What is your position on crowd funded games? (e.g., Kickstarter, Early Access on Steam)

Sony has it Right?!?!
Next-Gen is running an Op-Ed that Sony was smart to drop the hardware emulation in the European PS3. They estimate that the move will save Sony around $30 per unit. Given the high price of the PS3 and that they will not dominate this round of the console wars Sony needs to trim costs where they can and lower the price. Given that the backward compatibility was not so great to begin with the move isn't a huge loss.

I for one have only used the backwards compatibility on my 360 a few times and not within the last 12 months. I never played a single PSOne game in my PS2. Next-Gen believes that this is "a lot of noise made by a vocal minority."

Are they right? Is backward compatibility not so important? Have you used the feature in any of your existing consoles?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 27, 20078 comments
Where are the tournaments?
Gaming Junky reports on the upcoming major pro gaming events in 2007, both confirmed and unconfirmed. With the CPL only announcing one stop thus far and none by the WSVG, we were left to speculate on what events they might ultimately have planned. Despite their lack of information, '07 is shaping up to be a promising year for pro gaming and everyone involved. MLG kicks off it's pro circuit in Charlotte in April.

Would you attend one of these events? How about trying to qualify to compete?
Submitted by Diego Rosa (4) on Feb 27, 20072 comments
Here's Johnny
GameDaily is reporting that former President and COO, John Riccitiello, has rejoined EA as CEO. Riccitiello left the company in 2004 to found Elevation Partners with rocker Bono and other industry heavy weights. Elevation Partners most notable deal was the Pandemic/Bioware merger. Over a year ago EP pledged $300 million to the mega studio, yet it is still unclear whether the investment was foolhardy or revolutionary.

In addition to CEO, Riccitiello also lands a seat on the board of EA putting himself in an unassailable position at an unassailable publisher.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 27, 20070 comments
Who's story is it?
The Armchair Empire is starting a "starting a semi-regular feature discussing story telling in games". It's first installment covers the 1981 classic Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. Specifically, that the seminal RPG did not in fact have a story. Sure there was a back story about the land of Llylgamyn and that Trebor and Verdna were bitter enemies. However, the actual game consisted of, "find Verdna, kill the bastard, and take his amulet." The narrative, if you could call it that, unfolded in the players imagination.

"Those times truly felt like they were my adventure and my story, and I wasn’t simply an observer that was being allowed to watch the events unfold."

Procedurally generated games seems to be taking off. Does such a scripted story matter? What about relying on the player to create their own drama?

Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 26, 200744 comments
PAL PS3 Backwards Compatibility Crippled
SCEE seems to be trying to cut its manufacturing costs on the soon-to-be-released PAL PS3. Sony has removed some chips from European PS3 and reduced its PS2 Backwards Compatibility. The press release tries to put a bit of spin on this one.

"The European PS3 will feature the Cell Broadband Engine™, 60 GB hard disc drive, Blu-ray Disc player, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, SIXAXIS™ wireless controller. It also embodies a new combination of hardware and software emulation which will enable PS3 to be compatible with a broad range of original PlayStation® (PS) titles and a limited range of PlayStation®2 (PS2) titles."
How important is backward compatibility? No one knows which or how many games will be supported, but that word “limited” doesn't look very encouraging.
Submitted by Stratege (15341) on Feb 23, 20077 comments
Girls got Game
Jarod 'streetrunner' Reisin from GamingJunky.com has posted Part 1 in The History of Women in Pro Gaming. Pro gaming is big in Asia and ... well ... still a bit fringe in the US and Europe. Womens Pro Gaming is smaller still. Companies like MLG are working hard to bring the same sort of audience to Pro Gaming that fans in Asia have enjoyed for some time. What's it going to take? Should women be treated differently?
Submitted by Diego Rosa (4) on Feb 22, 200731 comments
Life after Doug
Outgoing ESA president Doug Lowenstein took some parting shots at the industry during his farewell speech at the D.I.C.E. summit this year. Our friends at Gamasutra asked its game developer readers, "Is Lowenstein Right?"

