EA Restores NFL Players, Lawsuits involving NCAA Games, & Microsoft spends 200 million on Facebook apps? – Welcome to the column that would be willing to trade bad jokes for virtual currency known as Dare to Play the Game.
This is the part of the show where I tell you I played all these games and then you use the scroll wheel on your mouse and get to the news or the releases because you don’t like reading my witty banter on my own life events. Well, it’s unfortunately worked because I barely played anything over this past weekend. I really didn’t play that much World of Warcraft (Priest at 72, Warlock at 31) and I didn’t even touch WWE Smackdown vs Raw. For some reason I couldn’t bring myself to work on the very last achievement so I can put away the game for a while.
So, what did I do? Well, I read a lot of graphic novels. I still read the occasional novel but I’ve been missing out on the comics of my youth. But rather than collect the comics which I have tons of sitting in boxes, I decided to collect & read graphic novels. For most of the ones I’m buying, they are basically collecting 5 to 6 issues of a comic and throwing it into a soft cover book.
What titles? Well, it’s been mostly Marvel based and centering around Spiderman, Daredevil, Elektra, & the X-Men. I even got Sarah into the act, and she’s been reading Watchmen and various Batman publications. I’m sure video games will be resumed shortly once I figure out what I want to start up. I have a feeling if nothing else, a shot at Dragon Age Origins could be right around the corner.
This female is Yvonne Strahovski. She is the voice and the inspiration of Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect 2. She starts out in Mass Effect Galaxy and then later it is found that she is super intelligent and in peak physical shape. Here, she is shown in Leia gear from the show Chuck. Peak physical shape, you aren’t kidding sister! P.S., she’s a possible romance option for a male Shepard in Mass Effect 2 as well.
Microsoft could be the next company to drop big cash on a Facebook game maker. Bloomberg reported last week that the Xbox 360 maker is one of the companies in talks to buy CrowdStar, supposedly valued at $200 million.
Who is CrowdStar? And why would they command a $200 million buyout? They make Happy Aquarium, one of those Facebook apps that survives financially on the purchasing of virtual goods. As insane as that may seem to those of us without a spare few hundred million, the market for these types of applications may reach $2 billion by 2012, according to one research firm cited by Bloomberg.
That buyout figure, big to some of us, is still half of what Electronic Arts paid for Playfish, the makers of Pet Society.
And its way less than what Microsoft paid for Rare in 2002, a $375 million acquisition.
According to that report, there’s still plenty of time for plan to change or some other buyer to snatch up CrowdStar. We’ll be stocking up on virtual seahorses, sure to be our new currency at some point, just to be on the safe side.
Facebook apps have become a big business. Even though I make a daily effort to put down the efforts of Farmville and Mafia Wars, it is still a big business. So big, that it is now attracting the software giants of the world. Electronic Arts already liked what they saw in Pet Society and now Microsoft is considering Happy Aquarium. According to Facebook, Happy Aquarium has over 26 million active users. Twenty six million.
Two hundred million doesn’t sound so bad. Heck, if the average user spends $10 in their lifetime, then you got more than $200 million right there. But I sure hope this isn’t the future of gaming. Most of the games or apps on Facebook look like they were made on a 286 with EGA graphics (there is a dated joke). It goes beyond casual and straight into time wasters.
Really, what do you accomplish with a virtual farm or aquarium? At least with the farm, you can’t tell somebody go grow your own farm. Where exactly would you like me to put this farm? But with the aquarium, I can safely say…go GET A BEEP BEEP AQUARIUM. Seriously. I’m all for games on Facebook, Mobile devices, heck on the back of the bus even. But if you want to spend $5-$10 on a Kissing fish for your virtual aquarium, I worry for the future of humanity.
A picture from Happy Aquarium. I thought about actually playing it for half an hour and trying to create some phallic saying. Then I realized I’d be wasting half an hour of my life for a silly aquarium joke. Needless to say I went back to Warcraft where I turned in a charm bracelet to the King of Stormwind. *sigh*.
A week ago EA Sports removed Kurt Warner and other NFL players who retired at the end of the season from the final Madden roster update. Pressure from the game’s community and a sports gaming website has restored them.
The removal was apparently a departure from past practice, although EA Sports told Pasta Padre the decision to remove Warner, the Arizona Cardinals’ starting quarterback is because he retired before the conclusion of the season. (Two others, Junior Seau and Bertrand Berry, were also removed.)
But Madden NFL 10 is supposed to represent the rosters of the 2009-2010 season, and Arizona Cardinals fans were left without the starting quarterback who led their team into the second round of the playoffs. They were stuck with Matt Leinart, who appeared in eight games and completed 51 passes, none for touchdowns. Naturally, you can imagine their unhappiness.
