Sony PlayStation 4 Supports Streaming Games Online?


Written by-Sarah Peel

Sony is reportedly planning to unveil their upcoming gaming console, PlayStation 4 on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 in New York City. The console is expected to be built differently than the less popular PlayStation 3. With the recent release of Nintendo’s Wii U and Xbox 360’s popular online gaming, Sony has lagged behind. However, they may have a fighting chance with Sony’s newly bought, Gaikai cloud gaming system. Can this save Sony’s dying market share?

Sony has big plans in Manhattan for February 20, which will be the rumored debut of PlayStation 4. The formerly popular gaming console line might have a new lease on life, according to some. Sony is rumored to be pairing up the online cloud based Gaikai gaming service to the colorful generation console. The freshly bought service has been a saving grace for those who wanted major games that cannot be bought on mobile devices or played on older consoles. The website allowed users to stream and play major game franchises without needing the proper hardware. This has saved many gamers, which Sony saw as a potential threat and money making generator. With the purchase made in July, both Sony and Gaikai have remained hushed about what will happen with the new umbrella company.

Sony has been hurting with Microsoft’s Xbox 360’s beloved online gaming and now Nintendo’s Wii U. This has given Sony a run for the money, as well as seeing the PlayStation two stay on top compared to PlayStation 3. So far they have remained very secretive of the PlayStation 4, which does not come as a surprise. However, here is what we have heard on what you can expect to hear on Wednesday.

1. A new chip will be used, which will render older games useless.
2. New games will be stored on optical disc, while it is unsure if they will be also be on the cloud for streaming or not.
3. Cloud based game storage is highly expected. With Sony’s purchase and hint of playing PS games on the go, it would be highly unlikely for it not to be featured on the next generation console
4. No price point for the cloud plan or the actual device has been given yet. Nor have we heard of what the price point will be for the actual game disc as well.

Some of these things will either be confirmed, cleared up or denied during the unveiling in Manhattan.  However, don’t expect much to be released until we are weeks away from a hard release of the console.

The Top 5 Reasons Why Lollipop Chainsaw is (Secretly) Good

Every gamer who made their way to GameStop in the spring of 2012 saw it. It was on posters, cutouts, and banners, casually placed in every spare inch of space the chain store had. Lollipop Chainsaw was here.

Of course, serious gamers weren’t interested. The game had a ridiculous plot. It featured a skimpily clad cheerleader as a main character. It was a pornographic b-movie plot on steroids thrown onto a game console.

But sometimes, something magical happens. When the game was finally released in June of 2012, it received a good number of reviews from several well known reviewers, including IGN and Game Informer. Many of the reviews were mixed, and generally somewhere around 5/10. But surprisingly, the majority of reviews were positive. Even the negative reviews had something good to say about the game.

And that is because, secretly, Lollipop Chainsaw is a good game.  And here’s why:

Juliet Starling cuts into zombies with her pink chainsaw.

Juliet Starling cuts into zombies with her pink chainsaw.

1. The plot is incredibly shallow and makes almost no sense.

The first step to appreciating how good Lollipop Chainsaw is is to step back and understand that the premise of this game is completely and utterly ridiculous. Relax your need for strong storylines and amazing character arcs. You are delving into the world of Juliet Starling, an overly stereotypical 18-year-old girl, who thinks of nothing but her boyfriend, lollipops, and rainbows.

Lollipop Chainsaw begins on the morning of Juliet Starling’s 18th birthday. She puts on her revealing cheerleader’s uniform and leaves home to go to her high school, where her boyfriend, Nick Carlyle, is waiting for her. When she arrives, she finds hordes of the undead attacking her fellow students. Luckily, Juliet and her family are all secretly zombie fighters, and she brings her chainsaw with her everywhere she goes. Her pink chainsaw with hearts cut into the blade. Which creates rainbows when killing zombies. Juliet hacks her way to where she was to meet her boyfriend, only for him to get bitten by a zombie. She performs a magical ritual which prevents him from becoming a zombie, but leaves him as a disembodied head. Nick is then hooked onto Juliet’s waistband and remains there for the duration of the game, providing commentary and conversation while you play.

