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Gay marriage illegal where you live? Try 'The Sims 3'

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060409sims.jpg

People in the real world are still grappling with whether or not to allow gay couples the right of marriage and/or civil unions. But in the virtual world, the matter appears to be settled.

A blogger at AfterElton.com, Lyle Masaki, checked out the new edition of the popular pretend-life game "The Sims 3" and reports that "after a week of game time, I was able to get a male couple to plan a wedding party and tie the knot." A week of game time translates to about six months of dating in real life, right?

"The Sims" has always been inclusive of gay couples, Masaki writes. The first version of the game allowed gay pairs to live together but not get married. "The Sims 2" allowed a coupling that granted all the same basic rights as marriage without specifically calling it that. Now two simulated guys can hook up, tie the knot and be called "husbands" to each other.

Some gamers report online that gay couples can even adopt young'uns.

Strangely, too, there have been no virtual protests. What would the signs say, after all? "The Processor hates fags"?

Yet more indication that the Internet is proof of the duality of man - our ability to be brilliant and moronic at the same time.

Case in point: The Shoot Paul Cam. It's a site that allows you, via live, streaming video, to blast away with paintballs at this guy, Paul Jackson, as he lives a "normal" life, 24/7 in front of a camera.

In a room filled with exploded paintballs.

And strangers trying to shoot him.

Right.

Sounds a bit loopy on both the shooter and target's part, right? But like the site advertises, "you have nothing better to do..."

The creator says he's offering a way for you to get some stress out at work to keep you from taking aim at your fellow cube dwellers. It's just meant as a bit of fun to break up the day that also serves as an essential tool for ensuring workplace safety.

Like a crack dealer, he doles out a couple free shots to start, but then have to pay for more trigger time and options like rapid fire once you're sucked in. And that's the brilliant part. He's turned being essentially a live video game character into gainful employment.

So who is this Paul guy and why is he choosing to have complete strangers blast away at him several hundred times a day? Let's find out, in a lightly edited interview, after the jump ...

BioWare's massively multiplayer online role-playing game "Star Wars: The Old Republic" isn't close to release, but with this trailer released at the Electronic Entertainment Expo today, we can wait.

Sure, it's light on actual gameplay scenarios - OK, there are no gameplay scenarios - but that's OK because it's hot like a cauterized lightsaber wound. Nearly 4 minutes of slick animation and non-stop violence from blaster and blade alike.

This is the much-anticipated sequel to "Knights of the Old Republic" and takes place about 300 years after that story - and about 3,500 years before Luke, Leia and Han were stomping around a galaxy far, far away.

"The Old Republic" is set against the backdrop of a massive galactic war between the Galactic Republic (allies of the Jedi) and the Sith Empire. Players will be able to select from a number of character classes from either faction, including Bounty Hunter, Trooper, Smuggler and others still to be announced.

And lest you think the Jedi and Sith are the only ones have violent fun in this release, check out this developer update on the making of a Republic Trooper:

OK, who am I kidding? This is great, but I can't wait. Hurry up with that release date, BioWare!

First of all, apologies your boss, your sweetie, your children, your dog and your X-Box for what's to follow. You most likely will lose all sense of productivity, responsibility and the need for state-of-the-art gaming and graphics because of this.

If you grew up a child of the late '80s and early '90s and blew more quarters at the arcade than it takes to park 2 hours in downtown Chicago, this is for you. Thanks to the great work of the folks at amog.com, there's now a list of 95 classic arcade video games you can play online. For free. Anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Poster Tech Mog has gone through and graded each game on a 1-to-5 scale for various criteria: graphics, popularity, difficulty, fun, sound, etc. And you should take some time and read the whole post. Fun stuff and as thorough as Donkey Kong.

But save the reading for your own time. This is about gaming, Old School. For the kids, that's way before 64-bit and wireless controllers. It's about the history - how you got to Madden and World of Warcraft and Call of Duty and the rest. The graphics? They mostly suck. Sound? Garbage. Gameplay? Simplicity itself. But see how many minutes/hours/days you lose once you sit down and crank up a few of these gems.

For the sake of my own misspent youth, here's a couple of my favorites to check out. But with 95 titles, by all means, dive in and relive your quarter-fueled glory days on your own terms.

Thumbnail image for donkey.jpgDonkey Kong

How many new curse words did you learn playing this bastard at 7-Eleven for hours on end? Even better in your friend's basement on Atari!

Tech Mog's take:

You must be from another planet if you've never heard of Donkey Kong. In this game, Donkey Kong makes his [1981] debut as a kidnapper/barrel throwing enthusiast. You play as Mario and the goal is to rescue the girl while jumping over DK's barrels. Bonus points go to anyone who knows the rationale behind naming a gorilla "Donkey."

pacman.jpgPac Man

And yes, that includes the 15 other Pac Man spinoffs. Wakka wakka, baby!

Tech Mog's take:

"Pac-man" is synonymous with 1980s arcade and video games. When the original "Pac-Man" was released in 1980, it ignited a new craze. A relatively simple game with a static screen, it was, and still is, addicting. I'll do us all a favor and not explain how to play. If you've never played, come out of your cave and try it. You'll figure it out right after learning such skills as "not staring directly at the sun" and "how to operate indoor plumbing."

galaga.jpgGalaga

Die aliens, die!

Tech Mog's take:

Galaxian and the sequel Galaga is in an outer space setting, like a lot of games from back then. Your ship is at the bottom of the screen, and you can only move left or right. Like "Space Invaders," the object is to shoot all of the alien ships. But unlike "Invaders," these ships occasionally dive bomb you. "Galaxian" was a pioneering game for many reasons. It was first with multi-colored animated sprites and explosions, a crude theme song, different colored fonts for the score and high score, and more prominent background music and graphic icons that showed the number of ships left and how many rounds the player had completed. How did people play games before this? The graphics are better in Galaga, the sequel to Galaxian, but the game play is really no different. So, if you love Galaxian, then you'll also love ]Galaga.

Game on, people (and work off)!

lego rock.jpg

You love to jam out to Rock Band, right? And who doesn't love the wholesome goodness of LEGOs? Well, like the proverbial chocolate falling into the peanut butter, you can now enjoy the best of two nerdy obsessions with the launch of LEGO Rock Band.

The game will play along the lines of the other Rock Band franchise entries, including guitar, bass, singer and drums. And the look will be similar, with a full band, concert venues, etc., but the band, instruments, and arenas will look as though they were built from LEGOs, keeping it in step with the other surprisingly addictive LEGO video game titles, Batman, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Characters, instruments, and the band's entourage will all be customizable, so you can make sure the group clicks. Get it? Clicks? LEGOs, people.

Anyway, the setlist for LEGO Rock Band will be more "family-friendly" and while the total number of songs has yet to be revealed, here's some of what you can expect to play:

Blur "Song 2"

Carl Douglas "Kung Fu Fighting"

Europe "The Final Countdown"

Good Charlotte "Boys and Girls"

Pink "So What"

Can we refer to that as rock blocks? Sorry.

This kiddie-friendly rock is due for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii, somewhere in the "holiday 2009" area. Til then, you can enjoy this low-budg bit of LEGO rock ...

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