Spirit Day: To some, it is the highest of high holidays: A time when the Wiccan Goddess teams up with Odin to rein in rogue elements of the spectral plane - those whole walk the Earth, devouring the life essence of all with whom they come in contact, so as to sustain their ghastly form for yet another year - and generally become the Pagan equivalent of a buddy cop movie. For everyone else, it has to do with bullying: of particular note, GLBT bullying. To raise awareness, GaymerCon and GLAAD have teamed up for the "Gaymers Go Purple" campaign, encouraging GLBT gamers (and supporters) to don their purple attire on October 19th, as a show of support for this most spirited of days.
As Conn & Co. note in the video, GLBT gamers tend to have it quite rough. Thus, the kids at GaymerCon are holding a contest for Spirit Day, asking the great A.V. club that is the internet to submit videos explaining why they are wearing purple, and to tell their respective stories of growing up as gaymer - and naturally, any experiences one had with bullying. Those wishing to participate have until Oct. 12th, and simply need to make a response to the above video; said response should be less than five minutes in length. Naturally, contestants must also be wearing purple (in some way).
As is customary with this whole "contest" business, there shall be prizes. As posted by the GaymerCon:
Grand Prize: 250GB Xbox 360 signed by XBLive team!
3 Runner ups: Boomphones "Phantom" High def headset (www.boomphones.com)
5 Notable mention: General Access Badge to GaymerCon 2013!
Popularity Vote (Likes)
Grand Prize: 250GB Xbox 360 signed by XBLive team!
Unfortunately, for those in the "sexy, foreign accent" crowd, winners outside the U.S. will need to pay for international shipping. So if you're feeling competitive, or simply want to spread awareness about Spirit Day, set sail upon the Good Ship Internet and check out Gaymers Go Purple!
Video game movies have a long and illustrious history of being A-class, numero-uno, horseshhhh...uhhhh...yeah. Some of the most awful pieces of crap that have ever been pressed into celluloid and smeared into the undeserving eyes of the world have originated as some of the best video games ever made (not that I'm referencing specific properties like Super Mario Bros. or Street Fighter, mind you...) Meanwhile, movies that have clearly been built on the concept of video games have fared a bit better. And the folks at Disney seem to be learning from the financial success of the Tron films with Wreck-It-Ralph, a movie built on the bones of video gaming, but not scaffolded around a particular franchise.
Wreck-It-Ralph is the eponymous story of a video game villain (whose broad character strokes clearly reference Donkey Kong) who decides that he wants to be a hero. The rest of the film follows him through various gaming homages and tropes as he jumps from game to game in an effort to prove himself. See how many references you can pick up in the new trailer, embedded above, which also features a scene from a villain support group that includes Bowser, M. Bison, ghosts from Pac-Man, Dr. Eggman, and Zangief, and in a new one-sheet poster for the film that has Sonic and Q-Bert as well.
It could be a rather shrewd play on Disney's part to lure children out to a movie about video games that they love, as well as the current generation of young parents, many of whom were raised playing as or against the characters they see in the ads. After all, nostalgia has a proven record of bankability.
Wreck-It-Ralph features Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, and John C. Reilly, and will hit theatres on November 2 in North America and in a rather staggered, complicated schedule elsewhere in the world.
After the news of subreddit r/gaymers' cease and desist yesterday, much was being said about both Gaymer.org and its owner Chris Vizzini. Many users have noted that Gaymer.org is, as of writing, down and has been for several hours.
This morning Mr. Vizzini took to Reddit himself, username GaymerOrg, to share his official statement on the issue:
Hello fellow gay gamers. I wanted to address the cease and desist letter that was sent to reddit.
First and foremost, I never asked for the sub-reddit gaymer to be removed. I emailed reddit twice asking that they simply rename the community to something else. They did not respond.
As a trademark and word mark holder, it's my responsibility to defend the marks, otherwise I could lose them.
I started Gaymer.org in 2003 and began to build Gaymer as a brand. Thats why I trademarked and word marked the name. At that time, there was only one other site around dedicated to gay gamers. I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars on Gaymer.org. I have done so gladly as it's brought happiness to many people.
I have received many nasty emails and comments on my site, not to mention what's been said on the reddit site.
I cannot stress this enough. I have no problem with other gay gaming sites. I think it's great others exist. The only problem I have is when the Gaymer name is used. That infringes on the word mark. A perfect example of this is gaygamer.net. Its a great website for gay gamers but does not use "gaymer" in its name therefore I have no problem.
It's only when "gaymer" is used in the site name that causes confusion to the public. That is what word marking is all about.
