Skip forward, why I’m not retro gaming

In high school, I took a course in anthropology. I loved that class because my teacher was a quirky combination between Rasputin and Robin Williams from the movie Dead Poets Society. He was funny, sharp and made the history of ancient civilizations sound like they were written by George Lucas.

This was just before Phantom Menace.

One day in the middle of a lecture, he announced that, “There is no such thing as the good old days! If there is such a thing, they’re right now!”

It took me a while, but I realized that the old Russian was right. There are no good old days, especially when it comes to gaming. What we have now is far, far better than what we had back then. Because of that, I don’t feel any sense of nostalgia, although I might be alone.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s really fun blasting through the old games. There’s something still hypnotic about Desert Strike on the Genesis, and Super Mario 3 will always have that unique charm.

desert

I blew off at least one Girlfriend in Jr. High because of this game

With how technology has advanced, we have it really good now! If Shigeru Miyamoto could have made the original Super Mario Brothers in HD, with 60 FPS, and have the London Symphony Orchestra play the soundtrack, you bet he would have done it! The other developers from the 80s and 90s would have too.

Some of you are saying, “But back then they used their imaginations! Modern studios don’t! All they make is Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty!”

To that I would reply, “I would have LOVED the modern GTA back then! That’s what we wanted! Not Sonic the freaking Hedgehog!”

sonic

Sonic – Way Over Rated

There wasn’t as much imagination in the old games as you think there was; they were probably even more derivative back then.

Back in the day, all you could do in a game is go right, keep going right, and don’t die. The major differences between levels were the color palettes.

Don’t quote me here, but I’m pretty sure they used the same exact music and sound effects across almost every single title. I’m actually confused why chiptunes became popular in gamer culture. Music shouldn’t sound like they came from the alarm clock I beat up every morning. Trust me when I say this, having real music in games is a godsend.

The stories were pretty much the same, too. They were either rescue your girlfriend or save a female monarch of some sort — namely a princess. If you think video games based on movies are terrible now, you should have seen them back then.  To put it kindly, they were traumatic.

However, since the “good old days,” video games have become a much more powerful storytelling medium. Games now have emotional depth, characters are expressive, and they can feature plot lines that involve more than saving a princess.

There were tons of Tetris clones. Pac-ManMs. Pac-ManPac-Man Jr. — they were all pretty much the same game with minor differences between them.

Look at Sonic, for example; he started off as a Super Mario clone. All of his sequels looked exactly alike and had the same ‘left to right, jump jump, don’t die’ formula as every other game back then.

However, despite my ranting, I do have a bittersweet love for them. I dream of the day EA will dust off the Desert Strike series, HD them, and then release them on a compilation disk. If they can add Flight of the Valkyries to the soundtrack, it would make my year.

desert

Come on EA! Imagine this in HD! XBLA is calling

Despite that affection, I’d rather have my Xbox because I can do so much more with it. I have a much bigger choice in the games I want to play. I could explore the plains and steppes of the old west, live life like a super hero, or take the Cleveland Browns to the Superbowl with the most up-to-date roster.  I don’t have to drag my console over to someone’s house so we can play together. I could connect and team up with friends even if they’re several thousand miles away.

Those are all things all gamers dreamed about back then.

But above all, I look forward to the future. What are they going to make next? What new stories are they going to tell? How are they going to make it more immersive? More fun? The future is bright. Games are going to get better, bigger and more diverse. That’s going to happen because of you guys.

Putting a game together has never been more accessible than it is now; it was a really tough thing to do back in the day. Not everyone had access to a computer. Learning how to program and getting the software tools were much harder too, not to mention that they were much more expensive. The internet existed, but there wasn’t much on it. There were no cats speaking broken English; there was only porn and few discussion groups with creepy nerds.

Although I do miss a cat-free internet.

Game creation is more democratic now. How many times have you heard of a group of indie developers making something awesome? Take Jonathan Blow and Braid, for example. Yes, it supposedly cost him a ton of cash and a few years of his life, but that doesn’t mean it will for you.

