I spent the latter part of the last year in Berlin at the 24th edition of the excellent Chaos Communication Conference. There were a gazillion talks crowded out by several thousand hackers (or would-be hackers). Here are two talks that stood out in relation to our interests here at SP.
The first talk was actually a 'lightning talk' called "The State of the Wii" and needs little description other than this is the first time the world has seen homebrew code running on the Nintendo Wii itself, with full input from the WiiMote. In other words, this is the beginning of fully fledged Wii games made for the Wii, running on the Wii with full access to the console's hardware.
See the above video of Ben Byer ('Bushing?') and co giving an early demonstration of this landmark feat. Here's an interview with the exploiter himself.
See also this one hour lecture on console hacking by legendary hacker Felix Domke and Michael Steil. Around 1000 people turned up for this talk following the great success of last year's lecture.
Earlier on in the conference Florian Burckhardt - co-author of the somewhat unsettling educational comic Disease Detectives - gave a lecture on the arcane topic of Modeling Infectious Diseases in Virtual Realities.
His talk takes the premise that populated MMO's like WoW make useful environments for investigating the outbreak of plagues. His thesis is this:
Disease modelling is essentially a virtualisation of reality that tries to gain insights into hitherto unknown inderdependencies and to simulate intervention scenarios. In 2005, courtesy of its creators at Blizzard Entertainment, the ancient Blood God "Hakkar the Soulflayer" unleashed a devastating plague, "corrupted blood", upon a totally unprepared population of avatars. Unintentionally, the digital "black death" spread to cities and depopulated whole areas. The epidemic could only be controlled by shutting down and restarting the game world, a measure unfortunately not available in the "real" world. However, other measures such as quarantine or improved treatment are available in the real world and can be simulated by disease modelling.
While that all might sound a bit serious the talk has some hilarious moments and great in-game footage of the famous Corrupted Blood plague being unwillingly (and willingly) spread by players.
I've archived the 24C3 footage of the event here for posterity. It'll play in VLC.