Shoe Companies Aligning With Video Games

By Darren Rovell ESPN.com
Hoping to catch the eye of their young sports-minded target audience, the battle for athletic shoe supremacy has spilled over into video games.
Take-Two Interactive, maker of NBA 2K6, has entered into a strategic partnership with Nike, while its competitor, Electronic Arts, has struck a deal with Reebok to feature the shoes in its game NBA Live 2006.
Financial terms were not immediately available.
"As video games become more of a mass-market opportunity, we provide a platform for Nike that other mediums can't meet," said Erik Whiteford, vice president of marketing for Take-Two's 2K Sports.
In NBA 2K6, players will have the ability to design their own Nike shoe and put it on a player in the game. Nike shoes can only be placed on the roughly 200 NBA players that have deals with Nike and their Jordan and Converse brands. Reebok and other shoe companies will be in the game, though Whiteford said their shoes will be less detailed. In both titles, gamers will have a chance to use new company shoes in the virtual world at the same time the shoes are released in the real word. Nike and Reebok plan to coordinate with the gaming companies to release codes that would make the shoe available in the game.
Nike will be making a limited edition 2K5 shoe, while the first 100 gamers that unlock three varieties of Allen Iverson's retro shoes will get free pairs by being referred to a special Web site.
"This is another vehicle for our fans to experience our shoes," said spokesman Rodney Knox, who noted that NBA 2K6 will have a total of 24 Nike shoes in its game, 13 of which can be unlocked with a code.
Reebok has previously signed deals with Electronic Arts for their NBA and NFL Street games, according to Marc Fireman, Reebok's director of advertising and interactive marketing.
Despite the deals, the video game companies have had a tough time offering an exclusive, which would block out the logo of other shoe companies, deciding to let the quest for realism preside over monetary temptation in the business, which figures to generate about $10 billion in sales in the U.S. alone this year.
Insiders speculate that the next step might include making it possible for gamers to buy the shoes directly off the gaming platform. In the game Everquest II, gamers don't have to leave the game to order a pie from their local Pizza Hut.


Game Documentary Set to Wrap

By Christian Svensson

According to the Citizen, Men at Work Pictures, is nearing completion on a documentary covering the early days of arcade games and the players of them.
Citing resurgence in gaming nostalgia as the onus for creating the documentary, Producer Michael Verrechia, told the Citizen, that "Basically it's a recollection of the early 1980s video games scene. (It's a) telling of the story through the players."
The movie was directed by Lincoln Ruchti. The name of the movie is not yet finalized.
Shooting wraps this Saturday as it shoots a closing scene on Main Streetin Laconia, New Hampshire that will feature classic arcade games lined up side-by-side.


Namco America Partners with SEGA to Offer Video Game Ringtones

Game Tones Exclusively Available on PAC-MAN's Arcade Corner SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 19, 2005--Through a licensing agreement with SEGA of America, Namco America, a leading publisher of wireless games and content, today announced the availability of SEGA's classic game sounds as ringtones. Beginning today, Namco America will distribute the game tones through its strong partnerships with wireless carriers.
SEGA's game tones will be available initially through Namco's PAC-MAN's Arcade Corner, an interactive ringtone application with a colorful, retro feel and a source for exclusive video game ringtones. The game tones are available now on BREW carriers, including Verizon Wireless, Alltel and Western Wireless, and will be available on other carriers in the future.
"We are devoted to providing access to these well-recognized and loved game sounds and ringtones," said Scott Rubin, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Namco America's wireless division. "SEGA's game sounds are some of the most popular and well-liked tones. We are excited to be the exclusive distributor of these and other popular game tones."
The ringtones include game sounds from classic SEGA franchises, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Shinobi and Outrun. Sounds from more recent console hits such as Daytona, the Crazy Taxi Series and the Super Monkey Ball series will also be available.
"SEGA and Namco are dedicated to making fun, unique products for our fans," said Yuki Kobayashi, Director of Mobile, SEGA of America, Inc. "This partnership further solidifies this commitment. Joining Namco's elite catalog of ringtones and game tones allows SEGA fans the opportunity to download their favorite sounds, extending their gaming experience."
For more information on game tones and PAC-MAN's Arcade Corner, please visit www.arcade-corner.com.


The New Pool Tables Take Their Cues From Fine Furniture

Styles, colors and finishes increase
12:00 AM CDT on Friday, September 23, 2005
By LISA MARTIN / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

