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kainenable Blog

Why is Jack Thompson trying to destroy everything I love?

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Jack Thompson has been wildly flailing his arms again. This time he is taking a swing at wikipedia. Apperently because they wrote about him. I think almost everyone knows this guy is now a joke. Madly lunging at things untill he may actually land a punch.

The authors of penny-arcade made a good point. We should just be luckey a compitent lawyer is not leading this crusade or the gaming industry may actually have something to worry about. 

On the other hands should this guy still be allow his stature as "laywer" to threaten lejidimate businesses and people? Should wikipedia, penny-arcade, the authors for "flowers for jack" be forced to endure the vauge legal threats and attacks of character that this guy does? What I am thinking is that this guy should be disbarred. He would then have the right to rant all he likes, without his main scare tactic... litigation. I mean this guy has already been thrown out of court, and abused his power many times. Also coining the term pixilante which basically classifies all gamers as pipley faced sociopathic geeks. What does it take to disbar somone?

Im all for letting this guy speak his mind. Just don't allow him to use misuse his power granted to him as an attorney. Heck even vauge legal threats are enough to shut most people up. The average person just cant afford lawyer fees. See 'Infinium labs vs HardOCP'. HardOCP almost went bankrupt in lawyer fees defending themselves.

Anyway getting back to my point, is this guy trying to destroy everything I enjoy? What is next, banning snowboarding and motorcycles? Gaaaa, im going to make myself a delicious bagel. I think that is still legal.

PS. Just heard the new hotspot, they read my email about japan... nifty.

So video games are a disease now?

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Apperently in the States some crazy lady is trying to get the Center for Disease control to study the effects of violence in games. I dont mind the idea of people studying the effects of violence. It allows many Grad and PHD students something to write there thesis about.

The problem that I have with this is the 90 million dollars being spent. 90 million???? Give 1/8th of that to universites and they would be happy to run these studies for you. There are still millions of people in the world who die every year from hunger alone. 90 million dollars improving the infrustructure and investing in GE crops would save hundreds of thousands of lives. 

The other problem is that they are wasting the Center for Disease Control's time on something that has nothing to do with diseases. They exist to manage and control diseases such as Avian flu which if not carefully monitored and controlled could kill many people. They don't exist to allow some senator can run her pet projects on an issue that has already been looked into.

It is not as if this is an understudied area either. I have actually done a fair amount of research into this since I, myself am searching for a topic for my grad thesis. Having thought that this was a subject that people have not yet looked into I started running searches in scientific journals and was suprised at how many I found. There is a reason why all these courts are not passing these laws. There is just insubstantial/no correlation between violent games and violent behavior. I think anyone who has played video games pretty much knows this already. Probably all the members of this site. I have been playing violent video games as far back as I can remember and I am not a raving sociopath. Sure I enjoy stabbing puppies on the weekend but heck. Who doesnt hate puppies??

I dont want to come off as some crazy right wing nut here either. I'm Canadian and have voted liberal in the last 2 elections. I can now understand why the Democratic party in the States is doing so poorly. It is a lack of real thoughtfull, responsible leadership. With people like this thinking of running for president in the next election it would be a tough choice for me as well. While they are at it they should look into rock and roll too, I have heard rumblings about how it causes violence as well.

These Industry Analysts seem to frequently mistake there ass for there elbow.

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Whether they are commenting on the PS3, predicting the end of gaming as we know it, or ripping on Take Two these industry analysts seem to have alot to say about video games. The only thing that I have noticed is that they tend to be innacurate or just flat-out wrong allot of the time.

Did anyone remember when these anayists were predicting the price of the PSP to hover around $500?  The only thing that irratates me is that they are not held accountable when they are wrong. Many of there innacurate predictions can really hurt a companys stock. It just seems that alot of these people are not really plugged into the gaming culture and are looking in from the outside making there best guess.

Who are these analysts anyway and where do they get there information from? It seems like they are using the fish-in-a-barrel style of prediction. Eventually you will hit something that turns out ot be right. I wish there was a way of tracking these predictions so people can gauge there accuracy.

