Disabled Gamers: We want to play, too!

For a nation that promotes equal accessability in nearly every aspect of modern life, the United States is severely lacking in one aspect: Handicapped accessable gaming. The blind, the deaf, and para/quadriplegics have few choices when it comes to gaming. So much so that the standard “disabled friendly” game is a boring “happy, fluffy” game. What the balls is this?!

So read this Chicago Tribune article and let me know what you think.


Starsiege: 2845 Project Cancelled

“Let me preface this by saying this is NOT a late April fools day joke.

After much discussion with various people on the staff, and
looking at potential timelines and where we currently are, Tsa and I
(being the primary legal agreement contacts with VU) have made the
difficult decision that it’s time to put a bullet in this project and
move on. This month (April) will mark 4 solid years of time and
substantial monetary investment that he and I and a bunch of other
people have into the project, and as we’re looking at at least
another years worth of development with questionable outcome, we’ve
decided the game has reached the point of diminishing returns and it’s
time to say good night gracie.”

Full announcement here.

For those unaware this project even existed, Starsiege: 2845 was going to be the direct sequel to Starsiege, the third game in an underdog mech sim series called Earthsiege. Most gamers will likely recognize the spinoff series “Tribes.” While the Earthsiege games are not as popular as Battletech/MechWarrior, it still has a handful of devoted followers, enough to start a grand project like 2845. The Alpha Tech Release [ATR] was released on October 18, 2006, and is available to download for free. There are a handful of maps and vehicles to pilot, including a fullly-functional flyer. The ATR was also notably of professional caliber, unlike numerous fanmade game projects found elsewhere on the Internet.

Anyone interested in playing the ATR will find the download here. It’s still just an Alpha so there will be a few bugs, but personally I didn’t have many crashes when I ran the game.

Chrono Trigger Retranslated (scripts only for now)

Chrono Trigger has been completely retranslated by KWhazit. After a bunch of work, we’ve got two spreadsheets, HTML for people without Microsoft Office, a big name guide, and an even bigger article highlighting the important differences lost in the original translation for those who don’t want to read the entire thing.

Differences ArticleAll the rest of the crap

We’re debating whether to try and rush out a playable patch with Temporal Flux right now.

DOSBox 0.70 Released

The fine folks who put their blood, sweat and tears into creating the famous DOS emulator have recently released a new version! It has been a bit of a wait for this new release but lots of stuff has been added in this installment. If you find you can’t enjoy those old DOS classics on your computer, then this just might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
(taken from DOSBox official website)

  • Speed up the dynamic cpu core (certain games get much faster).
  • Added a dynamic fpu on x86 hosts.
  • Improved the cycle guessing code (and make it default).
  • Better and more configurable joystick support.
  • Improved the image and fat drives.
  • Added nullmodem emulation.
  • Various win 3.x enhanchments (video/audio/ems/win32s).
  • Improved CDROM detection and support.
  • Speed up the screen drawing code.
  • Added support for different keyboard layouts.
  • Various fixes to the (C/E/V)GA emulation.
  • Extended and improved all types of emulated memory. (umb/ems/xms)
  • Dynamic core should work on Intel Macs.
  • Various timer related fixes.
  • Added a few more graphic scalers.

Some default settings have been changed in this one so be sure to update your configfiles and read the readme.

Check it out here!

New Spore Videos

About a year ago, we took a look at Will Wright’s latest project, “Spore” – and this video was already a year old. At one point we were hearing release dates as early as Fall 2006; six months later, we’re still no closer to seeing an actual release date.
However, at GDC 2007, there’s at least some new video. The following is a compilation of six short gameplay segments demonstrated recently.

Miyamoto: Violence is Killing Video Games

During the GDC in San Francisco, the venerable Shigeru Miyamoto said that developers should resist the temptation to rely on shock content such as extreme violence, revenge, or simply just horror, and the sequels which are a direct result of the big sales such games create.
“I always want that first reaction to be emotion, to be positive – to
give a sense of satisfaction, glee,” Miyamoto said. “Certain obstacles
may temporarily raise feelings of suspense, competition, even
frustration. But we always want that final result, that final emotion,
to be a positive one.”

The respected game maker’s comments are seemingly at odds with an industry that seems to sell itself to what would seem to be a niche market, yet the increasingly violent games only gain more popularity as they are villified by the “outsiders:” politicians, pundits, and parents.

I’m not certain what exactly Miyamoto is trying to say, whether violent games are inherently bad (no more Metal Gear Solid?), or whether it’s the proliferation of violence as the medium for which games are to be sold. Certainly, the Metal Gear series is quite violent, but the violence is not rewarded; indeed, the player is chastised later in the game for killing people needlessly. To contrast this, many games designed and developed in the United States tend to reward needless killing: in Mortal Kombat the player is awarded with a gory graphics fest when he performed a Fatality death move, in the Grand Theft Auto series players could kill pedestrians and steal the money they drop. Is this a strictly cultural argument, or is there something a bit deeper to the problem? Or is there a problem at all?

