Huge Pinball Sale Save Over $700
We Will Ship Out Next Week For Only $99
This Deal Today Only
Star Wars Episode 1, Fishtales, Terminator 2, World Cup Soccer, Slug Fest, Comet, Cyclone, Police Force, Harley-Davidson - Sega, Harley-Davidson - Bally, Judge Dredd, Tommy, Batman Forever, Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles, The Machine, Party Animal, Speak Easy, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, No Fear, Mario Bros, Lethal Weapon 3, Demolition Man, Roller Games, Space Station, Strikers Extreme, Dr Who, Hook, Cyclone, Junkyard, Eightball Champ, Diner, Medieval Madness, Pinbot The Machine, Black Knight 2000, Theatre of Magic, Whirlwind, Jurassick Park, Gilligans Island, Playboy -Bally, Game Show, Indiana Jones, World Up Soccer, Johnny Mnemonic,.
*Here is the deal - These pins will be sold not shopped. They will be cleaned inside and out and fully tested and working 100%. Any broken rubbers replaced. We have no time right now to shop anymore pins and we have no more room in warehouse. So this is your gain to get the pin you want and save $500. The best part is the machine will leave next week and you be playing it in 10 days. You are saving about $700 between the shipping discount and the $500.
'Tommy' Pinball Wizard Is Superior Rock Opera
By LYNDA MITCHELL, The Thomaston Express
THOMSATON - The Thomaston Opera House cast heralds another success with The Who's rock opera, "Tommy." Pete Townsend's musical masterpiece deals with a series of controversial themes that track the central character's (Tommy Walker) journey through a life of abuse.
The fast-paced movement of this musical focuses on a series of perfectly-timed transition scenes that provide the audience background information on Walker, prior to his final breakthrough to reality. The narrative lyrics define the obstacles in Walker's life that handicap him - as a small child he witnesses a murder, is psychologically and physically abused and suffers medical mistreatment until he becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It certainly sounds like all hope is lost, but Tommy pulls through to become a famous pinball wizard. A script is something that an accomplished and dynamic cast brings to life. That is precisely what happens during this performance under the artful direction of Sharon A. Wilcox. The band has been strategically placed to the left of the stage. Through Townsend's music they are an integral part of the action. As Mrs. Walker's (Bronwyn Hamill) powerful vocal delivery excites the audience and fills the theatre with remarkable sound as she sings to her lost son, "Tommy can you hear me? Can you feel me near you? Tommy can you feel me? Can I help to cheer you?"
Hamill's successful portrayal of Tommy's lamenting mother was verified during her final curtain call with an ecstatic response from the audience. As Hamill's husband, John Farias provides perfect vocal balance, and believable chemistry between a husband and wife, who are willing to try almost anything to save their son. Kyle Ryan Taylor is superb as Tommy Walker/narrator. Once the mirror is broken, Taylor transforms his character into a public figure - the pinball wizard who has undergone a miraculous cure. He tells his audience, "You'll feel me coming, a new vibration ... I'm a sensation."The explosive energy of these rock opera performers anchors the show in outstanding talent. Song and dance numbers tell the story as the musical intensity builds. The operatic delivery requires voices that just don't stop. Choreographer, John E. Carter, demonstrates his talent as he crafts the movement of accomplished dancers on the stage paralleling the frantic movement of the script. The audience is compelled to observe, analyze and judge, and the final judgment qualifies this performance as superior. If you haven't had the opportunity or time to attend a performance of "Tommy," now at the Opera House, make it a point to do so. The showmanship is impressive and the ambiance of the historic Thomaston Opera House is memorable."Tommy" final performances are this weekend April 29 and 30 at 8 p.m., and May 1 at 2 p.m. For tickets call the Box Office at 283-6250.
The Rocket Brings The Classic Pinball Games Back To Life!
Release date April 29, 2005 at 12.00 a.m.
In summer 2005, The Rocket will publish the Pinball Dreaming pinball game to mobile platforms. The game is based on the Pinball Dreams trilogy that was published in the 1990s by the Swedish Digital Illusions studio (DICE). The Rocket will convert this trilogy in its entirety to mobile phones.
