Games at Center of Obama’s Digital Learning Initiative

November 23, 2009 -

In a bid to improve science and math comprehension for U.S. school pupils, President Obama has launched an open competition designed to encourage the creation of digital media-based learning experiences.

Launching December 14, the 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition is being undertaken in conjunction with the MacArthur Foundation, the Humanities, Arts and the Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC) and National Lab Day. Two categories are offered in the $2.0 million competition—21st Century Learning Lab Designers and Game Changers.

Game Changers will task entrants with creating content, using the PlayStation 3 game LittleBigPlanet, which incorporates science, engineering and math. Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) and The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) are backers of the competition as well, with the former donating 1,000 PS3 systems and copies of LittleBigPlanet to libraries and community organizations in low-income U.S. communities.

Jack Tretton, president and CEO of SCEA added:

“When leveraging the innovative technology of LittleBigPlanet and the PS3 system, both advanced and novice gamers have access to an open canvas to learn, build, and explore entirely new kinds of gaming experiences. There’s no better training ground for anyone interested in digital media.”

Winners will be announced next spring. Winning LittleBigPlanet levels will also be made available to the public.

36 comments

Little Big Planet's Sacktue of Liberty

July 3, 2009 -

Via fidgit we've been clued into Sackboy, done up in patriotic style as the Sacktue of Liberty...

...which reminds us that Hillary Clinton's face appeared on the Statue of Happiness in Grand Theft Auto IV.

So, are there other Statue of Liberty appearances in gaming? Gotta be...

20 comments

Fable II, LBP, GRID Receive Kudos in Parliament

March 29, 2009 -

As noted on the House of Commons website, Conservative MP Edward Vaizey (left) introduced an early day motion last week to recognize BAFTA nominees and winners, including Little Big Planet, Fable II and Race Driver: GRID.

A vocal backer of the UK video game industry, Vaizey also took the opportunity to criticize the Labour Government for not providing what he views as a sufficient level of support to the British game biz:

[Moved:] That this House notes the importance of the video games sector to the UK economy; congratulates the winners and nominees at this year's Bafta Video Games Awards; notes in particular the success of UK developed games, including Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet, Codemasters'  and Lionhead Studios' Fable II, all of which won awards...

 

applauds this recognition of the continued success and significance of video games despite the complete lack of support from Government; regrets the fact that this lack of support from Government has seen the UK fall from being the third largest producer of video games in the world to the fifth largest; and urges the Government to devise a clear and supportive strategy for the UK video games sector as part of the Digital Britain review.

GP: Vaizey's name is popping up on GamePolitics with enough regularity that we've added a tag for him in our category list.

12 comments

Sony's Awesome Holiday Card Features Little Big Planet Theme

December 20, 2008 -

Sony's 2008 holiday card is the best one we've received this year.

The card features Sackboy from Little Big Planet on the front The inside folds out in three panels to depict a snowy, LBP-themed scene.

There's a greeting on the back side along with an enclosed signature sheet from the SCEA P.R. gang.

Nicely done!

5 comments

TIME Names Top 10 Video Games of 2008

December 8, 2008 -

TIME has cranked out a feature which serves up Top 10 lists for just about everything you can think of (breakups, foot trends, open mic moments), including video games.

Lev Grossman penned TIME's list, which starts with GTA IV and ends with Spore. Here's what Grossman had to say about R*'s controversial, runaway hit:

It's ironic that GTA became a football in the debate over sex and violence in video games, because where it belongs is in the debate over whether video games count as art... It's a grade-A shoot-'em-up that doubles as an interactive novel and triples as a sly critique of American consumer culture.

Grossman's entire Top 10 list follows:

  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Braid (video at left)
  • Little Big Planet
  • Rock Band 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Dead Space
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
  • Hunted Forever (Flash)
  • Fieldrunners (iPhone app)
  • Spore
32 comments

McCain Wins! (...in Little Big Planet)

November 5, 2008 -

Things turn out better for Republican John McCain in this user-created level from PlayStation 3 smash Little Big Planet.

Of course, you could play this level so that Obama wins, too. 53% of American voters would probably play that way, based on yesterday's popular vote.

The level was designed by Richard Windsor of gaming site Aeropause.

Via: Destructoid

Webcomic Spoofs Little Big Planet Recall

October 29, 2008 -

By now the story of how two innocent lines from the Qur'an delayed Little Big Planet's worldwide launch is well known.

While the delay made eager LBP fans sad, 2P Start webcomic has some fun with the fiasco. Click here for the full comic.

GP: Thanks to sharp-eyed GP correspondent Andrew Eisen for the link.

14 comments

Penny Arcade Has Some Fun with Little Big Planet Recall

October 23, 2008 -

Gabe and Tycho poke fun at the Little Big Planet controversy in their latest cartoon.

Catch all of the panels here...

32 comments

Islamic Musician Defends Lyrics That Delayed Little Big Planet

October 22, 2008 -

The Islamic musician whose Qur'anic references in a Little Big Planet soundtrack tune caused a delay in the game's release has defended his lyrics to MTV Multiplayer. Singer Toumani Diabate (left) explains:

It is quite normal to play music and be inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammed... in my country in Mali. You can see this on television all the time.

MTV Multiplayer also has a more in-depth explanantion of the "offending" lyrics, provided by Diabate's record label. In this context they sound entirely inoffensive:

Moussa Diabate, adapts a traditional Malian song about the death of a much-loved hippopotamus who has been shot by a white hunter. In the original song... the griots of the village sing about how difficult it is to be separated from your loved one in death.

The singer adapts this song... to lament the death of his brother Mustapha, who died very young as a child. Moussa draws on the excerpts from the Koran to console him & help him overcome his bereavement. In this way, his intention... is a good one. He is not blaspheming or taking the Koran out of context. He is trying to draw strength from the words of the Prophet.

...‘Every soul shall have the taste of death...
...All that is on earth will perish...

Meanwhile, Reuters wonders whether, in the wake of its second faith-based controversy in as many years, Sony needs to hire a religious advisor. Perhaps more to the point, Reuters asks:

Should companies simply avoid any reference to Islam at all?

GP: Is that really what the Islamic world wants, to become a zone of avoidance for pop culture?

60 comments

American Muslim Group Leader Slams Little Big Planet Recall

October 21, 2008 -

Sony's unexpected decision to delay the release of Game-of-the-Year candidate Little Big Planet over the inclusion of two sentences from the Qur'an in an LBP soundtrack song stunned gamers late last week.

But the PlayStation 3 maker, burned in 2007 by a religion-based controversy involving FPS game Resistance and the Church of England, was undoubtedly being cautious. An American Islamic leader, however, says that delaying and editing LBP was the wrong move.

As reported by Edge Online, M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. (left), head of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, remarked:

Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted... The free market allows for expression of disfavor by simply not purchasing a game that may be offensive...

[Mohammed] defended the rights of his enemies to critique him in any way even if it was offensive to his own Islamic sensibilities or respect for Koranic scripture... To demand that [the game] be withdrawn is predicated on a society which gives theocrats who wish to control speech far more value than the central principle of freedom of expression upon which the very practice and freedom of religion is based.

The fact that the music writer is a devout Muslim should highlight that at the core of this issue is not about offending ‘all Muslims,’ but only about freedom of expression and the free market...

LBP on Ebay:

Meanwhile, gamesindustry.biz reports that copies of the unedited LBP are fetching as much as $249 on Ebay. Hmmm...where did I put that review copy?

59 comments

SCEE Issues New Ship Date for Little Big Planet

October 20, 2008 -

In the wake of Friday's surprising news that the release of Little Big Planet would be delayed following the discovery of two verses from the Qur'an in one of the game's soundtrack songs, SCEE has issued a press release regarding the updated launch schedule for its terroritories:

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is pleased to confirm that LittleBigPlanet will start to appear in stores no later than the week commencing Monday 3rd November in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, on a country by country basis. We appreciate all the enthusiasm surrounding this much anticipated title and we would like to thank PlayStation fans for their support and understanding.

