Limbo Leads Game Developers Choice Awards Nominations

January 12, 2011 -

Finalists for the 11th annual Game Developers Choice Awards have been named today, with indie developed Xbox Live Arcade game Limbo leading the pack. Other nominations include Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Costume Quest, God of War III¸ Heavy Rain, Monday Night Combat, Minecraft, and Super Meat Boy.

The complete list of nominees for the 11th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards are as follows:

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2011 Gamification Summit Sold Out

January 12, 2011 -

Tickets for the 2011 Gamification Summit have sold out according to the event's organizers. Organizers say that, for those who were not able to purchase tickets, live streaming coverage via Fora.tv will be available. Those who register to watch the live streaming coverage before January 14 will receive special $149 early bird pricing. After January 14, the rate will go up to $199. In case you've never heard of it, gamification is the use of game mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences in a non-gaming environment.

At the event, Liz Gannes of AllThingsDigital will interview Jane McGonigal, author of "Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Help Us Change the World." Liz Gannes has been covering Silicon Valley business technology since 2004 and is the founder of NewTeeVee. Additional speakers include the CMO of RecycleBank Samantha Skey, Ian Bogost of Georgia Institute of Technology and Evan Tanna of Shopkick.

Teaching Students Scholarly Research With a Video Game

January 11, 2011 -

Colleges and libraries are using a new educational video game to teach students what "scholarly research" is all about. A team of researchers lead by Professor Karen Markey and associate Professor Victor Rosenberg at the University of Michigan's School of Information developed a game that teaches "university-level scholarly research skills."

The game is called BiblioBouts, and is described as an online social activity game that teaches players the skills they need to research academic papers. The game has generated a fair share of enthusiasm among both students and educators for its ease of use and educational value. In 2010, the game earned its creators the University of Michigan Provost's Innovation in Teaching Award.

The developers are encouraging instructors and librarians to use the game in classes where research and writing projects are at the core of the course at hand.

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Microsoft Denies Kinect Red Ring Connection

January 6, 2011 -

Is Microsoft's Kinect peripheral causing Xbox 360's everywhere to fail? That's the question a BBC report asks. Microsoft says that all of this talk of "Red Rings and Kinect" is coincidental.

Admittedly, BBC Radio 4's You and Yours program doesn't gather much evidence on the matter. The program talks to a ten-year named old Adam Winnifrith, whose console "red-ringed" after connecting the Kinect to it. The next morning, his Xbox 360 continued to show the dreaded international distress signal for "Xbox 360 down."  

"We plugged it in the day we got it but only played it a few times before we got the red lights," said Adam. "The next day when we tried it again we still had the red rings of death and haven't been able to use it since."

Microsoft says that this is all mere coincidence.

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2010: A Good Year for Child's Play

January 3, 2011 -

Child's Play had a good year. The children's charity that began as a twinkle in the eyes of Penny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik raked in an impressive $2,294,317 in 2010, a new annual record. To date the organization dedicated to giving video games, toys and books to hospitalized children has raised $9 million. That's a pretty big number if you consider that it has only been around for eight years.

Of course Child's Play would not be as successful as it has been over the years if not for gamers with big hearts, dedication, and the will to beg, plead and do anything else to get money from the community. Groups such as the Humble Indie Bundle, LoadingReadyRun’s Desert Bus for Hope, The Fate of Carmine campaign, Benefit Evil, and many others are the driving force behind Child's Play.

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2011 IGF Main Competition Finalists Announced

January 3, 2011 -

The Independent Games Festival (IGF) announced the main competition finalists for its awards. All of this year's finalists will be playable on the Expo show floor at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center February 28 - March 4. Nearly $50,000 will be handed out to developers in various categories, including the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize, at the Independent Games Festival Awards March 2 during Game Developers Choice Awards. Nominees are:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent (Frictional Games)
  • Desktop Dungeons (QCF Design)
  • Minecraft (Mojang)
  • Nidhogg (Messhof)
  • SpyParty (Chris Hecker)

 

Honorable mentions: Bit.Trip Runner (Gaijin Games); Neptune's Pride (Iron Helmet Games); Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (Carpe Fulgur); Retro City Rampage (Vblank Entertainment); Super Crate Box (Vlambeer)

Excellence In Visual Art

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UK Police use PSA's, Games to Talk About Rape

January 3, 2011 -

Police in Thames Valley, England have created a "video game" campaign where participants choose an action in a scenario similar to ones they might encounter when out in pubs and bars related to sexual assault. The video game is called Seal the Deal and is available on both YouTube and Facebook.

