Video Games Live Announces Nationwide Tour Dates
June 23, 2005 - Renowned video game composers, Tommy Tallarico (Advent Rising, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Earthworm Jim) and Jack Wall (Jade Empire, Myst III: Exile, Splinter Cell) and Clear Channel Music Group today announced upcoming tour dates for Video Games Live, an immersive, music and video concert experience. Co-executive produced by Tallarico and Wall's Mystical Stone Entertainment LLC, and Clear Channel Music Group, the national tour launches this summer at the world famous Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on July 6. Video Games Live features music from some of the biggest video games performed by top orchestras and choirs across the country combined with video footage, lasers, lights and live action to create an explosive and unique entertainment experience.
Seventeen new dates have been added across the country in venues ranging from Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta, GA to Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA.VIDEO GAMES LIVE TOUR DATES:Date City VenueWednesday, July 6 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood BowlThursday, August 11 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park AmphitheatreSaturday, August 13 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts CenterSunday, August 14 Camden, NJ Tweeter Center at the WaterfrontWednesday, August 17 Toronto, Ontario Molson AmphitheatreFriday, August 19 Bristow, VA Nissan PavilionMonday, August 22 Boston, MA Bank of America PavilionWednesday, August 24 Cleveland, OH Tower City Amphitheater Thursday, August 25 Columbus, OH Germain AmphitheaterFriday, August 26 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center Saturday, August 27 Chicago, IL Lakefront Pavilion at Northerly IslandSunday, August 28 Detroit, MI DTE Music Energy TheatreThursday, September 1 Denver, CO Universal Lending PavilionSaturday, September 3 Dallas, TX Smirnoff Music CentreSunday, September 4 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell PavilionTuesday, September 6 Phoenix, AZ Cricket PavilionWednesday, September 7 San Diego, CA San Diego State Open Air TheatreFriday, September 9 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre Video Games Live also announces the creative and technical team of seasoned professionals, including some of the most prominent names in their fields, who will collaborate with Tallarico and Wall to create an unforgettable audio and visual experience. Noted production manager Malcolm Weldon has joined the Video Games Live team to oversee all aspects of the production. Weldon has managed world tours for numerous major artists including Janet Jackson, Cher, Ozzy Osbourne, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Elton John and The Eagles.Additionally, respected industry sound engineer Mike Keating has joined the tour and is charged with creating the audio mix to deliver an unparalleled experience for the Video Games Live audience. Keating is best know for his work over the past 12 years with Sting as well as Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Cher, Don Henley, Mariah Carey, Joe Cocker, Jewel, Shakira and many more.Lighting designer Bryan Hartley is developing customized lighting effects for each segment, recreating the distinctive atmospheres and color schemes of each game featured. Hartley is credited with the lighting for Aerosmith, Kiss, Lenny Kravitz & Alicia Keys among others.Four-time Emmy award-winning set designer Jeremy Railton is developing innovative visual effects for the Video Games Live stage presentation including the use of a new high-tech sheer nylon fabric that will serve as a projection screen above the venue making video footage look like it appears floating in the sky. Previously, Railton has designed sets for the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Disney's Epcot Center and concert tours including Cher's Farewell Tour, Phil Collins, Alice Cooper, Jane's Addiction and many more. Adding to the experience of Video Games Live, several segments of the show will feature live re-enactments of the game play and characters by some of the most talented stunt performers in the business overseen by Emmy nominated choreographer Dori Sanchez. Her credits include Cher's "Farewell Tour," as well as work on Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Divas Live and the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards."We believe that Video Games Live will push the boundaries of the concert going experience," said Jack Wall. "It was only natural that we enlist the expertise of the industry's most respected technical professionals to help us realize our vision." "Video game music has matured from simple tunes into complex, sometimes operatic journeys that are fully integrated into the storyline and action of games." stated Tommy Tallarico. "The tour is a celebration of the excitement and passion shared by millions of people who are part of the video game culture as well as an opportunity to reach out to a broader audience and introduce them to this art form. Anyone who enjoys live music, dramatic storytelling, and intense action will be entranced by the Video Games Live experience.""Video Games Live is an exciting collaboration among Tommy and Jack and their team and we support their vision for bringing a ground breaking live concert event celebrating video game music to hundreds of thousands of gaming fans across America" said Brad Wavra, Touring Vice President for Clear Channel Music Group. "The response to Video Games Live has generated a tremendous amount of anticipation and excitement, we look forward to a successful tour."Video Games Live will showcase some of the world's most popular game franchises and music ever created including Mario, Zelda, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Warcraft, Myst, Castlevania, Medal of Honor, Sonic, Tron, Tomb Raider, Advent Rising, Headhunter, Beyond Good & Evil, Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, EverQuest II and even a classic arcade game medley featuring games from Pong to Donkey Kong. World class orchestras accompanied by a choir and selected soloists will perform against a backdrop of state-of-the-art video and laser sequences, which are being specially designed for each of the game vignettes with some segments adding live characters on stage. Tickets are on sale Saturday, June 25, 2005 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, authorized local Ticketmaster outlets and local building box offices during normal operating hours.
