Gamers: Jace Has Your Back

February 19, 2010 -

Jason/Jace Hall has had a long and varied career centered in interactive entertainment, but he’s found yet another new career to try out—recording star.

Hall is putting out an EP entitled Video Games Aren’t Bad For Ya, which as you might imagine, will attempt to put games in a positive light. The EP’s first single is called I Play W.O.W., an unapologetic ode to playing the massively multiplayer online game.

Hall's take on game critics:

When you are told that you are being lazy, or wasting your time, or being anti social – when in fact you have just spent 22 hours working VERY hard with a GROUP of people accomplishing extremely difficult tasks – you want to tell the uninformed person accosting you to F** OFF!

While the song has a certain Weird Al quality to it, it’s all in fun, and Hall is a giant of a man, so we’ll reserve any further judgment. Just go listen to/download a clean version of the song here. Clean and explicit versions are available on iTunes for 99 cents each.

Hall was a co-founder and CEO of Monolith Productions before moving on to become Senior Vice President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Now he is an Executive Producer of the ABC television show V: The Series and star of the Jace Hall Show.

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Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt Cobain Avatar

September 11, 2009 -

Video game blogs and message boards have been debating the appropriateness of Kurt Cobain’s posthumous inclusion as a playable character in the recently released Guitar Hero 5.  Some think it’s a welcome tribute, others find it a bit creepy if not outright distasteful.

But what does Cobain’s widow Courtney Love think?  Well, one needs look no further than her Twitter account:

For the record this Guitar Hero [expletive] is breach of contract on a Bullys part and there will be a proper addressing of this and retraction. WE are going to sue the [expletive] out of Activision we being the Trust the Estate the LLC the various LLCs Cobain Enterprises.

While Love’s main gripe seems to be the appearance of Cobain’s character model and a feature that allows it to perform other artist’s songs, Activision Vice President Tim Riley told The Guardian that she was very cooperative in the creation of the game:

Courtney supplied us with photos and videos. She picked the wardrobe and hairstyle, which turned out to be the 'Teen Spirit' look, then we went back and forth over changes – some subtle, some not so subtle.

Love, for her part, doesn’t seem to agree:

Activision is fulllo f sh*t... i never intended to APPROVE this sh*t, they are doing a recall you can be sure of that… wait til you see what my lovely lawyer has cooked up, i never ever signed off on this.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that surviving Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl are also unhappy with the use of Cobain’s likeness:

While we were aware of Kurt's image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn't know players have the ability to unlock the character.  This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in 're-locking' Kurt's character so that this won't continue in the future.

Activision defended itself in a statement released Thursday, saying that it “secured the necessary licensing rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement signed by Courtney Love to use Kurt Cobain’s likeness as a fully playable character in Guitar Hero 5.”

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Senior Correspondent Andrew Eisen

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Limited Edition Beatles Rock Band Xbox 360 Auction Benefits Doctors Without Borders

September 10, 2009 -

With 84 bids down and seven days of auctioning left as I write this, a limited edition Xbox 360 which celebrates the release of The Beatles Rock Band is selling for $7,400 on Ebay.

The sale of the beautifully customized console will benefit Doctors Without Borders. From the auction listing:

Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison personally selected the charity as the beneficiary of these proceeds.

Kotaku reports that the charitable auction is the first in a series.

If the console auction is too rich for your blood, purchasing the DLC bonus track All You Need is Love on Xbox Live (about $2) will help out Doctors Without Borders as well. All proceeds go to the charity an purchasers will be entered into a context to win one of the limited edition consoles as well as a
Rickenbacker 325 replica guitar controller.
 

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If a Pirated Song = $80K, What is the Value of a Pirated Game?

July 2, 2009 -

In a recent, highly-publicized court decision, music industry lobbying group the RIAA won an eye-popping $1.92 million verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset (left) of Minnesota. That works out to $80,000 per song for each of the 24 tunes that the 32-year-old mother of four was accused of sharing.

How might such a case work out for someone accused of file-sharing video games?

Not well, according to gamer/attorney Mark Methenitis. In his Law of the Game column on Joystiq

If we assume [the Thomas-Rasset verdict] is allowed to stand, the possible implication is that the individual works that comprise the greater work that is a video game could be each pursued individually. So, for example, if you pirate a copy of Guitar Hero 4, you're not only liable for the piracy of the game, but also the piracy of the 86 included music tracks. So, keeping the value at $80,000 per work, your total bill would be $6.96 million. That's only 116,000 times the $60 retail value of the game...

 

It seems likely that a better balance will need to be struck... Is the solution to make small time, individual piracy the speeding ticket of the 21st century, punished with a stinging slap on the wrist when caught? Perhaps...

As for Jammie Thomas-Rasset, her comment on the verdict was, "Good luck getting it from me." Meanwhile, the RIAA has filed some 30,000 similar lawsuits around the United States.

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Massachusetts Guv Brags About Guitar Hero

June 25, 2009 -

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) did a little bragging on Guitar Hero at a town hall meeting  in Arlington on Monday night.

Patrick, who lobbied game publishers to relocate to Massachusetts during a West Coast junket in February, was enthusiastic about the state's economic prospects during his talk with citizens, according to Wicked Local Arlington:

This is not your father’s [Route] 128. You know that [video game] ‘Guitar Hero’? That was invented here. It was built here.

Route 128 is well-known as a technology corridor in Massachusetts. Guitar Hero creator Harmonix is based in Cambridge.

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School Holds Rock Band Fundraiser For Children Who Lost Parents in Rampage

June 2, 2009 -

In April the United States was stunned by the news of a shooting rampage at the offices of the American Civic Association in Binghampton, New York. During the horrific incident 41-year-old Vietnamese immigrant Jiverly Wong killed 13 people and wounded several more before turning his weapon on himself.

Central New York station News 10 reports that children at a local middle school held a Rock Band tournament last Friday to benefit two children who lost both parents in the ACA shooting. The children of victims Marc and Marie Bernard will attend the Maine-Endwell Middle School in the fall. Tom Burkhardt, who organized the fundraiser told News 10:

We learned about these two children that lost both their parents and knew that they were gonna be coming to our school next year. And basically, the teachers and the staff wanted to do something, we were wondering what we could do, and we thought of this.

Local businesses donated prizes for the tournament.

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Guitar Games Inspire Kids to Try the Real Thing, Says Instructor

May 11, 2009 -

While some critics maintain that there is very little connection between playing a real guitar and tapping out note combos on Rock Band or Guitar Hero, a Pennsylvania music instructor would disagree.

The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat interviewed guitar teacher Bo Moore, who claims to have seen a 35% increase in new students over the last two years:

A lot of kids have been getting into [guitar lessons] because of games, especially ‘Guitar Hero. Kids who might never have become interested in learning to play the guitar are now coming to us... The game is a completely different concept from playing a real guitar, but it does help with dexterity in their fingers.

Kids are coming to me wanting to learn to play, which is wonderful... It’s nice that bands like Foghat, the Steve Miller Band and the Rolling Stones are cool again. Kids come here focused and with a game plan.

For guitar players, it’s all about songs like ‘Smoke on the Water’ and ‘Sweet Home Alabama...’ And what’s great about some of those power chords – the garage rock songs – is that they’re relatively easy to play. If that inspires a kid to pick up an instrument, I think it’s great.

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Vietnam's First Home-grown Game Project Traces History & Culture

March 25, 2009 -

While Vietnamese game developers have been doing contract work for foreign companies for some time, the country's first locally-created game project is now underway.

Thanh Nien News reports that Game Studio South, a subsidiary of VinaGame, is developing Thuan Thien Kiem, a PC title which draws upon the history and culture of Vietnam:

The first 100-percent Vietnamese game is expected to be launched this summer under the title Thuan Thien Kiem, which means “God’s Sword,” a legendary weapon used by Vietnamese King Le Loi in the 14th-15th centuries...

Taking place in the Later Le Dynasty from the mid-15th century to 16th century, Thuan Thien Kiem features content from local folk stories and legends. In the game, players take on the roles of legendary Vietnamese heroes and heroines...

Traditional customs like marriage ceremonies and folk games will also be a part of the game, which aims to give players the background histories of favorite folk songs. The game also details the origins of several rare pieces of music from Vietnam’s past dynasties.

