cold fjord writes "Is this the end of the world . . . of Warcraft? Maybe for Iranian gamers who are undergoing a forced morale check due to tightening sanctions cutting access to their game of choice. From the article: 'Iranian players of "World of Warcraft" ... have found themselves frozen out by Blizzard Activision Inc., the American company behind the game. Iranian role playing enthusiasts have spent much of the past week peppering Blizzard's message board with complaints about how they weren't able to log on to the service — only to be told recently that U.S. law was to blame. "United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran," the company said in an email sent to players last week...'" Thanks to the sanctions, they can't get refunds either.
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An editorial at IGN discusses healthy (and unhealthy) ways to play video games. The author says that while gaming is a perfectly legitimate hobby, it needs to be approached with moderation and an understanding of what you get out of playing. Without understanding your motivations and compulsions, it's quite possible to play video games in a way that's detrimental. From the article: "Games, especially modern ones, revolve around the principle that if you put the time in, you will be rewarded. Many gamers claim to not understand how anyone could put up with grinding in a video game. But grinding is comforting. Grinding tells us that, no matter what, if you keep playing you'll become more powerful. ... The real world does not operate this way. You can 'grind' at a job for 10 years and still be laid off. You can 'grind' at your physical health your whole life but if you switch to an unhealthy lifestyle you will immediately begin losing this progress. ... It's important for gamers to have mastery of their own mind. Are you grinding out a level in World of Warcraft because you're truly enjoying the experience, or are you doing it to replace missing feelings of self-worth that you don't want to confront? Do you revel in your virtual successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned gym routine? Are you playing games because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?
Dave Carter, who works at the University of Michigan's Computer and Video Game Archive. He deals with video games, from the oldest hand-helds and consoles to the newest Xbox and PC games and controllers. A lot of his time is no doubt spent fixing things that break, finding obscure games, being generally helpful, and making sure nobody breaks the games, consoles, computers, controllers, and even board games and memorabilia in the collection. But still, this has got to be the ultimate job for a game junkie. And it looks like a great place to visit, because this museum is part of a library, and just as a library encourages you to pick up books and read them, this is a place where you can actually play the games, not just stare at a ColecoVision console in a display case. You can play in a cubicle or, for games that take some space, there are a couple of big gaming rooms with soft-looking sofas and big flat-screen TVs, where you can jump up and down like crazy while you're doing Guitar Hero or using a Wii or Kinect. And if you can't make it to Ann Arbor, MI, there's an informative blog that's all about video games past and present that's must reading for almost any serious gamer.
An anonymous reader writes "As a kid in the late 1970s and the 1980s, Dungeons and Dragons, as well as many other fine tabletop roleplaying games, figured heavily in my life. From learning about various forms of governments (theocracies, oligarchies, etc.) and Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythology, to what N.B. and et al. mean, to the social glue that enabled people like me to get together, write cool adventures, problem-solve, and have a blast doing it all, role playing games were a powerful force in my life. The thing is, I still enjoy playing them. A lot. I get together once a month with friends and we play for sometimes up to eight straight hours of epic battles, puzzles, legends, lore, and camaraderie. All of this, unfortunately, seems totally alien to someone who did not grow up with RPGs and who has never experienced the sheer joy of a dungeon crawl. Have you ever had to explain to your spouse or significant other why you value gaming so much, or why it is ok to spend a hunk of time with other gamers? How do you begin to relate it all to them?"
Croakyvoice writes "In what seems to be the 'in thing' at the moment comes another auction to add to last month's Zelda NES auction and that crazy million dollar collection. This time, for RPG fans, this could be classed as the Holy Grail of NES games. The game in question is Final Fantasy 2, which was never released outside of Japan, but luckily for the person who at this time is selling this on eBay for 50K, there was one made for the 1991 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by SquareSoft. Sadly, the U.S. version never had a release because they decided to work on the Super NES instead."
crookedvulture writes "For years, PC hardware sites have maintained that CPUs have little impact on gaming performance; all you need is a decent graphics card. That position is largely supported by FPS averages, but the FPS metric doesn't tell the whole story. Examining individual frame latencies better exposes the brief moments of stuttering that can disrupt otherwise smooth gameplay. Those methods have now been used to quantify the gaming performance of 18 CPUs spanning three generations. The results illustrate a clear advantage for Intel, whose CPUs enjoy lower frame latencies than comparable offerings from AMD. While the newer Intel processors perform better than their predecessors, the opposite tends to be true for the latest AMD chips. Turns out AMD's Phenom II X4 980, which is over a year old, offers lower frame latencies than the most recent FX processors."
