Why the 3DS Might Be Bad for Young Eyes

January 3, 2011 -

Nintendo has been playing it very safe with the 3DS lately, publicly stating that kids under six shouldn’t view the 3D effects and providing parental controls that will lock the handheld in 2D-mode.

Is there really any danger to children’s eyesight though?  After all, we naturally view the world around us in three dimensions so what could the problem be?

Speaking to NPR, Ahna Girshick, a vision researcher at New York University, explains it thusly:

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The Most Pirated Movie of 2010

December 21, 2010 -

According to data gathered by TorrentFreak, the most pirated movie of 2010 (to date) is Avatar, followed by Kick-Ass. James Cameron's epic 3D movie was downloaded 16, 580, 000 times in 2001, while Kick-ass was downloaded 11,4000,00 times and Inception was downloaded 9,720m00 times. At number four (a choice that makes me question the taste of movie downloaders) is Shutter Island with 9,490,00, followed by Iron Man 2 with 8,810,000 downloads, and Clash of the Titans with 8,040,000 downloads.

Perhaps tempting fate, The Hurt Locker was downloaded 6,850,000 times. The makers of The Hurt Locker like to sue people..

You can check out the full list here.

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Leeland Yee: Parents should be able to control what kids watch

December 20, 2010 -

An editorial penned by California State Senator and anti-game crusader Leeland Yee says that parents should be able to control what kids watch, but how parents come to that conclusion is the probably a sticky subject for many of our readers.

In the editorial Yee says that California has "been hard at work trying to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent video games. In the Legislature, we have attempted to give greater authority to parents in determining which video games are appropriate for their children."

He is of course speaking of the law they passed five years ago that was ultimately struck down by the courts shortly thereafter:

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UKIE Releases PEGI App

December 17, 2010 -

UKIE releases a PEGI app for iPhone and iOS devices that help shoppers - especially parents - in the UK get instant access to game related ratings data.

Similar to the app released by the ESRB, the PEGI app allows consumers to browse the database of all the video games that have received a PEGI rating (+16,000 games), get detailed information about the type of content each game contains, and read reviews (if one is available).

The app was created by PEGI S.A., the same group that manages the pan-European video games ratings system. The PEGI app is free to download now at iTunes. An Android version will be released soon. Eurogamer provides the reviews.


NPD: Only 15 Percent of Kids Want Games for Holidays

December 17, 2010 -

New data from NPD Group reveals that only 15 percent of children in the United States want video games for the holiday season. The data comes from the Kids Industry Data Service (KIDS) report. The report found that video game-related gifts were the second most wanted items, behind "toys," but ahead of items like electronics, books and other entertainment.

Of those kids who wanted video game-related items, The Wii and DS represented 22 percent of all requests, while 18 percent wanted an Xbox 360, 7 percent requested a PS3, while the rest were marked as "other."

Call of Duty: Black Ops and Halo: Reach were the most popular video game items on children's wish lists.

Kinect was the most asked-for accessory, though accessory request only accounted for 6 percent of all items on Children’s wish lists.

Source: Gamasutra


Survey: Video Games Top Wish Lists, But Low-Tech Gifts Dominate

December 16, 2010 -

Low-tech gifts rank higher this year than high-tech toys and video games on children's wish lists this year, according to a survey conducted by YouthBeat. The survey included kids (ages 6-10), tweens (11-13) and teens (14-18 years old) who were asked about items on their 2010 holiday gift wish lists.

While nearly half of those surveyed listed a video game or video game system as a preferred gift overall, low-tech items such as books or non-electronic games were also a popular choice. YouthBeat concluded that these results were due to the state of the economy.

"Children seem to be somewhat more strategic about their choices, adding more items and smaller gifts than in previous years," said Amy Henry, Vice President of Youth Insights at C&R Research.

