HP Officially Kills webOS

August 19, 2011 -

One year after acquiring webOS from Palm, HP has decided that the mobile OS is no longer worth the effort. Hewlett-Packard officially announced this week that support for webOS will soon come to a screeching halt. The company announced via a press release that "it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward."

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CrowdStar Teams with YouWeb

July 17, 2011 -

Social gaming company CrowdStar has joined forces with consumer Internet and mobile computing incubator, YouWeb. CrowdStar hit a major milestone last month with the release of its hit social game, Top Girl. The iOS game made its way to the #1 spot in Apple’s App Store, acquiring over 1 million downloads in just 10 days and establishing itself as the top-grossing game in the App Store over Zynga Poker and Angry Birds. On the heels of this success, CrowdStar is establishing StarFund and allocating up to $10 million for investments in game developers with innovative game concepts.

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MumboJumbo Adds Additional Motions to PopCap Lawsuit

June 30, 2011 -

Casual game developer MumboJumbo has filed several new motions in its ongoing attempt to collect money from casual publisher PopCap Games for services rendered. MumboJumbo is laying the groundwork to make sure that - even if PopCap gets sold - it still has to pay what it owes to MumboJumbo. MumboJumbo has also requested the deposition of a high level PopCap executive in order to find out more about the possible sales.

"We're hearing all sorts of talk about a sale or IPO of PopCap – and that's great – but the company has a responsibility to pay its debts," says attorney Martin Rose of Rose Walker, the firm representing MumboJumbo. "We just want to do everything we can to make sure that what the jury and the court called for is carried out. Depending on the terms of the reported sale, there may be no assets left in PopCap to satisfy the full judgment, including attorney fees."

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Eurogamer Digs Into Divorce Online Video Game Claims

May 31, 2011 -

Adding to the debate on this story about 15 percent of divorces filed via UK-based Divorce Online being related to online gaming and game addiction, Eurogamer picks apart the numbers in this story.

That study conducted by Divorce Online suggested that 15 percent of divorces filed with the company are a result of video game addiction - usually World of Warcraft or Call of Duty. But a deeper look at the methodology, the actual numbers, and what is required to file a divorce in the UK paints a slightly different picture.

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Parent Angry over Adoption Joke in Portal 2

May 18, 2011 -

A North Carolina father has gotten his 5 - 10 minutes of fame by complaining about adoption jokes in Portal 2. Charlotte news channel WBTV indulges the complaining parent in a story that goes out of its way to malign one of the best games of 2011. According to the report, Neal Stapel was playing Portal 2 with his adopted daughter and enjoying it until jokes started to fly about one of the characters being adopted. Stapel found himself utterly offended. None of the other jokes and occasionally crude humor bothered him, apparently.

"It throws the question, the most ultimate question that that child is ever gonna have for you and it just throws it right in your living room," he said. "It says it's rated "E" for everybody and I'm thinking maybe it's rated "E" for everybody except for orphans."

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Atari To Divest Cryptic Studios

May 17, 2011 -

As part of an earnings report today, Atari announced it is divesting of its interest in Champions Online developer Cryptic Studios, calling the development house a "discontinued operation" as of March 31.

Atari will continue to support all current Cryptic products while the publisher looks to sell the studio, Gamasutra understands. Development on the Bay Area studio's Neverwinter project will continue as normal for the time being.

The studio showed a loss of $7.5 million for the 2010/11 fiscal year period, up from a loss of $17.9 million in the same period a year ago. Most of this was due to turning its super hero MMO Champions Online to a free-to-play game, instead relying on micro-transaction to make money off the game. Its success was apparently not appreciated by parent company Atari.

Source: Gamasutra

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SCEA Chief: DS is a 'Baby Sitting Tool'

April 8, 2011 -

Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton said that the Nintendo DS, is nothing more than a kids-only "babysitting tool." He made the comments during a recent interview with CNN.

"Our view of the 'Game Boy experience' is that it's a great babysitting tool," Tretton said in a bruising chat with CNN, "something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting 20-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those. He's too old for that."

Not content to bag exclusively on the DS, Tretton also took shots at the Wii and Xbox 360.

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NPD to Analyst: Loose Lips Sink Ships

March 28, 2011 -

In the last year research firm NPD Group has drawn a curtain of secrecy on its retail and digital sales data. As a result, journalists no longer have access to hard numbers. Now journalists must rely on the kindness of hardware manufacturers, publishers and the NPD's general top ten lists to figure out what the top selling games are from month to month. Analysts enjoy more access to that data, but it looks like NPD is tightening security even among that class.

