Jack Buser, director of the PlayStation 3 virtual world "Home" project gave me a private demo of the service in midtown Manhattan last week. He was trying to impress me with "Home," which launches free to every PS3 owner this fall.

Buser was going to have to work hard.

I'm the guy who, following an unsupervised 10-minute session with the service, wrote the following about Home for Kotaku back in June:

Home is clearly still a work in progress, functioning not that differently from what you heard about more than a year ago. Whatever it needs to make it a hit, I don't think it's in there -- yet.

Here's how Buser tried to improve my view and impress me with "Home." His pitch was...psychological. Read More...

On Thursday, Sony will release three downloadable packs of trivia questions for the new PS3 game-show game "Buzz: Quiz Show." The packs contain more than 500 questions each and cost between $5.99 and $7.99.

The pack we're most interested in at Multiplayer isn't the National Geographic one or the sci-fi one. It's the video game pack, specifically covering any video games that were ever released for Sony platforms.

A Sony rep has supplied us exclusively with six multiple choice questions from that $5.99 quiz. Note that the game's developers made the questions.

The game will rate your answers based on accuracy and speed, and allow you to compare your scores with other players on the online leaderboard.

Do you know the answers?

1) Which city is the setting for the ps3 title "Infamous"?

* Empire City
* Dukedom City
* Kingdom City
* Realm City Read More...

'Ratchet & Clank: Quest For Booty'

Don't use the word "episode."

Don't use the words "expansion pack."

Brian Allgeier
, lead designer of the biggest short game of 2008, "Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty," publicly uses the term "mini-adventure" to describe what he and about 20 other people at Insomniac Games made during the last 10 months.

Allgeier's team has created the most polished, graphically complex and data-heavy (over 2GB to download!) game this side of the "Half Life 2" episodes. It has been released in the richest season of downloadable games in home video game history. It's a a hypothesis: a guess about how much content developed with disc-game production quality standards should be delivered to a gamer for $15. And it's a case study: proof of just what kind of effects a three-hour duration must have on the formula established in longer games of the same franchise.

And to think, it could have just been a space combat game, which is what Allgeier's team had proposed: Read More...

'Everday Shooter' (PS3 screenshot)In December, PlayStation's U.S. director of network operations, Eric Lempel, told me that bringing the widely praised PS3 downloadable twin-stick shooter "Everyday Shooter" "would be great on the PSP."

Today Sony confirmed that it would be so great that it's going to happen. Buried in the press release from Sony Computer Entertainment of America announcing the new PSP-3000 model is a description of a new 4GB Memory Entertainment pack that ships in November and includes a voucher for a downloadable copy of "Everyday Shooter."

Why, Sony press release, would you offer PSP shoppers a voucher for a PS3 game?

The press release explains: "The title is available for PLAYSTATION(R)3 and will be making its debut for PSP. Download Everyday Shooter for PSP from PLAYSTATION Store to your Memory Stick PRO Duo with the included voucher."

Thank you press release, but please be more specific next time.

And analog acolytes take heed, "ES" creator Jonathan Mak told me long ago that his game is really not meant to be played with twin sticks but with two sets of digital buttons, one set under each thumb. The PSP offers that set-up perfectly.

'PixelJunk Eden'
Any two people who have played the enjoyable, acrobatic 2D PlayStation 3 downloadable game "PixelJunk Eden" might be wondering the same thing I’ve been wondering since I first played the game co-operatively:

How does :Eden" determine which character to lock its camera onto when one of those characters is falling to their doom and the other had been an inch away from collecting a valuable Spectra?

I got an answer from a very good authority... Read More...

'Burnout: Paradise'

Surprising news out of EA: "Burnout Paradise," the well-received January-launched racing game from Criterion is going to be fully downloadable on the PS3 for $29.99 this fall, with Trophy support and all download packs included.