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Wake Forest Professor Offers Holiday Advice For Parents

December 14, 2010 -

Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, NC), thinks that most parents just do not have a clue about the affects video games can have on children. Krcmar studies the impact of video games and other media on children and teens. She doles out free advice in a press release urging parents to pick games that are age appropriate and to get educated about the video games kids should be playing.

"Greater realism leads to greater immersion; greater immersion leads to greater effects. One of those effects can be increased aggression."

"The T-rating and M-rating for video games are not very consistent and not very informative for parents, so parents need more information," Krcmar says.

"The quality of the graphics and the sound in this year's new video games is amazing," she says, "It's getting closer and closer to virtual reality."

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Paul Allen Loses First Battle in Patent Infringement Lawsuit War

December 14, 2010 -

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who filed a lawsuit against multiple technology companies for alleged patent infringements, has met defeat at the hands of a U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington (Seattle). U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman called the allegations of the suit "spartan" and dismissed the case. Allen and his attorneys have until December 28 to re-file the case, which they have every intention of doing. Allen's lawyers called the judge's ruling a "procedural issue."

The lawsuit filed by Allen's firm Interval Licensing alleged that Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, eBay, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples violated patents that Allen secured while at the helm of Interval Research. That company may no longer be in business, but the patents live on.

The patents cover "fundamental web technologies." The patents in question are No. 6,263,507; No. 6,034,652; No. 6,788,314; and No. 6,757,682.

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DFC Intelligence: PS3 expected to overtake the Xbox 360 in 2011

November 24, 2010 -

According to projections from DFC Intelligence, the PlayStation 3 will surpass the Xbox 360 in worldwide units sold by "within the next year." Currently, the Xbox 360 has 45.2 million units sold worldwide to date, with the number rising during the holiday season thanks to the release of Kinect and general holiday 2010 sales. Microsoft is expected to sell 5 million Kinect units in total this holiday season, some of which will be sold as part of a system bundle.

The PlayStation 3 has sold 41.2 million units worldwide to date. DFC Intelligence predicts that the PS3 will surpass the Xbox 360 in consoles sold worldwide sometime in 2011. DFC is basing this on a number of huge exclusive titles in 2011 such as Killzone 3, LittleBigPlanet 2, and SOCOM 4. The release of Gran Turismo 5 may also prove to be a motivator for some gamers to buy new PS3 systems.

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Four Games & Devices Earn NPC Seal of Approval for Holidays

November 15, 2010 -

After a Fall 2010 update failed to include any videogames, the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval awards focused on the 2010 holiday season includes four such entries.

The winners, part of the NPC’s 20th annual incarnation of the awards, were chosen following two months of testing by both parents and kids in the NPC’s test centers. Entries are judged by “a variety of levels including, but not limited to, price, packaging, design, stimulation, desirability, age appropriateness, instructions and more.”

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Another Violent Game Poll, More Weird Results

November 12, 2010 -

A new Rasmussen poll of Americans on the subject of violent videogames found that 54 percent of those polled believed that violent games lead to more violence in society.

The latest survey of 1,000 adults took place on November 8-9 and that 54 percent number held steady from a similar poll conducted in April of this year. In response to the question “How concerned are you about the level of violence in many video games today?” 69 percent indicated they were at least somewhat concerned, while 48 percent were “very concerned.”

Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

November 10, 2010 -

In response to Microsoft’s recent Xbox Live dashboard update, which added the ability for parents to limit non-game content such as downloaded movies and television shows on a per-user basis, CNN took a look at the current state of other measures designed to keep kids from viewing content that perhaps they shouldn’t be.

The article focuses mainly on “age gates,” or content that is hidden behind a screen in which users must input their birth date. Obviously such obstacles are easily overcome by any mouse-wielder, regardless of age.

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Columnist: Blame Parents for Kids Getting Videogames

November 9, 2010 -

Nationally syndicated columnist Esther Cepeda says something that most columnists would never say: let's blame the people that are not doing their jobs - the parents. The former first-grade school teacher notes in her latest column that kids - that is, very young children - tend to get access to violent video games, movies, and television from parents who are either too weak-willed or too lazy to pay attention to what their kids are doing.

