Sunday, April 29, 2012

[SUNDAY READ + WATCH] Gates of Fire Was... Pretty Cold

Pete “Alistair” Walsh scans the crest of a green hill ahead of him. To his rear, a handful of tightly formed, iron-clad sentries await with blood red shields raised, spears thrust out. They are his men – a unit he proudly serves as commander.

Rising over the cold, stiff horizon before the Roman 14th Legion sentry are dozens of leathered orcs bearing axes and crude flails. Yesterday, Walsh was an office worker. Today, he raises his gladius and the hardened Roman 14th leap into a melee.

An orcish arrow whizzes past the Romans’ tower shields and finds an infantryman’s neck. Luckily, the padding on the tip bounces the arrow away.

Most would call this fantasy, but thousands all around the world have another name: The Dagorhir Battle Games.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

CISPA Passes House, Obama Threatens Veto

Associated Press  
Although the vote was set for tomorrow, the U.S. House just sneak-passed H.R. 3523, a.k.a. CISPA, the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, by a vote of 248-168.

Bad news bears...

[WATCH] "Go Right" Make Heart-Swelling Gaming Nostalgia

Here's a powerfully edited YouTube gem called "Go Right" after one of the most fundamental mechanics in any old-school game. I wouldn't call it a tearjerker but it's definitely moving.

Relive your gaming adolescence with this montage of Sonic, Alucard, Mega Man and many, many other classic gaming icons set to the Michael Nyman's "A Wild and Distant Shore." Feel enriched by its deeper message about giving up in the face of adversity.

You can thank YouTube user RockyPlanetesimal for this creation and Kotaku for bringing it to my atenciĆ³n. 

VIA: Kotaku

Get Free Live TV On Your iPhone While You Can

Hear that? Shh... Listen. That's the sound of hundreds of irate, buzzing lawyers spinning into attack formation - shuffling case documents and raking thin combovers. is a thing that lets you watch all kinds of TV channels from the US and Europe - all free - on your iOS or Android device. It's soon to be an un-thing, too, so get on it while you can.

Gizmodo readers claim the service is currently alive and well - albeit taking on a large amount of traffic as a result of the blogosphere exposure. Let us know in the comments if iOSLiveTV works for you and what you're watching...

VIA: Gizmodo
SOURCE: 9 to 5 Forums

Adam Sessler Departs G4TV

Kotaku is reporting the departure of longstanding G4tv personality Adam Sessler, formerly part of the network's flagship gaming show "X-Play."

Sessler debuted X-Play alongside fellow G4-ian Morgan Webb in 1998 so this unceremonious exit is rather surprising - he had been one of the most recognizable figures on the network for over 10 years.

Read on for an official statement from Sessler's camp.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Play Diablo 3 This Weekend Only

Blizzard's open beta for Diablo 3 kicked off at 3 p.m. Friday. If you weren't one of the lucky kids to get a golden ticket for the closed beta last month, now's your chance to get your grind on.

Anyone with a account can join - if you don't have an account, click here to set up a new one. Each account can hold five characters up to level 13.

The beta will only run through 1 p.m. EST on Monday, April 23 so make sure you stop by your local Mountain Dew retailer before your weekend bender.

Diablo 3 is set to be released May 15, to a moaning, odorous sea of outstretched arms.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sony Santa Monica Is Back with God of War: Vengeance

After hyping up some teaser art and a leaked product listing on Amazon last night, Sony has confirmed that their Santa Monica studios new title is, in fact, the new God of War.

The reveal trailer after the jump...

Ubisoft sued for Assassins' Creed copyright infringment

"Nothing is true, everything is permitted" - except for copyright infringment. Ubisoft's flagship franchise Assassin's Creed has drawn a copyright suit from science fiction author John L. Beiswenger.

Beiswenger's 2002 book, Link, allegedly established many of the themes found in the AC plot, namely genetic memory and "spiritual or biblical tones." Link also insinuates that the eponymous "Link" device (comparable to AC's "Animus") may have been used for assassination purposes. Innnnnteresting.

