TEAM USA RECLAIMS GOLDEN TEE CUP
(posted Friday, November 18, 2005 -- 2PM)
Team USA reclaimed the cup from the World Team this year during last month's Ryder Cup-style team competition at the 2005 Golden Tee World Championship, held Nov. 13-15 at Friday's Front Row in Orlando, FL. The U.S. team beat the world players 38 to 10, having had more access to the Golden Tee Live platform on which the competition was played. In the individual competition, 2003 World Champion Chris Eversole, of Atlanta, GA, beat Enzo Polidori, from Brantford, Ontario, to become the 2005 Golden Tee World Champion. He is the first two-time champion in the history of the event! Eversole won $15,000 for his efforts
Walter Day appears in Guinness World Records book
After 25 years as the worldwide electronic gaming industry's official scorekeeper, Twin Galaxies has gained the attention of Guinness World Records, the experts on superlatives and world records.
Filling a two-page spread, Guinness World Records has lavished generous attention on the electronic gaming hobby in its 2006 volume, now on the newsstands. Among the many dozens of entries are revealing facts on who won history's largest video game cash prize or where the largest arcade in history was located.
And, on page 180 of the prestigious tome, Twin Galaxies receives a mention, where it reads: "LONGEST SERVING PROFESSIONAL GAMING REFEREE. Walter Day (USA), founder of Twin Galaxies, has been refereeing world computer game high scores since 1982, when his database of high-score statistics was first made available to the public. He has refereed high scores ever since and has been recognized by most of the major games manufacturers."
For more information, go to this link: (www.twingalaxies.com/index.aspx?c=19&id=1204).
Pinball maker Gary Stern interviewed on Chicago radio show
Nick and Garry of The Nick Digilio and Garry Lee Wright Show interviewed Gary Stern about pinball of both yesterday and today, as well as the Pinball EXPO 2005, which is in Rosemont, IL this November 17th-19th.
Gary Stern said, "I was delighted to be on Chicago radio and talk about pinball. I was thrilled with the number of people calling in who were interested and knowledgeable about pinball. They were players and often owners of our games."
There was such interest by callers, and by Nick and Garry Lee, that the interview was doubled from 1/2 to a full hour.
InfoSpace and Skee-Ball Put New Twist on Classic Arcade Game for Mobile Phones
With more than a dozen single player levels, innovative game boards, challenging level objectives, and tournaments for prizes, Skee-Ball for Prizes takes the arcade classic to a new level on mobile. The concept of the game remains true to classic Skee-Ball, as gamers try to score by rolling 3D balls down an alley into pockets on unique game boards. Players can challenge up to four friends on one phone with the Pass N' Play mode. Players can also compete against other gamers in tournaments for exciting prizes.
Legendary Video Game Stars from the Early 1980s to Gather in Texas
A video game convention of superstars who were prominent back in the early 1980s is scheduled for Humble, Texas, Dec. 2-4, 2005.
Among the dozens of visiting celebrities will be Abdner Ashamn of Brooklyn, N.Y., who is world famous as the record holder on Ms. Pac-Man and Robotron. Also, coming from San Jose, Calif., is Mike Klug, a legendary competitor and former world record holder on Atari's Pole Position; and Greg Sakundiak of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who held many world records on classic arcade games during the ‘80s but retired from gaming to pursue a career in professional arm wrestling.
Created by Callan Hendricks and Dwayne Richard, proprietors of Totally Amused, a Humble firm that specializes in selling and repairing classic video games from the 1978-1986 era, the event will allow the public to play nearly 100 classic video games while noted gaming celebrities demonstrate gaming tips and tell stories from the "arcade era" of the early 1980s.
Called the Legends of the Golden Age: A Tribal Gathering of the Greatest Video Game Superstars of the 1980s, the event will feature high-score contests on dozens of games, allowing players to potentially win listings in Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of world Records, the industry's official record book.
Walter Day, editor of the record book, will be at the event to conduct the contests and verify the high scores for the record book. Not only will there be two national events on classic games like Turbo-Sub and Aztarac, but the highlight of the weekend will be two additional arcade contests featuring two of the top arcade games currently in the nation's arcades. Promoted as The Houston Arcade Championships, this additional tournament features Target: Terror and The Fast and the Furious, both games manufactured by Raw Thrills Inc., a Chicago-based company that was founded by Eugene Jarvis, the creator of the legendary Stargate and Robotron video games. These two modern games have been donated to the activities courtesy of Betson Enterprises.
