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JBStone1981 Blog

Johnny, Bravo

Phil Fish once said that gamers are "the worst **** people." He was speaking about the vindictiveness of the peanut gallery threatening to pirate his game, Fez, because they didn't like him--and while it was a tad hyperbolic then, it would find a proper home if applied to the human garbage who tainted Carolyn Petit's recent review of Grand Theft Auto V. The vomitous mass of hatred and stupidity left behind by a depressingly large community of internet thugs emboldened beyond their usual boundaries by a perceived easy target and righteous cause is an example of the absolute worst of our kind.

Sadly, this isn't the first time Gamespot's bigots and misogynists have targeted Ms. Petit. As a transgender woman, she is often the subject of petty mockery and cruel taunts from the anonymous cowards who make up the majority of Gamespot's commenters. But the vitriol expressed in the GTA review went beyond the pale. It reached a point where I was actually relieved to see complaints about her unprofessionalism and gender bias, because those were the only ones to concede that she is, in fact, a woman. 

To the site's great shame, the thread was not locked, nor did anyone speak up on behalf of Carolyn in an official manner. That isn't to say Carolyn needs anyone's protection, but it would have been great to see a moderator or community leader step in and tell people to shut up. To the best of my knowledge--and I spent several soul-crushing hours wading through the black waters of what could only be described as a digital sewer--this never happened. 

Until Feedbackula, that is.

Enter Johnny Chiodini, the hilarious, sarcastic, born-for-this-gig host of Gamespot's weekly show lampooning comments section trolls. This week's offering began with the usual eye-rolling and exasperation at the legion of fools who were personally offended at a game they almost certainly haven't played getting a score that differs from their own (inexplicable) opinions, but took a serious turn when Johnny addressed the community's malicious attacks on the reviewer. Instead of pointing and laughing at their idiocy, he chastized them. He told them their behavior was inexcusable, and a violation of the site's rules. He stood up for Carolyn when no one else on the site would, and he deserves to be recognized for that. 

Not that he would accept any praise, of course. In fact, Johnny feels partly responsible for the disgusting behavior. Feedbackula's entire purpose is to playfully mock people who say ridiculous things, who overreact to review scores and innocuous comments in the news. But he fears this has merely given a platform for real douchebags to spout their hate speech, and appearing on the show served as motivation for people to amp up the outrage and obscenity. I disagree with Johnny here; Feedbackula has never been a mouthpiece for bigots or sexists or any of the kinds of filth that invaded Carolyn's review page. But the fact that Johnny feels this way is commendable, and there may be some truth to his fears, even if I don't see it.

No matter what Johnny chooses to do with his show, I want him to realize that the uncrazy few left among the ranks here at Gamespot appreciate what he did in the wake of this unfortunate event, and hope that he doesn't disappear, even if Feedbackula does. Thanks for sticking up for a colleague and a friend, and a reviewer who has the respect of everyone who matters.

MGS V to be Mostly Animal Porn, Per Kojima

Nearly a week after stirring an internet firestorm with his comments regarding an erotic redesign of Metal Gear Solid V characters, and a few days after a "clarification" of those comments, Hideo Kojima is back in the news again, this time to provide what he calls "the final word" on the matter.

"And that final word? Animal j*zz." 

Kojima later elaborated, "Basically, every female character in Metal Gear Solid 5 will, at some point in the narrative, bl*w a horse. Or a donkey, maybe. Livestock will receive oral pleasure, that's the gist of it. And Quiet will probably do two camels at once. There's a hump joke in there somewhere. LAWL." 

In the 5000-word blog post, which ranges from an intense symposium on the value of animal Heintei, to a profanity-laced all-caps attack on a PF Chang's waitress he says "played games with my heart," Kojima defends his decision to shift the MGS franchise away from the mainstream, and into the decidedly niche market he refers to as "dudes who like it NATURE-al."  

"There's still gonna be stealth and blah blah whatever, but our main focus during development was to get chicks to show up to cons slurping on plastic bull c*cks." 

We reached out to Kojima Productions for further comment, but we were told Kojima was busy "getting his goat on." 