Beiswenger is suing for up to $5.25 million but Ars talked to legal analysts who don't hold out much hope for the suit. Attorney/blogger Mark Methenitis says the key is what makes a narrative element infringing:
"The level of comparison they're trying to make would be along the lines of both Back to the Future and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure have time machines as plot devices, so one must be infringing the other," he said. "A copyright does not protect abstract ideas at that level."
With the recently revealed Assassin's Creed 3 looking damn good, anything that might derail Desmond's generational/assassinational story would be most heinous, bro.

VIA: Boing Boing
SOURCE: Ars Technica

Media: Breivik used video games to 'train' for Utoya massacre

If the Magnavox Odyssey had come out in the mid-40s, would Hitler have been a fan of Table Tennis? Perhaps he would have been inspired by cartridge nine's Dogfight to assemble the fearsome Luftwaffe.

One thing is certain: the role of video games in unconscionable, politically motivated violence is undeniable and fits quite conveniently as an explanation for most scenarios, such as Anders Behring Breivik, pictured above.

Anders, on trial for the massacre of 77 people - 69 of which were students gunned down by Breivik personally - recently testified on his video game habits. And newsrooms around the world sprung into action.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hands-On with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

In case you hadn't heard, Level-5's Studio Ghibli collabo, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, is coming stateside Q1 2013. That means we get all its hype-a-licious trailers in our native tongues - for better or for worse. 

That also means American vidya journo outlets will start getting their time in on Namco Bandai's demo unit. Siliconera posted their 20-minute joyride with the game that is shaping up to be the pinnacle of the JRPG.

Monday, April 16, 2012

[WATCH] 3-D Imaging Give Amazing Prenatal Insight

Warning: Some graphic imagery

This is a couple years old (but I just saw it, so it's new) and unless you keep abreast of TED talks every week, chances are this is new to you too.

In 2010, Alexander Tsiaras, author of Body Voyage and, most recently, The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman, took the TED stage during India's INK Conference to share the three-dimensional digital imaging technology that allows him to render the unborn baby in its mother's womb. 

Among the din of memes, Wall posts and LOLcats, there's something to be said for a 10-minute piece of content as compelling as the video above. 

With Tsiaras' tech, doctors can examine a 3-D model of a baby through the stages of fetal development. Now you can too. The models are uncannily rendered using volume data - a process which won him the Nobel Prize.

Y'know what - just watch the video.

Life is beautiful, folks. Oh, and slightly NSFW.


Bethesda Hyping... Something with Vague Image

This is a picture that's made its way around the Internets by now. It was posted on the official Bethesda Facebook earlier today, with a description reading simply, "Tomorrow."

Halo 4 Announcement on Tuesday's Conan

Word on tha street is 343 Industries are planning to make an announcement regarding Halo 4 on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show.

Friday, April 13, 2012

10-Year-Old Makes Game His Blind Grandmother Can Play

Video games, like all forms of media, impart an understanding to players. Whether it's understanding the finer nuances of a game's rules or structure or an understanding the emotional impact of the narrative, video games bring people together. Fact.

Kotaku reported on avid gamer Dylan Viale, a fifth-grader from Martinez, California, who shares a special bond with his grandmother, Sherry. Naturally, he wanted her to understand his love for the medium.

Sherry, however, is blind. So, Dylan got a free version of YoYo Games' GameMaker and made a game that a blind person could play (and excel at, compared to those who aren't.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Skyrim + Kinect = FUS ROH MY GOD YES

Look here. Look at this video above. Consume it

This is why you bought Kinect - aside from Kinectimals. After mysteriously trademarking "Fus Ro Dah" yesterday, Bethesda announced today via press release that its 2011 Game of the Year will soon enjoy Kinect voice command support for the Xbox 360 version.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Comedian Jim Gaffigan Releases New Special - Digital-Only

Emboldened by the half-a-million-dollar success that was fellow funnyman Louis C.K.'s latest comedy special, Jim Gaffigan is now taking a stab at the digital distro method with "Mr. Universe," a continuous, 75-minute stream of hilarity, available now directly from Gaffigan's website for only $5.

TechCrunch had Gaffigan in their studio weeks ago to talk about the potential dangers of digital distribution and comedy in the digital age. 

