Malik (11/29/04)  

So, I did say I'd post a Malik's Bitchings on Friday. Also, as you all may have noticed, there were no posts done on Friday. My explanation is simple; It was vacation time. I'll still post this info that should've been up on Friday, but it'll probably be this up coming Friday instead. 

I spent a vast majority of my 4 day weekend not playing games. I did get in some Naruto 3, and that was fun, but I couldn't find anymore than 1 other person to play with at a time since I've gotten this great fighter. It's a shame since this is such a fun fighter, but it looks like I'll probably be stuck with the fun of one player for a long while. 

I also got in more time with my DS this weekend. I cannot explain it, but even Mario 64 is so much better when on the DS. Ok, I think I can explain it. The controls, once you get used to using a simulated analogue stick (the touch screen), are so much smoother than the original N64 game. Plus, being able to select from 4 different playable characters does a lot for the game play...if a level requires more precision in jumping than you'd care to normally face with Mario, you can pull out Luigi with his helicopter back-flip ability or Yoshi with his hover jump. If a level requires a specific goal that can only be accomplished by a given player, you can still find some alternative methods (with some creativity) to let another character get the goal done. This all adds some strategy to a normally straight-forward gaming experience. 

Also, the visuals are so much better. In fact, it was amusing when some of my friends tried out the DS and seemed somewhat surprised by the quality of this system. It seems that most people are expecting either an end-all-be-all gaming experience or a piece of trendy shit that will soon go the way of the Virtual Boy. When I pulled out the DS while waiting for a movie to start on Friday I got a funny reaction from one of my friends who acted like I had lost my mind by having on of "those" DSes. This may just be Nintendo's biggest obstacle to success with the DS...too many have been burned by Nintendo's "creativity" before and are not wanting to face the same crap again. This is a most valid fear, but it's easy enough to rectify considering how every damned gaming store has a DS or two setup to be tried out. For some reason, the people most fearful of Nintendo wasting another $150 of hard earned money also seem to be the most unlikely to just give the thing a trial. 

Anyway, as for those who expect this thing to be the "be-all-end-all" system...well, I'm definitely not arguing in favor of these people either. The DS has flaws, and plenty of them. The biggest one, so far, is quite evident to anyone who owns one right now and is looking for a good game to add to their small library...I call this the "PS2 Launch Syndrome". There are no good games. Well, there is Mario 64, which is much improved and far more controllable in this version than the N64 version, and some say that Feel The Magic is really good (I personally yell at my games enough when I'm pissed to not want to yell at my DS on purpose to accomplish something in a game). 

However, in the end, I'm finding this little device to be more than just a trendy gadget. I think the real value of the DS, in the end, like with all other game systems, is going to come down to the game library. The system, in and of itself, is a solid piece of technology that easily pushes the abilities of a portable beyond what the GBA could do. There is, however, the new generation that includes the PSP to contend with, but when it comes down to the games, Nintendo can win as long as their line-up starts to grow in a hurry. I mean the PSP may look nice now, but I'm going to hold on to my skepticism since it's a little too gadgety so far; it plays music, movies, games, blah, blah...all on a battery that will last long enough for a single 2 hour movie?! I personally like to play my portables for more than two hours at a time and the thought of buying an additional 2 or 3 battery pack (probably for a good $30 or more, each) to have it last for as long as the DS or GBA-SP, does not sit well with me. Even if the PSP is cheaper than it was once expected to be (it should be between $150 and $200 depending on if things change in the meantime), the add-ons are still going to drain my wallet. This is not just me being bitchy, since I've burned through the battery on my DS a few times already so I know I'm capable of easily draining a few PSP battery packs at a single sitting. 

