December 25, 2008

Disney's Bolt Review - Xbox 360

Over the past year I have had the opportunity to see Bolt in various stages of its development and with each stage I became increasingly more excited to play the final product. The improvements and tweaks the developers put into the game at each stage have really pulled the game together to make it a fun and enjoyable title for all ages.

Though the games graphics are not taken directly from the motion picture the graphics are similar in style and look. Fans of the film will be drawn to their favourite Bolt characters. Bolt himself is ever the adorable puppy running across the screen and fighting the bad guys. Some people may want to grab a ball and jump on screen to play a game of fetch with the pooch.

The voices, sounds and music throughout Bolt create a great atmosphere for an action super-hero game. Unfortunately, John Travolta and Miley Cyrus do not reprise their roles as the voices of Bolt and Penny respectively. In fact, Bolt doesn’t talk at all throughout the game and his dialogue is contained to growls and barks. The voice actress who does play Penny though does an excellent job of re-creating the voice of Penny, right down to the well know Miley Cyrus accent. Malcolm McDowell reprises his role from the big screen to the video game as the villain Calico. Lets not forget Rhino, the loveable hamster from the motion picture plays a bit part appearing during the games pause menu and makes comical comments as if he is watching your gameplay as an actual showing of the television program.

In the past, many video game tie-ins have been near carbon copies of the movie’s storyline. However, the trend now is to build on the story and expand it even further. This is the direction the game has taken, with the players working their way through TV episodes as Penny (Bolt’s TV Owner) and Bolt. The story is about a super power endowed dog named Bolt and his owner Penny who you will soon see has some skills of her own. Penny’s father, a world renowned scientist has been captured by the evil Calico and his shadow organization. It is up to Penny and Bolt to rescue Penny’s father from the clutches of evil and save the world from destruction.

Each character has their own unique abilities, which gives an added variety to the gameplay. Penny is a technological whiz and comes equipped with a motorized Wheel-Bar which allows her to slide along ledges, pipes, ceilings and cables. The Wheel-Bar also duos as a weapon which Penny can use to perform sneak attacks to knock guards unconscious or to quickly attack an alert henchman. The other gadgets at Penny’s disposal are Techno Camo allowing her to become invisible for a short time to avoid detection, gas grenades to slide towards unaware guards to put them to sleep and night vision goggles that give you hints to where you should progress to next. Penny is quite the computer hacker uses this skill to open doors and hack databases. Hacking is accomplished by successfully completing a virtual shooter mini-game where you shoot down Counter Intrusion programs which look like little pods. As you destroy all the enemies you progress through barriers and eventually open up an access point which will either send you to the next portion of the mini-game or it will complete the hack and you resume control of Penny.

Bolt on the other hand is one ferocious canine using his super-dog powers adeptly to take down his enemies with a variety of offensive manoeuvres. Bolt at a basic level pounces from enemy to enemy linking his weak and strong attacks into combos, or he uses his powerful jaws to grab onto an enemy and perform one of his four finishing moves. Bolt also has four super-dog powers that are Ground Pound, Sonic Super Bark, Laser Vision and Invulnerability. Ground pound is where Bolt jumps into the air and pounds down on the ground launching all nearby enemies backwards and if the enemies are unlucky into explosive barrels, vehicles or boxes scattered throughout the environment. Sonic Super Bark when used against an enemy will damage them a bit, but more important will stun them for a few seconds so that Bolt can get some attacks in while their distracted. Using this power will help you break down the strong defences of some of Calico’s henchmen. Laser Vision is the last offensive power that Bolt has at his disposal and is his most powerful of powers. The drawback though is that it is difficult to aim from a distantance and is best used when up close to your enemy. Bolt’s Invulnerability shield power is very useful when you are being run down by an SUV, or you have one of the explosive discs that Disky attacks with attached to Bolt. To avoid being damaged just use your invulnerability shield, but beware it does drain on Bolt’s energy reserves.

All of Bolt’s super powers can be made Uber by building up Bolts combo meter and increasing his energy. To build up your combo meter you have to link as many attacks in a row as you can, the higher the attack combo the more the combo meter increases. When the combo meter is full, unleash your Uber Super Powers for devastating and awesome attacks.

As you play through the storyline you will alternate between the two characters where the goals needed to be achieved are tailored towards the specific characters. Areas where stealth, problem solving and technology is needed you will play through as Penny. In contrast where brute power and combat is needed you will play through as Bolt. Throughout storyline play you will be able to collect health and energy fills during each mission. Every nine fills you collect will replenish your health or energy as well as increase the maximum amount of energy slightly.

The basic gameplay is quick and easy to learn and will seem a bit easy at first, but as you progress through the game the difficulty is raised higher. Veteran gamers will find the gameplay quite easy, but it will definitely provide a challenge for the younger gamers the title is geared to. Being a huge animation fan I really enjoyed Bolt, and my two year old son really enjoyed watching Bolt in action as I played through.

