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Gaming:The WTF World of Wikipedia - 15 unbelievable "tr in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
You. Your friends and family. Your classmates and coworkers. In thebrave new world of the internet, everybody has power. Information isinteractive, knowledge is collaborative and history is open source. Thenerdy kid next door has just as much influence as a high schoolteacher; the dorky dude at the comic book shop has just as much voiceas a college professor.
Problem is, the nerds and dorks tend to have a lot morefree time - and passion - than the teachers and professors. The endresult? A hilariously skewed, terrifyingly twisted view of the world inwhich all the wrong things are deemed "important" and worthy of seriousacademic discussion.
Here are 15 mind-boggling examples.

See what we mean? When the deadliest, costliest war in the history of mankind has been trumped by a videogame franchise about that war,you know something's off. One involved over 50 countries and took over70 million lives; the other involves button mashing and tea bagging.
On an encouraging note, we did have to add all the Call of Dutygames' individual pages together to reach the crazy number above. On adiscouraging note, we didn't have to add Call of Duty 4 and itsnon-WWII setting, which would have brought the total word count to aneven crazier 18,927.
Oh, and on a simply ridiculous note? Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare beats "modern warfare"... 5,858 to 2,873.
Also less important than Call of Duty!
American Revolutionary War = 8,078
American Civil War = 11,729
English Civil War = 8,030
Napoleonic Wars = 7,951
Hundred Years' War = 7,992
War on Terrorism = 10,674
War on Drugs = 7,628
Cold War = 10,117
• "War" = 9,233
While the magic menagerie of super-powered, frilly-maned, sparkly-eyed, rosy-cheeked wonder beasts might make for slightly more exciting cards than a Three of Spades, the emphasis here is still extremely wonky.
Poker has been around for longer than anyone can remember... the Pokemon Trading Card Game was invented in 1996. Poker has created millionaires and forced bankruptcy... the Pokemon Trading Card Game might have resulted in some lost lunch money and a temper tantrum or two.
Also less important than Pokemon Trading Cards!
Baseball cards = 4,686
Blackjack = 5,228
Roulette = 5,492
Checkers = 2,326
Pool (Billiards) = 621
Bowling = 407
Wheel of Fortune = 4,521
• "Trade" = 3,038
• "Games" = 2,830

Before you get the wrong impression, no, the Master Chief does not win in a Wikipedia matchup against George W. Bush... though his approval ratings are undoubtedly higher.
The truly astounding thing, however, is that he does emerge victorious against not one, not two, but TENof this country's past commanders in chief. Yes, 23% of the men whohelped make the United States the strongest nation on Earth are easilydefeated by a fictional and faceless videogame character who barelyknows how to speak and takes orders from a naked hologram. Go America!
The orange word count above is an average taken from the USPresidents beaten by the Master Chief. Here's the full, patheticbreakdown:
Leaders of the Free World less important than Master Chief!
James Monroe = 2,820
(5th President)
John Quincy Adams = 3,457
(6th President)
John Tyler = 3,431
(10th President)
Zachary Taylor = 2,235
(12th President)
Millard Fillmore = 3,631
(13th President)
Franklin Pierce = 4,203
(14th President)
James Buchanan = 3,888
(15th President)
Rutherford B. Hayes = 2,686
(19th President)
James A. Garfield = 3,915
(20th President)
Chester A. Arthur = 3,078
(21st President)
          
                   
     


In the future, when Captain Kirk is battling tribbles and Data islearning how to love, this lopsided comparison will make completesense. Why wouldn't the entries for the glorious Starship Enterprise dwarf that for a dusty museum piece like the automobile? We expect the pages for hoverboards, robot maids, personal time machines and giant laser death rays to do the same.

For the present, though, why does a make-believe spaceship deserve more words than the planet's principal mode oftransportation? Also, why does that make-believe space ship deserve noless than nine separate pages, including unique entries for six different models of the NCC-1701? Seriously?!

Also less important than the Starship Enterprise!

Planes = 5,132
Trains = 2,850
Boats = 1,884
Bicycles = 5,112
Motorcycles = 5,446
Shoes = 3,241
Lunar rovers = 1,844
Space shuttles = 6,217
Space stations = 1,830
Outer space = 3,000







You think Hideo Kojima's cut scenes are long? Try reading Leo Tolstoy's epic tome. War and Peace waspublished in four books over five years, covers nearly a decade ofhistory and includes more than 1,400 pages, more than 560,000 words andmore than 3 million characters. It's generally considered one of thelongest novels - hell, one of the longest things - of all time.

Somehow, though, the writers on Wikipedia managed to summarize thewhole plot in 1,922 words. Well done! Now we'd be really impressed ifyou guys could squeeze the plot of a single damn videogame - even therambling old man that is Metal Gear Solid 4 - into less than 2,548 words.

The top numbers (in orange) are for the entire entries.The numbers in the preceding paragraph, as well as the list below, arefor the subsections entitled "plot," "story," or "synopsis."

Also less important than Metal Gear Solid 4!
(by plot, story or synopsis)


Romeo and Juliet = 770
Hamlet = 780
Moby Dick = 845
Of Mice and Men = 288
A Tale of Two Cities = 1,341
Atlas Shrugged = 673
The Hobbit = 465
Citizen Kane = 430
Casablanca = 834
Chinatown = 854







We won't get jealous and play the competition card here. EGM isimportant, a veritable titan of the industry with a massive and devotedfollowing. Many of us here at GamesRadar include ourselves in that camp.

But come on... do the latest screenshots of Chun-Li'sthighs really carry more weight than the 2008 election? Do you reallyneed to know the review score for Turok more than you need to know thereasons for the recession? Is the dropping price of the PS3 morecritical than the rising price of gasoline?

Yes, Electronic Gaming Monthly - and any videogame publication - is totally worthy of 4,429 words. We just wish that Time and other vital news sources received the same attention.

Also less important than EGM!

Newsweek = 1,393
USA Today = 2,685
National Geographic = 1,949
The New Yorker = 3,874
The Washington Post = 2,449
CNN = 4,281
Fox News = 3,758
• "Magazines" = 842
• "Newspapers" = 3,537
GamesRadar = 201







We love, love, love the soundtracks to Final Fantasy... but someone put way, way, way too much effort into this Wikipedia page. The intro alone is nearly 700 words, lengthier than the entries for many singers, bands and genres. Rock and roll, the biggest genre of them all, doesn't stand a chance.

Of course, the vastness of the web was made to hold such exceedinglyniche minutiae, but even the fan who owns all of these compilationalbums probably agrees that they could have fit onto the page forgeneral Final Fantasy music. Unless that fan is the one who wrote this obsessive love letter to begin with...

Also less important than obscure Final Fantasy music!

Beethoven = 6,268
Mozart = 6,331
Frank Sinatra = 5,743
Kelly Clarkson = 5,849
Amy Winehouse = 7,269
Rihanna = 2,977
Kanye West = 4,713
Jay-Z = 6,658
Nirvana = 4,157
Radiohead = 6,495



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Jeffrey Dahmer was a cannibal, Charles Manson was a deranged cultleader and John Wayne Gacy, worst of all, dressed up like a friggin'clown. Yet the complete list of these horrible, horrible murderers -together with dozens of depraved others - is apparently about 3,000words less significant than the list of Maverick boss characters in the Mega Man X series.

And that's compared to the list of serial killers by country. Look up the list of serial killers by number of victims andthe difference grows to 6,000. Go ahead and add the two lists togetherif you want - at 8,000 words total, they still fall short of the sheerterror and infamy inspired by Cyber Peacock, Blizzard Buffalo,Overdrive Ostrich and Armored Armadillo. Ooh, we're getting chills justthinking about them!


Above: The true face of evil







Let's be honest. Who doesn't love Gardulla the Hut? Who didn't havea poster of Cole Fardreamer or Elan Sleazebaggano hanging on theirbedroom wall as a kid? Who wouldn't beg their parents to buy them thatKlaatu action figure for the holidays?

Qwi Xux, Plo Koon, 2-1B, Chief Chirpa, Yarna D'al Gargan, BaronSoontir Fel, Meewalh, Oola, Commander Cody, Baron Soontir Fel, TraskUlgo, Gartogg, Wam "Blam" Lufba and, of course, little Windy... all ofthem are forever entwined in our dreams and imaginations.

Clearly, the list of minor characters in the Star Wars universe should be seven times as large as the page on the Founding Fathers of the United States. Clearly.

Also more important than the Founding Fathers!

