Monday, July 25, 2011


The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) earlier today announced that it filed a motion to the U.S. Supreme Court for reimbursement of $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees from the State of California.

The motion follows the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of ESA in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association/Entertainment Software Association. On June 27, 2011, the Court ruled that a 2005 California law regulating the distribution of computer and video games was unconstitutional, and violated protected expression, upholding the decisions of both lower courts. The decision was a landmark victory for the First Amendment rights of video game creators, parents, and consumers.

“We look forward to moving forward and working together to raise awareness about the valuable tools and information available to parents,” said Michael D. Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “From the start of this misguided legislation, then-Governor Schwarzenegger and specific California legislators knew that their efforts to censor and restrict expression were, as court after court ruled, unconstitutional and thus a waste of taxpayers’ money, government time, and state resources.”

In the motion to recover its attorneys’ fees, ESA argued that “California persisted in defending a law that Plaintiffs warned the Legislature was unconstitutional before it was passed; that was previously found to be unconstitutional by the district court and a unanimous panel of the Ninth Circuit; and that is similar to at least eight other laws invalidated as unconstitutional prior to the time that California sought certiorari in this case.”

Gallagher stated that the video game industry still welcomes the opportunity to work with legislators in raising awareness about the Entertainment Rating Software Board (ESRB) video game rating system and other tools, like parental controls, that the industry voluntarily provides to parents. That information helps parents make informed choices about the entertainment for their families. The ESRB independently rates computer and video games and was lauded by the Federal Trade Commission as the gold standard of entertainment ratings systems.

The U.S. video game trade association also noted its commitment to partnering with retailers in enforcing the ESRB system.  In a recent study, the FTC found that the vast majority of children (about 87 percent) who tried to buy M-rated games were prevented by retailers from doing so — a figure higher than any other entertainment industry.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Killing Floor

Killing Floor is a cooperative, survival-horror shooter developed and published by Tripwire Interactive.  It runs on the heavily modified Unreal Engine 2.5, and is only playable on PC and Mac.

 It was released May 2009, and was one of the highest-selling games on Steam shortly after its release.  It is currently available on Steam's Summer Deal for $7.50.  This amazing deal comes complete with all the additional content (DLC) offered, including all the character costume packs for significantly reduced prices.

The basis of this game's appeal is in its simplicity.  You can't help but enjoy it, despite its miniscule redundancies and obvious imperfections.  Players find a server, team up, and commence through ten waves of increasingly difficult fights, culminating in a fight with the top specimen, the 'Patriarch'.

On the surface, Killing Floor appears to have much in common with Nazi-Zombies from the Call of Duty series.  The 'zombies' (specimens) can sniff you out - wherever you hide, and it's up to you and your teammates to formulate a survivable strategy.

Players earn money by defeating zombies and surviving waves.  Between each wave, a trader offers some assistance in the form of flamethrowers, shotguns, shields, grenades, and an assortment of automatic rifles.  Players are able to 'trade' their money for more advanced and practical weaponry, in order to even the odds.  Players can also trade equipment, in order to keep the teams' weaker links goal oriented and ready to assist.

Killing Floor has won several awards since its release.  Voodoo Extreme's Reader Choice Awards nominated the game 'Overall Best PC Game of 2009', 'Best PC Shooter of 2009', and 'Best PC Game Expansion of 2009'.

Steam's Summer Sale will not be going on much longer, so I urge game fanatics to take advantage of their exceptional deals.  With some games discounted as much as 80%, Steam is truly setting high standards for competition.  While consoles are breaking the bank and picking the pockets of their devoted customers, the Steam powerhouse is providing more fun at considerably less expense.