Holy moly, talk about a kick ass giveaway. 2K Sports this week announced it would give away an unprecedented cash prize to the tune of $1 million to whoever is the first person to pitch a verified perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K10.
"To compete, gamers must play in MLB Today mode, select from any of the available matchups, and then choose the option to participate in the ‘Major League Baseball 2K10 contest’ that will automatically default to the proper gameplay settings according to the official gameplay rules," 2K Sports states. "Entries must be recorded via camera or digital video recorder in compliance with guidelines provided by 2K in the Official Rules, and all eligible entrants must submit a copy of their recording in its entirety for verification. Submissions will only be accepted on DVD."
There are a handful of other rules you must follow, such as not being allowed to make any pitching substitutions, pause the game, or wait 60 seconds or more in between pitches. But should you be the first to get through nine innings with no walks, no hits, and no runs, you could end up a millionaire, at least until the tax man takes his cut.
Note that this contest only applies to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions.
Dragon Age: Origins is the first in a new franchise from role-playing powerhouse BioWare, and while its swords ‘n’ sorcery setting may, at first glance, appear to be the result of an especially fruitful attempt at robbing J.R.R. Tolkien’s grave, don’t let that fool you. Dragon Age may very well contain one of the finest, most compelling videogame worlds ever created.
But that on its own isn’t what makes Dragon Age great. Rather, the game’s heart lies smack-dab at the intersection between setting and character development. It’s a fine line that many sprawling RPGs attempt to walk, yet BioWare has managed to cross the proverbial tightrope with startling ease. Chalk it up to years of experience with similar games, but with Dragon Age, BioWare has truly perfected its craft.
The story initially appears to be something of a straight line but quickly spins out into a complex web, with you at the center. It’s a surprisingly personal experience—especially when contrasted with other story-based RPGs—that begins with your choice of an origin story. Depending on your race/class combination, you’ll encounter any one of multiple, wildly different opening scenarios. Your origin, then, follows you through the rest of the game. Human, elf, or dwarf, male or female, rich or poor—the whole game changes in ways both big and small to reflect your humble (or not-so-humble) beginnings.
The past 24 hours have not been kind to Modern Warfare 2 developer Infinity Ward.
It all began yesterday evening when rumors surfaced that Activision ordered security personnel to go check in on Infinity Ward in what we’re sure was a polite, completely non-threatening gesture. Infinity Ward employees were “freaked out” and “confused” by the nasty turn of events.
It only got uglier from there.
Apparently, Activision was investigating "breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward." These two senior employees were later identified as none other than the company’s heart and soul, respectively, bosses Jason West and Vince Zampella. Both men are now jobless.
Shortly after, in a move that seems a bit too convenient for our tastes, Activision announced the creation of a Call of Duty business unit, which will be headed-up by Philip Earl, who currently runs Activision Publishing’s Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, Activision vets Steve Pearce and Steve Ackrich will take up the reigns over at Infinity Ward until suitable candidates are found to permanently steer the wagon. Again, fishy.
This came after Activision CEO Bobby Kotick flew in for an emergency meeting with Infinity Ward’s remaining staffers this afternoon.
So, what exactly caused this plate-flinging, staying-at-mother’s-house-for-a-month lover’s spat? Activision’s not talking, but the Internet’s made a valiant effort at putting together the pieces. For one thing, rumor has it that Activision’s been withholding royalty fees from Infinity Ward. Meanwhile, Infinity Ward's apparently been shopping around for a new publisher despite a deal with Activision that doesn't expire until October. And the developer's hoping to take the Modern Warfare franchise with it, as it's a partial owner of the Call of Duty franchise. Also, earlier this year Infinity Ward was rumored to have decided to focus on a new franchise instead of developing Modern Warfare 3 – a move that, we’re sure, had Activision’s piggy banks squealing in desperate fear of starvation.
But here’s the kicker: earlier today, after announcing a new action-adventure entry in the Call of Duty series developed by Sledgehammer Games, Activision said that Infinity Ward is still “central” to the Call of Duty franchise. An odd thing to say about a studio that hopes to develop a new IP. Now, maybe we’re reading into things a bit, but if your billion dollar horse was bucking, we bet you’d consider doing some fairly unscrupulous things to whip it back into line.
We wish the best of luck to everyone at Infinity Ward. Keep fighting the good fight, guys and gals.
Maybe it all started with the 1997 Atari 2600 title Combat, in which you were tasked with blowing up your best friend (or whoever you invited over) with a tank, bi-plane, or jet. Or maybe it was something else, but no matter what videogame first began shaping our feeble minds, one thing's for sure - violent videogames increases our violent thinking, attitudes, and behaviors, says a new study. Oh, and those shoot-em-ups you've been playing do absolutely nothing to promote positive social behaviors.
To come to the above conclusion, psychologist Craig Anderson of Iowa State University and his team combed through the results of existing studies of 130,000 people from the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Anderson says he found an association between exposure to violent games and aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive "affect."
"Videogames are neither inherently good nor inherently bad," the study says. "But people learn. And content matters."
