Splash Damage No. 11: Finding Inspiration

Area 5′s Jay Frechette and game producer Erin Ali met a few years ago when they were both working their way through game design programs at different schools (Jay at The Art Institute in San Francisco, Erin at The University for Advancing Technology in Phoenix, AZ). In Splash Damage, the duo discuss their experiences — the positive, the negative, the insightful, and the just plain funny — at game design school.

Best Old school ass-kicking of 2009

I have loved the Metal Gear Solid series since the MGS 2 in 2001. I have played everyone except the original on PS1. So when it came on PSN i decided to finally play it. As soon as I started playing though 1998 came and kicked me in the ass. I never played a MGS so damn hard and I was playing on easy. I did beat eventually but damn games were hard in the old days.  

Peering into MySpace's collective consciousness with real-time search

One of the most provocative essays on Internet culture I’ve read in the last couple years is Danah Boyd’s take on viewing class divisions through social networks. She controversially argued that “white flight” was playing out on the Internet, with MySpace becoming a digital ghetto as wealthier, more educated users fled for Facebook. As an anthropologist, her work is more qualitative and based largely on interviews, experiences and anecdotes, paired with data from external research institutes like the Pew Research Center.

2009's top 9 forward-looking cleantech investments

It was a big year for cleantech. After a dismal start in the first quarter, things picked up, leaving it in prime position to be one of the largest areas of investment in 2010. Overall, 2009 saw 356 deals totaling $4.85 billion, according to a new report released by Greentech Media. That’s six more deals than in 2008, but almost $3 billion less. Last year was a banner year for the sector, but this is also telling that investors leaned toward more smaller deals, mitigating risk while still placing their bets.

Discussion Topic: What If Driving

As I watch the cars go by the back window past my neighbors yard. I think of a stupid what if driving scenario. Maybe I might be the only one who does this kind of thinking.

Meditations on The Video Game and The Holidays

Editor’s note: I didn’t grow up receiving games every holiday or birthday, though I do remember one year not appreciating a thoughtful gift from my mother because it was the wrong size. Twenty years later, I still have that shirt, and I keep it as a lesson on how to properly acknowledge a gift. Andrew writes about how one gift in particular gave him some much-needed perspective. -Jason

Miner Dig Deep – A Paragraph Review

Xbox's Indie section is, much like the iPhone's App Store, filled mostly with pure and utter crap. Miner Dig Deep is one of the gems that serves as a counter to that statement. Simple, yet elegantly designed, MDD gives you a mine and a few tools to make it to the center of the world — presumably. Each incremental upgrade nets you a satisfying return on your investment (wait until you go past your initial pickax) and it keeps it up for 6-8 hours. Whether you treat it as a sweet background game when catching up on podcasts or an exemplary model for the 80 MS-point Indie game, MDD successfully pulls you in to digging its lucrative quarry and loving every minute of it.

The most anticipated video games of 2010

It’s that time of year again, when people look ahead to the new year and salivate over tomorrow’s videogames. 2010 is shaping up to be a stellar year for hardcore gamers. And with so many games coming out, narrowing down the list to just 10 wasn’t an easy task. But we’ve eliminated games that haven’t officially been announced yet and focused on big games for each console, as well as the PC. We’ve also arranged these games in alphabetical order.

Could a Twitter-Amazon partnership be on the horizon?

A couple of days ago, Twitter announced some improvements to its API and Terms of Service (TOS). Effectively, it’s raising the limit on the number of calls per hour that each application can make and opening up its Firehose API (already available to Google and Microsoft) to other developers as a paid service.

Proteus takes in $25.4M to holistically treat chronic disease

Proteus Biomedical, a company that brings together device, pharmaceutical and biotech companies to find answers for cardiac and heart failure patients, has brought in $25.4 million of an anticipated $35 million round of equity, according to a filing with the SEC. Based in Redwood City, Calif., the company is backed the Carlyle Group and Essex Woodlands Venture Partners among others.

Musings of a Gamer: Are Religion and Gaming Mortal Enemies?

Editor’s note: The relationship between religion and gaming is a difficult topic…but it’s an important one. I’m an atheist, and that belief is more than significant to me — and this is why I chose this post. Mike is a Christian, and I have the utmost respect for his even-handed approach to such a touchy subject, his bravery for talking about it, and his faith. I don’t think I would have ever had the courage to write such an article. And at the end of the day, some video games can challenge anyone’s sensibilities — even an atheist’s. – James

VentureBeat's 10 most popular stories of 2009

Here are our biggest stories of the year, as determined by you, the VentureBeat readers, and where you clicked. The list covers some of 2009′s most important products, announcements, and ideas, but also includes posts that fell squarely into the “just for fun” column.

