Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on August 15, 2005 · 18
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Edmonton Journal from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada · 18

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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Monday, August 15, 2005
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18
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B2 MONDAY, AUGUST 1 5, 2005 CULTURE EDMONTON JOURNAL Gamers' little bash grows into major international event NEIL DAVIDSON The Canadian Press It started as a little bash for gamers who liked to play Quake and Doom. Today QuakeCon is a major league party. It's gone from a few rooms at a Dallas-area Best Western to about 14,000 square metres of convention space. Organizers expected more than 6,000 people to show up for the 10th anniversary edition of QuakeCon, which wrapped up Sunday in Grapevine, Tex. They brought more than 3,000 computers with them so they could frag monsters, aliens and each other. "It is a very, very broad audience. We get representation from every corner of the United States (and) definitely up into Canada," said Marty Stratton,drrectorof business development for Id Software, the influential developer from Mesquite, Tex., responsible for Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein. "We always have a fairly strong Canadian contingent. But then even over into Europe, a lot of peo The pro players, they're ridiculously good. Its amazing to watch. 5 3 Marty ple (come) from Germany, Sweden. We often have people from South Korea and even sometimes from Japan. We almost always have a few people show up from Australia. It really does have a global reach." Almost 5,900 made it last year. The convention started as a celebration of games from Id Software. While still volunteer-run with no admission cost, QuakeCon has grown by leaps and bounds. This year's agenda included tournaments galore. Thanks to NVIDIA, a graphics processor manufacturer, there was $150,000 US in prize money on the line this year. The purse breakdown was Paperbacks adopt bigger-sized print Publishers aim to revive flagging sales by making books easier for aging boomers to read EDWARD YVYATT New York Times They carried dog-eared copies of On the Road in their back pockets during college and devoured Tom Clancy paperbacks on airplanes as young executives. But as baby boomers near retirement, they are finding it harder and harder to read the small type of mass-market paperbacks, the pocket-sized books that are the most popular segment of the publishing business. Faced with declining sales, two of the biggest publishers of mass-market titles, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster, have begun issuing new paperbacks by some of their most popular authors in a bigger size that allows larger type and more space between lines. "We've been losing the foundation of our customer base because their eyesight is getting worse and the books are getting harder and harder to read," said Jack Romanos, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster, whose Pocket Books division introduced the mass-market paperback format in the U.S. in 1939. More mass-market paperbacks are still sold each day than any other type of book; last year consumers bought 535 million of them. But that number has steadily declined for a decade and is down 11 per cent in the last five years, while the overall number of books sold has fallen by only seven per cent, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a publishing trade group. For publishers, the main advantage of the new book is that it is the same width as a traditional mass-market paperback, which allows it to fit in the wire racks at airports, grocery stores and drug stores. Those outlets are among the biggest sellers of the romances, west-ems, mysteries and thrillers that made up the bulk of paperbacks sold. Publishers have also raised the cover price of the new books to $9.99 US, $2 to $3 more than the traditional paperbackbut still less than the $14 cover price of the digest-size books, known as trade paperbacks, that are now the primary format for nonfiction books and literary novels. Readers appear to be responding well. Larger-edition paperbacks of six authors WHAT'S IABATT BLUES FESTIVAL The seventh edition of the Edmonton Labatt Blues Festival will include Curiey Bridges; W.C. Clark; Koko Taylor and her Blues Machine; Mike Kindred; David Gogo; Mem Shannon and the Membership; Downchild Blues Band; Mannish Boys featuring Finis Tasby, Kid Ramos and Johnny Dyer; Mary Flower; Craig Horton; Zac Harmon and the Mid-South Blues Revue; Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin with Willie (Big Eyes) Smith and Rev. Billy C Wirtz; and Delbert McClinton. Also Blues Bar and Store, food vendors, autograph table and dance floor. When: Friday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 2:30-10 p.m. Where: Heritage Amphitheatre, Hawrelak Park. Tickets: Non-transferable weekend pass $70; transferable weekend pass $85; Friday $30, Saturday or Sunday $40. Tickets available at Ticketmaster, 451-8000 (plus service charge), Megatunes and the Chateau Louis Hotel. Information: 708-7230. CENTENNIAL JAZZ AT THE LAKE FESTIVAL This weekend, Friday through Sunday at Sylvan Lake. Feature concert Saturday. Admission $20. The Prime Time 19-piece big band with special guest vocalist Cheryl Fisher, H.J. Cody school, Stevenson