So many game creation tools are free, and getting like-minded people to help out is much easier compared to the old days. Using tools like Skype and Google Drive you can team up with people, no matter what corner of the Earth you’re in. Look at the Reddit effort to recreate “Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne” from the show Community. That would be impossible in the Sega Genesis/SNES days. Even in the early 2000s, it would still be really difficult to put it together.

community

Best Reddit effort ever. Can’t wait until Ver 1.0.

The ways you can share your creation with the world is infinitely better compared to what we had back then. Not everyone had a Turbo Grafix 16, but almost everyone now has a smart phone, tablet, or both. Also, with the Ouya coming out soon, gaming may experience something equivalent to the printing press. If it does well enough, it just might scare Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo into making independent games a major feature for the 720, PS4 and Wii U.

You see, my friends, we haven’t seen the best of gaming yet. We progressed past the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, dipped our toes into immersion, and are now going into uncharted territory.

And you guys, you’re Magellan.

posted : Sunday, March 24th, 2013

tags : retro_games video_games sonic_the_hedgehog desert_strike xbox

Can I Haz Murder? Studies Show That Cats Are Serious Killers

Atlanta (CBS Atlanta) - It has 18 claws, 30 teeth, has a predilection for murder and is probably purring on your lap now.

It’s fluffy, princess, cuddles, or whatever moniker you decided to name your adorable killing machine, and the University of Georgia has a study to prove it.

Although 70 percent of roaming house cats do not actively hunt and kill prey, 30 percent of them do.  That’s enough to cut a swath of blood across 1 out of 3 American bird species and seriously declining their numbers, according to USA Today.

Although cats killing birds are nothing new, the actual numbers were way underestimated.  Reminiscent of serial killers like Jack the Ripper, the University of Georgia says that cats only bring home just under a quarter of their victims, they ate 30 percent of their kills, and close to 50 percent of their prey were just left to rot where they were killed.

The numbers are staggering however.  Robert Johns, a spokesman for the American Bird Conservancy says that, “We could be looking at 10, 15, 20 billion wildlife killed (per year),” by cats.

The University of Atlanta conducted their study by attaching breakaway “kitty cams” to the necks of Atlanta area cats.  Then they watched the footage.  Some owners were shocked by the cold-blooded massacre their cats conducted.

Evet Loewen told Mother Jones that she downloaded a day’s worth of video from her cat Ursa’s Kitty Cam, and was shocked by what she saw.

Ursa was “staring at the sky, looking at the trees…and in this particular instance…it was clear that she was under the deck of my house and had a bird,” The bird wasn’t killed yet, “but it was clear that the bird was in great distress and it was very upsetting.”

Loewen says that “I stopped watching because I knew what the end point was, that the bird wasn’t going to live. I was very upset with my cat.”

Loewen then bought Ursa a bell and a kitty bib, so her cat couldn’t murder any more.

Although birds are extremely high on cats’ hit-lists, cats went after everything from lizards to small mammals — such as mice.  Carolina anoles were killed far more often than birds which surprised the scientists conducting the study.

Another study published recently showed that cats could potentially kill people by making it look like a suicide.  The parasite toxoplasma gondii is carried by housecats and has been shown to change human behavior.

The paper released by the University of Maryland discusses how in a study of women infected with this parasite were 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide, and in previous studies on toxoplasma gondii showed that it was linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Car accidents are also more frequent amongst people that are infected.

The parasite is often picked up through contact with a cat’s feces and is probably an evolutionary tactic to make hunting easier by making prey come to the cats.  Rats that have been exposed to toxoplasma gondii seem to lose their fear of cats and become attracted to cat urine.

Jonathan Franzen once wrote in the novel “Freedom” that cats are “the sociopaths of the pet world, a species domesticated as an evil necessary for the control of rodents and subsequently fetishized the way unhappy countries fetishize their militaries.”

Although Franzen isn’t thought of as a scientific mind, one has to wonder if he was right.

