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Wands at the Ready! (we check out Lego Harry Potter)

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Last week we got to go along to a Lego Harry Potter event in Central London and talk to TT Games' Jonathan Smith about the latest in the Lego game series. Focusing on years 1 - 4 (ie. the events from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire), LHP features plenty of spell casting, broom flying, puzzle solving, and dynamic split-screen multiplayer. You'll have to wait until May to get your hands on it but here's some photos from the event to keep you occupied, and whet your appetite.



Yes, that's a real Barn Owl.


The adorable cast of Lego Harry Potter.

Photos from Sony's UK MAG event

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Yesterday Sony organised an event for MAG which pitted 128 UK journalists, bloggers, and community members against the Zipper Interactive team in the states. It was a convincing 2-0 win for the UK, and we played two 30min matches on two separate maps. Logistically, the event was certainly no mean feat to pull off. I've been to countless industry events before but seeing 128 people play simultaneously was pretty cool. Here are some photos from the event:


The screens were organised so that the scaffolding spelt "256" when viewed from above.


...like this official photo demonstrates. I think I'm the little blob at the top right-hand corner of the "5," in the alley between the "5" and "6."

Talking DJ Hero on News at Noon

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This morning I was asked by Channel 4 to head over to their studios for a News at Noon segment about DJ Hero's launch (the game is out today in the UK in case you didn't know). Check out the piece below which appeared on today's News at Noon.

Beatles: Rock Band tracklist - just let it be, or want to twist and shout?

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A quick look at The Beatles: Rock Band's confirmed track list reveals the exclusion of a large number of classic Beatles tracks. 44 of the 45 songs in the game have been confirmed, which means that all of these songs (bar potentially one of them) will not be included on the disc:

  1. Hey Jude
  2. From Me to You
  3. Let it Be
  4. Love Me Do
  5. She Loves You
  6. Help
  7. The Long and Winding Road
  8. Yesterday
  9. We Can Work it Out
  10. Penny Lane
  11. Eleanor Rigby
  12. All You Need is Love (available to purchase for Xbox 360 as DLC on day one, with proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders)
  13. Lady Madonna
  14. The Ballad of John and Yoko


All you need is 45 songs we've chosen for you...

While it's possible that some (or most) of these songs will appear in the long and winding road of post-launch DLC there's some huge tracks that have been overlooked. Some of these might be because they wouldn't work particularly well but given that they're all confirmed number one hits their presence will be sorely missed.

What do you think about the game's soundtrack and what has/hasn't been included? Are you just glad that The Beatles' songs are finally going to appear in a videogame, or were you hoping for a more definitive collection?

Win a Red Faction Xbox 360 console

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It's no secret that I'm a fan of limited-edition gaming gear, so when THQ announced a special Red Faction Xbox 360, limited to a 10 console run, I was a little intrigued. To celebrate the new Demons of the Badlands DLC, THQ is giving away one of these to a lucky member of the public, through a competition on the THQ UK site (UK residents only, alas).

GameSpot Webby Award acceptance speech

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GameSpot was lucky enough to be nominated for the 13th Annual Webby Awards in the category of "People's Voice Award for Best Games-Related Website," and thanks to your votes we won! Here's editor in chief Ricardo Torres' acceptance speech at the award night in New York (all acceptance speeches were limited to five words).

Subliminal advertising in Punch-Out!!?

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Okay so perhaps it isn't so subliminal after all. Actually it's an overt, cheeky in-game plug for Club Nintendo. Nonetheless it did come as an amusing surprise between rounds with the formidable Bald Bull. Punch-Out!! is out this Friday, check out our full review from Tom Mc Shea for the low down.

Punch-Out!!

Last chance to vote for GameSpot in the Webbys!

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Voting closes tomorrow so head over to www.tinyurl.com/gamespotwebby and get your vote in! GameSpot is nominated for Best Game-Related Website and we need your help, GameSpot community! Here's more information from the Spam Filter community blog:

This year, GameSpot is honored to be considered for The Webby's People's Voice Award for Best Game-Related Website. We are up against some tough competition, and we need your help to win! Please show your support for us by following the simple instructions below and vote ASAP, as the deadline is April 30. The process only takes five minutes of your time, and every vote counts! As an extra special thank you gift, we'll be handing out a profile emblem to our supporters if we win!

Here's all you need to do:

1. Create a free account at the People's Voice Award page.
2. Login and click on Website - Vote Now!
3. Find the Games-Related section under Entertainment
4. Vote for GameSpot and leave a comment if you like
5. Sound off in our roll call thread to let us know you voted so we can award you an emblem if we win

It's as easy as that!

GameSpot has the best community out there, and we all here are incredibly thankful of your continued support throughout the years!

Happy 40th Birthday Konami (and Wii PES 2009)

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Konami is turning the grand old age of 40, would you believe? Althought I must admit, Snake is looking rather rough for his age (okay, so I know he's not actually 40, but just run with it). We got invited to their UK party this Thursday to celebrate (although, alas, I'll be back in Australia on holidays at the time).

Oh and look what just landed on our desks!




Word to publishers: get up, stand up. Don't give up the fight!

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I wrote a brief story yesterday about how the PM's knife crime advisor has called for a special tax for violent video games (psst: check it out here).

I also wrote about a complaint The Independent Games Developers Association has lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority over the government's Change4Life campaign, which has the support of Cancer Research, the British Heart Foundation, and Diabetes UK. One of the advertisements in the campaign features a child holding a PlayStation controller and the words "Risk an early death. Just do nothing."

CNET.com's Don Reisinger raised an interesting point in a recent post Is the video game industry losing the PR battle? on his The Digital Home blog. He says that publishers need to work harder to defend our industry and break some of the myths surrounding games (ie. that most gamers are children sitting around getting fat by playing games).

Reisinger declares there's "no shortage of people who want to see video games killed. But I don't hear much from the video game industry when issues like this crop up. Sure, there are a few statements released by concerned developers. The occasional CEO claims to draw a line in the sand, but when will the video game industry start fighting back in a meaningful way?"

Do you think industry players are doing enough to promote the positive aspects associated with playing games?