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CliffHicks Blog

Where does the blame lie?

While I'm disturbed by this story, I'm more disturbed by many of the comments attached to it.

When people meet over the Internet otherwise, no one sues the ISP. When people take out ads in newspapers and talk on the phone, no one sues the phone service. The end result is that Microsoft cannot be held accountable for this sort of thing, and anyone who knows me knows I'm no fan of the big MS.

The future is now, and that means that no one is particularly safe. Communication is instantaneous and everywhere, and parents will need to be more stringent if they wish to protect their kids. You can't be everywhere, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be keeping tabs on them.

I dunno. The world's a lot bigger now, and everyone's still within reach. That's going to change a lot of things in the long run.

Chaos

I realize I haven't written much in here for a while, but there's just been so much going on that I simply haven't had the time. I'll do my best to try and get something up here soon, but no promises.

Govenator attempts to overrule 1st Amendment

So the Govenator thinks the 1st Amendment is unimportant...

This is ridiculous. It doesn't get more idiotic than this, folks. As of late, we've seen a blanket statement that things are being done "for the children, to protect the children." It's hogwash.

Really, all we are doing is giving parents another out to be bad parents. Grand Theft Auto games are all rated M. That means a retailer can only sell them to people over 17. Are there some retailers screwing this up? Probably. Should they be punished? You bet. Do we need to add more laws to the matter? You tell me, how much is going to be enough for you people?

I think, honestly, what these people want to see is to have videogames wrapped in black plastic sold behind the counter. I think their genuine hope is to shame people into being afraid to buy thing they don't agree with. Let me tell you, it's ridiculous.

You think videogames make kids kill people? Well, let's try this one on then, Mr. and Miss I Know Better Than You -- so does the Bible. There is more violence in that book that you can shake a stick at. And you know what? You let your kids read it.
You want to ban videogames. This is nothing new. Irresponsible parents have always been doing this kind of thing. In the 80s (which I remember, thanks), it was "rap music." People like 2 Live Crew were being attacked for putting out music that parents considered "harmful." Before that, it was "rock'n'roll" -- that's right, Elvis Presley, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were once considered as dangerous as videogames. There's been something parents have been blaming for as long as there has been parents. But you know what parents rarely blame? Themselves.

This kid who went out and shot cops didn't do it because the videogame told him to, or because Judas Priest wove subliminal messages in their songs, or because of any other reason than the kid did it. So-called child psychology has said that kids are influenced by violent videogames. And yet there are other psychologists who say that gaming actually decreases violent tendencies. The kid can say the game "inspired" him all he wants -- that's an excuse to try and get out of things. And just because the parents didn't want to admit to raising a horrific kid doesn't mean we shouldn't let them.

I'll tell you what -- sooner or later, one of these game companies is going to do the smart thing. They're going to sue one of these parents and their lawyer for defamation, libel and slander. And you know what? They're probably going to win. And God bless'em. Parents, legislators and lawyers need to learn they can't go around blaming someone else for problems.

They genuinely believe that someone MADE little Johnny and Sally turn INTO violent people. And Heaven knows it couldn't be them. They will find anyone they can to say "We're not bad parents. This isn't our fault."

When Columbine happened, everyone blamed Doom, Marilyn Manson and gun manufacturers. Anyone other than the parents. In fact, when was the last time we held parents up in court and said "This is your fault, you raised a monster, therefore we're going to punish you along with your child" hm?

So why don't we do that, I ask you? Because parents are afraid it would mean they're responsible for their kids? Well, too damn bad. Most of the time when kids get games like Grand Theft Auto, you know how they got it? Their parents bought it for them. Or their grandparents. When that whole Hot Coffee scandal hit, a grandmother said she was going to sue Rockstar over the whole thing. But you know what? She bought the game for her grandson! She claimed the sex was inappropriate, but yet, was apparently okay with the mass violence and gore. Who are these people and why are we letting them breed?

On top of all of that, kids can't buy guns. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but a 13-year-old who goes into a WalMart to try and buy a hunting rifle is going to get refused, much less if they want to buy a Saturday Night Special. That means that parents bought the guns and left them someplace where the kids could get access to them. The videogaming industry didn't do that. So how are you going to blame them for that? No no, don't answer that... I know you'll find a way.

I stand by my "parents need to start taking responsibility" statement. Let's stop giving them an out. Let's take away all of their crutches and make them act like the adults they purport to be for once.

And, most importantly, let's see how long this bill holds up under the scrutiny of a court. Because I love this pesky little thing called the First Amendment. And it grants me the ability to call the Govenator a clueless politician, who I intend to vote out of office.


Soundtracks

What happened to the days of good game soundtracks? As of late, videogame music hasn't impressed me all that much. I mean, seriously, the licensed stuff is good and all, but what happened to the days of videogame music that stuck in your head?

Now, before you go off on a tear, I realize there are a few exceptions to this rule. (I'm talking about you Katamari.) But on the whole, have you noticed that game music simply isn't as catchy as it used to be, unless it's pretty much the focus of the game? (I'm talking about you Lumines.)

This morning on my way to work, I was jamming out to part of the Jet Set Radio Future soundtrack, and it transitioned right into part of the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack. From there we hopped to Einhander, and from Einhander we went to some FFVI music (okay, sure, it was the Black Mages version, but come on...). As of late, though, what game music has caught my ear? There hasn't been a whole lot. There's no Symphony of the Night soundtrack on heavy rotation. There's no Diablo II ambiance. There's no Breath of Fire. No Xenogears.

Where has all the great original game music gone? It's enough to drive a man insane. I like rock'n'roll as much as the next man, maybe more, but if you can't give me some original tunage to stick in my head, I'm going to turn your sound down and turn my own music up. And I know people are hyping this "custom soundtrack" feature for games, but you know what? Sometimes I like hearing something new. I enjoy being exposed to new things.

Feh, I'm getting old and grouchy, I guess.

In the know...

So those of you who don't read Freeplay ought to... I wrote the one for tomorrow (Friday 9/16/05).

It's called "Design By Dali" and you will enjoy it.

Good God!

Where does this gouging end?

Who's even going to buy these systems? I hope this comes back to bite them in the ass hardcore.

Why does Links 2004 haunt me so?

Let me tell you an odd story... I find myself playing Links 2004 for my Xbox at random times. There, I've said it. I've admitted my weird habit.

I played golf when I was younger, but the game didn't take that much. I think a lot of it was because I was mostly playing with people I didn't like. There were the occasional bunch of nice people but it was rarely anyone who I enjoyed talking to for several hours, which is pretty much required for playing golf. There was also the expensive equipment, the long time commitment, the expensive green fees and the fact that I was only so-so at the game.

Still, a friend of mine passed a copy of Links 2004 my way a few years back and I thought, what the hell, I'll fire it up, play for a few hours then walk away from it. Ha ha ha. Ah, the foolishness now in hindsight.

It's not like I play a massive amount of Links 2004, really. I just tend to go back to it when I'm bored with playing other things. When I find myself looking for something new to play, something different to fire up, I inevitably go back and play a few rounds in Links 2004. Am I a golf nut? Surely not. But there's something enjoyably fun about playing a few rounds, slowly working my way up through the tournament ladder.

I think Wednesday will be the megalithic rant of the week, where I'll go off on poker and whether or not it's a craze. Til then, go listen to more New Amsterdams... It's good for you, and there's a free EP there.