Posts Tagged ‘Mass Effect’

For the last few weeks now, speculation has been rife in both the media and blogging communities as to the financial security of renowned gaming retailer, Game.

Concerns about company debt and employment security were only exacerbated with the refusal by Capcom and Bioware to supply key releases to the retailer on credit over the last month, including the eagerly-anticipated Mass Effect 3 and Street Fighter Vs Tekken. Death knolls sufficiently sounded, Game finally announced their collapse into administration yesterday morning (Monday 26th March 2012), with tragic consequences.
277 stores have already been closed, with the loss of 2,104 jobs. Below is an official list of stores that have been closed:
  • Abergavenny Unit 3 Cibi Walk, Frogmore Street
  • Accrington 29 Broadway
  • Aintree Comet
  • Altrincham 97 George Street
  • Andover 49 High Street
  • Antrim Unit 42, Junction One Outlet Centre
  • Ashford 18 County Square
  • Ashington 12 Station Road, Ashington
  • Ashton Unit 28, The Arcade
  • Athlone Unit 44 Athlone Town Centre
  • Aylesbury Units 36-37, Friars Sq. Shopping Centre
  • Ballymena Unit 15 Fairhill Shopping Centre
  • Banbury 4B Castle Quay Shopping Centre
  • Bangor NI 9 Bloomfield Centre
  • Barking Unit 17 Vicarage Fields Shopping
  • Barnet Unit 10 The Spires Shopping Centre
  • Barnsley 32 Market Street
  • Barnstaple 30 High Street
  • Barrow In Furness Unit 26, Portland Walk
  • Basildon 84 Town Square
  • Basingstoke 3 Mayfair House
  • Bath SU7 St Lawrence Street, Southgate Centre
  • Beckton 19 Gallions Reach, 3 Armada Way
  • Belfast Unit 55 Castle Court Shopping Centre, Belfast
  • Belfast (Conns) Unit 20, Connswater Centre
  • Belfast (Forestside) Unit 12, Forestside Shopping Centre, Upper Galway
  • Birkenhead 35-37 Milton Pavement, Grange Precinct
  • Birmingham Unit 52, The Pallasades
  • Birmingham 138 New Street
  • Birmingham Fort Unit 3a The Fort Shopping Park
  • Bishop Auckland 59 Newgate Street
  • Blackburn Unit 7 Victoria Court, The Mall
  • Blackpool Unit 19, Houndshill Shopping Centre
  • Blanchardstown Unit 112, Blanchardstown Town Centre
  • Bluewater LO42 Lower Thames Walk, Bluewater
  • Bolton 37 Newport Street
  • Bootle Unit 7, 63 Parkside, Strand Shopping Centre
  • Boston 23 Strait Bargate
  • Bournemouth Unit 4, Avenue Centre, Commercial Road
  • Bournemouth 49 Commercial Street
  • Bracknell 39 Princess Square
  • Bradford Unit 2, The Broadway
  • Bradford 4-6 Darley Street
  • Brent Cross Unit B15, Brent Cross Shopping Centre
  • Bridgend 12/14 Adare Street
  • Bridlington Unit 11 The Promenades
  • Brighton 69 Western Road
  • Bristol SU16 Cabots Circus, Broadmead
  • Bromley 68-68A High Street
  • Burnley 68/70 St James Street
  • Burton on Trent 7 Underhill Walk
  • Bury 20 Princess Parade
  • Buxton Unit 13, Spring Gardens
  • Camden 124 Camden High Street
  • Cannock 6 Market Hall Street
  • Canterbury 14 High Street
  • Cardiff 92 Queen Street