Madden NFL lead producer Phil Frazier said the team heard the outcry, and gave a statement to Pasta Padre saying that “overwhelming response” via a poll on that site (and also EA Sports’ own forums) has led the team to reverse itself. An update, which is expected to move by the weekend, will add back all the retired players who had been removed.
This is the right thing to do. While fans could play with the roster that shipped with the game, it was accurate as of August and if anything was even less realistic than one absent the Cardinals’ starting quarterback (It also lacked Brett Favre). And that’s for singleplayer or offline play; online multiplayer requires the latest roster. So kudos to EA for fixing the problem, and to the community and Pasta Padre for keeping after the issue.
Proving the power of the people still exists when it comes to video games, this is a good victory for the Madden community. Let’s face facts, nobody really wanted to play with Matt Leinart except as a joke (you suck so bad, I’ll use Matt Leinart as my QB and still whoop your Detroit Lions). So it was only natural to put back in Kurt Warner for competitive play purposes.
The other reason is that despite Kurt Warner retiring, the Arizona Cardinals team is still on the rise. The argument is until Madden 11 comes out, Arizona will be searching for a quarterback that isn’t Matt Leinart. The real problem lies within the whole concept of live roster updating. Sure, it gives you the most recent moves, adds and removals from the roster but it can force the player to steer away from his favorite team.
Most of us who follow football will agree that our favorite team has made some bonehead mistakes. Wow, New England just traded Tom Brady for a strawberry milkshake and two straws to the Pittsburgh Steelers (not real news). Even though the milkshake might be tasty, I doubt New England fans would want to play Madden with the newest roster update. Honestly, they shouldn’t have to and they should be able to opt out without penalty. I know there is argument about a level playing field, but as long as they aren’t creating a super team, I don’t see the problem.
I’m putting this on the table, but based on his career, I think Kurt Warner should be in the football Hall of Fame. He’s not a first ballot guy, but he certainly deserves some consideration. His only downfall? 1994-98 when he tooled around in the Arena & NFL Europe leagues (but was still amazing if you look up the stats). If he had NFL numbers those years, he’d be a shoe in.
A lawsuit filed against the NCAA’s licensing authority by Ed O’Bannon (pictured), the former member of UCLA’s 1995 national championship team, will be allowed to go forward, but it’s already had its effect on college sports simulations.
O’Bannon’s suit against the Collegiate Licensing Company, whose exclusive agreement with EA Sports makes that studio the only one publishing NCAA sports games, survived a motion to dismiss on Monday and could have a gargantuan effect on how the association and its member universities and conferences use the likenesses of former players after they graduate.
‘Bannon’s claim began when he saw a representation of himself in a basketball video game.”They literally played me on a video game,” O’Bannon told Yahoo! Sports. “You could play the ’95 Bruins. It didn’t have my name, but it had my number, left handed, it looked like me. It was everything but the name. My friend kind of looked at me and said, ‘You know what’s sad about this whole thing? You’re not getting paid for it.’ I was just like, ‘Wow, you’re right.’ It just kind of weighed on me.””
But that use of his likeness seems to be no longer an ongoing concern. EA Sports’ NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball titles routinely featured historic or all-time greats rosters comprised of unnamed players who still bore heavy resemblance to a school’s past stars. Not this year. They were left out of both games, probably because of O’Bannon’s suit, even though EA Sports is not a party to it.
O’Bannon’s suit doesn’t cover the use of the likenesses who are current players and covered by the NCAA’s amateurism regulations, which prohibit an athlete receiving such compensation. Conceivably, if O’Bannon were to prevail, any use of a former player in a video game would have to be compensated and that would drive up the cost of the license. It’s easy to see why EA would just say screw it pre-emptively, as the majority of the game experience is delivered through playing current teams and rosters.
Former Nebraska and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller has filed a similar suit, however, and EA is named as a defendant. The firm representing O’Bannon is attempting to link his case with Keller’s. Both are class-action suits.
I could spend pages going over this suit and what I think of it, but I would like to go into the video game aspect of it. Basically O’Bannon and a few others did this class action suit that they didn’t appreciate their likeness in a video game without compensation. When I say likeness, I mean their number, skin color, athletic traits, basically everything except their name.
Eventually it turned around to where they were blaming the NCAA and focused the suit more on them. The problem is that in the wake of suing the NCAA, they screwed up the gaming community. They killed the goose with the golden egg. As a result, it was also announced this week that there will be no more NCAA Basketball games. The people at EA & Take-Two are hanging it up. Congratulations to all of the athletes who were looking for money from a video game with your assumed likeness. NCAA Football is probably soon to follow.
