New Humble Bundle Adds Android Support–Pay What You Want, Support Charity, Get Games

The latest Humble Bundle is out! Pay whatever you want for this collection of great indie games including Anomaly, Edge, and Osmos. Pay more than the average going price listed on their website and you’ll pick up World of Goo as well.

Nexus-S-544-Newsletter

While Humble Bundle games have always included version for various PC operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux), this time smartphone gamers are being shown the love too. All of the games in this bundle include copies for the Android operating system!

Check ‘em out over at HumbleBundle.com

Download Your Next Dollhouse with MakerBot Playsets

MakerBotCastlePlayset_display_mediumI sure do love me some downloadable papercraft, but 3D printers take printable toys to a whole new level!

MakerBot, creators of the popular plastic printing Thing-O-Matic, have revealed their latest line of downloadable designs: The MakerBot Playsets. Now available on the company’s own community sharing hub Thingiverse, models for the Damsels Playset and the MakerBot Fairytale Castle Playset (pictured left) are free downloads for all.

Thingiverse itself is worth a visit. Supported by a thriving community of enthusiasts, the website is full of printable gadget. Everything from bottle openers and toothbrush holders to animatronic dragons and, believe it or not, 3D printers is available at your fingertips.


Railroad!: Rodger Dodger-A Steampunk Western Serial eBook is Free on Amazon

ref=sib_dp_kdA mad scientist, ghosts, the undead, a noir styled gunslinger, and a hi-tech steam locomotive that builds its own track combine in the first volume of this incredible, original, independently published serial western.

Intrigued? Well I would certainly hope so! Even better, for the next few days you can pick up the first volume of Railroad! for the bargain price of free from Amazon. Even better, if you find yourself hooked on the series, additional books in this series are bargain priced at $0.99 (or free if you have a Kindle and Amazon’s Prime service).

Railroad! Volume One:Rodger Dodger (a steampunk western) on Amazon

Review: Risk Factions (Facebook) The War On Peace

As a kid, I liked playing Risk. Conquering territory, armies battling it out across the globe, trying to capture whole continents… I played games that lasted for hours and, win or lose, I came back for more. So when I saw that EA had transferred this classic game over to Facebook for free, I thought that I’d give it a try.

 The first thing I noticed was that Risk Factions wasn’t just available for free on Facebook. Online versions are available on Xbox Live, PSN, or Steam for under $10. I couldn’t help but notice next that you aren’t limited to the human race. You can now play 5 factions – Human, Robot, Cat, Zombie, and Yeti factions each with their own special abilities to master. The Facebook release does seem to be limited to Human, Cat, and Zombie, although there are unlockables…

MuchDifferent Smashes Gaming World Record with 1000 Player Man vs. Machine FPS

Well, they pulled it off! As previously reported, middleware developer Much Different attempted to set a new world’s record for the largest player count on a video game battlefield today. And they succeeded!

1000 player fps

After some initial teething problems due to the tens of thousands of players attempting to connect, Man vs. Machine went on to be a roaring success. Player turnout prevented even the game’s designers from finding a open slot. Much Different recorded a high of 999 simultaneous players. The previous world record was set by Sony’s now retired MMO shooter Planetside with 399 players.

Job done, Man vs. Machine will now be retired. The game/tech demo was created specifically for this one event and will not remain online. There are currently no plans for a sequel.

While technical difficulties on my end prevented me coming back from the event with any significant amount of useable footage, it was truly a spectacle to behold. I am thankful to the folks at Much Different for being given the chance to participate in this one time event on behalf of Growing Up Otaku. Plus, I got to frag Minecraft creator Notch! Priceless ;)

Edit: There’s plenty of video on YouTube now! Here’s a sample:

Will NASA’s Future Look Bright? | Out Of This World Weekly

The ability of NASA to launch large missions is not looking good.  NASA is known for it’s flagship missions that cost billions of dollars, yet provide incalculable insights into the universe.  Missions such as the Voyager missions, the Hubble telescope, or the Cassini probe are considered flagship missions and only come along every 5 to 10 years.  To be more specific, these multi-billion dollar missions used to come along every 5 to 10 years, today these missions can only occur every 20 to 30 years.  That’s right, funding for these missions is getting harder to come by.  This is part of the reason for NASA’s smaller, better, cheaper design philosophy which has become more popular within the past two decades. 

Blizzard Auctions off World of Warcraft Servers for Charity

WoW serverBlizzard Entertainment showed some love to their millions of World of Warcraft players and upgraded their servers. Now they’re looking for help in spreading some love over to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Blizzard has taken the hundreds of the retired HP Blade servers that tirelessly slaved away creating the and managing the world’s favorite fantasy universe and put them up for auction on eBay. Emblazoned with the World of Warcraft logo, a plaque detailing the server’s name, run dates, and location it managed, and signed by the team, these valiant workhorses that changed the MMO landscape are available as the ultimate collector’s piece for your WoW altar. Best of all, proceeds from the sale will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Get the full detail from Battle.Net, or start bidding on eBay.

Video: Fans Remake Star Wars 15 Seconds at a Time

Years in the making, Star Wars Uncut: Director’s Cut has been unleashed upon the Intertubes!

In one of the most creative crowd-sourcing endeavors ever, fans volunteered to redo each 15 second piece of the beloved sci-fi epic in their own style. The result is a patchwork quilt of love, creativity, and ingenuity of thousands. Every possible form of storytelling is used. From stop motion to live action, machinima to puppets, this is Star Wars in a whole new light. Our light.

Star Wars Uncut: Director’s Cut IS the Internet.

Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

World Record Attempt at 1000 Player FPS Battle Sunday–And You’re Invited!

Much Different is certainly living up to their name this Sunday! The non-profit technology consulting firm from Sweden is making a run on a world’s record first-person shooter match-up. Using a custom game created with the Unity 3D engine, Man vs. Machine aims to redefine battlefield chaos by pitting two teams of 500 players each against each other on a single battlefield.

