PlayStation Network is still offline – 4/22/2011

PlayStation Network, Sony online network used for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, has gone offline since April 21because of technical issues and it’s expected to continue through the weekend.

When trying to sign-in to the network, gamers are given a message that states Error 80710A06. The technical problem has affected all PlayStation gamers in North America, Europe and Asia. The timing of the issue has come at a critical time when several big titles such as SOCOM 4 are to be released.

As a result, it’s expected that Xbox Live, Microsoft gaming network, to gain a boost in the market especially with it online free weekend. Xbox Live, which charges a fee to play online, is allowing free accesses to play online for the weekend of April 22 – April 24.

Rumors have circulated that the hacker group, Anonymous, has launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in response to Sony’s legal battle against a PlayStation Network user George Hotz (username: GeoHot). Currently Anonymous has denied any involvement.

The PlayStation Network is a way for users to download movies, TV shows, and games over the Web to a PlayStation system. Access to the network is free although users have to pay for some of the content.

Written for Bitmod
4/22/2011
Original Article: PlayStation Network is still offline

Etiquette’s for Playing Online – 4/22/2011

When it comes to challenges, it’s only a real competition if spectators could kill five beers and go wild. Playing games online is no exception. I personally try to keep my behavior to the status of being at a baseball game (drunk and load but still tolerated by others). What is too common online is gamer behaving like childish savages with sense of manners.

Just because one could be anonymous dose not mean it’s acceptable to behave in such an embarrassing manner. Yet many feel it’s their right to act like childish animals behind a computer. However, like in real life, there are a set of etiquette’s gamers should follow.

The most obvious etiquette to follow is avoiding the use of ethnic and homophobic slurs. Playing with a PC, it was too common to read messages like “u killed me u f***in n*****” or “I got owned by a f**”. Thankfully no one has to read these remarks when playing with a console; that’s because we get to hear them. In one game, a player was on a rant regarding why they hated “n***** f**’s”. No person would ever talk like this in public so why is it acceptable online?

After ethnic and homophobic slurs, sexist remarks are next on the list of obnoxious behavior. Despite two-thirds of gamers being women, sexism is common among the gaming community. Sexual remarks and sexism is so common that 70% of female gamers choose to play as a male-avatar just to avoid harassment.

Finally there is the issue regarding the excessive use of profanity. The problem is not swearing but when someone says it too much in one sentence. It makes no sense for someone to ever use the F-word around 5 times in a casual sentence. The only other people who swear this much are middle school kids who just learned profanity.

Everyone enjoys trash talking during a competitive event. But when the content involves offensive slurs or an excessive amount of profanity then it’s a problem. Don’t make excuses about this behavior; no amount of alcohol could ever make someone this immature yet so functional. If you’re a gamer who is +20 years of age, its time to be more mature when playing online. But if your between the ages of 17 – 20 than its better to start learning how to behave.

Written for Bitmob
4/22/2011
Original Article: Etiquette’s for Playing Online

Playing It Old School: “Body Harvest” and the experiment of sand-box gameplay – 4/18/2011

Playing It Old School is a new weekly column that focuses on classical video games and looks back on the impact it had then and the influence it has today.

During the days of Nintendo 64, a little known game developer named DMA Design (predecessor to Rockstar North) released Body Harvest. It was a lot like Arrested Development in that it was a great work but it was too ahead of its time and underappreciated by mainstream audiences.

Released in 1998; Body Harvest was well praised by critics but it was not appreciated among gamers during its day. Yet it became one of the biggest influences on the advancement of sand-box game-play that would be popularized by Grand Theft Auto III four years later. Now in resent years there has been some sense of respect for what it achieved with the little technological recourses available.

The premise of the game is aliens have been visiting Earth for sometime, enslaving small areas in a shield and harvesting the population. Players assume the role of, Adam Drake, a futuristic soldier who must eliminate the alien threat by traveling through time. Drake will battle the aliens in five areas over a 100-year period with each level requiring the player to stop the aliens from slaughtering everyone and liberating the enclosed area.

The player will have to explore the area, fight the aliens, save civilians and liberate the population. Among the game-play elements incorporated are the use of a verity of weapons, interaction with NPC, use of vehicles and an open environment. The levels are amazing for how detailed they were during its time.

Many of the concepts used with Body Harvest will later be used and popularized in the GTA-franchise. The only draw back to Body Harvest was the poor graphics (poor even by N64 standards) but it was a needed sacrifice.

When compared to other sandbox style games; it feels like an alien-invasion themed game is missing. At best there has been the Destroy All Humans!-series but that can’t compare to the mood of Body Harvest.

Like Arrested Development, it was underappreciated and ahead of its time. For those who never played Body Harvest, it is a big regret. However if you still have an N64 try looking Body Harvest on eBay, as this is a game worth playing.

More Playing It Old School will be coming soon.

