Daily updates on video games and popular culture, along with Australia’s grooviest gaming podcast.



Guitar Hero creators working on new rhythm shooter

Posted by Stephen Foote On Monday 1 September 2014No Comments

After diving off the sinking ship that was the Guitar Hero franchise, upping the plastic instrument count in cupboards the world over with its Rock Band follow up and inspiring more awkward dancing than a Mick Jagger/Peter Garrett stage show with its Dance Central series, developer Harmonix is returning to its controller-gimmick free roots with A City Sleeps.

A genre mash-up of (deep breath) rhythm game meets dual stick bullet hell shooter, A City Sleeps is mechanically reminiscent of cult classic Rez, albeit with a heavy dose of neon visuals if they were rendered via the UbiArt engine. It tells the story of Poe, a dream exorcist tasked with cleansing the demons infesting the nightmares of the citizens of SanLo, the titular city.

Rather than using a procedural generation method based upon the dynamics of whatever music is fed to the game, Harmonix is bent on delivering a handcrafted experience which provides an unparalleled level of synergy between gameplay mechanics, level design and music.  As they themselves put it, the soundtrack will “drive player projectiles, enemy spawning, movement, and bullet patterns.”

In order to ramp up its replayability, A City Sleeps features a number of customisable options. Alongside a trio of difficulty levels, Poe is also able to equip a range of ‘relics’, as well as call on ‘ghost familiars’. By instructing her ghosts to possess objects found throughout the level, Poe will gain access to a range of defensive and offensive capabilities depending on the combination used.

It would seem that a degree of hard earned financial stability coupled with the evolution of the PC market over the past decade has allowed Harmonix to take a chance on this off-beat downloadable title.

A City Sleeps is currently available for preorder on Steam, with a scheduled release in October.



Nintendo to launch revised 3DS hardware

Posted by Erin Marcon On Sunday 31 August 2014No Comments

The XL version of Nintendo’s latest 3DS model.

Nintendo has a long history of iterating on its handheld hardware. The GBA, for example, evolved into the clamshell style GBA SP and the more compact the GBA Micro. Neither of those revisions significantly altered the core functionality of the system though, and that’s what makes Nintendo’s announcement of the ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ (in both standard and XL varieties) something of an eye opener.

As reported by Kotaku, the revised handheld features a second thumb stick, two additional shoulder buttons, as well as NFC tech to take advantage of Nintendo’s forthcoming line of Amiibo figurines.  The platform holder is also promising that the unit’s slightly larger screen will allow the 3D effect to be more clearly perceived from a wider range of angles.

The New Nintendo 3DS will also offer a little more processing power. The freshly announced Xenoblade Chronicles port will be the first title to take advantage of this, and indeed, the game won’t be compatible with existing 3DS and 2DS hardware.

The New Nintendo 3DS is set to launch in Japan in October. A western release is yet to be confirmed.


The Black List 260

Posted by Black Panel Staff On Saturday 30 August 2014No Comments

Welcome to The Black List, your one stop shop for the stories published on the site this week.

SUNDAY NEWS Assassin’s Creed hopes dashed for Wii U owners > Though some previous chapters of Assassin’s Creed have bobbed up on the Wii U, Ubisoft’s latest public utterances suggest that future instalments won’t be making an appearance. This is certainly of true both of current gen showcase Assassin’s Creed Unity and past gen offering Assassin’s Creed Rogue. READ MORE

MONDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Gaming networks under attack > In a development that has revived memories of the great PlayStation Network calamity of 2011, Sony’s online infrastructure has again come under attack. Sony has issued a statement advising that “the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network have been impacted by an attempt to overwhelm our network with artificially high traffic.” This is commonly referred to as a distributed denial of service attack. READ MORE

TUESDAY NEWS Amazon buys Twitch > Earlier this year, streamers everywhere suddenly became worried that Twitch was getting bought out by Google. Rumours abounded on the net that the massive internet company was buying out everyone’s favourite streaming service and when Twitch recently introduced a new music copyright system, many thought that this was a sure sign Google was poised to take over. READ MORE

WEDNESDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Pokkén Tournament > Thanks largely to the success of Donkey Kong, Nintendo will always have a place in arcade gaming history. However, its contributions to the arcade scene have been few and far between in recent years, with its Mario Kart GP series among the notable exceptions. Now, another of its most storied franchises is making its way to Japanese arcades. As revealed by Famitsu, via a very helpful Siliconera translation, a fresh Pokémon game is in the works. READ MORE

THURSDAY JUST ANNOUNCED Ancient Space > If a regular earth-bound RTS just isn’t enough for you, then you may want to fire up your warp drive for Paradox Interactive and CreativeForge Games’ recently announced RTS Ancient Space. Voiced by a cast of science fiction staples such as Dwight Schultz of Star Trek (and A-Team!) fame, Dina Meyers from Starship Troopers, and Richard Gun from Angel, Ancient Space promises a single player focused experience with a strong narrative, varying mission structure and the chance to build and develop a space fleet that will see you through “an explosive space opera”. READ MORE

FRIDAY NEWS Morpheus may revive Move > The Oculus Rift has certainly whet appetites with the promise of new gaming experiences, particularly as 3D TVs have not been enough to give players that extra immersion into their favourite titles. Sony, of course, has been working on its own headset, known as ‘Project Morpheus’. Now it seems that the Move concept could be revived for use in conjunction with the Morpheus and the PlayStation Camera to provide accurate 3D immersion for the PS4. READ MORE


Morpheus may revive Move

Posted by Peter Nickless On Friday 29 August 2014No Comments

Anyone for ice-cream?

Gaming peripherals are on the wane these days. The now not so humble controller has proven to be the console gamer’s main choice with Microsoft’s Kinect, Sony’s Move and Nintendo’s Wii-remote often gathering dust in the corner right next to the balance board and multiple Guitar Hero instruments.

The Oculus Rift has certainly whet appetites with the promise of new gaming experiences, particularly as 3D TVs have not been enough to give players that extra immersion into their favourite titles. Sony, of course, has been working on its own headset, known as ‘Project Morpheus’. Now it seems that the Move concept could be revived for use in conjunction with the Morpheus and the PlayStation Camera to provide accurate 3D immersion for the PS4.

When interviewed on Pocketlint, PlayStation exec Shuhei Yoshida expressed the view that although the PS Move was “a bit ahead of its time”, he was still excited about technology that would allow studios to use “3D positional tracking to make games”.

Sony, please just don’t use this to just make more cheerleader games.