Counter-Strike Keeps Mars Sim Experiment Members Sane

November 8, 2011 -

The six crew members of the $15 million Mars500 experiment each paid 3 million roubles ($98,300) to participate in a 17-month long test to see if people stay healthy and sane on a trip to the red planet. The all-male crew of a 520-day mock mission to Mars had to find ways to ease tensions. After all, if you are on a trip to Mars it's probably not a good idea to pick a real fight with your comrade, who is more than likely a specialist in some field you are going to need. According to a Reuters report the crew turned to video games to ease their tension during the 17-month sim.

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Why Blackwater Game Creators Want to Avoid Controversy

October 4, 2011 -

Speaking to the Associated Press, Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Zombie Studios lead designer Richard Dormer talk about why their upcoming Kinect game based on the controversial security firm has decided to steer clear of blood, killing civilians, swearing, and moral dilemmas.

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Up in Arms: Winnipeg Police Union Upset over GTA IV in Manitoba Jail

August 22, 2011 -

The Winnipeg police union is up in arms over inmates at Headingley Correctional Centre in Manitoba having access to Grand Theft Auto IV... in 2008. The union calls the situation "absolutely disgusting" and says that prisoners were treated to a game that glorifies violence, crime and cop-killing.

10 comments | Read more

ACL Calls for Ban on Games in Wake of Norway Massacre

July 25, 2011 -

The Australian Christian Lobby has called for games to be banned if they contain violence that is "excessive or gratuitous." The call came as the world digests the bizarre rambling of a 1500-page manifesto written by Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik and released online shortly before he killed 76 people in and around Oslo, Norway.

The Australian federal government said yesterday that Breivik committed his crimes because there is "something clearly intrinsically wrong with him", not because he played violent video games.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge did say that Modern Warfare 2 should be reviewed to have a more restrictive R18+ rating in the country. It is currently rated MA15+.

18 comments | Read more

Dead or Alive: Dimensions Gets 'PG' Rating in Australia

May 31, 2011 -

Australia is an interesting country. On the one hand it has struggled for years to get an adult level video games rating classification (R18+) and on the other it allows a game that has been censored in other countries to be released there with little or no controversy. The game in question is the 3DS tactical fighter Dead or Alive: Dimensions. Several countries have banned the game because it features sexualized depictions of children. The children are three teen characters named Ayane, Koroke and Kasumi who game makers describe as "under 18 years of age."

To be fair, the censoring has been done mostly by Nintendo, based on concerns about child pornography laws in Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark and Norway) that say it is illegal to show young girls as animated characters in a sexualized way. The concern is mostly with the game's photography mode, which allows players to look up characters' dresses when they are in certain poses.

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Playing Columbine Now Available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video

May 31, 2011 -

Playing Columbine is now available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and soon will be available via Netflix. The documentary chronicles the controversy surrounding the making of Super Columbine Massacre, a game that let players jump into the boots of the Columbine killers. The game was downloaded more than a half a million times and caught the attention of the mainstream media who strongly condemned it as wrong and as a "murder simulator." Here's an excerpt from the film's about page":

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Disney Wants to Cash in on 'Seal Team 6'

May 17, 2011 -

According to a Forbes report, Disney has applied for the trademark "Seal Team 6," the military unit responsible for the death of notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden. A day after the raid (which took place May 3 in Pakistan), Disney applied for a trio of patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office related to "entertainment and education services," toys, games, and Christmas stockings, ornaments and snow globes.. Yes, Christmas items.

Disney has not publicly commented on the outed patents.

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Too Human Makers Get Green Light on Epic Lawsuit

March 31, 2011 -

After many years of waiting, it looks like a Silicon Knights lawsuit against Epic Games has been given the green light by a judge. You may recall the 2007 lawsuit in which Too human developer Silicon Knights alleged that Epic Games had neglected Unreal Engine licensees to develop its own game, Gears of War.

The Canadian studio alleged the four-year development period for Too Human was due to Epic misleading the company about what Unreal Engine 3 was capable of. Further, SK alleges that Epic prioritized the development of Gears of War above all the development studios that had licensed Unreal Engine 3. Curiously enough, no other development studio sued Epic.

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Fox News Takes on DNF's Capture the Babe Mode

March 28, 2011 -

How could Fox News resist attacking Duke Nukem Forever? After all it's a game aching to court controversy - for reasons real or imagined. Fox News writers Jeremy A. Kaplan and Patrick Manning get together to take Gearbox to task for the multiplayer mode of the game, "Capture the Babe." They open by describing the multiplayer mode:

"A new videogame that requires you to abduct women and give them a "reassuring slap" if they freak out has gamers and women's rights-groups crying foul. Brace yourself for the awfully sexist world of Duke Nukem Forever."

