Today in Gaming News: April 3, 2008

The news never stops. While there are a number of worthy and edifying stories out there, instead we offer you the items that had us laughing, crying or laughing-while-crying — which is ours and Olympia Dukkakis’ favorite emotion, I hear:

  • When will authors learn? Obviously Giles Whittell didn’t know his recent gamer history when he opinied in a Times of London column that playing video games is a waste of time and likened it to teenage pregnancy or heroin. No sooner had the initial screams of indignation started up did a host of gaming enthusiasts hit’s site and review-bombed Whittell’s book, entitled Central Asia. First, I have to wonder why some expert on central Asia decided to slam the gaming industry. Second, if he’s such a gaming expert, how did he not know what happened to Cooper Lawrence when she similarly opened her big, fat, uninformed yapper. In our opinion, there’s nothing wrong with questioning the health and impact of gaming culture, but to engage in hyperbole and fear-mongering never does any good — especially when your underlying goal is to sell a book. On the plus side, it seems we have a new verb in the gamers’ dictionary: To be “Coopered.”
  • Highly anticipated title Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, is set to hit stores September 16. As one of the most anticipated titles in the Star Wars game franchise, I certainly hope it drops on time. This is one game we’re looking forward to — and not just because we get serious discounts on Star Wars games.
  • In a classic case of Now You See It, Now You Don’t, IGN released a story that Pandemic was “for sure” working on a Batman game — probably one that ties into the next film, Dark Knight, set to hit theatres in July. As soon as NeoGAF forum members noted the news: Poof — the story was pulled. Seems someone was talking a bit out of turn. Either way, we’re pretty happy that, if you’re going to have a game that ties in to a movie (usually never a good sign) at least you have a decent publisher working on it.
  • Sure, we’ve all read stories of gamers lameting the bricking of XBox 360s due to RROD. However, in a recent interview with UK’s Guardian newspaper, Microsoft’s European chief Neil Thompson related his own RROD story and is extremely candid about the mistakes the company made in development of the 360. Most curiously, Thompson — a man one might think would be in the know about the issue — intimates that even Microsoft isn’t really sure why the console tends to seize up and die on a fairly regular basis. You’d think they built the thing, they should know why it has such an alarmingly high failure rate. But that little lime-green console appears to be confounding even its own designers. As long as it doesn’t start hunting Sara Connor, right?
  • Now, as you know, we’re not really sports gamers, so this story doesn’t really get our knickers in a bunch, but word comes down from Electronic Arts that there will be no Madden 09 for the PC . I’m not really clear on how many people actually play Madden on the PC, but I guess there’s enough of you that it’s big news. Sorry.
  • From the Sucks To Be You, America department: Maxim magazine has analyzed currencies in a host of games to determine their comparative value. Turns out, seven games’ units of “currency” (a loose term, as Maxim considers Bioshock’s “adam” a currency) are worth more than the US dollar — including Zelda’s rupee, GTA’s and SimCity’s dollar, and Sonic’s gold ring. In other news, the Carlyle Group today divested of dollars and coverted to Super Mario coin.
  • Are you regularly confronted by angry neighbors about your incessant banging on your Rock Band drum kit? Well, grab your knitting needles and make yourself a set of handy drum pad covers. It’s what all grandmas will be making this holiday season. Beats those sweaters, huh?
  • The bad news keeps coming for Atari. If threatened delisting by the NASDAQ stock exchange wasn’t enough, today we learned from Eurogamer that Alone in the Dark, originally set for a May release, has been pushed until June 24 for the 360, PC, and PS2 (PS2?!?) in the US and June 20 in Europe. PS3 owners will have to wait longer, though how much longer remains to be seen. Atari says “sometime in 2008″ for Sony’s flagship console.
  • Penny Arcade’s seeming domination of the indy gamer mindset continues as it annouced today it will launch Greenhouse, a new site for distribution of independent games. First title available for purchase, or course, will be Penny Arcade’s much-anticipated title, Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.

And the beat goes on.

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