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Current Topic: Video Games

Game Developer Choice Awards 2007
Topic: Video Games 1:37 pm EST, Feb 16, 2007

Here's the list of nominees for this year's awards. Winners will be announced in March 2007 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Best Game

* Gears of War (Epic Games / Microsoft Game Studios)
- Cliff Bleszinski, Michael Capps, Rod Fergusson
* Ōkami (Clover Studio / Capcom Entertainment)
- Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya
* The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Game Studios / 2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
- Todd Howard
* The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
- Eiji Aonuma, Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto
* Wii Sports(Nintendo)
- Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, Keizo Ohta, Takayuki Shimamura, Yoshiaki Yamashita

Elonka :)

Game Developer Choice Awards 2007

E-3 shutting down?
Topic: Video Games 5:43 pm EDT, Jul 31, 2006


Washington, DC (July 31, 2006) — To better address the needs of today's global computer and video game industry, the 2007 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo) is evolving into a more intimate event focused on targeted, personalized meetings and activities, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced today.

“The world of interactive entertainment has changed since E3Expo was created 12 years ago. At that time we were focused on establishing the industry and securing orders for the holiday season,” said Douglas Lowenstein, President of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers and the owner of E3Expo. “Over the years, it has become clear that we need a more intimate program, including higher quality, more personal dialogue with the worldwide media, developers, retailers and other key industry audiences.”

The new E3Expo will take shape over the next several months. As currently envisioned, it will still take place in Los Angeles, described by ESA as a “great and supportive partner helping to build E3.” It will focus on press events and small meetings with media, retail, development, and other key sectors. While there will be opportunities for game demonstrations, E3Expo 2007 will not feature the large trade show environment of previous years.

Interesting... No more E-3? That's like hearing that Mount Olympus is shutting down as "too touristy". I wonder what the next step in its "evolution" is going to be....


E-3 shutting down?

E-3 2006 - Elonka's Report
Topic: Video Games 4:41 pm EDT, May 14, 2006

So to save myself from typing in the same messages to all the IMs that are lighting up my screen with the same question: "How was E-3???", here's the blogged report. :)

E-3 2006 ended on Friday. It's Sunday as I write this, but my ears are still ringing. ;) Yesterday I had a booksigning at an art gallery in Santa Monica, and I could always tell the people who walked in who had just been at E-3, because we all share this kind of glassy-eyed shell-shocked look. ;) There is just *so* much going on, so much sensory overload, so many different things to see, but no matter how much I see, I'm also still aware of all the things I'm *not* seeing, and when the show ends, I have this mixture of emotions of relief that it's over, and yet disappointment at everything I may have missed.

There was the usual amount of hype and promotion and "spin-meisters", mixed in with flashing lights and 5-story tall posters and the booms of videogame explosions all around, but mixed in with all the chaos, a few things stand out in my memory.

The #1 thing I remember, is the beautiful 3-D sidewalk art that was being created by artist Kurt Wenner, in the middle of the floor at South Hall. Look at it from one angle and you see strange elongated shapes. But look at it from the correct angle, and it looks 3-D, like there's a huge hole in the floor and monsters are crawling out of it. Wenner sat on the floor actually creating the drawing during much of E-3, and there was also a camera taking time-lapse pictures of the process. It was fun to watch it play back in high-speed mode, both to watch the art take shape, and to see the crowds of E-3 flow around it, as well as watching the shadows move past the drawing, since sunlight was streaming in through the skylight above, so there was a sundial effect as the shadows of the girders moved past -- really beautiful, on a lot of different levels.

In terms of actual electronic game stuff, the top buzz was definitely about the new Nintendo console, with the unfortunate name "Wii". I hate the name, but the two-handed controller looks really interesting. I didn't get a chance to play with it myself (the Nintendo booth again had lines that were four hours long), but the demos that I saw from a distance looked intriguing.

I also enjoyed seeing the "retro" games making a comeback. For example, this year is evidently the 25-year anniversary of the game "Frogger". And another of the handhelds was showing off an updated version of "Lemmings". Plus there was another retro-looking game that got a lot of attention, called "Geometry Wars". It had a multi-story screen, and at one point as I passed by there was actually a big crowd of E-3ers who had gathered around to watch someone playing, and rooting for them to beat the high score (they didn't make it, but the entire crowd applauded them for t... [ Read More (0.5k in body) ]

Game Developers Conference 2006: 'Security and Privacy in Games' Roundtable
Topic: Video Games 6:48 pm EST, Jan 12, 2006

Security and Privacy in Games
Speaker: Elonka Dunin (Gen Mgr, Online Community, Simutronics Corp.)
 . . .
Session Description

It isn't just cheating anymore. Malicious software attacks are a real threat to any application that is accessible over the network, and many of the common patterns in game development expose real vulnerabilities. These roundtables offer a forum for technical discussions of how risks can be analyzed and mitigated, and development patterns and technologies to protect the next generation of games.

FYI, in case anyone's attending GDC 2006 in mid-March, I'll be hosting two Roundtables on "Security and Privacy in Games".


Game Developers Conference 2006: 'Security and Privacy in Games' Roundtable

Top 10 Lists - Greatest Video Games of All Time
Topic: Video Games 7:34 pm EST, Nov 17, 2005

A series of 10 ten lists, compiled from multiple different sources.

Top 10 Lists - Greatest Video Games of All Time
Topic: Video Games 6:23 pm EDT, Sep 15, 2005

Fresh game development news from 67 sources.

I can't quite figure this site out. On the one hand, it seems to be trying to aggregate game development news blurbs from a variety of locations. However, I spot-checked for news about certain events I'm familiar with (such as E3, my "Hero's Journey" game, and MMORPGs in general), and the coverage was either spotty or nonexistent.

