Wired did a great Q&A with the creator of Pac-Man for its 30th anniversary. Happy Birthday Packie! “I got a pocket full of quarters and I’m headin’ to the arcade…”

Great blog post on the economics of pinball and how the Williams company made sure that you lost as many quarters as possible to their pinball machines between 1986 and 1992. Via BoingBoing.

This kid from Ithaca, New York, decided to record his aracade experiences onto a Sony TCS-310 Stereo Cassette Recorder from 1982 through 1988. Luckily he had stored all fourteen audio tapes in a safe place and rediscovered them when he moved the rest of his stuff from his parents house in 1997.  Over the last several years he has digitized the cassette recordings and posted them online at CoinOpVideoGames.com.

I was surprised to find how similar the arcade ambience from this New York arcade was to the arcade I used to frequent in Southern California.  Some of the recordings are better than others, but that’s to be expected.  Being able to hear the kids playing the video games is what sets this site apart from others which feature only the video game sounds.  Some of the recordings brought back some great memories.  If you enjoyed visiting video game arcades in the 1980’s you will enjoy this site.

Industry analysts predicted that GTA IV would sell $400 million in its first week, but it sold a staggering $500 million instead.  Yes, half a billion dollars worth of sales for a video game in seven days!  I bet that no film, concert tour, or any other kind of media has ever generated that much cash in a single week!  I for one have been playing the game and can say that it is the most immersive game that I have ever played.  And yes, it is clearly *not* for kids.

Gamespot is reporting that pre-sales figures for the upcoming GTA IV video game are upwards of 6 million units and that the game is poised to generate $400 million in sales for the first week.  With those types of numbers it may be able to surpass The Sims as the top selling video game of all time.  GTA IV is scheduled for release on April 29th for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Another Chinese gamer dies after a 3-day marathon Internet gaming session. As you may remember, another Chinese guy died during Chinese New Year earlier this year.

MC Frontalot just made a sweet video of his new Nerdcore song, “It’s Pitch Dark.” That’s right it’s funky fresh Zork universe humor for all of those old enough to remember the Infocom games. What is a grue? Well, if you have to ask you probably won’t understand this video.

Halo Costume

Some guy is selling a fully articulated Master Chief costume on eBay for $5,300. With costumes that look this good, I am surprised that people haven’t made live action fan films about the Halo universe. The guy selling the costume didn’t make it, but I am sure whoever made this costume spent a lot of time on it. Alas, you have to be really serious about Halo to drop this kind of money on a freaking costume. But think about how cool, and lonely, you’ll be on Halloween!

Just a reminder, Halo 3 is being released on September 27th. Get ready.

Gamecock Logo

Gamecock is a video game company founded earlier this year that promises to bring originality back to the video game industry. Well, if its sweet logo is any indication they are well on their way. However, looking at their pipeline all they have is a MMORPG for the PC called Fury, and a horror first-person shooter for the Nintendo DS called Dementium. Well, the logo is cool.

Microsoft announced that preorders for Halo 3 have surpassed 1 million copies. I preordered my copy several months ago and can’t wait for the game to ship in late September. It’s on like Donkey Kong, but with better graphics.

5 Stars

Forza Motorsport 2 is a racing game like a Ferrari is just transportation to the grocery store. To call this a racing game is to deny the fact that it is a car racing simulator disguised as a game. The first time you smack the side rail and hear the sound of metal crushing you realize that this isn’t your dad’s car racing game. This is real. I loved Championship Sprint as much as the next guy, but this is so much more than that. If you have an Xbox 360 you need to run out and get this game!

The Halo 3 beta is underway with three multiplayer maps available and even MSNBC has written a story about the beta, the fans, and the sales expectations for this game. I returned my copy of Crackdown that I rented through Gamefly before the beta was released, so I am not playing it. Which is probably a good thing because I always enjoy finishing the single player campaign before launching into the multiplayer mayhem.