Here is the most salient part of her column:

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Your Anti-Game Op-ed of the Day

November 5, 2010 -

The author of an opinion piece appearing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a piece ostensibly related to the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court case, takes a hatchet to videogames.

Author Jack Markowitz offers, “grudgingly,” that “the Supreme Court will uphold the precious freedom to sell stupid, overpriced electronic games to children.”

SCEA's Peter Dille on PSP Piracy Problems

November 5, 2010 -

In an interview with Siliconera, Peter Dille, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, talks about how piracy has impacted the PSP:

Q: The PSP has a strong line-up of Japanese series including Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy, and Persona. While the handheld is thriving over there, in America the PSP seems to be struggling even though those games are coming over here. What do you think is the missing element, aside from trains.

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Who Should be Responsible for Limiting a Minor’s Access to Violent Games? Poll Offers Schizophrenic Results

November 3, 2010 -

In advance of yesterday’s oral arguments for Schwarzenegger vs. EMA, the First Amendment Center polled over 1,000 adults for their opinion on where responsibility should fall when it comes to deciding whether kids should be able to buy or rent violent videogames.

86 percent of the respondents indicated that a “great deal” of the burden for such choices should fall on parents, while 43 percent indicated that videogame manufacturers and retailers should carry a “great deal” of the responsibility. Only 28 percent thought the government should wield a “great deal” of influence over such decisions.

On the flip side however, 68 percent of those polled said that “yes, the government should be able to prevent the sales or rentals of violent videogames to children under 18.” Only 31 percent said that the government should not be involved in such a policy.

PTC Reveals New Secret Shopper Results

October 27, 2010 -

The Parents Television Council has a new Secret Shopper Campaign to tell you about - coincidently a week before the Supreme Court hears the California video game law Schwarzenegger vs. EMA. The PTC claims that it sent "activists" into 109 stores in 14 markets in 11 states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

The PTC claims that "video game retailers sold Mature-rated games to minors 19 percent of the time, only a slight improvement over the 20 percent failure rate reported by the Federal Trade Commission in 2008." Around 21 stores sold M-rated games to minors, they say.

A chart showing the results can be found here.

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Web Wise Kids Gets More Game Industry Backing

October 8, 2010 -

The non-profit Web Wise Kids, which tries to keep kids safe online, has received support from a pair of videogame industry organizations.

The enterprise has received a grant from the Entertainment Software Association’s , ESA Foundation (ESAF), that will assist it in reaching middle school students with the “It’s Your Call” cell-phone safety game. The title "offers teens guidance about responsible cell phone behaviors and how to use these devices to enhance their personal safety.”

According to the ESAF, their funding will also back translation of the “Wired With Wisdom” program into Spanish, in order to help Latino parents safeguard their offspring online.

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The Pirate Bay Appeal Begins

September 29, 2010 -

The Pirate Bay Appeal began this week in Stockholm, Sweden, and web site TorrentFreak began covering the first day of proceedings. The site will continue to cover the appeals process as it unfurls in the Swedish Appeals Court. On day one, three of the four defendants (Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstrom) appeared in court with counsel to hash out some of the preliminary disagreements.

One defendant, Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm, was unable to attend because he is apparently in a hospital in Cambodia and unable to travel. The court decided that the trial would go on without him present but ordered that Svartholm would have to hand over a medical report before October 7.

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WOW Romance Spurs Felony Charge

September 22, 2010 -

An underage World of Warcraft player’s dalliance with a fellow female player resulted in the arrest of a 35-year old Lowell, Michigan woman.

Angie L. Jenkins was arrested after traveling to Amherst, New York on June 11 to meet a 16-yeard old boy, who she ended up having sex with in a parked car. Jenkins, according to the Buffalo News, is believed to be the first woman charged in Western New York with using the Internet to entice a minor into sexual activity.

