Posts Tagged ‘GDC’

Nintendo 3DS: Gaming just may be it’s second mode of operation

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

3DS to pack a multi-media punch!

( – Nintendo 3DS, a glasses-free 3-D handheld video game system, arrives March 27 for $249.99.

But calling it a gaming console may be the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public. Gaming, it turns out, might be among the least of the system’s capabilities.

The device will also deliver an array of other fully-connected entertainment experiences, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime at the 2011 Game Developers Conference.

From 3-D movies to TV shows, digital music to augmented reality applications, the company is clearly assigning tremendous importance to non-gaming applications.

Though they won’t say it directly, Nintendo clearly plans to make the system a Trojan horse for the larger world of 3-D multimedia. This should scare the competition.

It’s an infinitely more practical, and reasonably priced, 3-D argument than a $1500+ HDTV that tethers you to your couch.

If Nintendo can make this portable device as common and trusted for 3-D entertainment as smartphones are for e-mail or Web surfing, it may single-handedly deliver the breakthrough that carries this technology to mainstream prominence.

Yes, the system will play 3-D versions of premium game franchises like “Street Fighter” and “The Legend of Zelda,” says Fils-Aime. Yes, in the wake of increasing pressure from tens of thousands of readily available free and 99-cent apps, it will redouble efforts to justify $39.99 average software prices by offering “premium experiences you can’t get anywhere else.”

But with free AT&T WiFi hotspot availability, Netflix movie streaming and the ability to create, download and physically interact with 3-D content among its arsenal of tricks, the company may have yet to play its trump card.

[Full article at]

Pac-Man was designed to attract girls

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Wocka wocka!

( – Having been a part of the pop-culture landscape for over 30 years now, Pac-Man is a pretty familiar character.

He has adorned cereal boxes, been the star of a Saturday morning cartoon program and appeared on virtually every gaming platform to have ever been released.

That’s not just systems from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. It also includes essentially every cell phone that has a screen, long-dead portable systems and plug-and-play devices for your TV. Along the way, the little pellet-muncher has built an empire that has allowed publisher Namco-Bandai to survive the worst the economy could throw at it.

But even the most well known icons have their secrets. This week, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Toru Iwatani, creator of the game, offered a postmortem on the industry’s biggest franchise-and told a few tales most fans have probably never heard.

The point of the game was to attract girls
While today’s player is slightly more likely to be male, gaming in the late 1970s was pretty much exclusively a men’s club. Iwatani wanted to change this, creating something that could appeal to both women and families, he says.

“The reason I created Pac-Man was because we wanted to attract female gamers,” he says. “Back then, there were no home games. People had to go to the arcade center to play games. That was a playground for boys. It was dirty and smelly. So we wanted to include female players, so it would become cleaner and brighter.”

Each ghost had specific orders
When you play the game, it might seem as if the four ghosts are actively chasing you. That’s not exactly true. Iwatani intentionally avoided programming them with that purpose, since that would have resulted in Pac-Man zipping around the screen with four ghosts always right behind him.

Instead, it’s only Blinky, the red ghost, who doggedly pursues you throughout the game. Pinky, the pink ghost (naturally), simply wants to position itself at a point that’s 32 pixels in front of Pac-Man’s mouth. The blue ghost, Inky, is seeking to position itself at a similar fixed spot. And Clyde, the orange ghost, moves completely at random.

Because the player constantly has Pac-Man on the go, however, the ghosts are always changing direction and trying to achieve their goal, which adds to the challenge of the game.

What, exactly, does Pac-Man mean?
You may have heard the story about how a pizza with a missing slice inspired Pac-Man’s design. But it turns out the game was designed entirely around food.

“I thought about something that may attract girls,” says Iwatani. “Maybe boy stories or something to do with fashion. However, girls love to eat desserts. My wife often does! So the verb ‘eat’ gave me a hint to create this game.”

That theme continued with the game’s name. In Japanese, “puck puck” is akin to the U.S. saying “munch munch”. So the original name – Puck-Man – translated as “Munch man”. (A savvy Midway Games official changed it to Pac-Man when the game hit the U.S. to discourage vandals from shaving off part of the “P,” thereby creating an obscene word.)

[Full article at]

New games could monitor your arousal level

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Excited yet?

(Kotaku) – Half-Life and Left 4 Dead developer Valve has been toying with new ways to use biofeedback – heart rate, facial expressions, eye-tracking, levels of physical arousal – for years. What does that mean for the future of people who like Valve video games? How about controlling games with your eyes?

Valve’s Mike Ambinder talked about the sundry ways the company is experimenting with incorporating user biofeedback at GDC today. Currently, that includes prototype versions of Left 4 Dead 2 with an “AI Director” that responds to your arousal levels, modifying how it distributes health items, zombie hordes and Special Infected based on “player trauma.”

