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Friday, Mar 18, 2011


Violent Game Debate Video, Recap

The Escapist has a video of yesterday's debate at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on whether violent video games promote real-world violence and the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the California violent games bill. Likewise, GameSpot has a recap of the goings on, saying in the end, Stanford Constitutional Law Center director Michael McConnell offered this opinion: "If you had to be a betting person, my guess is that [Activision chief public policy officer George Rose's] side is very likely to prevail." Here's their takeaway: "All three panelists seemed to agree that CA 1179 will be struck down by the Supreme Court. However, what remains at question is how reaching the court's ruling will be and whether it will leave open the possibility of another, more narrowly crafted bill being brought that could regulate the sale of games."

Japan Aid

Direct2Drive outlines plans to help aid disaster relief in Japan: "Beginning March 16th thru March 21st, we, along with several valued partners, will donate $1 for every game sold to support emergency relief efforts in Japan." Also, the Global Agenda Website offers special pricing to purchase Hi-Rez Studios' subscription-free MMO shooter, saying: "In response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, Hi-Rez Studios has pledged to donate 100% of this weekend’s website game sales to Red Cross’ Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami relief effort:" Here's what's going on in this area from " announces the "Mac Games For Japan Relief Bundle.” This very special time-limited bundle of 15 games is aimed at helping the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Proceeds from the sale of the bundle will be donated to the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami disaster relief fund through the American Red Cross."

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Patch

A third patch is now available for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, updating the racing sequel to version 1.030. The patch is available on the Need for Speed Website, where they offer this outline of its purpose: "Fixes account for almost half (47%) of the crashes caused by the top 10 problems reported by our users. Specifically, crashes and rendering problems on ATI Radeon X1300, X1550 and X1800 graphics cards have been addressed. Fixes are also included for Intel embedded graphics chipsets such as the Intel GMA 500, Intel GMA 600 and Intel GMA X3000 which are running older graphics drivers. - Another crash bug has also been resolved when running on graphics hardware that does not support DirectX Shader Model 3.0." The download is mirrored on AtomicGamer, Gamer's Hell, The Patches Scrolls, and WorthPlaying.

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime Video Diary

A new video diary from Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime, shows off the supernatural action/adventure game in development at Behavior Studios. The brief clip features producer Jonathan Moses explaining the tough task ahead of anyone who straps on the proton pack of a Ghost Buster in the upcoming sequel. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

On Sale

Direct2Drive offers 20% off all first-person shooters when you use the code "specwar5" at checkout. Week two of the 5th Anniversary Sale on GamersGate offers another huge selection of games up to 75% off.

  • Divinity II and Sacred 2 Bundle on Impulse. Save 75%.
  • Drakensang - The River of Time on Impulse. Save 25%.
  • Evochron Mercenary on Impulse. Save 33%.
  • Haegemonia - Legion of Iron on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Haegemonia - The Solon Heritage on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • King Arthur - The Role-Playing Wargame on Impulse. Save 85%.
  • Namco Bundle on Impulse. Save 50%.
  • Post Apocalyptic Mayhem on Steam. Save 20%.
    Still on sale (previously reported). Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Previews

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Into the Black

Link of the Day: Mike Tyson, Angry Birds and the iPad 2. Thanks Ant via TDW Geeks.

DarkSpore Delayed Until Next Month

Following indications that DarkSpore was delayed from its planned release this month, the Darkspore Forum has a confirmation that the release of Maxis' upcoming action RPG is delayed until April 26 in North America and April 28 in Europe (thanks Big Download). Word is the game's release will be preceded by further beta testing to incorporate user feedback:

Thanks to everyone who has participated in the Darkspore beta! We’ve received really positive feedback about the game, as well as some suggestions of things you’d like to see. We’re really close, but in order to make the best game possible, the team has decided to take additional time to incorporate more of your feedback. Darkspore will now be available in NA April 26 and across EU/APAC beginning April 28. The beta will not be available this weekend, but we’re excited to announce that we’ll have more betas where you’ll have a chance to experience new game updates. We’re also planning an open beta for everyone in April, so you can invite any friends to play with you to check out the game and have the opportunity to provide further feedback. Thanks again for your support, and we’ll see you in the game!

Shift 2 Unleashed Trailer

A new "Hot Lap trailer from Shift 2 Unleashed shows pro driver Tommy Milner negotiating the pro driver autolog challenge in a hot lap on Laguna Seca in Corvette C6.R GT 1 in the upcoming continuation of the Need for Speed series of racing games. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.

Mass Effect 2 Arrival DLC This Month

Following the couple of hints, BioWare officially announces Arrival for Mass Effect 2, saying the promised final DLC for the action/RPG will be released on March 29 for Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 for 560 space bucks/£5.49. Here's word:

In Mass Effect: Arrival, Commander Shepard is sent to the edge of the galaxy to rescue an undercover operative who may have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion that has been looming since the very beginning of the series. Returning and playing a prominent role in Mass Effect: Arrival is fan favorite Admiral Hackett, who is voiced by legendary science-fiction actor Lance Henriksen (Alien, Terminator).