With all the expectations surrounding this game, anything less than the $125 million that Halo 2 did on the first day would be considered a disappointment. For those keeping score, as of June, 2006 Halo 2 had sold 9.2 million copies worldwide so Halo 3 has a lot to live up to. I will be pre-ordering my copy later this week.

Bungie Studios announced today that Halo 3 will be released on September 25th, nearly two months ahead of the anticipated mid-November launch date.

Microsoft announces the release of an Xbox 360 Elite console which will retail for $479.99, is black in color, and boasts a 120GB hard drive and an HDMI connection.

An obese 26-year-old man Chinese guy died after a seven-day “marathon” online gaming session on the last day of the Chinese New Year holiday. The guy weighed 330 pounds and probably didn’t move much for seven days. My guess is he developed a blod clot that traveled to one of his lungs.

Anyway, the article continues to say that about 2.6 million — or 13 percent — of China’s 20 million Internet users under 18 are classed as addicts. Huh!? China has 1.3 billion people and there are only 20 million Internet users under 18!? They must mean 20 million online gamers under 18, not total Internet users under 18. It seems low to me. Can that stat be right!?

Microsoft confirms Halo 3 beta keys will be inside first shipments of Crackdown. Microsoft promises that the Halo 3 beta experience is more than a demo and will be a robust experience. I have just been notified by Gamefly that Crackdown shipped to my home. Hopefully I will be able to review the Halo 3 beta firsthand.

Study finds that surgeons who play video games are more skilled than those that don’t. And here everyone thought that video games just gave you stronger hands for masturbation! While video games make for better surgeons, playing more than one hour of video games per day decreases a kid’s chances of getting into medical school. Oh, the irony. Big ups to Masher for sending me this.

Whorecraft promises to be “the first fantasy adult website of its kind.” Sorry, I like my porn sans elves.

University researchers have performed a research study and found that people that played video games a few hours a day for one month were able to identify clustered letters 20 percent better than those that did not. The articles states, “in essence, playing video game improves your bottom line on a standard eye chart.” This may explain why after 35 years I still have better than 20-20 vision. I don’t play a few hours per day, but the few hours I do play per week are likely to keep my vision from deteriorating.

I didn’t actually leave the house today, so I don’t have any pictures of Nintendo fanboys camped outside of stores waiting for the system. They definitely wouldn’t have been lining up outside of the Metreon, since they only sell Playstations there. In any case, the big launch spot for Nintendo was the Toys R Us in Times Square, New York. There a mega-nerd named Isaiah Triforce Johnson, who said he had legally changed his name to include a reference to Nintendo’s “Zelda” series of games, was the first person in line to pick up the system and shake hands with the Nintendo of America President. Even though there are five to ten times more Nintendo Wii’s in circulation than Sony PS3’s, there seem to be less of them on sale on Ebay today. It’s not looking good for Sony.

After checking Ebay online right now, I am appalled that some people are listing the PS3 console for as much as $3,300 given that the system is selling for $600 retail. Most of the “sensible” auctions are selling between $1,000-$1,300 without reserve. Keep in mind that if you pre-ordered the console and didn’t really want it you could have doubled your money in one day. Sadly, I didn’t even think of doing this since I am loyal fan of the Xbox.

In any case, there are a lot more PS3’s for sale than there were Xbox 360’s for sale when it was launched a year ago. This is interesting because Microsoft launched the exact number of units a year ago: 400,000. The verdict: less people are playing the PS3! After seeing the Xbox shortage a year ago, many assumed that they could make money by selling their PS3’s. Fanboys People see it more as an income source than a game system.

PS3 Campers

I took a picture of these fanboy losers guys at 2:45pm today. They were about 50th in line to buy a new shiny PS3 at the Sony Store at the Metreon and were passed out sleeping in the rain. In total, there were about 500 people in line in the rain to buy the systems and the Sony reps were setting up a professional lighting rig at the West entrance to Metreon (and the store). It’s going to be a circus atmosphere when the doors open at midnight. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had real honest-to-goodness fanfare with a brass section and everything!

