This is a continuing SPOnG retrospective of the year’s events.
Christmas time! Mistletoe and wine! A time for giving (and receiving, of course!), spending time with the family and watching specials on the television. Video gaming’s Scrooge came in the form of the BBC in mid-December, when the broadcaster aired a curious investigation into game addiction.
Not only was the report a total shambles - for reasons explained coherently by Michael in our special opinion column
- but it was about as honest as an episode of Jerry Springer.
Key to this absence of objectivity was the use of an art piece by photojournalist Robbie Cooper to indicate that serious concentration equals brainwashed cyber-killer (BBC Misuses Footage to Sell Video Game Expose
, 2nd December).
While Auntie was being bad, Microsoft was being very generous indeed by officially launching its Xbox Live Rewards scheme (1st December
). The service gives an incentive to gamers who load their Xbox Live account with Microsoft Points - the more money you spend, the more additional Points you’re rewarded. Santa will be smiling on the Xbox maker this year.
Konami was in the giving spirit as well when it announced that Metal Gear Solid’s
art director, Yoji Shinkawa, will launch his very own exhibition in Tokyo’s Konami Style shop. It will be open from the 15th - 31st January and the first people to attend will receive autographs as well as signed postcards (Metal Gear Art Director to Launch Konami Exhibit
, 24th December).
Call of Duty: Black Ops
players were treated well by Activision and Treyarch in December, with the promise of a patch for the PlayStation 3 version that aimed to fix all kinds of multiplayer issues (PS3: Call of Duty: Black Ops Patch Detailed
, 6th December). Unfortunately, many users were still having trouble with the online servers even after installing the patch, and it caused quite a stir on the SPOnG forums (Black Ops Multiplayer Still Screwy
, 16th December).
Although a fix seemed like a long time coming, Activision appeared to waste no time in getting the police to arrest a teenager suspected of disrupting Call of Duty
online play. A malware program called ‘Phenom Booter’ allowed users to attack others and boost their own stats - it was traced back to a 17-year-old from Manchester (Police Arrest Teen Over Call of Duty DDoS Attack
, 9th December).
December was riddled with patches, as it happens - Sony introduced one for Gran Turismo 5
and took the time to improve the PlayStation 3’s firmware at the same time (PS3 Patch Day: GT5 Damage, Console Security
, 7th December). You now didn’t have to play GT5
for a million hours just to see some mechanical damage on your virtual cars. Which is nice.