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British Knife Crime Czar Urges Tax on Violent Video Games

March 10, 2009 -

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's advisor on knife crimes has called for a tax on violent video games, reports the Telegraph.

Richard Taylor (left), whose 10-year-old son Damilola was stabbed to death in 2000 made his comments to to the Brown Government's Home Affairs Committee.

Also coming in for Taylor's criticism were rap music and American cultural influences:

Violent games are “too cheap” and taxes on them should be “very high”, Mr Taylor told MPs.

He told the Home Affairs Committee: “I have young people who I mentor and I see them go up and buy the games and it saddens me that they are being able to have such a negative impact...”

Mr Taylor also told MPs that he was concerned about the content of much rap music.

“It is creating more of a problem because of the language that is used. It is language that, as a father, I would not allow my children to hear. To me, there is a lot of negativity that comes out of this music, especially that which is coming from America.”

Nebraska State Auditor Employs Fuzzy Logic to Zing Gaming Librarians

March 2, 2009 -

Last week GamePolitics reported that some Nebraska librarians were under investigation by State Auditor Mike Foley (R) for - horrors! - purchasing a PlayStation 2 and Rock Band set for use in the library.

Foley's final report on Nebraska's library system is now out, including his findings on the video game issue:

[Library] Commission employees have occasionally provided their own personal game consoles for trainings and demonstrations...

GP: Now that's dedication, a quality that government bureaucracy is so good at beating out of its employees. No good deed, as they say, goes unpunished.

The purchase of gaming equipment is a questionable use of public funds. It is common
knowledge that children enjoy games and toys, so there appears to have been little need to
purchase the games.

GP: Wait - kids like games, so the library shouldn't buy them? Does that mean they should expend their budget on things that people don't like? WTH?

Moreover, none of the games purchased were so complicated or out of the ordinary as to require the Commission to demonstrate their use to library staff and others...

GP: Because absolutely everyone who walks into a Nebraska library - including older librarians - has an innate sense of how to set up and play Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution? Thankfully, the Library Commission defended it employees against the Foley-crats:

Gaming equipment and games have become increasingly popular and in demand resources for library programming and service. The Library Commission purchased game equipment in response to requests from Nebraska librarians for demonstration and instruction. The Library Commission’s actions in acquiring gaming equipment and a few representative games are proper and in accord with the agency’s state statutory mission and its purposes in introducing new technologies, techniques and providing information and instruction in the use of these technologies.
 

GP: Bureaucracy... Grrrr...

Via: Nebraska State Paper

UPDATE: Cornfed Gamer has a terrific report on the situation with lots of additional details.

TV News, State Officials Investigate Rock Band-Playing Librarians... But Weren't They Just Doing Their Job?

February 25, 2009 -

Omaha's Action News 3 is running an exposé on some Nebraska Library Commission employees who posted a video of themselves setting up and playing Rock Band on company time. But did the workers do anything wrong? From the Action News report:

Were some Nebraska state workers paid to play? A video that appeared on YouTube is creating a firestorm of reaction and suggests so...  Employees at the Nebraska Library Commission are accused of wasting [taxpayer money] and then posting video and pictures of the whole thing on line.

Nebraska State Auditor Mike Foley told Action News that a YouTube user spotted the video at left and made a complaint, leading to an investigation by Foley's office. However, Library Commission Director Rob Wagner has backed up his employees:

In a phone interview... Wagner says the workers did nothing wrong. He says the library system is branching out into video games to bring more young people into the libraries. 

GP: While library systems around the country are increasingly adopting video games in an effort to attract teens and stay culturally relevant, that word seems not to have filtered back to either Action News 3 or the Nebraska Auditor General's office.

If libraries are going to offer games like Rock Band, wouldn't it make sense for the employees to at least know how to set them up and be able to explain them to library users?

It's too bad that the local media and the state bureacracy is screwing them over for their efforts at innovation.

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Stephen Colbert Plays Rock Band Duet with Utah Congressman

February 7, 2009 -

Stephen Colbert and freshman Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) play the Rock Band version of Colbert's own Charlene (I'm Right Behind You).

