Many people love to play games in bed, combining the fun of gaming and the comfort of your bed. What if you could even do away with that hard plastic controller and play games in full comfort? Enter Pillo, a game controller that is also a pillow which allows gamers to play by squeezing, hugging and pressing on the device.
The controller has been on show at Game Developers Conference as part of the innovative Alt.Ctrl.GDC booth. In this booth, gone are games controlled by the increasingly complex common controllers and in their place are games that use a variety of brilliant and crazy methods of control, including giant cranks, a telephone switchboard and pillows.
Pillo itself has been in development for some time and already has a number of games that can be played using it. As well as being comfortable, Pillo is also social, with controllers coming in pairs and the repertoire of games available to be played using in are multiplayer affairs. This gives people who are often intimidated or confused by the complexity of video games a fun activity to play with friends and family, both fun and old, using an interface that is all too familiar, hugging a soft object.
While Pillo is not yet complete, pre-orders for the first generation of the device are currently open in a number of forms, from a Lite pack to be played on PC to packs including 4 Pillo controllers and the Pillo console and even a development kit. Those interested in this unusual way to play can pre-order Pillo here, with the consumer packs starting at € 295.
Video gaming has come a long way in recent years. Traditionally it was something you did at an arcade, with people playing games for hours after hours trying to beat the top score. The games then came home, with people being able to enjoy their frustration and enjoyment in private, then they went back to being public with streamers and tournaments bringing e-sports to the whole world. Dara O’Briain looks to continue this by bringing some of the games back to your TV screen.
With a few exceptions, shows about video games have rarely taken off. An example of this can be found back in 2003 when BBC Two released the series Time Commanders. Putting people into historic battles using Rome: Total War while military specialists would compare their tactics to the actual tactics used in the battle. People prefer to play games rather than watch them.
These days people prefer to play games rather than watch them, but comedian Dara O’Briain latest show, Go 8 Bit, could change that by giving two teams give rounds to complete against one another. Ranging from classic games like Pac-Man and Pong to more modern games (I doubt we will get to see them play Mortal Kombat) the series could inspire people to watch and even play some classics.
In addition to the video games “larger-than-life game-inspired physical challenges” could be included as part of the show. We are thinking paintballing on CS:GO inspired maps and a few laps the studio in Mario Kart themed boxes.
Would you watch the show? Who would you like to see take part in the competitions?
Former California state senator, Leland Yee became a household villain in the gaming industry for outlandish claims regarding the link between video games and violent behaviour. In an absurd move, Yee attempted to pass a bill banning the sale of violent games to children. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and he was unsuccessful, but this rightfully angered a great number of people. There’s no clear evidence linking games to violent activity, and some scholars argue it has the opposite effect. The ability to quash one’s frustrations in a virtual world reduces the probability of doing the same in real life and causing harm. Despite Yee’s apparent impeccable moral compass and crusade to help society, it appears he isn’t a law-abiding citizen.
Last July, Yee pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in connection with two criminal enterprises and weapons smuggling. Recently, he was sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement. According to a report from San Jose Mercury News, Yee was facing a 20 year prison sentence and fine of $250,000 plus restitution. However, his plea dramatically reduced the sentence to 5 years. Prosecutors in the case said Yee demonstrated “a venal attitude toward his position as an elected public official” “and had no qualms abusing his position to the detriment of his constituents.”
As you can see, it was pretty hypocritical for Yee to make sweeping statements regarding violent video games considering his terrible character. I do feel the sentence is awfully lenient and the justice system should be setting a better example for politicians in office. At least this is a sweet moment for gamers, who felt the brunt of Yee’s ridiculous claims. It’s clear he was trying to use gaming to further his own biased agenda and cover up any criminal activity. Clearly, the violence in video games debate always gains a lot of media attention and involves discussion from politicians without any knowledge of the industry.
Movies and Games go hand in hand like chocolate coated marshmallows. If you have a good movie, there will be a game and recently if you make an amazing game, you sometimes even get a movie. Some of the biggest names in each industry recently met, raising to speculation that we could soon see them working on something.
Some of the biggest names in their respective industries Hideo and JJ Abrams recently met to discuss Kojima’s new studio. Abrams is known for his quick action and lens flares was the producer for the recent Star Wars film, the Force Awakens. Amongst his credentials come producers for movies such as Star Trek (and the next trek film, Star Trek Beyond) and even some video game based movies such as the highly anticipated Half-Life film.
