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Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

CES 2008: Gaming gets Ugly but Thin is always in!

Posted on January 12th, 2008 in Games, Linux/Unix, Windows | No Comments »

 

Now I realize I’m not the target demographic for high end gaming systems, but is it a prerequisite that all of the fastest systems on the planet be enclosed in oversized hideous, demonic or blingified cases? Judging from Cooler Master and many other high end system builders the answer is still a responding – Yes!

 

While the gamers or going after the seriously “over-the-top” look others like upstarts LimePC and DMP are going green and thinking small and thin. One of DMP’s models is pictured below – bear in mind this fully functioning computer is about the same size as a couple of decks of playing cards.

 

DMP Small Form Factor

Lime PC is looking to offer compact form factor systems running a Debian based distro called, you guessed it, LimeOS. But interestingly they will feature not only a fully functioning PC (similar in size to DMPs pictured above) , but a couple of smaller touch screen based models, one a sub 2 pound tablet style system and the other an iPhone/iTouch size system. Lime does not expect to ship till later this year, but keep an eye on them for new systems looking to challenge the conventional PC marketplace.

US Military selects WOW for Combat Simulation

Posted on April 1st, 2007 in Business & Industry, Games | 1 Comment »

Sources at Blizzard confirmed today that the US Army would begin combat training operations inside World of Warcraft, effective immediately. “The Army needs to train its soldiers on how to handle complex tasks amid a chaotic atmosphere.  We can think of no environment more akin to the crisis in Iraq then a typical session of WOW”, said Blizzard company spokesmen at a joint press conference with Army and Air Force representatives Friday.

 

“It’s totally awesome”, Corporal I. M. Uber continued, “Before I was in the Army I would just lay around on the coach P0WNing N00bz in WOW – I had no idea that would qualify me to face random IEDs and the other horrors I’ll see every day in Iraq.”  Corporal Uber and his squad where among the first soldiers to spend time on the simulators at the Army’s new Cyber training center. While its location is top secret the center’s commander, Major Ed Leet, was enthusiastic about the new facility, “We are very encouraged! Not only is the WOW Combat simulator, helping prepare our troops, but its bringing in many new recruits as well.”    

     

But not everyone is as supportive of the new training curriculum. Anti-military/war groups were quick to condemn the new simulator. Ned Ludd, denounced the move as “a first step to creating cyber-soldiers addicted to direct neural stimulation”, though he later acknowledged he really had no idea how any of this “computer stuff” worked anyhow.

 

Anonymous protesters at a recent anti-war march lead by Cindy Sheehan, commented that all forms of violence should be ended whether they are simulations or not. But when pressed further, most had mixed feelings about the ethics of killing a level 80 Hoard Blood Elf.  The Elf Defamation League had no comment on the matter, but did state it was keeping all legal options open, and would continue to monitor for Elven rights violations.

 

When pressed for a response to the critics, Major Leet emphatically defended the program, “We are simply using the best tools that are available to us.” As a veteran of Vietnam, Leet’s seen his share of horrors in combat. He added, ”I’ve seen chaos on the battle field, the fog of war, and other atrocities too tragic to describe; but let me tell you, a few million screaming 14 year olds savagely attaching you on the Plaguelands of Lordaeron – that, that is terror! WOW is preparing our soldiers for the harshness of today’s real world warfare, one flame war at a time!”

 

Blizzard officials have nothing but positive to say about the project’s future. “Frankly we have not seen this kind of server load and new user creation since the South Park WOW episode”, Blizzard company spokesman said. And with over 8 million users before the US Army deal, you can see why the company is all smiles.

 

I guess you can now find World of Warcraft, at Best Buy and your local Army Recruiter! Happy April Fools!  

Will Everyone Hate Crackdown?

Posted on March 4th, 2007 in Business & Industry, Games | 2 Comments »

With this past week’s release of the new uber violent XBOX 360 shooter game “Crackdown”, I can’t help but wonder; will all the GTA hater’s jump on the Crackdown haters bandwagon?

 

Crackdown

 

If you’ve missed the hype surrounding Real Time Worlds’ answer to the Grand Theft Auto genre, Crackdown is a third person, free form almost Robocop like, game where you go after the bad guys with all the ferocity of Quentin Tarantino flick. The key difference in Crackdown is that you are on the side of law enforcement, going after the guys ripping off the cars rather than being one of them.

 

Any of you who know me, are aware of the fact that I’m no fan of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise. That said, I simply loathe all the media, legislative and “concerned parent groups” obsessed with abolishing shooter video games in general and GTA specifically. Many of these well-meaning lemmings hail titles like GTA as the great Satan of our time.

 

Are many of these games suitable for minors – heck no, do I let my own teenagers play them – of course not, but should I patently blame game manufactures for increased youth violence and the general decline of western civilization, give me a break!

 

 ESRB Ratings

 

While this post could veer off into a lengthy discussion about the failings of the ESRB rating system, let’s stay focused on real issue.

 

Let’s be intellectually honest, it’s just too much work for most journalists, politicians and even parents to actually understand what is going on in the youth gaming culture. Instead it’s much easier to just pass blanket judgment (or legislation) against something they don’t understand. This horrifies concerned parents, frustrates legitimate industry, and doesn’t foster healthy kids who need to learn how to make sound decisions for themselves.

 

Speaking as a parent, If I freak out and decry GTA, yet enjoy a well played tournament match of Counter Strike (Both games share the same ESRB rating M), what lesson does that teach my teens about objectively evaluating how they are going spend their downtime and dollars?

 

A Few Options

 

I could simply ban all rated M games for kids, and then play Counter Strike myself, making me a total hypocrite, well within my right as a parent, but how effective would that be?

 

Watch more 20/20 style exposes about the horrors of the computer gaming culture and industry. Fear mongering TV that leaves you without any tangible solution – there’s a great idea.

 

We could demand that our elected officials enact even more laws and restrictions on violent or objectionable video games, or file even more lawsuits against the likes of Id software and Rockstar games. Sure, because the court system really has a grasp on technology – Microsoft antitrust case, need I say more?

The Solution

I won’t say it’s easy people, but then again it has not been easy for any of the past generations of societies before us. As individuals we need to make a judgment, “Is this game right for me?” And as a parent we need to enforce those standards with our kids.

Yes, it’s a lot easier to cast the blame on a nameless culture or focus wraith on a few companies, but as we have seen both the problem and the solution lay much closer to home.