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Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft's HD Photo spec: Review at your own risk

PetManimal writes: "Microsoft is preparing to submit its HD Photo standard as a replacement for the JPEG standard. Microsoft claims the new HD Photo standard can potentially display higher-quality photos that take up just half the storage space of an equivalent JPEG image. Unfortunately, it's not easy to actually read the HD spec — Microsoft forces users to agree to a legal document before downloading the spec. The agreement states that users cannot duplicate any part of the spec and Microsoft can "commercialize your feedback"."
Google

Submission + - Does Google Have a Mobile Phone in the Works?

narramissic writes: "A recent job opening posted on the Google Web site appears to confirm the rumors that have roiled the blogosphere that Google may be designing its own phone. 'Google is experimenting with a few wireless communications systems including some completely novel concepts,' according to the Web-site recruitment text. 'We are building a small team of top-notch Logic Designers and Analog Designers aimed at nothing less than making the entire world's information accessible from anywhere for free.' Heck, if Apple and Prada can do it, why not Google?"
Portables

Submission + - AMD brings Xbox 360 tech to handhelds

almondcookie writes: AMD has announced a new set of tools so that developers can make new gaming content for a number of portable devices. This includes Rendermonkey, which is already used for making PC and console games, and Ars Technica believes that these new tools enable Microsoft to turn the Zune into a gaming handheld. From the article:

Judging by the capabilities that AMD claims for Imageon and by the screenshots on the Imageon site, you could instantly add quite a bit of functionality to Zune with the inclusion of one of those processors. Zune could pick up a camera, and the new version of Rendermonkey, when combined with Imageon's support for unified shaders, could make it easier for Xbox 360 developers to do Zune ports.
Microsoft

'Gates for President' Group Gives Up 274

netbuzz writes "Dilbert creator Scott Adams had done his best to make this fantasy (or nightmare, depending on your point of view) a viable notion, but after three months of trying the group's leader has acknowledged that it's unlikely Gates will give up his current gig. They've tossed in the towel." Here is our original coverage of this ill-conceived plan.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Scriptural violence can foster aggression (Nature)

quixote9 writes: "Unfortunately, Nature isn't even posting the abstract on this one, "Scriptural violence can foster aggression" by Heidi Ledford and probably others. (Title listed here. ) The article is behind a paywall ($30, I believe).

The title is so intriguing, that I thought maybe Slashdot has a budget for this kind of thing ...? ;-} Bests, quixote9."
Music

Submission + - RIAA now settling suits online

Achan writes: The RIAA has set up a website where you can settle any lawsuits online. From the FAQ "What payment methods can I use? Payments can be made by check or credit card (MasterCard, Visa and Discover)."
Yahoo!

Submission + - Yahoo apologizes to the bloggers

evuraan writes: "Contents from a handful of Indian bloggers were used without permission on Yahoo's India's new Malayalam-language Web portal. This sparked an online protest among bloggers. A Yahoo spokeswoman said the reproduction of the content was inadvertent and blamed the incident on a company it hired to develop content for its Web site, Webdunia.com (India) Pvt. Ltd. Yahoo asked the content provider to remove the recipes when it learned of the incident and Webdunia has been in contact with the woman to apologize, the spokeswoman said. Bloggers, however, were also demanding an apology from Yahoo. The company planned to post a statement on its Malayalam Web site later Thursday, the spokeswoman said, which reads, in part: "Yahoo respects the blogging community and the etiquette followed by bloggers. We regret any inconvenience caused by the inadvertent posting of the recipe without attribution." The content is provided to Yahoo with the understanding that Webdunia holds all necessary rights to its use, the company said."

Comment What is art? (Score 5, Insightful) 315

What was disturbing to me about his rant was not what he said, but how ill-defined his terms were. He professed that Nintendo does not take gaming seriously as an art form. What is this "art" he speaks of? As someone who studies philosophy, it's very important to me that such an objective argument as "Nintendo hurts art" is defined properly.

When one speaks of art, they speak of aesthetics. What he argues is that function possesses the highest form of aesthetics. This is an extremely shaky ground for argument. One could easily weigh other factors of a game in with beauty... graphics, challenge, and enjoyment seem to be the pervasive accounts of beauty in gaming. Let's focus on these three and see if we can try to understand why Nintendo chose to focus on enjoyable rather than pretty and smarter games.

Graphics: Since the PS1, graphics seems to be the focus of most games. Higher texture density, more polygons, faster processing. These were what made a game "good" for a very very very long time. And while game sales were still increasing, more and more gamers were complaining that games seemed too much like their predecesors. Racing games were prettier, but they were still racing games. Fighting games had more characters with greater detail, but they were still fighting games. Sandbox games like GTA were getting sharper graphics and interfaces, but they were still GTA. Gamers were catching on that the industry is merely eating glitter to make the same old crap sparkle more.

Smarter: With the same old games comes the same old play. The only way to improve this is through design changes, which serves for temporary "newness" but quickly becomes associative in a near one-to-one nature from previous games in the genre. Final Fantasy games, for example, had a completely different play style from game to game, but functioned on the same basic prinicples as the last game (until 12). Fighting games may have different dynamics of button mashing and combo systems, but they were still button mashers. And racing games? Pfft. So in lieu of breaking the mold and trying to make games that challenge the mind in new ways, developers ... dare I say "in the box" developers... improve AI so that the same old game is harder to the same old player. While this may be nice when playing a genre game, I fail to see the argument that it has been applied artfully from system to system. Granted, it can be. It just has not thus far and I do not see a majority of developers as taking full advantage of it any time soon.

Enjoyability: Remember the first time you played a side fighter? Remember the first time you played a virtual fighter? Remember the first time you played an RPG? Remember the first time you played GTA? Wow, wasn't that fun? And so much so, it's had many gamers chasing the carrot on the stick for the companies that put out those games ever since. Remember the first time you played a 3D game with an analog stick? Do you remember all the other games you played using the same analog stick? That was enjoyment you got out of EVERY SINGLE GAME from a simple interface change. Nintendo has been the pioneer in that market since the Super Nintendo (and arguably sooner). Sure, they made a lot of sacrifices to graphics and processing power. But let's face it, the Wii is enjoyable. They chose a different definition of "art". To Nintendo, making games a social experience, making them widely available, and making them "fun" was what "art" is. To Nintendo, their system is THE system to progress video games as an "art form".

To say that Nintendo does not do for gaming as an art form as much as the other two major systems does is rather blind, I think. No other company has been as influential on the other two systems as Nintendo. Top buttons on the d-pad? Sony used it. Trigger buttons? XBox. Analog sticks? Sony and XBox. Force feedback through controller rumble? Sony took it again.. this time illegally. And now, full motion sensing capabilities... SONY TRIED TO COPY IT. So my question to this man would be, if a game is supposed to be art, and Nintendo is not art... then where does fun fit into the equation? I'd much rather have a peice of artless trash that was fun to play than a game that felt like an interactive screen saver.

In all fairness, the system has nothing to do with the art of a game. Shadows of the Colossus is a great example of a fun game, that was pretty, and used a system that was not Nintendo. If you think your art is hindered by what paint you use... you sir, are no artist.

All that aside, Spore looks fun.

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