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That Was The News

Part 2: Your top stories of 2006, from July to December.

Having charted Sony's "early PR mishaps" yesterday, among other things (including your fondness for Uwe Boll and Paris Hilton), today's concluding instalment gets a little more sinister.

That's because in addition to the ongoing story of two console launches, there's alleged racism, alleged violence, alleged shipment totals, and even an outing for Tony Blair - the only person you enjoyed reading about on Eurogamer in 2006, as far as we're aware, who endured worse press than the much maligned PlayStation 3.

Read on for more of your favourite stories of 2006. You can click the links for the full versions, which would be nice of you, obviously. I had to go to a lot of trouble hooking them all up.

July

As Eugene O'Neill once said, "There is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again, now." And so July began much as January, with no plans for an internal Xbox 360 HD-DVD. July also saw an early obsession with Sony's web presence - a theme later repeated - as gremlins (well, design agency slackers) were blamed for an Apple logo appearing on a PS3 website. You all broke my friend Martin's webserver downloading the disassembled Flash animation, too. Evildoers.

Hard to imagine what the fuss was about.

All told it was a bad month for Sony's agencies in general, as the company found itself facing accusations that a Dutch PSP advert was, you know, a bit racist - something the company vigorously denied, before quietly retiring the advert. But if pictures of a white blonde grabbing a black woman by the jaw were upsetting, then surely LocoRoco wasn't? Except somebody thought so - with bloggers exciting in the realisation that they could compare the enemies to "blackface" images, in one of the summer's most tiring sagas.

Fortunately good old Mark Rein from Epic Games soon distracted you, first claiming that episodic gaming is rubbish (his argument actually made some sense, despite the heckling), before adding that the PS3 launch was actually shaping up quite well judging by the completeness of software at E3. That was a view Sony was keen to foment - denying reports that the UK launch in November would only see 150,000 units. "We have yet to confirm allocation for the UK territory," it said instead. Innit.

There was lighter news though, as Peter Molyneux admitted he had the PR equivalent of Tourette's, and Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson proved there's good sport in that part of the world after all, rejecting an application for the vacant managerial position at the football club sent in by a man citing his excellent Football Manager 2005 credentials.

Also, the Germans said nein to Dead Rising. I think we gave it eight, but fair enough.

August

Hard to imagine what the fuss was about. (x2)

August's big story was that Xbox 360's biggest game of the year, Gears of War, would be launching at the same time as PS3. Well, in theory - in actual fact it turned up a bit earlier in the US. But you all flocked to the news like Kryll to the darkness. You also took more interest in Dead Rising, which we revealed would arrive here uncensored - something that the British Board of Film Classification later defended, allowing us to segue semi-neatly into another of your most-read stories, that of the appointment of South African Neill Blomkamp as director of the Halo film, then dated for release in 2008.

Speaking of defence, Rockstar finally had some luck in court, although it wasn't that exciting - the case in question was actually about a Los Angeles strip club and alleged copyright infringement. Tellingly though, you cared a lot more about that then you did for the downfall of E3. We heard about that at the very end of July, with news filtering across the Atlantic for the start of August - a month that threatened to toss up a potential replacement in the shape of Leipzig's Games Convention.

One area where the massive event couldn't compete though was in platform holder press conferences. Microsoft had a fair crack, excitedly announcing that it had exclusive hold of Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA for 12 months (albeit just on next-gen formats), but Nintendo kept relatively quiet, parading nipples and mystery TV men in front of us and getting a pimply-faced German World Cup star to unveil a new Mario Strikers game for Wii. Quiet it was, but it was a U2 concert on an 8x multiplier next to the howls of silence emanating from Sony's stand, where cushioned bottoms were little recompense for a complete lack of PlayStation 3s. We flew home wondering what was going on - and of course we'd soon find out.

September

Because just over a week later, Sony delayed the European launch of PlayStation 3 until March 2007. This ended up our most-commented story of the year, as you all remembered your recent German training and assailed new peaks of schadenfreude. Microsoft also put the boot in, and even Ken Kutaragi came close to admitting it was going a bit wrong. Then he sort of undid that by delivering a Tokyo Game Show keynote address devoid of, well, substance - apart from a lot of bluster about using toasters to create 4D cabbages or whatever it was, and news of a pre-emptive Japanese price cut for the console, due out there on 11th November. Demos of the software on the show floor were more impressive than not, but talk of a Gran Turismo release designed to gouge micropayments out of your PS3 wallet stirred a rabble, and ultimately your attention soon swept off elsewhere.

Apparently you like these.

Hardly surprising, either, in a month that finally saw Nintendo Wii dated and priced - not just in the US and Japan, but in Europe too. Your response was mixed to news of the 8th December/GBP 179 combo, and confusion over region-locking wound you up, but you were certainly captivated - with jokes about the name all-but forgotten by most.

Then it was Microsoft's turn, as X06 took over Barcelona. We'd all had a chuckle when an innocuous Peugeot press release outed Project Gotham Racing 4 a bit beforehand, but the sheer depth and breadth of announcements during the company's massive showcase - streamed online, too - kept you up with talk of GTA IV episodes, Peter Jackson, Halo Wars, Banjo Kazooie, a Marvel MMO and Guitar Hero II. DOOM hit Xbox Live Arcade the same night, and the HD-DVD was priced. I'll tell you what it wasn't though - it wasn't going to be an internal component. No indeed. Despite yet more rumour to that effect from Ellie's old pal Internet Reports.

September also saw videos of madcap German film director Uwe Boll punching not one, but two of his critics half to death in the boxing ring. Apparently he went further than he'd told them he would. But the embarrassment felt about his behaviour would be nothing next, presumably, to what the unnamed Ubisoft employee who accidentally leaked their entire product schedule onto the Internet would feel. In a zipfile on a public FTP, without even a password to protect it.

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About the Author

Tom Bramwell avatar

Tom Bramwell

Contributor

Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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