In 1990s, millions of copies of Pinball Dreams, Pinball Fantasies and Pinball Illusions were sold for 16-bit home computers. They were published to all game platforms of that time.
By using The Rocket's proprietary technology platform these games, which used to require the best gaming machines of their times, can be ported to mobile phones in their original form.
"Pinball Dreams was more innovative and fun than many actual pinball machines, and we believe that a good game will always be a good game and that it can live throughout generations. By publishing Pinball Dreaming we will prove that their basic idea still works, and thus we will again offer this fantastic craftsmanship to the players. We won't modernize the game itself, but we will introduce it to the world of the modern youth, and we will introduce new elements by respecting the original", tells Juuso SalmijTMrvi, The Rocket's CTO, Marketing and Communication.
Pinball Dreaming is the first game to use the Rokkstar super distribution technology developed by The Rocket. This technology enables the free-of-charge distribution of the actual game in mobile entertainment services, Internet, alongside PC games, and even directly from one user's phone to another's. The basic application of Pinball Dreaming includes one table, but the users can easily purchase additional content through the game application. No SMS messages, WAP transfers or running in mobile phone stores - players only select from a menu what they want, and the selected table is downloaded and installed in the mobile phone automatically. The payment will be added to the next telephone invoice.
the rest of the tables in the original trilogy will be fee-based additional content. In addition to these, the users can also purchase completely new tables.
It is possible to personalize the game by downloading new, exclusive background music tracks and ringtones to the built-in jukebox. This content is created by both the legendary composer Rob Hubbard and the original Pinball Dreams composer Olof Gustavsson. Also game-themed 3D screen savers, background images and logos will be offered.
The users can also enjoy additional free-of-charge content, such as making of documents about the game production, photos and interviews.
Andreas Axelsson from Digital Illusions summarizes their view about the comeback of their pinball game:
"Being able to reach out to a whole new generation of gamers with such an old game is something usually reserved for the true classics. We're immensely proud to be considered worthy."
"When Pinball Dreams was born as a crazy idea in a summer cottage 17 years ago it was beyond our wildest dreams that it would get the kind of attention and appreciation it has. I'm truly proud that people still enjoy the games."
How is it possible to fit in a mobile phone a 13-years-old game series that used to require the most efficient home computers of its time?
"That is what is truly legendary. We won't convert the original code and game as such, but we're concentrating on the original physics and logic of the pinball tables. The physics code alone was astonishingly developed for its time, and the developers spent six months on that before starting the rest of the game development. Each field, on the other hand, took 6 to 8 months of work. Because of all this, you can see from the game how everything has been processed with extreme care. We will use the original graphics, but the actual code we will convert manually", tells Juuso SalmijTMrvi.
Pinball Dreaming will be published in summer 2005 to Symbian-based mobile phones, which are manufactured by Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Sendo, Siemens and Sony Ericsson, among others.
The Rocket is a mobile technology company founded in January, 2003 in Tampere, Finland. The core business of the company consists of smart phone content, namely games and music entertainment. Partners in music entertainment are the large record companies.
The content created by The Rocket is distributed, in addition to ringtone portals, through various media channels and an amazing super distribution method. By using super distribution, an application can be copied to a friend's phone wirelessly. The payment technology developed by The Rocket takes care of easy and reliable charging in the customer's phone invoice.
The Rocket aims to international mass markets, and the company is developing its technology platform to support the most popular smart phones, whose relative market share is growing at a tremendous pace. The Rocket differs from other mobile content producers by their passion to do more impressive things than their competitors, and in a smaller size.
Video Games Killed The Media Stars
By James Pinkerton
Everyone knows, the videogame industry has eclipsed the movie industry in terms of total revenues. Still, in terms of cultural impact and influence, movies still predominate. Yet that could be changing.
How do I know that such change is in the Zeitgeistal wind? I read it in The New York Times, so it must be true. You don't believe me? You want to perform your own fair and balanced test? OK, then please let me report a bit, and then you decide.
But first we might take note of the current cultural mismatch. As just one indicator of the movie-heavy status quo, let's consider the difference in the cultural weight between movie-related and game-related awards shows. A game such as Halo 2 might bring in record amounts of money in its 2004 premiere, far more than any competing film, but when it comes to ceremonies, there's no competition.
The Academy Awards show, for example, is a huge event, covered live on broadcast television, as it has been for the past 52 years. By contrast, the Video Game Awards are consigned to the testosteronal boondocks of cable, specifically, the second-tier SpikeTV.
Applying Marxist terminology (all those years in lefty schools in the '70s ought to be put to some good use!) to this situation, we might say that while the economic substrate for videogames is larger than that of movies, videogames' cultural superstructure is still dwarfed by the flicks' superstructure. And yet if we are going to be good materialists, we must believe that situation determines consciousness. Or, to put it another way, the media phylum with the greater mode of production will ultimately produce the greater superstructure. Therefore, according to the dialectical laws of history, this anomalous situation will be reconciled, as videogames empower many a flower of the new super-culture.
In the meantime, another interesting question is this: Why has Hollywood proven to be so far behind the cutting edge of entertainment? After all, Tinseltown has been in the business of manipulating images -- and audiences -- for a century now. With that much of a head start, surely the studios could have snuffed out, or co-opted, the game movement. That makes sense as a theory, but it hasn't worked out that way in practice. As another German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, explained, "The actual proves the possible." Or, in this particular instance, if Kant were around today and reading PC Gamer, he might explain, "Dude! If it didn't happen, it couldn't have happened."
Three explanations for Hollywood's failure to make the jump, from story-telling to interactivity, come to mind:
First, studio execs as a group have never known anything about videogames, and can't ever be expected to learn. Movie makers, after all, think of themselves as being in the movie business, as opposed to being in the overall entertainment business. And so just as the railroads ignored the automobile -- because railroad men could not see that their business was transportation overall, as opposed to simply railroading -- and just as autos similarly ignored airplanes, so it is that movies are mostly clueless about the new entertainment platform, videogames. Long ago, management guru Peter Drucker made the point that a new technique would not be adopted until it was obviously and demonstrably ten times better than the old technique. Since then, much work has been done about the impact of "disruptive technology"; the general lesson seems to be that it's the rarest of companies that can make the jump from one way of generating profits to another.
Second, almost no matter what they do, no matter how clueless they might be, the studios are still making money. Let's face it: the studios do a good job of producing entertainment, of a certain kind. So there's no sense of crisis, or at least not a sufficient sense of crisis, to force a new receptivity to new ideas, even money-making ideas. Hollywood is notoriously adept at hiding its profits, but even as movie moguls keep poormouthing to outsiders, including the IRS, the plain fact is that show biz is a good biz; real estate prices in West Los Angeles keep rising. Let's face it: this is a rich country; the GDP is north of $11 trillion annually. With so much money to go around, an existing market-player can lose share, on a relative basis, and still gain ground, on an absolute cash-in-pocket basis. And so while studios are happy enough to take money from gamers for the occasional hot property such as Spider-Man, for the most part Hollywood doesn't really care; "top ten" lists of videogames are almost completely free of movie-originated titles. Meanwhile, one should fear for the shareholder value of those companies, such as Disney, that belatedly try to buy their way into gaming relevance.
Third, the cultural superstructure of movies is stubbornly persistent, even hegemonistic. In the same way that, say, Paris -- that's Paris, France -- is still riding on the sheer cultural fabulousness of the 19th century and before, so it is that movies are riding on their past glory days, too. Across the country, film festivals, film schools, and film critics create a thick blanket of propaganda for movies.
But that deep system of embedded cultural legacy is being silted over; a new tide of silicon-based sedimentation is coming, and coming fast. On Friday, The New York Times' review of the new Nicole Kidman movie, "The Interpreter," clocked in at 978 words -- I counted. That same day, April 22, the Times printed a 1272-word review of a new videogame, "Jade Empire". That's right: the videogame review was nearly a third longer than the movie review.
Of course, that's only fair, since "Jade" is a lot more entertaining than "Interpreter." Yet still, movies have a vastly bigger place in the Times' pantheon: the review of "Interpreter" was on page E1 of the entertainment section in the hard copy, with a color photo, plus another black and white photo on the jump page, while the "Jade" review was on page E36, with just a single small black and white photo.
However, in the brave new search-world of cyberspace, old notions of prominence and placement are less important, because Googlers aren't looking "above the fold"; they are looking instead in dialogue boxes. The notion of what constitutes good "real estate" for the eye will thus have to shift from the physical/visual relationship with the viewer to the linked relationship among key words.
And while I sorta doubt that too many gamers are looking to the Times for guidance on games, I do have to give the Gray Lady credit for taking "Jade Empire" seriously; the Timesters are at least trying to keep up with that youthful "demo" -- a demographic group that is mostly unfamiliar with newspaper reading.
Parenthetically, one might note that newspapering is an industry that's more threatened with extinction than the movies. Just as railroads forgot that they were in the transportation business, so newspapers have mostly failed to figure out that they're in the eyeball biz. And so the eyeballs are going elsewhere, lured by cool technology and cooler content. Today, as newspaper circulation falls, and as mindshare for key profit centers is lost to out-of-nowhere upstarts, some pundits are contemplating the outright death of newspapers, in the same way that Hamlet regarded the skull of poor Yorick -- as a demise that's already happened.
Which is to say, the Times might fail at upgrading itself. It might, for example, fall victim to some new disruptive new media juggernaut, such as "Googlezon" -- the hypothetical merger of Google and Amazon -- within the decade. But give the Times credit; it's a tangible paper publication that is diligently trying to intangibilize itself in cyberspace. And who knows? If, by chance, the Times gets it right and makes the necessary techno-paradigmatic leap, maybe one day, game reviewer Charles Herold will be as significant a cultural arbiter as movie reviewer A.O. Scott.
After all, anything can happen in this Schumpeterian environment. As The Los Angeles Times' Andres Martinez observed on Wednesday, Google might well be wise to gobble up an old-media content provider to anchor its own brand, especially since it could buy, say, Dow Jones -- owner of the cash-poor but name-rich Wall Street Journal -- for comparative chump change: $3 billion, next to Google's market cap of $60 billion.
Meanwhile, regardless of legacy-cultural overhang and lack of critical acclaim, videogames are sailing along in 2005, even as movies -- and newspapers -- are sagging.
The sentimentalist in me would love to see some videogame tycoon create a whole new superstructure of awards and honorifics, especially if it would also spawn a Vanity Fair-like after-party that I could be invited to.
But maybe the Marxists are wrong about the inevitable close linkage between economic substrate and cultural superstructure -- and that would make sense, as they've been wrong about almost everything else.
Or maybe videogames will come up with a new kind of superstructure that owes more to Moore's Law than it does to Marx. Maybe the new culture will be entirely virtualized, as seen in the online community of games such as Everquest, or in other interactive/collective media, such as augmented reality.
But on the other hand, even the most virtual of environments have a way of turning physical, eventually. So sign me up, movie fan that I am, for the actual, tangible Videogame Academy Awards show. I'll want to go the Oscar show, too -- unless, of course, they're being held at the same time. In which case, loyal TechCentralStationeer that I am, I'll go with the new flow.
And speaking of flow, videogames may be notorious for their unflinching depictions of flesh and blood, but I will presume that the Videogame Awards will feature ample displays of healthy, sexy, flesh, not spattery blood. That's one legacy from the silver-screen awards that that I hope stays real forever, no matter what the evolving technological substrate.
Taking Video Games To The Next Level
Tetris, you may recall, was the popular video game that helped make Nintendo Co.'s (NTDOY ) Game Boy a hit in the late 1980s. But now the thriving cell-phone game industry is betting lots of money that there will soon be millions more like Berg out there. The latest deal: On Apr. 20, Los Angeles-based JAMDAT Mobile Inc. (JMDT ) paid $137 million to buy privately held rival Blue Lava Wireless, based in Honolulu, with its 15-year worldwide wireless rights to Tetris. The Blue Lava deal is one of a flurry of deals among little-known private cell-phone game companies with funky names like Mforma, In-Fusio, and Digital Chocolate.It doesn't take a Tetris whiz to put all the pieces of this puzzle together: Cell-phone games are hot, and everyone in the biz thinks they're going to get a lot hotter. The global market for such games is on track to reach $2.6 billion by yearend, up from $587 million in 2003, according to Informa Telecoms & Media, a London-based consultancy.Demand for mobile games is growing so fast it could overtake mobile content's current big moneymaker, the $3.5 billion ringtone market, according to Mark Nagel, director of premium and entertainment services at Atlanta-based Cingular Wireless LLC. In the U.S., where cell-phone games have caught on later than in Europe and Asia, the market is small but also growing rapidly. With subscribers downloading Pac-Man, MLB Baseball, World Poker Tour Texas Hold 'Em, and scads of other games, industry revenues more than doubled to $203 million in 2004, and should hit about $380 million this year. JUICY MARGINS Simple games still rule, but new games are getting splashier. Digital Chocolate Inc., based in San Mateo, Calif., is developing a game called FotoQuest Fishing, in which players can find and "photograph" various fish. They can send the snapshots to friends via their cell phones. Meanwhile, Pathway to Glory, released by Nokia Corp. (NOK ) late last year, allows players to talk to each other while firing rounds on a tiny battlefield in real time.Now, the big guys in the $20 billion global market for video game software want in on the action. Console game publishers like Redwood City (Calif.)-based Electronic Arts Inc. (ERTS ) and Santa Monica-based Activision Inc. (ATVI ) have until now focused their energies on developing games for the likes of Sony Corp.'s (SNE ) PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT ) Xbox. But with their color screens and computing power that rivals desktop PCs of the early '90s, cell phones are morphing into miniconsoles. Activision says it has doubled its cell-phone gaming staff in the past year to develop 3D and multiplayer games. And John Batter, general manager of Electronic Arts' mobile unit, insists: "We can do more creative things with the games."The console game makers also see juicy margins in cell-phone games. Because they require far less programming and use simpler graphics, they cost only a fraction of what it takes to develop a console game. What's more, most cell-phone games have no expensive packaging since they are downloaded. They're also an ideal marketing tool: The wireless version of Shrek 2 that Activision introduced last year tells players how to skip a level in the console-based version -- a big deal for 14-year-olds. And now it looks like it will increasingly be a big deal for all those grown-ups out there, like Haida Berg, with a little downtime on their hands.
Video Games Get Ads, Makers Get Richer
Knight Ridder Newspapers
By Dean Takahashi
Video games have provided one of the last refuges from the ubiquitous advertising that hits consumers from every direction. But that's beginning to change, thanks to an innovative start-up that puts ads into games.
Massive, based in New York, has figured out how to insert advertisements into the background scenery of video games that run on both PC and game consoles. With its custom technology, the company can insert advertisements into billboards, storefronts and other parts of the scenery in a video game. It can even change the ads on a periodic basis.
More than a dozen big advertisers and 10 video game publishers have agreed to participate in Massive's advertising network, which has a business model resembling product placement in movies, said Nicholas Longano, chief marketing officer at Massive.
The added revenues from the ads could be a bounty for game developers and publishers. Massive estimates that it can add $1 or $2 net profit to the publisher's pocket for a $50 game. Depending on the type of game, a publisher's profit is usually only $6 to $8 per game, so the new source of ad revenue could be a big deal for game companies.
Longano says that this secondary revenue stream will help put video games on a more even footing with other kinds of entertainment. Movies, for instance, generate 24 percent of their revenue from the box office receipts. But they generate far more income through DVD sales, rentals, pay-per-view, network TV syndication and cable TV syndication.
"Video games are the only media without a secondary revenue stream," he said.
The company's founder and CEO, Mitchell Davis, hit upon the idea a few years ago when he was playing a video game that was supposedly set in a big city. But as his character moved past storefronts and billboards, the illusion of the game was destroyed by fake ads. He wondered how he could put real ads into the game to make it look more real.
Others had tried to do such product placement before. Intel and McDonalds inserted ads into Electronic Arts' Sims Online game a couple of years ago. But the ads were static, and they required close work with the game development team many months in advance of the game release.
Massive says it has had great success lining up advertisers and publishers. The advertisers include: Intel, Paramount Pictures, Universal, Coke, Comcast's G4 gamer TV network, Nestle, Honda, T-Mobile, UPN, NewLine Cinema, Verizon DSL and Dunkin' Donuts. Game publishers include Atari, Ubisoft, Vivendi Universal Games, Funcom, Take-Two Interactive Software, Legacy Interactive, Codemasters, Eidos and Majesco.
Davis' team invented a technology that could use the Internet to download ads into a part of the game's scenery on a regular basis. Massive's own engineers work with game developers for just a couple of weeks to make sure the ad fits in the space of a virtual billboard or imaginary storefront.
"We make it look realistic, so the ad just looks like part of the game," said Longano. "It really brings to life the environment."
Jay Cohen, vice president of publishing for Ubisoft North America, says Massive allows Ubisoft to incorporate ads that enhance the realism of its games and at the same time don't spoil the experience of the game for the player.
Every time the gamer plays the game, they can see a different ad in the same spot. And since the ads change and can be a natural part of the game's environment, the advertiser doesn't run as much risk of annoying the game player through over-exposure. Massive also measures how often gamers can see the ads so that it can report back to the advertisers how effectively they are reaching the audience.
"This ability to track the ad viewing is especially attractive," said Brandon Berger, an ad executive at OgilvyOne Worldwide.
In addition to that, the Massive network allows advertisers to jump on the bandwagon of a popular game by waiting to see if it is popular before committing to placing an ad in the game, said Chad Stoller, director of communication solutions at brand consultancy Arnell Group in New York.
"Advertisers who rely on making `change on the fly' decisions and require immediate placements will benefit from massive's network because they can advertise when they are ready," said Stoller. "The film business will benefit tremendously from this network as they prepare for Friday movie openings."
The gamer audience hasn't been easy for advertisers to target. About 70 percent of males age 18 to 34 play video games and spend less time consuming other media. According to Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, people who see ads in games recall them better. In 2003, Nielsen said that males in this age group played 30 billion hours of games, as much time as they spent watching TV. And much of the playing occurred during prime time TV hours.
By the fall, Longano said that 40 game titles would use the in-game advertisements. Already, Ubisoft's s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Funcom's Anarchy Online use the technology to create dynamic ads. Notably, only games with live Internet connections will be able to download new ads. Consoles or PC games that are not connected would only be able to display the same ad over and over in a particular spot in the game.
Great Games Never Go Out of Style
NEW YORK, April 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/
NEW YORK, April 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In response to consumer and retailer demands, Atari, Inc. today announced the summer launch of Atari(R) Flashback 2.0, the follow-up to the holiday 2004 hit, the Atari(R) Flashback Classic Game Console, which shipped more than 550,000 units to retail. Atari Flashback 2.0 will be modeled after the pioneering Atari 2600 console and heralds in the 30th anniversary of Pong(R), the first arcade game created for the home which started the revolution that has today turned into a $10 billion industry.
The Atari Flashback 2.0 will feature Pong as well as 40 other classic games including Asteroids(R), Centipede(R), Millipede(R), Lunar Lander(TM), Breakout(R), Missile Command(R), Combat(TM) as well as retro game and arcade classics that have never before been released for the home console. Atari Flashback 2.0 will feature the same wood grain paneling and look of the Atari 2600, and will capture the feel through two classic joysticks for multi-player competition and vintage controls.
"The Atari Flashback series harkens back to the early days of video games where the simplicity of design and the addictive game mechanics connected instantly with audiences of all ages. Even in this day of advanced and more complex gameplay, these legacy games continue to elicit fantastic reactions via the on-screen action, and again, to a wide and broad audience," said Wim Stocks, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, Licensing and Distribution. "Now, on the 30th anniversary of Pong -- the grandfather of all video games -- it is fitting that we begin to commemorate this milestone with the launch of Atari Flashback 2.0."
