It's true! Some games still don't need an internet connection!

While we here at Ten Ton Hammer know you love your MMOs (almost as much as we love them), we also know it's good to step back occasionally and see what the other guys are doing. There's a lot of news out there that can affect how and what you play, even if it doesn't come straight from a developer. Here's the recent highlights.

Microsoft has released it's bi-annual "Security Intelligence Report", and prime in it's findings is that malware removed from Windows computers rose by 43% in the first half of this year. Microsoft believes that it has locked down Vista and it's other operating systems enough that hackers and virus makers are now starting to target individual programs to attack instead of the operating system. Programs like your MMO for example. Be prepared!

A new study out of the Iowa State University again links violent video games to aggression in teens. While this is nothing new and most gamers just don't want to hear it, the detractors from this study do give hope that someone out there is looking at this objectively.

But Dr. Cheryl K. Olson, co-director of the Center for Mental Health and the Media at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, isn't convinced.

"It's not the violence per se that's the problem, it's the context and goals of the violence," said Olson, citing past research on TV violence and behavior.

There are definitely games kids shouldn't be playing, she said, for example those where hunting down and killing people is the goal. But she argues that the label "violent video games" is too vague. Researchers need to do a better job at defining what is considered a violent video game and what constitutes aggressive behavior, she added.

There is unfortunately a spat of gaming companies that are either downsizing or closing in the bad economic times. The latest victims are subsidiaries of publisher THQ. While it's confirmed that the quiet Paradigm Studios will be going to the great respawn point in the sky, rumors that racing developer Juice Entertainment will be cutting down are still just that - rumors.

If you're a gamer who wants to have a cause to contribute to, you might want to look into getting a 2009 MMO calendar. Featuring artwork from many AAA class MMOs, the profits will be going to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Please, save the children so that they can play MMOs later.

And finally, as a mote of proof the rest of the gaming world has noticed us - the MMO gamers - but hasn't caught up yet, World of Warcraft was recently featured on a list of the 10 Greatest Gaming Achievements. The achievement to overcome in WoW? Reach level 60. Just change that 6 to an 8. It's okay.

That's it for now. We'll be back with more when it gets interesting again. Credits for the first two headlines go to The New York Times and CNN, respectively.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016