Delayed Responsibility

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Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Impressions: Modern Warfare 2

Posted by deckard47 on January 6, 2010

I’ve just finished Modern Warfare 2‘s single player, and I’ve played around 20 hours of the multiplayer. While the multiplayer is as addictive and well-balanced as always (despite a few strange issues here and there), the single player is a truly unique, unpleasant beast. I’m not going to write specifically about “No Russian” here (maybe Owen and I can have it out about that later?), instead I’m just going to work my way though my notes and thoughts, having just completed the game (a warning: I will tell you who the villain is. So. SPOILERS: No Really, if You Care About the Plot, GO AWAY): Read the rest of this entry »

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Non-Gaming Related: Travel!

Posted by deckard47 on December 8, 2009

I recently (this morning, that is) relocated (temporarily) to Santa Barbara. I’m here for 3 weeks to get as much (or as little) work done as possible. To help me out, SB had a crappy little rainstorm that made New Haven look welcoming by comparison. Excellent. As we speak, Left 4 Dead 2 is downloading to my MBP (an older version, which will, I suspect, necessitate super-low graphical settings. Sigh) at the blistering speed of 200 k/s. That might not sound that fast to you lot (especially anybody reading this from another country, where they don’t have draconian rules about bandwidth and how much you can draw down, grumble, grumble, grumble), but for a person struggling under the heel of perpetually erratic, 150 k/s if you’re lucky AT&T “service,” this shit is a godsend.

But I’m here to talk about Travel. I’d forgotten that many of the simple, amazing experiences in life can only be had when traveling. You forget about these little joys until a bout of travel inextricably pounds them back into your memory. This particular journey was especially memorable. So, in absolutely no discernible order, the great things about catching a 6:30 am flight from JFK to LAX (and connecting from there to SB):

The New York Subway System hating my face. Trying to catch the 1 downtown, after one stop (we only needed one more to switch over!) the guy comes on the PA and says due to obstructions, we are taking the express route and going all the way to Staten Island or some shit. Then we get off, and have to change trains 3 more times just to get back to the C (I think), just so we can get up to the E. Win! This is why I did not sleep, but instead spent the hours between 1230 and 330 AM fighting off my friend’s amorous cat while writing a King Arthur: The Role Playing Wargame (actually quite good) review. This is why I leave 3 hellish hours before my flight is supposed to leave. It’s all for you, MTA.

Horrible Red-faced Middle Aged White Business Guys. You know that new movie with George Clooney where he plays a charming, hi-larious racist consultant? If any of the business guys I have to travel with (every time I fly) were like him, the world would be slightly less bad. He would be a major improvement. He is (supposedly) funny. He does not breath heavily into your face, in some strange attempt to get you to load your backpack into the tiny overhead compartment faster. He does not, as they do, clip all 10 of his hilarious cell phone holsters to the seatback pocket, in case someone sends him an impossible fucking phone call. He does not, I would hope, fume and mutter, as his much luckier companions go ahead of him, thanks to their First-Class, Executive, Emperor, Platinum, or (of course) Latinum level flier status. [On a side note, I love the Emperor Class fliers. They take it to the limit every time, rushing to get to the spots they have already paid for, negating the need for the rush. Never change, Imperators]. It’s funny, because if his company were bigger, or he was a better salesguy (or refrigerator negotiator, or dog food research litigator, or whatever), he would be in the Admiral’s Club! Oh, the humanity.

United Airlines, for being just plain awesome. I love that, after mysteriously delaying my first flight, they send me a phone message (which I cannot receive until after I land!) informing me that, thanks to their delay, I will miss my connection, and they have moved me to a flight that takes off 9 hours later. So when I arrive (1 minute after my flight is supposed to have left), I receive their “Rapid Flight Change Update Notification Message” (no fucking kidding) about the flight they just made me miss (except Owen and I sprinted for the plain and caught it, because we rock). I love you guys. Keep on filling your flights with the smell of desiccated, rotting alien flesh, an I’ll keep on flying with you (also, keep on selling “sandwich packs” that can kill with a look, for only $9)!

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Impressions/Rant: Infamous is Worse than you Thought!

Posted by deckard47 on June 11, 2009

Before we dive back into Cole’s unpleasant world, I’ll direct you to the sidebar. As you can see over there, I’ve reviewed some more games for Gametopius and Popmatters. Since the dark overlords at GSW haven’t seen fit to release my latest brilliant piece of writing from its cage, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for that one. But trust me, it’s going to be like nothing you’ve ever seen. Since the last one.

