Are publishers burying the credits?
As much as I love games I find that I never have time to actually sit down and play all the games I want to. You would think that because I help out with MobyGames I would spend my entire day playing games. I wish. Between MobyGames, my job and grad school my plate is pretty full. However after getting back from GDC
I was pretty jazzed up about getting some gaming time in. I picked up The Outfit
and Burnout: Revenge
for Xbox 360. I really like them both. Yet when I started digging around for the credits for Burnout: Revenge I noticed EA
did not include it in the manual. Not only that, you have to unlock the credits by finishing the game. If you have played any of the games in the Burnout Series
you know how much time that takes. Is EA intentionally trying to make the credits hard to get?
More on Politics, Games and Violence
National Review Online
has posted a new piece regarding the Congressional hearings on videogame sex/violence. Mainstream media reports on video games tend to suggest that "Grand Theft Auto" and "25 To Life" are average titles in terms of violence and sexual content. But is that really the case? And are parents really so helpless when it comes to monitoring this stuff? Author Adam Thierer is skeptical... Read more...
GTA3 for the NES
I just discovered something interesting today. Someone called Brian Provinciano, a Canadian programmer, game designer, and fan of the Grand Theft Auto
series, is working on an unofficial Grand Theft Auto III
port for the NES, entitled Grand Theftendo
. Written in a 6502 Assembly Language called NESHLA
, Grand Theftendo
will be a chopped down version of GTA3 as it will feature only the "Portland" district of the game. "Staunton Island" and "Shoreside Vale" will not be available due to time constraints. More information about this port can be found here
Video Games combating `Lazy Eye` condition.
Amblyopia, more commonly known as 'lazy eye', this condition is thought to be helped by playing virtual reality video games. Researchers from Nottingham University, UK have found that employing this modern technological technique rather than the traditional static image re-training could reduce the time taken for effectiveness from 400 to 1 hour.
In one experiment, patients are made to play a racing game where their car is broad-casted into the amlyopic eye and the other cars are shown in the good eye. Obstacles on the track are sent alternatively to each eye.
Although the technique is as yet unproven, Dr Richard Eastgate from the university's Virtual Reality Applications Research Team (VRART) says that early results seem favorable, "We thought we'd develop a system that needed about 400 hours of treatment like patching. In the end we achieved the same effect in an hour."Read more...
Rare Interview of Ken Williams from Sierra On-Line
Adventure Classic Gaming
has posted an exclusive interview with Ken Williams
. Williams is the founder of Sierra On-Line
, the most successful game developer and publisher of adventure games and role-playing games in history. Since his retirement in 1998, he has kept a lower public profile. In this rare interview, Williams speaks about his past with Sierra On-Line, his trials and tribulations as a game developer and publisher, his life after retirement, his current projects, and what life holds for him in the near future, "From the beginning, I recognized that Sierra was in a different industry than most. We were selling creativity. Customers would forgive any sin as long as they were surprised and entertained. I had a rule in the early days of Sierra that if someone had worked for another company within the computer game business, we didn’t want them. It was important to me that we do things our way, and our way alone."Read more...
Ubisoft and Capcom to bring console game Resident Evil to the PC
Resident Evil 4
is making its way to PC. The game is due to be release by end of April 2006 and will published by Ubisoft
. The games developer said the PC version should provide better graphics using the power of modern 3D Cards. Additionally Ubisoft is planning to bring Devil May Cry 3
It is not yet been announced that this game is also likely protected with much talked about "Starforce" as previous games by Ubisoft uses the same protection method.Read more ...Ed note: What other console games would you like to see ported to Windows? Is the PC as a gaming platform dead?