Moreover, this is the only chance you’ll have to play Man vs. Machine. 1,000 players will square off against each other for exactly one match and then the game is gone forever. Gamers will take up the mantle of Man while developers, professionals and hobbyists alike, play the machines.

man vs machine 1000 players

This world record attempt at maximum fraggage is scheduled to report for duty Sunday, January 29 at 4pm CET / 3PM GMT/ 7am PST / 10am EST. While the game is free and runs in a browser window, reservation tickets are available for 200 Swedish Krona (about $30 U.S. dollars) with proceeds going to the Engineers Without Borders charity.

Dragon Ball Z Blu-Ray Production “Suspended”

dragonball z blurayAnime News Network is reporting that they have confirmation from Funimation that the restoration and production Dragon Ball Z for Blu-ray has been suspended:

“Funimation said that it had produced the Blu-ray editions of the series due to fan demand; however, the company explained that "due to technical challenges of restoring from the original film frame by frame, we are unable to continue these releases by way of this process." The company added it will re-evaluate its process of creating these Blu-rays and will research more efficient methods of restoration.”
As it turns out, remastering the 23 year old cartoon from it’s original 16mm film reels and re-recording it a 1080p digital format is very time consuming and expensive, especially in a world where physical media grows a little more ‘quaint’ every day. Go figure. The first, and apparently only, volume of Dragon Ball Z – Level 1.1 Blu-ray debuted in November 2011 at a MSRP of $35 for 17 episodes. At the time of this writing, Amazon currently lists this volume for 16.50

EMI Music VP Attains Enlightenment; States Piracy Can Be Solved by Better Service, Not SOPA

In a Q&A session on popular Internet message forum Reddit, EMI Music’s VP of Urban Promotions, Craig Davis, did the unthinkable: He proved that someone in the music industry has a clue.

Mr. Davis was asked his opinion on the rash of proposed global Internet blacklisting legislation being debated in the U.S. Congress such as SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. The record exec’s response was surprisingly reasonable:

emi“Personally, I feel that the method they're using is incorrect. All it will do will cause headaches and issues for everyone.

However, I do believe that a person should be compensated for their work. I feel that piracy is a big issue, and things like Spotify will assist in combating this problem.

Gabe Newell is correct, it's a service issue not an issue of money. Sales have gone up from sales concerts and merchandise, it's obvious that our fans still love music. We're just not giving them their music in an easier way.”

Davis’ reference to Gabe Newell is especially poignant. Newell is the guiding force behind Valve Software, owners of the Steam digital distribution platform for video games.

Gabe Newell made waves in the digital sales world by successfully opening up to the Russian market, long left untouched by many companies as a suspected hotbed of piracy. Newell brought Steam to Russian with the belief that the Russian piracy problem was due to lack of proper service rather than a popular mindset. He believed that if Valve could provide goods to the people that wanted them in a convenient form at a fair price, people would pay. The industry thought is was folly. Valve made a fortune.

While it is beyond refreshing to see someone so connected with the RIAA have a close encounter with Slappy the Clue-by-Four, don’t hold your breath on things changing. Craig Davis’ comments were his own and not to be taken a corporate policy for the music company. Furthermore, EMI is currently in the process of being devoured by Universal Music and it is very possible we will never hear from the enlightened Mr. Davis on this topic again.

The Secret Lives of Online Game Cheaters

Ever wonder what goes through the mind of an online cheater? Curious about who that person is behind the Call of Duty aimbot? Can’t understand the motivations behind the Sith dancing his way though firefights in The Old Republic? Wonder no more.

PopCap Games (Bejeweled, Plants vs. Zombies) commissioned Information Solutions Group to find out the answers. Collecting online survey data from both the United States and United Kingdom, ISG has put together a comprehensive profile that that wall-hacking S.O.B. who’s been tea bagging your corpse all night.

Social game cheat chart

Guess what? Online game cheaters just cheat at everything. Social game cheaters are more than three times as likely than their rule-following counterparts to cheat on tests, taxes, and significant others. Heck, 60% of U.K. social game cheaters frequently steal hotel towels while in the U.S. 53% of similarly inclined individuals park in handicapped spots.

ISG's report goes on to state that those who cheat at social games are younger, wealthier, and make more friends online than those who do not. They are twice as likely to purchase virtual currency with real-world money, ironically making them more desirable to publishers using a freemium or micro-transaction based business model, like most Facebook games.

While the report focuses on social games such as FarmVille (the #1 most cheated-on game listed), it is not unreasonable to assume that these trends would be similar to players of other online titles as well.

So the next time you're staring at a screen full of wall-hacking, aim-botting crotch, take comfort in knowing that not only did he kill you (again!), but he most likely has more money, friends, towels, and a better parking space than you. Ain't life grand!

Check out the full PopCap Social Gaming Cheaters report in PDF format.

Cloud Connected Garage Door Opener Let You Open Your Garage Door ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD?!

You gotta love it when modern technology seeks to solve problems no one has. Case in point: The LiftMaster 8500: A “cloud connected” garage door opener that lets you open and close your garage door via a smartphone app.

Yes friends, using your Android, iOS, or Blackberry devices you can now open AND close your garage door from anywhere! Driving home from work? Why not open your garage door before you even leave the office! Vacationing in Paris? Open the garage door! Lock you keys in the house? Open your garage door so you can sit in there rather than the porch! Why bother pushing that handy little button clipped to the sun visor in your car when you can dig out your phone (or tablet!), launch an app, connect to an Internet service, and open your garage door.

The opportunities are endless… as long as they involve opening your garage door.

Indie Royale Bundles 6 Serious Sam Games in The Lightning Pack

Need shooters? We got the shootiest shooters that ever shot sh*t!serious sam lightning bundleIndie Royale, a join venture between IndieGames.com and digital distribution service Desura, has reveled their umpteenth bundle: The Serious Sam Lightning Pack!