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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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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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StarCraft II Cheaters Get Banned From Battle.net

February 23, 2011 -

Blizzard announced today that it has banned an undisclosed amount of Battle.net users for using cheats and hacks while playing StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty online. Here is the official word from Battle.net:

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Bizarre Creations Closing February 18

February 15, 2011 -

According to Develop, Bizarre Creations will close on Friday, February 18. The Liverpool, UK-based studio was founded in 1994, and created over 20 games including Formula 1 '97, Metropolis Street Racer for Dreamcast, several Project Gotham Racing 1 - 4, Geometry Wars, The Club, and Blur.

In 2007 the studio lost its independence when it was acquired by Activision. In a forum post on the developer’s website (no longer available) at the time Bizarre staff members described Activision’s buyout optimistically:

"Bizarre isn't a developer in financial trouble, and we're certainly not looking to be 'saved' by a bigger corporation," the post read. "We're a dev looking to take our games to the next level, and make the absolute best products we can possibly make. Likewise, Activision is not in the business of 'buying out' struggling developers either."

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Gold Reseller Touts Fresh Colorful Design

February 14, 2011 -

I am sure that Blizzard (and other MMO companies) is delighted with today's press release from World of Wacraft gold reseller outfit BYGamer. While the press release isn't particularly thrilling one could imagine that the China-based gold farmers are not well liked on this side of the world.

The company issued a press release to announce changes to its web site - BYGAMER.com - which now offers visitors a plethora of fancy colors, improved navigation and lovely new frames. Are they mocking Blizzard? It sure seems that way.

The company tops off its wonderful announcement with customer testimonials:

"It’s amazing! What a beautiful site and Buy WOW Gold here is absolutely a good choice!, said new customer Monica to one of BYGAMER’s call center operators.

The company says that this new design is already proving to help "increase traffic and sales."

Full release below:

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.

Video Game Sales Down in 2010

January 14, 2011 -

The NPD Group said total video game sales for the year were $18.58 billion, compared to sales of $19.66 billion for 2009, and $21.4 billion in 2008.

Console hardware sales were down 13 percent and new video game software sales dipped 6 percent year-on-year. Sales of new and used games and downloadable content were flat (or down one percent), NPD estimates. Video game accessories jumped 13 percent above 2009's numbers, thanks to Kinect and Move.

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Opinion: Violent Media Culpable in Arizona Tragedy

January 13, 2011 -

In Niall O'Dowd's latest Periscope column he takes a crack at pinning Jared Loughner's senseless act of violence on the influence of violent films and video games. Of course, there is no evidence connecting Loughner to either, but why let the facts get in the way of commentary, right?

O'Dowd opens his column by saying that "other factors" are lost in the discussion of whether or not political rhetoric influenced or inspired the Tucson killer. What influences does he speak of? The culture of violent media that the youth of America are so immersed in, of course. The first target is movies:

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Stardock: Elemental Will Lose Money

January 10, 2011 -

Stardock CEO Brad Wardell says that the company's strategy RPG Elemental: War of Magic will end up costing the company money in the long run. This will happen, the company says, despite the fact that the game managed to break even on pre-orders.

"Elemental made its money back on day one and has continued to be profitable to this point," Wardell told Gamasutra in an email. "However, based on our projections we anticipate by the end of second quarter 2011 that Elemental will end up losing money overall as our objective is to spend what is necessary to ensure that the game meets the expectations of our customers."

Wardell did not disclose how many units the game has sold to date or how much money the company made off initial sales. While the company will lose money on the game, Wardell sees it as an investment in its PC customer base, who were very dissatisfied with the launch of Elemental.

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Report: Facebook made $355 million Net in 2010

January 7, 2011 -

A report that found its way to Reuters this week reveals some interesting financial numbers from privately owned Facebook. The document, which was meant for customers of investment firm Goldman Sachs, says that Facebook made $1.2 billion USD in the first nine months in 2010. The company also raked in $355 million in net income.

The source that leaked the document to Reuters told the new organization the "the financial statements were not audited and offered little detail about how Facebook generates it revenue".

"It just shows you that these business can generate 30 percent to 40 percent, potentially, operating margins," said Ryan Jacob of the Jacob Internet Fund, speaking to Reuters. "They probably did at least $500 million in net income in 2010."

