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Testing Disease Response From Corrupted Blood WoW EventThe New York Times has a story about a group of researchers who examined the outbreak of the in-game disease ‘corrupted blood,’ originally designed to affect only high-level characters, for clues about what the social response might be to an actual pandemic. The game provided the authors of a research paper set to be published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal a unique set of conditions for this research that had typically been difficult to simulate: A wide population, an emotional response (because WoW players get really attached to their characters) and the ability to disseminate information among the population.

The corrupted blood outbreak was a glitch in WoW that took place in September 2005 and provided a unique look at the responses both by the population and the “bug:”

As the virus spread, very real challenges emerged, such as the failure of quarantine measures, further transmission by character’s pets and the existence of “immune” characters, who act as carriers, passing the virus to others while failing to succumb to symptoms.

It’s a fascinating use of the social construct that WoW has become.

Read More | Times Online via Slashdot


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New trailers showing some of the refinements made to , the upcoming game from Sim City creator , over the last year shows some excellent progress. As ambitious as Wright’s games tend to be, this one seems incredibly rich as you expand from a single-celled organism into a galaxy-spanning spacefarer. The developers ring up an interesting point that most games are about destroying things while this (and other Wright games) are more about building or creating. Of course you can fight with other tribes in Spore, once you get to that point, and take over other planets and the like, but perhaps it’s different to attack if it’s all in the name of progress. A second trailer is also available, showing more gameplay and the creature editing - check that one out by clicking through the jump.

Click to continue reading New Spore Videos From Leipzig


Fresh off the Games Conference show floor in , Jeux-France provides us with some footage of 5 Prologue in action on the .  Check out the game’s in-cockpit view, which is looking nice.  Also feast your eyes on some spins, crashes, and drifting maneuvers that look, well, like every other racing game ever invented.  Ahem…what I mean to say is, Kazunori Yamauchi’s multi-million selling racing franchise knows no equal, and this PS3 iteration looks to be following in the footsteps of its illustrious predecessors.

Read More | NeoGAF

Xbox 360 backwards compatibleIt’s about time – finally, Xbox 360 owners who weren’t fortunate enough to play The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on Xbox or PC can now do so on Xbox 360. The update brings the total number of back compat Xbox games to over 300. And all games are upscaled, so those who have been waiting to play NBA Live 2002 in 720p or 1080i can now do so.

Updated:

  • Crash Bandicoot 5: Wrath of Cortex
  • Jet Set Radio Future
  • Rogue Ops
  • Sega GT 2002

Check out the new games after the break.

Click to continue reading Morrowind Headlines New List Of Backwards Compatible Xbox Games On Xbox 360


E3 Microsoft Bringing It Home

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend E3 this year – instead, I’m on vacation in Cape Cod, using awful hotel Wi-Fi to watch streamed press conferences. Not the most glamorous way to take it all in, but exciting announcements, great games and new details are welcome no matter how you hear about them.

Here’s my personal transcription (in very brief form) of all the announcements and showings, along with some reflection on what Microsoft had to show.

Click to continue reading E3 2007: Microsoft’s Press Conference Recap And Impressions


Trauma Center 2 Screenshot

For those of you that just haven’t gotten enough of carving pentagrams into people you’re operating on, Nintendo brings you Trauma Center: New Blood. The original Trauma Center on the DS was a surprise hit (although I have to say, I found certain levels ridiculously difficult - I never made it past “It Never Ends”), and the remake on the Wii met with generally favorable reviews. While this new title doesn’t exactly count as a port, it still seems like another way to milk the Wii cash cow with another cheap-to-produce game. Hopefully Nintendo’s got some other big announcements of original, not-a-port, not-a-direct-sequel games up their sleeves for E3. Or at least a hardware announcement? Come on guys, don’t let me down.

Trauma Center: New Blood will feature co-op play, new characters, and new missions, with a decidedly Trauma-Center-1-looking interface. Price and release date aren’t available yet, but we’ll keep you updated!

Read More | Famitsu

NBA Live 07 LeBron Duncan

The heavily-favored San Antonio Spurs will be taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers in this year’s NBA Finals, which start Thursday night. EA simulated the series using their most recent NBA title, NBA Live 07. The results are pretty close to what most people are expecting - the Spurs win in six games, Tim Duncan earns MVP and San Antonio takes home its fourth title in nine years.

I’d have to agree with that outcome; LeBron can surely will the Cavs to at least two wins in this series. I’d run a simulation using NBA Live 07 myself to see if I could get any different results, but I don’t hate myself enough to play Live 07. And please, dear readers, don’t torture yourself by trying to be brave and do this yourself. NBA 2K7 for the win.

Game recaps after the break.

Click to continue reading Guess Who: NBA Live 07 Predicts NBA Finals


GTA IV

Rockstar Games officially released the first teaser trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV. Scheduled to ship on October 16th, the game will be the first entry in the series for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. The trailer gives a brief, but detailed look at the updated look for Liberty City, and the focus this time appears to be on a Russian immigrant character. Beyond that, it is hard to get a feel for where Rockstar is taking the sandbox game series, particularly story and gameplay-wise. One can get glimpses of the product parodies that gamers have gotten used to for the game, but beyond that, the trailer does it’s job – whet gamer’s appetites for more to come.

Read More | Rockstar Games

Wii DestructionThe Wii has already seen heaps of praise from major news sources sources such as The NY Times and The Washington Post. Well, some of those major reviewers are still catching up on with the Wii love bandwagon… this time it’s self-proclaimed console gaming hater John C. Dvorak over at PC Magazine.

For all the praise he heaps on the Wii, though, it seems like he didn’t read the instruction manual. Just look at this quote about how you’re supposed to pitch in Wii Sports Baseball:

Those news reports about people losing control of their controller and hitting the dog? They seem to stem from the baseball simulation, where you create a 100-mph curve ball by letting go of your controller while it’s still strapped to your wrist. And you thought real pitchers had it tough.

Is there some sacrasm I’m missing there? Or is Mr. Dvorak going to be next in line for a Wii replacement strap soon?

Read More | PC Magazine.com

Warhawk PS3It looks like the rumors that Warhawk for the PS3 was in trouble might have been correct. Sam Kennedy at 1up is visiting Incognito to preview the latest developments on the follow-up to the Playstation title, and he indicates that Warhawk has been downsized from its original ambitions as a retail PS3 title. Supposedly the title is now slated to be a downloadable title with multi-player support only, a pretty drastic change from the original offering. If the title can bring a strong multi-player experience while maintaining the graphic quality at a reasonable download price, Sony might have a good reason to get on the Playstation Network, but it will still be pretty far from their original promises for the game.

Update: Sony has officially denied the rumors to Kotaku with a non-denial denial stating that they “have not made any decision with regards to distribution for Warhawk

Read More | 1up

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