Apr 17, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

Video Games

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11Former 'Mob Wives' Star Karen Gravano Sues Rockstar Games for Identity Theft

Former "Mob Wives" star Karen Gravano filed a lawsuit against the makers of Grand Theft Auto V for $40 million, claiming that a character in the game is based on her own life.

Gravano, daughter of Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, has claimed that inspiration for the character Antonia Bottina was taken directly from her own life events.

The lawsuit, which was filed at Manhattan Supreme Court, noted that with respect to Rockstar Video Games, Gravano’s story is unique and hers alone to tell. In addition, the lawsuit claimed the game creators could have sought Gravano’s permission with relative ease and avoided a suit.

The lawsuit added that aside from using her image without consent, parts of a book yet to be released about Gravano's life were used by the game creators.

When asked to comment, a representative for Rockstar said the company does not comment on legal matters.

Rockstar is currently in the midst of a second suit, filed by Lindsay Lohan, who claimed that the company used her likeness to develop a character in one of the GTA games.

Sources: Inquisitir, DailyMail

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11School Principal Claims Kids Act Out Drug, Rape Scenes from 'Grand Theft Auto'

The principal at Coed-y-Brain Primary School in Llanbradach, Wales claims that some students, as young as six, are “initiating games that involve simulating rape and sexual intercourse” because of the video game Grand Theft Auto.

Teachers at the school asked the children, ages 6-11, what they were playing in the school yard, notes the South Wales Evening Post.

The kids reportedly told the teachers that they were doing scenes from the Grand Theft Auto V video game, which has sold more than 32 million copies around the world, but is labeled for users "Over 18."

According to the South Wales Argus, school principal Morian Morgan (pictured) recently sent a letter to parents about the “extremely concerning behavior” of students, which included a "detailed discussion of drug use."

However, none of the children were disciplined.

In his letter, Morgan also claims that children are “acting out scenes from the game which include the strongest of sexual swear words," “having conversations” about sexual acts and “play acting extremely violent games that sometimes result in actual injury."

“Until I went online and checked the content of this game, I thought it was just a bit of swearing and some shooting and I think some of the parents will tell you that they have been equally naive," added Morgan.

“It became more concerning because this newest version (GTA V was released in September last year) seems to be even more shocking than the previous games," wrote Morgan.

Sources: South Wales Argus and South Wales Evening Post

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11NSA Uses Social Apps on Cell Phones to Spy, Hacks 'Angry Birds'

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK government's spy agency GCHQ are hacking into various smartphone apps, including the game "Angry Birds" and Google Maps, to get users' private information.

The Guardian reports that top secret documents, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, show that some apps may share such private information as sexual orientation.

However, most smartphone owners are unaware that this private info is being shared across web by the NSA and GCHQ.

Rovio, the company that created Angry Birds, denied knowing that the NSA or GCHQ were hacking its apps.

"Rovio doesn't have any previous knowledge of this matter, and have not been aware of such activity in 3rd party advertising networks," Saara Bergstrom, Rovio's VP of marketing and communications, told The Guardian. "Nor do we have any involvement with the organizations you mentioned [NSA and GCHQ]."

Pro-Publica.org notes that one NSA document from May 2010 is titled "Golden Nugget!" and states "Target uploading photo to a social media site taken with a mobile device. What can we get?"

The NSA answers its own question by listing: image, email, phone, buddy lists, home country, age, gender, zip code, martial status, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, and number of children.

An user's global location can be found by the NSA and GCHQ by intercepting Google Maps queries made on cell phones.

In response to the story, the NSA released a statement to The New York Times:

NSA does not profile everyday Americans as it carries out its foreign intelligence mission. Because some data of U.S. persons may at times be incidentally collected in NSA's lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for U.S. persons exist across the entire process.

Sources: The New York Times, Pro-Publica.org, The Guardian

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11NSA Spied on Gamers at World of Warcraft, Second Life, Xbox Live

According to a leak by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA and the GCHQ (UK's spy organization) assigned agents to infiltrate virtual website games such as World of Warcraft, Second Life and Xbox Live.

“Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” is the title of the NSA documents leaked by Snowden and published by The Guardian (in partnership with The New York Times and ProPublica) today.

The NSA documents claimed that gaming communities were "target-rich communications network" where suspected terrorists could “hide in plain sight.”

