A Push for Video Games at the Olympics

The founder of Global Gaming League hopes to bring gaming to the 2008 Olympics.
By Li C. Kuo Ted Owen, the chairman and founder of the Global Gaming League, wants to bring competitive gaming to the 2008 Olympics in China. According to CNN, Owen is trying to convince the Chinese government to make this happen. Apparently, Owen believes that showcasing competitive gaming in the Olympics will get more youths to tune in to the event. Over the past few years, ratings for the Olympics have been lagging. While Owen is encouraged by how talks are going with the Chinese government, he's yet to bring up the topic to the International Olympic Committee itself. There's no denying that Owen is facing an uphill battle. The IOC does not officially recognize competitive video gaming, and the committee isn't exactly a big fan of a hobby that encourages long bouts of physical inactivity. However, gaming is experiencing huge growth in Asia and is taken much more seriously there than it is in the states. Not only that, but if the IOC recognizes bridge, chess, and billiards, why not video games as well?


Video games sales booming, academic says

Thursday Jun 1 16:26 AEST
The latest video games are more popular than new blockbuster movies, they are not necessarily blood and gore fests and more than a third of devotees are women, new research has found.
Griffith University professor of marketing Frank Alpert said after a relatively short history, video games now regularly outmuscle movies with the latest offerings often outperforming new hyped up films in opening week sales.
"It's only been around for about 25 years yet the entertainment software industry now outsells the movie box office," Prof Alpert said.
Prof Alpert said video game sales would outstrip CD sales in a few years time, mainly due to the growth of internet downloading of music.
But despite the massive popularity of video games, Prof Alpert was "amazed" at the lack of literature and knowledge about the industry while researching his paper entitled Entertainment Software: Suddenly Huge, Little Understood.
"A lot of older people didn't grow up with it, don't play it and don't understand it. A lot of a younger people aren't yet in a position to write about it," said Los Angeles-born academic, who came to Australia 11 years ago.
Prof Alpert found in his studies that the average age of a game player was 33 and women comprised 38 per cent of players.
Although action games remain the No.1 sellers, the design and production companies are trying to encourage more women into the market.
A prime example is the Will Wright-designed game The Sims, which simulates the day-to-day activities of one or more virtual people in a suburban household.
"It's the most successful game brand of all time because it appeals to everyone," Prof Alpert explained.
"There's no violence. It's a far broader audience because it's about human relationships."
The next step in the game's evolution is the Spore game, which simulates the complete history and future of life. A player can mould a species across several generations, growing it from a single-celled organism into a more complex animal.
It should be released in May next year.
"People say we just get more and more of the same things in sequels, as we do in movies, because that's the safe option," Prof Alpert said.
"It takes courage to be creative and push the boundary to create new genres."
Prof Alpert plans to approach the Queensland government in an attempt to secure funding for further research into the video games industry.

Playing the old games
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (subscription) - Milwaukee,WI,USAIn an entertainment world filled with high-definition graphics and 3-D sound, it's easy to underestimate the appeal of old-school games like pinball, Pac-Man ...

Movies running 2nd to video games
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Nuclear plants no plce to be playing games
Chester Daily Local Online - Chester,PA,USA... playing a video game. Aren’t we always challenging our children to do other things besides playing video games? So while we’re ...

Troops to train on video games
ChronicleHerald.ca - Halifax,Nova Scotia,CanadaThe army is launching its larg-est virtual battle lab this month in Atlantic Canada, where soldiers will play video games including Steel Beasts, First to Fight


Will teenagers play religion-themed video games?

Los Angeles Times
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
As the video game industry gathers at the Los Angeles Convention Center this week for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, a devout group of publishers is praying for a direct strike on their elusive target: the eternal souls of game players.
One game, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," which makes its debut Wednesday at the expo, features plenty of biblical smiting, albeit with high-tech weaponry as players battle the forces of the Antichrist in a smoldering post-apocalyptic world.
The creators hope the game packs enough action to appeal to a generation of kids reared on such titles as "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" and subtly coax them to consider their own spirituality.
"Eternal Forces" is part of a new wave of religious games coming out at a time when the mainstream industry faces increasing criticism that its products celebrate misogynistic mayhem. Another publisher is marketing games based on the "Veggie Tales" series of Christian videos for children. Another is pitching "Bibleman: A Fight for Faith," about a superhero who stands up for the word of God with his sidekicks Cypher and Biblegirl.
Games "will be a new tool to get the two-minute generation to think about matters of eternal importance in a way that isn't religious," said Troy A. Lyndon, one of the "Left Behind" game's creators.
Christian-themed games historically have had limited appeal. Developer Digital Praise has sold about 30,000 copies of its most popular product, a Christian title called "Dance Praise." By contrast, "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" has sold 5.1 million copies worldwide.
" 'Left Behind' has the Antichrist, the end of the world, the apocalypse," said co-creator Jeffrey S. Frichner. "It's got all the Christian stuff, and it's still got all the cool stuff."
That's why industry watchers predict that titles like "Eternal Forces" will find a broader audience.
"The reason that I think this game has a chance is that it's not particularly preachy," said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities. "I will say some of the dialogue is pretty lame - people saying, 'Praise the Lord' after they blow away the bad guys. I think they're overdoing it a bit. But the message is OK."
The game is based on the best-selling series of "Left Behind" books, which offer an account of the end times as predicted in the biblical book of Revelation. One of the series' authors, Tim LaHaye, said the game had the potential to communicate ideas like salvation to people who might not think of themselves as particularly interested.
"We hope teenagers like the game," LaHaye said. "Our real goal is to have no one left behind."


Global VR acquires part of UltraCade Technologies

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - 1:06 PM PDT Monday

Global VR Inc. said Monday it has completed acquisition of some assets and products of UltraCade Technologies Inc.
Financial terms were not divulged.

San Jose-based Global, which was founded in 1998 and makes coin-operated video games based on home gaming technology, began the acquisition effort in late 2005.
After the sale of certain assets to Global, the remaining assets of San Jose-based UltraCade Technologies will be liquidated and payments made to creditors, Global said, adding that all of the UltraCade creditors can expect to be contacted by Sherwood Partners LLC, within the next few weeks.
Many former UltraCade Technologies employees have joined the Global staff, the company said.
David R. Foley, former head of UltraCade Technologies, was named chief technology officer and executive vice president of gaming.

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Video games becoming more and more mainstream
ShortNews.com - Regensburg,GermanyFrank Alpert, a Professor of Marketing at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, has just released the findings of his study on videogames, titled ...
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The golden oldies of video games, classically presented

By Rob Watson
Inquirer Staff Writer
The Video Games Live concert at the Merriam Theater Saturday night gave fans of Atari, Nintendo and Sega something few could have imagined.
The audience heard tunes from some of the greatest video games of all time, performed live by an orchestra and chorale, with trailers and in-game footage projected overhead.
Although the show's focus was live game music, this concert felt more like a documentary on games. And everyone, gamers young and old, ate up the whole thing.
I had seen the trailers, talked to cocreators Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, and read as many Web postings as possible, but I found it hard to imagine before the show what it would be like to sit in a theater and listen to an orchestra and chorale perform music from video games. Would it be too highbrow? Would it sound like those horrible orchestrations of pop tunes they used to sell on K-tel back in the '80s? Or should I calm my fears of maximum cornball?
As it turned out, not only was the show pretty cool, but it also offered a trip down memory lane that could have been surpassed only by heading down to the basement and dragging out old Atari, Nintendo and Sega systems.
Things got off to a hilarious start with the big overhead screen showing a small white circle bouncing between two white rectangles. Yes, it was Pong, and the orchestra's string section synchronized each hit with a pluck of the strings. The crowd, which filled about three-fourths of the theater, went nuts.
Even those who, I am sure, weren't old enough to ever have twisted paddles back in the '70s were into the "Classic Arcade Gaming Medley." A hodgepodge of blips and bleeps from the intense old-school action of quarter-eaters like Tempest, Tetris and Joust came later.
"Tell me that's not Dragon's Lair up there," a gamer asked his friend in front of me. "That game took all of my allowance for years!"
Not all of the sounds on this unreal night of gaming were reproduced by the orchestra. Some rhythm tracks and a number of sound effects playing underneath invariably meant a few sync problems. How could any instrument sound like the laser in Space Invaders?
That game was one of two interactive elements in the show. Tallarico selected an audience member to play the game onscreen. He moved horizontally across the stage as if he were the laser cannon, while the orchestra droned that ever-quickening cadence of doom. The guy didn't do well, and he knew it because everyone in the audience voiced his superior skills.
As the music became more current, Video Games Live tossed in onscreen introductions by composers or gamemakers. Considered one of the gaming gods, Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame put in a word. God of War composer Gerard Marino appeared, and even Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Nintendo's Mario Brothers, greeted gamers. It was a nice touch.
A highlight was the Medal of Honor segment. This is one of the most successful World War II shooting games, but Tallarico and Wall came up with something different for the visual presentation. While orchestra and chorale played a moving score, there were no images of the game onscreen. Instead we saw real footage from the war. This mix of reality and virtual reality was downright eerie - likely the point. Sometimes gamers forget that the lines do intersect at times, and this was a great reminder.
The show ended with another huge hit from recent years, the music from Microsoft Xbox's best-selling video game, Halo. Strangely, it didn't seem to move about half of the crowd. Either these gamers were just too tuckered out or there were too many PS2 fans there. Gamers can be like that sometimes. I kind of hated on the Everquest segment just because PC games are my least favorite.
Fans of the hit Guitar Hero series got a treat after the show as the guitar player for both games, Marcus Henderson, came on stage and pretty much ground his axe into oblivion with screeching riffs as the orchestra exited.
It was a fitting end to it all: As games and their music become ever more complex, in the end, we must remember, they are always supposed to rock.


