Some eagle-eyed commenters on Reddit have noted that several games have been removed from Steam... and from other digital distribution platforms in the new year. According to the Reddit thread, both Aliens: Colonial Marines and the 2010 version of Aliens vs. Predator have been removed from the Steam catalog.
In late February Sega announced that it would split Atlus away from its parent company, Japan-based Index. Sega acquired the original North American publisher of Tactics Ogre, Disgaea, Steambot Chronicles, Trauma Center, the Persona series, and many other popular Japanese games in September 2013 in a deal that cost the company an estimated $140 million.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has canceled the trademark for Sega's Shenmue game, according to an entry on its web site. The USPTO lists the registration for the game trademark as cancelled "because registrant did not file an acceptable declaration under Section 8." Section 8 requires that the trademark holder must maintain and renew an "existing registration to ensure that the registration remains live."
More details have emerged on what Sega plans to do with Atlus and its parent company, Japan-based Index. Sega acquired the original North American publisher of Tactics Ogre, Disgaea, Steambot Chronicles, Trauma Center, the Persona series, and many other popular Japanese games in September 2013 in a deal that cost the company an estimated $140 million.
Sega of America has added its name to the sizable list of creditors seeking money from bankrupt third-party publisher THQ. The company filed a claim with the bankruptcy court seeking $940,000 from THQ over Company of Heroes 2 pre-orders on Steam. Sega of America acquired Company of Heroes developer Relic Entertainment from THQ in January in a deal reportedly worth $26 million.
Sega has finally admitted that the trailers for Aliens: Colonial Marines that were deployed before the game was released to promote it were misleading. Sega Europe has gone so far as to say that it plans to put disclaimers on all of the trailers in the United Kingdom because they do not reflect final game. The company did not say if similar disclaimers will be implemented in North America or other regions.
Level-5 CEO Hiroshi Akihiro Hino has responded to Sega's recent lawsuit, denying that the Professor Layton and Dragon Quest developer infringed on Sega's patents and called for the lawsuit to be dismissed. Hino made his statement on the Level-5 Japanese web site.
Two French gamers decided that it would be a grand idea to reprogram a Sega Genesis so that every time a player made a mistake or took damage in a game they would get some punishment from shock collars. You can't make this kind of stuff up, folks. Also it goes without saying that you shouldn't try this at home.
The two gamers try everything from Sonic to Golden Axe 3, with amusing results. You'll notice in one of the shots that alcohol might be involved in the production of this little experiment...
According to this Kotaku report, Sega is investigating a recent hacking incident in Phantasy Star Online 2. The free-to-play sci-fi MMORPG sequel was hacked so that vital NPCs players have to interact with were out of reach - somehow put on high structures that were well out of reach of players.
According to a letter posted by our very own E. Zachary Knight at his personal website ezknight.net, Sega has been hacked, and the scope and scale of the security breach seems to be grand in nature. According to the email from Sega, the company was forced to take down its "Sega Pass System" yesterday after it identified that an "unauthorized entry" had occurred with the system's user database.
A "subset" of SEGA Pass members' emails addresses, dates of birth and encrypted passwords were stolen during that intrusion, says Sega. Thankfully, no credit card or other personal financial information was stolen, and Sega stressed that the stolen data was encrypted and not in "plain text" format.
If you were headed to Cologne, Germany to see Sega at gamescom this year, then you'll be sad to hear that the company has decided not to attend Europe's biggest trade show. Sega said in a brief statement today that the decision to skip this year’s show was purely financial. Today's announcement confirms rumors that surfaced last night about the company not attending.
“gamescom 2009 was a very successful show for us and continues to be the most important European event in the calendar. The decision not to show at this year’s event was not down to the location of Cologne and will not mean that Sega will never attend gamescom in the future, but simply a commercial decision made for 2010.”
Sega would have shown games like Sonic 4, Valkyria Chronicles II, Vanquish, Shogun 2: Total War and more. Maybe next year Europe. gamescom takes place between August 18-22.
A story on GameSpot features the opinions of Electronic Arts and Aliens vs. Predator developer Rebellion as related to the R18+ videogame rating discussion ongoing in Australia.
The Aliens vs. Predator game was originally Refused Classification by The Classification Board before successfully winning an appeal and an MA15+ rating. Rebellion producer Paul Mackman spoke to GameSpot about Rebellion’s position that it would not modify the game to appease censors:
This was important to us and something Sega agreed with, and I think they handled the appeal process very well. It reached a successful result and you guys get to play the game and that's the important thing. The politics aside, [it’s] really not for me to comment on.
Mackman indicated that keeping the game true to the film source was Rebellion’s top priority, “…it's fair to say these are fiendish monsters from outer space and they do commit violent acts. Those are all represented in the films, so I don't think we would be true to the licence if we didn't portray that.”
Government policies that refuse to rate mature content effectively censor the content that adult players want to play. This shows a poor understanding of exactly who plays interactive games in Australia. The spectrum of gamers is as wide as the viewership of television, movies, theatre, and the readers of books.
A government policy that keeps our games out of stores and forces developers to rewrite code is censorship. Age rating systems are designed to help people make appropriate content choices for the right age groups.
In a related article, GameSpot notes that both the Australian Sex Party and the Pirate Party Australia have thrown their weight behind the introduction of an R18+ videogame rating category, while more traditional parties, such as the Greens and The Federal Coalition, have adopted a wait and see attitude.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam did offer his take on South Australian Attorney general Michael Atkinson however:
I think the position he took to block the rest of the country from moving forward was really unhelpful, and I don’t think he necessarily provided the arguments to back up the position he took.