Read on The Australian.

Acclaim wants YOU!

Press release from Acclaim Games:

Acclaim Games and video game
industry superstar David Perry have partnered to present the
ground-breaking “Top Secret” project. In this project, players actually
get an opportunity to participate in the entire video game
development process from start to finish.

In an unprecedented move for the game industry, these players will be
given a chance to have their work featured in a massively multiplayer PC
game that will be published by Acclaim and directed by David Perry.
Perry will choose a winner from the contributors, and Acclaim will be
giving them a breath-taking prize,
‘A Video Game Industry Directorship’, working on a new fully-funded
massively multiplayer online PC game. David Perry will be their
Executive Producer to help them as needed on their game, and once they
complete their project, they will even earn royalties from the game

“I’ve always loved the idea that someone, from their
bedroom, reveals their passion and talent, then suddenly can have an
absolutely stunning career explosion, becoming a famous Game Director
with a pre-built fan base. We’re going to make it happen!”
says David Perry who is a Game Director and Chief Creative Officer for Acclaim Games.

David Perry will be building the new online game from scratch and is offering members of the Acclaim player community a rare opportunity to help him develop this video
game in a collaborative effort with some of the industry’s best talent.
“We will bring in some surprise guests along the way to inspire and
mentor the contributors,” says Perry.

One lucky winner who shines the most during the development process will be given the top prize. “This is the only chance I know of to jumpstart a directorship career in the video game industry,” continues Perry.
“Everyone wins. They get to learn how to make professional games, and
if they get anything in, they get a real professional credit on their
resume.” Perry finishes, “But, if they win, well then they get their
life changed.”

Interestingly, applicants don’t need any prior game development
experience. In fact, Perry refuses to look at resumes. “We only care
about the pure, focused, passionate talent they show up with,” he says.

“Top Secret is like ‘The Apprentice’ meets ‘American
Idol’ meets ‘The Video Game Industry’. We’re giving our players a
chance to work on an online game that we will actually develop and
publish. Our community really loves these games and knows what it takes
to make a hit. And it will be a dream come true for one lucky star that
shines the most throughout the project,”
says Acclaim CEO Howard Marks.

This is a first-of-its-kind project from the new Acclaim, a resurrected
company with a very well known name. The new Acclaim will focus
entirely on providing quality multiplayer online games
for free. The games will be supported with a mix of advertising and
virtual item stores. Acclaim has already partnered with IGA Worldwide
to provide in-game advertising for its other online game titles.

The entry period will be limited, and so will the number of people
allowed in to see the project, so sign up now to become a team member
on Top Secret. To register for a free account and find out more about
Top Secret, visit http://topsecret.acclaim.com.

Found on Gaming.hexus.net.

Game Designers out of touch with Minorities

In a recent blog post on the Black Voice News website, Richard O. Jones expressed concern about the trend in video game design to make characters who of racial minority (most notably black and Latino characters) either criminals or helpless victims who die easily. Mr. Jones’ arguement is that prolonged exposure to these stimuli lead minority youths to get the impression that their life should mirror that of what the media sells them, leading to more violence and crime.
Mr. Jones defended his claim with studies by psychologists.

From the blog:
“‘If Blacks and Latinos are always portrayed as the villains, or as the
victims who get killed often and easily, that is code for
powerlessness,’ said Kansas State University psychologist John Murray,
who’s studied violence and stereotypes in the media for the past 30
years. ‘These image persist because too few minorities are in the
industry. Roughly 80% of video game programmers are white, about four
percent of designers are Latino, and less than three percent are Black
according to preliminary results of an International Game Developers
Association survey. Some in the industry believe race in games is a
serious issue that has been ignored for too long. The video industry
claims that educated, young white males create games for other
educated, young white males and not minorities. Regardless, games are
an expressive medium. They are an art form, just like movies, theater
and literature. We’re seeing, to a large extent, that the games that
are being designed unconsciously include the biases, opinions and
reflections of their creators.'”

Mr. Jones is careful to note that while the medium is a form of art, it is also a consumer commodity that is driven by money.

sources: gamepro.com, black voice news

Ubisoft releases TMNT Demo!

Ubi-Soft, the company that resurrected the Prince of Persia franchise, has released a playable demo of the new Ninja Turtles game for download. In the demo, players are allowed to perform acrobatic stunts on the rooftops of New York City, beat up baddies, and learn new co-op maneuvers to aide in the pursuit of the evil that lurks in the shadows.
The video game will be released for retail sales March 20th, a mere three days before a brand new CGI TMNT movie is slated to be released.

For more information about the game, check the GameZone.

source: http://pc.gamezone.com/news/02_21_07_12_13PM.htm