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Demo round-up: Unreal Tournament III, Clive Barker's Jericho, and more

This fall is looking like it's going to be one of the best seasons for gaming since.... well, since ever. There are a lot of big sequels on their way as well as some hotly anticipated new IPs that have everyone talking. The demos for these games have begun trickling out, and I've gotten my hands on a number of them to get an idea of where my money is going to be spent this fall.

What do gamers and lab rats have in common?

It seems that an increasing number of videogames these days are using one or more forms of operant conditioning, and in particular positive reinforcement. Although reward systems have long been a mainstay of the role-playing game genre, their use has been gradually spreading. Why might that be?

Interview with Koroush Ghazi, creator of Tweakguides.com

At one time or another, most of us have experienced some frustration with our PCs. Programs might seem to inexplicably freeze, crash, or simply perform poorly. How do we make Windows run as quickly and trouble-free as possible? How do we get the best performance from our games and other applications? Most importantly, how do we do all that without a Ph.D in computer science?

Could a videogame help kids fight cancer?

The September issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health unveils the results of a large research study on the effects of playing Re-Mission, a third-person shooter designed to help young cancer patients improve their knowledge of cancer and boost their confidence in managing the disease. Now that the results are in, how does Re-Mission fare?

Vanillaware weekend goes awry

This weekend was Vanillaware weekend for me, and you know what? These guys rock the 2D art, but wow... They don't craft the kind of gameplay I want to spend time with.

The New York Times deems Halo 3 "Arts" worthy… sort of

Halo 3 Screenshot

With all the recent debate about whether or not videogames should be consider (good or bad) art, would it not be of cultural significance and a sign of the times (no pun intended) if the venerable news institution declared that videogames was indeed worthy of being covered alongside the paintings by artist Willem de Kooning, the singing of soprano Natalie Dessay or comedic "genius" of Dane Cook in Good Luck Chuck?

The theory of videogame relativity

Compared to the more beautiful and elaborate next-generation experiences currently available, most of the games I loved as a kid (Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, etc.) seem like mere trifles by comparison. In absolute terms, BioShock is certainly a much better game than Wolfenstein 3D (one of the earliest first-person shooters). Does it follow then that modern gamers get more enjoyment from their videogames than gamers of previous generations did from theirs?

Viva Pinata: Party Animals demo on Xbox Live impressions

Pinata

If it accomplishes nothing else, Viva Pinata: Party Animals shows that someone, somewhere in the hierarchy at Microsoft understands the importance of attempting to expand their user base.

Reviewing the reviewers

The long-awaited Halo 3 reviews are in, and—just like Bioshock—there were tons of hands-on impressions, detailed previews, and fever-pitch hype. So it didn't surprise me that it received ubiquitously raving reviews, with 9s and 10s littering the field.

Fight Critic: TUF could learn from Fight Girls

After season five of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) saw its ratings gradually decline from previous seasons, there's been talk amongst fans about how the show could be reinvigorated for the sixth season, featuring welterweights Matt Hughes and Matt Serra. After watching the second season of the all-female Muay Thai reality show, Fight Girls, on the Oxygen Network, I think the boys from TUF could learn a few things from the girls.

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