Author Archives: Neil McCormick

Splinter Cell Conviction Competition – Win a Copy of the Game

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Ubisoft, electro-candy are pleased to be  able to run a competition to win one copy of Splinter cell Conviction for the xbox 360 and three runner up prizes of a Splinter Cell Conviction projector torch.

In order to win the competition all you have to do is be over 18 yrs of age and able to give the  answer to the following simple question.

In Matt’s review, which you can find here, what quiz show does he make reference to ?

Please email your answer to

The winner will be chosen on 30 April 2010 at 7pm


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Gears of War 3 Announced for April 2011

The spectacular conclusion to one of the games industry’s most memorable and celebrated sagas, “Gears of War 3,” is poised to take the world by storm next spring. At this time next year, fans around the world will experience the epic story finale to the “Gears of War” trilogy when the third instalment in one of the biggest franchises in Xbox history arrives in stores April 8, 2011 in Europe.

“When we released ‘Gears of War’ more than three years ago, we set out to tell the world an unforgettable story of bravery and sacrifice in the face of insurmountable odds, and a year from now, players will get the chance to experience the final chapter in the story of Marcus Fenix and his companions in Delta Squad,” said Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games. “This is definitely the biggest and most dramatic chapter yet in the ‘Gears of War’ saga, and we can’t wait to deliver it.”

Developed by acclaimed studio Epic Games and available only on Xbox 360, “Gears of War 3” plunges players into a harrowing tale of hope, survival, and brotherhood that will conclude the current story arc for “Gears of War.” With the last human city destroyed and the remaining survivors stranded, time is running out for Marcus and his comrades as they fight to save the human race from the jaws of extinction.

“Gears of War” is a blockbuster entertainment franchise that has inspired a full line of toys and collectibles, apparel, an upcoming film, graphic novels and a book series by New York Times best-selling author Karen Traviss. The award-winning video games have sold more than 12 million units worldwide, and due to their riveting multiplayer action, are some of the most popular games ever played on Xbox LIVE.

To accompany today’s announcement, Microsoft and Epic Games unveiled “Ashes to Ashes”, the first trailer for “Gears of War 3.” Created in Unreal Engine 3 by the same team behind the iconic “Gears of War” video spots (“Mad World,” “Rendezvous,” and “Last Day”), the video captures a desperate three-way battle between Delta Squad, the Locust Horde, and the fearsome new Lambent.

Additionally, fans who want to share their excitement on Xbox LIVE will be able to choose from new Avatar items, available on Avatar Marketplace starting April 20, including the new COG armor introduced in “Gears of War 3.”

For the latest developments on “Gears of War 3” and a video stream of the “Ashes to Ashes” trailer, visit or share updates with your friends on Twitter with #gears3.

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Splinter Cell Conviction – Tom Reed Video

Ubisoft have released a new video for Splinter cell Conviction, introducing Sam’s enemy in the game- Tom Reed.

Check it out here

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Train 2 Game

Ever played a game and thought my word I could have done a better job?

Maybe you have had an idea for a game and cannot understand why it has never been made into a game.

Well perhaps a Train 2 Game course might be the answer. These are courses designed by the Industry for the Industry and fully endorsed by TIGA.

Catch the full trailer during The Gadget Show on Fiver tonight

If you want to find out more information

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Alan Wake (xbox 360) Launching ahead of Schedule


The psychological action thriller, exclusive to Xbox 360, will be in stores across Europe from 14th May

Microsoft advised earlier that they were delighted to announce that Alan Wake will be hitting stores across Europe on Friday 14th May – a full week ahead of its original release date.

“Fans in Europe have been crying out to get their hands on Alan Wake since it was first announced and we’re thrilled to be able to deliver it to them early,” said David Gosen, VP of Strategic Marketing and LIVE for Xbox 360 EMEA.

In this long-awaited title, exclusive to Xbox 360, players assume the role of Alan Wake, a best-selling crime writer suffering from writer’s block, who escapes to a small town only to experience the mysterious disappearance of his wife. An intense psychological thriller from Remedy, the creators of Max Payne, Alan Wake looks to raise the bar for future games, creating a true cinematic experience.

Rated PEGI 16+, Alan Wake will be available for an estimated retail price of €69.99 or £49.99.

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Pacific – HBO Ten Part Mini Series – Preview

By Neil McCormick

Do not forget, that the HBO mini series starts on SKY Movies tonight at 9pm with episodes 1 and 2. I will shy away from the debate on whether SKY can justify putting this onto their premium movie channels as opposed to SKY 1.

Much as Band of Brothers told the tale of Easy Company of the 101 Airborne in the European Campaign in World War 2, Pacific recreates the experiences of three men belonging to the !st Marine Corp:- Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge and John Basilone. It covers their enlistment and the war against the Japanese Empire.

Makin, Peleliu, Okinawa, Guadalcanal to a lot of young folk today represent levels in a video game :- Call of Duty : World at War to be precise. However to the young folk of a different generation it represents something a lot worse – War at its most horrible and dangerous. For, in the period 1942 – 45, the Pacific Campaign of World War 2 was fought in these very same places. For the young folk of that generation saw things we in this generation can hardly imagine, let alone comprehend. For while the video game generation can restart a level when their character dies, the previous generation did not have this luxury.

An Electro-candy preview and thoughts regarding the first Two episodes.

Episode 1 – Guadacanal / Leckie


Directly following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Seargent John Basilone ships out to fight the enemy somewhere in the Pacific, and a young journalist called Robert Leckie enlists in the Marine Corps. Sidney Phillips ships off to boot camp after saying farewell to his friend Eugene Sledge, who cannot go with him due to a heart murmur. Eight months later, Phillips and Leckie, having completed boot camp are sent to secure a airfield on Guadalcanal, and to help defend it against counterattack.


I like the symbolism contained in the opening credits, the use of the charcoal crayon with bits of it being cast astray as it marks the paper is a wonderful metaphor of the casualty of war.

The first episode works well, we meet the main characters and start to bond with them quite quickly. Leckie comes across as a deep thinking man, I can predict the war will have a profound affect on him – possibly he will suffer some form of psychological wound at some point during the series? Though it is guilty of cliche in places, Leckie offering to write to a neighbour. Even our first encounter, he is an Irish American so we first get to meet him in a chapel lighting a mass candle. Eugene Sledge is unable to enlist due to a heart murmur and is absolutely gutted. I predict that this murmur will miraculously disappear before too long and he will be able to enlist.

After watching the frightening beach landings in Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan, watching the landing craft approach Guadacanal, I was expecting something similar, but no our marines land with no resistance. This works even better as the marines have to deal with a greater enemy – fear itself. You can see the effect that their surroundings had on them, as they approach the jungle line they stop, it is as if they are reaching a barrier to some unknown.

It is actually not until three quarters of the way through the episode that our protagonists actually encounter the Japanese when they are attacked at night. It is not till morning when you see the beach in front of their position strewn with dead japanese bodies that I truelly appreciated what they had encountered – It is such a brutal exchange as time and time again the Japanese soldiers charged at the line. As Leckie said afterwards “It was like a turkey shoot.”

What follows is one of the most harrowing scenes I have watched so far. Three Japanese soldiers come out of the tree line and whilst two are killed out right. The marines play with the third shooting around him or on minor parts of his body. This is nothing short of torture – he wanted to be killed but they make him suffer until Leckie can watch no more and puts him out of his misery.

I will finish with the words of Leckie to Vera the woman he met in the opening scenes:-

“It is a garden of Evil, the jungle holds both beauty and terror in its depths, most terrible of which is man, we have met the enemy and have learned nothing more about him. I have however learned some things about myself. There are things that men can do to one another that are sobering to the soul. it is one thing to reconcile these things with God, another to square it with yourself.”

Episode 2 – Basilone


Back-up lands on Guadalcanal in the form of the 7th marines including Basilone to help defend the airfield. Basilone helps defend against a Japanese night raid, suffering a loss in the process. The marines, after four months of fighting enemies and disease are evacuated off the island.