  • Chatham 152 High Street
  • Cheltenham 100 High Street
  • Chester 39 Foregate Street
  • Chesterfield 22 Vicar Lane Shopping Centre (10 Vicar Lane)
  • Chiswick 350 High Road
  • Cirencester 26, Cricklade Street
  • Clacton on Sea 20-22 Station Road
  • Colchester 3 Shewell Walk, (Unit 13 The Culver Centre)
  • Coleraine 16 Kingsgate Street
  • Collierswood Unit 9a Tandem Centre, Christchurch Road
  • Congleton 45-47 High Street
  • Cork 6 Mahon Point, Cork
  • Cork 66 Patrick Street, , Cork, Eire,
  • Coventry Unit 22, West Orchards Centre, Smithford Way
  • Cowley 107 Pound Way, Templars Square Shopping Centre
  • Cramlington 4 Dudley Court
  • Crawley Unit 8, County Mall
  • Crawley 10-12 The Martlets
  • Crewe Unit 7, The Market Centre
  • Croydon 98/99 Whitgift Centre
  • Croydon (Purley Way) Comet
  • Cumbernauld Unit 29, Antonine Shopping Centre, Tryst Road
  • Dewsbury 12 Longcauseway
  • Doncaster 43/44 Market Place
  • Dorchester 55 South Street
  • Dublin 2 Dawson Street, Dublin 2, Eire,
  • Dublin Unit 18, Ilac Centre, Dublin 1
  • Dublin (Dundrum) Unit 10, Level 3, Dundrum Centre, Dublin
  • Dublin (Dundrum) Hamleys Dundrum
  • Dublin (Liffey) Unit 37, Liffey Valley Centre, Clondalkin, Dublin,
  • Dudley 7 Churchill Parade
  • Dudley (Merry Hill) Unit L87, Merry Hill Shopping Centre
  • Dumbarton 77/79 High Street
  • Dundee 40 Murraygate
  • Dunstable 6-8 Nicholas Way, Quadrant Shopping Centre, Dunstable, LU6 1TD
  • Durham Unit SU40, Land Of The Prince Bishops Shopping Centre
  • East Ham 111 High Street North
  • East Kilbride 5 The Olympia, Town Centre
  • Edinburgh 127 Princes Street
  • Edinburgh (Leith) Unit RU4, Ocean Terminal
  • Ellesmere Port 18 Mercers Walk
  • Enfield 37 Church Street
  • Enniskillen Unit 23, Erneside Shopping Centre
  • Evesham Unit 16, Riverside Centre
  • Exeter SU19 Princeshay
  • Falkirk Unit 34, Howgate Centre
  • Fleet 16 Hart Centre
  • Gainsborough Unit 13b, Marshalls Yard, Gainsborough
  • Galashiels Unit 8 Douglas Bridge, Galashiels
  • Galway 5 Eglington Street
  • Glasgow Unit L3/22 , Buchanan Galleries
  • Glasgow Hamleys Glasgow
  • Glasgow 146 Sauchiehall Street
  • Glasgow 83 Sauchiehall Street
  • Glenrothes 42 Unicorn Way
  • Gloucester 16 Kings Walk
  • Grantham 53 High Street
  • Great Yarmouth Unit 10 Market Gates Shopping Centre
  • Gretna Unit 53, Gretna Outlet Village
  • Grimsby 24 Victoria Street West
  • Halesowen 38 Hagley Mall, Cornbow Centre, Halesowen
  • Halifax 12 Woolshops
  • Hanley Unit F, The Potteries, Hanley
  • Hanley 214-215 The Potteries
  • Harlow 8 Broad Walk, Harlow
  • Harrogate 2D Cheltenham Parade
  • Harrow 68-70 St. Anns Road
  • Hartlepool 92 Middleton Grange Shopping Centre
  • Hastings 19 Queens Road
  • Hemel Hempstead Unit 201, The Marlowes Shopping Centre
  • Hemel Hempstead Unit 12, The Marlowes Shopping Centre
  • Hereford 56 Commercial Street
  • High Wycombe 16 Church Street
  • Hounslow Unit 13, The Treaty Centre, High Street