Not only do you get the classically abusive Serious Sam: The First Encounter and The Second Encounter, you get a bevy of indie titles inspired by the Serious Sam franchise:

The Random Encounter: Super Crate Box developer Vlambeer thrusts Sam and his team of mercenaries into a a world they’ve never before imagined: A turn based RPG.

Double D: This white knuckled shooter drops the third dimension and puts Sam into an Abuse styled 2D shooter where you can stack your guns together for crazy combos.

Kamazie Attack: A Canabalt styled runner that puts you in the shoes of Serious Sam’s most iconic (and hilarious) enemy.

The Greek Encounter: An all new, Indie Royal exclusive 8-bit de-make of Serious Sam from Eric Ruth, the mam behind Team Fortress Arcade.

The Serious Sam Lightning Pack is available for the rest of this week from www.indieroyale.com

Code Geass Getting Wonderland Parody OVA, 2 Broadway-Style Productions, and More

Normally I ‘d go in with a joke about Code Geass jumping the shark, but for a series that was practically born half-way up the ramp on water skis, it’s no real surprise. Actually, I take that back. Not even the mid-season cliffhanger so offensive it would take a Smog Monster to resolve could have possibly prepared me for this.

Without futher ado, I present “Nunnally in Wonderland”. 9c2bcff0

This OVA, coming to Japan sometime in 2012,features anti-hero Lelouch Lamperouge brainwashing his way across Lewis Carroll’s classic to save his sister Nunnally.

But wait! There’s more! THIS is where is gets weird.

Run for Your Lives–A 5K Marathon with Zombies Chasing You

The zombie apocalypse is coming. We know this. The CDC says so. And it’s 2012.

So, your preparedness kit is ready. What next? You need real world experience running from a horde of zombies! An extra bottle of water can’t prepare you for the true terror of feeling from a horde of the undead. Good thing you stopped by GUO today because we have just the answer to get your heart (and feet) pumping before inevitable doom of the human race comes knocking at your brain.

Run for Your Lives is a 5K marathon where contestants jog through the forest and clamber over obstacles all while the walking dead try to take them down flag-football style.

The next marathon is scheduled for March 3rd in Atlanta, GA and will spread across the country, T-Virus style, throughout the year. Check ‘em out and sign up at runforyourlives.com.

Skyrim Ported to… the TI-84 Calculator?

After racking up numerous Game of the Year awards for the Xbox, PS3, and PC versions of Bethesda’s magnum opus RPG, Skyrim is taking all of its shout-filled dragon battling to a handheld platform: The venerable TI-84 graphing calculator! Huh?

no9sniper has done the unthinkable: Porting the epic adventure to one of the most underrated platforms out there. Programmed completely on the calculator itself, Skyrim Mobile returns us to the classic form of RPG games with menu based, stat driven combat, a quest dispensing king, and upgradable weaponry.

You can get the files and run this epic achievement for yourself here.

Comic: SOPA Does What Now?

guo comic-sopa girls
 
Click image for full size view.
Click the page jump my thoughts and comments on this comic

Permanent Moon Base Being Planned | Out Of This World Weekly

53 years ago, Russia sent the first human made object to the moon. America followed with the first manned moon landings between 1969 and 1972. Since the 1970’s there has been much talk about returning to the moon and there have been many probes studying the moon from orbit but no humans have returned. Now Russia wants to team up with the U.S. and Europe to send people back to the moon. Not just for a visit, but to man a permanent base on the moon. They are all also looking at plans for a lunar orbit space station as well. The U.S. and Europe are both willing and eager to start a permanent presence on or around the Moon, but haven’t been able to secure the funding on their own. Perhaps it’s going to take a multi-national approach before we are able to keep men on the Moon.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance Assembles to Assault Your Facebook Friends

marvel avengers alliance facebookStill blushing from their upset victory on the Facebook Top Recommended games list of 2011, Playdom prepares to unleash funny book fury with Marvel: Avengers Alliance.

This new role-playing combat game tasks the player with collecting a new Avengers team from your favorite Marvel superheroes (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Wolverine, Hawkeye, Black Widow, etc.), leveling them up to unlock new powers, and testing them in combat against classic Marvel villains in turn-based tussles.

In a unique (and overdue) twist to Facebook gaming, Avengers Alliance will feature player-versus-player combat in asynchronous battles allowing you to beat the pulp out of your Facebook friends whenever you have time.

Playdom describes the game on their Marvel: Avengers Alliance Facebook page:

“As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., your job is to assemble and lead a team of heroes to keep New York City safe from an unknown threat. Recruit your friends as Allies to increase your power and save the world from super villains in the newest Facebook RPG, Marvel: Avengers Alliance.”

The game is currently in closed beta testing with a release date of “soon”.

South Korea Building Robot Prison Guards

korea-prison-robot-2Singularity Hub is reporting that the South Korean government will be adding a trio of mechanical men to the staff of a prison in Pohang. The five-foot tall, four wheeled automatons will be tasked with rolling through cell blocks at night to scan for suspicions activity and check prisoners for obvious signs of injury. Should anything appear amiss, the robots will send alerts to human prison guards to deal with the situation as needed.

The project has an estimated cost of 1 billion won (~$886,000 USD) and will begin with a month long trial in March of 2013.

Here at GUO, we have great results using a similar method to keep our writers in line.

giant_torayan_2

Xbox and iPhone Manufacturer Foxconn Likens Employees to Animals in a Zoo

Terry Gou, the chairman of Hon Hai, Foxconn’s parent company, admits “to manage one million animals gives me a headache." Gou then went on to state that he wishes to learn from Chin Shih-chien, director of the Taipei Zoo, how animals should be managed.

foxconn suicide nets

Foxconn, the primary manufacturer of such in-demand electronic gadgets as Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Xbox, has been the a topic of much controversy over the past couple of years. A chain of 17 worker suicides prompted the company to install “suicide nets” around the buildings of production facilities in Shenzhen.

