throw away your money, and the unlocking of gear could have been featured in a number of other game modes, considering this feels like an inferior version of Arcade Mode. Arcade Mode is similar to Campaign Mode, in that once again you are fighting the A.I. Lockedin to a series of 8 battles, the player must try to get as high a rank as possible for bonus gold at the completion of Arcade Mode. The gold can be used to purchase artwork, voice clips, background music and more. Versus Mode is exactly the same as other fighting games. You can fight a friend in your own living room or via the internet. ‘Nuff said. Practice mode allows you to set up how the A.I. opponent behaves so you can practice and improve your fighting style. There’s also a move list for each character, though there are moves that aren’t in the list for
each character too. There is an outside community on the internet and YouTube in particular that can show you how to perform every move, but the game itself does not offer such a luxury. While it might be cool to know a move your online opponent does not, it really should be a level playing field for everyone, especially as JJBA:ASB will have a pretty small niche audience. While Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle may have a few different design choices, they simply take getting used to. While Campaign Mode irks me I really can’t fault the Story or Arcade Mode, and the gameplay itself is fantastic. While we’ve all gotten used to the many bells and whistles of other modern fighting games, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle offers a unique and simple fighting game that is without a doubt fun to play.
Written by Nick Getley
7.5/10 PROS • • •
Simple controls make the game accessible to anyone
Very, very stylish camera cuts and manga moments Brilliantly unique and bizarre
CONS • •
Silly use of real-life money in Campaign Mode Difficulty spikes
MXGP: THE OFFICIAL MOTOCROSS VIDEOGAME
This month I had MXGP come across my desk to have a play with. I got the PS3 version and thought, “Dirt bikes?” Not being a dirt bike fan I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought about it and how I’d review a game in a genre I know very little about. Hmmm.. how do I know if it’s accurate? Are the physics accurate, do the bikes look right? Does the mud fly off the wheels like it’s suppose to? With all these questions in mind I inserted the game and grabbed my controller. It was around this time we had a family dinner happening and coincidently my son-in-law is a dirt bike rider and fan. So I did the obvious and threw him the controller and watched an expert play. The first thing I notice is the smooth graphics. The bikes fly along at a
dering how, in real life, these racers don’t end up doing jumps and landing on each other? Racing around the track, he’s doing well in second place when he has a fall and the rider goes flying off the bike. Here’s the only downside and it’s a small thing, when the characters fall off, the rag doll physics are probably a bit weak. Yes he tumbles off the bike in a manner that results in one thinking the cliche “that’s gotta hurt” but it seems the body doesn’t seem to be totally accurate on the fall. Hey no big deal, after all the object of the game is to win races, climb the ladder in Career Mode and become champion. After watching a couple of races, I grabbed the controller and got ready to race. In Arcade mode, you pick your bike, rider and track. You can also adjust your racing assists but for beginners, I’d suggest starting
have no idea how the real racers don’t all end up landing on each other, but we don’t and while you’re in the air you can adjust for your landing. Control is via the two analogue sticks, accelerate and break via the triggers. You can change views, a third person view (which most of us preferred) and a closer over the handle bars view which brings you face first into the action. My first race wasn’t a great one, after over shooting a corner, I dropped back a few places then I overshot a jump and landed on a team truck. Thankfully the game resets you but by then you’ve lost a few places. The game holds your interest and has that “just one more go” addiction. You find yourself really wanting to finish better then last time. Career mode is great for long term players and offers MX2 and MX1
“THE FIRST THING I NOTICE IS THE SMOOTH GRAPHICS..” great rate and the scenery, bikes and mud flying off the wheels all looks great. The sound too is amazing on a Dolby Digital system and with the sub grumbling with the engine noise you almost feel like he’s riding the bike in your lounge. Then he’s off and riding and speeding along at such a pace I’m won-
with an easier set up. I made my way through the menus and then suddenly we’re all lined up and ready to race. As one we take off and suddenly you’re trying your best to not bang into the racer next to you and set yourself up for the first corner. A tap on the front brakes helps me take the corner without losing a place and then the first jump. Here’s where I
bike choices. MX1 bikes are more powerful and amps up the fun factor quite a bit. Overall I really liked the game, it’s got everything for the fan and even for the casual player it’s enjoyable and great with a few mates, pretzels and beer or soft drinks.
Written by Rob Jenkins
THE OFFICIAL MOTOCROSS VIDEOGAME
“The most authentic Motocross game to date.”
“Fast paced, close contact racing game – awesome.”
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“2”, “PlayStation ”, “PS3”, “À” “Ã“ and “Õ” are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox LIVE are either registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. Trademarks are property of their respective owners. MXGP – The Official Motocross Videogame 2014 Published and Developed by Milestone S.r.l. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2013 Youthstream - All rights reserved. © 2014 Milestone Srl – All rights reserved. Milestone is a registered trademark of Milestone Srl. Published in Australia by PQube Ltd and VR Distribution Ltd.
TURTLE BEACH HEADSET REVIEWS For quite a while, nobody could touch Turtle Beach in the world of gaming headsets. With their slick designs, brilliant sound and a variety of products to cater to any gamers, they quickly became the go-to manufacturer of quality gaming headsets. Fast forward to now, and Turtle Beach has got quite a lot of competition to deal with. Now that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are upon us, Turtle Beach needs to deliver quality headsets that not only work on current-gen consoles, but have a few handy tricks up their sleeves too.
The Ear Force XO Seven – For Xbox One The Ear Force XO Seven, is Turtle Beach’s latest headset for the Xbox One from Microsoft. Turtle Beach are calling it the “ultimate audio companion” for the Xbox One, which is a pretty bold claim, even from the leaders in gaming headsets. I managed to get my hands (and ears) on the XO Seven, and while I wouldn’t call it the “ultimate audio companion”, it’s a reliable and sturdy headset, and a fine starting headset for young gamers.
Colour - Black/Green
Design - Over-the-ear.
Game and Chat Volume Mix Controls
50mm Neodymium Speaker Drivers
Mobile Device Compatibility (though not with all features)
Weight - 10.6 oz (301 g)
Sound Pressure Level - 120 dB @ 1kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion - <1%
Speaker Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz
Speaker Diameter - 50mm
The Look The familiar exterior packaging had me deceived when I first laid eyes upon it. The outside of the XO Seven’s box is typical, but on the inside is a very slick protective compartment. Compared to other headsets which come in a simple plastic mould, I was impressed by the care and quality that the compartment depicted. The headset itself, is a sexy black number. The headband itself is strong plastic protected by cushioned highquality leather. Even the stitches are of remarkable quality. The ear cups are black plastic on the exterior, with that same high-quality leather protecting memory foam to ensure that your ears stay comfortable and cool. The memory foam offers a “custom” fit of sorts as it provides a snug cup around your ear, without bending or forcing your ear into a constrictive ear cup. Bright green tags, stitching
and highlights also complement the headset and the Xbox One to finish the XO Seven off. Despite looking sturdy and durable, the headset is also quite lightweight, which took me by surprise. Normally a headset will feel either too flimsy or too heavy, but the XO Seven manages to deliver both reliability and style without compromising on either. To summarise my thoughts on the look and feel of the XO Seven, allow me to say this: It’s slick, sexy and strong. All the S’s you’re looking for in a headset.
The Sound The XO Seven is compatible with the Xbox One, but can also be used in conjunction with smartphones and tablets. You can listen to music from your phone while you wait for a match on Titanfall, or you can get some quality time in on your game of Clash of Clans if you prefer. The XO Seven sounds great, there’s no denying it. Whether you’re listening to music, or playing a hectic game of Titanfall or Battlefield 4, the XO Seven’s do what they said
they would on the box. At the time of writing this review, the XO Seven is purely a stereo-only headset, meaning that 5.1 and 7.2 surround sound simply isn’t possible. There aren’t even equaliser settings for the XO Seven, which means that you are at the mercy of the headset and your Xbox One. If a game feels to bass-heavy (or not enough), then there isn’t anything you can do about it. This could be rectified with a companion app from Microsoft, but there isn’t anything on the way at present. Fingers crossed there is something soon. The sound quality itself is equal to the lofty standards set by previous Turtle Beach headsets. Everything from the boom of explosives to the crackling of glass underfoot sounds the way it should, and music in particular is quite impressive. There is no distortion either, no matter how much noise is occurring ingame. I played with the XO Sevens in Titanfall, Thief, Tomb Raider and Dead Rising 3 and not once did the headset falter. Everything remained clear. The noise isolation works well, and despite having slightly open mesh fabric on the ear cups, the headset does extremely
well not leaking any sound. Gamers who don’t wish to disturb other family members during late night sessions will be pleased. Another feature of the XO Sevens that impressed me was the clarity of chatting to other gamers online, both in parties and in-game. Throughout my time with the XO Sevens they remained clear and free from static, unlike other headsets.
