My name is Adam and I reside in sunny Philadelphia with my wonderful fiancée, Maria. (Who I also got into gaming as well, she can kick my ass at Geometry Wars and pretty much any SHMUP)
Got into gaming the second I saw my cousins NES setup at age 5.
Played ever since.
Childhood obsessions included Mario, Zelda and the like.
Mario actually got me into drawing as I never could get enough of drawing battle scenes between the characters. (I could draw Mario in 10 seconds upside down...and was greatly made fun of for it)
Studied the instruction manuals. Memorized the stories and enemies.
(is it me or shouldn't more manuals have cartoons of the bad guys?)
SNES blew my mind
Expanded into the Genesis Era. Stupidly fell for the Sega CD (Snatcher was Great) and 32X hype...shudder but traded them in for my first computer 1 year later.
N64 around the corner...ehhhh. Loved Mario 64, Shadows of the Empire and Yoshi's Story. That's about it.
PSX was my last system for 7 years. Had a blast with Metal Gear, FFVII, RE2, OddWorld, N2O, Pa-Rappa. College took the helm and I had to take a break.
Went back to school 5 years later and got into it big time, Got 3 PS2s, Slim, Fat, Fat. (They just kept breaking!)
(During this time my apartment was tiny and my NES, 64, PSX and SNES were in basement storage I was out of town and the basement ((along with half the town I lived in)) flooded. Everything was destroyed along with a box of games. So now I'm gradually rebuilding my collection through proxy downloads. I know it isn't the same but what can you do?)
Then onto the 360 and finally, 3 months ago, The best system ever, Mr. Wii. Begged Mario's forgiveness for the 10 year moratorium and, along with the wifey, have discovered the joys of the virtual console. (I played PC through all of this but it never was my "it" system of choice)
All Time Favs:
Final Fantasy III (VI)
Shadow of the Colossus
Link to the Past
Mario Galaxy 2
No More Heroes
So, let's just get this out in the open. I love Machinima videos and most Half Life inspired fan services. (even the bad ones) Even the live action "Escape from City 17" made me instantly thirst for more and then take a deep sigh of depression seeing how great a feature film could be regarding the story of the Free Man, the Combine and the Resistance. Then the reality set in that not only a film such as this hasn't been made, but if it had, it would probably be a steaming pile of shit with the likes of Uwe Boll's stink all over it. That said, I have just seen a Machinima video entitled "First Person Project: The Jackknife Chronicles." My mind is blown and you must know that Kitty0706 is a master. I kneel before his awesomeness.
Until this is made, there is yet to be a truly great video game-to-film adaptation
If anyone hasn't seen this video, take a gander right now. It encompasses everything I would hope for in a game. It is loaded with wonderful sneaking, hiding, great fighting and amazing fluidity. This makes me think of something in the neighborhood of Half-Life meets Mirror's Edge meets amazing John Woo fight choreography. Remember when viewing this, this is all things that have been done technology wise and yet it is filled with originality and an amazing dynamic. The art direction and camera work is superb with a truly free flowing story telling mechanic that seems to not inhibit the game play and actually accompanies it perfectly in the same realm as Splinter Cell: Conviction or Portal.
It also contains an instantly likable and dynamic silent protagonist who tells us more in a few quick expressions than numerous pages of dialogue and hours of voice acting in most games. It made me think of the early Aeon Flux 8 minute shorts on MTV before they made it into a series and it died on the table from overcomplicated stories and none of the non-stop action that made the early minisodes so great. This is an epic win across the board. Look at the credits and look at all of the great games which are sampled together to make this superb compilation. This is the video game equivalent to the best Build Your Own Omelet ever.
So I recently started replaying Half-Life 2 and as I was progressing through the beginnings of the game, I made quite a realization. That being, I enjoyed the introduction of that game just as much if not more than the entire trilogy. Why might this be? The powerlessness you feel throughout this section of the game.
