Posts by Chris Morris

  • On heels of scandal, eSports league will introduce drug testing

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 8 days ago

    The Electronic Sports League (ESL) has announced it will begin policing substances that could unfairly improve a competitor's performance.

    "The growing visibility and popularity of eSports, as well as increasing prize pools, make it not only more tempting for teams and players to break the rules, but also more damaging to our sport as a whole when they do," the group said in a statement. "ESL has an ongoing commitment to safeguarding the integrity of our competitions and providing a fair playground for professional players. With this in mind, today we’re announcing further steps our organization is taking, to determine and enforce guidelines and rules the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) at ESL events."

    The first of those steps will be randomized skin tests at the group's One Cologne event next month. Players will be checked for banned substances, though the ESL did not specifically name which drugs are prohibited.

    Adderall is normally used to treat Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and can sharpen the focus of users, a useful skill in the fast-moving world of eSports.

  • Pro gamer celebrates too early, loses match

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 10 days ago

    Over-the-top celebrations are perfectly fine when you've won a big game. Just make sure you've actually won first.

    That's a lesson one pro gamer learned during the Evolution Championship Series (more commonly referred to as EVO) this past weekend when he prematurely took a victory lap.

    A player named Woshige was in the semi-finals in a tough Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN battle against a fellow pro named Ogawa. After a back and forth fight, Woshige scored a knockout and began strutting around the stage with his arms raised.

    The problem? The game wasn't over. He still needed another victory to seal it.

    He realized that a few seconds too late, rushing back over to grab the controller as Ogawa effortless pounded his opponent to win the semifinal. As Ogawa made his own victory lap, Woshige sat slumped in his chair with his head down, humiliated but chuckling at his own mistake.

    Ogawa went on to win the tournament. Woshige came in third.

  • 10 of the biggest duds in video game history

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 17 days ago

    We saw plenty of great looking games at the recent E3 2015 conference. And while some of those will indeed live up to expectations, every single one is just a few bad decisions away from disaster.

    All too often, we convince ourselves that a game is going to be awesome based on fancy tech demos, early impressions, or the developer's pedigree…only to watch in horror as 50 things go wrong and it turns out to be a mess. Here's a look at 10 of the biggest busts in gaming history.

    Duke Nukem Forever (2011)

    The one, the only. Long considered vaporware, this ill-fated shooter actually got released. It probably shouldn’t have.

    First announced in 1997, Duke Nukem Forever was originally planned for a 1998 release. Ten years later, gamers still didn’t have anything to play, and when developer 3D Realms downsized in 2009, the game was seemingly cancelled. But where there’s a square-jawed, butt-kicking icon, there’s a way. Gearbox Software swooped in and resurrected Duke Nukem Forever a year later, and it finally hit shelves in 2011.

    Daikatana (2000)

    E.T. (1982)

    Advent Rising (2005)

  • Satoru Iwata: A remembrance

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 18 days ago

    Like many gamers, I was shocked to hear Sunday night's news about the sudden, unexpected passing of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. Just as Nintendo isn't your typical video game company, Satoru Iwata wasn't your typical video game executive.

    It would be inaccurate to say Iwata and I were friends. We never discussed our families, we never met in non-professional circumstances, and we were often forced to do the pas de deux of a reporter and executive who have different goals in the conversation. But our relationship, which evolved over the course of many annual get-togethers at the E3 video game conference from 2005 to 2013, was definitely friendly.

    What struck me most about Iwata was his enthusiasm for gaming and the benefits it could offer. That kind of optimism is hard to maintain when you're in a leadership role, juggling the constant demand from shareholders to improve performance and the many moving parts of a massive, multi-national company.

    I'm going to miss him a lot.

  • Nintendo: A new 'Mario' movie isn’t out of the question

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 23 days ago

    That's a big reversal, given the company's last non- Pokemon big-screen effort — the disastrous 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie — was considered a failure by pretty much everyone involved (especially star Bob Hoskins).

    But design legend and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto is ready to explore more film roles for the portly plumber.

    "As we look more broadly at what is Nintendo's role as an entertainment company, we're starting to think more and more about how movies can fit in with that. We'll potentially be looking at things like movies in the future," Miyamoto told Yahoo Games in a recent meeting at the E3 conference in Los Angeles.

    Should films enter the picture, Nintendo's Software Planning & Development Division, which Miyamoto runs with Shinya Takahashi, will oversee those.

    "Under my team is a group responsible for Mario's representation in artwork and how we use the character - and that team would be very involved with any thing done with the Mario character [or other characters] in a movie setting," says Takahashi.