The ESA, or Entertainment Software Association, has come under fire recently. E3, its annual trade show, has been scaled down, some say canceled, due to spiraling exhibitor costs. Gamers pal and soon to be disbarred cuckoo, Jack Thompson, has called Lowenstein and the ESA, "hired thugs" and peddlers of filth and violence.

Lowenstein's three main criticisms.
  • Cut 'n Run Developers: “The publishers and developers who make controversial content and then cut and run when it comes time to defending their creative decisions."
  • No industry support for the Video Game Voters Network: "No matter how good we are, and we’re good, we can’t win the war without an army. And you’re the army. And most of the people in this room who have the most at stake are too lazy to join this army."
  • Criticism of the ESRB: "The next time you think about criticizing the ESRB, just remember, that part of what we do is central to your ability to create the products you want to create."
The developer community, for the most part, thinks that Doug was right on target.

"Not only is Doug Lowenstein right, he's damn right. His impassioned speech said so many things that needed to be said about the state of the industry and I agree with him 100%."

Is this just sour grapes? Or is there a lack of integrity and commitment on the part of the people and companies that make and publish games? Do you even care what the ESA and ESRB does? I for one decided to join VGVN after reading the speech. I mean we get PO'd when our elected ding dongs make silly legislation. Might as well put our money where our mouth is.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 22, 20073 comments
Yellow Consoles
Vintagecomputing is running an excellent detective story that tries to answer why consoles turn yellow and what you can do about it.

I ran into this recently; I'm restoring a PCjr for a friend of mine, and the only spare keyboard I had was yellow and dirty. I took it apart and put all the plastic pieces in the dishwasher (seriously) and, while it looks very clean, it is also still quite yellow. Read the article for some things you can try to fix old plastic, but beware: Most will actively dissolve the plastic!
Submitted by Trixter (8736) on Feb 22, 200712 comments
MobyGames invades the Game Developers Conference
OK ... maybe invade is a little too strong. We will be exhibiting at GDC March 4 - 9 in San Francisco. Trixter, Ron, Servo and I will be spreading the good word and giving away free junk. Stop by, say hi, buy us beer, whatever. To get a free MobyGames t-shirt just say the pass phrase, "there is monkey vomit on my shoes" to any one of us. We'll to see you there. FYI if your company happens to be throwing a lavish party I hear Trixter never turns down VIP passes.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 21, 200715 comments
No crunching in China?
Kotaku is running an interesting article covering Chris Pfeiffer and Max Garber, formerly of Insomniac, have decided to split and set up a new studio in China. The reason? Lifestyle.

"It isn't the days when Atari programmers were going catatonic at their desks, but people haven't been able to wrap their minds around the fact that individuals are internally self-throttled."

The new studio, Balanced Worlds, claims of offer developers just that, a balance between your life and work worlds. I am not sure why being based in China makes this any more possible than being in the US or France. Sure, the law states that no one may work more than 11 hours a day or have more than 36 hours of overtime a month. Of course the laws in China are creatively enforced provided one has the right friends.

Balanced Worlds plans on offering their employees three free meals a day, dry cleaning, car wash, grocery and maid service. This is possible due to the relatively low wages of some sectors in China. Given China's consistent economic growth how long can these low wages really last? While the perks are nice, it sounds very much like a studio where employees do not leave to go live their life.

There are a lot of complaints about crunching. Can you really get away from it by changing your environment or is it just an ugly aspect of game development? entertainment in general? Friends of mine in television and film ( one was the visual effect supervisor for the upcoming and highly anticipated Frank Miller adaptation 300, the other was a costume designer for CSI:New York ) often have work schedules as or more grueling than video game crunch time. This is balanced by relatively high salaries and copious time off. Is this crunch really such a problem?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 21, 200710 comments
Does your Doctor play Halo?
If you are going in for surgery let's hope he/she does. CNN is reporting on a recently completed study that surgeons with who had at some point played video games at least three hours a week performed precise laparoscopic surgery faster and with fewer errors compared to surgeons with no video game background.