Half-Life is an unquestioned masterpiece. Why this adventure shines has to do greatly with parts like the beginning. The story development is masterfully well at interweaving it as you progress. If you have to stop, it is because a character needs to do something in real-time. You simply aren’t frozen in time. You’re waiting around because Gordon would have to wait around in that situation. (looking at a schematic, getting an explanation, meeting a new contact) Now I spoke of powerlessness. You wake up, immediately connected to the G-man through his telepathic message, on a train in a strange place. You are with other people who also are stunned, broken and alone. You step off the train and the vastness and coldness of the station is immensely prevalent. You take in the multitude and hostility of the combine troopers, the loudness and echo of Breen’s voice, the hopeless postures of the citizens, the trash strewn about. All of these factors set a masterful mood.
One thing you notice is that you have literally nothing. No crowbar. No pistol. No nothing. This is a great difference between where you left off in the previous game, being practically a one man army. The game puts you on a linear path but you don’t feel like the game is forcing you. Instead there is an already imposing presence forcing you; the combine soldiers. You damn well better stay on the path or you will face a bash. You feel the fear of the other internees and it quickly transfers to your persona. You hear of missing family members, utter confusion, fears of drugged water that “makes you forget.” The game wonderfully stages scripted dialogue and moments that don’t feel that way at all. Everything you see and hear feels like it was already happening in this world before you got there. What is this place you stepped into? Is this Earth? If so, what had happened here?
After being herded like an animal among your other fellow internees through the registration check points, you ultimately find your way outside to come across a robot immediately photographing you and see a bleak scene resembling the look of something reminiscent of East Berlin. Military checkpoints, a lifeless and sterile town square, people milling about in their monochrome prison-like uniforms all as a giant, imposing tower looms in the distance. As you travel, you see the scenes of people being beaten, rounded up, and taken into custody. You wonder, “If you are already in some type of custody, where are these people being taken? What could such a broken people have done? Who are these oppressors? Are they human?”
You take in the utter presence of the vehicles, get glimpses of the long legged military creatures lumbering about which look straight from the mind of H. G. Wells and soldiers inside some buildings questioning and harassing residents, you included. After a few moments you stumble into one of the nondescript tenements and make your way upstairs. You see troopers bashing on doors and muffled yells and cries for help inside rooms out of your view. More broken residents are inside the rooms you traverse. You find a crying woman, people peering from the windows at police vehicles outside, as sirens and helicopters buzz in the distance.
Suddenly, the raids you have been seeing are directed at the rooms you are in. They are coming. For whom? For what? You are raced from room to room from this impeding force. They are here and they are everywhere. You don’t even get a chance to take in what is happening to the people behind you that are desperately aiding you while fleeing. You make your way scrambling from room to room, climbing stairs, jumping rooftops. You glance to the street below to see more vehicles coming, soldiers firing up at you. This all culminates in a maniacal awareness of them closing in. You are done. They have you. Or do they?
These moments are probably some of the best demonstrations of narrative in a game. You really feel a sensation of panic. I have played this game countless times and I still get a rush every time. The folks at Valve replicate this feeling through this whole franchise but I feel they do it best right here. A great deal is due to your lack of any resources including the sense of knowing what is going on. You are simply running for your life. I think a game game like is truly a hallmark of masterful presentation that isn’t done nearly enough in other games in this genre. We are so used to being unnatural models of machismo fantasy; being able to smash, kill and eviscerate anything that gets in our path with a few well places grenade rounds or laser blasts. This is certainly not the case at this point in the game. Granted, you get to do these things later in Half-Life 2 but here, no such luck. Your own adrenaline and terror is all you have to fuel you. Nothing is safe, No place is safe, and you are rapidly running out of even unsafe places to escape to. A game such as Limbo does this. Call of Cthulhu’s motel scene does this. (Even the beginning of Resident Evil 4 or Left 4 Dead on increased difficulty can do this too. Although you are armed in those titles, you are so hopelessly outnumbered even your weapons can seem powerless) We are so used to the very opposite of this. In so many forms of media such as films, the threat of the protagonist’s death seems so far from happening, the dramatic effects of endangering the hero fall short because we never really think this practically invincible character will ever succumb to harm.