The two met while playing WOW in 2009, and both initially lied about their age, with the boy claiming he was 20 and Jenkins saying she was 21. At a later date the boy confessed to being only 15 (at that time), which Jenkins said didn’t matter. Jenkins reportedly kicked off discussions about meeting in real life and also “initiated the sexual contact” once they did meet.

Once the FBI uncovered Jenkins’ WOW screen name, and provided a subpoena to Blizzard, they were provided with her name, address and telephone number.

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Music Producer Condemns Music, Games for Impact on Kids

August 11, 2010 -

Musician and record producer Mike Stock lashed out against the current state of pop music, stating that the “industry has gone too far” as it serves up “soft pornography” to children.

Stock, perhaps best-known as one member of a trio of songwriters and producers known as Stock Aitken Waterman, which produced and wrote songs for an impressive list of musical acts ranging from Elton John to Judas Priest to Bananarama, saved some of his blame for videogames, stating:

Before children even step into school, they have all these images. The pop videos and computer games like Grand Theft Auto confronting them, and the parents can't control it. Talking to mothers' groups, they were saying that even they have lost faith in brands like Disney.

World’s Worst Dad Steals, Sells Son’s Console and Games

August 11, 2010 -

A 28-year old Delhi Township, Ohio man visiting his son at his ex-wife’s house, stole his nine-year old son’s game system and games upon leaving and traded them in at a nearby game store.

Joseph Phillips sold the items for about a tenth of their value according to an article on Cincinnati.com. His ex-wife valued the goods at $1,070, leading the website to question why Phillips was arrested for misdemeanor theft charges and not on felony charges.

Phillips, who has a history of drug arrests, allegedly committed the deed on Sunday and was arrested on Monday. His stay in jail was short-lived due to overcrowding, but he failed to appear in court on Tuesday, leading to an arrest warrant being issued against him.

Phillips reportedly told police that he would not be around because he was checking into a Teen Challenge USA recovery program. Officials “could not confirm if Phillips was in the program.”

16 comments

The Machinarium Pirate Amnesty Sale

August 9, 2010 -

Indie game developer and publisher Amanita Design has announced a Pirate Amnesty Sale to encourage the purchase of its point and click adventure game, Machinarium (Mac, PC, Linux). The sale, which runs until August 12, is a smart assed response to internal figures it has unearthed showing that only 5 - 15 percent of those playing the game have actually paid for it. During the sale the game will be available for a mere $5 - down from the usual $20.

Part of the reason the game is so widely available and apparently heavily pirated is because the company chose to release it without any kind of DRM protection. For doing that Amanita Design deserves a bit of credit and some respect.

So how can it get that respect? By those that are enjoying the game to pay a little something for it. Here's a message from the developers on the sale:

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UK Children’s Advocate: Turn off the Games & Movies in Cars

August 3, 2010 -

The UK’s first Communication Champion for kids thinks that long car rides are the perfect chance for children to “double their vocabulary,” but that the proliferation of in-car entertainment devices like games and DVD players, if enacted during a trip, eliminate any chance for growth.

Jean Gross issued the warning, stating that kids from affluent families, who were more likely to be able to outfit their cars with the electronic devices in question, were more at risk.

Gross stated:

I remember [when my children were little] we did spotting games in the car, but with the Nintendo DS and other hand-held video games it's going to be more affluent parents whose children have problems learning to speak, not just those from poorer homes who have less exposure to a wide range of language.

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Videogame School Teaches Parents the Positives of Playing

July 15, 2010 -

A rather advanced (and enlightened) “school” in Germany exists solely to teach adults about the benefits of playing videogames and how to leverage games as a way to improve relationships and grow closer with their offspring.

Almost two-years old, the Leipzig Video Game School is targeted at parents and grandparents, reports DW-World.de. University of Leipzig instructor Claudia Philipp, who heads up the Video Game School, told the publication that her mission is “to broaden media literacy and allowing people to get acquainted with what kind of games there are, what types of genres there are.”