It seems to me that they dont have a much better rate of success than psychics. You might as well use the time honored technique of throwing darts at a newspaper to pick which stock you are investing in.

Also, if the Playstation 3 turns out to cost anywhere near 900 dollars I will eat my shoe.

Is Nintendo relying to much on the non-gamer?

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I was just reading Yuko's blog post about how Nintendo might be going wrong with its new marketing strategy. After vacillating a bit on that I think she has a point.

Is nintendo relying a bit to much on the alternative gamer market? Sure there is a 75% market out there that are not playing games but (and it is a big round full butt)... will they be willing to fork out 200 dollars to play. Sure my mom likes solitare on the PC, but is she willing on spending 200 dollars to play something similar on the Rev?? Realistically how many people outside the 25% of gamers really want to sit in front of a tv and play games?

Nintendo is running the risk of pissing off the people who actually play games. The other concern I have is how many third party games will it have? Considering that the PS3 and 360 will be at least 10 times more powerfull will developers even bother porting there game to the Rev? Its not like they are within 10% of each other, im guessing that it would takee a major rework of a game to shoehorn it into the Rev.

Another reason I am a bit skeptical is all the doublespeak and marketing talk that gets thrown in. Like this quote from reggie."Console revenues were down 14 percent [in 2005], while handheld revenues were up 88 percent," said Fils-Aime. "This shows, conclusively, that the money has moved to handheld."  What??  Just because your console is not doing that well does not mean that everyone will be playing handhelds instead of consoles. Its also a bit preplexing considering he was primarily talking about the Rev at Dice.

It comes back to the beef I have had with Nintendo ever since the N64. If you are not a huge fan of the stuff nintendo releases you are basically out of luck. I still cry myself to sleep at night over FF7 being released on the Playstation.

Imagine the possabilities.

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I am very much into the whole PSP homebrew scene. Looking at my recent gaming on the PSP I am actually pretty astounded. Probably 75% of the time I am playing homebrew stuff.

In fact the game that I have spent the most time on was Full Throttle. It is strange that the game I have spent the most time with on my PSP was one that I purchased 5 years ago from lucasarts for the PC.

Dont get me wrong I love burnout legends, but there is just so much more stuff out there. This makes me think. What if Sony actually supported homebrew???!!? Its never going to happen but just think of the possabilities. You would get a tonne of great stuff, and PSP sales would be through the roof. Now if you dont mind ill getting back to dreaming about something more likely to happen, oooh... remote control gummi bears. 

The future of gaming is simplicity

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With all this talk of cell processing, multi processor per-pixel shadin’ wireless next gen happiness one could envisage the future of gaming as incredibly complicated. With more buttons to learn and more cumbersome interfaces. But looking at the trend of some of the most successful games out there I think that even though the systems are getting more complex games have been getting more simple and easy to play.

Let’s look at some of the best games released recently. God of war is a great example, an easy to use battle system which is fun and satisfying. Developers are learning that gamers play games for fun, and spending hours acclimatizing ourselves to new and overly complicated interfaces are just not much fun. The trend with gaming today sees many games becoming context sensitive, so you can complete many different tasks with the same button without having to memorize combinations of buttons. God of War does a great job of this, when you are doing a finishing move it prompts you to press a button to pull off a finishing more. Or when you open a chest, or move a ballitista, or imhilate some poor unsuspecting Spartan. Kalamari Damacy does this also very well, in fact it uses the right and left analog stick and that’s it. Why use 8 buttons when 3 will do. Even Final Fantasy, probably one of the most technically advanced games has been following a trend to greater simplicity ever since FF8.

This is where I think the Nintendo Revolution may be onto something. Simplify the control scheme and just jump into the game. I mean who would have thought the Nintendo DS would have been such a success, I certainly didn’t. The touch screen added a layer of immersion and ease of use that people seem to really gravitate to. It is no longer a gimmick. Even though I own a PSP if I had based my purchase purely on gaming I would have picked up the DS.  