Juliet continues fighting zombies in her school and meets up with her perverted sensei, Morikawa. They soon discover that a student by the name of Swan has released five zombie spirits from another world, and that they will wreak havoc in his name if not destroyed. Here’s where it starts to get strange…er. The five zombies are each related to a specific type of music. For example, one is a disco/funk zombie by the name of Josey who speaks in an auto-tuned voice and wears a full-length pink fur coat. Another zombie, named Mariska, is a psychedelic hippie zombie. Whenever she appears, Mariska is a stereotypical hippie who appears to be high, and plays several hippie instruments. For the sake of brevity and spoilers, I won’t go into depth concerning every zombie, but each one is more ridiculous than the last.

Despite having an incredibly vapid plot with laughable boss levels, there is no shortage of fun to be had while playing. Lollipop Chainsaw’s strange story makes it surprisingly unique, and every time something silly happens, you realize once more that this game is a work of genius.

Juliet Starling jumps into the air to kill zombies

Juliet Starling hack zombies in her default cheerleading outfit.

2. The main character is a skimpily clad cheerleader.

Make no mistakes on this front, Juliet Starling is exactly what she looks like. She is a cheerleader clad in a low cut sports bra and one of the shortest skirts a girl can wear without being exposed for the duration of gameplay.

This is no accident or happy coincidence. Going into this game, the creators understood exactly what type of characters they were developing. If the player moves the camera close enough to the ground to obtain an up-skirt, Juliet slams down her chainsaw to block your view. On top of that, once the game has been completed, several new provocative outfits are suddenly available for purchase in the in-game store. These range from a typical schoolgirl’s outfit all the way to a hot pink catsuit with a neckline which plunges down to her stomach. The clever creators of this game knew their audience, and certainly don’t skimp on the short skirts and skin tight outfits

3. There are subtle pop culture references.

I am the first to admit that Lollipop Chainsaw is a very shallow game. However, the masterminds behind this game are actually quite clever. Worked into the game between insipid conversation and revealing costumes, there are witty one liners and references which make the game even better.

Juliet has several comments which relate to cinematic triumphs of the 80s. One of which references Arnold Shwarzennager from the 1987 film Predator. Every time the player is about to complete a combat sequence Juliet quotes directly from the film and cries out, “If it bleeds, I can kill it!”

My personal favorite is a reference to George A. Romero, writer, producer, and director. Romero is the creator of several zombie films, and is considered the father of the zombie genre as we know it today. The creators of Lollipop Chainsaw tipped their hat to Romero by naming Juliet’s high school San Romero High School. Folks, that is pure poetry.

4. It only takes five hours to play.

Many would consider this a downside, but this is actually one of my favorite things about the game. I don’t consider myself to be a serious gamer, but I do often find myself playing Skyrim for hours on end, lost to the real world due to quests after quest. With Lollipop Chainsaw…not so much. A combination of loose story and easy gameplay make Lollipop Chainsaw the perfect game to play when you just want to kill some zombies for an hour.

In addition to being a great game to play in your down time, Lollipop Chainsaw is the perfect length for its content. Anything over five hours and Juliet’s commentary would be enough to drive anyone nuts. It also keeps the game from becoming boring and over repetitive.

5. The dialogue is ridiculous.

In Lollipop Chainsaw, Juliet Starling is voiced by Tara Strong. Strong has voiced a variety of characters from Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls to Timmy Turner from Fairly Odd Parents. It is her high pitched, ditzy-girl voice which truly brings the character of Juliet Starling to life. Her favorite phrases are a bit too explicit to list here, but there are a great many which cause bouts of laughter every time they are used.

Juliet holds Nick's head aloft and talks to him.

Juliet has a casual conversation with Nick, her disembodied boyfriend.

In addition to Juliet’s commentary, there is also dialogue between her and Nick during gameplay that serve as great bonuses for players. A favorite of gamers everywhere is Nick’s response to Juliet asking him what his favorite color is. Nick rapidly responds “Blue. No. Green. I ****** up. It’s yellow.”

