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Does the Writers Guild of America actually play the games it nominates for outstanding achievement in writing?

Here are the games that the Writers Guild of America nominated yesterday for the outstanding achievement in writing for video games: 007 Legends Assassin’s Creed III Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Halo 4 Uncharted: Golden Abyss In all seriouness: is this a joke? Two of these games are unplayably bad (Legends, Liberation), and two are serious disappointments, hardly noted for being redeemed by particularly great stories (Golden Abyss, The Power of Two). And then there are Halo 4 and Assassin’s Creed III. True, both of these games do extremely impressive things in gameplay,…

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Meet the man who just can’t stop acting in videogame commercials

You know Jerry Lambert. He’s “Kevin Butler”, the suit-and-tie-wearing, game-obsessd exec of many titles in PlayStation ads. A refresher: Well, the real life execs at Sony recently sued Lambert for breach of contract after he acted in a Bridgestone tire ad in which he played Mario Kart Wii. Sony accused Lambert and Bridgstone of filching the Butler character, and the terms of the settlement make it quite clear who Kevin Butler belongs to: Lambert agreed not to appear in any ad or promotion that features or even mentions “any other video game or computer entertainment system or video game company”…

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Is a Fallout TV show in the works?

War never changes, but the medium might. United States patent application number 85818163 was filed by Bethesda Softworks LLC on January 8th. It requests a trademark for the Fallout trademark for “Entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program set in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world.” So, is it time to celebrate? Well, the Fallout series, with its emphasis on storytelling, voice acting, and the involvement of actual Hollywood actors (Liam Neeson and obviously Ron Perelman spring to mind), seems like a totally natural fit for an adaptation of some kind. Moreover, the structure of the game – a series of self-contained quests…

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Some champions built real life Mario Kart and it’s the best thing you’ll see today

The first half of the following video details how, exactly, the “cowboy engineers” at Waterloo Labs built the famous item system of Mario Kart into an actual go-kart track. It took some servomotors, remotely-controlled steering columns, and an RFID system so that the karts could communicate with one another (and also, evidently, some cardboard boxes and masking tape and elbow grease to make the item boxes). The second half of the video is merely bliss incarnate. Please enjoy.

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Study: shooters about terrorism intensify negative stereotypes about Arabs, even when there are no Arabs in the game

That’s the conclusion reached by a University of Michigan study published in the January issue of Psychology of Violence: [Researchers] Saleem and Anderson recruited 204 participants, randomly assigning them to play one of three video games for 30 minutes. Two of the games were versions of “Counter-Strike,” one with Arab terrorists and the other with Russian terrorists. The third game was a nonviolent golf game. After playing the games, the researchers assessed participants’ levels of prejudice against Arabs using direct measures such as attitude questionnaires as well as indirect measures such as drawings. The standard tests showed that playing violent…

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The fun card-game alternative to Modern Warfare and its bloated ilk

Jonathan H. Liu over at Geekdad has a nice writeup of the Kickstarter-funded SKIRMISH: Modern Card Warfare, which he calls a blend of Stratego and War (though he does take a lot of potshots at poor, innocent War. Sounds like a guy who might not be too good at War): I think what I like about the game is the way it recalls Stratego, with the flag and bombs and spies, but it’s a much quicker, more portable game without all the setup time. Granted, it’s less strategic — there’s no movement, no planning on where you’re going to hide your flag, no maneuvering your…

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Get ready for the Cave with in-browser Insult Swordfighting

Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert has a new game coming out next week, and it looks flippin’ fantastic. In case you’ve been living in a cave, er, under a rock, here is what The Cave looks like: Other than the game’s lovely aesthetic, the thing that stands out most, of course, is Gilbert’s legendary use of humor. I, like many gamers, was first exposed to it in Monkey Island, maybe the funniest game ever written, and more specifically in the “insult swordfighting” interludes, in which aspiring pirate Guybrush Threepwood matches disparagements against the most fearsome warriors of Melee Island.  Karza Games…