The new generation of pool tables has never looked better, thanks to an evolved attitude among makers: Realizing that an 8-foot-by-4-foot billiard table is among the largest pieces of furniture in the house, designers have upped the style quotient accordingly.
"Pool tables have come out of the smoky bar and into the home as a place for families to gather around," says Mary Pettersen, a spokeswoman for Brunswick, a manufacturer of game tables and accessories. "What people want right now is a billiard table as a great piece of furniture, like an antique armoire or a wonderful leather chair."
Pool tables are available in a host of looks, from ultra-sleek and contemporary to traditional stylings that recall an old English pub. Brunswick's models in the Contender collection, which sell from $1,699 to $3,849, include laminate and brushed-metal tables that come in a choice of modern-day cloth colors such as black, red and olive.
Traditionalists tend to gravitate to dark green or burgundy cloth, along with dark woods that can be carved in ornate reliefs.
"The ball-and-claw leg style is very, very popular, as are French Provincial and Queen Anne-style legs," says Patrick Hammontree, regional manager of Billiards & Barstools, which has six stores around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. "People are also really into the dark finishes that aren't shiny; matte is becoming really big."
As for color of the cloth that lines the inside of the table, Mr. Hammontree notes that saturated shades of gold, camel and olive are in growing demand. If you own a pool table, you'll one day need to replace the cloth, which can stretch or tear with wear. (Most home pool tables need new cloth every five to seven years; busy pool hall tables, meanwhile, often need the fabric replaced every six months or so.) According to Refugio Aguilar, longtime owner of Billiard & Game Co. in Dallas, new varieties and blends of fabric are beginning to rival traditional worsted wool as popular choices.
"The Teflon-coated fabrics are getting better," he says. Teflon has the advantage of repelling liquid, so a kid could dump a Coke on the cloth and it would bead up for wiping purposes. "Still, wool is the standard, and whereas you used to be able to get it in around 16 colors, today you have 40 to 50 different options."
For many, the pool table itself is only the beginning. The related furniture and accessories provide a real opportunity to shape the look of the room. At Universal Billiards in Frisco and Farmers Branch, where pool table prices range from $895 to $7,995, best-selling décor includes pub tables and chairs with an altitude appropriate for viewing the action.
Lisa Martin is an Arlington free-lance writer.


Foosball Fanatics Descend On Dallas

$150,000 prize has lured players from Japan to Costa Rica
Updated: 12:43 a.m. ET Sept. 3, 2005
DALLAS - At three minutes past midnight in an airport hotel, John Zoller begins a fifth day unsure whether his father and sister are alive back in New Orleans.
But, boy, is he ever rocking the five rod at Table 34.
Beneath a purple LSU hat and behind square glasses, Zoller’s eyes stalk the foosball. His arms move in jerky thrusts like he’s pulling levers on a backhoe. His fingers tickle the handle like a dragster itching to shift gears.
Finally, Zoller winds his wrist left before sharply cranking it in the other direction, spinning the plastic attackers that slap the chalky red ball down the table for the winning goal.
“I feel guilty, but in a way it’s making me play better,” said Zoller, who left New Orleans in his pickup a day before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area where his dad and sister remained. “I’m just trying to concentrate on the table. It’s like having something next to you so big that you don’t look at it.”
Table 34 and 129 others like it are arranged in long rows inside the DFW Airport Hyatt Regency ballroom, a wide space suited for high school proms and conventions for insurance salesmen. But, through Monday, this ballroom belongs to the World Foosball Championships and “Fooshers,” some 400 who took foosball beyond fraternity house basements and smoky pool halls and made it a competitive lifestyle.
The $150,000 pot has lured Fooshers from Japan to Costa Rica. Chris Marks of Germany spends two-thirds of his 30 vacation days each year at foosball tournaments like this one. Around 1 a.m. Friday, Marks is hunched over Table 24 across from the world’s best player, Frederico Collignon, a skinny, thin-armed Belgian who beats all comers while wearing a golf glove on his right hand and a fanny pack cinched tightly around his waist.
Free beer is poured into plastic cups that Fooshers leave empty in stacks beneath the tables. Giant plasma televisions air video from a camera mounted above the championship table. During the tournament, channel three in every hotel room carries the foosball feed nonstop so players can watch when they’re not downstairs.
Not that many leave the ballroom. And many who do are headed to a nearby parking garage that tournament organizers partitioned and converted into a makeshift bar for Fooshers. It’s like walking into a tavern built by set designers for a television sitcom — purposefully dim lighting, neon beer signs and, yes, more foosball tables.
Slide show: The Week in Sports Pictures

Sept. 12 - 19Click to see a flying Falcon, an unusual bike and much moreIf the ballroom is where Fooshers are herded for showtime, the parking lot bar is the artificial habitat where they retreat.
“It’s what a lot of these guys are used to,” said Dave Courington, one of the tournament’s organizers. “We wanted to make them feel at home.”
The gist of foosball is simple: First player or team to five wins. Games last around 15 minutes. Fooshers can’t talk while the ball is in play and — contrary to the first instinct of every first-time player in a college dorm commons area — it’s illegal to slap the handles and spin the rods like an axle.
And everyone in the ballroom is a Foosher. Everyone.
College blondes whose strategically low jeans stop just below their back tattoos watch boyfriends, then dart across the room when their game is announced. Moms who sit tableside wearing beige capris quietly watch their kids — then declare they’ve got next. Lisa Pride of Columbus, Ohio, said she won tournaments in the 1980s with daughter Lindsay Albert sleeping in a stroller parked next to her table.
Albert, now 20, teams with Marks in mixed doubles. The German is an intense player, cupping his hands near his mouth and loudly exhaling before touching the handles after each dead ball. When he and Albert score, Marks plants a hard open-hand slap on his partner’s rear. The slap is doubly hard after winning the match.
Nevermind that across the room — perhaps watching — is Albert’s boyfriend.
“It’s no big deal,” Albert said. “In the foosball world, it’s kosher. Not a lot of couples play together anyway.”
Alex Pipkin, a 10-year-old from Montana whose head peaks just over the table, plays while standing on a red box his dad built exclusively for foosball. Steve Mohs, a roof contractor from Minneapolis, slips on black sweatbands sporting the Air Jordan logo on his wrists and forehead for every game.
Alabama’s Cindy Head plays beneath banners that have her name printed on just about every one. With more than 35 world titles, she is the most accomplished women’s Foosher ever. About the only tournaments she didn’t win were those she couldn’t attend during her first years as a Birmingham police officer, since she didn’t have the seniority to get the vacation time.
Seven weeks ago, Head was trying to arrest a mental patient when he jumped and kicked her in the chest, knocking her to the ground. The fall fractured her right wrist.