Minor Star Wars droids = 10,105
Minor Star Wars villains = 9,648
Minor Star Wars bounty hunters = 5,236
Minor Sonic the Hedgehog characters = 12,595
Minor Mortal Kombat characters = 6,286
Minor StarCraft characters = 5,640
Minor One Piece characters = 17,446
Minor Sailor Moon characters = 7,251
Minor Gundam Wing mobile suits = 3,584
Minor recurring characters in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine = 5,097

Heed our warning - Wikipedia is only the beginning. Soon, textbookswill have entire chapters devoted to fairies and fishmen. Languagestudents will learn Goron instead of Greek. History class will forgothe Romans for the Rito, while anthropology discards the Spanish andSwedish for the Subrosians and Skull Kids.

Nonsense, you say? Tell that to the 730 million residents of Europe, whose deep and diverse ethnic backgrounds just got pwned by a bunch of elves, gnomes, talking twigs, golden frogs and mutant chickens.
Oh yeah, and Tingle.

Also more important than the population of Europe!

Elder Scroll races = 8,489
Pokemon types = 4,362
Final Fantasy monsters = 6,637
Halo aliens = 5,478
Middle-earth orcs = 4,845
Fictional cats = 10,248
Fictional dragons = 8,651
(there are non-fictional dragons?)





No surprises here. After all, Superman (10,641 words) has been known to survive a nuclear explosion... inside his own ass. And Batman (10,818 words) invented his own damn brand of shark repellent Bat spray!

Obviously, these guys are far superior to the rest of us. End of discussion.



Above: Holy sardine!






Both the fictional Umbrella Corporation and the real world National Human Genome Research Institute studythe mysteries of genetics. Both engage in the cutting edge field ofbiomedical engineering. Both are located in small towns. Both haveseemingly harmless, yet somehow creepy names. Both have seeminglyvague, yet somehow menacing logos.

Wait a second - are these two organizations actuallyone and the same?! Has Umbrella been a front all along, a clever ployto distract us from the true zombie overlords? We knew that tiny word count seemed suspicious...


Above: Oh shit.






According to Wikipedia, Kirby is "a small, pink, spherical creature with large red feet."

Exactly. Done. Enough said. Oh, if only that were the case...instead, that is merely the first sentence of a 1,512 word subsectionentitled Characteristics, which goes on to describe - in disturbinglydetailed sub-subsections - the Personality, Abilities and Species of Kirby. Yes, species.

The dog hasan overall longer page, sure, but the fact that Kirby's"characteristics" actually overcome those of man's best friend isabsolutely insane. They shouldn't even be close.








                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
                    
               
          
          
          
                   
            


As expected, Jesus whoops Mario byquite a large margin in total Wikipedia word count. In a miraculousturn of events, however, Mario's Legacy section is actually longer thanJesus' Legacy. Yes, you heard right - a pixelated plumber is consideredto have had a bigger impact on the world than the central figure ofChristianity and, to some, the physical embodiment of God. Wow.

Then again... Jesus can walk on water and heal the sick,but Mario can shoot fireballs out of his hands and turn into a raccoon.Jesus has an awesome beard, but Mario's got a super sweet mustache.Jesus ushered in much of modern religion, but Mario ushered in much ofmodern gaming. Both can come back from the dead, though to be fair,Jesus only did that once.

Dunno, seems like a tie to us





Also less important than Mario's legacy!


Albert Einstein's legacy = 153• John F. Kennedy's legacy = 436• Susan B. Anthony's legacy = 252• Princess Diana's legacy = 196• The Wright brothers' legacy = 175• Mother Teresa's influence in the world = 117






At last, we reach the ultimate showdown. In this corner, we have God, who Wikipedia describes as:

"... the principal or sole deity in religion..."
"...the creator and overseer of the universe..."
"... omnipotent and eternal..."
"... the source of all moral obligation, and the greatest conceivable being existent..."

His opponent? Knuckles of Sonic the Hedgehog fame, who Wikipedia describes as:

"... a red, teenage, anthropomorphic echidna..."
"... the fourth most popular character in the series..."
"... shy around girls..."

And, uh, yeah. How did this guy beat God by more than 4,000 words again? Well, to reach Knuckles' number, we did have to add two pages together, one for his game character and one for his comic character. To level the playing field, we should probably give God the Bible or something, right? Of course, we'll also have to give Knuckles his comic books and two videogames (Knuckles Chaotix and Sonic & Knuckles) to keep things even...




Damn! Sorry God - you lose again. Looks like we have a new omnipotentoverseer in the universe... or at least in the strange, silly, scaryand seriously skewed universe that is Wikipedia.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:21 pm
Samsung SyncMaster 245T in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
There's an awful lot of panel sharing going on in the LCD market thesedays, isn't there? It seems that even some of the most no-name brandsare now sporting panels made by a few giant, well-known manufacturers.It's enough to make a consumer wonder whether paying extra for apremium branded monitor is really worth it.

With that in mind, what is there to think about Samsung's newlyincumbent 24-inch model, the 245T? One thing is for sure, if you want amonitor with a quality Samsung-manufactured PVA panel, you don't needto pay over £600 for a monitor with that Samsung badge on the front.There are plenty of other screens with Samsung PVA panels inside, andsome can be had for less than £350.

Hence, the key question is not whether the new 245T is a good monitor.Instead, the question is this: Can the 245T really be worth nearlytwice as much as the lesser branded but similarly specified opposition?

That's what we're here to find out...and we just happen to have a muchmore affordable 24-inch widescreen on hand, one powered by a SamsungPVA LCD panel. That'll be the Hyundai W241D-PVA.


Features and Build QualityThe 245T is hardly the last word inswishy, swanky styling. The aforementioned Hyundai (with its glossyblack and white plastics) roasts it for pure desktop presence, forinstance. But thanks to the high quality of its construction, itnevertheless has a certain understated class. The bezel is a slim 15mmall the way around which emphasises the display, although the entiremain panel is quite a weighty 80mm thick. Front to back, you'll need atleast 25cm of desk space to accommodate the large, sturdy base.


Click to enlarge

The no-nonsense OSD controls are an extremely welcome and user-friendlyfeature, as is the stand's comprehensive adjustability. Not only areswivel, tilt, rotate and height tweakage on the menu, but they are all incredibly smoothto operate yet easily hold any position set without the need for clipsor locks. Given the panels size and weight, it's not light enough tomove without some effort - but it certainly doesn't require brute forceeither.


Click to enlarge

In terms of inputs, most of the usual suspects make an appearance.Digital connectivity takes the form of a single DVI port and an HDMIsocket, both with HDCP support. However, there is no DisplayPortavailable. On the analogue side, it has the lot - VGA, S-Video,component and composite. In short, there's very little that you can'thook up to the 245T. It even sports picture-in-picture mode for smoothmulti-input juggling; however, that feature is limited to onlycomponent (AV), S-Video and composite, not the digital inputs or VGA.

A final disappointment is the presence of inverse ghosting. As we havementioned previously, inverse ghosting is a problem that's thought tobe a result of pixel-response-enhancing overdrive technology. In simpleterms, it involves a trail or shadow that appears in the wake of movingobjects in some situations, typically in more or less the oppositecolour to the moving object.

Most of the time, it's a minor issue with the 245T. But with certaincolour combinations, it results in some pretty horrific renderingartifacts. For instance the text on this page exhibits some particularly horrible black trails and smearing when jostling the window around.

It's absolutely not what you expect from a premium brandlike Samsung. What's more, if you had just invested over £600 on thismonitor, well, you'd have every right to feel extremely let down.



Click to enlarge

Final ThoughtsThere's a lot to like about the 245T includingits static image quality, viewing angles and contrast performance. Butat this price point, something close to perfection is to be excepted.At £600+ any major flaws are simply unacceptable and the fact that the245T actually has two – moderate input lag and occasionally seriousinverse ghosting – might seem pretty shocking.

However, these problems are related to the PVA panel technology thatdominates the high end 24-inch monitor scene at the moment. Moreprecisely, they appear when pixel overdrive techniques are used tospeed up the extremely slow response. In other words, they are hard toavoid on PVA monitors.

So, what we would really like to see is more choice in this part of themarket. Without question, IPS panel technology has some weaknessescompared with PVA as contrast performance and the depth of renderedblacks are typically a little off the pace. But PVA technology hasenough drawbacks that mean the extended choice would be very welcome.


In any case, the key points to note about the 245T go something likethis. Yes, it is that little bit more vibrant and accurate than cheaperPVA monitors from lesser brands; the colours boast better fidelity, theblacks are deeper and the whites a touch cleaner. But even Samsung hasnot been able to eradicate the overdrive related glitches that commonlyspoil 24-inch PVA monitors.

