Archived News:

Thursday, Nov 13, 2008

Gold - Left 4 Dead

Valve announces Left 4 Dead is gold, and the multiplayer zombie shooter is now available for preload on Steam in preparation for the game's release on November 18:
November 13, 2008 - Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (Steam and Source), today announced its upcoming zombie thriller, Left 4 Dead, has gone gold and is now pre-loading to those who pre-purchased the game via Steam.

Left 4 Dead is the new survival action game from Valve for the PC and Xbox 360 that blends the social entertainment experience of multiplayer games such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress with the dramatic, narrative experience made popular in single player action game classics such as the Half-Life series of games.

Those who pre-order the game via Steam save 10% off the regular price and may pre-load the game so they are able to play at 12:01 am EST on November 18, 2008 when the game is made available.

The pre-order discount is also available for both the PC and 360 versions at participating retail outlets.

Playable in single player, co-operative, and multiplayer modes, Left 4 Dead is one of the most anticipated releases of 2008 and winner of numerous pre-launch awards, including Best of E3 from multiple outlets. The official demo for the game is available now through November 17 for the PC and Xbox 360.

Fallout 3 Windows DLC has word that Microsoft confirms Fallout 3 will be the first game to get downloadable content via the Games for Windows LIVE service. What sort of additional content or when it will be released are not specified, but they quote Bethesda Softworks' Pete Hines describing the ability to distribute DLC via the Windows LIVE Marketplace is "a great fit for Fallout 3." Thanks Mike Martinez.

Gearbox Seeking Testers

Gearbox Software announces it is seeking participants for focus testing of their co-op sci-fi shooter Borderlands and Aliens: Colonial Marines, their upcoming game based on the Aliens movies. Interested parties who are 18 years of age or older, and able to be in Plano, TX during normal business hours should check out this page for further details.

Violent Games Set Boys Hearts' Aflutter

Science Daily reports a study conducted by three Swedish universities on the physiological impacts of games on a group of boys, saying: "In the study boys (12-15) were asked to play two different video games at home in the evening. The boys’ heart rate was registered, among other parameters. It turned out that the heart rate variability was affected to a higher degree when the boys were playing games focusing on violence compared with games without violent features. Differences in heart rate variability were registered both while the boys were playing the games and when they were sleeping that night. The boys themselves did not feel that they had slept poorly after having played violent games." They say this autonomous response may be significant: "It is hoped that it will be possible to use the method to enhance our knowledge of what mechanisms could lie behind the association that has previously been suggested between violent games and aggressive behavior." Thanks GamePolitics.

Bionic Commando Movie

A new trailer from Bionic Commando introduces the Polycraft, an airborne enemy in GRIN's upcoming action/platformer sequel. The clip is available on ActionTrip, AtomicGamer, FileFront, and Gamer's Hell.

Evening Previews

Evening Screenshots

Safety Dance

Into the Black

Well, I survived my extraction pretty well today. This was my first encounter with this oral surgeon, and I have to say I was pretty impressed with his skill. I had no pain during the procedure, and the actual tooth yoinking took all of about a minute. I'm not swollen, nor am I particularly sore, and there's hardly any bleeding. It's pretty tough imagining how it could have gone much smoother.

Sins of a Solar Empire Patch Next Week

The Sins of a Solar Empire Website has word to expect the version 1.1 patch for the 4X strategy game on November 18, which will conclude an incredbily long beta test for a patch originally expected in September. This forum post has a complete log of changes expected in the new version. Thanks The Patches Scrolls.

Spike TV VGA Nominees

Spike TV Announces Nominees and Categories for 6th Annual 'Video Game Awards' has the nominees for this year's gaming awards from the cable TV network, which will be held on December 14, and this year they are looking to create some buzz along the way, saying: "The 2008 'Video Game Awards' will feature exclusive premiere footage from the industry's most highly anticipated releases. On, Spike TV will reveal one, new world-premiere each Wednesday leading up to the live telecast on December 14. The very first exclusive to be announced is EA Sports' Fight Night Round 4. In addition, fans can log onto to view the latest, breaking news on this year's event." Spike's Video Game Awards Website has all the nominees, which are fairly console-centric, but this page outlines PC game of the year nominees: Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Crysis Warhead, Spore, and in a nod to the future, the yet-to-be-released Left 4 Dead. Their overall Game of the year nominees do include one game available on the PC, as consideration will be given to Gears of War 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, LittleBigPlanet, and Fallout 3.