Earlier this month on January 2nd, a mass suicide was narrowly avoided at a Foxconn factory in Wuhan. 300 employees had asked their boss for a raise, having already been slighted one-third of a promised relocation bonus. Management told the workers to either quit their positions with compensation or keep their jobs and receive no additional payment. Most employees took the severance agreement, but the company refused to pay the money they were promised. The betrayed workers took to the roof of the plant and threated to jump if Foxconn would not pay up. The employees only came down after the mayor of Wuhan spoke with them and agreed to oversee new negotiations.

An investigation into the matter by Microsoft concluded:"It is our understanding that the worker protest was related to staffing assignments and transfer policies, not working conditions.” The matter was dismissed as there was found to be no violation of Microsoft's “stringent Vendor Code of Conduct.”

Source: Want China Times

Play a New Version of Half Life for Free: The Canceled Dreamcast Port

The PC gaming classic Half Life gets an alternate version in the form of Half Life: Dreamcast. Wait… Dreamcast?

Half Life DreamcastBack in 2000, Gearbox Software (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms) was creating a port of the seminal PC shooter for Sega’s then revolutionary console, the Dreamcast. Sadly this title would never make it to market. The Dreamcast version was canceled in the wake of Sega stopping production of the console. Featuring double the polygon count of the original PC version (even with the HD pack), Half Life for Dreamcast wasn’t just prettier, but featured some different NPCs, unique props, and sweeping changes to level design with new environmental puzzles. A new, CD-quality soundtrack was also added. This was a Half Life no one would ever play. Until now.

An adventurous group of modders have ported Half Life: Dreamcast back to the PC. Now is your chance to experience a truly unique take on the classic game that launched Valve to the super-stardom it enjoys today. If you have the original Half Life on Steam, grab the mod from ModDB.

Star Trek Online Goes Free-to-Play; Is Awesome

GameClient 2012-01-18 22-19-38-61As is the current trend in MMO RPGs, Star Trek Online is done juicing early adopters and has opened its doors to the great, unwashed masses for the low price of free. Courtesy of yesterday’s protest, I was able to put plenty of time in on STO and can safely assure you that you’re getting much more than your money’s worth here!

GameClient 2012-01-18 22-55-53-38Boasting great graphics, sound, and an authentic treatments of The Next Generation Star Trek universe, this is one not to be missed by either Trekkers or more general fans of sci-fi gaming. It’s not hard to see the influence of Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect here. Plus, you get starship combat! Good starship combat! How often does that happen?

The game is solo-friendly for anti-social gamers. Player-versus-player combat is present for bloodthirsty gamers. Technical aspects are polished to a shine. Micro-transactions are minimal. Best of all, the gameplay options at your disposal are rich and rewarding once you get through the shoddy feeling, combat heavy tutorial and start going where no one has gone before. Heck, the amazingly extensive custom alien, costume, and ship editors alone are worth the price of admission.

Sign up and get downloading at http://www.startrekonline.com/

GameClient 2012-01-18 22-25-55-28

MPAA Asks White House to Stop SOPA Blackout

Former Senator and acting CEO of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), Chris Dodd, posted his feelings on the anti-Internet censorship online protest dubbed #SOPAblackout. In a statement of absurd hypocrisy, Dodd calls the actions of blackout participants “an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today” on the MPAA’s official blog. Dodd continues chucking a big ol’ rocks through his glass house claiming “the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.” Those dastardly corporate shills over at the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation!

The MPAA CEO sums up his post by calling the blackout “another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals.” Seriously? No mention of terrorists? Just “foreign criminals”? I’m disappointed, Mr. Dodd. At least he made it clear that we’ll all loose our jobs because Little Timmy downloaded the latest Transformers movie.

Finally, the former senator turned CEO of Hollywood’s lobbyist juggernaut calls upon his buddies in Washington to use their influence to stop the “PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”

Can’t make this stuff up. If you haven’t already, check out Dodd’s post on the MPAA’s official blog.mpaa-2010-1

These are the sides, my friends. On one, Jimbo Wales of Wikipedia, a man whose best idea to generate the cash needed to keep the Internet’s public encyclopedia online is to post pictures of his team in a banner ad asking for handouts. Standing with him: A small army of broke-ass webmasters who want to see a future where everyone can publish their opinions without fear of censure because Sony or Disney didn’t like what they said.

On the other, a former senator turned CEO who spent $420,000 in the third quarter of 2011 buying political power to insure that Kindergarten Cop isn’t being watched by some guy in Sweden hunched over a laptop. And he is willing to give copyright holders carte blanche to slice off any part of the World Wide Web to ‘protect’ their business.mpaa breaks internet

SOPA Shelved. We Still Blacking Out? Yes. More Internet Censorship Legislation Coming

Responding to two petitions about legislative approaches to combat online piracy, the Obama administration issued the following statement:

“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet. Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small.

While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worst online pirates beyond our borders. That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. We should never let criminals hide behind a hollow embrace of legitimate American values.”

SOPA has since been “shelved” indefinitely. Not “killed”, “shelved”. In actuality, SOPA had been pretty well de-fanged the previous week with the removal of mandatory ISP DNS blacklisting. It still makes no provision for the checks and balances one would expect from a piece of legislation that acts on the whims of media publishers to, quite literally, remove all traces of a site from the Internet (including sites that linked to it for any reason). Regardless of the fate of SOPA, there are other bills waiting to take its place.

Civil War Era Submarine H.L. Hunley Resurfaces After Nearly 150 Years

pb-120112-hunley-01.photoblog900The Hunley was the first combat submarine to ever sink an enemy warship. That was on February 17, 1864. It sank for unknown reasons soon after, taking all eight crew members down with her.It would remain lost at sea for over a hundred years before being discovered in 1970. The wreck would remain buried under layers of silt another three decades before its excavation in 2000. Now, after spending 10 years in a fresh water preservation tank to remove salt, the Hunley has come back up for air.

