Monday, October 31, 2005

Video Game News , October 31, 2005

Football Basics 101: A guide to football video games basics
by Jason Rybka, About.com 2005
"It is football season for the video game industry."

Football Games 201: Learning the more advanced football video games plays
by Rich Reed, About.com 2005
"In Football Video Games 101 the basic tips were written to help those new to Football video games enjoy the experience more."

Event Wrap Up: 2005 Nokia Games Summit

by Iain Simons, Gamasutra 10/28/05
"T
he summit involved 190 delegates, made up of Forum Nokia developers, publishers, and game industry press from around the world, all invited to participate in this annual forum directly addressing mobile games development."

Friday, October 28, 2005

A 'Serious' Direction for Video Games
ABC News 10/28/05
"In this week's "Cybershake," we take a look at how video games are being developed for more than just fun and entertainment."

University of Illinois Develops Bioterrorism Serious Game
Gamasutra 10/27/05
"A video game that simulates biological, chemical, radiological and natural disasters in a major metropolitan area, developed by a team from the University of Illinois at Chicago, will be used to prepare public health workers and emergency responders for real life emergencies, according to a press release from the university."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Florida Bill Aims to Curb Violent Video Games
Reuters 10/27/05
"A Florida state senator has introduced a bill that would ban the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, an aide to the lawmaker said on Thursday."

MP Attacks School Bullying Game: "A video game featuring school bullying must be treated in the same way as a violent film, an MP has said.
BBC 10/26/05
"
Former Labour minister Keith Vaz urged the government to refer Bully, which has a pupil fight scene, to the British Board of Film Classification."

Sex is here to stay in video games: But industry is trying to figure out how to deal with it.

by Renuka Rayasam, Austin American Stateman 10/27/05
"With the commotion over illicit content in video games still simmering, about 150 members of the game industry talked sex Wednesday evening at the Women's Game Conference in Austin."

Man Shot While Playing Video Games

Ohio News Network, 10/27/05
"
Authorities said a Dayton man was rushed to a local hospital being shot while playing video games."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Video Game News, October 26, 2005

Video games go all warm, fuzzy: Nintendogs takes out some bite for players turned off by violence.
Stephen Kiehl, the Baltimore Sun 10/26/05
"For years, Shigeru Miyamoto says, women in his Tokyo neighborhood didn't like him. He's a charming guy, sure, but he's also the chief video-game designer for Nintendo. That makes him Public Enemy No. 1 for those who think video games are too violent and pornographic."

Warner Bros. Reorganizes, Creates New Unit

AP 10/25/05
"Warner Bros. Entertainment has reorganized its home video and digital distribution efforts, creating a new group that will encompass games, wireless, Internet strategy and anti-piracy efforts. "

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Video Game News, October 25, 2005

Informa Predicts 58.4 Billion Game Industry by 2007: Next generation consoles to lead biggest ever revenue spike
by Paul Loughrey, Games Industry Biz 10/25/05
"Informa Telecoms and Media has revealed details of its fifth Dynamics of Games report, suggesting massive growth for the games industry - spearheaded by next generation consoles and broadband gaming."

The State of Serious Games
Gamasutra 10/25/05
"
With the second annual Serious Games Summit in Washington D.C. nearly here, it seems a good time to take stock of ‘the state of serious games."

Playing around: Couples can use video games to press one another's buttons

Elina Furman Tango.com 10/25/05
"It can happen in an instant. One minute, you're holding hands in the park, feeding each other sushi at sidewalk caf├ęs, and dressing up for nights on the town. The next, you're sprawled in front of the TV in dingy sweats, boasting about who's going to kick whose ass."


"The Escapist, Issue 16:Import/Export" Now Available

The new issue of the Escapist magazine examines the effects of modern commerce on the gaming industry. Allen Varnay reviews a breakthrough first person shooter from Croatia, backing up his assertation that it's a cutting edge game with a history o Croatian game design; Mark Wallace discusses virtual business in MMORPGs and what happenes when a game experience becomes work; Spanner looks at knock-off consoles and states that gamers don't care about hardware and corporations don't care about software, using the Brazilian video game industry to prove his point. Jack Thompson and Penny Arcade made the News Bits this week. Read it online at http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/16

Monday, October 24, 2005

'Game Studies vol 5 #1" now available

Game Studies is an academic online journal on video games. Papers in the current issue examine consumer beta-testing, game design, an interview with Raph Koster, and a review of MMOG Star Wars: Galaxies.

Video Game News, October 24, 2005

ESPN Playing Zodiac Games
Reed Business Information/News MultiChannel 10/24/05
"Zodiac Gaming and its Zodiac Branded Gaming unit will develop and distribute ESPN-branded sports games for digital set-tops under terms of a deal announced Monday."