A sampling of who attends:

Gabriele Heidecker, 52, sits with her two grandchildren Jonas and Melika just a couple of machines down. This is the tenth time here for these three, who've been coming twice a week. Eight-year-old Melika is excited to have a video game-playing grandma.

The school is free to visit for the first two hours of play, then charges one Euro per hour per person.

2 comments

Four Year Old Plays GTA, Stays Nice

June 9, 2010 -

Writer Matthew Orona let his four-year old son play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and documented the action for an article on Bitmob.

Asked by his father to jack a car waiting at a red light, the boy “quickly looked up at me with disgust and refused, stating that the car was already owned by the person driving it.” After finally grabbing an unoccupied car, the boy, unfamiliar with the controls and driving a bit too fast, ran over a woman on a sidewalk. His reaction? “He was incredibly ashamed of himself and profusely apologized.”

The boy rounded out his time by attempting to complete missions which aided other citizens, piloting a police car, ambulance and fire truck. While driving an ambulance he passed a fire house with a shiny red truck out front which mesmerized him, as it would any four-year old boy. Rather than ditch his passengers however, the boy completed his mission by bringing the ambulance occupants to the hospital before asking his dad to guide him back to the firehouse.

Orona summed up the experience:

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Study Examines Posture of Young Gamers

June 1, 2010 -

Glinn & Giordano, a California-based physical therapy business, recently conducted a study which focused on the posture of gamers between the ages of five and fifteen.

The study, done in conjunction with the Cal State Bakersfield Department of Physical Education, watched the youngsters as they played a title for five minutes. Preliminary findings, as offered by Bakersfield.com, suggested that “posture became worse as the five minutes wore on and that children sitting in chairs had better posture both at the start and finish than did those sitting on the floor.”

Glinn & Giordano’s Brian Monroe, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, therefore recommended that games should be played from a chair “with feet flat on the ground and back support." He also suggested that parents should correct the posture of their kids if they see a forward-leaning head, rounded shoulders and/or the lower back rounding forward.

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GTA DJ: Rockstar Games Not for Kids

May 25, 2010 -

Lazlow Jones (pictured), best known as the voice of the radio DJ in the Grand Theft Auto series of games, thinks that parental units who purchase a Rockstar game for their offspring are “terrible parents.”

Jones, who has been credited in a slew of Rockstar Games titles, was discussing the publisher’s latest release Red Dead Redemption in a BBC interview, when he was asked “How do you feel about accusations that games such as yours are responsible for more violence among young people?”

Jones responded:

Our games are not designed for young people. If you're a parent and buy one of our games for your child you're a terrible parent. We design games for adults because we're adults. There's a lot of kids games out there that we're not interested in playing. Just like you enjoy watching movies and TV shows with adult themes and language and violence that's the kind of thing we seek to produce.

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360 Again Emerges Triumphant in Parental Control Test

April 16, 2010 -

Yet another examination of parental controls on the current crop of consoles has resulted in the Xbox 360 being labeled the best of the bunch.

A Game Informer editor created a scenario for his wife tasking her with adjusting parental controls for a pair of fictional teen boys on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. The wife was chosen because of her lack of hands on time with the game machines.

A sampling of the article’s commentary and grades for each console are featured below:

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Mislabeling Puts Dating Sim in Hands of 9-Year Old

March 30, 2010 -

A Spanaway, Washington mother got a surprise when purchasing what she thought was an “E” (Everyone)-rated game for her nine year old daughter.

The game Kara Petrich bought at a Tacoma Big Lots store was labeled as an entry in Ubisoft’s Petz videogame series, in which players care for a virtual pet. Unfortunately, reports Komo News, the game inside was the “T” (Teen)-rated game Sprung, a title billed as a “flirty” dating simulator. The game cartridge itself was also mislabeled, adding to the mom’s confusion.

