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Icehearted Blog

The EA Cycle

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Like some of you, I've been following this Mass Effect 3 s***storm a little bit, and doing some reflecting on what I've been learning, whether it's drastically cut corners or the more egregious on disc DLC (the phrasing itself a quandary for simpler folk like myself), to the shabby treatment and half-hearted shrugs many face from BioWare/EA as the company attempts damage control for a product they must have at one time not long ago figured would be a slam-dunk for just about everyone. It's absolutely amazing the level of outrage and vitriol being thrown at BioWare/EA, and even more amazing is just how much of this ire is totally justified, even if a tad overblown.

At this point I'd like to very briefly point out that I TOLD YOU SO. Yes, I'm gloating, and no, it doesn't thrill me to do this, but I feel it's worth mentioning that the instant I learned BioWare was now a functioning extremity of EA, their biggest and best IPs would be getting the cash cow treatment. Exploiting excited or dedicated fans is not a newfangled idea, so while some of you appear as shocked by this as those that for some reason were shocked that Duke Nukem Forever didn't live up to it's hype, there were people like myself that fully expected a lot of what we see happening now. I won't lie, I never imagined they'd take things as far as they have already, but looking back for a moment on Mass Effect 2 it stands to reason that things were going to get worse simply because they already were.

Mass Effect 2 was actually a pretty good game. It didn't nearly thrill me the way the first game in the series had, despite it's massive flaws and shudder inducing Mako play, but in itself it promised a sleeker and faster adventure. It delivered what it set out to do, but at the expense of what made the first game so uniquely what it was. Lots of sacrifices were made, those ever important choices made in the first game were consequently relegated to boring emails with thinly veiled references to the previous game's missions or characters. We also lost the Mako, which wasn't really a bad thing, but we got nothing in return (before you shout Firewalker, let me assure you I'm making a point and I'll get to that when I do), a planet scanning mini-game became part of the filler and it was just god awful, masked loading screens via long elevator rides were "improved" by simply removing them altogether and replacing them with very obvious loading screens, and then there was the massive culling of inventory items, armor, weapons; the game really was reduced to a third-person shooter with measly skill trees. Even experience and leveling were so castrated they literally required no forethought at all, since unlike the first game you earned nothing for your kills. It was a big step away from role-playing games and toward shooters, and palpably so.

A lot of things that make a role-playing game a fun genre is exploration. Though not exactly great with Mass Effect, at least it was there and could have been improved, but like with many of that games flaws, exploration was cut out of Mass Effect 2. There was next to no room to explore anything, which in a sequel for a role-playing game that made planetary exploration a feature is downright criminal, if you'll pardon my hyperbole. What exploration was there was miniscule, and that would be including the mind-numbing planet scanning mini-game.

Worse still was the aforementioned "cash cow treatment". You want exploration? The Firewalker and Overlord pack offered a bit more room to explore, a tiny bit mind you, but still more than the rest of the game, and those were only available via DLC. Which brings me to why I felt like offering my thoughts on this matter.

EA bought Mass Effect when it bought BioWare, and they were not about to let something that big get away with being underexploited, both the IP and the fans were at this point screwed. Let's examine the numbers here:

Genesis = $4
Arrival = $7
Alternate Appearance Pack 2 (Tali, Grunt, Miranda) = $2
Shadow Broker = $10
Firepower Pack = $2
Aegis Pack = $2
Overlord Pack = $7
Equalizer Pack = $2
Kasumi - Stolen Memory = $7
Alternate Appearance Pack 1 (Garrus, Thane, Jack) = $2
Cerberus Network = $15

Total price $60

That means you get a fraction more of the game for the price of the game, and much of this should have been included in the first place. Alternate costumes? Pretty sure that where EA charges a premium for such things, most other companies just include them, like many games before, for well over a decade, long before popularized "micro-transactions" meant I would be missing something as basic as a re-texture unless I paid more on top of the full price of an already expensive game. To put this further into perspective, to get the complete Mass Effect 2 experience (setting aside how many times you'd have to actually buy the game to get all of the preorder bonuses from different retailers), you would pay at least $120 (more if tax applied). Comparatively, the price of the Xbox 360 at the time of the release of the final piece of DLC was $149. So for the record the "entire" game cost nearly as much as the console. Don't whine to me about how these aren't part of the entire game, they are, because they are a part of the game's experience, and this was a precedent set when Rockstar announced LA Noire Complete Edition which included DLC, and on disc DLC proved that you were being locked out of what you paid for unless you paid more for it.