Law Restricts Sales to Minors
by Daniel Scmozak, Echo Online 10/21/05
"GameStop, Wal-Mart, Target and other stores that sell video games will have to start being extra careful. "

Feature: Gearing Up for Next-Gen: Cliff Bleszinski Chats About The Epic Future
Gamasutra 10/21/05
"In today's main Gamasutra feature, Brandon Sheffield sat down at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show to informally interview Epic Games' Gears Of War lead designer Cliff Bleszinski..."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

G4 TV to Air Special Report on Violence in Video Games

"G4 traces the evolution of violence in videogames and examines all sides of this hot-button issue in this one-hour special."

Video Game News, October 22, 2005

Video games: The next national pastime?
by Mike Hoban, Northwest Indiana Times 10/22/05
“'You’re spending way too much time playing those stupid video games. The last time I looked in the want ads, there weren’t many job openings for professional video game players!' - Sarcastic 1980s speech from exasperated parents of teens everywhere."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Video Game News, October 21, 2005

Giving video games a second chance at life: Online services hope game fans will want to play them again
by Mike Musgrove, The Washington Post 10/21/05
"It's a part of modern lore that the video-game industry makes more money than Hollywood —but, alas, it really is just lore."

Playing video games all day can be hard work
by David Sheets, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 10/21/2005
"The typical office workspace is about five feet wide. Christopher Baynes’ workspace is about five inches long."

The Art and Craft of Game Writing - 1st Annual Game Writers Conference
by nForcer, NFHQ 10/20/05
"Does story matter in video games?"

Video Games Are Not the Devil
by Ryan Briomser, it! 10/20/05
"Jack Thompson has become a household name for anyone who follows news in the video game world."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Video Game News, October 19, 2005

Schwarzenegger, henchman respond to gaming lawsuit: Protect kids from violence, says musclebound star of violent movies
by Marc McEntegart, The Inquirer 10/19/05
"Leeland Lee, author and sponsor of the California bill which prohibits the sale of violent games to minors has responded to the lawsuit against the bill."

Kids and parents alike enjoy video and online games

by Debra Mayeux, AP 10/19/05
"Benjamin Vought, 17, of Durango, Colo., spends three hours a week in a magical land, where he strategically plans wars and battles mystical creatures."

Futureplay Announces ame Exhibition and Competition Results
10/15/05
"The FuturePlay Game Exhibition and Competition was held Friday, October 14 during a lively wine & cheese reception sponsored by Ageia Technologies. The event allowed academic, independent, experimental, and student developers to gain recognition for their game-related work in a peer-reviewed setting."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"The Escapist, Issue 15: Gamers Get Game" Now Available

Games aren't just for geeks anymore - now the cool kids are playing too. This week's issue of The Escapist magazine finds connections between gaming and hip hop culture. Thomas Wilburn examines influences and partnerships with icons such as Snoop Dog to determine if the portrayal of gang life in games is accurate, and finding games, mostly made by white developers, lacking; Jonathan Hayter introduces The Matrix Online as a cutural berakthrough that brought together hip hop culture in a MMORPG; Pat Miller investigates crossovers usch as nerdcore rap and rap games; and Whitney Butts argues that hip hop has been the most successful at closing the gap between gaming and music, giving props to Wu-Tang clan for their 1999 game debut Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style. Read it online at http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/15

Video Games News, October 18, 2005

Group Sues Californor Over Minor Video Game Ban
Reuters 10/08/05
"Two industry trade groups sued the state of California on Monday after the state passed a law barring the sale of violent video games to minors."


International Game Developer's Association Releases Game Developer's Demographics Report
IGDA 10/18/05
The first of its kind, "Game Developer Demographics: An Exploration of Workforce Diversity" answers the question, “who makes games?” by examining the demographic makeup of the development community."

McDonalds to Offer Free Wifi For Video Games

by David Sheets, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 10/08/05
"Soon, McDonald's restaurants will have much more than burgers, shakes and fries on the menu; they’ll serve up wireless video games, too."

Still Further Proof that Jack Johnson is a raving loon

Why are you here, when it's Tuesday? Penny Arcade posted new cartoon. And you can check out the latest on the Jack Johnson/Penny Arcade thing. Apparently, the man hates gamers, as well as violent games.

Gabe & Tycho are my new heros.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Video Game News, October 15, 2005

Video Games Out, Education Is In
by Daniel Altman, New York Times 10/15/05
"Video games on flights were a novelty when airlines like Virgin Atlantic introduced them about a decade ago, perhaps to distract passengers from the fact that their knees were pushing up against each others' backs."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Video Game News, October 14, 2005

EA, Spielberg to Develop Three New Video Games
by Lisa Baertlein, Reuters 10/14/05
"Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg and Electronic Arts Inc., the world's biggest video game publisher, said on Friday they are teaming up to develop three original video games."

GameBuzz Podcast: Getting More Women to Play Video Games:
by Mike Fuchs, News and Record 10/14/05
"Microsoft's promotion efforts include trying to get more women interested in its next-generation console, the Xbox 360. A bright idea or not worth the effort? Listen to find out."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Video Game News, October 12, 2005

No new news. Just more about California crackin' down on sale of games to minors, and Michigan State U's 13 person study that shows "there is a causal link between playing the first-person shooting game in our experiment and brain-activity patterns that are considered as characteristic for aggressive cognitions and affects," in males of a certain age.

So, I give you instead a LINK! to an online history of video games site: http://www.worldhistory.com/wiki/T/Timeline-of-video-games.htm

Further Proof Jack Thompson is a Raving Loon

Everyone that plays video games knows the name Jack Thompson. Mr. Thompson has raised a new ruckus in his fight against the "murder simulators" that the rest of us know as video games. Thompson has pledged to donate $10,000 to the favorite charity of Paul Eibeler, CEO of Take Two Interactive, if any game company accepts Thompson's proposal for a new game.

Thompson's proposal is as follows:

"Osaki Kim is the father of a high school boy beaten to death with a baseball bat by a 14-year-old gamer. The killer obsessively played a violent video game in which one of the favored ways of killing is with a bat. The opening scene, before the interactive game play begins, is the Los Angeles courtroom in which the killer is sentenced "only" to life in prison after the judge and the jury have heard experts explain the connection between the game and the murder.

Osaki Kim (O.K.) exits the courtroom swearing revenge upon the video game industry whom he is convinced contributed to his son's murder. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay" he says. And boy, is O.K. not kidding.

O.K. is provided in his virtual reality playpen a panoply of weapons: machetes, Uzis, revolvers, shotguns, sniper rifles, Molotov cocktails, you name it. Even baseball bats. Especially baseball bats.

O.K. first hops a plane from LAX to New York to reach the Long Island home of the CEO of the company (Take This) that made the murder simulator on which his son's killer trained. O.K. gets "justice" by taking out this female CEO, whose name is Paula Eibel, along with her husband and kids. "An eye for an eye," says O.K., as he urinates onto the severed brain stems of the Eibel family victims, just as you do on the decapitated cops in the real video game Postal2.

O.K. then works his way, methodically back to LA by car, but on his way makes a stop at the Philadelphia law firm of Blank, Stare and goes floor by floor to wipe out the lawyers who protect Take This in its wrongful death law suits. "So sue me" O.K. spits, with singer Jackson Brown's 1980's hit Lawyers in Love blaring.

With the FBI now after him, O.K. keeps moving westward, shooting up high-tech video arcades called GameWerks. "Game over," O.K. laughs.

Of course, O.K. makes the obligatory runs to virtual versions of brick and mortar retailers Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, and Wal-Mart to steal supplies and bludgeon store managers and cash register clerks. "You should have checked kids' IDs!"

O.K. pushes on to Los Angeles. He must get there by May 10, 2006. That is the beginning of "E3" -- the Electronic Entertainment Expo -- the Super Bowl of the video game industry. O.K. must get to E3 to massacre all the video game industry execs with one final, monstrously delicious rampage."

It's possible all of this is hot air in retaliation to Rockstar Games' (a subsidary of Take Two) parody of Jack Thompson's rants on the website for Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

It gets weirder when Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik emailed Thompson to inform him that their Child's Play charity received over half a million dollars in donations of cash and games from gamers around the world last December. Thompson replied back by calling Krahulik, screaming at him for several minutes and telling him that he would "regret it".

I don't think many people would view gamers as the violent ones in this increasingly strange tale.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"The Escapist, Issue 14: The Firm" Now Available

This week's issue of The Escapist focuses on EA Games. All Hail Electronic Arts! Allen Varnay reveals the history of Origins and EA's acquisition of Origins; Jason Smith explains how EA created the modern gaming industry from packaging to game designer credits to bringing in experts to assist designers; JR Sutich romaticizes his long term relationship with his favorite video game company, and Mark Wallace cleverly compares video game productions to classic films. Check it out at http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/14

Video Game News, October 11, 2005

Press Release: Violent video games lead to brain activity characteristic of aggression, MSU researcher shows
Michigan State University 10/11/05
"A Michigan State University researcher and his colleagues have shown that playing violent video games leads to brain activity pattern that may be characteristic for aggressive thoughts."

Video Games More Than Simple Fun: A nationally known researcher on computer gaming and its relationship to children's learning dispels myths about electronic games
by Jonathan Pillow, Collegiate Times 10/11/05
"To many members of Generation X, computer and console gaming is a mysterious concept associated with violence, social isolation and other negative influences on today’s youth."

