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CliffHicks Blog

Jack Thompson sues EVERYBODY

In the newly announced Jack Thompson v. Everyone , we can see that Jack Thompson has officially lost his damn mind. He's accusing Gamespot and Penny-Arcade of conspiring against him. Look, Jack, seriously. The games industry isn't the Cuban Mafia. No one's shooting at you from the grassy knoll.


I highly recommend we define Jack Thompson as a public nusiance, and have him committed to a mental institution. Congrats, Jack, you win. I now owe a friend of mine $5, as I bet him you couldn't get any crazier. Fool me once...


Next up, Jack Thompson sues America for allowing this to happen, the President for allowing people to continue badmouthing him and imposing on his civil rights to be a complete idiot, and God, for allowing this whole thing to happen.


Jack Thompson V. God is expected to come to trial this fall. The defendant is not expected to take the stand, for lack of anything to "so help" him.

New PC & Vista

So I have a new PC now, thank god, and I can actually dial things up to high resolutions. 2 GB of RAM, a Core Duo... whew. I was on a PC 3 1/2 years old, and really, its time had passed.

Also, I hit level 70 this weeked with my paladin. Yes, yes,  I know I should've done it a billion years ago, but I've been enjoying it and not rushing through everything. Now I just have to start farming Primal Air/Water to build myself the ridiculous hammer. Lots and LOTS of Primal Air/Water... And then to find the Khorium, which, y'know, rarely pops. But I'll get there.

Sony, be quiet...

Look, you're losing the fight, but that doesn't mean you're losing the war. But with comments like these, you aren't doing yourself any favors. The Wii is an impulse buy? Just because it costs less than your overpriced monstrosity? Does this mean anything less than your system is an impulse buy? Like DVD players? Television sets? Xbox 360s? Small countries?

Also, is it really a good idea to consider a game system a long term investment? Your comments seem to imply that people should be taking out loans or mortgages on their electronics... and if that's your idea of the future, well, count me out...

Going to be a late night...

So I'm going to be at the Sunnyvale Fry's tonight to get one of the CE's of Burning Crusade. I'd tell you how to spot me and the gang, but I'm sure I'll just blend into the other thousands of people who will be there. And if when we show up it looks like there's no point, I'll just go get one tomorrow morning from one of the other Fry's. But if we're there, I'm sure we'll be playing Mario Kart or Kirby or something.

Hellgate + Subscription-based multiplayer = bad

Seriously, you want to charge us for playing multiplayer? Whatever happened to the days of Diablo and Diablo II? What's next? Charging me to send email? Use instant messages, per message? For something like WoW, okay, fine, I gladly pay my fee. But you've got to be kidding me here, guys...

Where I Went

So, I figure enough time has passed, I can safely say where I went and why.

I loved Gamespot, really I did, and the decision I made, well, to say I spent a lot time agonizing over it would be an understatement. I loved the people at Gamespot and I wanted to get back into writing professionally again, but it didn't seem like that would be a possibility at any point in the near future. So what it really came down to was pay and commute, and I had a great offer I just couldn't walk away from. My time spent commuting has dropped from 4 hours a day to about 2 hours total. And my pay has nearly doubled. And there was debt I had to worry about, so I consciously made the decision that if I couldn't do what I loved for a living (for the moment), then I at least owed it to myself to climb out of debt, get back on my feet and start figuring out the rest of my life.

So that's what I did.

As of the middle of last month, I started as the Community Manager at IMVU Inc. It's a change of pace, because it's not that established a company, so I'm essentially working for a startup. It's also not a game company, so in some ways, I'm more removed from the game industry than I've been for a while. It doesn't mean I'm out for good, but for now, I'm contributing less to it. I'm working in social networking and software development. And I've been a community manager before, so I bring a lot of experience to the table. I'm also functioning somewhat as a producer, a little as a designer, a bit of QA... I'm doing all sorts of things, just not game related. That said, my credit card debt accumulated from various layoffs over the past six years will be fully paid off in January and by the end of March or April, my car will also be paid off. And then I'll be entirely out of debt. A new, clean start.

Instead of riding the train from San Jose all the way up to San Francisco, I get off in Palo Alto, which has its ups and downs. On the positive side, I'm on the train a lot less and the walk is much shorter from the train station to the office (we're practically around the corner!). On the negative side, I don't get to have my weekly lunches with my good friend Ian (although I'm getting lunch once a week with Dom instead, which isn't the same, but still good to have lunch company) and I'm not getting a daily Mario Kart DS fix in.