"Out of 33 surgeons from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York that participated in the study, the nine doctors who had at some point played video games at least three hours per week made 37 percent fewer errors, performed 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better in the test of surgical skills than the 15 surgeons who had never played video games before."

Of course this is for a specific type of surgery that involves manipulating instruments through a small incision where the surgeon's movements are guided by watching a television screen. Hmmm. Also the study was rather small and thus prone to error. Of course 94% of adolescents play video games so this type of study is less likely to have an impact as a new generation of surgeons begin to practice.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 20, 20079 comments
Man eats taco, crashes car
Well not really, but just as news worthy. The Times is reporting that Christopher Hayden, 19, crashed his car while passing around a bend resulting in a fatality. Shortly before the crash Hayden had been playing Gran Turismo in his car while pulled over to the side of the road.

What would be just another of the tragic hundreds of thousands of auto related deaths a year became news worthy because of this very tenuous video game link. Strangely enough at the end of the article and completely unrelated to the story is a brief list of "Killer Games" including Carmageddon and Manhunt. Hayden cleared of causing death by dangerous driving was convicted of dangerous driving. Nowhere in the article does anyone of authority much less the reporter claim that the game had anything to do with the terrible accident.

The strongest quote from the judge was, "When I heard he had a monitor screen that would come up from the dashboard of the car whereby he could play on the PlayStation a game of that sort, it didn’t seem to me to be particularly desirable."

Why the list of Killer Games at the end of the article? Is there some connection I am missing? Or is this just another example of yellow journalism?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 16, 200712 comments
Looks like another case of 'Look at Me!' disease...
Kotaku has a story on a faux press release by the 'x-treme' developer Running With Scissors about how 'The Postal Dude' (from the Postal series of games) might be the father of the recently deceased Anne Nicole Smith's baby. This is blatantly another shameless attempt at marketing and is definitely one of the more extreme cases... but when is it too much? But hell, in this case, they aren't even promoting a game, just doing whatever they can to keep themselves in the limelight. While I wouldn't expect any less from these guys, it seems to me like this line of good taste. Is this going too far with trying to market yourself? Likewise, what do you think is the worst blatant case of shameless marketing for a game you've seen?
Submitted by Ronald Diemicke (1148) on Feb 15, 200731 comments
'Is there really any other kind of' Wars ?
Eurogamer is reporting that the next Game Informer is going to run a story on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, an episode III - IV bridge game that chronicles your life as Darth Vader's Jedi killing apprentice for the 360 and PS3. My reaction to this at first was 'cool' but then I thought about it and the Star Wars licence doesn't excite me like it once used to. It's a cool concept but how is this going to be really different then the jedi knight series ( other than by playing for the bad guys )? Furthermore, where is the Wii Star Wars lightsaber game?


What would they have to do to this Star Wars game to make it appeal to you ? Does anyone feel like the Star Wars franchise has been damaged by having so many games even if most range from being 'good' to 'great' ?
Submitted by Ronald Diemicke (1148) on Feb 14, 200723 comments
New Wii Channel
Kotaku is reporting that a new Wii Channel is live today. Just like the Internet Channel, you need to "buy" the new channel. Also like the Internet Channel the new channel costs 0 points. The klunky download interface is not the only perplexing thing about the new channel. For one there is the title, Everyone Votes. Second, what does it do?

"The concept is that you can vote on Nintendo approved questions with your registered Miis. To what end? That's unclear right now."

My guess is that this is the beginnings of a Web 2.0esque social feature in a game console. I've already used the Wii Internet Channel to watch Top Gear on YouTube. Why not Wii meets MySpace? Will this catch on? Would you use it?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 14, 20073 comments
Hardcore Gamers on the Decline?
arstechnica's gamer blog Opposable Thumbs has a thought provoking post speculating the downfall of the "Hard Core" gamer. The theory arises from Next-Gen's analysis of the 100 top selling games of 2005. Sports and licensed titles made up almost half of the top 100. This appears to be on the rise.