Kojima comes from the gaming world, having created the hugely popular video game series Metal Gear Solid. After being honoured at the DICE Hall of Fame Awards and leaving Konami, the studio behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Kojima has created a new studio. As if that wasn’t enough to get fans excited Kojima tweeted a picture saying he had just met Abrams to discuss his new studio.
You load up that new game or sit down to the latest movie and suddenly all you notice is the high-tech gadgets and weapons they seem to pull out of every nook and crevice. From Batmans Batarang to the pickaxe from Minecraft, you’ve seen them all. You’ve never seen them in real life, which is about to change as Victor Poulin has created a series of fictional weapons as boomerangs.
Poulin is from the group Boomerangs by Vic. Not only did he dream it but he has created not just one or two but six boomerangs based on film and video game weapons. If that wasn’t cool enough, he has a little video to show you that no only do they look awesome they also all work.
From the Batarang to the Pickaxe Poulin has used “the best 10inch birch on the market” to create six weapons that if someone throws at you, you should really have started running away a long time ago.
Showing honour to not only the classic boomerang designs, like Sokka’s boomerang from Avatar the Last Airbender but the more uniquely shaped weapons like Minecraft’s pickaxe and even the tomahawk from Black Op’s 2 Zombies.
I know that if push ever comes to shove, these weapons are something I’d rather be using than facing. If you could see one weapon from a video game or movie come alive as a boomerang, what would you choose?
2016 is a big year all around, with new movies and games being released, people are going to be busy buying the latest in their collections. Not everyone does this, some watch movies online before they are released in the cinema and some play games without buying them. With the video game industry set to expand this year, the matter of pirates will be something the industry has to contend with. Pirates are known for breaking the encryption that protects games and often share these “cracked” versions online, although according to some reports, that may not be true for much longer.
Speaking to TorrentFreak, a member of the Chinese hacking group 3DM has said that over the last eighteen months people have been finding it more and more difficult to crack the recent releases. Providing examples, apparently it took over a month to crack Dragon Age: Inquisition while games like FIFA 16 and Just Cause 3 are yet to be cracked even with games like FIFA 16 being released all the way back in September.
One of the reasons they are finding it so difficult is the use of secondary DRM technologies like Denuvo. Designed to be unobtrusive and almost silent to paying customers, this combats one of the reasons provided by users of cracked games, the fact that their experience is ruined by DRM measures which require them to be constantly online for single player games.
It could not be long before extra DRM methods are subtle and silent, leading to more and more people giving up on cracking games in favor of paying for them.
The UK games industry is expecting to see significant growth in 2016, with many major businesses increasing their investment and seeking to hire new staff, according to UK video game trade association TIGA. However, many companies expect their overheads to rise, meaning that prices are set to increase to compensate.
A recent survey conducted by TIGA found that:
60 per cent of respondents plan to grow their organisation’s workforce a little over the next year. 12 per cent expect their workforce to grow a lot.
54 per cent of respondents to the TIGA survey said that the outlook for investment in their business (for example, in R&D, training, new games development, etc) was more optimistic than compared to 12 months ago.
66 per cent of respondents to the TIGA survey forecast that the trend in their company’s net profits over the next 12 months would be up.
67 per cent of respondents reported that their company was performing either ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
46 per cent of the respondents to the TIGA survey said that the principal obstacle holding back their businesses was limited access to finance.
56 per cent of respondents anticipate that their company’s costs are likely to increase over the next 12 months.
38 per cent of games businesses in our survey expect that their prices will increase over the next 12 months.
63 per cent of respondents to the TIGA survey believe that the economic and business environment in the UK is favourable to the video games industry.
“The UK video games development and digital publishing sector is set to grow in 2016. Our survey shows that games businesses are planning to increase investment and employment. This growth is being driven by three factors,” Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said.
“Firstly, the consumer market for games is significant and growing. Already games are played in 70% of households, and over 50% of all UK adults are mobile gamers.”
“Secondly, the increasing prevalence of mobile and tablet devices, the new console generation, and the advent of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are stimulating investment in games.”
