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Gaming Round Up For 03/13/06

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Video Game Voters Network Launched
The “Video Game Voters Network,” a new grassroots political network for gamers, officially launched today at videogamevoters.org. The Web site was created as a means for American adults who play computer and video games to organize and take action on important policy issues affecting the computer and video game industry.

“Computer and video games represent one of the most important new media developments of this generation. Unlike many other forms of entertainment they offer players the opportunity to explore, be creative, learn through interaction and express themselves to others,” said Will Wright, Chief Designer at Maxis. “It is vitally important that we protect and nurture this new art form so that it can reach its full potential. Like most new forms of artistic expression that have come before (music, novels, movies), the primary critics of video games are the people that do not play them.”

[ADBLOCKHERE]The Video Game Voters Network opposes efforts to regulate the content of entertainment media, including proposals to criminalize the sale of certain games to minors, or regulate video games differently than movies, music, books, and other media. The site, a project of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), enables gamers to stay updated about these and other game industry-related issues, to register to vote, and to take action by contacting federal, state, and local officials to express their views. Gamers over 18 years old can join the Network and/or send a letter to policymakers at the Web site.

“With over seventy bills to restrict game sales to minors already pending in state legislatures across the country this year, it’s time for gamers to make their voices heard loudly and clearly, to let politicians know that they will no longer stand by and let games be the scapegoat for larger social problems,” said ESA president Doug Lowenstein. “Gamers can join together through the Video Game Voters Network to send a strong message to politicians to let them know that gamers care, that they vote, and that they will no longer tolerate these unconstitutional, unnecessary, and uninformed attacks on this important form of entertainment.”

Business Lessons From WoW
Joi Ito, a longtime World of Warcraft player and blogger, thinks that WoW can be used as a valuable business tool that can allow companies to learn how to work better. WoW can teach companies how to manage their employees better. World of Warcraft can also show that keeping employees happy by being respectful to them and encouraging an environment in which people work together and chase common goals without aggressively laying down ground rules. Joi Ito knows that WoW is just a game, but the game encourages you to work together with other players to complete a task, which is something businesses should be paying attention to.

New BioWare Studio Opening
BioWare Crop. representatives have announced that it has opened a new studio, named BioWare Austin, located in the Texas city. This is the company’s second studio and it is also the first to be located outside of Canada. The studio has already announced that it has begun work on a new MMORPG. The new Austin studio team consists of lead designer James Ohlen, who has worked on games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Neverwinter Nights, and Baldur’s Gate; Richard Vogel, who has worked on Ultima Online; and, Gordon Walton, who has worked on games such as The Sims and Star Wars: Galaxies.

“BioWare is committed to a seamless collaboration between our two studios to ensure the same high standards of quality and creativity our dedicated teams have always delivered,” said BioWare co-founder and co-CEO Ray Muzyka in a statement. “With our extensive heritage in the role-playing genre, BioWare Austin is extremely well positioned to innovate in the massively multiplayer online space for BioWare’s valued community of fans.”

Create Your Own Nintendo Controller Card Reader!
The good people at instructables.com have posted a great way to turn your Nintendo Entertainment System controller into a card reader for your PC. This is a very cool idea you can try, if you have the time and equipment for it.

Japan Bans Retro Gaming Re-sales
This is a very sad report. Starting on April 1st (Aprils Fools Day), Japan’s Product Safety of Electrical Appliances and Materials Law will be making it illegal to resell older electrical appliances made before April of 2001, which includes VCRs, TV sets, refrigerators, Nintendo Entertainment Systems, Sega Saturns, and even old arcade cabinets. Weekly Playboy, a magazine geared towards young Japanese men, claims that this is the “Worst Law Ever!” Tons of Otaku are combining together to request that the law be revised.

Sony To Digitally Distribute?
According to gamesindustry.biz, reports from developers who are close to Sony say that the company will be planning a major distribution service for game content, which could include downloadable PS2 or PS1 games. One source described the digital distribution as being “purely about technology, not business models.” This may be difficult considering that Playstation 1 and 2 games are gigabytes big, while the Revolution’s similar downloading system, announced a while ago, has NES and SNES games that are mere megabytes big. Gameindustry.biz also says that other sources say “Sony may also be investigating the possibility of remastering certain PS2 titles to allow them to stream later content over the network while the player is already playing early parts of the game.”

Most Played Xbox Live Games

  1. Halo 2
  2. Call of Duty 2
  3. Fight Night Round 3
  4. Perfect Dark Zero
  5. Dead or Alive 4
  6. Project Gotham Racing 3
  7. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
  8. The Outfit
  9. Battlefield 2: Modern Combat
  10. Madden NFL 06

This Week’s Releases
Nintendo DS
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

Game Boy Advanced
Yu-Gi-Oh! Double Pack
Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters: World Championship Tournament 2006

GameCube
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown

Mobile
Trickshot Pool

Playstation 2

Alfa Romeo Racing Italiano
Driver: Parallel Lines
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix

PC
Buccaneer’s Bounty
Crime Stories
CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
Neighbors From Hell: On Vacation
Onimusha 3: Demon Siege
Space Rangers 2: Rise of the Dominators
Station Access Collection

Playstation Portable
Brothers in Arms
Daxter
Mega Man Powered Up
Neopets Petpet Adventure: The Wand of Wishing

Xbox
Driver: Parallel Lines
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Remix
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Critical Hour

Xbox 360
The Outfit

Titles Announced So Far This Week
Night Watch: The Video Game (PC)

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