Chaffetz, who has previously leg-wrestled Colbert, earns a disappointing 24% score for the song's guitar track, while Colbert racks up a perfect score on vocals.

Still, credit to Chaffetz where it's due. How many Congress types would be willing to try Rock Band on national TV?

Via: Layton Shumway, games guru of the Deseret News

UPDATE: Glen Warchol of the Salt Lake Tribune finds Chaffetz's antics "excruciatingly mortifying:"

Is there a[n] information medium that freshman Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz won't exploit?

Besides Twittering and participating in a CNN reality show on life as a rookie congressman, Chaffetz allowed faux political pundit Stephen Colbert to humiliate him in leg wrestling, Rock Band and even subject him to a facial. Warning: Watch at your own risk. It is so excruciatingly mortifying, you may want to crawl under a chair for C[h]affetz.

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North Dakota's 1st Lady Plays Guitar Hero... Legislators Fail at DDR

February 6, 2009 -

Bismarck's KYFR-5 reports that North Dakota's First Lady Mikey Hoeven (sporting the big hair at left) has played a bit of Guitar Hero. And the wife of Gov. John Hoeven (R) isn't bad at Dance Dance Revolution, either.

News of Mrs. Hoeven's gaming chops leaked during an American Heart Association event at the State Capitol. KYFR reports that legislators who gave DDR a try didn't fare nearly as well as the First Lady:

Sen. Dwight Cook knows a thing or two about North Dakota politics, but there was one thing going on at the capitol today that was over his head.

"It's not easy, it`s not easy at all," Cook says.

The response most legislators had after testing out Dance, Dance Revolution... Unfortunately, legislators weren`t so enthused about the high-tech workout.

"Most of them, I think, are a little shy or shy away from it because of the technology, I think they`re afraid like `Oh is this going to move too fast for me?` And `I can`t do this,`" says [gym teacher Tammi] Doppler...

First Lady Mikey Hoeven was among the top scoring in the political sector. But she admits, she had the upper hand as the concept of the game isn`t new because she`s played Guitar Hero.

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Red Ring of Zune? 30GB Versions of Microsoft mp3 Player All Fail at Once

December 31, 2008 -

It's not exactly a video game story, but...

Multiple reports are coming in that every 30GB Zune (Microsoft's mp3 player) failed this morning at 2 a.m.

College OTR has this:

Microsoft is just squeezing in under the wire to claim the rights to “weirdest tech story of the year.”Last night at approximately 2 AM, every 30GB Zune model on the planet crashed... The Zunes reset, powered up, then froze on the loading bar screen, and no conventional method of resetting them appears to work.


This is brought to you courtesy of Microsoft, who has been selling a video game console with a nearly 100% fail rate for three years. The Zune situation is all the more disasterous however seeing as all of them failed at the exact same moment, which people have taken to calling 2K9.

From Gizmodo:

Right, so this is a weird one: we're getting tons of reports—tons—about failing Zune 30s. Apparently, the players began freezing at about midnight last night, becoming totally unresponsive and practically useless.

The crisis has been dubbed by Zune users 'Y2K9', due to the apparently synchronized faceplantings across the country... This report is consistently corroborated by literally hundreds of others across the various Zune support and fan forums.

GP: Zune users, jump to comments and tell us what is happening with your player...

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8-bit Jesus: Christmas Carols Performed in Retro Game Style

December 22, 2008 -

Here's some holiday gaming awesomeness, just in time for December 25th.

GameCyte reports that Doctor Octoroc is offering 18 classic Christmas carols, arranged in 8-bit game style.

The mp3 files are free to download and a physical CD, complete with appropriately retro cover, is available for a mere $15.

Here's the track list. Note the fun that the good doctor had with the titles:

  • We Three Konami
  • 8 Days of Master Robots
  • Ryu, The Red Nosed Ninja
  • We Wish You A Merry Faxanadu
  • Silent Knight Man
  • Carol Of The Belmonts
  • Contraland
  • Little Drummer Nemo
  • Joy To Commando
  • Super Jingle Bros.
  • Bubbles We Have Heard On Bobble
  • What Guardian Is Legend?
  • Deck The Kremlin
  • Icarus! The Angels Sing
  • The Legend Of Noel
  • O Come, All Ye Vampires
  • Kraid, Rest Ye Merry Mother Brain
  • Have Yourself A Final Little Fantasy
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Oh No You Didn't: Mercs 2 Song Plays as Skins Hold Off Eagles

December 22, 2008 -

Sunday was a tough day for Eagles fans (like yours truly).