Gaming used to be on the fringe and it is increasingly more and more mainstream. Of course sales numbers are going to reflect much more pedestrian tastes of the population as a whole. I mean how else can you explain the popularity of NASCAR and Professional Wrestling. Heck, I love interactive fiction. Back in the day people who used and loved computers, were also the same sort of , dare I say, nerdy folks who loved reading.

Video Games have been out of the hands of the intellectual elite for many decades now. People love sports. People love movies. As gaming becomes more and more popular it is only natural that the sales figures reflect this. Instead of lamenting the fall and cursing our Madden ridden future, we should embrace this next generation of fun. Did I mention that I am a huge fan of WarioWare: Smooth Moves? Is the future really so bleak?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 13, 20078 comments
Considering a Game Rental Serivce?
I love Netflix. The turn around is often one day if you live in a big city and I have never had a problem with a DVD getting lost in the mail. We run some GameFly banners, though none of us have ever tried the service. For those of you considering a game rental service, 2old2play has finally posted the results from a survey of its readers.

Surprisingly, 27% of respondents complained of games getting lost when being returned to the service provider while 0% claimed that the sent game never reached them. With such a disparity it is hard to believe the post office is at fault. More likely there may be some operational problems at the service provider.

The greatest complaint ( 45% ) was that it was difficult to get new releases. One of the joy's of Netflix is its very deep catalog. I enjoy sprinkling into my queue classics that I have missed. Akira Kurosawa's early works and Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns always seem to pop up. However, Gamefly ( and others ) do not offer PSOne or Dreamcast games, much less anything from the 70s and 80s.

"With the rising cost of games many people are looking to these services to get some of the games that they want to play, but may not necessarily want to keep. The demand for new games versus old is lopsided making it hard to fill requests for new games, but easy to fill requests for old ones. This means that if you have a queue of 10 games with newer games on top priority and older games on low, you're more likely to get that older game regardless."

All that being said, given the fact that there are so many bad games out there. Even more with little or no replay value. Game Rental Services seem like an inexpensive way to sample a lot of games. Does anyone here subscribe to one? Are you pleased with the service? Should I sign up?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 13, 200715 comments
Move like a butterfly, Sting like a Wii
According to an interview that doghouseboxing.com did with EA Sports producer Michael Blank, it looks like EA is brining Fight Night to the Nintendo Wii. Personally, I love Wii boxing and its my second favorite Wii Sports game, only to Wii Tennis. However, I can't say I was totally surprised...Boxing just translates well onto the wii and Fight Night is one of the stronger franchises. Personally, I'm somewhat surprised that we haven't herd about an Eternal Darkness sequel on the Wii. Can anyone thinking of other major franchises that would do well on the Wii and why we might or might not see them?
Submitted by Ronald Diemicke (1148) on Feb 12, 20077 comments
Sony to bribe Playstation Network users with Blu-ray Casino Royale
According to this press release from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Sony will give a Blu-ray of the latest James Bond flick, Casino Royale, to the first 500,000 registered Playstation Network users. Since this is an SCEE thing I can only assume it is for Europe only. PS3s in the US came with Talladega Nights. I wonder if NASCAR humor translates across the pond? Is this an attempt at feeding local tastes? Will Europe even get 500K units? Given the luke warm reception over here, will people even buy them?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 12, 20075 comments
Hardware bugs
Long before we designed MobyGames, one of my hobbies was restoring old computer hardware; now that MobyGames is successful, it is still a useful skill to have in order to get very old computer games into the database. I read with a chuckle recently the trials of a fellow old computer hardware restorer, who found that, sometimes, there really are bugs in the hardware. The operative words for what you're looking at is the work of the Mud Dauber, getting comfortable inside an old disk drive.

The solution? Soak the entire thing in water for a week. And let dry, carefully, for a very long time :-)
Submitted by Trixter (8736) on Feb 09, 200712 comments
Guitar Hero for the Wii gets greenlit
Activision announced that among other games that will be crossing over to the Wii platform, Guitar Hero will also be making an appearance on the Wii. At this point they have mentioned no details concerning the port. Not even if it will be Guitar Hero II or the already planned Guitar Hero III.