  • Hull Unit G46, Princes Quay
  • Huyton Unit 5 Cavendish Walk, Derby Road, Huyton
  • Hyde 8 The Square, Hyde
  • Ilford 172 – 174 High Road
  • Inverness 6-8 Ingliss Street
  • Jarrow 25 Viking Precinct, Jarrow
  • Kensington 185 High Street
  • Kettering 27 Gold Street
  • Kidderminster 82 Worcester Street
  • Kingston 64-66 Clarence Street
  • Lakeside Unit 282 Lakeside Shopping Centre
  • Lancaster Unit 15, Ashton Walk, St. Nicholas Arcade
  • Leamington Spa 83 Parade
  • Leeds 50-52 Albion Street
  • Leeds 18 Kirkgate
  • Leeds (Birstall) Unit 8b Birstall Shopping Park
  • Leeds (Crossgates) 58 Crossgates Shopping Centre
  • Leeds (Crown Point) Unit 5b Crown Point Retail park
  • Leicester 42 Granby Street
  • Lewisham 68 Lewisham Centre
  • Limmerick Unit 11A, Cruises Street, Limerick, Eire,
  • Lincoln (Valentine) Unit 2a Valentine Retail Park
  • Lisburn 6 Bow Street
  • Lisburn Unit A10, Bow St. Mall
  • Liverpool Unit 43/44 Clayton Square Shopping Centre
  • Liverpool Unit 44, South John Street
  • Llandudno 46 Mostyn Street
  • Llanelli Unit 1, Llanelli Shopping Centre
  • Long Eaton 10 Market Place
  • Lowestoft 43 London Road North
  • Luton 142-144 Andale Centre
  • Luton 39 George Street
  • Macclesfield 25 Mill Street
  • Maidenhead 75 Queens Walk, The Nicholson Centre
  • Maidstone 351 Chequers Centre
  • Manchester Unit L16 Arndale Centre
  • Manchester Unit 59, Arndale Centre
  • Manchester (Trafford) 124 Peel Centre, Trafford Centre
  • Mansfield 38A Westgate
  • Meadowhall Unit 29, High Street, Meadowhall Shopping Centre
  • Meadowhall Unit 52, High Street, Meadowhall Centre
  • Melton Mowbray 14-15 Market Place, Melton Mowbray
  • Merthyr Tydfill 4 Graham Way, Tydfils Shopping Centre
  • Merthyr Tydfill Unit 3 Beacons Place Shopping Centre
  • Metrocentre Unit 112 Lower blue hall, Metro Centre
  • Middlesbrough 108 Linthorpe Road
  • Middleton G14 Middleton Shopping Centre
  • Milton Keynes Unit SU 10, Midsumer Place
  • Monaghan Unit 27 Monaghan Shopping Centre
  • Newark 9 St Marks Place
  • Newbury 63A North Brook Street
  • Newcastle 8 High Friars, Eldon Square
  • Newcastle Fenwicks Concession
  • Newcastle 78 Grainger Street
  • Newport 13 Commercial Street
  • Newport Isle Of Wight 63 High Street
  • Newry Unit 12A, Buttercrane Shopping Centre
  • North Finchley 776 High Road
  • North Shields Comet
  • Northampton 17 Abingdon Street
  • Norwich 17 St Stephens Street
  • Norwich 3-4 Castle Mall Shopping Centre
  • Nottingham Unit 2, 33 Listergate
  • Nuneaton 2A Market Place
  • Oldham Unit 18, The Spindles Shopping Centre
  • Omagh Unit 5, Main Street Development
  • Orpington 79 – 81 The Walnuts, Orpington, BR6 0TW
  • Perth 9 Scott Street
  • Peterlee 21 Yoden Way
  • Plymouth 81/83 New George Street
  • Portadown Unit 6, High Street Mall
  • Portsmouth 7 Meadow Walk, Cascades Shopping Centre
  • Preston 8 Fishergate Centre
  • Preston 172 Friargate
  • Putney Unit 28, Exchange Shopping Centre