“Thirdly, Video Games Tax Relief, which TIGA played a critical role in achieving, is fuelling growth. Games Tax Relief effectively reduces the cost and risk of games development and it incentivises investment and job creation in the games industry. Games Tax Relief is predicted to create 2,700 new development jobs and £320 million in investment over the next five years,” Wilson said.
“2016 is set to be another good year for the UK video games industry,” added Jason Kingsley OBE, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director at Rebellion. “There are new start-ups, existing firms are expanding and new technologies are boosting innovation and growth in the sector. I am particularly pleased that Video Games Tax Relief, a measure that TIGA consistently campaigned for over many years, is having a positive impact on growth in our sector.”
Modern video games are arguably the best they have ever been in terms of graphics, animations and production values, the latest titles that have included Fallout 4 have entertained audiences with immersive worlds and gameplay, this has led to a rise in sales and also a growth in audiences. As great as video games are, they do tend to experience technical glitches and bugs which infuriate players, well until the latest patches are released.
To demonstrate this, a Youtuber that goes by the moniker “GameSprout” has edited together a highlight reel of glitches and bugs from FIFA 16, below is a selection of fails in the form of images as well as the full video.
Below is an image of what appears to be a rather lethal glitch involving one player merrily kicking the head of an opposition player, charming.
Below is a strange glitch involving two players who would rather sit on an invisible chair than play football.
Below is a bug which shows a player who would rather perform what appears to be a cart-wheel rather than score the conventional way, certainly a fail.
Below, Marcello has found himself in a situation whereby his arms are the wrong way round, looks painful, although he seems relaxed.
Yeah, I have no idea what Hulk is doing to that poor goalkeeper.
Below is a rather funny glitch of a player who A – thinks he is in Star Wars, or B – thinks he is in Call Of Duty and has unfortunately been shot at.
Below is the full compilation video of fails from FIFA 16, if nothing else it will make you chuckle if you have a spare five minutes. It just goes to show that while the games industry is moving onwards and upwards, the glitches remain and are somewhat as hilarious as ever.
Loading screens, the bane of every gamer out there, plaguing games since the move away from flash storage. Many gamers try to escape or limit the time spent on loading by fitting their computers or consoles with fast solid state drives with which to load from. But what if loading screens were fun? Good news for those of you on a budget or unwilling to modify your console is here: games will now be permitted to include extra mini games on loading screens.
Back in 1995, Namco patented the use of auxiliary mini games on loading screens while the main game was loading. This was due to releasing the original Ridge Racer for the PS1 with the arcade classic Galaxian as a mini game to entertain players while the game itself loaded. And while this was a good idea, Namco wasn’t keen on sharing, cursing gamers playing other games to dull loading screens for 20 years. But no more. The original patent was filed on the 27th of November 1995, which has now expired.
I’m sure some people will note that some games do indeed include mini-games during their loading sequences, the most popular example being EA’s FIFA series. EA managed to avoid the limitations of the patent by making their loading mini-games cut down sections of the main game, instead of separate ‘auxiliary’ mini-games.
Gamers are keen to celebrate the newfound loading screen freedom too, with a group organizing a “Loading Screen Jam“, with the aim to “create games/interactive material based on infringing the now-defunct patent in any way possible!” Hopefully game developers will follow suit and provide interesting loading screens for gamers, maybe using classic versions of their own games in order to make the seemingly lengthening loading process of modern games more tolerable. It is definitely a power that should be used responsibly, however, as the wrong mini-games in the wrong places could easily disrupt the flow of gameplay and adventure or even break the atmosphere of a story-driven or emotional game.
I’m certainly excited to see what developers and the gaming community can come up with, free from the limitations of the patent. Let us know in the comments what you’d like to see on the loading screen of your favourite games!
Video gaming journalism isn’t the most trustworthy of professions and consumers can be incredibly skeptical of any professional critique from mainstream outlets. There can be a stark contrast between press review scores and user opinions, as shown by Mad Max. However, this is nothing compared to the absolute incompetence and tomfoolery which occurred in an Uncharted 4 preview by VG247.com. Despite being one of the gaming industry’s major websites, the article’s writer staggeringly mistook Uncharted 2 HD for Uncharted 4. Even more hilarious, the original article contains a sentence which reads:
“….Uncharted veteran in me immediately shimmied a sign post and leapt through a hole in a nearby wall.”
