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umbracascade Blog

ff VIII

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Long time no see. You guys probably forgot me :P I regret very much not having been here the last few months and commenting on your blogs and such, it's been hectic. From jan to now, i've only played and beaten guild wars prophecies 3x and fma: broken angel. I've been hit by the mmorps syndrome for a bit playing guild wars and practically ate and slept guild wars. I'm a recovering mmo now... trying to use final fantasy VIII to ease my way out of mmos for a while. :) VIII is quite a controversial game. Some people hate it, some love it. The friend who lent me the game believes it's the best game of all time and if i were to suggest otherwise he would probably burst a vein, and yet another friend quit after the 3rd disk because the relationship between squall and rinoa was getting to her. I could see a bit of her point playing it. It is a bit out of the blue when squall transitioned from "Whatever" to "I LOVE YOU RINOA". A little sickly sweet but still sweet though, heh i just feel so sorry for Quistus. What did you guys think of the relationship? (please keep it spoiler light :) ) Oh yeah and triple triad I have a love/hate relationship with. Hatred for random/open but love for everything else. It took me a while to get used to the guardian force system but it's very much like the djinns in golden sun although more customizable.

Omg NOOB!!!

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A little bit angry at some of the peple who play in the shiverpeaks arena in guild wars. Basically it's a pvp arena with a pool of water in the middle and is moderately spacious. A fight allows players to either run around the water or charge into the water directly but with a speed penalty. Now this set up allows players to use running skills to avoid enemies (specifically warriors), but alas noobs call this noobish. Why do they call it noobish? Because their flawed and limited movesets do not have a counter for this. Granted, a runner w/o resurrection or a means to kill the opponent SHOULD just give up and concede the game and not waste everyone's times but it just ticks me off about how some noobs call all forms of running NOOBISH. In a middle of a battle for example, I found myself with the warriors wailing on my health and my defensive measures weren't going to hold up against their assault so I ran them and let them pursue me for half the map before my teammates finished killing their unsupported allies and met up with me to kill them. Now they then called me a noob because I kept RUNNING. What was i supposed to do? Sit there and peck away at their superior armor with a bow? Let myself die? No way. It's never over until it's over and one battle I had really evidenced this. I was the only player left against 3 and I ran a good distance from my pursuers and ressurrected a party member. I kept running and let them chase my while my other party member ressurected another and then another. Soon our lost was a victory, even though in the beginning they already kept spamming me with messages like "OMG NOOB YOU LOST QUIT RUNNING!" Instead of accusing me of acting like a noob they should have paid attentioned to what i was doing and took notice of their surroundings. It ticks me off that they can't handle something like running and must resort to such senseless remarks. Running isn't cheap, nor is it broken. Spellcasters can handle it, warriors have thier own running skills. I deal with runners all the time as a ranger, and I can pick them off easily when prepared. And if you can't chase me, do something else like help your own teamtates with a rez or in a fight. Arggggggggggggggggh, just venting... don't mind me and my guild wars babble :P

Guild wars mania

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Yup, i've become an addict. So far it's been 14 hours a day on guild wars for 2 days. I have the mmo disease. oh gawd.

No games and sleep make homer...err me crazy!

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Hey what's up everyone, I hope you guys are enjoying the new year. I've been writing papers and taking tests every freakin other day and haven't had much time to play games. Well i guess to comment on the whole alex and jeff leaving gamespot, it's a shame, that such talent is leaving but it's also a new opportunity for some fresh reviews. You have to look on the brightside, hopefully some new talent will come up and write equally if not even more engaging reviews. Reviews though don't make up everything about a game website because you can't put all your eggs in one basket and trust just one source so you always got to take everything with a grain of salt anyways.

