The least newsworthy, and most buzzworthy, of stories in the last twenty-four hours has been the Pope’s publicized condemnation of certain trends in entertainment as "perversion[s]". Video games are explicitly mentioned, as is Benedict XVI’s further opinion that such media marketed to children is "all the more repulsive." I’m not exactly sure what he thinks these segments of entertainment are perversions of, but he’s the pope. His grammar is infallible. Regardless, his comments are weighted with precedent, and without any great effect on non-Catholic nations. We’ve got a discussion underway on our very own message boards right here.
Sony have finally publicized the release date of the PS3 in Europe after the none-too-friendly brushoff the company gave that continent last Fall. March 23 is the date you ought to be able to bring the console back to your so-called flat, after handing GBP 425 of 599 Euros to your friendly shopkeep. 36 titles are expected to launch with the console, if you count downloadable oddities like flOw. This launch gives you a game console in potentia, see, since it will still be a while before the must-have titles see the light of day. Sony expects to have a million units at retailers, with 300k of those ending up in the UK.
Hurrah for games that belong on handhelds! Sega has an upcoming new IP for Sony’s PSP called Crush, which takes an interesting position on the portrayal of 3D space on the second-analog-challenged machine. Basically, the game allows the player to compress 3D space down into 2D, allowing for some interesting non-destructive manipulation of the world. Moving pictures are worth millions of words, so click here. Like Valve’s upcoming Portal, and to a lesser extent last year’s Prey, this looks to stretch the assumptions of a player’s relation to virtual space. Let’s see you try that in your precious softball, Nick.
GamePolitics is closely following a Utah house committee which convened yesterday for the first part of a hearing regarding a proposed amendment to the state’s criminal code. The bill takes a stab at redifining what material might be considered harmful to minors, and what actions in relation to that material might be considered criminal. Yeah, it’s about video games. Guess who the author is? (Hint: His correspondence with individuals in the games industry never quite reaches the level of logical discourse.) The committee meets again tomorrow. There’s not much additional information to be had here, but for those interested the roughly hourlong hearing can be streamed here in nasty RealPlayer format, and the full text of the bill is here. It’s a fun exercise to familiarize yourself with the legalese surrounding this hobby. Also interesting: the bill’s proponent, Representative Scott Wyatt, admits that the bill has "constitutional hurdles" to overcome.
Formerly-independent game developer Ritual Entertainment has been bought by casual games company Mumbo Jumbo. (Business world family tree: Mumbo Jumbo’s founder Ron Dimant was formerly CEO of Ritual.) It’s unclear what direction Ritual’s teams will be taking, now, even moreso since their attempt at episodic gaming failed after their first SiN Episode didn’t exactly power up the gravy train. So, are the guys at Ritual going to start working on more accessible and casual fare, or is Mumbo Jumbo expanding into the FPS realm?
Speaking of episodic content, have you been checking out Telltale’s new effort? The third episode — titled Sam and MaxThe Mole, The Mob, and the Meatball — is out now through the Gametap service, and will go wide on February 8. In my opinion, the quality of the episodes is staying pretty consistent, and I appreciate Telltale’s commitment to episodic gaming within a reasonable timeframe. I still miss the old voice actor for Sam, though. The episodes can be had for $8.95, and offer a couple good hours of gameplay each if you stop to enjoy all the gags.