Scientists getting their first, unobstructed glance at the Hunley were astonished at the sophisticated engineering present in the intact, 42-foot long, nearly 150 year old warship. Michael Drews, director of Clemson's Warren Lasch Conservation Center spoke with MSNBC: "It has the ballast tanks fore and aft, the dive planes were counterbalanced, the propeller was shrouded," Drews said. "It's just got all of the elements that the modern submarines have, updated."

Visitors can obtain tickets for guided tours of the conservation laboratory that houses the Hunley at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, S.C. on weekends. The Center includes artifacts found inside the Hunley, exhibits about the submarine, and a video.

Did Humble Indie Bundle Shank Principals for Profit?

Imagine my surprise when, after entering the activation code into Steam for Humble Indie Bundle 4, I was presented with an End User License Agreement from the largest publisher in Western markets, Electronic Arts. Cocking one eyebrow skyward in my best Spock impersonation, I accessed Steam’s store page for the offending title, a game named Shank. I ran headlong into an age gate. It seemed that EA’s EULA was not to be the last of my surprises.

shankShank has been rated M by the ESRB. And not just simply M for Mature, but M for “Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, and Violence”. The store page proudly hocks Shank as “a graphic novel with the most fluid and violent 2-D animation ever seen in a video game.” Tom McShea’s review of Shank on GameSpot calls it "a savage game that revels in the brutality of street fighting" while GameTrailers likens Shank to “"a savage Saturday morning cartoon filled with blood, boobs, and Berettas.” Hardly the sort of title I would expect to see in a charity bundle of independently created games sandwiched between Super Meat Boy and NightSky without a single mention of either its ESRB rating or adult content. But then again, Shank is not exactly and independently created game.

Want to Join the Anti-SOPA Internet Blackout #SOPAblackout? It’s Easy!

Run a site and want to join the movement? SOPAblackout.org has posted a script that will allow you to blackout your site with a single line of code:

<script type="text/javascript" src="//js.sopablackout.org/sopablackout.js"></script>

sopablackout

Even if you have a site built on plug-ins, like Blogger, you can simply add a generic HTML/JavaScript plug-in and paste the script above. Easy-Breezy.

Don’t have a site and want to participate? Simply abstain from all social networking communications on January 18th, 2012, from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC). It might be best to state your intentions ahead of time using the #SOPAblackout hashtag so your Mom doesn’t get mad when you don’t Like the latest picture of her cat.

For more information about SOPA and what you can do, visit AmericanCensorship.org

Review: OnLive Desktop Puts Windows Surface and Microsoft Office on Your iPad. But Why?

OnLive DesktopCloud computing service OnLive proves they are more than fun and games with the reveal of OnLive Desktop: A free app that gives you a Windows 7 operating system, the multi-touch experience of Microsoft Surface, and a fully functional copy of Microsoft Office. Need more? You also get 2GB of free cloud storage.

But what to do with it?

#SOPAjam-Indie Game Developers Join January 18 Protest with 24hr. Competition

sopajamPolish indie game developer Sos Sosowski has organized the Stop SOPA Jam, a video game creation contest which challenges participants to write a anti-SOPA themed games for January 18th.

“Let’s protest against #SOPA the best way we can! Make #antiSOPA games on January 18! Join the #sopajam! Let’s do this!” Sos originally revealed on Twitter.

The gauntlet has already been taken up by pressure-cooker game design competition Ludum Dare and Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson.

Speaking for the whole GUO staff, we’re definitely looking forward to this! It’s not like we we doing anything that day Winking smile

160 Billion Planets In The Milky Way | Out Of This World Weekly

I hope that you like big numbers because researchers have estimated the number of planets in our own galaxy at 160 Billion. This recent estimation uses Gravitational Microlensing, which has recently been used to find planets that aren’t even orbiting stars. This estimate is based on an estimation of 100 Billion stars in the Milky Way, thus each star that you see in the sky on average has 1.6 planets orbiting it. The previous estimate was 0.5 planets per star, more than tripling the amount of estimated planets.


Yes, this estimate means that there are more planets than stars in the sky. So, how many stars are in the sky? It’s estimated that there are about 10 sextillion to 1 septillion stars (that’s 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars) in the universe, with on average more than one planet orbiting it. That’s many more than the absolute limit of 9 planets that I learned about in middle school. This has dramatic effects on the Drake equation, which is used to calculate the amount of habitable planets, alien life, and alien civilizations.

League of Legends Congressman Stands with Game Developers Against SOPA

Representative Jared Polis of Colorado

This is Jared Schutz Polis. Jared is the founder of the ISP/web hosting service American Information Systems, former member of the Colorado State Board of Education, popular philanthropist, currently serving U.S. Representative for Colorado's 2nd congressional district, and avid League of Legends player (partial to Anivia and Maokai).

Wait… What?

When League of Legend’s developer Riot Games threw their weight behind the growing anti-SOPA movement in a forum post, Representative Polis was one of the first to respond:

“I’m particularly concerned that SOPA might stifle the kind of innovation that brings us games we love, such as LoL. The bill makes it far too easy for angry competitors to sue good law abiding companies out of existence. It threatens any company or website that depends on user-generated content, even companies like Riot. Instead of coming up with great ways to keep making games like LoL even better, companies will have to spend their money hiring lawyers. That's why companies like Riot, who want to protect the games they create, are opposed to SOPA.

I’ve been working on alternative legislation that would protect the games companies create while also fostering innovation. But we also need you to call your members of Congress and let them know of your opposition to SOPA. This bill has a very real chance of passing, and it is up to all of who want to protect the Internet to take action. More information is available at http://keepthewebopen.com/. Please make your voices heard in this debate! I will be happy to respond to your posts below, and will check back every few hours today and respond to as many as I can.”

A free Internet: Bringing everyone together for fun and games.

