mikejuk writes "Atari is offering up to $100,000 in a contest for a new version of Pong, the classic game that launched video games 40 years ago, for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. The judges for the contest include Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, who came up with the original idea for Pong. So, what does a 21st century Pong look like? How does it play? And what role does touch have in this, the simplest of games?"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
itwbennett writes "Microsoft dropped a bomb yesterday: they won't be showing new hardware this year or 'anytime soon.' Microsoft told Kotaku that '2012 is all about Xbox 360.' Meanwhile, Bloomberg's mysterious sources are saying that Microsoft 'may show the successor to its Xbox 360 in June 2013 at the E3 conference and put it on sale that same year.' This would 'be a fast journey from announcement to launch,' says Peter Smith, 'but it'd mean we'd still get a new Xbox for holiday 2013, which is about the earliest anyone has expected it to arrive anyway.'"
bednarz writes "The Smithsonian's 'Art of Video Games' exhibition opens today. To kick it off, they're holding a three-day festival with panel discussions, live action gaming, and crafting activities. 'Video games allow us as human beings to explore our dreams, our fears, our thoughts, our morals, and engage with each other in a way that no other medium allows us to. I find that inspiring and beautiful, and I am so happy to be alive during this time. We are going to experience, I think, one of the greatest surges of artistic intent in human history, and I believe that the majority of it will come through video games,' said Chris Melissinos, former Sun exec and guest curator of the new exhibition."
In this video, Brian Alspach tells you how Gamestar Mechanic helps turn kids from game players into game authors, which helps them learn a lot about programming and how computers work in easy steps while having a good time. If you're a parent, you'll especially want to read this page on their site, which will help reassure you that these folks know what they're doing, and might even (hint hint) give you the idea of suggesting that your local school should subscribe to Gamestar Mechanic, which several thousand schools already do. The price varies between free and $6 per month, which is a great deal for something that can engage children for many hours every day -- and just might keep a parent or grandparent interested, too.
Blizzard announced today that Diablo 3 has finally gotten a release date: May 15th. "After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we’re now in the homestretch," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. This comes after significant changes to the skill and rune systems in the beta, and news that the PvP system would be delayed so that they could focus on finishing the campaign. The game will be available for Windows and Macs, either via a DVD or as a direct download through Battle.net. For those interested, a skill calculator is available to get a feel for what different abilities do, and many of the skills have videos showing how they work.
An anonymous reader writes "Computer scientists at the University of Colorado and the Stevens Institute of Technology have shown that gamers that play with friends play better. The study used the blockbuster FPS Halo: Reach as a testbed, and combined ground truth data on friendships from an anonymous survey with data about the multiplayer competitions extracted using the Reach Stats API. They found that the more friends you have on your team, the more assists, the fewer betrayals, the more you score, and the greater the probability your team wins, and that this 'friends for the win' effect goes above and beyond the benefits of playing with skilled strangers. (They also show that older gamers are statistically better than younger players, contrary to popular opinion.) Study lead Prof. Aaron Clauset, writing on his blog, says that friends 'may be able to effectively anticipate or adapt to each others' actions or strategies without an explicit need for verbal (and thus time consuming) communication or coordination,' and 'these effects may be fairly universal, and not merely limited to the traditional domains like sports and war, where practicing together has a long tradition.'"
itwbennett writes "If you drew the short straw among your Minecraft-playing friends and ended up running the game server, this news is for you. A YCombinator-funded startup called Minefold will handle all the server admin tasks for just $5 a month. 'Minefold isn't the first firm to offer servers dedicated to game hosting (see for example gameservers.com) but as far as I know they're the first to structure things so each player pays his own way,' writes Peter Smith. 'In other words, if I want to set up a Call of Duty 4 server at Gameservers I can, but it'll cost me (for example) $15.95/month for a 16 player server. So I pay Gameservers and I get my buddies all to send me a few bucks to defray the costs. It's a messy system. Using the Minefold model, everyone would pay $5/month to play wherever they want. On my server today, on someone else's server tomorrow and on their own server the day after that.'"
