Space raiders destroy real money in EVE

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EVE, if you haven’t heard of it, is a space-based MMO run almost exclusively by the players. The economy, wars, and conflicts within the game are mostly against corporate empires run by and filled with real people piloting and building ships making it a place where anything can (and has) happened.

MMO site, Massively, has the goods on this latest collision between real-life and what should have been a relaxing evening for one trader in the game.

In short, the main currency used in EVE is called ISK and, like gold farming, has its own shady cottage industry where people with money can “buy” ISK instead of earning it the old fashioned way. It’s not legal according to the game’s rules, so as one way to fight this, EVE’s developers created the 30-day Pilot License Extension. Players can buy these with real cash to extend their membership.

Now here’s the rub: it’s also represented as an item in the game which can then be traded for ISK. Thus, people can buy a PLEX (as the Extensions are called) and trade it to other players for massive loads of ISK if they want to. We’re talking billions. Later, they made it so that PLEX could be carried on ships for transport. You can see where this is going.

One player apparently had 74 of these things in their ship when two raiders came by and attempted to seize it…only to end up destroying the ship and its cargo. Real world value? $1,294 USD. And in EVE, since this was technically within the rules of how it is played where risk is everything, I don’t expect any of that to be coming back to the owner.

Ouch.

New Ace Combat due out next year

Armchair aces can rejoice: Namco Bandai announced today that they’re coming out with a new Ace Combat for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 due out next year. According to Gamespot, the game will again sport single and multiplayer modes just as Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation did in ’07. It also marks the first Ace Combat to debut on the PS3, though the series has come out on the PSP.

The trailer suggests that this is going to be a rebirth for the series, a “game changer” as another hint points out at the start and it looks to this fan that it’s going to follow the cue of Joint Assault, Ace Combat’s upcoming entry for the PSP. Previous Ace Combats on consoles and portables had taken place in a fictional world analogous to our own with licensed jets. This time, as you can hear the pilot mention Miami in the trailer after the global graphic, it sounds like it’s going to take place in our own backyard.

The Ace Combat series has always prided itself on being an arcade flier’s fantasy with lead rounds and gobs of missiles writing explosive poetry against impossible odds that only Michael Bay could dream of. The series might not have the kind of hardcore realism that IL-Sturmovik had brought to the table with its console debut, but it can always be just as fun sending multimillion dollars’ worth of scrap to the ground by the squadron, Hollywood-style.

Can’t wait to see more. For now, here’s the trailer below.

London 2032 + robots = one awesome concept

Remember the Ghostbusters teaser from Zootfly? Though Zootfly didn’t get to actually develop their own Ghostbusters game because they couldn’t get the rights, the video showing off their concept work in 2006 created a huge, happy buzz on the ‘net as if pink slime had bubbled up from everyone’s screen in seeing it.

It also helped to convince Sony that there was an audience out there hungry for Ghostbusting. When Terminal Reality, who was already working on their own project pitch, were waiting to hear the good news, Sony was ready to believe them. Atari published the game in 2009 with a multiplatform release.

So what do London and robots have to do with the Ghostbusters? According to Destructoid, a pitch video created by former Ubisoft artist, Fanny Vergne, and a few others at Ubisoft Montpelier had been leaked into the wild and it’s not half bad. It might not be based on a well known IP involving spirits, but it’s still an amazing, if short, piece of digital fantasy. Since they broke the news, however, Fanny Vergne requested that the art and clip be removed from their site, but not before they had already hit other sites that decided to follow the story.

Now here’s where it gets weird. Depending on where you read the news from, the video has also had something of a strange trail to follow with some sites stating that Ubisoft canceled the game when it wasn’t a game cancellation at all. The video link below on Youtube even says that it’s a canceled Ubisoft game (along with others that have uploaded the clip under their own accounts), but it’s not according to Destructoid. Kind of hard to cancel a game when it hasn’t even gotten past the pitch meeting.

But the footage is already out there in the wild along with a few pieces of neat concept art, under whatever header the articles they are featured in want to call them. It certainly looks creative, flashy, and is one of those things that we had gotten a taste of but will probably never get to see as a game.

Unlike Ghostbusters. But who knows?

It’s…the Shadow?

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Remember the Alec Baldwin superhero flick, The Shadow? Wait, you don’t remember Alec Baldwin as a superhero, period?

It’s not too surprising considering the drubbing the film was given when it came out in ’94, but I liked it enough for its stab at the 1930′s radio show and pulp series it was based on. Even if you haven’t heard of The Shadow, you’ve probably seen his modus operandi of working at night as a costumed detective fighting crime in the big city influencing certain other heroes elsewhere…such as Batman. For the film, the costumes, set pieces, the soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith, and the end credits sung by Taylor Dane certainly made its big screen debut impressionable.

It’s too bad that its plot based on a psychic descendant of Genghis Khan and a superhero who could control men’s minds were forced to wither in the shadows cast by Tim Burton’s Batman duet, even with Tim Curry as a slobbering madman. It even had the beat ‘em up tie-in by Ocean on the SNES pitting the player in a Streets of Rage like battle against street thugs and Mongol warriors.

But the rumor mill is spinning its wheels on whispers that Quentin Tarantino might be attached to a reboot of what was supposed to be the first film of an ongoing series. Fox has picked the rights up and there’s talk that David Slade is on board to direct. On one hand, I’d love to see what Tarantino can do with this kind of material.

On the other, if it ever does come out, I hope that the game doesn’t suck.

Halo 2600

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Ever wonder what Halo would have been like if it came out in the early 80s on the Atari 2600? Would it be better than Pac-Man?

Ed Fries, the former VP of Microsoft’s game publishing division, cobbled Halo 2600 together while doing a little retro research into learning how to program for Atari’s classic console. It debuted at the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas and he even went as far as to create a hundred 2600-style carts complete with label art.

In case you happen to be like me and now have the urge to pull your Atari 2600 out of mothballs, but no RF connector on your LCD TV, no worries. You can use your browser to play the game instead. Clicking on “Reset Game” starts it up, arrow keys handle movement and the spacebar is for shooting…once you find a gun, that is. You can also only shoot left or right it seems. Fortunately, there are shields that can protect you from one hit if you can find them.

It plays partly like a mix between Swordquest, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and maybe even a little Wizard of Wor. And it’s definitely all fun.

Try it out here.

Review: Dragon Quest IX – Sentinels of the Starry Skies

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By Brittany Vincent
Contributing Writer

The Dragon Quest series’ relationship with gamers outside of Japan hasn’t exactly been a stable one, especially out West.

It’s certainly not because of quality. Memorable characters, heartwarming adventures, and artwork from Akira Toriyama create experiences just as worthy of your time and attention as any Final Fantasy title.

This is further proven in the series’ latest iteration, Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies. It not only echoes what has made the Dragon Quest saga memorable, but is also the first numbered installment to receive a handheld-only release.
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