Extra Features Competitive gamers will be pleased to know that the XO Seven features customisable ear plates, so that they can display their various interests and passions with flair. At present, there are a number of impressive designs, including Captain America ear plates and Call of Duty ear plates. Despite not being 5.1 surround, the XO Seven is still a remarkable headset. It’s wireless, and able to be set up and used easily within seconds. Turtle Beach aimed for a reliable and simple go-to headset for gaming, music and chatting with friends and in that regard they’ve delivered. Its portability and reliability are commendable.
Stylish and sturdy
Excellent sound quality
Matte black doesn’t show up fingerprints
Controlling audio through the Xbox One Headset Adaptor can feel goofy
Written by Nick Getley
TURTLE BEACH HEADSET REVIEWS
Ear Force PX4 – For Playsation 4 It’s been six months since the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were released, and now that the current generation of consoles has established itself, gamers are finally ready for a new generation of accesories to go with their new consoles. Turtle Beach have come to the new generation with a new generation of their own, in the form of some pretty spiffy new headsets. We’ve already had a look at the Ear Force XO Seven for the Xbox One, so let’s have a look at the premium headset for the PlayStation 4, the Ear Force PX4.
50mm diameter speakers with neodymium magnets
Game audio frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz, < 120dB SPL @ 1kHz
Condenser microphone frequency response: 50Hz - 15kHz
Game audio Dual Band WiFi Digital 2.4-2.495GHz/5.05.8GHz RF wireless reception
Bluetooth® radio with dual-pairing mode
Headphone amplifier: Stereo 27mW/ch, THD <1%
Rechargeable Li-Po Battery (1000 mAh)
Automatic shut down after approx 5 minutes of carrier loss or audio silence to conserve battery power
Battery booster circuit extends battery life for up to 15 hours
The Look Similar to the XO Seven, the PX4 comes in black. Instead of green highlights and stitching though, the PX4 has blue highlights and stitching, to match the PS4’s logo. The headband is once again a strong but flexible plastic, which is protected by high quality leather on the top and fabric on the bottom. The ear cups are black plastic, with a number of buttons on the sides. These buttons control a number of features, including equaliser tone, blast limiter, muting, chat volume and bluetooth pairing. On the inside of the ear cups is memory foam covered in breathable fabric, once again ensuring a com-
fortable custom fit. I say custom fit because unlike other headsets with plastic ear cups of cheap foam, the memory foam in Turtle Beach headsets adapts to your ear shape, instead of forcing your ear into a restrictive position. Overall I’ve found the PX4s to remain comfortable for extended gaming sessions. The ear cups breathe, and headset overall is quite light.
The Sound The PX4’s impressed me the second I started gaming with them. Being 5.1 surround, they are perfectly suited to any game or movie. I played a number of games online using the PX4 headset, including Killzone: Shadow Fall, Blacklight: Reribution, DC Universe Online, Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends: Complete Edition and Battlefield 4, and I found the headset’s audio to be perfect each and every time. Gunshots banged, explosions boomed and glass shattered the way they would sound in real life. If it takes more than just 5.1 surround to impress you, than prepare
to be impressed. Using the PX4’s transmitter, you can choose which simulated surround speaker set up you wish to emulate with the headset. Yes, they’re virtual speakers, but you can choose where they sit in your virtual room. Pretty impressive.
in a game is whispering to you and you turn up the volume to hear them, any sudden explosion or noise interrupting that quiet atmosphere won’t hurt your ears or cause you any frustration. It’s a handy feature.
You also have four different equalisers to shuffle through, which cater to both accuracy and your personal preference. Would you like to hear speech clearer? Or prefer less bass in your mix? Choose the treble booster equaliser. I found this to be particularly handy for Dynasty Warriors where someone is always yammering in your ear. Want to feel like you’re actually on the battlefield in Battlefield? Turn up the bass with the bass booster equaliser, and all the gunshots and explosions will sound better than you’ve ever heard them. No matter the game, the PX4 had an option to suit it.
The PX4 is compatible with the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, all mobile devices and even PC, making it extremely versatile for the versatile gamer.
Another handy feature of the PX4 headset, is the Blast Limiter, which limits the maximum volume of sudden loud effects. What does that mean? Well, it means if a character
“THE PX4’S IMPRESSED ME THE SECOND I STARTED GAMING WITH THEM. BEING 5.1 SURROUND, THEY ARE PERFECTLY SUITED TO ANY GAME OR MOVIE.”
8.5/10 PROS • • •
5.1 Surround sound across a variety of platforms
After my time with the PX4, it has easily found a home in my gaming area. It’s versatility and high sound quality sets a new standard in personal gaming audio.
Different equalisers and virtual speaker setups
Easy to accidentally push a button on the side of the headset
Written by Nick Getley
The towering new anime hit! Many years ago, the last remnants of humanity were forced to retreat behind the towering walls of a fortified city to escape the massive, man-eating Titans that roamed the land outside their fortress. Only the heroic members of the Scouting Legion dared to stray beyond the safety of the walls, but even those brave warriors seldom returned alive. Those within the city clung to the illusion of a peaceful existence until the day that dream was shattered, and their slim chance at survival was reduced to one horrifying choice: kill - or be devoured!
Pre-order your copy in stores today! Hurry - limited numbers!
OUT 18 JUNE
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ANIME ART! By Dana Bartlett Recently one of the Gametraders stores contacted us about some talented anime style artists that were visiting his store. We loved their art and decided to feature them in this months issue. We asked Dana about getting started in anime art... “I got into the anime style of art when I was in year three when a Japanese teacher visited my school and gave lessons on how to draw a few characters. I started off with characters like Hamtaro and eventually worked my way onto drawing actual people.” You can see more of Dana’s work here: www.facebook.com/shy.poker.addict
JUNE DVD R AVAILABLE 18 JUNE! $49.95
KIDS CLUB! AVAILABLE 4 JUNE!
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10 SPORTS GAMES YOU SHOULDN’T AVOID It’s okay! Sports games aren’t for everyone, in fact I generally tend to groan when I go to a store somewhere to find nothing BUT sports games. But what if I was to inform of you fine folks that there are such things as decent and genuinely fun sports games? Sorcery? No really they exist! Here are 10 sports games (of what I’ve played) that I’d like to share with you all in no particular order that you should make an effort to check out as soon as you can.
SPEEDBALL SERIES (Bitmap Brothers 1988) Not only did Bitmap Bros pave a standard for quality gaming on Amiga a plethora of other platforms with their various styles of games, but they have also introduced a way for a standard for decent ultra-violent futuristic sports video games. The objective of Speedball is to get your team to smash their way through opponents in the arena while collecting power-ups to get the ball in to the opposition’s goals. Think Gridiron, Soccer, and UFC/Boxing rolled up in to one. The game has been ported on a large amount of games, in fact Speedball 2 could well be sitting in your respected App Store on your mobile phone or tablet!
CALIFORNIA GAMES (Epyx 1987) California games is one of many titles from Epyx who released many similar titles like Summer Games and Winter Games in which there are various events to play while you’re trying to break your joystick by frantically wiggling it or bashing the button to beat competitors. California games doesn’t have that much joystick bashing and consists of Surfing, BMX Riding, Skateboarding on a halfpipe, Hacky Sack (or Footbag as they call it in the game), Frisbee and Rollerskating. The game is surprisingly a lot of fun with a group of friends, in fact give the SEGA Master System one a go, get some mates over with drinks and you’re in for a hilarious 8-player controller-passing evening.
BASKETBALL NIGHTMARE (SEGA 1989) If you had a SEGA Master System console either now or back in the day, you’ll no doubt know what Basketball Nightmare is. Simply put an extremely gorgeous looking and sounding Basketball game with great graphics and hard-as-nails AI. If you see this for sale, GRAB IT!
CARMAGEDDON (SCI 1997) For those of you who are fans of the series will hopefully be aware of what the game entails, but those of you who don’t; it’s a gritty, violent racing game full in which you need to either reach each checkpoint, destroy the opponents or clean out every pedestrian in the stage to win the game. With the violence put aside for a moment, the game itself is set in an open world where you can drive wherever you want (and you’d need to, to hunt down every pedestrian in some cases). While the game has caused much controversy, the fan base is enormous! So much so that there is in fact a reboot on its way to PC, OSX and other current-generation consoles with much praise and huge success from their Kickstarter campaign.
ROCK N ROLL RACING
This one is important to share with you all because this is a game made by the same company who brought you World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2. Rock n’ Roll Racing is an isometric racing game that came out on SNES and Mega Drive which features classic rock music like Paranoid by Black Sabbath, Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf just to name a few. In addition to the classic rock, there’s great graphics, controls, characters (including Olaf the Viking from The Lost Vikings), comical audio commentary and a whole heap of upgrades for your vehicles.
