And the answer is: Morrowind!

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Lots of folks got it. It was an easy one. Thanks to everyone who posted a guess for Name That Sound!

The answer is The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The sample is from Morrowind’s gorgeous soundtrack by Jeremy Soule. It is my personal favorite track from the game – mx_explore_7 – and I, too, have the soundtrack for Morrowind (and Oblivion) on my Iphone.

I promise to make the next one tougher.

Here is the entire track for your listening enjoyment:

Guinness reveals Elder Scrolls records

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Not too long ago, I found out that Guinness – those guys that determine the world’s tallest person, longest fingernails, and the most t-shirts ever worn at one time, were coming out with a new book that shares videogame records. While it’s not the first time Guinness has recorded videogame records, it’s their first book devoted completely to games. To help create the book, Guinness worked with Twin Galaxies, who have been recording pinball and videogame records for years.

The book, Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition, just recently went on sale (I got my copy in the mail two days ago), and it even features two pages on the Elder Scrolls series. I won’t spoil the whole book (soon to be a staple in my bathroom library), but here’s a few tidbits I thought I’d share:

  • Daggerfall has the largest land-based game area at 63,125 square miles.
  • Daggerfall is also listed as having the most NPCs (non-player characters) in any RPG with 750,000.
  • The fastest play-through of Morrowind was done by Vladimir “Knu” Semenov at 7 minutes, 30 seconds. Kudos to Freddo for pointing this out a month ago.

Who knows, maybe there’s a record out there waiting for you to break it. My new goal is to beat Brian Sulpher’s record for highest margin of victory over an AI opponent in a basketball videogame. In Tecmo Super NBA Basketball for SNES, he beat the computer by 331 points. If the Pistons could score 186 points in a real-life NBA game, maybe I can pull off my own magic with their virtual counterpart.

Featured Mods at the Oblivion Files

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Visiting the Oblivion Files, I noticed they’ve updated the “featured mods” on their main page.

In the “featured armour” department, AlexScorpion’s Adamantium Battlesuit is pretty sweet. After reading about it, it took me several mintues to figure out what famous character used armor like this. I asked my friend at Bungie if it had anything to do with Halo…no dice. Then looking at the armor pics, I started thinking maybe it was the body suit Raiden used in Metal Gear Solid 2. Wrong again. Finally, I came across a Wikipedia link that revealed Wolverine’s skeletal makeup and claws were adamantium. I knew I knew it from somewhere. :)

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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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