Malik  (4/30/04)

Some of the issues I have to talk about today may at first appear to be old news...however, there are important reasons to bring them up.  For example, any issues dealing with a game that is soon to have a sequel turns the old news into new news.  My second issue for the week is definitely old...but at the same time, I think I'm one of the few people who actually noticed this...maybe it's because it's the type of issue that threatens my life and other than me, the lives of (on average) non-geeks who wouldn't know...I mainly brought up this issue since it ties in to the first.  To put it simply, it shows the difference between good natured (yet politically incorrect...and we all thought Malik was 100% P.C...hahahaha...) joking and hate...and there is (despite what the commercial media likes to usually say) a big difference.  To wrap things up this week, I'm taking a look at a company that just doesn't seem to know it's role.    Anyways, I just wanted to explain that before you jumped into my bitchy world.

On Common Sense and Responsibility 

I was looking over the site and all the wonderful stuff Velveeta and I have put up here for your entertainment and education and I realized there is one subject very near and dear to my heart that I've yet to touch on; Plus, considering a new GTA is on the horizon...hehehe...I don't get too excited about games that I know almost nothing about (more on that to come), but GTA has yet to leave me without anything short of awe and pure entertainment)'s a good time to bring this stuff up. 

It seems that people like to often find fault with a game's content for all the wrong reasons in one of a few fields. Usually, most people direct their angry and idiotic bitching towards violence and sex...which usually pisses me off to no end since I then have to hear about how so and so shot someone because of GTA, True Crime, Mortal Kombat, blah, blah. Very few people have the common sense to know the simple fact that people (including children) usually will not act out in a way to imitate violence or sexual situations present on a video game when two things are taken in account; one, if the child or adult has any sense of right or wrong (doesn't suffer from such psychosis as psychopathy, etc.); two, if the parents/guardians of these kids actually will keep an eye on their actions (I mean a parent/guardian is given the title of "guardian" because they are they to guard the kid not only from the harm that others can inflict, but also to guard the child from themselves and teach them to be active parts of society...not just a new breed of ass-holes who like to play the ignorance card, like most of these parents who don't watch their kids usually are) and properly raise these other words, kick their asses if they stop being socialable. 

Another part of games that gets bitched about is the fact that some games show negative stereotypes. This is best seen by the whiney individuals and groups who think GTA games put their ethnicity/religious affiliation/whatever in a bad light. The truth is simply that these groups are idiots who never even give the game a shot. Games are entertainment much in the same way that movies are entertainment. However, usually when a movie is seen as being a reinforcement for a bad social attitude, the whiney party is often ignored (or actually challenged to see said movie) by the majority of people...unless they actually saw the movie. On the other hand, many of the people who bitch (with no cause...which is quite different from my all so fun-loving and informative/informed Bitchings) about games have never even tried them. This has been the case for quite a while, but especially in the last couple of years. 

The strongest case of this is when Haitian groups started to call for mass recalls of GTA:VC due to how there's a vocal line in the game that goes something along the lines of "Kill the Haitians!". I can tell that this group is either trying to get uncalled for sympathy (aka...throwing a whiney little bitchy pity party) or are simply ignorant of GTA:VC (and for that matter, the whole GTA series). I say this because there is not a single ethnic/religious group in GTA that doesn't not have stereotypes imposed on them, and violence directed towards them. Between GTA3 and GTA:VC, we are shown Italians who are almost always ultraviolet members of the Mafia; Chinese who are usually Triads; Uzi-packing (Japanese) Yakuza; sleazy Columbian drug lords; Cubans and Haitians stuck in a bitter and violent turf-war; an African American explosive specialist/gun seller (ala everyone's favorite bomb expert; 8-Ball); drug obsessed British rockers (Love Fist) and miscellaneous wanna-bes (Kent Paul); corrupt police, politicians, preachers, and Jews; I mean the list goes on and on. I can see someone saying that GTA promotes racist stereotypes, however to single out their own group and not give mention of any others not only promotes a sense of ignorance and self-pity, but it could be construed as racist attitudes in itself (it seems to say to me either, "I haven't gotten all my facts straight since I'm completely ignorant of the circumstances and only heard of this without investigating it on my own", or "Yeah, those other groups are violent and evil, but my group is wholesome and perfect...). 