343 Cancels All Future Halo e-Sports Events

In a stunning reversal just a day after the conclusion of the 2013 Halo 4 Global Championships at Pax Prime, 343 Industries has canceled all future events, effectively ending Halo's run as a professional e-Sport. In a written statement released this morning, Halo Franchise Director Frank O'Connor explained the decision:

"Things were going great, we were making plans for next year's Pax Prime, and then I met Wendy, who works at the venue where the event was held. We hit it off right away, but she was like 'Are you with this video game bullshit?' and I was all like 'What? Me? Psh. No!" So now this whole thing is basically over." 

Phil Spencer, head of 343's parent company, Microsoft Studios, was disappointed, but sympathetic. "We're all saddened to hear that Halo will no longer be a part of the e-Sports scene, but if any of us had been in Frank's shoes, we would have done the same thing. Maybe more. One time, I resigned from Microsoft and set my office on fire because I thought an Applebee's waitress was flirting with me. It turned out she just wanted me to buy a desert."

While surprising, O'Connor's turn isn't unprecedented. In 1988, Pac-Man world champion Johnny "Digital" Duggins retired minutes before he was set to defend his crown, when finding out that his hot second-cousin would be coming to spend the weekend at his parent's house. 

In a 1999 interview with Nintendo Power, Duggins admitted that she angrily rebuked his advances, but added that he had no regrets. "She was so mad she was spitting," he fondly recalled. "But some got on my lip, so it was almost like we kissed."

Naturally, some "e-thletes" are worried that their misfortune could carry over to other games, like DOTA.

"Ew, no," said Valve receptionist Missy Carmichael. "These guys are always sweaty, even when the air conditioner's on, and [Valve Managing Director] Gabe [Newell] kinda smells like cheese." 

PlayStation Plus: Gaming's Best Kept Secret

I tend to do my best thinking in those clockless hours when even the debaucherous are snoring into some stranger's pillow. You know the time: It's still dark, but people with proper careers are up and dressing for their early morning run. That's when, for whatever reason, what few brain cells survived the weed-choked and booze-soaked holocaust of my adolescence flicker to life, fire up their synaptic connections, and materialize a good idea or two. 

My latest idea was to upgrade my PS3's HDD. Being short on cash and long on impulsivity, (not to mention it being 3:55 in the morning) I wasn't quite sure how to scratch this itch. Then I remembered the old Gateway laptop I had abused into uselessness a year or so ago. I dashed into my bedroom closet and retrieved the battered old thing. A handful of screws, a mouthful of inappropriate words, and about 20 minutes later, I was rocking a fat PlayStation 3 with a 250 gig hard drive. (Okay, okay, it was more like 203, since the HDD had a partition on it, and you never get the full amount anyway) 

I was as proud as a peacock. It was as if I had upgraded myself, rather than some gaming console. I felt like a freaking cyborg!But what to do with this newfound space? 

I'm not proud of what I did next. Well, what I almost  did next. I, JBStone, champion of gamer's rights and consumer's rights (True Ownership, mofo!) logged onto the PlayStation Network with the intention of...the thought of it stiffens my fingers like arthritis...buying a game digitally!

I know, I know. Can't lend it to a friend, can't trade it in towards another game, can't even return it if you hate it. Consumers have virtually no rights when it comes to digital content, thanks to corporate geed and a medium that allows them to call the shots without any real oversight. But...but...my poor hard drive was empty! 

Long story short, before I even had a chance to browse, I noticed an ad for PS+. Now, I'm not some caveman who had never heard of Sony's service before, but, admittedly, I didn't know much about it, other than it seemed to offer discounts much in the same way GameStop offers discounts to its rewards club members. I almost didn't give it a second look, until I saw something called the Instant Game Collection. 

I suddenly remembered the Sony stage show at E3, when Generic Corporate Guy got his one and only moment of public appreciation after announcing that Sony wouldn't be doing any of the evil DRM crap Microsoft was trying to pull. He had mentioned something about the Instant Game Collection, but it didn't really stick at the time. I guess I must have figured it was just another digital snowjob. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

I was like a kid in a candy store. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Saints Row: The Third, X-Com: Enemy Unknown (what's with all the colons?) all there for the taking, all free! And more games are added every month! 

