Author: Andrew Rainnie - UK Correspondent

In addition to being Warp Zoned's UK Correspondent, Andrew Rainnie is a screenwriter and filmmaker. You can email him at andrew AT warpzoned DOT com or you can, if you're inclined, visit his personal website.

For Our Readers… For My Brother Interview with Crooked Tree’s Katy Levinson


Last year, developer Lat Ware and his team successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign for the brain-bending title Throw Trucks With Your Mind. Now that team is back under the guise of Crooked Tree Studios with a fresh puzzle platformer, For My Brother, which was featured in the latest edition of our monthly look at interesting crowdfunding campaigns, Kickstart This!. We chatted with Katy Levinson, the co-founder of ArcBotics and now Business Development Manager for Crooked Tree, about social media campaigns, art design, and Michael Bay’s The Rock. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, Top Story | Tagged

Is Destiny fated to appear on Wii U? Nintendo fans want to believe so


With the Destiny hyperdrive roaring towards its September release date, Activision and Bungie have been revealing lots of information recently. The beta test for both of Sony’s PlayStation systems will arrive on July 17, while Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners will have to wait one full week more to get their hands on the sci-fi FPS. Beta access is only available via pre-order, and will end on all systems on the 27th.

The obvious omission from the list (aside from the PC) is Nintendo’s Wii U, which has been shunned by many developers entirely. A motivated group of fans known as “The Guardians” have hijacked and launched a petition to bring Destiny to the Wii U. The group hopes that if enough Wii U owners sign up, Activision and Bungie will take note, and hopefully adapt the game for the console. Given that the game is coming to previous generation consoles, and the Wii U has seen a sales spurt thanks to Mario Kart 8, their list of excuses seems to be narrowing. That said, any work to port the game would mean it’s release would most likely be a year after the game goes on sale for every other platform on September 9. Still, there can be little harm in Nintendo fans vocally encouraging third party developers to take note of their growing presence.

After all, it worked for Operation Rainfall.

Posted in News, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged

British tabloid claims games are as addictive as heroin, game journalists respond in kind

man-screaming-at-computerThe Sun, Rupert Murdoch’s ever colourful tabloid that often likes to stretch the truth to within a hair’s breadth of fiction, decided to bait some video game players and journalists with the bold headline, “Gaming as addictive as heroin.” Written by Sun writer Lee Price, who won his job in a competition entitled “Column Idol,” the article makes some rather haughty claims that video games pose as big a health risk as drug and alcohol abuse, despite zero deaths being directly linked to the former and over 10,000 deaths per year blamed on the latter.

Video game players and journalists have been swift to condemn the article as little more than click-bait. Ironically, the article itself is hidden behind The Sun’s paywall.

Fellow journalists at The Market for Computer & Video Games (MCV) went beyond what started as a “spirited debate” on Twitter with Dan Silver, The Sun’s Deputy Head of Publishing, and found several holes in the story. The first was that Dr. Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University and a contributor to the story, essentially debunked The Sun’s claims, stating it was factually incorrect to suggest that Britain was in “the grip of a gaming epidemic.” The website for the Alchemy Clinic, run by former football agent and gambling addict (not gaming, gambling) turned counsellor Steven Noel-Hill is no longer active, despite The Sun’s claims that the clinic received 5,000 calls for help with video game addiction. A press release from the clinic’s opening two years ago had Noel-Hill listing video games as one of a variety of factors that caused teenagers to grow into adult addicts.

“Many of my clients exhibited problem traits during their adolescence, with events such as expulsion, excessive drug and alcohol use, self-harming and excessive computer gaming characterising their behaviour. Parents and schools are too willing to believe that it is just a phase and they will grow out of it. But many don’t and we are left with young adults who are unable to cope with life. There is nothing inevitable about a self-destructive life pattern. With early recognition and intervention, lives can be transformed.”

Yet despite his own addictions and his work for The Priory Clinic in London, Noel-Hill does not seem to be a qualified medical expert, and does not appear to be on any accredited register in Britain. It has been left to Jo Twist, CEO of the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) to bring some logic and reason to the debate. She told MCV:

“The games industry takes the health and wellbeing of all consumers very seriously and there is currently no official medical diagnosis of video game addiction, either from the American Medical Association or the World Health Organization. Like any other pastime, a common sense approach should be applied and players should take regular breaks of at least five minutes every 45-60 minutes. Stories like these completely ignore all the positive effects of playing games and the fact that millions of people round the world play video games safely and sensibly every day.”

We can only presume The Sun launched the blistering, unprecedented attack on the culture of video games at the behest of its owner, Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps he kept losing at Flappy Bird.

Posted in News |

Independent retailers now able to sell Nintendo eShop codes in UK


While Nintendo has often been criticised for its late arrival to online gaming and downloadable content, the company’s eShop for Wii U has become a thriving hub for gamers, filled with spectacular titles and exclusives. However, Nintendo’s store prices for games also available in physical disc form are hardly competitive with “High Street” shops or online retailers. The only store selling eShop download codes is GAME, which has an exclusive deal with Nintendo in the UK for the sale of cards and codes online.