The Atari Flashback 2.0 promises to deliver the same gaming sights, sounds and action as the original Atari 2600. To ensure this authenticity, Atari has engineered the tools and code of the original games for reproduction on modern chip technology.
"Unlike other nostalgia gaming products on the market, the Atari Flashback is the real McCoy and the games included are originals, not third-party ports," said Curt Vendel, president of the Atari Historical Society and contributing producer for Atari Flashback 2.0. "Atari has traveled back in time to recall an era where the experience was paramount to the technological bells and whistles."
Developed by Atari, the Atari Flashback 2.0 will be available early this summer for under $30 at retailers nationwide.
Time Warner's Turner to Launch Online Game Network
Turner said GameTap would launch later this year with a library of more than 1,000 games from 17 different publishers, including Activision Inc. (ATVI.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Ubisoft (UBIP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) .
Turner executives look at GameTap in the same way as they do some of their cable TV networks -- an outlet for older but still popular programming that might not be otherwise available anymore.
"We have a brand new network ... but Turner's in the same business it's always been," Blake Lewin, creator of GameTap and a vice president for product development at Turner, said in a recent interview. "We want to program games as if they were TV shows."
While online distribution of games is nothing new, no one to date has created an online repository of games on the size and scale of GameTap, particularly for older games. In many cases, people have to resort to illegal downloads to get and play the older games they loved as kids but can no longer buy.
Just as Turner's networks largely confine themselves to older programming that has finished its first run, GameTap will not offer games from the current generation of consoles.
Using emulation software, it will let anyone with a PC and a broadband connection play classic games from older consoles like the NES and Genesis, as well as older arcade and PC games.
Lewin said publishers have largely been receptive to the idea, as have the console manufacturers, even though GameTap will essentially replicate their old retail hardware with new, free software.
"There's nothing illegal about our building the code to emulate," he said.
$2.2 BLN of Video Games Sold In Q1 2005
$2.2 bln of video games sold in Q1 2005 by ZDNet's IT Facts -- US sales of video game hardware, software and accessories rose 23% in Q1 2005 to more than $2.2 bln, according to NPD Group. Growth was lead by portable video game hardware, the revenues in the sector went up by 162%. Console games generated more than $1 bln in sales, a 7% growth rate.
Game Gallery Auction Up And Running
Star Wars Arcade Record Attempt
25 year old Brandon Erickson of Portland, Oregon will attempt what few have achieved - a non-stop marathon play of the original Star Wars Arcade video game. From noon May 16th to the midnight screening of Episode III on May 18th, he hopes to break a 22 year old record standing since Return of the Jedi in 1983: Brandon, who is “the world's premiere classic Star Wars competitor” according to videogame record keepers Twin Galaxies, says beating the 300 million point score is his most ambitious attempt yet. "The challenge is maintaining focus over such a long period of time. Letting go for even 30 seconds means ‘game over.’ There is very little room for letting my concentration flag. "With newer Star Wars games available, why play the first one? “It's a way to celebrate the original films, and the games of that era,” he says. “Aside from that, it's a heck of a lot of fun. It's hard to top playing Luke Skywalker as he blows up the Death Star.”Brandon's dedication and endurance will mirror that of Star Wars fans standing in lines at movie theaters worldwide. "I feel a sense of solidarity and camaraderie," he says. “May the Force be with them. Hopefully someone will save me a seat!” But his gameplay isn't just for the love of Star Wars and classic arcades: it will also benefit education. Brandon asks that supporters pledge a dollar amount for every hour he plays to The Portland Schools Foundation by contacting Amy Anderson at (503)234-5404, extension 28. "If I complete this challenge, I hope George Lucas grants me the rank of Jedi Master," says Brandon. "That will look great on my resume. "So good luck to Brendan in his record attempt, not only in celebration of such an important occasion for Star Wars fans, but also for an even more important charity. Call the above number and support him in the challenge.