Anime Streaming Service Crunchyroll Upgrades to 1080p

Crunchyroll, a video streaming service specializing in simulcasting Japanese anime, drama, and music, rolled out a very special surprise for its subscriber base this week. Effective immediately, selected series will now be available in 1080p high-definition for your streaming pleasure.

Some of you favorite titles as NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, BLEACH, NISEMONOGATARI, HUNTER X HUNTER, THE PRINCE OF TENNIS II and over twenty other simulcasts, streaming in glorious 1080p immediately after Japan TV! In addition, our simulcast J-Drama titles such as SECRET AGENT ERIKA, MOONCAKE, and DEKA KUROKAWA SUZUKI look absolutely amazing in 1080p!

Source: Crunchyroll forums

Popular Internet Forum Reddit Plans Blackout to Protest SOPA January 18; Others to Follow-Including Us (Updated)

sopa-logo2It’s official. Reddit has announced on January 18th it will shut down the massive, international message board and news aggregator service. Reddit it will replace it’s site with a message informing visitors about how proposed Internet censorship legislation like SOPA or PIPA could be used to shut down sites across the Internet without due process. Reddit will be replaced for the day with links to information about SOPA and a live stream of that day’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing to “examine the potential impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on American cyber-security, jobs and the Internet community.”

The blackout is scheduled for January 18th, 2012, from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC). Blog.Reddit explains:

“Congress will likely pass the Protect IP Act (in the Senate) or the Stop Online Piracy Act (in the House), and then the President will probably sign it into law. There are powerful forces trying to censor the Internet, and a few months ago many people thought this legislation would surely pass. However, there’s a new hope that we can defeat this dangerous legislation.”

How big is Reddit? Alexa, a web information company that measures Internet traffic and ranks sites accordingly, ranks Reddit as #115 globally. At the time of this writing, Bank of America has an Alexa rank of #117, Wal-Mart is at #123, Best Buy is #154, and Fox News weighs in at #161. Alex monitors traffic for the top 10 million web sites.

Hacktivist group Anonymous has Tweeted their support and will follow suit. Cheezburger, Inc. (the company behind Lolcats, the FAIL blog, and The Daily What, among others) announced it will join operation #SOPAblackout as well. Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales has personally said he was “all in favor” of the blackout, and that “it would be great if [Wikipedia] could act quickly to coordinate with Reddit.” The Wikipedia Foundation is still debating this issue at the time of this writing. Update: Wikipedia will join the blackout.

Update: Game developers Mojang (Minecraft), Red 5 (Firefall), and gaming news site Destructiod have decided to to join the internet blackout as well.

GrowingUpOtaku.com will be joining this protest. While nowhere near as large as the major players, our voice will be heard. We believe it is our duty as good netizens to speak out in opposition to this sort of legislation that will, in the words of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, “put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.”

This site will be prefaced with a black screen containing a link to contact your representatives. The front page will be reduced to a single post re-affirming GUO’s stance on this issue. Furthermore, no updates will be posted on either our Twitter or Facebook accounts for the date of January 18.

Thank you for your attention in this matter,

  • Michael Krutzler (Founder, Editor, Writer)
  • Elizabeth Krutzler (Consultant, Proofreader)
  • The Great One (Feature Columnist, Writer)
  • Bob Collings (Writer)

CEO to Run Paris Marathon Cosplaying Naruto

naruto ceoNamco Bandai has announced that shipments of the Naruto series of video games has just passed the 10 million mark worldwide. The first title in the gaming series based off of the hit anime originally launched in 2003 and the series is still going strong today.

Developer CyberConnect2 couldn’t be happier. Designers of the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja series, CyberConnect2 is a huge part of this monumental achievement. To celebrate the staff of CyberConnect2 will be traveling to Paris, France in order to run the full 26 mile Paris Marathon. Bringing the whimsy, company CEO Hiroshi Matsuyama will be running the marathon dressed as third jinchūriki of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox himself.

Think this guy is a blast to work for? Believe it!

Cube 3D Printer: Download and Print Your Own Plastic Stuff for $1299

CNet took a look at the latest player in the 3D printer market. The Cube 3D printer from Cubify features a single extruder with a 5.5”x5.5” build area for a very reasonable $1299. Pre-orders will be opening soon with a scheduled release date of Q1 2012. Check out Cubify for more information.

How to Protect Kids Online by Blocking Web Sites for Free

Is your little tyke not so little anymore? Starting to feel the need to enforce a little Chinese class protection as they go bounding around the ‘Net? We hear ya, and we’ve got your back. After all, it is your responsibility as a parent. Filtering undesirable content at home means the government won’t feel the need to do it for all of us. Good for you, taking responsibility and all that! If you could hear what Little Timmy calls people on Xbox Live, you’d plotz! Who knows what he’s gonna get into next.

site blocked

The best solution to block all unwanted traffic is to filter your home’s network at the router level. This will stop unwanted access from all devices through your network.. PC, iPod, Nintendo DS, Xbox, this works on all of it. The only exception would be a cellphone using a cellular connection.

OpenDNS FamilyShield is a free service that can do exactly that. As an added bonus, FamilyShield will also block known phishing and malware sites.

If you are up to putting in a (very) little extra effort, you can go with the OpenDNS Home service (also free!). OpenDNS Home will allow you to add specific sites you your block list, such as Facebook.

To get started go the OpenDNS Parental Control Solutions website and sign up. You will want to use the “Router” option for full protection on your home’s network. Pick your router from the list and follow their clear, concise instructions.

Kudos for doing the right thing in taking responsibility for those under your care and not letting a few abbreviations or technobabble scare you!

Asus Announces Eee Pad Memo: A 7" Quad-Core Tegra 3 Android 4.0 Tablet for $249

Time to get that Kindle Fire off my wish list!

"Asus CEO Shen, whom Huang credited with creating the modern motherboard market as well as the netbook and transformable tablet form factors, then pulled out an early sample of what Asus is calling the EeePad Memo. The 7 inch, 16:9 widescreen tablet includes a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, the "best" tablet camera, and will ship with Android 4.0.
The price? "We want to achieve magic price—$249!" Shen said. A firm ship date wasn't announced, but the tablet should be available in the first half of 2012."

