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PALGN took part in the Sumea celebrations interview that I conducted recently, and they've been a website that I've admired for a long time, particularly since they do a mammoth task of running a general gaming website without the resources their bigger competitors have. And now they're going one step further by covering Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network games. I don't know how they do it all, but I bet it has something to do with an army of intelligent robots and a teleporter.

(press release)

PALGN Launches Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network Reviews

Melbourne, July 25 PALGN (PAL Gaming Network) has announced that it has commenced reviewing Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network titles. With more than 1000 Australian written reviews, one of the key demands from PALGN's readers has been reviews for Sony and Microsoft's digital distribution services.

"Our readers have a lot of trust in PALGN's reviews and for many of them our recommendations determine whether they purchase a game or not," said Luke Van Leuveren, the Acting General Manager of PALGN. "With significantly fewer publications reviewing PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade titles, we're confident many readers will rely on PALGN's downloadable content reviews to determine if a game is worth purchasing".

This announcement follows a record breaking week of traffic for PALGN as it covered the 2007 E3 Business and Media Summit. Between Monday the 9th of July through to Saturday the 14th of July PALGN received over 70,000 unique visitors with over 280,000 page views (source: statcounter.net) ? the highest number for PALGN on record. During this period PALGN published over 100 unique articles relating to E3 with along with a podcast and a highly popular staff roundtable. PALGN was the only Australian site to live blog all three of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony's E3 press conferences.

"PALGN's continued growth is evidence of our reader's commitment to the site," said Mr Van Leuveren. "With a community recently passing 8000 members, we are excited about PALGN's future as a hub for Australian gaming community and media."

About PALGN
The PAL Gaming Network is one of Australia's leading independent gaming media websites coving all major consoles (including handhelds) and PC. Founded in late 2001 as a community project designed to fill the void of non-American gaming press, it grew through many forms to establish itself in 2007 as one of the most comprehensible and comprehensive gaming resources for both hardcore and casual gamers living in Australia and other PAL Regions. PALGN is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sony Computer Entertainment or Microsoft.

News

(from AustralianGamer)

With the upcoming re-launch of the Australian Gamer website, we're also looking to once again expand our talented team of writers.

As a member of the team, you will be responsible for reviewing upcoming games, contributing to the community forums, giving input on the site projects, and covering gaming events in your area.

Please don't apply unless you have good writing skills and can write polished, entertaining copy.

Please don't apply if you have no current gaming platforms that you can use to review games.

Send application to apply@australiangamer.com

News
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/06/07 - 7:01 AM Permalink

  • 1. MarkSA - Mon, 25 Jun 2007 12:16:39 ESTHaving read the print, it just goes to show peoples rights are not respected.

    Why do anything in this world if someone can take your idea/work away from you and they get all the rewards?

    It's a screwed up world1

  • 2. Apologetic Abuser - Mon, 25 Jun 2007 12:57:50 ESTThat Craig Middleton is one smooth talker... Or really he's just a robot with a corporate imprint. Can't blame the guy really, he has a job to do. But I like the part that they have pawned off the involvment clause post-comp. Seems that they are now trying to find a studio that could accomodate the origin of the IP coming in. Just My Thoughts on the matter, I'm thinking I'm just going to roll over on the matter. If it happens, it happens. I didn't do my part and didn't cover my interests, plus my name somewhere on there would be better than how i'm going anyhoo.
  • 3. lubby - Mon, 25 Jun 2007 20:31:37 ESTThere is nothing odd here, when entering any competion it is standard fair to give up your IP rights in respect to the entry. Telstra are not the first major corportation to do this nor will they be the last. Do you think the disabled guy who has his likeness is in the new PS3 Ratchet and Clank will profit from it? How about all the create a custom vehicle for Test Drive Unlimited competion (Atari). Every one of those entrants and all entrants in all other submit a xxx competitions gave up their right to the IP by assigning it to the competition holder. These companies hold competitions for a reason, and it is not because they like you. No! It is because they are going to gain something from it, financially or not.
  • 4. Anonymous - Tue, 26 Jun 2007 17:19:10 ESTJust responding to lubby's comments. Yes corporations run comps to get involvement from the community but they are small compared to a whole game idea. If you create a car, u should get a special mention and a little pat on the back etc, its a sufficent reward. However IP is a different ballgame. Everywhere is all about the $$.

    eg. In the music industry if you write the song, you own the song and royalties go to you. If you sing a song that you didnt write, you wont be making much or as much. Same thing with a game idea. You should own the rights in anything you create to protect yourself and if you are lucky benefit financially.

    After reading the Q&A from Craig middlewank - im absolutly disgusted in your lack of respect for people and your arrogance. I hope your game sells 50 copies worldwide

  • 5. joebloggs93 - Thu, 5 Jul 2007 13:45:55 ESTthis is a huge con

    they are relying on budding new game designers to not read the fine print
    so they can face the absolutely crushing dissapointment that they get no
    royalties or even credit for the game, and just for another kick in the butt
    they claim ownership of the material submitted buy people who made it into the
    to ten finalists

    shame on you telstra :(

  • 6. rezn0r - Thu, 5 Jul 2007 15:35:22 EST"I won $1,000,000 on Lotto... but I had to pay tax on it... what a ripoff!".

    I wonder what you're all expecting really... after handing a company the loose premise for a game, you'll all of a sudden be flying on private jets... snorting premium e off the stomachs of supermodels... having won the equivalent of one of those "set for life" scratchies.

    Sorry, it doesn't work like that.

    If you're working in a company and they offer you the promise of higher royalties rather than a salary increase, it's usually time to dig your heels in and insist on the salary. Maybe I'm just jaded, having heard the old chestnuts like"operating costs went up", or "the publisher printed another run, spending what would have been royalties". Stock options are tangible (though often conditional)... royalties have never worked for me. I'm quite possibly wrong, and I'd be keen to hear from people who have struck gold with royalties.

    The artist who came up with the premise for Lara Croft is still working at Eidos for a base salary.

    My beautiful face appears in a 2006 PC game, but I don't demand a (percent) of sales.

    If there are to be royalties, I imagine those poor developer souls that have to work 80 hour weeks to compensate for an underbudget project would probably want a taste. They are the ones that MAKE the game.

    *feels much better after getting that off his chest*

    :)

    On another note, Craig Middleton can't be much of a PR man if he's patronising the game media. Talk about biting the hand that feeds. He could be alaying some of the fears floating around here, but instead he opts to be condescending.

    Scott.

  • 7. Anonymous - Thu, 9 Aug 2007 09:16:00 ESTCraig Middleton isn't just some coporate 'yes' man. He actually has quite a history in Journalism - being an award winning journalist in the 1980's.

    As with any competition, if you don't like the Terms and conditions, don't enter. True comment about the guys who put in the real effort to actually 'make' the game too...they've got some long nights ahead of them.

The recent announcement of the one million dollar Project Joystick competition, organised by Telstra BigPond and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), was quickly followed by some negative reactions as readers noticed the terms and conditions of entry which relinquished finalists of intellectual property rights or discovered that the competition did not offer any real further participation in the game development process. To add to the confusion, popular gaming blog Kotaku had mistakenly reported that the one million dollars was a cash prize for the winner to develop the game.

Few have been as vocal about Project Joystick than AJ from AustralianGamer.com, and AJ pressed a few upfront questions to Craig Middleton (Corporate Affairs Manager of Bigpond) to find out what exactly the competition will entail for those entering it...

Q) If someone were to develop a game idea for this competition, and it were to place in the top 10, does that person still own the Intellectual Property associated with any characters, names, places, artwork or design concepts contained in the entry?

A) The Terms and Conditions make it clear that the 10 finalists assign their IP to BigPond. Entry is entirely voluntary. The investment and risk in this project is all BigPond's. If someone thinks they have a better shot of making the game independently then good luck to them.