For more information, contact Callan Hendricks, (832)347-6570; or Walter Day, Twin Galaxies (641)472-1949; or go to (http://www.twingalaxies.com/).
UK PINBALL SHOW 2005
What happens when you take two of these 45 foot trailers:
...add a bunch of other vans and trucks, fill them with pinballs from around the country and take them to Aston Villa Football Club? The answer is the UK Pinball Show 2005.
Pinball machine out of Legos???
But that's exactly what Gerrit Bronsveld & Martijn Boogaarts from The Netherlands have achieved.
The two showed their creation at the recent LegoWorld exhibition in Zwolle in The Netherlands where more than 500 children got the chance to play it over the six days of the event.
Obviously, the ball itself couldn't be made from lego blocks and a regular 1 1/16" steel pinball was just too heavy for the Lego motors, so a 1" glass ball was used as the main playing ball and a regular steel ball was used for the tilt mechanism. But the rest of the game is 99.99% pure Lego.
The development of the first game
Now called Crocodile Hunter Outback Adventure the game is tied in with Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo attraction on Australia's Gold Coast and with his series on Discovery's Animal Planet channel.
The Pinball Factory's Wayne Gillard told Pinball News the artwork is"pretty much final" so we shouldn't expect any significant changes before production begins. This should be in 2006, having been delayed by the deal with Williams and the consequent need to manufacture parts.
Although the game in these images does not show it, the production game will still have the front speaker cutouts in the cabinet to provide surround sound.
Wayne also confirmed that at present the backbox is removable like the Pinball 2000 version and doesn't fold down onto the playfield like more traditional designs. One aspect that will be retained is the four button coin door controls for the menu system. This survived the Pinball 2000 changes and is well understood by operators and technicians, though the range of options is likely to expand.
MTV to pimp video games on-air and online
Published: November 14, 2005 3:42 PM PDT
by Marcus Lai
MTV said Monday that the network will launch its first ever GameORZ Week through various network properties on-air, online, and on campus.
The new programming will focus on hardware, new games, game development, lifestyle, competitions, and more.
"Video games are at the forefront of our audience's daily lives just like music, fashion and movies," said Christina Norman, President, MTV.
"GameORZ Week will be a multiplatform entertainment experience for gamers that will showcase the touch points where music, stars, and video games intersect with youth culture."
GameORZ Week will kick off on TRL next week on Nov. 21 for the launch of Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. TRL will give away a 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI, give viewers a sneak at new mobile devices, and spotlight brand new games.
Other programs include the True life: I'm a Professional Gamer on Nov. 20, This Sims Life on Nov. 21, and Cyberathlete Professional League Finals on Nov. 26. MTV News will feature game related news programming, including Racism & Online Gaming, Gaming as Homework, and Gaming Cost Me My Girlfriend.
MTV2 will pimp new shows like Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Xbox 360: A Gamer's Paradise, Making the Video Game: True Crime: New York City, Are You Game?, Video Mods, and MTV2 Hip-Hop hosted by 50 Cent.
For more information visit http://games.mtv.com
Playing for keeps
By Jason HillNovember 17, 2005
Electronic games were once confined to children's bedrooms, but in just 10 years the gaming industry has been transformed into a mass-market entertainment behemoth. Three-quarters of all Australian households now have a device for playing computer or console games. In a decade, Australian annual spending on gaming products has risen from $90 million to $850 million.
A comprehensive new study on Australian game-playing habits and opinions by Bond University has found that the average gamer is 24 years old and 38 per cent are female. As testimony to the popularity of interactive entertainment, 70 per cent of gamers play at least once a week and more than half believe they will continue to play as often in 10 years' time.
Games are an accepted part of everyday Australian life. About 78 per cent of adults in game-playing households say games are educational and 58 per cent see them as a social activity.
"The report proves beyond a doubt that video gaming is not just for children and is no longer the domain of only boys and men," Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia president John Watts says. "Video gaming is something the majority of Australian households partake in on a regular basis."
Games industry analyst Matthew Liebmann, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, says the research demonstrates interactive games are now mainstream entertainment.
"Any lingering stereotypes of this being entertainment solely for teenage boys are outdated and incorrect," he says. "We expect some further growth in the average age because gamers are increasingly less likely to churn out of interactive gaming."