Keep in mind, I don't have anything against any group (except hate groups...they can kiss my arse), but I personally don't care for those who seem to be out there only for their own benefit without giving a shit about anyone else. Is it really any less racist to say, benefit my group but don't pay any attention to anyone else at all? I think not. 


I think to anyone who has ever played GTA3 and/or GTA:VC, it is pretty obvious that everyone is evil in those games. No one group is being singled out and no one group is being shown as the "good guys". It is a game about crime, in a world of crime, separate from the daily lives that most of us in the real world know. The protagonists (be it Tommy, nameless guy, other nameless guy, etc) are just as evil as the antagonists. This series doesn't exist to promote racism, it promotes entertainment for those who want this breed of it. In other words, if video games are surpassing movies as the most common/profitable form of entertainment, then I say we all still have the same options we've had for the last can either bitch about everything (showing you have to force your will upon can't force tolerance, but you can have faith in your neighbors to be tolerant and open-minded), or you can realize this is entertainment, and if it's not to your tastes, walk away, turn it off, don't buy a ticket, don't buy the DVD, etc, and let those of us who are responsible enough to enough it, and twisted enough to enjoy it, do just that...enjoy it.

Plus, it's not like any group shown as evil in GTA3/VC (of which all groups are shown that way) is isolated, singled out, and is shown as a comical target to vent some rage upon.

But Then Again... 

Of course there is an extreme that cancels out everything I said. While there are a lot of games that touch subjects that politically correct whores should avoid (while those of us with nicely sick and twisted senses of entertainment should definitely enjoy to their fullest), there are also some of these games that touch subjects that just shouldn't be touched, yet no one complains (except me...but then I'm a bitchy kind of geek). There seems to be a few major don't touch types of subjects...mainly dealing with isolating a person due to the beliefs, the ethnicity, or their profession.

Thankfully, we haven't seen (for pretty obvious reasons) religious fundamentalist terrorist types of games where you must destroy all the <blank>. <Blank> could be anything from playing a Palestinian suicide bomber who must kill all Israelis, or a member of Al Queada who must bomb Washington DC, or...well, you get the point. This type of game would not only be horribly tasteless, insensitive (I am not one to get touchy, feely, but seriously, a lot of innocent people have died needlessly in this type of crap in the real world), but just hella messed up.

But then we also haven't seen some retarded game about playing a pro-life wacko (not that I'm taking a side in abortion...I wouldn't touch that with a 10' pole...) who must bomb an abortion clinic...once again, for quite obvious reasons. It's tasteless and just plain wrong. Anyone who would make such a game for the sake of being profitable would find two harsh truths; they wouldn't make money (no one would buy that type of obviously morally wrong garbage), and they would go straight to hell (or whatever negative version of the afterlife that they believe in) after being smitted by whatever they believe in to be the "good" higher power. In other words...that's pretty messed up shit right there. 

Then there is my third subject matter that I believe shouldn't be touched by games for the pure immoral act of portraying it. That would be violence against profession...for example, research institutes that involve animal testing (I count the pro-life wackos in another category since while they attack "family planning" type of clinics, which means attack on profession, most of these wackos tend to bring religion into their attacks more than their personal beliefs). I mean what sick and twisted dumbshit would even dream of showing it humorous to let people act out as some wacky and zany character (or duo of characters...make them animals...maybe two escaped lab animals...yeah, that's the ticket!) that goes around inflicting violence to animal workers while at the same time showing animal workers to be immoral asses who deserve nothing less than to be harmed/killed while their normally safe work environment is turned into a terrorist's playground? What sick people would ever try to profit off of this? How messed up would you have to be to show this kind of hatred and bigotry? How immoral would you have to be to actually make a game that purposefully portrays any one type of person (such as an animal worker) in such a negative light that you would actually be implying in your game that it is "right" and "good" to harm them when there are quite real counterparts in the real world? 

Don't ask me...luckily no company has had such a group of callous thinkers and shit eaters who would actually do this crap...and it definitely did not come out last year for the XBox...A game in which animal testers/researchers are shown as cold and immoral and you are rewarded for destroying the labs they work in (in real life, that is often the equivalent of setting off a biological/chemical weapon...literally...random destruction in a building full of biological and chemical research leads to massive repercussions) and for harming the researchers. True, I know, this game would in theory be set in a cruel and heartless animal testing facility, but the bad guys are obvious and absolute. I mean in a game like GTA where everyone is sleazy, that's one thing, but what about a game in which only one group is shown as evil, and all members of this group are obviously ammoral assholes...that is propaganda right there. 

I for one work in such a place that animal research is associated with the location (not that I do any, but I would simply be a bystander who was in the wrong place). My coworkers and myself are threatened every time these animal-liberation-type wackos come to town, and the last thing I want to see when I go to a video game store is a game that pretty much reminds me of how I am quite easily seen as a threat to all that is right and good with the world. Sorry if I need to work for a living and do a quite good (in the moral sense) job at such a "sleazy and underhanded" location, but I feel threatened enough while at work...I shouldn't go to a store to find my next kiddy-crack addiction only to be reminded of this shitty and uncalled for fact. 


How about we don't make games that actually target specific individuals/groups? If this is acceptable entertainment, then I want to see a death to all French game next to a bomb Canada game, next to the massacre all cubical dwellers game, below a slaughter all cell phone vendors game. If no one is allowed to be a target in a game (simply because companies have enough common sense...which is barely any common do otherwise) except (for some strange reason I can not even begin to grasp) people who work in my type of workplace, then I want to see everyone be a target (it doesn't have to be in one game, but any company that would make this type of shit has a responsibility to show that they are not just sick sadistic bigoted pieces of shit). I have no problems with keeping things even in the video game violence, but keeping it uneven is what gets me. 



Well, I've been covering some hardcore issues about hatred, so let's break things up for a second with a little humor!  Namely, the type of humor you can only get from a cheesy horror movie and stupid actions put together.

Gamespot showed this week 12 all new screens of Doom3 for the XBox...for those who've forgotten (I know I wish I could forget) Doom3 is coming out this year...supposedly...wasn't Half-life 2 supposed to come out last fall and Doom3 like two years ago...and then there was Halo2?  This game just keeps me rolling on the floor, gasping for air...the unintentional comedy inspired by Doom3's development team is through the roof.  However, that's not the only sad thing about this..."game".

For one thing, the people who are still excited about this project have to be the most pathetic and silly people available.  To continue to get excited about a game that just gets pushed further and further back is one thing.  It's a different thing altogether to get excited about a massively delayed game that has such "frightening" images...seriously...I thought Doom3 was supposed to be some awe inspiring, frightful, king of FPS...

Yet all I keep seeing is a game that has about as much chance of coming out this year as Duke Nukem Forever has of ever coming out, or SqaureEnix has of making a non-sissy for the protagonist of a future FF game (and considering FFXII is influenced by French culture and the main characters look like they're too wussy to be allowed into a cosplay contest...I wouldn't hold my breath), with the most pathetic attempts ever at inspiring horror.

Am I supposed to be scared of a upside-down head with really cheesy looking crab legs sticking out of it?  What about that zombie looking dude who reminds me more of a butcher or plumber than a hideous monster...maybe we can give him a blue color type of
name...Hank?  Ralph?  Bubba?  What about the ultra cool skeleton with rocket launchers on it's shoulders?  Actually, I once did think that type of thing was cool...when I was really little, I always loved to draw robots (they looked more like skeletons than
robots since I was little and stick figure people with square heads were all I could handle at the time in terms of robots) and stick random guns all over their bodies to make them super strong and fearsome...if only I was born a decade or two later, I could have
made a crapload of money working for ID as an artist or designer...I guess I'll have to settle with not making money but instead laughing my ass off at this pathetic attempt by ID to develop a game that should have been put to rest a few years ago.


While it's still makes me sad (read: lose faith in humanity) to see so many people prove their stupidity by getting excited after all this time.  So, I can think of two solutions.

1) ID can act a lot more like Rockstar and just not show anything until the game is (almost) ready for release.  That way ID won't scare away it's target audience with such a bad looking game.

2) No matter how much I enjoy a good laugh...this is starting to get old...really The Simpsons.  So, like The Simpsons should be, Doom3 should be put to sleep.  The poor thing has suffered enough.  Let it be put out of it's misery...


A Time and a Place...

