Snowshi is the work of Jennifer Park, a very talented snow artist and video game fan. For the record, the sculpture took an hour to make, and then an hour to color...

"I did it for humanity," Park says. "For everyone who's ever wanted to make a Yoshi out of snow. And mostly because I was bored and thought it would kill some time."

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The mainstream media has once again picked up on the worst-kept secret ever: Humans are compulsive, obsessive creatures and tend to become addicted to things rather easily.

The Yahoo! news story outlines video game addiction, and is really only notable for its case study of a former World of WarCraft user, a man known as "Splint." In two years of playing World of WarCraft, Splint allegedly put in a whopping 180 days' worth of video game adventuring.

It's interesting to note, by the way, that when Splint ended his game addiction, he helped nurture it in another human. The article notes, without irony, "When he quit the game, he sold his [World of WarCraft] account and character to another player for $1600. It was a Christmas present from a mother to her son, who already owned four accounts. 'I felt almost terrible to pass that off to him,' [Splint said]."

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Violence in video games has become a hot media topic as gory, cinematic fight scenes and guns with chain-saws make more frequent appearances in today's most popular games. Historically, Nintendo has withstood toiling competition with other game corporations by not choosing the violent path, designing playful combat with butt bounces and spinning turtle shells as a refreshing alternative to bullets and hand grenades. 

In a recently translated interview, from CNN's TV show Talk Asia this past December, Nintendo's president Shigeru Miyamoto reveals his personal philosophy on gaming violence and his particular concerns for children gamers:

"My personal thought is, and I think it is the same with Nintendo, that before thinking about how to handle violence in video games, I think it is important to think about pain people feel. For example, you would not laugh at people with disabilities. There are bullying problems in Japan. Looking at the overall picture, it is important to understand and feel the pain that people might have. We make our games based on that philosophy, using means other than violence. But we also have to take a careful approach, even in the circumstances when we are not portraying direct violence. I think it is always important to give children a product with a careful approach."

So sorry to disappoint folks, but I think we can thus safely assume that Marcus Fenix will not make a cameo in the upcoming Super Smash Brothers Brawl (despite floating rumors of his on and off affair with Samus Aran). Seems for now Nintendo will keep its hands clean of the bloodlust.

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Whether you justified playing Manhunt for its clever and subversive commentary on our depraved society or got unapologetic sadistic jollies from the game, there's more creepiness on the way.  The naughty boys at Rockstar have Manhunt 2 in the pipeline for PSP, PS2 and Wii (which begs the question, how will the Wimote used as a throat-slicer??!?).

Story details are scant save for jittery teaser with suggestions of horrifying experiments, a guy named Danny Lamb and a creepy institutional setting. While this missive we received from Dixmoor Hospital for the Criminally Insane doesn't shed any new light on the tale, it was kinda cool in a Saw III way -- especially the enclosed blood-splattered hospital bracelets

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Searching for an 8-bit accessory or two to boost your gamer cred?  Tired of having the same retro game shirt that everyone else has?  Well look no further than Etsy, a unique site where crafters far and wide sell their hand-made art online. Fortunately for us, there exists a cornucopia of crafters who have put their nimble fingers to work at one-of-a-kind gaming related paraphernalia, including t-shirts, earrings, keychains, and original art. 

To uncover a multitude of gaming treats simply type "video games" or other gaming-related words (Nintendo, Final Fantasy, etc.) in the search bar. My personal favorites include a set of Super Mario Boo coasters, a Bubble Bobble pin, and a heartwarming crocheted Katamari keychain, all of which are sure to receive respectful nods from any passing hardcore gamer. Now its up to you to do the rest of the treasure hunting! Arrrrgh!

Your friendly neighborhood matchmakers at Microsoft are really pushing for you to have a great Valentine's Day. No, really.

To this end, its public relations flacks have already sent out an e-mail pushing?go figure?Xbox 360 and Xbox Live-enabled titles as a surefire means of romance. "Who says there?s no romance in videogames?" the e-mail reads.

And that's not all. "Ah, Valentine's Day," the note continues. "Thoughts of candy-hearts, chocolates, flowers, greeting cards, and Xbox 360 come to mind. If you?re wondering what a gaming console has to do with this holiday, have an open heart and know that even video games can spark passion on and off the screen.

"For fun Valentine?s Day fodder from the gaming world, Cupid can?t match what?s happening on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live."

Head past the jump to see which titles Microsoft considers romantic.

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Behold the iBoy, a functioning Apple iPod built from twigs and used Chinese newspapers.

Actually, the iBoy is a fusion of the original Nintendo Game Boy and iPod. It's a cool music player that pays homage to video gaming's roots. It's also a neat piece of homemade engineering.

You can build your very own iBoy by following its creators instructions here.

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There is a reason French game company Infogrames dropped its name and instead began calling itself Atari. If this promotional song Infogrames released to promote its video games isn't the exact reason, well, it should be. And if there are, as some believe, many reasons for the name change, well, then, this song is at least 15 or so of them.

Rock out to Infogrames' rocktastic promotional song.

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To say that I like comic books would be like saying Miyamoto made a few decent videogames.  Friends, I am OBSESSED with graphic novels. Every Wednesday morning is like Christmas for me, and when I spot those freshly printed 27-page nuggets of goodness, my heart cheers. It's like getting a hug from a Care Bear while Ed McMahon hands me a giant Publisher's Clearing House check. This little obsession of mine is why I'm SOOOOO excited about the new Ghost Rider movie. I'll admit that when I first heard about the movie, I thought to myself, "Great.  Another crappy CGI misrepresentation of an iconic comic book hero" (here's lookin' at you Hulk). But then I found out that Nic Cage was playing Johnny Blaze, and my fears disappated. The guy LOVES comic books, as evidenced by not only the fact that his collection sold recently for well over seven figures, but also because he freakin' named his kid Kal-El! I'm confident that Nic, of all people, won't steer us wrong.  So I'm holding my breath and trembling in anticipation for next Friday. Until then, I give you this.

Under normal circumstances I'd use this little slice of the internet pie to throw down an inarticulate rambling about video games or pop culture. However, today something new crossed my path. Specifically, this: Columbine at Slamdance, and because I'm the "video games guy" in my posse (yeah, I just used the word "posse," and I promise it will never happen again) my friend Jonathon, an aspiring filmmaker and a student at Columbine during the time of this tragedy, sent me the link and posed this question to me: "Are video games becoming too real?" Now, my answer to him will be long and involved and boring so I'll spare ya the details, but I would like to know what my faithful readers (all seven of you) think... so send a comment or two my way and let's share a moment.

And for those of you interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, here's the link to the game itself: Super Columbine Massacre RPG. But approach with caution my friends, because it ain't for the faint of heart.

Can't leave you on a downer, so this should put a smile in your heart:

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