It does seem a little bit suspect that an “Uncharted veteran” couldn’t distinguish between 4’s press demo and the most successful game in the series. VG247 has removed the original article, but the internet never forgets so here is an archived version. Throughout the piece, there are criticisms about the game being “too formulaic” and overly similar to the previous games; the amount of irony here is just unbelievable.
VG247’s Editor Matt Martin, issued a statement and apologized for the misleading information:
“We’d like to apologise to Naughty Dog for a massive mistake we published last month.”
“On September 30 we published an article titled “Is Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End too formulaic?” based on what we thought was a hands-on session with Uncharted 4 at the Tokyo Game Show.”
“We didn’t realise it at the time; what we’d played wasn’t Uncharted 4, but the remastered Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, from the recently released Uncharted Collection. We were not aware of this until after the article went live.”
While some very loyal readers are defending this absurd situation, it’s one of the largest blunders I’ve seen in a long time. Surely, anyone who has invested time in Uncharted 2 can instantly recognize certain levels, voice acting or gameplay segments (or the title at that start – Pete). The traditional gaming press is struggling to compete with YouTube personalities and community media is becoming more popular via streaming. Honestly, this gives the impression that the writer is clueless and hasn’t actually played any of the Uncharted franchise. Also, the editor should have noticed this fairly quickly which shows a lack of care.
Thank you VG247 for providing us with this information.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which has EA, Nintendo, Playstation, and Ubisoft as its members, has reported a number of torrent sites to the US government, specifically highlighting popular site KickAss Torrents as the largest portal for video game piracy.
In a letter the ESA wrote to the US Director of Intellectual Property and Innovation, it says, “we regard the “Notorious Markets” out-of-cycle review as an important opportunity to shed light on markets that facilitate piracy or counterfeiting of industry products and services.”
“The ‘Kickass Torrents’ torrent indexing site (kickass.to) has changed domains repeatedly in the recent past in response to enforcement efforts, and is currently accessible at the domain ‘kat.cr’,”the letter continues. “It is the most well-trafficked torrent indexing site in the world, and as its Alexa ranking indicates, one of the most popular websites of any kind on the Internet.”
The ESA says that it recognises that taking down a website is not an effective solution to the problem, implicitly suggesting that harsher actions be taken, and expresses its concern over the proliferation of “pirate servers” that target subscription-based game sites.
“When users are diverted to play on such servers, game publishers are not able to monetize their online games as described above and thus face reduced opportunities to recoup their investment in creating the online game,” the ESA adds.
By the end of the year, the US Trade Representative will collate submissions from the ESA, MPAA, and RIAA to form a master list of piracy sites, with global action planned to follow.
Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.
In recent years, there has been a boom in multiplayer games, with everything from MOBAs such as League of Legends and DOTA taking the highlights at numerous tournaments. Then we’ve got shooters like CS:GO bringing life back to classic games tournament games around the world.
Rather than you having to fight a selection of player controlled enemies, cooperative or co-op games, see teams of players fighting to protect one another to achieve common goals or sometimes just to survive. Featured below are just some of the cooperative games that we’ve been playing the most recently on PC and if you’re a newcomer to co-op, they’re great places to get started and get your co-op kicks!
Originally designed as a demo to show off the capabilities of the Unreal engine, it quickly became a favourite among many gamers and soon found its way into production as a full-fledged game. Seeing players act as either a Wizard, Knight or Huntress (and then through the wonder of DLC’s you can even join as a Cyborg, Barbarian or Summoner) you can use weapons and towers to help defend crystals from waves of orcs, ogres and dragons. With role-playing elements like stats and scaling mana storage (mana is the resource you use to activate your special abilities or build towers). Often going on sale for around £5 (including all its DLC’s) it’s well worth a look for you and up to three other players, either online or locally.
Next up is another game that started its life as a mod and again uses Unreal Engine. Set in England after a company’s horrific experiments break out, Killing Floor sees up to six players fight to survive in everything from central London to rural farms. With six perks to choose from, players can use everything from a fire axe to a rocket launcher to help survive up to ten waves (with a special surprise for those who survive long enough), all earning experience in their perk’s and enhancing the specific benefits those perks grant your character. With an active community offering up new maps, added weapons, enemies and graphical enhancements, why not face a thousand Christmas monsters at Helms deep? This game is commonly found on sale, especially around times like Halloween. If your friends like a challenge and enjoy the thrill of a good horror film, why not check it out?