Click the following link for the entire interview at AustralianGamer.com

News
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/06/07 - 9:10 PM Permalink

  • 1. Anonymous - Sat, 23 Jun 2007 21:52:02 ESTDoctors certificate here I come!
  • 2. Anonymous - Sun, 24 Jun 2007 10:58:13 ESTi think it has more to do the person.
    some people have addictive and obsessive personalities.
    if it wasn't games it'd be something else.
  • 3. Apologetic Abuser - Mon, 25 Jun 2007 12:02:24 ESTNot a laughable matter.

    Everything can be enjoyed in moderation, it's a pity that Games are still being stereo-typed for this kind of stuff. It's the people, not the product.

  • 4. Souri - Tue, 26 Jun 2007 06:15:49 ESTAn interesting update to this story - the doctors who proposed that "game addiction" should be classified as a mental disorder and should be included in manuals on mental illness, have backed off on it. "There is nothing here to suggest that this is a complex physiological disease state akin to alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders, and it doesn't get to have the word addiction attached to it," said an addiction expert.

    I remember reading an article by some games journalist who frowned on game reviewers using the words "addiction" or "addicting" to describe a game for a similar reason. I'm sure there are much better ways to describe what a game does to you or compels you to keep playing, whereas "addiction" gives an entirely different and incorrect impression.

    <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSN2425415820070624?pag…">Reuters</a> has the article...

  • 5. Anonymous - Tue, 26 Jun 2007 17:23:30 ESTToo bad :(

    I wouldve had an excuse on why i play so much warcraft ><

  • 6. Anonymous - Wed, 27 Jun 2007 09:39:23 ESTWhat a load of rubbish.
  • 7. Anonymous - Thu, 5 Jul 2007 11:04:52 ESTA few hours? .. a day is his Mom a Jerry Springer addict?
    A few hours a day whether TV , a movie or games doesnt make an A student fail.
    Doctors make this crap up as its in their economic interest ...Did you know there is NO
    factual evidence ADHD exists I say bad parenting maybe teachers being bullied going through
    hormonal changes .
    I bet you the 5000 in working hours is more than the hours of time (per hourly wage) spent talking to
    someone as a friend family member mentor and or coach

Doctors in the USA are pushing to have "video game addiction" listed as a psychiatric disorder, in order to raise awarness and enable sufferers to be able to use their medical insurance to pay for treatment.

The article focuses on a case wherby an American teenager was transormed over two years, from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a "reclusive manipulator", who flunked 10th grade. The boy was apparently addicted to World of Warcraft, and would play for several hours a day. The worried parents took the boy to therapists and tried taking the game away, which prompted a retaliation of verbal abuse and threats of physical abuse. They eventually managed to find a therapist who backed up their "video game addiction" claim and had the boy sent to a theraputic boarding school costing $US5,000 a month, for which their medical insurance would not cover as the "disorder" is not recognised.

The standard response from gamers is normally to the effect of "What a load of rubbish!". But while the majority of the population are quite capable of balancing life and games, there will always be those who take it to the extreme. In Korea, this can lead to a successful career in online sports, in China this can lead to a "gold farming" job, but in some cases it can lead to depression, and in a few isolated and extreme cases, death.

But what if video game addiction WAS classed as a medical disorder? Is there the potential that the video game industry could benifit from this, as extreme cases are caught before they go to far and are sensationalised in the media? Also, imagine being able to claim symptoms of video game addiction on your medical insurance. "Doctor, my Nintendonitis is flaring up again".

News

The best StarCraft player in history, NaDa Lee, number 2 in the South Korean e-Sports Players Association (KeSPA), was reported to earn US$200,000 in 2005 from gaming alone.

23 year old Lee, who?s been playing StarCraft for 10 years, 6 of those professionally, and training 10 hours a day, says it?s not fun anymore, likening himself to a professional singer, who?s lost the love and enjoyment of singing. Lee is one of a new generation of professional gamers earning 6 figure salaries from prize money, sponsorship deals and appearance fees.

In South Korea, computer games are a spectator sport, being as mainstream as the football or cricket in Australia
NaDa Lee credits television for the e-sports phenomena. "In Korea, we have a special cable channel that focus on playing games," he says. "So lots of people get used to seeing and experiencing StarCraft, so they feel like it's another sport.
Lee goes on to comment that ?while South Korea is the biggest e-sports nation, he firmly believes the rest of the world will catch on and eventually overtake it - in 10 years' time, perhaps.?