Brace yourself for comments from people who know nothing about the game, save the ten minutes of video they found on YouTube:

59 comments | Read more

EA's Frank Gibeau Loves Fox News

March 15, 2011 -

Or more succinctly, he loves the buzz generated when the news network marks a game as "controversial."

Gibeau said that it can be a boon to have buzz - positive or negative - when trying to launch a new IP. He is speaking of Bulletstorm, which Fox News dubbed "the worst game" ever made in an editorial masquerading as a news story. Gibeau says that, while he does not agree with Fox News on its opinion of Bulletstorm, he does appreciate the exposure. He also thinks that developers should not be afraid of a little controversy, as long as it is not gratuitous.

Gibeau was not concerned about the Fox News furor affecting sales either, because the network's viewership / readership is obviously not the demographic the game is targeting. Controversy from networks like Fox tend to motivate gamers, not social conservatives.

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Epic's Mike Capps on How Fox News Affected Bulletstorm Sales

March 8, 2011 -

Epic Games' president Mike Capps is delighted with the early success of Bulletstorm, saying that the game sold out its first run at "one major retailer."

"We got a reorder on day one from one of the big U.S. retailers that focuses on games," said Capps. "So that was a pretty good feeling."

We would assume he did not want to say "GameStop" for some reason. Capps went on to say that launching a brand new IP is one of the most challenging aspects of developing a game:

"[Launching a new IP] is really hard. I read something that less than 1% of console games this generation launched as new IP sold a million units,” he added. “So if you don't sell a million units you lost money, basically. I'm pretty confident we'll be on the good side of that [1 million] number. I'd rather sell Gears-type numbers that'd be fantastic."

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PEGI On We Dare's 12 Rating

March 4, 2011 -

In light of a rather racy commercial and confirmation from Ubisoft that We Dare is intended for mature audiences, many are still a bit surprised to learn that PEGI rated the game 12.

Cubed3.com sought comment from the rating board who explained:

20 comments | Read more

Usual UK Suspects Bag on We Dare

February 28, 2011 -

While most looked at that We Dare trailer and thought "hey this is pretty silly," some regular haters in the United Kingdom are stepping up to complain about Ubisoft's adult-themed Wii game. Speaking to the Daily Mail (a regular hater of all things fun), Leicaster East MP Keith Vaz released a statement that was constrained and to the pint: he thinks the rating for the game may be too low. Even pro video game fans might tend to agree with him:

"The new 'We Dare' game has clearly been wrongly marked as a 12 plus. As a family friendly console, Wii must ensure that there are proper checks and a full consultation before games are graded for use by children. This game should not be released until these checks are made."

Fair enough. The game does contain mini-games that I wouldn't want my 12-year-old engaging in.. like spanking another 12-year-old.. But I suppose that's all up to their parents.

Mortal Kombat Refused Classification In Australia

February 25, 2011 -

According to a report on Kotaku Australia Mortal Kombat has been refused classification in Australia. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment issued the following statement to the media:

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Duke Nukem Forever Developer to Activists: Have At It

February 24, 2011 -

Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford is not worried about feminists or other activists groups taking issue with the company's saucy first-person shooter, Duke Nukem Forever - in fact he encourages them to use it to their advantage if it will promote their cause. Speaking to Eurogamer at length, Pitchford can see both sides of the issue when it comes to Duke's strong personality and questionable behavior.

"I'll tell you what, if some feminist organisation that is doing a great job advocating women's rights worldwide, which I think is really important, can get some advantage by using Duke... go for it," Pitchford told Eurogamer. "How is there a downside for humanity? Go for it. Take it. Use Duke. That would be awesome.

"If anyone can better our world through the use of anything, and if Duke is a tool to help them do that, that's fine," he added. "The people that are entertained... The choices people make are their choices."

6 comments | Read more

Psychologist Jerry Weichman Clarifies Bulletstorm Comments

February 23, 2011 -

Clinical psychologist and self-proclaimed adolescent specialist Jerry Weichman has clarified his position on comments made to Fox News that were used in a Bulletstorm hit piece written by John Brandon. Responding to a request for comment by Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Weichman said that he stands by his comments to Fox News, but adds that those comments do not clearly state his full opinion on violence, video games, and his position on mature rated games.

6 comments | Read more

More Bulletstorm Musings from Fox News

February 21, 2011 -

In yet another editorial masquerading as a news report (the last one being the whole Carole Lieberman "Games cause Rape" story), Fox News writer John Brandon takes another shot at stirring the pot about Epic Games' Bulletstorm. In his latest article, Brandon uses the censorship of the game in Germany as a jump-off point to attack Rock, Paper, Shotgun's dissection of his first article, to claim that "anyone" can buy the game online, and to throw some more quotes around. Of the censorship in Germany, Brandon opens by baiting gamers with the line: "It's too violent for Germany. But it's okay for America?”

12 comments | Read more

Mexican Congressman Wants Call of Juarez: The Cartel Banned

February 21, 2011 -

According to several published reports this morning a legislator in the Mexican state of Chihuahua is trying to ban the sale of Call of Juarez: The Cartel. Ricardo Boone Salmon, a congressional representative for Chihuahua State, is urging the Secretariat of Governance and the Secretariat of Economy to block the sale of Ubisoft's upcoming action game.

So what is causing this Congressman to go on public campaign against this game? Basically, he wants to keep it out of the hands of Mexico’s children. Also to many on both sides of the Mexican-U.S. border, The game's setting and plot are too much like what is really going on in towns around Mexico. Ubisoft's description of the Techland-developed sequel explains what the game is all about:

8 comments | Read more

Owlchemy Labs Talks Smuggle Truck Controversy

February 16, 2011 -

The small Massachusetts-based developer that found itself in the national spotlight over an illegal immigration transport game talks with Gamasutra about the public dust-up over and the misconception (in their view) of the company's stance on illegal immigration. Company founder Alex Schwartz spoke to Gamasutra about the response to the game, and how the company hopes that it can shed some light on immigration issues.

First, Schwartz tackles a question about whether the game would work without the smuggling theme:

"What we've gathered from tester feedback is that the mechanics are fun and challenging. What happens to be drawn on the sprites for the items in the back of the truck doesn't change the gameplay in any significant way. It does however augment the message and the theme, which can affect a player's engagement with the game."

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Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration Takes Heat from Advocacy Groups

February 11, 2011 -

The Owlchemy Labs, a Massachusetts-based developer of wacky and silly games, is taking some local heat from advocacy groups for its iOS game Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigration. In Smuggle Truck, players drive a pickup truck loaded with illegal immigrants. The goal of the game is to bring them over a fictional border while avoiding bumps that make them fall off the back of the truck.

Owlchemy Labs claims on the product page for the game that it was created out of a "the frustration our friends have experienced in trying to immigrate to the United States. With such a troublesome issue being largely avoided in popular media, especially video games, we felt the best way to criticize it was with an interactive satire."

The company also claims that they "maintained a meticulous eye to avoid depicting stereotypes and specific locales."

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EA Responds to Fox News Bulletstorm Segment

February 9, 2011 -

EA has responded to a recent Fox News story that asked the question "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?" and (thanks to one participant) made the amazing claim that the increase in rapes can be attributed to playing games. There were other amazing claims in the report, but the most disturbing words came from Psychologist Carol Lieberman, who insisted that there was a correlation between playing sex scenes in games and rape. She told Fox news:

"The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games." Of course, there is no research to back up her claims that we are aware of, but the truth should never get in the way of a good talking point.

Bulletstorm Heavily Censored in Germany

February 9, 2011 -

Epic Games and People Can Fly's latest game, Bulletstorm, has been given a USK 18 + rating by the German Entertainment Software Rating Board. Some serious changes had to be made to the game before it could be released in the region. Despite the adult rating, the German version of the game has a number of things omitted such as ragdoll physics effects, blood, blood splatter, and dismemberment.

While the game can't be banned at this point by the German youth protection board (BPjM) because it has been rated, German gamers will once again get a game experience that has been censored and watered down in the name of protecting the country's youth from violent content. Developers and publishers that want to do business in the country are well aware of the limitations and challenges thrust upon them by government rules and restrictions, with most chalking it up to "the price of doing business in Germany."

EA is the publisher of the game in Europe.

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Sex in Games Leads to Real-World Rape and Other Ridiculousness

February 8, 2011 -

Boy oh boy, do I have a treat for you today.

FoxNews has posted an article examining the violent and sexual content of the upcoming Bulletstorm and I’m happy to report that it’s the most entertainingly sensationalistic tripe I’ve read in quite a while.

