Earlier this week, a Tumblr called the Hawkeye Initiative posted a story about an employee at game publisher Meteor Entertainment who pranked her CEO, Mark Long, by swapping out a poster of a scantily clad female mechanic for a custom poster of a scantily-clad male mechanic (illustrated by fellow Meteor employee Sam Kirk) and waited to see the reaction. After the initial surprise, Long thanked her for “calling [him] on [his] bullshit” and decided to hang the posters side-by-side in the office. The story went viral, making the rounds at nearly every major gaming website and scoring nearly 200,000 page reviews. The employee, who goes by the pseudonym K2, spoke about the prank for the first time with Wired, and about what the internet’s reaction to it could say about the best way to approach the gender problem in the gaming industry.
When we last looked at Curiosity — What’s Inside the Cube?, we were curious to know why half a million people were compulsively working together to tap and destroy the imaginary green cube in this iPhone app.
A few months later, they haven’t stopped. In fact, ten times that many people are now taking part in this “experiment.” Some are drawing crude pictures on the cube’s surface. Others are just trying to break the cube and get to its center. Still others are paying real money in an attempt to thwart them by adding layers back onto the cube. Today, its developer told Wired that just 50 layers of the cube now remain.
The end is near. But what happens when Curiosity‘s cube is gone?
We spend far more time staring into an old man’s creepy eyeballs than on any previous episode, in this week’s installment of Game|Life’s video program.
With no new games of note available this week following the delay of Rayman Legends, we take a break from the usual rundown and glance through the new games and/or tech demos shown at Sony’s PlayStation 4 unveil last week.
The future of TV isn’t in an HBO boardroom or on the CBS lot in Studio City; it’s not sitting on Aaron Sorkin’s laptop or buried deep in Dan Harmon’s Tumblr archive. It’s next door to a Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood—the corner lot of low-slung real estate that online-video juggernaut Machinima calls home.
Inside, the decor is pre-post-collegiate: arcade games, fanboy swag, and the occasional wafting odor of recently nuked pizza pockets. One executive’s office features a wall sculpture of Han Solo encased in carbonite. The place brings to mind the world’s largest man cave.
Yet it’s one of the biggest online video producers there are. In December 2012, Machinima-related properties scored 262 million unique viewers worldwide and 2.6 billion video views. In the previous 12 months, the network was viewed more than 20 billion times. During 2012′s E3 videogame convention, it racked up 14.4 million unique views on one day alone and 455 million total video views for the week. For nine of the 12 months in 2012, ComScore’s Video Metrix service ranked it the number one independent channel on YouTube.
You might think you know World of Warcraft, but you don’t know it the way Ian Bates does.
Like many of the millions of players of the massively multiplayer online game, the Florida teen obsessed over WoW’s fantasy world. He devoured all the non-fiction books written about Warcraft, and tried his hand at writing fan fiction set in the land of Azeroth.
One day in 2010, when he was 17, Bates was reading another Warcraft novel and noticed that something was out of whack. There was a character described in the plot of the novel, Falstad Wildhammer, that should have appeared within the game’s world, but he was nowhere to be found.
So when Bates went to that year’s Blizzcon, the annual weekend event where developer Blizzard meets its fans, he had one mission. During a Q&A session, he stepped up to the microphone to demand an explanation of the discrepancy from the lead writers of Warcraft lore. Clearly amused but grateful, Blizzard’s story leads promised to fix the plot hole.
Video of the question went viral, earning millions of views. They called him “Red Shirt Guy.” But it wasn’t the color of his clothes or the content of the exchange that caused people to share the question, it was Bates’ cringeworthy awkwardness: the stammering, the unusual rising and falling pitch inflections of his voice, and the intense concentration on remarkably minute details.
Bates has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that he says makes him feel extreme anxiety in certain social situations. Speaking at that microphone, he said, was one of the hardest things he’s ever done. His voice sounds “robotic and weird” if he has to initiate a conversation, Bates says. I point out that he seems comfortable talking to me on the phone. “You started talking to me first,” he says, matter-of-factly.
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A new iOS game released this week lets players pit Barack Obama and Mitt Romney against each other in a cartoony slug-fest, using weapons ranging from rolled-up copies of the U.S. Constitution to lightsabers.
If Vote!!! feels like the hit game Infinity Blade, that’s because it was developed by its creator, Chair Entertainment.