Happy Public Domain Day Everyone! This is a momentous occasion as this is the first year since the 1978 Copyright expansion that the US has actually had one of these. Today, the first works from 1923 will enter the public domain in the US and it is a bittersweet moment for everyone who cares about the progress of art and science. Sweet for the wonderful works that people will be able to distribute freely without risk of being sued or jailed for doing so. Bitter for all the works that have been lost because the owner of the copyright didn’t care about preservation or because the copyright owner cannot be found.Continue reading
It has been frequently requested of Andrew and me to post our predictions/hopes/dreams of what would be on a hypothetical Nintendo 64 Classic Console.We both remembered that we have discussed this in the past, and Andrew was kind enough to find that discussion in the 69th episode of Molehill Mountain.
There really isn’t a lot to go on at this time about such a system. If one does arise, there is not likely to be more than 15-20 games on it. Andrew and I both kept our lists to a maximum of 15 titles. One thing that would make such a system tricky is that the it supported up to four controllers and the button layout is very different from modern Nintendo controllers. Continue reading
The first trailer for the first ever live action Pokemon movie launched yesterday and despite other major news yesterday, you will be missed Stan Lee, no one can stop talking about it. From the way the CG pokemon look in this live action world, the voice of Deadpool’s own Ryan Reynolds, to the creepy yet hilarious Mr. Mime, they are just tearing this trailer apart. Yet, despite everything people are saying and writing about this trailer, there is one thing I have yet to see a major gaming journo site talk about, and it is seriously bugging the crap out of me.
Let’s start all the way back in 1967. In February of that year, a pop rock band which went by the moniker of The Turtles released a single, Happy Together. This single went on to top many charts world wide and was released more widely as the title track of The Turtles third album. As a classic rock fan, I have heard this song many many times throughout the years. Yesterday, that song was used to close out Detective Pikachu’s first trailer. Apparently, no one understands why this song stands out, at least why it should stand out. Continue reading
Today, Sony announced the full game lineup to the recently announced PlayStation Classic. Last month, Sony announced the system, to be released in December, but only revealed 5 of the promised 20 games. Those five were Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. This led to wide speculation on the part of fans on what games would make up the other 15. Of course, Andrew and I made our predictions/wishes on what they would be. Let’s see how we stacked up to the official reveled list of 15 additional games. Continue reading
When Sony announced the PlayStation Classic console, its response to the wildly successful NES and SNES Classics from Nintendo, it promised us 20 games, but didn’t give us the full slate. Instead, it teased us with only 5 games that made the cut, Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. It could have released only 5 titles to help keep word of mouth going as people, like Andrew and me, speculate on what games will show up on the console when it launches in December, or it plans to drip feed us games until then as a way of keeping its marketing going. Or, it could be that they don’t yet know what the final list of games will be and are struggling, just as I am, from turning this system into a massive RPG box. Continue reading
UPDATED: Its Back. Earlier today, CinemaSins, the channel dedicated to critiquing and over analyzing every single movie in existence, published its regularly scheduled sins video. This video was to sin the Warner Bros. distributed movie Annabelle: Creation. However, visitors to the popular movie critic Youtube channel were not given their weekly dose of movie sins. Instead, they were presented with the above copyright claim by Warner Bros. The text reads as follows:
This video contains content from MC for Warner Bros., who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
Yesterday, Niantic, the developers of Pokemon Go, announced a new product aimed at giving parents better control over how their kids use Pokemon Go, and potentially other Niantic games. Niantic Kids is a login system developed in partnership with SuperAwesome. It is billed as a away for parents to manage what their kids can do.
Parents can register with Niantic Kids to manage their child’s privacy via the parent portal. Niantic Kids helps you review and approve your child’s permissions before they can play and provides options to control the personal information shared in Pokémon GO.