Well gaming wise, I got my ds back after a 5 month hiatus of absolutely no playing... Played some blade of fate for the first time and it was extremely fun. The single player story is a bit short and easy though and I wish they could have added some original content into the story since it was very stale. But then again who am i kidding, it's a fighting game, they're not exactly known for thrilling stories. My PS2 hasn't been getting any love recently, it's been neglected for quite a while now. I've been mostly spending my time secretly playing guild wars, whenever i have the chance. Looking back I'm glad I purchased it as it is a great multiplayer experience (unless you're in a group full of idiots who decide to play tag with 20 enemies at the same time -_- )

State of the video game industry paper (might be a tl;dr) PART 1

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AND..... this is what I why have had no sleep in a week :D

The Video Game Industry

INTRODUCTION

In the 80's and early 90's people believed that video games were only products that children played. Justifiably, with the lack of a universal ratings system and game censorship by industry behemoth, Nintendo, video gaming was seen has a hobby primarily for children. In today's market however, video games are governed by a ratings system, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB). Video games offer mature content like in cinema that is specifically designed for an older audience. Games may be rated (EC) for early childhood 3+, (E) for everyone 6+, (T) for Teen 13+, (M) for Mature 17+ and (AO) Adults only 18 +.[1] Polls show that the average gamer is not a child or an adolescent; the average age of a gamer is 33.[2] Nintendo used to have over 90 percent[3] of the market for games but that too has changed. Nintendo and its current console the Wii has competition in the form of two other console makers, Sony and Microsoft with the PlayStation 3 and XBOX 360 respectively. Sony and Nintendo have also invested in the handheld market of video games with the consoles, PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the Dual Screen (DS), respectively. All 3 console makers market their systems globally in large markets such as Europe, Japan and the United States with varying degrees of success in each area. Success for each platform is attributed to not only 1st party game development but also heavily dependant on 3rd party game development as well. 3rd party publishers and developers acquire licenses to make games on a console and pay royalties to the console maker (generally 7 dollars a game)[4]. Some popular game genres that developers focus include: Action(27.5% sales), Role Playing (9.5%), First Person Shooters (10.6%), Racing (10.8%) and Sports (17%). The gamer population consists of 38 percent female and 62 percent male.[5]

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The first video game was created in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell, the man who founded Atari Inc.[6] Pong was the game's name and it was based on table tennis simulation. It entered the mainstream as a coin operated game, the basis for the arcade boom early in the industry. Later on in 1977, Atari would create the first home based video game system. It was called the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) or the Atari 2600 and would sell 25 million units over its lifetime.[7] Some of the big hits on that system were notably Space Invaders and Asteroids but the system is also notorious for the game, "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial." Not only was the game critically castigated for being rushed and poorly designed, it was also an enormous financial failure. Atari lost 536 million by producing 5 million copies of the game that eventually would fill 14 truckloads as the games was carried to a landfill. [8] This game marks the end of the initial video game boom and is followed by the Video Game Crash of 1983. Many game developers lost jobs from the influx of poor games and the over competition of poor home consoles from companies like Mattel and Coleco who attempted to cash in on the initial boom as well.

The Japanese company Nintendo came into the U.S. market in a strange twist of fate. Following success in Japan, Nintendo sought to partner up with Atari in order to manage distribution of its Famicom system (or known as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)) but at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, Atari's competitor Coleco was seen with a port of "Donkey Kong", a game that was the intellectual property of Nintendo. Ray Kassar, the chairman of Atari accused Nintendo of double dealing and canceled the agreement.[9] Nintendo released the NES eventually by themselves and it went on to sell 60 million units.[10] The sudden resurgence of gaming is credited to the game Super Mario Bros. which was packaged in a bundle deal with the game. Shigeru Miyamato, creator of the Mario franchise along with "Donkey Kong" and "The Legend of Zelda" begins here and later establishes himself as one of the most prominent game developers in the Industry. He has been honored by the Economist with the Innovation in Consumer Products award.[11] The successes of the Nintendo System are in direct contrast to the decay of Atari, whose final product, the Jaguar, dies in 1996 only 3 years after its release in 1993. New competition arises in the form of Sega, another console maker from Japan. Sega would release in 1989, the Sega Genesis, a system that offered better sounds and technical graphics than the NES. It would take until 1991 for Nintendo to finish preparing its next console, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). In 1989, Nintendo inadvertently creates one of its fiercest rivals. That rival would be Sony and the PlayStation. Originally Nintendo had a deal with Sony for the installation of a CD-ROM add-on but cancelled it when Phillips offered a better deal that allowed Nintendo more control over their properties. As a result, Sony decided to take the technology that they had produced, finish it and create their own gaming console. The PlayStation was launched in 1995 and was in production up into 2006. During its lifetime it sold over 100 million units.[12] Sony's decision to enter the industry prompted Sega to release its Saturn console early in 1994[13] in order to get into the market early but with a lack of game to support the platform, it lost its lead when the PlayStation was launched. In 1996, Nintendo released a new system, the Nintendo 64 (N64), a cartridge based system unlike the PlayStation. In 1998, Sega released the Dreamcast and had a strong launch, but the release of the PlayStation 2 in 2000 eclipsed the Dreamcast and it was discontinued in 2001. Sega decided to leave the console race. In that same year, Microsoft entered the console race as a competitor with its console the XBOX. Nintendo also decided to release the GameCube in 2001. In that generation, Sony came first in hardware sales at 120 million for the PlayStation 2, the XBOX 2nd at 24 million and Nintendo third at 21.6 million.([14])([15]) In the current generation, Sony is represented by the PlayStation 3, Microsoft by the XBOX 360 and Nintendo by the Wii. The XBOX 360 had a year headstart having been released in 2005 in contrast to Sony and Nintendo's release a year later in 2006. In terms of sales, the Wii has caught up and surpassed the number of XBOX 360s sold, taking first place. The PS3 is currently at 3rd place in terms of hardware sales.[16]

COMPETITION AND COMPETETIVE OUTLOOK

The Video Game Industry is a monopolistically competitive Industry. Hardware superiority is something that can easily be compared and contrasted between consoles but the biggest difference between console makers is the matter of exclusivity. Exclusivity comes in 2 forms, 1st party (in house development of a game) or 3rd party development. Nintendo has built up a lot of 1st party titles and multiple franchises such as "The Legend of Zelda", "Mario", "Metroid" and "Pokemon." Microsoft used to have Bungie studios until they split but still retains the rights to the "Halo" franchise. The importance of the 1st party game is underscored by the Halo 3's dramatic entry into the market. It sold 3.3 million consoles and temporarily boosted hardware sales to 528,000 overtaking Nintendo's Wii's monthly sale of 496,000 in September of 2007.[17] Sony has Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) which has produced many 1st party games such as "God of War", "Shadow of the Colossus" and the "Ratchet & Clank" franchise. The support of 3rd party developers is also crucial. The gap in sale numbers between PS2s and both Gamecubes and XBOXs is staggering even though both the Gamecube and XBOX beat out the PS2 in graphical capability.[18] The XBOX is the strongest console in that generation graphically and the GameCube was the cheapest. The inconsistency in sales is explained when the library of games for the PS2 is analyzed. The first thing that comes to attention is that the PS2 has over 3000 titles whereas the Gamecube has around 700 and the XBOX slightly over 1000.

3rd party game developers like any other company seek to maximize the profits from a game and go multi platform when possible but many factors can drive a game developer to go exclusive. Nintendo gathered up a lot of exclusive 3rd party support after its extraordinary successes with the NES. SquareSoft a major 3rd party developer published its popular Final Fantasy series on Nintendo consoles but turned away from Nintendo and published its Final Fantasy series exclusive to Sony's original Playstation. The reason was because of Nintendo's adherence to cartridge technology with the N64 which had higher costs for developers in relation to CD technology. The cartridge based memory was also inferior to CDs. Another reason was Nintendo's policy of maintaining a family friendly game console. While seemingly innocuous, it restricted the market to its traditional players and created censorship in games that caused rifts between developers and Nintendo.[19]

The maintenance of 3rd party relations is very important and has the power to turn the tide in a console war. SquareSoft (now known as Square Enix) left Nintendo in the N64 era because it had better opportunities with Sony creatively and economically but recently they have also decided to make a game for the incredibly successful Nintendo DS handheld. The success of the handheld no doubt played an important decision in Square Enix's decision to make a game (Dragon Quest IX) from one of their primary franchises exclusive to the DS.[20] The same applies to Konami and the "Metal Gear" franchise that has gone exclusive to the PlayStation since the Gamecube. After the successes of Nintendo's Wii console, Solid Snake, the main character of the Metal Gear Solid franchise has been agreed upon by Konami to make a cameo in Nintendo's fighting game "Super Smash Brothers Brawl".[21]

Much like last generation, the 3rd party support is crucial in the console war. The problem that Sony is currently having is reminiscent of Nintendo with the N64 and the Gamecube. Although technically the PS3 is the most powerful console, it means nothing without a library of games to play with. Expensive development costs also aggravate 3rd party developers which spend more time and effort on the PS3 than the other consoles.[22] Many developers are questioning whether they are losing a better opportunity by investing so much time and money on the PS3.