MARIO KART (Nintendo 1992) Of course, if ultra-violent racing games aren’t your thing and you got kids, or want your kids to play something that is still offering a great challenge in a more chilled setting, then you seriously can’t go wrong with Super Mario Kart and the rest of the series. The game is extreme fun either solo or two player and with loads of power-ups to defeat your enemies with and stunts you’d need to perform to keep your kart on course without of doubt has kept fans from the Super Nintendo continuing to play them right up to the Wii U release of Mario Kart 8 22 years later.
SUPER PUNCH-OUT!! (Nintendo 1994) There are some great Boxing games made on various systems since the dawn of video games but one that still stands out for me as a well-presented release with great graphics, gameplay that keeps you playing over and over again to beat your scores and a replay value being Super Punch-Out!! Interesting fact about this game as well actually, do you know the voice of Mario? Charles Martinet? Before he incorporated his iconic voice of the Italian plumber, he voiced various characters in Super Punch-Out!! If you have a copy nearby, let Gabby Jay beat you and see if you can recognise his voice.
PONG (Atari 1972) Okay, let me just get this out of the way fellow gamers; Pong is not the first video game ever made but the first to reach mainstream popularity. There’s good reasons for that too, one of them being the simple controls and gameplay value. Because of the game’s simplicity it also encouraged just about everyone since the mid 70’s to make their own clones on Pong and renaming them to gather more popularity like ‘Table Soccer’ by adding more paddles in the game. If you can find yourself a copy of this game or console that would carry the original game, then bring it to a party. You’ll no doubt get a large group of inebriated gamers with a love for beating their mates at something that doesn’t involve millions of colours.
NBA JAM (Midway 1994) Ahhh yes, well I can’t not include this game, I mean after all it’s from the era of not only great video gaming but that era where everyone in high school was in to Basketball even if they didn’t follow it. Go Charlotte Hornets.. err I mean Orlando Magics.. Number 23! I digress.. NBA Jam is an amazing game to play 4 player on the arcade where the game consists of a 2 on 2 bout on the basketball courts with the ability to enter in various initials of characters that unlock various players like Raiden from Mortal Kombat or former President of the United States Bill Clinton. The reboot came out for the Wii in early 2010 with PS3 and Xbox 360 ports coming out later that year.
So there’s my top 10 sports games worth checking out. There are many more out there that I could mention like Neo Turf Masters on Neo Geo which features one of the most enthusiastic commentary and great arcade graphics, but it’s now up to you to get out there and hopefully realise that not all sports games are entirely that bad, even Nigel Mansell’s World Championship Racing isn’t that bad.
Written by David Kudrev: www.retrospekt.com
ALTERNATIVE SPORTS GAMES
I confess, I really do not like sports games. I acknowledge it is pretty harsh of me to claim to dislike an entire genre of gaming, but with the exception of fun games like NBA Jam or Mario Kart I just don’t see the point. If I want to play tennis, I’ll generally grab my tennis racquet with a friend and go own to the courts. If I want to play soccer I can do that in the park. Maybe I’m a little old school, but I am writing a retro gaming article here, so I’m sure you can all forgive me for that. However, this month I was tasked with writing about sports games, so here I am. I thought I might have a bit of fun with the topic and explore some of the lesser known, but more interesting ‘alternative’ sports titles
variety of weapons including swords, quarterstaffs, and more.
enjoy those games it’s worth giving it a go.
The game features large and colourful sprites, though they don’t move terribly well. Infact they feel as clunky as the armour clad knights you’re controlling. While this does make the game feel like a bit of a chore, you could argue that the programmers were probably trying to add an element of realism... but probably not!
My next pick is Konami’s 1987 arcade classic “Combat School”. Later released on the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Specrtrum, “Combat School” was notoriously difficult. So much so that many found it hard to complete the first level! The game takes place in an army academy where you undertake a series of training exercises that include an obstacle course, shooting range, iron man race, arm wrestling and sparring with your instructor. After the training is complete you are assigned to rescue the president from terrorists. I never completed level 1, the obstacle course, so I have only seen levels
For the next game on my list of alternative sports titles, we’ll jump forward two years to 1988 and the release of “Caveman Ughlympics”. Released on the Commodore 64, PC and Nintendo Entertainment System, this title is an improvement on “Knight Games” and the title alone implies
“IF YOU SEE SOMEONE WITH THE BALL SIMPLY CATCH THEM, PUNCH THEM AND STEAL IT OFF THEM!” out there. The first one on the list is “Knight Games”, a title that graced those two classic computers, the Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64. Released in 1986, “Knight Games” feels like a medieval Olympics that features 8 games you can participate in. The games are all rather simple, you either fire arrows at moving targets or pummel your enemy using a
that the programmers were aiming for the fun factor. The cartoony animations are a joy to watch, and the characters control well. I challenge you not to have a big smile on your face as you outrun a sabre tooth tiger, or throw your female partner in the “Mate toss”, or club your opponent on the edge of a cliff. The game has a “Joe and Mac Caveman Ninja” or “Flintstones” feel about it, so if you
beyond that on YouTube. On home computers this first level required you to waggle the joystick as fast as you can to run, not too dissimilar to “Daly Thompson’s Decathlon”. Many a joystick died while playing those games. May they always be remembered for their sacrifice. The final game on my list is “Punk Shot” which was another Konami
“THE CARTOONY ANIMATIONS ARE A JOY TO WATCH, AND THE CHARACTERS CONTROL WELL. I CHALLENGE YOU NOT TO HAVE A BIG SMILE ON YOUR FACE AS YOU OUTRUN A SABRE TOOTH TIGER, OR THROW YOUR FEMALE PARTNER IN THE “MATE TOSS”...”
title released in 1990. In this basketball game you play a bunch of punks who will use any underhanded means to win. If you see someone with the ball simply catch them, punch them and steal it off them! The controls are brilliant, the hits feel solid and the sound is great. In the 80s and 90s the name Konami meant quality, and “Punk Shot” is no exception. Sadly it was never ported to any home system so remains mostly unknown. So that’s my short list of alternative sports titles. Maybe you have some you would like to share with the readers of Gametraders magazine. If so, head over to the Facebook page and let us know!
Written by Paul Monopoli
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KOTOBUKIYA BISHOUJO STREET FIGHTER CHUN-LI STATUE Kotobukiya are a company famous for its amazing variety of statues of varying sizes and from different source material. Their categories of statues include the ArtFX, ArtFX+, Fine Art, and Bishoujo lines which cater for all collector price points from sub-$100 ArtFX+ 1/10th scale line to the larger Fine Art statues of several hundred dollars. But no matter the price point, Kotobukiya has developed a reputation for awesome sculpts and incredible paint applications. The source material has a heavy focus on Japanese anime, comic book superheroes from Marvel and DC, and have now branched into other high profile pop culture icons such as Star Wars and 80s classic horror. Their Bishoujo (Japanese for “beautiful young girl”) line of statues has been around for quite a few years now, with statues of classic and iconic female characters. This line has now only just started branching out into the Street Fighter franchise, which has a huge cast of beautiful female fighters! Why it’s taken so long for Street Fighter to make it into the line is a mystery, but once I got the first Chun-Li statue in hand, I was very glad indeed that it has, and there are more coming!
STATUE Of all the female Street Fighter characters, none is more iconic than Chun-Li, and so it’s fitting that she is the first in the Street Fighter Bishoujo line. The sculpting of the statue perfectly replicates the prototype artwork by master Japanese illustrator Shunya Yamashita, with Chun-Li in her famous kicking pose. The pose is both strong and playful, fully showing off her huge thighs that have come to be synonymous with her. The detail in the sculpt is great, with lots of little accents in the blue qipao and gold trimmings, as well as her hair buns and wrist gauntlets. The more delicate parts of the statue appear to be a soft plastic to prevent any accidental breakages, but most of the statue is made from a hard lightweight material. No matter the angle, the sculpting is beautiful. The flow of the skirt with the bends and wrinkles really conveys a great sense of dynamic motion. The statue is attached to the clear stand via a peg in her right foot that is quite sturdy but easy to take off. The stand itself comes with two pieces of artwork that can be placed inside – one with the prototype art, and one with simply the Street Fighter logo. As with all Kotobukiya statues, the paint application is a stand out, and
her facial features are as perfect as they come! The likeness is a great representation from the game, and the soft almost translucent skin tone is beautiful up close. Perhaps the only fault with the paint application is the positioning of her eyes. When looking at the prototype artwork, you can see that her eyes are firmly focused on her foot, as they would be when performing this strong kick. But on the statue, the eyes have been painted to be more front on, so seem to be focused not on her foot but somewhere to the front of her. It’s a minor quibble, and her face overall is beautiful, but this minor change would’ve made it more faithful to the original artwork.
