Piracy has been and will continue to be an issue for the video games industry, and I’m sure you’ve at some point pirated a game (or downloaded a car). There is a lot of research on PC-based piracy and sites like The Pirate Bay make using torrents to get pirated games really easy.
Over at Delta Gamer they take a look at the often-forgetton world of console-based piracy and provide a brief overview of the history of consoles and pirated games. Totally worth a read.
The Dreamcast was free from piracy for the first two years, until the infamous Boot Disc 1.1 by Utopia was released. It was an astonishingly simple process: you put the Boot Disc in, waited for it to load, opened the lid, put in the burned or imported game copy and played. That was it. Within a few months, various rips plagued the Internet, as well as the first self-boot, Dynamite Cop, being released.
Many cite piracy as what killed the Dreamcast. I always found that claim beyond absurd, as piracy was extremely widespread on Sony’s consoles, and yet they never “suffered” for it. But don’t listen to me, I urge you to read Xiaopang’s article on the subject. It goes into great detail about how piracy came to be on the Dreamcast, the circumstances, the consequences, as well as other useful details.
This might be the neatest experimental Minecraft mod that I’ve seen: AMEE mod, essentially carbon emissions in Minecraft. The mod tracks what you burn and then contacts AMEE to figure out how much carbon to toss into the atmosphere.
This might be a good way to teach about ecosystems and Earth’s atmosphere.
Of course, it’s not just wood. Loads of things burn, and not just in furnaces. The hack supports combustion of almost anything in minecraft; wood, planks, coal, tree saplings, and so on. I even put in some calculations for setting fire to cows (as any Minecraft player knows, an effective way to quickly get cooked beef). Even the hostile mobs like creepers have their emissions mapped (mostly to generic biomass calculations). I also added redstone (like electricity) emissions using AMEE’s realtime UK national grid data.
Using a Teagueduino and a few inputs and outputs, we put together a physical side-scrolling video game. To control it, there’s a knob on the side. As time advances the game gets faster and faster — can you avoid all the obstacles and make it to the end?
Watch the second half of the video for an overview of how everything is hooked up.
There are a lot of detective games with arcade elements, but the game it most directly recalls for me, because of its aesthetic, painstaking attention to detail, focus on story, and the way it handles linear gameplay, is the 1997 Blade Runner detective game for PC by Westwood Studios (spoilers for the first mission of a game from 14 years ago).
To me the game came across has a great attempt at doing something new in getting the player immersed through better acting and simulated emotions in the avatars. But it was just that: an attempt and the rest of the game wasn’t good enough to keep me engaged.
The narrative in the game got me interested and I did want to find out what was going on but the game mechanics discouraged me from continuing. Researching a case was tedious and felt forced (watch the video below to see what I’m getting at).
One more thing I found strange about the game is that the city of L.A. felt empty! Driving around in a car (which felt like I was trying to drive an elephant) and seeing the beautifully rendered world not being used by digital people kinda made me sad.
Of course if you don’t want to read an incredibly long review you can watch Zero Punctuation’s:
The federal government of the USA has given 10.5 million dollars to Raytheon to develop serious games. Raytheon is a defence contractor that is best known for the tomahawk cruise missile and not known for their video games.
Raytheon is to make games that focus on changing (or at least making people better aware of) biases in thinking processes.
I find it curious that Raytheon is getting in on this action and I wonder what this means for the world of serious games if big money is coming from the military industrial complex.
IARPA said that some research has shown that serious games, what it calls videogames developed for educational, therapeutic, or other non-entertainment purposes, can develop positive learning for real- world skills or behavior changes.
“A broad consensus exists that human decision making relies on a repertoire of simple, fast, heuristic decision rules that are used in specific situations. These decision rules can sometimes bias general problem-solving (usually unconsciously) in ways that produce erroneous results. Cognitive bias problems are seen in many professions where analysis is an important component (such as intelligence, law enforcement, medicine, aviation, journalism, and scientific research). When an intelligence problem invokes these cognitive biases, analysts may draw inferences or adopt beliefs that are logically unsound or not supported by evidence. Cognitive biases in analysis tend to increase with the level of uncertainty, lead to systematic errors, filter perceptions, shape assumptions and constrain alternatives. Cognitive biases are unlikely to be eliminated, but research suggests that they may be mitigated by awareness, collaboration, and critical or procedural thinking processes,” IARPA stated.