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[News] [Analysis] Supreme Court knocks out California video game law June 27, 2011

Posted by Colin in News.
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In a 7-2 decision the Supreme Court upheld an appeal to California Civil Code sections 1746-1746.5, which banned the sale of violent video games to minors (read the technical version here). The case (now known as Brown v. EMA) has been awaiting resolution since last November, when the State of California and the Entertainment Merchant’s Association presented their arguments.

The discussion, which you can listen to or read here, came down to an argument of definitions: are violent video games obscene? Or, more astutely, does violence qualify as obscenity?

Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the court’s opinion, stating:

“Our cases have been clear that the obscenity exception to the First Amendment does not cover whatever a legislature finds shocking, but only depictions of ’sexual conduct.” Under Miller v. California (1973) the Supreme Court ruled that ‘obscenity’ (a particular type of unprotected speech) refers to specifically sexual content – not violent content, as the California law proposed.

This is the seventh such law banning violent video games to be struck down in the United States, but the first to make it all the way to the Supreme Court. The full text of the Supreme Court decision is available here (.pdf)

The decision seems to extend (or at least solidify) First Amendment protection for video games. 2011 has been a banner year for video games: in May, the National Endowment for the Arts rewrote its guidelines for the Arts in Media category, allowing video games to qualify for grants.

Roger Ebert is not pleased

Could it be that video games are gaining ground as a “serious” medium? With increasing publicity and legislation, it is easy to hope so. Plus, consider the facts: Americans spent over 25 billion dollars on video games in 2010. The average age of a gamer is now 37. This could be the start of a bright new future for the medium…

*Sigh* ... Just... NEVER MIND

Another Metroid Post! Deal with it. August 20, 2010

Posted by eboku in News.
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Video Game - Metroid Wallpaper

I have Metroid Fever and I am burning up.

And now that I have lost the last ounce of self-respect that gave me the energy to even get out of bed in the morning I want to share Nintendo latest piece of marketing for Metroid: Other M!

 

I love it. The video captures it all – from showing Ridley wrecking her childhood as shown in the japan-only Metroid E-Manga, to showing her in the academy which is what Other M will touch upon to the climax of Super Metroid – It’s awesome. I love the Prime games a lot, Retro Studios did a wonderful job crafting their own Metroid games but I will say I was a little disappointed about how little the Prime series had to do with the overall canon of the franchise (save for the Aurora units in Prime 3, those better come up in Other: M).

Lost about Metroid? Have no idea what is going on? Check out this recap they made that chronicles what happened in Metroids 1-3.

 

Enjoy the Halo-esque commercial, read the translated e-manga, watch the recap because things going down on August 31st.

[Review] BlazBlue Continuum Shift August 8, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News, Review.
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Welcome, challengers to part one (or should I say Rebel 1) of The Pixelation Room’s BlazBlue Bonanza. In this installment, we’re bringing out the big guns, a review of BlazBlue Continuum Shift.

BlazBlue (pronounced Blaze, not Blaaz) is a 2D fighting game series from Arc System Works, the creators of Guilty Gear. The first game, 2009′s BlazBlue Calamity Trigger became popular for it’s huge HD sprites and deep mechanics, and in true fighting game tradition, we are receiving annual incremental updates. Does BlazBlue Continuum Shift have enough new content to justify it’s $40 price tag? Find out after the jump.

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Machinarium’s Pirate Amnesty Pack August 6, 2010

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Machinarium is an absolutely phenomenal game. You may not have heard of it, but this indie gem by Amanita Designs was one of the best games of 2009. You know, that year that had Uncharted 2 in it, so that’s saying something.

Well, according to Amanita, it seems that only 5 – 15% of players have actually paid for it. Ouch. Now they’re giving pirates a chance to make up for their transgressions by charging a paltry $5 for the game and the entire soundtrack until August 12th (after which the game goes back to $20).

You have absolutely no reason not to buy this game.

It’s a classic point-and-click adventure game starring a robot that can extend/shrink his body and limbs as he explores a robotic city in search of his lady love.

It has a gorgeous, meticulously crafted hand-drawn art style. If you’ve seen Howl’s Moving Castle, and remember how the titular castle looked and moved, it’s pretty much that, but an entire game. With adorable robots. Just look at the picture above and imagine it in motion.

The included soundtrack by Tomas Dvorak is without hyperbole, one of the best and most unique soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a game (especially the track “Mr. Handagote”), Dvorak even wrote a special “Pirate Amnesty Tune” for the occasion.

You can play a demo in your browser of the first couple of levels at Machinarium.net, and buy the game here. It works on PC, Mac, and Linux. I’m going to buy it a second time.

Doomsday Zone July 15, 2010

Posted by eboku in News, Personal.
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I was a Mario kid growing up, in the battle of the Nintendo Vs. the evil forces of Sega, I was always loyal to the Nintendo side. I dabbled with Sega products once in a while at friend’s houses and one time rented a Sega CD unit from Blockbuster and discovered the absolute bliss of Lunar: The Silver Star, however one Christmas my parents surprised me with a Sega Genesis. Soon after I realized that outside of shrewed 90’s marketing, its all about the games. Sonic and Mario coexisted in my world since then and it did not involve the Beijing Olympics.

Sonic 3 And Knuckles, Carnival Night Zone aside, is a favorite game of mine, I remember finishing the game with all the Super Emeralds collected on a New Years Eve, finishing the epic-ness of the last 3 acts of the game finishing with Doomsday Zone. I felt like when the neighbors set off their fireworks they were doing it for me.

Nostalgia aside, check out the above video. It was a side project to re-create the last zone in Sonic 3/Knuckles where you are flying through space as super sonic trying to bring down Dr. Eggman (Get over it.) by guiding his own missiles at him. It was amazing then and its amazing now. It’s unfinished and ends abruptly but well worth the watch. Sega! Bring me Sonic 4! Bah!

Interactive 8-Bit Twilight Game is Amazing July 1, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News.
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It took something truly special to bring me out of hiding, and here it is: The 8-Bit Twilight Eclipse Interactive Game.

Made by The Station and Doc Octoroc (the guy who made the wonderful 8-Bit Dr. Horrible), this take on the newest Twilight movie is hilarious. Thanks to a clever use of YouTube annotations, you too can choose to play baseball during a thunderstorm, pick Jacob, or just go “F*** it” and leave Forks forever.

Enjoy.

Split/Second Review May 27, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News, Review.
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Whist perusing through my game collection, I saw a trend. Single player RPG, single player RPG, single player action game, fighter, single player RPG. With the exception of Little Big Planet and (if I’m with the right crowd) Super Street Fighter IV, I lacked any accessible multiplayer games. No matter how hardcore you are, there comes a time when you need to have a Rock Band around.

I can tell you right now, Split/Second is now that game. A fun, fast paced spectacle of an arcade racer, that despite it’s flaws, is an absolute blast to play.

More after the jump.

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Awesome Pitfall Doormat Forgets What Doormats Are For May 22, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in Humor, News.
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Stare in awe at the Pitfall crocodile doormat, which also come in Pitfall scorpion and Mine Sweeper mine varieties, made by Meninos, makers of some phenomenally geeky home furnishings.

These 100% rubber doormats may discourage the primary function of a doormat (the removal of dirt and/or moisture from the soles of one’s shoe), but their glory cannot be denied.

If you want people to jump into your house or apartment, these can be purchased for $50.

Photo Dojo is Up – GET IT! May 11, 2010

Posted by eboku in News.
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Kids these days have no idea how much games cater to their imaginations. With titles like Little Big Planet, Spore, Scribblenauts, Drawn to life – they allow them to create worlds or characters that they see fit – instead of us old people that grew up in the 80’s and 90’s where we had to pretend within the tight restrictions of video games. Like creating that Sim City, pretending it was full of people that make fun of you and then destroy it.

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Photo Dojo allows the player to create that 2D fighting game that they always wanted to do – starring themselves and your friends. The game lay is simplistic at best so those expecting Capcom Vs SNK or Street Fighter III Third Strike is going to be disappointed. But who cares, it’s easy and accessible and a ton of fun to create your own fighters.

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Basically you take a series of photos using the DSi camera using an in game template for each animation – Walking, Posing, Fireball, Kicking, Taking Damage etc you can even choose what “fireball” you want to throw. After that you do a series of voice over bits for different actions. The amount of fun you can have with this is endless. Trust Me.

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Photo Dojo is up right now for the DSi Download Store, so yes – Only for the Nintendo DSi and DSi XL. If you have either of these machines and you consider yourself a person with any sense of a soul that enjoys having fun with life – you need to get this, It’s free for the first month and then 200 points after. Even at 200 points I highly recommend it. The only thing that bugs me is the lack of 2 player wireless battles, for two player fights you have to share the DS and use either the D-Pad and L Button and the ABXY and R button which causes for maybe a little too intimate portable game setting. But who cares, the amount of ridiculousness you can have with this is boundless.

Super Mario Crossover April 28, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News.
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File this in the “Greatest Thing EVER!” box. Newgrounds.com user ExplodingRabbit has created the most wonderful piece of nostalgia, Super Mario Crossover. He spent a year recreating the original Super Mario down to the last pixel, but then lets you play it as Link, Mega Man, Samus, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, Bill R. from Contra, and of course, Mario.

All of the characters have retained their original powers, Samus has bombs, Link has a boomerang, Simon has his whip and axes. Plus mushrooms give them signature powerups from charge shots to spread shots.

The music also reflects the character, changing with each level, when you exit/enter a pipe, etc. Mega Man is my personal favorite. Simply pick him on the “Character Select” screen and you’ll see why.

Forget Super Street Fighter IV. I’m spending my day doing a Mega Man speed run. Dan Hibiki can wait, and that isn’t something I say lightly.