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2010: the year we make contact. Well, this year didn’t exactly pan out like Arthur C. Clarke had envisioned, but there was still a lot going on in the world. From the opening of the world’s tallest man-made structure in Dubai (the 2,717 ft high Burj Khalifa), to the Chilean miners and the Julian Assange-Wikileaks scandal, the events of 2010 range from triumphant to tragic and everything in between. In sports, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada saw the host nation win the most gold medals, Spain won the World cup, and the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team just surpassed UCLA’s winning streak of 88 games set in 1972. Scientists discovered an arsenic-based life form and sequenced the Neanderthal DNA genome. We may not have made contact with aliens in 2010, but there was still a lot going on.

The gaming world was no different. At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, everyone was talking about the surprise success of a farming simulator on a social networking site. 2010 saw the return of all of the pomp and circumstance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles after attempts to scale it back. Both the San Diego and New York Comic Cons were chock full of every variety of nerd, dork or geek and they certainly dressed to impress. Gamers lined up for hours (and sometimes days) to pick up copies of their favorite games and even a certain motion sensing peripheral that rhymes with “disaffect.” Motion control was the buzz word for the latter half of the year with Sony’s Move and Microsoft’s Kinect competing with Wii’s four year old control scheme.

2010 saw the release of some landmark titles that were heavily anticipated and critically acclaimed games(StarCraft II, Halo: Reach, Heavy Rain) along with some boners like Naughty Bear and N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights. There were terrible movie tie-in games like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Clash of the Titans with some not so bad games based on movies such as TRON: Evolution. The MMO landscape was still dominated by WoW‘s Cataclysm, but upstarts like Vindictus and the failed APB showed that innovation was possible, if not always profitable. With HeartGold and SoulSilver, Pokemon returned, as did Commander Shepard on the bridge of the Normandy SR-2. Yes, there were quite a few great games released in 2010.

But there was also a huge amount of gaming-related news that occurred through the year. Roger Ebert saying that videogames will never be art. Activision locking down Infinity Ward. EA removing the Taliban from Medal of Honor. Minecraft earning way more than PayPal was prepared for. Kinect sex games. To paraphrase Bilbo Baggins, 2010 will be a year to remember.

To help you do so, we’ve collected the most interesting news stories from The Escapist from each month of 2010 into one easy-to-digest form in the following pages. Take a trip down Memory Lane vers. 20.10 to cement in your brain all the important events of the year and maybe even catch up on stories that you might have missed.

Share and Enjoy all of 2010 in its glory, and we’ll be sure to bring you all the gaming news that’s fit to print on the Interwebs in 2011!

January

January 5th, 2010

“Frumpy Mom” Says Videogames Made by the Devil

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According to a staff writer at The Orange County Register, videogames were created by Satan to turn children into “drooling, glassy-eyed stooges.” And it gets worse from there.

Marla Jo Fisher refers to herself as a “Frumpy Middle-Aged Mom” on The Mom Blog. Her post from December 27th was called “Videogames Were Invented By The Devil” and it details why she doesn’t allow games to enter her house. Despite the fact that she looks and reads like the fictional columnist at the Onion, Jean Teasdale, her anti-gaming message is all too real.

“After my son plays [games] at his friends’ houses, he comes home irritable and testy for the rest of the day,” she said. “Even though his skin is normally mocha-colored, after a day spent in a darkened room with a controller in his hand, he comes home with a sickly pallor.”

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Read more and what the “Frumpy Mom” said in response to gamers calling her out.

January 25, 2010

Dr. Phil Yells At Woman For Her FarmVille Addiction

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As part of his trends for 2010 show, Dr. Phil examined one woman’s addiction to the Facebook application, FarmVille, calling it a “a ridiculous computer game.”

Dr. Phillip McGraw is a popular American talk show host known for dealing with people’s relationship or personality problems. He’s also pompous as hell. In a recent show, he tackled a terrible affliction currently gripping the nation in its hay-covered grasp, the Facebook application FarmVille. Dr. Phil asked his guest, a mother named Teresa, the hard-hitting questions on her battle with growing crops and raising chickens.