The Washington Redskins stymied the Eagles' offense all day long and led 10-3 late in the fourth quarter. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Eagles receiver Reggie Brown was stuffed at the goal line by a pair of Washington defenders.

And what song was blaring over the public address system at Washington's Fedex Field?

Oh No You Didn't.

The Wojahn Brothers tune is the theme for EA's hit Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.

Cinema Blend, which picked up on the use of the Mercs 2 song, reports:

It's a tough song to describe; essentially it's a rap with piano accompaniment and a choir-style chorus. Somehow, all of these strange elements come together into a catchy masterpiece... it's pretty awesome that a song created for a video game's gotten this sort of mainstream attention.

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Music Industry Gives Up on Suing Consumers, Will Pressure ISPs Instead

December 19, 2008 -

Following years of suing individuals for sharing music on peer-to-peer networks, the music industry has decided to try a new tactic.

They'll try to have your Internet service cut off, instead.

The Wall Street Journal reports that music biz trade group the RIAA will shift its anti-piracy strategy from individuals to ISPs:

The [RIAA] said it plans to try an approach that relies on the cooperation of Internet-service providers. The trade group said it has hashed out preliminary agreements with major ISPs under which it will send an email to the provider when it finds a provider's customers making music available online for others to take.

Depending on the agreement, the ISP will either forward the note to customers, or alert customers that they appear to be uploading music illegally, and ask them to stop. If the customers continue the file-sharing, they will get one or two more emails, perhaps accompanied by slower service from the provider. Finally, the ISP may cut off their access altogether.

According to the WSJ, the RIAA has filed some 35,000 lawsuits against private citizens since 2002. Despite the shift in strategy, the organization says it plans to continue with those suits already in progess.

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Harvard Law School vs. RIAA ...Fight!!

December 15, 2008 -

A team from Harvard Law School will square off against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today in a Rhode Island Federal Court, according to a Harvard Law press release.

Prof. Charles Nesson (left) and a group of law students have taken up the case of Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University grad student targeted by the RIAA. Alleging that Joel file-shared seven songs as a teenager, the RIAA is seeking more than one million dollars from Tenenbaum family. Odly enough, if the same music was purchased on iTunes, the total value would be all of $6.93.

Matt Sanchez, one of law students assisting Prof. Nesson, said:

The basic rules of evidence suggest that this invasion of privacy is both unnecessary and absurd. This hearing isn’t only about Joel’s parents.  It’s also about finally putting up a fight against the recording industry’s intimidation practices.

An except from a case document filed by the Harvard team explains their position:

The [RIAA] is in the process of bringing to bear upon the defendant, Joel Tenenbaum, the full might of its lobbying influence and litigating power. Joel Tenenbaum was a teenager at the time of the alleged copyright infringements, in every way representative of his born-digital generation. The plaintiffs and the RIAA are seeking to punish him beyond any rational measure of the damage he allegedly caused.

 

They do this, not for the purpose of recovering compensation for actual damage caused by Joel’s individual action, nor for the primary purpose of deterring him from further copyright infringement, but for the ulterior purpose of creating an urban legend so frightening to children using computers, and so frightening to parents and teachers of students using computers, that they will somehow reverse the tide of the digital future

Check out Harvard Law's CyberOne blog for more info. There is also a Facebook group in support of Joel Tenenbaum.

GP: While not a video game story, Harvard Law's legal battle against the RIAA's IP ham-handed enforcement tactics have implications for game consumers as well.

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Coldplay Video Contest Entry Touts Educational Value of Games

December 2, 2008 -

Best-selling band Coldplay has been running a contest which challenges fans to create a video accompaniment to its tune Lost.

Among those submitting entries is education software-oriented website GamingKrib.

