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kryo's Articles In Gaming
October 2, 2008 by kryo

games128In an interesting new twist on the popular 'save on car insurance' line we see on TV all the time, Allstate has announced that they're looking into giving drivers discounts on insurance for playing driving sims and visual or mental exercise games.

It's certainly interesting that more people are now taking note of the benefits of games such as Brain Age, which has helped bring gaming to a wider audience, particularly with those older than the typical gamer demographic. Though the benefit of the driving sims I'd question a bit; since they're supposed to simulate actual driving, is Allstate going to provide wheels, pedals, and extra monitors, or (more likely) will people need to go to the insurance office to play?

But alas, there's a downside: you have to be over 50 to participate. So it looks like youthful twitch-gamers won't be getting dirt cheap insurance purely by virtue of their place on the high score list.

August 21, 2008 by kryo

Microsoft announced today that they plan to soon add a new "game" to Xbox live soon--the 2008 elections themselves! Starting next Monday, Xbox Live users will be able to register to vote directly through the console's online system; polls and forums are planned as well.

Is this really a good idea? While there is certainly an argument to be made for getting gamers involved in government, is this really the right (and secure) way to go about it?

August 1, 2008 by kryo

The Entertainment Software Association released its annual report this week, with a variety of tidbits about the gaming industry in general that some of you may find interesting (I did, at least!).

  • Gaming's not just for kids. Contrary to what some senators or representatives would have you believe, video games aren't chiefly made for or played by kids. In fact, 63% of console game players and 73% of PC gamers are adults. More, it's not just guys either. 28% of console gamers and 40% of PC gamers are female.

  • When kids are the ones playing games, their parents aren't as ignorant of their habits as you might think. 91% of parents with gamer kids buy the games or are present when they're bought, and 90% keep an eye on what sort of games they play (kids may borrow games from friends, after all). A majority (55%) say that games are a positive thing for their kids.
July 23, 2008 by kryo

Some of you may recall the bill in New York (to block the sale of unrated games and require parental controls on consoles) which I've mentioned or posted about a couple of times in the past weeks. Sadly, the bill has now been signed into law by Governor David Paterson.

But in a way that's sort of good, as it means it's now not just New York residents who can fight it. The New York Civil Liberties Union and the National Coalition Against Censorship appear to have taken up the cause, and I'd bet the ESA and Video Game Voters Network will be close behind.

July 21, 2008 by kryo

The week of the 2008 Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone, with little fanfare and noticeably fewer tasty tidbits on upcoming games than used to be meted out this time of year. It's now the second year that the show has been greatly subdued and reduced in size.

Having had two years to try out the new format, a number of gaming industry leaders have commented that it's just not the same, though there are still some people who believe the event is alive and well. Some companies have put words to action and already abandoned the show, opting instead to host their own events.

July 9, 2008 by kryo

fallout128In the latest news on government interference in video games, the highly-anticipated upcoming sequel to the classic Fallout games has been banned from sale Australia. The Office of Film and Literature Classification, which is responsible for issuing mandatory ratings for movies and video games in Australia, claims that the game's fictional "chems" are too realistic.

Never mind that there's little difference from the same items in the prior games, which are apparently perfectly acceptable in Australia (and well worth your time if you've never played them!), or that they're simply retro-future versions of the ever-popular potions in pretty much every fantasy game.

If anyone has wondered why I've made it a point to post about game ratings bills being floated here in the US a couple of times already, this is a sad example of why.

June 30, 2008 by kryo

Close on the heels of last week's passage in New York's state assembly of a bill governing the sale of console games in that state, the two-year saga of Minnesota's attempt to restrict the sale of mature-rated games has come to a close. The losers? Minnesota's taxpayers.

Having fought and defeated the bill in court, the Entertainment Software Association has been awarded $65,000 for their legal expenses.

Might this serve as a message to New York's Governor Paterson before he signs their likewise misguided bill into law? I wouldn't bet on it. The ESA's victory in Minnesota isn't exactly a surprising development--they've defeated similar bills in other states in the past, with even greater awards from the courts, and that hasn't stopped lawmakers in New York and elsewhere from trying anyway.

Still, you can't complain too much if you don't do something about it--so as before, if you're in New York, please take a minute of your time to voice your opposition now, before it comes out of your wallet later.

June 26, 2008 by kryo

games128 By nearly unanimous vote, the New York State Senate has passed a new bill governing the sale of video games in the state. Having already been approved by the Assembly earlier this week, the bill is now on its way to the governor for final approval.

This latest attempt by lawmakers to make themselves look tough on supposed bad influences on America's youth is, as usual, pointless and unfounded. The primary features of the bill include making the already-pretty-much-universal ESRB ratings on video games mandatory, making the parental controls which all current-generation consoles already have (you guessed it) mandatory, and establishing a governor-appointed board that will meet twice a year to talk about video game violence's effect on the youth of New York.

Will lawmakers ever realize that self-regulation is best, and that it's up to parents to decide what their kids play? Probably not. In the meanwhile though, (even though it's already passed both houses of legislature) if you're in New York and don't like seeing your taxes wasted on such pointless bills, please, speak up about it.