Game programming for children has been around for years. But these days, much of the software billed as "edutainment" falls much more into the entertainment than the educational realm. That is not the case with ToonTalk, a program that really breaks the mold in children’s software. In fact, ToonTalk teaches children how to program, so one day they can make their own games. And I think most parents will agree that learning how to program a computer is a worthwhile use their child’s free time. It surly beats watching television. We had an animated discussion with ToonTalk creator Ken Kahn … Continue reading Talking Toons and Teaching
Once I heard about the release of a game based on the movie From Dusk Till Dawn, I couldn’t wait, so I fired some questions in the direction of writer Hubert Chardot. He is the Creative Director of the French-based developer Gamesquad, but you will know him best for creating the seminal survival horror series Alone in the Dark in the early 1990s. More recently, Chardot was consultant and script doctor on Infogrames’ Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. That title enjoys continued success. And last year he wrote Devil Inside for Cryo. So what makes this master of … Continue reading Master of the Macabre Hubert Chardot
A talk with the new leader of the AIAS. As most of you may know the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has, for about half a decade, been promoting this industry by recognizing each year's greatest achievements in it. Each year, AIAS (sometimes referred to as ‘The Academy' within our industry) has given awards to people who have not only made great advances in technology, but have contributed to the computer game industry in many other ways. Now the Academy has a change in Presidency, for I believe the first time in its history. What changes will this new … Continue reading My Days at the Academy
Scandinavian innovators change the face of wireless gaming. What do you think of when you think of Finland? Well, if you're anything like me, you think of Laplanders, those really big reindeer, probably a lot of snow, and the only country in Europe to pay back the United States its Lend-Lease from WWII. Pioneering advances in wireless communication and gaming would be pretty far down on the list. Well, surprise! At E3 I had the pleasure of running into the Finnish co-op booth (not quite literally, though), and finding a company called G-Cluster there. G-Cluster has developed a service that … Continue reading Here's the Finnish Line
For CycleFX, combining exercise with gaming is like coasting down a hill. Last year at E3, I had the distinct pleasure of finding a booth run by a company called CycleFX and meeting its president Neil Nusbaum. He showed me an excercise bike interface that was designed to feed data into a PC where some analysis software would take it and tell you how you did. I said right then and there, "Neil, you have to adapt this interface to racing games." This year at E3, I was very pleased to see that he had taken my words to heart, … Continue reading Fitness for Gamers?!!
Where computer gameplay and excercise coincide. Gamers sometimes get the reputation of being couch potatoes because they sit around all day playing. But if you spend all day playing with the Sports-PC interactive backboard, you are more likely to end up looking like Kevin Sorbo than Bill Gates. The Sports-PC wall is another example of computer games making inroads into areas they have stayed traditionally away from, including the local gym. The Sports-PC wall is an interactive backboard that challenges players to hit targets as they light up. But instead of a game gun, players use an actual racket and … Continue reading Up Against the Wall
It's inevitable. Even with all the great high-end computer games and now the massively multiplayer market boom, gamers still like to gather in groups. They like to know that there are others like them, with a passion for games of all sorts. They like to discuss strategy, fight battles and generally have a good time in ways that are not possible during a single player experience. So where do the gamers go? Well, for the most part the convention, or con, is the epitome of gamer society. Call it a gathering of the tribes. Like the salmon, there is an … Continue reading The Pros of Cons
Trying something new at Disney "That's just how things are." Conventional thought dictates that you release a game with a movie tie-in after the movie has already been out. Yep, that's what conventional wisdom says. Of course, conventional wisdom used to say that the world was flat. The Walt Disney Company has been entertaining us through film for over half a century, and its subsidiary, Disney Interactive has been doing the same on our computers for several years. But even they, with all of their experience have not tried to go against this conventional thought. That is, until now. On … Continue reading The Cart Before The Horse?
A leader in other markets goes after the game industry Contributions to the computer game industry generally come from one of three places: a long-standing powerhouse company, an up-and-coming pioneer and, more rarely, a company that has an established history in other industries that decides to move into ours. It's the last category that is my topic today. How does a company that has a history of great success in other fields spot a need in the game industry? Why then, would they desire to take a risk to fill that need? The best way to get answers would be … Continue reading Focused on Olympus
Creating a new genre in the Age of the Internet. Sometimes I think television should adhere to some kind of truth in advertising law. I started to watch a show called "BattleBots," and much to my disappointment, they didn't show robots at all. I turned the channel, and saw another show, this one called "Robot Wars." This even had ‘robot' in the title, and there wasn't a robot in sight. I know what a robot is; Asimov taught me. The thermostat on my wall is more of a robot than the ‘bots' on these shows. When will we see a … Continue reading Forging Ahead