As best I can tell, this makes "Burnout Paradise":

  • The first disc-based game of this generation to be released as a downloadable one later in the same year it was released in stores ("Warhawk" doesn't count. "Portal," coming to XBLA, almost fit the bill too.)
  • The first open-world game to be offered as a downloadable title on consoles, a sign of the sheer size of games now being issued via the Internet.
  • The first third-party, multi-platform disc-based title of this generation to be announced as downloadable for only one console. (A new front in the battle for third-party exclusives?)

All things to chew on. Now think about the implications for store-bought games and how this combats the urge to buy a used copy of "Burnout Paradise" at your local GameStop...

Full EA press release follows:

Read More...

"Siren: Blood Curse" may be giving "Silent Hill: Homecoming" a run for its horror money this year, but there's one difference: "Silent Hill" is showing up at retail.

Even though Sony has released "Siren" on a Blu-ray disc in Japan and Asia (with plans for Europe), there are still no plans for a proper retail release in the United States, Sony told me.

"At this time, there is not Blu-ray Disc version planned for the North American market," said a company representative in an e-mailed statement. "Please note, however, that you are able to delete and then re-download episodes since the purchase is linked to your PSN account. The developers kept this functionality in mind knowing that the episodes were fairly beefy. "

It's very possible that Sony is simply waiting to see how "Siren" continues to perform as an online-exclusive (as opposed to "Warhawk"'s simultaneous distribution), and the complete "season" of "Siren" episodes will appear at retail down the road. Its performance abroad at retail could also impact that.

If you still haven't tried "Siren," however, don't wait for the disc. It's worth playing now.

Related Posts
Up Past 3:00 A.M. — ‘Siren’ Wouldn’t Let Me Sleep
Game Diary - August 11, 2008: They Mostly End The Same

San FranciscoLast week we broke news about how the PlayStation 3's downloadable game "The Last Guy" will involve saving crowds of people on maps based on 14 cities of the world. The same day that news came out a demo level was released in Japan, set in part of Tokyo.

The American version is set for release "soon," according to Sony representatives. And where the American demo will begin is San Francisco.

Earlier this week I tried the American version's first level, set in SF's Fisherman's Wharf. The game uses an aerial photograph of the region for the level (not a Google map, despite frequent mis-reporting). I controlled a zombie from the Himalayas who runs through the streets and alleyways of the region, absorbing a train of people from any nearby buildings. The more people you collect, the longer the crowd trails -- and the more likely that city-roaming enemies will intercept and kill your crowd. I had to collect 1000 people under a few-minute time limit and then I unlocked a second map.

Players can make their zombie dash, activate a thermal view that shows where un-rescued people are hiding and draw their trail of people into a smaller, safer cluster. There are power-ups available, but I didn't use any.

The game was fun, if slight. For the right price, I think people will enjoy running the maps, saving people.

No, Stephen, you aren't the only one playing "Siren: Blood Curse."

In fact, Sony's surprise horror hit kept me up until just past 3:30 A.M. last night.

I can't actually remember the last time I decided to let a game keep me up that late. I typically make 2:00 A.M. the cut-off point, even if I want to keep going. Not this time.

Part of the motivation was to make up for lost time from a few nights ago, when creepy noises outside my apartment persuaded me to not turn the game on.

The result of the late-night horror session means I'll probably be turning in early tonight. Unless I decide to turn "Siren" on again, that is. Readers, what's the last game that kept you up until the wee hours?

'The Last Guy' Takes Over The Multiplayer Blog

Earlier today we posted the first comprehensive description about the U.S. version of Sony's strange upcoming downloadable PS3 game "The Last Guy." It's not out yet -- merely "coming soon," according to Sony reps. But could we interest you in playing a watered down version that uses this website or any other as its terrain?

Last night I went to a Japanese website for "The Last Guy" and inputted "multiplayer.mtv.com". Suddenly I was using my mouse to control a little guy who was walking all over our blog. He could run through the lanes and into the nooks of our front page, rescuing people while avoiding spiders. The goal was to bring a parade of people to a safety zone near our top banner ad.

You can do play a rough version of the game using Multiplayer's front page as the game's level at this direct link, but first, take a look at what I did and note the instructions for the game (which you can only find here at Multiplayer, I believe)... Read More...

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