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Active Video Games Don't Make Kids Exercise More 304

redletterdave writes "Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, designed every kid's dream study: they passed out Wii consoles to 78 kids who didn't already have one, and gave half the kids their choice of active game — such as Wii Sports or Dance Dance Revolution-Hottest Party 3 — and the other half their choice of inactive game, such as Disney Sing-It Pop Hits or Super Mario Galaxy. The research team tracked the youngsters for 13 weeks, testing their physical activity levels with a motion-measuring accelerometer. Participants wore the devices on a belt during four different week-long periods throughout the study, which allowed the research team to determine when they were sedentary or lightly exercising and when they were engaged in moderate-to-vigorous exercise. Accelerometer logs showed that throughout the study period, kids with the active games didn't get any more exercise than those given inactive video games. There was also no difference in minutes spent doing light physical activity or being sedentary during any week the researchers monitored."

Ask Slashdot: Freedom From DRM, In the Social Gaming Arena? 71

An anonymous reader writes "My wife and just successfully funded the production of our board game on Kickstarter, and are putting the over-funding toward the development of an electronic version of the game. It's a two player game turn-taking game with pawn movement that we envision being played on a social network (Words with Friends-style) and it's important to us that it be DRM-free. Does anyone have any experience or know of issues we should consider in terms of preserving the users' rights, achieving scalability, and gaining exposure through the ability to interoperate with platforms like Facebook, the iTunes store, Android market, and so on?"
Classic Games (Games)

Inventor of the Modern Pinball Machine Dies At 100 89

porsche911 writes with this excerpt from the New York Times: "Steve Kordek, who revolutionized the game of pinball in the 1940s by designing what became the standard two-flipper machine found in bars and penny arcades around the world, died on Sunday at a hospice in Park Ridge, Ill. He was 100. ... 'Steve's impact would be comparable to D. W. Griffith moving from silent films through talkies and color and CinemaScope and 3-D with computer-generated graphics,' [pinball historian Roger] Sharpe said. 'He moved through each era seamlessly.'"

The Dark Side of Digital Distribution 270

An anonymous reader writes "Game journalist Stuart Campbell has written an incisive piece on how the digital distribution model users have grown to know and love over the past several years still has some major problems that go beyond even the DRM dilemma. He provides an example of an app developer using very shady update techniques to screw over people who have legitimately purchased their app. Touch Racing Nitro, a retro racing game, launched to moderate success. After tinkering with price points to get the game to show up on the top download charts, the developers finally made it free for a period of four months. 'Then the sting came along. About a week ago (at time of writing), the game received an "update," which came with just four words of description – "Now Touch Racing Free!" As the game was already free, users could have been forgiven for thinking this wasn't much of a change. But in fact, the app thousands of them had paid up to £5 for had effectively just been stolen. Two of the game's three racing modes were now locked away behind IAP paywalls, and the entire game was disfigured with ruinous in-game advertising, which required yet another payment to remove.'"

PSVita Released In the USA and Europe 225

YokimaSun writes "Sony has today released the PSVita in the U.S. and Europe. The console comes with features such as dual touch pads at the front and rear, dual cameras at the front and rear, dual analog sticks, a 5-inch OLED screen, GPS, six-axis motion sensors and a three-axis electronic compass. The PSVita is Sony's attempt at stealing the thunder away from the 3DS but also bringing back the gamers lost to the likes of Android and iOS Devices. The PSVita in Japan sold massively on its first release week but since has struggled and sold less than the PSP. With this in mind sites like Amazon have been offering many different deals to entice people to buy the console. Can Sony stop homebrewers from taking over this console?"
The Almighty Buck

Unconstitutional Video Game Law Costs California $2 Million 180

An anonymous reader writes "In hopes of protecting the children of California from the ravages of violent video games, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to push through a law that would fine retailers $1000 for each infraction of selling a violent game to an underage child. However, in the wake of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the law, California is now forced to pay the legal fees of all parties to the tune of two million dollars."

Tetris In 140 Bytes 215

mikejuk writes "Is it possible to write a JavaScript program in no more than a tweet's length? A website called says it is and has an implementation of Tetris to prove it. Ok, it only has two types of block — hence its title "Binary Tetris" — and there's no rotate, but it works. The blocks fall down the screen and you steer them into place. You can try it out by playing the demo. Of course the real fun is in figuring out how it works and there is lots of help on the site — so if you're bored how about the 140 character challenge?"