If you think I'm not still gaming like mad, though, you're out of your gourd. With some of my gained back time, I'm getting back into World of Warcraft a bit. Oh, and Erin, myself and Sean waited in line to get ourselves a couple of Wiis, which I'm highly enjoying. I haven't really had a chance to get settled in and spend serious time with Zelda, but it's there calling to me. And I blew through Gears of War massively fast, and keep playing a bit of the multiplayer from time to time. No, I didn't bother getting a PS3, as I'm not made purely of money. I can wait on that front. There's nothing about it that I have to positively play right now. I'm sure I'll get Resistance sooner or later, but it's not enough to make me shell out that much money. Not with FFXII and a handful of other things waiting for me.

Oh, Erin and company also organized a surprise 30th birthday party for me, so apparently the Sandmen haven't found out my current location. It was nice seeing the whole bunch of my friends waiting for me in the living room after she and I got back from seeing "Deja Vu" (which I recommend, if you haven't seen), and there were tons of cool presents for me to savor and enjoy. Greg even made me a cake with my tattoo on it in frosting. Much time was spent on the Wii (quite a bit of it with Rayman: Ravin' Rabbids...) and complete chaos ensued for many hours, even while I was fighting off a cold.

Anyhow, that should give you an update of what I've been doing when I'm not working on trying to write another novel, or devouring all the fiction I can of new authors I've just found (Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series has been awesome thusfar, and I completely see why SciFi is making a series out of it) or old authors with new stuff (Brad Meltzer's "Book of Fate" didn't last three days...)

Where am I going? Dunno. I could be here ten years, or I could be gone next year. I could go back to making games, or writing about them, or I could sell a novel or two and become a professional author. It's impossible to say at this point. But I'll keep you posted. Heh.

Lastday - Renewal approaches

So today is my last day with CNet. As I type this, I'm drafting up a list of things for the people who will be taking over, and I look upon the day with a certain sense of trepidation. I'm cleaning up my desk and packing away the things that I've brought with me, or that Erin has sent to decorate my desk. The photographs have been tucked in my laptop bag, the paperwork put in nice, neat stacks, the miniature Death Star back in its Empire At War box, the Non Sequitur calendar one of the last few things of mine remaining on my desk.. I've been getting everything organized so that tomorrow, when my desk is empty, it won't be too much cleaning work for whoever comes by to put it all away.

Another opportunity presented itself to me, and I would be a fool to pass it up, so it's time for me to to say goodbye, with a Logan's Run reference no less. (The movie, not the book, I realize, although I know both.) I also turn 30 this month (Renewal approaches!), something else I'm approaching with hesitation. It all seemed so far away when I was 15, waiting for my driver's license so I'd be free. By the end of the month, I'll be rolling that two over to a three. Honestly, I'm not all that worked up about it, but it's something to think about.

I won't be gone from the site, and who knows, maybe I'll return to CNet some day in the future. I did it before, and the future is a wide open space. To all of you who have read and commented on my blog, it won't go away and I'm sure I'll still be shooting wild rants from the field every so often.

Until we meet again, this is Cliff "Devinoch" Hicks, wishing you good night and good luck.

Jack, you baffle us all...

I don't really know how Jack Thompson plans on getting any crazier, but I'm pretty sure he's got something in mind.

In Jack Thompson's mind, all things interactive are apparently training us to do so. I would imagine he'll probably go after Microsoft next, accusing Flight Simulator of leading to 9/11. Or maybe he'll attack Postal, saying it's mocking the plight of postal workers across America. Mind you, this is the man who said Doom was training kids how to shoot people.

Between "the devil's music" of rock'n'roll, the "corrupting words" of literature and the evil of videogames, it's amazing that the world hasn't blown itself up yet. Oh wait, I'm not a highly paranoid person who believes that the masses automatically follow whatever people tell them with a snap of their fingers.

There's always something people accuse of corruption of the young, and so far, I haven't seen anything that can actually make a case for mentally controlling youths into doing things they weren't already doing.

Violent videogames aren't a cause of violence -- they're reflective of a more violent world that surrounds everyone, including kids. Wars are more in our face now than they've ever been, but really, the world is just changing.

People like Jack? They're just rabble-rousers who think the noise will get them a place in the spotlight. Jack's trying to make a career out of this, but unfortunately, it's an issue where his causality is fairly faulty. That's okay, though; it gives us something to mock.

Robo-Cam - Hope you all had fun!

I hope you all had as much fun operating the RoboCam at AfterHours as I had setting up the queue. I guess some of my trivia questions were enough to stump people, so for those of you who came in late, here are some things you should've known...

An NES game steeped heavily in Greek mythology - Kid Icarus
A fighting game series which includes the character Caffeine Nicotine - Samurai Shodown
The only voice-controlled real-time strategy/pinball game ever - Odama

The camera was a lot of fun to set up and I hope you all enjoyed the show as much as we enjoyed putting it on!