That Was the News 2008

Part 1: January to June.

Yes, it's that time of year again. As Cliff Richard would say, a time for forgiving, a time for forgetting, a time for looking back on all the events of the past 12 months and making snide comments about them.

Part one of our retrospective covers the first half of the year, logically. Remember the Manhunt 2 ban? The death of HD-DVD? The national outcry over accidental breast shrinkage in Age of Conan? Then you don't need to read this. But if not, carry on.


It was a bumper month for videogame-related controversies. First off, the High Court decided Manhunt 2 should be banned from sale, on account of how it might turn us all into big old murderers.

This must have pleased the Daily Mail but it also left the paper with empty pages, so it was time to turn on Nintendo. The newspaper reported that playing the Wii is no substitue for regular real-life exercise. In other news, burgers have more calories than apples.


"How's it going?" "Bit bored. Fancy doing scissors?" "Yeah okay I'll just take my hat off."

The Telegraph also took a pop at Nintendo, identifying what it called "Nintendo Wii syndrome". The newspaper reported that "thousands" of injuries had occurred, and found one man in Cheshire to confirm this.

Fox News had a go at Mass Effect, claiming that half a tit amounts to "inappropriate sexual content". One commentator described it as "Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas". Which, come to think of it, could put Mark Hamill's career right back on track. I'll tell him when I see him.

The best news of the month, and indeed of all time, was the announcement of Gizmondo's imminent return. Or not so imminent, as it turns out, but hope springs eternal.


There was bad news for comic book fans this month as Cryptic stopped work on superhero MMO Marvel Universe Online. However, there was good news for comic book fans this month as Cryptic started work on superhero MMO Champions Online.


It's unlikely these three have Brain Ages in the teens.

Speaking of MMOs, EA rubbished reports of a new Knights of the Old Republic game. LucasArts also issued a statement saying its relationship with BioWare "has nothing to do with Knights of the Old Republic". Apart from, as it turned out, the Knights of the Old Republic MMO LucasArts is developing with BioWare.

Meanwhile, Toshiba dismissed reports HD-DVD was going in the bin. The following day, Toshiba confirmed reports HD-DVD was going in the bin.

Big Phil Harrison said goodbye to Sony after 15 years of service. Reasons for his departure were not given, but rumour had it he was off to Valinor with his brother Gandalf.

In comedy-games-in-the-media-news, Watchdog got upset with Brain Training for not being able to understand a word Northerners say. Nintendo advised people to "try to avoid using strong dialects" i.e. be a bit posher.


TV's Tanya Byron published her report on videogame age ratings. She sent the games industry to the naughty step for failing to educate parents properly, and recommended a film-style ratings system for games. Don't know what's wrong with marks out of ten, personally.


Yes please.

It was confirmed that Manhunt 2 would get a release when the BBFC decided it had "no alternative" but to give the game a ratings certificate after all. Presumably Rockstar had come round its house and threatened it with a carrier bag.

There was controversy over Alten8's Imagination is the Only Escape for DS, in which players take on the role of a Jewish boy struggling to survive under the Nazi regime. It's still too soon.

Everyone's favourite anti-games MP, Keith Vaz, stood up in parliament and claimed some videogames let players "rape women". It will always be too soon.

Big Phil Harrison announced he had a new job. No, not blowing dreams into children's bedroom windows, but being president of Atari. "As the game business moves rapidly online I believe we have an outstanding opportunity to create amazing network game and community experiences for players the world over," said Harrison. "Plus, they've promised me all the snozzcumbers I can eat."

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