FINAL THOUGHTS If you’re a fan of Street Fighter and its female characters, then this line of statues is perfect for you! The price is not excessive, but still comes with all the incredible Kotobukiya sculpting and paint work. This Chun-Li statue comes highly recommended and is a perfect start to the line – Kotobukiya have already teased their upcoming statues. The next one in the line will be Cammy later this year, and as you can see by these new photos, she looks to be just as, if not more, dynamic and beautiful than the Chun-Li statue. If you haven’t already, check out the full video review of the Chun-Li statue on the Kool Kollectibles youtube channel! Hope you can subscribe, like, and comment with your own thoughts :) Written by Khai at Kool Kollectibles www.koolkollectibles.net www.facebook.com/KoolKollectibles www.youtube.com/user/ckly76
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IS THE SEGA DREAMCAST EXPERIENCING A RESURGENCE? The SEGA Dreamcast was an amazing console... the first of the sixth generation (released in 1998), and regarded by many in the gaming industry as “well ahead of its time” it was the first console to include a built-in modem and internet support for online play. Even the Dreamcast’s memory card, the Virtual Memory Unit (VMU), was revolutionary - it slotted into the controller rather that the console, and contained an LCD screen which could display information from games, such as health, etc. In some Dreamcast games, minigames could be even be played on the VMU like a mini-handheld console. Even Dreamcast games, such as 1999’s, “Shenmue”, were revolutionary - was the very first game to introduce Quick-Time Events and real-time variable weather effects. But sadly, support for the console ended in 2002 (though in Japan, major titles were still being released up until 2007). Over the ensuing years a few independent developers have continued to make games for the Dreamcast - 14 titles since 2009 (six of those have been - or are due to be - released in 2014 alone). Is the Dreamcast experiencing a resurgence in popularity? An increase in game development could very well indicate such a thing. And if the amounts of games being developed for the Dreamcast continues
to increase, could this prompt SEGA to return to the console market with a Next-Gen console? Many people would sure love to see that eventuate ... but only time will tell. One of the things a Next-Gen SEGA console would need in order to compete would include: full-backwards (and region-free) compatibility with Dreamcast and Saturn games, fullHD and/or UHD (Ultra High Definition) - with sufficient graphics power to attract major titles, a focus on being a gaming console rather than an entertainment system that plays games, and perhaps most importantly, major exclusive titles (as well as securing major multi-platform releases). Whether or not SEGA develop a Next-Gen console, there are certainly some promising times ahead for Dreamcast owners with a string of new titles to play. Here is a list of released/announced titles for the SEGA Dreamcast since 2009:
Written by Paul Leach
Age of the Beast (Beat-em-Up) Ghost Blade (Shoot-em-Up) Leonaâ€™s Tricky Adventures (Puzzle) NEO XYX (Shoot-em-Up) Pier Solar and the Great Architects (RPG) Redux: Dark Matters (Shoot-em-Up) Sturmwind (Shoot-em-Up) Gunlord (Shoot-em-Up) Fast Striker (Shoot-em-Up) DUX (Shoot-em-Up) IRiDES: Master of Blocks (Puzzle) Last Hope: Pink Bullets (Shoot-em-Up) Rush Rush Rally Racing (Racing)
Senile Team Hucast Games KTX Software Development NG.DEV.TEAM WaterMelon Hucast Games Duranik NG.DEV.TEAM NG.DEV.TEAM Hucast Games Madpeet NG.DEV.TEAM Senile Team
2014 2014 2014 2014 (Feb 24) 2014 (due June) 2014 (Jan 27) 2013 (Apr 24) 2012 (June 21) 2010 (Dec 28) 2009 (July 17) 2009 (Dec 15) 2009 (Dec 4) 2009 (Nov 4)
22 JUMP STREET
After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on an athletic team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case - they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.
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QUESTION: What does Jonah Hill say after Channing Tatum asks “It’s just drinking games & bonding why is that so painful for you?”
Available in June is the hottest motorbike game for race fans who love two wheeled action on bitumen. MotoGP14 will be available on PS3, PS4, Windows, Xbox 360 and judging by the screenshots and trailer this is one to look out for. The graphics on the PS4 look sensational with amazing in game views and a fantastic sensation of speed as you scream around the track. Bike fans will be wanting this one so head on over to their official site: www.motogpvideogame.com and check out the latest screen shots, video and news. One things for certain, if youâ€™re into bikes youâ€™re partner might not be seeing much of you over the next few months!
A GEEKS HISTORY OF COMICS PART 2 RED, WHITE AND BLUE... AND BLACK
Detective Comics had Superman, the first great hero. It was time for Timely Comics (who were to become Marvel Comics) to fire back. In 1939 the world was a very different place. Since Superman’s creation the world was at war once again, this time with a very deadly and almost comic book-ish villain in the form of Adolf Hitler. Nazi Germany began its assault on the Allies in 1939, the world needed a more politically active, patriotic hero. Captain America was born! Joe Simon, a writer for Timely Comics, thought it was time for the comic book company to throw their two cents in on the war. Captain America
he was the best choice, but because as a weak man, he “knew the value of true strength”. He became the first super-soldier, Captain America. He appeared with his trademark uniform and shield, although the shield didn’t take on it’s signature round shape until issue two. Capt would go on to face heinous stereotypes of all of the ‘villains’ of the day. Germans, Japanese and beyond. Capt would become a great inspiration to the US troops fighting abroad and a real morale booster for the war effort. A hero who basically was pure gun-ho, bravado in living form was everything America wanted. It wouldn’t take long before Capt would get a worthy nemesis to do battle with. That
so disgusted with the state of American bureaucracy that he took off the uniform and became a vigilante. He even died... But don’t worry, he comes back. A great hero that really stands out given the circumstances for his creation. At a time when the world seemed at its bleakest, people needed someone they could look up to. Someone who could and would fight the evils in the world, albeit was only on the printed page. There is no doubt Captain America did his part for the war effort.
“WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT, THE ULTIMATE NEMESIS FOR A BAT WOULD BE... A CLOWN?” #1 hit the shelves in 1940. The cover had the star spangled hero punching Hitler right in his stupid face. It was a huge hit, as you can imagine (pun intended). Steve Rogers a humble, scrawny, sickly young American lad, the last person you would pick to be a soldier was selected for a secret military program. Out of all the possible candidates, Steve was chosen to be injected with a formula, not because
nemesis would be The Red Skull. He would have several other incarnations before Timley Comics decided on the popular Johann Schmidt version of the character. A Nazi scientist and fellow super-soldier; the perfect foe for Capt to beat the crap out of in every other issue. Captain America would go through lots of changes over his long history. He would become the leader of The Avengers. At one stage he become
In 1939, over at Detective Comics Bob Kane was hard at work bringing a little darkness to the world of comic book heroes. Detective Comics #27 would introduce the dark knight himself, Batman. Batman is the worlds most popular super hero. Everyone knows Batman. Little orphan Bruce Wayne, who watches the murder of his parents and deals with this deep psychological trauma by dressing up as a bat and fighting Gotham’s villains.
other than pure chaos. The Batman and The Joker, a real rock and a hard place. Batman refuses to kill The Joker, and The Joker can’t live without Batman. It’s a match made in hell.
At the time of his release Batman wasn’t really like he is today. He drove a regular car, no Bat-mobile and he used a gun. More often than not, he just shot criminals. The other major difference is, Bob Kane would always draw the Batman with a very wide grin. Almost like he was happy to be fighting crime. I don’t think I’ve seen Batman smile for years... Batman would become a pop culture icon to rival Superman and certainly outsold the Man of Steel in comic book sales for a very long time. Along with the arrival of Batman was the appearance of another comic book character. A character who is arguably the best villain of literature ever created (besides maybe Hannibal Lector). That man is The Joker. Making his first appearance in Batman #1 (1940), The Joker would become a pop culture icon in his own right. Who would have thought, the ultimate nemesis for a bat would be... A clown? For the life of me I don’t know why it works, but it does. The Joker has been ruining the lives of Gotham’s citizens ever since he chuckled his way into that first issue. A sociopath, a man who has no real motive
The 1940’s were certainly a crazy time for comics, with these three epic characters coming to life around the same time. It’s easy to see why we often refer to this period as the Golden Age. Captain America would continue to be a hit, with him eventually getting his own feature film in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, played by Chris Evans. Evans would go on again to play Capt in Marvel’s The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Batman has probably received better treatment than any other superhero when it comes to film or television. He was a smash (BAM, POW, SLAM) in the 1966 television show, the title character played by Adam West. Tim Burton directed the star studded feature film Batman in 1989, featuring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as The Joker. This film spawned a number of sequels (which we will get to at a later date). Batman would again be revived by Chris Nolan in ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’. Featuring Christian Bale as Batman and Heath Ledger in his oscar winning role as The Joker. Captain America, Batman and The Joker have stood the test of time and are some of the biggest icons in the industry today. In the next issue of a Geeks History of Comics, we will take a look at another beloved character. This one created by Will Eisner, has a lot of spirit...
Written by Scott F. Sowter Images from Wikipidea
INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE MONIQUE COSPLAY PHOTOGRAPHER
MICHELLE MONIQUE COSPLAY PHOTOGRAPHER
Photographer Michelle creating the rock featured in the image on the right.