With all that in mind, it's pretty hard to recommend the 245T. If youcan live with the minor image quality issues, then you are better offwith a significantly lower priced but only slightly inferior model froma lesser brand. Even a TN+Film 24-incher with slightly sludgy coloursand washed out blacks makes more sense – it's certainly a much cheaper option and will do a much better job for games.

Until a monitor maker manages to solve the input lag and inverseghosting issues with PVA screens or plops in a quality 24-inch IPS TFTalternative, the perfect 24-inch panel will remain infuriatingly out ofreach.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:14 am
So You Want To Be a Video Game Artist ... in Graphic Design, Web Design and Creative Arts Concepts
In a market that’s oversaturated with incredibly talented artistsand writers, up-and-comers and semi-professionals alike face theoutrageously difficult task of gaining recognition in their chosenfield. One dilemma out of many is that many young artists are forced tocompete against traditional animators that didn’t get out of the mass layoffs and salary cuts plaguing Disney in the year 2001, the eventual closureof the animation giant’s 2D studios creating a flood of overqualifiedprofessionals entering into jobs that would normally be moreaccommodating towards talented students and other entry levelapplicants.
While this is hardly a bad thing– one would have a hard time arguingagainst widely-distributed mediums getting a boost in artistic quality–it leaves a lot of people scratching their heads, wondering how thehell they could possibly make it in the professional world, especiallywhen it comes to video games. You know how they say the right answer isoften the simplest? Well, here’s a simple answer to the headscratching:learn how to become a professional.


[TABLE][TR][TD][/TD][/TR][/TABLE]
Art in its many varied forms has, and always will be, a staple ofevery human culture that has ever walked the Earth. Over time, nearlyeveryone has debated what constitutes art that’s worthy of display, ofreflection; why a single image may evoke a great deal of emotions inone person while it leaves another cold and uninterested. This worksrather well for art contained within the many varied galleriesscattered across the globe, but that kind of ambiguity will rarely getyou honorable mention in mediums that rely heavily on– you got it–technical expertise.
The consumer market may be easy to fool with rudimentary attempts atfan art from your favorite game or anime, but knowing you have thetalent and expanding that talent are two extremely different things. Unfortunately, thanks to social networking sites like deviantArt and its numerous clones, many are under the delusion that the groping their ego receives in the form of comments or favorites make them impervious to conventional criticism. So here’s rule number one, in case you missed it:
You are never above criticism no matter how good you think you are.
The only way an artist will be anywhere near capableof making ends meet in a market that’s incredibly competative is bystanding out, both in their list of skills and in the body of work theypresent in their portfolios.Fresh ideas are just as paramount to getting that dream job you’redrooling over, but having a solid understanding of drawingfundamentals– perspective, life drawing (prudes are advised to get over naked people) and proper use of negative space– is going to be one of your most treasured assets.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to a representative from Raven Software’s creative team over lunch, and later received a tour of their headquarters (which I, unfortunately, can’t tell you about, other than to say: holy crap that was cool). My tour guide had been a technical artist for Electronic Arts in the past, citing the impressive wealth of knowledge that landed him those jobs in the first place. Hestated in no uncertain terms that one of the ways an applicant canreally stand out is by showing proficiency in manipulating gameengines, saying that being able to produce mods for various games using the Unreal Engine would be an immediate edge over other prospective employees. Similarly, a solid understanding of 3D software such as Maya–including how to create detailed textures for the models you create– isincluded in the mix, even if your entire job revolves around sketchingconcepts with pen and paper. In short: wherever your strengths may lie,being able to showcase versatility in many different aspects of gamedesign is much more likely to land you a job in the industry.
Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? As if learning all the basics of drawing wasn’t hard enough, right? Well, it isdifficult; no matter how much encouragement you might receive from yourpeers and loved ones, nothing will erase that fact… but if you’reanything like me, you look forward to the learning process as much asyou look forward to landing that dream job.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:13 am
The Hardcore Niche - The changing Videogame market in Gaming
The video game market is changing incrediblyquickly right now, probably at the fastest rate since the big crash ofthe mid-1980s.
Not only is the market expanding to include women and casual gamersonce again, the definition of what constitutes a game is expanding. Iwouldn't say it’s expanding within the minds of game developers, but itis expanding in the context of the mass media and mass consumers, andthat’s who drives the market in the first place.
As sick to death as we all are of talking about microtransactions,free-to-play MMOs, and casual online spaces, the advent of these thingsis changing the game landscape for good, whether we like it or not.
    
Interactive Media - At Face Value
The lines between an online community portal and an MMO are blurredto the point of being indistinguishable. Consider the numbers — Audition Online has tens of millions of users worldwide, and a dedicated TV show in Vietnam. Kart Rider has tens of millions of users. Ditto Habbo Hotel and Club Penguin.
Traditional games - like most people reading this are developingtoday - may never be able to reach that large of an audience. Our gamesare too focused, too hardcore, and bear too much of the stereotype of“gamer.”
                         
               
Right now, Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, and World of Warcraftare considered our blockbuster titles, and flagships for the industryin popular culture. But when you think about it, it’s still justshooting aliens, playing gang banger, and swinging your sword in theforest.
Boiled down to their essentials those things appeal to a verylimited group of people, and the complexity of game controls preventseven blockbuster movie attendees, whom we should be attracting, fromplaying these things.
At least, that’s the common line. But is that really the case? Doaliens, wizards, and soldiers really make a piece of entertainmentinaccessible? Many millions of people went to see the Iron Man movieover the past two months, and a large percentage of them have probablynever picked up a comic book in their lives.
Why is it that people will go see The Lord of the Rings' movies, but many of them will not play the games?
The Real Mass Market
It’s common knowledge that game controllers are intimidating, thatconsoles have a certain stigma to them, and that most mass marketconsumers consider games to be either a waste of time, or activelydetrimental.
These can all be debated until the end of time, but the perceptionexists, and either that has to change (Nintendo is doing good workthere), or we have to change. Otherwise we’ll end up with acomparatively small fraction of a growing market.
Will it be possible to make a game like Assassin’s Creed or BioShockin 2015? It’s already becoming difficult to justify large budgets forsingle-player experiences, and it stands to reason that it will getmore difficult as time goes on. What does that mean for developers ofthese games? What happens to the concept of a game auteur?
One possibility is for these hardcore games to essentially becomethe art-house cinema of the video game world, which would be odd, asthat’s a role currently filled by indie titles.
Interestingly, never has the film/game analogy worked less well than it does currently. In the PS2 era, you could correlate Grand Theft Auto III with a movie blockbuster, and Ico with an art-house film.
But now, in terms of scope, money, and global social impact, Kart Rider or Club Penguin would be that blockbuster, and Call of Duty 4 would be the art-house equivalent, though content- and budget-wise Call of Duty 4 is much more your traditional blockbuster material. Something seems awry there.
The fact is, these simple-to-play social experiences are here.They’re growing in popularity, they’re dwarfing our multi-milliondollar projects that sell through to 5 million people at max, and theycost a fraction of the price to make.
With the market expanding as it is, and the dollars going wherethey’re going, the $20 million budget bestselling console title oftoday is going to be the hardcore niche title of tomorrow, art-house ornot. Unless development costs get significantly lower, it seems we havean online future to look forward to.
New Things Are Stupid
To wit: online games are taking over, and I, curmudgeon that I am, don’t really like it.
Certainly there will always be the hardcore players that will wantthat deeper experience. There’s no doubt about that. But the questionis: in an industry where we’re getting our asses kicked financially byweb developers, of all people, who will pay us to make it?
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:55 am
30 Most Anticipated Games of E3 in Gaming
30. Rise of the Argonauts (PS3, X360, PS3)
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Liquid Entertainment
Est. Release Date: Sep 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Anaction RPG that promises to be way more action than RPG, Rise of theArgonauts has a winning mythological premise and lots of little designtouches that keep the game looking fresh. Take the Argo—the ship oflegend will act as a seafaring headquarters from which your recruitedArgonauts will provide support. There is also a “deed” system that willincrease Jason’s abilities via the acquisition of Xbox LiveAchievement-like trophies. So it’s bursting with interesting ideas, andit’s all running on the reliable Unreal Engine 3—this could be thesleeper hit of the year.


29. High School Musical 3: Senior Year Dance (PC, Wii, PS2, NDS, X360)
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: TBA
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Considerthis your representative sample of licensed games that promise to sellgangbusters regardless of quality or media reaction. And High SchoolMusical 3 is likely to be the biggest game of its breed this year: themovie of the same name is the first time this children’s blockbusterfranchise will see a theatrical release, meaning the marketing for theproperty is likely to be even more inescapable than usual. Beyond theusual niceties of rhythm games—coop and competitive modes, mechanicsspecific to each system’s control scheme—it will have the songs fromHigh School Musical movies past and present. That last one is almostcertainly the only feature the game needs to add another million insales to the franchise’s life-to-date count.

