Saturday, October 15, 2005

Run Like Hell

I actually wish I was listening to Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell," but -alas- I can't find the second disc to my copy of Pulse, their live album from the Division Bell tour. Furthermore, as you can see by the rampant italicization, I have gone about installing Firefox on my iBook for the sole benefit of making my blog look at least semi-respectable, which we all know that it's not.

And, before I forget, there were two Elf Slapping tool motherfuckers spamming the General channel in Orgrimmar today, bitching every thirty seconds about getting steel lockboxes opened, as though magically a rogue would wander into town and say, "What, ho! An Elf-Slapping Tool Motherfucker is in distress and needs my assistance to open his lockbox! To my sacred duty!" I think that it goes best unsaid that the aforementioned sacred duty is getting them to shut the fuck up and prevent the ears of the rest of the players from bleeding any more. This is only the latest in many, many incidents that go to show that the Elf Slappers are a bunch of fucking tools.

Now, when I say that, "fucking tools," I think that it necessitates clarification that the stress should be on the latter word, as to put the stress on the former would be to turn them into "fucking tools," which would suggest that they are dildos, vibrators, strap-ons, (the searches I'm going to get from Google for this...) or basically any other implement that would perhaps make it easier or more interesting for them to go about partaking in their Elf Slapper circle-jerk festivals. However, it must be stated that to lump them in with any of those doohickeys would suggest that they might ever actually touch any part of another human being, outside of their Elf Slapper orgies.

Ah, how I love incurring the wrath of the Elf Slappers. I should start a whole separate blog for this.

Tonight's news briefs:

MTV has acquired iFilm, which is a website that houses a plethora of videos -some entertaining, some not so much- such as Cobra Island Rave, which is one of the entertaining ones, and I recommend you go watch that now if you haven't previously. Yes, I know that I've mentioned it more than once on this site, but it's just that damn good. Anyway, MTV's bought iFilm, which means that it's going to be fairly soon that you'll find absolutely no films whatsoever at iFilm. Thank you, MTV, for managing to ruin yet another property.

For those of you who have been keeping up with how much I'm beginning to loathe my own political party, I'm jumping ship. Oh, yes, I've pledged my undying support for a presidential candidate, and he's not a Democrat, which will thrill my friend Aaron to no end. Unfortunately for Aaron, he's not a Republican, either. No, and I haven't gone all batshit fucking loco, either, so I'm not voting for Ralph Nader. No, this is my candidate, and I will support him through the 2008 elections. I haven't been this thrilled since my pick for President back in 2000.

Crazed anti-videogame attorney Jack Thompson has gone so far with being absolutely fucking nuts that he's lost the support of America's National Institute on Media and the Family, which is the support-group for crazed loonies who think that there's too much sex and violence on television, in movies, and certainly in videogames. Now, considering the fact that the ANIMF has disavowed Jack Thompson like a rogue Mission: Impossible agent, that goes to show you how absolutely fucking bonkers he's gone, having turned into a caricature of himself, despite already being a caricature.

Civilization IV is reportedly on track to be released within the next month, along with The Movies, which is going to make for a very merry Christmas for Umgawa. Unfortunately, that means taking away from my World of Warcraft time. Perhaps I'll take a break from the game for a month or two to enjoy some single-player gaming for a while.

Steven Spielberg has signed a deal with Electronic Arts to work on developing some games. Knowing EA, I surmise this will not result in anything good, or even something remotely interesting. I think the last time Steven Spielberg took a remotely active hand in a game was The Dig, and that wasn't all that good in the first place. Of course, what the hell do I know; I couldn't even catch a fucking rat in the game with its bizarre Rube Goldberg cage-dropping scheme. Or, perhaps I disliked the game because it was written by Orson Scott Card, who has written exactly two good things in his life: Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.

And the Chicago White Sox are now up two games to one against the Los Angeles Angels, formerly the Anaheim Angels, formerly the California Angels. One of the guys at work is a die-hard Sox fan, and I wouldn't piss on the White Sox if they were on fire, so if the Angels beat the White Sox in this series, I'm going to get him a sympathy card, have everyone at work sign it, and give him a copy of Angels in the Outfield, just to drive the point home that his team sucks.

