Recent Entries in Gaming

Ok, I suppose any online portal can be used to troll for sex. It's not that surprising. I know several people who have carried on virtual affairs in MMORPGs, and have met their future spouses online.

How Scrabulous became a sleazy internet pickup joint, by Will Doig -

"Flirty girlz only who can also have S.E.X.Y. chat," reads Syed's open-table Scrabulous challenge. "Age must be less than thirty. Send a msg before playing a game." According to his stat board, Syed's player's rating is 947 â.. not dismal, but nothing to brag about â.. and he's looking for hot women who play according to the English TWL dictionary.

He'll find them. Scrabulous, the Facebook application that allows users to play Scrabble against each other online, has turned Hasbro's slow, stodgy board game for vocabulary enthusiasts into one of the internet's sleazier pickup joints. "Any ladies want to play strip Scrabulous?" beckons Jamie. "Hot women, MILF only, no men, prefer Canadian," specifies Mike. "Just waiting 4 the right horney [sic] women to appear!!!!" announces Andrew, adding, "Like blondes but all welcome."

Sure, it's not my thing, but I -- wha??

"I've played games where I have been made to feel so horny I had to touch myself," says Alicia, a slightly older woman with whom I ended up engaged in a particularly licentious match. The atmosphere within Scrabulous has become so amorous that players who don't want to talk dirty while they play have begun specifying so: "Looking for a player with a similar rating to me, no sex chat nonsense," reads one open challenge. "Just a regular game, no pervs," reads another. A few weeks ago, the game's administrators finally added a function that cordons off "adults only" tables into a section separate from games "suitable for all ages."

I have to admit, this was a pretty versatile gaming system. If this works the same way, you can get some pretty awesome character creation going.

Champions Online Trailer | Champions Online Official Site

See Champions Online come to life! Our debut gameplay trailer showcases a variety of environments in the Champions Universe, a taste of our superpowered action combat and the massive diversity that only customization can deliver!

  The Last Stand

Best flash game ever. And there are zombies in it.


The Last Stand.

Is this a real commercial, or just a spoof? You decide.

YouTube - Dungeons n Dragons commercial

It does appear to pitch a real product from Wizards of the Coast:

Overwhelmed? Just want to play? Learn the ins and outs of D&D and start playing right away with Dungeons & Dragons For Dummies. Book produced in partnership with Wizards of the Coast and written by D&D game designers!
  • Topics include:
  • Finding a game
  • Learning the rules
  • Choosing a character
  • Creating a character
  • D&D etiquette
  • Becoming a Dungeon Master...
  • and much more!

It's kind of a sad day. This guy was a bit of a legend in the nerdy circles I used to run in. And by "run" I mean eat cheezies and drink a 2-litre bottle of Coke while playing Dungeons & Dragons.

D&D master Gary Gygax was a nerd's nerd

Set both of your 20-sided die to 0-0, raise the Monster Manual to half-staff and spend your 14th level ranger's next several turns hoisting a few pints of ale - even if that does mean losing some hit points along the way.

If none of that makes any sense, then you probably didn't take much notice when Gary Gygax died earlier this week. But for those of us who spent our Friday nights huddled around a hexagonal map scattered with lead figurines of dwarves and owlbears, instead of the spiked punch bowl at the junior prom, this is a very mournful week. Our nerd king has fallen.

Gygax was the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, and the godfather of role-playing games. The legacy of D&D is most apparent today in its huge impact on video games and social networking. (Don't fool yourself. Dungeons & Dragons and Second Life are a lot more similar than you think.) For many of us who played, however, the name Gygax conjures up the past: a short but meaningful era when we lost ourselves for hours at a time in a fantasy world created with pen and paper and lots of imagination.

Very cool, and if they come up with a multiplayer deathmatch version ... on the PC? Even cooler.

YouTube - Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Trailer

  Faith Fighter

Fun Flash fighting featuring faith father figures ... from Pharyngula.


Faith Fighter | Molleindustria

Faith Fighter is the ultimate fighting game for these dark times. Choose your belief and kick the shit out of your enemies. Give vent to your intolerance! Religious hate has never been so much fun.

Oh man, I loved Zork. It was my favourite game, right after Fort Apocalypse


With limited sound, simple graphics, and tiny amounts of computing power, the first games on home computers would hardly raise an eyebrow in the modern era of photorealism and surround sound. In a world of Quake, Half-Life and Halo, it is expected that a successful game must be loud, fast, and full of blazing life-like action.

But in the early 1980s, an entire industry rose over the telling of tales, the solving of intricate puzzles and the art of writing. Like living books, these games described fantastic worlds to their readers, and then invited them to live within them.

Rising from side projects at universities and engineering companies, adventure games would describe a place, and then ask what to do next. They presented puzzles, tricks and traps to be overcome. They were filled with suspense, humor and sadness. And they offered a unique type of joy as players discovered how to negotiate the obstacles and think their way to victory. These players have carried their memories of these text adventures to the modern day, and a whole new generation of authors have taken up the torch to present a new set of places to explore.

Though I never got into it, many friends play Scrabulous constantly. They'll be pissed.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Facebook asked to pull Scrabulous

Facebook has been asked to remove the Scrabulous game from its website by the makers of Scrabble.

The Facebook add-on has proved hugely popular on the social network site and regularly racks up more than 500,000 daily users.

Lawyers for toy makers Hasbro and Mattel say Scrabulous infringes their copyright on the board-based word game.

So it's not because it's a cover of their song -- it's because the cover sounds too good?

Romantics band sues 'Guitar Hero' publisher -

Imitation might be flattery, but that doesn't make the Romantics any happier about it.