This doesn't even include preorder junk and Dr. Pepper codes (which were eventually free), or the iOS exclusive Mass Effect Infiltrator.



Setting aside whatever I feel about Mass Effect 3, we saw the foreshadowing of what that game would become when we were presented with Mass Effect 2. Everything I've mentioned earlier, the missing exploration, the missing inventory, the skeletal weapons and armor choices, the distancing from role-playing in favor of action; things were dropped, corners were cut, and the experience changed dramatically. This is no more a game than it is a placeholder for money-squeezing DLC.

Think it's gotten any better? Mass Effect 3 saw day 1 DLC, and it was on disc. In fact some users have managed to find a way to unlock a lot of what's on the disc THEY PAID FOR, including the character you get for paying extra otherwise, and it took nothing more than changing a line of text on an installed file (PC users, obviously).

So the trilogy is over, and to hear most users tell about it, it ended with a whimper. Critics and users appear very divided on how Mass Effect 3 turned out. I suppose that regardless of what I or others tell you, this will be a purely subjective matter. For my part, I wish they'd have done better, but I'm not really surprised by how this all turned out considering EA's history. I was a fan once of the Ultima series by a long forgotten company called Origin Systems. EA bought Origin, dissolved what was left of it, and year later recycled the name into an online store/DRM platform, their answer to Valve's Steam service. Ultima? That ended in much the same way Mass Effect did; a twisted figure of it's former self, because action games were more popular at that time, they turned a once deeply narrative driven game into a really bad action-platforming game.

So continues the cycle.

Do They Even Want Money?

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I've been watching how HD remakes have been popping up, and some are actually pretty darned good deals, while others are shameful cash-grabs. A great example of the latter would be the Silent Hill HD Collection and the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. Some really great opportunities missed with what come off as more or less lazy ports than full fledged high definition updates. In fact if some reviews are to be believed these updates are actually somewhat inferior in some cases, having made some questionable choices regarding their voice talent and visual updates.

More bothersome to me, however, are the missing pieces to these collections. Again, I'll use my previous examples here. With a Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, one would assume including the game that started it all (the Solid... um, saga?) would be a no-brainer, but instead we get a PSP game port. We've already seen what an updated Metal Gear Solid would look like, so moving it to HD would have made this one of the must have collections available. Silent Hill, on the other hand, is much more devastating. This "collection" features a paltry two games from the series, and while I don't imagine many of you would have particularly loved seeing the fourth game return (would have been nice though) the absence of the first game is a glaring and off-putting omission. An updated version of the one that started it all, with all it's scares, ambiance, and surprising depth brought to life in glorious HD! Who wouldn't have wanted this? That could almost be a worthy remake on it's own!

It's baffling to me why publishers feel the need to get our hopes up and leave us flat with these releases, when nearly everyone literally shares the exact same ideas as to which as of yet unreleased remakes and collections would shine most for us. I've already described two, and it's pretty clear to us all how these could have been made into more than just cheap cash-grabs. I was never a fan of this sort of thing, however, unless they really made an effort to give us something that truly deserves a double dip. I fell for this when I picked up the weak God of War Collection, which really wasn't impressive at all. The game looks awful, almost nothing was really updated, and from a company that made the gorgeous God of War 3 this was a truly disappointing experience.

A few suggestions I'd like to throw out there; Dark Cloud HD Collection (or for that matter Dark Cloud 3), Onimusha HD Collection, Tenchu HD Collection, A DreamCast collection that isn't made of mostly forgettable titles, Kings Field HD Collection, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic HD collection, Mark of the Kri/Rise of the Kasai HD collection. I could do this all night.

