Friday, July 31, 2009

Therapists Hoping To Treat "Addicted" World of Warcraft Players

World of Warcraft AddictionGaming addiction is a highly debated issue among medical and psychological professionals around the world. Some believe that gaming fixation can be an official addiction and thus a type of mental disorder. There have been many incidents in countries like China and South Korea where gamers engage in gaming marathons that has resulted in the occasional death of the player. Yet despite these incidents, the American Medical Association still doesn't recognize the addiction.

But a recent study in Sweden recently found that gaming is not only addictive, but also found the psychological effects of gaming addiction to be more severe than those of crack cocaine addiction. Wait, what? Video games are more harmful than cocaine!?!? Sounds a little ridiculous. Yet that doesn't stop many professionals from looking for at ways to treat it. Among the professionals trying to treat said video game addiction is prominent London Psychologist Dr. Richard Graham.

Graham is taking a slightly different approach to the treatment of the "disease". His method? Entering the world of the gamers by joining World of Warcraft this fall. By doing this Graham hopes that other mental health experts and therapists will follow his lead. Graham states that "Those affected don't exhibit the same outward warning signs as most teenage anti-social behavior issues do because they're in their bedrooms most of the time, seemingly out of trouble. Because of this we can't get through to them in the traditional educational environment or intrude on their actual bedrooms. We need to turn to the internet itself to tackle these problems."

Graham is taking this approach seriously and has even taken his plan to Blizzard, the creators of the game. Graham is attempting to negotiate a deal in which Blizzard will provide him and his colleagues free subscriptions to the game (yeah, good luck with that). Graham is also working in tandem with other World of Warcraft players in order to create per advocacy groups in which players can report other players who they believe are suffering from the addiction.

An interesting paradox arises from Graham's noble quest. While joining the masses if addicted, will Graham and his colleagues themselves become addicted? Is the will power of Graham and his army of "shrinks" strong enough to withstand the draw of WoW? Whichever way it goes, this study should bring forth some interesting developments of this potential "video game addiction" disorder.

Source: G4TV

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Confirmed Video Game Based Movies: Good Idea or Bad?

Video game based moviesVideo games have become the newest Hollywood cash in for producers and directors. It seems that whenever the film makers are in a slump for new ideas, they turn to the latest big blockbuster game and hope to cash in on the name. The only problem is that film makers have a history of taking our most beloved video games and making craptastic movies out of them. Time and time again gamers are teased with the thought of seeing their favorite game turned into a killer movie and time and time again we are drastically let down.

Our disappointment hasn't just been recent. The span of our favorite games turned into bad movies includes such hit titles like Silent Hill, Street Fighter, BloodRayne, Far Cry and, of course, Doom. But it seems that now game developers are taking a bigger role in the development of their movie counterparts. Most developers have a big say in the direction the movies take and some even work on the script and casting as well.

Well there are a few movies coming out in the next couple of years that are based on some of the most beloved game titles today and gamers can only hope and pray that the film makers don't screw em up.

The first movie coming out is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The movie based on the popular 2003 game is being directed by Mike Newell, who also directed the fourth installment of the Harry Potter franchise. The film is not going to be a frame for frame retelling of the video game plot. The game itself plays more of a guideline to the film. Some changes they have made from the game to the film is the naming of the Prince. In the video games he is just called "Prince" or "Prince of Persia". The film has given him the name of Dastan and has revealed the character to be played by Jake Gyllenhaal. The film also changes the name of the princess who assists the prince from Farah (as it was in the game) to Tamina. Tamina is played by actress Gemma Arterton. They also changed the main villain from the Vizier to the Maharajah to a nobleman in the kingdom to be played by Sir Ben Kingsley. The movie is set to be released on May 28th, 2010. Whether or not this video game based movie will suck or not remains to be seen.

One of the most surprising games to be turned into a movie is World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is an online MMO RPG game. The strange thing about making a movie about this game is that the game itself has no one main story line. It is different story for each individual who plays it. Sam Raimi, who was made famous for his Evil Dead and Spider-Man movies, is set to direct this adaptation. The movie is set to have a unique story set in the Warcraft world. No cast or storyline has been released but the film is being made by Legendary Pictures. There have been talks that the movie may be CGI instead of using live actors, which could be the deciding factor in how this movie goes. This is without a doubt the boldest move in video game movies and will either succeed with highest honors or fail miserably.