I’ve played a few College Football & Basketball games over the years. The last one was on the PS2 I believe (I’m thinking like 2003). I took North Texas from the bottom of the barrel and through franchise mode made them national champions. Trust me, none of those players resembled the ones that existed then. Anyhow, some people really need to learn to let things go. Sure, you might get a little money out of the lawsuit but you are hurting the authenticity of future games. If there are any future college games to play at all.
You are P.B. Winterbottom and you like pies. So you go hunting for them in this puzzle platformer. There are seventy five different puzzles and the game has been compared to Braid or Portal. Is it wrong that I can’t really stand either game? Anyhow, there is a lot to do in this game and people who do like these type of games will probably eat this one up. Now Woman, get in the kitchen and make me a pie!
This is the second game in Ace Attorney hand-held series (yes, another DS port to WiiWare). As Mr. Wright, you get four new cases to solve with your wits & talents. There are two modes of play. There is Investigations mode where you will look at crime scenes, talk to witnesses and gather evidence. Then in court mode, you turn that evidence over, listen to the interviews and cross-examine witnesses. New to this version is a Psyche Lock feature that lets Phoenix use questioning to reveal inconsistencies.
Since I look at descriptions of these games every week, it is so interesting how there are a lot of them that read the same way. Tell me if this sounds familiar. A physics-based puzzler with over a 100 levels that will challenge your skills but also your imagination. This game is easy to pick up but hard to put away. O RLY? That’s what they said about an ultimate double bacon cheeseburger from Jack in the Box, but I put them to shame.
It’s the year 2013 and world leaders have decided to merge the police and the military into a single force called the Department of Control. However, there is a resistance made up of former military members who decided not to go that way. You are Marco, one of the resistance and you are on a mission to destroy scrambler devices around the city. The game was created to reflect urban warfare and it does have a system of cover. The graphics actually look decent for a WiiWare game, hopefully a few try it out.
The last great Sonic game, there I said it. Sonic and his new friend Knuckles must stop Dr. Eggman from finding the secret to the powerful Master Emerald on Angel Island. Because if the don’t, he’ll figure out how to use the Emerald to re-power the Death Egg. This title also features lock on technology just like the original cart. This means that you will be able to play Knuckles in Sonic 2 and 3. If you remember, this was also accomplished on Xbox Live Arcade. It would be nice if there was a package deal for the three games (like buy 2, get 1 free); but many will appreciate this.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3
Aliens vs Predator
Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce
Aliens vs Predator
Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce
Data East Arcade Classics
Triple Crown Snowboarding
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Korg DS-10 Plus
Nancy Drew: The Model Mysteries
A couple of interesting games come out this week in the form of Aliens vs Predator and Tropico 3. Trust me, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce is another Dynasty Warriors game. If you aren’t aware of how it plays by now, don’t bother. You are a leader and you must fights tons and tons of other people, rinse and repeat. Hack n slash to the highest level, oh crap I already said too much.
Anyway, Aliens vs Predator allows you to play as the Predators, Aliens or the Colonial Marines. They are all separate plots and gameplay but form a single storyline. Playing with the Predators will allow you stealthy tactics and awesome ideas such as trophy kills. Aliens are similar in tactics but require you to get in close where as Predators have long range weapons. The marines, well that looks like it will play out as a typical first person shooter. It could be very interesting and a mash of playing styles. Hopefully it succeeds on most counts.
The other game of interest is Tropico 3. The cover art is rather odd and looks like you’ll be invading Cuba or something. However, that really doesn’t explain the game premise. You gain control of an island called Tropico in the Caribbean. El Presidente (as you will be called) will be able to build cities and develop the island into a successful one. There are a bunch of residential, economic, civic and military structures you can build and a lot of factors to consider. The tone of the game does have a lot of humor but you’ll need your thinking caps in this one. The PC version got high marks, but we’ll see how it translates to the 360 and its lack of keyboard and mouse.
Still searching for an original Xbox. I’m not entirely sure where I’ll hook it up but the list of Xbox originals that go unplayed is now becoming a little ridiculous. Heck, the amount of games, regardless of system, that go unplayed are past that point anyway. At least with graphic novels or cds, those get played but I honestly have trouble sometimes just starting a game. It didn’t used to be that way, because most games of yesteryear were pick up and play.
Now there are achievements to consider or if the game doesn’t have achievements: how far I would like to go in the game and how much effort that will take. It’s still fun, sure but it does require some effort of dedication to make that happen. Maybe that’s why I keep going back to World of Warcraft. I have established characters that are already built up, all I have to do is go play. Or it could just be that I pay $15 a month to maintain an account. Welp, until next kiddoes; enjoy your gaming. Or else you might have to grow up or something else equally despicable.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)