I wonder if I signed up? Uh, yeah, I signed up.

As of this writing, I've discovered the seisure-inducing goodness of Vanquished, the point-and-clickiness of Machinarium, and the unbridled joy of a quality Mario Kart ripoff in Little Big Planet Karting, and all for only the price of admisison. (About $6, since I got the 3-month subscription as a test run) I mean, what the eff? Why has no one told me about this? Does anyone else even know? Last week, I was cataonic with joy at the prospect of Microsoft giving away a game I didn't even like in Fable 3, so can you imagine how stoked I am at the prospect of playing X-Com for nothing? 

Okay, gotta calm down. This is starting to sound like a Sony commerical. 

Yes, there is a hitch. Unlike the XBox Live offer, (which only lasts until the One comes out, by the way) you don't actually own the free PS+ games. You sort of rent them, much in the same way you rent Netflix's library of streaming titles--you can use them so long as you're a member. Let membership expire, and you lose access to the games, even though they take up space on your HDD. (My hard drive! Squee!) But, if you join again in the future, you'll have access again to all of the titles you activated, even if you've erased them and they've been cycled out of the free lineup. 

It's a great deal. Viewed as a Netflix-style service, there's nothing but good things to say about it. And free games aren't the only perk. I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner, because I missed out on a huge E3 sale, which heavily discounted digital titles for PS+ members. There was also a sale some time ago on "ultimate edition" games--basically Game of the Year editions; the full game with all of its DLC--for 50% off. 

I can't say enough about this service. I had previously considered XBox Live to be the (no pun intended) gold standard of online console services, but PS+ really blows it out of the water. I'm not a Steam user, but it sure sounds a lot more like than the Live does, with the big discounts and incentive to become a member outside of wanting to make your console more than just an offline machine. 

No idea why more people aren't talking about this. 

We Have Not Yet Crossed the Rubicon

Though today's reversal in policy by Microsoft is worth celebrating--the first time in gaming history that internet outcry has forced the hand of a console maker to radically change their practices--the war is far from over. Even Sony, whose gamer-friendly DRM policies were announced at E3, and subsequently used to take a jab at Microsoft, has limited the sharing and resale ability of their titles to disc-based content. Your first reaction to this is probably something like, "Well, duh," but take a moment and ask yourself why this limitation is acceptable. 

As of today, there is no infrastructure for the resale of digital content. Ebooks, apps, games, movies and television shows downloaded digitally are tethered either to one device or one user account. Even music, which is far more accessable now than it was at the advent of the MP3 era, enforces digital rights management beyond what you'd find on a compact disc featuring the same content. Gamers have now successfully thwarted attempts to enforce digital-style DRM against physical content in the new generation, but the same policies considered draconian for disc-based content still exist for identical content in digital form. By the time the PS5 and XBox -9 (I mean, who knows with them, right?) roll around, it's entirely plausible that neither console has a disc drive. If and when that happens, our fight for "true ownership" will come up against a stronger barricade than the weak attempt to reinvent the wheel Microsoft just tried. Here, we'll be up against a very real inability to transfer digital content between parties, and the conception that such limitations are perfectly normal and acceptable.

There will be no last-minute changes next time. While I'm sure it's not exactly a piece of cake to completely overhaul Microsoft's DRM infrastructure, the pill will come in the form of a software patch; if the XBox Kittenfart is exclusively digital, the change will have to be fundamental. In other words, it ain't gonna happen.

The moral? We can't afford to wait for the rumors to begin on the next-generation of gaming consoles to get uptight about how digital content is managed, and how ownership is defined in that arena. You've probably never heard this next bit of advice before, but consider doing as the Germans do, and sue the pants off of Valve (or any other distributor of digital gaming content) for the right to trade, resell, or return digital content the same way you can with a disc. After all, there is no logical reason disc-based content should be treated differently than physical content, at least in terms of owner's rights. Owning a disc shouldn't grant me more rights than someone who downloads the same content from an online store, so why does it? 