This month Live Magazine took time out to interview an amazing photographer Michelle Monique. Her work is some of the best we’ve seen with some incredible cosplay photography combined with brilliant Photoshop work. Michelle, tell us a bit about you, where you are based and how you got into cosplay photography? I’m based in San Francisco, California and I do book covers and editorial work on commission as well as cosplay and fantasy photography for fun. Cosplay photography was a natural path for me, as I’ve always had an affinity for particular characters. Growing up, certain character archetypes, narratives, and video games helped me understand myself and the world in a creative and visually vibrant way. I’ve always been most drawn to heroines, women warriors, femme fatales, and queens, because they possess strength that I wish I had. Photography is the medium that has allowed me to bring my favorite characters to life. You do a lot of the background work for your shoots including preparing props, make up, and even making the costumes. Tell us a bit about the process from coming up with an idea to the day of the shoot.
My concepts are usually derived from my favorite movies, books, video games, and mythology. Having initial inspiration or an idea is the easy part – I have enough ideas to last me the rest of my life! Unfortunately I can’t do everything I want, so I have to narrow down my plans for the next few years to just 5 or 6 top picks. Next comes my favorite part which is dreaming up the exact compositions that I will be doing for each series. I first do a sketch of the character in costume to familiarize myself with all aspects of the outfit including a list of materials that will be needed, styling, makeup, weapons, etc. Once that’s done, I create a mood board for each of the planned final images. This is something that gets shown to everyone on my team that way we’re all on the same page. It shows compositions from other artists’ images, my own sketches, colors, and lighting to show what direction I’d like the shoot to go in. For me it is pivotal to know exactly what the final images will look like before I do anything else, that way the series will look coherent and the lighting of all elements match. After the initial planning is done, I move into pre-production – the longest and most arduous stage. I create a budget of everything I will
need to buy to create the costume, props, and sets. I get a lot of help on the costuming side from my mom, since I am cursed with the inability of using a sewing machine. I don’t think there’s been a single time I was able to use it without breaking something! So mad props to her. For things that require molding like armor, weapons, and certain sets I use expanding foam and paper mache. I also get help from my boyfriend or dad with the logistics and creation of elements that need to hold like faux rocks, buildings, etc. Most of the stuff I build on my own falls apart pretty fast! I usually do the background work after the shoot, which includes photographing stock and creating miniatures to be blown up in the final picture. It is different for each image so I’ll just go into detail for a couple of examples from my work. For the Babydoll train scene picture, the body of the train was made out of foam board, the vents were just heating vents in my house, the robots were wooden anatomy dolls painted chrome, and the bits of metal flying around were pieces of eggshell painted silver. They had the right curvature to mimic parts of the robot’s body, and the right thickness to still look like metal. For “Rose Mermaid” the rock was made out of chicken wire and paper mache,
Hazel Rhea | www.facebook.com/hazelrheapage
Photographer Michelle Monique
and it was actually placed in a giant sandbox in my studio. The tail and fins were miniatures made out of model magic and fake rose petals and were photographed separately from the model. And on the day of the shoot what’s the process there and how long does a shoot take on average? In the beginning, my shoots were only 1 – 2 hours and then later evolved to 4 hours, then 8, and now my latest shoot took two days. I can only wonder how long they’ll take in a couple years from now as my shoots keep getting more and more complex. Everything that has been planned for months will depend on this day. I usually start the shoot in the late morning and the makeup artist works his/ her magic for about two hours and in the mean time I set up the studio and just make sure everything is ready to go. Then we move into the actual shoot and go through all the looks based on the mood boards. After the shoot is over we usually go out to eat or eat some food prepared by my mom. Now it’s time to move into post production! It seems there are two camps when it comes to cosplay photography. Those that shoot at a location and those that insert the cosplayer into a location. Your processing work is amazing, how did you get started on creating
such complex pieces? I never really did a gradual transition from location shooting to composites – rather, I actually started in photoshop by editing other people’s photos and then later started using my own photographs. This way, I had control over the lighting, props, and models, and it became much easier to make the images look blended and avoid mismatching shadows, lighting, colors, etc. I’ve been playing games all my life and I never thought finding fantasy locations in the real world was possible. Bits and pieces of our world can make up an imaginary world but in order to achieve that the images need to be taken separately and combined later. I try to stay as true as I can to the lore, characters, and environments and to do that requires extensive compositing. How long does one image take? It varies so much from image to image. For a beauty headshot, it takes
around 12 hours since all I have to do is retouch skin, hair, etc. For an elaborate composite containing handmade props, miniature sets, and hundreds of layers, it can take up to 150 hours. While gear isn’t as important as the creative process, often readers like to know a bit about the tech side of photography. What gear and software do you use to create your work? I use a Canon EOS 40D body and the following lenses: 28-135mm, 18-55mm, and 50mm F/1.8. For lighting, I have 3 Aikiphoto N300 flash heads, a Photek SL6000 60” Softlighter, a 22” Kaycee beauty dish, two softboxes and an umbrella. For editing, I use a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet and Adobe Photoshop CS3. Cons are popular with cosplayers and photographers, do you go to any? Surprisingly, no, I’ve never been to
Laura Bee |
one. I think they’re a great way to meet people with similar interests and appreciate characters, but my interest leans more towards creating stories through photographs rather than engaging in any fandom related to the games and movies I watch. I am considering going to one in the future to network with potential cosplayers that I could work with. What’s next for you? Any new projects you can share? I recently photographed a cosplay of a shaman troll from World of Warcraft and am currently working on putting the backplates together. I’m quite excited to share this project because it will push my limits farther than I have ever gone before. I’m going to attempt to create a riding raptor mount, as well as bring Stranglethorn Vale and the Barrens to life. In the far future I would love to be able to do shoots of some other WoW races like blood elves and draenei. Some other potential future cosplays could be Daenerys Targaryen, Princess Peach, and Aela the Huntress. Finally where can readers go to find out more about you and your work?
“BITS AND PIECES OF OUR WORLD CAN MAKE UP AN IMAGINARY WORLD BUT IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THAT THE IMAGES NEED TO BE TAKEN SEPARATELY AND COMBINED LATER..”
Deviantart: For blogs and images
www.michellemonique.deviantart.com Facebook: For behind the scenes images and random thoughts
www.facebook.com/michellemoniquephoto Youtube: For behind the scenes videos and short films
www.youtube.com/user/michellemoniquephoto And lastly, my website:
Jen | www.modelmayhem.com/2332884
Laura Bee |
Model: Masha Meow | www.facebook.com/mashamodel Tarantula Handler: Faith Lucille | www.faithlucille.deviantart.com Wardrobe: Erika Robertson | www.facebook.com/ErikaARobertson
Laura Bee |
The Artful Dodger | www.facebook.com/theartfuldodgercosplay
THE BLAKE IMAGE
This month we talk to Blake Roberson from The Blake Image, a photographer based in Queensland. We loved Blake’s cosplay images and asked him about his passion for photographing cosplay… Welcome to Live Magazine Blake, tell us a bit about your photography and how you got into it. Thanks! I’ve been creating images for just over 7 years now. I always loved the idea of being able to capture moments and emotions at the click of a button. I’ve had the opportunity to photography a variety of genres over the years that range from Weddings, Fashion, Editorial; right through to Commercial and Cosplay Photography. With regard to your cosplay photography - how did you start in that genre? I needed a break from the hustle and bustle of commercial-style photo shoots. I found that break in Cosplay Photography. I’ve always been interested in the Pop Culture scene and it seemed to be a great fit for me. I consider my Cosplay Photography a hobby/passion. It gets me out of the studio, I meet new people and I can have fun with whatever images we’re creating at the time. Where do you get your subjects?
Social Media is the main source for finding subjects – especially in Cosplay. You’ll often find that these talented individuals are more than happy to lend you their time in return for some stunning images. You just need to be open, approachable and the rest seems to sort itself out. For readers who are just getting into this style of photography, what tips do you have for beginners. What gear, where to find models/subjects etc. This really applies for any genre of photography. Don’t worry about gear. Spend your hard-earned money on a basic SLR (or compact camera with Manual functionality) and some decent lenses. It’s not about how big or sophisticated your camera is. It’s the end result that reflects who you are as a photographer. Take the time to learn your basic camera back-to-front before even considering upgrading. Models/Subjects, particularly in the Cosplay genre, can be found anywhere. Conventions and Facebook are going to be the better places to start. If I had to put together a fundamental gear list for the budding Cosplay photographer; I would recommend at very least: - A camera with full Manual Functionality (preferably SLR) - A couple of inexpensive lenses. For
example, a 50mm f/1.8 Canon Lens can be purchased for under $100 and Is regarded very highly for portrait work. - A flash unit. Don’t be afraid to look into third party options. Yongnuo make some extremely cost-competitive speedlites that will do everything you need it to. - A comfortable bag to carry your gear around. Don’t bother with these hi-tech quick release rapid straps etc. Your money can be better spent elsewhere. What about post processing for Cosplay - do you do this and is it difficult to learn? I have a very strict workflow for ANY image that leaves my computer; whether it’s to a commercial client, or a Cosplayer I shot on the weekend. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to post-processing any image. You need to take the time and really define a style of retouching that identifies you as a photographer. In a noisy, photography world – you need to be able to set yourself apart from everyone else. It’s this unique style that will progress you as a professional. Having said this – nothing is difficult to learn if your mind is in the right place. I have been retouching photos for almost 8 years. I still learn something new every single day.