So there you go kids, next time your parents tell you to stop wasting your time in front of the computer, you can tell them to find out more about NaDa Lee and his six figure salary.

News
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/06/07 - 12:50 AM Permalink

  • 1. rezn0r - Mon, 4 Jun 2007 15:46:48 ESTHaha yay, a none too bright bikini girl on the front page! Excellent, my day has been made. :D

    Female archetypes haven't come very far though have they? 29 years after Grease was made, we're still relegating women to the scarf dropping race start girls. Yeeeah sure, you could argue that the NFS games of late have had girl racers... but for the most part, they're there to wander up and hang their FMV boobs through your window while they tell you how hot and fast you are for beating them at the race.

    One of our game designers was recently writing a thesis on gender in games, and picked up a NFS game to find an example of a strong female character. Disappointment. :P

    Come to think of it, what strong female protagonists are there in games that haven't had the "boob physics, sex kitten" treatment?

    I wonder if, as girls become a more and more viable demographic in games, we'll see something like "package physics", to realistically simulate the unrealistically sized heroic wang of the sexy hero as he runs and jumps around.

    Ugh.

    Also, she looks like she's just been hit upside the head with a shovel. ;P

    Scott.

  • 1. Anonymous - Wed, 6 Jun 2007 14:03:07 ESTWomen have been used for decoration since the year dot. Its just part of our human nature.

    How much did you expect humans to have evovled in 29 years?

  • 1. Anonymous - Wed, 6 Jun 2007 14:03:07 ESTWomen have been used for decoration since the year dot. Its just part of our human nature.

    How much did you expect humans to have evovled in 29 years?

  • 2. Ex Dude - Mon, 4 Jun 2007 17:42:28 EST...oh give me a break...FFS

    Feminism is alive and well :$

  • 3. Chameleon - Mon, 4 Jun 2007 21:18:26 ESTGovernor Elaine Marley.
    Jill of the Jungle.
    Princess Rosella.
    Lucy from from Quake III.
    The main protagonists in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey 1 & 2 (i forget their names now)
  • 4. Jackydablunt - Thu, 7 Jun 2007 00:27:49 ESTI don't know hey, I both agree and disagree with this.

    The best chick in a game I know of for me was the detective in Indigo Prophecy.... but she was HOT man, probably one of the sexiest characters Ive seen. I can't necessarily agree that its a bad thing though.

    I've alllllllways been judged on the women I draw, even by Rez himself a couple of years ago :) and fair enough because all I draw is idealistic women. But why do I draw women that way? the answer is simply because i love them to death. Women have always been my favourite muse, I love the way they walk, their shape, their voices, they're freaken mood swings, everything, and most of all, I love how a woman can fall into almost any emotion and not be judged the same way as men are.

    Yeah sure Rambo cried but if he did that more than once in first blood then it wouldn't have been the same (love that movie) Women however are allowed to show constant frailty, and its the reason most of my novels have female leads. My characters I try to make savage, emotional, insecure, stern, proud, frustrated, repressed, dominant, reserved, loud, and just plain schizos, whatever I can make them. But I also make them as physically beautiful to me as I can, and I do that simply because I love them.

    But the thing is, when I draw men, I draw them the same way, idealistically. I draw them with completely unachievable physiques, overly muscular or tapered, and the majority of concept artists do the same. The difference is in this Western world at least the ideal man is strong, the ideal woman is beautiful. Iif you analyse half the male characters in games you'll find just as much thought has gone into them as has gone into this Krystal chicky here, and I guarantee the NFS players are going to be remembering her long after they forget the paper cutout who was driving the car. Seriously I don't think too many male characters are that impressive at all when you think of it that way. Kratos was cool, and I like how Freeman's a geek, but neither ain't got nothin on Ripley (and yes I am aware she's a movie character).