It amazes me that our economy can sustain people that have stood in line since last night (i.e. no production), will do nothing all day today but sit or sleep in the rain (i.e. no production), and then shell out $600 plus for a gaming system when it goes on sale tonight (i.e. consume). Sadly for Sony, about half of these guys hope to sell the PS3 on Ebay for $1,000 or more. They are not even real fanboys! Still, all publicity is good publicity and the Sony marketing reps are taking photos in full force.

Don’t these guys know that it’s all about the Xbox 360and your Gamerscore!?

Peter Jackson confirms that the Halo film project has been postponed indefinitely. This comes only two weeks after Universal and Fox backed out of a co-financing deal for the film. Looks like Master Chief will not be on the big screen any time soon.

The Halo feature film which is currently in development is now in limbo because Universal backed out of a co-financing and distribution deal with Fox. The film, which according to trade papers now has a budget of $200 million, was supposed to be released next summer. Now, it may not.

LatinoReview.com has reviewed a leaked script for a film based on the game Hitman that would star Vin Diesel as Agent 47. The Hitman game series is one of my favorites, with its combination of stealth and just-blow-everyone-away missions. Surely, a film based on this game would definitely be worth watching. Stay tuned.

Neill Blomkamp will direct the Halo feature film which has been delayed for release until Summer 2008. Blomkamp is famous for the Citroen Transformer commercials. I’ve been a big fan of his since he did the Tetra Vaal spec corporate video when he was working for The Embassy Digital Effects Inc. If these two examples are any indication of his talent, he will do a fantastic job on the Halo film.

An announcement was made today that the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) will forgo the use of the convention center floor in Los Angeles next year. The show will likely move to a handful of headquarters hotels where companies can conduct business in suites rather than the large and loud exhibition areas on the showroom floor. Organizers believe that video games are such a part of mainstream culture that they sell themselves, making a larger E3 spectacle, with its multi-million dollar booths, unnecessary.

Straight out of 1981, Galaga hits the Xbox Live for $5. I remember that I used to pump about $5 a week into that infernal machine, so paying that much now sounds reasonable. Of course, if you don’t mind playing it on your computer screen, and you already own the ROM, you can play it on Mame32 for free.

The new video game commercials ain’t got shit on this old one for the Atari 7200. I think every commercial should start out with the announcer yelling at the audience. Via Boing Boing.

Some analysts now predict that the PS3 will be unable to overcome its $600 price and may be in last place for market share, behind Microsoft and Nintendo, in the next generation console wars.

A-SS Video Game Rating

Industry ratings board approves A-SS rating for bad video games.

I remember going to this site years ago and there were about half the number of games than there are on it now. Some of the games on the site are really good, and addicting. A good diversion when you have the time. Enjoy.

I just pre-ordered the Halo 2 Expansion Pack that will be released on June 29th. The expansion pack includes a total of nine new multiplayer maps, a 1.1 version patch of the game, a documentary that describes the process of developing the new maps, and a new cinematic sequence that ties into the story of Halo 2.

The patch fixes a lot of the glitches of the game that have lead to cheating. Such as stealing flags through walls and other cheats that are unique to online play. The patch also increases the strength of alternative attacks to offset dual wielding weapons. Melee attacks have received a substantial damage bonus, for instance. Grenades will do more damage, and their timers have been shortened as well, making them much deadlier than they were previously. The brute shot has gotten the best improvement, since it has a strong melee attack (with the blade) and it also shoots grenades. Look for this to become a favorite weapon going forward.

In an effort to further balance online play, certain dual wield combinations were tweaked. For instance, many players have used the dual-magnum combo to score easy headshots, so it’ll now be more difficult to do so while using two pistols. The popular submachine gun-plasma combo has had its damage reduced as well, since it has proven so deadly. Overall, Bungie says its goal was to make Halo 2 play more like the original Halo.