Video Games Outsourced To India Give People Two Weeks To Learn "Fun"

By Aaron McKenna: Friday 23 September 2005, 18:15
FORGET ABOUT outsourcing your call centres to India, the video games industry is outsourcing the whole show with low wages and an abundance of programming skills making the country an attractive place to develop games.
"Our real advantage is that we can combine low costs with abundant creative talent and programming skills that can be tapped here," said Rajesh Rao, whose company, Dhruva Interactive, based in the southern technology hub of Bangalore, completed a project for Microsoft this year and launched its own tennis game for mobile phones in May.
A lot of projects undertaken in India are either smaller mobile phone games or labor intensive sections of larger videogames – for example 90 of the 250 cars that feature in Forza Motorsport were made in India. Other programming intensive tasks that tend to go to India is porting work in order to enable games to be played on multiple platforms.
Full creative design of games has not yet made a wholesale move to India however, with North America, Europe and Japan being the home of the creative directors. Ironically says Rao, Indian’s tend to spend too much time on study and not enough on playing videogames when they’re younger, leading to a creative skills deficit.
"Very few Indians grow up playing games, because they're too busy with studies and thinking about their future," Rao said. "We let our new employees just play games for the first two or three weeks, so that they will get hooked."


Help Hurricane Victims Playing Pinball

Thanks PinballNews.com
Nobody could be unaware of the devastation left by hurricane Katrina on the American states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, but the relief effort is being helped thanks to the work of some pinball fans.
The Free State Pinball Association (FSPA) is holding a fundraising event in association with the Volleyball House on Saturday 24th September in Elkridge, Maryland - 15 minutes from downtown Baltimore. It's a mixture of pinball and volleyball with all the proceeds from the event going to the Salvation Army. In addition, local businesses will match a proportion of the money raised to help the rescue efforts.
There will be a number of games on 50c play and also a tournament with A and B divisions and some great prizes for the winners. Games scheduled to appear include World Cup Soccer, Demolition Man, Theatre of Magic, The Shadow, Baywatch, Monopoly, The Simpsons Pinball Party, The Sopranos, Maverick, No Good Gophers, NASCAR, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Maverick, Road Show, Dr Who, Monster Bash along with classic games Seawitch, Hi Speed, Spectrum, Special Force and Asteroid Annie.
Entry to the event is $6 ($5 for students/kids/military/seniors) which includes free access to the six volleyball courts and entry to the games area. The tournament costs $3 per entry with qualifying taking place between noon and 8pm and the play-offs starting at 8:30pm. The event closes at midnight.
Further details of the fundraiser along with special deals on accommodation can be found on the FSPA website at: www.fspazone.org/charity/index.html


Hoping To Find Galaga? Pack Your Game Face

By Meredith Goldstein, Globe Staff September 18, 2005
We were just miles from glorious Pikes Peak, in a valley shadowed by impressive red rocks, but we couldn't take our eyes off the dark screens or our hands off the joysticks.
We played Ms. Pac-Man. We played Gallaga. We played Centipede.
My traveling companion beat Operation Thunderbolt (the sequel to Operation Wolf), and I was reminded of how awesome I am at mechanical Skee-Ball.
Other tourists in Colorado were probably enjoying nature, the fools.
Pikes Peak will be there forever. Dig Dug is endangered.
''There's nothing quite like this," said Alan Kearns, 54, who owns the seven-building Arcade Amusements gaming utopia in Manitou Springs, a small town about an hour from Denver and minutes from Colorado Springs.
Kearns has about 300 games in his 71-year-old arcade. He has Donkey Kong, Q-Bert, and Pole Position, along with most of the early 1980s arcade favorites.
Yes, he has Gorf.
''People will still come here and play Gallaga for hours," he said of other tourists who have stopped at his indoor-outdoor gaming mecca.
It was the highlight of our initially mountain-centered trip, and when I returned to Boston, I began to look into what arcades I might find on my next vacation.
Apparently, a good arcade is more than worth the trip to a video game fanatic, especially since more and more classic machines break down each year, and the industry has replaced Q-berts and the like with Xbox and PlayStation games meant for our living rooms.
Tony Perkins, 30, runs a website called classicgaming.com/locations, where he invites video game fans to report all findings of classic games across the country so that we can visit them in our travels. The site lists games and locations state-by-state with reviews.
Manitou Springs is one of the more respected locations listed on the site, with gamers praising the open air and a selection of games such as Tron, inspired by the 1982 film, and Tempest, one of the first games in color.
''Denver is a 28-hour round trip for me . . . this is an extra 2 hours (there and back ) . . . if you are anywhere near the Denver area you need to go here . . . most games in fantastic condition & only 25¢ to play . . . all of a sudden its 1983 all over again!!!!" posted one gamer named Rich.
Perkins said one of the most respected locations for arcade tourism is within an hour and a half of Boston, the home of Motorcycle Week: Laconia, N.H.
''They have everything and they do a fabulous job of maintaining everything," Perkins said of Funspot, the arcade by Weirs Beach.
By ''everything" he means the big games and the lesser-knowns that didn't last long. There is SpyHunter, a sit-down driving game; Mappy, which involves a mouse dressed as a police officer; and Tutankham, a labyrinth game, all from the early and mid-1980s.
Gary Vincent, operations manager at Funspot, said he welcomes tourists from across the country and beyond who have traveled there for the classic games. Vincent opened the nonprofit American Classic Arcade Museum on Funspot's third floor to preserve games for people to play at low prices -- 25 cents each.
''I get people who fly here to play. We've had people from England, Finland, Israel, Australia -- that's been about the furthest one so far," Vincent said. ''There just aren't many places you can go."
Perkins said the trick to arcade travel is working a game spot into an already-scenic trip. Laconia, of course, is the center of activity on Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire and a perennial tourist destination in summer, fall, and winter.
Kearns's arcade in Manitou Springs is arguably the most scenic of the bunch, and offers alternatives for anti-video game companions. Had we needed to escape the arcade, downtown featured quaint shops, restaurants, and of course a 14,000-foot mountain just a few miles away.
But with Space Invaders in our sights, we really didn't pay much attention to any of that.
Contact Meredith Goldstein at mgoldstein@globe.com.


Pinball of the Dead

The most fun you will ever have playing a pinball game !!!
By dbfan_05
September 19, 2005 - Introduction: For those of you still waiting for another House of the Dead game, here’s an appetizer for you. The game is called Pinball of the Dead. The game is pretty much a standard pinball game mixed with zombies. Your goal in the game is to beat the highest score on three different tables: Cemetary, Wonderful, & Movement. The story in the game is the same as House of the Dead 2, which is save the human race from flesh-eating zombies. But in a pinball game like this that has no ending to it, the story is irrelevant. Graphics: I was impressed with the graphics in this game. Sega most have used every bit of graphic horsepower that the little GBA has in this game. The tables look really good and the little shoot the zombie mini games are very fun. The zombies that run around the tables look like miniaturized versions of the zombies from House of the Dead 2 (with detail I might add). Overall, Sega has done a wonderful job with the graphics. Sound: This is my personal favorite from Pinball of the Dead. The music in the game is simply awesome. Its almost like midi-sized versions of the music from the House of the Dead series. It’s so much fun to hear a zombie scream in pain when your pinball smashes them to bits. Controls: The controls are pretty simple. You use the L & R shoulder buttons to use the flippers and D-Pad to nudge the table. What I didn’t understand about the first control scheme (default) is you can use the A Button for the right flipper but the B Button is used to nudge the table instead of controlling the left flipper. Personally, I used L Button for the left flipper & A Button for the right flipper. But if you don’t like the default controls, there is two more schemes to choose from. Gameplay: Well as I said earlier, the game is pinball mixed with zombies running around on the table. The fun part is smashing the zombies with the pinball. There is two modes of play. You have Normal Mode where you choose any of the three tables & your goal is to simply beat the high score at each table. The other mode is mostly the same, it’s called Challenge Mode. In Challenge Mode, you go through all three tables completing certain mission objectives for each table. You go from one table to the next. Once you run out of lives, its game over & your forced to start from the beginning table again. Luckily, there is a password feature to save your progress with. The game can be a little challenging (no pun intended) but fun none the less. Replay Value: This game could go on forever as there is no end to it. Killing zombies though is fun, and we like killing zombies don’t we ? That and trying to master the highest score at each table will get you hooked on this game for a long time.


Video Generation — Computer Games Help Players On The Field

SANDY SUMMERS/Yakima Herald-Republic Selah
Quarterback Kyle Washut plays a football video game after school Thursday. He thinks gaming helps his game in real life too. "You kind of get a feel for how the defense plays. And some of the reads are the same too." The high school quarterback steps to the line facing a third and eight and surveys what the defense is throwing at him. Nothing looks good, but something looks familiar.
Despite the obvious passing down, the defense is in its usual 3-4 scheme with the far left linebacker edging closer to line and rocking back and forth. Meanwhile the corners are moving toward the wide receivers to jam them at the line.
Three thoughts go through the quarterback's head: They're blitzing, we're running a play-action pass that's going to take time to develop and I'm going to taste the turf in a few seconds.
So what does the quarterback do? He doesn't panic because he's seen this before. And while in "Madden NFL 06" the video game he didn't have to worry about absorbing a hit from 200 pounds of linebacker, the game taught him a few things about how to recognize and beat this defense.
This is when the skepticism sets in with non-gamers wondering, "Wait a minute, a video game taught him how to read a blitz package and figure out a way to beat it? What about film study? What about practice? Video games are supposed to rot brains, not improve them."
Sure most parents would prefer their children picking up a book instead of a video game controller, but a lot of high school football coaches around the Valley don't mind their players heading home and switching on their video game consoles. Well, as long as the kids have done their homework first and they'd prefer that either "Madden NFL 06" or "NCAA Football 06" is the game of choice.
"I've heard of kids at high schools who run the option where the kids finally figure out the option based on playing ("NCAA Football")," said Selah football coach Jeff Jamieson, who got one of his team's blitz packages from a football video game. "It helps them understand how to read the defensive end to decide to give it or pull it."
As for the passing attack, the video game's realism impressed Prosser football coach Tom Moore, who claims when it comes to video game consoles "I can't even turn them on." He gets his exposure when watching his son, Mustang junior quarterback Kellen Moore, play.
"I've watched him play (the games) and it's real football," Tom Moore said. "They show cover 2 and cover 3 and they show real football coverages and you can really learn from watching it."
This can be a hard sell to some parents. Selah quarterback Kyle Washut said Jamieson had to explain to his mother that a video game actually can help him in real life.
"I can see the whole field and see what the different (defensive backs) are doing and what linebackers are blitzing," Washut said. "I don't know, it gets my mind on the game, making the reads and that kind of deal."
Football video games just have become another way for football players to supplement their football IQs. The Madden series is one of the most successful game franchises of all time with 46 million sold the past 16 years, said Chris Erb, the senior product manager for the Electronic Art's game.
The long-standing popularity means many current high school football players have grown up playing either the "Madden NFL" video games or the college version, "NCAA Football."
"My brother and I have played since we were pretty young and we've always been playing the game off and on," Kellen Moore said. "During the summer after a long day we might be playing the whole night."
This "Madden Generation" has developed alongside the video games. While they learn about different defenses, offenses and the football jargon that comes with them, the video game developers have worked toward making game play more and more realistic thanks to better technology.
The newest wrinkle to this year's Madden game is something Erb calls "vision and precision." Designed to replicate a quarterback's awareness in a game, a cone of lights shows the person playing the game where the quarterback is looking.
While a player can control things like pump fakes, audibles and even where the quarterback looks, the game still can't bring the smaller parts of the game — like the footwork and arm angle of a strong pass — that high school players work on each day. The people over at Electronic Arts, however, are trying their hardest to make sure the only difference between video games and the real thing is the power button.
"Everything we do every day is going toward making the most authentic NFL experience you can have," Erb said. "Everything from player models to stadium models to signs in the stands to pregame and postgame, we bring the authentic feel into the game as much as possible.
"Anytime we do something it's based on how something really is in NFL."