YokimaSun writes "The world of Homebrew Coding never ceases to amaze, even on an old system like the Atari 2600 a coder over at the Atariage forums has released a clone of the original Nes game Super Mario Bros with video, which has the first level from the classic game and eventually will have the first four worlds. Equally as impressive is this 3D Mario game written for the Sega Saturn."
Deathspawner writes "The future of PC gaming is oft-debated, but one thing's for certain: modding has always made it better. With that, wouldn't it make sense for developers to focus more on giving the community the modding tools it needs? Further, couldn't publishers look to modding as a way to increase revenue, by allowing modders to sell their sanctioned creations? Valve already offers robust community options in its Steam platform — and already has payment processing in place. Is this the natural next step for PC gaming?"
silentbrad sends this quote from GamesIndustry: "Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has told GamesIndustry International that the percentage of paying players is the same for free to play as it is for PC boxed product: around five to seven per cent. ... 'On PC it's only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content.' ... 'We must be careful because the consoles are coming. People are saying that the traditional market is declining and that F2P is everything — I'm not saying that. We're waiting for the new consoles — I think that the new consoles will give a huge boost to the industry, just like they do every time that they come. This time, they took too long so the market is waiting.'"
RogueyWon writes "Eurogamer is reporting that Sony has closed its subsidiary developer Studio Liverpool. Beginning its life in 1984 under the name Psygnosis, the development house has played an important role in the history of computer and video gaming, publishing classics such as the Lemmings series. Since its acquisition by Sony in 1993, the studio has been best known for its work on the WipEout franchise, which helped to establish the PlayStation console as a successful brand. Sony's statements indicate that it will seek to find positions for staff in its other development houses, but that some redundancies will be necessary." Eurogamer posted an update, indicating that the studio was working on WipEout for the PS4.
stillnotelf writes "Ars Technica is reporting that the official Nintendo magazine, Nintendo Power, is shutting down after 24 years. The gaming magazine has been run by independent publisher Future US since 2007, but Ars Technica's source and deleted Twitter posts say that Nintendo is uninterested in continuing the paper magazine in today's digital age, and also unwilling to convert it into a primarily digital experience. There's been no official confirmation of the cancellation or word of how many issues remain of this bit of childhood nostalgia for so many gamers."
Jon Brodkin writes "There’s a new Super Mario Bros. game out for the 3DS handheld console. It’s called New Super Mario Bros. 2 and features Mario, Princess Peach, Bowser, and the same fun gameplay you’ve come to expect from Nintendo’s most iconic game series. But this latest adventure stands out by not standing out at all." Read below for the rest of Jon's review.
Croakyvoice writes "Nintendo has today released the 3DS XL in the U.S. The console comes with features such as screens which are 90% bigger in size than the original 3DS, a much needed improvement in battery life and also the 3D effect on the console has noticeably improved. The 3DS XL is Nintendo's attempt at even moreso dominating the handheld console market over the PSVita, but also bringing back the gamers lost to the likes of Android and iOS devices. The other major 3DS news of the day is the release of New Super Mario Bros 2, a continuation of the DS game released in 2006. In Japan the game has sold over 800,000 copies since game launch and Nintendo will be hopeful to replicate that success in the U.S."
An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at GDC Europe this week, BioWare Montreal's Fernando Melo spoke about how the oft-disparaged first-day downloadable content for video games is actually something a significant amount of players want. 'Melo argued that on the occasions when BioWare hasn't provided DLC from day one, those players who complete the game quickly then complained that there was nothing more to play and asked for extra content. If DLC isn't provided for these players, they may well move on to a different game and never come back to play DLC later on. As proof that day one DLC also works in terms of sales, Melo said that 53 percent of all sales for the first Dragon Age: Origins DLC pack — which was released on the same day as the full game — were made on release day."
John Wagger writes "One of the world's largest gaming publishers and developers Electronic Arts has quietly put itself up for sale. While there have already been talks with private equity companies, the talks have not resulted in anything concrete. One of the sources is saying that EA would do the deal for $20 per share (currently at $14.02). Over the past year, EA's stock price has fallen 37 percent. Like other major game publishers, EA has been struggling against growing trend of social and mobile gaming."