The great thing about Bolt is that you don’t have to watch the movie to enjoy the game and it won’t ruin the movie for those of you who have not yet seen it. Bolt is a solid family title that I really enjoyed. Though it is geared towards a younger audience it still maintained my attention throughout and kept me wanting to play it through to the end

December 19, 2008

Banjo Kazooie: XBLA Code Contest

Howdy folks,

I have a Xbox Live Download Code available and have decided to have a random draw for the game. All you have to do is e-mail me your Gamertag to enter. Beware though, I will probably add your tag to my friends list if you're not already on there.

Good luck. The contest will close on Christmas Day at Midnight (EST) and the winner will be sent their code on Boxing Day.

December 18, 2008

Rare Contest To Reward Top Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Creations With In-game Immortality

Toronto, ON – Attention builders, racers, pilots and boat captains! One month after its worldwide release, “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” has flown, driven and sailed off store shelves and the response from the fan community has been overwhelming. Every day, the “Banjo-Kazooie” Showroom is flooded with new screenshots and blueprints of fan’s custom creations, so today Rare announced a contest to recognize the top seven user generated contraptions created in “Banjo- Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts.”

Key members of the “Banjo” development team will be pouring over the in-game photos uploaded to the web in a quest to track down the seven very best player-built contraptions. The reward? In-game immortality. The seven winners will experience bragging rights galore when their designs are integrated into the game for other “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” players to experience.

Additional details around the contest can be found on the official Web site at

Once the team has made its selections, the contraptions’ creators will be contacted via their Gamertags and asked to send Rare their blueprints.

Contest Details:
• To upload a screenshot of your creation to the official contest Web site:
o Press Start to access the Pause menu, select Photos and Replays, and then select Take Photo. Use the left and right sticks to position the camera, and then press A to take the picture. (Photo mode is available during single-player games or while watching replays.)
o Select Photos and Replays from the main menu in “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts”
o Select Open Photo Album, then My Photos
o Highlight a photo you wish to upload and press the Y button to upload it to
• The deadline for entries is Jan. 5, 2009, 3 a.m. EST. This gives players the whole holiday to be creative
• Anyone with a copy of “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts” and an Xbox LIVE account can enter.
• Participants can enter as many contraptions and submit as many photos as they’d like; just remember that the cream always rises to the top
• Be creative! The Rare Judges are hard to impress and the creations that have already been posted to the web are outstanding, so competition is sure to be fierce
• Be careful! Contraptions that infringe on copyrighted material cannot be considered in this contest

The exact specifics of the reward will be shared in due time, so contestants should get busy, get creative, and get building!

(Article courtesy of Microsoft)

December 9, 2008

You're in the Movies

I wasn’t sure what to expect from You’re In the Movies for the Xbox 360 when I first saw it at X08 in Toronto this year. It seemed a bit odd to be watching people flailing their arms around, running on the spot or turning their head and coughing. It garnered quite a few chuckles from people passing by as they watched people try out this new and upcoming game to the Xbox 360 line-up.

Setting up the game is simple: plug in your camera, load the game and follow the instructions to set up your room as your own personal movie studio. Be prepared to bring in some extra lighting if the lighting in your room isn’t balanced. Lighting will play a big factor in how well the camera performs. You will also need a fair amount of open space to get the full range of motions.

To play the game simply select the movie script you would like to act out. Each movie can be played solo, or up to four players where each of you, choose the role you would like to act out. The actions for the final cut are taken from mini games and a series of director cues and instructions. These cues will range anywhere from actions you need to replicate, emotions and expressions you need to perform or basic walking and running on the spot. You get a star ranking at the end of each round to see how you match up with your fellow actors. Once all the required footage is gathered, the scenes you have acted out get edited into a movie trailer for your viewing pleasure.

The use of the Xbox Live Vision Camera in You’re In the Movies literally gets you into the game. The mini games are enjoyable and the cues from the director are fun to act out and often pretty hilarious depending on the actors you have on hand. This is a good family title that will encourage your kids to express their dramatic selves and put their acting skills to the test. Don’t worry if you don’t already have a vision cam you can purchase it bundled with the game.

December 5, 2008

New Lips Content for the Holidays

“Lips” and Xbox 360 Downloadable Content Brings Holiday Carols and Cheer Right to Your Living Room

Classic Holiday Songs and Premium Custom Videos Now Available For “Lips”

Toronto, ON – December 5, 2008 – “Lips,” the new singing party game exclusively for the Xbox 360 from iNiS Corp., today announced its lineup of Holiday tunes fit for singing and celebrating with friends and family, available around the globe.

Each song comes with a unique custom Holiday video to really bring out the spirit of the season. Additionally, you can download the Holiday custom videos for free from Xbox LIVE Marketplace and use them when singing to Holiday music from your own collection. Pricing starts at 160 Microsoft points.