Since they pretty much dropped backward compatibility, better collections would be fairly welcome. In some cases seeing games improved drastically in their visual and audio content to be relived or enjoyed by new players would be a pretty smart move, as many titles past were both original and just plain fun, from a bygone age predating streamlining for mass appeal, "better with Kinect", and DLC.

Really though, I just don't get how publishers that want to get money from people like myself manage to just keep missing the ball on something so simple it needs no explanation. Give us what we want, and we'd be happy to support you with our money.

For sale. Dog collar. Well worn.

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I usually don't write personal entries, but today I mourn the loss of a dear friend. He was a bed warmer, a patient listener, and occasionally too sharp for my own good. He was always happy, loved people, loved to play. I speak of course of my dog, Wheezer.

Wheezer came to me from a pound in 1998, about a year or two old. He was a sorry little thing, moping near walls, afraid to eat, skinny, sad. We figured he'd had it rough, but in the brevity of a few weeks he seemed to accept he was family, and that we only wanted to do our best for him. He became a confident, playful, happy creature. No bigger than a small cat, Wheezer had a lot of heart, and a unique personality. His capacity to communicate his feeling toward others was remarkable, more so, he was quick to win the affections of even the most jaded "oh he's just a dog" sorts.

In the time I've had him I was grateful for everything. We could have been better off without some of the bad days, but all in all I wouldn't have changed much if anything.

Most of all he was a dear friend, and a boyhood dream fulfilled. My sweet loving dog brought myself and others a lot of joy, and to my sadness, today I chose to give him peace.

If you're a pet owner take no day for granted, because before you know it those carefree days will end. Someday the little ones, the ones who gift us with their unconditional love and devotion, will be there no longer to make us smile, or to care about us in the way that only they can.

Wheezer

Goodbye, Wheezie-bear, and thank you for being the best dog a man could ask for.

Modded Honesty

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So as my little profile whoozits will show, I've been a registered member of Gamespot for about 8 and a half years. I've followed this site through it's transitions, through it's "we're going to charge you to watch any videos here" phase, then the subsequent "our videos are free to watch" phase, I've seen their staff come and go, revolving at times like seasons changing.

Today, I was modded, but that's not the interesting part. No, what's interesting is why.

It started with a news article. In the article we learned a couple of key goings on in the world of the big N, particularly that the remade Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time was selling with the Nintendo 3DS at a ratio of about 1 to 4, respectively. Another user suggested that remakes do not kill a series. I thought it a strange thing to have to point out, but I agreed, adding that it doesn't further the series either. I also pointed out, rather plainly, that a remake of a popular game will naturally be a top seller when there is little else to choose from. I then proposed that if given the choice between a new Zelda game or a remake, people would more than likely purchase the new game, having already played the remake. Having little to choose from played in the game's favor sales-wise.

For this I was moddded, my comment deleted after a plethora of thumbs down votes from others.

Let me be frank; this practice is terrifying in what it implies. Quite a few years ago I used to frequent another game website some of you may have heard of called 1up. There, with startling regularity, I saw my comments being edited. They literally removed certain word to doctor what I'd posted and then would reprimand me via private message. I abandoned that site as a result of this activity, as it became clear to me that journalism in 1up was dead. It was especially tough for me because prior to this I'd been an avid reader of their various magazines, I'd even had a collection of them going all the way back to Electronic Gaming Monthly #1. I'd seen then that they were just shills on a mission to print fluff pieces for pay; after all, why bite the hand that feeds them? That isn't journalism, that's advertising, and their every article seemed to support this behavior on their website.

Here on Gamespot I've seen a lot of trends move by. I've seen Gamespot, to this day, permit a racially offensive remark on their forum. I even blogged about it, I reported it, nothing was done. Now, for my honest feedback on an article I'm being called a troll, simply because I said, and I will quote myself:

Of course it sells a million, it's not like 3DS owners have much to choose from.