While their contest video is essentially a commercial for their business, it also pulls in some fascinating quotes and stats regarding how young people relate to digital tech, gaming and education.

 

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Bill O'Reilly Whines About Heidi Klum's Guitar Hero Commercial

November 14, 2008 -

On Fox News program The O'Reilly Factor, pundit Bill O'Reilly tries to drag Heidi Klum's Guitar Hero commercial into the culture wars, but even his two conservative female guests don't want to go there.

At issue is Heidi's Risky Business-inspired Guitar Hero shredding routine. O'Reilly is apparently concerned about the the moral effects of the commercial, featuring a lingerie-clad Klum, airing in prime time.

Then again, O'Reilly has never been much of a fan of video games. Or iPods. Or Blackberries. But Mr. Morality does enjoy a good loofa.

GP: Thanks to GP jack-of-all-trades Andrew Eisen for the sharp eyes...

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Obama Team Kicked Back with Rock Band

November 11, 2008 -

With some gamers expressing concern about President-elect Barack Obama's position on video games, it's somehow reassuring to learn that campaign staffers partook of group Rock Band sessions during their down time.

That word comes by way of a look back on Obama's winning strategy by the New Yorker:

Like many campaign teams, Obama’s was young. The communications department –made up mostly of guys in their twenties and thirties — had a fraternity-house quality. On weekends, they would often drink beer together and play the video game “Rock Band” at a group house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

 

They had been brought up in Democratic politics in the previous two decades with an understanding that the people who worked for Bill and Hillary Clinton were the best operatives in Washington, especially when it came to dealing with the media. They had watched “The War Room,” the documentary about the 1992 Clinton campaign, which featured strategists like James Carville and George Stephanopoulos manically responding to every negative story and trying to win every news cycle.

Via: MTV Multiplayer

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Webcomic: Obama, McCain & Guitar Hero

November 1, 2008 -

Political cartoon site Filibuster takes a look at current presidential campaign poll results through the lens of Guitar Hero...

Thanks to: Sharp-eyed GP correspondent Andrew Eisen. No worthy webcomic escapes his all-seeing eye!

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Playboy Centerfold is Former Guitar Hero P.R. Rep

October 25, 2008 -

To my great surprise there was a plain brown envelope from Playboy Enterprises International in the GamePolitics post office box yesterday. Inside was the November issue.

After about three hours of perusing the magazine (in the interests of giving GP readers a complete and accurate report), I figured out the reason why Playboy sent the mag my way.

It seems that Miss November, Grace Kim, is a former publicist for Guitar Hero publisher Activision. The brief bio which accompanies her centerfold pictorial discusses her connection to the game: 

I play a mean game of Guitar Hero and I'm willing to challenge anybody. I must warn you I'm a very sore loser - at any game...

 

Grace says her ideal date is a round of Guitar Hero or Rock Band with perks.

Kotaku has a lengthy interview with Grace:

I had heard of an opening to work directly with the head director of Guitar Hero, so I applied, and I didn't think I'd get the job because there were so many applicants... but I also had a lot of PR experience. I was really blessed that they brought me on board. I think they appreciated my passion...

"Activision was getting annoyed [over the time demands of the Playboy picture shoots], and I wanted to keep my job [at first]... But my boss wasn't happy and I wasn't happy, and being a Playmate is a job. I really wanted to explore that area, and see where this path would take me. And, working so much for Activision kind of killed my love a little for Guitar Hero.

 

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Penny Arcade Has Some Fun with Little Big Planet Recall

October 23, 2008 -

Gabe and Tycho poke fun at the Little Big Planet controversy in their latest cartoon.

Catch all of the panels here...

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Islamic Musician Defends Lyrics That Delayed Little Big Planet

October 22, 2008 -

The Islamic musician whose Qur'anic references in a Little Big Planet soundtrack tune caused a delay in the game's release has defended his lyrics to MTV Multiplayer. Singer Toumani Diabate (left) explains:

It is quite normal to play music and be inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammed... in my country in Mali. You can see this on television all the time.

MTV Multiplayer also has a more in-depth explanantion of the "offending" lyrics, provided by Diabate's record label. In this context they sound entirely inoffensive:

Moussa Diabate, adapts a traditional Malian song about the death of a much-loved hippopotamus who has been shot by a white hunter. In the original song... the griots of the village sing about how difficult it is to be separated from your loved one in death.

The singer adapts this song... to lament the death of his brother Mustapha, who died very young as a child. Moussa draws on the excerpts from the Koran to console him & help him overcome his bereavement. In this way, his intention... is a good one. He is not blaspheming or taking the Koran out of context. He is trying to draw strength from the words of the Prophet.

...‘Every soul shall have the taste of death...
...All that is on earth will perish...

Meanwhile, Reuters wonders whether, in the wake of its second faith-based controversy in as many years, Sony needs to hire a religious advisor. Perhaps more to the point, Reuters asks:

Should companies simply avoid any reference to Islam at all?

GP: Is that really what the Islamic world wants, to become a zone of avoidance for pop culture?

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SCEE Issues New Ship Date for Little Big Planet

October 20, 2008 -

In the wake of Friday's surprising news that the release of Little Big Planet would be delayed following the discovery of two verses from the Qur'an in one of the game's soundtrack songs, SCEE has issued a press release regarding the updated launch schedule for its terroritories:

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is pleased to confirm that LittleBigPlanet will start to appear in stores no later than the week commencing Monday 3rd November in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, on a country by country basis. We appreciate all the enthusiasm surrounding this much anticipated title and we would like to thank PlayStation fans for their support and understanding.

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At Fallout 3 Launch Party, Foo Fighters' Grohl Almost Dedicates Song to Sarah Palin

October 17, 2008 -

The Foo Fighters entertained the crowd at a private Fallout 3 launch party last night in L.A. and Entertainment Weekly reports that frontman Dave Grohl seemed close to dedicating Everlong to Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.

It was just 10 days ago that the band issued a statement protesting the use of their tune My Hero at McCain/Palin rallies.

From EW:

Playing for several hundred videogame enthusiasts gathered to celebrate the much anticipated launch of the post-apocalyptic Fallout 3, the Foo frontman... [praised] the open bar at the downtown Los Angeles gig several times, and... toasted gamers everywhere.

 

"I'm proud of you guys," he said. "You're living the American dream. You get to drink free booze and play f----n' video games. Who knows, maybe someday you can be vice president!" While readying his guitar for the song "Everlong," Grohl segued from the V.P. reference into a near-dedication: "Speaking of that, I'm gonna dedicate this one to all the..." And then flinched. "Never mind." Whoa. To all the...Republicans? Several people in attendance certainly wondered if that was what the singer was thisclose to doing. Tongue-in-cheek perhaps?

 

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Little Big Planet Release Delayed Over Qur'an References in Song

October 17, 2008 -

The Little Big Planet launch won't go off next week as originally scheduled.

As reported by Joystiq, Sony is delaying LBP worldwide due to concerns about Qur'an references in a single song file. SCEE issued a statement on the situation:

During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur'an. We have taken immediate action to rectify this and we sincerely apologise for any offence that this may have caused. We will confirm the new launch date shortly.

Joystiq reports that the tune in question is Tapha Niang by Grammy winner Toumani Diabaté. From Joystiq's report:

From the brief research we've done (um ... Wikipedia), we have yet to find evidence to suggest "Tapha Niang" (or any Toumani Diabaté production for that matter) has been criticized for possible religious offenses prior to today's development. In fact, a profile published by Taipei Times describes Toumani Diabaté as "a devout Muslim, with his own prayer room next to his office."

GP: SCEE, still smarting from the Resistance / Manchester Cathedral controversy, is likely being extra-cautious here in an effort not to step on anyone's religious toes.

Thanks to: GP reader Josh Thompson for the tip!

UPDATE: Just got this e-mail with reviewer info from Sony:

Please be sure to check out the latest PlayStation blog post regarding LittleBigPlanet for the PS3.  Feel free to move forward with publishing reviews and features, but note that SCEA will begin shipping LittleBigPlanet to retail in North America the week of October 27th. 

UPDATE 2: Kotaku has a translation of the offending passages:

Every soul shall have the taste of death...  All that is on earth will perish...

