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Lowlife

Madden Rivalry Turns MurderousAn argument over a game of Madden turned deadly in Kansas late last week. According to police, on Thursday night, four "friends" were chilling out and playing Madden on the PlayStation 3 when a fight broke out. When the dust settled, Luke German, 22, was dead on the front lawn, and his three friends were wanted by police. 

According to Lt. Ken Landwehr, head of the Wichita Police Department's homicide section, German died of "severe internal injuries" consistent with being kicked, punched and perhaps struck by a pipe. He was taken to a hospital, but died shortly thereafter.

As for the motive: "Somebody was accused of cheating," Landwehr said. Obviously, this is the worst reason to kill someone ever, except, maybe religion.

Two suspects were arrested immediately in the case, while a third, Benjamin Redgate, was just picked up this morning. That's Redgate in the photo to the right.

Source: 

Kansas.com

Farmville

Alexandra V. Tobias, a young mother and casual game aficionado from Florida, is at the center of a tragic murder. The Jacksonville resident  pleaded guilty to second degree murder this week, admitting that she'd killed her three-month-old child because he disturbed her while she was trying to play Farmville.

In her confession, Tobias said her baby started crying, interrupting her important game. She shook him, smoked a cigarette to calm down, then shook him again. She says he may have hit his head at some point. I wonder if she finished harvesting her crops?

Tobias could face life in prison. Keep your fingers crossed.

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It's Looking Unlikely Yakuza 3 Will Ever Leave Japan

We've all read articles and seen videos where real members of a profession try out video games based on their profession, whether it's guitarists playing Guitar Hero or football players playing Madden, but this one is special.  Grand-daddy cyber-culture website Boing Boing has posted a review of Yakuza 3 written by actual members of the shadowy Japanese underworld.

A couple of the gangsters had trouble playing the game because their pinkies had been cut-off -- The yakuza punishment for failure -- but overall, the verdict is that It's a pretty good approximation of the yakuza life:

"While it vilifies organized crime in many parts, in the end it glorifies the yakuza and gives the protagonist just cause — it was good PR for their profession. Plus, it is not wildly off the mark in depicting the modern yakuza."

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Gamer Teen Leads Cops To Parents' Pot Stash

Judging from media reports, the Miller family of Buffalo Grove Illinois are interesting people. Trevor, 17, is into online gaming and his folks, James and Cindy seem to like smoking weed. The problem is that Trevor may have been using a stolen credit card to pay for his gaming, and that stolen card led police to the Miller house, and that led to the bust of his parents for growing marijuana. Two hobbies ruined in one shot.

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Crime SceneA small community of gamers in Kaneohe, Hawaii banded together briefly to defend their beloved Internet Cafe from a group of dumb-as-rocks hoods who tried to rob the place.  And it was all caught on video (included after the jump).

It all went down on Wednesday of last week at Gamerz, when a couple of masked thugs entered the Hawaiian nerd hang-out. They came in yelling and throwing punches at cashier Devin Wolery, as well as gesturing as if they had guns. After cold-cocking the counterman a couple times, the miscreants turned toward the customers and demanded money. A few handed over some ducats, but when the ne'er-do-wells demanded customer Dylan Hays Nintendo DS, the shizz got real.

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Sexy Mario

The federal government is spending approximately $434,000 to develop a video game aimed at helping pre-teen girls resist peer pressure to have sex. The avatar based game/social-simulator doesn't have a title yet, but it's being developed by The University of Central Florida and is expected to be complete by 2011.

The idea is to give you points for certain social skills in a virtual world populated by avatars, but you won't just be staring at a screen; you'll be wearing a full motion-capture suit to really put you in the skin of a pre-teen girl at a party or a malt shop or something. Then, boys will approach you and try to get the goods.

Professor Anne Norris of the University of Central Florida describes an interaction in the game like this: "A boy similar in age might approach the person playing the game and ask her to make out or there might be some sexual innuendo."

