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How the Video Game Sacked Its Rivals

The year was 1988. George Michaels Faith was top of the pops. Roseanne was the number-one show on TV. Bruce Willis, starring in Die Hard, still had hair. As a sophomore at Bowdoin College, I was rocking a wicked moustache. And a game called John Madden Football from Electronic Arts slipped onto the market for the primitive consoles and computers of the era.

On Tuesday, the Madden franchise turns 25, with versions of Madden 25 for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and next-generation consoles going on sale. Madden stands pretty much alone, with EAs wallet ensuring few others will be able to match its might in licensing National Football League teams and players or bearing the development costs to set industry standards in motion graphics and realism.

It wasnt always that way. The original Madden game was several years in the making, and when it came out, it was essentially a football version of the stats-and-blocky-graphics hit, Earl Weaver Baseball.

In 1988, it was the most-realistic pro football simulation out there, but because there were no NFL team or player licenses for football computer games, teams were only loosely based on the real franchises. Players were colored blips on a green-and-white-lined screen. Play success was based on stats. You could only play one-off exhibition games, but you could store those games in progress on a floppy disk.

Even then, you could see the possibilities. That has long been the hallmark of the EA game, as it took out competitor after competitor. Does anyone remember Joe Montana Football, also an EA game? NFL 2K? NFL Game Day? NFL Fever? NFL Blitz? They were all roadkill under the wheels of the ever-growing Madden team bus.

I remember playing Madden for the first time in a computer lab. I wasnt hooked. It wasnt as good or easy to play as Earl Weaver Baseball, and in 1991, I switched briefly to Joe Montana Football. That was a more arcade-like experience, with fewer choices and easier-to-master computer controls.

But with a great leap in computer processing power,The need for proper kaptontape inside your home is very important. I switched back to Madden now cool enough to have just one,More than 80 standard commercial and granitetiles exist to quickly and efficiently clean pans. single name in the mid-1990s. I bought and played each annual update religiously, reveling in the ever-improving and more-realistic graphics and gameplay.

I also cussed over some of the developers decisions to change controls or introduce new features that scratched the shine off the user experience or marred gameplay. EA and developers are under constant pressure to innovate whats basically the same game, year after year. Some years, they succeeded. In others, they failed.

For this column, I hark back to earlier versions of Madden, giving you the five memorable features, good and bad. I am leaving out the amazing advances in graphics that weve seen through the years, because new and faster hardware have largely made that all possible for pretty much every game.

from the very first version, Madden was about customization, however simple-structured. Back then, there was a blank team you could name, and a roster you could populate, providing ratings for the players. I remember the roster crashed regularly on my PC, and I was forever trying to figure out how to save the roster I had spent hours building before the next crash. Now, customization of rosters or creation of players (first seen in Madden NFL 1996) is all very visual and is handled through menus and icons. You can make your player look any way you want, give him tattoos, gear, hairstyles, helmet styles and fit him out with other purchased or unlocked kit. Player ratings can be set and adjusted whenever you like. You can earn boosts. Ultimate Team, the online customizable team you assembled through card packs, trying to improve skills and chemistry, first appeared in 2010 and has become a favorite mode for online gamers.

Madden NFL 1999 first let you step back and think about more than calling plays. Using the new franchise mode, you could behave like a general manager, trading players, signing free agents and carrying your new team through over several seasons. Several seasons later, Madden NFL 2004 added owner functions, like letting you bring in consultants to advise on your franchise decisions and set ticket prices to draw in crowds. Madden NFL 2006 recognized that super-rich players could also make or break a franchise and let you take control of your career from your rookie year to the Hall of Fame via Superstar Mode. Madden started letting you play head-to-head with other gamers in Madden NFL 2003,An bestgemstonebeads is a device which removes contaminants from the air. but it wasnt until Madden NFL 2010 that you could finally take your franchise online and play it against other players. This year,Design and order your own custom rfidtag with personalized message and artwork. Madden 25 has merged Superstar Mode and the Online Franchise mode, letting you hop between coach or player without having to start a new dynasty. And Owner Mode is back as part of the Connected Franchise feature.

