Vietnam's First Home-grown Game Project Traces History & Culture

March 25, 2009 -

While Vietnamese game developers have been doing contract work for foreign companies for some time, the country's first locally-created game project is now underway.

Thanh Nien News reports that Game Studio South, a subsidiary of VinaGame, is developing Thuan Thien Kiem, a PC title which draws upon the history and culture of Vietnam:

The first 100-percent Vietnamese game is expected to be launched this summer under the title Thuan Thien Kiem, which means “God’s Sword,” a legendary weapon used by Vietnamese King Le Loi in the 14th-15th centuries...

Taking place in the Later Le Dynasty from the mid-15th century to 16th century, Thuan Thien Kiem features content from local folk stories and legends. In the game, players take on the roles of legendary Vietnamese heroes and heroines...

Traditional customs like marriage ceremonies and folk games will also be a part of the game, which aims to give players the background histories of favorite folk songs. The game also details the origins of several rare pieces of music from Vietnam’s past dynasties.

4 comments

British Knife Crime Czar Urges Tax on Violent Video Games

March 10, 2009 -

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's advisor on knife crimes has called for a tax on violent video games, reports the Telegraph.

Richard Taylor (left), whose 10-year-old son Damilola was stabbed to death in 2000 made his comments to to the Brown Government's Home Affairs Committee.

Also coming in for Taylor's criticism were rap music and American cultural influences:

Violent games are “too cheap” and taxes on them should be “very high”, Mr Taylor told MPs.

He told the Home Affairs Committee: “I have young people who I mentor and I see them go up and buy the games and it saddens me that they are being able to have such a negative impact...”

Mr Taylor also told MPs that he was concerned about the content of much rap music.

“It is creating more of a problem because of the language that is used. It is language that, as a father, I would not allow my children to hear. To me, there is a lot of negativity that comes out of this music, especially that which is coming from America.”

Nebraska State Auditor Employs Fuzzy Logic to Zing Gaming Librarians

March 2, 2009 -

Last week GamePolitics reported that some Nebraska librarians were under investigation by State Auditor Mike Foley (R) for - horrors! - purchasing a PlayStation 2 and Rock Band set for use in the library.

Foley's final report on Nebraska's library system is now out, including his findings on the video game issue:

[Library] Commission employees have occasionally provided their own personal game consoles for trainings and demonstrations...

GP: Now that's dedication, a quality that government bureaucracy is so good at beating out of its employees. No good deed, as they say, goes unpunished.

The purchase of gaming equipment is a questionable use of public funds. It is common
knowledge that children enjoy games and toys, so there appears to have been little need to
purchase the games.

GP: Wait - kids like games, so the library shouldn't buy them? Does that mean they should expend their budget on things that people don't like? WTH?

Moreover, none of the games purchased were so complicated or out of the ordinary as to require the Commission to demonstrate their use to library staff and others...

GP: Because absolutely everyone who walks into a Nebraska library - including older librarians - has an innate sense of how to set up and play Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution? Thankfully, the Library Commission defended it employees against the Foley-crats:

Gaming equipment and games have become increasingly popular and in demand resources for library programming and service. The Library Commission purchased game equipment in response to requests from Nebraska librarians for demonstration and instruction. The Library Commission’s actions in acquiring gaming equipment and a few representative games are proper and in accord with the agency’s state statutory mission and its purposes in introducing new technologies, techniques and providing information and instruction in the use of these technologies.
 

GP: Bureaucracy... Grrrr...

Via: Nebraska State Paper

UPDATE: Cornfed Gamer has a terrific report on the situation with lots of additional details.

TV News, State Officials Investigate Rock Band-Playing Librarians... But Weren't They Just Doing Their Job?

February 25, 2009 -

Omaha's Action News 3 is running an exposé on some Nebraska Library Commission employees who posted a video of themselves setting up and playing Rock Band on company time. But did the workers do anything wrong? From the Action News report:

Were some Nebraska state workers paid to play? A video that appeared on YouTube is creating a firestorm of reaction and suggests so...  Employees at the Nebraska Library Commission are accused of wasting [taxpayer money] and then posting video and pictures of the whole thing on line.

Nebraska State Auditor Mike Foley told Action News that a YouTube user spotted the video at left and made a complaint, leading to an investigation by Foley's office. However, Library Commission Director Rob Wagner has backed up his employees:

In a phone interview... Wagner says the workers did nothing wrong. He says the library system is branching out into video games to bring more young people into the libraries. 