Clearly Lollipop Chainsaw is not a piece of gaming gold. The reviews are mostly bad. The plot is shallow, and so are the characters. But if you’re someone that can take a step back and appreciate something because of how hilariously bad it is, then you’re halfway there to loving Lollipop Chainsaw. And halfway to joining people like me who think that Lollipop Chainsaw is secretly really good.

Muse Games is Creating a Unique Experience with “Guns of Icarus Online”

Written by: Stephanie Hsieh

Indie video game developer Muse Games is defying categories with their newest title, “Guns of Icarus Online”, which incorprates elements from a variety of genres to create someone wholly unique

“Guns of Icarus Online” is the spiritual predecessor to Muse Games’ previous release, “Guns of Icarus”. “Guns of Icarus” followed the adventures of the pioneering airship captain Gabriel as he captained his airship through the skies of a post-apocalyptic steampunk-inspired wasteland. The game contained a solo and cooperative mode, where up to three other players could join a player on their ship. “Guns of Icarus Online” takes the cooperative mode of its predecessor and expands on it with its Skirmish mode, which is a full player-vs.-player experience wherein airships—and more importantly their multiplayer crews—face off in the skies.

Screenshot from the closed beta of Guns of Icarus Online.

Taking aim at enemy airships in post-apocalyptic steampunk skies.

In Skirmish mode ships are piloted by crews of three players, each of a different character class. The Captain is in charge of marking targets and coordinating the crew’s efforts. The Gunner is responsible for manning the airship’s guns and attacking enemy ships. The Engineer is in charge of putting out first, both literally and metaphorically, and is essential to keeping the airship running. It is possible for crews to choose to play against AI-controlled ships as opposed to ships manned by other players in Skirmish mode. Players unable to find a full complement for their ship may also round out their crew with AI-controlled crew members. However, Muse Games cautions in its FAQ that players who choose to use AI crew will find themselves at a “noticeable disadvantage.”

Adventure mode is slated to be released later as downloadable content. It’s in Adventure mode that Muse Games hopes to incorporate more traditional MMO elements, such as trade, factions, and a world map dotted with towns. Leveling up and going on missions are more MMO elements that Muse Games intends to release with Adventure mode. However, Muse Games is adamant that despite these comparisons they don’t consider “Guns of Icarus Online” to be an MMO. As noted on their website, they “set out to innovate and make a game that doesn’t fit into any established genres,” and feel that the term MMO brings with it preconceived notions that “Guns of Icarus Online” doesn’t necessarilly fulfill.

In light of their statements, trying to pigeonhole “Guns of Icarus Online” in any of the currently-defined game genres seems counter-intuitive and misses the point of what Muse Games was trying to do with their latest project. However, only time will tell if their innovation and genre-bending will pay off.

Can 343 Industries Continue Success of Halo Franchise with “Halo 4”?

Written by: Brendan Nienhaus

After years in development, “Halo 4” is set to be released in November. But can 343 Industries continue previous developer Bungie’s success with the popular Halo Franchise?

The Halo Franchise has been a gaming fixture for over ten years since the release of “Halo: Combat Evolved” in November 2001, recording sales in the billions in the many gaming iterations and spin-offs that include books, an animated feature and even action figures. But the driving force behind all of this success has been the development team at Bungie, the creators of the Halo Franchise. Now, over ten years later, a new developer takes over the reigns of publisher Microsoft‘s billion dollar gaming franchise: 343 Industries.

343 Industries was created by Microsoft to take over the Halo franchise shortly after Bungie and parent-company Microsoft split after the release of “Halo 3” in 2007, Bungie going on to form Bungie LLC. Microsoft, however, did manage to maintain the intellectual rights to the highly profitable Halo franchise as well as a minority stake in Bungie, so the studio continued to collaborate with Microsoft on two more titles in the Halo Universe, “Halo 3: ODST“(2009) and “Halo: Reach“(2010), before finally handing over the Halo Franchise to 343 Industries for “Halo 4”.

