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1:12 PM on 06.06.2008

The WiiSpray - Awesome new Wii controller

So, this is something I think is quite cool.

As part of his thesis, a university student in Germany rigged up a Wiimote-style spraypaint controller he’s calling the “Wiispray”. His eventual plan is to create software that acts as a communal wall, where people can collaborate on graffiti or other art projects.



I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen more custom controllers for the Wii from game developers. I’m not talking about those stupid attachments like a baseball bat handle you can clip onto the Wiimote, but actual controllers. I feel like there’s a lot of potential there, and it doesn’t seem to be all that complicated to do (See Johnny Lee), yet all we really have is the Guitar Hero controller. Where are the high quality fishing rods, swords & shields (and other assorted weapons. Spear Hero would be epic.), awesome lightguns (Nintendo’s doesn’t count; it’s bulky and awkward), or other cool controller peripherals?

Do you think it’s too expensive for companies to make them to bundle with games, or is the problem the glut of 3rd party developers who are interested in making crap that they can easily market to kids? Or, do you think the standard Wiimote does enough, and there’s no need to make anything fancy or different? I know personally I would love to see more unique controllers and games specifically designed to take advantage of them.

[Via Slashgear. If you speak German, visit the project website at http://www.wiispray.com/]   read


6:20 PM on 05.23.2008

Is this actually the end of PC game piracy?

Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari, made some very interesting claims yesterday when he was speaking at the Wedbush Morgan Securities annual conference. During his talk, he stated that, right this very moment, a stealth encryption chip called the TPM is being put on the motherboards of almost every PC that's currently being made.

What does this chip do?

Apparently this chip contains rock-solid encryption software with a verifiable private key. I don't claim to know a whole ton about encryption and password hacking and public and private keys, but from what I understand, they’re incredibly difficult to crack.

While I doubt that this will be 100% hacker-proof, it seems like it might put a pretty big dent into online piracy, or at least increase the amount of time that it takes for big name releases to hit the internet, which will likely cause an increase in sales.



I've pirated my own share of things I probably should have purchased, but I view this as a blessing and a curse. A curse because I can't get things for free anymore, but a blessing in that we might see the revitalization of genres that have all but disappeared from the PC. In an attempt to thwart piracy, pure single player games have virtually disappeared from PCs. Most companies include a significant multiplayer component, which is often given more emphasis than the single player game, and then require all players to log into company run servers, making it difficult for piracy to succeed. Even for Diablo II, which is about 10 years old now, it is incredibly difficult to get on Battle.net if you don’t have a legit copy of the game.

Single player games fell by the wayside, in part because it was so easy to pirate them. Companies found they made more money making games like TF2, where you have to be online to enjoy it, far more profitable because they lost less money to internet thieves. If piracy is slowed, perhaps we'll see a resurgence of adventure games and more story-driven single player games on the PC.

For people who know about encryption, do you think this will have any noticeable effect on piracy, or is it just another pathetic attempt to try and stop something that's uncontrollable. For PC gamers, do you think that, if piracy is actually reduced, it will change the landscape of PC gaming? Or are MMOs and online shooters so entrenched that it really won't make a difference?   read


5:32 PM on 05.14.2008

For game designers, less gaming means better games?

Here's another interesting article I came across today, this one from Ars Technica. You can read the article here.

For those who don't want to read it (although I encourage you to), the crux of the article's argument is that game developers and designers who are huge gamers have difficulty thinking outside of the box. Having played games for so long, what currently exists in the industry is all these designers know, and as a result they just keep rehashing the same ideas over and over again and stifle progress overall in the industry. Oddly, about halfway through the article they shift to a discussion of some issues with developer quality of life and the ridiculous hours devs have to put in, and I do believe that IS a valid argument. What I'm writing about now isn't in regards to that claim. The argument they start with and the argument that is the main theme of the article, that more time gaming = less time having "life experiences" = less creativity, is what I'm going to be discussing, and it's an opinion I strongly disagree with.