According to The Telegraph, this NSA plan was codenamed "Operation Galician" and was assisted by an informer who “helpfully volunteered information on the target group’s latest activities."

The NSA and GCHQ also tried to recruit informants among the gamers, but there were so many NSA agents at work that a new "de-confliction" group had to be created so that NSA agents didn't trip over each other.

But the NSA documents did not show proof of terrorist plots discovered via online games surveillance, or that terrorist organizations were using the online gaming sites.

However, the NSA document did state: “Al-Qaeda terrorist target selectors... have been found associated with XboxLive, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other GVEs [Games and Virtual Environments].”

The World of Warcraft creators told The Guardian they had not given permission to the NSA or GCHQ to gather intelligence on their members and were “unaware of any surveillance taking place.”

Microsoft and Linden Lab, which owns Second Life, declined to comment.

The NSA documents prove, once again, the NSA was spying innocent American citizens, not terrorist suspects.

The NSA has used a warrantless web surveillance system to spy on Americans' phone calls, e-mails, search history and more, thanks to web giants such as Google, Apple and Facebook, which are now calling for an end to the NSA spying on their sites.

Sources: The Telegraph and The Guardian

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11Man Broadcasts Drunk, Naked Wife Over PlayStation Live Stream

PlayStation is allowing gamers to broadcast their gaming with a live-streaming feature, but one man has already found a way to defile it.

A new PS4 game called "Playroom" on PS4 is streamed lived on Twitch TV for gamers all around the world to watch, notes News.com.au.

However, one PS4 owner decided to expose his dear wife, who was sleeping on the couch next to him.

According to GameRevolution.com, the classy couple sat on their couch drinking alcohol until the wife passed out. The gamer lifted her shirt and exposed her breast for about 15 minutes.

The gamer, who used the handle "Darckobra," turned off the broadcast for a few minutes, but returned with live video of his naked wife snoozing.

Darckobra was reportedly banned by Twitch TV, but other gamers are now broadcasting videos of themselves with guns and walking around naked.

This creates a problem for Sony, which apparently was not prepared for the porn capital of the world, the US, to start broadcasting naked bodies.

Sources: News.com.au and GameRevolution.com

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11There’s No Correlation Between Video Games And Violence, 10-Year Study Says

Video games don't lead to behavioral problems in children, according to a decade-long study that followed more than 11,000 children.

Research, as part of the UK Millennium Cohort Study, found that there is no correlation between video game playing and violence, lack of attentiveness, or general antisocial behaviors. The study found that any problem behavior existed before a child picked up a controller.

UK Millennium Cohort Study reviewed the affect of entertainment on child behavior. The video game study examined 11,000 children in the UK, exposing them to both video games and television.

Their analysis showed that video games had no effect on attention, emotional issues or behavior.

Researchers found that rather than video games creating antisocial children, children who are already antisocial turn to video games as an outlet they can control.

The study said television watching, not video game time, is correlated to negative and antisocial behavior in children. Three or more hours of television have more impact than the same amount of time playing mature video games like Call of Duty.

Sources: TechSpot, Inquistr

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11Teen Banned From Playing Video Games after Mom Unplugging PS3 Led to Violence

Video game obsessed teenagers beware: one teenager has been put on a “time out” because of a temper tantrum that allegedly turned violent after his mom unplugged his Playstation 3.

Racine County prosecutors charged Mount Pleasant teen Jeffery A. Ehlers, 17, on Monday with disorderly conduct, Madison.com reports. The teenager was charged as an adult after police were called to his home on Sunday by his mother because he allegedly yelled obscenities while losing at a video game, according to the criminal complaint.

Ehlers’ mother threatened to unplug his Playstation 3 but he began to yell and call her derogatory names. The mother did what she said she would and unplugged the system. Ehlers’ temper tantrum then turned violent.

He began to push her and throw things around his room, according to the complaint. The teenager slammed the door a handful times. The mother told police he is addicted to playing video games and that she asked him numerous times to stop playing because he became angry when he played.

Ehlers made his first court appearance on Monday, where Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch gave him a $250 signature bond and ordered him to not play video games or have violent contact with his family.

Video games and their effects on teenagers have long been the center of controversy and debate. A California law that banned the sale of certain games to minors was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011.

While California asked the court to not include violent and sexually explicit video games in First Amendment protections much like obscenity, the Supreme Court ruled the law as unconstitutional, ABC News reported.

One study published last month in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found that violent games do not cause teens to become aggressive. In fact, the study found that violent video games had a “slight calming effect” on vulnerable teens (those with symptoms of attention deficit disorder or depression), according to Web Pro News. The teenagers who participated in the study averaged 13 years.

But a 2011 study begs to differ. A group of 70 young adults participated in a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology where it was found that playing violent video games and aggressive behavior were indeed linked together, according to CBS News.

If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Ehlers could face up to 90 days in jail. Assistant State Public Defender Bridger Brave entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.  The teen is due back in court Oct. 24.

Sources: Madison.com, ABC News, WebProNews.com, CBS News

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11Three Teens Stab A Man To Steal His Copy of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’

Three British teenagers were charged with stabbing a man and hitting him over the head with a brick to steal his copy of “Grand Theft Auto V,” London’s Metropolitan Police said Saturday.

The 23-year-old victim was walking home from a midnight launch of the video game Tuesday morning. He bought the game just 80 minutes earlier in a Colindale store, in North London.

The teens, aged 14, 15, and 17, took the man’s phone and the game. They are charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and robbery, a police spokesman told the AFP.

The victim has been in the hospital since the attack. He is in stable condition.

Released Sept. 17, the latest edition of GTA made an estimated $800 million in retail sales within 24 hours.

Game fans caused a stampede in a Netherlands shop where about 700 gamers stood in line all night for the game.

"Everyone started pushing when the roll shutter opened, people fell over, were pushed to the ground, trampled," video game journalist Bas van Dun told Dutch media. "A man next to me ... said afterwards he almost suffocated. He was shaking with anger. This wasn't the party I was hoping for.”

No one was injured, Tilburg police said.

Sources: Raw Story, Metro, i24

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11Evidence Suggests Grand Theft Auto V May Be Released for PC

According to a recent Xbox 360 hack, Grand Theft Auto V may make a PC appearance, contributing to the mounting evidence already supporting the release.

Gamers have taken to bit-torrent sites and put codes of early releases of GTA V to download and burn to illegal copies. The PC code was discovered on those sites, where the Xbox 360 code contains hints of PC code.

A paste bin file on Reddit indicated settings for PS3, Xbox 360, PC and PS4, meaning the game could be heading to the next generation consoles.

While the code lines could have been leftover accidentally after Rockstar decided to dismiss the idea of converting the game to PC, the record-breaking first day sales could have changed their minds.

The game sold $800 million worth of copies during its first day.

Additionally, Senior IR Director of Nvidia Chris Evenden casually mentioned in August that GTA V would be released for PC, despite Rockstar’s denial.

A Change.org petition demanding that GTA V be brought to PC has accumulated 470,000 signatures.

"GTA games have been a large part of so many people's lives,” the petition reads, noting that it would be a shame not to release the game on “the most powerful” platform.

Sources: IncGamers, CraveOnline

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11'Grand Theft Auto V' Earns $800 Million During First Day Sales

The publisher of Grand Theft Auto V estimated that the newest edition of the controversial game earned $800 million in retail sales during the first 24 hours of release.

If the number is correct, it means that the game sold more than 13 million copies at $60 per copy during its first day on sale. The sales would beat the previous first-day record video game sale – $500 million set by the newst Call of Duty game that hit stores last fall.

While some speculated how the new consoles launching from Microsoft and Sony would affect sales, it seems the change has had little effect, considering the newest installment of GTA is halfway to surpassing the previous edition’s 25 million units.

"All of us at Take-Two are thrilled with the initial response to 'Grand Theft Auto V,'" Strauss Zelnick, chairman and chief executive of Take-Two, parent company of Rockstar Games, said.

Some analysts have predicted that the game will reach the $1 billion threshold, ranking it with top Hollywood box office performers of the year like “Iron Man 3” and “Despicable Me 2”.

Cowen and Co. media analyst Doug Creutz said the game is a milestone in role-play gaming, comparing it to a Quentin Tarantino movie with memorable characters and an endearing story line.

“This could be truly interactive entertainment,” Creutz said.

Sources: The Atlantic Wire, LA Times

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