You may have noticed a
recent trend in game news. Not the news I talk about, but rather
what is on the majority of game sites (take a look if you need
to...I'll wait). They all keep talking about the recent explosion of
game laws that are made in the sick idea of keeping children from
the single most harmful of perverse media (/sarcasm)...video games.
Why have I not touched
that subject nearly as much as most sites? Simple. I am sick of
hearing about laws that are deemed unconstitutional within their
first few months of infancy. It's always the same crap...over and
Some politician seems an
election coming up and knows that they have to do something to save
their poor level of support from their constituents. The easiest way
to do so is to take on a major (or at least it seems to be major)
item of no real importance. Now a days, this would be video games
and how they are turning all of our children into mass murderers.
Might I add, at this
conjecture, that Jack Thompson, no matter how you feel about him, is
doing his job pretty well. He is getting massive doses of PR in his
fight against what he sees as filth. This is also where so many
parents and politicians get their ideas from in terms of how video
games are evil. It's not just Mr. Thompson, but he is the biggest
name in this supposed fight against indecency.
So, in the end, we are
left with a bunch of people who have no exposure to games trying to
force anti-game laws into the law books in the name of keeping their
voters...constituents...happy. However, in their rush to finish this
stupid and pointless endeavor, they all end up making laws that
contain horribly vague language, and often times these politicians
don't even know what is in the laws their supposedly penned.
The truth is simple;
children shouldn't be exposed to things that they are not ready for.
However, unlike how law makers like to think, the answer lies with
the parents, guardians, and neighbors of these children. It's a lot
like the episode of The Simpsons that Fox showed last night (the one
in which a monkey adopts Bart). Marge was watching the Flanders
children, and she started to give them some freedoms that Ned would
never allow them to feel. Rod and Todd ended up actually having fun
and becoming somewhat normal members of society since Marge exposed
them to life as they should have, according to their ages.
In this episode, the
lawmakers would be represented by Ned. He was so damned afraid of
introducing real life to his kids that he turned them into quivering
piles of jelly. Meanwhile, a proper parent (in this case, Marge)
show the children reality, and they handled it just fine. The same
applies to games.
We shouldn't expose
children to games like GTA when they are just fresh from the womb,
but we shouldn't be afraid to allow our children to see subject
matter according to what THEY ARE READY FOR. In other words, a game
may be M rated, but some children are ready for this earlier in
their lives...and these games won't turn them into psychopaths (I am
well aware that "psychopath" is not the correct term, but am using
it in it's commonly and incorrectly used meaning). However, it can
cause some problems for the less prepared children.
It's actually like Tiger
Woods said in his ESRB public service announcement advertisements;
the right game for the right child. This doesn't require a draconian
legislature, and it doesn't require a written-in-stone rating. It
requires proper parenting. Also, any parent who says that the
ratings are needed because they don't have time to keep an eye on
their children (to see what is right for them)...well, you shouldn't
have become a parent if you weren't ready to fulfill that
To completely shift
gears, I finally am caught up with Lost. I am just sad that I now
can't watch any new episodes until the fall. This has to be the most
captivating show I have ever seen. In fact, with a show as good as
Lost, I'm honestly surprised it hasn't been canceled yet, since
other shows of this caliber tend to die quick and young, like
Also, I got in a good
deal of Suikoden V this weekend. I am now finally getting into the
main bulk of the game (as in, I have a base of operations, which
starts the official game as previous Suikodens have shown). The most
I play, the more I can plainly see that this game is much better
than it's flaws would reveal. I just wish the stars of destiny
(recruitable characters) weren't so well hidden in the game. I don't
like that I have to follow a walkthrough to find the hidden
characters before it's too late (many characters can only be
overlooked for so long before they are out of the game for good).
That would be the one
part of Suikoden that keeps going downhill. In Suikoden, you could
find everyone with only some investigating. Suikoden 2 introduced
the characters at the very beginning that you could anger quickly
and not know it until the end of the game. Suikoden 3 and 4
continued this with some extra people that would only be around for
about 10 minutes (unless you never progressed the plot) of the game.
Suikoden V does that type of situation...but a 1000 times worse.
I don't care for this
type of obsessive behavior that is required for the good ending (you
only get good endings in Suikoden games if you acquire all
recruitable stars of destiny). It does lower the enjoyment of the
game as a whole. However, the game is still plenty of fun, but for
anyone who plans to play Suikoden V, I just want to say this; find a
recruitment guide online and follow it closely...or you'll regret
Ever get that feeling of
deja vu? I know I'm definitely getting about now. Usually the summer
is a time when game news is pretty sparse, but it's all different,
on the surface at least, this year. Namely, I can definitely tell an
election year is coming up for a lot of elected "leaders". How can I
tell this? Because we are being given the wondrous gift of their
"protection" from our own interests.
On one hand, there
are all of those gaming laws being passed. The ones that will help
save our children (as in the children living in our society) from
the "harmful" influences of video games. Then, there's also the
lawsuits and legal investigations into game companies and into how
solid of an alibi one could expect from "I didn't know it was wrong
to light a kitty on fire...since Grand Theft Auto told me to do it".
So, it's not a
surprise at all when a completely dead subject, like
Hot Coffee, is resurrected by the NY county DA. Yes. Let's bring
back a subject that has basically been officially closed. Brilliant.
Maybe, while we're at it, we could bring back senate investigations
on the song "Cop Killer", rap music in general, 2 Live Crew, and
anything else that was once deemed harmful to children and is now a
I'd be willing the
bet, without taking the time to look it up, that this NY DA is
probably facing an election year either this year or next year.
There is no other reason for a person with some level of power to
drag out something so damned old and no longer interesting to the
public, than to show it as their own way of protecting youth.
The saddest part
of all of this can be found two paragraphs back (right above your
eyes right now). In one time, it was thought that 2 Live Crew, Cop
Killer, Rap Music, Judas Priest, Ozzy, rock in general, Dungeons and
Dragons, Mortal Kombat, Night Trap, and a few thousand other forms
of popular (or even unpopular) entertainment that had any youth
audience was a corrupting influence. Now, I ask you to think about
this; how much are they feared now? Not one damned bit.
This is also how
GTA will eventually become. As long as it's popular, it will be seen
as a horrible evil, but once it stops being seen in the spot light,
things will change. I'd be willing to bet that ten years from now,
GTA:SA will be seen as no more harmful than anything else I listed
above. Why? Because politicians will move on to newer election year
condemnation, and the old ones simply get left behind.
I'd also like to
say that with the fines that Rockstar has faced, the bad PR (GTA:SA,
when it was re-released as an M rated title about 9 months back, it
sold horribly), and the sleazy behavior they tried to pull off, they
have probably learned a very important lesson. It's over, and
Rockstar has been punished by both authoritative figures and by
their own poor actions via the public. It's over and it's time to
move the f@#% on.
Also, it's still
interesting to me that GTA:SA was re-rated to AO for having a hidden
sex mini-game that was about as erotic as the thought of having Ben
Stein do the orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally, yet there are
plenty of games that push the envelope further without losing their
precious M rating. Hell, look at the first few minutes of God of
War, when you have the sex mini-game between Kratos and two very
topless women who look far more realistic than the women of GTA:SA
ever would. I guess that's the true lesson...keep the sex in the
open and that will keep it off the radar. It's also funny that for
having what a movie would consider R rated material, the game gets
rated the movie equivalent of NC-17, just because "children play
games", even thought the largest demographic of gamers are well over
18, and the largest money spenders in the gaming world are well into
a midlife crises.
Maybe it's time
for government to move on and spend their budgets on materials and
subjects that actually matter...and that doesn't include video game
controversies (especially those already a year old). Maybe into
finding a better renewable fuel source that will also work for jets,
a way to save some face with the rest of the world (the US is a
master of making themselves into a joke), how to return Iraq to the
Iraqi people, how to make better relations with China before they
eclipse the US as a more dominant global authority. In fact, I
suggest we start with finding a way to stop being the butt of most
of the world's jokes.
When things go wrong,
usually it's never as simple as one little problem. Hell, it's never
as simple as one large problem, in most cases. It's like karma, as
seen on My Name is Earl. Something goes wrong, then it means a lot
of bad things will come your way...however, unlike Earl, it usually
doesn't end just by doing some good deeds.
I'm not talking
about myself (job interviews are rolling in, I have an assistant at
my day job, Suikoden V is kicking ass, Superman Returns is in my
immediate future...booyah!) for once, but rather about Take Two.
First they have the NY County DA trying to dig up old skeletons with
the Hot Coffee bullshit, and now
Roger Hill is suing Take Two for $250K. If this name sounds
unfamiliar, that's because he was once an actor, but is now less
seen. However, his legacy as Cyrus in The Warriors will forever
remain with him.