  • Ramsgate 30 High Street
  • Reading Unit 17 Oracle Shopping Centre
  • Redcar Unit 8, Regent Centre
  • Rhyl 64 High St
  • Rochdale 54 Market Way
  • Rugby 45-46 Clocktower Centre
  • Runcorn 48 Forest Walk, Halton Lea Shopping Centre
  • Salisbury 11 High Street
  • Scarborough 112B Westborough
  • Scunthorpe 58 High Street
  • Sheffield Unit 22/24, Fargate
  • Sheffield 37/41 The Moor
  • Shrewsbury 3-4 Castle Street
  • Skelmersdale UNIT 27 Upper Mall, The Concourse Shopping Centre
  • Slough N21 Curzon Mall, Queensmere Centre
  • Solihull Comet
  • South Shields 89/91 King Street
  • Southampton Unit SU8, West Quay Centre
  • Southampton 82 Above Bar Street
  • Southport 203 Lord Street
  • Speke Comet
  • St Albans Unit 32, The Maltings
  • Stafford 21 Gaolgate Street
  • Staines 54 High Street
  • Stevenage 64 Queensway
  • Stevenage 54 Queensway
  • Stirling Unit 24, The Thistle Centre
  • Stockport Comet
  • Stockton-on-Tees Unit SU32, Wellington Square
  • Stockton-on-Tees 134B High Street
  • Stratford 88 The Mall
  • Stratford upon Avon 13 Town Square Shopping Centre
  • Sunderland 251 High Street
  • Sunderland 27 Blandford Street
  • Sutton 192 High Street
  • Sutton Coldfield Unit SU7, New Hall Walk, Lower Sutton Parade
  • Swansea 12 Union Street
  • Swindon 9 Havelock Square, Brunel Shopping Centre
  • Swindon 7 Regent Sreet
  • Tallaght Unit 307, The Square
  • Tamworth Unit 18, Ankerside
  • Taunton 47 North Street
  • Telford Unit 6, 159 New Mall, Telford Shopping Centre
  • Telford 32 Sherwood Street, Telford Shopping Centre
  • Torquay 5 Union House
  • Truro Unit 2, 4/6 Pyder Street
  • Uxbridge 13 Market Square
  • Victoria 10 Victoria Place, Buckingham Palace Road
  • Wakefield 17 Kirkgate
  • Walsall 42 Old Square Shopping Centre
  • Walthamstow Unit 11A, Selbourne Centre
  • Wandsworth 61 South Mall, Wandsworth Shopping Centre
  • Warrington 46 The Mall
  • Washington Unit 30 Albany Mall, The Galleries
  • Washington 26 Albany Mall
  • Welwyn Garden City 21 The Howard Centre
  • Wembley 458 High Road
  • West Belfast Unit 4 Park Centre, Donegall Road
  • Weston Super Mare 85 High Street
  • Weymouth Unit 5, Bond Street Centre
  • Wigan 23 Market Place
  • Winchester 106A High Street
  • Windsor 21 King Edward Court
  • Woking 4 Middle Walk
  • Wolverhampton 27 Dudley Street
  • Wood Green 83 High Road
  • Woolwich 112 Powis Street
  • Wrexham 42-43 Hope Street
  • Wythenshawe 18 The Birtles, Wythenshawe
  • Yeovil 13-15 Vicarage Walk, Quedam Shopping Centre
  • York Unit3, 5 Spurriergate
To anyone being made unemployed by this hugely unfortunate event, my sincerest sympathies and good luck!
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With the sun making a welcome appearance across the Gears-esque murky palette of the UK’S capital, and with my local skatepark receiving some well-needed renovation, it seems only fitting that my desire to skate rises forth once again.

