NASA Computer Kids Image

NASA Computer Kids Image

Time to celebrate the first weekend of spring with another installment of ‘Power Up!’.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) called Astronaut: Moon, Mars, and Beyond. The game is being developed by Virtual Heroes in North Carolina and uses the Unreal Tournament 3 software engine. Players will be able to create astronaut characters that take part in missions using real NASA space technologies.

The Swedish  developer of the long running MMOG Entropia Universe was granted approval by the Swedish government for a real world bank license. The virtual economy of this game is entirely based on real currency. In 2008, the economic activity inside Entropia generated approximately $420 million USD. Several years ago, an orbiting space station resort in this game was auctioned for $122,000 USD, one of the most expensive pieces of virtual real estate ever sold.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom is being asked to consider placing a tax on violent video games to help fund an educational campaign against knife crime. At the same time, the UK game development industry is reacting to print and television advertisements from the Change4Life campaign, particularly one ad that shows a child playing a video game and using the caption ‘Risk an Early Death – Just Do Nothing’.

Change 4 Life Advertisement

Change 4 Life Advertisement

Here’s the video that’s getting a reaction from the UK game industry:

First there was Nintendo Thumb, then Wii-Itis, and now the British Journal of Dermatology has reported that a 12 year old girl is suffering from a skin  condition known as Playstation Palmar Hidradenitis. The doctors suspect the condition is caused from tight grasping of the Playstation 3 controller for long periods of time and repeated pressing of the control buttons.

Global sales of Apple’s IPhone and IPodTouch have now passed 30 million units. There are now approximately 25,600 downloadable applications for these devices. Not surprisingly, games are becoming one of the more popular items for download. Once upon a time, game development for an Apple product was a rarity. Now it’s becoming a profitable business.

Move over Master Chief! Lifetime sales of Nintendo’s Wii Fit have overtaken lifetimes sales of Halo 3 in the United States, according to the NPD Tracking Group. Halo 3 was released on September 25, 2007 and has sold 5.9 million units to date. Wii Fit was released on May 21,2008 and has sold 6.0 million units to date. It will be interesting to see how many new Nintendo titles in 2009 plan to use those six million balance boards now in people’s homes.

Rock Band continues its success with the coming release of The Beatles:Rockband on September 9, 2009. The Fab Four’s magical mystery musical library will be available for play. There will also be a bundled edition with instruments modelled after the ones played by George, John, Paul, and Ringo.

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