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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

No, sorry, I was just being cantankerous. I'm gotten three ("a cavalcade," right) such E-mails, and there only because you're concerned about me. Aww. Thanks.

I saw a girl on the bus on the way back from writing class playing Harvest Moon. I asked about it, and she told me it was a wonderful game where you play on a farm and grow cattle and livestock and you get a horse and grow plants and mine and there's a town and you live a life and it's completely non-violent (her words)... I was amazed because the way she talked to me so politely and confidently, she didn't seem like a "gamer girl" (yes, I stereotype I regret), but she loves Harvest Moon because it gives her a chance to build something rather than tear somebody down.

I started thinking about that once, about how most videogames are about tearing people down, even if they aren't particularly violent; why is there no Sonic Builds Schoolhouses in Palestine game? But really, the best-selling computer game of all time is The Sims, replacing previous record-holder Myst, and the best-selling videogame of all time is none other than the original Pokémon. Pokémon has fighting that emphasizes sportsmanship and honor, while Myst is mainly exploration and puzzle-solving and The Sims allows you to raise a family from your Godlike perspective as player. None of them are about crushing your opponent.

When you hear Congressman Oftheweek (D-Making Excuses) talk about the evils of videogames, you'd think that they start and end at Grand Theft Auto. Videogames are playpens for teenagers to act out their most violent fantasies, they say. I'd make a cheap shot by asking about why we're not afraid to send them off to kill and to die in the Middle East at the drop of the hat, but I won't (okay, I will), because instead I'd like to ask why the Harvest Moons of the videogame industry are the ones that consistently sell the best. Does anybody play Pac-Man (the most successful arcade game of all time, huzzah!) because their really want to act out their worst fantasies upon fruity-colored semi-elliptical ghost thingies? Of course not; it provides a fleeting sense of thrill and a compact, succinct intellectual challenge for a quarter. Videogames are merely an extension of the kinds of games humans have been playing for centuries. (Wasn't there an ultra-violent chess game for Super NES that met dismal sales? Allow me to use it to make a point...)

The way Douglas Rushkoff wrote about tabletop RPG's (Dungeons and Dragons, et cetera), it's not so much that teenagers need occult symbolism to lift them past their mundane existence, it's that a game that you make up as you go offers a unique storytelling challenge. Every teenager who plays a Dungeons and Dragons game is adding one more node to a worldwide, organic network of stories and dramas and settings that the real world cannot match. In the realm of the fantastic, anything is possible, and these teenagers have found a way to siphon that creative energy into a tabletop game they can play over a pizza down in the basement. That's GENIUS. (I do, by the way, try to convince Dante that he ought to sharpen his storytelling skills so that he can use them to get into college; he makes up these fascinatingly intricate sagas for his own RPG's, and anybody with that kind of talent needs to be in an Elite Fiction Society ASAP.)

While I'm at it, I'm'a dust off my rake and place a pre-order on the next Harvest Moon. Much fun to be had on the bus with cute girls with better things to do than vanquish the same evil demon for the forty thousandth time.

Leticia

(Yes, most tabletop RPG's involve vanquishing evil demons, but whatever floats your boat, y'know? There's art and creative potential in even the goriest of videogames; the point is that the game comes first and the gore, second. My point wasn't that violent games are bad, I've been known to take out my frustrations on Dead or Alive, but that videogames, by and large, are not a violent culture. There's room for everybody here, and most importantly, there's room for the creative potential inherent in human spirit.)

(My mom says the meaning of life is to create, for we were created from nothing and must continue on as our Creator would have wished. Hmmm...)
Comments:
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Computer News
Yahoo Boasts Size of Its Search Engine Index



Trying not to include any phallic analogies, Yahoo this week announced that its overall search engine index is much larger than Google’s and is the most in depth index of ‘web objects’ on the search market. On the Yahoo Search Blog, Yahoo disclosed that its index now includes 19.2 billion web documents, 1.6 billion images and more than 50 million audio and video files - over 20 billion items.

Yahoo is usually shy about disclosing the size of its search index, but the Yahoo Search Blog is celebrating its first year anniversary and Tim Mayer thought that somewhat of a retrospect was in order - since Yahoo has grown into its own as a search engine powerhouse over the past 365 days.

From the YSearchBlog : While we typically don’t disclose size (since we’ve always said that size is only one dimension of the quality of a search engine), for those who are curious this update includes just over 19.2 billion web documents, 1.6 billion images, and over 50 million audio and video files.

Note that as with all index updates we are still tuning things so you’ll continue to see some fluctuation in ranking over the next few weeks.

Greg Sterling of the Kelsey Group, however, makes the distinction of quality over quantity What I, Joseph User, care about is accuracy, quality and relevance. The available index does matter in terms of bringing me a sufficient quantity of results. (And if I’m looking for something really obscure, having that thing in the index is obviously important, which may go to size.).

But there’s a major case of diminishing returns—there’s already way too much information online for people to assimilate. Throwing more volume at me does nothing but make my eyes glaze over. What I want is enough relevant results.”

Index schmindex, the moral of the story is what Yahoo has accomplished over the past year and what the next 12 months will bring with not only Yahoo Search, but the Yahoo Publishers Network, Yahoo LinkSpots, Yahoo Pay Per Call, and Site Explorer. What has Yahoo accomplished over the past year? Well, here’s Tim’s rundown :
Copyright © - 2005 Entireweb

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Drivers
 
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Games & PC Games News - Oct. 16, 2005


Is the PC game market? (Dallas Morning News)
The last few years have not been all fun and games for computer game fans, but that might be changing. As attention has shifted to sophisticated video game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation 2, PC gamers have watched their preferred platform wither.

Xbox 360's New Media Play Finding Fans (eWeek)
Consumers were impressed by the expanded multimedia features of Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 at the Digital Life conference, while gamers were excited to begin using the devices to access other types of services.

NewTek Releases Fifth Free Feature Update for LightWave 3D (Digital WebCast)
NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading 3D animation and video products, today announced the release of the fifth free update and the 64-bit port for Emmy award-winning LightWave 3D . Version 8.5 offers hardware support of OpenGL 2.0, the new Multishift tool with editable history, Photoshop -style texture blending modes, improved dynamics, and easier integration of third-party file formats.

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