Thoughts :-

Those two sentences above, do not come close to explaining the events of episode 2. Bastogne in Band of Brothers was my favourite episode, so if an episode in Pacific has now eclipsed it – it must be pretty special.

By jove this episode delivered. From the harsh realities of war to the heroics on the battlefield, to the sobering reality of how life can end in a split second due to fate. This was humanity in one episode.

Our chief protagonist in this episode is John Basilone, his actions in the battle in this episode was to earn him a place in American Military History. His heroicism is nothing short of that seen in Commando comics time and time again. The stuff of legend.

From the opening scene, Hanks et al manage to convey the sense of tension as the marines awaited the japanese attack.

This episode certainly hits you hard, from the suffering the marines endured with a lack of equipment and food, to the bonding between the characters. Even in the harshness of coming under artillery attack, the marines show their humanity, by ensuring a stray dog is kept safe.

The actual main battle only lasts for a mere 8 minutes on screen, but it feels a life time. Basilone was to earn a medal of honor for his actions, moving a machine gun whilst suffering third degree burns, then going out into no man’s land to clear the japanese bodies that had piled up so his fellow marines could maintain a line of fire. Reports of the battle indicate that he would have killed well over 38 japanese soldiers. But all of this had a terrible consequence as Basilone’s friend – Manny Rodriquez who was acting as a runner gets killed.

Basilone would also discover in the next episode that the events of that night would ensure that his role in the war would be very different.

As for Eugene Sledge, back home in America? Well surprise surprise, that heart murmur did clear up. Theren follows a very touching scene between his father and him. The father reveals why he is so opposed to him going to war. His father had been a doctor during the great War:-

“The Worst thing about treating those combat wounds, it was not that they had had their flesh torn, it was that they had had their souls torn out. I dont want to look in your eye some day and see no spark, no love no life. That would break my heart.”

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Matt Mason – The Pirate’s Dilemma

By Neil McCormick

I received a tweet from @pkellypr this morning which contained a link to a videoclip of a lecture Matt Mason gave at Game Based Learning 2010.

You can follow the link here

Or alternatively I found another lecture he gave on the subject:

I also downloaded his book as well and have started to make my way through it. If you want to read the book you can follow this link

There is no set amount for downloading the book so in theory it can be downloaded for free. It just depends on your conscious.

Its quite funny, because only in the last few days; after the newzbin ruling came out my self and a friend debated by email a similar arguement as that portrayed by Matt.

Here is the Newzbin Press release

Newzbin Press Release

“We are very disappointed with the judgment. Regrettably the court has accepted the distorted and flawed evidence that Hollywood presented. Contrary to the finding of the court our site has not deliberately sought to index infringing material, nor to assist those of our users who use it for that purpose. The site provides a generalised search facility for binary content found on Usenet and not just infringing material. Any of the material we index can be found on any one of thousands of sites on the Internet so pursuit of us is a futile waste of everyones time and money.

Sadly the MPA are stuck in a technology stone age. Rather than addressing their own broken business models & monopolistic commercial practices they seek to curtail innovation and freedom on the Internet. It is notable, for example, that the MPA are the sponsors behind attempts to introduce Chinese internet censorship into the UK through the Digital Enterprise Bill. Perhaps if they used their energy providing what people want, rather than buying laws to sustain their own house of cards, they might have a stronger future. We certainly reject their attempt to use this decision and our site as an excuse for rushing through undemocratic laws in a wash-up just before an election.

We lacked the limitless legal funds and legions of lawyers the MPA had and that is the only reason for their win. That said, we are looking at our grounds of appeal and how we move forward to continue to provide innovation and useful search resources for our users.

Ultimately, the dinosaurs of the content industry will need to face reality; the sad thing is that winning cases such as this only damages them and puts their own future in doubt.

We will have more to say when we have digested the case and we shall put up a legal page with more details in due course.”

The judgement can be seen on the Bailii site:

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