Valve versus the HL2 Hax0r

Valve Tried to Trick Half Life 2 Hacker Into Fake Job Interview on offers in interesting tale of intrigue stemming from the theft and subsequent leak of the Half-Life 2 source code in 2003. One story of an FBI raid in San Francisco surfaced shortly after that, but the new Wired story details efforts at tracking down Axel "Ago" Gembe, a German hacker who admitted responsibility for the data breach. A sting operation was hatched to convince Gembe he was on track to be hired by Valve, and the FBI attempted to lure him from German into the US for arrest under the guise of a job interview. Gembe ultimately did not fall for the sting, but he was charged in Germany for the crime, and was sentenced to probation. His legal status is still uncertain, however, as he has been indicted by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles in association with a distributed denial-Of-service attack by a satellite TV provider, as Gembe is alleged to have created and supplied the Agobot malware used in the attacks. Thanks nin.

New Grimm Episode

GameTap now offers King Midas, the latest installment in American McGee's Grimm, the offbeat episodic adventure series based on the world of fairy tales. As usual, the episode will be free for around 24 hours, after which time you're going to have to part with some green to be Grimm. Here's word on the new episode: "Once upon a time, fairy tales were valuable cautionary yarns filled with dire warnings and sage advice. However, over time, the stories have become so watered down with cute woodland creatures and happy endings that they have lost their true meaning and purpose. No more! Happily Ever After ends now! Most everyone is familiar with the tale of King Midas and his accursed golden touch, but how might Grimm's unique view change this classic tale? There's only one way to find out!"

New ATI Reference Drivers

The AMD/ATI Drivers & Software Page is where the journey begins to find the new version 8.11 Catalyst reference drivers for ATI Radeon graphics cards. There are new drivers for Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Linux, promising STALKER Clear Sky and Far Cry 2 performance improvements on some Windows configurations, CrossFireX enhancements, and HydraVision support for Windows XP. The new Linux drivers include RHEL 4.7 support and display scaling support for TV timings.

On Blizzard's Next MMOG and WoW Paid Customization

Blizzard's Paul Sams and Lee Sparks were at the London World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King launch, which subjected them to questions about their "other" MMORPG, which has been under pretty tight wraps. This tight-lipped approach doesn't seem to be changing right now as IncGamers was told, "We haven't shared it publicly because when we do, we want to have a definite idea about what that gameplay experience is going to be." They did, however, get an indication that speculation this will be a console project may be inaccurate: "that it would be a natural thought for people to have that that would be the 'next level', but I don't think that should be the assumption because I think there is a lot more that can be done on a PC." Videogaming247 has a bit more, as Sams indicates the game is still in the early stages of development, and they are not yet sure when they will start releasing information about the project. Eurogamer was also in attendance, but they asked about the less top secret topic of recently revealed plans to allow paid WoW character customization, and Sams explains they are not so much looking for another revenue stream by charging for this, they are just looking to keep players from doing it too often: "We want to give you the ability to do this, but we don't want you to do it all the time time [sic]. The same thing goes for paid character transfer, we don't want people bouncing back and forth. It serves as a tool for people to do it, but also as a deterrent to not do it too much, and also allows us to have the staff to be able to continually manage the population."

Game Actors Union Doings

AFTRA extends video-game agreement reports that American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) has extended its contract with video game publishers through the end of 2009, with an increase in compensation for the union's members for their work on games. This apparently does not completely preclude the possibility of a work stoppage for video game voice work, however, as Variety reports the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) also has a contract for such work that's set to expire after this year, and this more "militant" union was behind the strike talk of a few years ago. Variety spoke with SAG national director Doug Allen, who would only say the union will launch talks on the topic "in the near future."

