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Other People's Misfortune

Korea Creative Content Agency = Creative JuggernautPeople love games so much in South Korea that the government is imposing mandatory, six-hour gaming "black-out periods" on its underage gamers.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism says its new policy will cut off online gaming to popular, time-sink MMOs like Maple Story. The ban is being tested on four games, but will eventually apply to 19 well-known Korean games. 

The law also includes a "slowdown" system where internet speeds will be stalled dramatically if users are online for a lengthy period of time. The government is looking into various games in terms of time and money needed to play them, in order to determine whether they will be included in the blackout. Popular MMO Lineage will not be rationed; Dungeon & Fighter, and Dragon Nest will be.

Gamers will be given three options for the six hour black-out period --midnight-6 a.m.,1-7 a.m., and 2-8 a.m.

The move is a response to the increase in time people in Korea spend playing games, and some high-profile stories about the negative effects of online games -- including that infamous case where parents apparently starved their child while raising a virtual child in an online game.

Source: Korea Herald

Links Of TheFeed: Schmucks & Bad Gaming Tattoos

Ever seen a car that looks so good you could eat it? Or another one that looks like it could eat you? Yeah, me neither... But evidentally they exist, either as a prop for burning man or as some mad mechanic's wildest creation. So check out the links below for some crazy cars, a trailer for a promising new comedy and more.

  • FilmDrunk has the new trailer for Dinner For Schmucks, which stars Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis. That enough comedic star power for you to want to watch it?

Fat Princess PSP E3 2009 Preview: More Modes, More Levels, And Single Player

Are you a fatty with a mouthful of rotten choppers? Then you might be a video gamer. A pair of studies released recently name games as a cause of both poor dental health and childhood obesity.

The more important of the studies is from the World Health Organization. The WHO claims that a third of kids across the world are obese. The cause: A sedentary lifestyle. Apparently, only a quarter of  boys and 15 percent of girls get enough exercise.  

The WHO names video games as one reason kids aren't running around and riding their bikes enough. Instead, according to the report, kids are “spending three hours or more per day watching TV, playing computer games, or chatting with friends online”.

It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, either. “With regards to physical activity levels, we did not find much of a difference between poor and rich countries,” the report said . “Growing up in a poor country does not necessarily mean that kids get more physical activity.”

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Hackers Target Major Nelson

You know, if you're going to hack someone, at least pick a worthwhile target. Over the weekend, computer miscreants didn't heed my advice, and instead hacked the account of Xbox Live friend-to-all Major Nelson. The cyber-criminals took Director Nelson's profile and used his account to post various messages, like "I am a f*g," "Code of conduct my *ss"and other witty, important statements. Also, the hacker offered to take over anyone's account for $100.

As of this morning, the account was safely back in Major Nelson's possession, and Microsoft's Director of Policy and Enforcement for Xbox Live Stephen Toulouse said that the hack looks like it was "very specific" and "very targeted" to Major Nelson''s account. Toulouse is investigating the matter further.

We'll keep you posted as to whether there are reports of future hacks of other people's profiles.

Source: Kotaku




GameStop Creates Digital Distribution Executive Position -- A Sign Of Things To Come?

It's one thing to complain about the video game industry's treatment of DLC on the internet, but gamer James Collins is taking action. He's taking a stand! James Collins is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it any more! Well, he filed a lawsuit, anyway.

Collins says he bought a used copy of Dragon Age: Origins from a GameStop. The box clearly indicated that free content could be downloaded for the game, but it couldn't. Whoever sold the game to GameStop obviously used the redeem code for the free DLC, leaving Collins holding the bag.

He paid $54.99 for the used game, but would have to pay $15 for the DLC. That adds up to a used version of the game costing ten bucks more than a brand new one. GameStop wouldn't refund his money, so Collins is suing GameStop. Check out the full suit here.

The class-action lawsuit seeks to prevent GameStop from selling used games with text on the cover promising DLC that doesn't exist.

The only problem, as I see it, is that I think that copy on boxes already says that the code is a one-time-use thing, and the suit even seems to acknowledge that the the box contains fine print that reads, "One-time use code; available with full retail purchase, Expires April 30, 2010." So this might be a case of letting the buyer beware.

Source: Game Politics

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Links Of TheFeed: Hot Rides And Wet Cats

The cat in the middle picture above is soaked from a bath. I bring this up because in the links below, you're going to find 24 more pictures of miserable kitties that you can delight in. On top of that, My Life Is Twilight returns, and the secret of the Superpunch is revealed. Just what is the Superpunch? Check out this week's links.

  • HolyTaco has 25 pictures of cats that have been dunked in water. It's more entertaining than you might think.
  • FilmDrunk takes another journey to the pathetic corner of the internet known as My Life Is Twilight.
  • Learn how to throw the most devastating punch ever thrown on CollegeHumor. That's right, Superpunch.
  • This collection of d-bags on UnCoached rival any collection of d-bags you'll find on the internet.