It's Play Day For Pinball Wizards, Arcade Enthusiasts

By Ashley Wiehle the southern
Pinball enthusiast Rob Craig of Marion with just a dozen of the more than 60 pinball and arcade machines in his personal collection. Craig is a member of the Southern Illinois Pinball Players Association which is The Heartland Pinball & Arcade Supershow Saturday at Williamson County Pavilion in Marion. (CEASAR MARAGNI/THE SOUTHERN) MARION - If your idea of nostalgia includes racing against three amorphous blobs who want to keep you from your cherries. If your goal in life is to spend your days smashing wooden barrels with a sledgehammer.Or if you fancy yourself as some sort of pinball wizard, then take note.Saturday is play day.The Heartland Pinball and Arcade Supershow opens at the Williamson County Pavilion at 8 a.m. Saturday, featuring more than 100 pinball and video arcade games.According to Rob Craig of the Southern Illinois Pinball Players Association - the show's sponsor - the event is ideal for both arcade game enthusiasts interested in adding to their collections and novice players.

An avid collector of pinball machines and arcade games himself, Craig will be bringing out his own machines - 43 of them.Present at the show will be unusual machines not easily found in street-corner arcades. Included among these is a game that will have players humming late 1980s rock music and, if someone doesn't stop them, accompanying it with an air guitar - Craig's own Guns 'n' Roses pinball machine. Sorry, Axl fans - this game is absolutely not for sale."There were a handful of pinball machines licensed through particular rock bands or individuals," Craig said. "There was the very popular KISS video game, and a Rolling Stones game. Licensing really didn't kick off until the 1970s. Guns 'n' Roses is an incredibly successful game, because the sound technology was able to incorporate a dozen or so songs from Guns 'n' Roses. It's an incredible game to play."If you don't have an "Appetite for Destruction" - to quote a popular Guns 'n' Roses song - there's no need to worry. With more than 100 arcade games for the price of an entry fee, there's likely to be a video game for everyone.Games will be available for those who are interested in buying, too.While not all games at the show will be for sale, there will be a wide variety of pinball and arcade machines looking for good homes, Craig said.Although all machines will be required to stay in the building until the show's completion, interested buyers are welcome to purchase a machine as soon as the doors open."The coolest thing about a show like this is that it lets people play all day, and if they like a pinball machine, they can tell if it's for sale," Craig said.A large convergence of pinball and video games in Southern Illinois is already drawing interest from arcade game enthusiasts across the region, Craig said.Organizing the event has kept Craig busy, but he said he is excited to be able to provide such an opportunity for Southern Illinois residents who aren't typically exposed to digitized nostalgia."It's a gift to them, so they can reap some type of fun factor," Craig said. "This isn't a show selling boats you can't use right there. This is an entertaining show."Admission is $10 for adults; $6 for children 6 to 12; and free for children 5 and under. Admission allows attendees to play games all day without dispensing a single quarter.Further information about this weekend's event is available at www.supershow.popbumper.com.ashley.wiehle@thesouthern.com618-529-5454 x 5807



WWE Superstars No Longer Allowed To Play Video Games

Story posted by Tim Brown on September 21, 2005
-- The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that yet another strange rule has been recently added to the long list that WWE has been putting together lately. Although it’s not known when the exact date this came into effect was, WWE management has recently told everyone that they are no longer allowed to play video games backstage at WWE events. No reason has been given for this new rule yet. Shelton Benjamin and Kane are both known for their mad skills when it comes to video games. In fact, Shelton Benjamin has won the WWE video game contest for the past three years straight, most recently defeating Kane in the finals at WrestleMania 21.