Now, back to Infamous‘ sad, sad face. It’s an ugly face to begin with (I have regular nightmares about Trish and Sasha), but there’s something that no one has mentioned (if you mentioned this, send me an angry email with the link, and I’ll make amends). In Infamous, the first enemies you fight are “pimps and drug dealers” in the games’ words. This isn’t exactly new. Like Crackdown before it, Infamous realizes that it’s easiest to make your enemies uncool by societal standards. For Crackdown, that meant ethnic profiling (Bangers are headed your way, Agent!), but in Infamous that means socio-economic profiling.

After the bomb, Infamous has no problem hypothesizing that the “dregs” of society, those easiest to paint in an unpleasant, deviant light, would become the hilariously named “Reapers.” This wasn’t surprising to me. What did surprise me was when I reached the second Island, “The Warrens.” This is the poor section of town, as everybody keeps saying. Lots of people remind Cole (or he tells us, while he’s chewing on some broken glass to help his sore throat) of what a scary, dirty, dangerous place The Warrens were. When you arrive, it becomes apparent that you have a new enemy to deal with. The “Dustmen.” What could they be, you wonder? Men and women who appreciate the awesome qualities of dust? Do they like dust storms? No, it turns out they’re homeless people, who have taken to wearing trashbags and terrorizing the populace, in the same way the Reapers did. No I’m not fucking making that up Your enemies are those scary, crazy homeless people, who are even tougher and meaner than the pimps and drug dealers.

It doesn’t exactly get better from there. Since the “Dustmen” are your new enemies, you get a lot of missions centered around them. All of the NPCs call these enemies “Transients” (a painful, awkward theft of language), and you are thus often informed that “Transients” have stolen food, medical supplies, or kidnapped people. Again, I’m not making this shit up. In one situation, upon finding an audio recording left by an FBI agent investigating the game’s evil super-villain crew, the agent talks about how bad and dangerous life is in The Warrens, and how no one helps people here. But then he talks about how the response to this situation should be to destroy the entire Warrens  section of the city.

Did the people writing this realize that they were not only creating stupid, sexist caricatures of humans in Sasha, but that they were also reiterating an old, really frightening line of thought regarding people in the lowest socio-economic brackets—that these people were so lowly and messed up that the only way to “save” them is to destroy their homes and livelihoods? I guess not. I can’t wait for island number three! I wonder what the bad guys there will be? Prostitutes? Also, It’s amusing to note how, if you change the coloring and method of combat, this is Crackdown. I’m actually really surprised that the enemies weren’t obvious ethnic caricatures. It would have been almost a complete ripoff then, aside from the method of transportation. Bravo, Sucker Punch.

P.S. Michelle Forbes is in the new season of True Blood. I know, exciting! She’s gotten rid of her mole (as fans of In Treatment will know), but she’s just as badass as ever, if not more. Did you know she turned down the rpart of Kira Nerys (or the part that morphed in Nana Visitor’s Kira Nerys)? She would have rocked the hell out of DS9! I think they should just remake Voyager and have her be Janeway. That would be so sweet!

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CS3, I Hate Thee

Posted by deckard47 on March 13, 2009

So at my job I do a ton of Photoshop stuff, and so when Photoshop, say, decides not to open any files (as in, files I’ve created with my version of Photoshop will not open, but files created by Photoshop 7 won’t), I get angry. I get even angrier when every single fix I find on Adobe forums is crappy. Imagine my surprise, when on some random tech forum full of absolute internet animals, I find the solution. I had to create a fake printer that doesn’t exist, and then set it as my default printer. What the fuck? Anyway, things are back to normal now, but I thought I’d just rant about the hour I spent trying to fix this earlier today. Adobe, from my desk chair, I shake my fist at you (oh, and sorry this isn’t game related…).

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The World Wants me to Explode my Head

Posted by deckard47 on January 4, 2009

Today is one of those days. In an attempt to stop the PC half of my computer from always, always asking me to sign in (even though there’s no password and no other users) I changed some minor setting, and now it wants a password… Which I made up a year ago and now forget. After typing in 50 different passwords I’ve given up, which means that it’s time for an XP reinstall. To be honest, it’s been in the works for a while, the old computer has been a bit finicky lately. Anyway, it’s a pain in the ass, and it’s going to take forever, when I start it up later tonight.

But that’s not all! I was wandering around the internet today, reading various “Best of” lists for ’08 (and of course muttering to myself about various injustices), when I came accross some really heinous shit. Now normally I subscribe to the notion that one should keep one’s trap shut about such things. No one cares that I think that the award for Best Doohicky is a really bad choice. But this, this had to be commented on,  had to be, otherwise I might have to mess up somebody’s face (and it would probably be my brothers’, so I wanted to curtail that action). Anyway, over at Gametrailers, there were several amusing awards choices made. Some were the kind of choices everyone’s been making, but some, some were extra-special.