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GameStop Enjoys Record Holiday Season

January 6, 2011 -

Video game retailer GameStop reported record sales of $3.02 billion for the nine-week holiday season that ended on January 1. This marked a 5.4 percent increase over the same period last year, driven by Kinect sales, and "strong sell through" of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The company also reported 32 percent growth in gift card sales during the month of December.

New hardware sales improved 7.4 percent based mostly on the successful debut of Microsoft's Kinect. New video game software sales increased 3.3 percent.

Viacom Responds to Harmonix Shareholder Lawsuit

December 22, 2010 -

Responding to an earlier Gamasutra report related to ex-Harmonix shareholders suing parent-company Viacom, the company at the heart of the legal battle fired back with some allegations of its own.

Viacom claims that the allegations in the lawsuit are the result of the poor decisions of shareholders' representatives, and not from any wrongdoing on its part.

"Viacom fulfilled its contractual obligations and our actions were completely appropriate and consistent with the terms of our agreement with Harmonix shareholders and the interests of our shareholders," a representative for Viacom told Gamasutra.

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Report: Madden Curse Could Be EA's Blessing

December 21, 2010 -

Forget about a game based on the Madden NFL games, EA is looking to make a movie based on the curse that goes with each new edition of the game. If you are a fans of the series then you have probably heard of this curse. The folklore goes that anyone who appears on the cover of the game has seriously bad luck. Some get injured, some get fired, some go to jail, etc.

But what EA wants created is a comedy based on "the curse" of being on the cover of its Madden series. Here's some more on the story (unconfirmed as of yet):

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Publishers Clearing House Buys Adver-Games Developer

December 9, 2010 -

Publishers Clearing House did something bizarre this week and it did not involve a gigantic check. The sweepstake company and magazine seller bought Funtank, an online video game company that is best known for creating advertising-based games (adver-games) for companies such as Trident, Walt Disney, and Toyota.

Financial terms related to the acquisition were not disclosed but we do know that Funtank co-founders James Baker and Scott Tannen will continue to run the company.

While the motives for this purchase are not fully understood, one could guess that Publishers Clearing House is looking for new and exciting ways to engage people on the Internet and get them to buy whatever their marketing partners are pushing to them. Since gaming is second only to social networking according to Nielsen, the deal makes a lot of sense.

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Report: Blizzard Dealt With Data Leak as Cataclysm Launched

December 8, 2010 -

While Blizzard was launching its biggest product of the year, behind the scenes it was having some serious problems with a data leak in China, according to a report on VentureBeat. According to that report, citing several news stories from MMOGameSite, Blizzard's release schedule and subscriber numbers were leaked from its China offices, and the general manager of the studio, Ye Weilun, was subsequently fired for it - allegedly.

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Goldman Sachs: Xbox Division Should be Spun Off

October 6, 2010 -

A Goldman Sachs analyst (whose company was saved by taxpayers, for the record - you're welcome) says that Microsoft should spin off its Xbox division and downgraded Microsoft share recommendations from buy to neutral. In a new report, Goldman Sachs said that "A break-up of the consumer businesses could potentially unlock hidden value, or more discipline on cost could turn the businesses into contributors to profitability and shareholder value."

Goldman Sachs: Microsoft should split off 'unprofitable' Xbox dept. Analyst Goldman Sachs has downgraded Microsoft share recommendations from 'buy' to 'neutral', and suggested that one way to resolve the firm's apparent difficulties is to split off its consumer entertainment division.

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Did You Hear the One About the Sweaty Gamer?

September 3, 2010 -

While attending a recent Microsoft Kinect event in Australia, Atomic MPC editor David Hollingworth was offended when Microsoft regional manager David McLean cracked wise at the expense of gamers to a crowd packed with fashion and lifestyle magazine journalists.

Here's an account of the offending comments, according to Atomic MPC:

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Unplugged: Game Addiction Book in Stores

June 1, 2010 -

Ryan G. Van Cleave's new book about his battle with game addiction is in stores today. The book is called "Unplugged: My Journey Into The Dark World Of Video Game Addiction," and it details what the author calls a battle with "very serious addiction" to playing videogames. His level of addiction? He claims he spent 50 hours a week playing videogames which led to self-imposed alienation from friends and family, job loss, and bad health.

