From out of the heavens this week, EA reigned down the announcement that they will discontinue their practice of online passes. For those not privy to how the “passes” work(ed), a customer who bought a second hand or used game had to purchase an additional, separate pass to access the game’s online features (which usually cost around 10 bucks). If you buy the game new, the “online pass” could be activated with a code included with the game.
The measure allowed the publisher to pocket some coin on the sale of a used game; while EA is largely credited with beginning the practice, it has since been adopted by publishers Activision and Ubisoft. However, EA, in impeccable corporate speak, said the practice is donezo: Continue reading “What EA Getting Rid of Online Passes Tells Us About The Games Industry (And Gamers)” »
It’s a Wednesday evening. You’ve just gotten off work at the restaurant or the video store or the office or some wacky combination of all three.
You kick off your feet, which have by now become extensions of your body, pop open a carbonated beverage and turn on whatever console or PC of your choosing. You begin.
After a beat, from out of the shadows lurks a figure. A familiar body comes into the light signaling that it is not a crook or a robber, but in fact is the woman that you live with, or for all intents and purposes, might as well. Even more light reveals something revealing — she wears a thin outfit and a large smile.
“Hi,” she says.
“Pause” your game screen flashes.
Your head asks you what you’d prefer, while the rest of your body made up its mind the moment you woke up, this morning. Continue reading “You’re Focused Intently on Your Video Game, When Your Naked Girlfriend Comes In and This Happens…” »
Translation (from Latin to English): Urine Tax.
In first century A.D., The Roman Emperor Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus sought to raise revenues for his government and subsequently put more gold into his, um, toga. So, naturally, he taxed his constituents’ urine. In the Roman days, urine wasn’t merely flushed away to be forgotten, it was sometimes used as a “chemical” to help clean clothes.
As history tells us, Vespasianus’ son Titus apparently opined to his father that the practice was dirty and shameful. As a response, Vespasianus held up a gold coin for his son to see and asked him “sciscitans num odor offenderetur” (are you offended by this smell?). Continue reading “Joe Biden’s “Violent Video Game Tax” Smells A Lot Like Old Urine” »
California State Senator Leland Yee is no stranger to getting himself in front of the spotlight, be it for vociferously coming down on violent video games or for his wife’s tendency to crash their government funded automobile.
Yee’s latest act is to spearhead efforts regulating 3D printers, particularly the ability to “print” plastic guns.
“We must be proactive in seeking solutions to this new threat rather than wait for the inevitable tragedies this will make possible,” Yee said in a press release.
What Yee is referring to is the viral video of a Texas man successfully firing a plastic gun he manufactured using a 3D printer. The uploader, Cody Wilson, then put the design/manual of how to create the gun on the web for 100,000 of his closest friends to download (until the Feds took it down). Continue reading “Remember The Guy Who Wanted To Ban Violent Video Games? He’s Now Going After Printers” »
Earlier this week, a film meant to highlight the “abuse suffered by female gamers and women in the industry” was successfully funded. The film is titled GTFO: A Film About Women and Gaming and is being directed by Shannon Sun-Higginson (below), a women who doesn’t game but does want to point out that men continue to verbally abuse women in the gaming world.
“I wanted to tell people like myself, outsiders who aren’t aware of this about this problem… I heard about it and I have always cared about womens’ and feminist issues, and I didn’t realise this was happening under everybody’s nose.”
Good on her for doing something men seemingly haven’t been able to do — take a stand. I applaud the effort, but why does a filmmaker, who admittedly doesn’t even game, have to make a documentary in order to correct an issue men are causing in the gaming world?
Why is the onus on a female to point out that a group of men, albeit a minority (whatever that means) are calling women sluts and altogether making it uncomfortable for them to play video games?
The fact that Higginson, and other women before her, have to take the initiative to deal with this issue speaks to a bigger problem.
Men aren’t fucking holding other men in check.
There are countless websites of Continue reading “My Problem With The Latest Documentary On Sexism and The Gaming Industry” »
It’s not when a proven hollywood producer turns to kickstarter to fund one of his movies.
Or when some nincompoop tries to pitch you the idea of attaching your cell phone to a hat as an option for hands free gaming (no words).
No. It’s when Donald Trump starts his own crowdfunding site – that’s when we really know we’re screwed. Continue reading “Donald Trump Begins His Own “Kickstarter Website”, The End is Officially Nigh” »
“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
You can thank Edgar Allen Poe for that quote and for subsequently bringing down the house. But I thought it was fitting, given that for this feature I’d like to focus on the notion of addiction, particularly in regards to video games.
There are a slew of medical professionals working their tails off trying to determine whether video games can cause a disorder more addictive than smoking, alcohol, or gambling. So far, they’ve come up snake eyes — there is simply not enough “sufficient” evidence to determine whether video game overuse is an addiction. Continue reading “How Video Games Helped Me Overcome Video Game Addiction” »
I have to say I was pretty excited when I heard that their was a team working on re-imagining the original Road Rash franchise. After all, Road Rash was one of the most iconic games of the late 90′s, and before the likes of sandbox games GTA, Sleeping Dogs, etc. brought vehicular combat to motorcycle games in a way that had never been seen before.
Now the team at DarkSeas Games has the ambitious task of bringing this project to life, and with merely days to go, is nearing it’s $160,000 goal.
EA (the original developer of the game) spoke in 2011 about rebooting the franchise, saying that “we can’t just put them on new tech with the same gameplay from ten years ago, we’ve got to have something new.” The original Road Rash creator also said he was “ready” to make a new Road Rash on Reddit earlier this year. While he’s not part of the DarkSeas team, he did say he want the project to “get funded” and that he “wanted to play it.”
Based on the kickstarter page, Road Redemption will offer new weapons, a combat system that includes counters and parries, and a number of multiplayer missions.
We had a moment to ask the DarkSeas team a few more in-depth questions in regards to how they plan on bringing Road Rage to life in “Road Redemption.” Continue reading “How “Road Rage Redemption” Plans To Bring “Road Rage” Back To Life” »
In 1973, a man named Bob Jamison put together a computer program aimed at teaching kids economics and the basics of building your own business. The game was called Lemonade Stand, and is widely regarded as one of the first educational video games.
Less than a decade later, Math Blaster landed on computers, allowing kids to control a spaceship while learning basic to advanced math skills. Oregon Trail and Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego were also born, as was the genre of educational video games.
Fast forward to 2013, where the earliest iteration of video games maintain their nostalgia, but have given way to a new breed of educational gaming systems with ambitions beyond being “fun breaks” in the curriculum.
The so-called “Godfather of video games”, Nolan Bushnell (whose company Atari was created around the same time as “Lemonade Stand) has begun his own endeavor to turn video games into a vital educational tool with his new company BrainRush. Another company, Qwizdom, has been in the business of using video games and interactive technology to enhance learning in the classroom for years. Continue reading “From The Inner City To Private Schools, How Video Games Can Help Solve U.S. Educational Problems” »
It was a good year to be Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in 2012 (at least if you’re into money and stuff). It was released this week that Kotick will pocket $64.9 million for his efforts at the game company responsible for Call of Duty (and that owns) Diablo, WoW and Starcraft.
Kotick is often painted as the Monty Burns of the video game industry, not in that he was once shot by a baby with a pacifier, rather that he seems to care about nothing else other than money. There is something of a kicker to all of this, the payments for Kotick are laid out over five years and are tied to certain goals for company performance (my guess is at least one live action COD trailer a year).
This would put Kotick just behind Oracle CEO Larry Ellison ($96 million) as one of the highest paid CEO’s in the United States, let alone the game industry. Continue reading “How Much Money Do Video Game Executives Make? You Don’t Want to Know” »
A research team at the University of Missouri found that indivudals with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) were more drawn to screen based media like gaming and TV, and thus could be more inclined to develop ”addictive patterns to video games.”
“We found that children with ASD spent much more time playing video games than typically developing children, and they are much more likely to develop problematic or addictive patterns of video game play.”
Several media outlets decided to run with their own headlines, claiming that the report not only indicated a pre-occupation with video games but “compulsive behavior”, however there still is no direct correlation between being “drawn to screen based media” and developing “addictive patterns of gameplay”. I decided to go one step further and see if there was any empirical evidence to support the link between autism (which is diagnosed in roughly 5 out of every 1,000 kids in the U.S.) and excessive video game playing. Continue reading “New Study Links Autism with “Video Game Addiction”, Here’s What We Need To Keep In Mind” »
“The true mission of the violin is to imitate the accents of the human voice, a noble mission that has earned for the violin the glory of being called the king of instruments” - Charles-Auguste de Beriot
There are some who believe that the violin is the most difficult instrument to play; move your finger a centimeter off the mark and you’re playing an entirely different note. Bend your elbow too much (or not enough) and the bow will slide off the strings and give nails on a chalkboard a run for its money.
But it’s more than the degree of difficulty that draws people to the violin: the violin continues to be a literal bridge between music and so many art forms that inspire our decisions and provide us an escape.
In the video game community, the violin has added longevity and helped us to re-imagine our favorite gaming moments. Taylor Davis (YouTube: ViolinTay) has channeled her passion and love for video games into the violin, to the tune of 23 million views and 160,000 subscribers.
I found out in our my INTERVIEW with Taylor that she started playing the violin in elementary school and assumed it would just be something to keep in her life as an escape or hobby as she pursued a possible business career. But the ability to connect video games with the violin has allowed her to become a full-time musician, a person who doesn’t always need a controller to enjoy gaming.
Naturally I had a number of questions to ask her — here’s our EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Taylor Davis: Continue reading “How Taylor Davis’ Violin Is Capturing The Gaming World” »
There are some who believe tere is nothing that can be done about bullying – perhaps because until the internet and/or movies, they didn’t know exactly how bad of a problem bullying was? Or perhaps for whatever reason, they just didn’t want to take on the issue?
The good news is that a recently published book by author Emily Bazelon has given us an extensive look at the complications of dealing with bullies, and even more importantly, SOLUTIONS on how to solve the issue. The book is called Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Re-Discovering the Power of Character and Empathy. I stumbled onto the book not long after seeing clips from the film “Bully”, where I was left staring at a blank screen long after the film’s credits had wrapped, recalling the times I’d been made fun of in the past. Continue reading “If You Suffer From Bullying and Are Looking For Help, You Should Read This Book” »
A customer was offered a full refund for his copy of Bioshock Infinite this week, after the man claimed he was unable to play it due to a conflict with his religious beliefs. The gentleman stated:
“As baptism of the Holy spirit is at the center of Christianity–of which I am a devout believer–I am basically being forced to make a choice between committing extreme blasphemy by my actions in choosing to accept this ‘choice’ or forced to quit playing the game before it even really starts.”
Steam (Valve), the site where the customer purchased the PC copy of the title, granted his request.
For those not privy, the “baptism” occurs at the beginning of Bioshock Infinite, where the character the player is controlling, Booker DeWitt, has his head dunked into water and accepts his baptism. The player has no choice but to choose to be baptized, as we later find out, this is a central element to the storyline of the game. Continue reading “When Should Gamers Be Entitled To a Refund On Their Video Game?” »
Believe it or not, EA’s iconic Madden franchise will turn 25 this year, commemorated in the “2014″ version of the game being dubbed Madden 25. But the NCAA Football franchise continues to be a staple all of its own, becoming more than a primer for the Madden Franchise and delivering a unique experience that only the college game can encapsulate. EA’s NCAA football franchise was technically founded in 1994, although it adopted its current “NCAA Football” moniker in 1998 (originally it was “Bill Walsh Football” until it was in the grasp of EA Tiburon).
This week, fans received a look at the presentation of the game, which includes 500 new sequences running in between plays, chatter from players on the defensive side of the ball to help you feel like you’re even more involved in the game (if it’s in the game…), and a half-time show to make you feel even more like a rock-star.