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Video Games Carving Into Real Sports' Ratings
By SETH SCHIESELTHE NEW YORK TIMES
With six seconds remaining, things looked grim for the San Antonio Spurs.
Detroit Pistons forward Darko Milicic had given his team a one-point lead with a "sensational move," according to Marv Albert. Now the Spurs' Bruce Bowen was bringing the ball upcourt. Unable to pass, he heaved the ball up from midcourt in a desperate 3-point attempt.
Swish. The Spurs won 72-70. And in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, five young friends gathered around a 54-inch television cheered and high-fived one another.
"The shot just looked good all the way," said Albert Arce, 14.
This was not last night's Game 6 of the NBA Finals; it was NBA Live, a graphically sumptuous, statistically detailed video game that is part of the new face of mass-market sports. Albert and his friends said they consider themselves sports fans. But they, like a growing number of young men, would rather play a sports video game than watch the real thing on TV -- a shift that has professional leagues scrambling to maintain their hold on their lucrative core audience.
"When you watch on TV it's just boring," said Dennis Rodriguez, 12, who was playing one afternoon last week in Bushwick. "I like the games better because you can do what you want to do. Like, I can make the player pass it or shoot it. But when you see it on TV, you're just watching."
The media, sports and marketing industries have always cast pro athletes as stars to emulate, perhaps most aggressively with Gatorade's "Be Like Mike" ad campaign starring Michael Jordan. Now, video games allow young sports fans to cut the "like" out of the equation; they can simply "be" their own stars.
To Joshua Alvarado, 16, who said he usually spent at least six hours a day playing video games, the point seemed obvious. "I love sports," he said. "But why would you rather just watch it on TV when the video game lets you control it?"
Millions of young American males seem to be asking the same question. Since 2000, TV ratings for almost all major sports have fallen among male viewers ages 12-34. Even NASCAR, whose ratings have generally been considered healthy, has suffered a modest decline, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Over the same period, sales of sports video games in the United States have risen by about 34 percent, to more than $1.2 billion last year from slightly less than $900 million in 2000, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.
For the lords of sports, the attitude toward the game revolution seems to vacillate between appreciation for the licensing revenue that games can bring (the NFL, for instance, reaped an estimated $300 million from a recent five-year licensing deal with industry leader Electronic Arts) and concern about whether these games are forcing the TV cash cow onto a crash diet.
"I was on a panel recently where someone asked me what my worst fear was," said NBA commissioner David Stern. "It was that as video games got so graphically close to perfection, and you could create your own players -- their hairdos, their shoes -- that there might be a battle between seeing games in person or on television and seeing it play out on a video game."
Stern said he was speaking "mildly tongue in cheek," but added, "The competition for eyeballs is so intense now that if our consumers are not consuming us on television, we would rather have them consuming us on a video game than doing something else."
In that vein, many young people who enjoy sports games nonetheless become fans of sports franchises. The friends playing in Bushwick, for instance, could rattle off their favorite teams and players. Of course, they would rather inhabit the stars than simply watch them.
"I like (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe (Bryant), OK?," Albert Arce said. "But I like to play him because I can make him pass to the other guys. When I see him on TV, it's like he doesn't know how to pass."