First, the trailer for RE5 won best trailer. Really guys? Do you really want to nominate a trailer (and, possibly, a game) that utilizes highly charged racist imagery culled from hundreds of years of oppression and violence and treats those images as commonplace, simple pieces in a bit of entertainment? Are we really that ignorant, that passive? I don’t care how amazing this trailer is graphically, or how long we’ve been waiting for RE5. This is bad.

Next, we have GTA IV winning every single fucking award: Best Action Adventure Game, Best Story (oh no), Best PS3 and 360 game (I think), and GOTY. Wow. What shit. Let’s see… It would be a good action adventure game if the action or the adventure were in any way convincing (more on that later!). Let’s focus on the story for now. Apparently, the best story of the year is a story that thinks that the way to create interesting characters is to make every single one the embodiment of some kind of ethnic, socioeconomic, racial, or cultural stereotype. Then, you make people “think about their actions,” by choosing which cardboard racist caricature to kill. Shit be heavy. Then, you have bad, bad jokes about various causes, points of view, or beliefs, jokes that barely approach the level of “Scary Movie” or “Disaster Movie” jokes. Guess what Rockstar, having assholes on radio shows be racist or sexist or “super liberal” (but also kinda dumb) does not make it satire. It’s parody, a hideous, pale misrepresentation of reality, and of humor. Parody is not satire! Parody has no larger cultural awareness, just like GTA IV.

The story of GTA IV is the worst kind of “self-aware” narrative, one that is just self-aware enough to include minuscule nods to its constructed, unauthentic nature (or its own contrivances) as an excuse for gameplay, but that is completely content to take it’s cliche-ridden, stereotype-immersed ghost of a story seriously. The Godfather? Please. If this is The Godfather (or some other fiction that attempts to create believable, intriguing narrative), then it’s seen through the lens of  the most ludicrous kind of pop culture “knowledge,” the kind of lens that thinks that as long as you use stereotypes “about everybody” (forgetting the complete fallacy behind the assumption that all stereotypes are equal, the kind of assumption that conveniently forgets that all kinds of bias or assumption operate from different places of power and influence within and outside of our culture), you’re safe from censure. Ag. Enough of that. Bad story, enough said. They could have picked so many games, almost any game, and these games would have had better stories (oh my dear PoP, how you’ve been wronged).

I should stop, I interrupted an article I’m writing for an actual publication, not this crap on my blog, but I wanted to say one more thing. This kind of judgment isn’t restricted to Gametrailers (to whom I’m indebted for their completely ridiculous amount of content). This shit is widespread, and we do ourselves an injustice by letting it slide. I know I wrote something like this a while ago, but when a major publication lauds offensive, immature, childish material, everybody suffers. It’s lucky I don’t think much of my opinons, right? I’m going to go back to my minor, unimportant articles. I’m in a bad mood now, so I’m going to make myself feel better, just a bit.

YES

Yes indeed.

I’ll try to make the next big post about something other than the fact that gamers should be more socially conscious, I promise. Maybe it’ll be about how Duplicity looks absolutely amazing and sweet and fabulous? Only if you’re lucky, very lucky.

[Edit]: I know this is a bit hipcrytical, what with me being completely at home with Prince of Persia and its sometimes childish, often offensive dialogue. Guess I’m a bit of a flip-flopper? I’ll take PoP over GTA any day.

Posted in Rant | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist (hey gamers and developers!)

Posted by deckard47 on October 20, 2008

So, I just ran across an article over at Kotaku that just blew me away. I’m gonna quote the post, because it’s too dumb to rewrite here:

Last week, Sony announced a worldwide recall and delay for LittleBigPlanet after two expressions from the Qur’an were discovered in the lyrics of one of the game’s licensed music tracks. The song is titled “Tapha Niang” off the album Boulevard de l’independance.

And here are the translations of the two lines (although I can’t say for sure):

1- In the 18th second: “كل نفس ذائقة الموت” (“kollo nafsin tha’iqatol mawt”, literally: ‘Every soul shall have the taste of death’).

2- Almost immediately after, in the 27th second: “كل من عليها فان” (“kollo man alaiha fan”, literally: ‘All that is on earth will perish’).

I understand that if those lines were in there when the game shipped, people would freak. I know that people would see this (correctly) as some strong imagery. I’m sure it would offend people, Muslims, Christians and others, for different reasons.

