Apple giveth (the Ginsu Book) and then it taketh: We discuss a gaping security hole in FaceTime and Apple's dis to Java developers. Also, GE launches hybrid lightbulb, Clearwire demos 100 gigabit LTE, and the mysterious space hot tub of Upsilon Andromedae b.Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
Medal of Honor marks the reboot of a franchise that found a handful of success on the original PlayStation and PC. Eleven years after its original release, developer Danger Close has teamed up with EA for the self-titled Medal of Honor on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. This time, the events are all too familiar--directly dealing with the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.
The game isn't without its share of controversy; over the summer, Medal of Honor made headlines when it was learned that the multiplayer mode would have players assuming two team roles, one of which was to be called the Taliban. Though EA stood by the decision for a while, the Taliban was ultimately renamed to "Opposing Force" right before the game was released.
The big question, though, is whether Medal of Honor will be able to weather the inevitable Call of Duty: Black Ops storm that will hit on November 9. Will this month head start be enough for the title to be a legitimate contender?
Jeff: A fair amount of hype has been laid upon the shoulders of Medal of Honor, namely because it's Call of Duty: Black Op's biggest competition this holiday season. There aren't too many drastic departures from Call of Duty's formula, but the campaign in Medal of Honor gives much more realistic and gritty insight to actual infantry combat. The decision to consult with members of the U.S. military has proved beneficial, thus making it a superior single-player experience on many levels.
Medal of Honor gets the atmosphere right, arguably the title's strongest feature. There is a comforting conversational interaction with the nonplayable characters you'll team up with--both in-person and over the radio--that completely humanizes the soldiers.
Gamers will undoubtedly befriend Dusty, with his "NYPD" backward hat and sunglasses, a character who helps represent the new-found American patriotism immediately after 9/11. Since Medal of Honor takes place during the current war in Afghanistan, there are a few educational moments scattered throughout. If anything, Medal of Honor successfully portrays soldiers as more down-to-earth, further emphasizing the real tragedy of war.… Read more
AUSTIN, Texas--While in Texas for a visit with the in-laws, I made a side trip to Austin to check out that town's annual Game Developers Conference. The show has been around for years, and this time it's been renamed GDC Online, and is now focused on online gaming--from MMOs to mobile games to social and Facebook games.
As one might expect, the real stars of the show were FarmVille, FrontierVille, and the other Facebook games that regularly bring in tens of millions of monthly players (interestingly, the show happened simultaneously with Facebook's big press conference announcing new … Read more
The Activision-EA war of words is heating up.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had said in a recent interview with Edge Magazine that Electronic Arts is in trouble and that "great people really don't want to work there."
EA has now responded with some potshots of its own.
"Kotick's relationship with studio talent is well-documented in litigation," Jeff Brown, EA's communications vice president, told Gamasutra on Monday in an interview.
Brown was ostensibly referring to Kotick's recent legal forays with Jason West and Vince Zampella, former heads of Activision subsidiary Infinity Ward.
Earlier this year, Activision announced that it had terminated West and Zampella. After that, the executives, who were integral to the success of the Call of Duty franchise, established a new development studio, Respawn Entertainment, and inked a deal with EA that would make the mega-publisher the studio's exclusive game distributor.
Litigation that surrounded those events was a bit ugly.… Read more
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick believes Electronic Arts, his company's biggest competitor, won't attract people who will help the Madden maker keep up with his firm.
Speaking to Edge Magazine in a recent interview, Kotick said that EA "has been struggling for a really long time." And one of the main problems the company faces, he believes, is attracting talent to help it build high-quality games.
"The most difficult challenge [EA] faces today is great people don't really want to work there," Kotick told Edge Magazine. "It's like, if you have no … Read more
A new database and software, called ChIP Enrichment Analysis, or ChEA, is set to revolutionize how researchers identify drug targets and biomarkers, developers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York reported in today's issue of Bioinformatics.
The team says that until ChEA was developed, no centralized database integrated results from, for instance, ChIP-seq and ChIP-chip experiments (these are used to identify how "transcription factor" proteins might regulate all genes in humans and mice). Now this new computational method should help streamline how scientists analyze these gene expression experiments.
"Our program allows researchers to … Read more
Electronic Arts has launched Madden NFL Superstars, which lets players create a fantasy football team and compete with others on Facebook.
The game, developed by EA Sports and EA-owned Playfish, features 1,500 current players from all 32 NFL teams.
I checked out the game this morning. When I first loaded it up, I was given 10,000 points to buy less-capable real-life players. Upon doing so, they were added to my team, which allowed me to play with others.
Aside from playing games, I was also able to "practice" with my players to improve their abilities. It … Read more
When BioWare announced Tuesday at the Gamescom conference in Germany that its Mass Effect 2--arguably the best game to hit store shelves so far in 2010--was coming to the PlayStation 3 in January, many wondered how Microsoft would respond.
Prior to the announcement, the Mass Effect franchise was available exclusively to Xbox 360 and PC gamers.
Microsoft won't say whether it's disappointed to lose Mass Effect 2's exclusivity, but the company was quick to point out in an interview with IGN, that it believes its console is still the best place to play the venerable title.
"… Read more
All is fair in love and war. And those who love war games enjoy their sheer fairness. Even if the Taliban wins.
Such a scenario will soon be possible with EA's newest and most contemporary Medal of Honor multiplayer game, which launches in October. In the words of EA's Medal of Honor Web site: "Players will step into the boots of these warriors and apply their unique skill sets to a new enemy in the most unforgiving and hostile battlefield conditions of present day Afghanistan."
There is no question that gamers need new enemies. They must … Read more
It's often been argued that Madden, EA's premier exclusive sports franchise, has had nowhere to go with its yearly editions--that users are paying for glorified "roster updates." Though it's true that many of Madden's yearly tweaks have bordered on the nearly invisible to those who weren't hard-core fans, EA Sports has taken a decidedly opposite approach to Madden 11's improvements.
Here, we look at the console version of Madden, specifically on the Xbox 360. Read here for our take on the iPad version.
Scott: "Simpler. Quicker." These are advertised on the box boldly. Clearly aware that the video game version of football has become a little like gridiron Street Fighter, with too many moves to explain without hours spent on proper training, much less the 40 seconds between plays, the emphasis in this year's Madden has clearly been placed on streamlining and mainstream appeal. Is that a smart idea, and more importantly, does it work?
Edging toward simplicity is not a trend limited to Madden. Shooters, RPGs (Fable III, in particular), and casual games have all been boiling down their interfaces, removing text and icons, and making complexity easier to grab in a shorter period of time. … Read more