Passing is also a big part of the undisputed champion of sports games, EA's NFL Madden series, named for former coach John Madden. The games have sold more than 43 million copies since 1989 and have turned Madden into an icon for a generation of fans who don't seem to care about the Oakland Raiders teams of the 1970s that he coached or even about the real-life games that he describes as a TV commentator.
Peter Grunwald, president of Grunwald Associates, a research firm in Bethesda, Md., that studies children's media consumption, said that the increasing popularity of sports video games, perhaps at the expense of sports TV ratings, reflected a broader shift in how young people related to media and entertainment.
"These kids are not couch potatoes letting a show wash over them," he said. "Kids are in a stage of their life where they are interested in self-expression, in trying on different identities as they figure out, literally, who they are. With the proper supervision, technologies like the Internet and video games can really encourage and accommodate that."
Sports Networks Broadcasts Losing To Video Games
-Posted by ZDNet @ 12:10 am
The New York Times warns that the next time the teenagers express their enthusiasm for NBA or Nascar,m they might be talking about video games, not television broadcasts. The graph, provided by NPD Group and Nielsen Media Research, shows dwindling young adult (age 12-34) audiences for sports broadcast in the past 4 years. NFL viewership in this category decreased from 2.97 mln in 2000 to 2.76 mln in 2004. Nascar went from 1.29 mln to 1.19 mln. MLB went from 0.66 mln to 0.56 mln. Between 2001 and 2005 NBA went from 0.92 mln to 0.71 mln viewers aged 12-34.
Bushnell To Speak At Ziff Davis Media Electronic Gaming Summit 2005
Bushnell will talk about where the gaming market is headed, from the growing ubiquity of cell phones and handhelds to the rise of episodic games and non-entertainment gaming applications.
Other speakers include top executives from Sony and Nintendo, as well as Neil Young, Vice President and General Manager of Electronic Arts Los Angeles where the Lord of the Rings games were produced, and Peter Moore, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing at Microsoft.
The Ziff Davis Media Electronic Gaming Summit, an exclusive conference and retreat, brings together the gaming industry's top executives, market experts, and leading researchers each year and is open by invitation only.
Sega Proves Extreme Hunting Can Be An Indoor Sport!
Sega Amusements USA Inc. hits new sales record for A.W. hardware system with Extreme Hunting. Extreme Hunting takes players to a North American hardwood forest where they hunt a variety of big game trophies, including Mule Deer, White Tail Deer, Elk, Black Bear, Moose, and Grizzly Bear. "Extreme Hunting has established itself as the best hunting game in the market," stated Sega sales manager Tom Keil. "Extreme Hunting's broad appeal make it an ideal piece for just about every kind of location including FECs, LBEs, sports bars, hotels, bowling centers, pizza restaurants, box stores, truck stops, and theatres."
Introduced in 2003, Sega has released 10 titles on its A.W. hardware system. "Over the past 2 years, we've succeeded in placing over 11,000 AW. systems into the market," said sales manager, Vince Moreno. "Every one of these is a potential new home for Extreme Hunting." Previous titles released on the A.W. hardware system include: Maximum Speed, Sports Shooting USA, Ranger Mission, Guilty Gear 1.5, Dolphin Blue, Demolish Fist, King of Fighters NeoWave, Rumble Fish, Guilty Gear Isuka, Faster Than Speed, and Extreme Hunting in seven configurations.
Extreme Hunting is assigned the AAMA Parental Advisory Rating of Yellow - Lifelike Violence Mild.
The First Pinball Machines
1931 Gottlieb Baffle Ball. Dave Gottlieb who produced penny arcade grip testers, observed a potentially huge market for pinball. Dave produced a small coin operated countertop machine and called it 'Baffle Ball'. The game took the country by storm and rocketed pinball into national prominance. Even working 24 hours a day, Gottlieb just couldn't produce enough Baffle Ball's to satisfy the public's demand for it. This is the machine which launched the whole pinball industry.
1932 Bally Ballyhoo. Ray Moloney saw the explosive demand for Dave Gottlieb's Baffle Ball and decided to design and manufacture his own game inorder to get a share of the market. Ray designed a colorful game and borrowed the name of a popular magazine of that time, Ballyhoo. Ray named his company which would produce Ballyhoo, 'Bally Mfg. Co.' This is the game that started Bally. Ray's advertising slogan was "What'll they do through 32.... play Ballyhoo"!
1932 Automatic Industries, Baby Whiffle.With the introduction of the coin operated version of Whiffle in 1931, a market was seen for a smaller version which could sit unobtrusively on bar tops for patron play. In the beginning of 1932, Automatic Industries produced Baby Whiffle with a playfield having the same layout as it's bigger brother. The game sits on a rotating swivel stand and has a wheel ball lifter mechanism as well as a wooden switch at the bottom to actuate ball return after a game.
1932 Rock-Ola Juggle Ball. Player control comes to pinball! Until Juggle Ball, once the ball was launched on to the playfield, the only possible control the player had was by nudging the machine. In 1932, David Rockola (Famous for his line of Jukeboxes) devised a game whereby players could directly control the ball via a sliding arm mechanism with metal bumpers. The game was a hit with the public and lead the way for future developments such as flippers in the 1947 Gottlieb Humpty Dumpty. Juggle Ball was offered in one and five cent versions. The machine shown above is is configured to work on one cent.
1933 Pacific Amusements Co. Contact. This machine is considered to have more 'firsts' than any other. It was the first pinball to use electricity instead of just gravity. It was the first machine to add momentum to the ball by solenoids, it was the first to have a electric ringing bell and it was the first to be designed by Harry E. Williams, the namesake of Williams pinballs and probably the most prolific pinball designer of all time. Pacific Amusement company produced several models of Contact which were all well received by the public. Gravity pinball's were then considered obsolete. Most Contact's were produced by Pacific Amusements in Los Angeles, California, however Contact Jr. was produced directly by Harry Williams himself in his workshop away from the factory. This particular machine has a pencil drawn 'HEW' (presumably Harry E. Williams) underneath the playfield. The playfields and cabinets were also hand numbered and fitted together.
1932 Mill's Official. During 1932, many other companies began producing pin's including Mill's, who are well known for their slot machines. Up until Mill's 'Official' game, the machines were usually advertised as 'Pin Games'. Mill's advertised the Official Pin Game as 'Pin Ball'... The name 'pinball' has been used ever since.
1947 Gottlieb Humpty Dumpty. "The greatest triumph in pin game history" was proudly proclaimed by Gottlieb in their 1947 advertisements for Humpty Dumpty. Gottliebs lead designer, Harry Mabs invented and included a new feature in Humpty Dumpty which forever changed pinball. Six 'Flipper Bumpers' were added allowing far more player control of the ball than had been previously possible. The public reacted with wild enthusiasm and all manufacturers then began adding 'flippers' to their games. The first game with flippers also included beautiful artwork by Roy Parker and animation with lights on the backglass. During play a animated Humpty Dumpty fall's off the wall. Note that the original flippers were oriented backwards to how we are now used to seeing them.
1936 Bally Bumper. During 1936 there was tremendous competition among the manufacturers of pinball games. Bally wanted to develop new innovations into it's machines to pull it ahead in the market. Bumper introduced several new features which again changed pinball forever. Bumper is the first game to use bumpers for scoring. A ball is shot and as it works it's way down the playfield, the player nudges the machine and trys to hit as many bumpers as possible. Each bumper is a spring which activates a switch and add's points to a score which is projected from the rear by a projection bulb and stencil. Bumper was also the first game to make use of plastic. The caps of the bumpers were made of plastic, a characteristic which remains in pinball machines manufactured today. Bumper was incredibly popular with the public and provided a much needed boost for Bally. Bumper production began in 1936 and ran into 1937 with approximately 15,000 machines produced.
High Scores For Pinball Wizards
PINBALL fanatics of the 1970s and 1980s are transforming their grown-up homes into games parlours and making a mint out of silverball nostalgia.With the numbers of new pinball machines available worldwide dwindling to around 10,000 a year after the closure of all but one manufacturer, Australians reminiscing about their youthful days spent playing the pinnies in milk bars are also sitting on tidy nest-eggs.