Australia’s Classification Review Board has overturned a ban on Sega’s Aliens vs. Predator PC game, granting it an MA15+ classification.
The decision of the three-member Board (PDF) was unanimous and the game will carry the descriptor “Strong Science Fiction Violence.” The Board determined that the fantasy nature of the game reduced the impact of its violent content:
… violent scenes are not prolonged and are interspersed with longer non violent sequences. The violence is fantastical in nature and justified by the context of the game, set in a futuristic science-fiction world, inhabited by aliens and predators. This context serves to lessen its impact. The more contentious violence is randomly generated and is not dependent on player selection of specific moves.
Sega’s Aliens vs. Predator PC game, originally Refused Classification by Australia’s Classification Board earlier this month for its depictions of violence and gore, will be re-reviewed this Friday, December 18.
Refused-Classification has the media release from Australia's Classification Review Board on the subject, which states:
If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is Monday 14 December 2009.
Please note that the Review Board can only consider submissions about the computer game Aliens vs Predator itself and not any other matters relating to computer games policy or issues generally.
The appeal was presumably undertake at the behest of Sega.
The game’s developer, Rebellion, has gone on record as stating that it will not modify the title in order to appease the Classification Board.
There were some pretty awesome games on the old Sega Genesis.
Some bombs, too.
But an Al Qaeda operative apparently taught himself how to turn a Genesis cartridge into a real bomb, as the New York Times reports:
They were called the Dirty 30 — bodyguards for Osama bin Laden captured early in the Afghanistan war — and many of them are still being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Others still at the much-criticized detention camp there include prisoners who the government says were trained in assassination and the use of poisons and disguises.
One detainee is said to have been schooled in making detonators out of Sega game cartridges. A Yemeni who has received little public attention was originally selected by Mr. bin Laden as a potential Sept. 11 hijacker, intelligence officials say.
It's unknown whether a Sega cartridge bomb was ever actually used in a terrorist attack.
Technogeek: Apparently, this was the first SSB tournament to actually be sponsored by Nintendo; the upcoming Wii U title Splatoon was even going to be demoed there.01/30/2015 - 7:29pm
Technogeek: More "game" related than "politics" related, but still noteworthy: the Apex 2015 Super Smash Brothers tournament was forced to relocate after the fire marshal demanded an evacuation due to building damage caused by the recent winter storm.01/30/2015 - 7:28pm
Wonderkarp: got my Reading Rainbow kickstarter rewards....I cant tell if this is a sticker or a bumper sticker.01/30/2015 - 5:38pm
Goth_Skunk: As such, the first playthrough is always going to be the most evocative.01/30/2015 - 3:47pm
Goth_Skunk: So while branching storyline is hallmarked as a feature of the game, the storyline never stays branched for too long. There is a linear story that may branch at points, but each branch always comes right back to the main line further down the road.01/30/2015 - 3:46pm
Goth_Skunk: My biggest gripe about it though would have to be that its replay value sucks. I quickly learned that apart from a few key decisions you make, most choices end up not being relevant because something terrible happens anyway.01/30/2015 - 3:45pm
Goth_Skunk: I *love* The Walking Dead. Like I said, I played Season 1 through in one go, and subsequently pre-purchased Season 2 in its entirety sight-unseen.01/30/2015 - 3:43pm
Andrew Eisen: By the by, I take it you're a fan of Telltale's Walking Dead? I'm one of the very few who really doesn't like it. Bums me out.01/30/2015 - 3:39pm
Andrew Eisen: I think we're safe with stuff like Life is Strange, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, and TellTale's games. I was thinking more along the lines of D4. It's genuinely up in the air whether we'll get a conclusion to that story or not.01/30/2015 - 3:33pm
Goth_Skunk: Ultimately, from this potentially ignorant perspective, it's the gamer who assumes the risk, not the developer. I don't approve. Fortunately, I'm only paying $5 (CDN, no less), so that's money I can easily write off if I'm disappointed.01/30/2015 - 3:32pm
Goth_Skunk: If I'm wrong, and the unthinkable should happen where the developer ends up aborting production of the rest of the episodes, bundle purchasers would be understandably upset. Even moreso if attempting to get a refund turns out to be a hassle.01/30/2015 - 3:30pm
Goth_Skunk: There is an option on XBL to purchase all episodes in a bundle. Pay full price now, get the rest of the episodes as they're released. I would like to think this means that the other episodes are in fact done and ready.01/30/2015 - 3:29pm
Andrew Eisen: Catch 22 sometimes. Some gamers don't want to buy it if there's no guarantee the whole thing will come out and the whole thing can't come out unless enough people buy the early installments.01/30/2015 - 3:17pm
Goth_Skunk: I sincerely hope this trend towards episodic games is not done so because the developer only had enough capital to produce the first 1/5th of the story and is banking on making enough money from the sales of that fifth to produce the rest.01/30/2015 - 3:16pm
Goth_Skunk: That being said, I want to try Life is Strange to get my feet wet.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Andrew Eisen: I'm that way too. I'll wait until the whole thing is out. Same goes for DVDs of TV shows. I'll wait for the season set.01/30/2015 - 3:13pm
Goth_Skunk: If an episodic game is really good, and the time between episodes is more than a week, I'm more inclined to wait for the rest of the episodes to all come out than to try playing it episode by episode at launch date.01/30/2015 - 3:12pm
Goth_Skunk: As someone who played through TWD Season 1 entirely in one day, and then played Season 2 episode by episode when they each came out, I strongly agree with this sentiment.01/30/2015 - 3:11pm