Sporting the same chipset of Asus' Transformer Prime, the newest version of Android, and a more handheld friendly format for half the price? Sign me up!

Source: Ars Technica

Update: Cnet has a list of specs and a hands on video (sorry, not embedable)

“the 370T will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich and houses a quad-core Tegra 3. No word yet on the actual speed of the processor, though. The previously announced stylus peripheral has been dropped for the device.

The 370T comes with 1GB of RAM and at least 16GB of storage. It also sports a 1,280x800-pixel IPS screen that delivered smoothly scrolling menus. Holding it in my hands, the tablet felt and looked very similar, dimensionally, to the Acer Iconia Tab A100. The 370T even hits the typical-for-a-7-inch-tablet weight of 0.88 pound, right on the nose.”

The EeePad MeMo also sports a rear-facing, 8MP camera, mini-USB, mini-HDMI port with 1080p output capabilities, and a micro SD card slot.

The Mrs. and I have been gabbing about this all night! We are so very “in” on  this one!

Video: Intel Fakes Ivy Bridge Demo at CES

Whoopsie! Looks like Mooley Eden, general manager of Intel’s PC group, should’ve spent more time rehearsing.

At Intel’s CES 2012 press conference, the chip manufacturing giant put on a supposed demonstration of the integrated graphical prowess of its next generation of CPU. Apparently a room full of tech reporters weren’t supposed to notice the VLC media player control panel that pops up at the beginning of the obviously pre-recorded video or the lack of connection between Eden’s controls and the on-screen action. The assembled reporters, able to contain themselves no more, openly chuckle when Eden steps away from the controls and the car continues driving itself.

Growing Up Otaku Game of the Year 2011: Xenoblade Chronicles

GOTY trophyIt was a heck of a year for gamers! 2011 brought an embarrassment of riches to those who indulge in the interactive digital arts. Dead Space 2 proved that it does Resident Evil better than Resident Evil. Minecraft (our GotY from last year) finally reached version 1.0. The Witcher 2 redefined state-of-the-art graphics. Saints Row 3 put the fun back into GTA. The horribly broken economy of Apple’s iTunes App Store shows us how we’ll never have to be bored again. Wasteland Empires proved that Facebook gaming can be fun. Deus Ex not only redeemed the franchise, but brought the thought back to the traditionally vapid FPS landscape. Speaking of FPSs, Serious Sam 3 not only made old school new again, but proved that the classic style of shooter requires much more skill and tactical awareness than anything created in the post-Xbox era. Even free titles like Rebuild 2 or Forever Dive were unforgettable. And then there was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Skyrim taught us… well, everything.

Yet through it all, there was one title that topped them all. Through all the sequels; All of the also-rans; All the clones and homages and remakes; Only one game made me think, “Hey, someone actually thought about this. Someone bothered to see what worked and what didn’t before releasing it. Someone cared about the craft of gamemaking.” And, shockingly, it is was hardcore Wii title.

It is, with no small amount of surprise on my own part, my decision to name Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii Growing Up Otaku’s Game of the Year for 2011. Read on for some insight as to why this beautifully crafted JRPG that no one will play is the game of 2011.

MakerBot Unveils Next Generation 3D Printer: The MakerBot Replicator

New from MakerBot, one of the most well known suppliers of mass market 3D printers, comes their latest model: The MakerBot Replicator.

Featuring a larger build area than the original MakerBot Thing-O-Matic and optional dual extruder head, the new Replicator is creating plastic stuff the size of a loaf of bread in two colors. The Replicator ships fully assembled and is currently available for pre-order direct from MakerBot. Single extruder machines are $1,749 while the dual extruder is $1,999 USD.

Review: Hidden Chronicles (Facebook) Seek and Find Objects from the Makers of FarmVille

zynga hidden chroniclesZynga, the house that FarmVille built, has really felt like a one trick pony of late. It seems like every time we turned around last year there was some new clone of their original mega-hit with a new coat of paint on it. Sure, the developer made some attempts at minor diversification, such as the almost interesting Empires & Allies or the so-atrocious-I-wouldn’t-wish-it-on-the-rabid-drug-crazed-child-molester-stabbing-me-in-the-eye Adventure World (starring Indiana Jones!), but for the most part Zynga has been content to gussy up FarmVille and release it time and time again. Even the sequel to one of the few titles in the Facebook developer’s catalog that dared to be different, Mafia Wars, received a very FarmVille makeover last October.

Now, in the early days of a brave new year, we finally get a game out of Zynga that isn’t a cut from their same ol’, increasingly threadbare cloth. Hidden Chronicles is, as you might have guessed from the name, a hidden object game. Does this brave new endeavor bear fruit or wither on the vine?

Beware Space Spying Aliens Hawking Crashing Satellites | Out of This World Weekly

Stephen Hawking, a respected physicist and known as one of the smartest men on Earth, said this week that we must colonize space or risk disaster within 1000 years. He was warning that encounters with intelligent aliens could seriously endanger all humans. This seems to suggest that the only good aliens are dumb or altruistic aliens.

The good news is that SETI has scanned 86 likely planetary candidates found by the Kepler space telescope and has found no evidence of Alien life. They did find convincing signals but these all turned out to be false positives caused by Earth based interference. This is good news because they know that their equipment is finding the types of signals that are generated by intelligent life.

Some signals in space denied as intelligent life might have come from the X-37B space plane, which was accused of spying on the Chinese space station due to similarities in orbital latitudes. This was later refuted by several scientists, saying that while they shared a similar orbit they passed each other twice a day at a huge speed difference. The X-37B came back to Earth after a 10-month mission and was the 2nd successful launch of this type of space plane.