“Are you worried about your crops as you sit here?” he said.

“Before I came here, I made sure that none of the crops were going to die,” Teresa replied.

“There aren’t really any crops,” Dr. Phil informed her. “That’s just a little image on a screen. They’re not going to die.”

Thanks for pointing that out, Doc. Now you’re going to tell me that those people on the picture box telling me to kill my family aren’t real either. Sheesh! And they call you doctor.

Read more.

January 26th, 2010

Gun Enthusiasts Complain About the “Call of Duty Effect”

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Many gun enthusiasts complain how amateurs believe that they know about firearms due to playing videogames like Modern Warfare 2, which feature real guns.

The owner of the gun site, The Firearm Blog, was surprised to realize that the most popular search term that led to his site was an obscure gun unknown outside the firearm industry, the Bushmaster ACR. That was until he realized that the gun was featured in Modern Warfare 2.

“I was surprised because, compared to the AKs, M4s and Glocks of the world, the ACR is relatively unknown outside of the industry,” the blog’s owner, Steve, wrote on December 8th, 2009. “Have any other bloggers noticed the Call of Duty effect?”

Read more.

February

February 1st, 2010

Heavy Rain Nude Shower Scene Leaked

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A French website leaked over 6 minutes of what appears to be actual gameplay footage from Heavy Rain, including female Madison Paige taking a shower and peeing.

Several warnings must preface this post. Aside from the obvious spoiler warning, you should also know that the video discussed contains actual female nudity and is therefore not safe for work. Also, if you are uncomfortable with the sounds and images of a woman peeing, being attacked by masked men while wearing only underwear or, perhaps worst of all speaking French, then you should not follow this link. Heavy Rain is set to come out on February 23rd, but there will be a playable demo available on the 11th, according to Mike Kebby of the PlayStation EU Blog. It’s possible that this is footage from the demo.

Read more

February 3rd, 2010

Death Of The Lich King, World First Kill of Arthas Reported

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A U.S. guild has reported the world first kill of Arthas Menethil, otherwise known as the Lich King of World of Warcraft‘s latest expansion.

The last wing of the final raid encounter of Wrath of The Lich King opened up only yesterday for World of Warcraft players. One day was all it took for the world’s top guilds to rip through the content and kill the Lich King on the easiest level, normal 10-man. The trophy for world first kill goes to Blood Legion, a Horde guild on the U.S. Illidan server. The European guild, Ensidia (Tarren Mill – EU), routinely gets world first kills such as the bosses of Ulduar in WoW patch 3.2, Algalon and Yogg-Saron. Blood Legion beat Ensidia this time, however, by six hours. U.S.A! U.S.A!

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February 6th, 2010

Mass Effect 2‘s Nudity Level Decided by Dictatorship

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BioWare puts what it wants in its games, and doesn’t care what you, your mother, or Bunky the Wonder Clown think.

BioWare’s Stanley Woo has interjected his opinion into a discussion over at the BioWare Social Network covering the “tame” Mass Effect 2 sex scenes. The original poster lists videogames with sexual content and suspects that sales numbers or EA lawyers could be the reasons why Mass Effect 2 doesn’t include similar scenes. Woo’s response makes him seem a little annoyed with the whole topic in general, as I might be if I were in his shoes.

“It’s kinda funny that this topic keeps coming up over and over again,” he says. “People who claim to be old enough and mature enough to handle sex and nudity in a game seem to believe that any lack of sex and nudity in the game is a sign of self-censorship. They generally don’t believe that a game can be called ‘mature’ without explicit sex and/or nudity.”

Read more

March

March 2nd, 2010

Security Locks Down Infinity Ward, Ousts Studio Head

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Something is rotten in the state of Infinity Ward today, as reports hit the grapevine that security forces had paid the Call of Duty developer an unannounced visit – and at least one of the studio heads no longer had a job.

