All Staff Weblogs

2009-04-26

Permalink 16:04:20, by Ophelea
Categories: Press, MMO, Children

The Media Annoy Me

I'm at the hospital with one of my headaches. Some just don't react to medication and the stuff at the hospital works much better. My son is with me - the older boy: 12 going on 40. He stays to watch over me.

The nurse who is giving me medication asks what I do; I tell her; she asks about it because she has a son who would be interested (they always have a son that would be interested!) and I give her my card. Then it begins...

"But I won't let him play online at all. He can play whatever game he likes just not online." Hrm, ok, I'll let the "whatever" comment go for the moment.

I steel myself and reply. "Do you mean Xbox Live or PC games? What don't you let him play online?" I ask. My son is sitting next to me listening but bored. He's heard this conversation a few times.

"Oh, I won't let him play online at all. Especially those MOMO games. I'm too afraid of predators and he's only 13." *sigh* Yeah for the media.

I'm getting loopy because she's been pumping meds into my IV this entire time and I feel like I'm talking through cotton.

"Well... I wouldn't let him use voice on Xbox Live but you could let him play. Voice though - it's just too profane. But I can't think of any reason he couldn't play most MMOs online. He's just typing."

"Don't you worry about whether someone will ask to meet him at the park or something!!" It could be the meds or she could be shrill, I can't tell at this point. The room is spinning.

"Well, no. It's rather like being at the park, isn't it? I mean, you teach him if he befriends someone at the park and they ask him to come home with them he should say no or ask you first. It's the same online - teach him the skills he needs. Say no, or I have to ask my mom or report it to abuse or hit ignore... It's just like the park or school or anywhere, really."

She's looking at me sideways. I know I'm loopy and all but she is looking at me sideways. I don't know if I've gotten through to her.

Damn media blows everything out of proportion.

She starts to ask my son about his online experiences just as I pass out. At least I have nothing to worry about there.

2009-04-12

Permalink 23:35:01, by Ophelea
Categories: Musings, MMO, Children, Online

Why is it games are bad again?

I'm sitting in the car on the way to the movies this evening when my younger son says to me, "Mom, why do we charge more for millions of dollars?" I love non-sequiturs that wouldn't make sense ever. I ask to what he is referring.

"You know how when you make a little money we charge a little bit and when you make more we charge more?" Yeah, I wasn't getting it either. After teasing some specificity out of my boy, I come to realize he's asking about a Progressive Tax. Ok, fair'nuff. I explain the idea behind it - those with more carry more of the burden because those with less simply can't. I tell him that it's a way of forcing people to help their neighbors because people aren't particularly good about helping their neighbors.

I think we're done. Nope.

"So, your money at the bank, do you get paid for that?" Huh. More specificity, please! Some more discussion and it's obvious he asking me if I earn interest at the bank. Then he wants to know about yearly interest, daily compounded interest and I'm wondering what the heck is going on? I mean, he's 9 - he's in the fourth grade.

"Have you been studying this at school?" I ask.

"No. I've been playing Neopets."

Why exactly aren't games good for kids again?

2009-02-23

Permalink 13:29:19, by Sylvene Email
Categories: Morning Email

Steampunk MMOG announced

Link: http://neosteam.atlusonline.com/

Altus Online today announced Neo Steam: The Shattered Continent as the first game to kickoff its portal. A Steampunk MMOG. Mmmm... that would be something I'd like to play... lots and lots and lots of tinkering. I only hope the get the ART correct!

Two Kingdoms... Magic against Technology. The Technology guys have the hallmarks of Steampunk clothing. Leather... wraps... aviator goggles. The Magic guys have... fancy articulated steel armor!

Well, it's only just been announced. We'll see how it develops.

2009-02-18

Permalink 13:13:20, by Sylvene Email
Categories: Morning Email, Nintendo DS

Nintendo announces the DSi launch

Link: http://www.nintendodsi.com/

Ooh... a new DS! Well, I have the DS Lite - the second iteration which was slimmer, lighter and had a brighter screen (more levels) than the original DS. Now, the launch of the DSi has been announced.

Nintendo DSi launches in the United States on April 5, 2009, at an MSRP of $169.99. The colors available at launch will be Blue and Black.

Black and blue eh? Wonder what they mean? The hit to our pocket books? What's new is the camera. The TWO cameras. One on the external body and one that points at you when you flip the thing open.

Another improvement is the sound application which serves as both an interactive voice recorder and music player. Users can access different audio filters or control the pitch and speed of recorded voice or music files to alter voices or change the tempo of a song. Even with the screenshut, we can access music files saved on an SD card. With SDHC cards containing upwards of 8G of space... that's a lot of music.

Backward compatible? Yes... mostly... anyone want to buy a much loved, gently used 2nd iteration DS? I want this baby.

2009-02-17

Permalink 12:34:14, by Sylvene Email
Categories: Morning Email, MMOGs

Blizzcon 2009 Announced

Link: http://www.blizzcon.com

Why do I feel like this might be old news to most readers? Maybe because it seems to me that Blizzard fans personify "fanatics" more than others. But down to the news.

Blizzard announced that the fourth Blizzcon gaming convention, Blizzcon 2009 will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22. The convention will be expanded from three convention halls to four.

The website http://www.blizzcon.com hasn't been updated yet, but fans will be able to find out more about ticket pricing and availability as the event draws near.

2009-02-16

Permalink 12:39:33, by Sylvene Email
Categories: Morning Email

Midway Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Link: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-midway13-2009feb13,0,4781703.story

Down but not out, Midway Games filed for Chapter 11 protection which allows them to re-organize and gives them some breathing room from their creditors. The filing follows the successful release of its game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which sold about 2 million copies.