PlayStation, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Australia this week, has been instrumental in the gaming market's growth. Sony has sold more than 4 million consoles in Australia, including 2.5 million PlayStations and 1.8 million PlayStation 2s.
Worldwide, the 102 million PlayStations and 96 million PS2s sold dwarf the global sales of iPod (28 million), a product regularly labelled as representing the entertainment zeitgeist.
Using astute marketing and relevant games, Sony has helped make gaming cool and attracted millions of new players, opening up the young adult market, which was virtually untapped. The Entertainment Software Association now estimates annual worldwide game sales are more than $38 billion.
Dr Jeffrey Brand, associate professor in communication and media at Bond University, says that for many adults, "PlayStation re-ignited our imagination with video games".
"The introduction of hip music (Wipeout), iconic characters (Crash Bandicoot), adult male appeal (Lara Croft) and an easy hand controller with vibration feedback all worked together to create a sense that the future of entertainment would soon be upon us."
Dr Andrew Stapleton, a game researcher at Swinburne University of Technology, says PlayStation succeeded because it offered compelling technology at the right price and a wide range of games. Globally, more than 8500 PlayStation-branded games have been released.
"Sony marketed very aggressively and could draw on its brand awareness as a maker of quality consumer electronics," Stapleton says. "These factors - price, technology and marketing - meant it was very attractive to game developers."
Sony was a rank underdog when it first announced plans to enter the video games business - and still remains unpopular with some dedicated gamers. With no experience, analysts gave the Japanese electronics firm little hope of taking on Sega and Nintendo at their own game.
It was Nintendo that aroused Sony's interest in electronic games after forging a partnership to develop a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Nintendo ended the relationship just a day after the first PlayStation prototype was revealed at Chicago's Consumer Electronics Show in 1991. Despite the embarrassing setback, Sony pursued the PlayStation project alone, with a different device eventually making its Japanese debut three years later.
A key decision was designing PlayStation's processing power to specialise in shifting three-dimensional "polygons" rather than the 2D graphics that had defined previous generations of video games. The CD format would also prove crucial, enabling high-quality music soundtracks and cheap manufacturing compared to expensive cartridges.
PlayStation was launched in Australia on November 15, 1995, for an intimidating $699. In contrast to previous game marketing aimed at children, Sony's advertising campaign targeted young men with disposable incomes.
Games such as Wipeout, a futuristic racer, with techno music from leading dance bands, and 3D fighter Tekken, helped define PlayStation's cool street image. Later titles such as schlock-horror adventure Resident Evil and realistic driving simulation Gran Turismo also attracted many adults.
Despite solid early sales and a catalogue of popular arcade games such as Daytona and Virtua Fighter, competitor Sega Saturn had a short life.
By the time another PlayStation rival, the Nintendo 64, was launched in 1997, Sony had sold 11 million consoles worldwide and dropped PlayStation's Australian price to $299, further boosting sales.
PlayStation 2 was launched locally in November 2000 for $749. Sales were initially slow but PS2 has since enjoyed a 75 per cent market share against the technologically superior Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube in Australia and Europe. Sega, the market leader a decade ago, no longer makes consoles after being muscled out.
Building on its brand strength, Sony used new hardware toys to widen PS2's audience. The EyeToy digital camera series let players wave their hands to interact with the on-screen action, and the microphone-equipped SingStar karaoke games attracted many women.
Both the original PlayStation and PS2 had technically superior competitors, yet are an example of how the best technology does not always dominate, according to Swinburne University of Technology lecturer Dr Mark Finn. "Sony has very deep pockets for marketing its product as well as the ability to draw on its music and film companies for licensed content," he says.
"Over time, Sony was able to convince the public that gaming wasn't just for geeks and nerds by associating relatively cool activities like skateboarding with the platform.
"The wider audience (then) came to associate gaming with the Sony brand."
Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo and a member of the original PlayStation design team, says: "When we started the PlayStation format our most important objective was to make games cool."
But other game developers remain surprised at PlayStation's success and the growth of the industry.
Clemens Wangerin, a studio director who worked on Wipeout, says: "I don't think anyone envisioned the explosive growth that our industry has seen in the past
10 years and the mass market's adoption of gaming as one of their favourite pastimes."