343 Industries wasn’t left without a few of the original members of the Halo development team as some members of Bungie elected to join the new gaming studio to remain with the Halo Franchise, including 343 Industries’ Frank O’Connor, the franchise development director for “Halo.” O’Connor had this to say in a recent interview about 343 Industries work on the new Halo title:

” There’s a few ex-Bungie people at 343, but the vast majority of people are new, but they’re all old to Halo. Every single person came to the interview because they had some passion for Halo. Normally you can’t chose your family, but in this case, we could. And they also bring in different cultural experiences, different technological experiences, different design ethics and visions. So we have this incredible melting pot of passionate Halo fans with incredible new ideas and brilliant new approaches.”

So it appears that 343 Industries is confident that they’ve brought together a team capable of handling the pressure of creating the next installment of the Halo franchise, but what about the game itself?

Microsoft and 343 Industries have promised some exciting new elements to the gameplay of Halo in its newest title as well as brand new enemies to keep players interested in the franchise. One of these new gameplay elements is the Spartan Ops mode. Spartan Ops is a co-op narrative series that serves as a secondary campaign to Halo 4’s single player campaign, offered in weekly episodes, much like a television show.

“It is like a TV show you can play,” O’Connor said. “I’m really hoping for water cooler moments where people gather to talk about — not what they watched on TV — but what they did in the game, like plummeting to their doom. This seems like it could be an exciting addition to the Halo franchise, but the real news is about the new enemies in the franchise, called the Prometheans.”

The Prometheans are AIs of ‘Forerunner’ construction, the same beings who built the Halos present in the first games. Some of the  types that have been announced are the Promethean Crawlers, Promethean Watchers and the Promethean Knights. The Crawlers appear to be the most basic of enemies, mechanical quadrupeds capable of attacking from a distance or up close, and in numbers. The Watchers are flying machines that detach from Knights and heal and augment allies, as well as deflect ordinance(i.e. grenades) using a gravity beam. Finally the Knights are heavily armed bipeds that seem to fill a similar role as the Covenant Elites, attacking from range and with melee weapons. These enemies promise to offer interesting combat situations for the gamer to engage in and hopefully offer new, exciting gameplay components.

So has 343 Industries created a Halo game that lives up to the expectations set by their predecessors at Bungie? We will just have to wait until the release of “Halo 4,” November 6, to find out.

Where id he Wii go!

Written by: Suleman Sultan

When the Wii was released in 2006 it blew away the gaming world. With its innovative Wii-mote it marked a turning point for console gaming. Since then Nintendo has sold nearly 96 million units as well as the numerous accessories.

The Wii was designed by Nintendo’s engineers because Nintendo wanted to develop a system that would draw in a demographic other than young adults and children. Nintendo’s chief game designer Shigeru Miyamato stated that, “The consensus was that power isn’t everything for a console.”

He was right, at first, Nintendo blew away the competition. It seemed like Nintendo was going on a never ending climb with its Wii sales. The console was marketed for all ages and as it turned out everyone wanted one. With its games mainly aimed at children and its technology marketed for social events it became the must have system. The Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 were forced to stay on the side lines.

So why then has the Wii practically disappeared from the spot light? Nowadays you barely hear about it, sometimes I wonder if anyone even makes games for it anymore.

Since 2006 not only did Nintendo consistently create the same type of games for the Wii, but they also kept marketing it for its innovative technology.

What so bad about that you say?

Well it’s ok if you’re the only console on the market with an innovative technology but Nintendo seemed to have forgotten that it had enemies lurking behind the bushes. Blinded by success maybe? The giants known as Microsoft and Sony within about 4-5 years after the release of their consoles developed their own motion technologies for their consoles. The Xbox 360 eventually gained the Kinect and the PlayStation 3 gained the Move.

With the Xbox and PlayStation 3 entering the competition, Nintendo became as it has now been labeled in the gaming world, “a children’s console.”
So once again why has the Wii disappeared?