Who hasn’t had enjoyed the great fun of building anything! From a drivable castle to the most reinforced car imaginable, all with those tiny blocks of joy? For some reason, they decided that making video games based on these fun little blocks would go down well, and they were absolutely right! Batman, Harry Potter, the Marvel universe, Star Wars, Jurrasic Park and even Pirates of the Caribbean are among some of the franchises blessed with Lego characters, telling a wide range of stories throughout. With split-screen co-op (two players, one screen) players are able to enjoy their favourite movies with friends or family alike. Roam around Hogwarts or New York smashing everything from the traffic to armies of Uruk-hai, all with the same joy of playing with Lego with none of the dangers of stepping on a brick in bare feet.
With so many to choose from why not take a look here.
Did we miss a game you and your friends often find yourselves coming back to? Mention it in the comments and we shall see how many we can get listed!
E-sports are becoming more and more of a publicly known event, it used to be that players would gather around with their friends and watch their teams fight out through their web browser. There have been documentaries about e-sports in the cinema and now tournaments are also backed by crowd funding events, making their prices and people’s interest in the events seem to grow day by day. Now it would seem that you may soon be able to watch your favourite teams fight out on your TV.
Fox Sports, one of the main broadcasters of sports in Australia, have hidden in their schedule a slot for none other than the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament that starts on Tuesday. While it is common for e-sports to have some representation in the media, it will be the first time that Counter-Strike matches have been shown in full, and not just in a highlight reel, on TV.
With international tournaments picking up speed, with games like Heroes of the Storm and Smite joining the likes of Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Dota with large prize pools and even larger audiences, could you soon see a mainstream channel dedicated to all of your favorite e-sports games?
The voice talent behind many leading titles including Call of Duty could go on strike over working conditions and the pay structure. Many of the actors who provide voices for the gaming industry are demanding enhanced protection for roles which involve “voice stress”. This mainly revolves around heavy emotions such as shouting. The Screen Actors Guild agreed to strike if more than 75% members agree. The demands include stunt pay for demanding vocal recordings and these sessions will be limited to two hours to protect each actor’s voice.
Additionally, the draft calls for pay bonuses when a game exceeds two million copies sold. In a blogpost, Wil Wheaton described the situation and explained the reasoning for these demands:
“If you’ve done this as I asked, it’s now six or seven hours after you started. Don’t talk at all for the rest of the day and don’t make any plans to go audition for any other voice work for the rest of the week, because your voice is wrecked.”
“Asking us to go into something with absolutely zero knowledge about the project, or what we’ll be expected to do if we are cast, is completely unreasonable,”
“Maybe someone has a moral objection to the content of a game, and they’d like to know what it is before they commit to it.”
This is an interesting situation and reminds me of the stand-off between many actors and studios in the TV and film industry. Gaming is now such a huge art form, that we now expect the best voice actors to help the writing and create an enriching narrative. I can imagine how repeating the same lines for hours in a studio can get quite tedious and apply pressure on the individual’s voice. Arguably, this should be protected, as an actor’s voice is their career. Although, it could be argued they are already on a very good salary.
Do you think these demands are reasonable?
Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.
A recent study by the American Psychological Association suggests that there is a connection between video game violence and real-world violence. The inflammatorily-named “Task Force on Violent Media” paper, released by the APA, states:
“The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in pro-social behaviour, empathy and sensitivity to aggression.”
The APA, however, has a sordid history of attacking video games, and by using less than scientific methods to facilitate its smears. Thankfully, a group of 230 academics have been paying attention, and have written an open letter to the APA asking it to stop its biased attacks on video games, calling its accusations “misleading and alarmist”.
The letter accuses the APA of cherrypicking data to support its pre-existing position, a trick that is not only unethical but fundamentally unscientific:
“The entire article of studies absolutely ignores all the contrary studies – something that seems wildly ethically unsound. It’s certainly relevant to gather together studies on the subject, but such selective choosing implies something else is afoot.”
Amongst the ‘papers’ cited by the APA study, very few were related to its conclusion, while one wasn’t even a scientific paper but rather a parents’ guide to Christmas shopping for their kids. The objecting scholars also attack a 2005 paper published by the APA, entitled “Resolution on Violence in Video Games and Interactive Media”, which served as a jumping off point for “Task Force on Violent Media”:
“We express the concern that the APA’s previous (2005) policy statement delineated several strong conclusions on the basis of inconsistent or weak evidence. Research subsequent to that 2005 statement has provided even stronger evidence that some of the assertions in it cannot be supported.”