Stretch Armstrong Game TM

Siliconera notes that Mattel has filed a trademark registration for Stretch Armstrong for computer software and videogames. Though it seems like a stretch to create games based on a 70s toy that was an elastic man in a Speedo, they note that there is also a Stretch Armstrong movie in development, so this would probably tie into that. The scant IMDb listing for the movie lists it for a 2013 release.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover Next Month

The Official Ubisoft Online Store now offers an April 26, 2011 release date for IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover, the upcoming Eric Johnson-free combat flight simulator sequel. Here's word on the game's setting in World War II's Battle of Britain: "Fly into the pivotal aerial battle for the skies of Britain. As a member of the British RAF, face off against the deadly German Luftwaffe and the Italian air forces. IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover is the next exciting World War II flight combat simulation title from 1C: Maddox Games, creators of the critically acclaimed IL-2 Sturmovik series." Those who preorder the game will get a free copy of Silent Hunter III. Thanks Larry.

Anomaly Warzone Earth Next Month

11 bit studios announces an April 8 release date for the Windows and OS X editions of Anomaly Warzone Earth, their action/strategy game that reverses the tower defense genre by putting the player in the role of the attacker (tower offense?). The news is accompanied by some new screenshots, and here's an outline of the game:

The game tasks you with saving a near-future Earth from an alien onslaught. The invaders have captured the world’s major cities, building huge turrets that destroy everything in their path. It’s up to you to lead an armor squad through the streets of cities like Baghdad and Tokyo, planning the route and strategically choosing which units to deploy in order to crush the opposition. Take control of the Commander, whose special abilities and quick thinking will be vital in supporting the squad in its mission, as you engage in fast-paced, tactical battle across story campaign and two heart-pounding Squad Assault Modes.

AMD Knocks DirectX

Farewell to DirectX on hears from Richard Huddy, head of GPU developer relations at AMD, who states that DirectX is holding back game performance. He blames this on consoles, though it seems logical that this would probably be less of an issue for AMD if they manufactured CPUs or GPUs for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Though programming more directly for the hardware on two different GPU architectures would be more difficult, he claims the most common request he gets from developers is to "make the API go away." Here's a bit:

'It's funny,' says AMD's worldwide developer relations manager of its GPU division, Richard Huddy. 'We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it's very clear that the games don't look ten times as good. To a significant extent, that's because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad - mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way.' Huddy says that one of the most common requests he gets from game developers is: 'Make the API go away.'

'I certainly hear this in my conversations with games developers,' he says, 'and I guess it was actually the primary appeal of Larrabee to developers – not the hardware, which was hot and slow and unimpressive, but the software – being able to have total control over the machine, which is what the very best games developers want. By giving you access to the hardware at the very low level, you give games developers a chance to innovate, and that's going to put pressure on Microsoft – no doubt at all.'

Trainz 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition [Updated]

The Trainz Portal has details on a new Trainz 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition, which is now available for preorder. This special edition of the railroad sim includes the new Trainz Simulator 12, Trainz Multiplayer, "a sack of goodies," and a chance of winning one of ten Trainz Golden Tickets, which entitle winners to a free copy of every Trainz product released over the next five years. Update: Corrected the part about the Golden Tickets, which originally mistakenly said there was a one in ten chance of winning. Apologies for the confusion.

Din's Curse Beta Patch, Movie

The Din's Curse Patch Page now offers new beta version 1.023 patches for the Windows and OS X editions of Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG. Also, the Din's Curse Movies Page now offers a new Din's Curse: Demon War trailer showing off the game's upcoming expansion.

Iron Grip: Marauders 3D Upgrade

ISOTX announces the completion of the first phased of a graphics overhaul for Iron Grip: Marauders, their browser-based online strategy game, saying their use of the Unity 3D engine makes the game unique: "Iron Grip: Marauders is the first online strategy game to deliver full 3D graphics directly in your browser. Thanks to a unique integration with Unity software, it is able to combine advanced strategic planning together with 3D tactical battles in a turn-based format."

Op Ed - Homefront and Propaganda In Video Games - What Are They Trying To Tell You?
America's Army was originally created as a recruitment tool, and as such is probably one of the only games on this list that was deliberately created to boost enlistments and nationalism. It has been remarkably effective at fostering gung-ho pro-American militarism throughout much of the country. The American Civil Liberties Union even said in 2008 that the Army's video-game development team found that 60 percent of recruits had played America's Army on a nearly daily basis, and 4 out of 100 said they joined just because of the game. The ACLU has alleged that the game was designed to reach young teens online that are legally protected from recruitment attempts.

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