I have absolutely no ill will towards the reddit community. I have been in contact with a very nice woman at reddit who is working with me on this.
I would never try to take something away from people that they hold so dearly. But I also can't have the Gaymer name used in your community.
One thing that has been asked is why GaymerCon was not contacted. They do not have an online community. That is a convention. My marks pertain to online communities. Should they ever add an online community, then I would have issue with that. I did remove the GaymerCon article. While I do still support them personally, I can't give them support on behalf of gaymer.org. They made disparaging remarks about my site without knowing the details. I do wish them well on their venture.
For this to be resolved, its going to take respectful communication between the moderators at reddit, the reddit people themselves and myself.
I hope the barrage of insults directed at me and my site is not an indicator of how this communication to resolve will take place.
Looking forward to a peaceful resolution to this matter.
Chris Vizzini Gaymer.org
Now that both sides have made their case the gay gaming community will have to watch and wait to see what becomes of r/gaymers.
Updated to include the official statement from Gaymer.org
Today the more than 16,000 subscribers to r/gaymers, the gay gaming community on Reddit, received news that their subreddit may very well be shut down. The r/gaymers moderators were informed that Reddit had received a cease and desist from the owner of Gaymer.org, Chris Vizzini, who filed a trademark for the term 'gaymer' in 2007. Longtime readers surely remember that story and the heaps of controversy surrounding it.
The trademark was filed as follows:
IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Computer services, namely, creating an online community for registered users to participate in competitions, showcase their skills, get feedback from their peers, form virtual communities, engage in social networking and improve their talent; Computer services, namely, hosting and maintaining an online website for others to discuss, receive and disseminate information concerning video games; Computer services, namely, hosting on-line web facilities for others for organizing and conducting online meetings, gatherings, and interactive discussions. FIRST USE: 20030526. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20030526
Some supported Vizzini's move with the perspective that he has every right to protect the name of the website he created, while others argued that trademarking the term 'gaymer' would lead down a slippery slope by giving Vizzini and Gaymer.org complete control of the word's use as a web entity. Still others were apathetic to the controversy altogether, preferring to not call themselves gaymers at all.
It must be said that, in 2007, the term 'gaymer' did not have the widespread use and appeal it seems to carry with it today. What's more in the mere six years since 'gaymer' was trademarked the way people use the internet has changed rather drastically. In 2007 filing a trademark to protect onesself against web entities using the term 'gaymer' carries some logic; the hypothetical www.finalfantasygaymers.com won't be cashing in on anyone else's work. However the rise of social networking has brought with it things like facebook groups, tumblr communities, online guilds, and, you guessed it, subreddits that all have 'gaymer' in their name. All of these being not for profit subsections of much larger commercial entities, the legal situation here becomes even murkier than it already was before.
The users of r/gaymers did not take this news lightly, noting uses of the term 'gaymer' prior to 2003 (which the trademark cites as its first usage), the wide-reaching effect this cease and desist would have on many other 'gaymer' subreddits, the seeming lack of concern regarding the name of the much anticipated Gaymercon, concerns over the validity of the trademark's authority in the first place, and the group's years of history that includes gift exchanges, meetups, and even a real life marriage in their own defense.
Read their full responses and the official statement from Gaymer.org on the matter, after the jump.
In yet another sign that the current generation of video game consoles is on life-support, NPD Group is reporting that the number of Americans playing video games shrank by 12 million in the past year. To put that in perspective, that's five percent of the American gaming market, or as if as many people as the entire population of Beijing or London just stopped playing video games. Given that the present slate of consoles (3DS and Vita notwithstanding) has been hanging around for the better part of a decade, a decline in interest should be expectable; however, these data include the recently-exploding smartphone and tablet gaming markets.
In fact, the only growth was seen in emerging markets. Mobile gamers and "digital gamers" (those who forego buying games on physical media)increased in number year-over-year, by nine percent and four percent respectively. Primarily-mobile gamers now account for twenty-two percent of the market, in fact; given the popularity of smartphone games and the consistently impressive numbers the 3DS is pushing, the increased size and clout of the mobile market follows logically.
The number of core gamers playing, meanwhile, dropped by two percent, last year accounting for twenty-one percent of gaming Americans. This makes sense, again, given how long-in-the-tooth the home consoles are. That said, core American gamers still spend more on gaming per capita than others do - though those numbers only account for purchases of physical media. The number of avid PC gamers also declined by two percent. In that category, NPD included both core gamers and casual gamers.
It is interesting to ponder, six years after the Wii and smartphone apps revolutionized the accessibility of the gaming market, that nearly eighty percent of gamers in the US are now not "core" console gamers.
From time immemorial, The Illuminati futurists have sough to show mankind a world - a promising new world indeed - aptly called "the future." Technology would rule the roost: cars would fly overhead, nanomachines would heal our every wound, neural implants would enhance our every thought, and naturally, mundane tasks would be delegated to our godless, soulless, machine-servants. While said future has proven to be a bit of a letdown - cancer is as popular as ever, and our greatest automotive advance is that we can run vehicles on batteries and f*cking corn - technophiles still hold hope that we humans may one day subjugate the silicon masses, heralding a sort of robot equivalent of the Old Confederacy.
Meanwhile, in what will be referred to in future textbooks as "the fatal error of the Organic Scourge," the task is being crowdsourced (in part) to Kinect owners. Indeed, Sweden's Center for Autonomous Systems, at the Royal Institute of Technology, has expressed an interest in aiding visual recognition for "home robots." At present, the AI in these mechanical serfs, and their capacity for grasping the environment in which they find themselves, faces some challenges. According to the BBC, "While humans have no trouble recognising objects such as a tea mug even if it is a different colour, shape and size to those they have seen before, robots struggle to complete such a mundane task." To remedy this, Kinect users are being encouraged to use the device's camera - loaded with one of those fancy, infra-red sensors - to map common household objects. The idea is that by compiling an extensive visual database, robots' software will be able to better comprehend every day things by their general characteristics. Those wishing to participate can download a browser add-on from Kinect@Home. According to Project Coordinator Alper Aydemir, "When capturing data, one should move rather slowly and avoid big empty spaces [...] Aside from that, it's as easy as hitting a button on the recording page."
So there you go, gamers. Naysayers be damned; your pastime is helping to forge a brave new future - one that will have absolutely no apocalyptic consequences - while everyone else sits back and watches football - and said future could be coming sooner than we think. In the meantime, while a hapless humanity collectively stops just short of teaching SkyNet how to open doors, yours truly will be hedging his bets on the side of the machines. May the grace of BallmerBot X22zUS - Grand Sovereign of the Federated Servers of America - fall upon you, and usher your consciousness into the hive mind. Your neural firmware will receive an update shortly, and thank you for your compliance.
China-based giant Foxconn has come under fire in recent years for the conditions at its work plants, which manufacture the iPad and Xbox 360, as well as other products for Dell, Nintendo, Sony, and other electronics companies. We reported earlier this year on an incident during which Foxconn workers allegedly threatened to jump from the roof of a Foxconn building over labour disputes, and that the company has had previous controversies regarding worker suicides and explosions at their plants. In response, Foxconn pledged to open its doors to scrutiny from international labour associations and even American media. Apple, too, after disturbing reports regarding its suppliers' labour practices, pledged to demand that all of its suppliers adhere to basic international labour standards.
Now, according to an audit from the Fair Labor Association, Foxconn is aligning its labour policies, particularly in regard to hours of over-time, with local laws. Previously, Foxconn employees worked up to 20 hours per week of over-time, where the law demands no more than 9 hours per week. Foxconn insists it will comply with the law, though it argues it will take them time to get there. Some employees are reportedly leaving Foxconn for more lucrative work since they will be unable to earn a satisfactory wage without the excess over-time (though Foxconn has raised wages at some plants over the past year). Meanwhile, Louis Woo, a special assistant to Foxconn's CEO, is quoted as saying:
It is a challenge. When we reduce overtime it means we need to hire more people and implement more automation, more investment on robotic engineering. More workers also mean more dormitories and recreational facilities; it takes time...But I expect more loyalty from workers as a result, and then we can save more costs on recruitment and retainment.
Woo indicated Foxconn expects worker efficiency and productivity to increase along with worker loyalty, even though Foxconn simultaneously claims it would be harder to attract workers while improving working conditions and decreasing over-time.
Foxconn has also pledged to improve both its safety standards and the conditions in its dormitories, and has given a deadline of 2013 to meet labour laws regarding over-time.
Hot on the heels of Nintendo Power getting the axe comes the annoucement that Sony is disbanding the guys behind the Wipeout series, Studio Liverpool.
"As part of SCE Worldwide Studios, we do regular reviews to ensure that the resources we have can create and produce high quality, innovative and commercially viable projects in an increasingly competitive marketplace. As part of this process, we have reviewed and assessed all current and planned projects for the short and medium term and have decided to make some changes to our European Studios.