The letter, though polite and non-confrontational (the writers don’t play video games, obviously), absolutely owns the APA, exposing its bias, poor science, and unethical behaviour, and all without writing a paper called “Being a Member of the American Psychological Association Makes People Lie”.
For many years computer games have been viewed as mindless entertainment and have not received the recognition they have deserved, then games companies hit the mainstream with success stories which catapulted the genre and allowed increased revenue onto new heights. Now the games industry is being used as a tool for learning within surprising new quarters, with the news that hugely popular game Minecraft has been adapted by government backed-British Geological Survey.
By using the Ordnance topographic maps and the British Geological Surveys own data about what lies beneath the surface, this has allowed West Thurrock, York and Ingleborough to be re-created using this technique. To achieve even greater authenticity, the Geological Survey team used blocks which best resembled the ‘real’ geology. The factors which influenced this decision were based on colour, texture and hardness, for the three-dimensional models, they decided to use glass blocks which implemented the texture of their traditional geology map colours.
It’s fascinating and yes I do have a life, to view what for example, the city of York, images below looks like with Geology before the topography is overlaid onto the map. The team have also developed models which include the key map features above ground, such as roads and buildings, the player or explorer has the ability to roam the landscape.
The website also supplies full instructions of how to download and explore all three locations, yes it may not be GTA, but it will certainly attract new audiences to the work of these projects with the aim to garner interest in Geology for today’s tech world. This will not be headline grabbing and you probably won’t see many traditional news outlets covering this story, as the media would rather paint gamers as level 5 shooters in public places.
For those familiar with the Fallout series, you will recognise the currency that’s used within the game, bottle caps! and one very dedicated fan took it upon himself to hoard as many bottle caps starting from the release date of Fallout 3 to the announcement of Fallout 4. The Fallout fan named Seth had quite the collection of bottle caps from a 7.5 years of college and grad school experience, an estimated count of around 2,240 bottle caps.
After Bethesda’s announcement for the highly anticipated Fallout 4, Seth had the greatest idea to put his bottle cap collection to good use to pre-order the game ready for its November release for Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft’s Xbox one and of course PC.
The interesting news we’ve all been waiting for was Bethesda’s response to see if they would actually accept this for a pre-order and as awesome as Bethesda studios are they actually did accept it, on Wednesday Seth received and email from Bethesda global community lead Matt Grandstaff. While Seth was successful in getting Bethesda to actually accept and agree to a promised copy of the game for the exchange of his hard-earned bottle caps.
Granstaff was clear that this was only because he was the first person to attempt this stunt and that anyone else that wants to get their ghoul hands on a copy of fallout 4 they will have to preorder like everyone else. I think it’s great that Bethesda accepted it, it really shows that they love their fans. Did any of you plan on sending Bethesda your hard-earned caps?.
Thank you to CNet for providing us with this information
The UK’s former reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation wants video game developers to help in the fight against young Muslims becoming radicalised by producing video games that show ‘the good guys’ winning in the battle against Islamic extremism. Lord Carlile, the Liberal Democrat peer in the House of Lords, wants people who “create games on the internet” to “fight fire with the same sort of fire” through interactive narratives that show the terrorists losing.
Lord Carlile, Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme in the wake of 17-year-old Talha Asmal from Dewsbury, UK, becoming the youngest ever suicide bomber last week in Iraq, said that, “The government must sit down with the best brains who, for example, create games on the internet, who write programs for the Internet, and they must try to produce the same methods to show that the good guys sometimes win.”
“That being radicalised and going to fight for Isil is actually a ghastly thing to do, that it destroys families, that actually happiness can be obtained by having an ordinary British life.”
Speaking about Asmal in particular, Lord Carlile said that the boy was “exploited” online by radical extremists who “targeted and befriended” him.
The UK Foreign Office estimates that over 700 British citizens have travelled overseas to fight with radical Islamists, with around half that number returning to British shores.
Of course video games will solve that problem.