Global Holiday Songs; Available December 5
Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley
The Dreidel Song - Sister Hazel
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams

Global Holiday Songs: Available December 12
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
A Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole
Santa Baby - Kylie Minogue
White Christmas - Bing Crosby
Hanukkah Blessings - Barenaked Ladies

(Article courtesy of Microsoft)

December 3, 2008

Banjo Kazooie: XBLA

The classic title Banjo Kazooie, originally released in 1998 for the Nintendo 64 is now available for download on Xbox Live Arcade. The game has received a huge face lift and now can be played in 1080p HD goodness. When I think of some of my favourite N64 games growing up, Banjo Kazooie is a title that is in my top five easily. For only 1200 Microsoft Points you’re getting quite the steal, as the game will provide hours of fun as you battle Gruntilda with hilarious duo.

This is a game that you will be able to play yourself as your children watch, or a game they can easily pick up and more than likely be a bit more successful at it than their parents. Banjo Kazooie has a great story, great comic relief and features Stop N Swop. Stop N’ Swop was a feature that was attempted during the original releases of Banjo Kazooie, and Banjo Twooie but had to be scrapped to complete production. Stop N Swop opens up extra content and features within Banjo Kazooie titles as you accomplish feats in Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and more than likely in Banjo Twooie when it is released to XBLA as well.

I could go on and on about this game as it is one of my all time favourites. What I suggest is that you download the free trial and try out this classic favourite for yourself and download it when you love it.

Banjo Kazooie

December 1, 2008

Scene It? Box Office Smash

I was first introduced to Scene It? Box Office Smash at a Xbox Casual Gaming night in November where I faced off against other gamers from the media and Xbox Community. It took me a little bit to get used to how each category worked, but I slowly made a come back to overtake first place. In the end though I lost my comeback steam and fell in the rankings and had to settle for a dismal second place. Even with my last minute loss I had so much fun that I rushed out to get my own copy so that I could practice and compete against my friends and family.

The beauty of Scene It? is how easy it is to pick up and play. The four controllers that come packaged with Scene It? are easy for new gamers to pick up the game and experienced gamers will adjust just as quick.. The controllers have been designed with ease in mind and have large round button on top that acts as your buzzer and four buttons below that correspond to the answers on screen. If you can push buttons, you can play Scene It?

Being a movie buff I really looked forward to taking on all challengers, but I quickly learned you don’t have to be a huge movie buff to be competitive. There are 20 puzzle types to play through and even though they are movie themed the puzzles can be solved from a casual movie watcher. The puzzles are as simple as solving anagrams & pictograms or as difficult as figuring out a movie from its credits or movie poster. You don’t have to worry about knowing every single movie there is because the trivia content covers the years with classic black and white movies to present day selections. With the New Xbox Experience launched it was a pleasure being able to use my Xbox Avatar within Scene It?. This is an additional feature that just adds on to a great party game that can be played with family and friends.

When I was growing up we had many movie nights and they became the rare occasion when the whole family got together to spend some time with each other. Scene It? will provide a new alternative to your normal family fun nights. Movies, trivia and a competitive spirit is almost guaranteed to give your family & friends an enjoyable, pleasant night of laughter and memories.

High School Musical 3

Highschool Musical 3 Senior Year Dance! (HSM3) is the game your younger teens are going to be asking for this holiday season. Being a closet High School Musical fan I was eager to play the dance pad version of the game for the Xbox 360. HSM3 for the PS2 is also compatible with a dance pad where the Wii version of HSM3 is focused on performing dance motions using the Wiimote and Nunchuk. So you will need to keep the control systems in mind when you are deciding on what version to purchase for your children.

The content in HSM3 is not only from the newest movie but totals 29 songs from all three High School Musical movies. The playable characters from the movies include Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Chad and Taylor or you can create your own Wildcat if you prefer. Each of the characters in HSM3 made the transition from the big screen to be transformed into graphical representations. At first I thought it was odd that they didn’t use the song segments from the movies to dance along to until I realized the developers made this decision so your created Wildcat could be placed into the songs. This is a great option for your kids to get them involved in creating their own dancer so they can take part in their favourite songs.

As previously mentioned the control system for the Xbox 360 version is your dance pad. The game includes a very thorough tutorial mode where you will follow Ryan’s instructions to learn the basics you need to dance along with your favourite High School Musical songs. While dancing you will follow the circular dance queues direction from the center of the dance ring to know which way to step on your pad or move on your Xbox controller. Time your step precisely to correspond with your dance queue hitting the dance ring to score the best points.

While dancing your selected song there are two meters on the screen you will need to watch for. The first is the star shaped meter that will fill up gradually with each correct dance step. When you fill the star meter you will be able to activate your super star power by hitting two corner pads or by pressing down on the LB and RB on the controller. Each correct dance move will earn you more points when star power is active. There is also a performance meter that you must keep out of the red zone. If you miss too many steps, there is a possibility that you fail a song. I suggest you start off with the easier songs in Sophomore and as you get some passing grades, you graduate to Junior and Senior levels.

Personally, with my two left feet and lack of rhythm I found the quick timing of some songs a little hard to follow with the dance pad and often got confused which step was next. Often, I had to look down to the pad to prevent myself from missing tripping myself up. Even with my inability to be a dance master I really enjoyed HSM3 and loved the option to use your controller instead of the dance pad when I got tired of all the dancing. The game also supports multiplayer so your kids can invite their friends over for a dance party.

HSM3 plays like other dance pad genre games available, but has a uniqueness of its own that derives from the dance ring and queue system which replaces the directional arrow directions common to other dance games. One of the most positive aspects about HSM3 is that Disney has released a game that will interest a younger crowd and get them off the couch and active.

November 25, 2008

Disney Video Games Get Families Playing Together This Holiday

BURBANK, Calif. – (November 25, 2008) – Kids want to be entertained, families want to spend time together and parents want value when purchasing holiday gifts this season. Disney’s wide array of exciting video games bring families together without emptying piggy banks this holiday shopping season. Disney has the entertainment that kids want, and parents looking to get the most value for their dollar can bring Disney video games home to the living room for quality family time or take them on-the-go during holiday travel.

With kids of all ages and families playing video games in greater numbers, Disney Interactive Studios has games for everyone. Whether it’s get-up-and-play games for the Nintendo Wii, hot music games at easy prices, adrenaline-pumping action sports games, trivia games, mobile games on-the-go, Nintendo DS portable games or bringing the season’s hottest movie-inspired games into living rooms, Disney Interactive Studios’ entertainment will generate endless hours of memorable fun.

“Disney is a brand synonymous with creativity and quality entertainment that families can trust,” said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios.” Our line-up of games offers great value for the entire family, especially during a time when budgets are tight and value is critical for holiday shopping.”

Video games rank as one of the top four types of consumer electronics on gift wish lists for adults and teens this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. With games for all major platforms, Disney Interactive Studios has everyone in mind for providing engaging interactive entertainment for this winter and beyond.

Products have been rated for age appropriateness by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). Details about ratings can be found at

Disney Interactive Studios’ 2008 holiday season video games, mobile games and iPhone games lineup includes:

With Ultimate Band, you don’t need to break the bank buying instruments to rock out with this peripheral-free performance music game. Use the Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk™ to become the ultimate “air band” as you perform to more than 30 hip indie and mainstream hits. This storyline-driven game also lets players create and customize characters that reflect their own unique personalities and attributes. For rocking-on-the-go, the Nintendo DS version features exclusive songs and puts players in the studio to let them create and perform their own tracks.

* Available on Wii and Nintendo DS
* ESRB Rating: E on Nintendo DS and E 10+ on Wii

Go airborne with PURE, an action sports game that features vertigo-inducing massive aerial jumps and spectacular airborne tricks in photo-realistic real-world locations. Players take on opponents in races and freestyle events to compete in the PURE world tour. PURE has been selected for numerous industry awards, including the IGN Editors’ Choice Award and the prestigious Game Critics Award for Best Racing Game of E3.

* Available on Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3 system, Windows PC and mobile
* ESRB Rating: E

Whether it’s a slumber party, birthday party or a social gathering that needs to be pumped up, this game will be a hit with anyone who likes to belt out pop tunes. Disney Sing It is the only karaoke video game that challenges players to out-sing friends with songs and videos from favorite Hollywood Records artists, such as Miley Cyrus, Jesse McCartney, Aly & AJ and more; and Disney Channel Original Series and Disney Channel Original Movies such as Hannah Montana, Camp Rock and High School Musical. Available on Wii, Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3 and PlayStation 2 systems, and Windows-based PC

* ESRB Rating: E for Everyone

Bolt is inspired by the computer animated film from Walt Disney Pictures, but the video game follows a unique storyline, taking place within the high-action television series featured in the film. In the game, players must take on the personalities of super-dog Bolt and his companion Penny to utilize their unique talents and superpowers to save the world and Penny’s father from the evil Calico. The game captures the cinematic look of the movie with a mix of intrigue, combat, action and platform-style gameplay.

* Available now on Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3 and PlayStation 2 systems, Wii, Windows-based PC and Nintendo DS. Mobile available soon
* ESRB Rating: E to E10+

Based on the new Disney Parks attraction, mobile users can join Woody, Buzz and the gang for wacky and fun carnival games on their phone to earn points redeemable for unique unlockable prizes. Toy Story Mania features one button quick-play for beginners and hidden targets and combo rewards for advanced players. The Academy Award® nominated song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the original “Toy Story” movie is also featured in the game.

