I hate it when people, speaking of a game review, say, "Well, they wouldn't have scored it so high if it weren't for the graphics." Like it or not, humans interpret the world around them predominately through sight, so graphics are an integral part of any gaming experience -- just as special effects, lighting, and set pieces are to film.
That does not, however, mean I'll contemptuously scoff at any game without eye-popping bump maps or heroes lacking meticulously detailed stubble, however. In fact, with the advent of gaming's current generation, I have to wonder: is game development so focused on pleasuring our eyes that it's neglecting our gray matter?
What ever happened to promises of emergent worlds and truly life-like A.I.? Sure, games like Rainbow Six: Vegas draw us into their worlds like never before, but the moment we see an A.I. partner attempt to take cover on the wrong side of a bullet-ridden pillar, the illusion is blown into bloody chunks. For once, I'd like to see a dev team throw themselves headlong into crafting a believable world -- even if that means serving up graphical sloppy seconds. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear what you think.
Today's Roundup features one title that gives me some hope for a more balanced, less graphics-intensive future, yet by virtue of its existence, in a way, proves my earlier point. Speaking of hope, Nintendo fans might have reason to strip out of their mourning garb, although it's kind of a long shot. And we also have Aerosmith! See it all after the break.
For many geeks, Newegg has become the de facto standard for shopping online for computer parts, and those of us living in the U.S. have had to endure the moans and groans from our brethren north of the border lamenting having to order PC peripherals elsewhere. Those cries will soon end as Newegg readies its Canadian website.
Having established itself as the "second-largest online-only retailer in the U.S.," Newegg will look to duplicate its success up north taking on the likes of NCIX.com and TigerDirect.ca, but the company isn't saying whether it plans to open warehouses in Canada or will simply ship across the border. Nor is it known exactly when Newegg.ca will officially open for business, only that it will take place sometime in 2008, and presumably sooner rather than later. In the meantime, when not chewing on delicious bacon or awaiting free health care, Canadians are encouraged to sign up for Newegg Canada's newsletter to "be the first to know about pre-launch sweepstakes, giveaways, and events."
Believe it or not, your browser might know more about you than even your spouse. Whether you use Firefox, Internet Explorer, or any of the several alternative browsers, a peek in your browsing history reveals what games you're playing, where you shop, what you shop for, where you booked your upcoming vacation, and it even knows what turns you on. But up until now, your browser had no way of knowing whether you're a male for female. Not anymore.
Try it out for yourself and post your results below.
Paypal and relative newcomer Google Checkout will both face off against a new contender in the online payment arena as Amazon jumps into the ring with a service of its own. Called Checkout by Amazon, the new service gives online retailers the option of letting Amazon manage their payments, along with some compelling reason for letting them do so.
Surfers who already have an account registered with Amazon (and who doesn't?) will be able to pay for goods at sites using Checkout by Amazon using billing and shipping details already on file with the mega e-tailer. Sites using the service can also offer customers the same '1-Click ordering' as Amazon, order tracking and management, Amazon's purchase protection policy, and other nuances associated with shopping directly at Amazon.
Learn about fees and another payment service being launched after the jump.
Symantec website rating tool called Norton Safe Web is now undergoing beta trial and will complement its upcoming Norton Internet Security 2009 and Norton Antivirus 2009 security tools, also in beta. Norton Safe Web will blow the whistle on malicious websites just like other website rating tools that are currently available. The Safe Web beta can be downloaded once you have already signed-up for the Norton Internet Security 2009 beta. If you don't intend to download the tool then you can check any website’s rating on the web-based version of Safe Web, which is essentially a community website that also allows users to rate websites based on the perceived security threat.
What are you playing right now? FPS? RTS? Peggle? Who developed it? Do you even care?
I imagine you do; as a presumably-hardcore gamer, you've likely cultivated a few brand alliances here and there. But what happens when we change the question up a little? Do you think your favorite developer cares about you?
No, I don't mean on an individual, person-to-person basis. What I'm asking is: do you think those oh-so-dreamy devs slave over games for their fans, or for themselves? Yes, yes, gaming is a business, and there's certainly money involved. But at the end of the day, do you think the aforementioned designers look at themselves in the mirror and nod in satisfaction because they created a game for you, or because they calmed the cries of their wild inner artist? Sound off in the comments section. Let's start a discussion that doesn't involve sarcasm and commas (though both are certainly allowed)!
Anyway, today's Roundup shines the spotlight on developers of both breeds, though some trumpet their allegiance louder than others. If you'd like to find out who's who, what's what, and which of them might soon end up in the pit of Microsoft's belly, read on.
You've been told money can't buy you love, but for $1,300, you can buy a Trojan guaranteed to screw the recipient without them ever knowing it's there. Apparently not completely fool proof, security company Prevx discovered the supposedly undetectable super virus now known as Limbo 2 and reports that hackers are selling custom variations of the Trojan. If a variation gets detected, the Trojan can be tweaked to fly under the radar without changing its payload.
Once infected, Limbo 2 not only logs your keystrokes, but it will set a trap by generating spoofed information boxes when victims navigate to certain login pages. Keystrokes, credit card information, and any other personal data it manages to harvest from the hard drive then gets transmitted back to Botnet Central.
These types of Trojans aren't new, but it's Limbo 2's speed and customization that has security vendors concerned. On a broader scale, it's all part of a seedy underground economy driven by stolen data. It's become so prevalent that hackers have had to lower prices and look for new types of stolen data to sell for bigger profits, including health care information and corporate emails.
A decade ago, owning a 56K V.92 PCI modem used to mean you were the baddest Netizen on the block, but now it's just lame. Even Aunt Mabel has a broadband connection, and according to a new Gartner study, so will 77 percent of U.S. households by 2012. That only leaves 23 percent still living in the digital Stone Age.
Today just over half of all U.S. households surf at high speed, but Gartner expects that number to jump significantly in the next three years. According to Amanda Sabia, a Gartner principal research analyst, one of the biggest factors in the broadband adoption rate will be 4G wireless services like WiMAX, Long Term Evolution, and others that are expected to launch in the coming years.
Broadband also looks to do well worldwide, where 60 percent of the population in 17 countries will have high speed connections in 2012, whereas only 5 countries could make that same claim in 2007. Leading the way is South Korea, who is expected to jump from 93 percent to 97 percent of households having a broadband subscription in 2012. Gnarly.
And as a full-featured Windows replacement, no other Linux distribution comes close to Ubuntu, which features a full suite of pre-loaded desktop applications and an easy to use installer. Ubuntu contains many unique and innovative qualities designed to make it less intimidating the average Windows user who may be looking for a change. One of these features is called Live CD. Once you have downloaded and burned a copy of the Live CD ISO, you will have the ability to launch a fully functional copy of the Ubuntu to test out driver compatibility and to sample the user interface, all without installing a single file to your PC. This guide will walk you through testing your hardware and installing a dual boot setup all without formatting or repartitioning your hard drive.