Off of the subject of portables...I'm done with Paper Mario. If you saw my review, you wouldn't be surprised. This game was nice and all, but it's no Mario and Luigi (GBA), and it defines tedium. I'm planning on exchanging it pretty soon. I'll probably pick up Metroid Prime: Echoes to fill Mario's shoes. I just need to be careful with my purchases this upcoming month since Christmas (not to mention my b-day) is coming up quite soon and I need to leave some things unattended for possible gift ideas. Sadly, the choices are becoming limited since the season of stupidity (September through November in which every good game for the year came out) it drying up in a hurry and the games of choice for December are looking like KOTOR2, Phantom Brave (which I'd prefer to leave for a gaming dry season...like around April), and maybe Wario Ware for the DS. It's a shame that Jade Empire is no longer a 2004 title and that Xenosaga: Episode 2 (...my precious...) is going to be February...and Mario Kart DS and Super Mario DS are both early next year (supposedly January). 

Also, on the subject of disappointment...I can't believe this...I went to EB yesterday to look for a trade-in idea (what to get with Paper Mario's trade-in money), and I saw a new Ape Escape game. For those unaware, Ape Escape is one of the most insanely fun series of puzzle games ever imagined. The game play is ingenious with the dual analogue control scheme (all action is done with the analogue sticks), the crazy items you use, the crazy monkeys that you capture, and the flat out insanity of the game that is only rivaled by Katamari Damacy. I was about to jump on this new Ape Escape titles when I decided to first check out the box...since I had not heard anything about this game, despite Ape Escape's cult following, something had to be up. That's when I saw that it was some half-assed party game. There are two trends that need to stop in gaming; not every good game needs to become an MMO (or every "good" MMO being made into a non-MMO RPG), and not every good (or bad) single player game needs to be a freakin' party game (like how Rayman, Mario, Pacman, Crash, blah, blah has done). It's not needed. I nearly went berserk in the store seeing how one of my most beloved game series had been corrupted in such a fashion. I would've paid $100 for a new Ape Escape game, but not for some half-assed party game bullshit. 

Also on the note of disappointment...I saw Alexander. The movie that, I think, is supposed to be about Alexander the Great. I mean that was who the main character was, but the line between fact and fiction was not just crossed, but Oliver Stone managed to piss on that line every chance he got. There was some loosely based facts used in the movie, but beyond that...nothing. I heard from one of my friends that Stone is a big fan of Alexander the Great. I think this just shows that, as this friend said to us after the movie, you should not make a movie on something you really enjoy or you will get too carried away and turn it into 3 hours (3 long hours...from which my ass is still numb from theater seats) of confusion. If you don't know about Alexander the Great, if you like a lot of laughable homosexual innuendo (not that I'm trying to bash homosexuality...this movie just does it in the most tacky of ways...for example, Alexander will hold a military conference, and the entire time he is making eye sex with a guy in the back of the room, who has too much eye-liner on, and once the other generals leave, then Alexander and said eye-liner abuser will have some really cheesy dialogue about how they will never be separated...in the movie, that's how Stone lets you know someone is gay...eye-liner, and lots of it...this crap happens in every single scene that has more than a minute of dialogue...the movie is only 2 hours without the poorly accomplished, eye-liner plagued, homosexual innuendos), or if you feel a need to see every movie that tries to (and fails) be an Oscar movie...well, then this is the movie for you. If you want something that's quality, then you're looking in the wrong place. Anyone who understands the meaning of "drunken movie night", this is the movie for you. Just remember that it's 3 full hours, so you'll need a little extra booze before the show starts.


Malik (11/30/04)  

I'm a bit out of things today...actually, more like I've been out of things for about a week now. It's almost like life's rituals of routines and traditions has got me caught up in a way in which free-will is a luxury; not a right or even a privilege. I'm not trying to wax philosophical or anything it the realm of the metaphysical...I'm just saying why I may sound like I have less "spirit" in my posts recently. 

I had a compulsion to eliminate a stain on my Gamecube library yesterday, so I traded in the ultimate time consuming piece of garbage (Paper Mario), and picked up Metroid Prime 2: Echoes...a game with far too long of a name and too many secondary titles. So far I've only played for about an hour and a half so I don't know what to make of this game. On one hand it is very pretty and handles pretty well. On the other hand, the concept of a shadow Samus clone, a slight loss of targeting control, and the excessive need to scan switches to operate the various pieces of equipment in the game has me less than impressed. I'm hoping things pick up pretty soon. At least, on the plus side, the plot of Echoes is far better than the plot of the original Prime. That is, there is a plot this time that includes the same basic elements of the plot of Doom 3...there was a place where everything went to shit, then a group of marine-type people arrived (this time not by choice) and you find their logs as you travel the planet. It's nothing special, but it is a step-up from the original Prime. 

I'm also still cranking away at Super Mario 64 DS (another game with too long of a name) and enjoying it far more than I ever enjoyed the original. The controls and character selection just makes this feel like I have a lot more control over the world I'm trapped in. It's still a collection game (the stars...), but it's a lot more enjoyable that the original collection game was. I'm also trying, at the same time, to get a review put together for the DS. I figure a Mario review would only be a waste since it's almost the same game as the original, but with better visuals and control...and the character selection thing. I aim to have the DS review up in the next few days, but this all depends on how life has swept me along (the whole opening paragraph thing) while I try to write it. 


Malik (12/01/04)  

My plan last night was pretty sound. I started playing some Metroid Prime 2 shortly after posting. I finally got to the first boss fight (well, I only got the game the night before) and was pleasantly surprised. Unlike the puzzle bosses of Metroid Prime, MP2's first boss was a flat out fire-fest. I capped the thing and then I realized a really lame feature of the game...the door behind me, that led to the save spot I just used had locked itself. Ok...so I press onward and come to a story segment and learn the real purpose of the game (as if I didn't know it already from every review out there...but now I knew it in character). That's when I got the power to open some locked doors. So, I naturally go to that locked door so I could save. That's when I get a call from some friends who wanted to grab some food and play some games. So, I take my break to pick them up. 

The plan was to play Naruto 3, but first I needed to save my paused game of MP2. So, I resume the game, go to that locked door and find I still can't open this type of lock. So, I get no chance to save right after a boss fight and a story segment?! Blah. So, I go to the only door I could open and I emerge in a previous area. That's cool, since I could find a save spot in a hurry now...wrong. MP2 has a nasty habit of not allowing you to save all that often. I ended up having to call it quits since it would take me about 30 minutes to hit a save spot and I didn't feel like keeping the game paused through picking up Velveeta from work and getting dinner. 

One of my friends said how they might have reduced the massive (and convenient) number of save spots in MP for MP2 to boost the difficulty...that may be true since the difficulty has been boosted some in some obvious ways. However, as someone who has a busy schedule (at times...), I don't find a lack of saves to make a game harder, but rather the lack of saves makes the game less fun since I'll have to quit without saving far too often. I mean I had played a total of about 2-2.5 hours and had only encountered two save spots (not counting the automatic one that is your ship). This is not what I call a good method to make a game that obviously appeals to an older audience...I mean the older you get, usually, the more hectic your life becomes, and thus the less time you can spend at a single sitting on a game...hence, more saves are needed. 

So, in the end, I got about 35-40 minutes of MP2 in last night and I'll have to redo those save 35-40 minutes tonight since Retro is too damned stupid to put in the right number of save rooms. At least, at the very least, put one in that is easy to reach after any boss fight or plot sequence. Is that really asking too much? I think not. 

So, I did get in some Naruto 3 with one friend. I still can't find the right way to unlock some more fighters or missions (I got the first extra mission and the first set of fighters through Gaara). I'm really starting to get frustrated. I've finished every possible mode I can think of (I've done every mission that I can unlock, I've done 1-player mode, 2-player team mode, over 50 fights in survival, time trial mode, a ton of multiplayer games...), and I can't get anything else to unlock in the store. I'm starting to lose it. Worse still, if I look up any help on the Internet, I usually come across people needing help to find money to buy the characters that I still can't unlock! Hell, if I could get these new characters to show up in the store, I'd play so many damned rounds of survival mode to earn the money. Blah. 

Anyway, my goal tonight is to get some time with MP2, so I could at least catch up to where I was last night. Beyond that, I'm hoping to find a way to unlock some more people in Naruto 3 (I need the power of Gai Sensei and his manly hug of doom) and some more missions in mission mode. At least that's my plan...usually the more I plan things, the more things go to crap. 