A press release this morning in support of the book offers a particularly hard to belive quote on what he experienced when he gave gaming up:

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Atkinson Funds Group That Made Absurd Game Cancer Claim

March 5, 2010 -

The talking head from the Council on Children and the Media, who claimed in an Australian TV report that videogames are to violence like cigarettes are to lung cancer, is just a sock puppet of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

Dr. Wayne Warburton made the claim in a piece that aired on Australia’s Ten network earlier this week. News.com reports that the Council on Children and Media, also known as Young Media Australia, has received tens of thousands of dollars in funding from Atkinson.

A spokesperson for Atkinson verified the link, which sees the group receive a grant annually in order to fund its Know Before You Go project, which is designed to provide information to parents on what films are suitable for children.

While Atkinson’s office would not reveal the amount of money that changed hands, a Labor MP talking in parliament in 2006 put the figure at $33,000.

Council on Children and the Media CEO Barbara Biggins said that Atkinson has no influence on the group’s view on videogames, “It's the only project that's funded by him and it's been funded for years now. And I think good on him for helping parents to understand the classification system better. That doesn't mean that we owe him anything in terms of what we do with campaigns.”

Update: Wow, Jack Thompson actually made a great point in relation to this story. In between urging me to pay attention and calling Hal Halpin my puppet master, JT notes that Dr. Craig Anderson made a similar reference to cancer in a 2003 paper on violent games:

Myth 9. The effects of violent video games are trivially small.

Facts: Meta-analyses reveal that violent video game effect sizes are larger than the effect of second hand tobacco smoke on lung cancer, the effect of lead exposure to I.Q. scores in children, and calcium intake on bone mass. Furthermore, the fact that so many youths are exposed to such high levels of video game violence further increases the societal costs of this risk factor (Rosenthal, 1986).

Update 2: Texas A&M Texas A&M International University researcher, and nemesis of Dr. Anderson, Christopher Ferguson also wrote in to point us towards a research paper of his (PDF) that goes to great lengths to debunk Anderson’s claims which JT referenced above.


Thanks to everyone who sent this story in!

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Games Turning AU Kids into Knife-Wielders

February 17, 2010 -

An Australian youth worker is blaming videogames for what he claims is a growing problem of kids carrying knives.

Following the in-school stabbing death of a 12-year old boy at the hands of a 13-year old in Brisbane, Les Twentyman, an advocate for young homeless people, was asked to speak before a government inquiry into the matter.

According to ABC, Twentyman blamed games for desensitizing children to violence, in turn making them more likely to carry, and to eventually use, knives.

Twentyman continued:

Normally they'd have a fight and people might ring around them, and it would be one-on-one, and when one [child fell] to the ground it would be over.

But today that is not the case because of the amount of violent entertainment that these young people are absorbing. They lose sight of reality and become desensitized…

Twentyman sees knife-carrying children as a potential  epidemic, citing a young girl who told him that carrying a knife was as common as carrying a mobile phone.

While there were 19 reported knife incidents at Victoria schools in 2009, up from 11 in 2008, Education Minister Bronwyn Pike denied Twentyman’s claims of a growing cutlery problem, saying, “Yes, there was a slight increase, but these figures do go up and down a bit, but there hasn't really been an overall trend of increase.”

This story is eerily similar to one from 2008, in which a wave of UK stabbings was also attempted to be linked with violent media.


Thanks Ryan!

24 comments

After Tragedy, Dr. Plays Violent Game Blame Card

January 26, 2010 -

The heartbreaking story of a nine-year old Texas boy committing suicide at school led a Clinical Psychologist to attempt to pin part of the blame for kids acting out in ways outside of the norm on violent videogames.

The fourth-grader in question was a student at Stewart Creek Elementary School. He asked a nurse to use the restroom, locked himself inside and tragically hung himself. In a CNN video report on the story, Clinical Psychologist Dr. Brenda Wade was brought in for commentary.

The doctor cited two factors for why children are acting out in ways “never imagined possible”. The first was that there is now “more instability” in families, because of external stresses and the economy.

The second factor? Violent videogames of course.

Dr. Wade stated:

The other factor is that younger and younger children are exposed to very violent videogames with content that I would shudder to have an adult watch on a regular basis.

We just covered, a couple days ago, the story that children are watching as much as 52 hours a week of TV and sitting in front of a screen. A lot of that content is not uplifting and it’s not teaching our children how to handle problems and feelings.


These statements came moments after the Doctor cautioned that we “don’t want to blame and cast dispersions” at what role the boy’s family may have played in the tragedy.

Dr. Wade bills herself as a nationally syndicated talk show host and best selling author (as seen on Oprah). Visitors to her website are also offered a free love lesson.