First off, caveat: This is breaking news, and the details are hazy, so take everything here with a few grains of salt.

According to G4, something is afoot at Infinity Ward, reported an anonymous source “close to” the developer. The source claimed that a “bunch of bouncer-types” had suddenly shown up at the building, and that they refused to answer queries about why they were there. “Everyone is on edge, said the source.

The source said that the unannounced visit may have had something to do with a meeting between Activision and Infinity Ward bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West earlier in the day – relations between the publisher and developer had been “tense” as of late, according to the source.

Read more about this event here, but you can also check on the ongoing legal struggles between ex-Infinity Ward heads, Activision and EA here.

March 7th, 2010

Ubisoft DRM Authentication Servers Go Down

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Ubisoft’s new DRM scheme is already causing problems, as the servers required to authenticate games went down today.

When Ubisoft announced its new DRM system, that required PC gamers to be connected to the Ubisoft servers at all times while playing, one of the biggest concerns that gamers had is what would happen if the servers went down.

Well, as it turns out, when the Ubioft severs go down, no one can play their games and Ubisoft customers get very upset. At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin’s Creed 2 forum that they couldn’t access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games. Fast forward ten hours and it seems that the problem still hasn’t been resolved, despite the assurances from a Ubisoft representative that the servers were “constantly monitored.”

March 8th, 2010

Child Must Have Thought a Gun Was a Wii Remote, Mother Says

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A young girl was fatally shot after mistaking her step-father’s gun for a Wii Controller, her mother said.

So, imagine you’re home and you hear an intruder. Like any good homeowner, you grab your gun to deal with them. Then, realizing it wasn’t anything that required the sweet kiss of hot lead, you put the loaded gun down on the end-table, safety off, and forget about it. Totally reasonable, right? Who would expect that when your three-year-old step-daughter is playing the next day, she would find it and shoot herself?

That’s exactly what happened in an unidentified household in Tennessee, according to Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe. According to her mother, the girl may have thought the gun the girl’s step-father left on the table was a Wii controller. It’s worth noting that the mother was actually in the room when the incident occurred, yet apparently failed to notice – or perhaps care – that her child was playing with the weapon.

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April

April 14th, 2010

Woman Falls Off Wii Balance Board, Turns Into Nymphomaniac

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Sit up straight and listen closely, kids, while I tell you the tale of the woman who fell off her Wii Balance Board and turned into a raging sex addict as a result.

One fine day, Amanda Flowers, a 24-year-old catering worker from the U.K., was enjoying some healthy activity on her Wii Balance Board. But then she slipped, fell and turned into a nymphomaniac. “Wait,” I imagine you’re saying right about now. “What?” Well, according to an unnamed doctor, the young Ms. Flowers – who, by the way, is single – suffered some sort of bizarre nerve damage and now just the slightest vibration, “from mobile phones to food processors,” has her rarin’ to go.

“It began as a twinge down below before surging through my body. Sometimes it built up into a trembling orgasm,” she said. “With no cure I just have to try to control my passion by breathing deeply. Hopefully one day I’ll find a superstud who can satisfy me.”

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April 17th, 2010

Xbox Live Nudist Banned Until 9999

When inquiring about why his son had been banned from Xbox Live for the next eight thousand years, a father learned something that he probably didn’t want to know.

In today’s installment of “hilarious bans,” we point you to the curious case of Xbox Live user “i am BlaaaacK v.” The user in question was suspended from Microsoft’s Xbox Live service for quite a while – until December 31st, 9999 – but no notification had ever been given.

The user’s father posted an inquiry on the Xbox Forums asking why his son had been banned without reason. The response?

“Your son was exposing himself on camera in Uno.”

Read more

April 18th, 2010

Ebert Re-Emphasizes That Games Will Never Be Art

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Are videogames art or not? Roger Ebert still says no.

Roger Ebert not only has strong opinions on movies, but he also has a well-known mindset that the videogame can never be a piece of art. He recently rejustified his view in a blog post where he emphatically states that it’s just not going to happen, gamers.

The post is a response to this TED talk by Kelly Santiago on videogames as art. Ebert seems to have softened his position a hair, as he no longer believes that videogames will never be art, but now thinks that “no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.” That’s a little better right?

Read more

May

May 7th, 2010

Activision CEO: “No Choice” But to Fire Infinty Ward Execs

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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says he had “no choice” but to fire Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella, adding that their betrayal of his friendship was just as disappointing as their alleged professional misconduct.

Whether or not Kotick expected a firestorm of this intensity and durability when he removed Infinity Ward bosses West and Zampella back in early March will probably never be known, but two months after the fact he’s still dealing with the aftermath. He touched on the topic in a conference call with investors yesterday and while he didn’t reveal what exactly the pair did to get booted, he insisted that he had no choice but to act.

“The decision to terminate the two executives was not done lightly, and was not done to deprive them of their bonuses,” Kotick said. “Nor was it done without a great deal of deliberation about the consequences. We felt we had no choice but to terminate the Infinity Ward executives. We did this to protect the company’s assets and the interest of our shareholders.”

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May 12th, 2010

Air Force Might Be Troubled by PS3 “Other OS” Removal

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Sony may have ticked off gamers by removing the “Other OS” option from the PS3, but it may have also inadvertently picked a fight with a significantly bigger fish: The United States Air Force.

When Sony removed the option for gamers to install an “Other OS” on the PS3 in March, the hardware giant had to expect it would catch flack from gamers. And sure enough, catch flack it did: Amazon offered one gamer a partial refund after he claimed the product no longer worked as advertised, and another group of gamers have hit Sony with a class-action lawsuit.

But uproar aside, those were still complaints from gamers – and as Ars Technica reports, the removal of Linux-based operating systems from the PS3 could damage research programs that use PS3 clusters in lieu of traditional super computers. Researchers at the Universities of Alabama and Massachusetts used a cluster of PS3s to solve a mystery regarding black holes in 2008, but the console is also used by a significantly more major player: The US Air Force.

Read more

May 22nd, 2010

Red Dead Redemption Upsets the Irish

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An Irish news site has taken exception to the inclusion of Irish stereotypes in Red Dead Redemption.

Rockstar Games has come under fire for the drunken character “Irish” in Red Dead Redemption. Herald.ie, an online newspaper based in Dublin, took offense at the character, saying: “The stereotype of the drunken Paddy will again be taken advantage of, as the game’s town drunk is called ‘Irish’,” adding that the character “sours the launch” for gamers with Irish heritage.

This isn’t the first time that Rockstar has upset ethnic groups with its games. Most notable was the “Kill the Haitians” mission in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which resulted in Rockstar releasing a new version of the game with certain lines of dialogue removed after Cuban and Haitian groups complained.

Read more and how Rockstar Games said only “terrible parents” should buy the company’s games.

June

June 8th, 2010

Mystery Mortal Kombat Trailer Will Blow You Away

A new live-action Mortal Kombat trailer is making the rounds and while we’re not sure what exactly it is, we do know that it’s absolutely frikkin’ awesome.

In January, a rumor floated to the surface that the 1995 action flick/videogame movie Mortal Kombat was being considered for a remake. That story was followed soon after by a tale of legal woes, after which it all just sort of faded into the ether. What happened? Nobody knew and, more to the point, nobody seemed to care. As our own John Funk pointed out, the MK franchise used to be big stuff but it’s not 1995 anymore and gamers these days just aren’t interested.

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June 14th, 2010

E3 2010: Xbox 360 Slim Announced, Shipping Today

With a 250GB hard drive, built-in WiFi, and a sleeker, smaller design, the redesigned Xbox 360 “slim” is real … and it’s coming out, um, today. Wow.

Earlier this year, we learned that a redesigned “slim” Xbox 360 was allegedly in production. Well, sometimes rumors are completely accurate: The Xbox 360 Slim is real, and at its E3 2010 press conference, Microsoft announced that it would be shipping the units to stores …

…today.

Talk about your last-minute announcements, huh?

Read more

June 20th, 2010

Kotick Wants Call of Duty Subscriptions “Tomorrow”

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Like it or not, Call of Duty is going to have a subscription service attached to it sooner than we might think.

Activision has talked about adding a subscription service to its Call of Duty franchise in the past, but now CEO Bobby Kotick is itching to make it happen soon. How soon? Tomorrow, if possible.

When asked by the Wall Street Journal what he would do with his company if he had one wish, he replied: “I would have Call of Duty be an online subscription service tomorrow. When you think about what the audience’s interests are and how you could really satisfy bigger audiences with more inspired, creative opportunities, I would love to see us have an online Call of Duty world. I think our players would just have so much of a more compelling experience.”

Read more

July

July 22nd, 2010

“Journalist” Who Wrote Fake GTA Story Ridicules Gamers

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The “journalist” who made-up the story about Grand Theft Auto Rothbury in yesterday’s Daily Star says he’s “baffled” by the uproar and has responded to complaints by ridiculing adult gamers.

A quick update in case you missed it yesterday: Jerry Lawton, a “journalist” with the U.K. news site Daily Star, wrote a story about a new version of Grand Theft Auto based on real-life killer Raoul Moat. He even extracted an obviously anguished quote about GTA Rothbury from the grandmother of Moat’s ex-girlfriend, one of his victims. The problem? There is no such game. Lawton found a fake cover of the non-existent game online and proceeded to build an anti-gaming story around it.

The uproar eventually led to the story being pulled, albeit without any kind of apology, explanation or even an acknowledgment that it existed at all, but the man behind it is entirely unrepentant. In fact, he claims to be surprised that people are upset by his story and seems oblivious to the fact that Grand Theft Auto Rothbury doesn’t actually exist at all. He even took the opportunity to ridicule adult gamers on his Facebook page, which has since been set to private.

Read more

July 27th, 2010

Michael Jackson Estate Forces Removal of Plant-Eating Zombie

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The family of the late King of Pop has taken offense to a Thriller-parodying brain-eater in PopCap’s popular Plants vs. Zombies.

Plants vs. Zombies is great for many, many reasons – and one of those reasons is the game’s sense of humor. It’s delightfully tongue-in-cheek with its various horticulture-based weaponry and flesh-eating undead, including one particular “dancing zombie,” who was clearly meant as an homage to the iconic dance break in Michael Jackson’s classic “Thriller” music video.

The latest update to PopCap’s relentlessly addictive original, however, replaces the dancing zombie’s distinctive red jacket (with matching pants) and curled hair for something more disco-themed. MTV Multiplayer reached out to the casual developer and found that the change had been made at the request of Michael Jackson’s estate.

Read more

Jul 29th, 2010

Blizzard Offers Fix for StarCraft Computer-Melting Bug

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StarCraft II is the hottest game of the season in more ways than one – but luckily, there’s a fix to stop your graphics card from burning itself up.

Are you playing StarCraft II? Judging by the “approximately 1,000,000 people on Battle.net” I saw last night, you aren’t alone. However, a small portion of the thousands upon thousands of StarCraft II buyers (including a staffer at GameInformer) have been confronted with a nasty problem – the game makes their graphics card work itself to death.

The issue deals with the game’s interactive menu screens that pop up between missions, where Jim Raynor can explore his flagship and chat with crew. While the rest of the game has limits on what can be rendered, the menu screens have no framerate cap whatsoever, and some computers will interpret this to mean “go hog wild.” Rendering framerates of over 200 frames per second for extended period of times means that computers with insufficient ventilation melt themselves into oblivion. And that means you can’t play SC2, and we don’t want that.

Read more

August

August 13th, 2010

Modder Crafts One-Handed Controller For Disabled Brother

You don’t need two hands to play Super Mario Sunshine anymore.

