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G4 announces the end of Attack of the Show!X-Play

In an official announcement on its web site, gamer channel G4 told fans that its two of its most popular and long-running shows would end at the end of the year:

G4's two longest-running and defining series, Attack of the Show! and X-Play, will be ending their run at the end of 2012. Both shows will include original episodes through the end of the year, and will look back at their most memorable moments as we lead up to their final episodes.
Both long-running shows helped define, as well as expand, the pop culture and gaming TV experience for a generation. We hope you've had as much fun watching them as we have had making them...

As a send-off, both shows will feature a lineup of famous guest hosts, including John Barrowman, Horatio Sanz, Michael Ian Black, and Paul Scheer. A complete list wasn't provided, but don't be surprised if some G4 alumni -- like Nerdist's Chris Hardwick, Kevin Pereira, and Olivia Munn -- show up to be a part of the extended farewell.

(via G4TV)

Games not art after all, say angry gamers

samus1.jpg Gamers are often characterized as wanting the medium to be taken seriously as art. But what happens when critics look at games less as consumer products and more like movies or books? In the case of G4's review of Metroid: Other M, anger and confusion reigned. Though reviewers often address the artistic attributes of mainstream games, the focus usually remains on less subjective measures of quality. Critic Abbie Heppe, however, slammed the game despite the title's high technical standards, identifying problems that had nothing to do with gameplay. Among other things, Heppe was appalled at how it infantilized the series' heroine, Samus Aran, depicted in earlier outings as a tough female marine veteran. Gaming's answer to Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor, Aran first did battle in her desexualized military armor in 1986. Come 2010, however, and much has changed. "You're asked to forget that Samus has spent the last 10-15 years on solitary missions ridding the galaxy of Space Pirates, saving the universe and surviving on her own as a bounty hunter," Heppe wrote. "Instead, Other M expects you to accept her as a submissive, child-like and self-doubting little girl that cannot possibly wield the amount of power she possesses unless directed to by a man." And on goes Heppe's write-up. Though she also covered gameplay issues in her review, responses from G4's readers were often negative. Of the hundreds of comments published, many attacked the author directly. Amid the predictable misogyny and hostility, a pattern emerges: it's just a game. Some even claimed that it was unprofessional to talk about such matters in a game review. Michael Abbott of The Brainy Gamer sees this as a backlash against the idea of games as art: "All too often, the greatest resistance to thinking critically about games comes not from academics, luddites, or old-school critics like Roger Ebert. The most vocal resistance comes from gamers." True! But as far as we accept the angry constituency as representative at all, we should also admit that some gamers only cared about 'art' because acceptance as such amounted to a form of validation. To see a backlash here assumes a level of engagement that was never actually in evidence. Critical assessments of games -- at least mainstream ones -- remain a hard sell to most of the people buying them.