Shadow of the colossus, Indigo Prophecy, Burnout, all are pretty much pick up and play sort of games.Make the game intuitive.  What are most gamers first instinct when they want to jump, or use an object? Well, then map those instincts to the game pad. If you have to read a manual on how to play then you have done something wrong.

Am I the only one that thinks enforcing the ESRB rating isn't a horrible idea?

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I think that most people can agree that grand theft auto is probably not the best game in the world for a 10 year old to buy and play. So why are people in such an uproar about enforcing the ESRB ratings? Look, I enjoy all classifications of games from M to T to E so I am not against violence or nudity in any way in games. Hell, one of my favorite games is God of War. I do think that there are a select few games that is probably not the best idea for young kids to play.

But really what is the point of having a rating system if you are not going to enforce it? You might as well scrap the whole thing. The whole idea about retailers policing themselves is just ludicrous. I have heard of cases of retailers pressuring there employees to sell there M rated games to minors.

I do think that the game types tend to be a little on the restrictive side though. I think that the age range could use some ratcheting down. 14 -17 year olds can handle more than society gives them credit for. When I was that age I had no problem watching movies like "The Shining", ”Terminator 2", and handling other R rated fare. Heck, I've been playing violent games ever since I can remember and I don't think it has had any deleteriously impactful effect on my brain.

It seems a bit excessively restrictive. I know I'm going off on a tangent here but one thing I don’t particularly understand the drinking age in the US. I can’t imagine the drinking age being 21 here. To be perfectly honest I drank the least responsibly when I was below the age of 18 (the legal drinking age in Canada). I think it was the taboo nature of drinking which made it fun and exciting. The fact that we were doing something slightly illegal. So probably the best way to encourage responsible drinking is to lower the drinking age :P. Heck in Quebec you can drink when your 16. It is strange, I live on a border town and every weekend we get an influx of people from the US who come over to get Snozed, and largely display this excessive behavior. But I digress...

Back to game ratings. Either have and enforce the game ratings or don't bother with them. There is no point in drawing a line in the sand and then letting everyone cross it.

Getting back in the saddle, my gaming renaissance.

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I used to love games, and not your new fangled optical drive gaming. I’m talking, old-school blow on your Snes cartrage and pray it will start working again... type of game. I remember fondly sleepovers at my friend’s house where we would play Final Fantasy 2 until our eyeballs hurt into the wee hours of the morning. This was 1 am at the time, but when you’re in 13 it is practically morning.

Super Mario, Final Fantasy and Mega Man will always have a special place in my heart. But then something happened, I bought an N64 and got profoundly disappointed. Sure Mario 64 was a great game, and golden eye was fun, but besides that (and lack of a FF game) there was a drought of good games; consequently I must know the pain some Gamecube owners are experiencing. Eventually I just became less and less interested in games, sure I still played Command & Conquer, Counterstrike, Quake and other PC games occasionally but I wouldn’t call myself a gamer anymore. Maybe it was the hormones or all the distractions in high school but gaming became a very small part of my life.

Then it happened, a boon of incredible games are released. This coupled with the fact that someone was selling there ps2 for $70. And just like that I decided to try and jump back into gaming. To be honest I had tried the GTA's and Tony Hawks and most of the mainstream games up until about a year and a half ago and was not overly impressed. Maybe I am the only one but GTA doesn’t really do it for me.

Something has happened in the last year or so. Truly innovative and fun games have been released, so much so that I am now actually playing console games again. God of War, Shadow of the colossus, Kalamari Damacy, Indigo Prophecy, KOTOR and Ninja Gaiden. Is it just me or is the gaming industry somehow now getting it right? It seems that now that the current gen of consoles life is about to expire developers are now focusing on creating fun compelling games rather than another clone of a clone. While I am still waiting with baited breath for FF12 there are plenty of other games to tide me over in the meantime. I may even give Dragon Quest VIII a go although I am worried about what getting into another epic RPG will do to my free time.

And thus begun my renaissance back into gaming, how long will this last is anyone’s guess but I sure am having some fun in the meantime.

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