The GameCube wasn’t the most popular of Nintendo’s consoles, but plenty of good games were released for the system and it survives today through the Wii’s backwards compatibility. Tinkerer Hasse’s brother still wanted to play games like Super Mario Sunshine and Super Smash Bros. Melee, but unfortunately can only use one of his hands. Thanks to Hasse, that won’t stop him.

Hasse decided to craft a one-handed GameCube controller that still performs all of the functions of the regular two-hander. The major modification made appears to be the installation of a motion sensor to replicate the movement of either the D-pad or the analog joystick (chosen with a switch). Hasse also moved the left trigger, previously on the GameCube controller’s shoulder, to the right-hand side of his new controller so that it can be pushed with the pointer finger.

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August 20th, 2010

Hackers Claim to Have Grabbed Halo: Reach From Microsoft Site

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A team of hackers has allegedly broken Microsoft’s security and got its hands on Halo: Reach a month early.

Remember that twelve-hundred dollar Halo: Reach listing we told you about earlier in the week? Well, it looks like it’s gotten some attention, and not just for its hefty price tag. A group of modders from the Game-Tut forums have claimed that they were able to trick Microsoft’s servers into letting them download the game and have been taking it for a spin.

The group said that obtaining the game had been a challenge, but even though they’d been successful, they had no plans to distribute it. Bungie is yet to comment on these reported leaks, although its forum moderators have reminded posters that discussing leaked details was a surefire way of earning a permanent ban.

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August 31st, 2010

Wii Remote Finally Modded Into a Vibrating Sex Toy

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Wii Remote peripherals don’t just look like sex toys anymore.

It’s been a running gag in some circles ever since the PlayStation Move was unveiled that the device bore more than a minor resemblance to a sex aid. Of course, Sony was behind the curve on that, seeing as how people had been making sex-toy jokes about Nintendo’s vibrating Wii remote controller (and its various peripherals) for years.

Well, it might have taken longer than expected, but those jokes aren’t just jokes anymore. An enterprising little group called Mojowijo has developed an extension that will turn your Wii Remote into a bona fide electric boyfriend (or girlfriend). Heck, you don’t even need an actual Wii to do it!

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September

September 8th, 2010

Jack Thompson Vows to Stop Medal of Honor

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Former lawyer Jack Thompson says he intends to stop the release of EA’s Medal of Honor and has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates seeking his help.

Thompson, a notorious anti-videogame crusader who was disbarred in 2008 for his unrepentant, unrelenting litany of misconduct over the years, may no longer be a lawyer but he obviously still retains his hated for videogames and lust for the limelight. It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from him but EA’s upcoming Medal of Honor seems to have stirred him from his slumber.

Thompson faxed a letter to Robert Gates, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, in which he called upon Gates to take action to stop the release of the game. He criticized it on several points and accused Electronic Arts of disregarding the ESRB rating system by allowing anyone to preorder the game, regardless of age. He also told Gates that he would be justified in imposing a ban because the high level of realism makes it an effective training tool for the Taliban and other forces currently engaged with the U.S. military.

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September 10th, 2010

PayPal Freezes $750K in MineCraft Dev’s Account

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The creator of MineCraft has run into a bit of a snag with PayPal, which has frozen his account with over $763,000 in it and refuses to let him touch it.

Because it’s a struggle for me to scrape together 750 bucks, much less 750 thousand, I can’t really imagine how much it would suck to have it but not be able to get at it. So I’ll let MineCraft creator Markus Persson describe the situation in his own words.

Paypal. On the 25th, they limited my account for unspecified reasons (a suspicious withdrawal or deposit! wow, thank you for that amazingly detailed information), and asked me for a bunch of vague documents. I did my best to give them what they asked for,” he wrote on his blog. “My account is still limited. I’ve called them three times, they keep telling me it’s being reviewed. Most recently they told me it’d take up to two more weeks for it to get resolved, and that if they decide something bad’s being going on, they’re going to keep the money. There’s over 600000 euro in there. Money I was planning on investing in the new company.”

Read more

September 29th, 2010

Nintendogs Blamed for Enticing Real Dog to Attack Child

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Be careful, because playing Nintendogs can apparently get you attacked by a real dog.

A somewhat disturbing story has come out of the UK about a little girl that was viciously attacked by a dog possibly because she was playing Nintendogs. While this might at first seem like the unjust blaming of videogames by a publication known somewhat for doing so (the Daily Mail), this attack actually could be the result of an unfortunate coincidence this time.

Nine-year-old Megan Walker was playing Nintendogs on her Nintendo DS at a family friend’s abode while the house Bull Mastiff named Saracen was sleeping in a nearby room. Reportedly, when the Mastiff heard Walker’s in-game dogs barking it came gunning for her, dragged her off of a sofa, and bit a large portion of her lip off.

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October

October 21st, 2010

Minecraft Multiplayer Brought Down by DDoS Attack

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Minecraft multiplayer is down thanks to a DDoS attack which is apparently being carried out by a group of Minecraft fans who are dissatisfied with the way creator Markus Persson is handling the game.

Minecraft is a pretty amazing thing. You can build a full-scale replica of the NCC-1701D with it. You can make a working computer with it. You can recreate Andrew Ryan’s underwater utopia with it. But what you can’t do, for the moment at least, is log into your account or hook up to multiplayer servers. The reason is simple: The hub at Minecraft.net has been getting pounded by a DDoS attack since yesterday afternoon.

“I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but minecraft.net appears to be suffering some kind of attack, and is down at the moment,” Persson wrote on his personal blog. “I’m working on fixing it.”

October 26th, 2010

World of Warcraft Lore Nerd Wins Blizzcon

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During the question and answer portion of a panel at Blizzcon, a young kid lobbed a lore question that Blizzard’s lore-guru Chris Metzen couldn’t handle.

There is an abundance of fans of World of Warcraft who take the lore very seriously. Not only will these fans belabor the details of the world history that Vice President of Creative Development Chris Metzen created, they can also sometimes catch him on a few points. During the Quest and Lore panel this weekend at Blizzcon, one such fan threw a question at Metzen for which he had no answer.

“Falstad Wildhammer will be on the Council of Three Hammers, but in the [Cataclysm] beta it’s Kurdran Wildhammer and Falstad isn’t in the game at all,” the fan began. “What happened to him?”

Metzen then asked, “Isn’t Falstad dead from Day of the Dragon?” referring to a novel set before WoW‘s timeline.

The kid replied confidently, “No, he survived, and in fact he was the leader of Aerie Peak in vanilla Wow through Wrath of the Lich King.”

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October 27th, 2010

Woman Blames FarmVille for Killing Her Baby

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A Florida woman who pleaded guilty to shaking her baby to death in January said FarmVille made her do it.

22-year-old Alexandra V. Tobias entered a plea of guilty to to second-degree murder today in the shaking death of three-month-old Dylan Lee Edmonson. She told investigators that she became angry with the infant because he was crying while she was playing FarmVille on Facebook; she claimed she shook the baby, had a cigarette and then shook him again, adding that he may have hit his head while she was shaking him.

Tobias will be sentenced in December and although guidelines call for 25 to 50 years in prison, Judge Adrian Soud gave no indication as to the length of the sentence he’ll impose.

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November

November 4th, 2010

Latest Xbox Dashboard Update Makes Pirates Sad

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Xbox 360 videogame pirates that recently updated the dashboard will find their illegal abilities sorely reduced.

A major dashboard update hit Xbox 360 consoles on November 1, adding Kinect compatibility, features such as a Netflix search and ESPN streaming content, and it moved things around enough to anger independent developers. According to new information, Microsoft evidently also included a stealth update that protects the Xbox 360 from piracy.

The update, being referred to as “AP 2.5,” apparently locks out copied games from Xbox Live and will stop them from booting up at all. The method of its operation is not yet clear, but AP 2.5 basically involves a new disc check.