Think of the movie “Children of Men” where the hero is put in so many dangerous situations and never gets his hands on a weapon. This movie is possibly the best film version of something depicting the Half-Life state of storytelling. There are weapons all over the place in the end but he never picks them up. Why? Is he stupid or is his personal characteristic just so that it doesn’t even register for him to arm himself. He could pick up a gun but what difference would it make? After all, the rebels have them and they are getting massacred by the soldiers. Also, would it be as effective as a film if he got into a gun battle? We are glued to those crawling steadie-cam scenes because we are literally taking his perspective dodging bullets and seeing the carnage unfold while staying alive seems nearly impossible.
So, as fun as the one-man wrecking crew concept can be, I think we can truly feel empowered by having nothing to count on but our ability to run like hell.
I’m wondering about where the whole argument regarding the playable Taliban issue is coming from. Was anyone like, “Finally!” when EA made their playable Taliban announcement? It this something gamers have been clamoring for? Are those who take issue with this blowing it out of proportion? Are those who do not agree taking it too far in their responses by calling names and talking shit?
Some of the arguments are better than others. As per usual, the writers on the cblogs tend to have some very interesting content and ideas for both sides of the issue. Sans the first “open letter to Hamza” which was best described as a drunken xbox live rant…eh, Pyramid Head cried and quit. He won’t be missed. The reason I am writing is my personal question about the one theory that came up over and over in defense of the game. The playable Nazi argument which I call the Narrative Factor.
Now, let me start by saying the Nazis were unquestionably sick and evil bastards. But when people are yelling (rather stupidly in Hamza’s comments section) that we have no problems playing as Nazis so the Taliban should be fair game too, I'm thinking they mean in a FPS multiplayer mode or a RTS game like Company of Heroes. Now, that is no serious point to make against Hamza. It could be if they argued it correctly in that these two enemies are both put into disconnected, de-characterized multiplayer modes with no contextual reality to what is going on in the past or present. I haven’t seen that happen yet. In WWII games, you don't go to a book burning, torch a village in Belarus or run a death camp. I think something like that could be made, but it wouldn't be a game. It could be used moreso as an educational tool to make you really examine how evil people can be, learn from the horror of wanton destruction and question how far "following orders" goes. This would then cease to be fun or entertainment. The most anti-war war game ever. The same could be said of the 1985 Russian WWII film "Idi I Smotri/Come and See" regarding the futility and barbarism of war... (Absolutely Brilliant) But nothing in the video game industry does anything like this and it's probably better that way.
You're not part of the Einsatzgruppen or the Waffen SS; you're Wermacht (army guys) fighting the Rangers or the 101st Airborne (other army guys). So, while these people are yelling "you get to play as Nazis, Hamza's a fucking hypocrite, blah blah." They are pretty oblivious because they aren't really playing Nazis, even in a pretend manner. For God's sake, the Germans all speak English in Company of Heroes. Also, you're not really winning any symbolic victory for the Third Reich, it is a war that is over where the enemy was defeated and there is no narrative. *Side Note* One thing I always found strange was that many of the European releases of WWII themed games don’t have the Swastikas in them, as it is illegal to depict that symbol in an entertainment format. Meanwhile, American’s can’t seem to get enough of them, Wolfenstein comes to mind. I’m surprised there’s not a level where you fight a giant swastika on an even bigger rotating swastika platform while you dodge razor sharp swastikas, and they change the name form “Wolfenstein” to “Swastika”.
If someone wanted to make an even slightly better citation of a comparable game, I’d think “Battlefield: Vietnam” could work simply because they include the actual audio of Hannoi Hannah, telling you “Our bombers will find you!” and “They will pin a medal on you after you are dead, soldier boy!” That, in my opinion, is the most accurate touch in any war game. It really made we think, “Jesus, I can’t imagine fighting in a war with this blasting non-stop through the bombed out cities.” Some would call that insensitive, I think that they may be right, but I appreciated that touch of realism to a game I really thought was so-so otherwise.
