GamesCom Trailer: Fifa 12

You know what people on Planet Earth like?

Soccer, or football, as most of the the rest of the world calls it.

This may be the closest we get to a real-life Bioshock

“Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?”

Readers who have played Bioshock will remember Rapture, the underwater city built as a Randian utopia where its fictional residents sought freedom from society’s constraints against such things as using “plasmids” to modify one’s genetic structure in order to shoot hornets from one’s hands.

I have yet to see reports of plasmid research, but the idea of creating a new society in the ocean is reportedly a real one. The Lookout, via Details, reports Paypal founder Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to “an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters.”

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters
beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these
countries to start from scratch–free from the laws, regulations, and
moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be
“a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that
libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been
unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage,
and few restrictions on weapons.”

Readers who have played Bioshock know that Rapture’s inhabitants ended up killing each other and challenging players’ notions on whether the concept of “free will” can exist, at least as it relates to the way video games can present players with the illusions of moral choice.

I can’t say whether any future seasteaders will face such grisly ends, but I will say that I’m not sure if I like the idea of looser building codes within an ocean-built city, but what do I know?

Here is the Seasteading Society’s perspective:

The vision of seasteading is an urgent one. We can already see that
existing political systems are straining to cope with the realities of
the 21st century. We need to create the next generation of
governance: banking systems to better handle the inevitable financial
crises, medical regulations that protect people without retarding
innovation, and democracies that ensure our representatives truly represent us.

Seasteaders believe that government shouldn’t be like the cell phone
carrier industry, with few choices and high customer-lock-in. Instead,
we envision a vibrant startup sector for government, with many small
groups experimenting with innovative ideas as they compete to serve
their citizens’ needs better.

Currently, it is very difficult to experiment with alternative social
systems on a small scale; countries are so enormous that it is hard for
an individual to make much difference. The world needs a place where
those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test
out their ideas. All land is already claimed — which makes the oceans
humanity’s next frontier.

You know what? Plasmids are not real. (I think). I want to see what happens. Go for it, Mr. Thiel.

BF3 MP Trailer from Gamescom

Gamescom, Europe’s version of E3 over in Germany, is having its pre-convention presser avalanche before Wednesday’s official opening. EA had theirs and one of the things that came out from it was this trailer showing off “64-player vehicle warfare” including jets. The “64-player” thing is only for PCs, though console players should still have a relatively solid 24-player count to play with.

Might need to upgrade my PC for this one when it comes out October 25th this year.


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Big deal: Google buys Motorola

Google, generally described in news articles as a search engine giant, will become a cell phone manufacturer following news that it will purchase cell phone makers Motorola for $12.5 billion.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

The deal, by far the largest in Google’s history, has  been approved by the boards of both companies. It  will give the Mountain View company its own  hardware products and allow it to compete more  closely with phone- and tablet-makers such as   Apple (AAPL), Research In Motion, Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and the new alliance between Microsoft and Nokia.



The acquisition also gives Google access to more  than 17,000 patents held by Motorola, which  pioneered the cellphone business. Analysts said  that could help Google stave off a barrage of patent  claims levied by Apple, Microsoft and other rivals  battling the company’s Android operating system.  The deal could also boost Google’s faltering efforts  to bring the Internet to living room television sets, by  allowing Google to leverage Motorola’s expertise in  set-top TV boxes.

Fundamentally, the decision to buy Motorola  underscores the growing importance of mobile  computing to Google, which draws most of its  revenue from selling advertising associated with  Internet searches, as consumers and workers  increasingly perform more computing tasks with  handheld devices. Google’s lead in mobile search is  thought to be even greater than its search  dominance on desktop computers.



“It’s no secret that Web usage is increasingly  shifting to mobile devices, a trend I expect to continue,” Google CEO Larry Page said in a conference call Monday morning.

Amazon debuts Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon has launched a cloud version of its Kindle software, designed to skirt Apple’s iTunes purchase fees.

The new cloud player launches in the iPad’s Safari browser, rather than as a standalone app.

Apple balked at Amazon’s inclusion of a button that directed users to Amazon’s website within the Kindle app, so Amazon removed that button from its app.

Apple’s aim is to direct all in-app purchases through iTunes, where the company receives a 30% cut.

The new Cloud Reader works on the iPad browser, Safari, and on Google’s Chrome browser. It does not yet work on either Internet Explorer or Firefox.

To access the Kindle Cloud Reader, visit read.amazon.com.

Review: Shadows of the Damned (X360)

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Suda 51 is not your normal game designer. Just looking at his history, from Killer 7 to No More Heroes, should tell you that he doesn’t go in for formulaic looks, cliched settings, or stories that take themselves too seriously. They’re all about style, pinching the player to wake them up from their reverie of stock excitements, and then splashing cold WTF all over their world when they least expect it.

That’s what makes his games so much fun to play. At the same time, it’s also clear that they’re not for everybody. Being different doesn’t necessarily mean ‘being commercially popular’. Yet to EA’s credit, they’ve daringly decided to bank on his unique take on gaming with Shadows of the Damned.

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Review: F.3.A.R. (X360)

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I remember scrambling through the terror-laden corridors and rooms of the first F.E.A.R. years ago.

Monolith had crafted a place that not only fed the blazing barrels of my arsenal but struck the chords of my spine with every twitching light and flickering shadow of something sneaking by the very edge of what my eyes tried to tell me was there.

It had action. It had a twisted story. And it had plenty of spooky creepiness chortling at my unspent bullets.

The second game felt as if it had less of an edge because now I knew what I was up against. But it still had managed to work in a few of its own bloody surprises turning what was already a deeply disturbed story into a full blown mental schism with its ending. The action, as always, was never far behind and had even been beefed up with big mechs as tuxedos of death for when the occasion needed them.

F.3.A.R. packs even more bullet dances into its narrative. Plenty of furious firefights…without any of the actual fear.
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Evo2K11 – Always in search of the next fight

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Two competitors, one from Japan and another from the United States, face off against each other for the final matchup of the world championships at Las Vegas. Both have brought their own weapons to the stage; fighting sticks set in a flat panel studded with buttons and polished with long hours of steady practice and sacrifice.

As the fight begins, they each know that only one of them will walk away as the victor. That night, all of their hard work will be put to the test in the space of only a few minutes.

Another Evo2K has come and gone, but it was also one of the most exciting bouts ever to tear across the ‘net with plenty of anguish-filled defeats and thrilling comebacks. To those that only see a bunch of guys playing video games, one look at the videos being broadcast live from the Rio in Las Vegas filled with thousands of cheers and jeers easily demonstrate that those that have come to watch are as every bit as passionate as any other fan.

Fighting games have undergone a stunning revival in the last few years with Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and Mortal Kombat setting the pace. And thanks to today’s high-tech arena and years of effort in getting that ever so valuable netcode just right, players have turned the globe into their own personal arcade, pitting their skills against each other as they used to years ago when spots were reserved by placing your token on the cabinet.

And at Evo2K this year, the crowd has only gotten larger and the excitement even more infectious. I don’t even play fighting games, but in watching players from every walk of life take part (anyone can sign up and play, even an eight year old named Noah who lit the screen up with incredible skill), I couldn’t help but cheer for my share of underdogs and sit in stunned disbelief when Japan’s Daigo “the Beast” Umehara was knocked out into fourth place by Korea’s own superchamp, Poongko, otherwise known as “the Machine”.

Watching these pros move their characters across the screen was like watching a ballet of sight and sound with every move, dodge, block, and feint as both players tried to read into what their opponent would do next. Some wore poker faces, others brought their own music to block out the world, and one or two would even do a little dance with their fists in the air or their body moving to the motion of their character onscreen. Some would bury their faces in their hands after losing a round. Others would just walk as quickly as possible from the stage in bitter disappointment.

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The final fight for the Street Fighter IV crown went to Japan’s Fuudo who defeated Brokentier Latif (Brokentier is the team that Latif plays for), who had himself defeated Poongko in another stunning upset. Though Street Fighter was a huge focus for many, Evo2K had also held contests for Mortal Kombat, Blazblue, and Tekken 6 to crown the champs for each of those as well.

It wasn’t all fighting games, either. Panels were also held over the three days of Evo2K’s action, Namco Bandai had also shown off a little Soul Calibur 5 action to the crowd, and a few screeners were also present to help the crowd decompress. Capcom’s Seth Killian had also come down to help with the great commentary from the Evo2K crew, but in the end it was clear that the winners were not only those that flew thousands of miles to be there, but everyone who could be a part of it either by being in the crowd or watching it online.

It’s one thing to think of video games as “pushing buttons and sticks” to do stuff onscreen. But when events like these can level the playing field and invite anyone to join in where even an eight year old with enough skills can get the crowd behind him, it’s even harder to turn as much of a blind eye to that kind of awesome.

If you’re interested in reading up more on Evo2K and the fighting game circuit in general, you can hit up their official site along with Shoryuken which has all the latest including pics such as those above.