The kind of patronising logic that birthed this idea – that kids like video games, so we can influence them through video games – must extend to the point to which these kids also fail to differentiate between fiction and reality, and can’t see through this condescending exercise for what it is: politicians talking down to young people under the guise of being on ‘their level’. Instead of treating these kids as complex individuals, desperate enough to involve themselves in abhorrent acts, understanding their problems, and trying to offer practical solutions, they’re dismissed as ‘brainwashed’ youths who just need to be reprogrammed via pop culture.
In an effort to attract video game makers over to the British Isles, the UK government is to offer tax breaks to developers worth millions of pounds. The tax break cap could be worth an estimated £115 million pounds over the next four years, though figures are yet to be finalised.
In order to qualify for the tax break, though, developers will have to pass a “cultural test” to verify that its content is influenced by European culture. Higher scores will be assigned to games that feature European characters and locations.
Jason Kingsley, Chairman of Tiga, the London-based game industry group, spoke to the Wall Street Journal regarding concerns that, in order to qualify for the tax break, developers would shoehorn “European” content into their games. He said, “I remember when people were first talking to me about this. They were saying, ‘Are we going to have tons of games based on double-decker buses and people with bowler hats?” The answer is no. But you could have games like that, and they would probably qualify very easily.”
Violent media has long been a scapegoat for societal ills: from the 1960s through to the 1980s, conservative reactionary Mary Whitehouse waged a one-woman war on social liberalism – essentially, freedom of expression – with a Helen Lovejoy-esque rhetoric of, “Won’t somebody please think of the children!?”, through to the Video Nasty controversy during the Eighties, which saw films like I Spit on Your Grave and Driller Killer banned from home release in the UK for decades.
Even today, the victimisation of adult content continues unabated with the news that Northamptonshire Police in the UK are calling for “Adult Only” video game ratings, and stricter controls on their sale, following an investigation that suggests 42% of children under 5-years-old surveyed have seen violent images that have “affected them”.
Despite PEGI ratings already certifying an 18 rating, which have been legally enforceable since 2012, Police seem to be blaming game makers and retailers rather than parents for children getting their hands on games containing mature content, saying, “Gaming industry needs to play a more proactive role in helping parents protect their children from disturbing content, as new report shows primary school children as young as five deeply affected by graphic images.”
According to the Northants Police site, “The report found that 26% of children had accessed games that they knew they were underage for with over one in 10 children aged 11 saying they had downloaded Call of Duty.”
Northants Police’s solution is that “Video games that ask players to participate in extreme acts of violence such as massacring civilians and torturing people should be labelled ‘AO’ (Adult Only) to warn parents they are not suitable for children,” as though they don’t already know under the current system.
Police accuse game developers of creating controversy to sell games, with Adam Simmonds, Police & Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, saying, “Controversy creates cash. However, today’s report shows that children as young as five are being subject to graphic scenes while playing video games that have left them feeling extremely upset. Many parents might not be fully aware that these games contain such disturbing scenes. It is time for the industry to play a more proactive role in protecting young minds.”
But the plan is utterly redundant since games are already tightly rated through the European PEGI system, it seems Northamptonshire Police is itself courting controversy in order to pass the buck.
Thankfully, the investigation does not go so far as to suggest that video game violence provokes real-world violence, so I don’t have to crack out my “playing chess results in regicide” joke.
After an early stutter after its 2012 release, the Wii U had its highest-ever sales over December last year, capping off a strong showing over 2014 as a whole.
Nintendo sold 30% more consoles in 2014 than it did in 2013, and over that same period software sales rose by 75%, thanks to flagship releases Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, as well as Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2.
Another boost to Nintendo’s sales comes in the form of its amiibo figure series, which to date has sold 2.6 million units.
Sid Meier, video game author and creator of famed strategy series Civilization, is setting course for outer space with new sci-fi strategy game Sid Meier’s Starships. Taking the baton from Civilization: After Earth and flinging it into the far future, Starships imagines what happens a humanity spread across the galaxy.
“What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars?” Meier said of his new game. “What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth? My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration.”
Sid Meier’s Starships will be available for PC, Mac, and iPad later this year,
Jonatan Söderströmm, co-creator of video game Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, has told Australians that, if they want to play the game, they should “just pirate it”.
Hotline Miami is the latest victim of Australia’s draconian video game certification system, in a list that boasts such luminaries as Grand Theft Auto V and Syndicate. South Park: The Stick of Truth was also banned certain scenes were removed.