But the game is only one part of the campaign; another part involves true confessions from convicted rapists.

For example, a 41-year-old from Oxford calling himself "John" admits to raping his girlfriend when he was drunk in 2001 "following a difficult period in their relationship." He agreed to be interviewed as part of the new Don’t Cross the Line serious sexual assault campaign. He said during his interview that he felt "entitled to sex."

The campaign encourages young men to consider the consequences of their actions towards women - particularly when drinking is involved.

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Ask a Psychologist: Video Games and Relationships

December 28, 2010 -

Dr. Stacey Soeldner, a clinical psychologist and "life coach" with Riverhill Psychological Associates in Manitowoc, Wisc., loves to answer reader questions in her column "Ask a Psychologist." Today's question has to do with a wife's angst over her husband's "obsession" with video games. The question:

Q. My husband and I have been having difficulties lately, and I believe it is due to the amount of time he spends playing video games. We are always arguing about this, and he just tells me that I am crazy. I do not understand anything about these games, so maybe I am wrong. I just think that this is an obsession for him. Am I the crazy one?

Her Answer? No, she is not crazy. The good doctor does point out that, while the "American Psychological Association has not identified playing video games as an addiction or obsession, it has been researching it."

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How Video Games May Help Burn Victims Cope With Painful Therapy

December 27, 2010 -

The Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston, Texas is taking part in a psychological study that examines the effects of virtual reality game on pain tolerance during physical and occupational therapy.

Funded by a National Institutes of Health grant and conducted by the University of Washington, the study uses a video game called SnowWorld with young burn patients to see how the game helps them during physical and occupational therapy. These two types of therapies are collectively called rehabilitative therapy, and are essential to the recovery of patients suffering burn injuries.

As burns heal, the affected areas of the body tend to tighten causing constrictions of the skin, and making mobility a challenge to patients. Therapies and exercises that address these issues are common, but also lead to discomfort. Patients often report an increase in pain levels.

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Grants for Gaming Make Government Waste List

December 21, 2010 -

A list called "Government Waste: 20 Of The Craziest Things That The U.S. Government Is Spending Money On" finds several projects funded by the government related to video games. Of course lists that are considered "waste" by some groups actually have a deeper purpose than what is listed in the descriptions, but the people that put this particular list together (I hope) would know that.

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Club Penguin to Donate $1 Million to Player-Selected Charity

December 13, 2010 -

It's that time of the year where people start being nice instead of naughty. Club Penguin and its owner are giving away a million dollars to charity, and they are asking for Club Penguin users to do their part by contributing their in-game currency to a worthy charitable activity of their choice. The initiative is part of Club Penguin's annual Coins for Change charity drive. Coins for Change asks children who frequent the virtual world of Club Penguin to donate the virtual coins they earn playing games online to real world causes.

Players direct their virtual donations to a variety of activities including providing medical help, building safe places and protecting the earth. At the end of the event (it runs from December 17 - 27, 2010) the most popular charity in the game (based on in-game donations from players) will be chosen to receive $1 million USD from Disney Online.

The results of Coins for Change 2010 will be announced on January 4, 2011.

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Alberta Police Use Game to Recruit Young People

December 13, 2010 -

Alberta Police have an interesting way of luring youngsters in to learn more about being a police officer: a video game. The Police department is using new approaches to get youngsters interested in a career in law enforcement and what works better than video games?

The official game of the Alberta Police Department is appropriately called Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver and was developed by Edmonton-based software company Firetext International. C.O.P.S. stands for Career Opportunities in Police Services.

Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver begins by letting the player select one of five police officers who come from different backgrounds. Next, the player is briefed on objectives for the day, and then sent out in a patrol car to investigate and arrest suspects who appear to be breaking the law. The player has 12 minutes to complete three tasks. For every achieved objective the player is awarded a badge.

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Research: Active Video Games Can Enhance Learning

December 9, 2010 -

Playing "active" video games such as those found on the Wii (and now via Kinect and Move) can enhance learning for students, says a new study by Dr Andrew Manley from Leeds Metropolitan University in London. Manley presents his findings today at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Sport and Exercise conference in London.

The study used 130 sports and exercise undergraduates to test the effectiveness of AVGs. Subjects played traditional games such as quoits/hoopla and darts, and multiple Nintendo Wii games (Sports Resort, PDC Championship Darts, Sonic and Mario at the Olympic Games). Afterwards, students completed questionnaires that gauged their levels of enjoyment, satisfaction, engagement and academic motivation.

The findings showed that active video games (AVGs) were as effective as traditional games in creating a learning environment that students found exciting.

Students comments included:

"More Nintendo Wii!!"

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Gamers Outreach Foundation, Wicked Interactive Team Up For GO Karts

December 8, 2010 -

Wicked Interactive and the Gamers Outreach Foundation have collaborated to create a special campaign to benefit Project GO Kart. The charity funds the construction of GO Karts, portable video game kiosks that bring fun to patients who have limited access to activities beyond the confines of their rooms.

As part of this special campaign, Wicked Interactive will donate a dollar ($1USD) for every new account registered in Mission Against Terror. All of the money raised from this campaign will go directly to Project Go Kart, whose latest program is to fund a GO Kart for patients at Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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Study: Tailored Games Encourage Kids to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

December 8, 2010 -

A study published online and set to appear in the pages of the January 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that games can be used to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Researchers are looking for new ways to combat the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in young people. One of the ways to combat this is an increased intake of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, and water. Researchers hypothesized going into this study that video games designed to support healthy lifestyles would have a positive effect on children who played them.

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Microsoft Launches Xbox Live Rewards Program

December 2, 2010 -

This week Microsoft revealed details on its Xbox Live Rewards Program, which gives players some incentives to buy games, DLC and get involved in certain activities on its service. The Rewards Program launches today. Most rewards seem to be for Gold Live account holders, though there are some rewards geared towards Silver users as well.

Some examples include 100 points for making a "first-time" purchase on Xbox Live Marketplace, 20 for buying a marketplace item, 200 for renewing a 12-month Gold Membership, and 100 for using a Gold Membership online.

The program is free to join, and Microsoft promises "cool prizes" besides points at some point later on down the road.

To join, visit rewards.xbox.com/program.

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Research: How Games May Help Treat PTSD

November 13, 2010 -

A new study from the UK reveals that Tetris - of all things - can help treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A new study from Oxford University suggests that playing the popular falling block puzzle game may help to prevent visual flashbacks from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The study looked at how subjects exposed to video images of traumatic violence reacted after playing a word based game, Tetris, and then no game. Of those groups, only those who played Tetris had significantly fewer flashbacks. Oddly enough, those who played the word game had experienced more flashbacks than the control group or the Tetris group.

"We think it works because it's competing with resources with the same kind of visual memory that would otherwise make a visual flashback," said Dr. Emily Holmes, one of the researchers.

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A Video Game About Parents Breaking Up

November 9, 2010 -

Are Mommy and Daddy breaking up and you don't understand what is going on? It's not your fault, little camper, but a new game from the Australian government may have the answers you seek. The government has launched a video game and a book to help children whose parents have separated understand the change in their family. Both were developed with the assistance of community counseling service Boystown and are available free from the Department of Human Services. The video game and book are designed for children under 12 and will help them deal with the difficulties of separation.

Once again video games serve as a crutch for lazy, inept parents. Boystown general manager Wendy Protheroe claims that these products help answer the tough questions children often ask when their parents separate.