(Source: atlanta.cbslocal.com)

posted : Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

tags :

Geeks Vs. Jocks: The Battle Between The Mars Probe And The Olympics

LONDON (CBS Tampa) – The Olympics is an example of the pageantry, the will, and physical strength of humanity, and every four years the world watches their champions compete.

However, during this Olympic cycle, something else happened roughly 350 million miles away on an alien planet that got the world’s attention — the landing of the Mars probe Curiosity.

At first blush, Curiosity seems like it would have an extraordinary price tag, and it does. To design, launch, and land the newest Mars probe cost $2.6 billion.

The Olympics, on the other hand, will cost the U.K. over $15 billion dollars. That includes the much maligned opening ceremony and the security measures that the English implemented. Taxes are also going to be raised to pay for it.

Although the common argument to host the Olympics is for the influx of money that comes in during the games, Londoners are not seeing it. NBC reports that local businesses have not seen an increase in profits.

“Not a single extra person has come to us because of the Olympics,” Roger Love, co-owner of a gym in London, told NBC. “The local area is as quiet as it was the morning after last year’s riots.”

London would not be the first host city to face financial issues because of the Olympics. Montreal was in debt for 30 years after they hosted the games. Also, some blame the Olympics for the state of Greece’s economy.

Beijing, which hosted the Olympics in 2008, has not fared much better. National Stadium, hailed in audio tours as “a symbol of the rise of the Chinese nation that will follow the nation’s footsteps in its rise to glory,” might be converted to a shopping mall.

Athletes’ families are having financial issues as well. The family home of gold medal swimmer Ryan Lochte is being foreclosed on and the mother of Gabby Douglas — the first African-American to win the gold medal in women’s gymnastics all-around competition — has filed for bankruptcy.

Compared to the fleeting glory of the Olympics, Mars rover Curiosity is part of a bigger investment.

Curiosity only cost a fraction of NASA’s budget, and its construction created 7,000 jobs across 31 states. It is a continuation of the mission of the previous two probes, Spirit and Opportunity, which NASA sent to Mars in the early 2000s. Their mission is to find organics in Martian soil, such as water. It is also going to determine if microbes have ever lived on Mars.

The landing Curiosity made was extremely difficult and the first of its kind.

The probe first needed to travel 350 million miles and entered Mars’ atmosphere at 13,000 mph. The friction that the probe faced rose the heat shield’s temperature to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit.

It was so hot, NASA described it as glowing like “the surface of the sun.”

On top of that, Mars’ thin atmosphere only slowed down Curiosity to about 5,000 mph. NASA deployed the largest supersonic parachute ever to slow down the probe. The chute alone needed to withstand 6,500 pounds of force, while only weighing 100 pounds.

The parachute slowed Curiosity down to 200 mph, and that still was not slow enough to land safely, so the chute was cut off and rockets were deployed.

After some maneuvering, Curiosity landed via “sky crane.” At Curiosity’s landing zone, the landing craft hovered as it lowered Curiosity slowly and carefully so it would not get damaged from dust or impact with the ground — the first time this maneuver was done on a space mission.

Each part of the landing needed to work perfectly. If one part failed, Curiosity would be Mars’ newest crater, and the whole operation needed to be done blind-folded.

A radio signal takes 14 minutes to get from Mars to Earth and the entire sequence had to be done within seven minutes, meaning each part of Curiosity’s landing had to be automated via its onboard computers. The programming alone was 500,000 lines of code, and it needed to be flawless.

Its success maintained the American lead in space travel and aeronautics. It was the newest “space moment” that could generate more interest in the sciences for the younger generations, like how the moon landing inspired children in its day.

It was a moment that brought people together as millions watched Curiosity’s landing live online. A screen was even set-up in New York City’s Times Square where there was a huge crowd to watch the probe’s landing.

Curiosity is building up to something bigger, namely the first manned mission to Mars.

Charles Bolden, an administrator for NASA, wrote in the Orlando Sentinel: “This mission is a precursor to sending humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s.”