GP: While library systems around the country are increasingly adopting video games in an effort to attract teens and stay culturally relevant, that word seems not to have filtered back to either Action News 3 or the Nebraska Auditor General's office.

If libraries are going to offer games like Rock Band, wouldn't it make sense for the employees to at least know how to set them up and be able to explain them to library users?

It's too bad that the local media and the state bureacracy is screwing them over for their efforts at innovation.

28 comments

Stephen Colbert Plays Rock Band Duet with Utah Congressman

February 7, 2009 -

Stephen Colbert and freshman Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) play the Rock Band version of Colbert's own Charlene (I'm Right Behind You).

Chaffetz, who has previously leg-wrestled Colbert, earns a disappointing 24% score for the song's guitar track, while Colbert racks up a perfect score on vocals.

Still, credit to Chaffetz where it's due. How many Congress types would be willing to try Rock Band on national TV?

Via: Layton Shumway, games guru of the Deseret News

UPDATE: Glen Warchol of the Salt Lake Tribune finds Chaffetz's antics "excruciatingly mortifying:"

Is there a[n] information medium that freshman Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz won't exploit?

Besides Twittering and participating in a CNN reality show on life as a rookie congressman, Chaffetz allowed faux political pundit Stephen Colbert to humiliate him in leg wrestling, Rock Band and even subject him to a facial. Warning: Watch at your own risk. It is so excruciatingly mortifying, you may want to crawl under a chair for C[h]affetz.

7 comments

North Dakota's 1st Lady Plays Guitar Hero... Legislators Fail at DDR

February 6, 2009 -

Bismarck's KYFR-5 reports that North Dakota's First Lady Mikey Hoeven (sporting the big hair at left) has played a bit of Guitar Hero. And the wife of Gov. John Hoeven (R) isn't bad at Dance Dance Revolution, either.

News of Mrs. Hoeven's gaming chops leaked during an American Heart Association event at the State Capitol. KYFR reports that legislators who gave DDR a try didn't fare nearly as well as the First Lady:

Sen. Dwight Cook knows a thing or two about North Dakota politics, but there was one thing going on at the capitol today that was over his head.

"It's not easy, it`s not easy at all," Cook says.

The response most legislators had after testing out Dance, Dance Revolution... Unfortunately, legislators weren`t so enthused about the high-tech workout.

"Most of them, I think, are a little shy or shy away from it because of the technology, I think they`re afraid like `Oh is this going to move too fast for me?` And `I can`t do this,`" says [gym teacher Tammi] Doppler...

First Lady Mikey Hoeven was among the top scoring in the political sector. But she admits, she had the upper hand as the concept of the game isn`t new because she`s played Guitar Hero.

11 comments

Red Ring of Zune? 30GB Versions of Microsoft mp3 Player All Fail at Once

December 31, 2008 -

It's not exactly a video game story, but...

Multiple reports are coming in that every 30GB Zune (Microsoft's mp3 player) failed this morning at 2 a.m.

College OTR has this:

Microsoft is just squeezing in under the wire to claim the rights to “weirdest tech story of the year.”Last night at approximately 2 AM, every 30GB Zune model on the planet crashed... The Zunes reset, powered up, then froze on the loading bar screen, and no conventional method of resetting them appears to work.


This is brought to you courtesy of Microsoft, who has been selling a video game console with a nearly 100% fail rate for three years. The Zune situation is all the more disasterous however seeing as all of them failed at the exact same moment, which people have taken to calling 2K9.

From Gizmodo:

Right, so this is a weird one: we're getting tons of reports—tons—about failing Zune 30s. Apparently, the players began freezing at about midnight last night, becoming totally unresponsive and practically useless.

The crisis has been dubbed by Zune users 'Y2K9', due to the apparently synchronized faceplantings across the country... This report is consistently corroborated by literally hundreds of others across the various Zune support and fan forums.

GP: Zune users, jump to comments and tell us what is happening with your player...

65 comments

8-bit Jesus: Christmas Carols Performed in Retro Game Style

December 22, 2008 -

Here's some holiday gaming awesomeness, just in time for December 25th.

GameCyte reports that Doctor Octoroc is offering 18 classic Christmas carols, arranged in 8-bit game style.

The mp3 files are free to download and a physical CD, complete with appropriately retro cover, is available for a mere $15.