Apparently Trauma Center: Under the Knife has been released in the States without anyone informing me. It's a Nintendo DS game in which you get to dump drunk college kids in bathtubs of ice, cut them open and harvest their... oh, wait, that's what I would have done with it. Anyway, it's a surgery game, though the screenshots and videos I've seen of it don't really look as visceral as I'd prefer, given that I remember the old Mindscape title Life and Death being occasionally fairly disgusting. What I'd much rather have is a game that uses the DS stylus as a scalpel, simply called Cadaver. Otherwise, the idea I set forth at the top of this paragraph would be pretty nice, too, although crazed motherfucker Jack Thompson will probably sue my ass for even thinking of it.

Finally, a cartel... er, consortium of videogame companies comprising the Entertainment Software Association is suing the state of California to declare its new law preventing minors from purchasing violent videogames unconstitutional. Granted, the law is unconstitutional on its face, violating free speech laws by basing a game's qualification for this honor in totally subjective terminology. Furthermore, as stated in the following, it sets an entirely impossible standard for the retailer to live up to, short of the state establishing a Game Czar:
The California Retailers Association (CRA) argues that the bill "uses phrases that require subjective interpretation, judgment, constructs, opinion, valuation, appraisal and an ability to gauge measures and norms that are not within the capability or purview of a retailer." The CRA also opines that the bill "would require retailers to individually play/view all video games they sell and make individual and independent determinations whether each game fits the criteria for 'violent'" (e.g. "what is 'patently offensive to community standards'" or to "judge a game's artistic or literary value?[or] 'interpret mental torture'").
Essentially, the law as written has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese the size of the Governator's Humvee. That it's next to impossible for a company to gauge all of the requirements of the state is one thing, but the judgment of a game's artistic or literary value is the sort of thing that every free-speech case is based on. Considering that the majority of America's pornography is produced in California, I can't seem to find any legislation regulating it, beyond the general child-pornography laws under which the word obscene happens to fall, and rightfully so, due to the legal definition of obscenity, which I'll get to in a second. However, I don't believe that a game has yet been made (as much as I loathe the Grand Theft Auto series) that can qualify as being obscene, and therefore be banned on a wholesale basis by any community, because there are three tests for obscenity:
"The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be:
(a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, Kois v. Wisconsin, supra, at 230, quoting Roth v. United States, supra, at 489;
(b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and
(c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

Note that part (a) does employ community standards. However, all three parts must be met for a work to be deemed obscene, and part (c), as the Court has held elsewhere, is a national threshold, not a community test.
Videogames are being placed above film, television, porn, and even this site as being the great corrupters of children, and I'm quite sure that it's not rightfully so. After all, if you want to go and sanitize the lives of the youth, make a clean sweep and try to swing that past the media, rating every film that shows someone being shot as NC-17; outlawing any television series that showed someone being roughed up; Looney Tunes cartoons would only run on Adult Swim due to its gratuitous violence, using everything from ACME rockets to anvils to pianos to fake roads into the sunset drawn on cliff walls.

However, I do think they need regulation. The ESRB has been shown to be fallible, due to the "Hot Coffee" sequence (I refuse to call it a "mod" because the programmers put it there, whereas a mod would dictate that it was created by someone after the game's release) in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Since Take Two managed to put one over on the ESRB, we can't necessarily trust them, but we can't very well have laws put into effect that are so broad that a game like the E-rated Super Smash Bros. Melee falls into the same category as Mortal Kombat: Deception. Both involve beating the ever-loving shit out of another player, but only in the latter do you get to rip the guy's spine out.

Which brings me to the point of how influential this stuff is on the kids, and I swear I'll wrap this up after I say this: I've played a colossal number of violent videogames over the years, and I haven't killed anyone. Have I ever even tried to rip someone's spine out after seeing it done in a Mortal Kombat game? No. Have I ever tried to use the Force to lift someone into the air and choke him to death? Well, sure, but unfortunately I'm apparently not down with the midichlorians, but that's not the point. The point is that, like music, and like television, and like movie theaters, there are better ways of doing things than having the government legislate it, and it's because of pressure and totally frivolous lawsuits from Grade-A Nutjob Jack Thompson that suburban mothers are whipped into a frenzy and demand action from the government, when the private sector is already doing its job.

So I leave you today with a cartoon, because Tim Buckley over at Ctrl-Alt-Del said it about as well as anyone ever could, and I don't mean the part about the giraffes. So, go read this comic strip and think for a while about submitting my name to Governor Rod Blagojevich as the state Videogame Czar, because he's already turned me down for the position of Porn Czar. Oh, and comment away.

AIM: therbmcc71

No comments: