Features// SPOnG's Review of 2008: January

Posted 27 Dec 2008 15:35 by
Well, another year, another crash towards a post-apocalyptic dystopian future in which we'll all riding around in jury-rigged wind buggies and suffering from poor dental hygiene. But... was it really all that bad?

While you chow down on leftover turkey sandwiches, play through your horde of acquired Greedmas games and set about the important task of hoarding canned goods in anticipation of our impending doom, SPOnG's going to pick through the year's happenings and mull over the dizzying highs and the bowel-disrupting lows.


The trailers that could have been...
The trailers that could have been...
?MS was so focused on beating Sony this cycle that the 360 was rushed to market when all indications were that it had serious flaws... They weren't even thinking about Nintendo."

An '...individual who has worked on the Xbox 360 project for many years'
Microsoft Xbox 360 was Rushed to Beat Sony Claimed

January. The hangover month. The Greedmas explosion is over and we're left dazed and confused amid the detritus of last year's blockbusters, trying to make sense of it all and make our brains return to normal.

So, what did THQ UK do to kick things off in 2008 for us? It bottles a girl on girl kiss in its MX vs ATV Untamed video. Not in a 'we made this into a perfume' way, either. Still, there were bikinis and hoses, and in our post-Greedmas daze it was enough raise a... smile.

With that spurious frivolity out of the way, it was time to get onto the serious stuff ? rumour. And speculation. It was rife, suggesting that a new Xbox 360 SKU, dubbed 'Ultimate' was on the way. What would it feature? A 320GB hard drive and... built-in HD-DVD! Yes, there was a time when that seemed plausible.

January was the month when the high-def format war started to look tantalisingly close to its finale. In a moment reminiscent of the Red Army's march into Berlin, Warner Brothers ditched HD-DVD in favour of Blu-ray, with Paramount looking poised to follow suit.

Breaking onto firmer, less speculative ground, Microsoft offered up a free game by way of apology for problems on Xbox Live over the holidays. It also announced that it had cracked 17.7 million sales worldwide. Looked like the 360 was leading the pack. Happy days for Microsoft! Except... with a bit of maths and savvy guesswork it started to look very much like the Wii was actually steaming ahead. Do you remember a time when that didn't seem breathtakingly obvious?

As seemed inevitable in a month where no-one really had that much to say, the subject came back around to hardware. An '...individual who has worked on the Xbox 360 project for many years' decided to spill all all kinds of nasty beans about the Xbox 360 and how it had been rushed to market to beat the PS3. Sony's console was not left out as the feces was flung, however. An FCC filing was quickly turned into a widely-reported rumour that a ceramic white PlayStation 3 was on the way. While it looked right pretty, both SCEA and SCEE denied any knowledge of an impending release.

January was also the month in which Valve bought up Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock.

There was a spot of genuine games software news, too. For the first time since its launch, Halo 3 was dislodged from the top of the Xbox Live rankings ? by Call of Duty 4.

There were also some game releases! SPOnG thoroughly enjoyed Burnout Paradise, the PSP finally got Ratchet & Clank and NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams... was a little underwhelming.

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