LOTR On The Stage - Own The Pinball Now

April 21, 2005 - "The Lord of the Rings" is still gaining popularity worldwide, as the THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ pinball machine remains a great street piece for operators and an excellent piece for homebuyers. A much-anticipated musical based on "The Lord of the Rings" will have its world premiere in Toronto next year, the show's producers announced Tuesday.The $22 million show will open in March 2006 at the Princess of Wales Theatre with a largely Canadian cast, producer Kevin Wallace said. Wallace had hoped to open the show in London in the fall, but no theater large enough to accommodate the technically complex production was available. The musical is now slated to open in London in autumn 2006.Published 50 years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien's mystical adventure trilogy has been discovered by a new generation through Peter Jackson's Academy Award-winning trio of films, which have grossed more than $3 billion around the world.The three-hour stage adaptation will feature book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna ("Lautrec," "Maddie") and Matthew Warchus (Tony nominated director of "Art" and "True West"), and music by A.R. Rahman ("Bombay Dreams") and Finnish group Varttina with Christopher Nightingale.Warchus said the show, which has a cast of 50, would combine words, music, physical theater and spectacle to create a production in which the audience is "actually plunged into the events as they happen.""We have not attempted to pull the novel towards the standard conventions of musical theater, but rather to expand those conventions so that they will accommodate Tolkien's material," he said. Call Now and own your very own LOTR Pinball Machine. This will be a truley collectable item that you can enjoy and will appreciate over time. 1-800-966-9873


Project Shows Video Games Can Be Beneficial

By WENDI WINTERS, For The Capital
Can you list all the things your mom said were bad for you?
Chocolates, sodas and hamburgers were supposed to cause acne. rock and roll would lead to your moral decline.Playing computer games was a waste of time.Sorry mom, a 12 year old from Bay Ridge has proven you wrong again.Karl Stein, a seventh-grader at St. Martin's School in Severna Park, has successfully demonstrated that some video games, especially action and horror genre games, actually improve a subject's reaction time."Watching horror games seems to sensitize people to things going on around them and make them more alert," he said.Karl's science project, "Action Puzzle, Horror, Oh My!" disproved his mom's worries.The paintball and lacrosse-loving youngster was one of a dozen high scorers at St. Martin's middle school science fair who went on to the recent county science fair competition, where he placed first in the seventh-grade medicine and health."I'm trying to prove video games are good for you," Karl said.Now he and three other students from St. Martin's will compete in the National Middle School Science Fair in Washington, D.C., Oct.15-19, sponsored by the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge.Finalists share in $100,000 in scholarships and prizes; the top winner receives a $15,000 scholarship."If he gets selected as one of the 40 finalists," said Judi Stein, Karl's mother, "We'll match any prize money he wins."Using a series of simple physical and computer tests, Karl proved that viewers of video games reduced the amount of time it took to react to an event after sitting in front of that glowing blue screen for 15 minutes. It was a temporary, but measurable effect."I had a bit of trouble explaining that to the judges," he said. "It took a while to convince them a decrease in reaction time is a good thing."Karl's science teacher Gina Gonez noted the county Department of Health gave three awards to middle school students, all of them St. Martin's students. In addition to Karl, Robert Jaseph, Alex Schmier and Rebecca Niner will submit entries for the national competition."We start in lower school with a booklet of specific guidelines for the scientific methods they use in putting together a project," she said.Karl recruited five human guinea pigs, including his father, Michael, a computer scientist for SRI, International, to test his theory.Before beginning computer play, theirreaction time in catching a ruler in midair after it was dropped and hitting a button when it lit up were timed. They would play a game for 15 minutes and take the tests again to measure the differences in reaction times.After a short rest, they repeated the process for two more types of games.Each test subject gamely went through this complete process five times."Research shows that people playing 'Medal of Honor,' an action game, had better reaction times than those playing the puzzle game 'Tetris.' The hypothesis was that if video games of horror genre were played, it would have a greater reaction time decrease than action and puzzle-style games," Karl said."The data shows the horror game decreased the reaction time the most overall. It also decreased the reaction time more frequently than either of the two other games."Puzzlingly, Karl found the puzzle game increased the reaction time of the player. It took a person longer to react to an event after playing the game.Mrs. Stein, who teaches advanced placement economics at Broadneck High School, has mixed feelings. She's proud as punch for her son, but one senses she has a keen desire to hide the computer from him and his 9-year old sister Fiona, a third-grader at St. Martin's."Maybe when school's out I'll let him play more," she said grudgingly.Was that a smile?


Hollywood Scores With Video Games

Sean Connery is reprising his 1963 performance as James Bond in "From Russia With Love." Marlon Brando, in one of his last performances, re-created his Oscar-winning Don Corleone role in 1972's "The Godfather." Al Pacino is lending his likeness to a new take on 1983's "Scarface." And Clint Eastwood is again recording dialogue from 1971's "Dirty Harry."
These are not remakes of the originals but voice-overs for video games -- extensions of the movie franchises. For studios, they represent a lucrative opportunity to introduce "catalog" products to a new generation of players and broaden a gaming universe that is already red hot. According to the NPD Group, a New York-based sales and marketing research firm, video-game software accounted for $7.3 billion in revenues in 2004, and sales rose 23 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Games such as "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," released last week, are developed in conjunction with a film's release. Recently the DVD world began cashing in, too, offering simplified versions of video games as "extras" with films such as "Hulk" and "Van Helsing."
Ripe for plucking
Classics gathering dust in the studio library are ripe for re-invention, industry observers said. And while the "Jaws Unleashed" video game, based on the famous shark franchise, will be shipped shortly after the original film's June 14 DVD debut, it could be released year-round with no theatrical or home entertainment tie-in. "Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas" -- an extension of the 1993 film, for instance, will come out at Halloween.
"The best can break out, attracting casual users in addition to the primary recipients -- gamers who are generally under 35, and 82 percent (of them are) male," said Anita Frazier, an entertainment industry analyst at NPD.
Hollywood's love affair with video games dates to the early 1980s, when products based on hit films such as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "E.T." were licensed. But the honeymoon didn't last. Relying on the cachet of a movie to generate sales, developers and publishers often replicated the original rather than building new worlds for players to explore. Technologically primitive and creatively lackluster, they looked poor in comparison with more innovative independent titles such as "Super Mario Brothers" and "The Legend of Zelda." Unlike today's more sophisticated fare, which takes a year-and-a-half to three years to generate, they were typically created in a matter of months on a spartan budget.
No one wants to relive the "E.T." experience, whose poor quality is believed to have helped trigger the 1983 video-game industry crash, industry executives said. After paying Steven Spielberg a reported $20 million for the rights, the manufacturer of the critically panned game was said to have buried all the unsold copies in a New Mexico landfill.
"Games on movies had a bad reputation," said Andy McNamara, editor in chief of Minneapolis-based Videogame Informer magazine. "Hollywood treated them like lunch boxes, another licensed product to support a film. Even five years ago, the studios didn't know how to deal with the video-game industry, but now there are (vice presidents) of video games, staffs developing various brands, far more quality control. Today's players, who might spend 20 or 40 hours with a game, are now hipper and more discerning. Games based on 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Riddick' -- superior to the big-screen version -- helped turn things around."
Studios often license titles to outside companies, which can complicate quality control. To bolster the caliber of its offerings, Warner Bros. instituted a quality standard in April 2004 -- the only one in the industry, studio executives say. An independent third party is brought in to assess the video game, and if a certain measure isn't achieved, the developer pays the studio higher royalties.
"Video-game developers have adopted an exploitive behavior with movie product over the years, but now there's economic incentive to make a great game," said Jason Hall, senior vice president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "Not all films are suitable, of course. Titles like 'Harry Potter,' 'Batman,' 'The Matrix' have complete universes within which you can continue adventures."
A larger-than-life character with whom players can identify also helps. Figures such as Pacino's Tony Montana and Connery's Bond are tailor-made, as is Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" Callahan. The Academy Award-winning director is overseeing the creative end of the "Dirty Harry" game, which the studio hopes to turn into a franchise.
Scarface lives
Vivendi Universal Games, for its part, hired Hollywood writer David McKenna ("Blow," "American History X") to write "Scarface: The World Is Yours," based on Brian De Palma's 1983 underworld classic. The game, due to come out next year, begins with the film's finale, in which Montana is at the top of the stairs. This time, however, he survives. Hip-hop songs have been added to the soundtrack, a nod to a community in which the movie -- and video games -- are huge.
"Players are thrust into a 'what if Tony survived?' scenario, fighting their way out of the mansion and restructuring his life," said Ed Zobrist, senior vice president of global marketing for Vivendi Universal. "Though our alternate fantasy world can't re-create two hours in the theater, we try to capture the feeling. Pacino was instrumental in helping us perpetuate Montana's moral code -- refusing to hurt innocents."
In the fall, Electronic Arts, the leading independent interactive software company, will send out "James Bond 007: From Russia With Love." Written by Bruce Fierstein, who has three big-screen Bond credits, it serves up new gadgets, plot twists and characters.
Electronic Arts' "Godfather" game, coming out at holiday time, focuses on Brando's don, asking players to squeeze money or information out of those on the payroll.
"Consumers want video games to bring them the untold story -- how did the horse's head get in the bed in 'The Godfather,' for instance?" said Jillian Goldberg, vice president of product marketing for Electronic Arts, which is based in Redwood City. "Sort of like the scenes left on the cutting-room floor brought to life in the interactive phase."
Tom Cruise declined to participate in the game version of "Minority Report," and Pacino isn't involved with "The Godfather" game in which his Michael Corleone role has been scaled down. Still, big-name talent -- interested in exploring a new medium, preserving the integrity of the material and, of course, making a buck -- is climbing aboard. Vin Diesel's video-game company co-produced "The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay," and director Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings") was so hands-on in the game version of his upcoming movie that they're calling it "Peter Jackson's King Kong."
"The format has caught up to the opportunity," said Beth Goss, Universal's executive vice president of consumer products. "And extending the franchise through a video game is more logical than making another movie."
And cheaper, as well. The average video game costs between $8 million and $12 million to produce -- a fraction of its big-screen counterpart.
• Early takeoffs were low quality and unimaginative, but newer stock involves celebrities and plots that extend beyond the film