Now this is the same reason I find Hamza’s argument is flawed. He seems to be having a knee jerk personal reaction which he is absolutely entitled to but I don't know his personal history so I cannot judge. If he doesn't like it, he doesn't like it. There is no narrative, you’re hand is not forced (No Russian), you are not given any choice (Good/Evil System). It’s essentially ”cops and robbers” with a modern war context. I would really see a lot more cause for alarm or anger if there was a narrative placed in this game where you are a Taliban fighter and you need to answer the call to prayer while you set up IEDs between terrorizing civilian tribes who are sympathetic to Americans. None of those things will happen in MoH. I'd be way more understanding toward people who had a problem with that but I'd actually give EA some credit for having substance behind the risk, even if it is substance many of us would rather not see. It would give us a new incite into the war because we'd see how bad these individuals are. Sun Tzu said, "To know your enemy, you must become your enemy" and a game I described would do just that. I would probably not play it but I'd definitely want to see what a game like that was all about…then again, that game would not get made since we saw what happend to “Six Days in Fallujah”. (Meanwhile, Full Spectrum Warrior came out with virtually no notice and the whole time I played that, I thought, "Iraq, Iraq, ummmmm Iraq.")
EA doesn’t do anything nearly that controversial. From what I gathered, they add some Taliban skin mods and essentially the same terrorist weapons from the Call of Duty multiplayer series. It seems like a cop-out to simply have claim to some controversy but not enough to do any real damage to their PR or sales campaign. We, as informed gamers, can complain about whatever we want and that's fine. But, I think we are lighting the torches way too early. If we should be upset about anything, I think it should be that EA is cheapening the longest ongoing war in American history where record numbers of our troops are dying. Each month’s death toll is toppling the last in this escalation. So, really, who would want to even pretend to participate in something like this? Eh, it's probably going suck anyway. Somehow I bet the Taliban Fighters in MoH will forget Pashti and all know English by the release date, to further add to the “realism”. I guess to the games defense, you also get to kill Taliban fighters too.
I think it was ES toys who actually got in deep shit for releasing something called “Baghdad Outpost Playset” for X-Mas in 2003 for the 12 inch Joe. If THAT was insensitive, what the hell is this?
I said it before and I'll say it again, a dev should just make a WWI shooter already. Then nobody would get upset and disagreeing gamers wouldn’t reduce themselves to insulting the hell out of each other. Unless…. We still have some sore feelings toward Otto Von Bismark. Damn those Krauts and their unrestricted submarine warfare!
Final Point: One thing I would love to know, what do actual people in the military think of this? Soldiers game all the time. What effect would this game have on these people and their families? What would a game like this do regarding PTSD or re-activating memories these people would rather not relive? Is it "just a game" and we are all looking way too deep into this? Are there any vets on these boards? I really want to know what you think of it.
I just realized I didn't introduce myself. Wasn't fully aware of the protocol and kinda arbitrarily started posting random stuff. Not the best choice starting by ranting about Ocarina of Time. Speaking of which, I got serious, cleared my head, have been playing it all day and am loving it. I was way too bitchy and harsh about that game and to the commenters. I was having a really bad couple of days. So apologies to everyone I annoyed.
That said, my name is Adam.
Me after climbing Mount Doom
I reside in Philly with my bride to be, Maria. I'm a trained illustrator but currently, teach history. I love gaming and all things related.
Been gaming for 22 years and owned a plethora of systems as time progressed. Lost almost all of them in a flood in 2006. Was left with a PS2 and it broke. Bought another one. It also broke so finally have a fatty and it's pretty solid.
Got into next gen gaming over the last 3 years. Love my 360 and Wii. Love Xbox Arcade and Virtual Console even more. Would play more PC games but my system is a dinosaur.
Already played through Limbo twice and am spellbound. Definitely want to write a piece on that one. Play everything from AAA "blockbusters" to indie "arty" games. I hate that label since it seems more people who call it that are doing so to diss it. I play retro as much as modern stuff and try to stay informed as best as possible. Love cel-shaded games to the max!
I follow history, sociology and politics like a religion. Every TV show I like has been cancelled from Wonderfalls to the Tick so as much as I love general pop culture I hate mostly everything that is currently "popular." I hope that makes sense. Then again, Dr. Who is still on television but I don't have BBC so I consider that moot.
Probably thinking about one of these characters right now.
Totally dig everything I have been reading on this community. You guys and gals are some really forward and deep thinkers. The boards have all of the great ideas minus the trolling and additional bs. Destructoid is the best gaming site around because of users like you. Much respect to all of you.
