Jade Raymond | September 2006
There's a secret, unpublishable video of Jade Raymond in GamesRadar's archives. It shows a rather ill-advised cameraman representing (though not working for) GamesRadar, who proceeds to ask Raymond some 'revealing' questions while shoving a lens in her face. Things like 'will you go out with me?' - instead of asking her about Assassin's Creed.
Out of respect we never used it and said cameraman was shunned and avoided; but it serves to show the bizarre effect of releasing an unusually attractive game developer into the pit of man that is the world of games - we just go to pieces and make twats of ourselves.
Above: Ex-GR staffer Shane Patterson makes a nuisance of himself with Jade Raymond last year
Made famous by Ubisoft during the preview stages of Assassin's Creed in 2006, Raymond must have grown tired of the ubiquitous 'So what's it like being a sexy lady working in games?' question to the point of mentally wording 'Fucking shit, mate.' It wasn't long before some inappropriate and terribly Photoshopped images of Raymond appeared on forums and the game Internet had thoroughly shamed itself in front of its first crush.
So we all just blamed Ubisoft for making us operate out of our comfort zone and forcing us to accept that an attractive woman could also be a serious game designer. Next time we want a bald man called Brad who wears chinos and a phone belt. It's easier that way.
Above: Jade Raymond - as we prefer to remember her. Please forgive us
PS3 launch | November 2006
There may have been riots in the US, but the stock never sold out after the hardcore had left to lick their wounds. And when it came to the UK launch, the machine was met with near indifference. The public's love affair with Sony seemed to be over. Whether it was the sky high retail price, months of delay or just the fact that it did nothing the 360 hadn't already been doing for years, it just wasn't that desirable. Different story now, mind, but these images are hard to forget:
Mario and Sonic appearing in the same game | March 2007
If you’d gone back in time to the early ‘90s with the details of this little revelation, they’d have laughed you out of town or burned you as a witch. The ‘90s were harsh like that. Sonic and Mario? The two rival pillars of console gaming’s foundation years? Sharing a game? What fresh madness was this?
It had been the impossible dream/nightmare of fanboys of both camps for over a decade, but with Sega’s post-Dreamcast departure from the hardware market, it became a possibility. And then, once the marketing men and lawyers got involved, a reality. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games might have been far from the match-up many of us wanted (we’d have to wait until Super Smash Bros. Brawl for that), but the fact that it existed at all was an utterly mind-blowing development for any long-term stalwart of gaming.
The first GTA IV trailer | March 2007
27th March 2007: The day the internet almost ground to a halt. Why? Rockstar decided this would be the date to allow the great unwashed their first glimpse of Grand Theft Auto IV.
Millions of people tried to watch possibly *the* most anticipated trailer of all-time the very second it launched. They failed. They tapped ‘GTA IV trailer’ into search engines and found a lot of broken sites with servers overwhelmed with traffic. Most people didn’t see it until hours afterwards, but bloody hell it was worth the wait.
The Philip Glass soundtrack, the flashes of New York-themed landmarks and that moody Eastern European fella at the end – all of it was great. And the internet didn’t waste a single second pulling it apart frame by frame and highlighting bits you never even noticed. What other series sparks this much anticipation? Answer: None. Rockstar are the masters of drumming up suspense before a release and this debut trailer for GTA IV was the perfect taster. Even if it did take hours to see little more than one minute’s worth of footage.
Ken Kutaragi 'retires' from Sony | April 2007
Good old Ken. Never short of a smile and always guaranteed to deliver a cock-eyed quote. We were sad when the man fondly referred to as the 'Father of PlayStation' was strategically shuffled away from the limelight and replaced as Sony Computer Entertainment president by the not-quite-so endearing Ridge Racer fan, Kaz Hirai.
Above: Ken Kutaragi was pretty pleased with his 'retirement' 'gift'
In fact, we almost felt a teeny bit responsible. Were we too harsh in our assessment of Sony's numerous failings during the early days of PS3? Or perhaps Ken had just said one too many bonkers things for his position within Sony to remain tenable. Whatever the reasons, at the time it was the closest thing to Sony admitting that all was not well in PlayStation land.
Rockstar vs the BBFC | June 2007
Rockstar’s turbulent relationship with the world’s self-appointed moral guardians was always destined to explode one day, but no-one ever expected to see such an epic struggle as we did over the release of Manhunt 2 in the UK. Nor did anyone expect the landscape changing aftermath that came with it…
While the initially unhappy American ESRB passed a censored version of the game, the British BBFC stood firm, refusing a release for a second time for reasons many found vague or even hypocritical. Interpreting a BBFC victory as a potentially dangerous and unfair precedent, the internet hit the warpath, and Rockstar did too.
Above: Was Manhunt 2 *really* all that bad? Oh, yeah, right...
Rockstar appealed and won, but the BBFC refused to accept the decision and took it all the way to the High Court. The judge agreed with the censors and there was much sadness. But Rockstar, clearly a dog with teeth clamped very much around bone after nine months of battling, refused to accept defeat and once again went over the BBFC’s head to the Video Appeals Committee. This time, Rockstar won outright. That aftermath? Rockstar is now pretty well respected amongst even the conservative mainstream UK press and the BBFC has lost control over UK game ratings in favour of PEGI. Ouch.