28. Borderlands (PC, X360, PS3)
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Est. Release Date: 2009
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Capabledeveloper Gearbox has never swung for the fences with quite as muchgusto as with Borderlands. The fact that the game is original IP isn’teven the half of it—it also promises a procedural item creation systemthat will provide this sci-fi first-person shooter over half a millionweapons. If that’s not enough, Borderlands also shares some ambitionswith big-budget role playing games: the world will be expansive,character growth and classes comes standard, and missions and sidequests will populate the landscape. Borderlands has all the earmarks ofa breakout hit, and its scope should easily take the breath away fromboth shooter and science fiction fans.

27. Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (X360, PS3)
Publisher: Midway
Developer: Midway
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Goingon the title alone, Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe feels a decade late,like it should have been slugging it out with Marvel Vs Capcom for thequarters of 90s teenagers. But it’s actually a better idea,commercially, in 2008—now the game can ride the tide of successfulcomic book film blockbusters. It can pull from the years of soliddesign work and franchise reputation rebuilding that culminated inMortal Kombat: Armageddon. And with an anticipated ESRB rating of T forTeen, there’re no retail hurdles to keep the adolescent maledemographic from eating this up with a spoon.

26. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (PC)
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: GSC Game World
Est. Release Date: Aug 29, 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:Shadow of Chernobyl was hardly the biggest first-person shooter of 2007in the west. But it posted platinum-level sales in Eastern Europe,where its freeform gameplay and mythos steeped in Russia’s uniquescience fiction struck a strong chord. With little similar competitionin the region, its sequel Clear Sky should do well for itself therealso. Which isn’t to say the rest of the world shouldn’t (or won’t)give it a go as well—Clear Sky will add a tactical, squad-based turfwar to the already eccentric proceedings, and should be just as curiousand interesting a beast as its predecessor.

25. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (PS3, X360, Wii, PS2, PSP, NDS)
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: LucasArts
Est. Release Date: Sep 2008
Officially Announced for E3: No, but it might as well be

TheForce Unleashed could well be the biggest project to bear the Star Warsfranchise name since Episode III ended the franchise’s non-animatedtheatrical run. Every Star Wars fan has been curious about the periodright before the Original Trilogy when Darth Vader had his run of thegalaxy; Force Unleashed promises to capture this period from theperspective of the Dark Side, using exciting new technologies torealistically render bot the AI and the Force itself. If the persistentrumors are true, this could well be the last project completely builtby LucasArts’ internal studio—but in that case, it will be one heck ofa send-off that a lot of Star Wars fans will experience.


24. Beyond Good and Evil 2 (PS3, X360)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier (likely)
Est. Release Date: TBA
Officially Announced for E3: No

Allthat’s known about Beyond Good and Evil 2 is that it’s currently beingworked on by Ubisoft premier designer Michel Ancel. But in this case,that’s more than enough—Ancel’s resume does include perennial hitRayman and (naturally) the first Beyond Good and Evil, after all. Andthe first Beyond Good and Evil is particularly beloved. The smallaudience that played it has been talking about it ever since, praisingits varied gameplay and realistic, strong female protagonist Jade. Sothe sequel is exciting, and though its commercial success is by nomeans assured it’s possible that maybe the adult gaming audience isfinally ready for this franchise.


23. Lock’s Quest (NDS)
Publisher: THQ
Developer: 5th Cell
Est. Release Date: Fall 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

2007’sbiggest surprise sales blockbuster was a little DS game called Drawn toLife, built by a little mobile developer called 5th Cell. That gamegave the independent studio a reputation for creating innovations withstrong market appeal, and it could cement that reputation with Lock’sQuest, a curious RTS/Action/RPG/minigame hybrid with cute graphics,quick thrills and a world that can be completely remodeled by theplayer. In other words, it has a lot of elements that appeal across awide variety of gaming demographics, as well as a lot of ambition. Ifthis one lives up to its potential, it would be great to see it succeed.


22. Puzzle Quest: Galactrix (PC, X360, NDS)
Publisher: D3 Publisher of America
Developer: Infinite Interactive
Est. Release Date: Fall 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Lastyear’s Puzzle Quest combined the most addictive parts of the casual“match three” puzzle game with the most addictive parts of RPGcharacter development, a powerful cocktail that murdered productivityand sold in huge numbers. There’s no reason this follow-up shouldn’tcontinue in that trend—it’s still a match three puzzle game (this timemore Collapse than Bejeweled), it still has those all-important RPGelements, and it’s being built by the same studio. The only differences(besides the science fiction setting) all look like improvements.There’s an element of strategy gaming. Players can enhance not justtheir character, but also their spacecraft. Downloadable content willabound. It all sounds like a game that players will itch to play afterthe first hit.


21. Crysis: Warhead (PC)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Crysis
Est. Release Date: Fall 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Allegedlythe last PC exclusive from the bastion of PC gaming high technology,Crytek’s side story to 2007’s Crysis looks every bit as graphicallydazzling as its predecessor. It also promises to be a moremarket-friendly title (a tall order considering Crysis’ million-sellingstatus); Warhead provides a less strategic, more bombastic run-and-gunaffair compared to the original Crysis. And with a year of hardwareadvancements in between Crysis and Crysis: Warhead, that more widelyappealing design will find that a lot more people have the rigs toactually run it well. And who knows? If Warhead does manage to findthat perfect balance, perhaps Crytek will stick to their PC-exclusivestomping grounds for a while longer.

20. Tomb Raider Underworld (Wii, PS2, PS3, X360, PC, NDS)
Publisher: Eidos
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

It’sbeen a few years since Crystal Dynamics took the Tomb Raider franchiseand reinvigorated it with Legend. But it’s really with Underworld thatthe series’ previous mistakes have been taken to heart. Rather thanrest the game on its laurels again, Underworld is a creation that lookstoward with the new; the game engine is all new, the way the worldinteracts with Lara is more realistic, combat now has melee and willflow fluidly into the puzzle mechanics. And if that wasn’t enough toguarantee sales, Lara has a motorcycle now too.


19. Sonic Unleashed (Wii, PS2, PS3, X360)
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Sonic Team/Dimps
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: No

Thesedays it feels like SEGA promises the moon with every Sonic title, tothe point where it’s hard to fall for it anymore. Take Sonic Unleashed;it’s promise of a revamped, re-invented Sonic echoes the promises SEGAmade before this generation’s first Sonic the Hedgehog hit the Xbox 360with a sad plop. And yet, franchise sales have never followed the samecurve as the blue blur’s review scores. This is mostly because ofSonic’s strong appeal to the child market, but on some level thegraying Genesis owner wants to believe what we’re told, that this nextSonic really will reclaim the glory days. Anyway, Sonic Unleashed. It’srunning on a new engine and has some 2D environments. It’ll sell, andas for the rest of it? Here’s hoping.


18. MadWorld (Wii)
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Platinum Games
Est. Release Date: 2009
Officially Announced for E3: No

PlatinumGames, formerly Seeds, formerly Clover Studios, isn’t known for makingcommercial hits. No, that team is known more for making instant,beloved classics. Okami certainly, but Viewtiful Joe is in there aswell, and the only people who remember God Hand these days love it toabsolute death. MadWorld, a blood-soaked black and white Wii exclusive,feels like a return to the playful, experimentation that made this teamfamous. Will it sell? Well, it’s nice to think that just maybe, thistime, the market has caught up to what Platinum is doing.


17. Animal Crossing Wii (Wii)
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Est. Release Date: TBA
Officially Announced for E3: No

Asof this writing, Animal Crossing Wii still exists as a hopeful glimmerin the eye of the gaming public. Nintendo hasn’t said anything at allabout it yet, though almost all speculation says that it exists andwill be announced soon—and if that’s the case, E3 is as good a place toshowcase it as any. It’s a completely believable theory. Nintendo’sChristmas lineup is currently a complete mystery, and Animal Crossing,already a surprise hit on GameCube and DS, is such a good fit for thecasual Wii-loving audience it’s startling it’s not on the systemalready.


16. Left 4 Dead (PC, X360)
Publisher: Valve Software
Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Valvedoesn’t release duds, and it doesn’t buy teams that can’t deliver. Sothe fact that it purchased Turtle Rock Studios and have put a greatdeal of PR muscle behind Left 4 Dead speaks volumes as to how good thisgame could be. The game has a completely innovative, yet highly marketfriendly hook in its “four survivors must cooperate to survive thezombie horde” premise, though players of a less polite persuasion canalso take up the role of a super-powered zombie. This could very wellbe the next major online phenomenon, like Team Fortress 2 before it.