It also includes a build of top-down shooter Alien Swarm that alters the game’s timer in response to stress and a version of Portal 2 that decoupled aiming a cross-hair and viewing the game world.

Ambinder showed a demo of a Left 4 Dead 2 player connected to a biofeedback measurement device, a custom piece of hardware designed to detect skin conductance response. An in-game graph displayed levels of arousal from the player as he fought a series of Special Infected zombies, trying to refill a generator with gas cans. The player’s stress levels steadily increased as he was attacked, until ultimately he peaked during a Tank battle. A post-gameplay graph showed spikes in player trauma levels, tied to game events: Smoker attack, Charger battle, game-ending Hunter pounce.

A Left 4 Dead 2 prototype used player biofeedback in another capacity, showing a teammates’ arousal levels above their health bar to illustrate how other Survivors were responding to in-game trauma.

Ambinder said that data was entertaining to watch during competitive play in the upcoming (Defense of the Ancients) DOTA 2. This, he said, was “the most enjoyable thing we’ve done so far” with biofeedback. Players who saw their opponents’ sense of arousal spike would “go crazy” with delight.

“It’s great to watch people suffer because of your actions,” he said.

[Full article at]

Microsoft Windows 7 Phone To Stream Netflix

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The Microsoft Windows 7 Phone will be hoisting quite a few slick features it looks like from it’s debut at GDC2010. In addition to all of the current popular ‘smartphone features’, expect to see a loaded app store, a menu driven comic book reader (What’s up Disney-Marvel?), tons of games, watch live sporting events, and the power to view your Netflix que on demand. That is quite a feature for all the Netflix addicts out there.

Why this is not on the iPhone yet? We cannot say – but if the phone carriers can support the bandwidth for Microsoft, Apple’s AT&T should not be that far behind. Check out the prototype video from GDC over at, its pretty kick ass.

Onlive has launch date, should consoles be scared?

Friday, March 12th, 2010

OnLive goes live in the lower 48 states on June 17.

(Gamespot) – One year after it was unveiled at the 2009 Game Developers Conference, OnLive finally has a launch date. Company CEO Steve Perlman announced yesterday at his keynote address at the GamesBeat mini-conference at GDC 2010 that OnLive will go live on June 17. The service will initially be available as an application for the Windows and Mac operating systems, with a micro-console that can be attached directly to HDTVs to arrive later on in the year.

OnLive’s launch will be limited to the contiguous lower 48 United States and will cost $14.95 per month. According to the OnLive Blog, the first 25,000 thousand people to sign up will have the service fee waived for three months. (To apply, sign up on the official OnLive site.) Multi-month pricing and other promotions will be announced prior to the service’s debut.

OnLive’s monthly fee does not include the purchase price of games themselves, which can be rented or bought from publishers directly at a lower-than-retail price. Publishers supporting the service with PC titles include Electronic Arts, Take-Two, THQ, Ubisoft, Epic, Atari, Codemasters, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. At the DICE Summit last month, Perlman demonstrated both Crysis and Unreal Tournament 3 running on the service with minimal lag.

The June launch will only be the start of the OnLive rollout. The service will offer 1080p high-definition gaming at 60 frames per second starting in 2011. An international launch is also planned for an undetermined date.

For those unfamiliar with OnLive, the service aims to offer lag-free PC gaming via the Web. The company claims that since the heavy lifting of graphics processing will be done on the service’s servers, it will offer high-definition gaming on any PC or Mac, regardless of graphics card or CPU speed.

The addition of the micro-console will also allow the service to be streamed directly onto televisions, without the need for a standard game console. Perlman sees this as a positive because OnLive games will not be tied to increasingly antiquated consoles. He promised that the OnLive servers would receive graphical upgrades every six months in order to provide the latest PC graphics.

Scoring big, a game about your first time!

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

(CNET) — In an industry dominated by men, leave it to women to come up with the winning idea in a contest to create a concept for a video game about losing one’s virginity.

Two women won a contest this week to create a concept for a video game about losing one’s virginity.

On Wednesday, at the Game Developers Conference here, the two-woman team of Heather Kelley and Erin Robinson won the Game Design Challenge with just 36 hours of preparation, while their competitors had weeks to come up with concepts for a game about “your first time.”

This was the sixth straight year of the design challenge, hosted annually by New York-based game developer Eric Zimmerman. The contestants are generally top-tier game designers like two-time winner and Spore and The Sims creator Will Wright, Deus Ex lead designer Harvey Smith, or 2008 winner and Leather Goddesses of Phobos creator Steve Meretzsky.

The contestants are generally given several weeks to come up with a concept for a game based on some sort of unusual challenge posed by Zimmerman. Past themes have included a game about love, a game based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and a game that could win the Nobel Peace Prize.

“We are in a medium that is just incredibly plastic,” Zimmerman said. “We can put anything up on the screen…Still, we find every year that most of the money being put into games is put into a relatively narrow (set of) genres” that tends to include monsters, dragons, and the like.

