According to Cushing, gamers uploading “Let’s Play” videos — stretches of actual video gameplay captured for the entertainment of others — have been receiving bogus copyright claims from hard-to-pin-down outfits with names like Agora Aggregator and Digital Minds Entertainment.
(You may wonder why people would watch other people playing video games, rather than play them themselves. I understand your confusion. But there’s no question that this is a widespread phenomenon, something I can attest to personally, having watched my gamer son watch Let’s Play videos. The gaming companies who actually own the copyright to the content seem to have little problem with the practice — it’s free advertising.)
The claims are delivered via Google’s ContentID system, which offers copyright owners various options when a supposed violation is identified. The owner can ignore it, block it or monetize it by getting a piece of the ad revenue from commercials served along with the video.
In the case of the Let’s Play videos, if the uploader doesn’t challenge the claim, Agora Aggregator is then entitled to a piece of the revenue stream. But according to Cushing, when gamers challenged the claims, Agora Aggregator simply dropped them. The clear implication is that Agora Aggregator never had any legitimate copyright claims in the first place. It was simply a parasite capitalizing on a YouTube ecological niche that only existed because gamers were unwilling to challenge their claims, whether from ignorance or fear.
This is a long but good commentary on the ludicrous idea that video games cause gun violence.
Platform: PLAYSTATION 3 or Xbox 360 | Edition: Art Book Bundle
Become a part of the Game of Thrones saga: Play as multiple characters, embark on numerous quests, and make key decisions that have meaningful impact on Westeros in this 30?plus hour action RPG epic!
An exclusive new adventure dripping with authenticity: The game’s story opens up another part of George R. R. Martin’s enthralling world, putting players in the shoes of two former soldiers who have made choices that led them in different directions.
Feel time slow in the heat of battle: Combat mirrors the series’ thoughtful approach to war and politics: fighting slows but never stops entirely, forcing the player to make quick, pressured choices before their enemy strikes again.
Today, Amazon has this Game of Thrones Art Book Bundle for 67% off for Playstation 3 ($19.99) and a whopping 75% off for Xbox 360 ($14.99).
Who says video gaming is a waste of time?
KFAR GVIROL, Israel — While many of the boys in Idan Yahya’s high school class were buffing up and preparing themselves for selection into elite combat units, this gawky teenager was spending ‘a lot of time’ playing Warcraft — the real-time strategy computer game where opposing players command virtual armies in a battle to dominate the fictional world of Azeroth.
Four years later, the high school jocks who sweated it out in pre-military academies so they could make the cut into the Israel Defense Force’s Special Operations units are now crawling through the sand dunes on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and watching while Idan knocks rockets out of the sky hundreds of meters above their heads. Idan Yahya, 22, an Iron Dome ‘gunner’ in the Active Air Defense Wing 167, currently holds the record for the number of rockets intercepted: eight.
Kevin Spak and Sam Liberty are obsessed with fun. Fun is what keeps them up at night and what gets them out of bed in the morning. They think about fun the way a chef thinks about flavor, the way a symphony conductor thinks about sound. For the past nine years, starting when they were in college, Spak and Liberty have been trying to understand how fun works — to discover new forms of it, to figure out ways to conjure it and trap it in a box.
Spak and Liberty are board game designers. Together, they’ve dreamed up more than 50 games, filling countless notebooks with plans and sketches, and producing scores of paper prototypes that they’ve play-tested with friends and fellow gamers. Later this year, a local company called Cambridge Games Factory will publish Spak and Liberty’s debut: a lighthearted but structurally innovative board game called Cosmic Pizza.
The kind of games that Spak and Liberty design have little in common with classic titles like Monopoly and Risk, and even less with Candy Land and Mouse Trap. Instead, they take their cues from a much more recent, and less familiar tradition — one that has developed among American board game designers only over the last 15 years, after being imported from Germany. These “German-style” games — also known as Euro-games and designer games — are about more than rolling a die and moving from space to space: They require players to make tough choices and develop strategies within an intricately plotted fictional universe. Cosmic Pizza, for instance, rewards spatial reasoning more than luck, as players craft complex routes to deliver pies through outer space, zooming from planet to planet, collecting tips, and avoiding asteroids.
Spak and Liberty, who live in Cambridge and Salem, respectively, are part of a growing movement of gaming enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to reinventing a decidedly old-fashioned form of entertainment. Pushing through a door first opened by the German strategy game Settlers of Catan in 1995, they have staked their creative lives on the idea that, at a time when advanced technology is seen as the primary driver of innovation in America, and video games are a multibillion dollar industry, there are still new ideas to be had about how a simple board game can work.
Playing a finely tuned, conceptually imaginative board game is a mind-expanding experience that has the potential to make players feel emotions, respond to pressures, and think thoughts they never get to in real life.
“It’s a really amazing time right now for board games,” said Eric Zimmerman, a professor at New York University, and the coauthor of the book “Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals.” “There’s really kind of a renaissance going on.”
A lively subculture of game geeks has sprouted up around that renaissance. There are board game podcasts, board game message boards, and even an annual conference held in Germany that draws crowds of more than 150,000 gamers. In cities all over America, including Boston, there are “prototype circles” where board game designers play each other’s games and critique them. Earlier this winter, Boston filmmaker Lorien Green premiered her documentary about board gaming culture, “Going Cardboard.
I’m not into video games beyond the occasional round of solitaire or Mahjong, but this was pretty interesting. Boy, how things have changed, huh?