It has been decided that Liverpool Studio should be closed. Liverpool Studio has been an important part of SCE Worldwide Studios since the outset of PlayStation, and have contributed greatly to PlayStation over the years. Everyone connected with Liverpool Studio, past and present, can be very proud of their achievements."
Oh, you don't know anything about this studio and have never played Wipeout? Let me put this in perspective for you -- these are the guys that made the game versions of Spice World and The Last Action Hero, as well as several games for Nick Arcade. That's right, this is serious business.
I'm kidding, of course. While they did actually make those games, Studio Liverpool was formerly known as Psygnosis and founded in 1984. This is, or rather was, one of the oldest and most prolific developers out there in the market today. Take a peek at the company's Wikipedia page and stand in awe of their massive developed/published games list.
This is truly a sad day for the video game industry. Raise your glasses to a fallen friend.
Well, Final Fantasy XIII escalated quickly. Despite the amazing divisive powers of the latest two entries in the Final Fantasy franchise, a new chapter in the "Lightning Saga" promises to continue the story (and certainly convolute it even further).
Earlier today, a teaser website went up announcing that "A Storm Gathers." Okay, it's not so much of a teaser as it is an announcement of an announcement. It bluntly tells you that they've got some stuff brewing and can't wait to boil it over our internets. From the website:
FINAL FANTASY XIII TEAM TO PRESENT NEW DIRECTION FOR THE SAGA OF KEY CHARACTER, LIGHTNING
The "Lightning Saga" that started with the release of FINAL FANTASY XIII, has achieved a cumulative shipment of over 9.6 million units; and in May 2012 FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 was brought to conclusion with the add-on content entitled "Lightning's Story: Requiem of the Goddess".
Key members of the FINAL FANTASY XIII development team including the Producer, Director and Art Director, are in preparations to present new information about the direction of Lightning's story. This presentation will take place at an event in Tokyo to celebrate FINAL FANTASY 25th Anniversary, on 1st September 2012.
So, yeah, Final Fantasy XIII-3. While it would be the biggest turn around and punch in the throat for this to actually be the announcement that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is finally coming out, that seems about as likely as a current generation FF7 remake. Plus, one of those storm clouds kind of looks like Lightning raising her sword to attack some behemoth cloud creature and that can't be a coincidence.
What do you think? Study those storm clouds and let me know in the comments.
Yup, this makes three Wii U stories in three days. Frankly, there will probably be a lot more as the console gears up to release in a few months.
"Late 2012" is all Nintendo has said regarding the Wii U's release, but the newest rumour mongering, quoting a source from US retailer GameStop, is putting that date square in the middle of curious American capitalist orgy Black Friday. (For our non-American readers who, as I was, are largely unfamiliar with the American shopping holiday Black Friday, it's the day after American Thanksgiving, and is generally associated with an early morning buying frenzy that has, at times, resulted in small amounts of chaos.)
Since Black Friday begins what is generally considered the most lucrative buying season in the US, and it makes complete sense that Nintendo would want to position the release of the successor to the astonishingly mass-market popular Wii on that day. The same reports have included a picture of alleged Wii U game pricing, averaging $40 - 50 USD. Meanwhile, pre-orders are expected to start within the week.
We'll see how much of this pans out, and bring you more as it comes.
Rumour's had it for some time now that a Wii U version of Call of Duty: Black Ops II would be coming out around the system's launch at the end of 2012. The game is slated to come out on November 13, 2012, for PC, PS3, and 360.
Now an apparent oopsie on a Treyarch employee's resume has indicated that the company has been involved in quality assurance for a Wii U version of the game for some time. (I won't be linking to the tester's Linkedin resume, as having his name all over the internet for spilling the beans might hurt the poor guy's career.) Of course, this isn't the same as an official announcement, but it certainly adds fuel to the rumours that have been circulating, and may feel like vindication for those who said the Wii U Pro Controller was created to get the Call of Duty franchise on board Nintendo's new console.
When the idea of "cloud gaming" first reared its binary head, we all heard whispers about "the death of traditional gaming." System requirements would be made a thing of the past, by streaming content from a much more capable machine than your pitiful, underpowered, proletarian computer. Console titles could be streamed to your television through OnLive Game System, eliminating the need for physical media altogether, and saving consumers money on more expensive game systems. Indeed, with the magic of a broadband connection, the pantheon of gaming loveliness could be at one's e-fingertips.
So how is the slaying of traditional gaming coming along? In the case of OnLive, not so well.
Are you gay and working in the games industry? If you are interested in networking with other folks like you within the industry, try joining the Gay Game-Industry Professionals mailing list.
Click here for all the details!