15. Resistance 2 (PS3)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Insomniac Games
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Thefirst Resistance was the big win for the PlayStation 3 at launch, butResistance 2 looks set to spin that good first impression into anempire. Resistance 2 pushes the game out of London to the morerelatable (in the US, anyway) environs of the United States. A goodmove, but not as good as the massive 60-man multiplayer that the gamepromises. That’s fantastic scale for an online console game; add onsome more focused, objective-oriented teamplay and Resistance 2 is agood contender for gamer’s next networked obsession.


14. Killzone 2 (PS3)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Guerilla Games
Est. Release Date: 2009
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Threeyears on and Killzone 2 is still trying to shake off its disastrous“showing” at E3 2005. Admittedly the team at Guerilla has done a finejob of actually approaching the target in that first badly marketed“target render,” with more recent previews showing the game asappropriately attractive and bombastic for its high position in Sony’sportfolio. But it still needs a big floor to show off, and it needs aman to say “in-game graphics” about one thousand times in front of somehuge HD Killzone if it wants to really nail the market. E3 historicallyhas had some very big floors.


13. Fable 2 (X360)
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Est. Release Date: Oct 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Alot on Fable 2 is already known, and most of it is interesting on avariety of levels. There’s the in-game dog, a character ofunconditional love that will act as the player’s anchor to the game’sworld. There’s the Pub Games, a series of Xbox Live Arcade titles thatwill act as both encapsulated products and previews for the bigrelease. Then there’s the gay marriage, pregnant adventuring, and allmanner of family matters to deal with in the game as well. It’s a gamethat promises to push boundaries and break some of the medium’s moreridiculous unnecessary taboos. Considering the success of the originalGable, it’s likely many people will choose to experience this moveforward—surely a good thing.


12. Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC, X360)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Los Angeles
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

RedAlert’s Cold War gone hot is one of the most beloved scenarios is allof strategy gaming, and the franchise’s long seven year absence makesthis game even more exciting and desirable. And by adding thepseudo-Japanese Empire of the Rising Sun faction the festivities geteven more campy and strange, complete with towering mecha, psychicschoolgirls and parachuting bears. So it’s got a lot of hooks for boththe longtime fan and sugar-crazed newcomer alike.


11. Far Cry 2 (PC, X360, PS3)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: No

FarCry 2 has found a unique gaming setting in the jungles, savannahs andtowns of Africa, and it plans on giving the player a lot of thatsetting – 50 square kilometers, to be precise. Plenty of new gameplayelements will make themselves known as the player crosses that expanse:some wounds have to be treated with field medicine (ie. fishing abullet out with a knife) and brush fires can be started, only to bewhipped up realistically by wind. Far Cry 2 is an underutilized brandmoving to an underutilized setting while adding multiple newinnovations, making it an extremely strong contender in the hardcoreshooter market.
10. Prince of Persia (X360, PS3)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Est. Release Date: Holiday 2008
Officially Announced for E3: No

Princeof Persia: The Sands of Time was one of the last generation’s definingmoments, so it would have been easy for Ubisoft to just build astandard sequel on the successes of its previous trilogy. The fact thatthis is not the case, that the series is instead being rebooted with anincredible hand-painted aesthetic and open world, show a strongdedication to making the Prince one of the most lasting and importantfranchises in gaming (though the big budget movie helps on that scoreas well). While previous PoP titles did sell well, after theblockbuster success of Assassin’s Creed, the timing is perfect for thePrince to really make it big.


9. Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Est. Release Date: TBD
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Sinceclosing the door on the last console genre, Square Enix has relied onhandheld games and Wii side stories alone. If the publisher’s lastfiscal statement said anything, it was that’s no way for a company tolive—so while Square Enix has some other interesting console games inthe pipe, it needs to bring its megaton franchise back into the publiceye. It’s not surprising that Final Fantasy XIII will show up in someform at E3—and regardless of what form it takes or what the game lookslike now, it could certainly steal the show if it tried.


8. Street Fighter IV (PC, X360, PS3)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom/Dimps
Est. Release Date: 2009
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Atworst, this is a surprise come back of one of gaming’s most iconicfranchises. At best, this could be the surprise come back of agenre—certainly if anything could revive a flagging fighting gamefield, a new numbered entry in its greatest series would be the thingto do it. Perhaps the best sign that this game knows what it will taketo succeed is its reverence to Street Fighter II—all of the charactersfrom that game will return, and the gameplay mirrors the measured paceof that early entry. Considering versions of SFII still sell in strongnumbers, it’s easy to see how this strategy could succeed on the market.


7. Rock Band 2 (X360, PS3, PS2, Wii)
Publisher: MTV Games
Developer: Harmonix
Est. Release Date: Sep 2008 (X360 timed exclusive, with other versions to follow)
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Nomatter what other companies say, the fast-paced game of catch-up thathas gripped the music genre says one thing louder: the four-piece RockBand is the standard for the field. And while little is known about itat this point, what is known proves that Harmonix hasn’t lost the plotwith Rock Band 2. Sticking to its “platform” guns, the game will befully backwards compatible—with old DLC, with old instruments, theworks. And while user-created content is not a go this time, there arecertainly things about the game yet to be announced—you don’t want tomiss this one at the show.


6. LittleBigPlanet (PS3)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Media Molecule
Est. Release Date: Oct 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Despiteseemingly constant delays, LittleBigPlanet remains one of the mostunique products in Sony’s first-party arsenal. The idea of a game thatlives and dies by the content created by its users has been triedbefore in first-person shooters, but LittleBigPlanet, with its lovelytextured graphics and universal, non-violent charm wants to be muchmore—the YouTube of games perhaps, or the Legos of the 21st century. Ofall the games that could bring PlayStation 3 to the mass market, thisremains the best hope.


5. Halo Wars (X360)
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Ensemble Studios/Bungie
Est. Release Date: Oct 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

HaloWars is more than just the next title from Microsoft to have the Haloname. It’s also more than the first Halo project not spearheaded byBungie. Halo Wars wants to be a revolution in real-time strategy, aconsole exclusive built from the ground up for a console controller—inother words, Halo Wars wants to do for real-time strategy what Halo didfor first-person shooters. If it succeeds, it could crack wide open thenascent console RTS market as gamers try it based on the franchisealone. It’s been reported that the game will be playable by the mediaat E3, so the show should give a much better idea as to how itssucceeding.


4. Spore (PC, Mac)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Maxis
Est. Release Date: Sep 7, 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

It’scertainly something that even after the seemingly endless amount ofwords typed about Spore, even though it’s appeared in publications asnon-game centric as The New Yorker, even though the wait for the gamehas been years long and interminable, almost everyone who knows aboutit is still excited at its promise. And after the success of therecently released Creature Creator, that excitement is still mounting.Will Wright’s SimEverything could very well the next big thing, tossingaside silly ideas like “demographics” and just appealing to everyoneeverywhere. In other words, the next Sims.


3. Gears of War 2 (X360)
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Epic Games
Est. Release Date: Nov 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Gearsof War 2 is a lot of things. To the gamer, it is epic, the sequel tothe game that dominated man hours spent on Xbox Live for most of 2007.To developers, it’s the new baseline, as every new Epic game has cometo represent the state of the art for the now industry standard UnrealEngine 3. In both regards Gears of War 2 looks great. A fewimprovements to the constantly evolving engine have already been shown,and most gamers agree that new mechanics like martyrdom and the “meatshield” look like fantastic fun. Gears of War is already one of thisgeneration’s emblematic franchises, so it will be great to see how thesequel goes about cementing that status.


2. Resident Evil 5 (X360, PS3)
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Est. Release Date: 2009
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

RE5is not even close to a retail release, and yet it’s already one of themost interesting topics in the industry. It brings with it the highlyrespected pedigree of Resident Evil 4, hands-down one of the best gamesof the last generation, and will probably sell strongly to the audiencethat loved, or even heard about, that game. Yet it’s also mired incontroversy over some concerns regarding racism. So it’s a projectthat’s walking many tightropes of expectation, and there’s potentialfor huge success or massive failure here. As a result this E3 could bethe most important public showing for RE5 until its release—it shouldbe fascinating.


1. Fallout 3 (PC, X360, PS3)
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Softworks
Est. Release Date: Oct 2008
Officially Announced for E3: Yes

Fallout3 shows great evolutionary leaps every time it’s displayed for publicviewing, with recent revelations—the childhood simulating charactercreator, the 500 endings—being particularly fascinating. Now that it’scoming precariously close to its announced release date, this E3 shouldrepresent the game’s biggest showing yet. If there are any surprisesleft in the title to announce, expect them to get announced at somepoint during the week. But even if there aren’t, Fallout 3 has alreadyproven itself to be a sprawling, ambitious project that anyone in thegaming audience would wait to spend more time with.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:55 am
Build a DX10 rig for under £176 in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
We like big explosions, the bigger the better, in fact.
Wealso like smoke effects, water ripples, dappled lighting filteringthrough jungle canopies and creeping up silently behind people, beforemurdering them with our bare hands. But enough about our weekendpastimes…
What we really like are the fantastic visuals that DX10 gaming offers.
If you listen to most people, they will tell you that you need a quad-core, DDR3, triple-SLI setup to play Crysis. The sort of setup that requires you to remortgage your house to own. These people are wrong, and we're going to show you why.
We'vepreviously demonstrated how to build a DX10 setup for just under £300,a not unreasonable amount that should be within the reach of mostpeople. But what if you just blew all your money on a sordid weekend inAmsterdam, and you've resorted to scrambling under the sofa for loosechange? Would you believe us if we told you that it's possible to builda DX10-capable rig for well under £200? Well, it's true.
Ofcourse you can't connect it to a 22-inch wide screen monitor withoutthe frame rates plummetting, but if you're on that tight a budget, abig monitor is probably the least of your concerns.
Wheneveryou work to such a tight budget, something has to give and this projectwill be no exception. We need to prioritise in certain areas, whileothers can be largely ignored.
Yes, a case is important to stopyour gear being an untidy heap of electronics on the floor, but reallyyou just need a metal box to screw things onto. Optical drives are dirtcheap, and with memory stick capacities being what they are, hardlyanyone burns DVDs, so we only need a DVD ROM.
It also means noquad-core and no SLI. But dual-core chips are surprisingly cheap, andwe'll see just how well a budget DX10 card performs. Don't forget thatif you have any parts available from an existing PC, such as cases anddrives, you can reuse them and put the money towards a higher-end CPUor graphics card.


       
Case and PSU
Ifyou want a well-designed case, with plenty of fans, numerous ports andplenty of upgradability, then it's easily possible to spend more thanour entire budget on such a beast.
Likewise, if you want a 1KwPSU that supports the likes of SLI, then it's going to cost a fairamount of cash. At the other end of the spectrum is the all-in-one caseand PSU deal. We found one for just £26, which includes a 400W PSU.
Thismay not sound like a lot of power, but it's more than enough to run oursetup. When spending such a small amount of money on a case, you'dexpect it to be quite horrific, but it's surprisingly well featured. Ithas a matt-black finish, which helps on the looks front, and the frontpanel has USB and audio ports.
Most of the internals can befitted without the need for a screwdriver, and it even has a lockingside panel. Sure, it isn't the best-looking or quietest case we've everseen, but for this sort of money, we're not complaining.
The result?
As the most basic DX10 card available from NVIDIA, it comes as no surprise that the performance of the 8400 is not the best.
However,at £20 it still does pretty well, as long as you keep the resolutionrealistic. Okay, not everyone wants to play at 800x600, or even1024x768, but then you shouldn't be so cheap, should you?
Surprisingly, Crysis gave some of the best results, although BioShock achieves the best framerates of all. Using the Optimal settings button, Crysisdid set all the detail level to low, but the results still lookedpretty good. However, if you're going to be realistic about playingDirectX10 games, then you are going to have to find a little more moneyin your budget.
Hooking the 9600GT up to our budget CPU workedabsolute miracles, and at around £70 extra is an absolute steal. Notonly could we turn the detail right up, but we could run a higherresolution and still get twice the frame rates of the 8400GS.
Surprisingly,adding a high-end quadcore CPU doesn't give much of an increase, witheither the 8400 or 9600GT. In conjunction with the 8400Gs, the Phemom9550 does give you some extra fps over the Athlon X2 4400+, but withwhen it comes to the 9600GT, the difference over the 4400+ setup ismarginal.
So, if you want the best performance, and can spend alittle extra, buying the 9600GT is the logical choice. You know itmakes sense.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:47 am
CrossfireX: 2560x1600 gameplay becomes a reality in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
“AMD ATI Radeon4850/4870 CrossfireX” review at Guru3D. Hilbert’s lost it again – high poweredgraphics have that effect on him... Anyway, what’s come to light, lately, isthe high power consumption of the 4800 series (now double-up on the cards andimagine), and the irregular driver performance. You can see a broad spectrum ofresults, but when Hilbert gets CrossfireX to work, it works great. But do putthings in perspective when reading: with the latest generation of graphics cardsworking in dual-GPU setups, you’ll be looking at buying a 30-inch LCD for2560x1600 gameplay.Readit here.
XS Reviews is cracking open the Zalman GS1000 computer case, targeted at justabout anyone who wants to build a supercomputer at home. It supports E-ATX andvery long PCI cards and has hot-swappable bays for HDDs. Lots of space inside,if you’re “just” using a standard ATX mobo, but the panels are a bit dodgy,thinks the author. Not a snip at £100, but if Zalman could swap out those panelswith something better, they’d have a winner.Readon.
A few years ago we were hack-napped off to a press conference abroad just tosee how Philips would conquer the world of mobile telephony. Some 18 monthslater, Philips withdrew from the market, unable to compete with the big namesand (our personal opinion) mostly due to their utterly rubbish user interface.Now Philips is reviving the brand (Xenium 9@9) in China with the brand new X800.ePrice in Taiwan has the review. The X800 is a full touchscreen design (no, youwon’t have nightmares about the old Xeniums) and it looks like something out ofHTC’s workshop, to be honest. Careful when reading the page, it didn’t play nicewithGooglenglish,but you’ll get the gist (and the photos).
Andrew at Tweak Town took some time to write a guide on how to replace theheatspreaders on your RAM. Naturally it’s one of the warranty-voiding themes,but if you’re in need of improving cooling, it’s a necessary evil. Andrewsoutlines three basic methods to do this (hot, cold, lukewarm), but it all comesdown to be REALLY careful with sharp metallic objects in close proximity of aPCB.Letloose the mad aussie scientist in you.
T-break had a party with the ECS P45T-A Black Edition. ECS isn’t really knownas a top grade mobo maker, but it doesn’t fall behind the competition featurewise with this one. The board supports Crossfire, but it’ll break down the lanesinto 2x8 as per the P45 specs, but when you try your hand at an overclock, Abbasthinks you’ll be left wanting. The “Black Edition” brings to mind ideas ofmodding, overclocking and serious tweaking. That isn’t the case, it seems. Goodprice, tho’.Readon.
Tosh has hit the Portégè brand with its shrink ray and launched the G810.It’s no longer a notebook, as it were, it’s a Windows Mobile 6.0 smartphone witheverything touchscreen. It’s targeted at the same market as the HTC TouchCruise, but you really can’t avoid comparing the details with the iPhone. It’sHSDPA enabled and even includes GPS functionality. The only real thing goingagainst it is the slow speed of the image capture (slow flash, we guess). $550will buy you one.Readthe review here.
Hardware Zone is gobsmacked by Gigabyte’s most extreme P45 mobo – the aptlynamed GA-EP45T-EXTREME. This board has it all, it seems, even a waterblock onthe northbridge that runs liquid cooling to the southbridge and the rows ofcapacitors. It also allows you to stick in 3 ATI cards and is populated by abevy of LEDs that alert you about your overclocking misdeeds. It’s only apreview, butit’stasty.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:42 am
Microsoft responds to Xbox 360 Elite rumours in Gaming
Microsoft has today responded to a number of misleading stories in the UK's mainstream pressearlier this week regarding alleged 'red ring' problems with the Xbox360 Elite console that have been experienced by numerous UK gamers.
Microsoft has now issued the following official response to these stories, which appeared in the Daily The Mirror and The Daily Telegraph:  
"Recentreports in the UK media regarding Xbox 360 contain inaccuracies andpure speculation, as well as news that is a year old.
"Promptedby what Microsoft viewed as an unacceptable number of repairs to Xbox360 consoles, a year ago Microsoft announced an expansion of its Xbox360 warranty. Effective 5 July, 2007, any original retail Xbox 360customer who experiences a general hardware failure indicated by threeflashing red lights is covered by a three year warranty from date ofpurchase, with all other issues remaining covered by the standardone-year warranty."
Why the red ring?
Microsoft'sofficial statement also reiterates the company's initial comments fromJuly 2007 that they had "conducted extensive investigations intopotential sources of general hardware failures," and that after"identifying a number of factors which can cause the general hardwarefailures, Microsoft has made improvements to the console."
Sowhat do those evil three red lights actually mean? Many reports seem tothink that they indicate a single overheating problem, but according toMicrosoft, this is not the case.
"The three flashing red lightserror message does not signal a single issue and can be caused by acombination of factors. For competitive reasons, we do not providespecifics about hardware components.
The statement adds: "Weencourage anyone who is experiencing issues with their Xbox 360 consoleto call the customer support centre. Our customer service team is wellequipped to ensure that all Xbox 360 repairs go smoothly."
No endemic problem
TechRadarhas contacted The Mirror, The Telegraph and a number of leading UKgames retailers to find out more on the alleged 'numerous problems'with the Xbox Elite.
Both stories quote a 16-year-old Jamie Kingfrom Sussex. If you happen to know or be that James King from Sussex,then please drop us a line to news@techradar.com and tell us more aboutthe problems you have had with your Xbox 360 Elite.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:39 am
AMD with three new Phenom CPUs at opposite ends of market in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The raw specs are 140W TDP for the 9950 at 2.6GHz and 65W for the 9350e at2.0GHz and 9150e at 1.8GHz. The prices are $235, $195 and $175 respectively, andthe sharp-eyed among you will notice that the 9950 costs exactly what the 9850does. That is because in a week, on July 7, the 9850 will drop to $205. Bothwill remain 'Black', but the 9950 will be blacker because, before the end of theyear, the 9850 will fade from black, and go back to a locked part.
You have to wonder why AMD is bothering to lock Phenoms at all, with theBlack parts selling at effectively no premium, why not just let people have fun.Anything AMD can do to foster the enthusiast market at this point is probably agood thing, and if you don't have the raw speed, play up the features.
In any case, the interesting part of the bunch is the 9350e. It isn't a barnburner, but for media center boxes, coupled with a 780G board, or better yet a790GX, it could be a pretty solid media/casual gaming rig. This part fills ahole in the market, there aren't any sub 95W Intel quads out there formainstream consumer use, but there could be quite easily if the 9350e is a hit.
In any case, hardcore gamers will probably turn up their noses at the lowclock speeds in the -e parts, but as long as you are not trying to eke out thelast FPS, these parts would make a dandy low-noise desktop.
So, how did they do? Using the same exact setup as the we did with theoriginal780G review, the numbers lined up quite well. To recap, that is a GigabyteGA-MA78GM-2SH mobo, Corsair DDR2 1066 memory and a PC Power and Cooling/OCZSilencer 750W PSU. Power draw was measured at the wall with an Extech True RMSPower Analyser. The same caveat as last time needs to be said, the PSU isunderworked and far less efficient that it would be if we were pulling 500+ W,so knock about 20+ per cent off the wall power to get power used by the boarditself.
We ran our usual power draw test, 3DMark06 under XP SP3 patched to current asof June 28. Just for fun, we threw in the 4850e and the X4 9600 from the lasttest, as well as the 8750 X3. So now you can compare a K8, X3, X4 B2 and a X4 -ein terms of power. It looks like this.

