The Summer's winding down, and you all know what that means, right? It's going to get cold! Better stock up on video games! Or books, even! Or books about video games, those totally exist! Don't believe me, well in that case...

Ready Player One

Okay all you nonbelievers, here's a brand new tome for your video-game book club. Ernest Cline, author and alpha-nerd's latest work, Ready Player One, is Gibson gone Gradius with zests of Wonka. The year is 2044, and while the world is getting worse, escaping into video games is becoming sweeter and sweeter. For many, the world of OASIS is much more than simple play. Wade Watts isn't just interested in just playing the game, however, as he discovers within OASIS is a challenge hidden by it's creator which leads to a prize so powerful it makes one's thumbs tremble. "I think my original idea for Ready Player One was, "what if Willy Wonka were a video game designer, and he held the greatest video game contest in history to find his successor." says Cline, "When I was kid, I loved stories about eccentric millionaires who held crazy contests, like Willy Wonka or the title character in Brewster's Millions. I also grew up playing a lot of Atari 2600 games, and for a while, Atari ran this video game contest called Swordquest. If you solved the puzzles hidden inside the games before anyone else, you could win all of these fabulous prized, like a real gold crown or a jewel-encrusted sword." More information about the new book can be found here and the rest of that interview will be found in a new magazine that I'm working on. Which I will tell you about soon. Oh, how I will tell you about it.

Exit Stage Left

So you released one of the most successful and anticipated games of the year. Marvelous, throw yourself a parade, but don't expect the golden gates to be pried open forever. Or more than a couple months, for that matter. That's the case with LA Noire creators Team Bondi,and while it has certainly made the rent, so to speak, it wasn't without much grieving. The game had taken an astonishing six years to come out, and post release there have been investigations into the developer's cruelty towards its own staff and poor relationship with its publisher, Rockstar. But the game has sold well, very well, so how bad can the company get hit? Well, you don't need a private dick to tell you just how bad word on the street can hit ya, because it looks like Bondi has filed for bankruptcy protection. It should also be noted that Noire was Bondi's first and only game, maybe it's just better to go out as a spark in this crazy town.

All the Rest

- Tim Schafer has a chance encounter with Cookie Monster on Sesame Street, promoting the oddly anticipated Double Fine game based on the Jr. aimed Muppets and the oft overlooked consumption of video game consoles.
- A humbling yet heart warming tale is coming out of the retro gaming forums of the world wide web, as the brother of a recently deceased scammer is offering victims full refunds for all of his late brother's wrongdoings. Oh internet, you just scammed my heart of it's love.
- Stern Pinball has announced their next machine will be based on the Transformers movies, and in honour of the decadent, CGI heavy blockbusters, even the pinball machine gets a dramatic trailer.
- Radiant Silvergun has a date for its Xbox release and, like, two of you know what the hell I'm talking about.
- Kim Swift, creator of Portal, has unveiled her newest project Quantum Conundrum, a puzzle FPS about science gone awry. Come on Swift, another heady-sciency-nerd thing? Why don't you start showing some originality and make a game about space marines.
- Meat Bun is going to be unveiling a new round of shirts, inspired by, but not limited to, Mega Man, Mortal Kombat and... Calvin and Hobbes. In case you didn't know what to do with your money.
- Also there are now Portal socks. Oh neat, I totally just combined the last two stories into one, cool beans.
- Reluctant to believe there`s really a new Counter-Strike on the way? Open your eyes, nay, your heart, and believe.
- A new game from the Super Meat Boy team, a new game from the Spider team, an About a Blob followup, a new Little King's Story, a Persona fighting game, a new Fatal Frame, a full version of a bloody mod, a pervy anime shooter and whatever the heck a Corpse Party is are all things that will exist in the future.

Game(s) of the Week: Rock of Ages / Elevator Action Deluxe / ClaDun x2

Summer comes and summer goes, but downloadable video games last until their license expires or something. This week brings a shmorgishborg of downloadable titles for just about every system (sans the Nintendo ones...) and with all sorts of flavours to boot. Sure, you can get The Baconing, Ugly Americans or the Mortal Kombat: Arcade Kollection, but I think it'd be better to turn your attention to some other options. For XBLA, there's Rock of Ages, made by the Zeno Clash team and brought to you by Atlus, is a Monty Python meets Super Monkey Ball, as you wage war against your enemies with a giant smiling boulder while also building defenses from a similar assault. For a contemporary version of a classic, try out Elevator Action Deluxe, now available on PSN, faithful to the originals' naturally addictive playstyle, while adding new age visual panache and creative uses of the simple mechanics. If you have a PSP and wouldn't mind turning it on once in a while, the sequel to the cult ClaDun, ClaDun X2, is now ready for your download, this action RPG has, literally, twice the amount of content for you to hack away at the monsters with. See, summer's on the outswing, but gaming always knows how to keep you indoors.