The lack of new machines making their way to Australia had contributed to the growing value of existing machines.
Especially so when sought out by cashed-up men in their 30s and 40s on a nostalgia trip, the manager of Melbourne-based importer and distributor Bumper Action Amusement, Del Reiss, said.
His customer base had changed from being solely commercial buyers to 97 per cent private collectors, with some now owning as many as 30 pinball machines.
And the machines are not just something gathering dust in the spare room, with a game based on the ghoulish television series The Addams Family increasing in value by $5500 during the past five years.
A Star Wars original release bought for $700 in 1999 now fetched $4500, with an Indiana Jones game increasing from $1000 to $5500.
"The industry almost stopped because of the advent of the internet, Nintendo and X-box," Mr Reiss said.
"These machines that were commercially very popular had effectively died in the marketplace, and suddenly there was an incredible piece of technology readily available for a very cheap price.
"People who started (buying machines) two years ago now have doubled their money."
Chicago-based Stern Pinball is the only firm still manufacturing new machines, at around 10,000 per year, a dramatic decrease from the more than 100,000 produced annually in the early 1990s, according to journal Business Week.
The magazine said the machines still were manufactured by hand, using 3500 pieces and taking more than three days to put together.
While the majority of Mr Reiss' customers came from Victoria, an average of one machine each week made its way to Queensland and two a week to Sydney.
Beside reliving your schooldays, the attraction of the games was man being pitted against machine.
"There are pinball games you can get on your computer but it's not like having a 130kg machine," Mr Reiss said.
"It's a personal thing to play against the machine, to get a replay. It's total escapism."
More than 200 people are expected at a collectors' auction in Melbourne on Sunday.
Kids Prefer Playing Sports Video Games To Watching The Real Thing
Contributed by Dennis on Tuesday, June 21st, 2005 @ 01:02AM
48 Years Ago
Pump It Up: In the Groove 2 Announced
Now, Students Get Credit For Playing All Those Video Games
MONROVIA -- With aliases like "snake,' "soul assassin,' and "that 1 foo,' gamers at Mt. Sierra College used needle rayguns and rocket launchers to destroy other competitors during the school's Halo 2 video game tournament Saturday.
In four-person teams, the players rummaged through levels looking to take down the competition, and only one factor determined who would advance to the next round: the team with the most kills.
The tournament, however, was more than a fun test in skill and strategy, but a launching party for the introduction of Mt. Sierra's new Game Arts and Design program.
"With the boom in the game arts industry, (the new program) is a natural progression,' said Vincent David, director of admissions at Mt. Sierra. "It's a natural marriage from where we were before.'
The popularity of Halo 2 has taken the video game industry by storm.
With its high-powered graphics and ability to allow multiple players to simultaneously compete against each other, Halo 2 was one of the top-grossing games of 2004, David said.
And creating games and designs similar to those in Halo 2 is what students will be learning to produce in the new program.
"As far as media arts goes, we are very known throughout the community,' David said.
Along with the the design aspect of the program, he said, classes will also focus on video game story telling.
Victor Luna, 18, of Los Angeles has been playing games since he was 3. He hopes to attend Mt. Sierra to eventually get a job designing games.
He already has ideas in his head for new games.
"This is the nearest school that has game arts and design,' he said. "I always come up with ideas for anything.'
The quarterly program begins this summer and allows students to earn a bachelor's degree in three years.
With the video game industry becoming an increasingly profitable market, the implementation of the program has ideal timing, said Glenn Dunki-Jacobs, the school's department chairman.
"Next to music, the video game industry is a multi-billion dollar industry,' Dunki-Jacobs said.
He uses a term called the "zero- sum concept' to describe the popularity of video games.
"There's always a winner and there's always a loser,' said Dunki- Jacobs, adding that the competitive nature of games is what keeps gamers coming back for more.
Former students of Mt. Sierra's programs have gone on to work in movies such as the Wesley Snipes blockbuster "Blade,' and others have worked on Super Bowl commercials, David said.
Alumni can return to the school and take classes for free to update their technology knowledge.
"Any student coming to this school is going to have someone taking care of them,' David said.