Nintendo, after being thrown a curve ball by Microsoft and Sony decided it would start on a new console. They unveiled the Wii U on June 2011. Since then the Wii has become an aged console that you can buy at a second hand store. In fact selling you Wii will probably get you less money than one Xbox or PS3 game.

Hopefully Nintendo learnt from the mistakes of the Wii because the the gaming world has mostly forgotten Nintendo. Unless Nintendo creates something truly unique then it could be the end of Nintendo’s console gaming system, ending up like Atari and Sega.

Making Money the League of Legends Way

Dreamhack Festival 2011

The central floor at Dreamhack 2011

Written by: Nick Mingay

SACRAMENTO – E-sports has become a sensation and streaming online games such as League of Legends is a viable source of revenue for professional gamers.

The gaming community has exploded in the past decade with the introduction of MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) and RTS (Real Time Strategy) games. It is not only playing the games that has infiltrated pop culture, but the streaming of live gameplay has become all the more prevalent. Players of games such as League of Legends, Starcraft II and Counter Strike sit in from of their computers or have parties not to play the game, but to watch it being streamed by professional players.

League of Legends seems to be the most commonly streamed game. It is not the most popular game in  big tournaments put on by Major League Gaming or the massively successful Dreamhack, but the fans of LOL, as it is known, is growing by the day.  Many of the professional League of Legends players stream for a majority of the day seven days a week. They play advertisements during downtime and make money depending on how many viewers they have at the time.

Streamers can get a free program to broadcast their games, Xsplit seems to be the most popular. From there, they need only to sign up with a streaming website, or are the two most commonly used. is by far the most popular streaming website for professional players. The site hosts the players streams and provides a platform for them to make money off the stream by playing the advertisements set up by Own3d.

Streamers are paid for how many viewers they have at the given time of advertisements. For every advertisement played per 1000 viewers, the streamer gets three dollars. This may not seem like a lot, but the most popular players have an average of 10,000 viewers watching while they are online. That means $30 for each ad played.

The ads are often played in sets of three, so for every three adds the streamer can make $90. They can play the ads as much as they like, but most play a set of three once every half hour or so.  Not a bad payout for playing a game you love.

The hardest part about streaming to make money is to capture your audience. Many of the professional players are known from international tournaments. Anyone just coming into a stream will have to grab the attention of viewers through wit, banter, well played games and a great music selection while they stream. The biggest key to keeping and growing an audience is keeping them entertained during downtime. This can be done with Youtube videos, discussion of the last game or game mechanics overall and have music running in the background.

Online streaming does not seem to be a consistent way to make money in the future because of the dynamic nature of competitive gaming, but for the professional League of Legends players it seems to be a great way to enjoy what you do for a living.


Is Your Child Addicted to Online Video Games?

Written by: Mary Shull

Where’s Johnny? Just check the computer and the lost is found! Online video game addiction is fast becoming the norm. Hours are lost in front of the computer. Social interaction disappears. Kids get annoyed or angry when their online game is interrupted, even for dinner. What are parents to do?

First, check out the signs. Some possible symptoms that may give you a clue that your child is headed toward online video game addiction:
• Moodiness
• Lying
• Forgets to eat
• Plays online video games instead of doing homework
• Sleep deprivation
• No social interaction
• Lack of physical exercise
• Lack of personal hygiene

Do any of these sound familiar? How are your child’s grades at school? Does your child forget to interact with friends and family members? Is exercise a forgotten subject? Does your child rub their eyes and complain of soreness? Is a shower skipped for extra time on that online video game? Would your child rather skip dinner and snack later so more time is available for gaming?

Online video game addiction

Online video game addiction

If the answer to any of these is yes, then you must step up and get involved with your kids! Even though addiction to online video gaming has not been officially declared a disorder, the signs are in front of our eyes. Online video gaming is being compared to gambling. Playing produces a high because endorphins are being produced and released by the brain. In online video games, the children are in control. Why would they want to go back to the real world and relinquish control and be just a kid that has to follow rules? Parents need to be assertive and turn off their children’s computers! Set priorities so kids know what’s expected of them. Discipline plays a key role. Set time parameters for online games. Let your kids know that homework comes first; dinner is served at 6 p.m. and lights are out at 10 p.m. Take charge before it’s too late!