The TechCrunch interview and more details about "Mr. Universe" after the jump...

[OMNIreview] Legend of Grimrock

Welcome to OMNIpixel's first "OMNIreview!" Joystiq has the Metareview, Kotaku has the Frankenreview and the theme here is the same: you can find brilliantly copied and pasted blogger reviews of the latest video game releases from trusted vidya journo sources - mainly because OMNIpixel isn't cool enough to get review copies of new titles.

For the inaugural edition of the OMNIreview: Almost Human's throwback dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock, which channels old-school PC RPG pillars like Dungeon Master, Might & Magic and the less popular Stonekeep.

[LISTEN] To Halo 4's Soundtrack

Meet Neil Davidge, the Halo franchise's new composer
Bungie no longer owns the rights to the Halo franchise and 343 Industries is the new sheriff in Blood Gulch. You may be wondering what's going to happen to the series' iconic soundtrack, now that Bungie's Martin O'Donnell will no longer be scoring the Master Chief saga.

Filling in for Marty and his liberal use of E Dorian is Neil Davidge, formerly of Massive Attack. He's joined by orchestrator/arranger Matt Dunkely, of Inception, Black Swan and The Dark Knight. Davidge says their direction for Halo 4's soundtrack is less of a "revolution" and more of an "evolution."

Read on for more details on Davidge and have a preliminary listen of one of Halo 4's finished tracks.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SOPA Being Resurrected? MPAA Head Thinks So

It appears the Stop Online Piracy Act could be back from beyond the legislative grave.

As Ars Technica reports, Chris Dodd, the former senator from Connecticut and current head of the Motion Picture Association of America, told The Hollywood Reporter he's "confident" that there are "conversations going on now" in regards to SOPA-style legislation.

Apparently, some people do not remember what happened last time Congress tried to push censoring legislation on the Internet. Seriously, I'm not going through another Reddit Blackout Day. That day was so boring.

[OMG] Shadowrun Sequel a Kickstarter Success

Guess who's getting the Kickstarter love? Ancient FASA fossil ("FASSIL") Jordan Weisman. Who's Jordan Weisman? Who's Jordan Weisman?! The guy who created high fantasy/cyberpunk romp Shadowrun, that's who. 

Shadowrun, the subpar Xbox 360 multi-player shooter from 2007, you say? NO - Shadowrun, the exemplary pen-and-paper RPG from back in the day that was ported triumphantly to 16-bit consoles in the 90s and ported crappily to the Xbox 360 in 2007. 

Now, through the crowd-sourced power of Kickstarter, Weisman and his team at Harebrained Schemes are getting another shot at reviving the dark, mystical world of Shadowrun for a new generation.

Their Kickstarter page blew up yesterday, nailing down their $400,000 goal in 28 hours. They'll be using that cash to bring a rightfully single-player Shadowrun to iOS/Android tablets and PCs.

Find out what the world of Shadowrun is all about and watch the HBS Shadowrun Returns pitch video (and subsequent "thank you" video) after the break.

Electronic Arts Named Consumerist's 'Worst Company in America'

The Consumerist's infamous 'Golden Poo' award, given each year to their 'Worst Company in America' winner
The picture you see above is a physical manifestation of the collective contempt for publishing giant Electronic Arts shared by hundreds of thousands of their customers. It's The Consumerist's 'Golden Poo' award and it only honors a select breed of scumbag companies - this year, EA triumphed over them all.

Between the launch of Origin, EA's new digital distro service (see: drunkenly stumbling PR disaster), day-one DLC that uses assets already in the release code and the Star Wars: The Old Republic fallout, distressed fans have plenty to fling gilded feces over.

A look back at the best and worst (... mostly worst) of EA's customer "service" after the jump...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Disney's New Cruise Ship a Vidya Mecca

Disney's Imagineers have it rough - designing the ultimate oceanic treehouse for kids and adults alike is tough toil.

Disney's newest vessel, the Fantasy, has its maiden voyage this week. Passengers on either the Fantasy or its sister ship, the Dream, can apparently get down on a video floor made of 32 high-def monitors displaying 14 million pixels.

It's called the "Magic Play Floor" and I wish I had one.