Probably the most anticipated movie based on a video game is that of the Gears of War movie. This is a tricky game to convert into a big screen film mainly because of the large fan base behind it. The good news however, is that the game's lead designer, Cliff Bleszinski, is acting as an Executive Producer on the film along with Executive Producer Rod Fergusson. Chris Morgan has been attached to write the script with Len Wiseman directing. In a recent interview with X-Play's Adam Sessler, the group talked about the movie's development.Cliff Bleszinski assured gamers that the movie will follow what is Gears. He said that he instructed the film makers on what parts of the cannon can or can not be changed and gave them some wiggle room with some of the characters to make for a more cinematic and dramatic experience. It has been rumored that the film will be a prequel to the game, but nothing on that has been confirmed. Another rumor was on casting. Talks had been thrown around that the cast would be comprised of professional wrestlers and MMA fighters due to the game characters being so large physically. Wiseman quashed that rumor in the interview saying that that was not the way they wanted to go. As of right now no cast has been released nor has any casting ideas. There is also no official release date planned.

With the large past of horrible video game based movies over the years it is reasonable to be hesitant about seeing or wanting to see these upcoming films. However, these films do pose to be better than what we have seen in the transitions from video game screen to silver screen. I personally think the Gears of War is in excellent hands with Cliff Bleszinski acting as Executive Producer. I also think that Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time movie has a good potential as long as they do not stray too far off from the story. As for World of Warcraft I don't really have an opinion. I never played the game and there isn't enough information out about it yet though I do think it is one of the trickiest games to turn into a movie. If you have an opinion on these game adaptations or if you know of any movies based on games coming out that I missed then please feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Perfect Dark For Xbox Live Arcade Confirmed

Perfect Dark Remake Rumors ConfirmedBy: Kyle Fella

The day is May 22, 2000; this is the day that Rare releases Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64.At the time, this game revolutionized graphics using the Golden Eye 007 Engine. While rumors were lurking around 2009 E3 about a remake of the game for the Xbox Live Arcade it was confirmed by Major Nelson on his twitter stream.

The remake of the game is scheduled to be released in winter 2009, by the new developer 4J Studios. The downloadable arcade game is going to be able to run at 1080p at an impressive 60 frames per second! Also in game Dolby Digital will be replacing the classic Miles Sound System that was used in the original game. The single player campaign will be the same and be able to be played with a local friend but only on split screen. There are not many details about the multiplayer yet, besides that it does have a multiplayer with online play. Hopefully they will bringing back the old gametypes that we all loved such as; Capture The Case, Hold The Briefcase, Hacker Central, and Pop a Cap, that have never been seen in any other games before. There are rumors of LAN abilities, but nothing that is set in stone. Hopefully we will be seeing a lot more classic remakes in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed for a Golden Eye 007 remake.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Xbox 360 Wireless Mic

xbox 360 wireless micMicrosoft is looking to improve there Xbox 360 player’s gaming experience with there newest wireless product. To enhance games like Lips, Guitar Hero Metallica, Rock Band 2, and Disney Sing It: High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Microsoft has developed a Xbox 360 Wireless Microphone. This will easily turn your living room into a rocking concert stage without any clutter from wires. The microphone provides you with the best possible performance due to its high-quality voice reproduction technology and even includes chic interactive motion sensors and lights. The Xbox 360Wireless Microphone will be available this fall and is estimated to cost around $49.99.

Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition Holds Some Nice Surprises

Modern Warfare 2Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare brought a new era to the hit series Call of Duty by taking gamers out of the traditional and familiar World War II setting and dropping players in a modern day combat situation. The change in pace for the franchise was a huge hit with gamers selling over 13 million copies and becoming the best selling Xbox 360 game of 2007.

A mere two years later, the next installment in the Modern Warfare series is about to be unleashed to the public and fans are reeling at a chance to get their hands on a copy of the game. The big question is, however, which version of the game to get. Confused? Like it's predecessor, Modern Warfare 2 will be shipping with three different editions of the game: the Normal Edition, the Hardened Edition and the Prestige Edition. Now you may be asking yourself "What's the difference?" Well a lot actually. Depending on which edition you decide to buy depends on what sort of nice prizes you get, and how much you are going to pay.

If you decide to buy the Normal Edition of the game, you can expect to pay $60 and receive the game, the traditional plastic box and the instruction manual. That sound too boring for you? The Hardened Edition, which will run $80, comes with the game, a metal special edition case, the instruction manual and a limited edition art book that contains concept drawings of player models, weapons, vehicles, game levels and tons of other stuff. But. if you truly love your Modern Warfare 2 and you have to go all out when you get it, then you are going to want to get the Prestige Edition. This is the mother of all special edition video games released. With the Prestige Edition of the game you will receive the game, the instruction manual, the limited edition art book, the metal game case and a pair of fully functional night vision goggles (NVGs). Yeah, you read that right, fully functioning night vision goggles. These goggles are branded with the Modern Warfare 2 emblem and the Infinity Ward, who developed the game, emblem. The Prestige Edition also comes with a voucher token that will allow you to download the original PC version of Call of Duty via Xbox Live or the Playstation Network and a sculpted replica of the head of "Soap" MacTavish, the main character from the first game, for you to display your NVGs on when you are not wearing them yourself. Worried about how much this little bundle of goodies is going to cost you? You should be because this ridiculously awesome version of the game will run you a mere $150.

Now the game itself isn't set to hit store shelves until November of this year, but I wouldn't recommend waiting that long to get your copy, especially if you want the Hardened or Prestige Editions of the game. My advice is that you Pre-order your copy NOW! There are only going to be a limited number of each edition and you are almost guaranteed not to find a single one on store shelves this holiday season. If you are willing to fork out the extra cash for the Prestige Edition then you will be well rewarded. Pr-orders are available now for all three editions of the game and you can expect to pick up your copy on November 10, 2009.

Source: G4TV

Friday, July 10, 2009

GameDr: A Young Gamer's Worst Nightmare?

GameDrIt is no surprise today that a majority of kids would rather spend their free time huddled in a dark room in front of a t.v. playing video games for hours on end instead of being outside or doing some other type of activity. Video games have become the most distributed and most productive area of entertainment all across the world grossing the highest revenue in years. Kids are becoming so enthralled in their games that parents are sometimes having difficulties making their kids turn off the game.

But now there is a device that forces gamers ti be cut off after a certain period of time. 79-year-old Jim Morrisey from Minnesota has created a product that will automatically shut down a video game system after a certain amount of accumulated play time. The GameDr is basically just a cooking timer with some added innovations. All parents have to do to get their kid to stop playing a video game is program a certain amount of time into the GameDr, enter their password and voila! At the programmed time the device cuts power to the game system entirely. The device connects to the power cord which means that the GameDr should work with pretty much any gaming console.

But, unlike some speculation, Morrisey isn't one of those game-hating people you see on the news (I'm talking to you Hillary Clinton). In reality, Morrisey thinks "video games are great. There is evidence that they improve the reflexes and thinking process. But right now, for many parents, the option is all or nothing. They either let their kids play the video game or they take it away for two weeks." But Morrisey, along with the device's developers Digital Innovations, believe that they GameDr will not be backed by everybody. according to marketing director Kara Lineal, "There are moms who say they love this, and that they know 10 people who need one. And there are gamers who say it's terrible and that parents should just monitor their kids."

There have also been some flaws brought to the surface that are pretty significant. One flaw is that crafty kids could bypass the GameDr by using a spare power cord, but seeing in how each power cord for each different console (i.e. PS3, Xbox 360, Wii) is unique to that system, I don't see that becoming a problem. Besides, pretty much every GameDrgamer out there does not have a spare power cord lying around mainly because you can't buy them in stores. Another negative factor for the GameDr is that similar products have failed to catch on. But probably one of the biggest problems with this device lies with the gamers themselves. If you play video games then what I am about to tell you is common knowledge. In all video games, you have an option of saving your progress so you can quickly pick up where you left off. Some games even have it save for you automatically at places in the games called "checkpoints". When a game is saving, a message appears that says something like this: "Saving Game. Please Do Not Turn Of Your Console." The reason for this is that turning off your console during a save corrupts the data of that saved game file, rendering it unplayable forcing the gamer to completely restart the game. A potential problem is the gamer becoming so encompassed by the game that they forget to save until the last minuet where in the GameDr shuts off corrupting their game data. But there are alternatives to buying a device like this. Some systems, like the Xbox 360, have a parental control systems setting area built in. This comes with a "Family Timer" that works the same way as the GameDr.

Whether or not this device is a good idea or not remains to be seen. Like video games themselves, this device is going to be met with much controversy, mainly between parents who don't wish for their kids to be playing games so long and gamers who think that this device puts too much of a leash on something they love to do.

Source: Engadget

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is Project Natal Microsoft's Next Console?

Xbox 360 Project NatalAwhile ago, the gaming blog Kotaku quoted Shane Kim of Microsoft saying Natal's launch would be as big as a launch of a console. Well this isn't a surprise now that Natal is actually going to be new console from Microsoft. If yo don't know about it, Project Natal is Microsoft's new motion controlled system which completely removes the use of a game controller making the players entire body essentially the controller. Project Natal uses the latest motion capture technology to scan the body of the gamer and different objects, like skateboard for example, that the player can use. The player then uses their body to play the games.

there is a lot of stuff floating around the internet about Project natal and it being the cornerstone of Microsoft's next incarnation of the Xbox. So it has been confirmed that there will be a new Xbox console coming out next fall. Speculation has stated that the new console would be the 360 with a camera but it is shaping up to be so much more than that. It is said that it will be an entirely new platform with a new name. No one knows for sure what upgrades will be added to the new system but guesses are coming out like hotcakes and most believe it will be a slight upgrade from the current 360. It has been said that the new console will be backwards compatible with 360 games but future games will take advantage of the Natal system, which will come standard with the new console as well as being an add-on for current 360's. Games for the new system would essentially look and perform better however game developers will still be able to support the 360. There have been some complaints from top game publishers recently saying the 360 has reached it's limit in performance.

I know by now you readers are probably panicking thinking the 360 is going to be discontinued and games are going to stop being made for it. Well that is not the case at all. This new advancement with Microsoft is not going to be as extreme as it was from the original Xbox to the Xbox 360 and Microsoft has no intention of ending one console for the other. This new console is more of an upgrade to the 360, like the Elite was but with some extra "pep in it's step". Microsoft is only taking the current 360 system, upgrading it, repackaging it and putting a new name on it. We saw a similar thing happen with Nintendo. Nintendo took their GameCube console, attached a motion controller to it and called it the Wii. Microsoft has said that they are aiming this new console directly at mainstream audiences. They also said they plan to launch before the new Wii HD, which just goes to show youy that the console wars still has some life in its bones.

It's funny because Nintendo and Microsoft are both headed to the same format. The Wii has motion controller already and is working on getting HD hardware whereas Microsoft has the HD hardware and is working towards motion controllers. The only console not on this race is the PS3 which talks about having motion controls next year, but that's just for the Eye Toy camera. Natal is like the Eye Toy on steroids so I think it is safe to rule out Sony in the motion control field. They way things are going, it is a pretty safe bet that most of the advancements in future hardware will be less substantive and more iterative. The transitions from console to console could become less intense, similar to the upgrades in the hand held area of gaming. The advancements from the PSP to the PSP Go, the DS to the DSi, and the GameBoy to the GameBoy Advance have been less substantial than the transitions from console to console and these transitions could be how it will go from now on in the console race until the next really huge advancement in technology. Personally I'm hoping for full on holographic gaming i.e. Danger Room style minus the actual prospect of death.

There is mainly speculation on the new Microsoft console as of right now and it has yet to be confirmed when it will be revealed or when it will be available. A good bet is that it will be unveiled at next year's Game Developer's Conference at the earliest or next year's E3 at the latest with possible availability in the fall of 2010. A bold move from Microsoft that could potentially bury the other game consoles if Project Natal works as good as it is expected to.

Source: IGN