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News « Nitpixels

Archive for category News

Yo, where the heck is Nitpixels?

Judging by recent  comments left on the site, you’ve noticed the absence of Nitpixels lately. You miss us! Aww, how sweet! Is Nitpixels dead? No. Is Nitpixels on a break? Sort of, yeah! The Nitpixels crew, alongside a number of other individuals we work with out there on the internet, came together recently to start a fansite for The Old Republic called The Holocomm. If you enjoyed our Star Wars-related discussions on recent episodes of the Nitpixels Podcast, you should absolutely follow us over there — we’re podcasting together about all things The Old Republic. It’s the exact same crew of  Matthew Rossi, Mathew McCurley, and me, Alex Ziebart. Even if you don’t like Star Wars, check out an episode anyway. You know us, we tend to get … off-topic. You might enjoy it anyway.

Will Nitpixels return? Yeah, probably! Do I have an ETA? Unfortunately, no. Starting up brand new projects takes time, and we want to make sure we’re getting one podcast absolutely right before we start dividing our energy.

Thank you all for listening, and I hope you’ll all still be here when we get back.


Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association

The Supreme Court is expected to issue [update: has issued, see end of post] a ruling today on Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association). This is in reference to the law California tried to pass to outlaw the sale of “violent” video games to minors. Defining a game as violent, in this case, involves failing a modified Miller Test, normally used to determine if a work is obscene (a.k.a. pornographic).

Currently, video games enjoy the same level of industry-mandated categorization allowed other forms of mass media like film and television. It is not illegal, for instance, to sell a ticket to an R-rated movie to a minor. However, out of a respect for the MPAA rating system and a desire to avoid controversy, many theaters will voluntarily refuse to sell those tickets to minors. Similarly, retailers voluntarily follow the ESRB ratings system for video games and can refuse to sell an M-rated game to minors.

The important distinction here is the “voluntarily” part. The MPAA and ESRB are entities established by their respective industries that provide retailers, consumers, and parents a general guide to the content they are selling or purchasing. (The ESRB, in my opinion, does a much finer job of rating content than any of its analogues in other media, but that’s a topic for another time.) Should the Supreme Court decide in favor of California, following the new government-decided guidelines would be mandatory, not voluntary. The worst case scenario feared by publishers is that M-rated video games would be whisked off the shelf entirely at major retailers like Wal-Mart and GameStop, instead doomed to live its retail life hidden in the shadows of the curtained-off back rooms of specialty retailers next to the latest iterations of Debbie Does Dallas and Hustler videos.

The silver lining: there doesn’t seem to be much expectation that the Court will rule in favor of California in this case. The state’s arguments didn’t carry much weight in the lower courts, and the higher court didn’t seem too impressed during oral arguments. Should the court rule against the law, then nothing changes for us as an industry, aside from getting more validation and precedence defining us as a medium protected by free speech in the United States.

[edit: As I was typing this, the Court issued its opinion, 7-2 in favor of the EMA, Thomas and Breyer dissenting. It’s a strong decision that doesn’t leave much wiggle-room for future laws to try and sneak around the judgement. This is a Good Victory for our industry.]


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Breathing new life into Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is a franchise that I’ve grown up with. The first game in the series was released in 1996 when I was 10 years old. Unfortunately, as the years went on, the franchise went stagnant never improved upon itself. Those excellent adventure games we loved on the Playstation became old, diluted and mediocre at best. It, sadly, became a franchise where many of us were just waiting for it to die and go away so we could paint our memories of it with beautiful nostalgia, rather than constantly be bombarded with low quality followups to something we loved.

When the franchise was given over to Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: Underworld attempted to revive the franchise, but it wasn’t enough to inspire faith in the Tomb Raider name again. Regardless of who holds the IP, the fact is the franchise has become old and stagnant, and whatever story the series had became a convoluted mess. It’s a lot like the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. It started out great and there are still some gems here and there in the series, but the franchise has become such a beaten mess that nobody has much faith in it anymore — a new Sonic game elicits groans of exasperation (though, admittedly, not necessarily for the same reasons.)

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Direct2Drive Easter weekend sale

Today and tomorrow, Direct2Drive is holding an Easter blowout sale. With the promo code BUNNY, you get 25% off of all purchases more than $19.95. If you’ve never heard of Direct2Drive, it’s a digital distribution system for purchasing video games — it’s not a full platform like Steam is, but it’s a solid way to buy and download your games online.

Nitpixels also earns commission from all Direct2Drive purchases made through links on our site (like that one right there). If you want buy cheap games and support Nitpixels at the same time, there really isn’t a better opportunity than this sale. You help us pay the bills and you get a ridiculous 25% off your purchase. Win/Win.


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Follow Nitpixels on Twitter

You’ve read our blog posts and listened to our podcast, but if you want more Nitpixels, we have more Nitpixels — you can now follow Nitpixels on Twitter. We’ll be using it for everything you would expect from a Twitter account: conversations, questions, and linking capital letter Cool Gaming Things that we can’t turn into a full blog post.

If you don’t follow the Nitpixels authors on Twitter, you can do that, too. All of our Twitter accounts are linked in the sidebar on the right.


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