I start taking my phd exams tomorrow. So don’t count on any updates for a couple weeks. Right now I’m enjoying my last day of freedom by doing nothing productive. woot!
The tubes, the tubes, won’t someone think of the tubes?
Back in 2001-2002 TBS used to show a latenight block of programming from the Burly Bear network that was apparently shown on college campuses. On that late night block there was a lot of crap, but there was also one of the best videogame-related shows I’ve seen: Dave and Steve’s Video Game Explosion.
I can’t believe that in this era of youtube and google video that I can’t find any episodes of this show online somewhere. All I can find is archive.org’s cache of the tbs page and two lonely images:
How am I supposed to satisy my lame urge to college every videogame related program I can find, if I can’t find it?
Realistically, however, it does illistrate the difficulties of being interested in studying this kind of ephemera. If you don’t record it and keep a copy of it when you see it, it might be gone. Recently, I was able to contact MSNBC and get a copy of the episode of when Henry Jenkins was on Donahue’s MSNBC show but in a case like Burly Bear where it has gone out of business, how likely is it that National Lampoon will even know what I’m talking about, let alone be willing to help me?
The moral of the story is, RECORD EVERYTHING!!!!
Here’s my first ever bit of rumor mongering!
It has previously been reported that Duke Nukem Forever is going to use the Meqon physics engine. Well, last year, Meqon was purchased by AGEIA. Now AGEIA is the maker of the PhysX physics accelerator card. So putting 2 and 2 together seems to me to lead to the conclusion that Duke Nukem Forever will use the PhysX card.
Of course that all depends on whether or not Duke Nukem ever comes out and if AGEIA is still around when Duke Nukem Forever finally comes out…
What does a guy have to do to get some press around here? First fellow IU Communication and Culture grad student Konrad Budziszewski gets to teach his class Games, Gamers, and Gaming Cultures this summer, but he also gets written about in an IU Daily News article, “Course examines video game culture” (and called a professor even though he is, like me, still a PhD student!) and has that article picked up by Game Politics and even Gamespy!
Now, CMCL instructor Cynthia Duquette Smith gets mentioned in a IU Daily News article, “Professor studies how online games affect gender views.”
What about me? What about THE Bryan young?
Seriously, though, it is great to see friends and colleagues here at IUs Department of Communication and Culture get some attention. Mad props all around!
When talking about gaming, it is generally better to actually let people play the game themselves. Everyone repeat after me: “Watching is not the same as playing.”
If I ever get to teach my class on videogames, you can bet that the only time in class spent watching someone play a game will be if we are talking about ethnographic observation techniques.
First I missed the Bloodrayne movie and now, I’ve missed my chance to see Stay Alive. The local theater monopoly Kerasotes has started something they call the Five Buck Club which is a deal where you get to see certain movies for the titular price of $5. Basically, it is an attempt to get people to come to movies that have been out a while and so its just a step between first run theaters and the dollar cinemas. However, it is only for films that have been out for a few weeks. Last week Stay Alive was still regualr price, and now, this week its gone! NOooooo!!!!!!!!!! I’m just going to have to start going to crapy movies on opening night if I want to make sure I see them… Can I deduct my tickets as research expenses???
A few months ago the US version of PC Gamer magazine changed their format. Now they have seperated their previews, reviews, and columns into sections based on genre. It’s interesting, but it raises questions of whether or not they might be throwing junk in just to make sure they have something to fill out that section that month. Apparently not all of the other gaming magazines are impressed with PC Gamer’s new format.
In Computer Gaming World, there is a feature called “5, 10, 15” in which they have little summaries from the magazine 5, 10, and 15 years ago. In the April 2006 issue CGW writes:
1996 – We had a wacky idea to break the entire magazine into sections by game genre. It was like a collection of minimagazines, each kicked off by a columnist followed by news, previews, and reviews. It was a bold, original idea with one problem: where to put the games that defy simple categorization? You could just cram them all into one section that runs the gamut. Or trash the idea altogether… just like we did by 1998.
After quite a long wait my friends over at Reconstruction have posted their special issue on games entitled: The Play’s the Thing: Games, Gamers and Gaming Cultures. I’ve not had a chance to read it yet so you will have to go check it out for yourself. It should be interesting reading.
So I got back from presenting at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in Vancouver. I had a pretty good time in Vancouver. However, the conference itself wasn’t all that usefull. Suprisingly, there aren’t that many people at a conference primarilly about film that are interested in videogames. Although the society changed its name a few years ago from teh Society for Cinema Studies to the current appellation, I think I heard people at teh conference say “SCS” more than “SCMS” by a factor of two to one. Sure, SCS is easier to say, but one can’t help but feel marginalized when someone says something to the effect that, “We shouldn’t forget television people. They get overlooked to often.” If television people get overlooked at SCMS, then one can only imagine what it is like to primarilly interested in a medium other than film or television!
However, take heart, because all but one of the graduate students from IU presented papers on topics other than film. The conference is going to be in CHicago next year, so I’ll probably go ahead and submit something again. If it was farther away than that, I might not bother. However, the more nonfilm or tv people go, the better. Anyone want to put together a panel for next year?
Also, I’ve added a couple more links to the blogroll on the main page, so be sure to take a look at them. I’ve got the links set for random since I don’t want to be responsible for prioritizing them. However, they are all nice blogs, so check them all out.
A couple of months ago I bought a used version of the Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death game for the PC. I know the game didn’t get very great reviews but it was dirt cheap.
So I tried to install it and no dice. The damn game just would NOT install. Put the disk in and an error comes up. You guessed it: copy protection. Way to keep your customers from playing a game they actually paid for…
I even tried things like isobuster and still couldn’t get it to work. Of course I would have called tech support — except that the only tech support phone numbers on the game were numbers in England. The site of the US publisher didn’t even have the damn game listed on their website. The UK website didn’t have any useful information, either.
So I turned to that last resort of the desperate man: piracy. The game is kind of old and it wasn’t that popular to begin with and so I couldn’t find it on any bittorrent sites. So I searched and searched and finally found it on edonkey. Three days later I finally had an ISO of the game I bought and paid for more than a month ago…
So the only way I could play a game that I legally bought was to pirate it. And they say piracy is what costs media companies sales…
Anyway, so I finally got to play the game. I thought it was a little better than the reviews led me to believe. It was nice and straightforward shooting. There’s an interesting feature where you are supposed to arrest people rather than kill them that I found fun. It was a nice challenge to shoot perps enough to make them drop their weapon but not kill them. Then there were the zombies…
Sure, the game is pretty much by the numbers with the standard plot of horrible mastermind behind all the evil and the boss battles, as well as the disembodied voice that tells you where to go. However, I found it charming.
The graphics are rather dated. This isn’t surprising for a game whose copyright is 2003. There is one thing that the game’s maker, Rebellion should be damn proud of. Like their last big game, the original Aliens vs. Predator, this game loads nearly instantly. After playing games like Half-Life 2 which have lengthy loading times, I am amazed at how quickly Dredd vs. Death loads. If Rebellion can do it, why can’t the other companies?
Since I’m tracing the genealogy of Rebellion’s games, in addition to the super quick loading times, there is another trait that is carried over from AvP: the saving. When Aliens vs. Predator first came out for the PC (Rebellion had actually released an Alien vs. Predator game for the Atari Jaguar back in the day) there were no in-level saves or quick saves. If you died, you had to start the level all over again. Like AvP, Dredd vs. Death has not quicksave. AvP had in-level saves and quick saves added in a patch and for the gold version, so I was surprised that Dredd vs. Death didn’t. At least it has checkpoints and you can escape out of the game and save it, so it isn’t that bad. However, it is interesting to see the traits common to the two games from the same developer.
Overall, I’d give it seven thumbs up. If you can find it for 5 dollars, and your system doesn’t have a problem with crappy copy protection, or you don’t have any problem with pirating it, I would say it was worth it.