Normally I don't care when a company does something uncharacteristic in terms of making a game or business decision, but recently EA has been doing a good job at taking some unusual liberties. It started when EA won the Marvel license away from Capcom...which means an end to Mavel vs. Capcom games (which are some of my favorite fighting games, so this pisses me off) and a birth of possible EA vs. Marvel games (the concept of which is just mind-boggling). This was bad enough to make me take notice of EA. 


Now EA is planning Lord of the Rings: The Third Age; a new RPG. This has be quite concerned since the laws of odds say that we only get a few bigger budget RPGs a year, and now one of these RPGs will be this possible crapfest. 


Why would I say it's a possible crapfest, you ask? The setting is supposed to be at the same time and places as the LotR movies (or the EA action games), but you play as different characters...not the Fellowship. In an RPG, the story is supposed to (key words: "supposed to"...MMORPGs don't follow this...) be key to the game. Why play a slow turn based thing that usually requires a strategy more along the lines of leveling than one of how to deploy people, how to plan an offensive, etc, if there is no story? There is no reason...but, what's that you say? There is a story...true, there will be a story, but how important will it really feel to the player when they know (and if you are a geek, you know the plot of the LotR trilogy) that the events they are taking part of will have no real bearing on the history of said world (if you're not Frodo, then you don't destroy the one-ring and end the war for Middle Earth and destroy Sauron, and if you're not Strider then you don't become king) best, you might be defending a smaller region, or stopping some lesser evil, but is that really all that impressive when at the same time-frame as this RPG, the world is being saved and true evil is being destroyed? I think not. 


Then there's another thing that worries me just as much. When EA took over the Marvel video game license, what did we have to look forward to? Honestly, nothing. I mean, what great fighting games has EA released? What big characters can you find in EA exclusive titles that could match their might with Spiderman, Apocalypse, Wolverine, and the rest? There are none. So, EA lacks both the fighter history and the big name players to take advantage of the fact that we're now denied Marvel vs. Capcoms for years to come. 


On to the RPG, I have a similar thought...what big ground-breaking RPGs has EA graced our consoles with? Not a freakin' one that comes to mind, right? Don't say games like FF9, etc. Those were Square titles being published by EA. They don't have Square under their control where is their experience going to come from. I see this as an almost three strikes system won't save the world, you won't control the best characters, and there's no previous experience to back this game up. Add to this the fact that it sounds like the trilogy will be key in the game (as you you face events brought about by the war of the ring), which makes this new RPG sound more like a compendium than an actual experience in and of itself...I'm not saying right now that there is no hope for this RPG (and for the Marvel license), but it looks really the gods of fate will probably decide that this game will take the rightful place of another (high quality) RPG...I'm a pessimist when it comes to good RPGs...but usually that pessimism turns into realism... 



My solution for this is pretty simple. I just think that EA should step up to the plate before taking a swing. In other words, EA needs to show that they have some big characters and some skill with fighters before they take on the Marvel license...I mean when you think of Marvel and video games, you will typically think of Capcom with their versus games. To take on Marvel is a big responsibility and in doing so, EA needs to show up geeks (and quickly) that they are worthy, so to speak. 


As for the LotR RPG, EA needs to gain some more experience with RPGs if they want to win over true geeks...true, the LotR geeks (which are different from video game geeks) will bite at anything that has any sort of Tolken influence, but the RPG geeks tend to have a bit more sophisticated palettes (well...usually...I prefer to ignore the horrid fact that FFX and FFX-2, RPGs, sold so well when they were watered down with a pussy of a main character...I couldn't help but cheer for Sin and Tidus's father to crush that little pathetic piece of shit) and usually won't buy into some RPG that merely serves to be a compendium for a trilogy of movies (most people bought the book after the announcement of the movies, so I think of this as catering to the the game will include movie footage). EA needs to once again show they deserve the right to do this project. 


You can't say you are worthy to be on top if you don't have the experience...and that is something that takes time and effort...not just a single stab in the dark. 




Well, we all lived, laughed, and learned...I think I've done my duty as a bitchy geek for another week. As always, if you have a problem with what I said (especially about how FFX and FFX-2 are merely shells of RPGs designed for the most simplistic of idiots possible who could not help but love these games due to how the whiney pathetic Tidus resembles themselves) tell me.