Gaming Steve

Culture Archives - Page 6

August 4, 2005

I Demand You Listen To My Demands!

BullyHigh on his orgy of non-stop media coverage, Miami attorney and self-described "anti-game crusader" Jack Thompson has decided to attack Take-Two Interactive once again. Yesterday Jack and a Washington D.C. community group named "Peaceoholics" (you know, because they're addicted to Peaceohol) staged a protest outside Take-Two's Manhattan offices to protest Rockstar's yet-to-be-released game Bully. Bully is, of course, Rockstar's upcoming, highly controversial video game set in a private school for boys.

Yesterday the Peaceoholics, led by activist Ronald Moten, carried signs that said among other things, "Prosecute Rockstar Games. They are felons," and "Stop Bully Now!" Today Peaceoholics released their list of demands for Take-Two Interactive, parent company of Rockstar. These included:

  • Not to release Bully under any circumstances.
  • Volunteer to sell its violent and sexually explicit games in adult video stores only.
  • Let parents return Grand Theft Auto for a full refund until they do a national awareness campaign to educate parents of content and possible effects.
  • Create a fund for victims of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and car-jackings, etc.
  • Make a national apology for misleading and lying to children, parents, and legislators about their intentions and causing insurance premiums to sky rocket.
  • Give a written response within five business days of receipt of these demands.

Well, those seem reasonable to me. But it appears that they left out the demands where Take-Two gives everyone in the world a million dollars, free back massages for life, and a brand new car. I mean, how could they forget those?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:00 PM | Posted to Culture | PlayStation 2 | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

July 23, 2005

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

The Sims 2 ... Naked!I guess crusading attorney Jack Thompson is a regular listener to the Gaming Steve podcast because I've been saying for awhile now that if you think GTA is bad (which was rated M for Mature) you should see what going on in The Sims 2 (which is rated T for Teen). According to Gamespot Thompson is attacking the Sims 2, saying that its salacious unlockable content "is no different than what is in San Andreas, although worse."

Okay I'm not on the side of Thompson in any way whatsoever, and I detest what he's trying to do to the industry, but I have to agree that the mods found in the The Sims 2 community are much worse than what can be found in the Hot Coffee mod. Not that I mind the content in The Sims 2, not at all. I just find it insane that GTA received an "Adults Only" rating by the ESRB because it contained some hidden "sex" scenes -- and I use that term loosely because these scenes looked like they were animated using the Doom 2 engine. Meanwhile the "regular" version of The Sims 2 contains both hetro and homosexual sex, sex with aliens, the ability to torture and kill your Sims, people going to the bathroom, taking showers, walking around half-naked, and so much more. And yet, this game is intended for children 13-years and older according to the ESRB.

And once you factor in all the various "skins" you can download for your Sims, which include naked people, disformed people, people with burns all over their bodies, and much worse, I would have to say that there are a lot of games out there which should be rated "Adults Only" according to the ESRB's recent actions. If GTA gets an "AO" rating for containing sex then all games which contain sex should be rated "AO" according to their logic, which includes The Sims 2, God of War (where you can play mini-game in which you have sex with two women at once), Mafia (again, in-game sex), and so many more. Oh no, this is far from over, Hot Coffee was just the beginning of a very long road indeed. Hello Kitty games for everyone!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:00 AM | Posted to Culture | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

July 14, 2005

Divorced Couple Argue Over Virtual Items

his hersI guess it was just a matter time before we would start seeing this ... a couple filing for divorce in China is arguing over custody of their computer game characters and virtual items.

According to the Chongqing Business Post, Mr. Wang from Chongqing and Ms. Ye from Huibei met last September on Shanda's online game Legend of Mir 2. Wang saved Ye's character from being killed by another player and the two quickly fell in love. The couple married at the end of October but decided to get a divorce this last June.

During their marriage, the couple jointly played over ten Mir 2 accounts, attaining level 40 to 50 status for all of them, which I am told is quite high. All the characters and virtual items are estimated to be worth 40,000 to 50,000 Yuan, and Wang said that he wants to keep the accounts and virtual items and is willing to give their joint apartment to Ye. However, Ye wants to split the apartment and game items equally (how do you split an apartment?).

Remember, if you are going to share your virtual items with your significant other make sure to write your name on all your items!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:00 AM | Posted to Culture | MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

July 11, 2005

Gaming Steve Episode 17 - 07.11.2005

Game Politics.comAs many of you out there are probably aware the gaming community has been under attack yet again, only this time the stakes have been significantly raised. A few weeks ago it was discovered that there may or may not have been hidden sex scenes and mini-games in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. This discovery had brought the politicians and watchdog groups out in droves and has caused a serious investigation by the ESRB ratings board.

Because of the serious impact this could have across the entire industry I thought we should investigate this issue more closely and discuss the larger issues at stake. In this special edition of Gaming Steve I speak with Dennis McCauley from GamePolitics.com who was instrumental in breaking this story and has written extensively about this topic. In this episode of Gaming Steve Dennis and I speak about:

  • Dennis McCauley's web site GamePolitics.com and why he started this very interesting web site.
  • The "Hot Coffee" mod in general.
  • What is the status of the ESRB investigation into this matter.
  • What was the response from Rockstar and Take Two Interactive.
  • How this content may affect the entire gaming industry, even if it wasn't part of the original game.
  • How the ESRB rating differ from the MPAA movie ratings.
  • Here come the politicians ... and will they ever stop lambasting GTA and violent video games?
Get the podcast from this page (40 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 17.

You can also subscribe to the weekly podcast.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 AM | Posted to Culture | Interview | Podcast |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

July 5, 2005

Rehab Clinic for Gamers Opened

Gaming with BabyYou know gaming has finally come into it's own when the world's first Rehab clinic for gamers just opened in China. According the Associated Press report the clinic is officially licensed by the Chinese government an is located near the Beijing Military Central Hospital. The patients -- most of whom are between the ages of 14 and 24 -- are looked after by a team of 23 nurses and doctors. Many say that their addiction to gaming grew out of a wish to relieve everyday stress and pressure from parents to perform well academically.

Treatment sessions begin at 6am every day and consist of therapy sessions, medication, acupuncture, and exercise. Patients also spend time hooked up to a machine which stimulates nerve endings receiving 30 volt electric shocks to pressure points, and are intravenously fed a clear liquid said to "adjust the unbalanced status of brain secretions". Officials refused to reveal any more information about the medication.

A stay at the clinic costs $48 per day -- more than twice the average weekly wage for a Beijing citizen -- and the course of treatment generally lasts for between 10-15 days.

This might sound funny on the surface, but I have personally known of dozens of people who failed out of college because they were addicted to MUDs and MOOs back in the 1980s. And my roommate from sophomore year had to repeat a semester of work because he was addicted to Dragon Warrior for the NES. With the likes of World of Warcraft and Everquest I can only imagine how much worse this has gotten over the years.

Heck, I consider myself a hard core/jaded gamer and I myself was hopeless addicted to WOW for two months solid. And to this day I have friends that I never see because they would rather play WOW than go out and do things in the "real world". I wonder how long before 60 Minutes/Oprah does a show on this very real problem...

Posted by Gaming Steve at 3:00 PM | Posted to Culture |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

June 29, 2005

Have You Played Atari Today?

Have You Played Atari Today?I never fully understood why during the hot humid summer so few quality games are released. Sure, we got Battlefield 2 and a few others coming down the pipe, but the gaming landscape is looking mighty bleak in the next few months. So it is times like these when I go back and play some games from the past.

Now when I mean "games from the past" I don't just mean those "older" games like Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog ... I mean old school, like Pitfall!, Yars' Revenge, Kaboom!, H.E.R.O., and Chopper Command.

For those of you reading this who just said to themselves, "what the heck is he talking about? I never even heard of those games!" then I think it's time that you spent a little bit of time learning about some of these classic games and fully understand what it was like playing a game where "you" were represented onscreen as a yellow dot. And yet, it was freaking awesome!

Perhaps the best place to start is by playing Activision's best game of all time, Pitfall! Pitfall! was created in 1982 for the Atari 2600 where you had to collect 32 treasures across 255 screens in less than 20 minutes. All the while you needed to solve puzzles, avoid snakes, scorpions, pits, crocodiles, rolling logs, and quicksand.

Sounds pretty cool, eh? It actually still plays great and is quite a challenge and, oh yeah, the entire game was programming using only 4K of memory. 4K of memory ... for an entire game experience ... all the graphics, sounds, controls, everything in a whopping 4096 bytes of memory. Think about that for a second.

Creating an entire game experience with such a limited amount of memory is almost beyond comprehension. Heck, I think my pen has more than 4k of memory! And when I was a kid I used to gladly spend hours of time playing these games, games which most people today wouldn't even seriously consider "real games", but what's really amazing is how many of these games still hold up today. Sure, they're no Metal Gear Solid, but they get the job done and they're still fun and challenging, which I think qualifies as a quality game experience.

I think all gamers should at least play or read about these games just too fully understand how insanely far gaming has come along in such a short amount of time. Heck, I just like reading about them to just remember what gaming used to be like when I was a kid. Some of the places I like to go include The Video Game Critic, AtariAge, and MobyGames. And let me know what you younglings think of Pitfall!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:00 PM | Posted to Classic | Culture |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

May 20, 2005

E3 2005 - Day 3

E3 Day 3

Here is my mini-photo album from E3 day 3 ... the last day! Today I have a bit of a random grouping here with pictures from all over the show floor … I'm just glad that the show is over. Sure E3 is a freaking ton of fun, but it is so exhausting that you need a vacation afterwards.

Expect some follow-up E3 later in the week, and don't miss my exclusive one-on-one interview with Will Wright and my detailed, revealing, preview of Spore next week.


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Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 PM | Posted to Culture |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

May 19, 2005

E3 2005 - Day 2

E3 Day 2

Here is my mini-photo album from E3 day 2. There is a mixture of pictures from both the West and South Hall. Also the people juggling the fire were from the performance group The Mutaytor, and they were freaking awesome!


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Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:30 AM | Posted to Culture |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

May 18, 2005

E3 2005 - Day 1

E3 Day 1

Here is my mini-photo album from E3 day 1. Most of the pictures are from the South Hall where most of the PC games are located. Tomorrow pictures from the West Hall where Sony, Nintendo, and other console-related items can be found.


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Posted by Gaming Steve at 11:00 AM | Posted to Culture |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

May 15, 2005

See you at E3!

E3So unless you have been living under a rock you are most likely aware that next week is the best week in gaming goodness, the yearly E3 Expo. Personally it's my favorite time of year and three awesome days of gaming insanity.

This will be my 8th or 9th E3 (I forget which) and I'll be on the show floor, playing games, and hanging out with friends all three days. If you want to come over and say hello I look just like the picture on my site, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a goatee. I'm not super tall (only 5 foot 7) and I'll probably be wearing a white "Gaming Steve" t-shirt for easier reconcilability (yeah, it was my "friends" idea to wear the shirt). I'll probably be all over the place but mostly on the show floor. So definitely come over and say hi!

I also plan to record some podcasts this week, similar to what I did for GDC, so definitely check out the site as well. I will also take a ton of pictures and some videos for those of you non-E3s out there. Oh boy, gaming goodness here I come!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 PM | Posted to Culture |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!