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  SXSWi Reminder: ‘What Can the Video Games Industry Learn From ARGs?’  
 
 
Posted 2008-03-10 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
As previously threatened, I'll be kicking off a conversation today at SXSW about how the video games industry might pick up a few useful tips from Alternate Reality Games. The conversation takes place between 3:30pm and 4:30pm in Ballroom E. I'll be joined by Steve Peters of 42 Entertainment, probably Dan Hon of Six to Start, and whoever else wishes to drop in.

The idea for this so-called "Core Conversation" was pitched months ago, so I hope to freshen and expand the topic by identifying some areas in which video games have already adopted ideas and mechanics made popular by ARGs. Looking forward to the chat, hope you can make it.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Eleven Fit Teens Fail Wii Fitness Test  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
MedPage Today reports that Wii Sports, a game for the Nintendo Wii console, wasn't found to contribute to recommended daily exercise standards set in Britain, according to a Liverpool University study. Nintendo has been hoping its console would be seen as a fitness aid, releasing the Wii Fit controller and Wii game in Japan earlier this year (due out elsewhere in 2008). A number of academics, researchers, and consumers around the world have been looking at the console as a potential fitness device, with varying results. A Canadian hospital is even using the game console as part of a physical rehabilitation program.

The Liverpool study--ironically, funded by Nintendo's UK marketing arm--might have dashed the game-maker's health-hopes if it wasn't for the fact that only eleven subjects were reportedly involved. The teens--six boys and five girls--were physically fit to begin with, and were studied playing only two games: Project Gotham Racing for the Xbox 360, and Wii Sports. The study found that active games like Wii Sports burn about 50% more calories than passive games like PGR, but that ultimately this only represented a 2% increase in energy expenditure in a typical week.

I'm no scientist, but it seems clear that a larger-scale study might be in order. A more diverse, and larger group of subjects; a wider range of games, particularly some which could be considered more active than Wii Sports. In my own experience, playing 30 minutes of Raving Rabbids on the Wii reminded me how atrophied my spaghetti-thin arms are. While the Wii may not appear to affect fitness levels according to this study, I'd rather play an active video game than a passive one, and I suspect most parents would rather buy an active video game for their kids. Perhaps the next study will involve the Wii Fit peripheral, hopefully with more promising results.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘PaRappa’ Creators Team For Wii Game  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Masaya Matsuura and Rodney Alan Greenblat, creators of the surreal and endearing rhythm game series PaRappa the Rapper, have reunited under the Majesco banner to produce a music game for Nintendo's Wii console. According to a Majesco press release, the game is due out next fall, and seems to be aimed at the same casual market as PaRappa and Majesco's hit Cooking Mama series.

PaRappa was delight to play (particularly the first installment in the series) and the paper-doll aesthetics were great fun. A Gotland University student even did a thesis project which addressed the idea of how a game "feels" through the live reenactment of one of game's levels. I'm counting on Majesco's upcoming Wii game to involve performance elements using the motion-sensitive Wiimote controller, allowing me to kick, punch, block, and chop to the beat.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2007-12-05  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-05 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  I Could Catch A Monkey  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Word has it that Delhi is crawling with aggressive monkeys. I heard on the radio last night that there are 15,000 monkeys and only three monkey-catchers in India's capital. Apparently Delhi is desperate for more monkey-catchers. With the knowledge that aggressive monkeys are a real and sometimes deadly problem, and with no knowledge whatsoever about the qualifications or specific responsibilities of a monkey-catcher (outside of the obvious), I respectfully submit that this has "video game" written all over it. Here's my high-level pitch...

Continue reading: I Could Catch A Monkey
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  links for 2007-09-26  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-26 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-07-30  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-07-13  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-13 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Wii Workout  
 
 
Posted 2007-07-12 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Even a little wiggling around is better than no wiggling at all, which explains how the Wii Weight Loss guy and Wii Sports Experiment guy have melted some fat, or why the game Dance Dance Revolution was added to the State of West Virginia's school curriculum.

Adding fuel to the fat-burning fire, Nintendo has reportedly revealed new Wii hardware and software intended to increase gamer health. According to TG Daily, players stand atop the Wii Balance Board, which measures body weight and balance. The Wii Fit software will use the Balance Board to chart the results of a fitness regime over time. Nintendo will apparently be adding Wii Balance Board support to future games. I can see surfing games working really well with this, or relaxation games which require stillness, or (obviously) dancing games.

I'm keen to try out the Wii Fit system: It seems like a great example of the productive play I wish more game companies would get involved in.
 
     
 
   
 
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  WiiWare vs. Everybody Votes  
 
 
Posted 2007-06-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Game Set Watch is polling its readers on the recently-announced WiiWare channel for the Nintendo Wii Console: "Do you want to see Nintendo going after great-looking Flash games or existing indies... Do you want only to see titles that make unique use of the Wiimote, or are ones using the 'classic'-style controls perfectly acceptable? ...is it better to have a more open playing-field, so that we get lots of content from all sizes of creator ...Or should it be a little more highly selective ...?"

Great questions. I'd like to know the answers, too, and I think getting to those answers can be made a function of the WiiWare channel. First, WiiWare would have to be opened up as much as possible. Let rank amateurs in to the same arena as professionals by lowering the barriers to entry--this would include an inexpensive developer fee and some way to fast-track submissions through the ESRB (or some sort of content-filtering) system.

Then, we'd have gamers vote the best games into the spotlight. There's already a voting feature available for the Wii. It's called "Everybody Votes," and allows Wii users to weigh in on lightweight topics like "Sasquatch or Nessie?" What if Everybody Votes was mashed up with WiiWare? Voting could be limited to one vote per console per game, thus reducing or eliminating ballot-stacking. I'd rather have gamers tell me what's worth playing than Nintendo.
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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