In my opinion, Guitar Hero could go great on the Wii, and it especially emphasizes the possibilities with the Wiimote. At this point it can either go two ways: an attachment for the Wiimote, or using your nunchuck as air guitar. Honestly I think the latter would be much cooler and a more intuitive use of the Wiimote. It would be a lot faster, less cumbersome, and the air guitar impersonations would be pretty cool. But recently the Guitar Hero license switched hands, and delicate situation such as this might not go so well with the change in management.

Also, I while back many videos came out of Wii drum game, though I've found it to mainly go unnoticed. How interesting would it be if they bundled this with Guitar Hero. If they added a karaoke game into it, you'd have a single "Wii Garage Band" game. Quite possibly the nerdiest and coolest thing to come to the Wii. I would totally make a Wii garage band :-)
Submitted by Matt Neuteboom (941) on Feb 09, 20077 comments
And the laws just keep on coming
Yesterday, North Carolina Senator Julia Boseman proposed a video game bill designed to restrict the access of minors to violent video games. The bill, SB87, adds violent games to an existing statute which defines material harmful to minors. Similar to the recent Utah and Louisiana proposals, it seeks to define video game violence in the same terms used to restrict minors’ access to pornography. But what's especially irritating is that it applies to arcades as well as retail stores. So that red "Mild Violence" sticker on top of Mortal Kombat won't be enough any more; arcade games will actually get yanked if the bill passes.
Submitted by Trixter (8736) on Feb 09, 200741 comments
So many laws it is practically anarchy.
c|net along with a flurry of other news sources is reporting that New York State Senator, and in my opinion legislative ding-dong, Carl Krueger, has announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the use of electronic devices such as iPods, cell phones and PDAs while crossing major streets. No specific mention of handheld gaming, but I am sure it will be included.

"Joggers and bicyclists would have to limit their iPod use to city parks in which no street crossing would be involved."

I live in New York City. It is a chaotic, dangerous place. As crazy and as crowded as New York is there were only 31 pedestrian and 6 bicycle fatalities in Manhattan last year. Many of the safety laws go completely unenforced. It is illegal to talk on your cellphone without a hands-free device while driving. It is illegal for a pedestrian to cross in the middle of the block or against the light. However, millions do this and more with impunity each and every day.

What possibly could this law do? My guess is that it will be one more silly, trivial, unenforceable law further propelling us towards complete chaos.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 08, 200711 comments
MS giving away free stuff ... if you can figure it out.
Microsoft has announced it's first Xbox Rewards Challenge. Basically by earning achievements players may win Contra for XBL, a t-shirt, Microsoft points and even a copy of Fuzion Frenzy 2. Play Xbox and win some free crap. Sounds great.

You need to be a US resident, over the age of 13, have an Xbox Live account, a Windows Live account, the two accounts must be linked and you must register for the challenge. Now the confusing part, provided you have jumped through all those hoop you will be placed in a level depending on how many achievements you have earned in the last year. The between Feb 12 and April 12 you need to earn 1,500 Gamerscore points. Level 1 gets Contra for XBL and a crummy deodorant gamer picture ( soooo lame ). Level 3 gets that plus 200 Microsoft points, a deodorant t-shirt and Fuzion Frenzy 2.

I love my Xbox and I play it all the time so I will probably try to sign up even though I will be in the lowest level. Wish me luck.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 07, 20071 comments
It's the mouse, stupid!
Our friends at Gamasutra are running a great feature article theorizing that Nintendo is bringing back the Adventure Game genre. Games like Phoenix Wright and the upcoming Hotel Dusk on the DS are making the gaming pundits realize that the long thought for dead genre may have been only sleeping.

My personal theory is that the DS and the Wii have mouse like precision pointing and dragging. People like consoles. The numbers don't lie. People like playing in the living room. People like not having to worry if they have Direct Drone X400 drivers installed or if the game requires a Radia N800 XPro video card or better. Most importantly publishers like that it is more difficult to pirate/share/backup games on the consoles.