In addition to Mr. Baer’s story, photographer David Friedman has a series of Inventor Portaits covering all kinds of neat stuff (one of the inventors totally looks like Det. Munch from Law & Order: SVU).
Inventor Portrait: Ralph Baer
March 4, 2012
Ralph Baer is sometimes known as the father of video games. One of his early inventions, sold as the Magnavox Odyssey, was the first home video game system.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Odyssey, and this week is Ralph Baer’s 90th birthday. So it seemed like a good time to share this video from my interview and shoot with Ralph in which we discuss, among other things, why he’s still inventing at 90 years old. […]
The Supreme Court ruled last June that video games should be considered an art form, as deserving of First Amendment safeguards as “the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them.” Chris Melissinos reached that opinion some 30 years earlier, as a teenager plugging away at King’s Quest on a neighbor’s PC.
The game’s hand-drawn animation and two-word typed commands seem crude now, but “I remember thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, this is a fairy tale come to life,’” Melissinos says. He still gets goose bumps remembering hidden warp zones in the first Super Mario Brothers.
Now Melissinos is the guest curator of “The Art of Video Games,” an exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum that celebrates 40 years of the genre, from Pac-Man to Minecraft. The show will include video-game screen shots, videotaped interviews with game designers, vintage consoles from Melissinos’ personal collection (“I’m having a bit of separation anxiety,” he says) and several opportunities for visitors to seize the arcade joystick or PlayStation controls themselves.
Not all of the 80 featured games recall classic film or literature. Attack of the Mutant Camels, for example, stars fireball-spitting dromedaries. Nonetheless, the exhibition, which runs from March 16 through September 30, contends that games offer much more than a chance to mow down armies and plunder cars. Gamers can till fields, build hospitals, steer the wind. They can be inspired to feel guilt or joy or moral ambiguity. They can be transformed instead of just distracted.
Indeed, video games may be the most immersive medium of all, in Melissinos’ estimation. “In books, everything is laid before you,” he says. “There is nothing left for you to discover. Video games are the only forms of artistic expression that allow the authoritative voice of the author to remain true while allowing the observer to explore and experiment.”
Melissinos grew up with the first games; he later became chief gaming officer at Sun Microsystems, and he is now vice president of corporate marketing at Verisign, a network infrastructure company. He has seen the clunky aliens of Space Invaders and the two-dimensional damsel in distress of Donkey Kong morph into Bioshock and Zack & Wiki. Today drops of animated rain dot computer screens, and characters leave reflections in puddles; it’s like watching cave painting become Impressionism in just a few decades, he says. Games are in many respects converging with movies (which, in their infancy, were also belittled as non-art, Melissinos notes). Designers employ photo-realistic environments and motion-capture technologies and commission original scores.
Here’s the storyline for the upcoming game Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots (PS3 and Xbox 360) from the official press release:
Team Rainbow faces a new and very real threat called the ‘True Patriots,’ a highly-trained, well-organized group of militias. The True Patriots are capitalizing on the growing sense of frustration and anger in a modern day America that they feel is irrevocably corrupted by greedy politicians and corporate special interests. Lead by a calculating figurehead named Tredway, this grassroots, homespun, terrorist organization will stop at nothing to overthrow the government and financial institutions to reclaim their country. Capturing the reality of modern-day terrorism, players will take on the role of a new Team Rainbow member as they face critical scenarios that will require them to make tough ethical decisions in order to stop this new breed of terrorists.
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal with the support of Ubisoft Toronto and Red Storm, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6 Patriots not only revolves around a dynamic single-player storyline but also introduce a huge variety of new innovative co-op and multi-player experiences.
Now I’ve been reading some online discussions regarding this game and the enemy militia movement. There seems to be some confusion over whether or not these guys are supposed to be based off the Tea Party or OWS.
While I suppose the description above could (to a point) apply to either, I think if you consider which group is more likely to advocate the violent overthrow of the government, it’s clear the militia is intended to be right wing.
Over at Stormfront, the game is immediately labeled as a plot by devious Jews:
So, now they[sic] jews have upped the game literally! The new additon to the Rainbow Six series is called “Rainbow Six Patriot”, and the war this time is against a domestic patriot group called “True Patriots”.
A commenter at a gameinformer.com discussion has this to say:
A little too realistic for me. Rich or poor, bailout or not, those are my fellow Americans. If you as a company are going to push the genre in that direction, you are going to have to answer to a lot of questions by the media, society, and gamers. I just feel the aim is wrong- the banks took our money, but our government and Obama are the ones who forced it down everyone’s throat! Blame the heart of the problem, not the bankers and certainly not Wall Street. This just feels like another left-wing liberal agenda. I have that crap everywhere around me- I do not want it in my video games too, the place I go to get away from all that crap.
This brings up a good question: Is the game an attack by left leaning people on the right wing?
It may be, but I think that really what we have here is an attempt by an entertainment company to cash in on current U.S. public sentiment, not a political statement from a group of evil, conniving liberals.
In a clear sign of just how close to home the game hits, another commenter says this:
I actually think Fox will lay off this one, since this isn’t a crazy stretch from what the future could be like if Obama ‘n crew stay in control.
While I am intrigued by the game, I am also concerned by it as I think it has the possibility to incite conflict because of the scenario involved. We’ve seen people influenced by video games do questionable things before. I hope no one is stupid enough to do something drastic when the game releases.
The game is not set to be released until 2013. If Obama gets re-elected and the right wing rhetoric continues to increase, this one could end up getting even more attention than it already is.
Here’s another article relating to the game and its controversial subject matter.