Virgin Media is the first UK internet service provider to deny customers access to torrent sharing website The Pirate Bay.
2K Games has announced that a version of Sid Meier's classic high seas adventure Pirates! will be come to the Wii in the autumn.
Microsoft has announced three more original Xbox games will soon be available for download from Xbox Live.
In December 2007, Microsoft launched the Xbox Originals platform. Part of Xbox Live Marketplace, it allows you to download Xbox 1 games for 1200 Microsoft Points (GBP 10.20 / EUR 12.00) apiece, with the likes of Halo, Psychonauts and Fahrenheit among the launch titles.
In many ways videogame critics are a bit like bum-bagged, Polaroid-snapping tourists. We dash from game to game, scribbling down points of interest with furious scrawl; we take scattergun snapshots of the defining architecture and characters from illuminating angles as we listen to PR tour guides pointing out with practised turn-of-phrase the game's outstanding, unusual facts and histories. Finally, we write down our thoughts for the folks back home before heading for the minibus and the next new attraction. You see, like tourists, videogame critics rarely visit a game for any more than is absolutely necessary. Time is money and no sooner is a game spent than most of us are on to the next one.
The point of that tortured but unexpectedly perspicacious simile is to, in a roundabout way, pay Sid Meier a massive compliment – speaking in the capacity of videogame critic rather than English-heritage tourist of course. His latest PSP adventure, the possessively-monikered Sid Meier's Pirates (perhaps his mum thought it might lost amongst the other boys' Pirate games if it didn't have its own nametag) is the first title on the system which has turned this reviewer from short-term visitor to long-term resident. Put simply, Eurogamer has still been playing Pirates long after the ink had dried on the review – a rare thing indeed.
The smarter ones amongst you might be wondering how such a time-travelling critical declaration can hold up when we're only two paragraphs in. But rest assured: having written the review, we found ourselves still playing on the bus, on the train, in the toilets at work, and so returned to rework this introduction to reflect our unusual experience - an occurrence which speaks as a louder recommendation than any number of orthodox, adulatory adjectives.
Yar might be interested to hear that 2K Games and Firaxis have confirmed the upcoming February release of Sid Meier's Pirates! on PSP.
If there's one fictional pirate who made us want to play this more than any other, it was the most recent-decent: Johnny Depp's rather wonderful Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Everyone loved Jack. When Orlando Bloom ran off with Keira Knightley to live happily and boringly ever after, Jack said "Nice hat". When he got his hands back on his ship at the end, we smiled.
There was a very obvious pirate-food-chain underpinning that film, and it seems safe to say it contributed immensely to our affection for it. It's simple: the pirate at the top has a big ship, lots of dedicated sea-men at his disposal, and goes and does virtually what he likes. He has ambition, wit, charm, ingenuity and a fantastic beard to back it all up. The other pirates are lacking, and these are the chaps who load cannons and scrub the decks in return for a bit of loot and the opportunity to pillage now and then. The ones with honour are quickly marched off a plank.
That film was ace for lots of reasons ("Yes, but why is the rum gone?!"), but perhaps its jolliest notion about Jack Sparrow was his lack of absolutes. Everything was a means to an end, but nothing was really capable of ending the meanness. If he told someone a plan, it wasn't the whole plan; it was just a way of getting them to contribute. If he got caught or cornered, he bartered or wormed his way out of it. At one point Knightley asks, "Whose side is Jack on?" and even the viewer isn't quite sure. That's the sort of piracy we like.