WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 16TH – 22ND JUNE

Headline Of The Week

If you remember, around the dawn of the new year I reported on how a chap from America called Michael Thomasson claimed the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest game collection, with over 10,607 titles on show. Well the record now belongs to someone else – because he has sold it all for a whopping $750,020.

While the opening bid was just $1 thereby allowing anyone in on the grand prize, the bidding war soon devolved into a two horse race between two anonymous users, before ending almost a week later (the entire roll of bids, along with pictures of the sheer size of the collection can be seen on the bidding page). If you ask me, I’d say even at three-quarters of a million dollars, that’s a pretty good deal given the rarity of some of the games included.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the whole affair is that this is the third time that Thomasson has sold off his collection, and he is looking to start it all up once again. Credit to the guy for perseverance – my collection over 23 years is barely less than 1% of his old one!

In Other News…

Although it may have been delayed in next year, we might not actually be waiting so long for Batman: Arkham Knight to be released – that is if the man behind the Dark Knight’s vocal cords is to be believed. Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne in the legendarily excellent 90s cartoon Batman: The Animated Series and both Arkham Asylum & Arkham City) teased that the game may be coming as early as January 2015 in a TV interview earlier this week. For what its worth, the publisher of the game, Warner Bros., has yet to announce an official release date beyond ‘2015’.

Arkham Knight, which will be the final installment of UK based Rocksteady Studios trilogy, recently got a five minute outing during Sony’s E3 conference. If you’ve been living with your head in the sand for the past fortnight and missed it, the video can be watched here.

Valve has been busy this week. As previously anticipated, The Steam Summer Sale has kicked off with the usual stupidly cheap promotions running until June 30th (I’ve already caved in and bought Hotline Miami for a mere quid), and while that news that has got everyone and their wallets in a frenzy, its worth acknowledging that at the start of the week Valve also demonstrated once again how good their movie making skills are, with a 15 minute short to promote a new update for the evergreen Team Fortress 2.

Seriously, it’s well worth a watch.

For those of you more interested in playing the game than watching it, the ‘Love & War’ update adds new gestures including a conga and Rock, Paper, Scissors, as well as new achievements, a selection of new weapons and some new accessories based around sentient bread. I’d anticipate they’ll add some hats in as well at some point

A leaked listing by UK retailer ShopTo.net may have revealed the existence of a next-gen port of Sleeping Dogs. Entitled Sleeping Dogs HD, the game was classified for release on PS4 and Xbox One, carrying a price tag of 55 quid. The listings have since been removed from the site, and publisher Square Enix has refused to comment on the matter

If the listings are accurate then it would seem a strange choice of title to port – the reboot of Tomb Raider (another game under Square Enix’s helm) enjoyed the upgrade treatment with a PS4/X1 version earlier this year, but while Sleeping Dogs was a competent and fun game to play I don’t think it ever had the critical or commercial success to warrant a next-gen update, especially now given the time which has passed since the game’s original 2012 release. It may well be a case of plugging a gap until we hear more about Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars.

The ‘Amiibo’ figurines that are set to release alongside Super Smash Bros for Wii U could lead to a ‘significant impact’ on the commercial performance of Nintendo’s latest console, according to the ever-likeable President of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime. Looking to take a share of the enormously lucrative ‘toys-to-life’ market currently locked down by Activision’s Skylanders and Disney Infinity¸ Reggie reckons that Nintendo’s heritage will help them shift figurines:

“Even a figure like Marth, which, from a broad population, may not be well known but for that Smash playing audience, they know Marth…A lot of them enjoy playing as Marth. And then we believe that, given the lineup of figures, we’re going to have a more diverse ownership base, not only male and female (because of Peach and Yoshi that appeal to girls) but also from an aging up standpoint because people are going to want to collect Samus. You’re going to have people who want to collect Link, all these fantastic characters. So we think our footprint is going to be much larger than what the other people in this space have been able to accomplish” – Fils-Aime speaking to Polygon

The ‘Amiibo’ figurines, modeled around classic Nintendo characters including Mario, Link, Pikachu and Samus were unveiled at E3 during the Big N’s digital presentation, and can be scanned into games using the NFC reader on the Wii U Gamepad. Alongside SSB, the figurines are also planned for use in Mario Kart 8 and Yoshi’s Wooly World, with ten figurines set for launch during the holiday season. I must admit, I’m quite taken by the quality of the figurines – I wouldn’t mind having that Donkey Kong model on my workdesk.

I hope this aren't too flimsy. Should be fine if they are composed of Nintendium...

I hope this aren’t too flimsy. Should be fine if they are composed of Nintendium…

Not to be outdone in the slightest by the Steam Summer Sale, EA have stepped up their ‘On The House’ promotion giving away free games to anyone with an Origin account. Until August 5th, you can pick up the game that made thousands of people fall in love with Beethoven’s ‘Ode To Joy’, Peggle. It is expected that another game will be offered up for users before the end of July.

The start of the World Cup in Brazil (and subsequent goal-fest – come on Holland!) led to a swell in sales this week for the official tie-in game 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, but it was held off the top spot of the UK Game Sales Chart by Watch_Dogs which took a third consecutive week as top…dog. Elsewhere there was little movement as no new entries made the top 40.

Top Ten For Week Ending 14th June 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal)

2 – 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (EA Canada)

3 – Wolfenstein: The New Order (MachineGames)

4 – Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo)

5 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)

6 – Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment/Bluepoint Games)

7 – Minecraft: PS3 Edition (4J Studios)

8 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)

9 – Murdered: Soul Suspect (Airtight Games)

10 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)

And Finally…

While Hideo Kojima has always liked to parade a collection of cutscenes from the latest Metal Gear Solid at E3 to vow fans and critics alike, traditionally the actual gameplay of the stealth orientated series almost always gets shown to journalists behind closed doors the next day. Fortunately, us mere plebs can now enjoy what the professionals got to see of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain at this years conference thanks to a rather lengthy video uploaded by Konami earlier this week.

The half hour demonstration of The Phantom Pain is shownrunning on a PS4; and my word it looks good. Highlights of the video include attaching a balloon to a sheep, electronic cigars that can fast-forward time, and a overhaul of everyone’s favourite piece of stealth apparel, the cardboard box.

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