I think it's time to let the courts decide. 

Microsoft: A Finger on the Pulse and a Knife in the Back

By the time Yusuf Mehdi had concluded his rousing demonstration of the XBox One's featureset, I was prepared to drive--no, speed--to Gamestop and throw whatever money I had in my wallet at them, offering little else a girlish squee as explanation. So excited was I, that the virtually unanimous negative response to to Microsoft's press conference took me completely by surprise.

 How could this be? Here we have a system that essentially replaces your set-top box (while also completely eliminating the need to remember channel numbers, or even keep the remote control on-hand) while delivering instantaneous--and even overlapping--content. Stuck on a segment of Dark Souls II? Call out for the XBox to bring up the browser, and it will sidle in beside your game, allowing you to surf for hints or walkthroughs without having to look away from the screen. As a lazy tech geek myself, having easy, immediate access to so much entertainment is the dream. My current solution is using a home theater system, through which I run my consoles and satellite service. It's a painless solution to the problem of menu-crawling to change inputs, but it's not perfect; the XBox One's remedy actually is. 

It wasn't until I had caught up on all the news that hadn't made it to the stage that I realized not only why everyone was so upset, but why I would probably be skipping this otherwise-idyllic console. 

To begin, the X1's (I'm coining it here, deal with it) internet requirements are not quite so Draconian as we had been lead to believe prior to the Adam Orth debacle. Rather than twenty minutes of offline play, users will be given a 24-hour window to reconnect and retain functionality. However, if we take Microsoft corporate VP Phil Harrison's words to Wired magazine at face value, not only will failing to connect cost you the ability to play your games (including single-player, offline games), but your entire system will brick - that includes playing music and watching TV or movies. 

To call this practice "questionable" would be to shirk my responsibility as a free-thinking human being, so I'll just call it what it is: Reprehensible. Granted, not being able to play your video games without the internet is a first-world problem, but that doesn't mean we have to accept business policies that unreasonably restrict our entertainment. There is no necessity in Microsoft's requiring a once-daily internet connection; it's to serve the purpose of maximizing profits through direct-marketing and data-mining. Obviously, there's nothing inherently wrong with trying to profit from your endeavors - it's when those profits come at the expense of the consumer that it becomes an ethical issue. 

Many gamers don't see the big deal. "We're always on the internet anyway," is a common answer on the forums and in comment sections. While that is true, and certainly a once-daily "check-in" connection is preferable to the always-on variety, it still makes using an XBox difficult for a signficant segment of the population. My own previous internet connection (through Verizon) was terribly spotty; losing service for 12-48 hours wasn't all that uncommon, and long-distance truckers and military service personnel are left to find their gaming nirvana elsewhere.

There are no guarantees Sony won't announce a similar practice at E3, but their emphasis on accessability suggests otherwise. 

Yet, this wasn't even the worst bit of news to emerge in the hours following what I considered to be a hugely-successful and exciting reveal: The XBox One will require users to pay a fee to play used games.

One could opt to look on the bright side and say, "Well, at least they aren't blocked," but shelling out full MSRP for second-hand games - particularly older games, which tend to plummet in price on the secondary market, while remaining frustratingly expensive in digital form - certainly takes the shine off the silver lining. The details aren't official yet, but Harrison's comments to Wired seem pretty clear:

"The bits that are on that disc, you can give it to your friend and they can install it on an Xbox One," he said. "They would then have to purchase the right to play that game through Xbox Live."

"They would be paying the same price we paid, or less?" we asked.

"Lets assume its a new game, so the answer is yes, it will be the same price," Harrison said.Wired

As rage-inducing as this news is, it's somewhat less profane than the connection requirement. Here, rather than simple, naked greed, game publishers are simply asking for what they consider to be their rightful share. And, in some ways, it makes sense: Proceeds from secondary sales go entirely to the retailer, while developers and publshers are left to hope that used game sales don't dissaude too many people from buying a new copy. 