WoW: Wrath of the Lich King Live

As noted on the World of Warcraft Community Site, the Wrath of the Lich King expansion is now live for Blizzard's high-profile MMORPG. The post offers an overview of the content in the expansion and the opening cinematic for your viewing pleasure. MCV reports on the add-on's London midnight launch, and MTV Multiplayer covers the NYC midnight launch. There's more on the US launch on GameSpot, and the WoW Insider describes how the launch seems to have overwhelmed GameStop's credit card system. If you are looking for help leveling up faster, WorldofWar.Net has a Wrath of the Lich King Quest Guide. They also have word of Compensation For Tuesday's Downtime.

Battlefield Heroes Beta Closes Tomorrow

Closed Beta Update on the Battlefield Heroes Website has a status report on testing of Battlefield Heroes, DICE's upcoming subscription-free online shooter. The report talks about incorporating gameplay feedback from the testers, as well as the work being done on the back-end of the game, making the analogy of how much of an iceberg lies below water. The conclusion of senior producer James Salt's post indicates they are getting set for the next phase of testing, and so the closed beta will become a closed closed beta as of tomorrow evening as they shut things down to work on the back end. They currently plan on reopening the beta "early next year."

Elemental: War of Magic Q&A

Elemental: War of Magic Q&A on GameSpot talks with Stardock's Brad Wardell about Elemental: War of Magic, their upcoming game that draws from a variety of sources: "It really does draw from a lot of different games. I'm more of a game player than a developer--I develop games so that I can play them (and hope others want to play them too!). I would say that Elemental will be a lot like Master of Magic and Civilization in terms of the strategic elements and a bit like the Total War series for the tactical battles. In essence, you're building a civilization in a fantasy universe. You're founding that society that you may have played D&D or some other role-playing game in."

City of Heroes Interview

The City of Heroes Issue 13 interview on Boomtown chats with Matt "Positron" Miller, asking the lead designer on Cryptic's superhero MMORPG about plans for issues 13 & 14, why issue 13 was divided into these two parts, PvP changes, the role of day jobs, the mission architect, and more.

Morning Screenshots

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

So I went to Dr. Toothy on Tuesday expecting a little pain, even though it was just to install my finished crown, as I recalled this might entail this thing they do to surround the base of the tooth with what seems like string to facilitate fitting. It turned out that nothing like this was required, it was just some fitting and gluing, and I was done. On my way out, I recalled another issue from my last check up, as the dentist told me my sole remaining wisdom tooth has a giant cavity in it, and it should be pulled before this turned into a problem. They called over to the oral surgeon, and suddenly I was asked to decide if I should take an appointment just two days hence (which is today). I initially said no, as I wanted to mentally prepare for this, but when talk of scheduling after Thanksgiving came up, I realized this could easily get pushed into next year by holidays and such, and I was not going to be happy if it turned into a toothache in the meantime, so I took the appointment today. Therefore, I think it's only fair to add another possibility to the theories about my dental woes: Maybe it is bad luck, maybe it's genetics, and maybe it is Halloween candy, but in agreeing to this extraction later this morning, just two days after a completely pain-free dentist visit, it may just be that I'm a masochist.

Masochistic Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez.
Play: Darkness Springs.
IncrediBots. Thanks Jay is Games.
Ultimate Gamer Challenge.
Stories: Stuck on tarmac- Airlines not required to help passengers?
Husband's coffin kills woman. Thanks Neatorama.
Wayans Set To Remake "Munsters". I picture the audience running away in fast-motion.
Science: Six Real Gadgets Minority Report Predicted Correctly. Nothing about names carved in wooden balls.
Helicopters collect whale snot from blowholes. Thanks Jim.
Auction: Star Wars Clone Wars TV Act Figs- SIGNED - FOR CHARITY.
Fallout 3 statue auction ends at over $2,500.
Images: First Full Image Of New Star Trek USS Enterprise. Thanks Mark.
Community Chest. Thanks Digg.
iz tryin to get...
Media: Ignored Netflix Movies Fight Back.
Army using virtual games to recruit and teach about war.
Follow-up: Spirit Rover in Trouble. Thanks j.c.f.
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