6 comments

Little Big Planet Release Delayed Over Qur'an References in Song

October 17, 2008 -

The Little Big Planet launch won't go off next week as originally scheduled.

As reported by Joystiq, Sony is delaying LBP worldwide due to concerns about Qur'an references in a single song file. SCEE issued a statement on the situation:

During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur'an. We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused. We will confirm the new launch date shortly.

Joystiq reports that the tune in question is Tapha Niang by Grammy winner Toumani Diabaté. From Joystiq's report:

From the brief research we've done (um ... Wikipedia), we have yet to find evidence to suggest "Tapha Niang" (or any Toumani Diabaté production for that matter) has been criticized for possible religious offenses prior to today's development. In fact, a profile published by Taipei Times describes Toumani Diabaté as "a devout Muslim, with his own prayer room next to his office."

GP: SCEE, still smarting from the Resistance / Manchester Cathedral controversy, is likely being extra-cautious here in an effort not to step on anyone's religious toes.

Thanks to: GP reader Josh Thompson for the tip!

UPDATE: Just got this e-mail with reviewer info from Sony:

Please be sure to check out the latest PlayStation blog post regarding LittleBigPlanet for the PS3.  Feel free to move forward with publishing reviews and features, but note that SCEA will begin shipping LittleBigPlanet to retail in North America the week of October 27th. 

UPDATE 2: Kotaku has a translation of the offending passages:

Every soul shall have the taste of death...  All that is on earth will perish...

UPDATE 3: Here's the official PlayStation blog announcement. Doesn't add much, although some of the commenters are outraged.

90 comments

Sarah Palin Bashed in Little Big Planet User Video

October 14, 2008 -

Someone in the Little Big Planet beta doesn't think much of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin...

39 comments

 
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Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Andrew EisenHave gamers ever tried to ban a product? Can you be more specific? I'm not clear what you're getting at.07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
Mattsworknamethey should have expected some kind of blow back. But I didn't participate in that specific action07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MattsworknameAndrew Youd have to ask others about that, I actualyl didn't have much beef with them till last year, so I can't speak to there history. I simply feel that gamesutra chose politics over gaming and chose to make enimies of it's prime audiance. For that,07/28/2015 - 8:40pm
Andrew EisenI'm still not clear on how Gamasutra was lacking in accountability or what it was lacking in accountability for.07/28/2015 - 8:38pm
MattsworknameAndrew: You and I agree on most of that. I don't diagree that there should ahve been other actions taken. Now, I do want to point something out, casue Im not sure if it's happened. Have gamers ever tried to have a product banned?07/28/2015 - 8:37pm
Mattsworknameimproperly. Neither is good, but one is on the edge of censorship to me, while the other is demanding some level of accountability from public media provider. but thats just my view point07/28/2015 - 8:36pm
MattsworknameEZK: You can treat it as bullying or what not, As I've pointed out, I didn't like either practice, I made that clear. But I do hold some different between trying to pull a product from the shelves, and calling out a media outlet that you feel has acted07/28/2015 - 8:35pm
E. Zachary KnightMatt, So you feel confident enough to make the call that petitioning target to remove GTAV is "bullying and threatening" but not confident enough to make the call on Intel/Gamasutra. Finding it hard to take your gripes seriously.07/28/2015 - 8:27pm
Andrew EisenAs for gamers holding media sites accountable? If you mean, how to respond to opinion pieces you disagree with, yes, there are tons of more appropriate means.07/28/2015 - 8:27pm
Andrew EisenAgain, no one likes being lumped in with the bad apples. Gamers or feminists so lets all strive not to do that, yes? Could the petitioners gone about it a better way? Yes, it could have been more factual in its petition, for starters.07/28/2015 - 8:25pm
 

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