Rockstar have again fallen foul of the censors and the future looks (perhaps appropriately) bleak for their snuff shocker sequel Manhunt 2. But is there anything positive to take from this tale of a stillborn videogame nasty?
So you finally save up enough to buy a PS3, only to take it home and find it debases your entire religion. Typical! This week Sony's occasionally-church-based shooter Resistance is in the dock (and even in Parliament) charged with blasphemy and realistic visuals; the writer for innovative new war sim Haze questions (briefly) the use of war veterans to give authenticity to other titles in the genre; and we ask just how damaging Microsoft's 'rings of red' are for the 360's public image. Perhaps if the lights were more auburn? Or strawberry blonde?
This week we're thinking of the children with a couple of pieces that shoot an accusative glance at videogames for helping to devalue the modern day childhood. Then there's a refreshingly frank word with the man who helped shape many of our own childhoods, Shigeru Miyamoto; a rare defense of Sony's often disparaged PSP; and a goldmine of appalling game intros that I defy you not to laugh/weep at.
Mod-makers beware! This week we look at the poor kid who's been thrown out of school after modding it for him and his friends to play Counter Strike in. (No prizes for guessing the impetus behind that investigation.) More upbeat is the cell phone game being devised that will help foreign students acclimatize to campus life in the West. Still more upbeat is the feature on the Super Paper Mario writers, who are a ray of hope for those of us sick of pompous, humorless and gutless game dialogue.
This week we take a look at Jack Thompson's swift reaction to the Virginia school shootings (SPOILER: he thinks videogames are to blame); hear why Doom legend John Romero thinks consoles are on the way out (but why Nintendo's are not); and find out why Oblivion's new expansion pack lives up to its parent title's moniker all too closely.
Despite some technical hitches, the News Rundown carries on regardless with a crop of Easter headlines. This week Rockstar gave us a first glimpse of 2007's big Xmas hit-to-be (GTA IV) and Insomniac explained why Resistance: Fall Of Man didn't quite match up to last year's (Gears Of War). Pick of the other headlines is an update on Microsoft's promising XNA Game Studio Express project, or 'YouTube for games' as they are clearly hoping it will become.
Returning this week to the en vogue subject of serious games, we look at a hugely ambitious, humanitarian project that has been described as “the single biggest thing to happen to our community, perhaps ever.” We also cast an eye over 10 games deemed the most important ever by a committee of designers and journalists seeking to preserve gaming's heritage, and drop in on a discussion about how entertainment (and in particular interactive entertainment) can educate and change the world through innovation.
Chris Hecker's statistic about Nintendo's lack of the phrase "art-form" on their websites is silly, and yes he himself uses the phrase "suck ass" to describe the Wii (just pipped to the crude post by Brad's recent description of the PSP), but there are two perfectly valid points being made underneath the rant rage.
A final few choice cuts from GDC this week, including a round table discussion about game addiction (something that's afflicted all of us at some point), Warren Spector on the wasted potential of videogames, and Suda 51 emphasizing the "punk" spirit necessary to produce games like Killer 7 and No More Heroes (I guess that title is a Stranglers reference then).
This week finds Sony both backtracking on their force feedback promises (that is, not to have any) but looking ahead regardless with a generally promising suite of PS3 plans laid out at this year's Game Developer's Conference. But if you suffer from fear of change, then fear not: we also take another look at the impact of game violence on real life violence, ask what the links between them may be, and come away with absolutely no answers. Phew!