Also, on a side note, I've compiled a nice little review of the Nintendo DS hardware.  So, if you want to, check it out.  Also, on the note of the DS, as reported at Gamespot.com, Monolith, the people behind Xenosaga, are bringing a Xenosaga game to the DS.  Will it come to the US...who knows?  However, I'm hoping they do so since I've been a Xeno fan since day one.  Also, I might not be paying much attention, but Gamespot, in said article, noted how the Xenosaga TRILOGY is on the PS2...I'm a little concerned since I thought it was supposed to be a 6-part story.  Hopefully this was just Gamespot using a trendy word (trilogy is trendy since LotR, Star Wars, etc) and wasn't thinking, because if this series is ending so soon...sigh...that would just suck.  Especially since I, like many other Xenogears fans, am still holding out hope for Episode 5 to be a reinvention of the original Xenogears.


Malik (12/02/04)  

This morning I found an email from my brother, who recently started to play Dragon Warrior 7. I feel like I should share the advice I gave him. Basically, he noticed what many people probably have noticed with most RPGs in the last couple of generations...you start an RPG and you'll sit through a couple hours of bull shit (no battles, too much pointless dialogue, too little of the actual game, etc) before the game actually begins. Here's what I told him (I personally think this summarizes the current RPG situation...a little too well...); 

"There's a rule to RPGs. You probably haven't noticed it too much since it really started with the Playstation/Saturn generation of consoles. The rule is that for every X hours it will take to finish an RPG you will spend Y minutes having to play through tacked on story (text that could've been filled with more than mindless story and could've had a few nifty battles in it) before the game actually begins. In fact, this is a good method to gauge how long the game will ultimately be (for example, with Dragon Warrior 7, you have a lot of mindless story, so you know the game will be freakin' huge...and I'd call 80+ hours freakin' huge). So, the good news is that you'll have a long and fun game to play. The bad news is that you are going to sit through tedium for a long while. This applies to both good and bad games. 

There are two exceptions to this rule...if a game is going to be incredibly boring and not worth your time, you will usually find none of this beginning crap that makes you want to throw away the game in disgust. The second exception is if the start of a game has absolutely no story at all and just a long series of mindless fights for the first couple of hours (this would be FF7). Some good games will have this style of opening, but it's pretty rare. Ultimately, think of this situation like a hazing ritual; you go through a lot of crap now, but you'll have fun once things start rolling along. 

Anyway, stick with it and the game will become the DW you remember so well. Personally I like RPGs more than almost any other style of gaming, but this type of crap is one of the things that has been turning me off from RPGs recently. I mean since September, I played two good looking RPGs that had about 3 hours (or more) of this shit at the beginning. I played through this hazing phase, and I couldn't even find that light at the end of the tunnel (that you know DW7 has)...all I found was a big pile of poopy."

So, looking at this, it makes me realize that the cookie cutter format that many RPG developers use really needs to end. I mean those two crappy games I mentioned, being Star Ocean 3 and Paper Mario (GCN), killed a lot of my time and there wasn't even a reward for my dedication and loyalty to Nintendo and SqaureEnix/Triace. I think the biggest reward a developer can give a geek who will so quickly pass his/her money along to said faceless corporation is to just give us all a glimpse of the real game from the very beginning. I mean that way we don't have 3 hours of boredom no matter what and the strong chance of shattered dreams after those 3 hours end. 

