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Game Issues and Culture

These are articles about game-related issues, sources for the latest online gaming news, and sites that are at the center of video game culture.
  1. Pro Video Game Competitions (7)

A Tale of Two Kickstarters
Richard Garriott and Mark Jacobs have both taken to Kickstarter in an effort to fund their latest games. This is a quick comparison of the proposed projects, Shroud of the Avatar and Camelot Unchained (working title).

Game Launches: Best Avoided?
When servers are overloaded from the initial rush, game launches can be a frustrating affair. Some MMORPG fans are resigned to waiting a week or two before plunging into a new release. These are some thoughts on game launches and the issues associated with them.

SimCity 5: The Always Online Dilemma
Meeting demand for the online components of games when they launch can be a challenge, as demonstrated by the recent release of SimCity 5. We return to the once-again-revived debate about always-on DRM.

Games and Violence Revisited
The tragedy at Sandy Hook has reignited the debate about violence in video games. Games, like film and television before them, have become a favorite scapegoat on which to blame violent crime, but do they really deserve it?

Most Anticipated Games of 2013
There are far too many games coming out in 2013 to list them all, so here are some of the games we are most looking forward to this year.

2012: The Year in Online Gaming
This is a look back over some of the highs and lows in online gaming over the year 2012.

Story in Games: Does It Matter?
A good story can compliment gameplay, but a lot of people skip past narrative and lore as quickly as possible. These are my thoughts on the role of story in games.

Crowdfunding and the Future of Game Publishing
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding may change the way video games are developed and funding in the upcoming years. Here's a look at how the publishing model is being affected by these recent trends.

Game Review Scores and Metacritic
We've all seen game review scores we don't agree with, and a lot of people have come to believe that reviews use scores to drive the average at Metacritic one way or the other. Are review scores still meaningful in this day and age?

Video Games: Are They Sexist?
Men and women tend to have very different tastes when it comes to video games, and the portrayal of women in games often entails enormous breasts and incredibly skimpy armor. Is there anything that can or should be done about gender stereotypes in games?

Top Multiplayer Online PC Games of 2011
With 2011 coming to a close, these are my picks for the best multiplayer online PC games of the year.

Top Multiplayer Online PC Games of 2010
There were several big video game releases for which 2010 will be remembered. In the console department Red Dead Redemption walked away with all kinds of awards, as did the single-player Mass Effect 2. In multiplayer PC land Blizzard dominated the scene by reinvigorating an old and beloved franchise as well as releasing another expansion for...

Online Gamer Holiday Gift Guide 2010
If you're shopping for an online gamer this holiday season, there is a vast selection of PC gadgets and games available. They've probably already dropped some hints about what they'd like to find under the tree, but those of you that are still short a few gifts may find this mixture of hardware and game suggestions helpful.

Game Addiction: Real or Imagined?
If you follow news about video gaming, you've probably noticed a growing number of stories related to so-called "game addiction." There is currently a case before the courts in the U.S. where the plaintiff claims that Lineage 2 is so addictive that it rendered him incapable of living a normal life for about 5 years. Should games be lumped in...

Ubisoft and Game DRM
The issues surrounding DRM for games go right back to the early days of home computing. At one time it was all about trying to keep people from copying discs, but since the advent of the Internet it has become about the illegal distribution of games online. It's a growing concern for a number of industries, including music and movies. We've touched on this issue in earlier articles, but Ubisoft's…

Top Online Game Trends of the Decade
Looking back over the last ten years of online gaming, there's no doubt that it has been an astounding decade. To say that the hobby has seen explosive growth is an understatement, and it has taken some interesting twists and turns along the way. Here's a quick look at what I would consider the most significant trends that have impacted online gaming in the last decade.

Internet Game Timeline
This is a timeline of key events in the history of Internet gaming. It includes significant developments in computer games, console games, and Internet technology.

Cheating in Online Games
In a perfect world, you could trust the people you game with online to follow the rules, but in this world, it takes an extraordinary effort to keep a game free of cheaters, whether it's an Olympic event or a Counter-Strike match. I get quite a few questions about the extent of cheating in online games and what is being done about it, so here are the details.

The Case for PvP
Having always preferred playing against other gamers to playing against computer opponents, I'm often surprized at how distasteful some people find PvP, especially when it comes to roleplaying games. PvP definitely isn't for everyone, but here's why I always choose a PvP server if I have the option.

Advertising Enters the Game
Ads are frequently served up with Web games, but they are also beginning to appear in a variety of high-end retail titles. We've seen how advertising has affected various other forms of media, so gamers are justifiably concerned about these developments. Virtual billboards selling SUVs and cell phones may be coming to a game near you.

Trading Game Assets
A lot of money is changing hands these days for characters and items that exist only in the virtual worlds of massively multiplayer online games. Remarkably, some people have turned this activity into big business, creating auctions and stores that cater specifically to the needs of online adventurers.

Piracy, PC Games, and Doom 3
Doom 3 had been pirated and circulated on file-sharing networks even before the official release date. A game of Doom 3's stature will clearly make money anyway, but it makes you wonder if publishers have any real chance of winning the battle against theft. Here's my take on the issue.

On MMOGs and Skill
Try to tell a gamer that their game of choice requires no skill and you'll likely find yourself in a heated debate. MMORPGs are frequently criticized on these grounds, but is it really fair to say that there is no skill involved? Here's my take on the MMOG skill factor.

The Dark Side of MMORPGs
Massively multiplayer online games are certainly the flavor of the day, but as experiments like EverQuest mature, some people are discovering that virtual worlds aren't always as enjoyable as the hype makes them out to be.

The Game of Sex and Violence
Bloodletting and large-breasted babes are nothing new to the video game industry, but with the war on terrorism fueling sales of war-themed game titles, both sides of the content controversy seem to be hunkering down for a decisive battle.

Top Multiplayer PC Games of 2009
Although online gaming gets bigger every year, 2009 was notable for several very big single-player releases such as Dragon Age Origins and Batman: Arkham Asylum. There were also great single-player surprises like Torchlight and Plants vs. Zombies. The selection for multiplayer fans was more limited, with no World of Warcraft expansion, only a couple major MMOG launches, and a few new shooters. Ev…

Top Multiplayer PC Games of 2008
Although there were some great releases in 2008, I wouldn't call it a fantastic year for PC gaming. Aside from the juggernaut World of Warcraft expansion, consoles scooped a lot of the attention. It wasn't that long ago that the PC would get a game first, and console versions came later. Now it usually seems to be the other way around.

Top Multiplayer PC Games of 2007
It was an extraordinary year for PC games, particularly first-person shooters. It's torture to have to choose between great titles like Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty 4, Quake Wars, Unreal Tournament 3, and Crysis, even if you can afford more than of them. There were some excellent releases in other genres as well, notably The Burning Crusade expansion back in January, and World in Conflict, a fre…

Most Wanted Multiplayer PC Games of E3 2007
The spectacle that was E3 in previous years, always entertaining to watch even from a distance, underwent a major transformation in 2007, downsizing and returning to a press-only format. Nor was it a particularly exciting year for PC gamers. Although there are some impressive titles on the way, we've seen the bulk of them previewed relentlessly at earlier shows. Nevertheless, here's a look at what you might be playing this fall or early next year.

Top Multiplayer PC Games of 2006
2006 was definitely a landmark year for consoles, but, with a few notable exceptions, titles from earlier years continued to dominate the PC game space. There were, however, some excellent multiplayer PC games that came out this year. These are my picks for the top online games that arrived in 2006.

E3 2006 Highlights
They certainly grabbed the most headlines, but it wasn't all next-gen consoles at E3 2006. There are some promising PC titles in development, and Microsoft even had a few words to say about Vista, the next version of Windows. What does the future hold for online games? Here's a secondhand look at some of the coolest news to come out of this year's Expo.

Top Multiplayer Games of 2005
It wasn't quite as landmark a year as 2004, but there were some excellent online games released in 2005. Guild Wars innovated with the online RPG, Battlefield 2 rocked the world of multiplayer shooters, and a couple of classic strategy series made a triumphant return.

E3 2005 Highlights
We've heard endless hype about consoles, but given the popularity of World of Warcraft and Guild Wars, it's also clear that playing online has an increasingly broad appeal. If you look past the glitzy facade of the event, you'll find some cool things on the horizon for online games.

Internet Game Roundup 2004
Time once again for a quick look back at the big online games of the year that is now behind us. I've put together a summary of the 2004 award winners and added a few comments of my own. Not a lot of surprises here, but there is no arguing that it was a great year for gamers.

Adrenaline Vault
Daily game news and downloads from a dedicated group of passionate gamers.

Blue's News
One of the most respected gaming news sites on the Internet. Information on a wide variety of games, as well as game reviews and previews.

Daedalus Project
A site dedicated to MMORPG research which surveys gamers and compiles the results. If you want to participate, most surveys are multiple choice, contain 30-50 questions, and take 5-10 minutes to complete.

News, reviews, previews and exclusive screenshots of online games. Plenty of MMORPG coverage.

Good Internet gaming articles and information, including multiplayer bot resources and Neverwinter Nights module reviews.

Get the scoop on the latest games for every popular platform.

IGN Games
One of the Internet's largest video gaming sites, offering news, reviews, cheats, and strategy guides.

International Game Developers Association
The IGDA is an independent, non-profit organization established by game developers to foster the creation of a worldwide game development community. Their site is an excellent source of information for anyone interested in working in the video game industry.

The best source for comparative subscriber growth charts for massively multiplayer online games. As most game companies only release their subscriber count on occasion, much of the data is gleaned from press releases and other sources.

Multiplayer Online Games Directory
The latest multiplayer gaming news on a fast, well-organized Web site.

PC Gamer Online
A slightly less robust Web version of the well-established print magazine.

Project Massive
Project massive uses ongoing surveys to collect a variety of data about online games, exploring things like player motivation, genre preferences, and displacement of real life activities.

A very popular source of video game news that dates back to 1996 and has a large community. Offers downloads through FileShack.

A popular source of online gaming news and articles, especially among action gamers.

User Feedback on Ubisoft's DRM for PC Games
Ubisoft is among the latest to create a stir by implementing a DRM system for PC games that requires a constant Internet connection. The first games to use it are Silent Hunter 5 and Assassin's Creed 2. Unlike other forms of DRM, no disc is required in the drive, and there are no activation limits, but you must be connected to the Net at all times, even while playing single-player games.

Online Gamer Holiday Gift Guide 2009
If you're shopping for an online gamer this holiday season, there is a vast selection of PC gadgets and games available. They've probably already dropped some hints about what they'd like to find under the tree, but those of you that are still short a few gifts may find these suggestions helpful. I've included a mixture of hardware and games, with something for budgets both large and small.

User Feedback on Video Game Addiction
If you follow gaming news, you know that video games are regularly accused of being addictive and destroying lives. They are often placed in the same category as heroin, alcohol, and nicotine. One report out of Sweden went so far as to dub World of Warcraft "as addictive as cocaine." It would also seem, according to the hysteria, that...

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