Performing Arts Centre, 4520 50th Street, 7-9 p.m. Tickets available at Sylvan Lake Visitor Information Centre, Thousands of Quake and Doom fans attend $50,000 foraDrxm3deathmatch championship; $50,000 for a six-on-six team Return to Castle Wolfensteuv Enemy Territory championship; $30,000 for an all-female Quake 3 arena deathmatch; and $20,000 for a Quake 2 Retro-Death-match championship. Gamers also got first looks at the Quake 4 multiplayer game play and Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil for the Xbox. The first QuakeCon, in 1996, really had no official links to Id. It was the brainchild of some 100 gamers who used to play together by computer. They decided to get together so they could play face-to-face and chose the Dallas area, because it's home to Id. So they booked rooms at a hotel in Garland, Tex., to set up a LAN party to play Quake. They basically didn't have enough money for power, didn't have enough money to put the whole thing together, so John Carmack went over Stratton there and handed over some cash and basically sat on the porch and talked to them a long time," explained Stratton. Other Id employees dropped by "and such was the birth of QuakeCon," added Stratton. Some 35 to 40 volunteers work year-round on QuakeCon. "Everyone's spread out around the country," Stratton said. "We make it happen through e-mails and IRC and some conference calls and a few meetings." Given the size of the BYOC (bringyour own computer) component of the event, organizers build a network "the size of most Fortune 500 companies" in about Sandra Brown have made it onto the Afeiv York Times paperback bestseller list since last month, when they started appearing regularly in stores. The Pocket Books edition of White Hot, the latest suspense novel by Sandra Brown, is in the new format and will top the Times list on Aug. 21, the first time one of the new, bigger editions will reach No. 1. "We've gotten so many letters and e-mails from readers saying, Thank you for making the type larger,' " said Leslie Gelbman, the president of mass-market paperbacks at Penguin Group, which test-marketed the first larger paperback in December. Good response to that offering fed Penguin, a division of Pearson, to expand its program this year to seven of its bestselling authors, including the romance novelist Nora Roberts, and thriller writers Clive Cussler and Robin Cook. Harlequin Enterprises, the biggest seller of romance novels, has also joined the movement Last month, it began issuing larger-format paperbacks of its new line of romances for older women, called Next. Not all of the responses have been positive, however. Publishing industry executives said that some big discount retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores, objected to the higher price of the new paperbacks and ordered smaller-than-normal volumes of the books because of doubts whether their customers would ON toll-free 1-866-887-5550. Friday: Free admission. 8 p.m. H.O.T. Dixieland Jazz Band Mardi Gras in Sylvan Lake concertdance, Sylvan Lake Golf & Country Club, Tournament House, 50th Avenue and 60th Street. Saturday: 8-11 a.m., pancake breakfast in the town parking lot, 50th Avenue and 50th Street. March of the Canadians commencing at Centennial Park, 12:30 p.m. Lions Legacy Park Rededication and Unveiling of Centennial flock Tower (Stevenson Performing Arts Centre in case of rain) 50th Street and 48th Avenue, 1-4 p.m. Jazoo Cruise on the Lake, 2-5 p.m., featuring the H.O.T. Dixieland Jazz Band on Zoo Cruise Fun Boat; admission $25. For location and reservations, call 403-887-3000. Culture Fest stage and food booths in Town parking lot, 3-9 p.m. Fireworks on the lake at 10 p.m. Sunday: Sunday Service with Jazz singer Haeley Ginter at the Memorial Presbyterian Church 5020 48th Street. 10:30 a.m. Jazz For Kid-. Concert & Jazzy Cartoons with Jazzamatazz Band, 1-2 p.m.. Sylvan Lake Municipal Library, 4715 50th Avenue, free admission. Jazz Pub Crawl, 1-7 p.m. Farewell Jam Session, Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club, 7 p.m., 5331 Lakeshore Dr. Reservations 403-887-3030. This is a selection of events. For a complete listing, consult Friday's What's On section. THE CANADIAN PRESS QuakeCon started as a little bash for gamers who liked to play Quake and Doom; today it has grown into a major league party. 15 hours, said Stratton. "And it's one of the fastest networks in the world," he added with pride. "They're an amazing group of people." Id, NVIDIA, Intel, Activision, Creative Labs and several other sponsors help keep it a free event Stratton says despite its growth, QuakeCon remains true to its origins. "I think to most attendees, it doesn't feel like just a marketing event that Id puts on. It really does feel like a party to them, it feels like a festival where they can just come and hang out And we try to keep that flavour." Id throws a party for the gamers and its buy as many. The large bookstore chains, including Borders Group and Barnes & Noble, are taking a wait-and-see attitude. "We need more time to be able to judge," said Allison Elsby, the manager for genre fiction at Borders and its Waldenbooks division. "There are just a handful of titles out in this format, and while the initial reaction looks relatively positive, it has only been a few weeks." Publishers have tinkered with, the size of mass-market paperbacks over the decades, mostly to meet the demands of printing presses. But at a time when sales of ready-made reading glasses are up they grew 11 percent last year alone, to $439 million, according to Vision Watch, an eyeglass industry research group this change is meant to meet the needs of those who buy and read paperbacks. - Sales of mass-market paperbacks have also been declining for reasons other than America's worsening eyesight. Book superstores and warehouse clubs routinely discount the price of hardcovers by as much as 50 per cent, giving readers less reason to wait customarily, a year after a new book is published to buy the cheaper paperback version. In addition, the decline of the mall bookstores led to fewer impulse purchases of the lower-priced books and the popularity of trade paperbacks grew significantly when Oprah Winfrey began recommending those books exclusively for her book club. Because price-conscious discount merchants like Wal-Mart and Target also grew in importance as booksellers, publishers of mass-market paperbacks have been unable to raise prices, which have been essentially flat for a decade. Romanos of Simon & Schuster said that without the current change, the mass-market segment was in danger of withering. 'If you go back 20 years, the mass-market paperback was really driving the business," he said. But more recently, "it hasn't been carrying its weight As long as we have to continue to pay what we do for brand-name authors, we need a healthier paperback format to make it work." Stage to screen Liz Nicholls In Culture UvveCi J2.00 TUESDAY fSMar S200 matinees S3 -UU M I ER bPM 1.50 FFUSAT MIDNIGHT rmi'..-Hi!lJN.:m iPSt Yard 14A "XtiS coarae language n'ELLY Cinderella Man (PG) tfSESK -IP-y CRAIG BIERKO The Sisterhood of The ,EATAIV2 Traveling Pants (PG) SjAgitfUH The Interpreter (I4A) N'cosL(HDr'F'; The Perfect Man (G) heath eUtJ&S CHRIS NOTH Adventure of Shark Boy tayeor eautner and Lava Girl in 3-D tayeor dooley Lar PG MAnHEW MC& rENELOTE CRUZ Monster-In-Law (PG) iensifer lopez Cost language nrtrccCTrangiflctl WctiMdrw 1ANE r-ovn ' ';"l.'l..t-:J"i.', JIUTTT1 - -.-i m n , 10th anniversary meet - tc - v fZjt employees usually drift over to check out the scene. "It's usually just a nice party that gets thrown for us so we usually like to make an appearance and go meet the people who play our games," said Id lead artist Kenneth Scott, a Calgary native. Scott will also talk art, checking portfolios. "It's very neat" Toronto's Christian Antkow, an Id sound designer, also drops in. He warns against taking on some of the gamers. "More often than not we just cry like schoolgirls when we play against people. There's some very good people out there." Plant donates CD profits to charity The Associated Press MESA, ARIZ. Robert Plant is donating proceeds from sales of a four-song CD to an Arizona-based charitable organization that aids people in remote regions of Ethiopia, Mali and Niger. The former Led Zeppelin frontman has made donations to the group TurtleWill before, but nothing as high-profile as his latest gesture. "It's all about, I think, increasing awareness, breaking away from the usual sort of newsreel approach to human disasters, if you like; Ruminating TONIGHT. Cam Tait Tuesdays in Sports IS5 if " : SAM HOSTS A VERY BAD BILLIONAIRE. LS V:CB! it: t . r -45- WATCH i -tSiliJ imiKl 1 f'-s-VM , r VVIIM f f Global Added Stratton: "The pro players, there ridiculously good Iftainazing to watch." The fans are true devotees, who often are meeting for the first time after getting to know each other online. "The people that just blow me away every time I see them are the fans that have Quake tattoos on their body," said Antkow. "That just amazes me that we have fans so passionate about our games." Id pioneered the first-person shooter and continues to turn heads with its rich graphics and scary game play. Unlike other companies, it has stayed small. Its company directory numbers just 26. Stratton says he doesn't understand why companies put together teams of more than 150 to make a game. Doom 3, Id's most recent release, was developed by 20 to 22 people. The company was one of the first to allow gamers to develop their own "mod" community. After the original Doom was released in 1994, Id released the computer tools needed to design new maps so players could create their own levels. That's how Tim Willits, the lead designer of Doom 3, got his start He was designing his own Doom maps more than a decade ago while at the University of Minnesota. Antkow was offered a job in early '97 after getting to know a couple of Id employees. He loves his workbut calls himself "a stranger in a strange land." Scott used to work at Ion Storm, a company led by former Id executive John Romero. When Id was looking for artists, he put in his name and was hired. He is now a key player at the company. "Probably one of the best Id hires ever," said Stratton. and exposing these conditions from a different angle," Plant told theasr Valley Tribune. Mali, one of the world's poorest countries, usually has trouble ensuring all its people are fed. Hunger is worse than ever this year in Mali and across western Africa because of a locust invasion last year, followed by drought. Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania also are affected. The four-song CD by Plant's newband, Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation, features performances of Shine it All Around, Freedom Fries, Tin Pan Valley and When the Levee Breaks. 1 k A 1e U' felCL . Jus

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