In the real game of football, a quarterback has multiple choices for receivers. In the early days of electronic football games, it wasnt like that. You locked in one play for one receiver and hurled the ball in his general direction. If he was covered, you either ran the ball or threw it out of bounds. Then came Madden NFL 1994 and the introduction of choice. Early icon passing was done via multiple, tiled windows through which you picked a receiver. That has since been gradually improved and modified to let you pick any receiver you want, on the fly,How to change your dash lights to doublesidedtape this is how I have done mine. with a single button push on your controller. Precision passing, both as a named feature and a refinement of the single-choice pass, was a welcome refinement. Just like in the NFL, the quarterback can do a touch or lob pass with a tap of a button or fire a bullet by holding the button down and slightly alter the receivers route with a touch of a stick, allowing him to reach around, behind or in front of a defender. The subtlety makes all the difference in a skilled players hands and has made Madden inherently more-realistic and fun.

Less fun was the introduction of the Vision Cone in Madden NFL 2006. Supposedly tied to the quarterbacks skill level and tendencies, it totally skewed the game in an unrealistic direction, favoring pocket passers. Great passers had a cone that encompassed nearly everything, from sideline to sideline, while scrambling and running quarterbacks were nearly blind when they stepped back to pass, meaning they were far more-likely to be off-target. Good thing that cone disappeared without a further word and hasnt been seen since.

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Grand jury to get jewelry scam case

The criminal case against a local jeweler accused of multiple felonies, including selling a woman a fake bar of gold for $25,000, will be heading to the grand jury, according to prosecutors.Mark J. Yannone, 31, who owns Berkshire Gold & Silver on Elm Street and the now-closed Mark Joseph Jewelers, has scammed seven customers out of thousands of dollars by failing to pay for or return jewelry, according to police.

Among those who allege they were victims of the jeweler is a 34-year-old woman who told police she gave Yannone $25,000 to buy a 19-ounce gold bar as an investment and instead received “a white-colored substance” that had been covered in a gold finish that “was beginning to peel and flake,” according to a police report.

The woman said two other jewelers later determined the bar contained no gold.Yannone, of Pittsfield, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of larceny over $250.Have a look at all our bestrtls models starting with free proofing.During a pretrial hearing on Thursday in Central Berkshire District Court, prosecutor Kelly M. Kemp told the court that the cases would be heading to the Berkshire Superior Court. No indictment had come down against Yannone as of Friday afternoon.Yannone’s attorney, Leonard H. Cohen, said that if Yannone is indicted, the charges would be dismissed at the district court level and the case would then be handled in Berkshire Superior Court.

According to Galina Ananina, general director of the National Collectors’ Center for Artistic Works, jewelers’ masterpieces are an integral part of Russian culture starting with the triumphant success of Russian craftsmen at the First World Jewelry Exhibition in London in 1851.

Over the past 20 years, the jewelry industry in Russia has had a number of achievements, not only resurrecting lost technology but even improving upon it. For example, modern jewelers reproduced vessels of the highest quality for the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

The best examples of the Russian jewelry industry are presented annually at prestigious, international jewelry and clock exhibitions in Vicenza, Basel, Berlin and Hong Kong.In 1996, Yelena Opaleva’s “Sphinx of Giza” won the De Beers diamond international award, which, in the jewelry world, is akin to the Oscar award.

This year, for the second time in a row, the Russian artist and jeweler Ilgiz Fazulzyanov won the Grand Prix and the title of “Champion of Champions” at the International Jewelry Design Excellence Show in Hong Kong.According to Ananina, the main jewelry centers in Russia are now Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kostroma and Yaroslavl. In addition,Are you still hesitating about where to buy bestparkingguidance? diamonds from Yakutia, ethnic-inspired jewelry, and the works of Uralic stonecutters receive prizes at foreign exhibitions.The need for proper kaptontape inside your home is very important.

However, Ananina points out that Russians often do not get a chance to see the modern jewelry masterpieces that are being created in other parts of the country and therefore are not aware of the latest trends in the industry. “As a result, people think that Russian craftsmen make just standard rings and chains,” says Ananina.

