Archive for the 'News' Category


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!


Don’t fuck with the sys admin…

Forget Food Service workers spitting in your food. Worry more about a pissed off sys admin locking out all other administrators of your city government’s network. Personally, I think it’s kinda awesome. In some strange, nerdy way, it feels like a win for the little guy. Even if win = a couple decades in PMITA prison.

Orignally found via Fark.


NEWS: Minnesota owes games industry $65,000 in legal fees

Seriously, State Legislatures, stop wasting my and other taxpayers’ money with futile lawsuits. The video game industry can self-regulate just like the music and movie industries. We have a ratings system. Those ratings are clearly marked on the box, and are no more or less vague than the movie ratings. There are even parental controls built into some of the latest generation consoles. What more do you want?

That was from a previous post I wrote back in November about the inanity of attempting to pass legislation regulating the sale of violent video games. Minnesota’s recent foray into this pointless pursuit was legislation that would have fined the underage purchasers of M or AO rated video games. Seriously? You want to fine a teenager a hundred bucks for attempting to buy Grand Theft Auto? That’s like an entire paycheck for most 16 year-olds, if they even have a job…

To illustrate my previous point, it looks like the taxpayers are getting stuck with check for the $65,000 dollars awarded to the games industry. Well done, Minnesota! Let’s write a guide to wasting taxpayer money!

1) Spend taxpayer dollars to cover court costs for unconstitutional legislation.

2) Spend taxpayer (and tuition) money to help construct a new football stadium for the worthless Minnesota Golden Gophers Football Team. The Golden Gophers finished DEAD LAST in 2007-2008 in the Big Ten, with an outstanding conference record of 0-8, and an overall record of 1-11. Their enitre recent history has been no less impressive. In  my opinion, the Metrodome is a perfectly good place to watch the Gophers lose. To boot, the new stadium is open air! So, not only do you get to watch the Gophers blow huge leads to nobody teams, you get to freeze your ass off while you do it!

3) Spend taxpayer money to help construct a brand new stadium for the Minnesota Twins. This despite fact that the Twins almost NEVER fill their current venu, the Metrodome.

/end rant


*SQUEE* OMFG. Yes, yes, Y-E-S.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

First heard about this over on Ctrl+Alt+Del. I’m very excited.

In other news, Blizzard officially announced Diablo III yesterday, which is also pretty exciting. I played the original Diablo pretty much non-stop for 6 months. I never finished Diablo II, but I was impressed with it. The Diablo formula seems pretty tried and true, and there are other games that have done well with it. My question is, what is Blizzard going to do to update the formula to make it fresh again? Point-and-click hack ‘n’ slash alone isn’t going to cut if for me these days. We’ll see.


NEWS: J.T. might be out of the legal game for a decade

Gamers and first-amendment activists everywhere should chalk this one up as a victory.

According to (and others), the Florida Bar has recommended that Jack Thompson, noted video game attack-dog be disbarred for 10 years for less than ethical practices during law suits against video game production/development companies and retailers.

Unfortunately, it seems that we aren’t through with this vendetta-obsessed distorter of the truth (read: LIAR). According to Game Politics, JT circulated an email which he claimed persons involved in the case acted illegally.

Under the subject line of SWEET! (GP: I kid you not), an e-mail circulated by Thompson this morning cites today’s Daily Business Review coverage of his case and reads, in part:

Because of the [DBR] article, which contains my entire Objections filing, I am now getting phone calls from highly respected people who are proving to me the criminal conduct of The Florida Bar… We are meeting with law enforcement officials about that. 
This is all wonderful.  Light is now being shone in some very dark places, and the Daily Business Review has assisted in that wonderfully.
I am now going to win this fight, by the grace of God and because of the First Amendment, most particularly the right to freedom of the press.  Certain Florida Bar officials need to hire criminal defense lawyers today.  The investigations are already underway.  And if you think I’m kidding, then you don’t know Jack.

Le sigh. This guy doesn’t know when to quit. Of course, if news outlets would stop legitimizing him by bringing him on to talk his nonsense, maybe we could get somewhere.

I would feel sorry for Jack if he weren’t so damn arrogant. The man is now going after the judge who ruled in his case and after Florida Supreme Court Justices on an alleged technicality with regard their state loyalty oaths. If that’s not a way to permanently destroy your legal career, I don’t know what is.

Even if he does somehow manage to have the trial judge removed, wouldn’t that just result in a mistrial? If so, don’t you think any future judge would be even more likely to find the man guilty?

He’s already recognized as a charlatan in the gaming community, and soon the rest of the world will see firsthand what we’ve been saying all along. Well, they would if the major news outlets would pick up the story. A search for Jack Thompson on yielded no results on this story. FoxNews has also neglected to pick up Jack’s story, which is strange considering they’ve had him on the network a few times. was the only non-gaming outlet to pick up the story in a Google News search for Jack Thompson.

On a mostly unrelated note: Huzzah!


New This Week: Haze (PS3) and Wii Fit (Wii)

Two new system exclusives are set for release this week. These games are pretty much polar opposites, and they make for an interesting foil.

On the one hand we have Haze. Developed for the PS3 and published by Ubisoft, the game was in the news yesterday when it developer Free Radical confirmed it wouldn’t be running in true HD. Haze takes place in a dystopian society in the near-future (hrm, sounds familiar) where a soldier’s work is white-washed by the performance-enhancing substance pumped into his body through a specialized combat suit.

The game was essentially supposed to be an answer to a couple of huge Microsoft-platform-exclusive FPSes. Early review scores for the game indicate that it will fall far short of matching the achievements of Gears of War and BioShock though, as it currently has a rather average Metacritic score of 54. I haven’t played the game, and probably never will. But the general consensus seems to be that while other shooters like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and BioSock are taking steps to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, Haze is an exceptionally medicore shooter.

The Onion’s A.V. Club probably has the most cohesive conclusion about the game based on the reviews I read:

More narratively cohesive than the Halo trilogy, but less inventive and compelling than Resistance: Fall Of Man, Haze does finally give us a self-aware portrait of videogame soldiers, and a foil for all the head-butting, “boo-yah” behavior that’s been the norm for far too long in the medium. Too bad it’s paired with one of the more pedestrian FPS games to come along in recent years.

Clear on the other end of the spectrum we have Wii Fit, which brings exercise and playing video games together in some sort of unholy union. Thing is, critics are pretty impressed with it. And these are people who (sometimes) make a living of sitting motionless while consuming their media of choice.

Now, you should know by now I’m biased against the Wii for ushering in an unprecedented age of shovelware and minigame compilations. The platform itself just isn’t for me, which is fine because it’s not targeted toward me. However, I can still appreciate what it is that Nintendo is trying to do. They are making leaps toward changing the way that we interact with our videogames. I respect that. But based on the reviews I’ve seen, the Wii Fit software is not really a video game at all. It is an exercise regimen. If you’re looking for a fun with the Wii Balance Board, which seems to be the real star of the package, you may want to wait for more games that are designed for it. In addition, you may want to hope that the forthcoming games don’t suck.


FOLLOW UP: Woman who duped Megan Meier indicted

I mentioned Megan Meier’s tragic story a while ago. As it turns out, the mother who duped the young girl by pretending to be a boy around her age and then sent viscious messages to her on MySpace has been brought up on charges. Megan later committed suicide.

Let’s hope for great justice…

May 2018
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