Naturally, not everyone agrees with Anderson's findings. Two such critiques include Christopher Ferguson and John Kilburn of the department of behavioral applied science and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University. Ferguson and Kilburn point out flaws in Anderson's study, including what they believe is a selection bias, as well as a weak connection at best. Furthermore, Freguson says that violent crime in the U.S. and other developed nations has decreased over the decades, even though videogames are becoming more popular than ever.
Valve on Tuesday announced a new version of Steam currently in public beta form. The opt-in beta is available now to all Steam users, new and old.
"In the last 12 months, Steam has grown 200 percent," Valve said. "There are now 25 million users, 1000+ games, 12 billion player minutes per month, and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month. To accommodate this growth, a new Steam client has been created."
The updated client includes a bunch of upgrades, most noticeably to the client's UI. As part of that, Steam now puts a much bigger emphasis on "friend-related info," making it easier to track what games your friends are playing and invite them for a frag session.
Other updated features include better game organization, a new downloads view, a new central aggregated news page, and other odds and ends.
If you want to check it out for yourself, click here and then select "UI Update" under Beta Participation.
Microsoft's Project Natal looks to make air guitar a bona fide gaming skill, as well as all kinds of gestures applicable to a "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience." But before Natal can get to that point, developers have to resolve a potentially crippling issue with latency, says news and rumor site Fudzilla.
Citing sources who "wish to remain nameless," Fudzilla says Natal's sensor-based control scheme could suffer from lag as much as .08 seconds to .12 seconds, most often hovering around .10 seconds. That might not sound like much, but it's enough to create tracking problems for fast paced titles.
Keep in mind that Natal hasn't shipped yet so there's still plenty of time to iron this and any other bugs out. Playing the part of Pessimistic Patty, Fudzilla says even while development continues, "it is doubtful that [the lag issue] will be able to totally be eliminated." Our take? We'll reserve judgment until the thing actually ships.
Listen up Office users, Microsoft has made available a free tool to help you level up your productivity skills. It's called Ribbon Hero and it offers up different 'games' or challenges for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2007 and 2010.
"Ribbon Hero watches what features you do and don't use, and then it recommend challenges for you to play, to hopefully expose you to new features," Microsoft writes in an Office blog. "The first time you complete a challenge, you'll earn points. But then we want you to use those same features in the app (on another day) to prove you've mastered those features! You can max out a feature using it twice, on two separate days -- and one one of those times can you get points from playing the challenge."
Ribbon Hero also serves up Facebook integration so you can spam your friends' walls with PowerPoint updates right next to your latest Farmville achievement. Oh joy.
In the market for a gaming notebook? If so, Asus' G73 laptop might be the steal of the year, albeit it's still early. Nevertheless, we haven't been this stoked about an affordable gaming notebook since Gateway wowed us with its P7811-FX machine.
Those looking for battery life first and performance second need not apply. But if you're into desktop replacements, the G73's spec sheet will certainly oblige. Inside the 17.3-inch laptop sits an Intel Core i7 720QM quad-core processor, and that's just the beginning. You'll also find 8GB of DDR3 memory, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics with a 1GB frame buffer, and a 500GB hard drive spinning at 7200RPM.
The G73 also boasts a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, DVD burner, 4 USB ports, VGA and HDMI, an 8-in-1 card reader, 2.0MP, 8-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
Is it just us, or does Sony have some sort of masochistic fetish with pissing off its consumer-base? Sure, the whole rootkit fiasco happened an eternity ago (in Internet years, anyway), so why dredge up old feelings of anti-Sony sentiment by charging for the Playstation Network (PSN)? Probably because Microsoft contniues to get away with charging for its Xbox Live service.
Before you bust out the pitchforks and coat the tips with rust, keep in mind that nothing is official yet, and may never be, but it sure sounds like something's brewing.
"Will we charge for it or why don't we charge for it? It's been our philosophy not to charge for it from launch up until now, but Kaz recently went on the record as saying that's something we're looking at," Peter Dillie, head of the PSN, said in a recent interview with IGN. "That's something that we're actively thinking about. What's the best way to approach that if we were do that? You know, no announcements at this point in time, but it's something we're thinking about."
It seems that Dillie raises more questions than answers, such as how seriously is Sony really considering charging for PSN, and how would the fee structure break down?
Rather than mourn the passing of your Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis (from relevance, mind you -- we're well aware some of you still have a functioning SNES or Sega console stuffed in your basement), dreamGEAR's giving you a chance to relive old times with a throwback-style controller designed for the Wii.
The new controller looks almost identical to the old SNES pad, but unlike the original, however, this one comes with six buttons on the front, giving it a bit of Sega Genesis DNA. The ultimate love child, perhaps?
Not quite, but it does complement the assortment of old school titles available from Wii's Virtual Console section, and because it comes with six buttons, you're a Street Fighter download away from dredging up days of killer combos (and remembering how much more fun it was to play at the arcade).
Best Buy's Outlet Center has the dreamGEAR pad in stock for $15.