Monday, June 27, 2011

Statement Regarding the Results of Brown v. EMA

Today marks a historic moment to be remembered in the annals of video-game history for decades. In a 7-to-2 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that, like film, music and books, video games are protected forms of free speech under the First Amendment.

To be frank, the ruling is not surprising. We, gamers and game-makers, have held firmly to the conviction that our medium is not unlike other forms of media, and thus, should be afforded the creative freedom characteristic of artists and storytellers everywhere. Let it be known, that special treatment of games as a medium under government regulation, is now unconstitutional and will forever be. Let parents autonomously decide what content is appropiate for their children, not government organizations.

This has been a long fight for all involved with the game industry. Consumers, producers, developers and journalists everywhere have reason to rest easy, for the journey has begun to come to its conclusion.

However, the freedoms afforded to us by this victory must be utilized. Game publishers, fearing to risk sales, fail to use their First Amendment rights to their fullest extent, and as a result, the artistic integrity of gaming is threatened. It is our responsibility, as game developers and gamers, to support our freedom of expression without stifling it ourselves.

To all of you who signed the open-letter to Senator Leland Yee and the Supreme Court, thank you. Peace


EDIT: Senator Yee has issued a statement regarding the ruling, you can read about it here. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Sites 85

Tomorrow, June 27, marks the end of the Supreme Court’s Year, and thus, will bring the gaming community the results of Brown v. EMA. I have covered the case extensively on this blog and have met with State Senator Leland Yee to discuss the case late last year in response to an Open Letter which I circulated around the community. 

Without further ado, your standard Sunday Sites commences. I’ve had the recent pleasure of playing The Coup and the Cat, here’s a SF Chronicle article covering it Also on the same game, fantastic coverage on the game with an introduction discussing the Reagan Library

And… and… that’s it. Well, expect coverage of the EMA results tomorrow.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Team Fortress 2 (Free)

This has been a big week for Team Fortress 2.
If you’re the lazy troll who doesn't watch the content I provide you, just know that Team Fortress 2 has gone free-to-play.
Team Fortress 2 is the first modern title to have received a perfect score of 5/5 on this blog. With most Free-to-Play titles being developed by Korean studios and subpar for U.S. centric tastes, TF2’s introduction to the free to play market comes as a breath of fresh air and continuing evidence of Valve’s innovation and genius.

Well, there is a downside to this, the servers will be flooded with noobs camping on top of teleporters, but that can be dealt with.

You can download Team Fortress 2 through Steam. Install Steam here.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Sites 84

I come back from a hellish week of game-development to tell you that an introductory blog post is coming soon. Chrono Trigger is on VC. Nostalgasms come. Funny blog is funny Stuff you should do: Playtesting. I didn’t fit into their target demographic, so pick up my position. Truly fascinating interview discussing the production of the original Ocarina of Time. Did you know that it was originally intended to be in first-person? From the producer of the original Counter-Strike, comes Tactical Insertion, I mean, Intervention, a sort of Counter-Strike 2.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vivek Wadhwa on iCAREweCARE and Social Change through Social Media

A few weeks late, but better late than never. This video is from iCAREweCARE’s launch party, featuring the renowned professor Vivek Wadhwa on the power of Social Media to empower youth. Watch it, its fascinating.

You can join iCAREweCARE at If you want to learn more about iCAREweCARE, check out this blog post.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mouse Program

This is a cute little mouse program that I made in Processing on the way down to San Diego from Los Angeles. Its an interactive animation and looks pretty. Feel free to mess with the source code and see what you can do.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pictures from E3 2011: Day 3

Today one of my childhood dreams came true. Hit the jump.



My intention with this post is to show the parts of E3 that the gaming press does not cover. Pictures of the actual experience and endless excitement that comes out of this kind of convention. Enjoy.
























So yeah, its an experience that every gamer must go through. If Muslims make the Hajj to Mecca sometime in their life, gamers make a similar pilgrimage to E3. Tons of free stuff, and everything in the post came from the public parts of the exposition, none of the press-only areas were featured here. Peace.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Impressions from E3 2011: Day 2

Nintendo’s incredible ability to draw disdain at E3 for what would be incredible and innovative products was in full force today. It unveiled a new console called the WiiU, which eschews the motion controlled wand of its predecessor in favor of a touchscreen tablet with buttons and dual analog sticks. It kinda looks like a LeapFrog product.

lsls_20200par42524image350 wiiu-controller

But asides from that, this new console is a very smart move on Nintendo’s part. The Wii’s main flaws came out of its lack of processing power (which restricted it from getting the AAA multiplatform franchises which defined the generation) and the inability to opt for traditional controls for developers. Here, Nintendo is using a gaming technology that they introduced which proved to be far more successful. The Nintendo DS introduced touch-screen gaming which, in recent years, has practically revolutionized the smartphone gaming market and initiated a massive new movement in casual gaming. Installing that functionality into a home game console will make WiiU’s games more fun to play from a traditional viewpoint. “Hardcore” developers are already bringing their mainstream games to the console. Games like Assassin’s Creed, Batman: Arkham City and Ninja Gaiden 3 will all be featured on the console during its 2012 launch.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Impressions from E3 2011

Sony’s press conference has concluded, ending Day 1 of the E3 conference. Lots of cool stuff was shown today, and a lot of uninteresting stuff was featured today.