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MA. State Treasurer Backs Celebrity Calamity Tournament

September 14, 2010 -

Massachusetts State Treasurer (and gubernatorial candidate) Tim Cahill, and the Doorways to Dreams Fund, have teamed up for the Celebrity Calamity video game tournament. The Celebrity Calamity tournament is a statewide financial entertainment game competition for residents of the Bay State.

Celebrity Calamity is a casual game that teaches financial literacy. Players become the business manager for three celebrities (an actor, an athlete, and a musician) who spend beyond their means. Players must effectively use a bank account, debit card, and credit card to be successful as well.

During the tournament, players earn points that qualify them for a chance to win gift cards being given away weekly. The highest scoring player during the tournament period (September 1 - 30) receives an Apple iPad and recognition on October 9 at the Boston Money Conference.

The Financial Education Department, a program of the State Treasurer's office, funds the tournament. Treasurer Cahill oversees the Treasury's Financial Education Department, which sponsors a variety of activities related to financial literacy in the state.

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AMD's Activate! Launches in Beijing, China School

July 5, 2010 -

Beijing, China is the next stop for AMD's Activate! initiative. The world's second largest chip maker announced that the Dandelion Middle School in Beijing is now offering a course in game development. AMD says that its curriculum is designed to help teens improve critical science, technology, and math skills by allowing kids to develop games using a suite of specially designed software development tools.

Announced earlier this year, Activate is a program that enables kids ages 13 - 15 to "easily design and program video games." Activate! was created by PETLab and funded by a $77,000 AMD Foundation grant in support of AMD Changing the Game. PETLab is a joint project of Games for Change and Parsons The New School for Design. You can learn more about PETLab by visiting petlab.parsons.edu.


Valve Working With Aussie Classification Board

October 7, 2009 -

In the wake of an Australian Classification Board ruling three weeks ago that Valve's new Left 4 Dead 2 game would receive no classification, Gabe Newell was in Sydney to try to allay the boards concerns.

According to a story on Kotaku, the game was banned because of the amount of violence in the game and deemed "unsuitable for persons under age 18 to play."

Valve has appealed the board's ruling and that a decision should be forthcoming around Oct. 22. As a back-up plan, Newell said that an edited version of the game has been submitted to the board, adding that they don't want to ship a second version, but will if it means getting the game into the hands of Aussie players.

More from Kotaku:

The decision to submit an edited version was made to ensure Left 4 Dead 2 met its planned November release date. Given that the Review Board will not report back on the appeal until October 22, it means there may not be enough time to get the unedited version on sale for the global launch. Newell confirmed that if the edited version is released, then the Australian version would receive an update if the appeal proves successful. This would be free on PC, but he said he did not yet know how it might work on Xbox 360.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that the board could backtrack on it's ban. Warner Bros. Interactive was able to successfully appeal a no classification ruling of F.E.A.R. 2 to an MA15+ rating earlier this year.

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Valve's Gabe Newell Disses DRM in DICE Keynote

February 19, 2009 -

Valve founder Gabe Newell did some outside-the-box musing during his DICE Summit keynote, reports Stephen Totilo of MTV Multiplayer.

Among other topics, Newell ripped DRM for games:

Newell believes that [DRM] that is presented as copy-protection gives a game a stink. It leaves customers unsure about how flexibly they can access their games. So they turn to pirates who offer games with fewer strings, he suggested. “There is evidence anecdotally that DRM is increasing piracy rather than decreasing piracy.”

 

Valve’s solution: battle the pirates by providing better services than the pirates do. The effectiveness of pirates, he said, is to get content to people who want it more swiftly and easily than the companies who make the content do. An outfit like Valve, however, can get provide even better service, even by doing something as intrusive as data-mining their customers’ computers — as long as they are transparent about it and can prove to the customer that taking such measures will make the customers’ games better.

GP: Nice... We're adding Gabe Newell to our list of game industry white hats who are keeping the most important person in the business - the game consumer - in mind.

73 comments

Report: Valve's Gabe Newell Disses DRM

December 2, 2008 -

When it comes to DRM, it seems that Valve president Gabe Newell is one of those in the game biz who wears a white hat.

That is to say, he espouses a reasonable approach, one that is not a de facto screwing of game consumers.