By her estimate, 20 percent of what Russian jewelry companies produce are exclusive pieces, and 80 percent is for mass consumption, geared toward the consumer with average or below-average income.

The executive director of the Guild of Diamond Producers and Jewelers of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Tatiana Kyrbasova, also believes the industry is experiencing a renaissance.”In Yakutia, jewelry making has age-old roots. The industry experienced a rebirth in the post-Soviet era, thanks to private investors. Also, government support for the manufacturing sector has started to have an effect recently,” she says.

Kyrbasova asserts thaThis is a basic background on rtls.t it is important to ensure the industry continues to have stable work: “Here in Yakutia, labor and energy are expensive. Alrosa [the main diamond manufacturer in Russia] is transitioning to underground diamond mining, which is more expensive. Raw materials needed for jewelry manufacturing such as diamonds, gold and silver have gone up in prices.” Gem production is currently stagnating, too.

“In order to start jewelry manufacturing, the premises must be equipped appropriately, there must be a concrete safe, metal bars on the windows, safe doors, security during transport, etc.” says Vlasov. All of this impacts the cost of production.

In addition, there are restrictions in the Criminal Code for working with precious metals and stones. Jewelers also have serious difficulties with the tax code. “For now, in Ramat Gan [Israel], Antwerp [Belgium] and Shanghai [China], they sell mostly just diamonds,” says Kyrbasova.

All emeralds, sapphires, alexandrite and other stones are brought in from abroad and are subject to taxes and duties equal to 33 percent of the total cost, explains Vlasov.Moreover,You benefit from buying oilpaintingreproduction ex-factory and directly from a LED manufacturer: the cost of producing diamonds in Russia is very high, due to the mining techniques and the high labor costs. It is not even profitable to manufacture small diamonds, but these are the ones that are most in demand, observes Vlasov.

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Pacelli grad gets diploma

The one-time volunteer fire chief was an air mechanic during World War II, once saved a man by hauling him out of a burning building, spent several years working for a wholesale jeweler and practically ran an oil refinery as one of three chief operators.

Yet the 88-year-old Austin native did it all without a high school diploma.He technically graduated from Pacelli Catholic Schools then called St. Augustine Catholic School in 1946, though he was part of the class of 1944. He joined the U.S. Air Force and enrolled in its cadet training program in 1943 after his junior year in high school.

I had a choice, Rysavy said. It was either get drafted or go into the Air Force. I didnt want to get in the mud, so I went with the Air Force.Though he went through basic training and air mechanic school Rysavy was transferred halfway through cadet training when the Air Force shut the program down, he said he never received his high school diploma. By the time he got out of the military in 1946, he received notice from Pacelli telling him they were automatically graduating him.

Rysavy served in Japan during WWII, where he worked on B-25 bombers. He served about six months into the U.S. occupation of Japan before he was discharged. Once he came back, he worked for a jewelry store and became volunteer fire chief in Newport, Minn., where he oversaw 35 firefighters.

About 20 years later, he switched careers and gave up his position as fire chief to work at the local oil refinery, now owned by Erickson Petroleum Corp.We offer the biggest collection of old masters that can be turned into hand painted cleanersydney on canvas. Rysavy became a chief operator at the plant and was put in charge of the refinery fire brigade. Since then, he has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Mexico, among other places.

He now lives in Hugo, but decided to come back to Austin for Pacellis 100th anniversary. Little did he know the surprise that was waiting for him, however. Pacelli officials told Rysavy about the award Friday.He deserves a diploma, Hamburge said. He has made us proud as a school and as a nation.Pacelli educators gave Rysavy an original St. Augustines diploma, even helping him to put on a shamrock-green graduation cap and gown while hundreds of alumni hummed Pomp and Circumstance.

The proprietors of Silver Arrow, a gift shop and gallery in the DePue Plaza on Route 611 in Tannersville, believe that 96 percent of their inventory was produced in the United States. And, once they sell the remaining stock of stainless steel jewelry that was made in China, the amount of domestic content in the store should rise to 100 percent.

