Currents Top Ten I Naked Women No Longer Welcome at E3, Still More than Welcome at My House I Video Games Come to the Classroom I Xbox 360 Still Not Making Progress in Japan I Nintendo Reaches New Milestone I Parents Play Games Too I Stock Ticker
Issue #34 Lost January 28, 2006

Front Page

Lost is the greatest show I've ever seen. That's it. I became interested in the show a few weeks ago, so I rented the season 1 DVDs and now I'm more hooked on that show than I have been on any thing else in my life. It's just so mind-bogglingly good. Okay, I'll force myself to stop there, otherwise we could all be here for a while. Just make sure you watch it. And in case you're wondering, I'm a Sawyer fan.

Now, back to the real world. I'm sad to announce that this issue of Currents will be my final issue. I've decided to resign from RPGamer and my columnizing duties, effective nearly immediately (I have to get this issue written first, don't I?). It has been an incredible ride, and I'm more proud of this column and what it has become than of anything else. I'll always be indebted to you faithful readers and fans of the column for helping to make it what it is. Thank you.

 Currents Top Ten

Alrighty, let's have ourselves another little glimpse at domestic console game sales, shall we? Unfortunately, as per usual, there are no RPGs breaking into the Top Ten this week. There are, however, for the first time since the console's launch, some new Xbox 360 games. Congrats to Microsoft for that.

I am surprised to see Madden 06 on the list for so long, and the same goes to San Andreas. In any event, kudos to those titles for their long-lasting popularity. As far as the rest of the list, Electronic Arts dominates once again. Their new college baseball game takes the top spot this week. Eidos' controversial 25 to Life comes in at number two.
Position Title Publisher Platform
1 MVP 06 NCAA Baseball EA Sports
2 25 to Life Eidos Interactive
3 MVP 06 NCAA Baseball EA Sports
4 25 to Life Eidos Interactive
5 Call of Duty 2 Activision
6 Madden NFL 06 EA Sports
7 Mega Man X Collection Capcom
8 Need for Speed Most Wanted Electronic Arts
9 Dead or Alive 4 Tecmo
10 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Rockstar Games

Source: GameSpot

 Naked Women No Longer Welcome at E3, Still More than Welcome at My House


Anyone who's been to E3 in the past can certainly attest to the vast amount of things to see on the show floor. Those who've been to E3 also know that games aren't the only thing I'm talking about. For years, scantily clad models, known as boothbabes, have become a staple of the world's larget video game convention. Each year, it seems that more and more publishers have been using sex to get lonely male (and some female) gamers to drift near their booths, play their games, and say many good things about them.

Unfortunately for them (and some of us), these publishers are going to have to seek out a new advertising technique for this year's E3. In case you haven't already guessed what it is I'm getting at, here's the exerpt from the E3 2006 Exhibitor's Handbook.

Material, including live models, conduct that is sexually explicit and/or sexually provocative, including but not limited to nudity, partial nudity and bathing suit bottoms, are prohibited on the Show floor, all common areas, and at any access points to the Show. ESA, in its sole discretion, will determine whether material is acceptable.

Now, this rule has always been in the handbook. The only difference this time around is that violators will be fined as much as $5,000. Furthermore, the women in the questionable attire will have to change clothes immediately into something more appropriate. If the women violating the rule do not comply, they will not be allowed to return to the show floor.

This new fine presents another question, however. Will game publishers showing off games with sexually explicit material also be subject to the fines? Will E3 really go as far as to fine games like The Sims titles because of their shower scenes? I think it's more likely that we'll see a revision of the handbook clarifying what it's trying to say: no more booth babes -- at least not naked ones.

Source: Joystiq

 Video Games Come to the Classroom

Ever been sitting in class, completely lost on whatever the 80-year-old triple PhD 100 yards away has been ranting about in a barely audible voice for the last hour and a half? Ever thought to yourself during those times, "I'd rather be playing video games"? Well if you happen to be living in West Virginia, then think no more -- your wish has come true.

In order to combat rising childhood obesity rates, the state of West Virginia has signed a deal with Konami Digitial Entertainment, Inc. to provide every one of the state's 765 public schools with Dance Dance Revolution. It will be required for all students in W.V. public schools to play the game.

The state is developing a new curriculum based around the game that will track students' progress. Some of the game units even have a special workout mode that will track calories burned. The game is expected to have completed its infiltration of the schools within two years. The total cost of the program is $500,000, though Konami is also giving the state $75,000 for research related to the program, which will be the first of its kind.

Source: Yahoo! News

 Xbox 360 Still Not Making Progress in Japan
Xbox 360

According to recent reports, the Xbox 360 is still struggling to find a place in the Japanese market. Only 3,616 units were sold in Japan from January 16-22. Microsoft is still working through its stateside dilemmas, where the Xbox 360 has been seeing lower-than-expected sales as well. Only here, the problem is due to a supply shortage, rather than low demand like in Japan.

Beginning with an abysmal Japanese launch, the Xbox 360 has been consistently struggling to find a place in the hearts of gamers in the Far East -- a place that the 360's predecessor was never quite fully accepted. The 360 is currently being outsold by handhelds and current-generation consoles from both Sony and Nintendo.

Microsoft isn't throwing in the towel just yet, though. With new titles from Square Enix and Mistwalker Studios on the way, the company hopes to attract new customers in the near future.

Source: Punch Jump

 Nintendo Reaches New Milestone


It's only been a few days since the Nintendo sold its one millionth DS unit in the United Kingdom, and already the company has achieved yet another DS-related breakthrough. Nintendo recently reported that the 3 millionth player to log into the company's Wi-Fi connection service has recently done so.

Shortly thereafter, Nintendo's UK general manager, David Yarnton, announced that one thousand new WFC-compatible hotspots will open in the next few months. There's no question regarding the popularity of Nintendo's internet gaming service. Within the first week of Mario Kart DS's release, one half of all owners of the game had logged online to duke it out with each other.

In fact, the DS is currently selling so well in Japan that Japanese retailers have begun importing DS systems from North America back into Japan to help meet the overwhelming demand. For example, the electric blue version DS, which was only sold in North America, can now be seen in various game shops across Japan.

Sources: GAF | Kotaku

 Parents Play Games Too

I knew it! That's the reason why parents are blaming games for their kids' arson sprees. If enough games get blamed, then kids will be banned from playing them, leaving even more for the parents, who are the true devious gamers doing everything they can to get a fix. I must say, parents, that is one ingenious plot. Bravo; bravo indeed.

In any event, the proof that parents do play games lies in the numbers. A recent survey conducted by the Entertainment Software Association found that 35 percent of parents do indeed play games. And 80 percent of those parents said that they play games with their children.

The average gaming parent spends 19 hours per month playing games, and roughly half of that time is spent playing with their kids. Two-thirds of gaming parents said they felt that video games have brought the family closer together.

The survey also found that the average gaming parent is 37 years old and almost equally likely to be either male or female. The ESA also noted that two-thirds of the parents surveyed said that it is not the government's job to protect children from violent games. You hear that, Mr. Thompson? Yeah, probably not.

Source: Yahoo! News

 Stock Ticker

Not a bad day for the market, though not a great day. It's more than milk, but not quite a milkshake. We're split right down the middle between companies that gained today and those that lost. 50-50. This isn't too different from the numbers we had a couple weeks ago, but I wish they were better. At least, though with a few exceptions, those who lost and gained did so by very little. And remember folks, we're in the gaming industry's dry season now, so don't expect too much excitement until late Spring-ish. Perhaps now would by the best time to buy stocks, then? Consult your financial advisor and find out.

Down to the specifics, now. The biggest increase of the week goes to Sony by $1.73. Pretty good. The biggest decrease goes to Ubi Soft, which is down by a whopping $3.37. Ouch. Better luck next week, or at least hopefully by the time Drakengard 2 comes out.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 01.27.2006

Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 50.30 1.73
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 27.79 1.29
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 17.90 0.20
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 56.81 (0.08)
SQNXF Square Enix PNK 27.79 0.31
KNM Konami NYSE 22.55 (0.24)
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 13.99 (0.10)
MWY Midway NYSE 14.35 (0.84)
SGAMY Sega PNK 09.00 0.50
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 42.60 (3.37)

Source: CNN Money

 Back Page

Well this is it. It's good-bye time. Like I said earlier, I've had a hell of a time being your RPGamer Currents columnist, and I hope you all did too. I just feel that now is a good time to try other things and give someone else a chance to make Currents the best it can be. Of course, I'll still be floating around the community and public RPGamer areas here and there. And I'd like to come back to the site sometime in the future, if my life permits. Now, unfortuantely, just isn't that time.

As far as the column itself is concerned, I imagine you'll all be getting a new columnist, though I'm not entirely sure. It's all in the hands of the RPGamer news department now. I wish I could say more, but for now we'll just have to wait and see. It's just too soon to tell now. Good luck to you all, thanks for everything, and take care.

Elliot "Au revoir" Guisinger

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