Square and Valve, Unite?!
While some publishers are beginning their own digital distribution models in order to squeeze players wallets dry, Steam remains the king of online distribution, and rightfully so. For gaming news websites that receive early copies of games for review, the guys as Valve give them special writer accounts which allow them early access. If you are one of these privileged few, there are two rules you should follow very closely: secure your password, and do not piss anyone off. We have come to find that the leaking of Deus Ex Human Revolution material last month was the work of hackers who got a hold of the Steam account information of an Italian video game writer, and now, Square Enix is requested Valve’s help in the prosecution of these hackers. Interestingly, they are unable to obtain information just yet; despite having a contract for Square’s games to be released on Steam, Valve cannot (or will not) release customer information without a subpoena first. Square Enix is getting this subpoena to obtain the records, but this goes to show that when it comes to customer rights and privacy, Valve does not mess around.
Marijuana Good, Alcohol Bad
What is more fun than getting wasted and attempting to prove your “l33t gaming skillz” to your friends? A lot of things, at least according to a Swedish study. Over the past ten years, the number of men between the ages of 15 and 30 has decreased more and more, with researchers pointing to video games. No other reason is given, but it is not difficult to extrapolate just a few; poor coordination and depth perception do not lend themselves to gaming, and gaming certainly is not helping the building nausea nor will it hold your hair back for you. There is also the matter that video games and alcohol are both expensive, the latter taxed heavily in Sweden.
But what if booze is not your intoxicant of choice? If you are a fan of Miss Mary J, then do I have some good news for you, stoner hippy! A study by the Groningen Mental Enhancement Department in the Netherlands took several patients with Alzheimer’s and exposed them to intellectually stimulating video games then tested their memory retention. In the testing group, as they played, the patients were exposed to marijuana smoke, and it was found that the testing group’s memory was around 43% better than that of the control group that was not exposed to cannabis. Keep in mind, however, that this is in regards to intellectually stimulating video games. Being able to recall every minutia of Twilight Princess is not something to be proud of.
Distant Worlds at Home
If you have never attended a Final Fantasy concert, you need to go to their website right now and buy tickets and go. Now, do it, I will wait. … Ready? Good. It is a fantastic experience, and with the recent fall of Guitar Hero, Square Enix is looking to bring a musical experience to its fans. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is only in the early stages of development, but so far, it looks adorable. Using the same idea as Dissidia, all the main characters of the Final Fantasy series are involved, as well as some Kingdom Hearts characters, in a cute chibi form. So what do you do in Theatrhythm? You attack with the power of music! From what we know so far, your entire party has become Final Fantasy’s IV’s Edward but without the stupid ‘Flee’ feature, attacking not with weapons but with music. No release date has been specified yet for Japanese shores, meaning it will be a long time before we see it cross international waters. Finally, the gaming community will be able to ask as a whole, “What can I do for you?!”
This Guy Are Sack!
Fans of Little Big Planet were saddened recently to learn that there will be no new LBP games in the future, though DLC will continue to be released. The newest of these DLC packs will appease the hordes of Final Fantasy VII fanboys and fangirls, allowing you to dress your sackboy up as the most memorable characters of the game. Releasing July 13th, you may customize your character as Cloud, Sephiroth, Aeris, Tifa, or Vincent for just $1.99 each. Yep, ten dollars for a pack of reskins, just what you would expect out if Squeenix, but damn if they are not adorable!