Oblivion theme performed live

Thought I’d share a cool video that was pointed out to me. As you can see (and hear), it’s a live performance of Oblivion’s theme music. The footage comes from a fan that attended Play! A Video Game Symphony in Stockholm last summer.

For those that are unfamiliar with Play! — it’s a touring symphony (with choir) that performs music from popular games like Super Mario Bros., Castlevania, and Halo. In addition to Oblivion, the program also includes music from Morrowind. Play! is conducted and directed by Grammy-award winner Arnie Roth. In his career, Roth has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted concerts dedicated to music from the Final Fantasy series, and even worked with 80s yacht rocker Peter Cetera. Talk about eclectic!

Two years ago, Play! was in the DC area and I regretted missing it. Here’s hoping that there’s another tour on the horizon.

Doomsday Vault now open…soon to be closed

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There’s been a couple of discussion threads in the Fallout forums regarding this, so I thought I’d share it as well. Today the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, better known as the “Doomsday Vault,” opens in Norway. The vault, which has been in construction since June of 2006, is expected to house millions of seeds for the world’s main food crops — in case these crops disappear from the planet as a result of a major catastrophe. Carved into a mountain in a remote area of the Arctic, the vault allegedly can withstand a plane crashing on it or even a nuclear missile attack.

To check out more pictures of the Doomsday Vault, head here. No word if they’re hiring Mr. Handy to help out.

Mod Interview: Arandor and Lord Dagon talk “Nehrim”

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This week’s Elder Scrolls mod interview comes from two members of the Nehrim project — a total conversion mod using The Elder Scrolls CS. As a total conversion, its story takes place in a world unrelated to anything in the Elder Scrolls universe, so players can enjoy a new fan-made game from their Oblivion disc. It’s still up in the air as to when the project will be complete, but SureAI’s Arandor and Lord Dagon stopped by to give us an update …

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What we’re reading…

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Sometimes I get the impression from parents, politicians, and Fox News that if you’re playing videogames, you’re not reading. So when I decided we should do a “What we’re reading” post this week, I was pleased to see so many responses. It’s worth noting that a handful of folks relate reading to videogames in their answers — but I suppose that’s fair game. On that note, I hear there’s tons of optional reading in Lost Odyssey. After getting an email from Gavin, I’m think it’s one game I need to read up on:

“The plot (at least so far) revolves around one character trying to build this giant station called. ‘Grand Staff.’ So you get lots of lines like ‘I must complete work on Grand Staff!’ or ‘Grand Staff will make our magic stronger!'”

I couldn’t agree more. On that note, let us know what you’re reading. Have a great weekend!

Erin Losi: Gluten Free Girl, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Grazia (my new favorite British gossip mag)

Steve Meister: Just finished The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, which was extremely good. I also recently finished Scarlet, by Stephen Lawhead, the second in his re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend, which was also very good. I am now reading The Wanderer’s Tale, book one in the Annals of Lindormin by David Bilsborough, and I’ve got to tell you, this is one of the worst books I’ve read in a long time. It really has no redeeming qualities. Avoid it.

Brendan Anthony, Programmer: Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason, The Pillars of the Earth, Michio Kaku’s Visions.

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Bright Shiny Things: XNA Games

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If you followed Microsoft’s GDC press conference this week, you probably heard a little about their XNA service for the 360. XNA is a way for the community to create their own games, have their games reviewed by their peers, and then make them available for other 360 owners to download. Kind of like YouTube…but with games. If you’re interested in developing games via XNA, you can download XNA Game Studio 2.0 for free — though a paid membership to the XNA Creators club is also required ($49 for 4 months or $99 for 12 months). As I understand it, released XNA games would then be something you’d be able to purchase via Xbox Live.

Wait a minute, isn’t Bright Shiny Games all about trying things cool things on the cheap (and preferably free)??? Well, as announced during Microsoft’s keynote, there are seven XNA-developed demos available on Xbox Live. Some of the demos are relatively short, but you get enough time with each game to get a flavor of what they’re like. I’ve spent a few hours over the past few days playing them, and I’d recommend that anyone with Live do the same.

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Around the Web: More Lists

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You probably figured out already that we’re not doing a lot of talking at GDC this week — it’s been pretty busy around here with everyone cracking on Fallout 3. Still, if you need a break from all the GDC news, here are a few newsworthy mentions I thought I’d share.

I noticed Destructoid has shared the results of their “which one game has eaten up more hours of your life than any other game ever has” debate, and both Morrowind (#6) and Oblivion (#2) made the top ten. Even combining votes, these games would still end up trailing World of WarCRACK craft. No surprise there.

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Conquest hitting Europe this 1st Quarter 2008

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This morning, our new London office, ZeniMax Europe, put out a release that sheds some light on the European release of Star Trek: Conquest. The press release confirms that the game will be coming to PS2 and Wii this quarter in the following territories: United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Australia. So if you’ve been waiting to play the game, your chance is on the horizon. When we have more details, we’ll keep you updated here on the blog.

With this news, we decided extend our Conquest “Meet the Devs” challenge. The new deadline for the contest is 11:59 PM (EST) on April 6th. For more details on contest rules and how to win a Landing Party statue, check here.