Yeah, I found a use for the PSP. How unbelieveable is that? There’s been a LocoRoco demo out for a while (get it here) and I finally got around to updating the PSP to 2.7 and giving it a try. Not only is it a PSP game that isn’t a port, but it also seems to be a bloody good one.

Seriously, give it a try. It’s almost DS-like in its simple design – three buttons are all that’s used. You tilt the world with the shoulder buttons and move your weird singing blob across the terrain while pressing both together to make it jump, and as it enlarges in that way that rolling blobs in video games tend to do you can press circle to break it into a mass of smaller ones. Holding circle makes them join up again as they scream like children.

More than anything it’s a charming little game. The flat graphics are cool, the music is something out of Katamari Damacy (the blobs even sing it if you look closely), and the sound effects are a good laugh. It’s supposedly out in Europe next month before even Japan so get the demo and give it a try.

Rockstar Table Tennis

Wow, this game is fun. I was as surprised and dismissive as everyone else when Rockstar announced that their big 360 exclusive was going to be a no-frills budget (for a 360 game, at least) table tennis game, but despite trying to be the Dogme 95 of video games, albeit a very good looking one for what it does, it’s a highly competitive and fast paced game that I think is well worth the asking price.

Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis

All you get in Table Tennis is exhibition, tournament, training, and Xbox Live modes. That’s it. The training mode shows you the ropes and the surprising depth that this game has (and gives you an achievement for completing it – hooray!), and then the meat of the single player is found in the tourneys which range from mildly challenging to pitting you against some kind of prescient table tennis ninja. Online is where the time will be spent because this game is very competitive and although the best player will usually win, large rallies are not unusual and it’s always fast.

It’s the presentation that I like. While there’s not a lot going on, the character models look great with flowing clothes that get visibly sweaty as the match gets intense and fluid animations. The sound also deserves mention – everybody loves the sound of a ping-pong ball which you’ll hear all the time, but the music is an understated techno track which only starts to kick in as a rally picks up and slowly increases with the rally counter. It fits in with the maxim of the game: that less is more and that the simple and addictive gameplay can stand alone.

What remains to be seen is how much lifespan the game has. While it’s great fun there’s not a lot to it, and it’s probably going to depend on cultivating an obsessive (and no doubt inhumanly skilled) online community during the lean summer period. Still, it’s worth getting for £30.


I came across these earlier and they just make me laugh. The standard DS looks pretty crappy now that its svelte little brother is available, so what better way is there for it to fight back than some mech armour for it? As mad as they are it looks pretty badass and you know it could kick the crap out of a DS Lite in a fight.

If you want more take a look at some contest designs here, all of which are fairly ludicrous apart from number 8 which looks like the designer couldn’t be bothered and just stuck a load of shit to it. Genius!

Tronix Rules

I wanted a Quick Charge Kit for my 360 because the Play & Charge kind of defeats the object of the wireless controller and was getting on my nerves, but since it’s not out here I decided to jump online and import one from the US. I’d heard of Tronix as a great resource for US imports way back when I used to read EGM circa 1998 but had never used them so I gave them a shot.

Now how’s this for service? I placed my order at 8pm on Wednesday, and on Friday morning I got a knock at the door where the FedEx man was waiting to hand me a package containing my Quick Charge Kit. A turnaround of 40 hours or so for an order from the States is bloody impressive, especially since there are UK retailers that wouldn’t get it to me that fast.

What’s more, they’d marked it as a promotional product without me having to ask which meant no import duty (it was probably within the allowance anyway, but you can never be too careful), and it cost me £20.21 for the thing plus FedEx shipping. When it eventually gets released here we’re probably talking £19.99 or £24.99 anyway. Kudos to them, and they have my hearty recommendation for anyone looking to import a US game. Unless you’re already in the US, in which case that would be silly.

As a side note, the Quick Charge is much better than the Play & Charge, even if you’ve already bought the old kit. I now don’t need to ever wire my controller and always have a fresh battery ready to go. Joy!

What Can I Do With £425?

Not give it all to Sony, that’s for sure.

That’s fucking insane. It’s $200 more than the already-expensive US 60GB model, and of course Microsoft must be having a field day with the fact that it’s nearly £150 more than the premium 360. Most were expecting a 360 price drop by that time but to be fair they don’t even need to. We Brits are used to paying a premium over the rest of the world but at least with the 360 we’re only paying $30 more than in the States.

Chances are for that amount of money I’ll be able to buy a Wii, the 360 HD-DVD drive, and have money left over for some games for both machines. Fuck them.

A BBC Expert

Not Guy Kewney

This is hilarious and journalistic. Like all of my content, then.

Guy Kewney of News Wireless was invited to appear on BBC News 24 as an expert commentator on the Apple Records/Apple Computer lawsuit as the ruling came in. The trouble is that this eloquent and informed tech writer, who happens to be fair-haired and white, went on the air looking…uh…black, and plainly not a native speaker of English. Also the only thing he knew about MP3 players seemed to be that you can download music in cybercaf?s. Some expert…

The joke is that somehow they’d managed not to put Guy Kewney on, but instead his minicab driver who had been waiting at reception. The poor guy was dropped in front of a camera and then asked about one of the biggest tech lawsuits of the year and, after pulling the most terrified face I’ve ever seen on TV, tried to fumble his way through an answer.

You can read Kewney’s personal account of the debacle here, and see the video of the interview here. Doesn’t do a lot for the BBC’s generally good reputation, does it?

UPDATE: Looks like the press reports were slightly inaccurate (the source of the video was the Mail, after all), but the real thing is even more unbelievable. The guy was actually there for a job interview and gives his opinion on the whole thing here. I didn’t realise until I saw it on the MacCast site.