UPDATE 3: Here's the official PlayStation blog announcement. Doesn't add much, although some of the commenters are outraged.

90 comments

Rapper: Turn Off PlayStation, Get Involved in Political Process

October 10, 2008 -

Rapper T.I. (real name: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.) urges the younger generation to pay attention to the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain - even if it means putting video games aside for a while.

As reported by People, T.I. commented on the upcoming election:

When I'm speaking to young people and they say, 'Who you voting for?' I say, 'Well, what you think's wrong with the country? What problems do you need to be fixed? OK, then cut your PlayStation off and turn to CNN and listen to these people.

Listen to each of the candidates' platforms, and whoever you think is speaking passionately and intelligently and will do the things you think need changed, that's who you vote for.
 

 

22 comments

CBS News Looks at Guitar Hero

September 20, 2008 -

In the last of this week's three-part series on video games, the CBS Evening News offers an interview with Aerosmith's Joe Perry, who talks about how Guitar Hero is changing the music business.

24 comments

 
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Sleaker@CraigR been using Win8.1 for a while, I don't really see any usability difference between it and 7 (Work uses 7)10/01/2014 - 2:16am
Craig R.Ok, my internal debate was short-lived. If Win10 is still a year out, I'm not waiting that long for an SSD, so on Win7 I will remain.09/30/2014 - 7:52pm
Matthew Wilsonits called windows 10, and I am happy to get the start menu back.09/30/2014 - 7:18pm
Jessy HartIs this stuff about Windows 10 legit? Is it actually called Windows 10 or is it just some stupid joke?09/30/2014 - 6:57pm
ZippyDSMleeSo I been trying to play Bioshock Infinite I got all the DLC,ect but do not want the extras to make your charatcer over powered from the start.....they force you to take them which is quite annoying......09/30/2014 - 6:45pm
Craig R.I need to upgrade to an SSD, still seriously debating moving to Win8.1 from 7 at the same time09/30/2014 - 6:07pm
Craig R.Win10 is probably Win8.1 with more cleanup and the Start button back.09/30/2014 - 6:06pm
Sora-ChanAhh, it's just weird seeing someone's post all of a sudden have replies from days prior before it was posted due to that.09/30/2014 - 5:49pm
MechaTama31sora: I broke the ordering intentionally, as AE's and my conversation had squeezed the text boxes down to be quite slim. I replied to an earlier post of his instead of the one I was actually replying to.09/30/2014 - 5:46pm
MechaTama31So, 9 would have been the good one, but they are skipping it to do two crap ones in a row?09/30/2014 - 5:41pm
Sora-ChanSo, judging from the poll post for #gamergate, it looks like too many thread replies breaks the ordering of posts, as seen with the recent post from Infophile.09/30/2014 - 5:31pm
Andrew EisenOr no! It wasn't Y3K compliant. Microsoft thought it best to super future proof its OS and skipped straight to 10 which is Y3K compliant!09/30/2014 - 5:01pm
Andrew EisenJust tell them it wasn't Y2K compliant.09/30/2014 - 5:00pm
Craig R.Looking forward to having to explain to coworkers down the road what ever happened to 9 *sigh*09/30/2014 - 4:57pm
Craig R.2k was crap. XP was solid, 7 is good, 8.1 is actually really good once you make it look like 7 :)09/30/2014 - 4:52pm
Sora-Chan@MP As someone who has used each version of windows since 3.1... I prefer Vista over 7 for various reasons. The only thing I give 7 over Vista is preformance. They really screwed up a bunch of things when making 7. Also, XP was a pain. 2k was better.09/30/2014 - 4:13pm
Jessy Hart@E. Zachary Knight Is that show called Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures?09/30/2014 - 3:34pm
IanCWin 8 isn't bad, it just can't decide whether to be a desktop OS or a tablet OS.09/30/2014 - 2:40pm
IanCI think its a way of getting round giving it free to Win 8 users...09/30/2014 - 2:39pm
MaskedPixelanteWindows alternates between bad and good versions. XP was good, Vista sucked, 7 was good, 8 sucked, therefore 10 will suck, QED.09/30/2014 - 2:18pm
 

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