HEXUS.gaming editor Nick Haywood might be on a family holiday in the west country but, seemingly, he's never on holiday. We received a call from him yesterday spitting blood about the latest copy of Imagine Publishing's Play magazine - issue 138 - and the fact that it claims that its staff have played on a Sony PlayStation 3 - something that's Nick reckons is impossible when the machine isn't finished and won't go on sale until November!
It turns out, of course, that Nick's right. No one on the mag had actually played the PS3. All they've done is have hands on with some dev kit - the same kit that Nick's been on, he believes. And that's actually an Apple Mac emulating what Sony says a PS3 will be like!
Unfortunately, no newstand buyer of the magazine will ever realise the truth until they've coughed up £3.99, broken open the sealed plastic bag in which the mag is sold and turned to the brazen admission hidden within that, indeed, all they've done is sit down with some dev kit.
With Nick being on holiday, we thought we better not ask him to write up his discovery, so a trip to the shops was undertaken to grab a mag for a close read and a bit of image scanning.
Trouble is, we ended up buying the wrong mag, picking up, instead, Future Publishing's PSW magazine!
Dyslexia? Well, not totally. We were fooled by the fact that the sealed bag in which issue 80 comes also claims that the mag has played on a PS3!
And, of course, just like Play, it's not possible to find out until after you've bought the mag - again at £3.99 a pop - that they're telling porkies!
But, you may ask, is PSW really telling porkies? Indeed it is, and here's the page where this is admitted - click on it to see the relevant paragraph:
Doubtless, the so called journalists who write and approve the misleading come-on lines on the wrappers of magazines such as Play and PSW believe it's okay to do what they do and, therefore, sleep well at night.
But, to us, what they're doing is obtaining money - YOUR money - on false pretences. That's something that we thought was supposed to be a crime in this country.
Here at HEXUS.gaming, though, you can be sure that we'll always try to maintain the highest possible ethical standards. So, for instance, you can be certain that we won't be telling you we've play a PS3 until we have actually sat down in front of a real PS3.
Also, when - as recently with Test Drive Unlimited for Xbox 360 - we're looking at pre-release software, we'll try to ensure from the outset that you know that's precisely what we're doing and not try to make wild claims that don't stack up.
And, of course, if you don't like what we write, you can always shout loud about it in the HEXUS.gaming forums and demand - and get back - every penny you've spent on buying that article. Cough!
Want to have your say about this article? Well, join us over in the HEXUS.gaming forums right now and tell us your thoughts on the ethics of newstand magazine come-on lines and whether you think we're being unkind to the poor souls who write them.
As a snide aside, if you've read that paragraph about Unreal Tournament 2007, you might like to know one other thing - the fact that characters are "1500 times more detailed" than in Unreal Tournament 2004 has little if anything to do with the PS3 as you're being led to believe - it's down to the engine within the game. But, hey, why expect anything better than that for your four quid?
Update April 15 - we did manage to get hold of a copy of Play, issue 138, and here's what it's bag looks like:
And here's a close up of the most contentious stuff: