Browse the web with your PSP... In Korea
Last week I told you about watching porn on the move with your PSP. This week news has filtered out about how you'll be able play iTunes and organise your life on it, read Manga on it and even browse the web and stream videos on it. Browsing the web on your PSP while waiting for a film or having a coffee sounds fantastic. Shame it has only been announced for the PSP launch in Korea though.
Apparently the country's largest Internet operator is teaming up with Sony to make sure that users will be able to surf the net from wireless access points and view unique content geared toward the device. Some believe this is a reward for getting screwed over by the company when they redistributed Korean PSPs to meet US demand. In that case, we Brits can expect free satellites with ours.
While it is almost a given that these web browsing features will make their way to the US at some point, those of you who are desperate for some web browsing on your PSP right now can make it a reality. Some clever people have found an exploit in Wipeout Pure that has let them use the PSP as a very simple web browser. The World Wide Web doesn't look too much like you expect it to, but it is clever nonetheless.
Never steal a fellow gamer's sword
OK, this is nuts and the people involved are obviosuly nuts, but I would hate for any gaming fan to go through his or her life without knowing that this unbelievable event has occurred. A gamer from Shanghai stabbed another gamer who had borrowed his sword from MMORPG Legend of Mir 3 and sold it for 7,200 Yuan (Â£462.57). Yes, the stabbing and selling happened in real life.
The protagonist Qiu Chengwei, 41, stabbed Zhu Caoyuan repeatedly in the chest after he sold a dragon sabre he had lent to him. Qiu went to the police but was told the weapon wasn't real and was therefore not protected by law. This obviously didn't go down well with Qiu, who went to Zhu's home and killed him. Qiu then gave himself up and pleaded guilty. A tragedy, brought on by a very disturbed man. But it does raise a very interesting question; do virtual items have real world value?
I've been spawn camped and much worse in World of Warcraft over the last month or so (I know some players in that game would happily murder me in front of my family for rolling on particularly valuable weapons I don't need), but I've never been mugged. Indeed, the game is designed to make this impossible. But for other games, where it's possible to steal items from other players, items that have often taken months of hard work to acquire and can sell on eBay for hundreds of dollars, there surely needs to be some legal framework in place to offer a recourse for victims?
I'm not saying get a celebrity lawyer and media circus out. I'm saying that some value needs to be put on virtual items that holds true legally. I'm not sure what that should be, but it would sort out a lot of problems before tragedies like this one occur. As Wong Zongyu, an associate law professor at Beijing's Renmin University of China said: 'The armour and swords in games should be deemed as private property as players have to spend money and time for them.' Damn straight.
Hilary hates games and is up for election
I hate it when politicians jump on bandwagons before election time. So, therefore, I hate what Hilary Clinton did this week when she said:
"...one of the biggest complaints I've heard is about some of the video games, particularly Grand Theft Auto, which has so many demeaning messages about women and so encourages violent imagination and activities and it scares parents. I mean, if your child, and in the case of the video games, it's still predominantly boys, but you know, they're playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them, you know, that's kind of hard to digest and to figure out what to say, and even to understand how you can shield your particular child from a media environment where all their peers are doing this."
I'm not going to get in an argument about what's wrong with this statement (many already have and far more eloquently than I ever could), nor the fact that Hilary is judging a medium she has obviously never indulged in herself. What I am going to comment on it the apparent sitting duck situation the game industry finds itself in coming up to election time.
I'm particularly disappointed in Mrs Clinton. I've actually been a big fan of hers over the years, but she seems to have sold herself out. An apparent liberal through and through, this speech was clearly designed to pander to the radical right thinking conservatives the US seem to be overrun by.
She picked GTA because it's an easy and popular target. "Look at what it's teaching our children!", she cries. Would she have said the same thing if there wasn't an election planned for 2008? Expect the same over here as we approach election time. Games are a political tool. They are great to get a speech in the news, fantastic to get the support of parents and wonderful in courting middle England. It's time the industry fought back and refused to be a pawn in this political game.
Remember the first time you felt your Playstation pad thunder in your hands? Was it when Lara let off a clip from her Uzi? Was it when Forest Law threw out a jump kick? Or was it when you blew a zombie's head clear off with a Magnum? Whatever game it was, it was brought to you from the good people at Sony for, what was unknown to them at the time, $90m.
It appears that the Dual Shock pads Sony have famously sold with the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles infringes on San Jose-based Immersion Corp's patents. Does this mean anything? Well, turns out that it might. Sony have been found guilty and have lost an appeal. They have also been told to cease selling their home consoles, controllers and a number of games.
Until the final result is in though, fear not. The judge in charge of the case has stayed the judgement (it's what judges do!) pending further decisions. What is likely is that Sony will appeal against the decision or license the tech from Immersion from now on, thus keeping gamers happily rumbling away. If they lose the appeal and don't license the technology it might be an idea to keep your pads in good nick. You might be able to get a pretty penny for them on eBay in a few years.
She thinks Ryu, but I'm not sure she knows how to pronounce it properly
I'm completely averse to the whole baby thing. Sleepless nights (well, I play games through the night anyway, but how would I concentrate with all that crying?), puke and poo and constant 'where is he/she' worries for 16 years doesn't attract me in the slightest.
But, if, for some unholy reason I do become a father (my girlfriend has been particularly broody lately), I'll probably think it megacool to call it after a videogame character. I would not, however, have chosen Firiona Vie Ayers.
For those who don't know, she's an Everquest character. An elf actually. Now the poor baby probably won't grow pointy ears, but with a name like that, she might as well. With the amount of stick she's going to get during the most impressionable years of her life it won't really matter, unless she goes to school with a number of Snakes, Master Chiefs, CJs and Raynes.
Now, where's that Warcraft manual, I mean, book of baby names?
This week's new releases
This Friday saw a number of releases that are worthy of your attention. The biggest release of the week is undoubtedly Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory from Ubisoft, releasing on Xbox, PC, GameCube and PlayStation 2. Reviews suggest that this is the best game in the series and could well be one of the games of the year. Unfortunately the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions of the game seem to be pretty cut down when compared to the Xbox and PC games. GameCube owners who don't fancy checking out Sam's latest game could do worse than pick up Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean.
La Pucelle: Tactics from Koei should satisfy the hardcore gamers out there, but then again, a lot of you have probably already picked this up on import. Fans of Viewtiful Joe will be able to pick up the sequel this week on PlayStation 2 and GameCube and if you're feeling a little strapped for cash then CT Special Forces: Fire for Effect (Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PC) looks to be worth Â£20.
- Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean (Cube)
- CT Special Forces: Fire For Effect (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- Full Spectrum Warrior (PS2)
- La Pucelle: Tactics (PS2)
- Project: Snowblind (PC)
- Red Ninja: End of Honor (PS2, Xbox)
- Stolen (PS2, Xbox, PC)
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (PS2, Xbox, Cube, PC)
- Viewtiful Joe 2 (PS2, Cube)