Söderströmm’s advice comes from an e-mail, screencapped by a reddit user. Ben Kuchera of gaming website Polygon confirmed the e-mail’s authenticity. In response to a potential customer, dismayed at Hotline Miami 2 being refused classification in Australia, Söderströmm wrote:
“If it ends up not being released in Australia, just pirate it after release.
No need to send us any money, just enjoy the game!
Non-profit digital library Internet Archive has continued its effort to conserve and share classic video games by updating its game library with a whopping 2,334 MS-DOS games, available now, free-to-play, though a standard web browser.
Internet Archive curator Jason Scott, responsible for the massive haul of new games to IA, warns that, although he’s applied much rigor to compiling the programs, he can’t guarantee that all of them will be fully functional. He wrote on his personal blog:
“First, I really worked hard to have only fully-functioning programs up, or at least, programs that gave viable, useful feedback. Some of them will still fall over and die, and many of them might be weird to play in a browser window, and of course you can’t really save things off for later, and that will limit things too. But on the whole, you will experience some analogue of the MS-DOS program, in your browser, instantly.”
Games of note added to the archive include Wolfenstein 3D, Prince of Persia, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, and Pinball Construction Set. These games and many more can be accessed directly through the Internet Archive website.
As a gesture of good faith to anyone unfortunate enough to have bought a season pass for the bugfest that is Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Ubisoft recently offered customers a free game as compensation. How nice of them. Well, no, as there’s a catch. Because of course there is, hidden away in the small print.
Any person that accepts the free game is waiving their right to take legal action against Ubisoft for selling a broken game, and for when the company releases the first DLC for free, which devalues the season pass. So, rather than being a placatory gesture from the game developer for their mistake, the free game deal is actually a sneaky way for Ubisoft to cover its own hide.
The offending disclaimer starts, “You hereby irrevocably and unconditionally release, waive, and forever discharge and covenant not to sue Ubisoft Entertainment S.A.” It meanders on in dense legalese, but that opening statement conveys all it needs to: ‘claim our free game and lose your right to punish us for robbing you’.
If a class action lawsuit, which Ubisoft would likely lose, was filed against the company, anyone who claimed the free game would be ineligible to recoup any compensation should the suit prove successful. Avoiding legal fees has rarely been so devious.
The US Federal Trade Commission has ruled that Sony put out ads in the US that misled customers as to the “game-changing” capabilities of their handheld console, the PS Vita. Instead of fighting the decision, Sony has admitted culpability by settling the case with the FTC.
Sony’s advertising concerning the Vita’s Cross-platform Gaming, Cross-Save, Remote Play, and 3G connectivity capabilities were deemed by the FTC to be deceptive, since they either didn’t operate as advertised, or were non-existent.
“Sony claimed, for example, that PS Vita users could pause any PS3 game at any time and continue to play the game on their PS Vita from where they left off. This feature, however, was only available for a few PS3 games, and the pause-and-save capability described in the ads varied significantly from game to game,” said the FTC’s statement. “The FTC’s complaint also alleges that Sony’s PS Vita ads falsely implied that consumers who owned the 3G version of the device (which cost an extra $50 plus monthly fees) could engage in live, multiplayer gaming through a 3G network. In fact, consumers could not engage in live, multiplayer gaming.”
Any customer who purchased the video game system prior to 1st June, 2012 may be eligible for either a partial refund of $25 cash or credit, or a $50 voucher to spend on games and/or services.
The Call of Duty video game franchise has topped $10 billion in global sales, Activision proudly boasted, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the biggest game title, movie, or book launch of the entire year.
Advanced Warfare also is the highest-selling digital launch in game console history, according to Activision’s internal estimates. Considering the extremely high level of anticipation for the title, including months of marketing efforts, it wouldn’t be too surprising if the news is true.
Here is what Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said in a statement:
“We poured our hearts into making Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare an epic ride, and we are pleased with the performance. Sales and engagement are up through the first week compared to last year. Season Pass sales are up, as well. The game has been very positively reviewed and the response from fans has been tremendous. We believe Advanced Warfare will be the most successful game of the year and we thank our fans for making it the biggest entertainment launch of the year.”
Video games have evolved into a major business, raking in billions of dollars in sales, especially with the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4. However, PC gaming is far from dead, with PC gamers also enjoying hours of fun, forking over cash for the latest generation of video games.
Thank you to Activision for providing us with this information