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    The Game Guy
    By Mark H. Walker

    Nobody Said Gaming is Pretty: Part Three

    Itís an ugly Internet. Can you believe that a year ago everything but my toilet was going on line? Now, the Internet looks like the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. My regular readers --bless the two of you-(we lost one), no doubt recall my game publisher/Internet lamentations in the last two issues of The Game Guy. This issue brings more dismal tidings.

    Gamepower, CMP mediaís gaming portal, closed its doors on the 31st of July. Now friends, this was no flash in the pan, light-on-the-budget site. Funded by CMP, Gamepower had quality writers, quality content (see a parallel there?), and paid damn well to boot. CMP decided to drop all non business-to-business ventures. Hence, Gamepower became a virtual hot potato, and no one was willing to don an oven mitt and stop its fall.

    Daily Radar, Incite, Gamecenter, Gamepower are all closed. Where will it end? Thatís a question journalists trade in hushed voices, their back against the wall, their wallets growing thinner.

    My guess is four.

    Four sites that is. By June of 2002 there will be four, high-traffic, professional game webzines left. No more, no less. Yeah, I have names in mind, but I wonít spew them. Of course their will be plenty of "for the love of the game" type sites, and maybe a pair of news portals, but only four full-featured, professionally run, game sites. Letís hope Iím wrong.

    Life Without Fear

    You ever get the feeling that everything that we do is somehow bad for us or our children?

    This just in from Avault... Mark Bender, the British Davis Cup tennis team physiotherapist, states that the repeated movements associated with console and PC gaming can cause painful and debilitating repetitive strain injuries.

    Also in... Dr. Kimberly M. Thompson, from the Harvard School of Public Health, claims that the rating system used for video games in the US does not fully account for violent content. She says that the rating system deems some games, which are chock full of murder and mayhem, suitable for a general audience.

    Letís be clear. The point is not whether 22,000 mouse clicks a day can injure, or whether the ESRB failed to classify Spyroís bombardier flaming as violence, but rather the pervading societal feeling of fear these news tidbits personify. We fear that too much gaming will hurt us; our kids will grow up to be mass murderers, schools are unsafe, killers lurk in every park, fat is bad for you, carbs are bad for you, yadda, yadda, so on and so forth. And so, society wallows in fear, counting every calorie, diligently studying self-defense techniques, and worrying. Unfortunately, such an existence lacks. It lacks grins, lacks laughs, and lacks life. Live life without fear; have fun.

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled game column.

    Tight Takes

    Sudden Strike Forever. These folks SOooo get it. This Sudden Strike add on is as good as the original, but even more so. The entire concept of beautiful European towns, table-top miniature-real tanks, and fast paced, yet semi-realistic, battles is exceedingly clever. Forever adds desert terrain, autumn and winter landscapes. Also included are four short campaigns, seven stand-alone missions, and 30 new units, such as the Americanís M-18 Hellcat tank destroyer. Tanks can now back up, which keeps their thick frontal armor facing the enemy. Generals can use binoculars to spot enemy units, and officers give an experience bonus to nearby troops. Please folks, how about a modern day version?

    © Mark H. Walker, LLC 2001 Mark H. Walker is a veteran interactive entertainment journalist who has written over 40 books including his recently released Video Games Almanac and The Parentís Guide to PlayStation Games.
     



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