But this is how they worded it:

“During the review process prior to the release of LittleBigPlanet, it has been brought to our attention that one of the background music tracks licensed from a record label for use in the game contains two expressions that can be found in the Qur’an.”

Forgive, if you will, my cynicism, but I’m pretty sure that if there had been lyrics like that in a song (and the lyrics came from the Christian Bible), that there would be no recall. Because it would just be how it is. As always. No one would have a problem, because it’s ok if the Bible condemns things to death, but not ok if some other Religion’s holy book does the same? I understand the censorship, I do, but this still stinks of people being scared of Islam, and of Sony making a quick (but again, admittedly business-savy) move. It’s sad. When Resistance had a level set in Manchester Cathedral and the Church of England got angry, Sony told the C of E to get bent. Sweet.

Oh, and I’m sure I’m not supposed to say this, but it’s super catchy. I hope the rest of the soundtrack is this good. Late.

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Rant: Slow Going

Posted by deckard47 on October 20, 2008

Things have been rather lazy lately chez Cross, as a result of that Villain, the Witcher. Both Owen and I are knee deep in that damn game, and sadly, he’s closer to escaping from its clutches than I am. Curses. I was also thinking about the Aliens vs. Predator games, especially the second one. What with Dead Space having just come out, just about every reviewer and their brother and their parent media company are saying something about how it’s “Aliens,” not “Alien.”

Now I know that they’re trying to dissuade the gaming populace from seeing this game as a slow, scary, “survival” horror game (apparently the fact that it isn’t one is a big deal to some people, who are now betrayed or surprised… Whatever), but I still feel that this game, no matter how good it is, is still beholden to one game that these guys haven’t mentioned yet: AvP2. It wasn’t perfect, I know it had bad graphics, and I know that Predators are silly, but that game put me in the Aliens world in a great way. Not only did it do that, but it scared me seriously, as I hope we all recall, without throwing an Alien at me for a whole hour or so. Look, an alien!

And it did it all without having “creepy” children’s songs playing in trailers (wow that was dumb…).

Plus, it threw in what was essentially the shooter multiplayer equivalent of Starcraft, using the races and tech that Starcraft basically stole. I mean, where did the drop ship pilot, marine, and every other Starcraft character get their banter? Oh yeah, a movie made by James Cameron. Back to AvP2, it fulfilled all of the broken promises made by Doom, Gears of War, Halo, and every other Space Marine/Scary action game in Space ever. I don’t care how bad the graphics were, or whether the production values were never that high, that game delivered a solid, scary, action-filled experience on all levels, and it did it without resorting to Scary Death Whispery Voices, Lots of Blood All the Time in the Dark (With Extra Blood and Gore), Angry Marines, or anything else that is now in every single game set in the future.

I feel like there’s an article in why that game was great, and once I play Dead Space there had better be an article in what that game is and isn’t, but for now I’m just writing an infantile rant. Desole, I guess. So, while I go back to writing and signing and doing hideous official stuff, please go find the demo for AvP 2, or get it cheep somewhere. I promise, if you do, I’ll find my old copy, and play online with you. Maybe.

Oh, and do you know how hard it is to find a screen from that game online? Hard! Most of the results are from that hulking, reprehensible monster that hit us last Christmas.

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Impressions/Rant: TF 2 Hate – I’ll just go back to playing Bioshock now, I guess

Posted by deckard47 on September 25, 2007

So I actually need to read now, but before I do, a quick question for you all (err, that’s like two people, maybe?). What happened to the players in the TF2 beta? For a week there it was bliss, the kind of dumbass heckling and trash talk that pervades CS servers (among others) had not made an appearance. Then recently, I’m guarding 2Fort with my Engineer, his sentry gun and his dispenser, and I kill this guy. He then precedes to tell me to “get the fuck out of there you porch monkey.” I’m sorry, how did we get here? What the fuck. I mean, yeah, you died, that makes people angry, I get it. But… How incredibly racist and stupid. Does this mean all of my TF2 games will be full of hateful mouth-breathers, or was he an anomaly? Forgive me for assuming it was a guy, but if it had been a girl, chances are someone else in the game would have been asking her for sex in under a minute (and then using an ugly sexual epithet to punish her for not responding). Chances are, my newly-beloved TF2 is about to see its clientèle hit rock bottom (unless they have been keeping silent to trick me for a week). And I was just starting to get my hopes up. This kind of thing really makes me wonder why I play these types of games, where I’m subject to The Theory. Then again, if a “normal” person thinks its Hi-larious to say that to a stranger, why would I ever want to meet that person in the first place?

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