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Video Game News, October 8, 2005

Press Release: California Prohibits Sale of UltraViolent Video Games to Kids: Schwarzenegger Signs Yee’s Bill to Protect Children from Harmful Video Games
California State Assembly 10/7/05
"Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) today signed legislation authored by Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/Daly City) to prohibit the sale of extremely violent video games to children, making the nation’s most populous state and home to the $31 billion video game industry, the latest to pass such a bill."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Video Game News, October 7, 2005

Debate Flares Anew Over Violence in Video Games: State lawmakers try to regulate the sale of some titles, but the industry contends such efforts amount to censorship.
by Alex Pham, LA Times 10/5/05
"As the video game industry gears up to release a new generation of consoles that allow even sharper graphics and more realistic action, lawmakers nationwide are considering bans on the sale or rental of violent titles to minors."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Escapist, Issue 13: Why Haven't They Made This?

This week's issue of The Escapist presents a look at good ideas whose time has come. Kris Naudus introduces the concept of an American Girls Doll video game that would make for interactive history; Allen Varney wants to know where a game about the space race and moon colonization is (Maxis dropped it); John Tynes attacks sequelization of games that is nothing more than "features creep;" and Joe Blancato wishes for a massive version of Uplink. Read it online at http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/13

Video Game News: October 6, 2005

'Virtual' Virus Sheds Light on Real-World Behavior
by Laura Sydell, All Things Considered (NPR Audio File)
"A recent outbreak of a "plague" in a popular online game has scientists considering how the virtual world may provide clues to what people would do in real-world pandemics. In the role-playing game World of Warcraft, a "corrupted blood" spell killed characters and affected players in unexpected ways."

More on this story can be found at Slashdot

Nintendo outlines American Wi-Fi plans
by John Scalzo, Gaming Target 10/6/05
"A day after unveiling some big DS news in a Japanese press conferece, Nintendo has revealed how that new information will affect us in the States."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Video Game News , October 4, 2005

Handheld Video Games for Multiple Players Find Ways into Kid's Backpacks
by Levi Buchanan, Chicago Tribune 10/3/05
"Rejoining the school landscape usually spells less time for video games -- unless you've cleverly convinced Mom and Dad that throwing the perfect touchdown pass in "Madden NFL" is a good way to study geometry and Newton's laws of action and reaction."

Georgia Aims for New Games: Web pioneer dreams of making state center for video game development

by Justin Rubner, Atlanta Business Chronicle 10/2/05
"Some government and business leaders are banking that Georgia could become a major player in the $9.9 billion U.S. video game industry."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Super Mario Brothers Teaches Physics

Adorable and educational. I didn't know NewGrounds hosted content of redeeming quality.

Video Game News, October 3, 2005

The People VS Common Sense
by jkdove, GamerGod.com 10/3/05
"It is illogical that video games would be treated more harshly than R-rated movies or music CDs with parental warning labels, both of which can be legally viewed and sold to minors. How can you treat a video game based on James Bond any different than a book or movie based on the same subject matter?"

Strategy First lets gamers try before they buy
by Brendan Sinclair, GameSpot 10/3/05
"Strategy First Games is embracing a try-before-you-buy model of publishing, as the company today announced that more than 20 of its PC games are available for free trial downloads through its official Web site."

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Video Game News, October 2, 2005

Best Buy Testing Sales of Used Video Games
Reuters 9/30/05
"Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. has begun testing the sale of used video games in a handful of its stores, Piper Jaffray analyst Anthony Gikas said in a client note on Friday."

Can Netflix Model Work With Video Games?
by Julie Tamaki, Los Angeles Times 10/1/05
"Sean Spector was sitting in his darkened bedroom at 2 a.m., engrossed in a marathon session on the video game "Halo," when he caught an entrepreneurial opportunity in his cross hairs: Why not do for gaming what Netflix had done for movies?"

New Video Games Mimic User's Moves and Boast Sharper Images
by Kensuke Nonami, The Asahi Shimbun 10/1/05
"At the Tokyo Game Show 2005, which closed on Sept. 18, major video-game developer Nintendo Co. released its next-generation remote-control device, which allows its operators' physical position to influence what they see on screen."

Hollywood's Bad Influence
by William Vitka, CBS 9/30/05
"GameSpot Senior Editor Jeff Gerstmann shares his woes and warnings with GameCore. "

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Video Game News, October 1, 2005

Big News - My proposal for a book on video gaming in libraries was approved! Woo-hoo! So if you are interested in showcasing your idea, collection or program, send me an email.

AND I can now play most songs in DDR Ultramix on the Standard setting. Yeah baby!

I realize that what you are all really waiting for is the video game news from around the world, not from my personal list. I would post some right now, but I am leaving in 10 minutes to go see Serenity. Next update on Monday. I really do try to get here six days a week to do it, and thanks to John for beating me to the punch last week.