However, this deal does not cover smaller, independent gaming boutiques, and as a result, they will be able to begin selling eShop cards and codes in the middle of July, thanks to distributor DLCSoft. The company believes that this will allow retailers “to establish their stores as a true digital destination on the High Street.” This seems like a win-win for the market and consumers. Not only will this help these smaller businesses compete with larger retailers, but it also means that gamers could find eShop codes at competitively reduced prices.

While the UK is a small but significant market for Nintendo, other European businesses may be watching with interest to see how well the eShop cards sell. If DLCSoft is correct in its analysis, it could lead to the scheme expanding to other countries.

[Source: MCV]

Posted in 3DS, News, Wii U |

Kickstart This! It’s Just Not Cricket Edition

That’s right, it’s time for football (or soccer, for the average American reader and editor). World Cup fever has landed and is now in full swing like the Rio Carnival. It has been a tournament of surprises, with the current World Cup champions knocked out by the second game, along with perennial contenders England (but I’m Scottish, so the less said about Luis Suarez’s two beautiful goals, the better).

There are a number of great Kickstarter campaigns in full force as well, and instead of placing bets on goals scored or corners won, perhaps think about donating some of that cash to these fine projects. We have the amazingly named Catlateral Damage, top-down 2D action-adventure Midora, and 2D puzzle-platformer For My Brother. On top of that, there is also a side-scrolling space shooter known as Temporus, the stealth ninja mastery of Twin Souls, and the 8-bit existential journey of Glitch.

Let’s go for the goal! (more…)

Posted in 3DS, Features, Mobile, PC, PS3, PS4, Top Story, Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged ,

Shigeru Miyamoto wants to bring Minecraft to 3DS, Wii U


Minecraft, the blocky Swedish sandbox hit available on pretty much every platform except those bearing the Nintendo brand, is a title the House of N could certainly use to further the booming sales that followed from the launch of Mario Kart 8. Even its creator, Markus “Notch” Persson, thinks that the Wii U is an ideal platform for the game, tweeting in December that “a Wii U version makes sense.”

When Stephen Totilo caught up with Shigeru Miyamoto and Shinya Takahashi at this year’s E3 Expo, the Kotaku writer wanted to ask them about it. Miyamoto revealed he had not played Minecraft, but was aware of the game and likened it to Nintendo’s newly announced Mario Maker. It was Takahashi, General Manager of Nintendo’s Software Planning & Development department, that offered a more positive quote for those hoping the game may still wind its way onto the Wii U:

We’ve always thought internally that using the GamePad would probably make for a Minecraft that’s very easy to play. And, of course, if we were to do something with Minecraft on the 3DS, similarly we would probably do it where it would be easier to play and could probably reach a lot of kids.

However, grounding expectations, Takahasi said that the game is not as popular in Nintendo’s native Japan as it is in the US or Europe. Yet, when pushed on the subject, it was Miyamoto who had the last word: “Maybe we’re meeting with them! Who knows?”

Was Nintendo’s most famous developer joking, or could Nintendo be meeting with Mojang to help bring their seminal title to Wii U and 3DS? Hopefully we will find out soon.

Posted in 3DS, News, Wii U | Tagged ,

Legendary Pictures will develop a Dead Rising movie for Sony’s Crackle service


Legendary Pictures, the film company behind Man of Steel, Godzilla, and the long-gestating adaptation of BioWare’s Mass Effect, has picked up the rights to develop a film based on Capcom’s zombie smasher Dead Rising. However, rather than aiming for the silver screen, the project is the first to emerge from Legendary’s Digital Media division. The company is working with producers Tomas Harlan and Tim Carter of Contradiction Films, who were previously responsible Mortal Kombat: Legacy. Carter will also write the screenplay, although there is no word on a director just yet.

The film will initially be distributed via Sony’s Crackle streaming service in North America, while Content Media Corp. has snagged the international distribution rights. Content Media also released Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and is distributing the much-anticipated Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist oh home video formats. Tom Lesinski, President of Content and Distribution at Legendary Digital Media, spoke highly of both companies, as well as the source material:

Dead Rising has a built-in fan base and rich characters and plotlines that are ideal for digital storytelling and on target for Legendary’s brand. Crackle and Content are adept at distributing cutting-edge digital content and we look forward to delivering a highly engaging and cool series for a global audience.

After its run on Crackle, the Dead Rising film will be released on DVD and become available to download through On Demand services.

[Source: Variety]

Posted in Gaming Etc., Movies/TV/Video, News | Tagged

European gamers prefer watching the World Cup to playing TitanFall

Respawn Entertainment has effectively proved what everyone on this side of the Atlantic knows to be true: when football [Ed. Note: soccer] is on, everyone’s eyes are focused on the beautiful game, and not playing with others. The company has released a graph showing the number of players on TitanFall‘s European servers during two recent World Cup games. The more interesting observation is that there was only a slight drop during the Colombia vs Ivory Coast match, which started at 5:00 PM GMT, yet over one third of players dropped off to watch Uruguay smash England 2-1 at 8:00 PM GMT. In the latter game, players can also be seen returning to TitanFall for a brief game during the 15-minute halftime break. Clearly the mid-match commentary was not riveting enough.

Publisher EA will be happy either way, seeing as they also produce the FIFA series of games.

Posted in News, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged