Video Game Music Continues To Impress On 2016 Classic FM Hall Of Fame

With Easter having just passed for another year, it means that over on Classic FM the annual Hall Of Fame competition, where listeners vote for their top 300 pieces of classical music, has been drawn to a close. For the past five years now, there has been a push to have classically influenced/performed pieces of music from video games represented on the list in a similar way to films, and this year has been another success story; albeit with the focus more on the breadth of games represented rather than hitting the very top of the charts as was the case in 2013 and 2014. I’ve written a result analysis for the past two years, and if you are interested you can find the links to those articles here and here. Continue reading

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WEEKLY NEWS UPDATES FOR 31ST AUGUST – 13TH SEPTEMBER

Headlines For 7th-13th September

Microsoft is set to shutter the Xbox Live Indie Games service. New submissions to the service were halted on September 9th, and anyone currently working on a title now has less than a year to complete it. The marketplace and XNA developer website will then be fully closed in September 2017 – although any content purchased before that point can still be played and downloaded if previously deleted.

The move is a long time coming; the Indie Games marketplace is largely filled with dross focusing on avatar interaction or shameless Minecraft rip-offs (with only the excellent I Maed A Gam3 W1th Z0mb1es worth a purchase), and has barely been promoted since 2011 when a Xbox 360 dashboard update pushed them out of sight. The Xbox One also launched without the programme, focusing instead on self-publishing indie titles through the much more promising ID@Xbox initiative which has the likes of Cuphead on it’s radar. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 24TH -31ST AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

Video game soundtracks have been in the news again this week – not once, not twice, but THRICE.

The most high profile story concerns the soundtrack to the PS4 exclusive Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture – initially the album was included on the Classical Artists Albums Chart, before the Official Charts Company moved it to the Official Soundtrack Album Chart claiming that the first classification had been an error. Composer Jessica Curry took to Twitter to vent her frustration at being left off the list, as she felt she would have had a No.1 entry on her hands.

The British developers behind Rapture, The Chinese Room, also accused the firm of elitism when it came to including game soundtracks – a debate which has been ongoing since video game soundtracks were first included on the Classic FM Hall Of Fame in 2012.

In related soundtrack news, a vinyl CD for the cult SNES classic Earthbound will be getting a Western release – the 24 song release is available for a £25 pre-order now with a choice of four disc colours, set to ship to Europe and North America in early 2016. Finally, Nintendo’s surprise hit Splatoon is also getting an official soundtrack; amusingly called ‘Splatune’ it will feature 61 tracks and cost just $26 when it release in October.

Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 17TH -23RD AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

Having skipped GamesCom 2015, Sony have outlined their planned conference for Paris Games Week.

The conference will be held at 5pm on Tuesday 27th October, and will mark the first big media showing from the Japanese giant since the headline announcements it unveiled at E3 earlier this year. It is unlikely that Sony will focus too much on the likes of The Last Guardian or the remake of Final Fantasy VII, but one would expect outings for No Man’s Sky, some of the games announced at last year’s GamesCom presentation included Rime & Wild, and maybe an update on the likes of The Witness.

Sony will also be doing its annual presentation at the Toyko Games Show halfway through September; where if I’m lucky they’ll be able to get Persona 5 shoehorned in for the end of the year. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 11TH -16TH AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

From September 1st, Sony will be increasing the prices of PS Plus subscriptions in the United Kingdom. Although the new prices have yet to be confirmed, a one month subscription will rise from £5.49 and three months will increase from £11.99. The £39.99 annual subscription will remain the same however, offering the best value for money but locking people into a year of service. It is expected that prices will rise in line with the current cost for Xbox Live, which stands at £5.99/£14.99/£39.99. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 3RD – 10TH AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

Most of the important news of the week has come from GamesCom 2015, the biggest European gaming convention on the calender held in Cologne, Germany. As previously reported Sony declined to hold a press conference this year, but there were still big presentations from Microsoft, EA and Blizzard Entertainment, the first two of which you can watch in their entirety online. I’ve picked out some of the juicer headlines below: Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 27TH JULY – 2ND AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

The computer hardware manufacturer Razer has acquired all of the software assets of Ouya (the ‘one time Kickstarted micro-console darling turned embarrassing failure of a venture’), with the intention of migrating all current users to its own Forge TV micro-console in the near future. Old Ouya customers will be allowed to transfer their games and accounts, while the Ouya marketplace will be rebranded. Most of the folks that worked at Ouya will retain their jobs, but the founder and CEO Juile Uhrman has bailed out.

The acquisition caused a panic storm when it was initially reported that Razer would not honor the poorly planned ‘Free The Games Fund’ that Ouya set up, meaning that a number of the twenty-seven developers who took part in the promotion would lose out on the income needed to complete their games. Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan quickly confirmed that his company would then cover the $620,000 that Ouya owed to developers, with a few caveats – a more in-depth explanation of the situation by Polygon can be found here.

Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 20TH -26TH JULY

Headline Of The Week

The last dedicated gaming arcade in London, the Heart Of Gaming, is back up and running after thieves broke in and stole over £5,000 worth of consoles and equipment. The arcade was broken into on Tuesday night but the thieves did not target any of the arcade machines, which do not hold any money (all the machines are set to free-play, which is then covered by entry fees). A GoFundMe campaign set up in response to the robbery raised over £5,000 in less than 24 hours to help get the community run venue back on its feet. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 13TH -19TH JULY

Headline Of The Week

This week the gaming world has paid its respects to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who passed away on Monday from a bile duct growth. He was aged 55.

Iwata had a long and illustrious history with Nintendo, working as a programmer at HAL Laboratory on titles including Earthbound and Balloon Fight, before succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002 to become only the fourth President of the company. During his tenure the company enjoyed great success with the DS and Wii consoles, while Iwata himself received praise for his hands-on approach to the role; regularly hosting Nintendo Direct announcements and highlighting the work of developers with ‘Iwata Asks’ interviews. In recent years he took a voluntary 50% paycut in response to Nintendo’s falling profits, and following E3 less than a month ago he publicly apologized for what was perceived by hardcore fans as a disappointing showing. While fighting illness in recent months, he also announced Nintendo’s intention to get into the mobile games sector. Continue reading

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory – The History Of Sega Enterprises 1985-2001

A couple of years ago, I had the bright idea to enrol on a Masters degree for Historical Studies at the University Of Lincoln. When it came round to crafting a 20,000 word dissertation that would ultimately decide whether I passed or failed the course, I had an even dafter idea – to write a ‘constructive’ history of Sega; a company whose products I had never purchased as a child growing up with video games. The process was long with weeks and months disappearing in the search of sources and writing the damned thing, but eventually the trials had a happy ending – I passed the course and can say with a sense of pride that becuase of the work I submitted, I have a Masters degree to my name.

I initially wanted to make my dissertation available for anyone to read or use a point of reference as soon as I got the degree, but quite frankly I ended up forgetting all about it for a long time as I started searching for work. Recently I’ve been able to get the document into a PDF format with all of the formatting actually staying in place, so if you want to have a read then it’s yours to browse at will – it is quite a chunky thing at 101 pages and sometimes descends into analytical historical babble, but it should be readable enough. And if you find it interesting, I would reccommend chasing up some of the books and other sources listed at the end; the likes of Kent, Poole and Donovan are very interesting reads for anyone with a interest in gaming history.

P.S I have no issues with the text being used as a reference material, but please do not plagarise any original thoughts or theories that I have put forward

Download the PDF – Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory – The History Of Sega Enterprises 1985 – 2001