* Available now on mobile

High School Musical 3: Senior Year DANCE! features songs from all three “High School Musical” films and allows kids to dance along to the music while playing as their favorite Wildcats. Bundled versions with “High School Musical” branded dance pads are also available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 system as an added bonus for players who truly want the complete dance party experience.

* Available on Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 system and Windows-based PC
* ESRB Rating: E

Fans can now take their favorite “High School Musical” stars on the go with two portable games. An all-new Nintendo DS title is a rhythm-based game with brand new music from the theatrical release of “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” Players take “High School Musical” themed quizzes to find out which Wildcat they have the most in common with. Fans use captured dance photos to create memorable layouts for the East High yearbook – the “High School Musical” way. Mobile gamers choose from two unique storylines based on Troy or Gabriella and improve personal attributes by balancing academics and performance skills while interacting with the other Wildcats to become the most popular Wildcat at East High. Mini-games include a brain challenge and a dancing rhythm-based game.

* Available on mobile and Nintendo DS
* ESRB Rating: E

This sequel to Spectrobes, the top-selling sci-fi action/role playing game exclusively for the Nintendo DS, Spectrobes: Beyond The Portals continues the story of Rallen and Jeena, two planetary patrol officers who discover, excavate, awaken and train mysterious fossilized creatures known as Spectrobes and then use them to battle enemies. Among the new features are more than twice the number of creatures, an online community that tracks results, new collectible code input cards and the debut of an online battle system utilizing the Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection.

* Available on Nintendo DS
* ESRB Rating: E10+

Disney TH!NK Fast

This new Disney quiz game that offers more than 5,000 questions ranging from classic Disney trivia to general knowledge. Genie from Disney’s “Aladdin” serves as the host in popular game show style. Variable difficulty settings allow players of all abilities to compete at different levels that match their knowledge.

* Available on Nintendo Wii and Playstation 2 system
* ESRB Rating: E

Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force

This game invites kids to play all new and familiar mini-games in the snow-covered Club Penguin world, giving players a chance to complete secret agent missions, solve mysteries and connect with friends and the Web site in new ways. Players take on the role of a covert agent in the Elite Penguin Force and utilize new gadgets, accessories and vehicles as they investigate mysteries and embark on missions.

* Available on Nintendo DS
* ESRB Rating: E

Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell

Experience the magical world of Pixie Hollow and interact with Tinker Bell and other Fairies on the Nintendo DS through time-based activities and mini-quests to bring on the seasons. Form new friendships, set fashion trends among the Fairies, embark on adventures and explore environments as seen in the all-new “Tinker Bell” movie from Walt Disney Home Entertainment. Because Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell utilizes the DS real-time clock, Pixie Hollow changes with the time of day and season. Players will witness their birthdays being celebrated, fireflies glowing at night and their Fairy friends in costume at Halloween. Special items hidden throughout Pixie Hollow contain secret codes which can be used to unlock items in the virtual world on Due out soon for the iPhone, gamers can play as Tinker Bell and five Fairy friends to complete tasks such as placing dew drops on petals or tilting the iPhone to collect trinkets and solve puzzles. Each Fairy plays differently based on their unique Fairy abilities in speed of flight, agility, endurance gathering pixie dust. Similar to the DS game, players earn codes for unlocking bonus material in

* Available soon for the iPhone and now on Nintendo DS
* ESRB Rating: E

Based on the blockbuster film and franchise, this new “Cars” racing game was created by mDisney’s Living Mobile studio and features fast frame rates, great control and dazzling graphics. Players race as Lightning McQueen and can unlock six other tricked-out racers, each with special abilities. The game includes 15 diverse and challenging tracks loaded with power-ups and hazards, and build-a-track mode lets players create a custom race. Rascal Flatts’ hit song “Life is a Highway” is featured in the game.

* Available now on mobile

ESPN Bowling

ESPN Bowling replicates the fun of bowling with the iPhone. While holding the iPhone, players will swing their arm in the motion of bowling in order to throw the ball down the lane. The speed and angle of the arm motion determines the result. ESPN Bowling includes three game modes: Standard, Target and Precision. Standard mode enables bowling a 10-pin game while Target and Precision modes require completing specific objectives. ESPN Bowling also allows competitors to bowl against others nearby in a four-person game.

· Available soon

© Disney. Product names, dates, pricing and platform availability are not final and may be subject to change.

(Article courtesy of Disney Interactive Studios)


The Perfect Music Performance Game for the Entire Family, Ultimate Band Takes Players from the Garage to Sold-Out Stadiums on Wii and Nintendo DS

BURBANK, Calif. – (November 25, 2008) – Disney Interactive Studios today released Ultimate Band, an all-new musical video game experience for fans of the Wii™ home video game system and Nintendo DS™. Jamming alone or as a member of a band, aspiring rockers of all ages can advance from garage-band beginners to stadium-filling superstars. Disney has brought together a track list of popular favorites and combined it with accessible gameplay to deliver to fans video games with great value and hours of fun. Both games use only the Wii controllers or Nintendo DS stylus to rock making the purchase easy on the wallet this holiday season.

Available in time for the holidays, Ultimate Band invites players to jam to contemporary favorites like “Steady As She Goes” or “Fell In Love With a Girl’ to hard rocking classics like “My Generation” or “Whip It.” There are no expensive single-purpose accessories to buy; Ultimate Band, developed by Fall Line Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah, players use Wii controllers and the Nintendo DS stylus. The Nintendo DS version even allows players to create their own musical masterpieces, laying down tracks for lead, rhythm and bass guitars as well as drum.

“Disney’s Ultimate Band is a great entertainment value this holiday for anyone who loves music and games,” said Craig Relyea, senior vice president, global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. “No matter what instrument you choose - guitar, drums, bass or front man, you’ll only need a Wii Remote™ and Nunchuk™ to start rocking out. DS players need only their stylus to reach rock stardom in Ultimate Band.”

Ultimate Band for Wii allows players to create a band with their own look, style and attitude. By perfecting their musical skills and polishing their act, players can advance their musical careers from playing in the garage to performing before thousands of screaming fans on sold-out stages within the infamous RockDome. Choosing their own stage look and clothing, players can create unique characters that reflect their own personalities and ambitions. As they advance along the path to superstardom, players unlock new songs, venues and accessories that can be used to customize their band members. Players can add a fifth player as the “Effects DJ” and through mini-games on the Nintendo DS version of “Ultimate Band,” trigger fireworks, lights and other effects within the Wii game.

Ultimate Band for Nintendo DS is a rhythm-based music game with a built-in recording studio. Players can jam to current and classic songs using the drums, lead guitar, bass guitar or rhythm guitar. Players can also create their own original songs using the DS touchscreen and stylus to lay down tracks for each instrument and apply creative mixing effects. Ultimate Band for Nintendo DS also includes DGamer functionality which will allow players to engage with others in a secure online community via their DS (Wi-Fi or local wireless connection) or computer.

Ultimate Band has ESRB ratings of E10+ on Wii and E on the Nintendo DS, and is available this holiday season.

(Article courtesy of Disney Interactive Studios)

November 24, 2008

Lionhead Studios and Microsoft Game Studios Announce First “Fable II” Premium Downloadable Content

"Fable II” adventures continue with downloadable content and free pack to release mid-December, 2008

Toronto, ON – November 24 – The epic journey begun in “Fable II,” the fastest selling RPG on Xbox 360, is not over. Starting mid-December, 2008, fans will be summoned back into Albion’s service with the release of the Knothole Island downloadable content pack. The remote island of Knothole is dying: its golden sands and lush vegetation are covered with snow, its people freezing, its treasures buried. Only a hero can face the trials of the three shrines to bring back the sunshine.

Following its release on Xbox 360 on October 21, more than 1.5 million units of “Fable II” flew off store shelves worldwide in the first two weeks. With the release of the first “Fable II” downloadable content, available exclusively on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points, gamers will be invited to set sail for Knothole Island, where new quests, wondrous items and bizarre characters await.

Also in mid-December, fans everywhere will be able to enhance their “Fable II” experience with the release of a free “Fable II” downloadable pack exclusively on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. To engage in co-op gameplay with a player who has already downloaded the Knothole Island content, gamers will need to download the free pack. Both co-op players must download the Knothole Island (Premium) pack in order to play new quests and enjoy the complete Knothole Island co-op experience.

Free and premium downloaders will receive a show of gifts, including Knight’s Boots, Assassins Gloves, a special Weight Loss Potion, collectible silver book and more. Players will also be able to check their standing in over 50 new Leaderboards on

As an additional treat for “Fable II” fans, Lionhead Studios and Microsoft Game Studios have created an all-new Albion dashboard theme in celebration of the launch of the New Xbox Experience. Fans who want to show off their “Fable II” pride can head over to Xbox LIVE Marketplace to download the Albion theme, available now for 250 Microsoft points.

“Fable II” is exclusively available on Xbox 360 and is rated “M” for Mature by the ESRB. Please visit: for more information.

(Article courtesy of Microsoft)

November 19, 2008

A New Dawn in Home Entertainment Begins Today!

New Xbox Experience ushers in a new era of entertainment

TORONTO, ON. — Nov. 18, 2008 —On Nov. 19, 2008 a new era in home entertainment begins with the New Xbox Experience, as millions of Xbox 360 consoles will transform in an instant through the power of software. A bold new future begins now, where high-definition (HD) entertainment is delivered in an instant, the best games share the stage with the best movies, and every experience is shared with friends and family in the same room or around the world.

By the end of this month, Xbox 360 will reach another industry-defining milestone: 25 million Xbox 360 consoles sold worldwide. It has taken the leading next-generation game and entertainment console just three years to eclipse the total lifetime number of original Xbox consoles sold.

“The future of home entertainment is Xbox 360 — it’s on-demand, it’s high-definition, it’s always social, it’s all in one place,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp. “With the New Xbox Experience, we will reach the next generation of Xbox owners, 25 million and beyond. We are at a watershed moment, backed by the largest entertainment brands, with an incredible lineup of entertainment unmatched in any industry.”

All Your Friends and Favourite Entertainment, One Remote Control

With the launch of the New Xbox Experience, Xbox 360 owners will enjoy a limitless world where the best games and movies are ready to share with friends across the globe through Xbox LIVE:

•Xbox LIVE Party. Xbox 360 allows you to create a virtual party on your TV with up to seven friends. With Xbox LIVE Party, use voice chat while you play games,1 share photos in real time and entertain friends all over the world.

•Personality plus. Create a customizable, animated avatar and literally jump into the world of Xbox LIVE. Your avatar is your game face throughout the New Xbox Experience and represents your personality — whether you are serving as an Xbox LIVE Party host, playing a game of “Scene It? Box Office Smash” or chatting with a friend.

•Your personal game room. Play revived classics such as “PAC-MAN Championship Edition,” “Galaga Legions” and “Portal: Still Alive” alongside games that put your avatars in the action, such as “A Kingdom for Keflings,” “UNO,” “Hardwood Hearts” and “Hardwood Spades,” exclusively for download from Xbox LIVE Arcade. Xbox LIVE members also will be able to access all of Xbox LIVE Marketplace, including Xbox LIVE Arcade, and even queue content to download straight from

•Games for the community, by the community. For the first time in the history of console gaming, thousands of games developed by the creative community will be available to the public. The Community Games channel on Xbox LIVE will include games made by students, hobbyists and maybe even your next door neighbour, and will be exclusive to Xbox LIVE.

The World’s Biggest Names in Entertainment, All in One Place

No device offers more entertainment than Xbox 360. Major film studios around the world unveiled their plans to offer feature films on Xbox LIVE, truly transforming Xbox 360 into the world’s largest online entertainment center:

•New to Xbox LIVE in Canada: Magnolia Pictures. The studio that released such groundbreaking and award-winning feature films as “The World’s Fastest Indian,” “The Host,” “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” and “Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior” will be bringing its slate of compelling feature films to Xbox LIVE in Canada and the U.S.

•Currently available on Xbox LIVE in Canada: Top movie titles from MGM, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Paramount Pictures, Maple Pictures, MPI and The Walt Disney Studios

Xbox 360 Puts You in the Spotlight This Holiday

While Xbox 360 has evolved into a world-class entertainment device, it remains the best place to play games. Along with the launch of the New Xbox Experience, two entertainment heavyweights step into the spotlight, ready to wow audiences across the world. Today is the launch of “Lips” and “You’re in the Movies,” two games that promise to get you on your feet and performing like a star.

•“Lips” is an all-new music franchise exclusively for Xbox 360. “Lips” is the only singing game that offers wireless, motion-sensitive microphones and the ability to sing to a diverse list of included songs representing multiple musical genres, ranging from pop, rock and dance to hip-hop, country and R&B, as well as compatible songs from your music collection.2

•“You’re in the Movies” brings out the movie star in everyone this holiday season with its release exclusively on Xbox 360 coming Nov. 18. It’s the first and only game of its kind that transports players into a magical world of cinema and hilarious improvisations. Using the Xbox LIVE Vision camera, friends and families choose a script, act it out and in minutes watch the often hilarious, always entertaining results.

-Screenshots and article courtesy of Xbox Canada

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

Years ago when I was around the age of 16 I remember playing the first Banjo Kazooie on my good friends Nintendo 64. At that time I was only a casual gamer and was finding portions of the game quite difficult and frustrating. When we took a break to get some snacks and drinks, my friend’s little brother who was only 9 at the time picked up the controller and within 5 minutes beat the portion of the game we tried to beat for the past hour. Rare has continued the tradition of stumping adults and allowing younger minds to see things adults could not.

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is loaded with great visuals, excellent gameplay and a great gaming experience for the whole family. The story is great and revives the same humour in previous instalments of the game, however, for a younger gamer the amount of text to read in the game may discourage them from playing. However, this creates a great opportunity for parents to help encourage your child to read, while being involved in the gaming experience.

This time around Kazooie doesn’t have any special powers, but comes equipped with a magical wrench that opens a new feature that will excite a little engineer or mechanic in the making. The wrench grants Kazooie the ability to make custom vehicles for Banjo & Kazooie to complete their missions. You can build just about anything your imagination can inspire; with more than 100 parts to find and use to build your vehicles, the possibilities and combinations are near-unlimited. This aspect of the game is great to get your kids imaginations going while they build boats, airplanes, motorcycles, helicopters, race cars, trucks or whatever they desire. Don’t be worried if you’re not the best engineer there is because you have some pre-set vehicles at your disposal and you can purchase blueprints or receive some from your friends on Xbox Live.

If you love Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, I suggest you purchase Banjo Kazooie for Xbox Live Arcade. Rare, the developer of Banjo Kazooie, has introduced a new feature called Stop N’ Swop. This feature opens up extra content and features within Banjo Kazooie, as you accomplish feats in Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. Some of you may already have received a download card for the original Banjo Kazooie, so make sure you download the title immediately for some added fun.

The newest installment in the series is a great family title I am sure everyone will enjoy, but, keep in mind that Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is rated Everyone 10+, for Comic Mischief and Cartoon Violence. The cartoon violence is similar to cartoons like Bugs Bunny & Tweety, Chaotic or Kung Fu Panda. If you allow your children to watch shows like this, then Banjo Kazooie should be fine to let them play as well. If this sounds like a great game for you and your family, pick it up today!

-Screenshots courtesy of Xbox Canada

November 17, 2008

Disney's Think Fast

Disney Th!nk Fast looked like it might be a challenge, so in preparation I sat down with my son and watched as many Disney movies we could. After hours of watching Toy Story, Cars, Little Mermaid, Lion King, Beauty & the Beast and many other Disney titles I felt a lot more confident with my trivia knowledge. With my revisit to the Disney movie world, I popped Disney Th!nk Fast into my Wii and prepared for the ultimate duel against my myself, and any who challenged me.

Playing in the four themed locations is a lot of fun and will delight Disney fans of the movies: “The Lion King,” “101 Dalmatians,” “Littler Mermaid” and “Lilo and Stitch.” Along with the locations to enjoy your trivia matches, you get to pick from some of your favourite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and many more Disney favourites. Three extra characters are unlockable if you attain some high scores in single player mode. This will put the trivia master in the home to the ultimate trivia test.

Disney Th!nk Fast has a single player mode, and a multiplayer mode. Single player has some set rounds that will test the player in a wide variety of Disney Trivia and General Knowledge questions. However, the highlight of the game is definitely the multiplayer mode where you can go head to head against family members and friends. Up to four players can compete as you battle in over 15 different question rounds. Also available in multiplayer games are custom matches. If the standard set games get a bit redundant, or you want to just play your favourite questions rounds, custom matches is your best route.

Being part of the Disney franchise you will not have any worries letting your child play this game on their own and you will feel comforted that this is a game that will help educate your child as well. This is a must have for your next family game night and a great addition to anyone's party game collection.

-Screenshots and Box Art provided by Disney Interactive Studios

November 10, 2008

Disney's Bolt Preview

Early October, I had the opportunity to get a hands-on play through of an early version of Disney’s Bolt. Bolt is a tie-in video game for the movie of the same name coming out on November 21st, 2008. The movie is an animated feature about a regular dog named Bolt who stars as a television super-hero and believes he possesses all the powers that Hollywood magic grants him.

In the past, many video game tie-ins have been near carbon copies of the movie’s storyline. However, the trend now is to build on the story and expand it even further. This is the direction the game has taken, with the players working their way through TV episodes as Penny (Bolt’s TV Owner) and Bolt. The developers at Avalanche Software have plenty of experience with Disney games with releases of Chicken Little, Chicken Little 2 and Meet the Robinsons. They take this experience to create a beautifully done game that children and adults can enjoy.

The basic gameplay is quick and easy to learn, but as you progress through the game the gameplay does becomes a bit more complex through the puzzles that you are required to solve.

Each character comes equipped with some pretty cool special skills. Penny is a technological whiz and has a Wheel-Bar which allows her to slide along ledges, along pipes, ceilings and cables. The Wheel-Bar can also duo as a weapon which Penny can use to perform sneak attacks to knock guards unconscious, or to quickly attack an alert soldier. A few other gadgets at Penny’s disposal are techno-camo allowing her to become invisible for a short time to avoid detection and sleeping gas to put pesky guards to sleep. Penny is quite the computer hacker and she uses this skill to open doors. This action is accomplished by successfully completing a shooter mini-game where you shoot down pods, and eventually open up access points to crack the code.

Bolt on the other hand is one ferocious canine using his super-dog powers adeptly to take down his enemies with a variety of offensive manoeuvres. Bolt at a basic level pounces from enemy to enemy linking his attacks into combos, or he uses his powerful jaws to grab onto an enemy and perform one of his grab moves. His other super-dog powers are Ground Pound, Sonic Bark and Laser Vision. These super powers can also be super charged as Bolt builds up his energy. The super charge comes in handy in defeating some enemies and solving puzzles.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first look at Bolt and look forward to playing the full version when it is released November 18th. This will definitely be a fun game to play with my little one watching on as he really loves dogs and cartoon animations. It will also be a fun way for us to prepare for when the movie comes to theatre November 21st.

-Screenshots and Box Art provided by Disney Interactive Studios