Sure, there are some game designers out there who just try to remake older games, change the title and the characters, and pass them off as new, but I believe that's more the fault of the companies they work for. I don't think any game designers sit down and dream of making a generic platformer that's just like all of the other platformers released in the last 3 years. I'm sure most of them have all sorts of great ideas for games that they're not allowed/unable to pursue. Being gamers themselves, I believe that, in an ideal world, they would be able to create awesome, original, and unique games all the time. However, they typically can't, and I don't believe it's usually their fault.

As more and more industry mergers happen and game companies get larger and larger, we're going to see even less creativity and innovation. It's not because all the people making games are gamers and can't think of anything original, it's because these huge studios are all about making money and aren't willing to make risky moves with original games. I'm willing to bet good money that, if many of the big names in game innovation today (Shiggy, Kojima, etc.) were just now starting out in the industry, they would never be allowed to create the games that made them famous. They wouldn't be big names, it would be seen as too risky, and whatever company they pitched too would be more comfortable creating Spongebob Squarepants 4 DS since they know that's where the money is.



I also take offense at this notion that being a hardcore gamer means that you're missing out on all sorts of life experiences and that you're uncultured as a result of your playing games. The argument they make later about the industry requiring ridiculous hours holds water, but CliffyB's inane comment about him having all these fantastic experiences that he was able to draw on for GoW because he games less is just dumb. I'm pretty sure him cavorting around London had a lot more to do with the fact that he had a bunch of money than the fact that he plays video games less. What it boils down to now is that the industry has become so corporate that only designers who are already established are being allowed to be fully creative. If you're not a big name, you're not trusted with large sums of money and instead have to fall in line with the generic copy/pasta that the corporations want you to make.

Overall, I think it's vital that the people who are creating our games be gamers themselves. They know what gamers want in a game, and I believe they try their best to deliver. Sure, there are some hardcore gamers who produce crappy games, and there are some people who've never touched a game in their lives who could probably make fantastic games, but I believe those are the outliers and not the norm. Rather than blame the designers, who are often restricted by the whims and wants of the megacorporations they work for, we should be blaming the companies themselves. Take some more risks, let designers run with some crazy ideas, and you might find that what they're pitching will end up making you more money than the 19th iteration of your Madden game.



Most of the big names today got their start long ago, back when the industry was relatively young and they could do what they wanted. (CliffyB actually first got famous off of Jazz Jackrabbit, a game I'm sure many of you are familiar with.) I'm betting there's a number of CliffyBs, Miyamotos, Kojimas, and Garriots out there in the industry today. They'll just never be given the chance to prove themselves.

What's your opinion? Do you think that this article is right and that game designers who are gamers keep rehashing the same games and stories over and over again? Or do you think that being a gamer gives designers a better insight into what's already been done and what gamers want, and that it's the game companies that are holding them back?

[Via Ars Technica   read


11:26 AM on 05.13.2008

SEGA posts a $56.4 million loss - is it the PS3's fault?

Some interesting news I came across this morning. SEGA has posted a massive loss for this quarter: a whopping $56.4 million. What I found most interesting about this is that the head of SEGA's PR department laid the blame on two things: slow video game sales in Japan, and the company's decision to sell more PS3 games than Wii games.



I should say, I currently don't own a PS3, but I'm planning on getting one soon -- probably when MGS4 comes out. This post also isn't meant as fanboy bait, since bickering over which console is better is fairly stupid, and the industry as a whole is far better off with all three consoles making great games. Hoping that one console fails because you don't like it is retarded.

There are a couple ways to interpret this news. One could say that this is a sign that "casual gaming" (a label I absolutely despise, but that's probably a topic for another blog) is going to reign supreme over this console cycle, and that this is awful news for gamers. The fear would be that SEGA (and other companies) will see that the Wii is where all the money is at, and only make "casual games" for that console and neglect the others. It doesn't matter what SEGA made for the PS3 or how good it was, because they're going to make more money on the Wii peroid.

