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April 2005

Tetris Hates You

BastetListen up all you puzzle-loving Linux folks: this one's for you.  Some sadist out there has put together a Linux version of Tetris that uses a special algorithm to decide just which tetrad piece you need the least and then sends it in.  It's Bastard Tetris (or Bastet for short) and it's actively working against you. 


California Moves One Step Closer To Thinking Of The Children

Helen LovejoyGameDaily reports that the California bill that proposes banning the sale of M-rated video games to minors has taken one step closer to becoming law by passing through a key committee.  This is still a long way off from being a signed law on the governor's desk, but it's still good to keep an eye on these types of things especially when there are quotes like this flying around from California Assemblyman / child psychologist Leland Yee:

"These video games teach our children how to kill, how to maim, how to hurt people; women, minorities, poor people. These are not the lessons that we should be teaching our children."

Something tells me that the Assemblyman is one of those people who would prefer that the only video games that children should have access to involve edutainment and big fluffy bunnies.  Granted that it's not a good idea for young children to have access to Grand Theft Auto and the other industry scapegoat titles without understanding the nature of reality versus fantasy, but I believe that it's up to good parenting to separate appropriate behavior from digital escapism and not the retailer or the government. 

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New Zelda Details Surface Along With More "Theories"

ZeldaSome new information about the upcoming Legend of Zelda title for the Nintendo GameCube surfaced online today courtesy of a Spanish gaming magazine.  Every article I've read today about this new information is heavy on assumptions from the author of the piece - lots of "it can be assumed" and "which probably means" kind of statements.

Personally, I've grown tired of baseless speculation.  Perhaps you've seen the assumptions running around online that because the last Zelda trailer showed a howling wolf briefly, then "it can be assumed" that Link becomes a werewolf in this new game.  Where are these ideas coming from?  What evidence is there except for "well, it would be cool!"?  I've reached the point where I don't want to hear anything about the new Zelda unless it comes straight from a reliable informed source.  No more theories, no more guesses, no more assumptions.

In the interest of cutting the useless theories away from the actual information, here is what the Spanish magazine has to say according to IGNCube:

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Playboy Provides PSP Porn

PlayboyPlayboy is about to begin offering downloadable pornography designed exclusively for the Sony PlayStation Portable.  Before you start tossing credit cards at Playboy be sure to read the article over at Gamasutra.  Playboy's plans involve selling nude photos of upcoming Playmates for download to Memory Sticks that are then inserted into the PSP.  Photos of clothed models will be free.  I know that the notion of porn driving technology adoption is somewhat of a cliché, but here we are witnissing it again.  Don't miss this quote from's editor:

"We know that many Playboy fans are also gaming enthusiasts who are likely to buy this type of device, so it was a natural progression for us to design this," said John. D. Thomas, editor of

Ah yes, at last!  Mobile porn!  Because those heavy magazines are so difficult to carry around and we need to give schools another reason to ban the PSP from school grounds.  Here's a great idea for a bundle deal: sell the Playboy downloads with a pack of PSP screen cleaners.

Sony Enters Intangible Goods Market

Sonyeq Sony has launched a little something called the Station Exchange where Everquest II players can legally sell in-game items to one another.  The idea is that by going legit with item sales players are selling in a sanctioned environment where the risk of losing one's goods in a fraudulent sale is diminished.  And of course Sony takes a percentage of each sale.  In the short term this is a good thing for gamers.  Players can now buy and sell in-game items without as great a risk as doing business on eBay.  In the long run, however...

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Disney Wants That Sweet Gamer Cash

Darkwing Duck The Orlando Sentinel is reporting this morning that Walt Disney Co. is trying to get its hands back into the video game directly by buying up two game developers: Avalanche Software (creators of Tak and the Power of JuJu) and an unnamed new developer.  Avalanche will make the kiddie games while the other unit will concentrate on adult-oriented titles.  Something of note is that the new unit is led by former Electronic Arts staff.

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Bandai Packages DVD And UMD In Same Box, Charges More For It has the story that Bandai is planning to release their new anime series, Eureka 7, in Japan on both DVD and UMD (UMD being the PlayStation Portable's media format).  The odd thing is that they will be packaging both DVD and UMD in the same box which, while convenient, will cost you more than if you just bought the DVD and UMD separately in their own cases.  What possible motivation is there for consumers to buy the bundle version for more money than the individual versions cost?  I fail to see the logic in this.  If Sony and their various media partners want to push the UMD format into the hearts of their fans they really should charge a little less for the bundle, not more. 

Nintendo Has Cold Feet?

Luigifear There's a rumor circulating on the Internet that Nintendo is considering withholding the Nintendo Revolution's debut and not revealing the device at next month's E3.  While there is no confirmation from Nintendo one way or the other, the supposed reason is that the company does not want competitors to steal its ideas (this is the same excuse given for not showing more of Super Mario Sunshine when it was in development and the same excuse for why we have yet to see the mythical Super Mario 128). 

Personally, I think Nintendo might want to stay out of the Sony vs Microsoft firefight for publicity.  Both Sony and Microsoft are gearing up to attempt to outdo the other with publicity and hype and overall wow factor (both companies will be revealing their new consoles prior to E3, in fact) and Nintendo could just want to stay out of the way and make their own announcements on their own terms. 

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Madden Commercial To Make Life Worthwhile

MaddennextgenThere's been a lot of bile tossed at Electronic Arts lately as they continue to buy up the wide world of sports, but you have to credit the company for turning the hype machine up into overdrive.  EA Sports is teasing fans of the Madden series of football games with screenshots of the next-generation iteration of the series.  All this week the company is posting a new shot of the game and on Saturday will debut a one-time-only airing of a commercial for the game.  Tune into ESPN on April 23 at 12:00pm ET if you're interested in such things.  EA says that the commercial will air at some point during the hour which, by an amazing synergistic coincidence, coincides with ESPN's coverage of the 2005 NFL Draft.  What are the odds of that?  Probably one-in-a-monopolymillion.