The Detroit rock band has sued the publisher of the popular video game Guitar Hero, claiming the game infringes the group's rights by featuring a sound-alike recording of the hit What I Like About You.

Copyright isn't the issue for the Romantics. The band's attorneys said Activision properly secured permission to use the song What I Like About You, which allowed it to record a cover version. But by creating an imitation so much like the Romantics' original, they said, the company has infringed the group's right to its own image and likeness.

  The People's Mario

Mariovich? Huh. Whatever. Very cool propaganda video for the world's favourite plumber.


The People`s Mario

Funny how this article in the Wall St. Journal shows about 8.6 million people in SL. Could the Journal be using inflated numbers to over-hype this phenomenon? Linden Lab apparently confirms "only about 1 million had logged on in the previous 30 days (the standard measure of Internet traffic)".

How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life


As worldwide head of interactive marketing at Coca-Cola, Donnelly was fascinated by its commercial potential, the way its users could wander through a computer-generated 3-D environment that mimics the mundane world of the flesh. So one day last fall, he downloaded the Second Life software, created an avatar, and set off in search of other brands like his own. American Apparel, Reebok, Scion â.. the big ones were easy to find, yet something felt wrong: "There was nobody else around." He teleported over to the Aloft Hotel, a virtual prototype for a real-world chain being developed by the owners of the W. It was deserted, almost creepy. "I felt like I was in The Shining."

Yet Donnelly decided to put money into Second Life anyway. He's no digital naïf: When he joined Coke last summer, the company was being ridiculed for its huffy response to a spate of Web videos showing the soda geysers that erupt when you drop Mentos into Diet Coke. Within weeks, Donnelly had Coke and Mentos sponsoring a contest on Google Video that's gotten more than 5.6 million views. But Second Life was different. "Many places you go, there's still nobody there," he concedes. That's certainly the case with Coke's Virtual Thirst pavilion, where you can long linger without encountering another avatar. "But my job is to invest in things that have never been done before. So Second Life was an obvious decision."

Cool. Maybe I will get into this game after all.

WoW: Wrath of the Lich King Revealed news from

It's official: The next World of WarCraft expansion is coming; it's called Wrath of the Lich King, and will open up the continent of Northrend to players of level 68 and above. This second expansion will focus on the return of Arthas Menethil, a.k.a. the Lich King, ruler of the Scourge, and one of the most powerful beings in all of Azeroth. This semi-sequel to the saga of Arthas (from WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne) is intended for experienced players with a couple level 70 characters in their pockets.

This is probably a good idea. Maybe they'll ban diaper-wearing furries next.

Second Life says all bets are off - Times Online

In a sign of real-life authorities' increasing interest in the activities in virtual worlds, all forms of gambling in Second Life have been banned.

Linden Labs, the company that runs Second Life, said that as of this week, its policy on 'in-world money wagering' was changing, and that casino games such as black jack, poker, roulette and slot machines would no longer be permitted.

Earlier this year, the company invited the FBI to tour Second Life and ensure that activities within it were complying with US law.

The article touches on several other stupidities that make me shake my head in wonder at the Second Life people -- litigation, child abuse, selling brand-name virtual shoes, and artificially inflating subscriber numbers to attract new subscribers:

Police in Germany have said that they are investigating an alleged instance of 'virtual child abuse' in the world, and the Vancouver Police Department said this week that it had begun recruiting officers for its technology crimes unit from within Second Life.

David Naylor, a lawyer with the firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, said that with the increasing amount of business being conducted in Second Life will come legal disputes, such as the one earlier this month in which Florida-based businessman sued another Second Life resident for copyright infringement after the rival began selling a virtual bed similar to his own.

Several large companies, including Dell, Nike, Mercedes and Calvin Klein, have established a presence for their brands in Second Life with a view to attracting clients in the real world.

Linden Labs says there are now more than eight million residents in Second Life, although only 1.7 million have logged in the past 60 days.

  Mass Effect at E3

Good looking demo. Gameplay looks like cut scenes, but in real time.


GameSpot Video: Mass Effect Stage Demo 1

  Second Life Without Sex?

We can only hope....

Second Life Without Sex Would Be a Sad Life, Indeed

Linden Lab has come under fire recently on a number of fronts. German police reportedly found real child pornography in-world; a group in France is demanding that Second Life be banned in its entirety to protect the children; several European countries are cracking down on residents' ability to create childlike avatars and wear them in Mature areas of the game.

And then director of community affairs Daniel Linden set a match to an already smoldering pile when he "clarified" the Second Life policies around Mature content in the official Linden Lab blog:

Real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depiction of sexual or lewd acts involving or appearing to involve children or minors; real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of sexual violence including rape; real-life images, avatar portrayals, and other depictions of extreme or graphic violence, and other broadly offensive content are never allowed or tolerated within Second Life.

  8-bit D&D Simulation

Heh. This was exactly how I remember it going.



Lame, lame, lame.


VPD: Virtual Police Department

The Vancouver police officers involved in the recruitment on Second Life have their own avatars, or Second Life persona, dressed in a specially designed VPD uniform, badge, belt and radio. They're also trained in the other-world customs and commands of the virtual society.

The rationale for the sci-fi approach to recruitment is simple, says Insp. Kevin McQuiggin, head of the department's tech crimes division: If people are on Second Life, they're likely to be web-savvy, a quality the police department is looking for in new recruits.

Internet and technology-related crimes, from fraud to harassment, are common, McQuiggin says. In fact, he says, almost every major crime involves technology in some way, shape or form.

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