In deference to this inescapable craving, I’ve started watching some old skate videos again – some particular favourites including Blueprint‘s Waiting for the World, Girl / Chocolate collabo Yeah Right! and more contemporary creative classic Cheese ‘N Crackers by Almost.

Gosh they take me back… Suddenly I’m stood in front of the Albert Memorial again in Kensington Gardens, whittling away my Summer holiday alongside a large group of friends and tourist voyeurs. Good times – apart from my dress sense. What was I thinking?

A teenage freedom to skate is not the only thing I sadly miss from my formative years though. What about children’s television? You wake up in the morning to the Scouse warblings of Poppy the Cat (“Ohhhh Trish”), followed by fail-Smurfs the Snorks or Saturday morning joy in the form of the Power Rangers. Now what are we treated to when we wake up? Bloody reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond and Channel 4’s entourage of “comedy” cohorts. Though I must say, there is a soft spot in my heart for Kelsey Grammer.

image

I defy you not to love this man.

Furthermore, ever increasing age and a lack of my own children makes it impossible to use toys anymore. And what a shame that is! I don’t miss the actual physical play, with the action adventure games of my childhood satisfyingly replaced by my penchant for video games. However, the thing I do miss is the creativity and agency that toys afford you. The characters you use, the narrative you spin, even each and every movement is meticulously concocted in your own brain. As exciting and visually immersive as games (SOME games) are these days, nothing really does compare to that level of narrative autonomy. Perhaps this woefully explains why so many gamers have publicly decried the ending of Bioware’s space trilogy Mass Effect, taking to forums, press and even charity work in the hope of ushering a creative redrafting.

Alas, despite sporting the face of a child, such youthful activities must be kept to realm of memory.

What do you miss from your childhood?

Sex is always going to be an area of contention in mass media entertainment, whether it be cinema, television or video-gaming. A significant reason accounting for this is just how accessible everything is these days. Despite a growth in 1984-esque parental controls on most modern technological appliances, it’s clear that they are not enough to solve the problem. Sex permeates throughout modern Western society, used for advertising anything from the new Lynx fragrance to the latest Burger King sub.

THIS IS REAL!

It’s  constantly on television – usually on BBC3 in one of their God-awful comedies or ‘Bizarre Penis Shapes’ documentaries – and in films, making restricting access increasingly difficult. The problem is worsened with the inclusion of sex in videogames.

Today in a discussion with Ken Levine, the creator of Bioshock, it was revealed that he feels, for the time being at least, that sex is not a suitable subject matter for the gaming industry.

When questioned about the visual representations of sex in videogames he described that perhaps the biggest problem is not the level of user interaction, as many would suggest, but the actual content. He suggests that it’s so far removed from the emotions and physicality of actual sex that it simply does not fit – whether the Alan Titchmarshes of the world would agree or not.

“I think it’s not about being interactive. I think it’s more about people not understanding what it is. If you think about the amount of, for example, nudity in a videogame… it’s not even nudity. It’s a puppet with its clothes off.” This he said, making an interesting, and not wholly inaccurate, reference to the ridiculous sex scene in the spoof-puppet film Team America, “the sex scene in Team America as opposed to, you know, the sex scene in Black Swan”.

He also noted that there are other problems, essentially because “It’s kind of silly in videogames right now”. This is entirely true. Think of sex in videogames; apart from the odd more realistic representation, like those present in Mass Effect, the depictions are completely laughable, and deliberately so – much like Team America. For example, the audio QTE sex-scene in God of War; although somewhat childish, you can’t help but smile as you tap X, producing a wild scream of ‘Kraaatoosssss’. It’s a comical element producing a similar reaction, nothing base or even overtly sexualised. The very fact that you can simply tap a button to enhance some sexual vocals is funny in and of itself. Similar representations can be witnessed in Fable 2, very much an audio scene set against a black screen, or the Sims ‘woohoo’-ing beneath a bed sheet. And who could forget the infamous FPS tea-bag? Wait, scrap that.

Couldn't get it up - Add to wish list.

But how would a developer aim to rectify this criticism? In the current climate, political correctness in abundance, it is extremely difficult to represent anything considered taboo or immoral in games. Doing so may well harm the business potential of a release with the guaranteed outrage that is to follow – or perhaps it would increase it; there are various reasons why Modern Warfare 2 was one of the biggest selling games of 2010. Perhaps one of the key changes that needs to take place involves the consumer perception of the industry. Levine comments on this also: “The perception of the industry is that we’re making toys or something, as opposed to making creative expressions for a range of audiences – including adults. I think there’s still some prudishness.” Before games are able to represent sex in the most effective way, perhaps there needs to be a significant shift in society itself.

On top of creating visually realistic scenes, a further issue is that of narrative significance. It is not acceptable simply to thrust a sex-scene into a game for the sake of it. It must drive the plot, acting as a catalyst, or at very least enhance the representation of characters and relationships in game. Without this weight of authority, the scene becomes nothing more than a cheap attempt at drawing in a male teen audience.

In an industry that continually attempts to deliver the most realistic, the most accurate visual portrayals, but is so incessantly criticised for doing so, is there ever likely to be any real degree of change from the status quo regarding sex. For the near future at least, it does not seem so.