(Source: tampa.cbslocal.com)

posted : Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

tags :

Heaven’s Gate Website Still Active

image

SAN DIEGO (CBS Las Vegas) -  Some websites, once popular, eventually fade into obscurity and become what are known as “ghost sites.” Though left untouched and unedited for extensive amounts of time, these sites continue to exist like time capsules buried deep in the Internet.

Heaven’s Gate has one such website.

The Heaven’s Gate cult gained notoriety in the late 1990s with its belief that Earth was about to be sanitized - or as they phrased it, “recycled” - and all life at the time would be wiped out to make way for a new dawn of human civilization.

The cult was ahead of the curve in the sense that they used the Internet, then in its infancy, to relay its message. However, they committed mass suicide in March 1997 with the arrival of the Hale-Bopp Comet, which they believed was the sign of the apocalypse.

The cult’s website, HeavensGate.com, hasn’t been updated since then.

Its most recent page, entitled “’Away Team’ Returns to Level Above Human in Distant Space,” states that, “[b]y the time you receive this, we’ll be gone - several dozen of us …  we have now exited the bodies that we were wearing for our earthly task … task completed.”

However, long after the suicides, the site is still actively maintained. The domain name and the server have been renewed every year since 1997 by an unknown party acting under a cloak of anonymity.

The WHOIS records show that all contact information is kept private. And when called, the information phone number listed greets callers with an error message.

“Please note this voicemail box is not monitored,” it states.

There is also an email address listed, which serves as an alias for the email address on the site itself.

The history of the domain name reveals that it was owned by the Telah Foundation and the contact was Mark King. These records were updated last year, at which point the contact information was removed.

It is hard to define the identity of the Telah Foundation. Information on Mark King is equally as scarce, and with the exception of old WHOIS records, the only mention that CBS Las Vegas found of him was in a lawsuit from 1998.

In that lawsuit he was named as a trustee of the cult and was suing to halt the sale of unauthorized Heaven’s Gate merchandise by the defendant in the case, Chuck Humphrey. Later on that year, Humphrey killed himself with an overdose of barbiturates, much like the other Heaven’s Gate members.

There also doesn’t seem to be a connection with the site to the last known Heaven’s Gate survivor, Rio DiAngelo, although DiAngelo holds firm to the same tenets by which the cult lived.

“I can say with absolute undeniable certainty that ‘Do’ [AKA Marshall Applewhite] was a second coming of Jesus,” he said in an interview with CNN last year.

CBS Las Vegas contacted the site directly via email for information about the current status of Heaven’s Gate.

The responses to those emails were sparse and lacking in detail. Whoever responded was not forthcoming with any information about the individuals that run the site.

But the recipient did admit that the site is still run by the Telah Foundation, which has a total of two members.

“The Group left us to take care of the website, book and the tapes that they wanted to speak for them,” the group told CBS Las Vegas. “[But] very few people ask for the book or tapes, so very little is given out.”

The Telah Foundation also says that the group that committed suicide were “the finest and most caring individuals that were on this planet,” and that they have “no plans other than continuing with the Task the Class gave us back in 1996.”

As for the upcoming date of Dec. 21, 2012, a day believed by many to be the beginning of the end for humanity, the Telah Foundation is not worried.

“Our own opinion is that it is a bunch of nonsense,” the representative said. “The world will still be here on December 22.”

(Source: lasvegas.cbslocal.com)

posted : Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

tags : heaven_s_gate cbs published telah_foundation dec_21

Welcome To The Future: Gun Parts Created Via 3d Printers

DENVER (CBS Denver) – America’s history is deeply rooted in the access and possession of firearms, but now in the Internet age, accessing gun parts can be as easy as downloading a music file.

Recently, a blogger named “Haveblue” – later identified by the New York Daily News as Michael Guslick — detailed how he created parts of an AR-15 with a 3-D printer, a device that can create three dimensional solid objects from a digital model.

Guslick documented in his blog how he recreated the lower parts of the AR-15 using his 90s-era 3-D printer. When he was complete he ran it through the machine, and with a little work, he had a full lower piece of an AR-15 — the same weapon that was used in the Aurora movie theater massacre.

