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Links for December 4th 2008 through December 8th 2008:
- Top 10 Most Pirated Games of 2008 [TorrentFreak] – “As expected, Spore is by far the most downloaded game on BitTorrent, in part thanks to the DRM that came with the game. Traditionally, games can’t compete with the most pirated movies and TV-shows in actual download numbers, but Spore came very close this year. Only 10 days after the game’s launch date, already half a million people had downloaded the game. During the months after that, another million people obtained a copy of the game via BitTorrent. According to our estimates, Spore was downloaded 1.7 million times since early September, a record breaking figure for a game.”
- Sony Killing Questionable LittleBigPlanet Levels, Without Warning [Game | Life from Wired.com] – Sony have been deleting the shared levels of LittleBigPlanet which users have made featuring, what Sony feel, are copyrighted or trademarked materials. Creators are given no warning, no opportunity to alter their levels to remove supposedly offending material, and simply find their levels gone. Sony have created an incredible toybox of creativity with LittleBigWorld but seem determined to upset so many people who actually create anything with it. This is how to kill a user community and guarentee the game never reaches it potential. Silly Sony, the lessons of web 2.0 clearly haven’t been learnt.
- iBreath to tackle drink driving [WA Today] – “The latest weapon in the war against drink driving is a breathalyser linked to an iPod or iPhone. The iBreath allows users to check their blood alcohol content to see if they are fit to drive.” (I’m sure after a few drinks connecting this little accessory will be entirely straightforward! LOL)
Links of interest for October 24th 2008 through October 26th 2008:
- (SPOILER) What happened when the lights went out. [Whedonesque] – Joss Whedon talks straight to the fans about Dollhouse: “Sadly, this is not a naughty post. It’s just Joss nattering on again. I thought it was time to check in with you once again, gentle viewers. Or readers. Or pictures-looker-ats (that might be viewers). Also listeners, sniffers, haberdashers, Olympic hopefuls, the elderly, the youngerdly, and the mighty state of Oregon (go Oregon-based sports franchise!) Welcome all. Welcome… to me. What’s me up to? I’m glad me asked. Me’ve (I’m not doing that any more) been working on a little show called Dollhouse. Yes, perhaps you’ve read about how it’s blazing an untrammeled path to surefire success, with nary a hitch or a hiccup, just pure blazing blazery, comet-like and meteoresque. What’s that, you say? You’ve read other things? Dark, Yog-Sothothy rumors about shutdowns and delays? Poppycock! They’re true. But I never pass up a chance to say “poppycock”. “
- Flunking Spore – John Bohannon [Science, 322 (5901): 531b, October 2008] – Apparently Spore fails to live up to the expectations of scientists and the promotional material for Spore might have been a little disingenuous: “So over the past month, I’ve been playing Spore with a team of scientists, grading the game on each of its scientific themes. When it comes to biology, and particularly evolution, Spore failed miserably. According to the scientists, the problem isn’t just that Spore dumbs down the science or gets a few things wrong–it’s meant to be a game, after all–but rather, it gets most of biology badly, needlessly, and often bizarrely wrong. I also tracked down the scientists who appeared on television in what seemed like an endorsement of Spore’s scientific content on the National Geographic channel. They said they had been led to believe that the interviews were for a straight documentary about “developmental evolutionary” science rather than a video promoting a computer game “
- The Medium – The Hitler Meme [NYTimes] – The New York Times on that Hitler (Downfall) meme: “On YouTube, we’re in a bunker, and the enemies are always, always closing in. The ceilings are low. The air is stifling. A disheveled leader is delusional. This is the premise of more than 100 videos on the Web — the work of satirists who for years have been snatching video and audio from “Downfall,” the 2004 German movie of Hitler’s demise, and doctoring it to tell a range of stories about personal travails and world politics. By adding new English-language subtitles, they transform the movie’s climactic scene, in which Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) rails against his enemies and reluctantly faces his defeat, into the generic story of a rabid blowhard brought low.”
- YouTube Enables Deep Linking Within Videos [TechCrunch] – “It’s not a big new feature but it’s certainly one that will come in handy: YouTube will now allow you to send users to a specific point in a video by appending a short tag to the end of a video’s URL. It’s pretty surprising that this functionality wasn’t available earlier, as Google Video introduced the same feature over two years ago. YouTube users have been forced to rely on third party services like Splicd to do the same thing. To specify a point, append a tag to the end of your video link with the following syntax: “#t=1m45s” (you can change the numbers before the ‘m’ and ’s’ to edit the minutes and seconds, respectively.”
- Woman in jail over virtual murder [BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific] – “A woman has been arrested in Japan after she allegedly killed her virtual husband in a popular video game. The 43-year-old was reportedly furious at finding herself suddenly divorced in the online game Maplestory. Police say she illegally accessed log-in details of the man playing her husband, and killed off his character. The woman, a piano teacher, is in jail in Sapporo waiting to learn if she faces charges of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating data.”
- Fan fury at Nine [TV Tonight] – Australian “Fans of Fringe who were unaware the show had been pulled from Nine’s current schedule got a rude shock last night and vented their anger in online messageboards. They were universally vehement in their displeasure with Nine’s programming. This site alone now totals 95 posts in one thread alone. Over on Nine’s own messageboard there were more furious comments: Fringe Dweller: C’mon channel 9, have some balls and tell the people why Fringe has been pulled! Oh I’m sorry, you don’t care about what people like. Maybe we could lose one of the four hundred different versions of CSI. God Bless ‘Two and a Half man’ where would you be without them. Maybe you can rename yourselves to Channel Two and a Half Men CSI Malibu!!! Why I’m at it, you pulled Fringe and we still have to put up with that The Strip crap.”
Links of interest for October 1st 2008 through October 2nd 2008:
- Google Search 2001 – To celebrate Google’s 10th birthday they’ve gone back in time and worked with the Internet Archive to let you search the 2001 web … YouTube is a nonsense word, ‘blog’ only returns 76,400 hits and Facebook has just under 1800 results!
- EA Downplays Spore’s DRM Triggered Piracy Record [TorrentFreak] – Despite credible estimates that Spore has been downloaded over a million times via bittorrent networks, EA are playing down these figures and, in a turnabout for a big media producer, are arguing that not every download would have represented a legitimate sale were bittorrent not around (something many downloaders have been arguing about p2p film and even tv for years). Despite EA’s PR spin, it seems likely DRM is one of the big things nudging fans into downloading the Spore (and bypassing the DRM altogether).
- Blizzard wins Warcraft bot payout [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “World of Warcraft creator Blizzard has won $6m (£3.36m) in damages from the makers of a software ‘bot’. The damages award comes after Blizzard won the first round of its legal battle against MDY Industries in July 2008. Blizzard embarked on the case against MDY claiming that the World of Warcraft Glider software produced by the small company infringed its copyright. The Glider software lets Warcraft players automate many of the repetitive steps the game involves. … it helped them automate the many repetitive tasks, such as killing monsters and scavenging loot, required to turn low level characters into more powerful ones.”
So, there has been a lot of talk about Spore since it’s initial release almost a fortnight ago and since I’m in the middle of a series of lectures for our new gaming based unit in Communication Studies, I figured I should definitely try it out. I’m still thinking all of the logistics through, but one thing is clear from the outset: while Spore does have a win-condition (unlike The Sims which is basically endless), it’s not a game, it’s a toy. Or, rather, it’s not overly satisfying as a game (the gameplay is, to be frank, not all that exciting), but as a toy to build cellular organisms, new species and even space-faring civilisations, it’s absolutely brilliant. Also, even with the weirdest creatures, Spore makes everything cute. To justify that point, I’d like to introduce one of my species, the Battleworm 4000:
And make sure you watch the video all the way through to meet the kids! More on Spore, I’m sure, in the coming weeks …
Interesting links for June 21st 2008 through June 27th 2008:
- Simpsons Map for Quake III Arena [YouTube] – A fantastically detailed mashup, bringing 3D textures from the Simpsons into Quake III. [Via Waxy]
- Is YouTube truly the future? [SMH] – Henry Jenkins and John Hartley give their take on the “pre-history” of YouTube, looking at DIY culture more broadly, including punk, zines and fandom, arguing for a deeper conception of participatory culture than just YouTube.
- Monster mash gives ad boss nightmares [The Age] – “More than 6000 spoof ads made by viewers have been uploaded to the website for an ABC television series about the advertising industry, delivering the state broadcaster the kind of viewer participation that would be the envy of the commercial world.”
- Half UK web videos are from YouTube [WatchingTV Online] – Comscore:”During March, 48% of the 3.5 billion web videos watched in the UK came from Google sites, of which 99% were from YouTube…. The BBC only has 1.2% share of the video viewing market despite the launch of the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service. “
- Spore Creature Creator Trial – Download the first tool from Will Wright’s next gaming masterpiece … Spore! Make your creatures now and be ready to unleash them! (Check the specs – this one’s resources hungry!)
- Star Wars Crawl – Make a custom Star Wars Intro – Make you own opening crawl, Star Wars style. Come on, who hasn’t thought about doing this at some point in their (geeky) life? 🙂
- NASA spacecraft finds ice on Mars [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “The Mars Phoenix Lander has found ice on the surface of the Red Planet, NASA scientists say, in a key discovery for the spacecraft as it searches for water and signs of life on Earth’s closet planetary neighbour.”