The raw numbers
The lowest idle number is of course the 4850e, and it beats the quads byalmost 20W, the really odd part is the greater than 20W gap from there to the8750 X3. Lose one core, gain 20W? Binning problem, or binning opportunity? Thedual core 4850e also takes the bottom of the loaded power charts, and there is abig 33W gap to the 9350e. From there, the 8750 and 9600 are almost on top ofeach other.
Performance is about where you would expect it to be, the 4850e taking up thebottom with sub-1200 scores, and the others right on top of each other at1540+/-2. A quick overclock of the 9600 to 2.8GHz barely moved the score, so3DMark06 looks pretty GPU bound here.
In the end, with the new parts are priced pretty low, but won't challengeIntel for supremacy. For the high end 9950, you gain 100MHz for a few watts somake sure your mobo can handle the extra. In a week, it will not cost you anymore than a 9850, so you might want to hold off for a few days.
The 9350e and the 9150e look to be solid and inexpensive workhorses for theHTPC/SFF/quiet office PC set. You give up 200MHz for 30W, not a bad trade. Theyare solidly mid-range parts that won't stun any gamers, but they plug gaps inthe market, and do so quite nicely.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:15 am
5 Sites To Play Old Computer Games Once Again in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
I don’t know about you but I’m not much into fancy-pants 3D firstperson shooters. I can’t be bothered to build a massive gaming rig,blow $500 on a video card, and figure out what custom weights give me the best mouse response.
I’ve got a WII, and I love it, and one of the big reasons I do is for the emulation. Sadly however, I can’t bring my WII to work or to the coffee shop down the street - but I can bring my laptop, jump on their WiFi and fire up these four awesome sites for a quick old school gaming fix!
VirtualApple (Apple II and Apple IIGS)

I don’t know about you but every now and then I get a craving tohunt square rabbits, hire unfit workers, make them walk too far andthen lose three days because I’ve got scurvy. Virtual Apple alwayssatisfies my Oregon Trail fix; but don’t other classics like JohnElway’s Quarterback, Crystal Castles, and Max Headroom (don’t lie, youremember Max Headroom).
c64s.com (Commodore 64)

My family’s first computer was the UPS-brown Commodore 64, so thisone really takes me back. I even remember “modding” the case to thenewer, more angular style when it came out. Yikes. Thrill to suchCommodore favorites as Zork, Wizard’s Lair and Pakacuda. The site hasall the titles categorized by genre and features screenshots - furtherunderscoring the real graphical prowess of the C64!
Virtualnes.com (Nintendo Entertainment System)

vNes has a huge catalog of NES cartridge titles available for play on their site via a Java-based emulator- 765 of them to be exact. I’ve noticed a few problems with slowness ona few titles, but all in all it’s an excellent place to play old gamesonline and satisfy your urge to jam on Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, orone of my favorites: Ivan Stewart’s Super Off Road.
Playnes.net (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Another big catalog of NES titles, but you’re able to register whichgives you the ability to save states in the games you’re playing. Youcan even open other people’s states - meaning that when your buddy getsstuck trying to battle through the ninjas, you can swoop in, rescue thePresident, and prove just how bad a dude you really are.
GetBack.Com Arcade
Unlike the rest of the sites I listed, GetBack isn’t strictly agaming site. It’s kind of a “throwback culture” site. The upside isthat they do have several games in their arcade that you can play, likeIntellivision Backgammon and River Raid.
What about you? Where do you go to satisfy your vintage gaming urges? Let us know!
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:48 am
RSS - who profits? in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Of course your content is your copyright and others should not copyit without your permission. But a feed can be repurposed in many ways,and we need to look at what parts of the feed are being copied and whoprofits.
Copyright lawyers will have to fill me in on the latest case law onall of this, but I think in practice we have despatched the question whether links are legal (is the web legal?) with a resounding yes.
Shouldn’t You Have To Ask Permission If You Want To Take A Blog’s Feed For Your Profit? which has attracted considerable comment.
As Sir Tim father-of-the-web-but-not-a-lawyer Berners-Lee has said:

There are some fundamental principles about links onwhich the Web is based. These principles allow the world of distributedhypertext to work. Lawyers, users and technology and content providersmust all agree to respect these principles.

What of link+title? In principle there is copyright in a title, butit’s hard to see anyone any longer seeking to enforce copyright here.
But an RSS feed is an aggregation, so what of a bunch oflinks+titles? Here there is a stronger case for saying that thisaggregation is protected by copyright, and if we’re talking about anaggregation of links+titles+descriptions or even +excerpts, that isclearly protected. So let’s talk about permission, express or implied.
I don’t believe there’s any implied permission for others to republish feeds.But in practice, why publish a feed if you don’t want it to berepublished? It will be, and there’s little you can do to stop it. Youcan frame some stern T & Cs or apply a more friendly CC licence,but most, whether intentionally or by default, will take little notice.
Susan makes much of others taking your (blog) feed “for profit”. Weare all miffed if we see others profiting from our work at our expense.But, with feed repurposing, in most cases we profit too, sufficientlythat we do not see it as being at our expense.

  • Google indexes, caches and republishes parts of my website, myblog, my feeds without my permission. Google profits handsomely, but Iprofit too.
  • Other specialist search engines and directories - like Tehcnorati,Blawg Search - also index and repurpose my content. If I’ve submittedmy site to them, I’ve probably given them permission to do this, but inmost cases my signing up only legitimates what they have been doing /would do anyway. (Susan, Technorati indexes your blog whether you’veclaimed it or not.) They profit, but I profit too.
  • Smaller fish might also republish my feeds, but in all cases shortof their republishing my full text, I profit as much as or more thanthey do. All items link back to me. And I really am not going to losesleep if they choose to wrap Google ads around it or seek to profit inother ways. (I do view sploggers etc as the scum of the earth, but I blame Google Adsense.)