Evan Wells, creative director at Naughty Dog, developer of Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter, says when he started in the games industry "it was definitely still seen as a very geeky pursuit".
"Now, when you are at a party or a bar and the topic of jobs comes up, being in the games industry definitely gets a lot of respect. PlayStation is responsible for making playing games cool."
Ted Price, chief executive officer of Insomniac, the creator of Spyro and Ratchet and Clank, says PlayStation accelerated the shift from toys to mainstream fare. "But back then, I don't think it was apparent to anyone how huge the industry was going to become."
David Jaffe, creator of Twisted Metal and God of War, says PlayStation's best achievement is "moving games into the mainstream. Since I started back in 1993, Sony always has talked about games as being as important a medium as film".
Yoshiki Okamoto, creator of Street Fighter II and Devil May Cry, describes PlayStation as "revolutionary - PlayStation has changed gaming, distribution, sales, image and more".
But despite PlayStation's success, Sony's lead in such a fast-changing industry is not assured. Ensuring next year's PlayStation 3 is as successful as its predecessors will be difficult.
Microsoft will be first to release a "next-generation" console in Australia early next year after building a solid foundation of Xbox fans. Xbox 360 is a powerful console with an excellent online service and broad multimedia capabilities.
Nintendo also plans to release its innovative "Revolution" console next year. Eschewing the traditional joypad, Revolution uses motion sensor controllers waved in the air as with swords or musical batons.
Bond University's GamePlay Australia 2005 study revealed more than 50 per cent of Australian gamers plan to buy a new console in the next two years.
"I see games heading towards being interactive movies," says a 35-year-old Melbourne man surveyed in the study.
"You can choose a character and instead of putting up with some Hollywood scriptwriter's ideas of what to do, you do it yourself. I think its going to get better and better and more lifelike."
New stamp collection in France celebrates video games
The characters featured are: Link (The Legend of Zelda), Mario (Nintendo), French game star Abidou, Pac-man, Prince of Persia, Rayman, Lara Croft, Spyro the Dragon, Donkey Kong and The Sims. The Post Office have also published a 60 page book about the history of video game industry with an introduction by Ken Kutaragi, so-called ‘Father of the Playstation' and President of Sony Computer Entertainment.
Films can be made inside video games
WATCH THE VIDEO
MachinimaVideo game fans will enjoy these films called machinima, which are made inside 3-D video games.
Machinima is a new kind of filmmaking that takes place entirely inside of 3-D video games. At www.festival.machinima.org, you can find out about the nominees for this year’s Machinima Awards, or Mackies. To view the nominees, log on to www.machinima.com and look through the Shows menu.
Among the favorites in this year’s competition is “Red vs. Blue.” This team makes short films created inside of the game Halo. Now in its third season, “Red vs. Blue” is usually comedic, and includes subtle nods to the absurdity of the game play itself. In one episode, a pair of space Marines questions the nature of their existence and why they are fighting so much in the first place.
Bot is a death-match robot who is unhappy with his role in the world.
Another contender this year is titled “Bot.” It’s the story of a “passive” death-match robot that takes a leap of faith in an attempt to change his destiny. It was made using the engine from the video game Unreal. “Bot” is clearly inspired by Grand Theft Auto, and even uses some of the technology from the Unreal engine, but it does not star the characters from any particular game.
Back at Machinima.com, the homepage has a link to some tutorials that can help you get started making Machinima movies. There is even a section filled with software tools that can be downloaded and used in the production process.
Industries find serious uses for video games
Video games used for military, job training experience
Mary Beth Lehman Chief Reporter
November 17, 2005
Video games aren’t just for fun anymore. The expanding genre of serious games can effectively help to train workers in some of the nation’s most important industries including defense, education, health care and marketing.
Ben Sawyer is the cofounder of the Serious Games Initiative and the Games for Health Project. The initiatives work to expand on the technologies of game design and explore serious applications for games.
“The goal was to build a platform that could serve to promote the idea that there were tools within the computer game industry that could be applied outside the entertainment domain,” Sawyer said.
There are three main sectors which Sawyer said are showing a lot of growth and promise this year: defense, health care and education.
“In the military space, there’s a lot of promise,” Sawyer said. “I think they’re only a few more years from making games a pervasive part of the way they train.”
Education and health care industries show more room for growth, he said.
