Don't shoot! You're not in a video game anymore

Editors' note: This story has been substantially revised. See the correction note at bottom for details.

If you're a casual gamer or even -- gasp! -- a non-gamer, that security camera in the mall is nothing more than a surveillance device designed to keep people from stealing sugar packets from the food court. If you're an "excessive" gamer, however, that very same camera is the eye of the evil overlord and it must be avoided at all costs.

That, at least, is what's implied by the findings of a study conducted by Professor Mark Griffiths, … Read more

Hear Super Mario played on an ancient Chinese instrument

The music from the original 1985 Super Mario Bros. is one of the most popular gaming tunes for nerdy remixin', with versions played on new digital instruments and even sung a capella.

We do have to say, though, that this treatment blew us away. It's being played on a sheng at a performance by the Taiwan Philharmonic celebrating the instrument. The sheng is a complex free-reed instrument from China, and it's one of the oldest instruments from the region, dating all the way back to 1100 BCE. It consists of a system of vertical pipes and a mouthpiece. Each pipe has a small hole; when the hole is covered, the reed vibrates, producing a note. … Read more

Nintendo to kill off certain Wi-Fi Connection features in May

Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection, a service the company hoped would improve its standing among online gamers, will soon be wiped out.

The company on Wednesday announced that on May 20, certain online features in Wi-Fi Connection will be removed, chiefly online play, matchmaking, and leaderboards for many Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo DSi games. Nintendo was quick to point out, however, that offline play will still be available.

Online play is not being affected on the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS. However, Wii mode, which allows users to play older titles on the Wii U, as well as playable DS … Read more

Chess app lets you get whupped by a child prodigy

Most of us don't have a child chess prodigy handy when we want to practice our game. The Play Magnus iPhone app puts the champ in your pocket, but with a twist. You can play against Magnus Carlsen at various ages, from when he started out at age 5, all the way up to his current kick-butt self.

Carlsen is a grandmaster from Norway and the current No. 1 chess player in the world. The 23-year-old says he launched the app, which uses a chess engine "tuned" from actual openings and games he's played, to inspire young people to get excited about chess.… Read more

Your chance to voice a character in Dragon Age: Inquisition

Instead of just playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, how about being in it?

BioWare has taken to its blog to announce a competition with a difference: a chance to voice one of the characters in the highly anticipated fantasy role-playing game.

Entry is simple. Chose from one of two sample scripts and then show off your skills on YouTube. All BioWare wants "is for you to perform your preferred script in your lovely, natural speaking voice." … Read more

Be the Monty Python foot in 'Holy Grail' stomping game

Few feet are as famous as the one that stomps from the sky in the opening credits of "Monty Python's Flying Circus." A free online game dubbed Holy Stomping turns that foot into the lead character, letting you smoosh characters that would be right at home in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

The action starts slow enough. You click on the screen to control where the foot lands, aiming for the medieval maidens strolling along the bottom, with bonus points for taking out a knight. As the rounds go by, the action ramps up, and hazards like unstompable angels and archers shooting arrows appear.… Read more

Rideable Super Mario Kart races into reality (for kids anyway)

Super Mario Kart's plumber-driven vehicle is driving into the lives of children as an actual rideable toy car. The brightly colored cart sports the Mario "M" on the front and the exaggerated design features of its video-game counterpart in Mario Kart 7.

The battery-powered vehicle has forward and reverse, functioning pedals, brakes, and a seat belt to keep your little Mario from flying out of the cart. It also makes sounds from the games. You will have to provide blue overalls and a red hat if you want to achieve the full Mario look.… Read more

Microsoft goes all-in on Titanfall with $499 Xbox One bundle

Microsoft is making a strong push to attract new gamers with help from Titanfall, the highly anticipated first-person shooter.

The company on Monday announced that starting March 11, it will sell an Xbox One Titanfall Special Edition Bundle for $499. According to Microsoft's Larry Hryb (better known as "Major Nelson"), the offering will only be available in "limited quantities."

The bundle includes the Xbox One and Kinect, along with a single wireless controller and chat headset. However, unlike many bundles, which include a physical copy of the game, the Titanfall bundle will include a download … Read more

Beautiful Tengami papercraft game plays like a dream

Sometimes a game comes along that urges you to take your time -- to soak up the gorgeous atmosphere, explore the world, and solve puzzles at a leisurely pace. It's about the journey, not the finish line.

The Room is one such game. Year Walk is another. And now we have one more to add to the list: the newly released Tengami from Nyamyam.

And yet, Tengami isn't quite like any game we've seen. It's based on the idea of a pop-up book and set in a sort of mythical feudal Japan. You control a young Japanese man -- although the actual details of the plot remain to be unfolded as the story progresses, with very minimal exposition and even fewer directions. … Read more

Microsoft taps gamers to test next Xbox One update

Xbox One owners may be hearing from Microsoft about taking the game console's next major update for an early spin.

Due in early March, the update will add new features and fixes related to the Xbox One's party and multiplayer features. The goal is to prepare the console for the release of "Titanfall," an online, multiplayer game.

To stress-test the update, Microsoft is now inviting a number of Xbox Live members to preview the new features, according to Xbox Director of Programming Larry Hyrb, aka Major Nelson. Microsoft wants the testers to offer feedback on the … Read more