Long Time reader, first (well third) time writer.
Can't wait to get to know everyone better. :)
See you around!
I pose the ultimate in hypothetical...what could you do if you were able to snap your fingers and *poof* it’s done on your console?
This could range from porting some magical game to what you play now, getting some long lost sequel to see the light, add a whole new genre or dynamic to playability or just set all the fanyboys "just get along." I was thinking about it and there are some pretty big wishes I would make in the world of gaming.
1. To get arcade versions of X-Men and the Simpsons on any of the big 3 networks. Why is this not happening? Remember the Aliens arcade game or the Ghostbusters arcade game? They blew the console versions away! I would freakin love to take a non-emulator shot at these games. Okay, Ghostbusters on Genesis was pretty awesome but still.
2. To get a way to reboot some old DOS exclusive games in an easier to play format. BioForge, Alone in the Dark 1 and 2, Crusader, Discworld...Even Burn Cycle. Unless you had a CD-i and still maintain it, you're out of luck. For the overall positive reception that retro and throwback games get, why are these all locked in the vault? I'm sure there's a market to get some more money out of these titles? Could this have to do with the developers not being around anymore? Or trademark rights?
3. Re-ignite some more old franchises. Considering how psyched I, and many others, am about Donkey Kong, Iccarus (after a loooong-wait), Metroid, etc. always coming back. The prospect alone of Kirby's Epic Yarn makes owning a wii all worth it. How about a non-classic-retro Mega Man? Not changing the style just do a new HD remake along the lines of "New Super Mario Wii." Ghosts and Goblins comes to mind or how about Adventure Island or Alex Kidd, Bonk's Adventure, Maniac Mansion? Bionic Commando: Rearmed was fabulous. How about a new Star Tropics or Journey to Silius?
4. Ghostbusters was able to re-ignite a movie license with context and was a testimony to fan service with so many details and attentions to accuracy. How come we never got a Braveheart, Road Warrior, Bladerunner game? (Ummm...didn't mean to list 2 Mel Gibson movies...Could you ever imagine: "Passion of the Christ: The Game" ...shudder...) I would really enjoy playing a game based on "Willow" or how about a "Return to Oz" game? If American McGee's Alice series worked, so can a darker take on Dorothy. How about a game based on "Se7en"? It could even play on a Silent Hill or Condemned play mechanic. We are seeing way more evidence that not all movie liscenced games can drown in a sea of suck. Even Wolverine (basic and one-note as it was) was a very playable game. This stuff could be done and developers have been showing it can be done really well. How about a game licensed by comic companies where you can play your favorite characters through actual scenarios from the issues? Cool to relive for fans of the series OR a good way to get exposure to new, younger players. This could even be done through DLC in a "Comic Zone" type of format. I'd love to try a 300 or Sin City Game...Arkham Asylum was so great and maintained so many individual feels the Dark Knight had. (Especially the Dave McKean version)
5. A war game or FPS not dealing with the future, WWII or "Modern War."
I would absolutely LOVE to see a shooter set in WWI, the Civil War, the American Revolution with the same attention to detail and quality that is shown in the stuff we've seen lately. I think muzzle loaders, cannon fire, thousands of soldiers, no-man's land, gas attacks, rural surroundings. I know this never would have worked on older systems but with the abilities systems can demonstrate, I really think this would be really cool and add a totally new dynamic to fighting. (Personally, I'd like to see a movie or two about World War I or a non "Patriot" or "1776" version of the Revolution too...damn, there we go with Mel Gibson again!)
6. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII, Radiant Silvergun, Earthbound and Sonic Adventure on their respective digital download providers. I mean, if Square wants to not lose money on Chrono Trigger, why not just up the price a little on the Virtual Console? I'd pay the DS price on the Console no question. There, everyone wins!
7. Blizzard to make a game on the home consoles. (I said this was a wish page)
7. Ummm...peace on x-live and good will on all the leaderboards. Now I'm just talking crazy. :)
So...those are just a few of my wants and dreams... Again, there are more than enough "must-haves" that are gonna be hitting us consumers over this holiday season so even if one of these hypothetic games I talked about came to light, I probably couldn't afford it. Anything anyone else would like to see pop it's head above the water?