When Petrich’s daughter started playing the game, she was presented with dialogue like “Make sure you bring your life jackets, condoms,” and “You wanna rock my mountains, don't you?”

Petrich said she was angry about the mixup, saying, “Most important, I want parents to know that you can't just hand kids a game and then send them off.”

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prh99http://io9.com/one-of-our-most-popular-special-effects-originally-came-1682151657 Looks like the 1988 anime, Akira and anime in general has effecting popular culture, at least when it comes to special effects.01/28/2015 - 12:26pm
Wonderkarpyeah. some people are salty over it. but that wiki article was filled with vitriol01/28/2015 - 12:06pm
prh99Yeah, I saw people complaining about that, claiming Wales was a hypocrite cause he supposedly removed some feminist editors.01/28/2015 - 11:57am
WonderkarpCivility, Wikipedia, and the Conversation on Gamergate https://blog.wikimedia.org/2015/01/27/civility-wikipedia-gamergate/01/28/2015 - 11:45am
Wonderkarpone thing that surprised me...theres a lot of expanded universe books for star wars, star trek, alien, even videogames like resident evil....why not ghostbusters? There's a comic series and cartoon but thats it01/28/2015 - 11:37am
prh99Well it is Hollywood, remakes are the one thing they can be relied on for.01/28/2015 - 11:34am
E. Zachary KnightSo you want a sequel and not a reboot. Fair enough. I think either could work as you have said yourself.01/28/2015 - 11:32am
Wonderkarpotherwise, let it lie. Next thing you know they'll remake/reboot Alien or Godfather01/28/2015 - 11:28am
Wonderkarpand Ghostbusters is my favorite movie and its aged well. it doesnt need a remake. Just like Psycho didnt need one. If they threw in Dan Aykroyd, kept the original tech, and acknowledged the old films without crappy easter eggs, I'd be on board.01/28/2015 - 11:27am
WonderkarpI dont like Reboots/Remakes. For every Batman begins or Invasion of the Body Snatchers, there's a million Robocops, King Kongs, Star Treks, Amazing Spidermans, Taxis, Clash of teh titans, planet of the apes, footloose.01/28/2015 - 11:26am
prh99Wonderkarp, what more do you need? It's been ~26 years, and Harold Ramis died last year. If they can make something decent, who cares?01/28/2015 - 11:19am
prh99I wonder if they will fall into the trap of making those items more scarce in game in order to get people to pay.01/28/2015 - 11:14am
Wonderkarpso its not even ghostbusters then. just in name and concept only. you could call it ghost chasers or spook snatchers01/28/2015 - 11:09am
Andrew EisenKarp - According to the creative team, the new Ghostbusters is a new story, not a gender swapped rehash.01/28/2015 - 10:36am
WonderkarpMan. Resident Evil has fallen hard. I was a Huge fan in the late 90s. I think its time for a reboot. I was playing the hd remaster of the gamecube remake and the dialogue still sucks. Chris asking Rachel if she knows how to use a gun. SHE'S A COP!!01/28/2015 - 10:33am
E. Zachary KnightThe whole point of early Resident Evil games was to beat the game using only those weapons and ammo you could scavenge and use save files sparingly.01/28/2015 - 10:08am
E. Zachary KnightDoesn't the ability to buy health and weapons defeat the whole point of survival horror games?01/28/2015 - 10:07am
PHX Corphttp://www.gamerheadlines.com/2015/01/report-resident-evil-revelations-2-checkpoint-microtransactions/ Report: Resident Evil: Revelations 2 to Have Checkpoint Microtransactions01/28/2015 - 9:57am
Wonderkarpgoogle fiber coming to atlanta georgia. I'm gonna try to get a transfer to atlanta just to get google fiber. lol01/28/2015 - 9:13am
Wonderkarpotherwise Its just going to feel like another unnecessary reboot to me01/28/2015 - 9:09am
 

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