The Artful Dodger | www.facebook.com/theartfuldodgercosplay
How do you approach a photo shoot with Cosplayers?? Be yourself. Build the confidence to be able to spark up a conversation and interact/relate with your model as much as possible. You need to ensure that the model is comfortable with you as a photographer. If things are awkward or tense; I guarantee this will be reflected when it comes time to review your final images. Do you attend many events such as the various “cons” ? I attend as many as I can pending my schedule. Having said that – this year I will be at Sydney Supanova, AVCON, PAX Melbourne, SMASH and Brisbane Supanova. If you see me wandering around – please take the time to come and say Hello! Any funny moments from a con you can share? I’m sure there are many funny moments, but they elude me at the moment. I’ll have to come back to you on this one! Finally where can we see more of your work? You can visit my website: www.theblakeimage.com.au or if you wish to connect and interact with me, you can also find me on Facebook:
The Artful Dodger | www.facebook.com/theartfuldodgercosplay Mad Maven | www.facebook.com/MadMavenCosplay
“YOU NEED TO TAKE THE TIME AND REALLY DEFINE A STYLE OF RETOUCHING THAT IDENTIFIES YOU AS A PHOTOGRAPHER..” WWW.THEBLAKEIMAGE.COM.AU
Mad Maven | www.facebook.com/MadMavenCosplay
Something Wicked Cosplay | www.facebook.com/wickedm6 Mad Maven | www.facebook.com/MadMavenCosplay
The Artful Dodger | www.facebook.com/theartfuldodgercosplay Danny Wake
Sirenâ€™s Belle | www.facebook.com/sirensbelle
Sirenâ€™s Belle | www.facebook.com/sirensbelle
COSPLAYER FROM SOUTH AUSTRALIA
This month Live Magazine took time out to talk to Adelaide based cosplayer, Tiffany Dean. Tiffany, tell readers a bit about yourself and how you got into cosplay. First of all, thank you! :) I was born in the UK but my family moved over to Australia when I was only 4. I got into gaming quite early on - starting out with Sega Megadrive and then PSOne. It was probably because of the PSOne era that I got into cosplay. The first game I played on it was Tomb Raider, and even though I was so young, I LOVED the character, and it was an instant dream to be her one day LOL. I was also very outdoorsy, I loved camping (my family camped a lot), I was (and still am) a horse rider, and I loved all things adventure and exploring. Years later, I saw AVCon advertised on TV and decided to make a Lara Croft costume and go. Making the costume didn’t take too long, but I have no sewing experience and literally just grabbed a pair of pants and a t-shirt and traced the outline of them onto my fabric and went from there! I didn’t want to buy a costume because none of them were accurate enough. Another thing about me is that I pay very close attention to
detail - something as simple as colour or the shape of gun holsters had to be as close to the real thing as possible. I hadn’t even heard of the term ‘cosplay’ when I went to that first AVCon, and I had my Mum come with me for moral support - which was great because my Mum always watched my sister and I play through the Tomb Raider games. It was at AVCon that my eyes were opened to the world that is Cosplay, and I haven’t looked back since. I’m still fairly new to Cosplay, having only been doing it for a couple of years, and only doing it regularly for about 18 months. You make a lot of your own costumes and if readers visit your Facebook page, they’ll see there’s a ton of effort put into each costume. Tell us a bit about the process from coming up with the idea to the finished costume. Thank you :) I do tend to make my costumes as I know the level of detail I want, and I love the sense of achievement at having made it. I tend to be drawn towards characters who I really like, or who I can relate to in at least some way. I also get drawn to costumes of characters
too. This definitely helps with the process - from there I research into the character and find as many reference photos as I can. I try and get all different angles, and will often play the game (if it’s a gaming character) and pause it dozens of times and take a photo of the TV screen. This helps with the small details that can so easily be missed. The next thing I do is look at the fabric and materials I’d need. I tend to look for the right colour first, and then fabric type. In some cases though, fabric colour can be changed. Making the costume is something I still sort of ‘wing’. I’ve not had any sewing training and have never used a pattern in my life - I tend to measure myself up (or get mum to!) and then draw a freehand pattern straight onto the fabric. I’ll always make it a bit bigger so it can be trimmed down to size afterwards. Breaking down a costume is really important too - it makes it less daunting and gives a sense of achievement for each small piece completed. The same goes with props. Designing costumes of characters that aren’t people is a little harder, but for those I tend to think what the
Rob Jenkins | www.robjenkinsphoto.com
“I THINK THAT PEOPLE NOW ARE REALISING THAT IT’S NOT JUST DRESS UP FOR KIDS, AND THAT IT’S A SERIOUS (BUT CRAZY FUN) FORM OF THE ARTS THAT TAKES A GREAT DEAL OF SKILL AND PATIENCE.” WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TIFFANYDEANCOSPLAY characters personality is like, and think what they would wear if they were human, mixed with what I like. One thing I always do also is to keep trying the costume on. Any time I add something new or add another piece, I try it on. There’s nothing worse than completing an entire costume and finding out it’s a little snug :) What are your favourite costumes and characters you’ve done so far and what’s coming up in the future for you? My favorite costumes are probably Jinx and Moxxi, and Rainbow Dash as it’s just so bright, colourful and happy. My favourite character is still Lara Croft as she was the first power house character I knew. I have so many plans for the future I’m currently working on 2099 Black Cat as this has been so rarely done - and I am obsessed with Black Cat! I’m also hoping to do a variation of Sylvannas Windrunner, Alicia from Bullet Witch and Vi from League of Legends. I also want to do a few really different things - eg Burlesque versions of characters I love, and to get a group of cosplayers to join in. I am drawn to any characters who are independent and sassy as it
makes them sexy and empowering. If I like a male character, I also have no problem doing a Rule 63 (female version) - much like I did with ‘Lady Kenway’ I also hear you’re doing something in combination with AVCon this year? I sure am! I was lucky enough to be asked to be the Ayvee Mascot for this years AVCon. This was such an honor to be asked, as I know Mascots are a large part of any event. The costume will also be being made by very talented fellow cosplayers Armoured Soul Cosplay and Jessica Liddle. It’s such a humbling experience to have such amazing people make a costume that I will get to wear. I’ve never had a costume made for me before, so I’m super excited! I will also learn so much from how these lovely ladies make a costume, which will be great for my future costuming also. I always believe in continuing to learn and grow, so this is such a great experience all round, and all of the people involved are so much fun. Anyone attending AVCon can definitely come up and say hi - I always love to meet new people! Tell us about the various “cons” you attend. Is there a community feel with cosplayers? Do you all
talk and get together during the event? I try to attend all of the Cons that come through Adelaide as that’s where I’m currently based. I’ve attended one Con in Melbourne (Comic-Con), and will be attending at least one Con in Sydney this year (Supanova). I definitely would like to try and start attending more interstate Cons - to try and help put Adelaide on the map, and meet even more like minded people. I would also LOVE to get to a Con in the USA and UK. I definitely think there’s a community feel with cosplayers - all of the ones I’ve met have been the kindest, funniest, most sincere people you could meet. They’re so helpful and everyone gets excited when someone else does well. It’s great because it’s very rare that someone will make any nasty remarks about anything, so it’s a community where people can be themselves and be confident in doing so. At events it can be super tricky to try and track each other down but we definitely try! LOL. We always exchange hugs or happy chats when we do manage to catch up, and it’s always a blast seeing what amazing costumes people have made for each Con. And there’s always times for photos and selfies!
Rob Jenkins | www.robjenkinsphoto.com
Where do you think cosplay is going in the future? We see some high profile personalities doing very well with fan bases but do you feel there is a potential career in cosplay? I think cosplay is definitely gaining popularity, and I think it will continue to do so. I think that people now are realising that it’s not just dress up for kids, and that it’s a serious (but crazy fun) form of the arts that takes a great deal of skill and patience. People are beginning to respect and admire the hard work that goes into making a costume - even what appears to be a simple one, and are starting to love seeing characters come to life. It’s almost a form of acting, modelling, costume making and being a makeup artist in one all of which on their own are very difficult things to learn to do. Cons are also now getting TV time and high profile guests are attending, which is bringing even more people of all different backgrounds in and broadining the audience even further. I do believe that there is a potential career in cosplay, but I wouldn’t ever advise anyone to quit their day job to pursue it as it can be very costly. I think the most important thing is for people to do it because they love to.