GDC is history
We're back. This years GDC
was pretty cool. Brian, Rob and Tom went to the BioWare
party Thursday night. Brian and Tom somehow got on stage and banged out Smoke on the Water on Guitar Hero
in front of 500 screaming people. I had dinner with a good friend and then spent far too much time at the Fairmount bar. Friday we all went to Video Games Live
. We had backstage passes, but never did figure out who to talk to or what to do with them. VGL is a pretty cool concept and maybe not ready for mass, nationwide appeal yet. However stick it in the middle of 10,000 past, present and future game developers and you get one sold out show.
keynote was interesting not for what Satoru Iwata
said, but for what he didn't say. The Nintendo President barely said anything about the upcoming Revolution video game console. Instead the entire keynote was dedicated to the Nintendo DS
and two of its latest games, Metroid Prime: Hunters and Brain Age. The combination of a FPS, handheld with WiFi multiplayer and the analog control of a touch screen is definitely interesting. I haven't played Metroid Prime: Hunters so I will withhold judgment. However the average two handed console controller is crummy for FPS games in my opinion. Using an analog pointer for aiming seems ... well ... obvious. Could the Revolution with its TV remote control looking doohickey be the killer controller for FPS games? It would be a strange twist if the children friendly Nintendo became the platform of choice for violent shooters. At the end of the keynote Nintendo gave everyone in attendance a prerelease copy of Brain Age. At least we think it was a prerelease copy. The text in game seemed to hint that the version we got was a demo. However playing it extensively we couldn't find crippled or excluded features. We went and talked to a few of the Nintendo people and either they didn't know or gave us conflicting answers. Our best guess is that the game was a prerelease copy. Tom was the only one who actually brought his DS to the conference. All four of us spent a lot of effort fighting for control of the only DS we had to play Brain Age. Could this indicate maybe a hit?
Signature Devices Launches Graffiti Entertainment
Looks like Signature Devices is getting into the Publishing Side of the Game Business. The companies CEO, Ken Hurley, has taken the company from a private developer to a pink sheeted public traded company, and now the expansion into Publishing.
Ed note: Is there still room for an independent publisher these days?
New featured article on Asian RPGs
Nintendo's Virtual Console
So you have heard about Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Live. Now Nintendo is getting into the act by releasing its own version, Nintendo Revolution's Virtual Console, but not only will it support Nintendo systems. Partnered with Sega
and Hudson Soft
, it will also support games from the Sega Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata
, elaborated that not all games from these consoles will be playable, and considers the service the "gamer version of Apple’s iPod download service.”
Independent Game Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards
is back in San Jose this year and so is the Independent Game Festival
and the Game Developers Choice Awards
. There are a ton of video game awards from the obscure and a little weird National Academy of Video Game Testers & Reviewers Awards
to the Spike TV
Video Games Awards. The IGF and GDC awards is both enjoyable and probably the most legitimate award of excellence among all the various honors lavished on video games and game developers this time of year.Darwinia
nearly swept the IGF awards, taking away awards for Technical Excellence, Innovation in Visual Arts and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Shadow of the Colossus
dominated the GDC Awards getting an awards for Innovation, Visual Arts, Game Design and Best Game. My favorite Guitar Hero
picked up an award for Innovation and Best Audio. Guitar Heros developers, Harmonix
were honored with the Maverick Award.
The GDC awards is once again an enjoyable event. David Perry
and MobyGames friend and fan Tommy Tallarico
MC'd the event and Mega64
provided entertainment. David and Tommy did a wonderful job. Not only are these two guys well spoken and articulate, but the rapport they have together and the affection and love they have for games is obvious. So much better than last years nasty undertones and awful entertainment. The venue was also much better than last years ad hoc lay out. Well done to everyone involved and congrats to all the winners.
While we have been in San Jose for the Game Developers Conference
since Sunday, the conf did not really start until yesterday. We spent the first couple of days meeting with people and setting up the booth. Brian and I tried to force Tom to eat sushi for the first time to mixed results. Wednesday GDC really gets into full swing. We heard the Sony keynote which opened the major parts of the show yesterday.
Like any large corporate, Sony's keynote was polished and relatively devoid of new details. They laid out a rough road map for updates for the PSP. I have to say I love my PSP. Some of the updates in the works are interesting, if not entirely useful. There will be RSS support for audio. They will support flash in a new release of the browser. Sony will also be launching a GSM receiver and a camera for the PSP. The mockups of the external doohickeys look terrible. I hope in real life the actual accessories are not so hideous, but I am not overly optimistic.David Jaffe
demoed a no interactive movie of God of War II. The big surprise for me was SCEA is going to release God of War II on Playstation 2 and not Playstation 3. The spin Sony put on this was that there is a huge PS2 install base and there will be a long life for the platform even after the launch of PS3. Jaffe even joked that there was a technical limitation on PS3 that would prevent the God of War II three way sex scenes from properly rendering. One may read into this and think that Sony feels that the install base of the PS3 at or near launch will be too small to justify launching a AAA and obvious best selling title on the PS3 platform. It appears Sony is willing to take a short term windfall on sales for a game on a legacy system rather than juice demand even further for their new platform. This could also possibly signal even further delays and probably huge shortages.