    the 'wang package' as Rez put it just ain't an attractive thing. It is ALWAYS emphasised, has been ever since the dawn of self awareness, even before breasts, but it will never be made animate like breasts because neither men nor women think of it as an attractive thing, its solely utilitarian. I've always tended to have close female friends and one thing I've noticed with almost all of them is that in digital media, they appreciate the female form a lot more than the man's. They say "she's hot" or "he's cool". They say "she's cool" as well, but never "he's hot"

    My point is I don't think its so much the size of their breasts rather than the lack of substance to their character that is the problem, but thats the same with men, its just a different perspective, why? because men just aren't hot. it's why we wear suits and not dresses. I have no issue at all with women being drawn idealistically just like I don't care if the men are as well, that's how I like to see them. In Eve, my avatar was a chick, because if I was going to be looking at a single face for god knows how many months I'd much rather it be a good looking female (though granted I've made her look hell brooding and spiteful as well, I love my Tszyuu, she's awesome).

    Yes there aren't many great female characters but you don't make a good one by making them ugly, and the thing is the men ALSO need to have substance to their character as well because without it, people would just rather look at the women. If a female character is present solely for titillation, I cant say I have too much of a problem with it the same way I don't have a prob with a dude being present solely to hold a big ass gun and cigar. With both those characters however I personally soon lose interest, .but hey if someone here was actually impressed by the dude they played in Wolfenstein more than they were with the hot ass Elite Guard then hey, its your bag.

  • 5. Anonymous - Thu, 7 Jun 2007 11:33:52 ESTShow us your tits!
  • 6. Apologetic Abuser - Thu, 7 Jun 2007 12:16:32 ESTCheck out the new concept piece for Condemned 2: Bloodshot, compare that to how the original character looked. Understandable there would be a difference between how the finished product looks to concept, but see the difference in idea. How much of an ordinary man did Ethan look (by comparison to a hard-as-rock loose-canon representation that Monolith are presenting now). I know i have digressed from the original topic of women, but here is an example of the same character being represented in two different lights: realistic Vs. superhero-man-candy-package of justice. I wonder if the head of the concept dep. is the same as before? Realistically i enjoyed the representation of man in the wrong situation, by comparison to a jerk who thinks and is drawn to be every inch of it.

In news that will most likely not interest too many fascinate and encourage inelligent debate for ProStreet racers everywhere, News.com.au reports that Krystal Forscutt is set to be lending her "talents" for the next iteration of the popular Need for Speed franchise entitled Need for Speed ProStreet. So who's Krystal, you may ask? She's the silicon enhanced brunette that entered the Australian Big Brother house last year. From News.com.au...

Representatives from international gaming company EA approached Forscutt after spotting her in a bikini shoot in men's magazine Zoo Weekly.

She was flown to EA's Vancouver headquarters where she was photographed and filmed for artists to create her character - a starting girl in the race series.

Sumea is predicting big things ahead of her.

News

Submitted by Limelight PR

NEW PORTAL FOR INDEPENDENT ARTISTS

Si-mi.com is a digital distribution site selling independent film, music, art, podcasts, games, animations and ebooks, where artists set their own price and keep 70% of the profit. Launched in February 2007, Si-mi.com is already gaining the a reputation with Microsoft awarding them the Special Microsoft Award for Internet Innovation as part of the APC Internet Technology Awards which highlight the innovative products and solutions most responsible for advancing the development and uptake of the Internet and IP technologies over the past year.

Si-Mi offers free uploading facilities for artists to share their videos, music, art, games, podcasts, animations and ebooks. While downloaders can purchase content for multiple devices such as PC, PSP, iPods, PDAs and mobile phones. Free previews are available for all content, so that if Si-Mi browsers like it, they can buy, vote, comment, add to their watchlist or share it with friends.

?Si-Mi.com aims to provide an invaluable service to independent artists all over the globe by offering them a 70% cut of their digital media sales. We believe in innovation and enabling filmmakers, gamers, musicians and artists? acknowledgement for their work and getting the money they deserve?, says co-founder, Simone Govic.