Bulletstorm is an M-rated shooter due out later this month from Epic Games.  Aside from copious profanity and over-the-top violence, one of its notable features is its in-game awards system, Skill Shots.  Basically, you get funny-titled awards for dispatching your enemies in unique and gruesome ways.  Here’s how the ESRB describes it:

25 comments | Read more

Bleszinski: Critics Have Made Games The 'New Rock 'n Roll'

February 8, 2011 -

Epic Games design lead Cliff Bleszinski says that video game critics have inadvertently been quite flattering to the video game industry. The man behind Unreal, Gears of War, and the upcoming game Bulletstorm, says that critics of video games have basically made it the "new rock 'n roll," creating a boogie man that parents are warned about on a daily basis by politicians, child psychologists, and the mainstream media. Bleszinski made the comments in response to a question by Computer & Videogames about Bulletstorm becoming a target of critics due to its gratuitous violence and adult language.

3 comments | Read more

Former Soviet State Offers Cops and Robbers Video Game

February 8, 2011 -

Police in Georgia are offering open arms to virtual crime fighters, thanks to a new game that lets citizens gun down bank robbers as the mighty law enforcement agency of the former Soviet Union state. The country (not the state known for its delicious peaches, game industry tax credits, and the wonderful city of Atlanta) revealed late last year that it was working on the game, much to the chagrin of critics who thought it was simply a way for the Georgian Interior Ministry to gain favor with citizens and shed a good light on the police force.

The game, which some have described as "violent," lets players jump into the boots of Georgian police as they fight bank robbers. Players engage in "shoot-outs with criminals, high-speed car chases, and hostage-taking scenarios."

The game is also meant to highlight the reforms that the Georgian police force has experienced since 2003.

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2010's Most Prominent Vaporware

January 3, 2011 -

Wired releases its list of 2010's most prominent Vaporware. Can you guess which game is right at the top of the list? Yeah, it is Duke Nukem Forever, though I imagine that by the time 2012 rolls around Gearbox Software will finally make that game a reality.

Other games, software, and gadgets on the 2010 list included Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, L.A. Noire, the Kno Tablet, Netflix on Android, Notion Ink Adam, Chrome OS Laptops, the fan-developed Half-Life remake Black Mesa, 64-Bit Flash Player, Half Life 2: Episode 3, and iPhone 4 in White. Honorable mentions included Flick Kick Football (PikPok), Shibuya (Nevercenter), Spirits (Spaces Of Play), Tentacles (Press Play), and Trainyard (Matt Rix).

1 comment | Read more

Young Males Like Black Ops Ad, Older Women, Not So Much

November 19, 2010 -

The Call of Duty: Black Ops ad that has inflamed columnists and moronic sports writers alike is also generating a split reaction from the general public.

Ace Metrix, a company that measures the effectiveness of television advertising, reports that the Black Ops ad scored high with male viewers, but offended older female viewers.

12 comments | Read more

Professor on War Games: Studios Stuck in “Netherworld”

October 28, 2010 -

A ForeignPolicy.com piece on the state of war videogames asks if such titles are bringing the reality of current conflicts into the living rooms of gamers, or simply exploiting them for commercial gain.

A good chunk of the piece centers on the recently released Medal of Honor, in light of the controversy it generated. That controversy, the author writes, “wouldn't have occurred even five or six years ago,” as “video game studios seemed to be reticent about tackling contemporary conflicts, preferring instead to crank out games based in abstracted worlds and full of abstracted enemies.”

8 comments | Read more

Stars and Stripes: Plenty of Violent Games in AAFES Stores

October 8, 2010 -

While Electronic Arts made the adjustment to rename the Taliban to “Opposing Force” in the multiplayer part of Medal of Honor, a ban on the game appearing in GameStop stores located in Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) locations is still in place.

The decision by AAFES officials puzzled a Stars & Striped columnist, who inventoried other violent games available in AAFES locations, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV.

8 comments | Read more

Student Op-ed Labels MOH “Disrespectful”

October 7, 2010 -

A piece appearing on the website of The Heights, Boston College’s student newspaper, says it’s “too soon” for Electronic Arts to base a game in Afghanistan and calls the setting of Medal of Honor “disrespectful.”

The article’s author pulls no punches, labeling game developers “desperate and unoriginal” and “moving in all the wrong directions to please their audiences.”

The ability to play as the Taliban in MOH’s multiplayer component, a component since renamed, was termed, “neither educational nor acceptable and goes against every ounce of American patriotism pumping through the veins of our country's citizens.”

The columnist continues:

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MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
 

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