Speaking of things coming back to Earth, the failing Russian Phobos-Grunt space probe may be finally coming to a place near you. The U.S. has been helping Russia pinpoint exactly when and where it might take it’s 8.3 tons of extremely toxic hydrazine rocket fuel on a return trip to Earth. Russia has settled on Jan 15th as a re-entry date but America seems to think that it could be anywhere from Jan 14th to Jan 17th It is thought that it could enter the atmosphere anywhere from 51.4 North to South latitude, basically from the tip of South America in the South to London in the North – which is very close to where Stephen Hawking lives.

Most Major News Networks Neglecting SOPA Coverage. And You Should Too!

Shenzhen internet policeAs SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, continues to wind its way through the greasy wheels of Washington, most of those we trust to bring us fair and balanced reporting have conveniently ignored this topic.

According to a report at MediaMatters.org, “most major television news outlets -- MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and NBC -- have ignored the bill during their evening broadcasts. One network, CNN, devoted a single evening segment to it.”

And right they are! Don’t you realize that people in other countries may be watching a poorly encoded copy last week’s American football game RIGHT NOW? Do you have any idea how many low resolution scans of recipe cards are floating about on the ‘Net? Why, there may even be someone suffering though a blurry, Handycam recorded version of Cowboys versus Aliens while sitting uncomfortably at his computer desk at this very moment! These outrages must be stopped! If this continues… um… BAD STUFF happens! The only defense is to keep the people of a democracy in the dark while the U.S. government assigns itself (and Hollywood) the right to police the World Wide Web. In these trying times, the only option we have is to enact a policy that, as Google co-founder Sergey Brin explains, “would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.” The giving and sharing must be stopped or else BAD STUFF happens! BAD STUFF!!!

It also doesn’t hurt that nearly every major media firm is an active supporter of SOPA. Comcast/NBCUniversal owns MSNBC and NBC News. Viacom is CBS. News Corporation owns Fox News while Time Warner has CNN and Disney is, of course, ABC. But does that really matter? Aren’t there bigger issues at stake here?

Do you want your children to grow up in a world where the everyone knows and understands each other? Of course not. It is only through fear, mistrust, and blind faith in global media conglomerates that we can truly find happiness. Don’t look up what companies support SOPA. Don’t check out which legislators introduced SOPA. And, for the love of God, don’t cross reference the list of campaign contributors to legislators. Just lean back on your couch, rent Disney’s Beauty and The Beast on your Sony PlayStation, and know that Big Brother (and those who sponsor him) has this issue well in hand.

For the children.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show – Live! to Tour U.K. Don’t Panic!

hitchhiker guide galaxy liveThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a much beloved work amongst both the sci-fi and comedy lovers of the world. The absurd, Monty Python-esque intergalactic adventures of Arthur Dent and friends as they dodge one bypass construction after another spawned dozens of memes long before the term memes existed. But was this book a book? The answer is no. Rather, not yet. Because it will be. At the moment, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a radio show. Because it is 1978. Did I mention that part? I’m pretty sure I did.

The original version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was actually a radio mini-series broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 1978. Revolutionary for it’s time, H2G2 was the first radio comedy program to be broadcast in stereo. Featuring innovative use of music and sound effects, it would go on to win a number of awards and was the only radio production ever nominated for a Hugo.

Now, in 2012, after book, television, and movie adaptations, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is returning to its roots. Sort of. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show-Live!, an on stage adaptation of the the original production, is going on tour across The United Kingdom. Featuring the original radio and television cast (including the unforgettable performance of Stephen Moore as Marvin The Paranoid Android), H2G2-Live! begins showing June 8th in Glasgow’s Royal Theatre. 21 other show locations across England have been revealed with more to come.

Check out the whole list of dates at the official site. The original radio series is still available via Amazon in a 14(!) disk set.

Predicting 2012: Gaming

Gypsy4To celebrate the first week of this new year we sacrificed an unopened Gundam model upon an altar of red ringed Xboxes and gaze into the future of the year ahead.

All this week, we’ll be featuring five predictions from each of the worlds of Internet, Anime, Technology, and Gaming that will shape the year ahead. Or will they? To lend some perspective, I’ve asked The Mrs, contributing columnist The Great One, and Steve Santy's Magic 8-Ball to weigh in on each topic.


Today we predict both console births and deaths for 2012.

New Xbox shown but not released – It is waaaay past due. Microsoft unveils the NextBox at, most likely, E3 slated for a holiday 2013 release.

  • The Mrs. Says: Yes
  • The Great One: No, Microsoft holds out to release 10 more upgrades for the 360
  • Magic 8-Ball Says: Outlook not so good 

    Sony’s only new gaming platform for the year is Vita. It flops – Double whammy! PS Vita, despite good initial sales, is pronounced a flop by September. Sony will not show any other new gaming system in 2012.

  • The Mrs. Says: Yes
  • The Great One: That’s right. 2014 for a new PlayStation 4.
  • Magic 8-Ball Says: Ask again later  

    The Wii-U released and becomes a holiday hit – The Wii-U is launched for the 2012 holiday shopping season worldwide and, despite being widely criticized by the gaming media, becomes a sold out hit.

  • The Mrs. Says: Yes, folks are still talking about Wii Fit
  • The Great One: Agree
  • Magic 8-Ball Says: Definitely

    Dedicated handheld gaming systems universally pronounced dead – The media and the public unanimously agree that smartphone gaming is “good enough” and the era of $200 devices utilizing $40 software for mobile gaming comes to an end.

  • The Mrs. Says: Yes
  • The Great One: No, Nintendo will hang on for a couple more years.
  • Magic 8-Ball Says: My sources say no

    2012’s Call of Duty title is not the best selling game of the year – The Call of Duty franchise juggernaut finally looses steam and, for the first time in several years, does not close 2012 as the top grossing game title.

  • The Mrs. Says: Yes, I hope
  • The Great One: Yeah, that’s right.
  • Magic 8-Ball Says: Outlook not so good