It’s a very Halo day! Those of you whose breaths have been bated since Halo 2‘s cliffhanger ending will soon get a chance to exhale again, as Bungie has announced that the Halo 3 multiplayer beta will go live on May 16th at 12:00 in the morning, pacific time, the one true time. This isn’t a free-for-all, of course; only people who have purchased a copy of Crackdown packaged with the beta invitation (I bet it makes the game taste funny), or scored a beta slot through Bungie’s "Rule of Three" promotion, will be allowed through the magnificent gates. Oh, and they also have to have Xbox Live Gold accounts. The beta will run a glorious three weeks, ending on June 6th at midnight. The link above contains more details on the specifics of the beta, as well as a pretty kickass example video of gameplay. Click. Drool. Or, y’know, make snide comments. Whatever makes your penis enlargen.
From Halo to, well, not-Halo. The IndyGamer blog links us to a sweet (heh) little puzzle game called Chocolate Castle. The gameplay is kind of like Jawbreaker and Gricklocked put together, and the twelve levels in the demo were plenty to keep me occupied for an hour or so. Only problem is you have to purchase a specially-marked box of Crackdown to play it…
If you’re wondering how well Metal Gear Solid might translate into a film, why not check out this video? It’s fan-made, but up on the higher echelons of such things, which is to say that it only sucks a little bit. The special effects seem well done, but watching the lead hunch around as Snake (or is he?) is just about as funny as these ones are.
With a game with a player base as large as World of Warcraft‘s, any legal bog that Blizzard enters is going to have repercussions on millions of players. Slashdot has some links describing claims and suits between Blizzard and a small company called MDY Industries, who make a WoW plugin called WoWGlider. The important detail is that Blizzard alleges that using any other program to access the game’s data while resident in RAM constitutes a violation of copyright. The Slashdot commentator rightly suggests that this would make antivirus software running on the user’s computer, which scans resident programs for infection, also violates Blizzard’s copyright. This is yet another step in the interesting debate over who owns what when it comes to digital content. Do you own the bits you’ve purchased? If so, it follows that you can do with them as you please, short of violating the specific license agreement you sign with the software manufacturer on install. You all read those, right?
Reader Mike Cahill sent in this nice story regarding the gamer documetary King of Kongs, which is currently playing at the Philly Film Festival. The piece is a good summary of the film, which I haven’t seen yet. Anybody given it a gander that can share a gamer-filtered impression? I’d be interested to hear how it works as a representation of geek culture, as well as how it works as cinema.
Finally, a bit of bittersweet humanitarian heart warming. The Get-Well Gamers foundation has been in operation for a couple of years now, providing games and gaming equipment to inpatients at hospitals around the country. It’s like Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play organization, but on a somewhat smaller scale. Unfortunately, due to the demand for the Get-Well Gamers services, and the scrappy foundation’s expansion, the volunteers who staff the project no longer have the time or resources to keep it afloat. Instead of mourning what seems to be the loss of the foundation, though, I’d just like to take a moment to celebrate what they have done for the last couple of years: making days more bearable for sick children who have few other distractions. There may yet be some hope for Get-Well Gamers to survive, if some mysterious benefactor steps in. The foundation dealt in used gaming supply donations… which would be a whole nother branch for the Child’s Play organization to dabble in. Just sayin’. Whatever happens next: good job, guys.