@ some_user_I_won't_name

I wouldn't be as dramatic as to suggest it kills a series, but it certainly isn't doing anything to further it. What if this had been a new Zelda adventure altogether? It's really just lazy, but 3DS owners are desperate enough to buy it.

And before you Nintendo fans give me the thumbs down for not proclaiming this the greatest Zelda that ever existed, ask yourselves, if given the option for a remake of a 10+ year old game, or a whole new Zelda experience, which would you honestly prefer?

Quit kidding yourselves.Icehearted

They called that trolling, and I was modded.

Even though it's honest, sincere, in no way intended to offend anyone deliberately, and it was the truth (however angrily delivered), they called my dissent "trolling". Takes me right back to 1up and their meticulous doctoring of my comments, though to Gamespot's credit I was not edited, I was deleted.

By posting this I imagine they may decide to suspend me, or they might delete this blog entry, or they may even choose to ban me. If they do so I will at least have a clear understanding of my position with Gamespot and it's staff. Honest thoughts, are the only permissible when they aren't in dissent of the majority? That remains to be seen, but I will not cower at having my hand slapped for sharing my thoughts, which were relevant albeit angry. Yes, I was mad when I posted that, but at Nintendo. They play this game a lot; make a system, have little on it to really appeal to the core audience, and watch it sell like mad because people have little else for the system to choose from. They did this with the Game Boy Advance, they did this with the Nintendo 64 for years, it's a questionable practice. If they don't do this deliberately then they're inept rather than shady, but either way it's a slap against the consumer.

Whatever happens, if this is the end, then for those of you that see this before they shut me down, I'd like to say it's been a real honor to know some of you. Believe that if you're on my friends list you're on it for a reason.

Gamespot, the ball's in your court. Have at me.

Hacked..... Oh Brother

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Fresh out of my inbox.

We recently learned that hackers gained unauthorized access to the decade-old BioWare server system supporting the Neverwinter Nights forums. We immediately took appropriate steps to protect our consumers' data and launched a thorough ongoing evaluation of the breach. We have determined that no credit card data was compromised from the servers, nor did we ever have or store sensitive data like social security numbers. Our investigation shows that information such as user names, encrypted passwords, email addresses, mailing addresses, names, phone numbers, CD keys and birth dates from these forum accounts on the system may have been compromised, as well as other information (if any) that you may have associated with your EA Account. In an abundance of caution, we have changed your password to ensure account security. Please visit this https://www.ea.com to reset your password immediately.

We take the security of your information very seriously and regret any inconvenience this may have caused you. If your username, email address and/or password on your EA account are similar to those you use on other sites, we recommend changing the password at those sites as well. We advise all of our fans to always be aware of any suspicious emails or account activity and report any suspicious emails and account activity to Customer Support at 1-877-357-6007.

If you have questions, please visit our FAQ at http://support.ea.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5367/ or contact Customer Support at the phone number above.

Aaryn Flynn
Studio GM, BioWare Edmonton
VP, Electronic Arts9EA

No, really, this is getting old now...

A Big Steamy Duke

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Duke Nukem. Wow, after all the sweat blood and/or tears (mostly by fanboys that slammed anyone that doubted the game's release), the Duke is back, and if the reviews are anything to go by, we're sorry for that... really really sorry. We expected it to be puerile and corny, yes? We expected it to be silly, perhaps even at it's own expense. We also expected a game that, having passed through so many filters, and was so many years in the making, would be at the very least, good. If I read correctly, what we got was a completely objectionable and offensive mess that manages to actually out-fail games that are meant to be an offensive and objectionable mess, at least this according to GameSpot. For reference, Postal and Postal 2 both manage nearly twice as many points. Did Gearbox just phone this is? Or was it 3D Realms that gave us this fetid abomination people will probably buy and loathe?

It doesn't matter.

What matters is that people preordered this game nearly a decade ago, and their wait has ended in the same way intercourse ends with vasocongestion (keepin' it clean); you just felt like you've been lathered up for some lovin', but now you want a warm shower, an ice pack, and for this to be a distant memory as quickly as possible.

