Daily Recap: April 20, 2009

I promise, my only Lolcat-related image ever.

I promise, my only Lolcat-related image ever.

Today was 4/20. The irony is not lost on me that during this “holiday” I neither sold nor purchased pot in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. It just wasn’t in demand, yo.

Face-mapping could help poor, ugly giants like this gu

Face-mapping could help poor, ugly giants like this gu

Funcom’s Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (AoC) is allowing players’ faces and voices into its barbaric world. In the near future (read: “soon”), players will be able to inject themselves into the game and, as far as faces go, accessorize their likenesses with items like eye patches. While it’s interesting to think that practically your entirepersona can be put into an MMO, isn’t the point ofplaying a fantasy to live as an avatar who isn’t you? Also, something tells me that Robert E. Howard would cringe at the possibility of a “Boobienan” hacking down frost giants with a man’s face on a topless female body.

Apparently, 8.5% of American kids aged 8 to 18 are addicted to videogames, or so reports The Washington Post.This story has made the rounds on various websites today, but really this topic is nothing new. As gamers we all experience a particular kind of social stigma, with implications that games cause obesity, promote violence, etc. And although researcher Dr. Douglas Gentile is in cahoots with the sometimes-dubious National Institute on Media and the Family, it’s even more concerning to the sensibilities that a gambling Q&A used on such a small sample size led to this generalization (and is considered “scientific”). Specifically:

To get at gaming addiction, Gentile adapted diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling into a series of questions about video game use. The questions became part of a 2007 Harris Poll survey of 1,178 children and teens. Gamers were deemed “pathological” if they reported at least six of the 11 symptoms.

More of this, Obsidian. Thanks!

More of this, Obsidian. Thanks!

Speaking of civilizations characterized as being so clearly in the proverbial toilet, a new Fallout title was announced for 2010. Called Fallout: New Vegas, this  isn’t a direct sequel to Fallout 3, but a new story set within the Fallout universe. Developed under the tutelage of Bethesda by Obsidian Entertainment, best-known for their Knights of the Old Republic sequel and Neverwinter Nights 2 titles, the game will probably feel a lot like Bethesda’s work with improvements here and there. Obsidian had a habit of tweaking BioWare’s ideas, and their games aped the originals a bit too closely as a result. Could this new Fallout title turn out like Call of Duty: World at War: a safe-bet palette swap? Ironically, Obsidian is the spiritual successor to Black Isle Studios, the devs of the first two Fallout titles.