Another way to look at it is simply that SEGA's entire lineup was pretty pathetic, and the reason the PS3 games didn't sell that well is because they sucked. Virtua Tennis 3, Virtual Snooker Championship 2007, and Full Auto 2: Battlelines aren't really inspiring titles, and I doubt the majority of PS3 owners are really interested in games like that, especially since the 360 and the PS3 are, more and more, being seen as a haven from the sports games and quirky games that seem to have found a home on the Wii. Sure, SEGA had Virtua Fighter 5 and a Sonic game, but VF5 appeals to a pretty niche market, and the Sonic game was supposed to be abysmal.

In my opinion, SEGA doesn't have to give up on the PS3, but they do need to understand the audience they're marketing to on that console. They didn't suffer a huge loss because they developed for the PS3, they suffered a huge loss because they developed crappy games for the PS3 that don't fit its market.

What do you think? Is my analysis correct, or is this happening because casual gaming is destroying the industry?

[Via Spong]   read


2:12 PM on 05.12.2008

Grand Theft Auto makes you a model citizen



As some of you guys might know, I have a degree in psychology (and a legitimate job related to it, thank you very much), so I always get excited/interested whenever people do studies on video games and how they affect people.

It was announced today that Sunderland University, a school in the UK, just awarded it's 2008 prize in psychology to a senior named Chris Whitehead. Chris did his thesis on video games, and through his research claimed that various violent video games, rather than teaching people to commit crimes, drive drunk, and behave like a shithead, actually teach people skills they need to successfully function in the real world.

Chris argued that games like GTA, Halo, and CoD not only help to improve visuospatial skills and hand-eye coordination (two things that are generally accepted by the scientific community), but also improve your leadership, communication, and teamwork skills, particularly in multiplayer modes. He also goes on to say that most of the problems that are attributed to gaming are really a result of back parenting and a lack of monitoring of children.

Of course, the article ends by listing all the various ways you can murder people in GTA and all the crimes you can commit, but the fact that this kid's thesis won a research award is promising and shows that academia isn't blinded by all of the "OMG VIDEO GAMES WILL MAKE YOU KILL PEOPLE HYPE." (As a sidenote, violent video games do affect us, but for most of us that effect is moderated by something else, like good parenting, or the effect is small enough that it's not a huge deal.)

While he's not saying anything particularly new or innovative, it's nice to see that attitudes and opinions like his are being rewarded instead of being punished or ignored. To be honest, from the UK I would have expected his research to get the smackdown from his school or advisers. It would have been nice to have seen the actual study, but unfortunately they didn't give it, so it's hard to tell if he had any evidence to actually back this up, or if he was just making claims and generalizations.

Do you think this guy has a legitimate point? Can you actually point to any concrete examples of where playing video games made you a better leader or communicator? The teamwork and leadership skill argument I can understand, but I'm a bit wary of the communication claim since most games I play with random people are just kids screaming racial slurs into the microphone and calling everyone fags.

[Via some press website]   read


3:28 PM on 05.09.2008

What would Destructoid be without Necros?

  read


1:01 PM on 05.09.2008

The greatest PSP peripheral ever created



As most people know, the PSP is a versatile handheld capable of doing many different things. Gaming, listening to music, watching movies, etc. There're just so many uses for it!

However, there's one thing that's always really frustrated me about it. I've never found a way to easily use it while I'm driving.

MY WAIT IS OVER.

That's right, the amazing folks over at gogamestuff.com have finally solved my PSP-while-driving related woes, and have come out with the single best peripheral in the history of video gaming.

THE PSP CAR HOLDER.

No longer do I have to cry during my entire morning commute because I can't watch movies, I can now attach this handy dandy car holder STRAIGHT TO MY WINDSHIELD so that I can get my entertainment fill while I'm driving. Think you have a boring commute? NOT ANYMORE!!!!

