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Video Games

Laker Greats Highlight NBA 2K12 Launch Party

The NBA season might be in limbo, but Tuesday marks the start of the 2011-12 campaign for video gamers as NBA 2K12 hits stores everywhere.

Hundreds of fans lined up outside Best Buy in West Los Angeles Monday night for the opportunity to have their video game cover signed by Earvin “Magic” Johnson. The Hall of Fame point guard is featured on this year’s cover along with longtime rivals Larry Bird and Michael Jordan.

“The technology is crazy. I’m happy about how I look and how I played in the game,” Johnson told FishbowlLA. “It’s amazing how far technology has come and I think the fans are going to be blown away as well, especially where you can play the old school against the new school. My Lakers can play Kobe’s Lakers or my Lakers can play LeBron’s Miami Heat.”

Jerry West, Michael Cooper, general manager Mitch Kupchak and new Lakers head coach Mike Brown joined Johnson on the NBA 2K12 red carpet.

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Making Fun of L.A. Noire

OK, you might not get this if you haven’t played the insanely popular video game L.A. Noire–set in 1950′s Los Angeles. But our inner geek (and by that I mean me) thought it was pretty funny.

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Rockstar’s L.A. Noire Channels Its Inner Mad Men

We haven’t been all that big into video games since we left our parents’ basement last year and managed to convince a real life woman to sleep with us. But Rockstar Games’ latest effort L.A. Noire is too big to ignore. The new game, which channels 1940′s Los Angeles, is drawing rave reviews–not just for its game play, but for its acting. And for good reason. ForbesJohn Gaudiosi reports that Rockstar used Mad Men casting directors Carrie Audino and Laura Schiff to recruit over 400 actors–including Aaron Staton, who plays “Ken Cosgrove” on the show. Mad Men actors Alexa Alemanni, Ned Vaugn, Kate Connor, Randolph Adams, and Kevin Scott Allen also make appearances in the game.

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Hot Pursuit Party Rolls Into LA

The last time a snazzy rap duo from Philadelphia hit town, the result was a 1990-1996 hit sitcom for NBC. Who’s to say something similar won’t start to materialize for Chiddy Bang, the headliners from the City of Brotherly Love, at tonight’s free 9 p.m. launch party at the Avalon in Hollywood for Electronic Arts video game Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

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Snoop Dogg Makes Video Game History

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Ever the trailblazer, the LBC’s own Cordozar Calvin Broadus is set to become the first rapper to have his songs made available on the popular video game “Rock Band.” Soon, you too will be able to rock out to “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” and “Sensual Seduction” in your underwear.

Love the Snoop, breaking down boundaries.

Photo: Reuters

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Activision Shuts Down Santa Monica Studio Luxoflux, Stocks Up

We here at FishbowlLA aren’t much for economics. A gig at the Wall Street Journal probably isn’t in our future. But this struck us as rather odd. Yesterday, at 5:03PM, the L.A. Times reported that video game company Activision plans to shutter its Santa Monica development studio Luxoflux, laying off about 200 people. The move wasn’t entirely surprising considering Activision posted a $286 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2009. What the Times didn’t note, however, were the findings of this Wall Street Journal story from eight hours earlier.

Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) shares got a boost Thursday after the video-game publisher reported better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter and analysts predicted a strong year despite the company’s highly conservative outlook.

In recent trading, Activision was up nearly 8% to $10.89.

Interesting. Despite huge losses, stocks were up 8% on the day, hours before the studio closure was announced. The Journal attributes the stock’s surprising rise to “the fact that analysts widely expect the company to easily beat its numbers for the year, given a strong pipeline of new titles expected.”

But as we all know, Wall Street loves a good layoff.

Think the news might have leaked early? Just sayin’.

Beatles Videogame Coming Out in 2009

They once said all you need is love. That might be amended now to All You Need Is Videogamesbeatles.jpg — if you’re a fan of the Beatles.

A new Beatles videogame from MTV Games will be in stores in time for the holiday season, according to Variety.

The partnership is the first time Apple Corps., EMI Music, Harrisongs and Sony/ATV Music Publishing have agreed to present the Beatles’ music in a video game presentation. Executives from Apple, MTV and game developer Harmonix announced the game today in London, giving few details beyond the game’s existence, noting further announcements would come in the next few months.

“The game is in development,” said Jeff Jones, CEO, Apple Corps. “We don’t want to talk about how it will turn out a year from now. We’re in the process of creating the game.”

The game will include songs recorded during the Beatles tenure within EMI, 1962 to 1969, and it is possible the entire catalog will be used.

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono Lennon have been part of the conversations regarding the design, layout and roll out of the game. Discussions, both creative and financial, between Apple Corps. and MTV began 17 months ago.

Darksiders: The Wrath of War Party

comiccon01.gif We were looking for the G4 party and we ended up in a dark basement packed with panel televisions and grown men staring contently at them. It was a party for the new single person video game “Darksiders: The Wrath of War”. In the glow of the games the only women in the room, the servers passed around crab cakes and burgers while said grown men sipped free beers.

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It was like a really wholesome opium den – with cartoon violence.

Gerstmann Gone from Gamespot–What Really Happened?

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Kyle Orland has been all over the Gamespot drama saga. Just to catch you up:

Jeff Gerstmann, the editorial director at CNET’s Gamespot.com, was abruptly fired last Wednesday after 11 years at the site. There’s a rumor going around that Gerstmann was canned because he was overly critical of Kane & Lynch, a game that was heavily advertised on the site. Eidos,the publisher, allegedly threatened to pull hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising if Gerstmann wasn’t fired.

CNET has denied that the firing was based on advertiser pressure, Eidos has issued a blanket “no comment” and Gerstmann isn’t talking about the circumstances surrounding the firing (citing “legal reasons”).

Despite this, the gaming community is up in arms over the issue, vandalizing “user review” pages on Gamespot, posting criticism on the site’s forums (over 12,600 posts at last count) and planning boycotts and protests at the CNET offices. Rival publisher Ziff Davis staged an impromptu rally at their offices (across the street from CNET) and gaming blog destructoid.com has changed their front page banner to criticize Gamespot.

Red Vs. Blue–100th Episode Marks the End

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Red vs. Blue, the first and most famous machinima series, is going out with a surprise ending. Created by Burnie Burns and Rooster Teeth from Halo game footage, the series has run since April 2003. Wednesday is set for the final battle:

The 15-minute final episode will be “the biggest one we’ve ever done,” says Burns, “but The Sopranos stole our ending, so we had to change it completely”

Microsoft, in a rare show of generosity, decided to embrace Rooster Teeth’s work instead of suing them.

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