Friday, January 27, 2006

Gaming News

Time for another round of video game news. Here we go:
  • E3 Cracking Down on Booth Babes?

    The Entertainment Software Association, those fine folks responsible for putting together the E3 expo every year, recently sent word that it will be putting harsher penalties in place for exhibitors who violate the event's long standing but often ignored dress code.

    According to the ESA, "Material, including live models, conduct that is sexually explicit and/or sexually provocative, including but not limited to nudity, partial nudity and bathing suit bottoms, are prohibited on the Show floor, all common areas, and at any access points to the Show." Exhibitors in violation of this will be given one verbal warning, followed by a fine of $5000 to be paid on-site and a refusal to allow the models back on the floor until they comply with the dress code.

    Only time will tell if attendees will continue to see as much eye candy on the E3 floor as they do on the screens, or if this announcement actually marks the beginning of the end of the booth babe era.

  • Nintendo to Re"DS"ign the DS

    Nintendo, the reigning king of the handheld market, officially unveiled the latest plan continue its dominance … the DS Lite.  Without much fanfare, the company's Japanese website announced a slimmer, trimmer version of its best-selling DS hardware is scheduled to hit store shelves on March 2nd of this year. The redesigned version of the DS hardware is about 43 percent smaller and 21 percent lighter than the current model. Aside from compact size, the biggest change in the DS Lite is the addition of a brightness control for the system's dual screens. So, how much will this Weight Watchers inspired system set back gamers? Right now, the price for the new system is set at 16,800 yen or about $145 US … slightly higher that the price of the current plus sized model.

  • Siren Lures in a Movie Deal

    Despite mixed results at the box office, Hollywood still can't seem to get enough of the video game industry. According to an article on Variety earlier this week, Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures has picked up the motion picture rights to Sony's creepy survival horror game, Siren. Although there's currently no director or cast attached to the project, the Variety piece does credit writer Michael Gordon with putting together the screenplay. Gordon does have some experience at adapting other properties to the big screen. His previous writing credits include the upcoming Warner Bros., 300, which based on the Frank Miller graphic novel.

    Early details of the movie's plot center on an American medical student searching for her missing sister in Japan. Eventually, she finds her way to the village of Hanuda, where supernatural forces have taken over. Principal filming is expected to begin on Siren later this year.

  • Phantom Lapboard Comes Up With Some Real Cash

    File this under the "They're Still Around?" category. It's been three years since Infinium Labs first announced its plans to get into the gaming industry with the Phantom video game console. And while the console itself seems no closer to being released, the company has announced plans to release the system's uniquely designed wireless keyboard and mouse combo to PC gamers. Of course, it takes money to release a new product. And money is something that Infinium Labs has been struggling with in recent months. Now comes the announcement that private equity firm Golden Gate Investors is coming to the rescue to the tune of $5 million. With the new funding, Infinium hopes to be able to move forward with its plans to release the Phantom Lapboard later this year.

  • Sony "Zips" Up SOCOM Developer

    Hot on the heels of its acquisition of Killzone developer, Guerrila Games, Sony has announced that it has also snatched up Zipper Interactive, the studio responsible for its top selling SOCOM franchise. As a part of the deal, Zipper will become a part of Sony's ever-growing SCE Worldwide studio. The day to day operations of Zipper will be handled by the current management and execs from SCE Worldwide's Foster City studio. Financial details of the purchase haven't been released, but it’s a safe bet that Sony paid a pretty penny for the studio responsible for one of the company's biggest selling franchises.

More interesting developments on the job front as well. If you're interested in news tidbits like these, expect to see and hear much more in the near future. I hate having to be clandestine here, but there are a couple of projects about to start which will guarantee that you'll be seeing a lot more of my name around the video game and comic industries shortly. Got your curiousity piqued yet? Then keep tuning in here and see where things are going.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Peeking in the Swag Bag

I've been sorting through a few of the various items in the Swag Bag. I figured I'd put together a list of a few of the things so that people can get an idea of some of the fun, unique, and sometimes warped collectibles that accumulate in my line of work. Also, it's an opportunity for people to try hitting me up for some of the stuff (heh).

So, here goes:
  • An Xbox version of Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, signed by the developers over at Radical Entertainment
  • Three retail games for the Nokia N-Gage: High Seize, One, and X-Men Legends II
  • Darkwatch T-Shirt (XL) and comic book
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory hoodie (S)
  • Art of Guild Wars hardback book
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas embroidered socks (yes, I said "socks")
  • Fable metal die, sides read: Choose Good, Choose Evil, Follow Your Heart, Trust Your Instincts, Yes Absolutely, and No Definitely Not
  • War of the Monsters foam rock
  • Destroy All Humans! ray gun (shoots smoke rings)
  • A set of the limited edition City of Villains HeroClix initially available only in the CoV Collector's Edition
  • Set of Hot Shots Golf Fore! golfballs
  • Metal Gear Solid Cold War Camouflage Snake Kubrick figure
  • Mortal Kombat Deception Skull Head Scorpion action figure
  • Mortal Kombat Deception Cold Snap Sub-Zero action figure
  • E3 2005 exclusive DS card featuring theLegend of Zelda: Twilight Princess trailer
  • Zero Hour exclusive Xbox 360 faceplate
  • Red vs. Blue Season 1, 2, and 3 DVDs signed by the guys at Rooster Teeth
  • Doom theatrical one sheet poster
  • Gizmondo handheld device (Smart Adds version) w/ 3 games
  • Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction Xbox demo, signed by writer Paul Jenkins
  • Wristband embroidered with the SEGA logo
  • Wristband embroidered with the Dead or Alive 4 logo
  • Plastic fan from Tokyo Game Show promoting Viewtiful Joe and MegaMan (aka Rockman)
  • Final Fantasy XI Online Atlas, sealed w/ exclusive Yoshitaka Amano book jacket

I've got more stuff in the bag, but this list is just for starters. So ... anyone got any unique ideas for dishing stuff out? Or are you just going to try calling dibs on the different things? For the record ... that last option probably won't work on me ... unless you get REAL creative when calling dibs. (heh)


Friday, January 20, 2006

An explanation on opinions

Y'know, one of the drawbacks to writing reviews and editorials is that, while I don't expect everyone to agree with my opinion, everyone seems to expect me to agree with theirs. Earlier in the blog, I posted a piece titled "Getting Desensetized" discussing the my thoughts about a study on the supposed effects of violent video games. Today, someone decided to comment on it. A few people told me they thought I should just delete it and forget about it ... but I decided instead that maybe this would be a perfect time to try and explain what is important to me about opinions. Here's the original comment that got it started, as well as my response:
Anonymous said...

this artical sucks dude can't u come up with a better sack of crap than this.

Friday, January 20, 2006 12:12:00 PM

WldCard said...

This "artical" wasn't an article. It was simply me talking about why this study bugged me. People can twist any data around to fit their means, and on the surface this seems like more of the same.

It's an opinion ... like the top of the page says: "Come on in and check out what I'm thinking, what I'm working on, what's happening in the industry, and whatever other unique adventures happen along the way."

A couple of people saw this comment and thought I should just delete it and forget about it. And for just a split second, I considered it. But the thing is, I always tell people that my reviews are simply my opinions, and that I don't expect anyone to necessarily agree or disagree with me.

Well, my "editorials" like this are the same type of thing. It's just me voicing my opinion ... much like you decided to do in your comment. The different is, in my piece I gave REASONS for my thoughts. I tried to explain WHY exactly I felt the way I did about the study. Just like in the reviews, I always explain WHY I like or dislike a game/book/etc. I may not expect you to agree with me, but I try my best to put forth my reasoning for my way of thinking.

So, maybe you really do believe that the blog entry was a "sack of crap". Hell, I'm sure there are plenty of people who agree with you. I'm also sure that there are people who disagree with you. It's your opinion and you are welcome to it. That is your right and your prerogative, and no one should deny that to you ... just as I'd expect no one to deny it to me. The difference is, when I expressed my opinion, I gave my reasoning for it and left it open for discussion.

Your comment, on the other hand, brought nothing to the table. No reasoning. No point of interest. Nothing. So, to wrap things up in your own words, "dude can't u come up with a better sack of crap than this"?

Friday, January 20, 2006 12:51:40 PM

Now, for the record, this blog is a hodgepodge of things. There are going to be news stories, editorials, career updates, as well as some trivial stuff I just happen to feel like writing about at any given time. Some stuff will be serious, some stuff won't. Some stuff will be informative, and ... well ... some stuff may be more on the pointless side. Either way though, it's always going to be entertaining.

Having said all of that, now it's time for you to express YOUR opinion.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New name, new look, and a new beginning

So ... some of you out there have been wondering when I was going to get around to updating Stacking the Deck. How's this for an update?

Here's the deal. It's a new year, and things are already progressing at a crazy rate. I'm still writing regularly for GameSpy. I'm also doing a lot more work for Electric Playground and Play Magazine. In fact, I'm currently working on a feature for Play. As usual, I'll let all of you know when it gets published.

Now, besides the usual chaos of my writing gigs, I'm also finally getting some other projects of mine off the ground. I'm working on developing a few intellectual properties for various outlets (tv, games, comics, etc.). I'm also planning to put together a podcast covering different areas of fandom. I'm basically sticking my finger into a host of different pies. An even better food metaphor is throwing a bunch of spaghetti agains the wall and see what sticks.

Since I still own the name "FanBased Media", I figured that the new year was a great time to put it to use. And so, after a lot of redesign, trial and error, and numerous pots of coffee ... here we are.

Let me know what you think, and keep checking back to see what's in store.