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Chi Kong Lui's blog

In or out of the gaming closet on a first date?

As part of a new Gaming with Spouses series for the GameCritics.com podcast, I thought it would be interesting to pose the following question to to several of my women friends: "If on a first date, a guy reveals that he's a "gamer" (meaning he plays a lot of video games), is this a good or bad thing?" Here are some of the responses that I got back.

Heidi Klum unleashes her inner Tom Cruise from Risky Business

Guitar Hero: World Tour - 1
Rock Band 2 - 0

That 70's Show Mila Kunis geeks out about WoW on Jimmy Kimmel

It's nice to see hot celebs talk about video games like it ain't no thang.

Breaking News: The PS3 was meant to play video games

So the PS3 isn't the best Blu-ray player on the market? I'm confused. Seriously though, Sony has a major branding problem when the head of Sony Computer Entertainment, Kaz Harai, makes headlines for reminding the public that the PS3 is actually a machine that allows people to control images on screen and have fun!

Here's what Harai said in an interview with Japanese business website NB Online (translated by Kotaku):

"The thing that I did when I took over last year was to boast the appeal of games themselves... The main premise of the PS3 is video games. That's the absolutely most important thing that we cannot lose sight of."

After this year's E3, I wrote a blog post about how Sony lacked a strong vision for the PS3 in the market and with this sound-bite from Harai, it doesn't look like much has changed since then. The problem may be that Sony as a whole, had too much invested and at stake with the PS3 to allow it to simply be a game machine. They needed it to be so much more, but now that the PS3 isn't the monster success that the PS2 was based off the same technology-from-the-future branding, Sony is backtracking and trying to put more emphasis on the games. Just what the heck has Sony been up to all these years?

Unfortunately, you only a one chance to make a first impression and then its an uphill battle to get people to think otherwise. Is it too late for the PS3?

Game Art: Using NES carts for a canvas

It's hard to imagine anyone using the iconic shape of the 8-bit NES cartridge for anything other than gaming, but artist sLip over at hush monkey studio has done just that by creating artwork in the shape of cartridges. He recently gave an interview over at the-minusworld.com (currently down due to all the traffic from digg.com).

On a more personal note, any reference to River City Ransom and other Technos games, instantly brings joy to my heart. Laughing

4 Games in one by hush monkey studios

Ars Technica tackles games with serious issues

Ars Technica closely examines some recent games that raise controversial themes and issues.

On Super Columbine Massacre RPG!:

Essentially, SCMRPG! is a psychological examination of Harris and Klebold. It attempts to put the player into their mindset, exploring how and why they came to do what they did. The subject matter itself questions what a game is meant to be. Though people normally play video games for sheer enjoyment, there is none to be found in SCMRPG! Instead, I found myself actively dreading entering the game world, unwilling to perform the actions necessary to progress.

On Metal Gear Solid 4:

In the world of MGS4, war has become a business, and PMCs are in the center of it. The new war economy means that the world is in a constant state of battle, locked in perpetual proxy wars fought for business purposes. But while this is an interesting concept to contemplate, unfortunately it is not covered with real depth.

As a Kojima game, MGS4 spends much more time tackling strange philosophical debates than it does real world issues like PMCs. And given the fact that the existence of these corporations only came to light recently, it's a topic that is at the forefront of many people's minds. The game is wonderful, but the opportunity for a serious look at the subject was squandered.

Review Games for GameCritics.com

So you think you can be a game critic? GameCritics.com is issuing an open invitation to the gaming community to review games for us. Game review submissions will be rated by the community and staff and the best game reviews will be published on our homepage.

Anatomy of a Game Review

Along with our new mission and tagline, we're also introducing a new game review format. Starting soon, all of our reviews will contain the following features:

Title of Review

HIGH What the critic felt was the high point of the game.

LOW What the critic felt was the low point of the game.

WTF Description of the funniest and/or most unexpected moment of the game.