Zimmerman added that the purpose of the challenge is “to think about how we can create games that really break away” from what’s been done so many times before.

Wii to grow up and get violent, huh?

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Now that's a shade of Nintendo we don't see very often.

Now that's a shade of Nintendo we don't see very often.

Matt Corso over at High Voltage studio says game lovers that believe Nintendo’s family directed market (mainly seniors and little tykes) had better stand back. Approaching the frontlines is Wii’s ‘Conduit’, a Halo type game that is said to step outside Nintendo’s past marketing demographic (targeting the ones who are apt to buy more violent and aggressive gaming titles).

Sounds good to me because most of our experience and ‘Wii-time’ is spent along side copious amounts of alcohol and/or fraternizing at gatherings, slinging drunken games of Wii Bowling and staggering through tiring matches of Wii Boxing. Not that this is a bad thing at all, everyone just always knows that this console (Wii) has a place, and it’s place is at wild parties (come on Wii Beer Pong) or family gatherings (which could in turn, be one in the same, depending on where you stand in Texas hah!).

As a “Conduit” player you will start as Mr. Ford, who is a secret service agent investigating terrorist activity in Washington. The character winds up battling his way through a mysterious conspiracy involving some aliens.

Ford’s character background is to have been in Special Ops, so of course be expected to see lots of shooting and blowing things up, things that get us at BusyGamer all frothy at the mouth, as long as there is lots of spurting of the blood (give us our blood dammit!).

Corso also states that “By the time you are done, he (Ford) will be the Master Chief you look forward to playing in future games; he is really badass.”

Well all that sounds great to us, because as much as I don’t mind having to ziptie my Wii Controller to my hand to keep from slinging it out the window trying for my next ‘Turkey’ after 13 Shiner Bocks, it would be nice to go head to head with some alien chump wielding my chuck in an all out, hand to hand, baseball bat bludgeoning fury. Hehe bring it Nintendo.

-Crutchboy Out

Fallout 3 – GDC’s Game of the Year

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Fallout 3 - Busy Gamer Rating 1

Fallout 3 falls all on the greatness.

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Post-apocalyptic adventure “Fallout 3″ has been crowned Game of the Year at a major gathering of videogame makers in San Francisco.

The captivating story-driven videogame made by Bethesda Softworks bested blockbuster rivals including notorious “Grand Theft Auto: IV” and zombie shooter “Left 4 Dead” at the 9th annual Game Developers Choice Awards.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever won this award, and to be given it by other game developers, with so many amazing games that could have won, well, we’re simply overjoyed,” Bethesda game director Todd Howard said Thursday.

“It’s very special to us.”

“Fallout 3″ also won a Best Writing award at Wednesday’s ceremony, considered a highlight of the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

“The games being recognized here are virtuoso efforts that have truly advanced the state of video games.” said GDC content director Meggan Scavio.

“The Game Developers Conference has become the premiere videogame award show because it gives voice to those who understand games better than anyone; the people who make them.”

See how we at rated the massive Fallout 3. A great game, but quite the extensive time guzzler!!!

GDC in San Fran launches this week

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Top seller so far!

GDC, get your game on in San Francisco this week!

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The videogame sector is looking for a resurgence this year through casual users and programs for mobile phones, themes that will be underscored this week at one of the industry’s most closely watched events.

Because videogames cost less than $50 but provide hours of entertainment, analysts and industry executives expect them to show strength even in a severe economic slump that has punished the entire consumer technology sector.

They say videogames are expanding their reach beyond a traditional base of young males to a wider audience of “casual users” through products like Nintendo’s blockbuster Wii console and mobile games on such devices as Apple’s iPhone.

This week’s Game Developers Conference — which has 300 exhibitors and bills itself as the industry’s largest professionals-only event in the world — will again attract independent developers showcasing cutting-edge technologies in console, PC, mobile and online games.

Organizers say the show, which kicks off on Monday, lured 18,000 attendees last year and has provided a platform for the launch of what became the Wii, now the world’s best-selling console.

“The phenomenon that’s driving sales this year is that a big chunk of sales are to a much, much more casual audience than we have historically seen,” said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.

U.S. sales of videogame hardware, software and accessories are up 11 percent so far in 2009, according to researcher NPD.

“We’re in a hot category that’s growing,” said Michael Howse, chief executive of privately held Bigfoot Networks, which is launching the next generation of its gaming network card this week.

“Our general view is that we’re certainly impacted on the consumer spending side,” he said, “but for some reason, consumers have a few extra dollars in their pocket to play games.”

Some game publishers have struggled as retailers cut inventory, forcing job cuts and delayed releases. Electronic Arts, which expects a loss in 2009, is eliminating 1,100 positions — 11 percent of its workforce — and closing 12 facilities.

But gaming shares have fared better this year than last, with Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard, Take-Two Interactive and game retailer GameStop all in positive territory.