Speaking of shattered dreams, I faced my first real boss on Metroid Prime 2...the one that you defeat to get the bomb ability back. I cannot believe how my dreams were shattered again. I still love this game (so far), but I feel let down by how this boss was, just like all bosses in MP, a puzzle and not a fire fight. True, I had to shoot the damned worm in it's ass over and over, but that dealt no damage to it's health. You see, after you shoot it's ass enough, then it will open it's mouth to let out a scream and you have to shoot the open mouth (with 4 missiles, to be precise). This is not the fire fight schematic that made the original Metroid games. In the classic games (before MP and M: Fusion), you killed a boss with whatever weapons you wanted and you kept shooting until the thing exploded. At the same time, you may have to figure out a bit of a challenge in reaching the weak spot, and you could discover some secret easy method to killing a boss, but in the end, if you chose, the battle would come down to a serious fire fight. I don't want to play, but I will play (under protest), a damned Metroid game in which I have to blast solar panels to open a trap door to place a bomb in and I have to do said action exactly four times. I don't want to have to use thermal imaging to find a damned glowing rock to shoot until my visor overloads and the rock is (luckily) now glowing so I don't need thermal imaging (that was convenient, wasn't it?). And I sure as hell don't want to have another instance of the Phazon Suit guardian in MP (the most retarded puzzle boss ever). I want to cap some ass, take some names, and be free to form my own strategies as I go along. If I do it some harder way than intended, so be it...I just want the option of being able to turn a simple puzzle into a drawn out fire fight and then to look at an FAQ later and say, "damn, THAT method would've made it easier, but I did it without having to look up the solitary solution!". 

I'll play MP2, and I'll enjoy most of it. However, the lack of innovation (replacing three weapons and not adding to your arsenal is not innovative...keeping the old and adding some new ones is innovative...or having the Super Metroid ability to mix and match weapons to make a waving-frozen-charged-plasma-shot was awesome) is not impressing me. At the very least, I want some new abilities, or the return of ALL the old ones (like the spring ball for jumping instead of only dashing in the ball, or space jumping and not just wall jumping, or the speed boost boots, or super missiles that are not charged missiles, or using the grapple beam as a weak but amusing weapon...). The level of innovation is so low that even the number of every item remains the same (3 suits, 4 add-ons for the morph ball, 4 total weapons, one grapple beam, a charge missile for each beam type, four visors...anyone else wanting to see something different?). I just hope the game remains fun long enough to make me not feel ripped off out of $50 bucks (like SO3 and PM did). So far, I'm enjoying the expansion pack to MP (which is what MP2 feels like...that or a mod), and I'm hoping it remains this way...well, until the retarded scavenger hunt begins...blah. 

I'm also playing away at Mario 64 DS more and more. The original game only held my interest for a week at the most before I just quit playing. I can't believe how long the DS version is keeping me enthralled. I think the controls and the character selection just add far more than anyone would ever think possible. Plus, the mini-games are crazy fun and they make it worth while to advance the normal game (so you can unlock new mini-games). I'm hoping for a review sometime in the next week or so, but I would prefer to find a good way to capture some screen shots first... 


Malik (12/03/04)  

Well, with Metroid Prime 2, one minute you're down, but the next it picks you right back up again. I was feeling a bit annoyed with the boss you have to kill to get the morph bombs back. Like I said yesterday, it was basically a puzzle that only required four direct hits to slay (like the flower in MP, etc). However, last night I finally had my first (of what will probably be far too many) fight with the Dark Hunter (dark Samus clone). Now I still hold true to my past Bitchings that the use of clones is over-rated, un-creative, and over played...however, this fight was exactly what I had been needing from MP2. The Dark Hunter did not fight much like Samus, so it was, thankfully, only a clone in the visual aspects, so it was in effect a whole new boss monster. Not only that, but it was a real battle...no puzzles to solve, no secret weaknesses, no patterns (beyond what any fire fight in MP or MP2 has done), no switches or levers to flip, nothing. It was me and the Dark Hunter one on one in a room that got trashed by the Dark Hunter. Now that made up for a lot of failings in MP and MP2. 

Sadly, things became crappy again, after the fight, with how quickly I obtained two of the three add-on weapons. So far I've added most of my major abilities back on to Samus (bombs, missiles, three of the four weapons, space jump...not much remaining beyond armor, which I should get one really soon...blah), and I've only just started the game. It makes me feel like there is nothing to work for. I mean half the fun of a Metroid game is finding the new equipment as you go along and enjoying the innovative feel of said stuff. If you get most of the major equipment before the game has really picked up, it makes me feel like there just isn't as much to work for (except the infamous scavenger hunt...wait, that's not something to look forward to). 