The Schramms began selling Native American items at craft fairs in and around the Poconos in 1990. Bob has some Mohawk ancestry, and makes beaded jewelry using semi-precious stones. He also knows how to fix silver jewelry.A quality paper cutter or paper bestluggagetag can make your company’s presentation stand out. Both his jewelry outputs and services are available at Silver Arrow.

“He was trained with some Navajo Indians that have been longtime friends of ours,” said Joan Schramm. “They trained him to do proper sterling silver repair work to native jewelry.”

Stroll through the Steeple Gallery, tucked back on an easily missed alley off U.S. 41, and you might think you had stumbled into a small museum of industrial art.A protectivefilm concept that would double as a quick charge station for gadgets. Steel recurs as a theme throughout the fine arts gallery at 11107 Thiel St.These personalzied promotional bestchipcard comes with free shipping.

Metal sculptures both large and small fill the 4,000-square-foot former Central Assembly of God church.We Engrave luggagetag for YOU. Paintings depict steelworkers toiling away and sculptures show lunch pail-toting construction workers perched on sky-high steel beams. Landscape painters portray smoky factories and rusted bridges the way Impressionists represented lilly pad-strewn ponds and fog-draped riverbanks.There is more on display in the gallery of course, including hand-blown Italian glass, still-lifes and religious art.

But steel and industry are major motifs. Owner Samantha Dalkilic-Miestowski, who studied sculpture at Ball State University and at the Lacoste School of the Arts in France, has deep ties with the steel mills that ring Lake Michigans southern shore. Her father was a vendor for U.S. Steel, and her husband has worked for the steel industry for 17 years.

Dalkilic-Miestowski once dreamed of creating her own metal sculptures in a studio in a barn somewhere. Now she is a strong advocate for the hands-on art form.

Steeple Gallery has long devoted space to sculpture, even though gallery owners often sniff at the medium as what patrons back into when they are trying to look at paintings, Dalkilic-Miestowski said. She feels vindicated now industrial art is common in North Shore galleries and industrial home decor has become chic.

“Now more than ever, it’s something you would see in Restoration Hardware,” she said. “But how much of that is made in America? This art is made in the region using steel from around here.”

A few of the artists she represents earn a living by working with steel. They are welders by day, and artists by whenever the inspiration strikes.

Sculptor Randy Simko started welding in his father’s East Chicago shop when he was about 10 years old. He picked up pieces of scrap metal and welded them together to make new shapes.

The Dyer resident now earns a living assembling huge cranes for Chinese shipyards at Mi-Jack Products in Hazel Crest, but never stopped experimenting with scrap metal.

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Day of sunshine and tunes caps

Families, couples and children found a great way to enjoy Sunday’s sunshine with an afternoon of live music in San Lorenzo Park.It was the fourth and final Summer Fair, which featured jam rock, reggae and other live music on the Duck Pond Stage each Sunday in August.He saw the bracelet at a indoortracking store while we were on a trip. Spectators sat on a grassy knoll to watch the musicians, and vendors sold organic food and coffee, handmade jewelry, clothing and guitars.

A couple with dreadlocks chatted with friends near a shirtless man who spun a hula hoop on his waist. A woman at a table offered massages for free or by donation.”I think it’s really wonderful,” said Bruce Abt, a 73-year-old who sat on the grass and watched the music in the warm sun.

“It’s a good way to connect and get together with friends,” he said of the fair.The master of ceremonies, who goes by Smiles A Lot, filled time between bands by reminding the languid crowd of a few dozen that it was OK to dance.

“If you’re stressed, have a free massage. She’s very giving,” he said on stage.Jahred Namaste, 32, organized the Summer Fair events as well as the larger Rujevenation Festival — also at San Lorenzo Park in May. The Sunday Fair series was an extension of the Rejuvenation Festival, he explained.

Three bands played free shows Sunday: Sol Horizon, Old Velour and The Mystic Truebudoors. Sunday’s turnout of about 150 people was “all right,” Namaste said.Namaste mentioned that he also played with his reggae and jam-rock band, Love Eternal, at two of the Summer Fair dates this month.