So in practice, what we are all most concerned about is othersclaiming our real work - our full posts or articles - as their own; andthere is a simple answer: if you want to protect your content, includeonly excerpts rather than full text in your feeds. Syndicate yourmetadata, not your data.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:44 am
Revealed: Sony's future plans for PS3, PSP and TV in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
"This is not your father's Sony", sums up what Howard Stringer has done at Sony since taking over the reins in 2005.
TheWales-born CEO was underlining the challenge that the company now facesin the digital age, as he led the Japanese giant's corporate strategybriefing in Tokyo today.
In the absence of any attention-grabbingnew hardware announcements, most headlines are likely to go to Sony'spledge to increase revenues in the PC, Blu-ray-related and componentsbusinesses.
Game plan
Stringer said thatSony would build these into "trillion-yen businesses" by FY2010,putting them alongside the core business units of TVs, digital imaging,gaming and mobile phones. One trillion yen is currently worth around£4.7 billion.
Although gaming is a traditional Sony strength, thedivision is mired in red ink after the costly development and launch ofthe PlayStation 3. Addressing that, the CEO promised to bring it toprofit by March next year.
Stringer also outlined plans to investclose to £9 billion in new technology in a concerted drive to becomethe world leader in LCD televisions within three years. Beyond that,the assembled execs wouldn't be drawn on precise numbers or revenuetargets.
Mobile content
Although he didn't address recent speculation about the possibility of a PSP phone or the stability of the Sony Ericsson joint venturethat produces mobile phones, Stringer did emphasise that such handsetswould continue to be sold and that "Sony music and pictures content[would be] embedded in all key Sony Ericsson product lines."
As expected, there was no discussion on life after Blu-ray– the so-called 'death of disk'. However, a hint of how quickly onlinedistribution will move centre-stage came in the news that SonyPictures' summer blockbuster, Hancock, will be made available exclusively to all internet-connect Bravia televisions in the US before its DVD release.
Movie download service
The movie theme resurfaced in a presentation from Kaz Hirai, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment, with the news that the long-anticipated film download service would finally reach the online PlayStation Network this year.
Hiraiconfirmed that US users would get first crack at PS3 movie downloads inlate summer, with Europe and Japan to follow by year's end. He addedthat full details would be announced at E3 in LA next month and thatboth standard- and high-definition titles would be available.
       
Virtual world
Warmingto the theme, Hirai added, "Please expect more from our evolvingPlayStation business." That evolution will also include themuch-delayed PlayStation Home virtual world, which Hirai demonstrated,along with new dynamic in-game advertisements that change according tothe context.
The littlest PlayStation also featured prominently,with the PSP being positioned as an interactive extension of the PS3console, as well as a tool for accessing the PlayStation Store for gamedownloads and, possibly, feature films at some undisclosed point.
Hirai's presentation concluded with something of a surprise in a new network service called Life With PlayStation.The rough demo showed a view of the Earth from space, which rotated toreveal location-related news items, reminiscent of similar services onNintendo's Wii.
Innovator and creator
Returningto the podium to sum up, Stringer emphasised his firm's creative skillsand took aim at a company many see as having inherited the Sony mantleas innovator supreme.
"We have products to get excited about [including] OLED TVs, Rolly, CyberShot smile detection and the new Bravias.
"Appleis a boutique company, but we're a large conglomerate. We recently cameout number one in a poll by Incite on innovative companies, just aheadof Apple. I rest my case."
Whether or not that's overstating thecase, Stringer's confidence in the once-troubled company is almosttangible, leaving little room for doubt that Sony is back and that itmeans business.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:41 am
Few gamers claim Grand Theft Auto 'hot coffee' cash in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
$93,660 (£47,201/€59,631) can’t be much to the publisher of Grand Theft Auto. But that’s the paltry maximum amount it could've paid out so far over the infamous ‘hot coffee’ incident in GTA: San Andreas, simply because hardly anyone’s filed a claim.
To refresh your memory, ‘hot coffee’ was the name given to a sequence within GTA: San Andreas that allowed players to perform sexual acts with background characters.

A lawsuit was brought against Take-Two Interactive - publisher of Grand Theft Auto,and the company later agreed to pay between $5 and $35 to anyone whohad bought the game and was offended by the scenes - which were notenabled by default, but required a special hack to activate.
But, according to Seth Lesser, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, only2676 people have come forward to claim their cash, so far. "We can'tguess as to why now, several years later, people care or don't care.The merits of the case were clear,” Lesser said.
The irony is that the 11 law firms that brought the action againstTake-Two are said to have claimed around $1.3m (£655,000/€828,000) inlegal fees.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:39 am
First CoD: World at War screens in Gaming
Call of Duty: World at War is a first-person shooter video game under development by Treyarch and published by Activision for the Playstation 3, Wii, Windows, and Xbox 360. It is the fifth installment in the Call of Duty video game series, excluding expansion packs.It is scheduled to ship before the end of Activision's 2009 fiscal year.The game is set in the Pacific theater and Eastern front of World War II.

After various leaks and grubby magazine scans, we have here the first official screenshots of Call of Duty: World at War.

As you'd expect from the CoD series,there's plenty going on in them - buildings on fire, smoke and hazeeverywhere, and you even get a glimpse of the lethal-looking flamethrower in the WWII-set shooter.

And, running on the CoD 4 engine, it all looks very nice, too. Check out this huge preview for all the info, and take a look at this interviewwith senior producer Noah Heller and creative lead Rich Farrelly tofind out why Treyarch is confident it's latest effort will live up toCoD 4.

Oh, and there's a trailer right here too, in case you missed it.
It surprised precisely no one when Activision last month revealed plans for yet another game in the publisher's popular Call of Duty franchise, though until now details have been kept just beyond our line of sight. Now new scans lifted from the latest issue of the UK's Official Xbox Magazine have confirmed earlier rumors that the series' fifth installment, apparently dubbed Call of Duty: World at War,will be handled by developer Treyarch, and that the game's previouslyteased "new military theater" will again drop players behind enemylines in a battle for the Pacific during World War II.

Accordingto the article, Treyarch aims to "explore the darkest corners of WWII,"giving the military shooter more of a survival horror flavor by"tackling darker themes" and pitting players against a "new, seeminglyalien fighting force." Activision has yet to officially announce Call of Duty: World at War, though it seems clear that we'll be trading in our guided anti-tank missiles for submachine guns sooner than we'd like.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:29 am
RM launched its new Windows XP-based RM Asus miniBook in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
RM dumped the Eee name, as it feels the connotations of the letter in between of D and F with drug misuse/abuse wouldn’t fit all that well with kids and the Education market sector.

So fresh from rehab comes a 8.9-inch RM Asus Minibook for schools. The firm expects to see 50,000 units sold by the year end. This is compared to the 7-inch original model launched at the Handheld Learning Conference in London October 2007, which has sold 23,000 to date.



Specifications for the education aimed lite-laptop are exactly as the ASUSTeK 900 model itself, with this SKU shipping with 12GB SDD and a 1GB memory. When querying an Asus spokesperson at the event about which battery will be shipping with said units, we were informed that the new models will soon have the standard extended one that’s seen elsewhere in the world. Saving the local education authorities the £11.75 they are currently charging for swapping out the old one for the new.

One of the clear reasons why RM has gone down this route with Microsoft is the simple fact that most educational software is designed to run on Windows. This in turn makes it easier for schools to add their favourite curriculum software to the RM Asus Minibook.

“The Minibooks have proved a popular choice since launch and we are very excited to be expanding our range to include the Windows version. At around the £200 mark these devices mean that no pupil in the UK should be disadvantaged by not having access to the very best learning and the very best technology.” said Tim Pearson, CEO of RM

Tim let slip that he could be breaking an NDA over the following information – there’s a £25 price difference between the Linux version and the Windows XP. This came across that there’s an additional cost to customers from choosing the vole version over the penguin, but their product manager cleared this up later. The CEO was just referring to an internal cost for Asus and that’s all. RM will continue to offer the original Minibook models with Linux applied, just in case you were worried.

Although the model we saw was still Celeron based, they are planning to introduce an Intel Atom version after the summer school holidays – just in time for the Autumn school term.

The Minibook does arrive initially with Windows XP Home installed and they’re leaving it to schools to upgrade to XP Pro if needed, although they do offer factory-ordered customisation for a cost. The price for the 8.9-inch Minibook is just £285 and the reason behind the low cost, is solely down to schools not getting charged VAT (thanks Emil).
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:09 pm
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