The first four of the nine maps and the patch are currently available on Xbox Live. The remaining five maps will also be available later on XBox Live for those that don’t want to pick up the retail disc. Those that don’t use Xbox Live and use XBConnect instead will have to wait for the retail disc to be released in late June. It’s going to be one helluva Fourth of July weekend!

Read more about the expansion pack on Gamespot.

In China, an online video game player was stabbed and killed by another over a dispute over a virtual sword. Apparently, the sword was lent to the victim and he then sold it for $870 without informing the other guy. When the other guy found out about the sale, he went to the police to report the “theft.” However, there are no laws for virtual theft in China or elsewhere for that matter. The victim promised to pay the guy back, but he didn’t pay it back fast enough. After running out of patience the wronged gamer stabbed and killed him. You can’t make this stuff up!

Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve gotten the chance to play Halo 2 over XBConnect for about 10 hours over the last couple of days and it’s been tons and tons of fun. Halo 2’s networking engine and packet sizes have been optimized so much for Xbox Live that there is no signs of slow down while playing over XBConnect, which uses System Link play. Of course this is only true as long as you can maintain less than 100-millisecond ping rates with other players, but that’s easy nowdays.

Having seen the game on Xbox Live and XBConnect, I can say that the game is just as fluid on XBConnect and it’s easier to get games started than on Xbox Live–which means a lot less waiting. Granted, Xbox Live has player rankings and organized tournaments that XBConnect does not. But if you don’t care about that junk, XBConnect is definitely the way to go. I do recommend picking up Xbox Live if only for the headset that you can use over XBConnect. Play on playa.

One of the most awaited games of all time, Halo 2, will be released tonight at midnight in over 7,000 toy stores around the U.S. Xbox fans have been holding their collective breath for over two years and tonight it will all culminate in an amazing spectacle. The game is expected to sell $75 million in the first 24 hours alone. I pre-ordered my copy several months ago and will not be heading out to the stores. However, according to my UPS ground shipping number, my copy will be waiting for me when I get home tomorrow afternoon.

A 13 year old boy in Hong Kong brandished a kitchen knife when his dad pulled the plug on his video games. Fortunately, his dad overpowered him and took the knife away. Hopefully that was followed by an ass whoopin’, Shaolin-style!

There were many times when I tried to stay up late playing Milan’s Secret Castle only to be told by my father to stop, but I wouldn’t whip out a knife. Why, you ask? Because my dad owns guns! You think he’s scared of a Miracle Blade?

“Above the trophy case hangs an elvish sword of great antiquity.”
— Zork I: The Great Underground Empire, Infocom, 1980

Anyone that has ever played a computer role-playing adventure game knows that magic items are what the games are all about. I remember how pissed I used to get when the thief in Zork would enter the room and steal my stuff. Well, we’ve come a long way from the single-player, text-based Infocom games that I used to play. Now there are Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs).

Well, South Korean police authorities are starting to pursue online crime, which is typically the theft of magical items and other virtual goods. You see, the players of these MMORPGs are sometimes punked by virtual gangs for their land and possessions, while others are conned into giving their items to strangers willfully.

Why is this a “real” crime? Well, it seems that fanboys without lives have started building up characters and magical items and selling them on Ebay–giving them real-world value. Sadly, there are individuals willing to spend hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of dollars to play an elite character or have the most powerful magical items in these virtual worlds.

Gimme a break! It’s hard enough to fight crime in the real world, where there are physical consequences to say, getting your ass kicked and someone taking your wallet. Does virtual crime really need justice? Maybe, but not by real police!

I was a little bored today so I played some games at this really cool flash game site. Check it out when you have the time.

I am completely addicted to the beta version of Magic:The Gathering Online. I basically played all last night into the morning hours. If you are (or were) a fan of the fantasy card game you definitely have to check it out. In order to get a CD of the game pick up the latest issue of Computer Gaming World at your local newstand (the one with Rainbow Six on the cover).