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Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012

  

New U.S. Game Labeling Bill

GamePolitics reports on H.R. 4204, or Violence in Video Games Labeling Act, new legislation being proposed in the U.S. by Congressmen Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.). This follows up on Blanca's plan for such a bill first mentioned over a year ago to label video games with the following warning: "WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior." Baca failed at attempts to pass such bills in in 2003 and in 2009, and presumably thinks the third time will be the charm. Here's the text of bill:

To require certain warning labels to be placed on video games that are given certain ratings due to violent content.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION REGULATION.

a) REGULATION.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission shall promulgate regulations to require the warning label described in subsection (b) to be placed on the packaging of any video game that is rated ‘‘E’’ (Everyone), ‘‘Everyone 10+’’ (Everyone 10 and older), ‘‘T’’ (Teen), ‘‘M’’ (Mature), or ‘‘A’’ (Adult) by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

Continue here to read the full story.

Skyrim Patched

The Bethesda Blog announces the new version 1.5 Windows patch for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now out of beta, and is automatically available for all owners of the RPG sequel through Steam. Here are the patch notes: Continue here to read the full story.

Ships Ahoy - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - The Legend of Dead Kel

The Legend of Dead Kel, a new DLC pack, is now available for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, 38 Studios' recently released role-playing game. The pack is available through Origin and Steam, and here's word on what it offers:

The legendary pirate Dead Kel and his Hanged Men have returned to haunt the seas of northern Amalur. Embark on a journey to the distant island of Gallows End with the eccentric Captain Brattigan in an adventure that will uncover a secret so great that it has incited wars and toppled kingdoms. Discover powerful new weapons and Twist of Fate Cards and use them to conquer the island's unique inhabitants. Become the Lord of Gravehal Keep and lay claim to the once great fort standing upon the edge of a cliff in the most expansive player housing option yet. In an extensive new story and a host of new side quests, battle treacherous new enemies and face exciting new challenges on the mysterious island of Gallows End.

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • Portal 2 on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Spellforce Universe on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Total War: SHOGUN 2 on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Total War: SHOGUN 2 - Rise of the Samurai on Steam. Save 75%.
  • Waveform on Steam. Save 15%.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Dragon Age II "Exalted March" Expansion Cancelled

BioWare's Mark Darrah tweets word that a Dragon Age II expansion called Exalted March was cancelled as part of the just announced transition the developers of the RPG sequel are making to the "next phase" of the series (thanks GameSpot). Word is:

We did have plans for an expansion pack to DA2 but, other DA opportunities came up. There were even shirts! It was called Exalted March.

Blizzard: Some WoW Subs Lost to The Old Republic

An interview on Eurogamer.net talks with World of Warcraft producer John Lagrave about the state of the game. He discusses the subscriber numbers for the MMORPG, saying that they have lost some players to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, though they think there are others hibernating until the release of the next WoW expansion:

"We certainly do look at [where WOW players go], and we have a very smart bunch of guys who do our analytics for us," said senior World of Warcraft producer John Lagrave.

"Of course people are trying Star Wars - our development team are trying Star Wars! I'm one of the few people who's still playing it actually, but yeah we've seen a dip in subs. It certainly has to at least be attributable to The Old Republic, but it's also attributable to people who want to wait and get Mists of Pandaria, so it's not surprising.

"Are they going elsewhere? Yes they are. We don't have a lock on all the best games in the world - Skyrim was an amazing game."

Confrontation Next Month

Focus Home Interactive announces an April 5th release date for Confrontation, the miniature wargame adaptation from Cyanide Studio. The news in accompanied by some new screenshots. Here's word:

Today's screenshots reveal the Griffin squad, as they infiltrate deeper into enemy territory. From the maze-like laboratories of the Scorpion in the heart of Syhar desert, to the dark forests of Diisha guarded by the goddess Yllia and its Wolfen packs, or the immense Orc-filled Canyons in Bran-O-Kor, each territory is definitely hostile to the Akkylannian soldiers of the Griffin. These elite soldiers may not allow themselves any rest, until the quest they have been given is finally fulfilled...

Confrontation will be released on PC in retail stores and for download on April 5th.

BioShock Infinite 'Boys Of Silence' Trailer
This new video featurette from BioShock Infinite shows off the Boys Of Silence, another of the "Heavy Hitters" in the upcoming first-person shooter sequel. The clip includes commentary from Ken Levine along with gameplay footage and artwork to introduce the boss, whose weakness may be narrow doorways. Continue here to read the full story.

SimCity Engine Trailer

A new trailer from the upcoming continuation of the SimCity series shows off the power of the GlassBox Game Engine that will power the game, which is due next year. Word is: "SimCity Gameplay Lead Dan Moskowitz describes the concepts of Resources, Units, Maps, and Agents and how they affect the complex simulation behind SimCity."

Tribes Ascend Beta Adds New Map; Physics Changes

The Tribes Ascend Website has word that a new version 0.1.848.0 beta patch is now live for Hi-Rez Studios' upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter. The new version adds a new CTF map, some temporary matchmaking fixes, new HUD customization options, and the following physics tweaks:

A variety of physics changes have been made in order to fix several issues impacting the fluidity of movement. This includes the elimination of several items that would cause deadstops and hitches, as well as a bug that would allow you to ski/jet along the boundary wall. Changes were also made in order to fix a few issues that would occur when traveling up steep hills. Additional improvements are planned for future releases.

Dishonored Video

A video preview on G4tv.com talks with Raphael Colantonio and Harvey Smith about Dishonored, Arkane Studios' upcoming steampunk shooter. This includes some glimpses of the game in action, though most of the visuals are screenshots and concept art.

Batman: Arkham City Patched

Steam news announces a new patch is now automatically available for Batman: Arkham City "across all digital platforms." Among other things this addresses corrupted save files:

  •  Occurences of Save File Corruption
  • Achievement re-locking issues
  • Crossfire/SLI Issues
    • Graphical flickering
    • FPS improvements when running crossfire
  • Instances of 32 bit memory problems
  • Improvements to performance in cut scenes and death taunts
  • Error messages removed when patching the game and improved patching process

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy change of seasons, as today is the vernal equinox. That makes today the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere, which is certainly welcome, though this was one of the mildest winters I can ever recall. There's extra cause for MrsBlue to celebrate, as when I started growing my seasonal beard on the first day of autumn, I promised today would be D-Day for my facial hair. It was a good run, and I'm loving my thick, gray beard, but it will be nice to get rid of it as well. It was definitely a good tactic to begin the beard with a deadline like that, as having a set exit strategy made it easier for MrsBlue to indulge the process.

Seasonal Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Super Sergeant Shooter 3.
Fixation.
Stories: Woman endures labor for 75 days to save babies. Thanks Neatorama.
Fox Announces Its Spring Finale Dates.
Science: Science Channel Ponders ‘Alien Encounters’. Thanks Neutronbeam.
Images: Steampunk Portal cosplay boots.
Get Your First Look at The Green Arrow's New Costume.
Media: The (Totally) Phantom Menace - Lamest Fight Scene EVER!
NASA fires a BB into water at 20x the speed of a bullet.
Auction: Microsoft donating $1M in funds and hardware to Right To Play charity.
Lord of da Seben Seaz.
The Funnies: ActionTrip Comic Strip: Diablologizing.
Caffeine Cartoon - Savage Chickens.
Brevity.
Follow-up: Scribes Talk Plans For Another "TRON".
NY Mets owners settle Madoff case, avoid trial.



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