Thanks Sean!

72 comments

EA Spanked for Misleading Wii Game Commercial

December 17, 2008 -

Electronic Arts needs to be more truthful in its advertising, according to a British goverment agency.

As reported by gamesindustry.biz, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority rapped EA's knuckles for including Xbox 360 footage in a commercial for the Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09

From the gi.biz story:

The ads featured the sportsman swinging a Wii remote, but showed Xbox 360 gameplay footage at the same time, giving the wrong impression of the visual quality of the Nintendo version of the game. The publisher explained to the ASA that footage of the Wii game "would not be of broadcast quality" and had included text in the ad that the game was available on multiple formats in an effort to avoid confusion.

The ASA wasn't buying EA's explanation, however:

"Although we acknowledged that the message 'available on all formats' appeared in the final scene, we considered that viewers would infer from the ad that Tiger Woods was playing the game on a Wii console and the graphics shown behind him were representative of the actual game he was playing," said the watchdog.

 

"Because viewers would not be able to achieve the graphical quality shown in the ad on a Wii console, we concluded that the ad was misleading."

Bottom line? EA can't show the commercial for the August release again - not that they were planning to.

 

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Should ‘sexism’ factor into a video game’s rating?:

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Matthew WilsonI have to admit this is kind of insane by the IGDA, block who you want,but dont use a bot with a questionable track record. https://soundcloud.com/totalbiscuit/the-igda-is-doing-what-now11/22/2014 - 12:33pm
MaskedPixelanteI suspect Howard will show up in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 as a bartender on Knowhere or something.11/22/2014 - 9:52am
Michael ChandraWonderkarp, try games where you don't get interactive cutscenes and only the main character really talks to people. Or games with a silent protagonist. I think the Bechdel test is a nice indicator (though flawed) for movies and such, but not games.11/22/2014 - 7:56am
ZippyDSMleeWymorence: HTD was a fun and very messed up film I love it. A new one would be nothing like it sadly.11/22/2014 - 1:57am
Andrew EisenOnly if we lived in a world where a bad movie meant every subsequent attempt would suck. Seriously though, after the last few years, I'll give Marvel the benefit of the doubt that it could make a great Howard the Duck movie.11/22/2014 - 1:29am
Wymorenceisn't that a GOOD thing there isn't a movie after the abomination that was the first?11/22/2014 - 12:27am
Andrew EisenNo movie in sight but Howard the Duck is returning to comics! https://games.yahoo.com/news/howard-duck-series-announced-184400635.html11/21/2014 - 10:48pm
MechaCrashThe point of the Bechdel Test isn't "is this film sexist," it's to illustrate "this is an incredibly low bar and most movies STILL can't pass it."11/21/2014 - 10:11pm
mthielNew report on Adam Lanza http://tinyurl.com/pnj9os611/21/2014 - 8:07pm
Andrew EisenIf you missed the HuffPost segment I guested on, the replay is now embedded in the story.11/21/2014 - 6:05pm
Wonderkarphttps://pbs.twimg.com/media/B2__4yZCcAA9Ytp.jpg these look amazing. Peach is the only one I'm tempted to open cause her packaging is bent. get another nonbent one....man. toycollector me and gamecollector me is fighting11/21/2014 - 5:51pm
WonderkarpJust finalized my Smash Bros free Sound Track Order. Also got 4 amiibos and they look fantastic. I'm afraid to open them. they look spectacular!11/21/2014 - 5:45pm
james_fudgeCan we all agree that Andrew cleans up nicely and can go on any program?11/21/2014 - 5:01pm
Wonderkarpthank you for that line, Andrew. alot of great films fail the bechdel test. Gravity fails it and it has a female lead.11/21/2014 - 4:48pm
Andrew EisenAw, thanks James! Well, now I have to drive back to work!11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
Andrew EisenDidn't have a chance to say this on the HuffPost segment but while the Bechdel test is useful as a broad examination of gender representation in media, it's not at all appropriate as a judgment of quality.11/21/2014 - 4:45pm
james_fudgeAndrew you killed it!11/21/2014 - 4:44pm
WonderkarpMadeline Bergman. second female, they never speak of men, just a computer program. it passes the test11/21/2014 - 4:34pm
E. Zachary KnightDoes Other M have more than one woman in it?11/21/2014 - 4:31pm
Wonderkarpyet Metroid Other M, a game where people cried sexist due to the commanding officers restricting Samus, passes the test....11/21/2014 - 4:21pm
 

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