But in what other related medium does such a practice occur? You don't see movie distributors tethering their content to one player, and even music - which once required pirating to move songs from device to device - now has a hands-off approach to DRM. (Of course, digital content is a different story, at least when it comes to film, and even literature, but we'll cross that bridge in gaming when we come to it) So if MGM isn't crying over you handing off your movies to a buddy, why are game publishers whining about sharing games? 

I don't have the answer to that. I wish I did, because this would be a good place to make a suggestion, but I don't. All I can say is that these developments are dealbreakers for me. My internet connection is strong, and I have no immediate plans on living net free anytime soon, but stuff happens and it's entirely possible that I will have to spend an indefinite period of time without access. I'm not forking over hundreds of dollars for a box that does not work without an internet connection when there's absolutely no necessity in having that connection in the first place. A cellphone obviously requires some form of connection to perform its main task, but I shouldn't need to check in every day to play an offline game. And even then, should my phone lose service, it remains functional - I can use the camera, watch donwloaded videos, and use apps. The X1 will just be a fat black brick sitting beneath my television. 

And while it may sound selfish (I'd call it prudence, but that's just me) most of my collection consists of used games. I'm unwilling to pay full retail price for a game that might suck when my only recourse is getting half my money back, and that's provided I go to Gamestop and return it within a short amount of time. The secondary market allows me to stay current, and gets me excited for games that I will gladly buy new. Without that incentive, I can't imagine I'll be gaming much longer. 

Maybe it doesn't matter to you. Maybe it does. One thing that we can all take heart in is that this next console generation is providing us with something the last one sorely lacked: Choices. 

Whereas the 360 and PS3 are similar in too many ways for the decision between them to be of much consequence, it looks as if the PS4 and X1 are truly unique machines. Microsoft has chosen to focus on turning your living room into the XBox Room, while Sony gets back to its roots by advocating for the gaming purist. Either console has its benefits and its inconveniences, and the jury is still out on just how Sony will handle the used game "problem," but the idea that we can actually get two different experiences from these consoles is a breath of fresh air. 

It's just too bad that Microsoft made my choice for me already. 

A Missed Opportunity, or Why the Wii U is a Flop

The prevailing opinion among industry pundits is that the Wii U's depressing sales are mostly due to the console's spare launch library. Specifically, Nintendo's lack of third-party support has been notable, if predictable, but especially so because of how lacking the Wii U is in first-party titles; the first few months of 2013 were remarkably barren, a potentially-fatal mistake for a console released in November. There have been more slow months than strong ones. 

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata wants to remind us that, while a derth of first-party titles certainly hasn't helped, the biggest problem with the Wii U has been the "great challenge" of marketing the console's unique features. Iwata went so far as to claim that some consumers believe the Wii U is simply a Wii with a new peripheral (the Gamepad), and, conversely, that the Gamepad is merely a Wii peripheral. While I find this claim somewhat dubious, it isn't out of line with what most Gamespot forum-goers have been saying since the Wii U was released. There's no question that the Wii U bears a resemblance to the original Wii, but it doesn't look so alike that casual owners (moms and dads, mostly) who already own the Wii would mistake this for a suped-up version of the original console. And in a culture of cookie-cutter consumer electronics released yearly with barely-perceptible changes, the Wii U could look exactly like the Wii and still be recognizable as a new system. 

So, I guess the problem really is the near-total lack of popular titles for the console six months after its launch. Or is it? 

In 2009, the Nintendo Wii was smashing the pants off the competition. The finished the year with more than 9 million units sold, compared to less than four and half for the PS3, and just under five million for the 360. Despite Sony and Microsoft's superior hardware and tremendous third-party support (not to mention first-party exclusives from Bungie and Naughty Dog, among others) Nintendo was king. The Wii was owned by frat boys, grandmas, and 8-year-olds everywhere. It appealed not just to casual gamers, but to everyone. Its motion controller made it unattractive for developers, but a must-buy for people who love techy gimmicks--which is just about everyone. 

The rise of Sony and Microsoft in the console market--namely, their willingness to lose money in it--marked the end of Nintendo as a maker of "regular" consoles. As a piece of technology, no Nintendo console will ever measure of up to its competition again. Now that these huge companies are looking to use their gaming division as a loss leader for their other divisions and prodcuts, Nintendo has to play by different rules. They learned that lesson with the GameCube--a powerful console that couldn't match Sony's library or featureset. Enter the Wii. 