Fans also got a look at the revamped gameplay of NCAA Football 2014 earlier this month, one that utilizes the same Infinity 2 Engine that Madden 13 broke in last year. With an increasing number of NFL fans starting to peak in on Saturday football and networks like ESPN/ABC recently spending over $5 billion to broadcast games, the pressure is on EA and gameplay designer Larry Richart to deliver a game that matches the rise of college football’s popularity. Continue reading “EA Sports Is Taking Some Huge Steps Forward With NCAA Football 2014” »
Should you go to game design school? Is game design school really necessary to acquiring a job in the video game industry? These are questions a number of our fans have asked us in the past, and given the increased popularity of video games, they certainly are viable. We sought to answer these questions, asking a Master’s student at The University of Southern California’s Interactive Media Division, which many believe is the premier school for interactive and video game design in the country. We also consulted a professor of video game design at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media, also widely regarded as one of the nation’s top “video game design schools.” They provided the following answers below and a perspective to whether video game design school may be right for you.
Evan Sforza is a master’s student going on his 3rd year at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, even though he began his undergraduate studies in pre-med. He says, “…when I had started college, it wasn’t apparent that working in games was even possible. But, I’d always loved Bungie’s Halo, and still do, and one day I had actually decided to check Bungie’s job section on their website.” Continue reading “Is Video Game Design School Right For You?” »
Most people on Twitch know Angel Hamilton by his handle, zilianOP. He loved to stream games from his wheelchair, and has reportedly taken donations from those who assumed he was a disabled streaming what he loved.
This was until he decided to stand up and get out of his wheelchair, mid-stream, something many of his donors/supporters were under the assumption he was unable to do. It led to the creation of the Diablowned website, where it is reported zillianOP was able to raise over $20,000 to buy himself a new wheelchair and move across the country to be with his girlfriend.
Here’s a transcript of the (not-so-elaborate) cover up between zillianOP’s girlfriend and fans, after they saw zillianOP stand up and get out of his wheelchair: Continue reading “AbleGamers Respond to Gamer Faking Disability on Twitch” »
“Getting through a station in the metro is a test of survival, not just a test of your combat skills…Humanity is too blind to see where salvation lies.”
It is the year 2013 — if we were living in the world of Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, we would be in the heart of a nuclear holocaust. Glukhovsky’s international bestselling novel, Metro 2033, takes place 20 years after a nucelur explosion nearly wipes out humanity, and became the foundation for THQ’s FPS, Metro 2033.
Metro 2033′s atmosphere will remind some of Bioshock (and for the Ukrainian gamers) S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl and the horror will draw parallels to what Dead Space consistently delivers. With this, Metro 2033 still stood out on its own, (albeit with a few bugs). Its “karma based system” was the foundation for a game where every action, be it moral or physical, had consequences — looking at your compass meant putting your weapon down, which made you exposed to possible attack, and not cleaning the filter on your gas mask resulted in game over. Continue reading “Exclusive Interview: What Fans Can Expect From METRO: LAST LIGHT” »
After battling through snakes, scorpions, and four “giant” bosses, she beat the game. And then she said yes.
A redditor by the name of Marchaka posted this self reddit:
Marchaka says the game took him 164 hours to build for his girlfriend Michele, using the RPG game making software RPG Maker VX Ace. Marchaka says he knows some coding, but said it would have taken him years and “probably 18.5 cases of mountain dew code red” to build the game from scratch. He was kind enough to show us the ins and outs of the game and allow us to download the game here. Continue reading “Gamer Proposes to His Girlfriend…Using Final Fantasy Inspired Video Game” »
Battlefield 4 recently showed off 17 minutes of gameplay footage, but the reaction wasn’t that the campaign still looks like it’s trying to emulate Call of Duty, it’s that the multi-player may or may not have 64 vs. 64 (many people simply referred to the game’s single player as a “bonus”).
At GDC this past month, Gears of War Executive Producer Rod Ferguson did a talk on “designing compelling achievements”, the focus was on using achievements to unlock ideal behaviors and guide players through a game like its “cheese through a maze”. He also commented that Gears of War has a very good completion rate, around 48% of the players that pick up Gears finish the single player. Not bad number when you consider 25% of the people who bought Gears of War 3 never even touched the single player. Continue reading “Do Video Game Endings Even Matter, Anymore? Why Some Players Don’t Finish Games and What Developers Are Doing About It” »