The d-pad/analog stick control scheme only really worked for certain types of games. Pointing, clicking, dragging were clumsy at best. With the DS and more recently the Wii developers can make games with mechanics that has been available for the PC for over 25 years. Better still developers can develop on a standard and secure platform.

It is my not-so-humble opinion that not only will we see Adventure games on the Wii, RTS style games will also have a very strong offering. Was the mouse the only thing that kept PC gaming alive? Is the Wii a PC killer in sheep's clothing, or just another chicken little claiming PC gaming is dead?
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 07, 200776 comments
Pigs get fed. Hogs get slaughtered.
The Globe and Mail is running a story on a first time, would be PS3 profiteer who ended up taking a bath. Actually he is trying to unload the units at or near retail price for a $1300 loss, so the bath is yet to come. The schmo had the chance to unload the units for at least $2,500 each.

"I just kept thinking, 'keep it until Christmas,' " he said. "And that was a mistake. A huge mistake."

While the story is a bit touching, I have little sympathy for scalpers. Sure the market is all messed up when supply cannot meet demand. However if you read the market wrong or wait too long because you are greedy ... well ... you get what you deserve. Sony seems to be a victim of its own hype. The uninformed snapped up all the available launch units while real gamers seemed to have stayed away. Now there are untold units lying around with no one playing them and most importantly for publishers no one buying games.

I will probably get a PS3 sooner or later. I just have to get a new TV or Sony will have to fix the up convert chip issue.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 06, 200729 comments
New publishing support for the n-gage!
The above headline isn't a joke... According to this Futurewatch blog, EA Mobile and Gameloft have pledged support for the "next generation of the N-Gage". Apparently, they aren't the only ones either, but we'll need to wait to GDC to find out who else jumped on this bandwagon. Supposedly by 2008, we'll see 'some of the biggest franchises and hottest mobile games included in the N-Gage experience." ... The N-Gage experience, eh? Would someone like to explain to me exactly what the N-Gage experience is right now as opposed to what it will be in a year?

Is there anyone out there who thinks the N-Gage has a snowballs chance in hell of actually making some headway ?
Submitted by Ronald Diemicke (1148) on Feb 05, 20073 comments
Experience Wii launch day ... every Sunday
arstechnica is reporting that each Sunday morning hopeful shoppers are lining up at local BestBuys, Circuit Citys and Wal-Marts.

"Eleven weekends later, the Wii is extremely hard to find, and a number of people are still willing to get up, get in line, and get really cold, all for a chance to buy it."

Nintendo claims they are shipping over 100,000 units a week. Apparently retailers are holding onto supplies and releasing it each Sunday. I can only speculate what the rational behind the simultaneous release each Sunday is all about. For those of you who do not yet have a Wii and want to get the mini launch experience head down to your local big box electronics retailer early Sunday morning. Let us know how it goes.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 05, 20073 comments
With enemies like these, who needs friends?
GamePolitics is reporting that Florida attorney and anti-video games firebrand, Jack Thompson, may be in hot water with the Florida Bar. JT is to face a disciplinary hearing and could possible be disbarred over his wacky antics during Strickland vs. Sony, a high-profile lawsuit he brought against several video game industry defendants in Alabama in February, 2005.

Thompson accused a fellow attorney of corruption and the Judge of being being in bed with "corporate criminal buddies' ie Sony and Take Two. Thompson goes on to send harassing emails to opposing counsel and Take Two CEO Paul Eibeler.

Thompson was asked by GamePolitics to comment on the impending hearing. JT never misses an opportunity to make friends.

"A referee is appointed and we have a trial. The Supreme Court reviews it later. The trial isn’t going to happen, however. I have sued The Bar in Circuit Court. It’s in far more trouble than I am."

Is his goose finally cooked? With someone so obviously nuts, what is all the hoopla about? It was only a matter of time before this man self-destructs.
Submitted by nullnullnull (1471) on Feb 04, 20077 comments
MobyGames gets literary competition?
A new book entitled, The Video Games Guide has been released.