State Senate Passes Ban On Violent Video Games To Minors

May 12, 2005, 1:13 PM
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Youth under 17 could not buy or rent violent or sexually explicit video games under legislation approved overwhelmingly Thursday by the state Senate.
The Senate sent four bills to the House aimed at keeping minors away from games that depict graphic death, maiming, criminal sexual conduct and other scenes.
Retailers who sell or rent such games to minors could face up to a year in jail, $5,000 fine or both.
One bill would bar the dissemination, exhibition or display of "ultra-violent" matter deemed harmful to minors -- though parents and guardians would not face penalties.
Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, a sponsor of one bill, said there are studies showing a link between children playing video games and being more aggressive.
"Violent media and violent video games have a harmful effect on minors," he said.
Democratic Sen. Hansen Clarke of Detroit, another sponsor, lauded both Republicans and Democrats for working to pass the legislation.
"Many school-age murderers are indeed obsessive video game players," he said.
Many lawmakers expressed confidence the legislation, if enacted, will hold up in court.
Federal courts have rejected laws passed in other states as unconstitutional, citing free speech concerns.
Sen. Liz Brater, D-Ann Arbor, said she voted against two bills because of the constitutionality question.
"It will not survive judicial review," she said.
The video game legislation is Senate Bills 249, 416 and 463-64.



Minorities Spend More On Video Games

According to New Market Research Study by Phoenix Marketing International
Wednesday May 11, 12:02 pm ET
SOMERSET, N.J., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Phoenix Marketing International's most recent market research study reveals that Minority Gamers spend almost twice as much as Caucasian Gamers on monthly electronic gaming purchases. According to David Pluchino, Senior Research Manager at Phoenix "the results indicate that Gamers spend approximately $34 per month on software and/or hardware/accessories". Asians are spending the most, while Caucasians are spending the least amount of money on video games.
When asked about gaming genre preference the top three are (1)"Action/Adventure", (2) "Arcade" and (3)"Racing". However, when you look at how much is being spent by preferred gaming genre, those who prefer "Shooters" spend the most each month ($50), "Real-time Strategy" and "Sports" games follow closely behind, added Pluchino.
Phoenix Marketing International also looked at the new Sony PSP. One- quarter of all Gamers plan to purchase a PSP unit in the near future. Interestingly, among those currently not "gaming", one-in-twenty claim they also are planning to purchase a Sony PSP. African-Americans and Asians are most likely to have already purchased a PSP, while Caucasians are both the least likely to have already purchased or plan to purchase a Sony PSP. Not surprising, with the slew of sports games available for the PSP, those gamers preferring "Sports" are most likely to have already purchased a PSP.
Phoenix Marketing International is one of the premier marketing services firms serving the travel & entertainment, financial services, consumer packaged goods, and automotive sectors. Through a combination of custom market research products, advertising and brand analytics, multicultural research and sales optimization modeling, Phoenix partners with clients to generate sound business and marketing opportunities and produce measurable sales results and a return-on-investment on marketing development expenses.
The results in this article are based on a market research study conducted by Phoenix Marketing International of more than 18,000 completed interviews. This robust sample yields a 95% confidence interval with an error margin of +/- 0.7%.


House Approves Bill To Restrict Explicit Video Games To Minors

May 10, 2005, 4:56 PM
LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Selling or renting sexually explicit video games to minors would carry the same penalties as distributing pornography under legislation approved Tuesday by the state House.
The House voted 108-0 to send the bill to the Senate, which is considering legislation that would prohibit the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.
The House bill would add the term "video game" to the definition of sexually explicit in the law that prohibits such materials from being distributed to minors, a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
"These video games have no right to be in the hands of kids," said Rep. Phil Pavlov, a St. Clair Township Republican who introduced the bill. "Children are being desensitized from continually playing these games."
Democratic Rep. Kathy Angerer of Dundee failed to win approval for an amendment that would have prohibited the sale or rental of violent video games to those under 18. Those convicted of the crime would have faced up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine under her amendment.
"These bills do not provide any protection from the graphically violent games available today," Angerer said in a written statement. "We should not make these games available to 10- and 11-year-old children."
Democratic Reps. Chris Kolb of Ann Arbor and LaMar Lemmons III did not vote on the bill.
Rep. Leon Drolet, a Republican from Macomb County's Clinton Township, said the House didn't include the language prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors because the Senate is set to take up legislation covering that issue.
Drolet was among three representatives who voted against a related bill that would require video game retailers to post a sign explaining the rating system for the games, including what scenes and situations are allowed for each rating. Businesses that do not display such a sign could face a civil infraction carrying a fine up to $1,000 under the bill.
The House voted 104-3 to approve the bill, introduced by Rep. Tom Pearce, R-Rockford.
"When you look at the rating system and what it describes, it gives you a whole different flavor," Pearce said. "This is a simple tool that helps a parent just before they are going to purchase a game."
But Drolet said the bill is an attempt to interfere with private businesses.
"Our interest is in protecting children from exposure to inappropriate material. We don't need to micromanage," he said.
Lemmons also missed the vote on Pearce's bill with his father, LaMar Lemmons Jr., and Andy Dillon of Redford Township, both Democrats.


'Star Wars' Video Games Through The Ages

The Associated Press/
AP Technology Writer

MAY. 11 8:52 A.M. ET There are probably enough "Star Wars" video games to fill a space cruiser. And let's face it: Many of them probably should have been destroyed along with those pesky Death Stars.

But like the enduring saga of good versus evil upon which they're based, a few used the mythic story and fantastical locales very successfully. On the eve of the final "Star Wars Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," we reflect like a Jedi Master on some of the more memorable moments in Star Wars gaming.

If we're going to cover the entire history of Star Wars games, we'll have to go back to a time long, long ago, when arcades still ruled the galaxy.

Though it debuted years after "Episode IV: A New Hope," Atari's "Star Wars" coin-op in 1983 was just as amazing as the first film's opening space battle.
Using simple but smooth color vector graphics, you piloted an X-Wing through swarms of Imperial TIE fighters, then attacked the Death Star. Many quarters were lost in my quest to defeat the evil galactic empire.

We'll have to fast forward almost a decade before another "Star Wars" game grabbed me so, umm, forcefully.

It was 1992, and the movie prequels were on the distant horizon. But I had a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, one of the most advanced consoles at the time, and a new "Super Star Wars" cartridge that blew me away.

This LucasArts title remains a sentimental favorite -- I still dust off my SNES and play from time to time. The game followed the movie events precisely, with stereo sound and excellent color graphics in a side-scrolling adventure. As Luke Skywalker, I ran through the deserts of Tatooine, braved dingy Mos Eisley cantinas, then blew up the Death Star all over again.

Two "Super" follow-ups based on "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" added force powers and other extras but were also light-years tougher.

If you survived "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," then you'll no doubt remember one of its highlights: the exhilarating racing sequence, when the cute, cuddly version of future Sith Lord Darth Vader straps on some goggles and leaves his foes choking on pod fumes.

So what if it came off as a ploy to sell video games? "Star Wars Episode I: Racer," for the PC, Macintosh, Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 was a high-speed ride through the desert mesas of Tatooine and seven other worlds. No other game simulates racing at 600 mph four feet above the ground so well.

A franchise as storied as this was bound to have its letdowns, and "Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided" certainly fell into that category -- particularly when it was first released in 2003.

The massively multiplayer online game looked great but lacked the feel of a dynamic universe. And whether it was intentional or not, becoming a Jedi was nigh impossible, short of quitting your real life job and devoting all waking hours to the pursuit.

"Galaxies" has improved over time, with last fall's "Jump to Lightspeed" expansion pack finally letting players pilot space ships. Another expansion, "Rage of the Wookiees" adds content from the forthcoming movie. Be aware that a vocal group of players are upset with recent changes to the game's combat system, so much so they've petitioned the game makers to change it back.

Two definitive "Star Wars" video games occur thousands of years before the movies.

"Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" in 2003 and last year's "Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords," both for Xbox and the PC, captured the sense of history, action and drama better than most of the movies. It's a fan favorite wrapped in an intriguing role-playing premise: how you act determines which side of the Force you'll follow.

More recently, the franchise has been spun in countless directions:

"Star Wars: Battlefront" for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC was a first-person shooter where dozens of combatants fought each other with laser turrets and advanced weaponry. Cool ships like TIE-Fighters, however, were impossible to control. A sequel has been announced.

This year's buildup to Sith has already seen some decent "Star Wars" games.

"Star Wars Republic Commando" was a squad-based first-person shooter set during the Clone Wars. Even colored-plastic toy brick maker Lego managed to cross-market its line of Star Wars products with "Lego Star Wars: The Video Game," featuring Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul among the blocky cast of heroes and villains.

Call me a nerf herder for not mentioning more, but there are just too many games to cram into one article.

Some other highlights include "Dark Forces," "Galactic Battlegrounds," "Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast" and the GameCube space shooter "Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II."

As for the future, fret not, young padawan learners.

LucasArts, the video game division of George Lucas' media empire, has plenty of games coming out long after this final movie has left theaters.



Pinball Retailers -" Buyer Beware"

These comments are public knowledge from a website called Pinball Retail Stores. This will show you comments made on us as well as some of our competitors. The old saying " Buyer Beware" I can't stress more to you. Buy with caution and ask a lot of questions... Ratings from 1-5 and 1=Worst, 5=Best

User comments about BMI Gaming
Do a Google search on these guys http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?q=bmigaming
Do a Google search on these sleazebags selling overpriced crap and lying about it. Then they lift pictures from other sellers websites and claim the picture is of the actual machine. When caught ling about it, said the "machine loks just like on in the picture", Got banned from www.mrpinball.com and exposed on rec.games.pinball newsgroup as a dishonest peddler with highly unethical and deceptive strategies. I would NOT BE SURPRISED AT ALL if these other comments were written by David Young himself as he pulled those kids of stunts before. Stay away from this jerk.
Jack Donahue
Just bought a No Good Gofers from them a few days ago... Vert pleasant staff, excellent but cramped store/warehouse (would guess they had about 30-50 pins on the showroom floor, all in really really good shape when I first visited), their price was a bit more than I wanted to pay, but still competitive for a game like this (machine was in like 9.7 condition, so I could not resist) Had one small problem with the game when I got it home, but their tech was very helpful and able to help me fix the problem iover the phone in about 5 mins. Highly reccommended!
Check Google on this motherfucker
I have met a lot of assholes and crooks in the vending and arcade business. Davi dYoung top s them all and then some. These guys suck diarrhea ass. Stay the fuck away from BMI Gaming. Plenty of other fine folks can sell you gameroom equipment.
Mark Weiss
Just purchased a whole gameroom from the fine folks at BMI; A Twilight Zone in Very Minty condition, a new Super Chexx and a new Ultracade arcade machine all delivered on time to my home with no surprises. David / Renee were very helpful, hard working people and made the experience a pleasant one. I am one very happy customer. A +++ dealer!
RGP Member
Fuck BMI Gaming. That weasel David copies entire chapters from other dealers' websites, steals other people's pictures from their website, lies about it, then posts under a different alias to tout some more business. Asd a paid advertiser he and his stupid BMI Gaming has been banner from www.mrpinball.com.
Robert Drust
I recently purchased five machines from BMI Gaming (No Good Gophers, Ultracade, Simpsons Pinball, Super Chexx hockey and a Twilight Zone) and after flying down to see their showroom, and was quite impressed - Almost every machine on display in their warehouse was in at least 9.0 + condition, which was quite a mindblower, after visiting several other local dealers in my area. After reading a few negative comments about this firm I flew down to see them before buying from them just to be sure (while visiting my mother in Deerfield Beach) during the Easter holiday. For all the comments I have read about them here and on rec.games.pinabll, I would totally disregard the negative hype - They boast on their web page that they are the "only dealer in the nation certified by both squaretrade.com and the national better business bureau" (and have spotless records with both - I checked) - a boast that no other dealer in the nation can make, and if they were that bad, you would expect many consumer complains to be logged. David, Jason and Renee are all true professionals, and I would gladly reccommend their firm without reservation. From a Very Happy Customer.
Carelessly packaged pinball sent S-L-O-W-E-S-T possible means (via North American Van Lines' Donkey Express), and then BMI charged me a very padded primo price to ship it ($375.00 to ship a pinball 1000 miles). It took 10 days to receive merchandise. I expected the pinball to arrive on a pallet, but it came in a cardboard box only. Game arrived with some slight scuffing of the cabinet. Very displeased. Not to mention that BMI's order processing took 5 days to complete in the first place!! Watch BMI's prices on pinball machines, because they seem to fluctuate according to the weather. Really not worth the effort doing business with BMI. Three words sum up my experience with BMI: One Big Hassle

User comments about Betson
Zero Customer Service
Steve C
The Buena Park California location has no respect for ther "customers" I was set up with them (did a credit check etc) And every time I call I get SOMEONES voice mail. My last experience was 5-22-03 to try and purchase a The Simpsons Pinball Party, Rude operator gave me the sales dept voice mail....I just hung up.....I won't try again to do business with Betson
David Gray
Parts department sucks bad wind. Orders screwed up beyond belief. Months go buy and no resolution. Purchase with caution, you might never receive what you want.
Jason Putnam
I called these guys to buy a NIB TSPP machine.. The sales person asked me what company I worked for, and I told him that the pin would be for home use. As soon as he heard that, he told me he was busy with another customer, and he'd call me back.. Gave him my number, and he never did. Called back several times and left a message, never heard back. Don't deal with these idiots..
Don't plan on these guy's having anything in stock, about the only thing they have would be the pictures of the items in their catalog. Overpriced as well. Try Marco Spec or Pinball Resource or Wico -a way better bet than betson!
Kevin Strasser
A total maze...one person referred me to another, then another to another. The end result was nobody ever got back to me. Will never bother with them again.
Jeff Rose
Bought a RFM NIB on closeout. A bit pricey, but they stand behind their products. My RFM had a damaged playfield glass and they replaced it quickly. The damage appeared to be from the WMS factory as the reflective coating was badly scraped.
Joe D.
Customer Rep. called and said that only three of the eight items that were ordered were in stock and didn't know when other itmes would be in stock. Wanted to know if I still wanted order and if I wanted other items, I needed to reorder in future. Placed order eleven days ago and still nothing. Web site still shows my order as 'not sent'. They charge way too much to put up with this poor service. Will try Pinball resource as recommended by others. Never again Betson.
Steve Frederickson
Fast delivery, expert advice and friendly service...highly recommended. Better prices than most other parts suppliers.
Rick Rubin
over priced ( rip off co. )

User comments about Bordens Amusement
Rich Fife
In response to the customer complaints leveled against him on rec.games.pinball, Bob Borden ignored all the specific issues (overstating condition, lack of post sale support, etc.) to send this courteous reply: "To all my RGP fans, It's an honor to be so admired by the adult equivalent of the high school Audio Visual club. I hope your ink protectors (top pocket pen holders) haven't leaked! Bob Borden" A true giant in the industry.
Joe Norten
This guy and his wife are total liars and cheats! Do NOT do business with them. The lie about machines to get you there and then they don't have it in stock! Also the machines they do have look nice, but if you closely inspect them they are not. Plastics are cracked or missing and metal parts are pitted and or rusty/corroded! If I could do it without getting in trouble I would love to beat the Sh*t outta this guy!
Pat L.
Absolutely the rudest, most dishonest person in the business. Stay away! He buys machines at local auctions, cleans them, and adds high mark-ups. Shop around before buying from this dirt-bag.
jeff scott
very unfriendly treated me like i was dirt would not let me try any machines because they were to busy
Stay Away From This One!!
Tim Edwards
Bob and his wife are nice people who have a great collection,I bought a 1961 Gottlieb CORRAL pinball .It plays great and is in perfect restored condition.but your going to pay for it.
Keith L Holbrook
Called requesting a particular backglass, was told they have one, asked about a price for the backglass, lady on the other end got irate, telling me "how am I supposed to sell a machine with no backglass ?" She could have pointed out the backglass was on a machine without getting totally rude about it. First and last experience with these people.
Just Browsing
I have seen his work at shows. The machines that his service people have completely rebuilt are great, they look as new as they can. However, those machines are in the $3,000 - $4,000 price range and are for wedgeheads. He has a lot of stuff in his shop, but I could not find a more rude person to speak to. In his area of the country, he is playing a game of monopoly in purchasing as many of the EM's as possible to corner the market. This occurs at the local shows. As someone else indicated, he doesn't like having people play his machines. If you want to try more than one or two, you are wasting his time. And don't try to play more than one or two balls either. He is overpriced and just not someone that I would want to deal with. He does, however, have some of the sharpest people in the business working for him. I'm guessing that it's becasue he has the biggest game in town.
Mike Rivers
I drove 2 hours to see his store. The machines looked nice, but the guy was the biggest prick I ever met. I can't imagine that anyone would buy from him. At the prices he was asking for his machines, he could have at least been somewhat friendly. I WOULD NEVER DEAL WITH HIM.
Mike Poole
Good slection of pins. Most have minor mechanical problems. VERY rude people to deal with. Price on a game was increased between the time I discussed on the phone and when I arrived the next afternoon at the showroom. Employees made it clear they do not encourage customers touching the games unless they buy them first. I would not do business with these people.
Jim S.
salesperson was rude and not very helpful, the game I inquired about was listed on their website but it turned out they didnt have it. Found many games listed as shopped were subpar condition (missing parts, etc) and prices were ridiculous (ie $4995 for a Bally Rolling Stones)
Serious Collector
Purchased a Twilight Zone from Bob. Paid a premium for it because it was, and I quote "home use only & mint condition". Corrosion on all metal parts even the balls, all ramps cracked, coils filthy. Worth on the market maybe 1100.00 I paid a lot more. I would never recommend anyone to his company. I would also say, I know what I am talking about too, owning and restoring a number of machines. Bordens is over-priced, and not very helpful.
Nicne site, nice showroom, way overpriced machines!
Beautiful shop. Likes Wedge heads. Prices high. Very rude on the phone. Gives "grudging" support. The techs they actually send are very good though. Sells "shopped" machines. The one I got had the third prong (ground) CUT-OFF!!!! All he really does is clean them. There were plastics missing- never pointed out. The manual and coin tray were removed too.
i called bordens looking for a medieval madness. The person that answered the phone said "no" and hung up. I guess thats the way they run their business.
Greg Reese
Very rude. Unprofessional emails. Doesn't have the games on his website in stock. Switch and Bait. You call and he tries to push another game.
Made arrangements with him to purchase a machine. Drove 7 hours the next day to pick it up & he didn't have it in stock. Claimed there was an error in the inventory list. Haven't been back since.

User comments about Coin Op Warehouse
Kevin Woodford
I have purchased 4 pins from Lloyd in various conditions. He is a nice businessman and even located a special game for me in Florida.
Ron Kral
I've gotten several machines from Lloyd. I've been happy because I've always gone to look before I buy. Machines are unshopped (OK w/me). He DOES sell to the first person in the door with $'s so if he has something you want, act fast.
Wes Bentley
Great guy. I have bought several pins. If he says its nice, it is!
Purchased one machine, very nice condition in terms of playfield, backglass, and cabinet. Have owned it for about a year and am very pleased with the purchase.
Todd Tuckey--TNT Amusements
Have had many good dealings with Lloyd...Easy to talk to, fast delivery....THANKS!!
James Bright
Good guy to deal with. Look for deals on the unshopped games, that's where the deals are.
Pay no attention to the bad posts that you have read here. I have purchased from Lloyd twice and I have been very happy with my purchases. The deal is you have to go there and look at the stuff. The stuff is unshopped and Lloyd does not know if it works or if anything is missing. YOU must go there and look it over. Lloyd lets you plug the machine in, open it up and look it over with no pressure. If you decide you don't want it, he does not care. So, if you are willing to go there i would recommend the place, if you are not you might want to look closer to home.
John Hoffman
Unfortunately Lloyd sells total crap almost unsalvegeable games and charges close to retail prices. I would avoid this company like the plague.
Kevin Strasser
Lloyd is a nice enough guy. I trust him OK, despite some of the posts here. You certainly have to take your time and inspect whatever you buy from anyone. Lots of his machines are beat up. Also things you would assume to be OK typically you have to look out for. I purchased a machine without enough balls and missing the header bolts. I did not even think to check those two things. Not a major expense, but an inconvenience.
Lloyd can't keep his word, don't trust that the pinball machine is actually yours until you get it out the door. He will sell to machine to someone else for a higher price and tell you he never got the machine or he will tell you he did'nt know you wanted to buy the machine. The condition of his imported machines are definitely at the low end of scale in quality/condition. His prices are lower, but that is for good reason. None of his machines are shopped.
Don't trust this man! I called to purchase a pin from him. He told me to send the check and he would meet me in NC the next week on Wed or Thurs for pick up. I mailed the check the next day. I didn't hear from him by Tues, so I called. I verified that he received the check and tried to make arrangements to meet him in NC. He gave me the run around saying that he hadn't made out the delivery schedule yet and told me to get back with him in a day or two. My friend, who was the one picking it up for me, called the following afternoon and he said that the deal was off and he was mailing my check back. He tried to say that he didn't receive the check in time. ??? It was also explained that this was a welcome home gift for my boyfriend who was deployed due to recent events, and he said that he didn't give a sh**. This man is a schmuck and I'm ashamed to defend his freedom!

User comments about Game Gallery
Ron Gijzen
I received my X-files pinball machine in good condition and everything is working just great, except from one light bulb in the upper left corner, but that's no big deal. I am very happy with it. Thanks!
Debra Dreyer
I have always wanted to purchase a pinball machine for my home but I was hesitant because I could not find anyone in the area who could fix a pinball machine if it should break down. I searched the internet and sent a few emails out to competing pinball companies. Linda was very helpful in calming my fears about purchasing a pinball machine from the Game Gallery. She assured me that the ADDAMS Family machine I was interested in was in excellent working order and if for any reason I should have any problems with the machine the Technical Department would help me out. She also informed me that if the problem was more involved they would definitely be able to find a someone near my home to fix it. I ordered the machine and within 2 weeks it was delivered to my home. The look of the machine was in excellent condition and it is working great. My family has been playing it non-stop and I am very pleased with the quality of the machine. I highly recommend The Game Gallery for both the quality of the products and the professionalism of the staff.
Janice Randall
Wanted to say "Thanks" for making my dream come true. I've always wanted to own a pinball machine! Sometimes dealing over the web is a little scary but you guys were great. We're very happy with the machine, the service, delivery. The entire experience in dealing with you guys was great. I'm sure we'll be back in the future. We're having loads of fun on the new pinball machine!! Thanks again
Russell Thompson
I've purchased two new machines,one pinball,one video,both were shipped via freight lines and arrived in great shape.After un-crating and placement in home, I had several questions about setup and play. All my questions were answered to my satisfaction. I will purchase more games after release dates for new machines. I was reluctant about buying new great condition games from a out of state company,but very happy I did.
Tim Edwards
Hey everyone,i had a godzilla pinball that needed minor work and a gottlieb that had a score reel problem and they told me that they dont work on EM's anymore and they dont do service calls,I even live only 7 miles away,With their high prices I would stay clear,Sales Without Service is poor business
The Johnson's Webster,WI.
We had concerns about buying Crusin World and Fishtales over the Internet and having delicate items shipped by truck all the way to Webster WI. Thanks to your great service, wonderful packing, and shipping arrangements, we received everything when you said and in great condition! Thanks so much!
Bill Meyers
i purchased a "tales from the crypt" pin ball machine from game gallery. the machine is everything that was promised. i did have a minor problem, but the staff at game gallery was very helpful and extremely responsive. there are several other types of machines i would like to own. when the time comes, i will go back to the game gallery. andy and linda are great people. they keep their promises
Simeon Peebler
The Star Wars Trilogy pinball arrived yesterday. It is in wonderful shape! It works very well, and the local delivery company was very helpful and professional. I appreciated the wonderful packing job that helped protect the machine. Thanks so much for your help! I am a very happy customer, and I'm very satisfied with your service. This is a wonderful start to my collection, and you can count on my business in the future.
Michael and Lisa Acierno
Santa could never have delivered like The Game Gallery. It would not surprise us if your address included "North Pole". Our family is just thrilled with the Austin Powers pinball machine. Our six year old was delighted and amazed how this wonderful gift fit on Santa's sleigh. Even our two year old has developed excellent hand-eye coordination from playing the game! Thank you for the outstanding service, superior machine and Christmas 2004 memories.
G. Klinghoffer
Dear Game Gallery....just received my T-2 pinball.. I love it.. it came in better condition than I though it would. Thanks for making this happen. Now my kids are going to have to get what they want. I'll be back very soon, Regards,
Boyer Family
Thanks so much for your help in rushing the pinball machine. They were so surprised & really made our Christmas great!! It works great & believe me it's had lots of playing time. Thanks again!!
Game Gallery Response
As far as Tim Edwards comments. Yes we service and stand behind every machine we sell. He did not by those pins from us so we told him we could not get to them right away. Yes we service machines even when not purchased from us. BUT our customers that bought from us do get priority. By the way thanks everyone for all the nice comments. Andy Kline/owner
Jon Marcus
Thanks for the great service on my recent purchase of The Addams Family pinball. The pin's condition was excellent -- it was shopped and packed exceedingly well. Your excellent customer service makes doing business with you very easy and comfortable even though I live thousands of miles away
I am very pleased with the Dirty Harry pinball machine I recently purchased from The Game Gallery. This is my first pinball machine, and you were all very helpful in answering my initial questions about the machine and the purchasing process. The condition of the pin is excellent, as you described, and I was very impressed with the professional manner in which it was packaged and shipped. Probably as a result of shipping, setup, etc., one or two problems arose after playing the pin for a while, and you quickly took care of those through a technician in my area. I am very satisfied with the level of service I received from The Game Gallery. Thanks again!
We have had our games (Cruis'n World and Fishtales Pinball)from you for 1 year now and they work great! We are getting ready to purchase more. Gordon
Ken Schaffer
Just a note to thank you for your professional service and prompt attention in my recent purchase of the Bugs Bunny Birthday Ball and Funhouse Pins. Both machines were mint as described and everything regarding this transaction was flawless. Your staff coordinated the shipping and called me with a confirmation time. The machines arrived exactly as scheduled and your staff's followup was excellent. Thanks again for a great buying experience. I'll be sure to contact the Game Gallery for my next purchase!
Jerry Bostick
Great people to do business with! Professional, honest, timely, and customer friendly. Highly recommended.
Linda & Huey Register
We love the Rockola bubbler juke box and the Star Trek TNG pinball we purchased from you last year about this time! We have had wonderful, expert, conscientious service from everyone there at the Game Gallery. We can hardly wait for the Ultracade to arrive! We will let you know if it is as big a hit with the family. Thanks again,
Bill Dial
Thank you for helping me fulfill a lifetime dream of owning my own pinball machine. Hopefully this will be the first of many for me and my family. Our Cyclone arrived earlier than we expected and was in fantastic shape. We are extremely pleased with every aspect of our purchase and will definitely be buying from you guys again in the future. I have to go now and try to pry my son away from the flippers - it's my turn to play! Hurry, Hurry .... step right up!!! Bill Dial Chief Financial Officer-The Apex Automotive Group and proud owner of a 1988 Williams Cyclone Honda-Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Volkswagen PO BOX 5017 Anderson SC 29623 864-224-6632 / Fax 864-375-2085
I was very pleased with the condition of the pinball machine which I ordered from the Game Gallery.
John E. Latz
Re: Diner pinball The game is fantastic! It is in great shape - ya'll did a wonderful job at sprucing it up for us! Thanks again for a great machine....now I have to think about the Austin Powers one .
Michelle Ball
Subject: Terminator 3 Pinball I just wanted to say thanks for getting my machine here when you said you would. Linda did a great job of handling a possible problem and I got it on time. It was a great birthday present and I will recommend your company to anyone who asks where to buy a good pinball machine. Thanks again for a first quality sales experience. Michele Ball
Deb Tessier
We just received our Fish Tales pinball machine and love it!!! We were a little nervous purchasing over the internet sight unseen, but couldn't be more pleased. It looked and worked great from the moment we plugged it in. Top score is $746 million already and counting. Thanks for bringing so much fun to our party room!

User comments about M P Amusement Co.
Mike Poole
Great prices on "partially shopped" games. The STNG I got was very solid and reasonably priced. Check to see whats in stock, some games on their list are subject to availability.
John Hoffman
Purchased two games from them and both had major problems. Also, carefully inspect cabinets for magic marker touch-ups.
Kevin Strasser
Purchased a White Water from them. Great prices on un-shopped items. Also they do make sure they are in working order unlike some other un-shopped dealers. Nice folks too.
Bob Antelman
I bought one nice machine that was shopped very nicely and was satisfied with the delivery and technical support after the sale. Finding a nice machine may be hit or miss, even if you go in person.

User comments about Orange County Pinball
phill macracken
they make you feel at home when you enter the shop. fast, friendly service. the techs there are one of the best in the bussiness, and are always willing the help.
Too expensive and did not help at all!Walked around for awhile?I guess they think ntheir better than everybody else? Cost of living is more in OC (Orange County) and think they can sell at "BUY NOW" on e-bay rip-off!I got all three of my Pins elswhere,you should do the same Prestige(in MI) is good and Area Amusements(in Cal.) is the Best!
Hi prices
stu padasso
the best in the west
Shark hunter
Just sold an unshopped DATA East Star Wars on Ebay for over $3500. This game sells from $1000-$1900. What a joke!!
roy munson
great service, and carry a large selection of "hard to find" pinballs and pinball accessories. why go anywhere else
al kaholic
always have what i need. never let me down

User comments about Pinball Warehouse
Al treated me well, & even had his guy put air in my flat tire. The TZ I bought works great, I'd recommend Pinball warehouse any day.
I bought many pinballs from Al. He has always taken GREAT care of me. His prices are very good . Great selection
Has absolutely no clue as to how to work a digital camera, basically computer illiterate which was a problem when buying a game sight unseen as I did. That being said, he pulled aside the HUO Twilight Zone and after about a month got the pictures to me. Shipped the game to me in an original box, and was always pleasant to me on the phone and gave me a great price and even held onto it while I was too busy to get him the money.
Ditto what Dave said. Also known as Action Music and Games. Needs to work or P R, but big Al wouldn't know what P R stands for!!
bought a pinball from them they sell defective machines and warranty is a joke good sellection of games though my advice stay away
Poor customer service, rude, pushy, cluttered space. Email address on their website doesn't work. Even tho they knew we were shopping, they made the comment, "this is not an arcade" and didn't want us to try any of the games out (even tho they were all on free play and their kids i guess, were running around and playing them), which made us feel very awkward.

User comments about Pinballs Are Us
have seen them run hot and cold on politeness and services. machines are way over priced and most of the older ones are in terrible shape. Ernie Liffers is better to deal with in Atlanta.
Jason Norris
Previous comments ridiculous. These are the best people to deal with in Atlanta. Owner is courteous and extremely helpful. Purchased a 20 year old pinball (Gorgar) and has broken twice since delivery 11 months ago. Both times, Fernando came out and assisted me promptly. You may pay a little more to buy from Pinball Expo but it is well worth it. Do not think anyone else will come out to your house and fix your pin asap. Will do business again without second thought.
I purchased a 1977 Evel Knievel from these guys and they were awesome. Their pricing was fair and competetive. We had a problem with one of our displays and they fixed it immediately. The best!
this place sucks!
Rude, bad service and ragged out machines - AVOID!
Worst in Atlanta. Take Ernie, Tommy, Al Ellis or Mossy with you if you want to buy a machine. These four gentlemen know pinabll machines and the owners here hate them.
Most helpful people in the business. Purchased an Indiana Jones a year ago. Has not failed me and the people at The Gameroom Gallery have been most helpful. Pricing was excellent for quality they dispalyed. Quality was above any other pinballs I have ever seen overall. Would highly recommend for anyone trying to get a pinball and have excellent service and customer care in the long run. A+++
Aaron Van Noy
Extremely helpful, Best selections I have ever seen. I must admit a little bit pricey. Stands behind the warrantee! Great for first time buyers. Yes you may pay a little bit more, but if you have never owned a pin, guess what they all break down sooner or later. Look at your local bar. Oh and one more thing when you go in there they are not fully shopped. They ask for about a week for then to tweak and shop it. Will do business again.
rude, old nasty machines, middle easterners driving Mercedes making quick buck on us.
Ernie, where are you located at? email remf64@hotmail.com
I agree with the last comments I went in there with a fellow collector and found these guys to be very unknowledgible and rude. Ernie Liffers is better to buy machines from. These guys here deal on the uneducated public and hate to see collectors who know pinball come into the store.
One of the best pinball sites around....also has very helpfull people w/ great prices and service ! Would highly recommend
Come see me and avopid these guys at all cost. What a rip-off. To those who like them and left the positive comments, you were ripped off and overpaid for your machines.

User comments about TLC Amusements
Sewer Urchin
Drove forever to see a "fully shopped" pin. Half of the paint was gone from the playfield.What paint there was. It was yellow from tobacco. The ramps were held together with silicone caulk the flippers didn't match the machine. The balls weren't even new.These people don't have a clue. Told me shipping was $500. Don't waste your precious time!


Return Of The Quarter Gobblers

Classic arcade games are the unlikely hit of E3 – and retailers love them.
May 13, 2004: 1:14 PM EDT By Chris Morris, CNN/Money staff writer

LOS ANGELES (CNN/Money) - I was a Pac Man baby.
I battled the Master Control Program in Tron. I escorted Frogger across busy highways and raging rivers. Heck, I knew Mario when he was playing second fiddle to a giant ape.
Like a lot of folks in their mid-30s, I spent a considerable portion of my childhood (and childhood income) shoving quarters into arcade machines. It was the gateway that brought me into the gaming world.
Looking back, I probably could have guessed the $5 I spent in quarters any chance I could would ultimately turn into an expensive hobby. I could not have known, however, I'd still be spending money on the exact same games.

Coming soon...Galaga?
I'm not talking about the growing industry trend of re-imagining classic titles, either. I'm talking the exact same games I played over 20 years ago at that nameless, now long-defunct arcade on Rockbridge Rd. in Stone Mountain, Ga.
Microsoft is the latest company to jump on the retro phase. On Monday, the company announced a new service for its Xbox Live subscribers that would include classic arcade games from companies such as Atari and Namco (creators of Pac Man).
"These games are easy to get into and a total blast, which makes them perfect for the gamer who doesn't have a lot of time and just needs a quick fix," said J Allard, chief XNA architect for Microsoft's (MSFT: Research, Estimates) Xbox team.
Pricing for the classic arcade games on Xbox Live has yet to be set. The new service will also include puzzle and card games.
Cashing in on yesterday
Microsoft isn't the only company looking to cash in on yesterday. One of last year's best selling titles for Midway Games (MWY: Research, Estimates) was "Midway Arcade Treasures," a compilation of 24 classic arcade titles, including "Defender," "Joust" and "Marble Madness." More than 430,000 copies have been sold since its November release.
(Personally, I think a big part of the success was the inclusion of "Robotron 2084" – the greatest game ever made. And if you don't trust my opinion, give Seamus Blackley, co-creator of the Xbox, a call. He'll back me up.)

More gaming news and commentary.
Encouraged by the success of the first entry, Midway will release "Midway Arcade Treasures 2" this fall with 21 classic games, including the first three "Mortal Kombat"s, "Cyberball" and "Wizard of Wor."
Jakks Pacific, meanwhile, introduced a series of plug-and-play TV games in 2003, which were the surprise hit of the holiday season. The joystick-like devices, selling for $25-$30, offer up to 10 classic games from a specific publisher, such as Namco or Activision, or a specific gaming system, like the classic Atari 2600.
Sales took off. While Jakks will not release any specific numbers, the TV games line topped the list of hot toys that did not receive TV promotion in a recent toy industry trade publication.
"It's pretty interesting with Xbox and PlayStation and GameCube, PacMan is just as compelling as it used to be," said Jakks Pacific spokesperson Genna Goldberg. "These games have staying power."
Jakks Pacific is already prepping new plug-and-play systems for later this year, including more Atari 2600 games as well as collections from Electronic Arts, Capcom and Midway. There are no agreements yet with Nintendo or Sega.
Here at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, most of the focus is on future titles rather than classic ones, but on one, particularly crowded corner of the show floor, you'll find people reliving the glory days of gaming, particularly classic home arcade machines, including the Intellivision and Atari 2600.
The Classic Gaming Expo exhibit is being held at Kentia hall, which is typically the only place in the L.A. Convention Center where you can find a little peace and quiet during E3. Placed here to attract foot traffic for other exhibitors, it has served its purpose.
At any given time during the show, you'll find several hundred people exploring the industry's past. As an added bonus, they can hang onto their quarters


Pac Man Turns 25

A pizza dinner yields a cultural phenomenon - and millions of dollars in quarters.
May 10, 2005: 11:35 AM EDT Game Over is a weekly column by Chris Morris

Want more gaming news and commentary? Click the glazed eyes.
hours before the game is released and think the industry has never been hotter; but if you want to see what a true phenomenon looks like, jump into your wayback machine and head to 1980.
Once you arrive, slip on your "Members Only" jacket and head into any pizza parlor. See that big crowd of people clustered in the back? Odds are they're watching someone play Pac Man.
Arguably the most influential game in the industry's history (with Pong the only other real contender), Pac Man has made more than $100 million dollars one quarter at a time. He's spawned his own line of trading cards, lunch boxes, board games, breakfast cereals and been the inspiration for a Top 40 hit (Buckner & Garcia's "Pac Man Fever" hit number 9 on Billboard's charts in 1982).
This year, Pac Man turns 25 -- but age isn't slowing the little guy down. 1999's "Pac Man World" and 2002's "Pac Man World 2" both sold over a million copies. And Namco has already announced four Pac Man themed games this year - and versions for Sony's PSP will be announced in the near future. TV Plug & Play game collections featuring Pac Man remain hot sellers. And the rise in cell phone gaming has opened up another opportunity for the original arcade game.
"I think there's a high nostalgia value with Pac Man -- a lot more so than many classic characters," said Sean Mylett, senior marketing manager for Namco. "I think Pac Man is a game where people really remember being younger and pumping quarters and quarters into machines. ... Then there's another level with the 'Pac Man World 3' character. He's an E-rated character. He's very colorful, very safe. It's definitely different than the trends going on in games. He just has an appeal."
And he's not going away.
"As the next generation systems hit," said Mylett, "I can guarantee that PM will be there."
Things have certainly come a long way from the day Toru Iwatani came up with the idea for Pac Man at dinner.
Iwatani, who was also responsible for the arcade classic Galaxian, was trying to come up with a game that looked like a cartoon. At a pizza parlor, he paused after taking his first slice and thought the remainder of the pie looked like a head with its mouth open. He imagined it racing through a maze, eating things -- and the phenomenon was born.
In fact, legend has it Iwatani actually wanted Pac Man to be a pizza, but technological limitations at the time made it impossible.
The game also underwent a name change. Pac Man's original name was Puck Man -- but a savvy executive at Bally/Midway, which distributed the game in the United States, had it changed on all machines, fearing what game room vandals would do with the original moniker.
The name change didn't have anything to do with the game's success, of course. The easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master gameplay earns the credit for that. Personalization didn't hurt, either. While we take knowing the name of today's heroes and villains for granted, Pac Man was the first video game to name its characters (the ghosts, to jog your memory, were Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde) and the first game to offer interludes as rewards for advancing.
In the late 1990s, Twin Galaxies, which tracks video game world record scores, visited used game auctions and counted how many times the average Pac Man machine had been played. Based on those findings and the total number of machines that were manufactured, the organization said it believed the game had been played more than 10 billion times in the 20th century.
"Pac Man changed the psychological profile of the average person," explains Twin Galaxies' Walter Day. "Suddenly old and young, male and female, doctors, dentists, lawyers and housewives found it acceptable to be playing a video game. And Pac Man opened that door for them. Despite the fact that it was technologically advanced, it was as simple as playing a card game for them."
So go ahead and be impressed as you hear about sales numbers for the next "Grand Theft Auto" or see anxious gamers camping overnight to be the first to get their hands on next generation consoles. But weigh that frenzy to the one Pac Man sparked when it was originally released in Japan. The game proved so popular that it incited a shortage of yen coins in the country.
Let's see today's titles manage something like that.


Video Games: Big Business or Big Trouble?--Part II

We used to drop quarters by the pocketful just to play them in arcades, but today's video games can cost you $40 or $50. And we're buying them. Americans spend billions each year on games. Whether you love them or hate them, video games are here to stay.
In fact, the industry insiders we spoke with say it's a lot like the movie business. In its early years, people didn't take it too seriously. Now, everybody wants a piece.
If what you picture when you think of video games is something like Pong, Pac-Man, or Defender, think again. They've come a long way over the last three decades, now taking years and millions of dollars to develop. Today, they're big business."It's a huge industry," said Mike Wikan, a game designer for Austin-based Retro Studios. "In most respects it's larger than the movie industry. There's tens, hundreds of millions, billions of dollars going back and forth because it's more than a movie. You play a video game, you might have 20, 25 hours of experience, you're drawn into it. Whereas in a movie, you're in and out in under two hours."Recently, SCAD's inaugural Game Developers Exchange at its Atlanta campus attracted crowds eager to break into the business, including well over a hundred students bussed up from Savannah."A lot of us here at SCAD have been playing games since childhood," said game development student Jason Stevens. "It's the only thing we could think of that we could do that would really satisfy us, is to help entertain others with what we fell in love with."Once thought to be for geeks only, the games business now treats its elders like rock stars. Take Wikan, who was greeted with cheers and whistles when he took the podium to share his experience with attendees. His design credits--Metroid Prime Two, Metroid Prime, Slave Zero, Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, Tiger Shark--are impressive to gamers.
This is the first year out for SCAD's Game Designers Exchange, and organizers say they got close to 500 registrants. What's the big deal? Industry insiders say this multibillion dollar business only has room to grow."It's a form of media that is just in its infancy," said Wikan. "And right now it's already bigger than movies. When it really hits its stride, which will probably be in the next five to ten years, when it's a mature form--cause right now we're still a juvenile industry--it will dominate most forms of entertainment media. There's really no stopping it.""A decade ago or more, you would have had just a couple guys in a basement starting out, but these days, you've got large corporations with billions of dollars going into this industry every year," said Stevens.Fellow student Nick Otto added, "A lot of places that I've looked--I get a couple magazines that have many places that are hiring because the game industry is getting bigger."People from as far away as Indiana were among attendees. Helena Hamilton of Atlanta showed up with her son to see about his dream career. "I certainly know it's not something that's about to die out, but instead grow," she said. "So I think it's exciting. He's been playing video games a long time."These future rock stars of the games business came away fired up. "Got me very interested in the career I've chosen and makes me want to work that much harder," one SCAD student told us.
If you're interested in attending the next Game Developers Exchange, SCAD plans to hold it annually.
Just how big the video game industry is is a matter of debate. The most conservative industry figure puts it at $7.3 billion last year.
And if you want to get into the business, you should know that Georgia's trying to get a piece of that pie. Right now, there's a bill sitting on the governor's desk to attract games companies with hug tax breaks.


Huge Savings - Warehouse Cleanout

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Tommy, Liverpool Empire

May 10 2005
By Laura Davis, Daily Post

PETE TOWNSHEND'S rock musical is a riot of sound, dance and pyrotechnics as the cast whirl themselves through costume and character changes quicker than the rhythm of the pounding music.
Tommy opens with a fast moving tableau of a young couple who fall in love and marry during the Second World War. Then, while the girl is pregnant with their son, her husband is declared missing, presumed killed in a parachute jump across enemy lines.
The boy is perfectly happy until his father returns home from war and gets into a brawl with her new fiance.
Witnessing his father shoot his love rival dead, the four-year-old Tommy finds himself apparently unable to hear, see or speak.
Despite the strong soundtrack and vigorous dance numbers, the first half of the show is sometimes disturbing to watch, particularly when the boy's dirty Uncle Ernie takes advantage of his disability to satisfy his own desires.
All the while he is teased and shoved by his bullying cousin Kevin and even taken to see a prostitute by his own father in an effort to shake him out of his supposed stupor. Tommy remains calm, practically inert and unable to react to his surroundings.
It is only when he begins to play on a pinball machine that he feels alive once more and is eventually able to face his demons.
Cue The Who's legendary rock track Pinball Wizard - the only song in the show that really makes you want to jump up off your seat - and a view of the rest of Tommy's life as he copes with adoration from obsessed fans and his family's shortcomings.
Jonathan Wilkes as Tommy lights up the stage, either when strutting like a peacock to Townshend's score or wishing Everton FC good luck in Europe when addressing the audience after the musical is over.
Landi Oshinowo gave a truly divaesque performance as Gypsy, the Acid Queen resplendent in leather, who claims she can cure Tommy in a single night.
Despite a flimsy storyline, the musical is one to remember. It'll be sure to get you singing Pinball Wizard in your sleep for at least a week.
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Eminem DJ Quit ,50 Cent Ink video games Deal

Eminem DJ Green Lantern quit after an interview with Jadakiss where Lantern was heard on speaker phone chatting to the rapper about his rival 50Cent.
"There was a rumour going around that, in the conversation, I was giving Kiss inside information on what 50 was going to do. And that's really why I'm saying anything, because that is absolutely false,"
"I will admit to the fact that I was speaking to Jadakiss, somebody that was in a rap battle with 50 Cent, but at the same time, Jada's my dude. Said DJ green
"The inappropriate action on my part was when I'm commenting on his (50 Cent) song, telling him, 'That's a jab. Where's a knockout?' ... That was some bullshit, It really looks like I wanted to take 50 Cent out, and there really isn't any feelings toward 50 Cent on my part, even though it looks like that" he added
In related news rapper 50Cent and G Unit ink a deal with mobile media company Zingy, to create a series of mobile phone games based on the group members.


Video Games: Big Business or Big Trouble?--Part I

Ever play video games as a kid? Do your kids play? What they see on the screen might surprise you. Games have come a long way and many of them are definitely "adults only" these days.
Americans spend billions of dollars each year on games of all kinds, but some of the best selling are definitely not meant for your kids.
A generation of video games has grown up to nearly cinematic realism, like Ubisoft's Brothers in Arms, a brutally realistic depiction of World War II combat, including blood and soldiers cursing.
"Folks of my generation aren't that computer literate, aren't that savvy for the most part," said Georgia Rep. Tom Bordeaux (D-Savannah). "And when a child says, 'I want that game,' we tend to buy that game I suspect, without even knowing how to look at it to see what's on it."
And what's on a lot of them is definitely not for children. Like the Grand Theft Auto series, which rewards gamers for playing a violent thug.
"Not only a drug lord, but like a pimp," explained gamer Eric Heikkinen of Savannah. "At one point you own a porno theater, like a porno filming area."
Part of the action, as the title indicates, is stealing cars.
"Adults have rights to purchase those products," said Rep. Bordeaux. "Do I have a problem with it? Sure. I don't think we should glamorize violence and killing and rape and murder and all these things, but they have a right to do it. Does it have a bad effect on that person and ultimately society? Yeah, I think it does. I don't see how it couldn't."
Decades of research agree there is a risk of damaging effects, especially for children.
"Instead of, for example, interpreting someone bumping into you on a crowded street as an accident, there becomes a greater likelihood that there will be a hostile intent attributed to that behavior," said Dr. Jane Wong, a psychology professor with Armstrong Atlantic State University.
To help advise parents, Rep. Bordeaux is backing legislation to penalize retailers who don't clearly display the content ratings most commercial games now carry (overseen by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board). And the Chatham County Youth Commission is starting its own push to raise parental awareness.
"I went to Wal-Mart and I saw an eight-year-old kid convince his parents to buy him Grand Theft Auto," said youth commissioner Akhil Anumolu. "Personally, he's not old enough to be playing that game."
Heikkinen explained that in the game, "if you're on the streets you can start running over people. And notice there's blood streaks coming from the tires after you hit someone."
While not all games are violent, today's young people do know how far it can go.
The research does not place blame for violent behavior solely on violent media, but it does indicate that interactive violence, particularly, increases the risk of aggression. Those we spoke with say parents need to be involved in what their children play.
"Parents could limit exposure and/or view it with their children and play the role of teachers who provide the social and moral context for what they see," Dr. Wong said.
"Minors, you're still at this age where you're still developing your brain, and you're still trying to decide what's right and what's wrong, and you're confused about things," said Heikkinen. "And I think games like this completely confuse kids.
"I would say anyone under seventeen shouldn't touch this game," he added.
On the market for decades, video games have certainly grown up.
We should point out that the vast majority of games on the market are rated either for everyone or for teens, but some of the mature-rated games are among the best sellers.



Do You Know What Games Your Kids Are Playing?

Parents, psychologists and legislators are weighing the social, physical and behavioral pros and cons of video games. The questions is who is ultimately responsible for monitoring what youths buy. No regulations to restrict sales to minors have been effective.
By M. Zapp
May 8, 2005
Alex Cade, 15, a Rock Bridge High School sophomore, talks on his cell phone while playing “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” at a friend’s house. Before he steals a few cars, hijacks a helicopter and shoots police and innocent bystanders, Alex Cade, 15, pushes his controller and walks past a prostitute. If he wants, he could pick her up, take her to a dark alley and pay her for sex. His health points would go up, and if he felt like it, he could shoot her and get his money back. But Alex is not interested in sex right now, so he merely slaps the prostitute around a little bit. Alex is not wandering the streets alone or even thinking of engaging in any illegal activity. Rather, this high school sophomore is sitting inside playing “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” with his friends on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
“Grand Theft Auto” is one of the many violent video games that kids are playing by the millions, which has some parents, legislators and social scientists worried about what messages these games are sending. “Grand Theft Auto” is rated M, for Mature. It was the top-selling video game of 2004. The label on the back of the game box explains why it received the rating: blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content and use of drugs.
Joel Hensley, regional manager at Slacker’s CDs and Games, acknowledged the extent of realistic violence in some video games.
“The games are a lot worse now as far as violence and sex. I don’t think they’ve ever been as bad as they are now,” Hensley said.
The video game industry is huge, with sales reaching nearly $10 billion dollars in 2004 — just slightly above the box office sales for movies.
According to the National Institute on Media and the Family, 92 percent of children age 2 to 17 played video games in 2003. Psychologists are taking note, and research suggests that video games can have a variety of negative impacts on players, including increased aggression and decreased empathy.
Video games are self-regulated and rated by the industry. But legislative efforts to ban the sale of M-rated games to minors have been introduced in at least 12 states, including Missouri.
Alex and his friends James Wheeler, 15, and Hunter Reeve, 16, say they play video games for fun and do not take the violence seriously.
“It’s not like we’re going to shoot hookers in real life,” Alex says.
The outrageous circumstances are part of the excitement. James says the games represent “the stuff you can’t do, but want to do.”
Aggressive Involvement
Child psychologist Douglas Gentile is the director of research at the National Institute for Media and the Family, a nonprofit organization that studies the impact media has on the family. Gentile said that parents should be “very concerned” about their children’s video game habits.
“The research seems to be pretty clear that two things matter: the amount of time that kids are playing and the content of what kids are playing,” Gentile said. “Kids who play video games a lot have poorer school performance. The content seems to matter for things like behavior but not for performance. Kids who play violent video games, regardless of the time spent playing them, seem to be more aggressive and less pro-social.”
Bruce Bartholow, an assistant professor of psychology at MU, has been studying aggression since he was a graduate student in 1994. Bartholow said that according to many studies, violent video games cause an increase in aggression, desensitization to violence and, perhaps more alarming, a decrease in positive behaviors, such as helping and expressing empathy.
“These kids might become more irritated or irrational,” Bartholow said. “They might be slower to provide help or faster to engage in road rage. Playing video games doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to kill someone, but that’s not necessarily the only outcome we care about.”
Gentile said he conducted a study of more than 600 eighth- and ninth-graders and found that kids who play more violent video games are more likely to fight.
“If a naturally hostile kid is playing violent video games, they’re more likely to engage in fights, but even non-aggressive kids are still 10 times more likely to fight if they play violent video games,” Gentile said. “We used to think it was just the kids who were already at risk, but that doesn’t seem to be true anymore.”
Bartholow’s concern with violent video games does not just come from a psychologist’s perspective. He has a son, Jack, who is 8. Jack only has a Gameboy, so he doesn’t play video games that much. He loves them anyway, and he gets to play the more violent games at friends’ houses.
“What is scary to me as a researcher and a parent is that we are starting to see more and more kids playing games a lot,” Bartholow said. “Boys, for the most part, are spending the vast majority of their free time with these games.”
A 2004 study by psychologist Craig Anderson, who Bartholow once worked with, said boys spend an average of 13 hours each week playing video games, and girls play five hours per week. The National Institute on Media and the Family said 87 percent of pre-teen and teenage boys play games rated M. Bartholow said violent video games are so popular because there is a lot of color, excellent graphics, action and excitement.
“They’re fun in the sense that they’re simple,” Bartholow said. “You just kill as many things as you can. You don’t have to be smart to play the games and do well in them.”
Gentile said people are drawn to violence as part of the brain’s unconscious survival instinct. But he also said children do not automatically enjoy violence — in video games or elsewhere.
“Look at a 4-year-old kid watching violence — he doesn’t like it,” he said. “Parents make an error on this one saying, ‘Don’t worry, its not real, it’s only TV.’ The kid is having an appropriate reaction to the violence, and we tell them to get over it.”
Gentile suggested that parents watch the games with their children and talk with them about the violence.
“Sit and discuss the games and help your kids understand that what’s seen on the scene is not real life, that your family’s values are different from what’s seen on the screen,” he said. “That seems to be a very positive factor for kids.”
Gentile said the age-based ratings system also contributes to children wanting to play violent video games.
“You call the game ‘mature’ — what kid doesn’t want to be mature? You make the kids want it more by giving it a label like that. When you label what’s actually in the games — graphic violence, blood and gore, etc. — kids don’t seek it out,” he said.
Mixed Messages
Patrick Wheeler, 48, is not worried about the content his son, James, is exposed to in the games he plays.
“The games talk about drugs, sex and drinking, but those are things that kids are exposed to one way or another almost every day at school,” Wheeler said. He is “skeptical” of reports that suggest a link between games and aggression.
Back in James’ room, the boys continue to play video games for a few more hours. The ethereal chanting of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” battles the gunshots and explosions coming from “Halo 2.” In the corner of the room is a guitar and amp, juxtaposed next to model Vipers and Hummers.

Hunter Reeve, 16, concentrates on “Grand Theft Auto” as his friends in the background yell, “Shoot her, shoot her!” Reeve is a junior.
“Don’t let him kill you, Hunter,” James says, focused on the screen.
“He won’t let me, but I’ll do it anyway,” Alex says, sitting on the edge of the bed, intensely working the controller.
At first, Hunter, Alex and James said violent games do not make them more aggressive. But when playing “SWAT: Global Strike Team,” the boys became more engrossed and reactive to the scenes.
“We take this game a little too serious, I think,” Alex said. “We get really mad if we don’t win.”
“SWAT,” which is rated M, depicts human-on-human shooting, where the boys play against each other. Alex said they become more involved in this game because it is more like real life.
“It’s not really our aggression, we just get competitive,” he said.
But James added, “Some games raise aggression. When I’m mad, I’ll play.”
Cody Bennete, 11, said he sometimes throws the controller when he gets mad playing “Grand Theft Auto” and “Tony Hawk Underground 2,” which is rated T for Teen.
“One day I got mad and broke the game disk for ‘Grand Theft Auto,’” Cody said.
Potentially making children more violent is not the only concern some psychologists and parents have.
Stereotypical gender roles are often portrayed, with few strong female characters and an overabundance of hyper-masculine male characters. Even when female characters are seen as strong, they often have heavily exaggerated sexual features, such as Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider” and the prostitutes in “Grand Theft Auto.”
“Within games, very traditional gender stereotypes are perpetuated,” Bartholow said. “Very stereotypical male behaviors, like violence and aggression, are encouraged because players are often saving the damsel in distress or brutalizing the women.”
In “Grand Theft Auto,” women characters participate in the action as scantily-clad prostitutes with guns. Playing a two-person level as a team, James plays a gangster and Hunter plays a hooker. “Can I make out with you?” Hunter says, laughing. They push a few buttons, and the gangster and prostitute kiss on screen. Later, as the team tries to evade police while stealing a plane, Hunter yells, “I can’t really run in my stilettos!”
The list of gaming concerns continues. Gentile said video games have been accused with contributing to childhood obesity and fostering social isolation. In addition, some psychologists and researchers warn of video game addiction, where the games replace normal social interaction with friends and family.
Wheeler does not worry about his son’s socialization because James often plays with his friends. He is concerned that his son plays the games too often.
“I think the games become like an addiction or an obsession,” Wheeler said. “Once he starts playing a game, he can’t get off.”
James said video games can be addictive sometimes. “You don’t want to stop playing. You want to beat the games,” he said.
But the fact that some games are violent does not mean all video games are potentially dangerous. Gentile said that most games are simply benign forms of entertainment, and that some games can actually be beneficial.
“It seems that playing certain types of games are good for certain types of I.Q. For example, playing lots of ‘Tetris,’ where one has to rotate and maneuver blocks, may be good for mental attention ability,” he said. Games can also increase visual attention skills. He said that a game could have both positive and negative effects at the same time.
“If kids are playing a lot of ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ it’s likely bad for their grades and behavior but can be good for visual attention and hand-eye coordination,” he said.
Gentile said there are plenty of nonviolent and educational games that kids like just as much, if not more, than violent ones. “But, unfortunately, unless kids are directed to educational games and forced to play them, it is unlikely they’ll seek them out,” Bartholow said.
Gentile and Bartholow encourage moderation even in the use of educational games.
Wheeler said he is concerned that the time spent playing games has interfered with James’ schoolwork, but James disagrees. Regardless, his father wants him to spend less time with games and more time with the books.
Despite trying to turn the games off, Wheeler has not found an answer to the problem.
“We can’t quite find a solution that works,” Wheeler said. “But something has to change.”
Laying Down the Law
After the school shootings in Littleton, Colo., violent video games took heat from people who believe such games caused Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to shoot their schoolmates. Some families of victims filed a lawsuit against 13 video game makers, including the makers of “Doom,” a first-person shooter game that Harris and Klebold played. The lawsuit was dismissed in March 2002 on First Amendment grounds.
Gentile does not think that violent video games have made anyone murder.
“For someone to do something that extreme, they’d have to have many risk factors. School shooters also had uninvolved parents, psychological problems and were bullied,” he said.
Other lawsuits have been filed against game makers, including one against the publisher of the “Grand Theft Auto” series for allegedly contributing to the shootings of two police officers and a dispatcher in Fayette, Ala. To date, no lawsuits of that nature have been successful.
But lawsuits are not where the bulk of the video games industry problems lie. Legislation to ban the sale and rental of Mature and Adults Only-rated games to minors has been proposed in at least 12 states, including Missouri. In some places, including St. Louis, ordinances were enacted only to be struck down by the courts when challenged by the video game industry. In 2001, an Indianapolis ordinance was struck down by the Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision. Still, the courts’ decisions have done little to stop more legislation from being proposed.
Los Angeles media lawyer Douglass Mirell said video games are a constitutionally protected means of expression, and legislation banning the sale of certain games to minors is a violation of the First Amendment.
“This would be a classic case of governmental censorship and any statue that any state would pass that seeks to prohibit the sale of this type of product would be unconstitutional,” Mirell said. “Presumably, the legislation would be immediately challenged by the manufacturers or distributors of these video games, and I would expect that such a challenge would easily succeed.”
Like music and movies, video games are self-regulated. Movies are rated by the Motion Picture Association of America, not by the government. There is no law that prohibits those under 17 from going to an R-rated movie, just as there is no law that prohibits minors from buying music with parental warning stickers. In addition, no retailer can be punished by the government for selling R-rated movies or music with explicit lyrics to minors.
Video games are ranked by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, ranging from E for Everyone to A.O. for Adults Only.
In 2004, the top-selling video game was “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” with more than 5 million copies sold in the United States alone. The second highest seller was “Halo 2” at 4 million copies. Both are first-person shooter games, where the player takes on the role of the shooter, and both are rated M.
Many kids play other types of games as well. Most of the other top-selling games were rated E, including games like Madden NFL 2005 and Pokemon Fire Red. According to the Entertainment Software Association, a video game interest group, 53 percent of games sold in 2004 were rated E and 30 percent were rated T. Only 16 percent of the total sales were from M-rated games.
In a 2003 test, the Federal Trade Commission found that 69 percent of teens were able to purchase M-rated video games. The FTC also determined that out of 118 M-rated games, 70 percent were marketed toward children under 17.
Dan Hewitt of the Entertainment Software Association disagreed.
“M-rated games are not marketed to or aimed at children. There’s an entire advertising code that reviews advertising materials to make sure that games aren’t marketed inappropriately,” Hewitt said. “I think it does a fantastic job.”
Hensley, the Slacker’s manager, said that his store on Broadway does not sell M-rated games to unaccompanied minors.
“For anything that’s rated Mature, we require that they have a parent or show identification,” Hensley said. “We don’t want to sell anyone something they shouldn’t have.”
At an average of $40 a game, parents often contribute to the purchase. Hunter, Alex and James said that sometimes their parents bought their games for them as gifts. Other times they bought the games themselves. They said they had no problems buying M-rated games from anywhere in town except for Wal-Mart, including Slacker’s.
The video game industry supports self-regulation without government control. Hewitt said that parents, not legislators, should be the ones to determine what games their children can play.
“We’ve long been proponents of voluntary efforts of retailers to not sell to minors,” Hewitt said. “Not all of the games are appropriate for children. It’s really up to parents to make those decisions.”
But State Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, does not believe self-regulation is effective. Harris proposed House bill 390 that would make the sale or rental of games rated M or A.O. to minors under 17 a Class B misdemeanor. In addition, his bill would require stores selling video games to display a sign explaining the ratings system.
Harris sees these games as part of a culture that can be detrimental to children.
“I don’t think that our children should be exposed to video games that encourage violence toward law enforcement officers, violence against women and that deal with adult subject matter,” Harris says.
Alex, James and Hunter are against the bill and expressed doubt that any legislation could keep kids from playing M-rated games.
“They know that we’ll get our parents to buy it,” Hunter said.
Wheeler said that he doesn’t object to the legislation. “I think I’m with him when he buys the games most of the time anyway,” he said.
No Easy Answers
Gentile acknowledged that there is not an easy verdict on the nature or effects of video games.
The question of whether games are good or bad, Gentile said, “is far too simplistic. Most games on the market probably do not have a positive or a negative effect but are just entertaining, and there is nothing wrong with just being entertainment.”
Almost all sides agree that parents should be involved with what their children play.
“What my research shows is that kids whose parents limit the amount of time and content get into fewer fights, get better grades and are more pro-social,” Gentile said. “Parents should check ratings and set limits on time spent in front of all screens.” He recommends no more than 10 hours per week of game play.
“As long as protective factors are there, the negative effects will occur, but will be limited and less extreme,” Gentile said.
Alex said he once asked his dad to play “Halo 2” with him. “He was really, really bad.”
Wheeler said that he used to play games occasionally but quit.
“They weren’t any fun,” he said. “James would beat me in all the games.”
With half a dozen cops dead, the stolen cars wrecked and the innocent bystanders long forgotten, the remaining police are hot on Alex’s trail. In a failed blaze a glory, he dies by wrecking the plane he stole. With a laugh, Alex and his friends move onto the next game. In three words, Hunter sums up why they play:
“It’s just fun.”
Missourian reporter Laura Hammargren contributed to this article

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