Si-Mi was founded by David Geddes (futurist), Simone Govic (film producer) and Andrew Kelley (engineer). Geddes? previous experience includes leading the Business Modeling Group at Telstra Research Laboratories and Business Analyst at Big Pond. Simone Govic is a producer of independent films and a former Investment Banker with Morgan Stanley in New York. Andrew Kelley was a Senior Research Technologist at Telstra Research Laboratories.

Si-Mi recently entered a partnership with Kojo Pictures ? an Australian production company who has worked on a number of iconic Australian films such as Greg McLean's Wolf Creek as well as the works of Academy Award nominated director Scott Hicks (Snow Falling On Cedars and Hearts In Atlantis).

The collaboration with Kojo Pictures enables Si-Mi to become involved in a greater variety of projects from very large to very small budgets. Si-Mi allows filmmakers to retain creative freedom, instant access to a wider audience, and most importantly retain a greater share of the profits.

Si-Mi is also a proud sponsor of film festivals such as Portable Film Festival in Melbourne, SAIFF in Atlanta, USA, Renderyard Film Festival in London, and Hollyshorts in LA.

News
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 02/06/07 - 2:37 AM Permalink

  • 1. Maestro - Mon, 4 Jun 2007 06:53:01 ESTHave to admit this cake is pretty cool :)
  • 2. Jackydablunt - Mon, 4 Jun 2007 11:35:44 ESTlol, Yeah despite the fact that it's a cake, it's sky blue, it's about a family orientated video game character, its covered with cutesy toadstools and clouds, and she was probably dressed as Link while making it..... It's actually pretty damn cool :D

From a journal of a girl who loves to cook comes this very awesome game related cake. It was made by uni student, Su-Yin, for a friend's housemate who happens to be an avid gamer that had a birthday coming up...

It always starts off with a sketch; which I was pretty happy with ... and began working on it 3 days ago. It does take many hours to painfully sculpt every little detail but the outcome usually is rewarding when more effort is put in.

Yes, this cake pic has been doing the rounds on the internet tubes recently, but it's only caught my attention since this cake was made and baked right here in the good 'ole non-game dev capital of Australia, Sydney. Niiiiiceee!

News
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 23/05/07 - 9:56 PM Permalink

  • 1. Apologetic Abuser - Wed, 23 May 2007 12:1:45ZWhat a great medium to show all those Jack Thompson's out there.

    Pity I can't watch it here at work...

  • 2. Brain - Wed, 23 May 2007 17:57:15ZAfter watching that, I wanted to hug my monitor. Then my consoles. Then all those Sumeans out there. Springtime of youth love pours from me right now. *sniff*
  • 3. Apologetic abuser - Wed, 23 May 2007 18:38:1ZJust watched it... Loved it...

    Please mind your step around Brain's puddle of love...

  • 4. Souri - Wed, 23 May 2007 18:45:27ZI watched it as well. Absolutely brilliant! A well edited and crafted piece of film, and highly inspirational too. Strongly recommended viewing for everyone who loves games (which means everyone here!!
  • 5. Anonymous Coward - Wed, 23 May 2007 19:36:33ZNot bad. Kind of sums up a lot of things that most non-gamers just don't appreciate about gaming, and, why it is so popular and so profound as an entertainment medium...

    Though, kinda gay as well... but I won't hold it against you ;)

Australian machinima artist and games designer Thuyen Nguyen has made what he calls a "love letter to video games." In response to negative mainstream perceptions of video games, his film, "The Most Powerful Person in the World," celebrates all that's good about games. His message is simple: games aren't so bad.

News
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 19/05/07 - 8:21 PM Permalink

It's just another seven and a half hours until Blizzard announces Starcraft 2 their next game. It What will it be Starcraft 2? kekekeke ^_____^

The rumour mill has been off the dial with this one, but a majority of the consensus is that Blizzard will be announcing a new Starcraft game. Or Diablo 3. Or World of Diablocraft: The Zerg Rush. Needless to say, we still won't be seeing this game for another three years or so, if Blizzard's track record will attest.

Seriously, if it's not Starcraft 2, I and a whole lotta Koreans are gonna be pissed...

Update: It's Starcraft 2!!

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