Gaming's Bygone Era Relived With Atari Gadget

By RON HARRIS Associated Press Writer
Some sobering news for anyone who has recently crested 40: Everything you grew up with is now officially retro.Clothes, music, hair styles - even video games. Long before "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas," there was "Pong," a simple video game from Nolan Bushnell and the folks at the original Atari Inc. Two paddles, one ball and no Hot Coffee mod to unlock hidden sex scenes. THAT was gaming. The Atari brand has traded hands in the years since "Pong" hit the scene, but the new owners are still milking some mileage out of this game and 39 others with Atari Flashback 2. This $30 device offers a fun and affordable glimpse into the gaming's past - one that, for better and worse, looks nothing like the present. The console itself looks like a scaled-down version of an old Atari 2600, with faux wood paneling and other dated details. There are no cartridges to plug in, as technology advances have made it easy to stuff all of the games onto a small chip inside. And the controllers are exactly like the Atari 2600 joysticks of yore. The unit connects to your home television through common audio and video RCA inputs. Many sets have these connections on the front, which is a bonus with this console because I found the cables that come with it a bit short.Among the 40 titles are classics like "Centipede," "Asteroids," "Missile Command," "Yar's Revenge" and "Pitfall." Some are licensed from Activision Inc., which made games for the 2600, but most are original Atari gems.How do these titles hold up in the face of today's video games with highly detailed graphics, Dolby Digital sound and online connectivity? As well as could be expected of large primary-colored blocks jumping around the screen. But there is magic in the way those blocks moved. Hours of magic.Games like "Missile Command" have the type of player interaction that remains viable in plot and movement. My mind was thrust back decades as I began to protect the cities closest to my ammunition bunker, keeping an eye peeled for smart bombs, those little blinking diamonds that fell from the sky and tried to evade my explosions.And "Millipede," a sequel to the popular "Centipede" title, was a blast. I was racking up extra lives on only my second attempt as I weaved past that infernal spider that crept from the corners seeking to squash me.The action games held up well, but adventure games like "Haunted House" and "Wizard" were mostly duds and offered little real suspense.Seriously. How scary can a blinking green square be anyway?The sounds produced by these games are rudimentary at best. Even my cell phone makes more intricate tones. Nonetheless, lots of people simply refuse to let go of retro-gaming.Consider that many who long for old quarter-gobbling arcade games like "Joust," "Defender" and "Crystal Castle" have gravitated to free software called MAME, short for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. MAME can run the original ROMs from hundreds of arcade game machines. And those ROMs are also readily available online.The legality of using MAME to play ROMs you don't actually own is up for debate. But an enthusiastic online community is keeping the old titles alive, and there's no debating the lure of a pixelated pastime that helped define a generation. Atari has done a nice job of legally giving us another look at these early games, long after the consoles themselves have been relegated to the dust bin.


Video Games Directly Responsible For The Popularity Of Anime

Posted Sep 22, 2005, 8:00 AM ET
by Vladimir ColeRelated entries: Culture
The Associated Press writes, “The popularity of animé, that uniquely Japanese form of animation, can be traced directly to the growth of video games, especially the Final Fantasy series and other role-playing epics like Dragon Warrior.”
The relationship between the two media is more complicated than that. First of all, anime has been around for nearly 100 years, so it’s far more likely that anime has had greater influence on games than the other way around.
Second, the relationship is more symbiotic than the article implies. Fans of the two entertainment forms tend to appreciate many of the same techniques, plot devices, and tropes. It’s difficult to imagine either form of entertainment evolving to the state that each is in today without the other. Anime is constantly referencing video games and games anime.
The AP’s list is a bit weak, though. Joystiq readers can do better than that AP reporter. What are your favorite anime-game pairings? Chalk one vote for cell shading technology.


'Obscene' Video Games Flood The Market

New Delhi, Sept 22 (PTI)
Just when you thought that the Mallika Sherawat MMSs and the XXX movies hitting the shop shelves was all that parents had to shield their children from, the porn threat has been re-newed in the form of obscene and semi-porn video games that are easily available in the market.The worst part is that such 'obscene' video games are being sold across the counter at any of the video game markets in India, and it isn't even illegal, because there is no certifying authority in India when it comes to video games.Most of the games in question are sold over the counter and carry a US-based ESRB (Entertainment Software Recruitment Board) certification which quantifies games as 'E', an everyone rating, 'M' mature rating suitable for people of ages 17 years and above, while the 'AO' adults only rating is for people above 18 years of age.However, this is where the twist in the tale comes in. "These certificates aren't valid or enforceable in India," a senior police official says. According to him, this seriously limits the police from taking action against shop-keepers who sell such games to young children. PTI



Filmmaker Turning Popular Video Games into Movies

Posted on Thursday, August 25 @ 11:29:10 CDT by xtv
Filmmaker, director, and fundraising extraordinaire Uwe Boll is Hollywood's best kept secret. While major directors like Mel Gibson and Steven Spielberg get the glory Boll is quietly making profitable movies has raised over $200 million dollars.
Seattle, WA, USA, August 24, 2005 -- Boll has been a successful producer of films since 1992 and since 2000 has placed more than 10 film investment funds with a volume of over EUR 250 million in Germany. His track record has risen by more than 50% per year.Boll's company Boll KG specializes in producing film versions of globally popular video games. These film versions offer the advantage of serving an already broad fan community as the moviegoers already know the video game and/or comic strip. Spiderman, Hulk, Lara Croft, House Of The Dead, Alone In The Dark and Bloodrayne are examples of this type of film that primarily attracts so-called "heavy users" Â people who go to the movies several times per month and often also play video games. 80% of the box office revenues are accounted for by 12- to 28-year-olds, and this is exactly the age group our productions target.Boll, who is currently working on Dungeon Siege which has a $60 million dollar budget, is accepted within the industry as a leading expert director for film versions of video games and is on the best of terms with all renowned game companies like Sega and Microsoft XBOX. In times when sensible and profitable investments are rare and the creditor interest paid by banks is not that good, Boll is on a mission to increase awareness about his profitable movie projects and opportunities that exist for people who would like to work with his company. "We have continuously improved our position in the film market that is dominated by U.S. companies. We were able to push through unique conditions as regards profit distribution or payment terms in favor of our investors. Guarantee payments and revenues are remitted directly to our account from all over the world, without any intermediate global distribution layer. At the same time we succeeded in signing top level Hollywood actors for our projects. Thanks to our unique film making business model we can continue producing films that would require twice the production budget in Hollywood," explains Boll. Boll has mastered a system that can produce full-length, English-language films in movie-theater quality starring U.S. actors that have the potential of being screened in movie theaters throughout the world. U.S. films command an average global market share of 80%. Therefore producing films that foreign markets perceive as "made in the U.S.A.", although all key positions are filled with Canadians and Germans.


Granholm Cracks Down On Violent Video Games

2 new laws are signed Wednesday
By Kirk Yuhnke
Mid Michigan - (09/14/05)--Gov. Jennifer Granholm is getting tough when it comes to underage children buying violent and sexually explicit video games.
She was in Flint Wednesday to put her seal of approval on two new laws. They basically make it illegal for any store to sell video games rated M or NC-17 to anyone under the age of 17.
The governor says she wants Wednesday's press conference to send a message to stores that are thinking about selling to kids.

Gene Mayhew is a manger at Jelly Beans. They have a store on Fenton Road that sells plenty of video games. He says kids try to buy adult games. He says that doesn't fly when he's running the shop.
"You've got to have mom or dad here if you're going to buy something with parental guidance on it," he said.
And that's exactly what the governor is forcing stores across the state to do.
"We want to put the ammunition in the hands of parents," Granholm said. "If a parent wants their children to have these games, then they can buy it for them."
Wednesday she signed two laws that will help police enforce that -- something the Genesee County sheriff says he plans to do with more sting operations.
"Every family wants to feel that their kids are not getting materials that they ought not to have," said Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell.
Starting Dec. 1, if you plan on buying a game with an M rating then you better plan on bringing an ID with you. If you're underage, then you better plan on bringing mom and dad instead.
Mayhew says where he works not much will change; they already enforce the game ratings. But he's happy to see the new laws.
"It makes the parents more aware of what their kids are buying if they're going to have to be accompanied by the parent to buy whatever the hippest video game is or the most violent thing is," he said.
If a store is caught trying to sell any of the adult games to someone under 17, there's a pretty heavy penalty -- a $5,000 fine and the possibility of up to one year behind bars.
The governor says the next step is educating parents about what their children are playing.


Video Games Focus Of International Conference At MSU

Contact: Kirsten Khire, Communication Arts and Sciences, (517) 355-3410; or Russ White, University Relations, (517) 432-0923, whiterus@msu.edu
EAST LANSING, Mich.  The next generation of video games will be explored at an international conference at Michigan State University.
The International Academic Conference on the Future of Game Design and Technology takes place Oct. 13-15 in the MSU Union.
“The goal of Future Play is to bring together academics, industry representatives and students to advance game design and technology through peer-reviewed research, creative and experimental game design and development, and formal and informal discussion on academic and industry-related topics,” said Brian Winn, MSU assistant professor of telecommunication, information studies and media and one of the organizers of the conference.
The conference focuses on three main themes.
Future game development, addressing academic research and emerging industry trends in game technology and game design.
Future game impacts and applications, including academic research and emerging industry trends focused on designing games for learning, for serious purposes and to impact society.
Future game talent, designed to provide a number of industry and academic perspectives on the knowledge, skills and attitude it takes to excel in the games industry.
Future Play will address these issues through keynote addresses from leaders in academia and industry; peer-reviewed paper sessions; panel sessions, including academic and industry discussions; design, technology and career workshops; posters; games; and the latest game technologies and supports from industry-leading vendors.
The highlight of the games exhibition is a peer-reviewed competition of games in three categories: Future (experimental) Games, Serious Games and Student Games.
Participating video games industry icons including Chris Hecker from Maxis in California (creators of the Sims series); Ernest Adams from International Hobo in the UK (audio/video producer of John Madden Football); Brenda Brathwaite from Cyberlore Studios, Massachusetts (designer of the award winning Wizardry and Jagged Alliance games, as well as Playboy: The Mansion); and Greg Costikyan from Nokia Research Center, New York, are either running workshops or lecturing.
The Future Play conference builds on the recent game-related activity at MSU that includes the launch of a Game Design and Development specialization this fall in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media.
Known internationally as a major U.S. public university with global reach, MSU has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research, and outreach for nearly 150 years. The MSU Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media creates, develops, and applies knowledge of media systems and services for the benefit of students, academy, industry, and society, empowering students to thrive in an information society.
Future Play grew out of the former Computer Game Technology Conference initiated and run by Algoma University College in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Algoma is home to more than 1,300 students with more than 25 degree programs.
Full conference details and online registration are available at www.futureplay.org


Video Games: The Movie

Aug 29, 2005
Cody "The_Exorcist" Jackson
“I'd like one ticket to Halo and three for Doom, please”. No, you didn't misread that, and in fact, you yourself may be saying something similar far sooner than you think. Yes, these days such a plethora of our favorite video games are making their transition to the big screen. A deal is already close rumored to be in the works with Microsoft, Universal and Fox reportedly teaming up. Doom is coming to a theater near you in the fall. We game reviewers critique, nitpick, and examine so many games to keep the industry on their toes, did we forget to tell them to do a good job with the movies too?
Unfortunately, it is a growing trend for video game to movie crossovers to bomb on a scale near Gigli at the box office. Come to think of it, the movie to video game crossovers aren't all that hot either. The industries really seem to have no real connection to their counterparts to truly display these somewhat fine works of art in another form of media. Ok seriously, how many people have played Alone in the Dark from back in the day? Now, how many people went to see the movie, or for that matter even knew it was made into a movie?
Right about now you may be thinking, “Well, what about Tomb Raider?" Ok, this is one example where they almost got it right, and yes I said almost. If Angelina Jolie was not in it to add a little "spice" to Lara's already sexy reputation, would it really have been noteworthy? The first time I watched I loved it, but then I started to notice things like the fact that Lara seems to be protected by some surreal force-field, keeping her from ever having a bullet touch her. Fully automatic weapons were fired from near point-blank range, and not a single hit. Still, it was one of the better examples of this genre and unfortunately we must now go a little farther down the ladder.
It's interesting to note that while Hollywood loves to slam the plot of video games, most of the games these movies are based off of actually have better writing than their movie counterparts. Take Final Fantasy for example; the movie Spirits Within had a decent plot, but you were thrown right into the middle of the story. The characters in the games were so much more diverse than the movie characters. Heck, Barret had more diversity in his non-Gun arm the than the good Dr. Cid from Spirits had in his entire CGI structure. Don't get me wrong, the graphics were amazing and CGI is probably the safest route to go for a video game movie, but when you take away the game's story and take away our controller, there's not much left for a gamer to like, is there?
Seeing as how I'm not much of RPG buff, I won't dwell on Spirits Within. Instead I'll move on to other movie-games like Street Fighter and (forgive me for remembering) Super Mario Brothers. Street Fighter is quite possibly the best known fighting game next to Tekken. They decided to make a movie of it by throwing Jean-Claude Van Damme in, making Guile the main character, and then mixing a bunch of actors no one had heard of, plus poor Raul Julia got stuck playing M. Bison so the movie would have some legitimate acting talent. It was kind of cool to get a little background on some of the characters but the story was as dry as the Sahara. They also tried to add a little bit of comedy to make it more rich but they apparently forgot that comedy is supposed to make you laugh. Ok, if you were five or six when you watched it, Zangief blurting out,"Quick, change the channel!" was kind of funny. Now, however, it's just sad.
If I could bear any more I would, so I will only mention one more game-movie. It was my first one, and at the time it was so special to me...Super Mario Bros. I actually own this movie on VHS. With a cast that is decently well known and has moved on to better movies like Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo it should have been a pretty good movie. On the back of the cassette the best review quote the Lightmotive/Allied Filmmakers could come up with was....say it with me...."Eye-Popping special effects". Ok, this movie was halfway decent when I was a kid, but at the age I am now I would have hated it. You get really high hopes when you see a wind-up Bob-bomb. Oh, I was overjoyed! Then I found out Mario and Luigi would have had to been in the NBA to jump on the Goombas' heads, Bowser was human, the Princess's Dad is in it as a fungus. (One that almost made a seven-year-old cry.) If you haven't watched it, please read this before you do. Yoshi....cannot be.....ridden...in a Super Mario movie. WHO casts Yoshi as a 2-foot lizard in a MARIO movie!!!! Ok, I feel much better. But seriously, this represents game-movies at its worst. Some of our favorite characters in their one shot at big screen glory, and it ends up being one of the worst movies of all time.
Its really sad to see so many of our favorite characters come to the big screen with so little of the heart developers put into the games. These game-based movies are just big Hollywood studios' pathetic efforts to get a quick weekend score. In every case it seems they want to strip away all of the things that made these characters popular to gamers in order to “introduce them to a larger demographic”. They feel no attachment to the art these games and the characters within represent. Guys like Uwe Boll throw a movie together with some scatterbrained plot, sprinkle in some special effects and explosions, and then find whichever big name video game characters' movie rights are still up for sale, slap something like “Tetris: The Movie” on it, and call it day's work. They are merely interested in trying to hook optimistic fans for one opening weekend to receive a short burst of profit. It’s a sad and pathetic attempt to cover the fact they are completely out of new ideas.
So whats my advice to you consumers who have the money for upcoming game-movies? Wait a few weeks and read a review. Sure, it might not be in theaters any more by then, but you'll feel better knowing that by not going to see it you finally helped put Uwe Boll out of a job. If you want to play it real safe, just wait and rent it. If you must own it, get it off of Ebay. They have tried and tried and maybe eventually they will get it right, but as game developers get better at expressing the thematic elements on the small screen....how long will it be before Hollywood catches up with us? Doom has a shot at being decent seeing as how special effects will work well with a shoot 'em up game, and Doom didn't exactly have a plot. But...Halo? For the love of money, or whatever deity you Hollywood-types pray to these days, please get this right! I seriously hope they understand the burden of taking on this game and how important it is to so many fans. My advice for Universal and Fox would be a nice one-liner from Halo. Once more, guys, this time with feeling.

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