A few years back on '08 I slammed the "preview of this game" stating that "it doesn't exist" and while the evidence now proves that it does, in a way this mess proves too that I was right, and it didn't. Feels slapdash to you? That could be because it is. Let's face it, 3D Realms is/was a joke, Gearbox is proving that integrity is no match for money, and that a monkey will shuffle to the organ grinder as long as there is coin to be had. Another way to look at this is that this was time that could have been spent on something worthwhile, Borderlands 2, or a completely new 'from scratch' game built in the Dukeiverse. This game is, by most accounts, a dismal failure, and the buildup was so large that in all honesty I think too many of you out there are too fatigued to be nearly as outraged as Dragon Age 2 fans were at the cheap mess EA spat at them.

I doubt I will ever play this game, not unless it's heavily modded and is in pretty nearly every way not at all the thing being pushed out now. I also say, to all that have preordered, let this serve as a reminder as to why that system is idiotic. You've done no service to yourselves as customers, which is why devs and publishers continue to get away with Dragon Age 2 and Duke Nukem Forever. Maybe if people were more discriminating in their purchases, companies like Gearbox would think twice before shoveling a steamer at you.

It's late, I've vented, 'nuff said.

Bottom 10

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I've been attempting to mop up some loose achievements on a few old games when it occurred to me why I didn't have the complete scores on them already. Games like Aegis Wing and Galaga Legions have, for the longest time, been kicking my butt with the need to mix patience, practice, memorization and pure uncut 100% skill. I finally bested Aegis Wing, but only because I learned to play on the "INSANE" difficulty setting with a second controller using my feet. No really, that's what it took.

Before I take another step further I want to point out that I'm an achievement junkie, not an achievement whore. The difference being that I like getting achievements in games that challenge me and reward that with a little useless badge on my little useless gamertag. An achievement whore doesn't care about challenge, all they want are the points, and they will play any game, the easier the better, just to get their gamerscore boosted. An analogy would be a man taking Synthol as opposed to a man that actually eats right and lifts weights.

The difference between addictions

So anyway, as I was going back trying to fill in some gaps on old games I started to remember why I never completed getting the full 1000 to begin with on some of these… they suck! Holy mackerel these games are terrible! So terrible that I even took a break from my protracted attempts at playing Perfect Dark Zero to earn some "cheevos" just because it hit me that some of the absolute worst games I've ever played have been games on the Xbox 360. So much for evolution. Perfect Dark Zero isn't the worst though. In fact there is one game that stands monolithically above all others as being the worst game I've ever played on the Xbox 360, or any other console. A game so bad it made me actually wish cancer on everyone involved in it's creation, and not just any cancer, the painful "I hope you M*********ERS rectally bleed to death in agony!" cancer. I'm actually a pretty mellow guy, so it takes an especially bad game to really get me this kind of P.O.ed.

So, without further ado, I give you the ten worst Xbox 360 games I've ever played. Feel free to comment on how wrong or right I am, I don't doubt many of you have some horror stories of your own. Links to my reviews on them included.

10. Eternal Sonata

9. Castle Crashers

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)

7. Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy

6. Street Fighter IV

5. Velvet Assassin

4. Mr. Driller Online

3. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

2. Perfect Dark Zero

1. Dead or Alive Xtreme 2

World of Whatcraft?

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According to a very tiny article on a site with questionable ethics (which is my way of saying I probably shouldn't link it here), a French website called NoFrag has possibly been the first to leak details about the upcoming and intermittently controversial new MMO IP from MMO giant, Blizzard.

According to the piece I read, the upcoming and as of yet unnamed game will feature first-person shooter style play (FPS), with social interactions similar to that of The Sims Online. The site also mentions that there are still undetailed game mechanics that will also play into the new MMO.

My thoughts; An MMO that isn't about number crunching, statistics, and math, and more about actual skill and play? This is the first tidbit of news about Blizzards new online game that has actually managed to get my attention. As a past WoW veteran, I'm pretty much over the old macro based tomfoolery most MMO games have to offer. Who knows what any of this means if in fact it's true?