Three-D printers have been available on the open market for a few years now, pricing between $1,000-$5,000, and can create objects out of a variety of materials such as ABS plastics or ceramic. The high-end commercial machines, which can cost in the high six figures, can print metal, including titanium.

Every object a 3-D printer spits out starts the same, a computer file with a 3-D object. Although 3-D software used to be outside the average personal computer user’s capability and price range, free ones such as Google’s SketchUp are available.

Users can also modify a file to customize the object their 3-D printer is going to construct. When Guslick started his project, he first downloaded a 3-D model of the lower part of the AR-15 from another gun enthusiast’s website.

Guslick then edited the file, adding a trigger guard and strengthened a few other parts. The total amount of materials he used was $30, compared to the $100 to $250 the parts would normally cost retail.

David ten Have, CEO of Ponoko, a professional 3-D printing shop, spoke to CBS Denver about the 3-D gun part.

“The important thing is that it’s the lower part of the gun that was printed,” Have said. “The top part is more susceptible to the rigors of firing a bullet.”

Have added: “The top part has a lot more stress and that would require a bit more engineering to create. It can’t be created with at-home technology.”

Have said that it’s possible to create other parts like the barrel with a commercial 3-D printer, but they wouldn’t be able to print the finer parts like the springs for a trigger mechanism, and 3-D printers also cannot print bullets.

“There are easier ways to get a gun,” Have said. “You could get one of the big commercial machines, and print out most of it, but that’ll cost a lot. It would be easier to get one from Walmart.”

But if one is so inclined to invest in the equipment, printing guns would be legal, according to David B. Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute, a think tank based in Golden, Colo.

With the exception of machine guns, private citizens “can manufacture their own firearms and ammunition for personal use,” Kopel told CBS Denver.

However, the weapons cannot be sold or given away.

“If they transfer the firearms or ammunition to another person that’s illegal, unless the person has a federal manufacturing license,” Kopel said, adding that would be considered a federal offense if the weapon is transferred.

In the eyes of the law, distributing the digital files, or plans for 3-D printers, would be the same as passing around an instruction manual for a rifle that’s available at a gun shop.

“Gun manufacturers will distribute instruction manuals to promote gun safety, so legally it would be like that,” said Kopel. “If someone could publish the plans for an AK-47, I can’t see why you would get in trouble for distributing your plans.”

CBS Denver reached out to the NRA and the ATF for comment.

(Source: denver.cbslocal.com)

posted : Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

tags : 3d_printers guns technology ar_15 aurora

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) - Preparing for a zombie apocalypse does pay off, but it’s hard work. Although battling the hordes of eBay bidders and gathering everything piecemeal could be one preferred method, an Illinois-based company has created an easier way.
Optics Planet created a one-stop solution for zombie battlers everywhere called Z.E.R.O.
Z.E.R.O., short for Zombie Extermination, Research and Operations, is a kit that contains everything someone would need to keep alive in the end times. Initially priced at $31,375, the kit has been discounted to $23,999 with delivery available to the customer’s home or armed complex.
The kit contains a number of items for standard survival, including a first aid kit, an entire box of batteries, solar panel, and several packs to carry gear.
Optics Planet also includes science equipment such as syringes, a few beakers, and a microscope. The company, however, warns that customers should “search for a cure or you’ll search for a grave.”
Perhaps the most interesting equipment that Z.E.R.O. contains are the pieces with offensive capability. There’s a custom holographic sight with a biohazard reticle, a custom-made zombie fighting knife, and tactical gloves with ridged knuckles.
Optic Planet insists that “punching zombies is the most fun you can have.” But if punching is not your style, Optics Planet includes an OPMOD Battle Mug.
“You can go from thirst-quenching to death-dealing in less than .45 seconds,” the company says in its packaging. “We tested that.”
Despite the discounted rate and the zombie mania that’s sweeping the nation, Optics Planet has not sold very many Z.E.R.O. kits.
Brian Weiss, marketing team leader for Optics Planet, told CBS Atlanta that “it’s more of a novelty item.”
“We have a lot of stuff already that are related to zombies, and we thought it would be fun to put together a collection of all that stuff,” Weiss said.
Although the chances of a zombie outbreak are slim, Z.E.R.O. kits serve another purpose.
“We wanted to raise awareness of what could people need in a survival situation, like with the weather we’ve been having lately,” Weiss told CBS Atlanta. “We want to get people thinking about what they could use. “

ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) - Preparing for a zombie apocalypse does pay off, but it’s hard work. Although battling the hordes of eBay bidders and gathering everything piecemeal could be one preferred method, an Illinois-based company has created an easier way.

Optics Planet created a one-stop solution for zombie battlers everywhere called Z.E.R.O.

Z.E.R.O., short for Zombie Extermination, Research and Operations, is a kit that contains everything someone would need to keep alive in the end times. Initially priced at $31,375, the kit has been discounted to $23,999 with delivery available to the customer’s home or armed complex.

The kit contains a number of items for standard survival, including a first aid kit, an entire box of batteries, solar panel, and several packs to carry gear.

Optics Planet also includes science equipment such as syringes, a few beakers, and a microscope. The company, however, warns that customers should “search for a cure or you’ll search for a grave.”

Perhaps the most interesting equipment that Z.E.R.O. contains are the pieces with offensive capability. There’s a custom holographic sight with a biohazard reticle, a custom-made zombie fighting knife, and tactical gloves with ridged knuckles.

Optic Planet insists that “punching zombies is the most fun you can have.” But if punching is not your style, Optics Planet includes an OPMOD Battle Mug.

“You can go from thirst-quenching to death-dealing in less than .45 seconds,” the company says in its packaging. “We tested that.”

Despite the discounted rate and the zombie mania that’s sweeping the nation, Optics Planet has not sold very many Z.E.R.O. kits.

Brian Weiss, marketing team leader for Optics Planet, told CBS Atlanta that “it’s more of a novelty item.”

“We have a lot of stuff already that are related to zombies, and we thought it would be fun to put together a collection of all that stuff,” Weiss said.

Although the chances of a zombie outbreak are slim, Z.E.R.O. kits serve another purpose.

“We wanted to raise awareness of what could people need in a survival situation, like with the weather we’ve been having lately,” Weiss told CBS Atlanta. “We want to get people thinking about what they could use. “

posted : Sunday, July 29th, 2012

tags : z_e_r_o zombie zombie_killing optics_planet zombie_extermination_research_and_operations

Batman On A Budget

SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) — Since Batman was introduced to the world in 1939, he has inspired fantasies of distributing justice in dark alley ways by using cool gadgets and rooftop heroics.

One of the major reasons that Batman has remained a cultural touchstone is that he’s a mortal. Unlike his super-powered contemporaries, Batman wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, or born on Krypton. He is just like us — with the exception of an obscenely large bank account.

Forbes estimates that Batman, or otherwise known as Bruce Wayne, is worth $6.9 billion. With a war chest like that, it’s easy to gather and create all the wonderful toys that Batman uses. But is it possible for wannabe superheroes to become Batman on a much smaller budget?

Yes it is, with some smart shopping.

But the first step of your hero’s journey is training, lots of physical training. In “Batman Begins,” Bruce Wayne was trained by the League of Shadows, a group of justice seeking ninjas. This method of learning isn’t for the newbie caped crusader on a budget.

In search of a practical option, CBS Seattle talked to Andy Wilson, owner of MKG Martial Arts, about what sort of physical training that Batman would need.

“To be like Batman you’d need to learn to be vicious with the ability to inflict severe punishment without permanently maiming people or killing them,” Wilson told CBS Seattle.

Wilson adds that you would need to train for years to be the physical specimen Batman is.

“They’d need to train for four to five years, three to four hours a day absolute minimum,” Wilson explained to CBS Seattle.

After the physical training, it’s time to go shopping for some toys.

Batman’s equipment is notoriously expensive, even his uniform. The “batsuit” is made from materials that aren’t available on the open market. Some iterations of Batman’s costume include things like computer interfaces, bullet-stopping armor, and night vision.

Although homemade alternatives of the “batsuit” aren’t as flashy or as functional, they’re cheaper and can provide a good level of protection. But you’re going to have to gather the materials  from several different sellers.

A bulletproof vest could be found for $50 to almost $200 on eBay. The other accoutrements such as Kevlar gloves, shin guards, and most importantly a groin cup could also be found on eBay as well.

It’s also worth picking up some extra bolts of Kevlar fabric to customize your uniform and to make a cape. If you are feeling lazy about making a cape, one could be bought at the superhero supply store online for $30.

Carrying around smoke bombs, homemade bat-a-rangs, and communication devices is surprisingly simple. For $17.93, a ninja utility belt can be purchased at Amazon.com, and can be found for as low as $9 in various other outlets.

However, the most expensive piece of equipment in your arsenal is going to be a good lawyer.

Seattle’s own superhero Phoenix Jones found himself in hot water when he pepper sprayed a group of club goers that he thought were fighting. Although the charges were dropped, City Attorney Peter Holmes said in a statement that “(Benjamin Fodor) is no hero, just a deeply misguided individual.”

Phoenix Jones is small potatoes compared to Batman. The amount of charges Batman could face would be much steeper, according to James Daily and Ryan Davidson, authors of “The Law of Superheroes”, and the blog “Law and the Multiverse.”

Batman could face felony charges of trespass, assault, and even white collar crime. In addition, the authors state a vigilante-like Batman has “less obvious issues.”

“Someone like Superman who does general good by protecting people from natural disasters, that’s all OK,” Davidson told CBS Seattle. “It’s when you’re trying to fight crime that’s when things get sketchy.”

Batman wouldn’t have the same rights as Commissioner Gordon or another police officer, Daily explains.

“The state grants police certain protections — like sovereign immunity. You can’t sue a police officer for doing his job.”

But when the bat signal is lit it’s “a problem that he’s collaborating with the police,” because then Batman could be considered a state actor and “he would be restricted to the same rules that the police would have, like search warrants,” Daily told CBS Seattle.

“It’s a very fine line you have to walk to be on the right side of the law,” Daily explained. “Police don’t have to investigate every crime.”

But since there are no super-villains like Bane or the Joker running around, “it’s much more likely in the real world someone like Batman is much more likely to be prosecuted.”

(Source: seattle.cbslocal.com)

posted : Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

tags : batman joker bane budget technology the_dark_knight_rises

Ron Paul Video Game Character Modified Version Of ‘Mario Brother’ Villain

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – In a game dedicated to his hero Ron Paul, Daniel Williams has raised eyebrows of sharp-eyed gamers.

It appears that the “Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution” video game is actually copied and pasted from a template, and the character models came from various sources from Super Nintendo games of the 1990s.

In the game, Paul appears to be a modified version of “Waluigi” — an evil version of the “Mario Brother” Luigi.

The crowd that Williams has shown in the screenshots is ripped directly from the SNES Game “Earthbound.” Finally, the enemy character is a modified version of a “Monstar” from the Xbox live game “Braid.”

The source code also revealed that the game is being made via a template instead of being a new design like Williams has promised.

In a statement to Buzzfeed, Williams called it “unfortunate” for leaving “an early version of the game in an unprotected directory online.”

“Rough drafts are rough,” Williams told Buzzfeed. “This is just some trolls attempt to find whatever they can to make some noise.”

The Kickstarter for this project is still taking funds and has reached $9,782 from 227 backers. Its initial goal was $5,000.

(Source: washington.cbslocal.com)

posted : Thursday, April 26th, 2012

tags :

Coming To a Screen Near You, The Ron Paul Video Game

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — In a sign of how politics are affecting different forms of media, a Kickstarter project is promising gaming libertarians a video game based on one of their favorite politicians.