If it expands from there and creates enough of a fan base to earn an income, then it’s an added bonus. So it’s definitely a potential career but I think it will take a few more years before it’s seen as a viable career option. It is very difficult to gain such a large fan base, so those who are so high profile are extremely lucky. It’s like acting but on a much smaller scale in that the number of high profile people is much less. I don’t believe anything is impossible though - so for those who really do want it as a career (and I won’t lie - I would LOVE it as a career!) just keep pushing. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication and the fans won’t find you on their own - you need to be out there show casing what you can do and interacting with people - every person you meet is a potential follower :)
“I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS FOR PEOPLE TO DO IT BECAUSE THEY LOVE TO. IF IT EXPANDS FROM THERE AND CREATES ENOUGH OF A FAN BASE TO EARN AN INCOME, THEN IT’S AN ADDED BONUS.”
Tiffany, thanks for talking to us, where can readers go to find out more about you? Thank you! It was amazing to have the opportunity to talk to you! :) Readers can find out more about me via my Facebook page www.facebook.com/TiffanyDeanCosplay I’m also on DeviantART - username BabyGirlFallenAngel And I have Instagram - username tiffanydmakeupandart For people that prefer blogs, they can find me on Tumblr www.tiffanydmuacosplay.tumblr.com/
And for the Twitter users my username is TiffanyDean87 I am active on all - mostly Facebook and Instagram, so if people want to follow my movements and cosplays, I highly recommend they follow on the Social Media networks :)
Rob Jenkins | www.robjenkinsphoto.com
Rob Jenkins | www.robjenkinsphoto.com
Rob Jenkins | www.robjenkinsphoto.com
“PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO RESPECT AND ADMIRE THE HARD WORK THAT GOES INTO MAKING A COSTUME - EVEN WHAT APPEARS TO BE A SIMPLE ONE, AND ARE STARTING TO LOVE SEEING CHARACTERS COME TO LIFE.” WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TIFFANYDEANCOSPLAY
Annie from Isabella Photography | www.facebook.com/isblphotography
INTERVIEW WITH COSPLAYER VICKY-VIC
COSPLAYER FROM QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA!
We interviewed Vicky-Vic, a Cosplayer from QLD Australia. Vicky-Vic started out Cosplaying at Animania Brisbane 2010, and hasn’t looked back since then. She makes her own costumes and will be attending her first interstate con this year in Sydney! Find out more here..
mine and a wig from Cosmetics Plus and Animania Brisbane 2010 I went; I have since then attended 3 more cons and I will be attending my first interstate con; Sydney Supanova 2014.
Thanks Vicky-Vic for joining us for an interview with Gametraders Live Magazine can you tell us a bit about you and how you got into cosplay?
Tough one, I love all my characters that I have created. I would have to say that my Captain America USO dancing girl is my favourite though. I have re-made that costume 3 times now and the 3rd time has been the charm. She seems to be the one from the 3 people liked the most.
So I am Vicky-Vic, which is a nickname from my Papa when I was growing up. I am now 21 and I work as a Registered Nurse for QLD Health. I have lived all throughout QLD growing up; so I have seen heaps of things that I liked. But the one thing that stuck to me was Cosplay. My first experience with it was as a kid when the Banana in Pyjamas came to Longreach, saw them backstage as the person as well. I just loved the fact that people could dress up as a character. I started really wanting to cosplay when I had just completed Final Fantasy X with gameplay reaching over 200hrs and kicking some major ass; I thought to myself, the next step is to be the character. So I went to Ebay got a costume, wore some old boots of
What are your favourite cosplay characters that you have created?
Do you make all your own costumes or buy them or perhaps a mix of both? My first cosplay was a brought one; I hadn’t discovered mums old sewing machine before that. But since then I have practically made most of the costumes I have worn except for boots and accessories. I am delving into leather work, accessories and boots next; cosplay has been a learning curve and I am learning everyday about what I can do and do better. There is always great communities to help when I don’t know. Does making a costume take long? How do you begin the project?
I work 72hrs a fortnight (10 days a fortnight; 8hrs a shift…) it takes me awhile to put a costume together. But once they start, they don’t stop. I look into what character I want to be, there is no point in cosplaying something you don’t like. I want to be a character, so to be a character I want to enjoy being the character and it shows. Once I have the character I look into the components and how I will put it together; pattern design, materials and things I may need help with. Ok so now you’ve got the idea, and you’ve planned it out - what are the steps involved in getting it done from start to finish? I really just start with hope as I am pretty new to sewing, I have some experience so that helps and mum is a pro (even 8hrs away). I start with my patterns and cutting the materials to the right sizing. I am between sizes; so sometimes I have to modify the pattern for a correct fit. Then it is sewing it all together; once I have all my bases done I sew the bases together into the main costume. So with my USO girl; for example, there is 48 pleats in total sewn together for the skirt; then there is a petty coat underneath. The top is 2 separate pieces, I have a halter neck top and a bolero jacket. The belt and cumber band, collar. Each is different in process and was a great learning ex-
Annie from Isabella Photography | www.facebook.com/isblphotography
perience. This costume actually took me the longest to make out of all my costumes. Cosplay and photography go hand in hand. Have you done any photo shoots? Surprisingly yes, I was hoping to work with some photographers in Brisbane but with work being up in Far North Queensland, it was going to cost a bit to fly. But I did a search around and found a photographer in Mackay. Isabella Photography has been amazing to work with; Annie is amazing and I have just finished my 2nd shoot with her and we are hoping to work together for another costume I have and a few concepts she wants to do for her portfolio. Talk us through the process of a photo session. It starts the week before; I make sure my costumes are in working condition and are packed correctly to ensure this. I have to drive 3hrs to see Annie so it all has to be right; this includes myself. Plenty of water and correct foods; I am prone to acne, which woman isn’t? Then it is time for the drive, plenty of sleep before hand and a cup of coffee. When I get there; Annie and I discuss what we both want to do for the
shoot and we set about getting it in order. We both love what we do; so it is great to have fun. Some of the blooper shots are hilarious. Most cosplayers love visiting the various “cons” - do you visit any and what do you love about them? So I first attended Animania Brisbane 2010 while I was in University; took a 2 year Hiatus to finish it and I have been attending Supanova since 2012. So I have attended Supanova 2012 and 2013 Brisbane; then in 2014 I attended Gold Coast Supanova and this year is my first interstate Supanova in Sydney. I love attending these cons and seeing all the amazing cosplayers, supastars and all the people. I have made friends at these cons, so it is also a great time to catch up and see the amazing progress they have done on the cosplays. I also love the reaction from some of the people when they see their favourite character brought to life. Any advice for those starting out as cosplayers? Do it, don’t let anything hold you back. There is amazing support out there for beginners and that’s what I keep telling everyone who asks me how I started out.
Finally where can we send readers to find out more about you? You can find me on my social media page:
Annie from Isabella Photography | www.facebook.com/isblphotography
“DO IT, DON’T LET ANYTHING HOLD YOU BACK. THERE IS AMAZING SUPPORT OUT THERE FOR BEGINNERS AND THATS WHAT I KEEP TELLING EVERYONE WHO ASKS ME HOW I STARTED OUT.” WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/VICKY.VIC.COSPLAY
Annie from Isabella Photography | www.facebook.com/isblphotography
Annie from Isabella Photography | www.facebook.com/isblphotography
cosplay graphic artist
GRAPHIC ARTIST FROM QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA!
This month Live Magazine interviewed Penny a graphic artist with a passion for fantasy and anime drawing. Like cosplay, anime and fantasy art is a growing area of interest to us who love all things gaming and cosplay… Penny also included some of her art so let’s get into the interview: Penny, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into art and particularly your style of drawing. I am a cheeky gamer woman from the bush,I grew up playing with spiders & scorpions, when I was not looking under rocks I was gaming or drawing. I originally got into art when I was a child, I just loved to draw & the ability runs in my family but none of us ever did more then show family & friends so none of us are famous, these days I do my art & gaming around being a partner & mother. My style of art ranges from drawing to drawing, Anime, fantasy, tattoo, cartoon, my drawings turn out however they turn out, i never intend on drawing a picture as a certain category. How do you come up with ideas for your work? I do get a lot of inspiration from video games, movies & even real animals,
sometimes when I feel like drawing something I just start drawing with no clue to what it is going to be, then it just turns into something amazing. Did you attend any formal classes or are you self taught? I am fully self taught, repetition is key to learning, just keep at it. How long does it take to create one of your pieces? Well a standard felt tip pen drawing of mine takes only a couple hours from start to finish, they all start off as lead pencil first & I go over them with the felt pen & add more detail as I go, I’ve never really timed myself though. Do you feel that there is perhaps an opportunity for a future career with your art? I would love to think so, I just have to become noticed by the right people, if not art maybe testing games out haha.
you will make changes to your drawing style to match the way you grow in your art.
What advice do you have for people starting out as artists?