"Remember, Thomas Edison was a great man, but he was a bastard to his wife and kids."
So anyway, if you have ever heard of her, the singer and Sri Lankan born, M.I.A. (Paper Planes) recently spoke to Connect Magazine regarding the effect of violence in gaming toward younger players and questioned its merits and the long term consequences. I know this is like 2 weeks old but that's actually when I wrote it on my own blog but I'm reposting it here.
Based on some of the responses, I'm seeing some big time ignorance and close-minded jack-assery coming from, yet again, the defenders of my beloved hobby whom (in many cases) don't appear to even have read beyond the articles title and just let their "raised with x-box live etiquette" flood of insult, misogynism and epithet spew forth. Think Family Guy: "Kevin Bacon was NOT in Footloose! hawwwwww heeeeee hawwwwww." This is very similar to the deluge of shit-talking poor Roger Ebert faced when he went so far as to express his critical opinion that most games were not art. (saying you disagree with him is fine but making fun of his lack of lower jaw, now c'mon people...to this same extend "Shut up, you stupid bitch" is not a valid retort to the M.I.A. story)
Now, I'm not a fan of MIA but she does make a decent point. There's a documentary called "the soundtrack of war" where soldiers interviewed literally say a lot of them were expecting the war to be like a video game. "I was expecting to just aim down the sight and shoot...It's a lot more gruesome than you think"
I mean look at the Desert Storm coverage of "Smart Weapons." We have better resolution versions of that today in games (The Specter Gunship levels in Modern Warfare for example) When I showed movies about the War on Terror to students of mine, they immediately were saying "wow, this is just like call of duty!" Don't get me wrong, I love war games of all types but you don't need to be a student of propaganda to see a form of desensitizing taking place, a fun and satisfying form of it nevertheless. (A hallmark of really good propaganda) This is what M.I.A's point was about, not that any game is going to make a kid violent BUT if through exposure to repeated over the top killstreaks and fatalities is going to jade someone to the actual effect violence has on real people. Dehumanization takes place, to some extent. It always did. You knew a Demon in Doom wasn't real, you know the RPG guy in COD isn't real either, but who is actually based on a real-world entity? See this? Games are now dehumanizing actual humans who they then try to make as realistic as possible. Same goes for a cop you kill in GTA. The "eh, its just a game argument" is rapidly fading in these new shooters because it's doing what it can to emulate actual real-world settings, people, physics. It's a narrow path to walk, who wants to see someone crumple in pain, cry, vomit and scream when shot through the femoral artery and not instantly die? (surprisingly more people than I probably even could guess) But does this making the enemy a sea of masked or brown faces do something to our collective consciousness? (The Russian stuff also seemed kinda like a forced in a not so suave way to throw white enemies into a contemporary shooter so they could retort "See! We aren't making a 'how to kill arabs' video game!" to any criticism) Then again, Rainbow Six: Vegas and GRAW had Latino bad guys...did anyone make a big deal about that? Did They? I didn't have a 360 so I wasn't paying that much attention. Black Hawk Down did this. Originally it was supposed to be a pretty thought-out well rounded account about the entire Somali Conflict, more causality, more back-story, questions about the futility of war, more dialogue, more characterization of the soldiers. Instead it was a bunch of army guys with random quirks to tell them apart and an hour and a half of mindless bullets. This was in production before 9-11 but once the attacks happened, Washington stepped in and ordered "This had better be a 'fight the war on terror' recruitment movie" Hence, the Somali's were black-washed to look like fanatical, war-crazy, savages without an ounce of remorse or any possibility to evoke sympathy from any audience. By the end we have the same generalized modern-warfare view of non-westerers as a psychotic herd just begging to die. Who would ever see any of these people (I'm talking women, civilians, children) in any type of empathetic light when one of your only ways to see them is by killing hundreds of them while they desperatly try to kill you?