“Ron Paul: The Road to REVOLution” is being made by Texas programmer Daniel Williams, one of the co-founders of ronpaulswag.com.

“In the past year or so me and my partners are dedicating ourselves to making liberty sexy,” he says in the Kickstarter video. “So I got the idea to create the Ron Paul video game and as far as I know there’s nothing like it.”

The game looks reminiscent of a low budget side-scroller that would be played on video game consoles in the early 90s.

The game promises to have over 50 levels designed around each state to collect gold and delegates, and it will have a puzzle aspect to it.

“There’s no ‘beating up monsters until they’re dead’ aspect,” Williams said. “You must guide the baddies through each level.”

However, there will be 13 boss fights “representing each branch of the Federal Reserve.”

The project succeeded in raising the $5,000 on Kickstarter. Currently, more than $7,000 has been raised from 111 backers.

Ron Paul followers should be able to play the game on their favorite web browser in July.

(Source: washington.cbslocal.com)

posted : Thursday, April 19th, 2012

tags : ron_paul ron_paul_video_game politics

How The Starship Enterprise Nearly Landed In Las Vegas

A concept drawing of the Enterprise in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: The Goddard Group / Paramount Pictures Corporation)

A concept drawing of the Enterprise in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: The Goddard Group / Paramount Pictures Corporation)

Las Vegas (CBS Las Vegas) — In 1992, downtown Las Vegas needed an attraction big enough to draw traffic from the strip to boost the area economically. One designer came up with an idea that would have gotten people to come from the strip and beyond.

The proposed project by the Goddard Group was to build the starship of dreams, the NCC-1701 Enterprise from Star Trek in its full size. It would have been as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

“It would create a new ‘8th Wonder of the World’ with an iconic monument that would take its place alongside other ‘must see’ monuments in the world,” Gary Goddard said in a blog post about the proposal.

The ship would have cost a total of $120 million to make in 1992, with $80 million for the structure itself and $30 to $40 million for the interior and the attractions.

The Enterprise would have had some sort of “show” for tourists, a dining area, and all of the major rooms, chambers, decks and corridors. Of course, the giant replica would most definitely include the renowned bridge where Capt. James T. Kirk would have commanded his ship in the heat of battle.

“We hadn’t gotten all the way down the line. We were working out engineering and budget,” Goddard told CBS Las Vegas about the construction of the ship. “From experience, it would have been a steel frame and a fiber reinforced plastic.”

Building the Enterprise would have been a daunting task, especially for the saucer section of the ship. Las Vegas is notorious for the amount of wind shear challenges and the disk would have needed to have been secured.

A conceptual drawing representing the scale of how big The Enterprise would have been (Photo Credit: The Goddard Group / Paramount Pictures Corporation)

“We were thinking about cables but I didn’t like it, looked primitive like the Hindenburg,” Goddard told CBS Las Vegas. “How we were going to protect it from the wind was sort of make it look like it’s in a dry dock,” as if the ship was parked for repair and upgrades.

When the plan was proposed, it seemed like it was a sure thing. Goddard said on his blog that all the major players were on board. People from Paramount were excited about the project and then Mayor Jan Laverty Jones backed the project.

However, the project came to a sudden end when the Goddard Group met with Stanley Jaffe, the CEO of Paramount Pictures.  Goddard and his team walked Jaffe through the project and what it entailed. Jaffe ultimately rejected the plan.

Goddard said Jaffe compared the Enterprise to a bad movie.

“The next movie comes out and everyone forgets (about the bad movie),” Goddard said Jaffe told him. But if the full scale Enterprise “is not a success, it’s there forever.”

Goddard doesn’t know if Las Vegas would revisit the idea, but after he put up the concept on his blog, the disappointment and excitement about the project is palpable.

Goddard feels good about that.

“With all the attention that this has gotten, this vindicates to me that this was the right concept.”

(Source: lasvegas.cbslocal.com)

posted : Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

tags : star_trek enterprise las_vegas goddard_group ncc_1701_enterprise captain_kirk parmount_pictures