The military, however, has proved to be one of the more successful role models when it comes to creating serious games. As well as using games as training tools, the military has also used games as marketing tools.
“I’m really enthused by some of the military stuff that I’ve seen, like ‘America’s Army’ I think has done a fantastic job building a new advertising and marketing model for the Army,” Sawyer said, “I think some of the work has been really interesting.”
One of the Army’s more popular serious games, which has experienced a lot of success, is the military marketing tool “America’s Army.” The game, originally playable on PC on the Army’s Web site, is now available for Xbox, as of Tuesday, and will be playable on Playstation 2 in January, according to Ubisoft executive producer Tony Van. The game was a joint effort between game developers and the Army.
“Our goal was to embrace the Army brand values, and create a new type of game for the crowded military market,” Van said. Sawyer said in addition to getting a new entertainment game for consoles, Ubisoft and the Army have also expanded on their success with serious games by making the move to consoles.
“I think the taxpayers are getting a great deal for their money,” Sawyer said, “Essentially the taxpayers funded the PC version.”
Ubisoft feels that the transfer of a serious PC game to console will go off without a hitch. The company also denies accusations that the game is a recruiting tool.
“‘America’s Army: Rise of a Soldier’ is a mainstream console game, and not a recruiting tool,” Van said, “Ubisoft created a product to not only stand next to its other military games, but to compete against all the posers out there.”
Sawyer said despite the success of games like “America’s Army,” the misconception in the field is that games will work as training tools just because they are games.
“The misconception is thinking that everything that works in traditional gaming translates to games that are going to work for training,” Sawyer said, “We’re a long way off from seeing such automatic transfer.”
It doesn’t always work out so well, though. As in any genre, there are always flops, Sawyer said.
“There’s a lot of really interesting things we can do with these technologies,” Sawyer said, “That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re building the next ‘Super Mario.’ … We just have to keep exploring what this new type of game development really is and what works and what doesn’t.”
Researcher aims to prove that video games are addictive
Researcher Sabine Grüsser-Sinopoli of Berlin's Charité University Clinic presented images from games sequences to a group of gamers. She used an EEG to measure their brain activity. The measurements revealed that the brains of gamers react to such images similar to the way that compulsive gamblers react when they see a deck of cards or the way that heroin addicts react when they see needles. Presenting her findings on Monday in Washington at the Society for Neurosciences, the researcher believes that her study suggests that video games might be addictive.
Grüsser-Sinopoli believes that many of the effects of drug addiction that last the longest have to do with acquired response behavior rather than chemical reactions in the brain. In addition, addicts also come to associate things actually not directly related to their drug addiction – such as the street where they buy their heroin – with the physical experience of drug consumption. Such relations survive in the brain many years after the physical addiction has been overcome.
For more, see Technology Review aktuell:
Three new video games are designed to make you sweat
By MATT SLAGLE, AP Technology WriterThursday, November 17, 2005 1:07 AM PST
There's nothing too physically demanding about most video games. A few manufacturers, however, have decided the only proper way to enjoy one is to break a sweat.A look at a some recent titles where getting off the sofa is a prerequisite to playing:EyeToy: Kinetic(Rated E, $49.99, PlayStation 2)
"EyeToy: Kinetic" from Sony Computer Entertainment intends to be a personal fitness trainer for the 21st century, with mixed results.As with Sony's previous EyeToy games, "Kinetic" uses a USB camera peripheral to superimpose an image of yourself on the television screen, tracking your body movements.Setup was a bit of a chore. It took me a while to properly focus the camera, and I had trouble getting it to consistently track my hands, arms and legs.You'll need plenty of square footage, too. I had to clear out the sofa and coffee table from my living room to make way for all the lunging, kicking and general flailing about.When "Kinetic" worked as advertised, it was fun powering through the included four "fitness zones," such as combat mode, where you have to punch and kick colored spheres as they bounce across the screen.The advice from the male and female digital trainers doesn't go much beyond mundane encouragement like "You're doing great!" And without a heart rate monitor or other scientific gauge, I wonder how precise and personalized this sort of training can be.Though it's going to cost a lot more, anyone who's serious about fitness will probably get more out of a gym membership."Kinetic" is a good idea if you're looking for a way to break up your existing regimen. At times, I forgot I was getting a decent workout, and that's no easy feat for someone like me, who only runs if I'm being chased.