Also, the older generation of gamers needs to realize, games developed as they personally matured. We grew up on 8 and 16 bit sprites that clearly were not any accurate depiction of what murder and mayhem looks like (Duke Nukem, Doom, and Commander Keen). Now the "old ultra-violence" (to quote Alex DeLarge) is taking a much more advanced look and feel for a much younger audience. Of course we know it didn't effect us, (more suicides and real-world violence is related to games seeded in the MMORP and RPG genres, strangley in South Korea) the only question is, how will this affect younger players as they age? Its like testing meds on the market, we won't know the side effects until after it is too late. There is no trial period; we are looking right at it in younger players. If the effects are visible any time you play a session of x-live and listen to some of the stuff coming out of these kids mouths. If this is a testimony to the fabric of America you would think Women's Rights, Civil Rights, Americans with Disabilities Act and the LGBT Rights movements never happened and our society simply digressed to white-supremacist neanderthals grunting expletives at each other. Sufficed to say, there is some horrible stuff being said on these headsets that would probably make even the drafters of the first amendment question its merit.
As for violence, why are video games truly at the center of this storm? I don't see people going after the Full Metal Jackets of the world and critics and viewers alike had a splooge-fest over the Hurt Locker. (It seems all you need to do to show war and get away with it is to mask it behind "war is hell" "war is futile" "this is really anti-war but we still are gonna show how bad-ass it is" messages) However, would there have been more of an outcry if kids were taking on the persona of Private Joker and putting a round through a female sniper's dying head? Interactivity, no matter how you choose to argue it, takes precedence over viewing, listening or reading because here, you get to do all three and control how you do it and how much you do it. Part of the reason Ebert said it cannot be art because the interactivity makes it disposable. (I guess he never saw a "choose your own adventure" book)
Remember people raving over Microsoft Flight Simulator back in 95 because you felt like you were there? That is what modern hyper-real games attempt to do. Its not about fantasy conflict (ergo Mass Effect or Fallout, even Command and Conquer) but representing actual real death and destruction in army sims where you are the Spec Ops guy. GRAW, Tom Clancy, America's Army, Full Spectrum Warrior really take the "fuck yeah" approach. Do you think kids would know about the Javelin, MP-44s, SAW gunners, Blackhawks without the Sam Fishers of the world? Some parent's couldn't stand when the current president (although there was no outcry against Reagan or H.W. Bush who did the exact same thing) wanted to talk to the nation's students about the merits of staying in school and working hard but yet no distinctions are drawn between obvious super-patriot indoctrination that comes from modern FPS games. We are talking "Triumph of the Will" to some degree. It's strange, it seems these games want to foster a love of all things military but the lines seem to be blurred when it comes to it being an American Military. When I play these games I never really see myself as an American killing non-Americans but more an army guy shooting other army guys. Maybe this is what is going on; the planting the seeds of militarifilia on youger player's psyches. Being as they are American gamers playing in America, what other army are you gonna love and join? The French Foreign Legion? Its a remarkable inevitability of where these minds are being programmed to go. Hence Halo, the Cog, etc.: "Seraph, Fuck Yeah" easily can be replaced with "America, Fuck Yeah!"
Now a big rebuff to this argument seems to be the age-old bullshit American argument that "eh, like there wasn't violence before games, movies, etc....what about violence in the Middle East, they are violent and don't play video games" As if this is a good thing. To some extend they do, Jordan, Eqypt, Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, U.A.E., Saudia Arabia have decent game sales numbers. (Saudi Arabia actually has less banned games than Australia does!) But, to pander to that argument, maybe SOME people over there are violent because they come from a completely different background, being fostered on age-old tribal and religious conflict and wracked with internal and international war up to this day. Most of the modern borders there are less than 100 years old and that was born from the plague of European colonialism. (and we all know how peaceful that was, right?) Americans are really in no position to make any comparison. In any modern sense we haven't been invaded (so don't say war of 1812), we haven't seen combat in our backyards (so don't say Civil War), we haven't seen actual threats of annihilation or faced genocide. (Unless you’re talking about the Native Indian genocide) So what is the idea here, we haven't seen these actual acts of violence to perpetuate a violent society so we manufacture virtual violence to jade our youth to the actual consequence of real violence? I dunno, slippery slope.