Inqlings | Dave & Buster's fetes centenarian at an extra special site

By Michael Klein
Inquirer Columnist
Back in 1981, when Dave Corriveau and Buster Corley were considering arcade games for their first Dave & Buster's funhouse in Dallas, they called on Sol Lipkin,known as the Shuffleboard King since he'd been in the business since 1934.
Lipkin, then 75, set them up with a few machines.
Over the last 25 years and 40-odd locations, the partners have had the salesman/talisman at every grand opening to explain the tabletop game to staff and patrons.
Saturday night, the partners flew in and gathered more than 175 friends and family at the Dave & Buster's on Penn's Landing for a 100th birthday party for Lipkin.
The twice-widowed Lipkin, who works a five-day week and gets around better than people half his age, was accompanied by his much younger girlfriend, Susan.
Though Penn's Landing happened to be the closest D&B's to Lipkin's Union, N.J., home, it is a venue with a special meaning. When Lipkin's mother brought him here in 1906 from his native England when he was 6 months old, they disembarked at Pier 19 North - the very location of Dave & Buster's.


Pinball is one of mankind's crowning achievements

After having played about 2 hours of pinball on my computer, I have one comment: Pinball is the greatest invention ever.
It has all of the necessary elements of something really cool: theme, action, it can keep your attention--and it just rocks.
Have you ever seen a pinball machine that didn't have a theme? Whether it be the '50s, Jurassic times or space, it always has a theme. With each theme comes new items, obstacles and rules for how many points you get for what.
I once saw an Elvis pinball machine. It had a jukebox, and when you hit it, it played an Elvis song. It also had a little pathway up a ramp, then around the entire machine, which put you almost right back where you started, but with added bonus points.
Pinball has action in many ways. You can't possibly play pinball and not factor in the ball--where it goes, where you want it to go, what kind of points you get from that and what it takes to get the high score.
Also, the lights and the different features of each individual machine keep it interesting. For example, when you hit the little light box thing on my computer, it opens a worm hole, and you sit there for a minute, then, of course, get bonus points.
Pinball is addictive. Unless you have limited funds or nagging parents, you could play pinball for hours. You always want to beat the top score.
Next time you get bored, see if your computer has pinball. If not, run down to the nearest arcade, quarters jingling madly in your pockets, and see if they have it. If not, better luck next time.
SARAH KEITH is a seventh-grader at Freedom Middle School.
Date published: 6/6/2006


Video games seized in murder investigation

By James Orry - 06/06/2006 - 11:24am GMT
A number of M for Mature rated games have been seized from the home of a 16-year-old suspect in a murder investigation.
According to a report by The Advocate, the video games were seized as part of an ongoing investigation into the murder of a 55-year-old Louisiana man, who was beaten and shot in the face. The action was taken with the aid of Florida attorney Jack Thompson who felt that the killings mirrored a scenario from Grand Theft Auto. Thompson therefore recommend that the sheriffs conducting the investigation to look for violent games in the teenager's house.
Thompson, not one to hold back with his words, told The Advocate, "Nobody shoots anybody in the face unless you're a hit man or a video gamer." It is still unclear exactly what role video games played in the murder, but West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Captain Spence Dilworth told the paper, "I think it goes beyond video games, but who's to say?"

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