Sony also released some details about what I am calling Playstation Live. Sony is creating an online network ala Xbox Live. There will be the usual features and functionality. Community features like messaging and buddies. There will be downloadable content. There will be purchasable content such as levels, skins, casual content through micro payments. Blah, blah, blah. Sony mentioned briefly and relatively glossed over support for in-game advertising. I personally feel this is going to be a major part of gaming in the future. Whether you like it or not more and more people are playing games instead of watching TV. This is not lost on advertisers and they desperately want to get their marketing message out there. A lot of very smart people are working on how to get advertising into games. I personally believe there won't be Coke machines in the dungeon, but rather we will soon see advertising in the hated load screen. What an interesting and modern time we live in.
Sony also mentioned that people will be able to connect their PSP to the PS3 and do useless and boring stuff. Nintendo couldn't get major interest or support in GBA-Gamecube integration I am pretty sure Sony will not do any better.
The rest of the day was spent exhibiting at our booth. We talked with a ton of great people. If you are attending GDC definitely stop by, say hi or drop us a line
. We would love to see you.
Mar 22, 2006
Submitted by YID YANG (162366)
Moby Games administrator, approver, and current Top Contributor Corn Popper
reaches a record of 50000 contribution points
. We are all speechless!
States push to limit the sale of violent video games
Delaware's The News Journal reports a story on a push to make it illegal to sell violent video games to minors in that state.News Journal article
Yet another state wanting to "ban" violent games is Louisiana.
There is an article in the Shreveport Times that talks about the bills 421 and 254 to ban violent games sales to minors.Shreveport Times article
XBox 360 Set for Oz Launch...
Mar 20, 2006
Submitted by Kartanym (10796)
Australians rejoice! The Xbox 360 hits Oz store shelves starting on 12.01AM this Thursday March 23rd, with a number of release titles and hopefully fewer shortages, if any at all, compared to the US launch some months ago.
Microsoft is holding a special midnight launch party for those lucky Sydneysiders. Head on down to the Pit Street Mall starting at 9PM on Wednesday. Further details can be found here
. Happy Gaming!
Looking Into The Past To Find The Future of The MMO
Computer gaming has been growing by leaps and bounds the past several years. Millions of people across the world are spending more and more time entertaining themselves with console and PC based games of all styles and genres. The fastest growing sector of this market, though, has been the Massively Multiplayer Online Roll Playing Games
(MMORPG). These MMORPG’s are huge interactive worlds where hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of people interact and work together or against eachother to achieve their goals. One very successful example is Blizzard
’s World of Warcraft
, the most successful MMO to date with over 6 million subscribers.
There isn’t a better place to find the paramount components of roleplay, than in our own history. The struggle to survive and overcome odds as people and communites band together can all be found in an upcoming MMORPG Frontier 1859, set in the American West.
(Article by Kevin Ducommun, read more
PlayStation 3 delayed to November release
Rumors were spreading earlier on this week that Sony has delayed their long anticipated next-gen console, the PlayStation 3, to a November 2006 release due to copy-protection problems with their new Blu-Ray disc format. If these rumors were true, this meant that the PlayStation 3 would launch almost exactly a year after the Xbox 360, and (of course) that console gamers would be highly disappointed of the delay. On March 14 at the PlayStation Business Briefing in Tokyo, Japan, Sony president Ken Kutagari officially announced that the rumors are true: The PS3 has been delayed to a November 2006 release. An exact date has not been specified yet.
Sony is deciding to use their new Blu-Ray disc technology in the long-running, ever-famous movement to stop piracy. The PS2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 use DVD discs to play their games, but Sony decided that they should change from the DVD format since DVDs are too easy to pirate. The PS3's Blu-Ray discs, on the other hand, are designed in a special way that should prevent pirates from copying PS3 games.
Kutagari also officially announced that the PS3 will have an online gaming service similar to Xbox Live, something that the PS2 lacked. The PS3 will also include a hard drive like the Xbox and Xbox 360. The hard drive is essential to run PS3 games, as it comes loaded with the Linux operating system which will be used to play PS3 games, connect to the Internet, and store saved games. (Hmmm...does that mean that you can play PS3 games on a PC loaded with Linux?) However, it has been undecided whether the hard drive will actually come preinstalled on the PS3. If not, that means that when you buy the PS3, you cannot play games on it until you also buy the hard drive. Let's hope that the hard drive will come preinstalled with the PS3.
Overall, in my opinion, the PS3 has gone through lots of technological advancements since it was originally announced, so many that I finally may say that the PS3 will actually be superior to the Xbox 360. (I've always preferred the Xbox over the PS2 and the Xbox 360 over the PS3). Although that final decision won't be made until the PlayStation 3 comes out, it's looking like it'll be an ideal platform for gaming.
Well this blows
I just got back yesterday. I have a tan and a little more jewelry. Everyone definitely had a lot of fun. Brian and I went jet skiing the day of the wedding. Has anyone ever heard of someone getting sea sick on a jet ski? We were almost late.
In other news we got the call we have been dreading for almost two years. XO
is closing the data center we use for MobyGames. We've been watching as more and more customers have been leaving the facility. Once a large online seller of event ticket ( who will remain nameless because they suck ) left we realized it was only a matter of time before some bean counter somewhere decided to pull the plug. We have thirty days to move to a new co-location facility. Unfortunately we have GDC
next week so we do not have a lot of time.
Speaking of which; If you are going to be at GDC definitely drop by, say hi. If you feel you would like a more formal meeting definitely contact us
and arrange a meeting. See you there!
Kart News: Ask Miyamoto...
Mar 12, 2006
Submitted by Kartanym (10796)
I'm sure there's many of you here at MobyG (I can call it that, right?) who are fans of the brain behind Mario and Donkey Kong. If not ... well, go back to your drinks, otherwise read on...Webchats.tv
have organised an online chat with Shigeru Miyamoto on Friday, 17th March at 8 PM CET. Right now you can login to that site and leave your questions, then check out the live chat and hope that he answers. Just make sure you have the latest version of Windows Media Player, otherwise you may miss out on all the fun.
Speaking of the king, Miyamoto will be awarded with a knighthood in the Order of Arts and Letters in Paris next monday. Michel Ancel (creator of Rayman) and Frederick Raynal (Alone in the Dark) will also be awarded the title.
Namco Bandai: PS3 Launch Window "Impossible" Target
Further to a report last month from analysts, publisher's president tells Bloomberg News that there is no way Sony's next-generation console is going to make its current release window.
"Without any announcements so far, the spring release is impossible," said Takeo Takasu, president of the game and toy giant Namco Bandai Holdings yesterday. "We are developing titles for PlayStation 3, but the release of the games depends on the timing of the hardware."
Original Story: GameSpot.com
Hardly news worthy
I cannot believe it is already starting. My wife to be gave me a list of things to do today. Is this what married life will be like? I picked up my stuff at the dry cleaners, got my shoes shined, grabbed some certified checks for various people that still need to get paid. In a couple of hours I pick Brian up at the airport. We have dinner with our lawyer tonight and early tomorrow morning we fly to Puerto Rico for the wedding.
The lawyer stuff is completely unrelated to the pending nuptials. We have some contract junk to go over and since Brian and I will be in the same place I feel it is an efficient use of our time. Plus we actually like our lawyer. He LOVES games and I think he likes working on MobyGames stuff so much better than the typical IP biotech work he normally does.
We will not be back for a little while. I am getting married in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Vieques is a tiny little island the Navy bombed up until a few years ago. It is such a nice place albeit a little rugged. If you get the chance I would definitely recommend visiting the island. For the time being Rob is minding the shop. Everyone play nice.
Kart News: Music to the ears...
Mar 07, 2006
Submitted by Kartanym (10796)
Something that may interest Mobygamers who love a good soundtrack: A new international concert series basing itself around the best musical scores of the video gaming industry will be hitting the streets in May.
PLAY! A Video Game Symphony will be presented in Chicago at the Rosemont Theater on Saturday, May 27, 2006, featuring a number of big name soundtracks including Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Halo. You can find out more via the following website
Kart wants to move to Chicago ... if only for a week.
In other news: Microsoft has entered its 5000th patent, a new record, in the US. The patent covers technology used in the Xbox 360 to allow users to log into the Xbox Live system and spectate other gamers as they play ... Rockstar's first Next Gen title isn't Grand Theft Auto, nor a violent or radical action title, not even Midnight Club. It's in fact Table Tennis, and is set for a May launch for Xbox 360 ... Kart ponders the possibility that players will be able to launch deadly attacks on opposing players if they miss the ball ...
E3 Exhibitor Space Sold Out
The super bowl of video game marketing mayhem that is E3
is claiming that they have sold out of exhibitor space. While that is great news for the Expo and the industry it is pretty crummy news for us. We were thinking of exhibiting at E3 this year. Usually we just attend, oogle at the stuff to see, chat with a few folks and eat those greasy hot dogs they sell outside the convention center. This year we were looking to partner with Video Game Collector
magazine and get a booth in Kentai hall. The organizers of E3 haven't gotten back to me and now I know why. They say if the Lakers do not make the playoffs they will open more space in the Staples Center. I am a bit of a Lakers fan so I am torn on this one.
Casual Game Evolution Challenge
is sponsoring a casual game development contest for java developers. They are giving out prizes including a trip for four to Costa Rica. Voting will be during the Game Developers Conference
March 20 - 24 in San Jose Ca. Check out the details here
. Good luck!
As if you needed another reason to drop AOL
So AOL is not backing down
from their plan
to charge for incoming email despite all the criticism
. Well we are not about to pay to have email delivered to AOL users for two reasons. First, we cannot afford to. Second, I find the idea disgusting. We use email to communicate with the contributors. Usually stuff like, "Hey, this got approved." or "Hey, this needs some work." If AOL wants to charge us to communicate with MobyGames Contributors, well my attitude is AOL can go F themselves. People can see their approval queue on the site so if AOL decides not to deliver MobyGames mail it shouldn't be a huge problem.
The real reason AOL wants to charge for delivering email is to get a piece of the spam action. Spam sucks. Everyone hates spam. Yet spam works because millions of morons buy carp or give their credit card number to some thief because they got some email. Now if I am a spammer and I pay AOL some dough AOL will stick a certified sticker on my email. If one extra person in a thousand buys my garbage and I make 10 bucks per sale. That means that the AOL sticker is worth 1 cent to me. If AOL charges 1/2 a cent per email I make extra profit and so does AOL. Everyone wins. Except of course all those customers getting spammed and probably that fool who bought the piece of garbage.
The real question I must ask is, "Who the hell has an AOL account these days?"
10 Reasons to buy a Nintendo Revolution
wrote a manifesto
of sorts on why he is going to buy a Nintendo Revolution and shun Sony and Microsoft. Check out our new feature article, 10 Reasons to buy a Nintendo Revolution
. I for one do not understand Nintendo. I cannot believe they launched the GBA without a backlight. When I saw the DS at E3 a couple of years ago I thought, "What a piece of carp!" Yet, here they are. Financially strong. Banging out great games. That's the thing. Gamers want great games. Sure we want a great system, but give us great games. Nintendo makes good games. It's the games stupid.
Kart News: DS 2?
Mar 01, 2006
Submitted by Kartanym (10796)
Gamespot recently discovered a patent filed by Nintendo with the US Patent Office last year which presents the notion of a dual-screen touch screen system with the ability to detect multiple pressure points on the touch screen. Where as Nintendo's DS system currently allows for only one point at any time (including dragging of the stylus across the screen), this would allow the user to complete two objectives at any one time, perhaps more then two.
Kart would like to predict a DS 2 on the back of this news, but it's hard to tell. Perhaps a simple upgrade is all it will be ...
Meanwhile, remember Acclaim? Well, they're back ... though in a different way, of course. Howard Marks and Ken Chan are behind the wheel, which will see Acclaim publish free to play online games, translations of Japanese titles previously published by NHN corp. For those in the know, Marks was also behind the rebuilding of Activision in the 90's.