Why Down but not Out? That's because it's a Chapter 11 and creditors know that they will get pennies to the dollar if they force a Chapter 7 liquidation. The company is worth more to them alive and kicking (or at least crawling painfully). So I'm sure we shall see more games out of Midway yet.

2008-09-03

Permalink 12:13:08, by Sylvene Email
Categories: Consoles, PSP

New PSP to launch Oct 16

Noo... I just bought the PSP-2000. I never bought the original because it was a bit pricey and chugged sluggishly on several games. The PSP-2000 with improved memory and sleeker build did much better. The new will have an improved LCD screen as reported in USA Today and a few other places.

The revamped PlayStation Portable with the improved liquid crystal display and a built-in microphone will go on sale Oct. 16 in Japan at the same price of the previous model 19,800 yen ($180), said Shawn Layden, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan.

That's not too bad actually. They are improving and replacing the older models. Something to be expected in the CE world.

2008-08-15

Permalink 02:56:49, by Biggs Email
Categories: General, Ethics and Morals in video games, Musings of Biggs

A big Raspberry To Battlefield Hero's and the Silly hoops one must jump through

Battlefield Hero's and time wasted to their beta key events.

If anyone has been following BF and their closed beta, which by the way, information is dribbled out to people - Their site has very little information other then to be released summer 08 and check for beta contests.

First things - If your going to have a beta key contest. Make it fair. World Wide. For everyone. Telling a north American consumer that the contest starts at XXX Stockholm time doesn't do anything for us. I'm sure the people in Stockholm know exactly what time the contest starts. - The rest of us have to look it up. And if your on a slow ass work computer that in itself is frustration. (Or, in the case of the last beta key contest which started at 10 am in the morning for those of us in north America - Well, I'm stretching things a bit, It started from 7am Eastern time right on to about 2 pm Eastern time, considering your location in North America. If you work for a living like and have no access to a computer during those hours, Your forced to sit out these contests or wait and hope it comes out some time this year)

Second - I applaud your trying to be creative with your contests - but enough is enough, Just Lotto the damn keys already. Making us put together a word from 9 different WebPages that couldn't have gone down faster if you had slash dotted them isn't fun. Seeing error with web page and 404 not found, Is reminiscent of the old radio station contests that would offer people money to do fairly embarrassing or painful things - Or as I like to call it, Who can NOT pee the longest. Win big money if your the last guy (Or Girl) with a ruptured bladder.

I'd like to point out something here - Your game while maybe be originally free to play - Will need to generate some revenue. This will most likely come from a paying source - Mainly parents or the people your irritating with this ridiculous contests. Right now, the only people winning these keys are kids or people who have the time to waste jumping through hoops. Me, I'll just go to your competition and play their FPS game - Who knows, I might even plunk down some cash right at the start just to own it. I'm sure Wal_mart or Ebgames won't make me do a dance contest, or humiliate myself singing a hit single at the cash register just to play the game. (Though, last time I checked Wal-Mart had Rock Band set up for people who were into that sort of thing)

Here's another thing to look at - With a parent like Electronic Arts [EA] giving the green for development - You might want to keep in mind that EA has cancelled MMO's with a far greater subscription base then this game will likely ever have - In fact, if you look at the history of Cancelled MMO's from EA (Earth and Beyond, Motor City Online, The Sims Online) You'll see that they have a finite lifespan, and driving away people who want to play the game, but won't because they've been forced to jump through an unlimited number of hoops will only hasten the demise of a product.

So Battle Field Hero's. You get a big wet raspberry from me when it comes to your beta contests.
Lastly - Consider this - Mythos, A free to play MMo (Fantasy based) Has been cancelled (Though it might show signs of life soon) And Dungeon Runners (another fantasy) lifespan is looking gloomy - The time is right for the marketing of this game, Getting the people rebounding from the previous two products won't be difficult, but not if you make trying to get into the game about as fun as a root canal with out sedative.

2008-07-23

Permalink 12:59:47, by Sylvene Email
Categories: Morning Email, MMOGs

Mythos on Hiatus

While I was still traveling back from E3, news of the Mythos beta going on hiatus for an unspecified period of time. This was announced on their Website.

This came just a few days after a press release from Flagship Studios that they were still open! This had impact of course, on their currently running MMOG, Hellgate London.

San Francisco, CA (July 14, 2008) -- Flagship Studios has announced today that despite rumors to the contrary, the company is still operating.

“It is with deep regret that I must announce that Flagship Studios has laid off most employees. However, the core management and founding team members are still at Flagship.” said Bill Roper, CEO of Flagship Studios. “The past five years have been an incredible experience for us, but unfortunately, we couldn’t sustain the size of the company any longer.”

Flagship Studios owns the rights to all its technology and IP, including Hellgate: London and Mythos. Due to the current situation, Flagship will not be taking any new subscribers for Hellgate: London, and all current subscriptions will not be billed.

Permalink 12:51:32, by Sylvene Email
Categories: Morning Email

Breaking News - COPA Overturned

Link: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/AheadoftheCurve/Story?id=5428228&page=1

It's still morning, so it counts as my morning email! The Child Online Protection Act got overturned in a Federal Appeals Court yesterday.

Here's the ABC News article

The 3rd U.S. Circurt Court of Appeals upheld on Tuesday a 2007 lower-court decision that the Child Online Protection Act violated the First Amendment since it was not the most effective way to keep children from visiting adult websites.

Both courts also found that the standards for material that had to be hidden from open browsing were so loosely defined that any content not suitable for a four-year-old would have been hidden behind a age-verification firewall.

"Unlike COPA, filters permit adults to determine if and when they want to use them and do not subject speakers to criminal or civil penalties," the court wrote.

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