Blizzard has stated in the past that the new IP will not be related to anything out right now, so if that statement holds true than World of Starcraft it's not. Which I find even more enticing, and a new universe offers all sorts of new possibilities. Either way, keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground, kids, the info's finally a-comin'!

Prenatal

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I realized it's been a while since I've blogged, and to be honest I hadn't planned on blogging again for a while since other things occupy my time right now that are highly important and mostly insurmountable. I will say, however that it has taken something of extreme stupidity to bring me out of my nest and unfurl my tail with an angry lash upon the gaming landscape. Actually, it's taken a few choicely idiotic things to get me to turn my eye away from my own problems and decide to pound out this tirade (sarcasm begins) I'm sure nobody saw coming (sarcasm ends).

First things first, I told you so! No really, those butt ugly chunky graphics they decided to "show off" was the best they could muster in a decade or so and some of you were still holding your breath. I am relieved, beyond words relieved, that in it's final act of dire stupidity 3DRealms managed to be sued by it's investors, hopefully never to be heard from again. Okay, I doubt this is the last we'll hear of them, but I'll remain optimistic. Gamecock died away, so I believe dreams can come true.

Secondly, what's with big shows like E3 and all the boot licking journalists that hoot at the site of unfinished games? Seriously, keep it in your pants people. We already know that most of you lack integrity, but shouting this en masse from a showroom floor like rabid fanatics only further proves what token "journalists" you are. I defy any one of you to prove to me or anyone that you are not feeding the hype machine at these events, and I pity every one of your readers that buys into your garbage. Case in point, Peter Molyneux's excitement over Natal (more on this idiocy in a moment). Wasn't he the guy that promised the world in two Fables and managed to deliver brevity, bordering mediocrity? Didn't you "journalists" actually give the aforementioned Duke Nukem Forever awards at one of these shows a few years back? A game, that I remind you, has not and will likely never see light of day, and even then it will be nothing like what you "journalists" awarded? Buncha grifters, these "journalists".

Street Fighter IV is horrible, there I said it! Hype has sold more of this game than it deserves, but hey, that's how "honest reviewers" earn their pay. Don't misunderstand me, the game is mostly functional in what it does, but the production values are laughable, the graphics are heinous, and in many ways this is yet another step backward for the once greatest fighting series of all time. Why bother mentioning this here? Because I think it's a prime example of what I was talking about before. This game scored exactly the same here at Gamespot as Perfect Dark Zero. What's wrong with this picture? PDZ was a game that changed hands, and was rushed out the door to fill a spot for the Xbox 360 as a big launch title. It's unpolished, ugly, bland, bad story, shoddy production value, poor but functional game play, and hyped by people that want a paycheck. Let's face it, if games are not selling well, sponsorship goes bye-bye, and sites like Gamespot suffer. Can't expect them to be honest about the hand that feeds them (even if by proxy), but boy does this prove my point. Street Fighter IV is about as bad as the series has been in years. I was not a big fan of SFIII, I thought it paled compared to SFII and Street Fighter Alpha 2, but SFIV is just bad on so many levels. It's graphics are chunky and ugly, the music is pretty annoying, and the voice acting is a nightmare. Every time I've beaten C. Viper and would hear her yowl through my speakers I swear blood started spilling from my ears and the windows in my apartment cracked (that last part might be a little exaggerated). Why does Gamespot give these craptacualr games such high marks? I'm being plainly rhetorical, and it's plain to see why.

I rented SFIV, and I'm sorry I did. Even worse for me though is that I have played this abortion on my Xbox 360, which for these sort of games has by far the worst controller ever. I could barely enjoy a game of Pac-Man CE on it because of how poorly made the D-pad is, and the analogue is just not meant for this sort of thing. So if the controller couldn't handle four directions in a maze, just amplify... you know, I won't even bother drawing this comparison. Bottom line, it's terrible and Capcom doesn't care. No, I refuse to invest in a controller that costs more than half the price of the console, and I refuse to pay extra for outfits that already existed in the arcade version of the game well before it came to the consoles. Capcom clearly hates gamers, but they so obviously love dupes. If you paid to own this game, congratulations, you've been had.

