VicStard’s Week in Review- Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oiy, oiy, oiy.

Waltzing Matilda

So I’ve successfully hopped across the ditch and I’m now bedding down nicely here in Sydney, Australia.

Dare I say it, I’m now closer to the action, what with (apparently) the worlds biggest IMAX screen on my doorstep, all those locally based ANZ games publishers and October’s fantastic EB Games Expo only a few train stops down from me. It’s all good.

With my stuff still sitting on Sydney docks, awaiting customs clearance. I’m left with just a few select Steam games on my PC and a handful of Xbox 360 games that I sneaked over with my Xbox 360 console in hand luggage.

And it was a good job that I did bring the Xbox with me. Just as I was about to fly out, Ubisoft kindly send me copy of their Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Whilst it’s not Call of Duty, Future Soldier seems rather mellow compared to the one-shot kills of the previous games. I’ll me nutting out a review for NZ’s Game Console soon.

The big gaming news in at the moment in the lucky country is that the long-awaited R18 rating for video games has now been passed through the Senate. Now all that needs to happen is for the states to pass complementary laws. It is ridiculous to see copies of GTA4 with MA15ratings on them; OK there’s less blood in the Aussie version, but kids can still bludgeon prostitutes to death. Mental.

Game Over

Also in the gaming news is the imminent demise of the Australian GAME outfit following the firms UK parent company’s financial trouble earlier this year. Throughout Oz GAME stores are selling off stock at 60% discount. Whilst I’ve not been hunted for a store, I did come across one today. I’ve not brought anything from a GAME store since before the UK EB Games brought them out in the late 1990’s. A visit to the Peterborough GAME store on a visit to the UK, left me a little nonplussed. Shopping at GAME seemed a little sterile compared to my local New Zealand EB Games.

This sterile feeling came over me again on entering this GAME store, even in its death knell the store was soulless,styled more like a shop selling insurance policies than a fun purveyor of exciting video games. GAME’s credit issues were obvious on scanning the goods on sale. There were very few new titles (i.e. not used) and no recent games; the stock was mainly second-hand. Still, there were bargains to be had.

Bargain Basement Bond
Bargain Basement Bond in Bloodstone!

Being very mindful that I am living out of a suitcase in a new country, new games are not really a priority; in any case I picked up a copy of James Bond: Bloodstone ($16) and Homefront ($18). Two games that I’ve played before a little bit and wanted to play some more but was put off by the price tag. what marred the occasion was the shop assistant asking me if a wanted a second-hand copy of Homefront for $8. “No”, I replied, “Homefront has an online pass”. Turning to her college she said,”Is anyone still playing Homefront online?”. To which he replied with a snigger, “I don’t think so”. I shrugged, thinking “f**k you” – way to make a customer feel foolish –  at least I’ll still have a job in a few weeks time.

Even though I may be the only one in the Homefront multiplayer lobby and being puzzled by Bloodstone’s genre-confusing gameplay (two games, insistently, that failed commercially to such an extent that their publishers closed both the games’ studios), things seem to be good this side of the Tasman…and I think it will only get better!

P.S. Rather surprisingly, both Homefront and Bloodstone have a thriving multiplayer player-base (so take GAME)!