Games in the News

Does anyone remember that movie War Games? No wait, this is more like Last Starfighter. Yep, the merger of military training, video games, and actual combat is upon up. The military is learning to help gamers transition as easily as possible from virtual war to actual war. This is like Toys At least there'll be no more gender bias designed into jet cockpits.

via: Busines Week

by Mark Scott

Sitting back in a leather chair, with both hands on the controls, I'm scanning three flat-screen monitors in front of me, on the lookout for my next target. Sounds like a sneak peek of the latest shoot-'em-up video game, right?

Think again. This is the next generation of ground controls for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), sometimes also known as drones, used by the U.S. Air Force and its overseas counterparts. As remote-controlled planes take on larger military roles in both Iraq and Afghanistan, defense companies are borrowing techniques from the video-game industry to make it easier for pilots on the ground to fly these unmanned aircraft from afar.

This article is kind of confusing, and I haven't found any others that offer a clearer explanation. I'm imagining that the Thai government is just being reactionary here and there is no clear justification for banning the game. They say the boy murdered the taxi driver because he wanted to see if it was as easy in real life as in the game. Then they say he needed money so he could play the game more. So first the danger is that the game is a bad influence on kids, then the danger is that it's addictive and we could see gamers like crack addicts robbing bodegas to buy the latest first person shooter. Finally, in an AFP article, a police officer claims the game is being banned because of obscene content. Obscene content? The country with one of the biggest sex tourism economies in the world is fretting over naughty language, guns, and digital strip clubs? No, GTA is no worse than an Ong Bak movie. Games are just convenient scapegoats.

via: BBC

The 18-year-old high school student is accused of stabbing the cab driver to death by trying to copy a scene from the game. The biggest video game publisher in the south-east Asian country, New Era Interactive Media, has told retailers to stop selling GTA IV. It is due to be replaced by another video game title.

Metal Gear: love it or hate it, the game is one of videogamedom's most iconic franchises. Maybe it's too cinematic, maybe it's too preachy, but give it credit for trying at least. Even if you never want to sneak around in the shaddows chocking out gentically engineered super soldiers, or watch mercenaries wax philosophical about the meaning of life and fate vs. destiny, at least give the series credit for trying. It's trying to be something different. The New York Times had an artlicle last Sunday about the debates over Metal Gear's hidden meanings. Kotaku writer Stephen was interviewed for the article, and was then so interested in the game he wrote a follow up email to the NYT writer discussing Metal Gear Solid's 4 unique venture into game tragedy. I think serious games broke from the triumphant hero paradigm a long time ago (Septemer 12 or Hush for example) but it's interesting to see a mainstream game attempt it.
“Of course don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, because then they gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you they are. Oh yeah they gonna talk to you and talk to you and talk to you about individual freedom, but they see a free individual it’s gonna scare ‘em.” Jack Nicholson Easy Rider via: Game Politics City officials in Troy, New York apparently used the municipal building code to shut down a controversial video game art exhibit.

Yes, just months after writing my post on torture porn video games, there's news that a Saw video game is in development. Details are sketchy, but it will be interesting to see if the game lets you play against Jigsaw or as him. We’ll also...

Though I know we’ve said it before, I don’t think it can be said enough: the Values at Play project is NOT about creating boring goodie-two-shoes games. We talk a lot about social values, and appealing to diverse communities, and promoting a more just, equitable society, but that doesn’t mean we’re condemming violent videogames or controversy. I'm actually quite fond of controversy and enjoy well done violent games.
Gamasutra has an interview with Craig Allen, CEO of Spark Unlimited, about the company’s new release. The game is called Turning Point, and it takes a “what-if” scenario. As it asks what might have happened had the Nazis invaded the U.S. in WWII, the game seems to ponder on the nature of war.
Societies. The SimCity series has always given players a wide array of choices for powering their city, but Societies is notable for being the first game that specifically brands the eco-friendly power solutions with BP logos and likenesses.
In an apparent effort to explore the currently pressing issues of pollution and global warming, publisher Electronic Arts and energy giant BP have collaborated to incorporate a global warming minigame in SimCity: Societies, which is available now for the PC. In addition to traditional coal and nuclear power plants, the latest SimCity game also offers greener solutions such as wind farms and solar stations. The environmentally-sound – and BP branded – power options naturally cost more money to build and maintain, but yield significantly less pollution in the virtual city.
I found this on Kotaku, and the concept seemed very interesting to me. Basically, it's a vest and helmet that allow video game players to feel all the shocks and bumps within the game. Are game players really in the mood for a little more action in their first-person shooters?
The Nintendo Wii has been out for some months now, so you may have heard about the phenomenon of the Wii and the elderly. Yes, the elderly and the Wii. If you need a refresher, take a look at this article.