Envivio lands $1M for video compression technology

Envivio, provider of technology that compresses video so it can be displayed via televisions, computer screens or mobile phones, has raised $1 million in debt financing, according to a filing with the SEC. Based in South San Francisco, Calif., the company is backed by Atlantic Bridge, Credit Agricole Private Equity, Crescendo Ventures, The Solidarity Fund, Innovacom, Harbinger, HarbourVest, Intel Capital, NTT Finance, Saints Capital, Samsung Ventures America and Sigma Designs.

Raydiance builds fast lasers with new $3.1M

Raydiance, which claims to be working on “ultrafast lasers” with applications in microelectronics, solar panel manufacturing, eye surgeries, dermatology and cancer treatments, has brought in $3.1 million of an expected $5 million round of funding. Based in Petaluma, Calif., the company is backed by Greenstreet Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. It raised $20 million in a fourth round of funding last year.

Google's Nexus One toys with CBAK valuation

Google’s forthcoming smart phone, apparently, has the power to change fortunes. Following speculation that Chinese battery manufacturer BAK (CBAK) won the supply contract for Google’s phone, BAK stock rose 63 percent. After BAK’s chief financial officer Tony Shen denied these rumors, BAK stock dropped 24 percent and is at 2.79 at time of publishing (9:45 AM PST). The amazing thing here is that BAK hasn’t announced anything else of note. BAK’s valuation has been changing around speculation that they might supply batteries for a single model of phone.

Lithium registers $18M to build customer relations channels

Lithium Technologies, builder of customer relations channels like customized forums, blogs and social networks for other companies, has brought in $18 million of an anticipated $23 millon round of venture funding, according to a filing with the SEC. Based in Emeryville, Calif., the company is backed by Benchmark Capital, Emergence Capital Partners and Shasta Ventures. It has raised $39 million to date.

The start-up chronicles: Reflecting on reflecting

(Editor’s Note: The Start-up Chronicles is a weekly feature giving an inside view of the trials of a bootstrapped start-up – The Cost Savings Guy. CEO and founder Bruce Judson is also the author of “Go It Alone!: The Secret to Building A Successful Business on Your Own” and a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management.)

These are the ten best video games of the decade, dammit!

Here it is, New Year’s Eve, and I have exhausted all of my other list opportunities. Now it’s time to consider the best games of the decade. I procrastinated on this one because it wasn’t easy to do. But then I started seeing all of the other best of the decade lists being posted. I disagreed with them, and the annoyance built up so that it overflowed and I felt compelled to retaliate with my own list. So here’s my favorite games of the past 10 years and my reasons for liking them so much. Please leave your own comments if you agree or disagree, and pick your favorite game in the poll at the end. I’m grateful that a lot of these games were fairly recent, meaning that the game industry just keeps getting better and better. Please enjoy and thanks so much for reading in 2009!

Arkadium CEO plans to adapt to social gaming's popularity

It’s a time of big change in the game industry, but Kenny Rosenblatt is used to it. In 2001, he co-founded Arkadium with his wife Jessica Rovello. The New York-based company originally started as a casual game site. But that wasn’t successful. Instead, Arkadium made money licensing its games to well-known brands. So it shifted into “advergaming,” where a game is embedded with ads and essentially becomes a promotional tool. Now the company has more than 200 Flash games that it licenses out to brands. We interviewed Rosenblatt recently about the changes happening in the game industry and his own shift into social games.

Capcom VP Talks of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Re-Release

Considered by many to be one of the best fighter games ever released, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike can usually be found in bargain bins and the occasional arcade booth. With Street Fighter IV re-kindling the competitive spirit in everyone, fans are left hopeful that previous iterations of the series will return.

Discussion Topic: DLC topic on Money

Many People will think this topic is not important. However the questions that may come about are worth your time. I am not one to speak bad about Down load Content, but this is just something that I think needs to be shared.

Dutch embrace the digital strip search, U.S. next? (reader poll)

The Netherlands will use full body scanners in screening airline passengers as a result of the lapse in security that allowed a would-be terrorist bomber on board a jet from Amsterdam on Christmas Day. The scanners will allow security personnel to see through people’s clothes and will amount to what privacy advocates are calling a “digital strip search.”