Written for Bitmob
4/18/2011
Original Article: Playing It Old School: “Body Harvest” and the experiment of sand-box gameplay

Will “Duke Nukem Forever” be worth the wait & hype? – 4/16/2011

In production since 1997, Duke Nukem Forever was expected to revolutionize the gaming industry. Yet it has now become infamous for its constant hype and production delays. So while 3D Realms jerked-off fans with the hype, gamers moved on to Goldeneye 007 than Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, followed by Halo and finally came Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Now gamers could rejoice as Duke Nukem Forever is set to be released on June 14, 2011. But one needs to ask the $1 million question, will it live up to our expectations.

In 1997, Duke Nukem Forever was to be a revolution in gaming. Yet as the hype kept building, the industry moved on. In its absence Soldier of Fortune introduced realistic violence, Red Faction allowed gamers to alter their environment, Grand Theft Auto III transformed video games into a respectable art, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare redefined console multiplayer.

So how is Duke Nukem Forever going to revolutionize the video game industry? A lot has changed in gaming and if Duke Nukem Forever is going to impresses gamers, it needs to be more than just a game.

My expectations for Duke Nukem Forever could be best summarized in the following formula: Goldeneye 007 + Soldier of Fortune + Red Faction + Grand Theft Auto: Vice City + Call of Duty: Black Ops + Fallout 3 = Duke Nukem Forever = Best Game Ever Made.

Duke Nukem Forever will only be worth the wait if the final product is nothing short of “Game of the Year.” Because of all the hype that was build, the worst outcome for Duke Nukem Forever would be sharing the same fate as John Romero’s: Daikatana.

Written for Bitmob
4/16/2011
Original Article: Will “Duke Nukem Forever” be worth the wait & hype?

The Catch-22 of Global Responsibility – 4/1/2011

It is said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. During the beginning of the last century some of the most atrocious acts of evil were perpetrated while the arsenal of democracy only responded once to protect its own interest and by a fluke stopped a greater evil.

In the aftermath of World War II, the global community came together and established the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Yet the more things change the more they stay the same. History moves on as new players step in, but evil always finds a way to triumph as the free worlds turns a blind eye.

The world has failed to learn from history as it continued to ignore the human atrocities being perpetrated. Francisco Macías Nguema (President of Equatorial Guinea) and Pol Pot (Communist Dictator of Cambodia) butchered thousands of their own people while acts of ethnic cleansing took place in Iraq, Rwanda, Sudan and Burundi.

Yet the world responded with nothing more than a few resolutions condemning the evil and imposing an embargo. History has laughed at our failure to act while humanity has passed its judgment on the Free Worlds inability to bring justice.

Now in Libya, the citizens are asking for reform and the government’s response has been to butcher any opposition. Rather then the usually resolution and embargo, the UN approved a no-fly zone that is being enforced by NATO.

One would assume that it’s these moments that the United Nations and Democracy could redeem itself by fighting evil and protecting the innocent. Yet when good men do act, they are condemned as aggressors.

The same kinds of people who have criticized the West for ignoring atrocities are now crying “imperialism”. American liberals (like Michael Moore and Rep. Dennis Kucinich) are calling President Obama a warmonger while some global leaders have condemned the no-fly zone as a violation of Libya’s sovereignty.

This is the catch-22 of global responsibility, Democracy is ridden with guilt when it allows evil to prevail. But if Democracy were to act against evil than its condemned as an aggressor. Sadly this is too common in history.

The West had to intervene when acts of aggression were being perpetrated against the sovereignty of South Korea and Kuwait. Yet these acts of liberation have at times been seen as “empire building” by elements of the left. Sadly there are more examples.

* 1978: Idi Amin (with Libyan support) is threatening the sovereignty of Tanzania. In response to this threat, Tanzania invades Uganda and replaces Amin’s dictatorship with a democratic government. Yet it was Tanzania that was viewed as an aggressor by the international community.

* 1982: The military junta of Argentina invades the Falkland Islands only for it to be liberated by United Kingdom. In the aftermath of the war, the military junta collapses and democracy is restored to Argentina. Yet Britain’s intervention was condemned as an act of imperialism.

* 1989: United States launches Operation Just Cause in an attempt to protect regional stability and bring down the kleptocracy of Manuel Noriega. Democracy was restored and Panama has been governed by the rule of law since. Yet even today, Operation Just Cause is still referred to as an act of aggression.

* 1991 – 1999: In response to ethnic cleansing being perpetrated in Yugoslavia, NATO launches an air camping that cripples the Yugoslavian war machine. Yet frivolous claims have been made that NATO deliberately target civilians or had no justified reason for its actions.

The more things change the more they stay the same as the judgment regarding the catch-22 of global responsibility haunts global leaders. Yet we forget that never has a survivor of genocide thanked those who ignored the suffering. It has always been the champions of justice who have been revered by the survivors and history.

Written for Examiner.com
4/1/2011
Original Story: The Catch-22 of Global Responsibility