Status of the Helvetica Venture

Posted by | April 14, 2009

For all of my wonderful readers, I have received a couple messages asking why I haven’t updated The Helvetica Venture in a while and the reason is that I’d gotten sick and I didn’t know that I had that much readership. However… As multiple e-mails in my box have informed me. People do wonder where it went!

I would like to inform people that I do have more Venture and once May rolls around I will get back into updating it once a week like it used to be.

If you like it, let the blog owners know! They are the ones who host me here, and if they hear that it’s bringing traffic they’ll be more likely to be interested in having me post it here. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to know that I have readers who care.

Thanks guys! We love you!

Don’t worry, there’s more.

Dave Arneson is Dead at 61

Posted by | April 10, 2009

On the night of April 7th, 2009, Dave Arneson died quietly after a bout with cancer. He was 61.

Those out there who might recognize the name, you know what this means already. Most of you fresh spawn reading this don’t know who Dave Arneson is, or what he did. This post is for you.

Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax together created a set of miniature gaming rules called Chainmail, which evolved into a little something known as Dungeons & Dragons. This created the fantasy gaming hobby, which turned into fantasy video games, which morphed into your current desperate desire to ding 80 and raid Naxx for phat lewt. No Dave, no World of Warcraft. No Warhammer Online, no Final Fantasy, no modern miniature gaming scene, no RPG scene, no nothing. A darker and dryer world, with only historical wargames to quiver alone …

Warhammer Online, Tomb Kings, and Many Questions

Posted by | April 8, 2009

Mythic’s successful MMORPG slaughterfest Warhammer Online is ready to release its next content expansion, titled Beyond the Sands. That means you’ll get to meet the Tomb Kings, ancient undead with that spicy egyptian flavour. There will be realm stuff, dungeon stuff, and even the occasional fetch quest for those who aren’t max level! I’m sure they’ll appreciate it after being kicked out of the PvP game by their high-level betters.

The expansion does leave many questions to be answered, though, the first in my mind being when can I get behind the controls of a jackal-skulled skeleton warrior? Sadly, the answer to that is not in the latest Grab Bag of Q&A offered by Mythic about the expansion. What you will find, though, is talk about the dungeons, loot, more loot talk, and something about vanity pets. Heh.

You can read the whole …

Six Days In Fallujah and I Forgot to Save Before the Cutscene

Posted by | April 7, 2009

Video game maker Konami has recently announced their intention to make a game of the Iraq conflict, entitled Six Days In Fallujah. The game, developed by a studio called Atomic Games, will be based on video and personal accounts from over two dozen soldiers. The idea is to give players a true sense of the realism and the horrors of war. Then again, Konami is the company that brought us the Contra series, you know, where you fight an invading alien army by yourself and destroy a spaceship by jumping between the missiles it’s firing.

Atomic Games claims the goal is to present an insight into a historical situation the way only video games can, and I do agree, video games have a great power to teach, inspire, and immerse people in experiences they’d never otherwise know. But somehow, I get the feeling that rocket-jumping …

Nintendo DSi Captures Strong Initial Sales, Prints Money

Posted by | April 6, 2009

The latest generation of the endlessly upgraded Nintendo DS handheld has come to pass with the release of the DSi in North America on April 5th. Sales of the new unit, priced above the regular, and now utterly dull, DS model, have shown that gamers are easily tempted by shiny objects. To be fair, the DSi does offer some impressive features over its lesser brother, such as larger screens and a pair of digital cameras to further empower the upskirt photo industry. On the other hand, the one that isn’t casually held under the seats on the subway, the DSi doesn’t accept Gameboy Advanced games, which is a damn shame since that’s where all the best Pokemon lives.

Used retailer and necessary evil, Gamestop, has reported that DSi preorders are coming in at double the rate of those for the launch of the now useless and …

Quebec Forbids English-Only Video Games in Favour of French Language

Posted by | April 3, 2009

Which only makes sense, because game developers are clamoring to translate their virtual worlds to French. The Toronto Star reports that a recent law passed in Quebec forbids the sale of English-only games if a French translation exists. This has caused a certain amount of excitement among retailers, similar to that felt by the dinosaurs right before the meteorite hit.

“I’m afraid it’s going to cost me my business,” said game store owner Ronnie Rondeau, as quoted by the Star. In a surprising turn of events, gamers just don’t want to wait the months, or years, it might take for a translation of the latest games to appear, if one ever does. Given that retailers already have to compete with online merchants who can carry a bigger selection and offer deep discounts, this law represents a butcher knife to the tender belly of traditional game …

Action Gaming Improves Eyesight, Destroys Faith in Humanity

Posted by | April 2, 2009

Recent studies from the University of Rochester and Tel Aviv University have shown that playing action games like Unreal Tournament and Call of Duty improves the eyesight of players. The upgrades come in the form of something called “contrast perception,” or the ability to distinguish between similar colours and shades of colour. Casual games that didn’t grab their players by the eyeballs and suck them into a whirling maelstrom of fast action, say, The Sims, had no effect on vision.

The improvements remain for up to two years after training. The damage done by contact with Xbox Live users may well be permanent.

You can check out the detailed report in the March 29th issue of Nature, right over here.