The New York Times has an excellent article on how League of Legends has become the biggest competitive game in the world, and why thousands of people are watching the World Championship this month. Along with that is a feature showing the positions of 100,000 players over the course of 10,000 games.
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I don't know if this is some sort of advertising, or just a bizarre comment on video games themselves, but this New York Times article, which is titled 'Just One More Game...' actually has a primitive video game embedded within the article which enables players to actually shoot the webpage into oblivion — the comments, the advertising, almost everything.
Oftentimes it feels as though my life has video game-like qualities. Mind you, it wouldn't be a very interesting game, but I'd love to see my commute to the burrito shop or my time spent at a desk writing... about video games... rendered into a custom video game. Actually that might be a bit too meta, even for me.
This is a first. The New York Times has cleverly made a game out of solving the US financial crisis – it's simultaneously the most important and the most boring game we've ever played. And we played through the first 20 hours of Final Fantasy XIII.
Chris Chike, whose 100 percent effort on "Through the Fire and the Flames" back in June earned him celebrity status and consultant to peripherals-maker Ant Commandos, is profiled in today's New York Times.
Even if you know all about Chike — iamchris4life — put down your urge to dismiss his fame and read the story. It is a very, very positive portrayal of a young video gamer, something we rarely see in mainstream media, much less The New York Times. The best we usually get are condescending features on local news, read over by with-it reporters faking lingo. Writer Dave Itzkoff goes to Rochester, Minn. to get the full story, and then expands on the future and potential opportunities for super-expert or professional gamers.
We've chewed this topic to death, but it's always interesting to know how others see you. And The New York Times' Seth Schiesel comes up with a rather solid analogy to describe the backlash to the parade of dross we saw in Nintendo's E3 presser (and, to a lesser extent, others).
Call it nerd rage. Like loyalists of a once-partisan politician who tacks toward the centre later in an election cycle, old-school gamers are coming to terms with the ramifications of their favourite's newfound popularity. Though they have long craved mainstream respectability for video games, players sometimes resent the concessions their champion must make to attract mainstream adherents.
Wow, it hasn't been a good week for the New York Times.
Turns out that New York Times story didn't just mix up the DS and PSP's features, oh and misspell Reggie's name twice, it also screwed up what exactly was downloadable to the Wii as a full-blown game and what was just for demos.
That's right, according to Nintendo, the Wii will NOT be able to transmit or download full DS games. Apparently the New York Times confused DS demos with WiiWare titles. So you can download full on Wii games (which we knew), but only wireless DS demo games (which we also knew).
When the New York Times' Seth Schiesel delivered this year's video game awards in the paper, they arrived on the back of his hand. While some of the awards, like best newcomer for BioShock and Best Adaptation of an Adored Intellectual Property for The Lord of the Rings Online, are pretty straight forward and complimentary, most of them come with more than a little slap down.
Take for instance the Best Unambitious Representations of the State of the Art, awarded to Halo 3 and Super Mario Galaxy. While both receive an "award", Schiesel uses it as an excuse to point out their flaws. Halo 3 is called a polished gem, but one that merely relies on the "time-tested Halo formula rather than a daring attempt to provide a new sort of experience."
Super Mario Galaxy too gets a bit of a poke, with Schiesel calling it a "reinvention of classic play modes" and not something genuinely new.
Hit the jump for the full list of awards and the New York Times to read all of the "compliments."
It's nice to feel smug and superior when comparing one's knowledge to that of New York Times reporters. Unfortunately, it's only for the geekiest of reasons, as we're feeling quite high and mighty taking comfort in the knowledge that our understanding of video games and console technology far outweighs that of the Times.
The NYT makes mention of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 both being powered by the Cell processor, with the latter listing for as low as $US 299. Furthermore, the paper refers to Gran Turismo 5 as "a hyper-realistic, high-speed journey, is one of the best sellers." At least they know that Halo 3 is the third episode in the series, a game that Dan Strack, a trader for a Wall Street bank, is quoted as calling the "latest and greatest game that people are walking on water over."
While this edition of the New York Times may be forgiven, as it may have come from the future, we can't excuse Strack's sloppy metaphor. Halo 3 doesn't make you Jesus.
Kotakuite Joshua D. sent us a heads up about a New York Times article, this one on modern methods of getting kids into church: Halo 3. This raises some interesting questions: how do you differentiate between kids who are showing up to fellowship since it's Halo night and those who a really wanting to save their immortal souls? And how do people reconcile 'thou shalt not kill' with, uh, a first-person shooter? Is church really the most appropriate place for an M-rated video game? Do kids even care about potential allegorical features of the Halo plot, or is this just a cheap way to lure in impressionable teens? And aren't a lot of these people in the group who are frequently bitching about violent media in today's world?
Witness the basement on a recent Sunday at the Colorado Community Church in the Englewood area of Denver, where Tim Foster, 12, and Chris Graham, 14, sat in front of three TVs, locked in violent virtual combat as they navigated on-screen characters through lethal gun bursts. Tim explained the game's allure: "It's just fun blowing people up." Once they come for the games, Gregg Barbour, the youth minister of the church said, they will stay for his Christian message. "We want to make it hard for teenagers to go to hell," Mr. Barbour wrote in a letter to parents at the church.
There are plenty of quarters that would say spending time "blowing people up", virtual or not, is setting kids on the path to hell. I'll give these churches credit for interesting recruiting tactics, though - it must work better than the fire and brimstone and simply scaring people.
It's nothing that hasn't been noted in a million blog posts over the years, but in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Daniel Radosh is saying it again. Too much emphasis on graphics, not enough emphasis on narrative - and sometimes those purty cut scenes can be a hindrance to a satisfying game experience (Radosh points to Halo 3 as an example, picking up on something our very own Crecente pointed out in his review of Halo 3).
Teenage boys (of all ages and genders) need not worry that mindless games will become obsolete. We will always love action movies, and Hollywood blockbusters will always be more popular than quiet, character-driven films. But gamers have a right to expect more than what the medium now has to offer.
Video games are still emerging from their infancy. The first 35 years of motion pictures, from 1895 to 1930, yielded a handful of films that are considered masterpieces for their technical innovations, but the following decade was when cinema first became the art form that we know today. As cinema matured, films developed the power to transform as well as to entertain. Video games are poised to enter a similar golden age. But the first step isn't Halo 3.
I think Radosh makes some good points, and there's little doubt in my mind that narrative design in games needs some serious tweaking. But the point about gaming really being in its infancy - especially compared to film, the medium most frequently held up in compare-and-contrast discussions - is one that bears repeating. Discussions from the '20s and '30s in regards to the art of film making frequently resemble the same things we yammer on about in regards to gaming - and there's hope yet. Just maybe not in the form of Halo.