Finally where can people go to see more of your work? I have a FB Page in the making
If you love art with a passion, find what style is your style & study everything you can on it, remember repetition, draw the thing you love & then draw it some more & as you do you’ll get better & as you get better
I am currently working on setting up albums for the different styles of my drawings, then I will be adding as much of my art as I can.
“MY STYLE OF ART RANGES FROM DRAWING TO DRAWING, ANIME, FANTASY, TATTOO, CARTOON, MY DRAWINGS TURN OUT HOWEVER THEY TURN OUT, I NEVER INTEND ON DRAWING A PICTURE AS A CERTAIN CATEGORY.” WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PENDRAWGON.ART
“IF YOU LOVE ART WITH A PASSION, FIND WHAT STYLE IS YOUR STYLE & STUDY EVERYTHING YOU CAN ON IT, REMEMBER REPETITION, DRAW THE THING YOU LOVE & THEN DRAW IT SOME MORE”
INTERVIEW WITH JASON FROM MERCILESS
Cyber gaming is growing in popularity with teams competing in a variety of game genres from first person shooters to sports games. Live Magazine is planning to expand its’ coverage of online gaming and would love to hear from online teams who we can talk to about the various competitions. This week we speak to Jason from the team, Merciless. First up, tell us a bit about cyber gaming. Cyber gaming is when gamers like myself and many others play video games online, for example Call of Duty, Halo, League of Legends etc. People from all around the world who play videos and chose to play them online create the cyber gaming community who is really what defines cyber gaming especially in the pro leagues like MLG teams from other sports. Cyber gaming is really just playing any game online against other people whether it be for fun or competitive. How many competitors are in a team? There is a varying range of how many players are in a team, Call of Duty for example there are 4 main players in that team with usually 1 or 2 substitutes incase a player cant make a match or is sick. Its really depending on the leagues of the game
you play in, you can have 5v5, 4v4, 3v3, etc. you can even go on to have an 8v8. Most of the times you’ll probably see a team of 4 players and a sub. What games are the most popular cyber sports? Again, it just really depends what you prefer to play but I guess some of the bigger ones are Call of Duty, Halo, League of Legends, StarCraft. Games like those usually have a large community of casual players and the ones who stand out try and make it in the bigger leagues and play the game professionally. How do they rank teams? Teams are ranked by how many matches that particular team has won and lost based off of those results the teams are ranked accordingly. What made you get into cyber gaming and how did your team come about? For myself personally I’ve always liked to watch Call of Duty played competitively by teams like Complexity, Optic, Envyus etc. I guess just watching these teams play has made me want to compete in cyber gaming leagues for Call of Duty, so a friend and I decided to create a team and we found our other two mem-
bers pretty much the same way, they were looking for a team so we said they can join us after we tried them out to see if they would fit well with us and it has been good ever since. Is cyber gaming seasonal like football or cricket? Yes, most leagues do have different seasons. Right now I am currently playing in Season 1 for my Call of Duty: Ghost competitive team. When teams do well, are there opportunities to compete overseas? Yes there are, usually the prize is money awarded to the winning team. But other times it may be a free computer or console. Are there prizes for top teams? Yes, but sometimes not always. It really depends on where you compete, but the opportunities are there. What advice would you give a gamer who wanted to be in a team or create a team? My advice would to be keep playing the game you’re best at try to get as good as you think you can get and then search around on google for places where you can compete.
For people looking for a team know what your strengths and weaknesses are and let people know who are looking for players that you are a strong player in Defence or if youâ€™re a more aggressive player who is good at attacking. There is a site called Cybergamer, search it in google and you will find many different leagues for many different games, you can apply to play for teams or even enter as a solo competitor. Go check out the teams there and if youâ€™re serious about playing games competitively I recommend you register and start playing there. Finally where can readers go to find out more about cyber gaming? au.cybergamer.com itâ€™s a really good site for people looking to play professional or even amateurs who are new to competitive gaming, I strongly recommend this site.
SPORTS & WARGAMING
For some reason, it’s really Gridiron (Americal Football) that features most prominently in the tabletop wargming sport crossover genre. It must be the bone-crunching impacts and the fact that the game itself is very strategic and almost turn-based in real life! So let’s play some FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL, FOOTBALL! The first game from the tabletop wargaming category that comes to mind when we talk about sport is Bloodbowl. And what a glorious, heartwrenching, soul-destroying, challenging, satisfying game it is to play! Bloodbowl is a fusion of American Football and the Warhammer Fantasy world. You have chess-like turnbased gameplay, all of the cool fantasy archetypes like Elves, Zombies, Ogres, Werewolves, and Goblins, you have players who think nothing about sneaking secret weapons onto the field, crooked refs, a bloodthirsty crowd and magical interventions. The result is a violent, fast-paced and tactical game where the objective is to score more touchdowns than your opponent. The trick is how you achieve that goal! Method 1: Win by scoring lots of touchdowns and staying out of harm’s way. This method if favoured by the ‘finesse’ teams; the teams
with low armour, high ball-handling/ throwing skills that will mostly come off second-best in a beat-down scenario. Method 2: Win by killing off enough opposition players that they can’t put up a fight, and then score more touchdowns than them. This method is very common and can be done by most of the teams available. Method 3: Remove all opposition players from the game. Some teams are actually capable of reducing the opposition players to dead/unconscious piles of bodies. It is difficult to do! There are over twenty different teams to choose from, and even tournaments to compete in across the world. My favourites – Dark Elves, Humans. Born out of Games Workshop’s 1980’s era, Bloodbowl does not take itself seriously, with many teams and players, such as Silibili, Puggy Baconbreath and Skitter Stab-Stab, having an element of silliness clearly evident. The second game that comes to mind is Dreadball, by Mantic Games. Dreadball presents a similar concept to Bloodbowl, but in a sci-fi setting. This game is not a simple score-
accumulating, casualty-inflicting face-off. This game is faster, more streamlined and representative of high-tech sports games using hightech arenas and high-tech equipment. The pace of the game is clear when you’re talking about a ‘ball’ which is supposed to be whizzing around the field at 300+ kilometres per hour! Models get hit, crunched, and must dodge not only the opposition but also the ball! You still need to score, but scoring takes on a different tack when you have to be 7 in front. What the actually ‘scores’ are is irrelevant. What this does is make for a fast, back-and-forth game with plenty of tension! The win conditions I mentioned for Bloodbowl are still viable options in Dreadball. Players have 11 teams to choose from and there are some gorgeous models available in the range. It’s aliens, robots and teleporting reptiles. The extra dimension here is that there are three clear seasons to play, each with their own extra little bit. And finally, if you’re feeling brave there is a 3-6 Team variation which utilises two game-balls!
Written by Ben Makepeace
FARM SA INGLE No current tournaments.
NSW BLACKTOWN Advanced Yu-Gi-Oh - Saturday & Sunday 10am Pokémon - Saturday 2pm
Magic the Gathering - Thursday 6:30pm
Pokémon - Monday 6pm
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Cardfight!! Vanguard - Tuesday 6pm Yu-Gi-Oh - Wednesday 6pm
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Yu-Gi-Oh - Tuesdays & Saturdays 3:30pm
Yu-Gi-Oh - Thursday 6pm, Saturday 2pm
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Magic the Gathering - Sunday 11am Cardfight!! Vanguard - Sunday 2pm
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School Holiday Additional Tournaments:
Cardfight!! Vanguard - Friday 4:30pm
Yu-Gi-Oh - Monday, Wednesday & Friday 2pm
Pokémon - Monday 4pm Magic the Gathering - Monday 6pm
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My Little Pony - Tuesday 5pm (4:30pm registration)
GAMETRADERS LIVE PENRITH
Future Card Buddyfight - Thursday 5:30pm
Cardfight!! Vanguard - Saturday 2pm Yu-Gi-Oh - Tags: Friday 6:30pm
Yu-Gi-Oh - Singles/Normal Tournament: Sunday 11:30am
Yu-Gi-Oh - Saturday 12.30pm
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Magic the Gathering - Tuesday & Friday 6:30pm
Yu-Gi-Oh - Sunday 3pm Magic the Gathering - Sunday 3pm
Magic the Gathering - Friday 7pm (doors open 6pm)
Yu-Gi-Oh - Sunday 2pm (doors open 1pm) Cardfight!! Vanguard - Fortnightly (Check FB)
Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering and Cardfight!! Vanguard every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check their Facebook page for times and event details.
Tournaments held at: Unit 5 20-22 Ellerslie Road, Meadowbrook Qld 4131. Pre-Releases and sneak preview events announced on Facebook.
MACKAY Yu-Gi-Oh - Sundays 3:45pm
HYPERDOME ACT Yu-Gi-Oh - Saturday 10am, Tuesday 6pm
Cardfight!! Vanguard - Monday 5:45pm Magic the Gathering - Friday 6:15pm
MORAYFIELD Magic the Gathering - Friday 6:30pm (5:30pm registration) Yu-Gi-Oh - Sunday 2pm (1pm registration)
Pokémon - Saturday 2pm
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