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Schilling's got game

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Curt Schilling, aka the Big Lug, looks like he might be pitching a perfect game.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning came out this week amid great expectations. Pre-orders of the $60 game totaled 300,000. Although some reviews have been mixed, Hiawatha Bray, the Globe’s resident geek, says Schilling’s 38 Studios LLC has a hit on its hands. Schilling himself told G4, a video game website, that the game mixes two genres – action and role playing – perfectly. “We nailed it,” he says.

Bray reports that the team Schilling assembled to build Amalur was exceptional. It included fantasy author R. A. Salvatore, comic book artist Todd McFarlane, and veteran video game developers Ken Rolston and Ian Frazier. The game took more than five years to develop, but the hope is that it will spawn novels, comic books, toys, and perhaps even a movie franchise.

Forbes reports the game borrows many elements from previous successful games. “It’s the exact same approach that I took to pitching in baseball,” Schilling said. “I don’t throw any revolutionary pitches, or pitch as hard as some of the other guys out there. But I thought that if I went around learning from the best in the world, and taking a piece here and there, I could create something great, and something uniquely my own.”

The optimism surrounding Amalur is sure to renew the debate about whether Massachusetts acted wisely in letting Schilling and his company get away. In 2010, Rhode Island offered $75 million in loan guarantees in exchange for Schilling’s promise to create 450 new jobs. Massachusetts made no counteroffer, so Schilling moved his company from Maynard to Providence.

In our current issue, CommonWealth looks at the promise of the Massachusetts video game industry and the debate over whether it needs a tax credit to move it into high gear. That could be difficult, however, with a commission now looking to scale back tax breaks, not expand them.

                                                                                                                                                    --BRUCE MOHL



BEACON HILL

House Speaker Robert DeLeo tells his colleague the House budget won’t contain any new taxes or fees, CommonWealth reports. The speaker later goes on Jim Braude’s NECN show and says transportation finances need to be addressed, but is vague about how that will be done. He also assures viewers he won’t be indicted in connection with the various probation investigations, although he indicates the feds did talk to him. He also takes a shot at Giselle Bundchen, and says: “Tom oughta look elsewhere.”

The Eagle-Tribune traces the $69,000 Republican Rep. Paul Adams received from his family as he ran for office in 2010 and explains why the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance fined him $4,000.

The Berkshire Eagle takes issue with an Ohio businessman who is funding efforts to get a referendum on medicinal marijuana on the ballot.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Yvonne Abraham vents outrage at the handling by Boston officials of another case of a young child being dropped off at the wrong bus stop.  The Download made much the same the case on Monday.

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy laments how the search for a new city comptroller led to a local being selected. “This process is indicative of the culture that is prevalent in Lynn, a culture I wanted to change,” Kennedy said.

At a town meeting tonight, Freetown residents will discuss whether to seek legislation that would exempt the stalled Meditech development project from Massachusetts Historical Commission review.  The current issue of CommonWealth has the full story behind the controversy.  

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who is profiled in the current issue of CommonWealth, has joined the national group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, founded by Boston’s Thomas Menino and New York’s Michael Bloomberg.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

US Sen. Scott Brown is pushing to expand immigration quotas for Irish workers.

Washington state lawmakers pass a gay marriage bill, and the governor is expected to sign it into law, USA Today reports (via AP).

The Arizona Supreme Court upholds a lower court decision holding that a woman cannot run for the San Luis City Council because her English language skills are insufficient, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signs legislation mandating insurance coverage for autistic children, the Washington Post reports.

The hacking of email accounts of senior Syrian officials has unearthed an email from Boston philanthropist Bobby Sager expressing support for the repressive Assad regime.

A Pew Research Center survey finds that there is widespread agreement that life is tougher for young people today than at any time since the Second World War.

Another survey says a group of random people chosen from phone books would do a better job in Washington than the current Congress.

Gail Collins says Catholic bishops are fighting the Obama administration over contraception because they’ve long since lost that war at home.

ELECTION 2012

In what is becoming something of a broken-record storyline, the Globe reports today that Rick Santorum’s three-state sweep earlier this week is sending a clear message: “Many Republican voters remain dissatisfied with Mitt Romney’s business-minded, PowerPoint appeal.” As Santorum plots an aggressive nationwide campaign, Romney is being squeezed from the right, and in the middle. GOP oracle Karl Rove anoints Santorum as the anti-Romney; sorry, Newt.

Joe Kennedy III moves to Brookline, which happens to be in the Fourth Congressional District.

Herman Cain’s post-scandal legal bill: $316,262.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The New Hampshire House puts off a vote on a casino gambling bill, possibly because Republican leaders don’t have the votes to override an expected veto by Gov. John Lynch, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Harvard administrator Erika Christakis offers an argument on behalf of fair-trade pornography in a Globe op-ed.

Two documentary projects are following New Bedford fishermen to highlight the dangers of working at sea, the New Bedford Standard-Times reports.

A Standard-Times editorial argues that strict enforcement of existing laws could be an effective way to combat online piracy in the wake of SOPA and PIPA’s death.

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both outline the terms of a proposed nationwide foreclosure settlement, which recently netted support from holdout states New York and California. The Globe reports that Massachusetts, which is suing the banks the states are settling with, is also expected to sign on. And just as the long, tortuous foreclosure settlement comes to a close, the SEC prepares to sue a host of big banks over faulty mortgage bonds.

EDUCATION

The Republican shows no love for Gov. Deval Patrick’s community college centralization plan.

Radio Boston chats with the Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun about the high cost of higher education and what can be done about it.

In an op-ed, the head of the Fall River Educators Association blasts municipal officials for their actions during contract negotiations.

HEALTH CARE

A survey of US doctors finds that one-fifth of them have withheld information from patients about a medical mistake in order to fend off a possible lawsuit.

Paul Levy, in Not Running a Hospital, questions a website that compares central line infection rates of hospitals. Levy argues the more useful measure would be whether a hospital’s performance improves over time.

TRANSPORTATION

The New York Times calls the pending House transportation bill “uniquely terrible,” and said the number of outrages it contains “defies belief.”

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Pilgrim nuclear power plant poses a threat to herring stocks.

MEDIA

The California news business: Is it the canary in the coal mine? asks the Nieman Journalism Lab.

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