I still think that MP2 feels more like an expansion pack or a mod than a real sequel to MP. Considering the visuals and audio are about the same, the engine has not been changed, the abilities are all the same (except screw attack and what the names of the new weapons are...the light and dark beams feel rather familiar to my MP memories, if you catch my meaning...dark beam is slow as hell and it slows down enemies...ice beam, anyone?), the game play is almost identical, the puzzles are the same, the story is not much different from MP (except it's like you got to Tallon IV before the Chozos all died off...plus the phazon energy is still a key story and environmental obstacle)...it's not a sequel in any more ways than to say it's the same game but with a little more action in at least one boss battle (hopefully more of these are to come...please)...and of course there are no damned save spots. 

Anyway, speaking of bitching about stuff, I have a sorta new Malik's Bitchings ready today. Most of it is the stuff that I couldn't manage to get posted last week with the extended Thanksgiving holiday. So, some of the material is slightly dated, but it's still all good. 

Also, to bitch some more, it looks like the DS release calendar is looking bleaker and bleaker for the near future. This is definitely a bad thing since I had sat through a bleak year of PS2 when it first came out and now I'm going to do the same with the DS. There are some nice titles coming in the next month or two (like Super Mario and Mario Kart), but the really fun ones are looking like they will be a little too far off in the distance. Animal Crossing DS (which I hate to admit is going to be quite addictive since the GCN version was so damned addicting...) is looking like a September release, FF3 (which is my number one reason for getting my DS) has not been announced in the US (and no set date in Japan), Xenosaga has no set date in Japan (and no announcement for the US). I would say I bought my DS too early in it's life...that is if it wasn't for how fun the thing is anyway (especially the mini-games on Mario 64). 

Anyway, that was just more random bitching. I felt like it since the news bias on the DS is pretty funny. For those who haven't seen, at sites like Gamespot.com, there are articles going around about how much the DS is failing to meet expectations. Like the article I linked to that is titles with how such light crowds were drawn to the DS on launch day in Japan. Lines of 40 people on a workday (in a work-aholic place like Tokyo), for a system that could be and was pre-ordered in large numbers, at 7 AM is failure and "light crowds". That's pretty freakin' insane considering Dragon Quest 8 just came out in the last week or so and this event easily over-shadowed the DS launch. Also, these "light crowds" were just the people who came before work or whatever to the stores that are normally not open at this time. I imagine the actual sales figures probably look far better than just scoping out a store at 7 AM (that normally opens several hours later) on a workday, for a pre-ordered system, and not even sticking around for the whole day. This is the type of bias that astounds me. While the DS may have looked trendy and pointless at a casual glance, this syetm has some major potential. 

I mean it's easy to bash this thing, but once you actually give it a real shot, it's quite fun and it feels quite natural. I don't know how many people have told me that I wasted my money on this thing one minute to only turn around and praise the thing a few minutes after they try it out. In fact, this is what confuses me the most since there is not a game store that I can think of (around my home, at least) that has not had a DS demo set up for the last month or so. Considering how many people I saw playing with pwN-Gage in-store demos when it launched, I can't honestly believe how often the DS (which actually has potential) is being ignored. 

Anyway, it's not like I'm trying to sound like a DS fanboy. There are flaws with this thing (the biggest two being Nintendo's lack of promotion and the small number of games...even smaller number of good games), but it is seriously a well built machine...besides the dead pixels (that I've yet to encounter...and hopefully never will, but I'd rather have a single yellow pixel in the middle of my screen than a dead DRE-plagued PS2). But even with dead pixels, Nintendo is the best company I've seen for technical support for a new system (just find a local Nintendo authorized repair place and go in...a lot better than Sony and how they handle the repairs of PS2s with DREs...mail in your system, pay about $75 unless you mention the class-action lawsuit about DREs, and wait for a couple of weeks). Anyway, I just think it's the Nintendo bias that's been around since the N64 or even the Virtual Boy. Nintendo had to make a couple of really shitty systems (N64 and VB) with no games and sub-standard technology, and then they had to scare off a bunch of publishers from the GCN for the first year or so. However, they've turned around and I for one am glad to give them a real chance. 