Brain Training Now The Most Popular Game Of All Time in the UKIf you ever find yourself in China, playing Counter-Strike at an internet café, do not cheat. A 17-year old gamer in Jilin learned this lesson the hard way recently, when he was stabbed in the head by a group of other gamers for using a wall-hack.

Doctors saved the kids life after 10 hours of surgery, and they say he won't have a loss of motor function, but honestly, I don't see how  a person could go through that and not be changed. The guy had a rusty, 10-inch knife shoved into his brain -- that's not something you shake off easily.

The gang who stabbed him apparently fled the scene, but I have faith that the Chinese police will find them, and I imagine they will be dealt with harshly. China is not a place to go around committing crimes.

The stabbing may reflect poorly on the owner of the internet café as well. Those cafés are regulated heavily in China, and apparently shouldn't have allowed the under aged cheater in the door to begin with. Games and gamers are scapegoated pretty heavily in China, so you have to figure this will be used as a means to cast further aspersions on the hobby.

I'm against cheating, but this is ridiculous. The worst I would have done was called the guy a d*ck and found another place to play games!

Let's keep in touch. My twitter feed is here. My email is here. Follow me on twitter and let me know if you hear any interesting news.

Source: sankaku complex

Links Of TheFeed: Twilight & Chat Roulette

I haven't yet ventured onto Chat Roulette, as it combines the anonymity and randomness of any chatroom with the terrifying prospect of live video. After all, The Daily Show's John Stewart called it "A repository of 5% curiosity seekers, and 95% free floating dongs." However, for those brave enough to spend time on Chat Roulette, that 95% number might be a bit inflated as there's been some space carved out by other types of freak shows. So to find out what wondrous sights you can see on Chat Roulette (other than dongs), check out this week's links.

  • CollegeHumor has made their action epic, Die Hardly Working, and it's a bloody good time.
  • I was originally going to link to FilmDrunk's review of Birdemic, which (I think) is an intentional cruel joke on audiences. However, Twilight is a far crueler joke and since I hate love you all, here's the new trailer for Eclipse.

Bejeweled Blitz

Hey, I have a riddle for you:

Q: What's the difference between a gamer and a lab rat?

A: Not much.

Okay, it's not exactly funny, in fact, it's kind of depressing, especially when backed up with logic and research. Check out Crack.com's list of five creepy ways games are like behaviorist experiments, with you as the subject.

It's hard to deny that much of Gaming is simply the addition of explosions to brightly-lit versions of classic reward/punishment scenarios right out of B.F. Skinner, but altering our behavior in response to rewards and punishments is, essentially, why we are human; game makers discovering it and using it to "make" people play games isn't exactly surprising, but it is pretty creepy, especially when paired with the ultimate goal of making money that drives most (every?) game company. But before you go slitting your wrists over a vision of your favorite hobby as a bunch of amateur mad scientists working hard to keep you addicted enough to gaming for you to keep giving your money to them, consider this: Skinnerian reward vs. punishment is not the only reason we play games.

The other reason we game is simple: We love stories. 

Since the Dawn of Time (Achievement unlocked: Super Cliche!) Man has sat around a campfire for story-time. Maybe Oog recounted that battle with the Wooly Mammoth particularly well, so they made him head tale-teller. Gamer creators are the modern day equivalent to Oog the Caveman. Campfire story-tellers probably used illustrative sticks and bones, and novelists use colorful language to tell their tales, game-makers (when they're doing it right) use grinding, levels and loot as part of a means to tell a story.

Gaining a level in a game is analogous to a slow-fade in Film -- it's unique to medium, but we instantly understand it, even if we don't know we understand it and don't remember learning it. Slow-fade means time has passed. Level-up means your character is getting stronger--progress is being made. You're on the right track.

Grinding is part of what makes a game different from an interactive movie. Sure, a certain segment of the gaming population is content with simple, "pull-lever, get pellet" gaming, a lot of people still like to be told a good story... ideally, one with explosions.

Anyway, check out Cracked's article and have your mind-blown.

Prius OnlineA couple in Korea (Kim Yoo-chul, 41, Choi Mi-sun, 25) reportedly let their real-life child starve to death while they were taking care of a virtual child in a video game. 

The parents would spend up to 12 hours at a shot in internet cafes, playing free-to-play Korean MMO Prius Online where you raise "Anima" children. While gaming, they would leave their three-month-old baby behind at home to fend for itself. Newborns are notorious for being bad at fending for themselves, even if you leave out a bowl of kibble, so their child died of malnutrition. There are no words for how terrible those parents are.

