Golden Joysticks 2010 – A Report from the Digital Media Room

So for the second time I was lucky enough to be invited along to cover the Golden Joystick awards. This time the awards were located at the newly opened Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel.

Last year the Golden Joysticks made a step forward in recognising the contribution that is made by digital media in the form of bloggers and others. A room was set aside for us to be given demos and talks surrounding some of the big releases as well as a chance to quiz some of those already working withing the games industry. I’m guessing the powers that be thought this was a worth while venture as the Digital Media room returned bigger and better this year.

Even though the awards ceremony didn’t kick off until 2.00pm for us in the Digital Media we had a few panels to keep us busy. First up was a look at the state of the gaming industry with the top brass at Future Publishing in a session.

The panel got off to a slow start with not too many questions from the floor  which allowed the host to get in some of his own questions. Things however soon picked with some interesting discussions on the Golden Joysticks themselves, the future of gaming, bringing gaming more into the mainstream and the different perceptions of hardcore and core gamers. I did record the event for a future podcast so I’ll find out if I can put it out.

Aliens Stole My Console

Aliens Stole My Console or as they suggested ‘pimp my console’ is a company which customizes consoles, handhelds and controllers. They had with them a couple of prototypes  all of which looked pretty snazzy, especially the Golden Joystick themed console.

One of  the interesting points raised during their presentation was that as customizing the console would invalidate the owner’s warranty Aliens Stole My Console will match the invalidated warranty with their own warranty. There was also talk of licensing issues surrounding the customization process  i.e  having an image of Batman on the console. It was suggested that each request would be looked into and if possible a license required to use the image ( though this would probably mean a charge on top of what you pay).

I’m not sure if I would pay to get my xbox or ps3 pimped out but I’m sure there are plenty of us who would. I can also see the advantages to companies for promotional purposes. I could see this as great promotional tool for comic companies a range of DC/Marvel/Any comic inspired consoles anyone.

Def Jam Rapstar Demo

The ultimate emcee experience, Def Jam Rapstar is the only music game that focusesexclusively on Hip Hop, you and your social networks. With more than 40 of the greatestHip Hop songs available at release, from “Big Poppa” by The Notorious B.I.G., SnoopDogg’s classic “Gin and Juice”, Tinie Tempah’s “Pass Out” and more, Def Jam Rapstarallows YOU to be the star by rhyming, using your console camera, and uploading yourvideo to the fully integrated Def Jam Rapstar community at http://www.defjamrapstar.com/gb/

Although the guys gave a good showing of the software the crowd in the room seemed a little nervous about having a go. This was in complete contrast to the Eurogamer Expo which had no shortage of wannabe rappers, from all backgrounds, taking to the stage. For me this was not the fault of the game or the demo team. Perhaps doing the demo in  more relaxed attire (like the DJ Hero team did last year) may have helped put some of rooms occupants at ease and made the demo feel less formal. The real culprit was the layout of the room. Anyone taking up the challenge of the mic would have felt like going to deliver a high level presentation to a board of directors. Perhaps a more informal room layout of the media room can be looked at for next year also the guys didn’t have a lot of time to demo the game which may not have helped. The game itself  still looked great, was loads of fun and I think will appeal to a wider audience than just hip hop fans.

I managed to talk to one of the PR team who was demoing  the game and one of the things I’m looking forward to is the amount of old school hip hop tracks withing the game (not a big fan of the more recent stuff). He also again reiterated that although you can get a version of the game which comes  bundled with mics you can also use any USB compatible mic with the game which makes a nice change.

The game is out on 26th November.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

You play Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT specialist who’s been handpicked to oversee the defensive needs of one of America’s most experimental biotechnology firms. Your job is to safeguard company secrets, but when a black ops team breaks in and kills the very scientists you were hired to protect, everything you thought you knew about your job changes
Badly wounded during the attack, you have no choice but to become mechanically augmented and you soon find yourself chasing down leads all over the world, never knowing who you can trust. At a time when scientific advancements are turning athletes, soldiers and spies into super enhanced beings, someone is working very hard to ensure mankind’s evolution follows a particular path.
You need to discover where that path lies. Because when all is said and done, the decisions you take, and the choices you make, will be the only things that can change it.

We were then shown a video walk-through of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Although I was a big fan of the first Deus Ex I haven’t really been following the development of this latest title in the franchise.

The game had a kind Blade Runner meets Mass Effect vibe to it and anyone who has played Gears of War or Uncharted 2 will be at home with the gameplay and cover system. Like Mass Effect and other similar titles the game utilizes a dialog system and allows you to talk to any NPC character in the game. Also NPC characters will react to your actions i.e a passer by scared out of his mind because you’re pointing a gun in his face.

The demo was broken down into character interaction and then action side of things which culminated in a show down with a Battle Mech followed by an cut scence that shows you just how over your head you are in the game’s plot. Of course this is still early days and difficult to get a vibe on the finished product but while looking great (loved all the unscripted context sensitive takedowns) it wasn’t screaming at me that this was a must buy at the moment.  It’s definitely on my rental list and if they can give me the engrossing plot and attention to detail that these games are known for I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to turn it into a buy.

The Golden Joystick Awards

Having watched the feed from several tv screens last year we were given the opportunity this year  to take our seats, via a row of tables at the rear of the ballroom, along with the guests and watch the show live.

The first thing that stuck me was that the term ‘The Oscars of Video Games’ used by some people talking about the Golden Joysticks is a wholly accurate one when you’re sitting in that room. I’ve always been a believer that if you’re going to do an awards shows it should be a big lavish affair and this certainly fit the bill. Amongst the sharp suits and gowns I did feel somewhat underdressed.

The awards were hosted by comedian Rich Hall who got the show off to a great start with a blistering set of jokes and one liners (most of which weren’t game related but I was laughing too hard to care) and I thought made for a great host. Also helping out with show was the faceless announcer (his name escapes me at the moment) whose tones you’ll recognise from the National Lottery shows. It was a little weird at first as I kept thinking I should have picked up a lottery ticket on my way to Westiminster. In the end though the combination worked well but much like last year the awards were over in a flash. However all the guests have already been partying hard since eleven in the morning so it makes sense they would want to get to the winners at a fairly rapid pace but it would have been nice to hear an acceptance speech or two.

You probably know who won, if you’ve been following us on twitter as we revealed the winners live on the day but if not head here.

Overall I found to the Digital Media was a great improvement on last year and I hope it continues for many years to come.

GS Reporter: Nuge

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