The whole basis of
the lawsuit is because Hill claims that Take Two had no right to use
his likeness in The Warriors (the game), and that he denied Take Two
access to his likeness when they asked him for permission. Take Two
denies this, as is usually the case with that company. I mean they
denied Hot Coffee until someone had to prove it was their fault. So,
it's no surprise to see them deny Hill's allegations. Either way, I
somehow have very little faith/trust in Take Two and expect a quick
settlement, or legal agreement, in favor of Hill and his
part of all of Take Two's scandals is seeing how much their stock
has become a roller coaster ride in the last year. I was actually
once a happy owner of some shares of TTWO (their stock symbol), and
cannot begin to tell you how glad that I WAS holding and am now out.
In the end, they will rebound, but not too securely until next fall
when GTA4 hits store shelves.
I don't have much
to talk about today, and I have a written interview (I don't even
understand the logic in this lazy-man's-phone-interview) to fill out
so I can get freedom from a job that has been stealing my will to
geek. I'll be seeing Superman tonight and I'll probably have some
strong opinions tomorrow.
If you haven't heard and
still care, FFXII comes out on October 31st. It's pretty
appropriate...it's Halloween and we have what (the demo showed)
would be a probably bad game wrapped up in the title of what was
once a great franchise. Trick-or-treat!
I watched Superman
Returns last night and it left me some strong impressions (spoilers
will begin after a nifty little spoiler warning...so don't fear).
First off, the actors and the parts they played...and yes...I am too
lazy to look up actual names for the actors.
Kent was cast pretty well. The voice, the geekiness, the overall
feel...all Superman. However, I don't understand why he looks more
artificial than your average Playboy centerfold when in the Superman
persona. It looks like Superman forgot that there's such a thing as
too much makeup.
Jimmy Olsen was an
interesting choice. He was always a fanboy, but now I think he's
ready to pound some ass. Actually, I shouldn't say that...he'd be
playing catcher in that relationship. If you don't understand my
vague wordings, what I mean is this; he is flat out gay. There's
nothing wrong with that, but it seems a bit...unusual.
Lois Lane...ok, I
could think of many better choices, and I can think of a few good
role models for picking the Lois actress (like Teri Hatcher...who
was good in the first season of "Lois & Clark"...or the old Margot
Kidder approach), and Bryan Singer apparently tried a whole new
direction. Well, I couldn't care less about his choice.
Perry White was
cast perfectly. At least he was cast as perfectly as one could be
expected. No complaints here.
Now the one choice
that was made for the cast that was spot on in every freakin' way
was for Kevin Spacey to play Lex Luthor. I don't think I've seen
such a perfect match up in a casting choice in any movie. In fact,
you could say that Kevin Spacey was born for this role. He captures
the insanity, the eccentric behavior, the look, the
As for the real
important detail of the movie (the plot), I have to say I was with
it until about 80 minutes in. The first half of the film was well
done, and the explanations and reasons for each action and each
directorial choice was self explanatory. In other words, the movie
had an awesome flow to it. Lex had the perfect insane and inane plot
to make himself a king in a way that only he could understand to
it's fullest, the explanation of Metropolis being abandoned by
Superman was well done, his return to the Earth was handled with a
great level of skill. It was starting off to be a great movie. That
...Lois's kid was
revealed to also be Superman's kid. What the f#@%! I am a firm
believer in an old saying; "Nothing will ruin a movie quicker than
animals or kids". Well, Singer chose a kid. Not only is this kid
crammed down our throats, but we are also forced to put up the
knowledge that a sequel is in the works and that Superman is well
aware of the kid's lineage, and that the kid used his powers at one
point in the movie. Take a moment and think of what this means for
the (obvious to come) next Superman movie....got that image in your
head...yeah...it is a painful image, indeed.
That was bad
enough, but then the effects of kryptonite were revealed. This
ultimate weakness for Superman seemed more like an ultimate
annoyance. I never felt like Superman was in any real danger as he
battle Lex Luthor. For one thing, Superman was completely surrounded
by kryptonite, and he still could fly, use his heat vision, etc. He
even lifts an island, made of a good amount of kryptonite, into
space. AN ISLAND OF KRYPTONITE! Hell, he got stabbed with a blade
(ok...it's a blade shaped crystal shard) of kryptonite, has it
twisted in his side, and then the blade is broken off (along with
some fragments breaking free of this blade). Lois removes the large
chunk of this blade, still leaving (as we'll see about 30 minutes
later) a few pieces in the wound, and Superman is still able to
revive himself (at first without any sun light...might I add), lift
that island of kryptonite into space, fall from orbit into the
Earth...and he is perfectly healthy later that night...so he can
tell his kid, while the kid sleeps, that it will be a hard journey.