They don’t mention any specifics here, but the consensus among parent of kids who play Pokemon Go is that this could mean that Niantic is finally going to let parents decide if their under 13 kids can use the friend feature. Continue reading
A while back, Atari announced that they were working on their own retro console. Since that original announcement, they have drip fed those of us paying attention more information. Today, Atari finally announced when people can start preordering this console, May 30th. They also announced the preorder price of $199, if you get it when it goes live on IndieGogo.
The VCS seems really ambitious. Despite it coming out as a response to Nintendo’s massively successful NES and SNES Classic Editions, the VCS claims to be much more. While it does have a built in collection of retro Atari games, over 100 titles according to the latest email, Atari also claims “Many popular modern titles will be playable on Atari VCS”. That is certainly something Nintendo can’t claim. Yet, it is a claim that has yet to be qualified.
Despite the idea of the VCS being in competition with the SNES Classic, the price of the system lends it to be more in competition with the Switch and even Sony and Microsoft’s consoles. With a retail price of $250 and its claims of “support for 4K resolution, HDR and 60FPS content, onboard and expandable storage options, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as USB 3.0 support,” it certainly doesn’t feel like it is in the same category of the SNES Classic and its respective $80 retail price. Yet its lack of physical games and unknown library of 3rd or even 1st party titles means it does not quite fit in with the rest of the major console world. Continue reading
It seems like it has been years since video games have been blamed for violence and tragedies. Since the 90s, video games had been under fire for causing youth violence. This swelling of outrage became a tumult after Columbine and continued to rise each time a major shooting involving a youth happened after that. Laws had been passed trying to ban the sale of violent games to minors and each of those laws had been struck down by the courts, ending with the US Supreme Court ruling that video games are protected speech and can’t be regulated in such a manner.
There were plenty of good things to come from all this commotion though. The ESRB rating system was a direct result of this outrage and has been used effectively for years by console manufacturers to give parents control over what games their children can play. It resulted in video game retailers denying the sale of M rated games to minors nearly 90% of the time, even while movie theaters and movie retailers retained a terrible track record for R rated movies.
After the Supreme Court weighed in on the issue, it had seemed that things were pretty settled. Only the very fringes of would blame games after a tragedy since then. That is until the Parkland, Florida shooting. It isn’t clear what made this particular tragedy different from those that came before it, but it sparked an outcry of blame against violent movies and games. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin blames violence in movies and games for school shootings. Kentucky suffered its own school shooting in January. In Rhode Island, Representative Nardolillo plans to introduce a bill to tax M rated games an additional 10% to fund mental health programs in schools. Even President Donald Trump called out violence in games and movies calling for a “rating system for that.” Finally, NewsOK is reporting that Representatives Mullin and Russell have both put the blame on video games for the recent tragedies. There is a lot to unpack in this but let’s give it a try. Continue reading
January 1st of each year is what is colloquially referred to as Public Domain Day. It is the day that works enter the public domain after their copyright terms have expired. At least in most countries outside the US. The US has gone decades without anything entering the public domain, but thankfully, 2018 will be the last year this is so. Unless Congress succumbs to the whims of the Motion Picture Industry and extends copyright again.
Every year, the Duke Law School publishes a report about the state of the public domain on January 1st and this year is no exception. This is what Duke had to say about the US.
What is entering the public domain in the United States? Not a single published work. Once again, no published works are entering our public domain this year.2 (Happily, works published in 1923 will finally begin to enter our public domain next year.) The only works that are clearly in the US public domain now are those published before 1923. But what about works published after that date? Does that mean that they’re still under copyright? Well, maybe. Citizens of the United States have to live with a frustrating lack of clarity about what older works they can use. Did the author comply with registration or renewal requirements when those were mandatory?3 The records are fragmentary and confused, the copyright holders hard to find. Perhaps some post-1923 works by the authors above are in the public domain. Perhaps they are still copyrighted. We have to live in a fog of uncertainty, uncertainty that benefits no one. By contrast, in Canada and the EU, the public will know on January 1 that all works by these authors are in the public domain.