Intrepid correspondent Timothy Lord writes, "I talked at SXSW with Kari Hale of League For Gamers, an organization started just a few months ago by Red 5 Studios founder CEO Mark Kern. (Kern was also team lead for World of Warcraft.) League for Gamers shares some of the goals of groups like the EFF and EPIC, but — as you might guess from the name — is tightly focused on the world of gaming. The group owes its existence to SOPA; the money used to start it up had initially been budgeted for Red 5 Studios' appearance at the most recent E3, but E3 sponsor's Entertainment Software Association's support for SOPA led Kern to withdraw from the show. Kari gave a quick rundown of the origins of the League, what it hopes to accomplish, and what sorts of efforts it's so far undertaken."
hypnosec writes "While you might have often heard that PC gaming is dying — detractors have been claiming this for over a decade — one developer has a different take: that consoles are the ones on the way out. In a 26-minute presentation at GDC — available now as a slideshow with a voice-over — Ben Cousins, who heads mobile/tablet game maker ngmoco, uses statistics of electronic and gaming purchases, along with market shares of developers and publishers from just a few years ago, to come to some surprising conclusions. The old guard, including the three big console manufacturers — Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft — are losing out when compared with the new generation of gaming platform developers: Facebook, Apple and Google. With the new companies, the size of the audience is vastly increased because of their focus on tablets, mobile and browser-based gaming."
donniebaseball23 writes "Game budgets continue to rise with each successive console generation, and with the Wii U launching later this year, the industry is on the cusp of yet another costly transition. Publishers have been regularly charging $60 for games this generation, but that model simply cannot survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim said in an interview. 'I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they're going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging,' Kim remarked. 'Today it's free-to-play, and I'm convinced that that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry.' He cautioned, 'If your mind is just set on keeping the current model of buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours, buy another game for $60, play for 40 hours, that model I think is eventually going to change. It's going to have to change.'"
New submitter 0111 1110 writes "Attempting to emulate Double Fine's success to fund another currently dead genre of computer game, Brian Fargo of Interplay fame has started a kickstarter project for a sequel to Wasteland, his1988 post-apocalyptic RPG which inspired Fallout. It will be turn-based and party-based, with a top-down perspective and 2D graphics. Fargo has managed to attract many of the original developers, such as Alan Pavlish and Mike Stackpole, as well as Jason Anderson, who was a designer for Fallout, and Mark Morgan, who did the music for Planescape: Torment and both of the original Fallout games. Fargo's goal has been set at $900,000. Anything above that will be used for additional game content. At $1.5 million he will offer an OS X version. An interview with Fargo by Rock, Paper, Shotgun provides some additional insight into what he and his group are planning, as does a video interview with Matt Barton."
ananyo writes "In another victory for crowdsourcing, gamers playing Phylo have beaten a state-of-the-art program at aligning regions of 521 disease-associated genes form different species. The 'multiple sequence alignment problem' refers to the difficulty of aligning roughly similar sequences of DNA in genes common to many species. DNA sequences that are conserved across species may play an important role in the ultimate function of that particular gene. But with thousands of genomes likely to be sequenced in the next few years, sequence alignment will only become more difficult in future. Researchers now report that players of Phylo have produced roughly 350,000 solutions to various multiple sequence alignment problems, beating the accuracy of alignments from a program in roughly 70% of the sequences they manipulated."
mask.of.sanity writes "Sony Entertainment Network is rebuilding its information security posture to defend against hacktivism. It includes a security operations center that serves as a nerve center collating information on everything from staff phone calls, to CCTV, to PlayStation gamers. If it is successful, the counter intelligence-based system will be deployed across the entire company. 'At Sony, we are modifying our programs to deal less with state-sponsored [attacks] and more with socially-motivated hackers. It will be different,' said Chief Security Officer Brett Wahlin."
adeelarshad82 writes "The 1980s were huge for RPGs. This genre was one of the most defining game forms in the computer gaming world. A recently published article strolls down the memory lane to look back at classic computer games that both defined and extended the definition of the RPG in the 1980s. The roundup includes some obvious ones like Ultima and The Bard's Tale, and others which you may never have heard of."
An anonymous reader writes "Double Fine Adventure, the crowd-funded adventure game from Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert (of Monkey Island fame), just crossed the $2.5 million mark in funding on Kickstarter. So far, about 73,000 enthusiastic backers have contributed an average of $35 dollars each, with 3 extravagant backers going as far as to contribute $10,000 (earning them a lunch with Schafer and Gilbert, among other goodies). The total sum is over 6 times the amount Schafer and Gilbert were initially hoping to raise ($400,000). Schafer released a few pictures showing what he's doing with all the money. The project has received attention in mainstream media (sort of), with NPR's Morning Edition covering the story."