First up: Microsoft’s conference. Two new Halo games, including a new trilogy of Halo games, starting with Halo 4, which will continue the story of Master Chief, which did end on a bit of a cliffhanger with Halo 3. Also coming out this year, is Halo: Combat Evolved 10th Anniversary Edition, a HD-remake of the first classic with complete online multiplayer. With this news, it would seem that Halo is now trying to compete with Call of Duty by releasing nearly annual installments. (2007: Halo 3, 2009: ODST, 2010: Reach, 2011: Halo: CE 10th Annivarsary, 2012: Halo 4)

As much as I loved the first Halo, I am not sure if it is up to the market of the highly competitive 2011 fall shooter market (MW3 and BF3 anyone?) Its linear and repetitive corridors reveal fantastic combat punctuated by insignificant environment design. The modern gamer demands scripted, sequenced levels devoid of the openness that characterized the first Halo game.

Kinect was out in full force today, and use in traditional Tom Clancy games was showcased for weapon selection, customization and shooting. From the conference, I cannot say that motion control would necessarily enhance the gameplay (it overuses it), but its a cool diversion.

Mass Effect 3 will use Kinect’s voice-recognition technologies for its conversation engine. The sad part is that the technology is used only for picking menu commands from the conversation wheel. So, sadly, we will not be able to have actual conversations with Mass Effect’s characters a-la Facade.

Also exciting, Minecraft for Kinect and a new Xbox OS, featuring all-new multimedia access and Microsoft’s search engine Bing for rich media through pipes like YouTube. Gears of War 3 is certain to dominate holiday wishlists.


It’s Ridge Racer, Riiiidge Racer!

Thankfully, Sony’s press conference was excellent. New footage of hardcore PS3 titles was showcased in full 3D. Among the titles were Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, bringing with it flawless interactive action sequences that would normally be cutscenes in other games, and Resistance 3, showcasing a radically changed design featuring non-regenerating health. Overall, impressive games.

A full multiplayer beta for Uncharted 3 is coming out June 28th, and people who choose to participate in a Subway Promotion can get access to the full multiplayer game without any catches. A Playstation Move bundle for Resistance 3 is also avaliable with sick boxart. Two “compilation” packages will be released this fall, a “God of War Origins” collection, featuring HD-editions of both PSP games, will be available, as well as a “Team Ico” collection, featuring the masterpieces Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.

Frankly, Playstation 3’s 3D capabilities are wasted because the restrictive price of 3D capable TVs makes the feature inaccessible to all but the wealthiest of consumers. Sony will be alleviating that by releasing a relatively inexpensive 3D-Capable TV and companion set of glasses under the Playstation Brand. This is exciting news as it makes an advancing technology available to the mass market.

Playstation Move, like Kinect, was out in full force. An interesting demo by the team that made “Sports Champions” was showcased, called “Medieval Moves”, featuring cute characters in an action-adventure game. Not the most interesting use of motion control (it was a bit overused), but still fun. Also sweet: a phaser shaped Playstation Move controller to be packaged with a licensed Star Trek game out next year.

A few “packages” were announced that utilized Blu-Ray’s increased storage capacity to a great extent. Battlefield 3 will come packaged with Battlefield 1943 as a PS3 exclusive and Bioshock Infinite will come with the first Bioshock on the disc as a bonus to PS3 users. All good.

Personally, what I found most exciting was the promise of a new Sly Cooper game slated for 2012.

The biggest announcement of the night was the Playstation Vita, previously known as the NGP, the Vita will be Sony’s next-generation portable game platform. It will come in two models, a $250 WiFi only version and a $300 3G enabled version. A wide vareity of gorgeous games were showcased, including favorite series like Uncharted, ModNation Racers, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout and LittleBigPlanet. Innovative controls, like a back-facing touchpad and cameras, make this a good competitor to the 3DS. 

I won’t be talking about the Ubisoft or EA conferences in this post. I’ll be on a ride down to San Diego tomorrow, so I won’t be able to watch the Nintendo Conference live. But I’ll try to have a Day 2 post available by then. Until then, peace.



Priyanka Jain on iCAREweCARE

Before things go crazy with live blogging the E3 conference, I would like to share a video from iCAREweCARE’s launch, founder Priyanka Jain’s introductory speech deals with the philosophy behind NPO in a fascinating way.

You can sign up for iCAREweCARE at Registration is free and easy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Sites 83

The Pre-E3 Excitement ramps up… Project Cafe is shaping up to kick ass—.htm Noam Chomsky on Osama’s Death. Portal and Feminism pt. 1 Portal 2 and Feminism UCLA’s first intramural game carnival Dark Deception’s development officially launched today, we have lessons to learn from ambitious projects like this

Also, good advice to all: