Weekend Update – September 3rd 2011…

As my wife gets to grips with David Nicholls’ “One Day” – twenty pages in and she’s not convinced – I feel that it’s only appropriate to bring the cultural activities update for the weekend.

Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders?

In general gaming news, Joystiq reports that developers Runic will spin-off  their ace dungeon crawler “Torchlight”  as an MMO, with a release projected towards the end of 2012/first quarter of 2013, alongside a “Neverwinter” MMO.

Understand that I’ve never played an MMO in my life but the idea of a persistent “Torchlight” world online is quite attractive.  I suspect that my reticence to jump into the MMO arena is down to the gameplay conventions that I have read about with the likes of “World of Warcraft”, “Lineage 2” and the upcoming “Star Wars: The Old Republic”.

Fetch quest. Random battle. Fetch quest. Random battle. Large scale raid.  And repeat.

Not that much fun to me – it does feel rather like work as opposed to a leisure activity that you pointedly undertake to escape from the drudgery of the office.  It all comes down to scale, I’m sure – building a game world which allows individual players to have a well-paced, dynamic experience akin to a good single-player game campaign is probably close to impossible – too many people, at the same time, on the same server. It just can’t be done.

But, perhaps, Runic can invest their “Torchlight” MMO with something that would make me want to play?

Calling all 15th Level Prestige, Noob Toob-slaying, COD superfans ...

For “Call of Duty” fans, this first “COD XP” convention has begun in Los Angeles.   Kotaku reports that a $49.99 (£34.99 in the UK) annual subscription charge for the “COD Elite” premium service has been set, which offers early access to DLC content such as extra game modes and new Spec Ops missions, the opportunity to win prizes and community services.  Rather than waiting for new DLC to be released, Elite Premium subscribers get this stuff first – as they’ll be the ones who really cry out for new “COD” multi-player content, this seems like a good business plan to me.

There is a free Elite model, which is more bare bones and offers stat-tracking and the like for the committed “COD” player – browse your Kill/Death ration on your mobile whilst commuting, for example.

Eurogamer notes that the “Hardened” edition of “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” will include an Elite Premium subscription in the box when it releases in the UK in November 8th.

In ‘Suits Go Trolling‘ news, Eurogamer also report Sony spokesdroid Rob Dyer blowing raspberries at Microsoft by accusing it of “protecting inferior technology” in a riposte to last week’s story which revealed that MS reserve the right to refuse a release to any DLC arcade game if it launches first on Sony’s PSN service.  It’s all down to memory limits on the 360 platform – the MS console historically didn’t ship with extra hard drive storage, so downloadable games had to adhere to a strict size limit.

That this restriction has been circumvented by easily available add-on storage for the console seems rather to refute Dyer’s bluster, but who am I to ruin the always dignified sight of puffed-up corporate mouthpieces having a pop at one another in the public arena?  Dyer suggests that MS is running scared of innovation by having this stipulation in place, that their hardware can’t handle the more elaborate experiences available on the Sony platform due to ageing internal architecture and a lack of Blu-Ray, etc.

One hesitates to cite blatant PR trolling – after all, it’s not like Sony’s PSN has done anything particularly embarrassing or legally dubious this year that Sony execs might want to direct attention away from…ahem.

In the general realm of geekery, SFX magazine (whom my marriage is brought to you by kind courtesy of) have announced more guests for their 2012 Weekender next February – if you’re a Black Library reader, you might want to think about picking up tickets, as Dan Abnett, Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Chris Wraight are due to appear.

I’ve always wanted to go the Weekender, but my February holiday on Arran runs during the same weekend. Talk about bad timing.

Imagine...showing Science Fiction and not MMA...

There’s an interesting post over at io9.com about ten mistakes that SyFy has made over the years – did you know that in their efforts to broaden their audience, the channel formerly known as Sci-Fi  launched a cookery show?

The Tor books blog has a link to a wee teaser clip from season two of “Sherlock”.  And when I say wee, I mean 19 seconds.

Slashfilm have fairly spoiler-safe pics from “The Avengers” shoot in New York’s Central Park – if you’re completely radio-silence on this movie, clicking throught might not be a great idea.

Still on the super-heroic tip, SuperHeroHype have some more images of Henry Cavill as Superman in Zack Snyder’s 2013 blockbuster-in-waiting, “Man of Steel”. Look – no underpants!

Lastly, also from SuperHeroHype, comes the news that Marvel will be releasing “Captain America: The First Avenger” on Blu-Ray in the US on October 25th – still waiting for a UK date, but the news story notes that special features have been submitted to the BBFC for classification, which indicates that it’s going to be released quite soon after the US date.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, have a good one – enjoy your Labor Day weekend in the States – and see you again for more inessential digression next week.

 

 

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