Blah, people never listen and when it comes to Nintendo; either you hate them or you're dubbed a fanboy. It can go other ways with Sony and Microsoft, but if it's Nintendo... 

Also, for another random subject change before I sign off, I was reading an article on MSNBC.com that somewhat concerns me. In this article, it discusses how some violent games (such as Hitman: Contracts) were pulled from a maximum security prison in Jefferson City, Missouri. The thought of violent games being banned is usually something that pisses me off, but in this case it's another part of it. Is it just me or should a prison not have a bunch of fun activities? I mean if I go out and kill someone and get arrested for it, the last thing I should be allowed to do is play some Madden. If I do something horribly wrong, I should be freakin' punished. I can see exercise equipment (which can be fun) since it will help keep the fitness of inmates up, and I can see books since reading is fundamental (to use that old saying), but video games and TV and other electronic media are luxury items that not every person can afford. So, if they are luxuries for people who obey the law, why are they so easy to obtain for those who greatly (maximum security is not for shoplifters) break the law? It's complete and total bullshit. I work my ass off to be able to barely afford my chose passion, but these inmates have much easier access...I mean they had 80 games (and they still have 45 of them after the violent ones were removed)! I had to trade in many games over the years to have a current collection of about 40 for my PS2 and I didn't freakin' stab anyone! 

Plus, it's nice to see that one of the insanely censor-friendly wackos is at my alma matta. I had no idea that Seattle University (regretfully, my alma matta) had employed one of these nationally known freaks like Jacqueline Helfgott (I have nothing against her personally, and she may be a very good person, but I feel that anyone who thinks that looking for a trend between a chosen hobby and the mistakes an individual makes is a waste of time, money, effort, and research potential that could be used for far, far better pursuits). I don't know how violent media actually plays out on inmates or the criminally inclined (and I don't think any real study could find out, since criminal behavior is something that should be measured in ways that are too numerous to be defined by only if the selected inmates like video games or not), but these studies tend to be total bull shit. If I like violent games and I kill someone, does that mean the game made me do it, that I enjoy both, that the crimes made me more likely to enjoy games, are they unrelated? It's a case of the chicken and the egg (which came first) but one in which the egg might not even be the chicken's means of reproduction (maybe chickens, in this situation, actually give live birth, are cloned by aliens, grow on plants, are pouch born like marsupials, come from a splitting of the original organism like how bacteria do it, etc). I mean a good hypothetical is this; poor upbringing from a parent leads to a child feeling isolated, which leads the child to both playing games (as a substitute for the attention from a parent and as an escape from a loveless life) and to violent outbursts (for attention as a hope to find a new source of love and attention), which soon grows (the outbursts) into violent activities on a regular basis, which leads to a crime (like murder), which results in an inmate who like video games. That's just one hypothetical.  There are so many other possibilities...maybe the chemical imbalance that causes one to enjoy less than legal activities is also one that causes one to enjoy the stimulation that electronic entertainment can give. With this hypothetical it would mean that both crime and geekdom could result from the same trigger and be symptoms of the same underlying source (in which case there is a connection, but not one in which game liking is a cause but rather an effect). I mean there are far too many options to consider and to decide that one can cause the other is underplaying the depth and scope of all of the billions of factors that could alter a person's development (physiological, psychological, environmental, etc).

Anyway, I just felt like airing some views on this since we keep being told how violent games are so bad for us and in reality they are probably as harmful as anything else that can give pleasure...including everything from drugs (legal or illegal) to just reading a damned book. In other words, if games are to be condemned for their evil effects, then everything (and I mean everything) that is not essential for life should be banned...and then, since that total censored lifestyle would cause people to rebel, that banning should be banned...and then we should all be euthanized. It's sarcastic and cynical, but it only reflects the truth that some people will do some messed up things no matter what the circumstances are.