12
Aug
08

Major summer update!

The nice thing about going a while in between posts, there’s a lot to talk about when I do finally get around to it.

First off, there were a couple more disturbed individuals who blamed their criminal behavior directly on video games. A 18/19 year-old (stories differ on his age) man in Thailand stabbed a taxi driver to death either because he could not afford to purchase GTA IV or because he was copying behavior in the game (again, the stories vary), which has led to the banning of the title in that country. Spain and Malaysia are also considering a ban in light of the crime.

It’s already been said elsewhere. Blaming the media a mentally imbalanced person consumes for their actions is alarmist bullshit. Why isn’t anyone asking if this kid’s parents were abusive? Why aren’t they held accountable? The kid played a violent video game that millions of reasonable and well-adjusted men his age have played without incident. But because this killer called out the game by name, he’s suddenly less accountable? Le sigh.

Then two arsonists in Atlanta cited GTA IV as their source for how to make molotov cocktails. And obviously, they wouldn’t have been able to firebomb cars if they hadn’t played GTA IV. Again, where the hell are the parents of these little hooligans?

On to less infurating news.

The 20th anniversary of Madden NFL was released today. I don’t really care about this franchise, since they just rehash the same game every year. Go somewhere else if you want coverage of Madden ’09. Anywhere else, really.

The episodic adventure games based in the Homestarrunner universe debut this week. I honestly lost interest in the eponymous website a while ago, but SBEmails used to be a staple of my Mondays. The humor just isn’t as fresh these days. I’d love to see an episodic adventure game based on Zero Punctuation. Essentially you’d just go around as Yahtzee, and the puzzles would revolve around deconstructing a game for being clichéd, implementing clumsy game-mechanics and calling JRPGs stupid.

I rented and played Soul Calibur IV and Ninja Gaiden II in the past couple of weeks. I wasn’t terribly impressed with either of them. Both games are good, in their own right, but just aren’t my thing. I feel like Soul Calibur IV would require way too much of my time in order to be brilliant with any one of the characters. Ninja Gaiden II is essentially the Devil May Cry series minus all the spikey-haired heros and melodrama, which are replaced with a lot more dismemberment and gore. And tits. See Yahtzee’s review below of Ninja Gaiden II. He says it better, faster and more British than I ever could:

The Olympics are in full swing, and you know what that means! Another horrendously bad multi-platform Olympics video game tie-in that you PRAY your grandmother won’t buy you because she doesn’t know any better. I have caught Olympics fever though. It’s nice to know that no matter what time it is, no matter how many infomercials and crappy soap operas are on daytime television, somewhere, there are world class atheletes competing. And I can watch them do it.

The big video game highlight of the past two weeks has been the release of Braid. This game was completely under my radar, but is now one of the top-ten rated video games on the X360 platform on Metacritic. Which is an especially big accomplishment considering it’s a puzzle platformer released through the Live Arcade. The big controversy surrounding its release has been the $15/1200 MS Points price point. Trust me, the game is worth every penny. I played the demo, and then immediately went to GameStop to buy a MS Points Card with my store credit. It’s beautiful, it’s unique in it’s game mechanics and story line. It’s this year’s Portal. Seriously, if you love video games, even if you don’t typically enjoy this genre, you must play Braid.

That’ll wrap it up for gaming news!

Movie news right quick: Go see Wall-E if you haven’t already. It is adorableness in its most pure form. The Dark Knight is worth seeing despite mostly ho-hum ham-fisted performances, because Heath Ledger’s Joker is one of the most powerful and disturbing performances I have ever seen.

On a personal note, I have taken a job in NJ and will be moving at the end of August. Wish me luck!

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