If nothing else, it looks like a good source of information for some news, even if it's not comprehensive.

Video: A Cappella Nintendo
Topic: Video Games 5:43 pm EDT, Apr 18, 2005

Brilliant. :)

Video: A Cappella Nintendo

GDC 2005 Pics
Topic: Video Games 6:51 pm EST, Mar 15, 2005

Courtesy of Scott Miller, some pics of me and others of my game developer peers (Raph Koster, Dave Arneson, Brian Green, Damion Schubert, etc.) from this year's Game Developer Conference in San Francisco.

- Elonka

GDC 2005 Pics

Game Developers Conference 2005
Topic: Video Games 2:20 pm EST, Mar 14, 2005

Here's my report on this year's GDC:

The conference was at the San Francisco Moscone Center this year, and reportedly had about 5000 people (about 20% larger than what it was last year at the San Jose convention center). The main difference in demographic is that the conference is really getting an "international" flavor, with many attendees (and even some speakers) coming in from other countries. For example, it was not uncommon to see talks that were being given by Japanese speakers (such as execs from Nintendo and Capcom). The speakers would give their talks in Japanese, and we could all wear headsets to hear a real-time English translation. It felt very United Nations!

Online games continue to be a big subject of buzz at the GDC, but the focus has been shifting more towards web/downloadable and wireless games these days. At the various "Online Game Developers" gathers, there were usually three times as many web/downloadable people as MMO developers. Mobile/Wireless games are also definitely being talked about, though there's a debate as to whether or not they really qualify as "online" games or whether they're a separate category. Folks also generally agree that Mobile games, while simple to develop on a single platform, are enormously difficult to make compatible with the wide variety of hardware types out there. Plus, marketing these games is still extremely tough, since a typical user will only download a game from their provider, and the provider's marketing is usually limited to a single page with a list of game titles in text, with nothing else to really base a decision on. Top games in this space seem to be those that have a cool branded title (such as Spongebob or a sports franchise), and really nothing to do with whether or not the game is any good.

In another section of the conference, there were a few dozen independent games showcased, and I was impressed with the attention that these titles are getting in the marketplace. Though the conventional wisdom is saying that a game needs to have huge production values in order to be viable, the web/downloadable space is proving that there's still very much a market for the games by smaller development teams. Some of the games showcased were written in Flash by teams of 1 or 2 people, but since they were very fun and easy to download, were getting literally hundreds of thousands of downloads. For example, the Metanet "N" game, written entirely in Flash by a team of 2 people, has reportedly gotten 500,000 downloads. The top downloaded title in the world right now, from what I was hearing at GDC, is one called "Diner Dash". Though some of these games are freeware, many are making money. The most common model on these games is to allow 60 minutes of free gameplay, and then require the user to buy the game for $19.99 if they wanted to continue playing (personally I think that's too little time and too high a price point, but it seems to be pretty industry sta... [ Read More (0.6k in body) ]

2005 Game Developers Choice Awards - Assistance Requested
Topic: Video Games 5:28 pm EST, Feb 14, 2005

Yes, it's that time again . . .

Nominations are up, and I'm one of the selected voters again this year. Of course, most of the nominated games, I've never played.

So I'd appreciate if anyone reading this could take a look at the nominees, and let me know your opinions?

Oh, and my usual caveat: I'm not interested in comments such as "This game was really cool," or "Everyone I know plays this game." I'm more interested in things such as production values, best original game character, excellence in audio, level design, and so forth.

If you'd like to throw in your $0.02, please have comments to me, either by posting a reply here or sending an Email to, by February 21st, 2005.

Thanks much,

Elonka :)


Best Game

Burnout 3: Takedown (Criterion Games / Electronic Arts)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar North / Rockstar Games)
Half-Life 2 (Valve Software / Vivendi Universal Games)
Katamari Damacy (Namco)
World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)

New Studio

Cryptic Studios (City of Heroes)
Crytek (Far Cry)
inXile entertainment (The Bard's Tale)
Obsidian Entertainment (Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords)
the Behemoth (Alien Hominid)


Call of Duty: Finest Hour (Spark Unlimited / Activision)
Doom 3 (id Software / Activision)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar North / Rockstar Games)
Halo 2 (Bungie Software / Microsoft Game Studios)
Katamari Damacy (Namco)

Character Design

Half-Life 2 (Valve Software / Vivendi Universal Games)
Katamari Damacy (Namco)
Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft)
Sly 2: Band Of Thieves (Sucker Punch Productions / Sony)
World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)

Game Design

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar North / Rockstar Games)
Half-Life 2 (Valve Software / Vivendi Universal Games)
Katamari Damacy (Namco)
Pikmin 2 (Nintendo)
World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)


Burnout 3: Takedown (Criterion Games / Electronic Arts)
Doom 3 (id Software / Activision)
EyeToy: AntiGrav (Harmonix Music Systems / Sony)
Far Cry (Crytek / Ubisoft)
Half-Life 2 (Valve / Vivendi)

Visual Arts

Doom 3 (id Software / Activision)
Half-Life 2 (Valve Software / Vivendi Universal Games)
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Intelligent Systems / Nintendo)
Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within (Ubisoft Montreal / Ubisoft Entertainment)
World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar North / Rockstar Games)
Half-Life 2 (Valve Software / Vivendi Universal Games)
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (High Voltage Software / Vivendi)
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Intelligent Systems / Nintendo)
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (Obsidian /

2005 Game Developers Choice Awards - Assistance Requested

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