Online video game addiction can be serious and methods to help that addiction are popping up fast. Some include therapy with a counselor or following steps in a self-help book on online video game addiction. One method even suggests sending your child to summer or wilderness camp to promote exercise and a change of environment.

Parents, it’s up to you to help your children. Recognize the signs and symptoms of online video game addiction. Take the steps now to correct the disorder. Engage your child. Set up a regimen and see that it’s followed. Bring your child back into the real world and help them appreciate its beauty.

App Store Creates New Market for Art Games

Written by: Alexandra Paskulin

Indie game developers are gaining exposure and popularity for unconventional style games through the Apple and Android App Stores, giving a new audience to the art games movement.

The rise of game apps such as “Vanitas” by Tale of Tales, “Osmos” by Hemisphere Games, and “Kometen” by Erik Svedäng are giving momentum to a movement in videogames subject-pioneer Michaël Samyn calls “notgames”.

Ceci n'est pas une raquette below a Wii controller
Image from The Art History of Games, last year’s symposium of art game movement leaders and commissioners of “Vanitas”

Tale of Tales co-creator Michaël Samyn started the Notgames Initiative in 2010 to support  “what’s moving and enchanting and fascinating in software applications, videogames and procedural arts, beyond the amusement offered by obeying rules and receiving rewards.” Samyn’s efforts represent a growing interest in untraditional videogames that focus on fluid meaning, player input and immersion in rich environments. The gameplay of art games often includes exploring, examining and reflecting. The idea is that the player determines the “rules”, thereby defining their own experience. In an article for The Escapist, Samyn emphasizes the need for intentional meaning in game creation, unlike modern games that are dominated by game mechanics and efficient production. Samyn argues that by appealing to notgamers, notgames actually have a wider market potential than traditional games consumed by “the crammed and fiercely competitive niche of gamers”. In the year since Samyn’s article, it seems that the App platform is finally giving art games exposure to a mass audience.

Apple recently proclaimed Hemisphere Games’ “Osmos” the 2010 iPad Game of the Year. In “Osmos” (a play on osmosis and cosmos), the notgamer acts as Mote, a single celled organism travelling the environment, absorbing smaller motes or being absorbed by larger motes (resulting in a game over). “Osmos” appeals to notgamers with beautiful graphics, soothing movements and atmospheric music, a far cry from the rigorous strategy and mechanics of traditional gaming.

Cell-like spheres interact in "Osmos"
“Relax,” Hemisphere Game’s “Osmos” says, “the wise player taps less often.” The meditative spirit of “Osmos” permeates the movement of art games.

Available for both iPhone and Android, “Vanitas” by Tale of Tales (Michaël Saymn and Auriea Harvey) exemplifies the spirit of notgames. Described by its producers as “A meditative experience. A spiritual toy. A reminder of the preciousness of life.” “Vanitas” has no rules and no objective; the experience of the game is determined by the player. In “Vanitas”, the notgamer opens a wooden box to reveal a varying combination of objects. Samyn and Harvey encourage the notgamer to interact with the objects and “create pleasant arrangements that inspire and enchant.”

On January 18th, Notgames announced the upcoming release of Woolly Robot’s “Flight of the Fireflies” on January 31st and, in the second quarter of 2012, Ghostwheel Games’ “Alien Worlds Explorer”, both for iPad.

“Hyrule Historia” Reveals Zelda Timeline


An image of Skyword Sword art from "Hyrule Historia"

A new Zelda art book is putting an end to timeline debate.

Written by Vanessa Formato

The Legend of Zelda” video game franchise has always had its share of secrets. Nintendo has long kept information regarding the series’ timeline under wraps, but it looks as if all of that is about to change with the upcoming art book, “Hyrule Historia.”

The announcement of “Hyrule Historia” came with news that delighted Zelda fans, many of whom have spent considerable amounts of time speculating about the games’ chronology on online forums and fan-sites. A Nintendo World Report article touted a “second chapter [that] is a compendium of Hyrule’s history across the series.” The piece was accompanied by several scans, including one of the table of contents, which listed sections for what appeared to be periods of time in Zelda history. The Internet went wild.

