Gaming in the Olympics?

Believe it. The head of the Global Gaming League, Ted Owen, is talking to the Chinese government about bringing competitive gaming to the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an exhibition sport.

If you want more examination on the subject, you can read more about it on CNNMoney.com.

All jokes and wink-winks aside, I’ve got a few questions. First off, what would happen if the IOC and China signed off on it, and it eventually became an Olympic sport? Would events be broken down into genre — can you get an FPS medal or a fighting game medal? Can you medal for excelling at sports games?

Who would be the favorites? Can Fata1ity be the U.S. team captain? Would any nation’s teams even have a coach?

And what about the established corporate game teams? Would we be able to send the entire Frag Dolls roster, or just a few of them?

You know what this means, right? Gold controllers. Michael Johnson did it with his shoes, so why can’t gamers do it with controllers? I’m being serious, especially about the question of who we would send.

The people’s gamer talks

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson spoke with Yahoo! Games about the film version of “Spy Hunter” as well as the game “Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run.”

If you don’t know what “Spy Hunter” is, it was a racing/action game that had the player use the ultimate superagent sports car that was pimped out with all kinds of villain-fighting weapons. Tire slashers, machine guns, oil slick — it had it all. And if that wasn’t enough, the car could transform into other vehicles, like a speedboat.

Apparently the script is finally done and the movie could be released in July 2007.

The last time we (well, some of us) saw The Rock, he was playing the role of Sarge in the movie version of “Doom.” I’ll say this about “Doom” — it wasn’t that bad until it started doing the first-person stuff. Then there was none chance.

“Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run” will feature on-foot action sequences along wth the driving, so players will be able to lay some smack down on enemies. The Rock went all out for both the game AND movie, putting in voicework and mocap sessions in addition to lending his likeness.

The game is expected to be released in September.

Nintendo’s non-Wii lineup

We know the Wii is coming out in Q4 of this year, but that doesn’t mean Nintentdo has stopped making games. They sent this list out:

Nintendo DS:
June 5: Big Brain Academy
June 5: Magnetica
June 11: Nintendo DS Lite
June 26: Sudoku Gridmaster
Aug. 28: Star Fox DS
Sept. 18: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team
Sept. 25: Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
Oct. 9: Clubhouse Games
TBA: Pokemon Ranger
Oct. 30: Children of Mana

Nintendo GameCube
Sept. 25: Baten Kaitos Origins
Oct. 9: Super Paper Mario

Game Boy Advance SP
Sept. 18: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team

I just got done railing about the cliche of freeform gaming violence today, so it’s nice to see a list of happy titles. Next up for review, “Hitman: Blood Money.”

Study gives props to gamer doctors

You’re in good hands with a gamer doctor.

According to a story from Reuters, a study found that doctors who “warmed up” with the game “Super Monkey Ball” for about 20 minutes right before doing surgery drill made less mistakes and worked more quickly than non-gaming doctors.

The study concentrated on laparoscopic surgery, which uses really small cameras and elongated tools — think of those medical shows where you get a camera view moving through someone’s body.

Dr. James Rosser is the point man on this study, and he describes this kind of surgery as “trying to tie your shoe laces with three-foot-long chopsticks while watching on a TV screen.” So, it would help to practice.

I actually got to talk to Rosser at last year’s E3 for a story on exertainment. The dude is funny.

Lunch break with ‘Jaws’

After putting a few hours into ‘Jaws Unleashed’ it’s official: The concept of killing innocent people in a video game — just because you can — is tired. Stop doing it. I keep waiting for some feeling of entertainment to come out of chewing a random diver into pieces, and it hasn’t happened. Which means I’m over the whole “random violence” thing. You can even hear the screaming of people underwater — while that certainly shows detail, it’s still doesn’t entertain me.

I’ve got two feelings about this game: One is guilt — I’ve always needed a cause, or a reason to do bad things, like Jack Bauer or the guy from “The Shield.” Or even Kratos, who killed his own family, for crying out loud.

When it comes to characters like Kratos or Agent 47, there’s a reason they are the way they are. ‘Jaws’ is built on the premise that it is simply fun to kill people and destroy things, forget the reasons. Nowadays, that isn’t enough. You need a story. This is why games like “State of Emergency” and “Postal 2″ stunk. Gamers want substance, not cheap thrills. I’ll expound more about this in the actual review.

The other feeling I have about the game is boredom. Perhaps I’m still spoiled by E3 and the 360 I have at home, but I simply am not enjoying playing this. THIS is what some people are excited about? Whatever. The camera acts nutso and the game overall feels a little sloppy. Controlling Jaws is a chore.

Other than that, it’s outstanding. Writing the review should be fun. It’s a good thing I’m reviewing “New Super Mario Bros.” as well.

Venezuela vs. ‘Mercenaries 2′

Another country is mad at a game. This time it’s Venezuela, where lawmakers and backers of President Hugo Chavez are ticked about “Mercenaries 2: World in Flames,” where you assume the role of a merc squad and tear things up in Venezuela.

The game isn’t out yet — it’s slated for release on the PS3. While it wasn’t on display on the show floor, it’s closed-door showings left a good impression and generated some positive buzz.

The Associated Press story on CNN.com has one Chavez backer essentially calling the game a campaign of “psychological terror so they can make things happen later.”

In other words, the U.S. and Pandemic (who makes the game) are trying to get people to rail against Chavez using “Mercs 2″ as its vehicle of propaganda. How did they find out? Who are they working for? There’s no time!!!! (Sorry — Jack Bauer moment).

Nintendo: Wii won’t cost more than $250

Nintendo announced today that it’s Wii console isn’t going to cost more than $250 bucks, making it by far the least expensive next-gen system that will be available. For those keeping score, the Xbox 360 costs between $300-$400, and the PS3 resides in the $500-$600 range.

There’s still no exact launch date (Nintendo only says “4th quarter of 2006″) but Nintendo is aiming to ship about 6 million Wiis between launch time and March 31, 2007, the end of its fiscal year.

The price really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The Wii is expected to be the least powerful of the three next-gen systems, with Nintendo instead focusing on the innovative new Remote/Nunchuk controllers.

Schilling on the mound for ‘Everquest II’

Schilling_NPC_in_EQ2_closeup.jpg

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is going to become a villain in EverQuest, as part of a partnership with Sony Online Entertainment to battle against Lou Gehrig’s disease.

During the Yankees-Red Sox series from June 5-7, online EQII players get to take a crack at Schilling’s evil alter ego. Every time someone takes him out, SOE donates $5 to the ALS Association, which fights the disease. The max is $10K. The press release says players can type /ALS to donate money to the cause.

And apparently, evil Curt is going to stay in the game after the series as a powerful character best faced by high-level players. This reeks of awesomeness. This’ll probably be the best shot Yankees fans have at Schilling all year. He should leave behind a virtual bloody sock to complete the effect.

No pre-owned PS3 games allowed? What?

This is interesting …

According to GamesRadar, Sony has told retailers not to have any pre-owned PS3 sections in their stores, as it could be illegal for people to sell back any PS3 games they’ve bought.

The story on the site mentions that Sony could use a licensing system that essentially says paying the cash for a game doesn’t mean you actually OWN the game. In reality, you would just be buying the license to play the game, but the actual software would still belong to Sony.

I don’t know — forgive me for not wanting to hop on the expletive-loaded rant bandwagon, but this sounds almost too ridiculous, so I’m going to reserve judgement until I hear or see something more concrete.

Rumor or not, it still hurts — this comes after the griping about the price, the rumble-less gyroscopic controller that some developers didn’t even know existed, the missing elements in the “low-end” system (like WiFi), and we’re still not 100 percent sure on what games will actually be available at launch.

But if this IS true, Sony is going to get the Fredo treatment from a lot of people, probably even the diehard fans.

The only thing I can be certain of is that this Bataan death march of negative stuff about Sony isn’t going to end soon. It’s not even summer yet.

ESA supports Maryland game bill

The Entertainment Software Association, which usually fires back at gaming restriction legislation, is backing a gaming bill that was passed in Maryland. Why, you may ask?

From what I can tell, the bill (called HB707) prevents “displaying or exhibiting” video games with obscene material. In this case, “obscene” means “sexual conduct” and not violence, which has been covered in past gaming bills that were shot down by the courts.

Well, it probably wouldn’t look too good for the industry if the ESA stood up and said it should be OK for kids to get games loaded with sexual content. Plus, as the posting on GamePolitics points out, the shield of the First Amendment doesn’t quite extend to obscene material. So, no legal battle.

The Gamasutra posting on the same bill has a comment of support from ESA head man Doug Lowenstein:

“The ESA has always been supportive of the inclusion of video games to ‘harmful to minor’ statues that meet the Supreme Courts obscenity standards. We believe that video games should be treated in the same way that books and movies are treated under the law.”

Remember, the key is violence in games. That’s when the ESA mixes it up with legislators.