Culture Archives - Page 5
November 17, 2005
What's going on with this week with video games and television shows? Last night World of Warcraft was a $1,000 answer on the college version of Jeopardy! Next Monday, the day before the Xbox 360 launches no less, CSI: Miami takes on video games with an episode labeled "Urban Hellraisers”. The plot summary: “When a group of criminals play out a violent video game in real life, the CSIs must stop them before they strike again" ... yeah, that sounds about right.
But what really caught my attention was this past week's My Name is Earl in which Darnell is seen playing Berzerk on an Atari 2600! The dialog in the episode was as follows:
EARL: That's not a bad Berzerker score.
Now that's what I call classic TV!
November 10, 2005
Some might remember last December when a 22-year-old gamer spent $26,500 on an island that exists only in the MMORPG Project Entropia. For those unfamiliar with Project Entropia it allows gamers to buy and sell virtual items using real cash. Players are allowed to exchange real currency for PED (Project Entropia Dollars) and then back again into real money.
At the time this story got a fair amount of airtime, with most news organizations taking the angle of "hey get this, some silly gamer 'bought' a virtual island for $26.5k ... what an idiot!" Well, that silly gamer is laughing no more as he managed to recoup his investment in less than one year.
According to the game developers the now 23-year-old gamer, know as only as Deathifier, has made the money back that he spent on the island. By selling land to build virtual homes as well as taxing other gamers to hunt or mine on the island he was able to generate an income on his virtual land. With his initial investment paid off, Deathifier can start making some real-world profit from a completely virtual property.
It will be interesting see how another virtual property in the game performs as just last month Project Entropia player Jon Jacobs bought a virtual space station for a mere $100,000. Jacobs plans to turn the space station into a virtual resort ground that spawns dinosaur-like monsters, which visitors can kill (actually, that sounds pretty damn cool). Jacobs will take a cut of the virtual resources that gamers will make selling the dinosaur hides and he estimates he will make about $20,000 a month from running this virtual service.
Could you just imagine if World of Warcraft decided to start selling loot and land directly to players? Azuroth would probably have Gross National Product higher than 95% of the world's countries. Ah, the future is fun.
November 4, 2005
Every day I spend a little time trolling the web to try and find uncovered gems for my loyal readers, and today I managed to hit the motherload in classic gaming goodness.
Daniel P. Hower's Coin-Op Video Games appears unassuming at first glance, but hidden in the site are not one but two undiscovered gems of classic video game history. First, Daniel has the largest selection of video game flyers I have ever seen with over 2,732 flyers on the site and more added every day.
These "flyers" were nothing more than sales brochures created by coin-op game manufacturers in order to promote their games and feature game screenshots, pictures of the gaming cabinets, descriptions of game play and concept art. Not only are all the flyers on the site in mint condition but Daniel has an extremely well-designed flyer database allowing for lighting fast flyer locating.
But if that wasn't awesome enough his second "treasure" is even more impressive. I'll let Daniel explain this one in his own words:
Back in 1982, my best friend had a Sony stereo walkman recorder. Audio was the conventional recording media back then and we recorded all kinds of stuff. One day we were on our way to the arcade 'Just Fun' in Ithaca, NY and came up with the idea to record video game sounds.The list of recorded arcade sounds is truly staggering ... it's practically a "who's who" of classic video games. Unfortunately Daniel was actually playing these games while he was recording, so they're not perfect copies. But ... who cares! Where else are you going to find recordings of Vanguard, Time Pilot, Venture, Phoenix, Gorf, Tron and hundreds upon hundreds of other games?
Daniel, I salute you! Check it out this site ... right now!
October 5, 2005
I used to love origami when I was a kid (I guess it's just "one of those things" that all kids get into). Making paper cranes and flowers was pretty cool, but I really liked the crazy hard origami models, like cars and trucks and the like.
Well what could be cooler than making Super Mario origami! Make sure to check out the very cool Bowser model (all five parts, yikes!), the cute little red pikmin, and the always popular "Mario in a bunny-suit".
And if you're looking for more video game origami also check out the Advance Wars Papercraft.
September 14, 2005
As great as the Grand Theft Auto games are on their own, the "fake" web sites that Rockstar creates to support their games are nearly as much fun as the GTA games themselves, and the newly launched GTA: Liberty City Stories is no exception. And this time Rockstar might have outdone themselves by creating a very loose parody of your favoriate "anti-game activist" Jack Thompson within the site.
Once you enter the GTA:LCS web site there are several fictional e-mails on the top of the screen. One of them is from "JT@citizensunitednegatingtechnology.org" ... I wonder what that "JT" could possibly stand for? Anyhow if you click on the fake e-mail from "JT" (the Liberty City anti-violent video game crusader) you will find that "JT" likes to surf the Internet for pictures depicting deviant sex acts by teenage girls. Additionally, on the site you can listen to an audio ad recording featuring a man, whose name is "Jack", who is found naked by a mother in her son's room. Finally, you can view JT's anti-Internet web site http://www.citizensunitednegatingtechnology.org/ (do check it out because, you know, the Internet is evil!)
September 13, 2005
It seems fitting that on Mario's 20th birthday (wow, he still can't drink in the States) that we all show the original "Jumpman" some love today. For those of you who can't find a Donkey Kong arcade machine near their home (remember when arcades could be found in any shopping mall in America? But that's another topic...) head on over to this great Arcade Games Emulation web site where you can find Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3, Mario Bros., as well as several other non-Mario classics.
Also make sure to check out a salute to Super Mario Bros. Villians, watch the Super Mario Brothers Super Show (and view the Bros. in drag!), play the Donkey Kong board game, or eat some Super Mario Ice Cream.
But whatever you do today do not -- repeat -- do not rent the absolutely horrible Super Mario Bros. The Movie. Let's just all try to forget that this ever happened shall we? Happy Birthday Mario -- I'll buy you a drink next year!
September 9, 2005
Just when you think you have seen everything in MMORPGs something new (and disturbing) comes along. It appears that some clever person is willing to sell an "E-Date with a hawt Night Elf." That's right, call girls have finally appeared in the World of Warcraft.
It is hard to do this news justice, so let's just post her eBay advertisement shall we?
I have now seen everything ... until next time that is.
August 17, 2005
I have seen a lot of funny posts in my lifetime, but this one is perhaps the best I have seen in a long time... Brion is a level 57 level Night Elf Hunter in World of Warcraft, but his mother is a level 59 Human Priest and Brion should know never to mess with someone two levels higher than him!
It seems that Brion tried to sneak in a little post to the WOW forums a little past bedtime and was caught ... big time:
Getting caught was bad enough, but then having the entire WOW community rag on you as well has to just add major insult to injury! If you keep scrolling through the posts you'll see that a suitable punishment was dished out:
Yeah, you won’t be seeing Brion at Alterac Valley tonight…
Damn, I can not think of a worse public embarrassment for a teenager, getting totally pwned in public, by your mom!
August 10, 2005
Okay, this may be a bit old but still newsworthy ... a 28-year-old man in South Korea died of heart failure after playing computer games almost non-stop for 50 hours. The man, identified only by his family name Lee, had planted himself in front of a computer to play on-line games on August 3rd. Over the next three days he only left his computer to go to the toilet and to take brief naps. "We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion," a Taegu provincial police official said by telephone.
To tell you the truth I am very surprised by this story. No, I'm not surprised that this guy died, I'm surprised that this guy died after playing for such a short amount of time. I mean, 50 hours straight? Sure that's a long time, but I know lots of people who have come close to gaming that long and have lived to tell about it. Heck, I myself have had several marathon Civilization gaming sessions where I played video games non-stop for more than 24-hours straight (okay, I have never played near 50-hours straight, but still).
And what about those dance marathons in years past? People used to dance for days, weeks, even months straight with little to no sleep (the record being 22 weeks, 3 1/2 days!). Of course, I'm sure that people used to die during those dance marathons, but still. Playing video games for 50 hours compared to dancing for five-and-a-half months ... this guy must have been in just horrible shape if he keels over after sitting down for 50 hours. Now if he died after playing video games and dancing for 50 hours, that would be impressive (and sad, of course).
August 8, 2005
One of good things to come out of "Rockstargate" (I guess that what it's going to be called) is that reputable people are starting to really take a hard look at video games and see if what "they" say is actually true. "They" say people who play violent video games become more violent. "They" say that video games have caused an increase in violent crimes and causing harm to our children. Oh yeah, and that video games are being played by children and children alone.
Well, The Economist and Game Revolution has taken a long look at this topic and the results are surprising to say the least. Let's just say that the next time some trash-clown tries to tell you how video games are making teenagers violent you can point them to these two articles and watch their heads explode.
You should definitely read both articles but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are few very interesting pictures.
This graph was taken directly from the article in The Economist and it seems that as video game sales have increased the total number of violent crimes have decreased. What? According to everyone else this can't be correct? Let's take a look at another chart, shall we?
This graph is from the excellent piece by Duke Ferris of Gamer Revolution. Again, you can see as the popularity of video games have increased violent crimes have steadily decreased ... to the lowest levels ever recorded.
Again, make sure to check out both articles as they have a lot interesting evidence completely debunking the whole "video games increase real world violence" theory.