As we approach the halfway mark of 2013, gamers want new technology. They want markedly better graphics, they want bigger harddrives, improved online functionality. They want their console to look like it was developed seven years after the last generation, rather than an incremental upgrade. This is why the Wii U is striking out. The Wii U is essentially a current-gen system. It is about as powerful as the PS3, give or take, at a time when hte PS3 is starting to show its age, so what's the draw? 

Ah, the Gamepad. A standard-defintion, single-touch screen in an era of HD tablet gaming. Hell, even the 360 has tablet functionality (such as it is). The PS4 will be remotely playable through the Vita, with Sony hinting at tablet (and perhaps smartphone) functionality as well. Doubtless the new XBox will allow for something similar, if it doesn't include a tablet controller of its own. (And if it does, it will be far superior to the Gamepad) So, again, what's the draw?

There isn't one. The Wii U as yet has no must-own titles, and virtually all of the new titles it just announced are more of the same--Zelda, Mario, Blah, Rinse, Repeat. Its Gamepad would have been great in 2010, but looks cheap in 2013. This is why I say the Wii U--or something like it--should have been released three years ago. Riding the wave of popularity from its launch through 2009, Nintendo could have released an old turkey sandwhich as the Wii 2 and it would have outsold Sony and Microsoft for a month before people caught on. And when they did catch on, they'd chalk it up to the eccentric geniuses at Nintendo and start an online campaign for Turkey Sandwhich 2. 

And no, I'm not talking about the Wii HD, which so many armchair quarterbacks are now saying Nintendo should have made instead of the Wii U. I'm talking about a legitimate successor to the Wii. Sure, it would have been difficult to turn a profit for a while if the Wii U hardware were released three years ago, but they'd have had so much momentum behind the launch, I have no doubt it would have been a rousing success. Instead, Nintendo waited until exactly the wrong moment, and gave consumers a dated console when they were clamoring for future-tech. 

Microsoft Apologizes in Advance for XBox Server Crashes

Redmond, Washington -- A somber Don Mattrick stood before a gaggle of reporters today to publicly apologize for the inevitable server meltdown that will prevent millions of gamers from playing their next-generation XBox consoles later this year. 

"We will make a lot of mistakes when the new XBox releases this holiday season," said Mattrick, current president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. "But we're most sorry for the one which will brick your console, making it impossible for you to play games on it." 

Many in the press wanted to know why Microsoft can't simply prepare for higher than expected demand. "That would require us spending money on more and better servers, which we all know isn't something we have any interest in doing. And we're sorry for that. Next time we'll do better, except we won't, and we'll apologize for that when the time comes. Actually, right now seems a good a time as any: We are very sorry for not doing better even though we promised we would after the last server crash which hasn't happened yet but totally will, you can count on it." 

As expected, gaming forums and comments sections around the internet exploded with activity following the brief press conference. GameSpot user HaloDongMan89 expressed appreciation for Microsoft's honesty. 

"Thnx MS! Be buyin 720 Day 1!!1 #Honisty"

This opinion was in the decided minority, however, as demonstrated in a response by Troll_Face_LUL5:

"Fanboy! Eat [expletive] and die, [expletive]!" 

The outlook may be bleak for anyone willing to pay for a machine that only works part of the time, but Mattrick was quick to offer guidance to those who will eventually suffer from the numerous server crashes.

"You could read a magazine, or watch the DVD boxed set of your favorite TV show. Whatever you do, make sure the Kinect 2.0 can see it, because once the servers are back online, we're totally going to need that information." 

Congress Bans Old Politicians, Says They Are A Negative Influence

Washington, DC -- In the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left twenty children and six adults dead, the divisive topic of gun control has become a central issue in congress. While this seems a natural battleground following such a tragic, gun-related event, some Democratic lawmakers have taken a startling detour in recent months, calling for bans on violent video games--even going so far as to blame them for the shooting in Connecticut. 

But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began to notice a trend: The two main proponents of anti-game laws are Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), but it wasn't their political affiliations that stuck out. Feinstein is 79 years old, and Rockefeller is 74. 

"As soon as I saw it, it was like, woah," said freshman Florida Representative Patrick Murphy, 29. "My gam is 79, and she can't even wipe herself. We expect this old bat to legislate our nation's laws?

"We're trying to navigate this really difficult national discussion, and these confused coots are going on about video games," said Adam Kinzinger, 35, Representative of Illinois. "How many times do you let Grandpa park on the lawn before we take the keys away?" 

The new law, which goes into effect during the next election cycle, mandates that all policymakers must resign upon reaching the age of 50. "We decided to cap it at 50 because, let's face it, most people over 50 are totally out of touch." 

In an ironic twist, a new gaming-related litmus test will be in effect for members of the Senate and House who are over the age of 40, applied once yearly until mandatory retirement. 

"It will change from year-to-year, but today, for example, if you can't tell me who Subject 16 was, you're probably not going to be a Congressperson anymore." 

"You should have owned in your life at least one Nintendo console, a Sony console, and maybe played XBox at a friend's house," warned Chris Murphy (D-CT), 39. 

But how was the measure passed through both houses, given that the majority of policymakers in Washington are over the threshold? 

"We told most of them they were voting on a bill to mandate new episodes of Wheel of Fortune all summer," said Marco Rubio, (R-FL), 41. "For the older ones, we said it was an emergency anti-Communist measure." 

Dianne Feinstein was visibly upset at discovering she had been mislead.

"Red China presents a clear and present danger," she said, speaking to no one in particular. "We have to stop the Orientals from damaging our white children!" 

Sony Unveils New "Always-Off" Internet Requirement

Tokyo, Japan -- In light of the overwhelming negative public backlash to Microsoft Studios creative director Adam Orth's infamous "#DealWithIt" comments regarding rumors that the company's next-gen console will mandate an always-on internet connection, Sony announced this evening that the PlayStation 4 will not only not require an internet connection, but that internet connectivity has been scrapped from the console altogether.  

"The fans have spoken," said president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Hiroshi Kawano during a 20-minute media conference call. "And they've made it clear that always-on isn't something they want. So we decided to play it safe and completely eliminate online functionality from the PS4." 

When asked how the company would recover from the loss of essentially every feature announced during their February press conference, Kawano was optimistic. 

"It was gonna suck anyway. There was no way we could have pulled off half of the crap they talked about. I mean, did you see how shitty the live stream was?"

Regarding the system's inability to play popular online-centric titles such as the highly-anticipated Watch Dogs, Kawano added, "It's Ubisoft. I'm sure Watch Dogs V will be releasing just in time for the PS5, which probably might have some online capabilities. Maybe." 

One industry insider praised the decision. "Look, it just wasn't worth it. Nobody at Sony wants to become a meme." Another, quoted on the condition of anonymity, was glad Sony was finally shifting their focus away from interconnection, and putting it where it really belongs.

"How many pixel does internet have? How many emotion? Story are told not through internet, but many pixel and emotion." When asked to comment on the XBox controversy, the source responded, "I am friend with Ellen Page."

Of course, not everyone was pleased with Sony's decision. 

"This sucks," Tweeted EA COO Peter Moore. "Cnt dmin8 gmrs wo Micro$ & DRM! #WrstCpnyEva" 

While it seems EA's pleas will fall on deaf ears, the transition to an always-off connection won't be without some hiccups. Since most of the units produced already include the hardware, Sony will introduce a mandatory software update to all those attempting to connect on Day One. 

"If you're online for more than three minutes, your game and all of your apps close, and the console plays Harlem Shake videos on an endless loop until you disconnect," said an anonymous developer using the new dev kit. 

It still remains to be seen what new features the PlayStation 4 will tout now that it's much-ballyhooed social media abilities have been removed, but the rumor mill is already heating up concerning the future of the PlayStation Store. 

"They're going brick-and-mortar," said one insider. "And it'll be way more secure than the online version, since hackers hate outside."

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