Unlike others on the market the VGG covers the entire gamut of gaming from the earliest arcade classics to the present day. It is modelled very much on a film guide, with A to Z reviews section taking up most of the 550 pages. Around 2000 games are listed and there are some pretty thorough appendices too, including a chronology of computers and consoles and an appendix of the better-known game programmers / designers along with their work.

Of particular merit is the five-star gallery in the centre of the book which puts screenshots of all the 100+ five-star rated games into a visual timeline.

Reader reviews at amazon.co.uk are highly positive but US customers will have to pay an import premium. I plan to plod through it and find if it features any titles not yet on MG.
Submitted by Stephen Swain (2) on Feb 04, 200719 comments
Two contributors hit 50000
Martin Smith and Sciere, two of the most prolific MobyGames contributors in the last years, have almost simultaneously reached 50000 (fifty thousand) MobyGames contribution points.
Submitted by אולג 小奥 (168975) on Feb 03, 200710 comments
The history of computers -- in commercials
As someone who grew up through this era -- and was mostly defined by it -- I just had to pass along Grant Robertons's History of the Personal Computer in TV commercials. At least one of these commercials will take somebody here way back.

If you can read between the lines, what is most interesting is the focus of personal computing back then: Out-of-the-box experience and bundled software, and access to a wide software library, were touted before price and performance. It's easy to forget in today's world, where we can run operating systems and foreign hardware inside other operating systems and foreign hardware, what personal computing was like back then. There was very little interoperability.
Submitted by Trixter (8736) on Feb 02, 200716 comments
Rare founders quit video game industry
c|net is reporting that Tim and Chris Stamper have left Rare, the company they founded twenty years ago.

The Stamper brothers have been responsible for many gaming greats, both through Rare and prior to that Ultimate Play The Game. Their roll-call of titles include; Atic Atac, Cookie, Jetpac, Lunar Jetman, Pssst, Knight Lore, Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde, Alien 8, Donkey Kong Country, Blast Corps, GoldenEye, Banjo-Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark, StarFox Adventures, Kameo, and Viva Pinata.

A Microsoft statement says that the brothers have decided to leave Rare 'to pursue other opportunities'.
Submitted by Stephen Swain (2) on Feb 02, 20078 comments
Demoscene heroes move on to code games
Some people still recognize me from the demoscene and as the guy who made both MindCandy DVDs. So I was happy to see that there was a recent English translation of the 4players.de article talking about which demosceners have gone on to make (great) games.

Some of the names and products are no surprise, like Digital Illusions and their spot-on pinball games -- but did you know they are the people responsible for the Battlefield series as well? Check it out, and see what kind of life awaits you when you graduate from the demoscene.
Submitted by Trixter (8736) on Feb 02, 20078 comments
Series madness
Hot on the heels of the previous article by IGN regarding the evolution of the Final Fantasy series, they've written a much more expanded idea on the Castlevania series. It's extremely comprehensive... in fact, it's too comprehensive, and got me thinking: Which series has had the most sequels? Castlevania? Mega Man? Final Fantasy? King of Fighters?

More importantly, how much is too much? I think everyone would agree that Mega Man deserves to be fed into the wood chipper (a search for "Mega Man" on MobyGames turns up 80 games!), but what about the rest? How much before a series starts to get diluted instead of strengthened?
Submitted by Trixter (8736) on Feb 01, 200717 comments
Keeping Final Fantasy Straight
IGN recently published an article on the evolution of Final Fantasy games. Which I'm glad they did, since I could never make sense of the series. Final Fantasy games have jumped platforms, technologies, storylines, even jumped to the big screen and back, and to the casual observer, they all look completely different. The IGN article helps sort out the whole thing, and I can finally say I have an understanding of why the series is popular.

(Not FF cosplay, though. I think I'll always have a hard time understanding cosplay... The best I've been able to resolve that particular phenomenon is with the equation "cosplay = (nerds - inhibitions) + fetish" ;-)
Submitted by Trixter (8736) on Feb 01, 200728 comments