  • 'Donkey Kong' scoring record falls once again

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    If you're looking to become a world champion in Donkey Kong , your time is running out.

    The most famous high score in gaming was broken once again, and according to Donkey Kong authorities (yes, there are such things), there isn’t much room left to top the score.

    Reigning Kong champ Robbie Lakeman topped his own high score by racking up a final tally of 1,158,400late last week. That's an improvement of 13,600 points from his previous best, which he posted three months after first becoming the record holder in September of 2014.

    The three-peat by the 28-year-old Phoenix resident is impressive, but regularly besting your own score seems to be a theme among Donkey Kong champions. Previous recordholder Hank Chien managed to stay atop the heap for three years by besting himself time and again.

    Chien has since seemingly stepped away from competitive Donkey Kong play, but Lakeman's still being chased by several up and comers. The question is, how much scoring room is left before the game hits its absolute ceiling?

  • Sony CEO: Morpheus isn't the final name

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Despite widespread assumptions that the headset will simply be called Morpheus when it's released in the first half of 2016, Andrew House, president and global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, confirmed during a talk with Yahoo at last week's E3 that Morpheus is still just a code name and is not what the product will be called when it hits store shelves.

    "Traditionally, the way that we do things is when we finalize the product announcement and pricing and date, that's probably the same time we'll talk about the name," said House.

    Pricing, of course, is the biggest mystery around VR. Everyone's bracing for a fairly big financial hit for the PC-centric Oculus Rift, since it will likely require a hardware upgrade for optimal performance. But when it comes to Morpheus, there really isn't any sort of consensus about what to expect.

    House, not surprisingly, wouldn't offer any big hints, but he did say Sony is very aware of price sensitivity, just as it was during the launch of the PS4.

    (Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, for what it's worth, says he believes people will pay $300 or $400 for a headset.)

  • 'Mario' creator doesn't think VR is a good fit for Nintendo

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Game design legend Shigeru Miyamoto, speaking with Yahoo Games at last week's E3 conference, said that while the technology behind VR is certainly interesting, he hasn't seen anything done with it so far that fits with the style of play he — and Nintendo — prefers.

    "The current types of virtual reality aren't really a good fit for Nintendo's philosophy of trying to create entertainment that people can play together in the living room," said Miyamoto. "We're constantly looking at different technology and experimenting with different elements of it, but we're not feeling virtual reality is currently in a place where it's ready to be released - as a product that fits with our philosophy of fitting in the living room."

    In true Miyamoto style, though, he doesn't dismiss the tech altogether. In fact, the creator of franchises like Mario Bros. , Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda 's cryptic follow-up comments are sure to get conspiracy theorists speculating about whether the company has its own version of VR in the works.

    Nintendo declined to comment when asked it it's doing anything with VR.

  • The weirdest things I saw at E3

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    E3 is all about upcoming games, and while most of games at this year's show were big, play-it-safe sequels, there were plenty of oddities around the Los Angeles Convention Center.

    The trick to finding the strangeness at E3 is to explore the edges of the show. That’s where you’ll find people walking on treadmills wearing a VR headset or a wielding a plastic gun (called the PP Gun – really) designed to make mobile shooter games more immersive. You’ll also find them in the lots off the show floor (where Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star – the second game in what can only be described as a "pigeon romance simulator" – is on display).

    Look hard enough, though, and you’ll find the truly bizarre.

    In Tune This indie game has an admirable purpose. Its creator says it’s about “navigating consent” and encouraging people “to reconsider their interactions with others while getting to know a partner.” What it looks like to the casual observer is a hugging game – or one where you put your hands on another person’s head.

    The Kitchen

    Butt Sniffing Pugs

    Wattam

  • Gamers bought 4 million copies of ‘The Witcher 3’ in two weeks

    Chris Morris at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    CD Projekt RED's highly-acclaimed open-world role playing game sold 4 million copies in the two weeks following its May 19th launch. That's an astonishing number for any game, but an especially impressive achievement for a relatively small studio. It also makes The Witcher 3 one of the best-selling games of 2015 to date.

    "Four million RPG fans spending their hard-earned money on our game is a sign that we did something right, and you can be sure that we’ll harness all that positive energy and make the upcoming expansions worthy," said Marcin Iwinski, co-founder of the developer in an open leter to the game's community.

    The game, which we called "The Lord of the Rings by way of A Game of Thrones," is insanely addictive and offers one of the deepest RPG experiences in years.

    The game makers also opted against charging for downloadable content. CD Projekt RED plans to release 16 add-ons to The Witcher 3 , six of which are already out.