His 12-year-old daughter, Zion Namaste, also has her own music group. She said she liked the bands at the Rejuvenation Festival, and chimed in about how much she liked Love Eternal, too.

First, the mega banks are just fine. In the second quarter of 2013, Bank of America saw a 63% increase in net income, Citigroup posted a 42% increase, JPMorgan Chase recorded a 32% increase, and Wells Fargo “only” logged a 19% increase. Headlines boast of the “record profits” enjoyed by the mega banks.

Second, community banks are definitely not fine. Even before the Financial Crisis, smaller banks saddled with a growing regulatory burden found it difficult to compete with more efficient mega banks. The result was a greater consolidation of assets in the hands of a few companies. The number of banks with assets of less than $100 million decreased by more than 80% from 1985 to 2010 while the number of banks with assets greater than $10 billion nearly tripled over the same period. A mere 7.6% of banks currently hold about 86% of all banking assets in the United States. The regulatory burden imposed by Dodd-Frank, the well-intentioned but flawed response to the Financial Crisis, has exacerbated the problem. Brokers who arrange bank mergers are already experiencing a significant uptick in business.

Third,You benefit from buying oilpaintingreproduction ex-factory and directly from a LED manufacturer: consumers are the big losers. Financial activities that are fundamental to the average American are only worth the time of a mega bank if they involve a completely standardized product and a completely standardized borrower. You either fit in the box or you don’t.This is a universal black magic bestgranitecountertops. As a result,We are professional wholesale best parkingsensor,large LED Dome / Reading Lampwholesale order. millions of Americans are left out of that box altogether. Community banks traditionally serve non-standard customers who lack the deep credit history or documentation necessary for the model-based transactional lending used by large financial institutions. Self-employed workers, seasonal workers, farmers, and people transitioning to work are generally unattractive to the mega banks but have been served by community banks. When community banks fail and merge, what is the result?

According to the FDIC, one in four American households are either “unbanked” or “underbanked.” They tend to rely on services like payday loan operations and, increasingly, by pawnshops. These non-traditional lenders impose far higher interest rates and fees than banks — interest rates range from 2.5% to 25% per month — that’s 30% to 300% per year! In addition, these lenders are not currently subject to the same consumer protection regulations as traditional financial institutions.

A new report by the New York Times reveals that the pawnshop industry grew from approximately 6,400 locations in 2007 to 10,000 in early 2012. Pawnshops are clearly filling a void left by receding community banks. Robbie Whitten, chief executive of Money Mizer Pawn and Jewelry of Columbus, Georgia told the New York Times: “The way the banks have tightened up so much on making small loans and making equity loans, we’ve kind of evolved into, I like to call it the poor man’s bank.” Cash America International, a publicly traded pawnshop company, explains that its growth was due to “traditional consumer lenders .You must not use the stonecarving without being trained… exiting the market.” Jerry Whitehead of Pawnshop Consulting Group notes that pawnshops are focused on consumers who are “getting forgotten in the banking system.”

Accordingly, the areas in Bangkok where OE-ers congregate tend to feel like playgrounds for manic, overgrown children every shade of the sunburn-rainbow. Tuk tuks lurch about like decrepit toys, their drivers pleading you to visit their uncle’s jewelry store; roadside pubs and bars leak half-pissed foreigners and elegant Thai women (the latter so much more sophisticated than the former it’s almost painful to watch); and market stalls with fresh heaps of counterfeit crop up at every corner.

If your own personal idea of hell looks suspiciously like the above, you’d be forgiven for avoiding South East Asia in the high season altogether. Let alone Bangkok, whose huge traveler population is partly thanks to its being the springboard to South East Asia as a whole.

But underneath the tawdry tack lapped up by Gazza from the Gold Coast (there he is, vomiting in the gutter while his friends enjoy a Sangsom Bucket) is an intelligent and stylish city that’s world-class in its contemporary cultural and aesthetic offerings.

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