Here's the track list. Note the fun that the good doctor had with the titles:

  • We Three Konami
  • 8 Days of Master Robots
  • Ryu, The Red Nosed Ninja
  • We Wish You A Merry Faxanadu
  • Silent Knight Man
  • Carol Of The Belmonts
  • Contraland
  • Little Drummer Nemo
  • Joy To Commando
  • Super Jingle Bros.
  • Bubbles We Have Heard On Bobble
  • What Guardian Is Legend?
  • Deck The Kremlin
  • Icarus! The Angels Sing
  • The Legend Of Noel
  • O Come, All Ye Vampires
  • Kraid, Rest Ye Merry Mother Brain
  • Have Yourself A Final Little Fantasy
7 comments

Oh No You Didn't: Mercs 2 Song Plays as Skins Hold Off Eagles

December 22, 2008 -

Sunday was a tough day for Eagles fans (like yours truly).

The Washington Redskins stymied the Eagles' offense all day long and led 10-3 late in the fourth quarter. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Eagles receiver Reggie Brown was stuffed at the goal line by a pair of Washington defenders.

And what song was blaring over the public address system at Washington's Fedex Field?

Oh No You Didn't.

The Wojahn Brothers tune is the theme for EA's hit Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.

Cinema Blend, which picked up on the use of the Mercs 2 song, reports:

It's a tough song to describe; essentially it's a rap with piano accompaniment and a choir-style chorus. Somehow, all of these strange elements come together into a catchy masterpiece... it's pretty awesome that a song created for a video game's gotten this sort of mainstream attention.

13 comments

Music Industry Gives Up on Suing Consumers, Will Pressure ISPs Instead

December 19, 2008 -

Following years of suing individuals for sharing music on peer-to-peer networks, the music industry has decided to try a new tactic.

They'll try to have your Internet service cut off, instead.

The Wall Street Journal reports that music biz trade group the RIAA will shift its anti-piracy strategy from individuals to ISPs:

The [RIAA] said it plans to try an approach that relies on the cooperation of Internet-service providers. The trade group said it has hashed out preliminary agreements with major ISPs under which it will send an email to the provider when it finds a provider's customers making music available online for others to take.

Depending on the agreement, the ISP will either forward the note to customers, or alert customers that they appear to be uploading music illegally, and ask them to stop. If the customers continue the file-sharing, they will get one or two more emails, perhaps accompanied by slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP may cut off their access altogether.

According to the WSJ, the RIAA has filed some 35,000 lawsuits against private citizens since 2002. Despite the shift in strategy, the organization says it plans to continue with those suits already in progess.

39 comments

Harvard Law School vs. RIAA ...Fight!!

December 15, 2008 -

A team from Harvard Law School will square off against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today in a Rhode Island Federal Court, according to a Harvard Law press release.

Prof. Charles Nesson (left) and a group of law students have taken up the case of Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University grad student targeted by the RIAA. Alleging that Joel file-shared seven songs as a teenager, the RIAA is seeking more than one million dollars from Tenenbaum family. Odly enough, if the same music was purchased on iTunes, the total value would be all of $6.93.

Matt Sanchez, one of law students assisting Prof. Nesson, said:

The basic rules of evidence suggest that this invasion of privacy is both unnecessary and absurd. This hearing isn’t only about Joel’s parents.  It’s also about finally putting up a fight against the recording industry’s intimidation practices.

An except from a case document filed by the Harvard team explains their position:

The [RIAA] is in the process of bringing to bear upon the defendant, Joel Tenenbaum, the full might of its lobbying influence and litigating power. Joel Tenenbaum was a teenager at the time of the alleged copyright infringements, in every way representative of his born-digital generation. The plaintiffs and the RIAA are seeking to punish him beyond any rational measure of the damage he allegedly caused.

 

They do this, not for the purpose of recovering compensation for actual damage caused by Joel’s individual action, nor for the primary purpose of deterring him from further copyright infringement, but for the ulterior purpose of creating an urban legend so frightening to children using computers, and so frightening to parents and teachers of students using computers, that they will somehow reverse the tide of the digital future

Check out Harvard Law's CyberOne blog for more info. There is also a Facebook group in support of Joel Tenenbaum.

GP: While not a video game story, Harvard Law's legal battle against the RIAA's IP ham-handed enforcement tactics have implications for game consumers as well.

26 comments

Coldplay Video Contest Entry Touts Educational Value of Games

December 2, 2008 -

Best-selling band Coldplay has been running a contest which challenges fans to create a video accompaniment to its tune Lost.

Among those submitting entries is education software-oriented website GamingKrib.

While their contest video is essentially a commercial for their business, it also pulls in some fascinating quotes and stats regarding how young people relate to digital tech, gaming and education.