"The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life, because they didn't have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby," Chung Jin-won, a police officer in Suwon, the Seoul suburb, told the Yonhap news agency. "They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby."

My confession: I have neglected my real child in favor of my virtual one.  Before you call child protective services on me, let me tell the story: A couple weeks ago, I was immersed in Heavy Rain; It was my kid's bedtime, and I said to my wife, "Honey, do you mind putting him to bed. I'm in the middle of this... it's for work."

The very next scene in the game was the one where Scott Shelby is feeding and changing the diaper of a baby, and I realized that I was literally passing up interacting with my real child to put a diaper on a fake one. It was a bit freaky...but unlike the couple in Korea, my wife was putting my kid to bed, and it was only like 10 minutes as opposed to many hours, so it's completely different, but still...freaky, right?

BTW: Raising a real child is harder than a video game child by about the factor that playing a real guitar is harder than playing Guitar Hero, but leveling up is a lot more rewarding.

Source: Telegraph

Links Of TheFeed: Tim Burton's Secret Of The Afterlife

Beetle Juice, Edward Scissorhands, Sweeny Todd and now Alice In Wonderland. All movies by Tim Burton and all movies with an undeniable Tim Burton style to them. But after over 20 years of cranking out movies, has Tim Burton become a slave to his own formula? Is what was once interesting and unique now tired and cliche? That's the question posed by CollegeHumor in one of today's links. For that along with some great moments in gameshow history, Super Mario mash-ups and the trailer for a twisted new thriller, enjoy the links below.

  • FilmDrunk has the first trailer for After.Life the creepy new movie starring Christina Ricci and Liam Nielsen.
  • The highschool yearbook, prom, or just a day at the mall with your family. Each require a picture with a lame gradient background, SuperTremendous has 20 of the creepiest pics you'll ever see.
  • Super Mario has been mashed up a thousand different ways, but UnrealityMag has sifted through the clutter and found the best ones.
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In light of yesterday's reported... sudden personnel changes... at Infinity Ward, it's interesting and enlightening to take a look at Activision head Bobby Kotick's speech from DICE 2010 speech.

Two weeks ago, while speaking on Creative Talent, Kotick stressed the importance of giving talent the resources they need to make the games they want to make, and how executives overlooking the passions of the people who make games can lead to monetary losses. "After 15 acquisitions, mainly of studios, we got to that place where we learned how to protect the culture of the companies that we either acquired or merged with," Kotick said.

"The thing you realize is that creative, inspired people really do need to control their destiny. If you create a culture that values independent thought and fosters independent operation and lets independent talent control much of their destiny, you'll get great games."

Hmmm... SEC filings suggesting "insubordination" as a reason for an investigation of top Infinity Ward employees  suggest fostering "independent thought" only goes to a certain point. Check it out in the video below:

DICE 2010: Bobby Kotick's "Creative Talent" Presentation »


 

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??

PlayStation 3

Generally, Time heals all wounds, but not computer bugs. The recent PlayStation 3 meltdown may be an exception to this rule, though. Sony has confirmed that the PS3 glitch relates to the internal clock of systems that were created before the release of the PlayStation Slim, and that the problem causes the PlayStation clock to reset to January 1, 2000. The error was first reported around midnight, last night, Greenwich Mean Time.  So it looks like the date switching to March 1st, 2010 may have caused the PlayStation freak-outs.

It is a troublesome date. Not only is your rent due, it's also the "leap year" date. Every four years, it's February 29 and not March 1. This year isn't a leap year, and we don't have official word from Sony on this, but I wouldn't be surprised if the leap year date caused the problem anyway.

Perhaps, a theory goes, March 2, 2010 will bring redemption. Sony say, on its official blog, "We hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours" which could be taken to mean, "we're going to try to fix it, but if we can't, it'll be working tomorrow."

Read More »

Links Of TheFeed: The Blue Men Were My Idea

Marketing types generally like the Windows 7 "It Was My Idea" ad campaign. It conveys a message, takes subtle shots at Apple, and was much better than the alternative "Well, At Least It's Not Vista" idea most people had running around in their heads. But that doesn't mean it's beyond ridicule, and CollegeHumor found a way to tear it to pieces. So for that, some photoshops proving people are taking Avatar way to seriously, a montage of montages and more, click on this week's links.

  • CollegeHumor has an excellent parody of the Windows 7 "It Was My Idea" commercials.
  • If you plan on having kids, plan on being better parents than the ones seen in these 25 parenting fails on HolyTaco.
  • You couldn't make an 80s sports movie without a montage set to bad music. UnrealityMag has the nine best 80s movie montages you'll find anywhere.
  • You should go watch the new trailer for the Karate Kid remake with Will Smith's kid on FilmDrunk just so you know how much of an abomination this movie will be.

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