The movie was
around 2.5 hours long. That's a long movie for one based on a comic.
Well, I can tell you that I could've found a great way to have
reduced the running time. Either the artsy scenes could be cut out
(like Superman's overly long fall to the Earth after lifting the
afore mentioned island) or just cut out the entire final hour of the
movie and spare us from the Superkid bullshit.
Anyway, I'm not a
huge Superman fan, but I definitely know enough to geek-out. What I
saw, made my potential happy geeking moments into me brooding in
silence wondering how much longer this treatment of Superman could
continue. Maybe it sounds cold blooded, but I think the ideal ending
would've had either the Sueprkid die or for the whole movie to have
been revealed to be just one potential reality (the whole, "we were
only kidding...the next movie will be different" approach that
comics so often use).
To change the nature of
what I've been posting on lately, we have some 360 Live news
available to end this week/month.
the demo for Chromehounds is now available. It's not found on
the North America version of the Live Marketplace, but this doesn't
mean too much to anyone with a slightly inquisitive nature. If you
want the demo badly enough, you simply will have to add an
additional gamer profile to your live account, and set the address
information to something more Eastern or Western...in short, make a
European or Japanese gamer profile and enjoy the download.
If you need help
with this, just do a search on the net, and you should find what you
want. It's a simple process, and it's a way to ensure that you get
all downloads available. However, the one downside to this is that
there is normally nothing of interest on the Japanese or European
Live Marketplaces that are not found on the American Marketplace. At
the worst, like we'll see with Chromehounds, most items from one
Marketplace will be proliferated across the the Marketplaces in a
matter of a few days, or maybe a week. However, if you're desperate
for a new 360 experience, and you feel you must have this
demo...well, there's an option.
To tell the truth,
while many are looking forward to Chromehounds, I'm left with one
initial first impression that ruins the experience for me. That
would be that it's "another damned mech game". I'm sorry, but I feel
like mech games have been beaten into the ground, and I simply want
a change of scenery about now. Mechs were interesting for a few
years, but they stuck around for well over a decade, and it might be
time for a breath of fresh air. Especially, I say that, since all of
these mech games ultimately come down to using the same elements
that were on MechWarrior 2, and there's nothing but recycled and
tweaked mechanics in these games. We might see them with a touch
more action or a bit more strategy, but they all keep turning out as
the same games with nothing really innovative.
The best we can
even ever hope for in innovation in this genre is for a freakin'
$250-$300 price tag to give us a supposedly "full size" control
panel to control the mechs in the game. However, when the dust
settles, the final word on a game is how fun it is...and I simply
cannot have fun playing the same game, over and over, with different
getting a bit off topic...so anyway, the Chromehounds demo is out if
you know where to look and actually give a shit. It'll be out in the
US (my guess) around mid next week.
talking about the Marketplace, Street Fighter II is obviously not
coming out in the
2nd quarter of this year. Considering that today is the
end of the 2nd quarter, that goes without saying. However, it makes
you wonder if there's some reason for such an old game that is
obviously completed, and would not be too hard to port, is being
delayed so much. After all, not to sound like some damned conspiracy
nut, but with the Wii and PS3 both hitting the streets later this
year, maybe Microsoft would be delaying some items to make the 360
more attractive in the Fall. In other words, one could possible
think that Microsoft is creating a backlog, just so they can make
the 360 better in the important start time for the next battle of
the console wars.
Of course, there's
one problem with this type of...ummm..."logic". That would be that
then Microsoft would only be angering their current fan base, which
would only create a larger demand for another system. Maybe a system
that "knows how to release some new titles". So, if this is
Microsoft's plan, they may be laying down on a nice double edged
sword. Of course, it could always be that maybe Capcom is feeling a
bit lazy about porting such a game, and they are creating the
bottleneck. Blah. If I knew the truth behind these type of
Well, it's a 4 day
weekend for me, so you can probably expect me to not post next week
until Wednesday. I may sneak in a small post on Monday, but that's
all up to what I'm playing and what I'm drinking. So, have a safe
4th. Good grilling to you all, drink 'em if you got 'em, and I'm
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