Nintendo seems to have learned from the success of the PS2. The PS2 benefited by expanding its market beyond the target young audience by Nintendo and Sega. Sony's old advertising clearly points to an attempt at attracting adolescents and young adults. The Wii in this instance is exploring different aspects of the casual playing market and finding a different niche of preferences. Games like "Mario Party" and "WarioWare Smooth Moves" have mini game party content that is aimed at casual players. This is a remarkable difference from the content on 360 games. The top critically acclaimed games on that platform have been mainly shooters, 'Bioshock', 'Halo 3', 'Call of Duty 4,' 'The Orange Box' and 'Gears of War' are all among the top blockbuster titles for the 360 and are all shooter titles. This is not to disparage the 360 however as their installed base is also growing especially on XBOX live, the Internet service that the console provides. A recent keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show mentions that 17.7 million XBOX 360s have been sold and the 10 million mark for XBOX live has been broken before their projected expectations.[23]

Looking at the console race from a sales perspective, Nintendo is dominant in the handheld and the home console market. There persists some belief regardless that the Wii is a "gimmick" and that its graphical shortcomings in comparison its competitors will vanquish it. The Wii is not graphically advanced as its competitors, it's true, but it was never intended to be. The Wii as mentioned before caters to an entirely different audience than the traditional hardcore target audience from earlier generations. The Wii exists in a state of monopolistic competition between its competitors but the same is not as applicable in the case of the relationship between the XBOX 360 and the PS3.

The PS3's selling point is power initially but lackluster sales after its launch show that people are not ready to pay up 599 dollars. From the initial launch, the PS3 has seen several different versions with reduced functions as if the developers were frantically trying to find things to cut so as to make the cost more affordable. A dramatic cut of features in an obvious attempt to reduce price was the reduction the GB of the PS3 from 80 to 40 and the removal of backwards compatability.[24] The 360 on the other hand has seen no such problem and has even came out with an "Elite" version to lessen the power difference between the original 80 GB model of the PS3. The timing of price cuts for both consoles also show a direct competition between the two console makers that does not exist with Nintendo, which has declared that no price cuts are planned in the future.

The 360's headstart in the new generation was used well; it made good use of the extra time to fix up problems while competition was still behind. The 360 has indisputably better internet services than the PS3 with its XBOX live and many of the 360's long awaited exclusives have came out within this year. Halo 3 for instance was the system seller that marked a dramatic increase in sales of consoles. The PS3 however is in dire need of a system selling game. As it is, exclusives have been hard to secure and have even fallen away from Sony's hands. Devil May Cry 3, a highly anticipated game made by giant game developer, Capcom, was supposed to come out exclusively for the PS3 but has been declared multiplatform.[25] The other anticipated game, Metal Gear Solid 4 has had its release date pushed back past the Christmas Season of 2007.

The XBOX 360 encountered problems as well such as numerous accounts of hardware failure. The "red rings of death" were mostly present in older 360 consoles and Microsoft had to extend the warranty for 360s 3 years and refund those who had their 360 fixed, an estimated 1.15 billion cost.[26] The complaints from users have been acknowledged however and even though the costs are high, Microsoft managed to not sully its product reputation. The server crash during the Winter break also brought different problems for Microsoft. Expectant of complaints, Microsoft sought to remedy disgruntled players with free games.

GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT

Attempts have been made by parents and by politicians to tighten control over video game distribution throughout the existence of video gaming. The game "Mortal Combat" created by Midway inspired the creation of a ratings system that restricted sales to minors. In recent years, Florida lawyer Jack Thompson has called for the banning of several games he claims are "murder simulations." He is one of the biggest advocates of the elimination of violent video games. His self proclaimed goal is to destroy publishers who provide violent media such as Take-Two (publishers of the GTA series).[27]

The "hot coffee fiasco" in "Grand theft auto: San Andreas" provoked an outcry from politicians. The hot coffee scene was an inaccessible part of the game that was unlocked with a mod where characters are engaged in simulated sex. Senators Hillary Clinton and Joseph Lieberman have attempted to pass the Family Entertainment protection act as a response. It is a bill that would have allowed federal power to enforce the ESRB ratings and severely fine anyone who sold an M rated game to a minor.[28] The bill however did not get approved by the senate and expired.

Government intervention in Korea has also restricted the video game industry up until recently. Although Korea has a large community of online gamers, notably for the game "Starcraft", they are not allowed to play with Nintendo or Sony products. The reason for this is not a specific target at games but a general cultural ban on all Japanese entertainment.[29] Another case of government intervention is in China where several games that touch on politically sensitive issues get banned. One such game is "Project IGI2: Cover Strike" because one mission involves sneaking into a base guarded by the Chinese army.[30] Great Britain has also banned one particular game, Rockstar Game's "Manhunt" for all consoles. The game was considered to be casually "sadistic."[31]

The federal trade commission in America released a 300 page report titled, "Marketing of Violent entertainment toward Children" on September 11 2000. In the document it states its belief that games of a 17+ nature routinely target children. It also states that new measures are needed to increase compliance at the retail level and impose sanctions for violations.[32] This report directly follows the columbine massacre, a school shootout incident in which the student shooters were found to have been playing the game Doom.

State of the video game industry paper (might be a tl;dr)

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CONCLUSIONS

The columbine massacre raised the question whether video games were of a malignant influence on society. Ever since that incident, people are wary of how much violent media influences behavior. Nevertheless people become quick to jump into conclusions like Jack Thompson did regarding the Virginia Tech Massacre. Thompson inaccurately blamed Video Games on influencing the gunman, Cho's actions before any evidence was actually found. It turned out he did not have any games in his PC or any video game console.[33] The rush to generalize Violent Video games as a "murder simulation" masks the many benefits that Video Games produce for society.

Asides from the unquantifiable happiness and satisfaction that video games provide for its consumers, video games are a benefit to the United States economically. The game industry provides direct employment for 24,000 people in 31 states and for 80,000 people indirectly.[34] From 2002 to 2006, employment grew at a rate of 4.4% annually.[35] Between 2003-2006 the growth of the industry was at 17 percent annually.[36] The combined worth of the Industry that is added to the United States's GDP is 3.8 Billion.[37]

The recent calls for tighter controls over the Video Game industry's production of violent games are unneeded. Objectionable content is listed by the ESRB along with its rating. The hot coffee incident caused a re-rating of GTA: San Andreas from M to AO and people complained that the ESRB did not do its job of accurately rating the game. This is not a valid attack on the ESRB since the sex scene that was the source of ire was only accessible through modifications made by players. Government review of games would be a waste of money and they would not do any better than the ESRB.

The Video game Industry has come a long way from Pong. Initially Monopolies such as Atari and Nintendo dominated the market through their consoles but as time has shown, the console makers depend heavily on the game developers and publishers. Atari was toppled not by the Nintendo console but by the Nintendo produced games such as Super Mario Bros and other quality 1st party developed games. This in turn attracted other developers to the system. Sony made evident with the PS2 that it is the games that carry the console, more so than technical superiority or even price. What brought about the video game crash of 1983 were bad games and what cured it were good games. In order to analyze the future of Video Games, it is fundamental to analyze the quality of the games being produced. 2007 was a great year for hardware sales for all 3 consoles. Likewise it was also a great year full of ****c franchise titles manifesting on the new consoles. The Halo franchise finally appeared for the 360 as Halo 3, the Legend of Zelda series appeared on the DS as Phantom Hourglass, Pokemon on the DS as Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, and Mario on the Wii as Super Mario Galaxy. Critically acclaimed original games have also came out for this generation such as Bioshock, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed and Rock Band. Whether or not the Video Game industry is a worthwhile investment may be answered if one looks at the sales numbers or in a more fun manner by playing the games.



[1] ESRB "Frequently asked questions" [www.esrb.org]

[2] Entertainment Software Association "2007 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data: Essential Facts about the Computer and Video game Industry" [www.esa.com] 2007

[3] Beck, John C. Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever (United States of America: Harvard Business School Publishing, 2004) 31

[4] Laramee, Francois Dominic. Secrets of the Video Game Business (Hingham: Charles River Meida, 2005) 105

[5] Entertainment Software Association "2007 Sales, Demographic and Usage Data: Essential Facts about the Computer and Video game Industry" [www.esa.com] 2007

[6] Morris, Karl "Atari historical society" [www.atarimuseum.com]

[7] Goldberg, Marty. "The 2600 Story" [http://****cgaming.gamespy.com]

[8] Ben "The 25 dumbest moments in gaming" [http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/june03/dumbestmoments] June 2003

[9] Horwitz, Jer "The history of Nintendo" [www.Gamespot.com] Gamespot, CNET Networks

[10] Ben "The 25 dumbest moments in gaming" [http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/june03/dumbestmoments] June 2003

[11] The Economist Technology Quarterly December 6 2007

[12] Thoresen, Tor "100 million Playstations sold" [www.gamespot.com] May 19 2004

[13] Goldberg, Marty. "The 2600 Story" [http://****cgaming.gamespy.com]

[14] Thorsen, Tor "Sony 120 Million PS2s sold"[http://www.gamespot.com/news/6181828.html] October 26 2007

[15] Fackler, Martin "Putting the we back in wii" NY times June 8 2007, Technology

[16] Sanchanta, Mariko "Nintendo's Wii take console lead" Financial Times September 12 2007

[17] Sinclair, Brendan. "Halo effect helps sept sales hit 1.3 Billion" [www.Gamespot.com] October 19 2007

[18]Stanton, Aaron "A Comprehensive, One-Stop Guide to the GameCube, Xbox, & PS2" [http://nintendo.about.com/]

[19] Horwitz, Jer "The history of Nintendo" [www.Gamespot.com] Gamespot, CNET Networks

[20] Androvich, Mark "Handhelds are dominating, says Square Enix Boss" [http://www.gameindustry.biz/] December 6 2007

[21] Sakurai, Masahiro "Snake" [www.smashbros.com] September 21, 2007

[22] Niizumi, Hirohiko "Playstation meeting report: PS3 hardware, dev kits, new games" July 22 2005 [www.gamespot.com]

[23] Thorsen, Tor "CES '08: Gates' swan song reveals 10M XBL members" http://www.gamespot.com/ January 7, 2007

[24] Thorsen, Tor "Ad assault heralds 399 40 GB PS3 Launch" [http://www.gamespot.com] November 2, 2007

[25] Gantayat, Anoop "Devil may cry update" [http://www.ign.com/] June 1 2007

[26] Taub, Eric A. "Microsoft to Spend $1.15 Billion for Xbox Repairs" Ny Times Business July 6 2007

[27] Entertain Consumers Association "Jack Thompson sues Omaha Police Chief over Mall Rampage records"[www.gamepolitics.com] December 28

[28] Senators Clinton, Lieberman Announce Federal Legislation to Protect Children from Inappropriate Video Games

[29] Watts, Jonathan. "South Korea lifts Japan Ban" Hollywood Reporter [www.allbusiness.com] October 27 1998

[30] Fahey, Rob "China bans Codemasters' project IGI2"[www.gameindustrybiz.com] March 23 2004

[31] Orr, James. "Sadistic, brutal and bleak: censors ban Manhunt 2 game"[www.guardian.co.uk] June 19 2007

[32] Greeberg, Daniel. "When Federal Trade commissioners Attack" [www.igda.org/biz] 2000

[33] Entertainment Consumers Association "Feds release Virginia Tech Report: No mention of Games"[www.gamepolitics.com]

[34] Siwek, Stephen E. "Video Games in the 21st Century: Economic Contributions of the U.S. Entertainment Software Industry" [www.esa.com] 2007

[35] IBID

[36] IBID

[37] IBID

6750 days old

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Happy late new year! Haven't had much time to do stuff ever since school came back into my life. My schedule's been hectic with assignments and tests all piling up on frightfully close dates. Inicidentally this is also the last day I'll be 17 but no time to celebrate with two term papers and a take home test due over the weekend :( I half wish I could just call off my birthday and just finish up the crazy work. Turning into an adult is so troublesome, not much seems like has changed over the years and tomorrow does not seem like it'll be some great metamorphosis (unless I do suddenly wake up with a tie and suit and an overwhelming urge to read the business section in the newspaper :O )

Eh... 18... Time to go the primaries and vote? :D

My eyes have been opened

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I recently got the orange box gift from a friend. I played a little of half life (the original game) before but I couldn't stand it because it was on a windows 98 and I could not see anything at all in that game. That experience was marred by frusturation, a bad mouse and a closet full of head crabs. Fast forward to the present and suddenly I'm playing into the night half life 2 with my mouth open just completely blown away with how good this game looks. It's freaking amazing, gameplay, graphics all of it. I recently cleaned my mouse too so for the first time, I'm actually experiencing a shooter where I'm not aimining into the sky and getting shot at my snipers I can't see. Well that's not true, I played some halo 3 but honestly the experience isn't the same. The world that half life 2 exists in... it just breathes. There's even pigeons in this game that fly away when you get too close! The physics as well is amazing especially one neat section where there was a seesaw puzzle that had to be done with cinderblocks :D For a long time, I've neglected the fps genre and suddenly I've seen what I've been missing. My previous blog stated that I thought dirge of cerebrus was fun. Is it fun? Yes. But this takes everything to a different level. It is not just fun, it is overwhelmingly so.

Dirge of Cerebrus=fun?

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I'm not sure what's so bad... I'm actually having some fun in this game. The whole thing looks like a movie and there seems to be plenty of ways to kill things so far. My favorite way is just meleeing everything. Honestly, I've even killed a fighter ship with a melee attack and now that's awesome. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a fps newb but this game rocks.

Of mice and mice

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How are you guys doing? Best of wishes to everyone this holiday and i know that not everyone is having a as smooth holiday as others, so my thoughts go out to you guys. Have fun!

So onto the topic of my mice problems. My house has had a mouse problem recently and just yesterday I woke up in the middle of the night to make myself some instant noodles. I ate a whole meal before i realized that I was eating next to a struggling rat only a few feet away! It was caught in a glue trap and I felt a little bit of pity to it. It looked like it was struggling pretty frantically. I stared at it for a few seconds and then suddenly the rat somehow figured out how to dislodge its front paw which i suppose was not too stuck to begin with. Now with one limb free it began actually gaining some distance and moving under the table. I sighed, put a chair leg on top of the trap and watched as its progress was halted immediately. I told my grandma about the rat and asked what we should do about it. She decided to tie it up in a plastic bag, tie that bag in two more bags and then chuck it into the garbage chute. I'm thinking about that rat a bit now. It's good as dead but I feel a bit sorry for it. If it doesn't die from asphyxiation, it might die of starvation. Provided of course that it doesn't die from trauma from being jostled around in the trash or poison from plastic when it tries to gnaw its way out. Of course it has a better chance than some other rats, it does have one paw and its teeth but it's future seems pretty grim. I mean death via trauma seems like the best option for it at this rate because every other type is slow and painful. Gosh, I really feel as if we should've used a spring trap. At least it would have died instantly. Sure it's not pretty for our eyes but it would've been more humane.

As to my other mice problem, my computer mouse died recently. Fortunately for this problem, It ended up on a happier note. I performed surgery on my ball mouse (opened up the insides) and found that the 4 bars that detect motion in the mouse were covered in a layer of thick dust. Dust so thick in fact that the first few times I opened it, I thought it was simply gray plastic. I thought it was the original color! Well a dab of alcohol showed that it wasn't so. It was a mutant compilation of dust that had to be removed via scissor! Well it was a nice lesson in mouse management and affirms the notion that dust and dirt accumulates absolutely everywhere.