"if you're a psp fan, what will you do when meeting traffic jam?angry?depressed? or just sit there? now, you can get better choice: watch moves to relax yourself via your psp with it tied to psp car holder gripping on your car windshield" (I know English probably isn't their first language, but if you're going to put out a press release in English, you should make sure you know how to spell and use proper grammar.)

Unfortunately there are no pictures yet as it's not being released until Monday, but the description pretty much sums up what it is:

"Gogamestuff has added many PSP holders & docks to its products center recently, but this holder is specially for car owners,Firmly stick on the windshield and could remove easily, with Quick release button for psp car holder extending its arm automatically, the flexible arm can be adjusted to any angle for easy viewing, from its specification."

It comes with Quick release button for PSP car holder extending its arm automatically! It's everything I've ever dreamed of AND MORE!!!

Seriously, who the fuck thought this was a good idea AT ALL? The press release claims it's for use when you're "having to stop for a while" (BECAUSE HOLDING IT IS SO FUCKING HARD), but later on they say it's great for traffic jams. I'm pretty sure a giant flexible arm holding a PSP in your windshield is going to be pretty noticeable to the police after you've slammed your car into a van carrying a family of 6 because you got distracted while watching your pirated copy of Iron Man. Or does Hong Kong have special laws that allow you to view all of the $1 bootleg DVDs you can buy there in your car in order to keep the economy going?

[Via the press release]   read


1:54 PM on 05.08.2008

Mirror's Edge is not PS3 exclusive, will also be released on 360 and PC



Ok, so I know that some of you might have already known this, but it seems like during the last few days most of the internet (including myself) was under the impression that Mirror's Edge was going to be a PS3 exclusive.

An email to EA's PR people this morning however revealed that the PS3 exclusive rumor was due to UK blog incorrectly reporting on the game, and that it will in fact be available for the PS3, the 360, and the PC. When the blog that originally reported it was exclusive (ThreeSpeech) was contacted, they admitted that they made the mistake. The original announcement also confirms this is true.

I have to hand it to Sony's clever tactic of unveiling the trailer at SCEE; without saying anything they managed to make a large amount of people assume this game was exclusive. Well done Sony PR team.

I know some of the PS3 fans will be outraged/disappointed by this news (although I've never really understood why people get so upset when it turns out games aren't exclusive. For me, the more people that can play a game, the better), but for those who don't have a PS3 this is fantastic news. Expect all sorts of awesome mods and maps and things on the PC version that won't be available on the consoles. (Seriously guys, why are you still playing TF2 on your 360s and PS3s?!)

For everyone who knew this already, I apologize in advance if you feel personally inconvenienced because you chose to read this. For the majority of people who didn't know, what are your thoughts? Excited? Annoyed? Aroused?

[Via XboxFamily]   read


11:59 AM on 05.07.2008

Sad news for RPG fans: Tales of Innocence to be Japan-only



After drooling over the screens and trailer for this game since September of last year, Bandai Namco has ruined my day after announcing that the new Tales of Innocence game for the DS will not be released in the US, Europe, or Australia.

This is especially disappointing since the game has been getting stellar reviews, and people who had gotten their hands on the advance or Japanese copies were calling it a must play game.

I find it rather odd that they're not bringing it over. RPGs have always sold well on the DS, there haven't really been any solid new ones lately other than The World Ends With You, and since Bandai Namco is already bringing two other Tales games over to the US for the Wii and the 360, why not the DS? I'd imagine that the DS version would sell at least as well as the Wii and 360 ones, if not outselling them outright.

Anyone else as disappointed by this as I am? It would be one thing if Tales had never made it to America before and they were nervous about introducing a new IP, but the fact that pretty much every other Tales game has come out here or is on its way, the decision not to bring over the DS one is mind boggling.

[Via Nintendic]   read


3:11 PM on 05.06.2008

Blizzard's Digital Download Store is now live



Last night, Blizzard announced that their Digital Download store is now open and ready to be used. While it currently only has the Diablo series, the Starcraft series, and the Warcraft series available, I'd expect that more Blizzard games will be showing up at some point in the near future.

One of the cool things about this is that everyone who owns the games already can input their CD Key and then gain permanent access to that game, letting you get them for free anytime you want. Handy for those who have trouble keeping track of their CDs (like Hito), or those who have a habit of spilling mysterious fluids on them and smudging the ink on the key itself (like Charlie), and also handy for installing it on multiple computers without having to reinput the key every time. It's also a great way for people who haven't played any of the games before to pick them up without having to hunt for them at the store.

(Colette, Charlie, Hito, myself, and a few other people have all started/will soon be playing Diablo II. Shoot me a PM or email at [email protected] if you want in. The Diablo II downloads aren't live just yet, but they should be within the next couple days.)

Also interesting is that registering games enters you into beta drawings. Even though none are live yet, I fully expect people who have a Starcraft CD registered to get on the Starcraft II beta list. I would die of happiness if having Diablo II and LoD registered gave me beta access to D3.

I know a ton of Dtoiders have these games; who is planning on registering? For those of you who don't have them (*scoffs*), WTF not and are you planning on getting them?

[Via Shacknews]   read


5:30 PM on 05.03.2008

Epic NARP was epic (Pictures!)

Hi everybody!

As most of you know, Chad threw an EPIC party last night for Hamza and Polo Guy, who were down here in LA. Also in attendance were Dexter, Ark, Charlie, Naia, Zero Atma, Suff0Cat, Teknomcr and his friend Juan, Britini Martini, TRISTERO!, Mid3vol, Kyle Gamgee, Mamadonna, and some of Chad's non-Dtoid friends and neighbors. A few of you were lucky enough to see some of the shenanigans on Stickam, but for those that weren't, here are some of the highlights.


Chad is really happy even though I just destroyed him at Smash Brothers again.


Hamza, Polo Guy, and Suff0cat hang out with the Stickam people.


I am making a really douchey hand sign after Dexter and I finished one of our amazing Rock Band duets.


Everyone who's not playing video games is drinking.


Chad's lovely neighbors!


Hamza and Polo Guy!


Nice Hamza.


LUNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


A group shot without me fairly late in the night after a number of people had already left.


Naia and Zero Atma. Awww. They are getting married soon.


Eventually around 5 or 6 in the morning, those of us who were still at Chad's started getting tired. Luna was one of the first to fall asleep.

However, while it's typically ok for dogs to sleep on the floor, it's usually a little odd if a human does, especially if it's the person who owns the apartment. Nevertheless, Chad gave a big middle finger to social norms and conventions and chose to pass out under his coffee table.



Best party ever!!!!!!

(Also, Chad is really bad at the Weakest Link :P)   read


4:46 PM on 04.16.2008

Jim Sterling Screaming in a Hot Tub - A 4 Part Video Masterpiece By Me

Gather round children.

These videos have been kept private in an effort to not scar small children and old ladies, but I've decided that it's time for these videos to come to the public light. I present to you, from Cancun, Jim Sterling screaming while drunk in a hot tub. Please excuse my shaky camera and random 90 degree turns as I was dehydrated and drunk at the time.

Also, note that this video was taken somewhere around 6PM in the afternoon.

Enjoy.

Part 1

[embed]81922:10415[/embed]

Part 2

[embed]81922:10416[/embed]

Part 3

[embed]81922:10417[/embed]

Part 4

[embed]81922:10418[/embed]

To see other, non-Sterling Cancun videos, they're up at my Youtube, along with some videos from Dexter's house and Chad's house.

Enjoy!

Also, once I get home from work I will upload an amazing photo of Jim pouring beer and wine all over his face.   read





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