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November 5th, 2010

Warning: Don’t Play Dance Central Naked

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Your Xbox 360 Kinect unit will take pictures of you dancing to Dance Central, whether you’re wearing clothes or not.

Since its gala launch earlier this week, Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360 has been put through its paces by press and consumers alike. The new hardware has been revealed to have some startlingly bizarre and unexpected benefits, but it’s also been revealed to have some unexpected flaws. Some users have reported that Kinect has trouble recognizing them depending on circumstances like the lighting – but not, it turns out, if you aren’t wearing anything at all.

One unlucky gamer posted an inquiry into what may be the most hilarious Kinect-related incident yet to the Dance Central support forums. The user asked how to delete the pictures the system automatically snaps while you’re busting a move. Why?

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November 21st, 2010

Black Ops Swastika Emblems Will Earn Xbox Live Ban

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Xbox Live’s chief enforcer is not going to put up with swastika use in Call of Duty: Black Ops no matter what you say.

Players of Call of Duty: Black Ops have the ability to create their own emblems for use during play, a feature that has the potential for offensive use. Director of Xbox Live policy and enforcement Stephen Toulouse has taken to his blog to make sure that players know they can’t use the swastika as an emblem despite its historical significance unrelated to the Nazi party. Doing so will earn an Xbox Live ban, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

He writes that even if you point out that the swastika goes back thousands of years and has been used as a symbol in various religions such as Buddhism, it’s not acceptable for use on Xbox Live. When asked if it could be used freely, he replied: “No, of course you can’t, we’ll ban you.”

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December

December 10th, 2010

Scumbag Steals Game Consoles From Kids With Cancer

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Yeah, the story’s as bad as it sounds.

The Holidays always seem to bring out some truly stunning stories of human greed, and this year doesn’t seem to be an exception. Recently, in North Carolina, a thief broke into a medical center and stole a number of game consoles that were intended for kids who are recovering from cancer.

The guy pictured here broke into an office at Carolinas Medical Center Campus and stole an Xbox (original or 360 hasn’t been clarified), as well as four other consoles. As you can see from this photo, the thief wasn’t terribly bright and actually looked at this security camera; many other cameras caught him on tape, too.

Read more about this theft and how the man behind the crime is now behind bars.

December 15th, 2010

First Kinect Sex Game Prototype Pops Up [NSFW]

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Evidence of the first working prototype for a Kinect sex simulator is just as disturbing as you’d imagine.

It’s human nature for us to attempt to use any new technology to satisfy our most basic needs. Many credit the growth of the internet, for example, to the proliferation of pornography across its various tubes. Ever since Kinect was Project Natal, people have been speculating what kind of sex games would be possible with a technology that can detect body parts and project them in a digital space. With the drivers to control Kinect now freely available, dildonics experts like Kyle Machulis have come out to explain how a possible application for interactive sex might work. Kinect has only been out a month and a half, but it appears that we have the first working prototype of a sex simulator. ThriXXX games posted a video today that shows a man using Kinect to “lay hands” on a digital female body.

ThriXXX games has been around since 2001 providing software which allows you to, well, screw anything that you might want. The ThriXXX website calls titles like 3D Sex Villa 2 and Fetish 3D “animated interactive sex games.” The company has revamped its technology many times, including support for “interactive sextoys” like the V-Stroker to manipulate the images depicted in the game, among other things.

Read more about this game and the efforts that Microsoft will go to to keep these kinds of titles from the Xbox platform.

December 17th, 2010

Blizzard Admits that Titan Is Real

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Leaked documents revealed Blizzard’s next big MMO project to the media ahead of schedule.

It may have started as a single word in a leaked document of questionable veracity, but Blizzard has confirmed that Titan is real and is something that the studio is currently working on.

Speaking at the Spike Videogame Awards, Blizzard VP and World of Warcraft executive producer Frank Pierce said that Titan was Blizzard’s next-gen MMO. The media wasn’t supposed to know anything about it though, Pierce said, as Blizzard was only talking about it to potential new recruits.

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