Double Fine Adventure Will Be Available DRM Free For IOS, Android 117

New submitter Garth Smith writes "Tim Schafer has a video update for his crowdsourced project, Double Fine Adventure. Because of the nearly $2 million in funding, the budget is now large enough for language translations, voice acting, music, and more platforms. The XBox and PS3 are absent. I wonder what would the chances of a DRM-free release have been if funding had come from a traditional publisher?"
Role Playing (Games)

Jeff Grubb On the Life of a Game Designer 23

First time accepted submitter Synchis writes "Fantasy Author Thomas A. Knight continues his 29-day blogfest today by posting a special interview with Author and Game Designer Jeff Grubb. Jeff has been involved in projects ranging from the original D&D Unearthed Arcana and Monster Manual II, to more recent games such as Guild Wars Nightfall, and is also the author of various novels set in DragonLance, Forgotten Realms, Magic: The Gathering, Warcraft, StarCraft and the Guild Wars shared universes."

Legislation For 18+ Games Hits Australian Parliament 45

angry tapir writes "Legislation to pave the way for an R18+ (adults only) classification of video games has just been introduced into the Australian parliament by the minister for home affairs. The state and territories will still have to pass complementary legislation, however. Currently the highest rating for a game in Australia is MA15+, with games that didn't meet the criteria being refused classification, leading to content being gutted prior to release or games just not being released. The legislation marks a victory for a long campaign by gamers (notably lobby group Grow Up Australia). The current legislation, which will take effect on January 1 next year providing it makes it through the lower and upper houses, merely introduces an R18+ classification, falling short of the complete classification overhaul proposed by the Australian Law Reform Commission."
The Courts

Zynga Sues Brazilian Dev For Copying Its Games 115

An anonymous reader writes "In what can only be described as a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Zynga has launched and settled a lawsuit against Brazilian game developer Vostu after accusing Vostu of copying their games. The settlement resulted in the loss of jobs for many Vostu employees. How Zynga managed to carry out such actions while keeping a straight face after dealing with similar allegations remains to be seen."
XBox (Games)

Xbox 360 Game Patching Costs $40,000 256

hypnosec writes "It costs developers a total of $40,000 to release a single patch on Xbox Live, making it a difficult platform for smaller developers to grow on. This revelation was made by Tim Schafer of Double Fine Studios — which recently drew a lot of charitable donations as part of a campaign to create a contemporary point and click game. He went on to say that this is just too high a fee for smaller developers to pay, making it hard for them to do well on the platform. This makes sense, since requiring just one patch could massively cut into the profits for a company."

Twisted Metal Designer Rails Against Storytelling Games 313

eldavojohn writes "Twisted Metal designer David Jaffe gave a DICE Summit presentation in which he argued against 'games that have been intentionally made from the ground up with the intent and purpose of telling a story or expressing a philosophy or giving a designer's narrative.' He went on to say essentially that it's a waste of time and resources when the focus should be on gameplay, not story. While some parts of his presentation are warmly welcomed by the gaming community (like his instructions for game execs to get a BS filter), this particular point has some unsurprising opponents. His argument against a 'cinematic narrative' was probably strongest with his comparison to the movie Saving Private Ryan, where Spielberg made the Normandy Beach invasion scene as close to a documentary as possible. The audience could sit back and appreciate that. But if you made a game where the player is in that position of the soldier then that historically accurate imagery and top shelf voice acting doesn't really matter, the only thing the player should be thinking is 'How the **** do I get to that rock? How do I get to the exit?' Is Jaffe right? Have game makers been 'seduced by the power and language of film' at the expense of gameplay?"

TMS9918A Retro Video Chip Reimplemented In FPGA, With VGA Out 126

acadiel writes "Matthew H from the TI-99/4A forum has finalized a design of a TMS 9918A replacement (with VGA out) for classic computer systems such as the ColecoVision, TI-99/4A, SpectraVision, MSX1, SpectraVision 128, and Tomy Tutor Home computers. This hardware project replaces the native video controller on these classic systems and enables them to have VGA output for the first time." (It's just under $100 to order one.)

Double Fine Raises $700,000 In 24 Hours With Crowdfunding 112

redletterdave writes "San Francisco-based game developer Double Fine took to Kickstarter to fund its next game project, and so far, the studio has enjoyed unprecedented success through crowdsourcing. The project, which was announced by the studio's founder Tim Schafer on Wednesday night, has already raised more than $700,000 in less than 24 hours. The funding frenzy has set new Kickstarter records for most funds raised in the first 24 hours, and highest number of backers of all-time, though both of those numbers are still growing. Schafer says he will build a 'classic point-and-click adventure game' in a six-to-eight month time frame, and will document the entire production process for fans to observe and give input on the game's development, which 'will actually affect the direction the game takes.'"