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There's nothing all that new about "binaural beats." The low frequency sounds that supposedly change your brain waves and lead to new thoughts and states of being were discovered in 1839, and have been toyed around with by scientists (mad, no doubt) and others since. So why am I talking about them now? Because, according to Kansas' News 9, kids are getting high from using digital drugs made up of the insidious sounds!

"It's just scary," said Kelly Johnson, a parent and teacher in Kansas, "It's just one more thing to look out for." Check it out in the video below:

Kids who listen to the illicit sounds report... you know what, life is short. Find out for yourself. TheFeed doesn't advocate using drugs, but we do advocate listening to things on the internet, so I want you to go to this YouTube video, right now, put your headphones on and get high. I'll do it too. We'll iDose together... ready? Go...

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hardcore mom

Staten Island mom Deborah Berardi is a casual gamer, but she's pretty hardcore. Berardi is accused of helping her twin sons clean up the scene of a beating they'd delivered, then going inside and playing Frontierville on Facebook.

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Gaming Addiction: Fact Or Fiction?Since the 1980s, certain medical professionals and moralists have been decrying the physical and mental deterioration brought on by gaming, whether it's Pac-Man Elbow or moral depravity brought on by Grand Theft Auto. It's an old story, but every once in a while, a new wrinkle appears that make me take notice. Today's wrinkle: Steve Pope, a U.K. counselor and therapist, says that playing games for two hours is equal to doing a line of coke.

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I'm truly hungover. Not from alcohol, but from all the weird game news that went down yesterday. I mean, the PS3 konked out for just about everyone. There was some internal, personnel shenanigans at Infinity Ward, and Portal 2 was cleverly teased. Shew!

To relax after the long day of strange news in the video game world, I watched A&E's Interventions last night. TheFeed's Jake "Killer" Gaskill and I agree: It's the best show on TV and Jeff "The General" VanVonderen is the best interventionist in history. Last night's program featured a guy who:

1) Was addicted to Oxycontin

2) Was a 360 owner -- a conspicuously placed controller gave him away.

3) Said he used to be an "orchestra geek," but wasn't any more. 

He was cellist who decided to be "cool" by wearing sunglasses, driving a ridiculous convertible, wearing Ed Hardy t-shirts and talking about his "homies." It was pretty funny, and inspired me to create a word to describe former geeks who try to be cool by aping the mannerisms of frat-bros. Ladies and gentlemen, please pepper the following word into your conversation so it catches on: Gouchebag.

Also: How 'bout that weirdness at Infinity Ward??


World of Warcraft Sets Off Violent Real-Life BattleMMO World of Warcraft touched off a violent brawl that ended in bloodshed, arrest and ignominy for a family in Manatee County, Florida.

It began last week. Twenty-seven year-old gamer James Swan was immersed in World of Warcraft in a bedroom he shares with several children. Apparently, Swan was drinking and was growing increasingly loud. (I imagine he was screaming "50 DKP MINUS!" at the top of his lungs.) Anyway, his moms told him to quiet down, and Swan grabbed her hair and threw her onto a bed. Then, he grabbed his own son and threw him onto the bed.

His mom ran into the kitchen to call the cops, but Swan chased after her, grabbed the telephone and ripped it from the wall. He then slammed his own head into the kitchen wall, jumped on his mom and started strangling her, while threatening to kill her.

Enter Grandpa: Swan's grandfather tried to stop the strangulation, but was unable, so he grabbed a handgun and he and Swan tussled. The gun went off: BLAM. A bullet was found lodged in the porch, and another, apparently, lodged itself somewhere in Swan's head: Medical professionals noted a bullet entry wound, but no exit wound.

Then the cops showed up and took Swan off to the hoosegow, but were kind enough to release the charming mugshot you see above. He'll face charges for strangling his mom and throwing his kid.

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World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Clearwater's Christopher H. Bouffard is in some trouble. The authorities allege the 23 year-old committed fraud by selling World of Warcraft characters online, and then not delivering the promised Night Elves and/or gnomes. He's being charged with scheming to defraud and two counts of grand theft.

Cops say Bouffard accepted around $800 from a couple of people for characters, then never delivered them to their intended recipients.  Bouffard was being held on $20,000 bail, which proves that crime doesn't pay, even when the crime is something incredibly stupid.

I'm not sure what the maximum punishment would be, but I gotta imagine grand theft holds the possibility of jail time, and prison has to be very difficult on a guy who's nerdy enough to sell a Warcraft character, yet slimy enough to default on the sale. Can you imagine the conversation in the yard?

Bouffard: What are you in for?

Spike: Murder one... but he had it coming. What about you?

Bouffard: Selling a World of Warcraft character. It was a totally sweet lvl 70 Warrior; protection specced.

Spike: You didn't go for Fury? We're going to have some fun in the showers, punk.

Source: Miami Herald

Ron Jeremy and Mario

Adult actor and crusty old porn guy Ron Jeremy has a bone to pick (get it??) with the video game industry. Mr. Jeremy faced off with Craig Gross, an anti-pornography media activist, at a CES debate last week and the two locked horns over porn's place in our lives. As you'd expect, the subject of children accessing adult material was raised, and Mr. Jeremy said: "We don't want kids to watch porn," but went on to say. "[Studies have] found that violent video games are much bigger a negative influence on kids."

Ouch! That's a low-blow, and a very debatable one -- I'm not sure what Ron Jeremy's sources are, but you can bet I'm digging to the bottom of this important issue.

Along with his opinions on gaming, the debate revealed that Jeremy is so tech-backward you have to contact him through a fax machine, or so alleges Mr. Gross.

I think Ron Jeremy is just mad because he looks like Mario, but doesn't get to star in popular and beloved video games -- See photo above. What do you think -- does Ron Jeremy have a point?

Source: PC Magazine

Crime SceneAccording to The Associated Press, police in central New Jersey have busted the notorious "Grinch Gang," a group of miscreants who bedevil Christmas by swiping game systems from family homes. They've been active since early November, jacking numerous Wiis, PlayStation 3s and 360s from all over the area.

But, like many, many criminals, the Grinch Gang were ultimately idiots. They were caught when a theft victim's friend noticed his buddy's gamertag was still online. The police were called. Warrants were issued. Arrests were made. Three teenage crooks were collared, and a fourth is sought.

The moral of the story, if there is one: Don't steal. And if you must steal, make a new account before you play online, you doofus.

I protect my systems with a pack of deformed Rottweilers. I feed them horse-meat mixed with gunpowder, because it tears up their stomachs and makes 'em mean. What about you? Do you take any special precautions to protect your stuff from grinches, confidence men, cads and/or career felons?

Source: The Associate Press

Crime SceneCriminals suck. Not only do they make me jealous by living lives free of society's social structures, they also have been focusing their nefarious attention on video game consoles lately. According to the FBI, the theft of video game systems jumped 285% over the last three years, to 42,615 in 2009. Computer laptops reported stolen rose 32%, to 128,280 in 2009 too. Nice job, criminals; way to pick on gamers and geeks.

As you might expect, game systems and home electronics are good targets for thievery because they're easy to carry, usually not locked up, and can be unloaded quickly.

"Criminals are rational. They steal things that have high value, are easily transportable and easily sold," Larry J. Siegel, a criminologist at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, told USA Today. "The most expensive thing in my house is my refrigerator, but nobody is trying to steal my refrigerator."

So here's a pro-tip from TheFeed: Store all game systems and electronics in your refrigerator. Robbers will be fooled, and your gear will never overheat.

Have you ever had anything stolen by miscreants? I never have, although I once pawned my Nintendo 64. They gave me 35 bucks, when it was new, which is a kind of robbery. I paid the nice pawn man back a couple weeks later and my 64 was returned -- crisis averted!

Source: USA Today 

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