Even just over one year ago, a project like this one seemed inconceivable to fans of the well-loved and critically-acclaimed adventure games. In a July 2010 interview with Nintendo Magazine, Zelda Director Eiji Aonuma confirmed for the first time in the series’ history that developers had their own definitive timeline.

“Yes, there is a master timeline, but it is a confidential document,” Aonuma said. “The only people that have access to that document are myself, [Head of Nintendo] Mr. [Shigeru] Miyamoto and the director of the title. We can’t share it with anyone else!”

Not long after enthusiasts began analyzing the table of contents, a video of the book hit the web that showed a page with a chronology chart. A fan translated the chart and put it online. Aonuma is the editor for “Hyrule Historia,” so it is relatively safe to assume that this is the formerly “confidential” official timeline.

The official timeline begins with “Skyward Sword,” the most recent Zelda release and splits multiple ways following “Ocarina of Time.” The concept of a two separate timelines following “Ocarina of Time” has long been discussed by Zelda theorists, but Nintendo also introduced a third possible reality. If Link were to die in the course of “Ocarina of Time,” the story would diverge into the earlier two-dimensional games, while the “Child” and “Adult” timelines include more recent three-dimensional adventures “The Wind Waker” and “Twilight Princess,” respectively.

So far, “Hyrule Historia” has only hit stores in Japan with no word yet whether there are official plans to release the comprehensive book in other countries. American fans are clamoring to be able to purchase this important collector’s piece, but they have had to settle for scans and translations provided by fellow Zelda enthusiasts.

Nintendo released “Hyrule Historia” as part of “The Legend of Zelda’s” 25th anniversary celebration in December 2011.

The Intriguing Life of Online Ouija Board

“Written by: Kathleen Mulvihill”

Remember the Ouija Board, the game owned by Hasbro Inc. that gained notoriety as demonic in recent decades by mainstream religions and some occultists? You don’t often find it in your local Toys R Us much anymore, but the online version is readily available and offers a delirious amount of intrigue, entertainment, fast-paced answers and a bit of disturbance if you don’t watch out.

Imagine getting the answers to your most curious, personal or intimate questions in the blink of a planchette. That’s the name of the heart-shaped piece of wood used as the movable indicator to convey the spirit’s message by spelling it out on the board. If you are unfamiliar with the Ouija Board phenomenon, here’s a primer:

Ouija, also known as  spirit/fire keyboard, or talking board, is a flat game board containing letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0-9, the words “yes,” “no,” “hello” and “goodbye,” along with various symbols. Ouija is said to mean good luck in Egyptian, but this is widely debunked as there is no such Egyptian word. It is generally agreed that the Ouija Board was commercially introduced in 1890 by businessman Elijah Bond and was regarded as a harmless parlor game. However, as it gained popularity, several Christian religions and certain occultists took issue with its claims as harmless entertainment. Instead, they cautioned against its potential to draw negative spiritual forces into the players’ realm and do harm. The scientific community, on the other hand, says that it is the user’s unconscious movements, or the “ideometer effect,” that produces the Ouija’s answers.

Caveats aside, today’s computer technology provides everyone who is willing with the opportunity to look into his or her future with the click of Ouija online. This Ouija player, ever so curious about America’s future, asked the mystery board a few questions. To wit: Who will be our next president? Answer: Obama. Will the Occupy movement succeed in effecting change in the United States? Answer: Cloudy. When will the U.S. economy really improve? Answer:  2014.  Will the country stay out of a new war for at least the next two years? Answer: No. Will a woman become president in the next decade? Answer: Yes. Will America be safe from major natural disasters for the next few years? Answer: No. Is the Ouija Board telling me the truth to the best of its ability? Answer: Check back later.

So there you have it – an inanimate object that largely knows how to give a straight answer when asked. Maybe it should be entered into the next presidential debate. What do you say, Ouija? Answer: Conditions unclear.