I was watching E3 with a lot of you here on Gamespot, and I recall someone making a remark about a light saber game for the Wii. I don't remember who made it, but it's not the first time I've heard that, and I can never tell if they're serious or not. I hope they're not. For anyone that thinks it is a good idea, grab a remote and pretend to have a light saber duel with someone doing the same. What's missing? Everything! You will both swipe around like nitwits until one of you decides they've been hit, because there is nothing to resist you, nothing to clash up against aside from air and your lost dignity. Whoever bloody thinks that's brilliant game play spits into the eye of every consumer in this industry. These are probably the same doorknobs that are wondering why their "recession proof" business is taking such a strangely coincidental downturn. Make no mistake, they deserve their bankruptcy as much as Charles Manson deserves his involuntary prison lovemaking. Industry "geniuses" make me gag.

And finally, I get to this motion sensing fad that we now see approaching the Xbox 360, making the gaming industry's turn to the dark side complete (cue maniacal cackling). Let's get something out of the way; there are gamers and there are gamers. Some of us enjoy a challenging fun experience that we might someday look back upon with the same kind of fondness one may feel for a good book, a fine movie, or even a perfect day in the park. Then there are gamers that clap like freaks when they "make that thing go that way by moving the magic stick-a-majig". For the record, the latter is destroying the former. What do you get when you cross the "hardcore gamer" sector with the "let's make shovel-ware for kids and grannies" crowd? You get Natal, for some imbecilic reasons pronounced nah-tall, even though it's actually a word, pronounced nay-tall, which is defined as "Of, relating to, or accompanying birth: natal injuries." I guess on top of being crooked, devs, publishers, and "journalists" share a common speech impediment. So the most exciting thing on the Xbox 360 was a virtual interactive boy? Should I even begin to broach the things that are wrong with this? I think not, but I do think that it indeed proves, rather mightily, just how far we've fallen thanks largely to "money first, quality last" development so many of us have come to expect. I won't bother ranting about something that hasn't come out yet, but I look forward to it about as much as I would a colonoscopy (no, I don't care for those... you sillies).

Pac-Man Made Us Fat

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Read this article about an enlightened politician's take on why his country is falling into criminal chaos. Go ahead, skim it if you like, it will help to really contextualize how misinformed, potentially stupid, this man really is. I do try to avoid openly insulting others, but then some just really make it too difficult to resist.

Skimmed it? Read it? Good! Now, does anyone remember why they banned switchblades in America? Anyone know the old Link Wray song "Rumble"? They tried to outlaw that in America too. They said that both, in their own respective times (switchblades were featured in movies quite a bit in their heyday), promoted gangs and violence, and so irrational out of touch adults (I'm an adult, but not so out of touch, I assure you) and fear mongering politicians, rather than promoting personal responsibility/accountability, blamed these things rather nonsensically.

The ratio of violent video games sold or rented is widely disproportionate to the amount of acts of violence replicating or simulating similar acts. In other words, millions have played GTA3,4, whatever, but of the millions that have played those games, a minuscule percentage went off and reenacted what they played in those games in real life.

Here's a fun theory. How many violent criminals actually bother playing most violent video games in the first place? Think Manson, or BTK, or Ramirez, or Hitler (just threw him in for a funny), or most serial killers all enjoyed games of Doom between murdering people?

Here's an even better one. Obesity! In America, (where I live) it's at what they call epidemic proportions. Seriously, it's fast becoming one of the number one contributors to premature death for most adults in the land of the free and the home of the Whopper. So why hasn't anyone tried banning Pac-Man for contributing to this epidemic? I mean, the game is all about eating, and since people are eating too much, shouldn't we look at how video games clearly contribute to America's weight issues?

It's not The Master Chief's fault some people are killers, any more than it's Pac-Man's fault heart disease and diabetes are rampant health problems.

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