 

7 comments

Bill O'Reilly Whines About Heidi Klum's Guitar Hero Commercial

November 14, 2008 -

On Fox News program The O'Reilly Factor, pundit Bill O'Reilly tries to drag Heidi Klum's Guitar Hero commercial into the culture wars, but even his two conservative female guests don't want to go there.

At issue is Heidi's Risky Business-inspired Guitar Hero shredding routine. O'Reilly is apparently concerned about the the moral effects of the commercial, featuring a lingerie-clad Klum, airing in prime time.

Then again, O'Reilly has never been much of a fan of video games. Or iPods. Or Blackberries. But Mr. Morality does enjoy a good loofa.

GP: Thanks to GP jack-of-all-trades Andrew Eisen for the sharp eyes...

74 comments

Obama Team Kicked Back with Rock Band

November 11, 2008 -

With some gamers expressing concern about President-elect Barack Obama's position on video games, it's somehow reassuring to learn that campaign staffers partook of group Rock Band sessions during their down time.

That word comes by way of a look back on Obama's winning strategy by the New Yorker:

Like many campaign teams, Obama’s was young. The communications department –made up mostly of guys in their twenties and thirties — had a fraternity-house quality. On weekends, they would often drink beer together and play the video game “Rock Band” at a group house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

 

They had been brought up in Democratic politics in the previous two decades with an understanding that the people who worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton were the best operatives in Washington, especially when it came to dealing with the media. They had watched “The War Room,” the documentary about the 1992 Clinton campaign, which featured strategists like James Carville and George Stephanopoulos manically responding to every negative story and trying to win every news cycle.

Via: MTV Multiplayer

9 comments

Webcomic: Obama, McCain & Guitar Hero

November 1, 2008 -

Political cartoon site Filibuster takes a look at current presidential campaign poll results through the lens of Guitar Hero...

Thanks to: Sharp-eyed GP correspondent Andrew Eisen. No worthy webcomic escapes his all-seeing eye!

13 comments

Playboy Centerfold is Former Guitar Hero P.R. Rep

October 25, 2008 -

To my great surprise there was a plain brown envelope from Playboy Enterprises International in the GamePolitics post office box yesterday. Inside was the November issue.

After about three hours of perusing the magazine (in the interests of giving GP readers a complete and accurate report), I figured out the reason why Playboy sent the mag my way.

It seems that Miss November, Grace Kim, is a former publicist for Guitar Hero publisher Activision. The brief bio which accompanies her centerfold pictorial discusses her connection to the game: 

I play a mean game of Guitar Hero and I'm willing to challenge anybody. I must warn you I'm a very sore loser - at any game...

 

Grace says her ideal date is a round of Guitar Hero or Rock Band with perks.

Kotaku has a lengthy interview with Grace:

I had heard of an opening to work directly with the head director of Guitar Hero, so I applied, and I didn't think I'd get the job because there were so many applicants... but I also had a lot of PR experience. I was really blessed that they brought me on board. I think they appreciated my passion...

"Activision was getting annoyed [over the time demands of the Playboy picture shoots], and I wanted to keep my job [at first]... But my boss wasn't happy and I wasn't happy, and being a Playmate is a job. I really wanted to explore that area, and see where this path would take me. And, working so much for Activision kind of killed my love a little for Guitar Hero.

 

40 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

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

At Fallout 3 Launch Party, Foo Fighters' Grohl Almost Dedicates Song to Sarah Palin

October 17, 2008 -

The Foo Fighters entertained the crowd at a private Fallout 3 launch party last night in L.A. and Entertainment Weekly reports that frontman Dave Grohl seemed close to dedicating Everlong to Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

It was just 10 days ago that the band issued a statement protesting the use of their tune My Hero at McCain/Palin rallies.

From EW:

Playing for several hundred videogame enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the much anticipated launch of the post-apocalyptic Fallout 3, the Foo frontman... [praised] the open bar at the downtown Los Angeles gig several times, and... toasted gamers everywhere.

 

"I'm proud of you guys," he said. "You're living the American dream. You get to drink free booze and play f----n' video games. Who knows, maybe someday you can be vice president!" While readying his guitar for the song "Everlong," Grohl segued from the V.P. reference into a near-dedication: "Speaking of that, I'm gonna dedicate this one to all the..." And then flinched. "Never mind." Whoa. To all the...Republicans? Several people in attendance certainly wondered if that was what the singer was thisclose to doing. Tongue-in-cheek perhaps?

 

31 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

Rapper: Turn Off PlayStation, Get Involved in Political Process

October 10, 2008 -

Rapper T.I. (real name: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.) urges the younger generation to pay attention to the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain - even if it means putting video games aside for a while.

As reported by People, T.I. commented on the upcoming election:

When I'm speaking to young people and they say, 'Who you voting for?' I say, 'Well, what you think's wrong with the country? What problems do you need to be fixed? OK, then cut your PlayStation off and turn to CNN and listen to these people.

Listen to each of the candidates' platforms, and whoever you think is speaking passionately and intelligently and will do the things you think need changed, that's who you vote for.
 

 

22 comments

CBS News Looks at Guitar Hero

September 20, 2008 -

In the last of this week's three-part series on video games, the CBS Evening News offers an interview with Aerosmith's Joe Perry, who talks about how Guitar Hero is changing the music business.

24 comments

GTA IV Radio Station Prompts Music Copyright Lawsuit

September 10, 2008 -

A Jamaican man who claims that he co-wrote a pair of reggae songs featured on one of Grand Theft Auto IV's radio stations filed suit over the issue against Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive in July.

The suit was dropped yesterday in federal court in Manhattan.

In his complaint, Linton White alleged that he co-wrote Last Night with David Brooks, aka Mavado. White also claims co-authorship of Bullet Proof Skin with Rodney Basil Price, who performs as Bounty Killer. Like the plaintiff, Brooks and Price are also from Jamaica.

Both songs named in the suit appear on the playlist of GTA IV's reggae-themed Massive B Sound System 96.9 station, which can be heard as players drive around the game's expansive setting in an assortment of virtual vehicles.

White is listed as a producer on Mavado's 2007 Gangsta for Life album, which contains the disputed Last Night track. According to the suit, White alleges that his co-authorship of the disputed songs was not added to the Liberty City Guidebook which was packaged with GTA IV:

In the... Liberty City Guidebook... [Take-Two and Rockstar] designate D. Brooks and B. Konders as the writers of "Last Night." ...[Take-Two and Rockstar] designate D. Brooks and R. Price as the writers of Bullet Proof Skin." No designation is made of plaintiff as a writer.

Neither Brooks, Price or Konders are named as defendants. In his complaint, White demanded $150,000 plus punitive damages and other fees. In court filings, attorneys for Rockstar and Two-Two argued that White's claims lacked merit. It is unknown what - if anything - White received.

For its part, Take-Two refused to comment on the matter. White's attorney, Anthony Motta of New York, declined to say whether or not there had been a settlement.

15 comments

Game-Legislating Minnesota Guv Goes for Joyride in Xbox-equipped Van "Stolen" from Everclear

September 1, 2008 -

He may have lost out on the Republican party's vice presidential nod, but Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently had a memorable ride in an Xbox-equipped van inadvertently stolen from the band Everclear.

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Gov. Pawlenty signed Minnesota's 2006 "fine the buyer" video game law into effect. The measure was later deemed unconstitutional by a pair of federal courts.

As reported by TwinCities.com:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty spent Sunday riding around Pennsylvania in a stolen van. The theft was inadvertent; his Keystone State driver was told to pick up the keys to the vehicle in which he was to shepherd the governor at the Holiday Inn in Allentown, Pa.

 

"He did exactly what he was told, except it was the wrong Holiday Inn and the wrong van," said Pawlenty... The van the driver picked up was a tricked-out touring vehicle, complete with an LCD video screen, an Xbox and video games and an iPod-ready, six-speaker stereo system.

The van retrieved by Pawlenty's driver was full of beer cans and had been used to to transport Everclear to their hotel. Ironically, the band was enroute to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

When the driver mistakenly showed up at Everclear's hotel, he was given the keys to the van by front desk personnel. Later, when the van turned up missing, owner Sharky Laguana reported it to local police as stolen. When the mystery was finally solved, Laguana said:

I've had a lot of crazy things happen in our vans. I don't know that this is even the craziest thing that's happened in our vans. ... This is the funnest thing...

GP: Actually, the funniest thing would have been for the police to spot the "stolen" van and perform a takedown on its occupants.

14 comments

At DNC, Rock the Vote Rocks Guitar Hero

August 30, 2008 -

Recently, GamePolitics reported that Xbox and Rock the Vote would be teaming up on voter registration at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Here's some brand-new video footage of Guitar Hero being played on a big screen at a Rock the Vote DNC booth. We presume the game is running on an Xbox 360.

1 comment

Guitar Hero Knockoff Features Christian Music

August 27, 2008 -

If the heathen lyrics in Guitar Hero or Rock Band are starting to warp your mind, you may want to check out a new Christian-themed guitar game.

GameDaily reports that Guitar Praise: Solid Rock will ship in late September. A blurb on the game site says:

Grab the guitar and play along with top Christian bands! Shred those riffs or blast the bass…you add a unique sound to the solid Christian rock. But watch out: if you can't keep up, the artists will take a break and stop the music. Crank it up and try again - you'll soon be rockin' with the best while praising the Lord!  Order the second guitar and jam with a friend!

Guitar Praise: Solid Rock sells for $99.95. An extra guitar for two-player games is $69.95.

117 comments

South African Watchdog Group Wants Violent Games & Music Taken Off Shelves

August 26, 2008 -

South Africa's Independent Online reports on yet another attempt to link media violence to the real deal.

The IO reports that Cape Town-based watchdog group the Family Policy Institute has petitioned South Africa's government to recall all music containing violent lyrics and all video games with violent content.

FPI spokesman Errol Naidoo made the request, expressing the group's concerns over potential negative influences on young people. The move comes in the wake of the samurai sword killing of a 16-year-old by a schoolmate who allegedly dressed himself like Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison (left).

Prefering not to wait for any type of inquiry, Naidoo requested the recall of the games and CDs "pending the outcome of the investigation". From the Independent Online:

Naidoo cited the case of two US teens who were convicted of murder in 2003 after stabbing a friend 20 times and slitting his throat after listening to Slipknot's song Disasterpiece.

He also cited the case of Bangkok teenager Polwat Chinno who had killed a taxi driver by punching and stabbing him after playing the computer game Grand Theft Auto. "Police believe he was acting out a scene in the violent video game," Naidoo said.

He said there was no guarantee that removing violent music and games would prevent violent behaviour, but that it would "provide added peace of mind for families".

117 comments

Report: Obama VP Choice Biden is Anti-consumer on Tech Issues

August 26, 2008 -

CNet's Declan McCullough reports that Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has an anti-consumer track record when it comes to technology.

In the past the Democratic VP nominee-apparent has stood with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on copyright issues.

From the Cnet report:

[Biden] has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders... ranks toward the bottom of CNET's Technology Voters' Guide, [his] anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP [encryption]...

 

Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs...

 

A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks." Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits...

 

All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA's Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)

McCullough reports that Biden has "steadfastly refused" to answer Cnet's questions on his tech voting record.

GP: It's ironic that Biden has chosen to portray himself as an intellectual property rights champion. He has twice been outed for plagiarizing.

Report: While Still at RIAA, New ESA Counsel Lauded Jammie Thomas Music Verdict

August 22, 2008 -

As GamePolitics reported earlier this week, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the lobbying group which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, announced that it has hired Kenneth Doroshow to serve as the organization's General Counsel.

Doroshow was formerly employed as Senior Vice President, Litigation and Legal Affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). During Doroshow's tenure the RIAA gained a reputation for employing heavy-handed legal tactics against individual file sharers.

New York attorney Ray Beckerman, who runs the Recording Industry vs The People blog, worries that gamers will now face the same type of oppressive enforcement strategies:

I guess we may have to rename this blog "Gaming Industry vs. The People" some day, as we have just learned that Kenneth Doroshow -- the RIAA executive who was supposed to debate the statutory damages issue with me back in March, but who chose to avoid that subject and instead recounted his opinion of the facts in Capitol v. Thomas, and who later inserted some paper he'd written into the transcript of the conference instead of allowing his talk to be reported -- has left the RIAA and joined the ESA (the "Entertainment Software Association").

 

If he accomplishes for game manufacturers what he accomplished for the recording industry, I would say the industry's prospects are bleak.
 

Beckerman also reports that Doroshow defended the $222,000 verdict levied against single mother Jammie Thomas (seen at left) for file sharing mp3s:

At Fordham Law School's annual IP Law Conference this year, [Beckerman] had a chance to square off with Kenneth Doroshow, a Senior Vice President of the RIAA, over the subject of copyright statutory damages. Doroshow thought the Jammie Thomas verdict of $222,000 was okay, he said, since Ms. Thomas might have distributed 10 million unauthorized copies. [Beckerman], on the other hand, who has previously derided the $9,250-per-song file verdict as 'one of the most irrational things [he has] ever seen in [his] life in the law', stated at the Fordham conference that the verdict had made the United States 'a laughingstock throughout the world.'

GP: For more the Jammie Thomas case, click here.

26 comments

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
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
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician