Money and Games

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Where once it was exclusively the realm of spotty teenagers and pale, vitamin D deprived, basement dwelling individuals, gaming is now a major pillar of the entertainment industry with budgets and sales comparable to those of even the biggest Hollywood movies. This decade has seen gaming become truly mainstream and grow into a medium of mass consumption. However like the movie industry before it, this spectacular growth and desire to become a viable mainstream product that vies for mass market approval has begun to affect the gaming experience for a large section of the gaming community. Current games are certainly very beautiful. The graphics are slick, realistic and beautifully rendered and allow players a level of freedom that would have been unimaginable a mere two decades ago. The ubiquitous nature of HD TVs and surround sound have also played a huge part in immersing the gamer in his virtual world and with each new release, games make another tentative step towards that holy grail of a totally real and believable gaming world. However this progress has perhaps inevitably begun to negatively affect the way new games are developed and influence the choices developers make when tackling new projects.
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E3: A look back on Day Two

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Day Two started off earlier, mainly due to the first day starting at noon. A few appointments were penciled in including another one with Activision who had given us a chance to check out the new True Crime. My brother was ready to hit most of those leaving me to wander the floor to take a look at what else was being shown. The first day was a brief tour in the West Hall. Now it was time to hit the South Hall where the third parties, and Microsoft, was lurking.
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Boy Scouts can earn a video gaming pin

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CNN’s Cody McCloy blogs on finding out that the Boy Scouts are now offering a video gaming pin.

If you’re thinking that the Boy Scouts have gone nuts, that’s a reaction not entirely without reason as he outlines that it could simply be an attempt by the Scouts to remain relevant in today’s world. There’s no doubt that since the days of earning badges for campfires, being technically savvy has become as important a skill – especially in today’s workplace – and games are a big part of today’s social experience. But a badge for gaming?

Looking at the requirements for the actual pin on the official Boy Scouting page, it actually does sound like a positive move by the organization to promote an understanding of games with the help of family and friends. This isn’t something thrown together after seeing how big Modern Warfare 2 had become.

Doing things such as explaining why a rating system is important, teaching an adult or a friend how to play a game appropriate to their age group, or creating a schedule balancing homework and gaming are only a few of the ways that Scouts can earn it. One or two other requirements are a little iffy such as doing comparison shopping between game stores, but it doesn’t sound like the Scouts that want to earn this pin will simply “play games” to get it.

With as much flak as games sometimes receive, it’s refreshing to find efforts like these – especially from an organization that works with kids – that at least try to promote understanding as opposed to chasing blame. And that’s a win for everybody.

Commander Shepard: The Jerk Edition

I played through Mass Effect 2 as a nice guy, so this clip showing Commander Shepard in full-on Jerk Mode let me know what kind of fun I missed out on.

I should also mention that it’s a sometimes violent, but utterly spoiler-filled, clip, too, in case you’re still trying to make your own way through the galaxy as either a friendly savior or a coldly ruthless space cowboy. But if you ever wanted to know how a recorded store endorsement could go horribly wrong, sit back and just wait for it. Shepard’s in top form here.