With the Internet getting faster and noisier, and the hectic pace of life today, we recognize that not everyone has the time or patience to read through a 1000 word game review. Adding a title to the review serves as quick introduction to draw the reader in and rather than do a dry bulleted summary of the review, we cribbed an idea from The Onion AV Club and gave it our own twist with the HIGH/LOW/WTF points.

Body of Review And yes, the magic rating will still be here.

Not much is going to change here. We will continue to avoid writing reviews that try to quantify the monetary/time value of a game, which we feel is an impossible and meaningless task since each gamer brings a unique set of expectations and values that cannot be matched by any one critic. Instead, we feel our opinions and thoughts are most useful and interesting when trying to determine if a game is good by conveying and qualifying our personal experiences during gameplay and what it means to us in relation to own lives and world-view.

Disclosures: This game was obtained via [publisher/retail store/rental] and reviewed on the [game console]. Approximately x hours of play was devoted to single-player modes (completed x times) and x hours of play to multiplayer modes.

After GerstmannGate and in light of other questionable business practices in the video game industry brought to the forefront by Video Game Media Watch, the Sore Thumbs blog and others, we felt strongly that more transparency was needed and having additional disclosures is a step in the right direction towards restoring reader confidence. In short, we want to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

Parents: Questionable content in the game that parents may want to be aware of before letting their kids play it.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Content addressing the auditory aspects of games and how they may impact play experiences for the hearing impaired.

We are eliminating our Consumer Guides and integrating the information that we felt still had value to the standard review format. Since most readers do not recognize the difference between game criticism vs. the "is this worth your time and money" consumer content, separating the review and consumer advice only caused confusion and hurt the overall visibility of the writing.

These are the only points in the review where we step out of own perspective because we understand that parents and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing have very specific needs and concerns that we can properly address.

We've put a lot of time and thought into developing this new review format. Look for its debut in all our upcoming reviews and let us know what you think.

GameCritics.com introduces new mission and tagline

When it comes to the Internet, change is the only constant. It happens in an instant and permeates our lives so quickly that we don't even realize how much it impacts how we communicate and interact with people. With the advent of Web 2.0 exploding in 2008, we at GameCritics.com felt it was a good time to take a look at ourselves in relation to the reality of content today to see how would could evolve and contribute to the new socially-driven Internet.

With that in mind, I'd personally like to introduce our new mission statement and tagline.

Our Mission: To elevate the quality, culture and perception of video games as contemporary arts and entertainment through game criticism and community development.

We will accomplish our mission by presenting a diverse range of perspectives from authors and gamers of different backgrounds in order to provide readers with insightful, useful, and entertaining content on video games and their growing presence in society.

Our old mission statement didn't properly convey our values and our passion for video games, and the concept that criticism can be beneficial to a community. Not only does the new mission make our goals more clear, but it also recognizes that this isn't something that a small group of individuals can accomplish in isolation. As the saying goes, it takes a village and this new mission serves as an invitation to those in the gaming community who share our passion to join us.

Our Tagline: Games. Culture. Criticism.

After expanding the scope of our mission, it became clear that "Smart Reviews" from our old tagline felt too limited in its ability to describe our editorial drive. "Serious Gamers" had started sounding too elitist, exclusionary and dull. By exploring the "Culture" of video games, we hope that our content will continue to be intelligent and insightful, but will also acknowledge a more personal and emotional side of the video game experience and how it touches our lives.

So now that we've made this announcement, it's time to go to work. Be on the look out for more changes, new features and hopefully more content on GameCritics.com in the coming weeks and months. We look forward to hearing your feedback and we hope you'll join us on the journey.

Game reviewin’ ain’t easy

When I read that No Hype Reviews was "packing it in", being a fellow an independent site owner who also focuses on game reviews with integrity (there aren't many of us out there), I couldn't help but feel sympathetic towards his plight. It's a situation that I'm all too familiar with.
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