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  Vote For These SXSW Panels  
Posted 2007-09-06 by Tony Walsh
I've got a few panel proposals brewing for South by Southwest 2008. If Alternate Reality Games, intriguing game documentaries, or homebrew on the Wii strike your fancy, don't just sign up and vote--get the word out!

Also check out panel proposals by Mark Wallace, Wagner James Au, Susan Wu and Justin Hall. There are 29 gaming-related panels proposed for next year, so make sure you help out by picking the ones you're interested in.

I've been on and/or organized panels at SXSW for the last 3 years, and am particularly pleased to be re-joining the conference's "Screenburn" gaming festival as an advisory board member in 2008. SXSW is a great place to meet people from different (sometimes wildly different) professional disciplines, and Austin is a friendly, fun city to spend time in. Looking forward to going again, hope to see you there.
  links for 2007-08-18  
Posted 2007-08-18 by Tony Walsh
  links for 2007-08-16  
Posted 2007-08-16 by Tony Walsh
  ‘CSI’ Creator Plots Virtual World Extension  
Posted 2007-08-14 by Tony Walsh
CSI creator and series executive producer Anthony Zuiker will deliver the opening keynote speech at the upcoming Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo, according to the event's organizers, who say that Zuiker "will provide insight into how the top rated CSI: NY will be utilizing virtual worlds to extend the broadcast television property and making it interactive in the virtual world."

I won't be able to attend the conference, scheduled for October 10-11 in San Jose, but I look forward to hearing the details of CSI's virtual world plot. What I'd most like to see happen with the series is one or more CSI-themed events, or a semi-permanent "crime lab" installation staged in There or vSide. What I'd least like to see is an entire virtual world revolving around CSI.
  links for 2007-08-12  
Posted 2007-08-12 by Tony Walsh
Posted 2007-08-06 by Tony Walsh
Bah, I won't be able to attend FaceBookCampToronto tomorrow. Sounds like a great way to get the creative and technical juices flowing--lots of potential in Facebook Applications still to be tapped, and Toronto's got a solid, long-lived development scene ready to take up the challenge. I noted a few familiar local people and firms on the list of attendees, wish I could join in the fun, but I've got diapers to deal with.
  links for 2007-07-14  
Posted 2007-07-14 by Tony Walsh
  Raiding for Fun and Profit  
Posted 2007-06-26 by Tony Walsh
Somewhere between herding angry cats and precision military operations lies the MMO raid, a player-organized group assault on a specific game target. Witness a classic Onyxia raid executed in World of Warcraft, or the recently-perpetrated raid on a player-controlled Titan-class warship staged in EVE Online. Both incidents illustrate how there's more going on here than "just a game," and explain why most of us will never have the time, skill, and coordination to pull something like this off.
  ‘City of Heroes’ Hosts Inclusive LGBT Party  
Posted 2007-06-20 by Tony Walsh
Wow, kudos to the makers of the massively-superheroic online game City of Heroes for endorsing a "Rainbow Prom" which honored the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender player-base while including all others. The game's official newsrag The City Scoop sent a reporter to transdimensional disco Pocket D, where attendees such as "Gaycicle" and "Captain Pride" partied hard and competed for the best outfit. It seems my previous underwear-party comments weren't far off the mark.

An employee of NCSoft (publisher of City of Heroes) showed up to hand out an event-specific "Golden Title" to prom guests--a coveted temporary status-symbol. The Rainbow Prom was reportedly well-received by attendees, who were happy to have official acknowledgment for their lifestyles. One guest told The City Scoop "I think Rainbow Alpha made history in gaming, especially with developer support. I thought the music was great, the company was wonderful, and it made me proud to be a bisexual gamer."
  ‘Major League Gaming’ Gains Solid Foothold in Canada  
Posted 2007-06-19 by Tony Walsh
Insight Sports, a Toronto-based media company, is bringing Major League Gaming to Canada, providing a localized, organized pathway to "professional" video gaming. To this end, Major League Gaming Canada will be staging an Xbox-exclusive tournament this fall: "The MLG Canadian Open will be held Friday, November 2nd – Sunday, November 4th, 2007 at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre. It will serve as a marquee event within the larger Gaming and Digital Lifestyle show that is expected to attract over 25,000 core gamers and technology enthusiasts during the weekend."

I spoke briefly today with MLG co-founder Sundance DiGiovanni, who told me that MLG chose consoles over the PC platform because of the lower barrier to entry for console gamers--the cost of buying a PC rig is just too high, he said. While MLG is Xbox-exclusive for now, DiGiovanni told me the Nintendo Wii is a possibility moving forward.

Support from Xbox Canada, Yahoo! Canada, Zellers, The Score and G4techTV has already been secured for MLG's Canadian debut. Xbox Canada has ensured the Xbox will be used exclusively during league play; Yahoo! Canada will promote MLG through its media network; Zellers will facilitate retail sales and promotions; The Score TV network will be the official home of MLG, including the U.S., with G4techTV apparently picking up the broadcast scraps.

Not sure what to make of this until I actually see a televised MLG tournament. On the one hand, it's good to see video games get a "pro sports" treatment. On other other hand, is MLG meeting a need? Are North Americans ready for video games as pro sports?
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