In an e-mail to a gamer by the name of Paul Reisinger (posted on the ih8evilstuff LiveJournal page), Newell writes:

Left 4 Dead is developed entirely by Valve. Steam revenue for our games is not shared with third parties. Around the world we have a number of distribution partners to handle retail distribution of our games (i.e. make discs and boxes). EA is one of those partners.

As far as DRM goes, most DRM strategies are just dumb. The goal should be to create greater value for customers through service value (make it easy for me to play my games whenever and wherever I want to), not by decreasing the value of a product (maybe I'll be able to play my game and maybe I won't).

We really really discourage other developers and publishes from using the broken DRM offerings, and in general there is a groundswell to abandon those approaches.

Via: Tech in Hiding Games

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Who's responsible for crappy Netflix performance on Verizon?:

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Andrew EisenOf course it's a question. It's got a question mark and everything!07/22/2014 - 6:43pm
Matthew WilsonHate to say it, but that poll is not even a question. there is too much evidence that points to Verizon. http://www.extremetech.com/computing/186576-verizon-caught-throttling-netflix-traffic-even-after-its-pays-for-more-bandwidth07/22/2014 - 6:23pm
Andrew EisenHuh. The new Battlefield has been delayed to early next year. Are you feeling okay, EA? http://blogs.battlefield.com/2014/07/bfh-will-launch-2015/07/22/2014 - 6:11pm
SleakerWest End Games - Areal developers just got their Kickstarter suspended. Might want to dump that 'fully funded' status.07/22/2014 - 12:08pm
MaskedPixelanteHas anyone who bought it gotten their Sims 2 Ultimate Edition upgrade yet? Still waiting on mine, especially since they're supposed to be out by today.07/22/2014 - 10:45am
IanCDynasty Warriors 8 for the PS4 finally has the option to turn off the OTT depth of field that made the game look like a blurry mess. Only a few months behind the JP version patch...07/22/2014 - 10:17am
NeenekoI see nothing in Section 111 that would exclude IP transmission. It even explicitly includes 'other transmission methods'07/22/2014 - 9:28am
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.afterdawn.com/news/article.cfm/2014/07/19/ruling_aereo_is_not_a_cable_company07/22/2014 - 8:13am
ZippyDSMleelul what?07/22/2014 - 7:53am
ZippyDSMleehttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/07/bungie-cross-generation-destiny-wouldnt-be-fair-to-low-res-players/07/22/2014 - 7:53am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/07/22/wii-u-update-adds-system-to-system-transfers/ The latest Wii U update allows you to do the system transfer between two Wii Us. Still not true accounts, but getting there.07/22/2014 - 7:39am
Papa MidnightSpeculation from PC Gamer. Don't hold your breath. http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/07/21/microsoft-job-listing-says-nice-things-about-pc-gaming-isnt-clear-if-it-means-them/07/21/2014 - 5:58pm
MaskedPixelanteI dunno, it's probably Vevo powertripping.07/21/2014 - 5:52pm
Andrew EisenMP - Makes you wonder what the intention behind the removal was. Stop the RickRolls? Yeah, like removing that one video is going to make a difference.07/21/2014 - 3:27pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.billboard.com/articles/business/digital-and-mobile/6165313/youtube-blocks-original-rickroll-video Moment of silence, the original Rickroll video has been blocked in many regions.07/20/2014 - 3:53pm
PHX CorpUseless DLC news: Killzone Fart Pack http://ps4daily.com/2014/07/killzone-fart-dlc/07/20/2014 - 12:56pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU1mK2ig_GU They did their research beforehand.07/19/2014 - 4:41pm
Sleaker@james_fudge - are you sure the FCC can pick and choose? the general rules I read as passed in the act don't really indicate that, but I didn't read through the entirety.07/19/2014 - 4:19pm
MaskedPixelanteOf course, Saban's entire point hinges on them not knowing what the tokusatsu genre is.07/19/2014 - 1:57pm
lomdrLink to where you saw this, Sora-chan?07/19/2014 - 1:50pm
 

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