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draqq_zyxx The meaning of life is to be aware.
The breath of life is to remember.
-Self

Title: Wiki Needs A Fixi
Posted: August 18, 2007 (02:17 PM)

Edit:Family Guy link added.

With so many companies obviously "augmenting" their Wikipedia entries for some self-tooting, Wikipedia needs to rectify this edit-fest - and fast. What's the point of trying to be an encyclopedia when the facts can be changed by anyone who has access to a keyboard (read: practically everyone)?

It's not like Wikipedia should be the primary source for investigative reports, anyway, but it's credibility doesn't need to be graffitied over. Because that's exactly what's going on. Big companies (and the government, apparently) has the spare time to spray-paint over the Wikipedia walls - or "clean them up," so to speak. Unfortunately, everyone else has a digital spray can as well - and eyes.

We don't need a Big Corporation vs. The People war on every Wikipedia article. We already have enough of that in real life. I'm looking at you, Wal-Mart.

The solution can be as simple as letting users go through the edit history and checkmark the entries that are correct and unbiased as much as possible. The one with the most checkmarks is the one that appears on screen, not any of the slanted entries by Sony, EA, Fox News, or Joe Blow.

If history textbooks tell us anything, truth can be distorted, removed, and abandoned. According to many Japanese textbooks, the Nan-Jing Massacre was a necessary wartime tactic. And of course, there is no such thing as Nazis in Germany, let alone anything that happened between WWI and WWIII (har...). American textbooks aren't completely unbiased either. Need we go into the historical flaws about Thanksgiving? Such a loving relationship between pilgrams and Indians... yeah...

Truth needs to preserved, and the "truthness" of Wikipedia needs to be have standard. If not, we will be surfing in a network of falsified reality, if we aren't already - a reality that can be fabricated to an extent that is worse than anything that a video game can supposedly warp. Wikipedia represents the collective truth of the popular. And what's popular is normally and dangerously the truth we perceive, as unchecked and untrue as it may be.

Addendum 1:

I agree that Wikipedia is the best source for accessibility and breadth of coverage. That it is an open source, user-based databank makes it a common first step for finding knowledge on whatever subject you can think of - many of which Britannica doesn't cover, especially subjects in popular culture. However, since Wikipedia is the first stop for many people, the need for a straight-answer, hard-fact is higher. People shouldn't have to waste time researching whether a fact is correct or speculate whether an article in an "encyclopedia" has been tampered with. I use Wikipedia frequently so anything that saves me time is a good thing.

I think the main problem with Wikipedia is that it's too easy for an article to be changed by whomever decides they have the time and energy to do so. Even if 99.99% of the common people don't do such things, we already have evidence that major corporations are constantly changing articles. Moderators are dealing with the matter after the fact and not going at the root of the problem.

This does not mean that we have to restrict editing, but instead, bring normal users like us into the fray. The 99.99% of the people that don't mess around with Wikipedia articles is an incredible resource towards the power of self-regulation. Give us the power to flag not only incorrect articles but correct ones. The voice of the majority can play a role against the editing abuse of one corporation. Wikipedia could also implement what eBay did to improve customer ratings, letting the people rate fellow members and give negative ratings to those that are biasing the articles. This is just a few of the possible solutions that can keep Wikipedia edit functions and user accessibility while maintaining its credibility.

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Title: Why Does E3 Have A Problem With Me?
Posted: August 17, 2007 (02:59 PM)
I do not understand why E3 chose to close its doors to the public in order to keep the focus on the games. If the games are truly the heart of the convention (which, they are), then the producers could have gotten rid of the glitz and glamor meant solely for the audience (i.e. booth babes) while still letting more of the public in. Even if E3 was never a fully public trade show, there are other (better) ways to place the attention on the games than removing every common person that plays them. For many gamers, E3 was a place to express their love for games, but instead of driving them towards a more mature convention, E3 shut them out. Slamming the doors on a healthy part of gaming culture - popular gaming culture - feels just as overboard as it would to ban all the cosplayers from Comicon because many feel they're immature. I'm sure many journalists feel better that getting through the floorroom is much easier, but there's a vacant feeling that can't be denied, a feeling that no amount of expedience can replace -- people.
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Title: Bed and Breakfast
Posted: August 15, 2007 (02:31 PM)

Bed and Breakfast

Snarling down, your beastly
robes. Cut your silky
spit. Frozen waffles.
raspberry slime, ravenous
juicy grit. Slurping
me slipped,
boiled, fried.
Punch-drunk buttermilk,
fulfilled.

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Title: Fresh Freelance Review
Posted: August 14, 2007 (05:56 PM)

Picross DS (GameRevolution.com Freelance Review)

Do you smell the aroma of fresh freelance work? It's intoxicating.

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Title: Chrono Skating?
Posted: August 10, 2007 (07:30 PM)

Being the "gaymer" that I am, I love two things: video games and figure skating. Ha! Unfortunately, these two fields hardly intersect. Aside from (I'm not kidding) Michelle Kwan's figures skating video game for the PC (which hardly got a lick of press, for good reason), I can't think of any reason why something that is based on artful technique would be easily translatable to a mostly rule-based video game medium.

Which is why, this is the closest thing to a fusion of triple lutzes and games that I can think of. It's not perfect (especially towards the end), but the song strangely works with the choreography.

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Title: GameStop Coupon Code!
Posted: August 09, 2007 (07:51 AM)

Once I got my diploma, I wanted to get out of college as fast as possible, not because I wanted to leave, but that I hate dorm traffic. Doesn't everybody? So, of course, in my rush of pushing the trolley up and down, up and down, I misplaced two games - two great games: Street Fighter Anniversary Collection (PS2) and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (PS2)! Yeah, that sucked. Some people are selling used copies for $100 and new copies for $699.95! That right there, my friends, is rent. Thankfully, GameStop was selling both games used for about $30 (SFAC) and $80 (MvC2) and with a bit of quick searching, voila!, a Coupon Code.

25& of all Used video games
Coupon Code: AFF25
Expires: 8/19/2007

It's a pretty sick code if you don't mind used games. I know more than a few stories about used games that were overused (read: broken), but GameStop has only let me down once. So if you guys and gals are hankering for some bargains, there you are.

I am not a GameStop affiliate or spokesman. If I run a video game site in the future, maybe...

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Title: Very, Very Bad Poetry
Posted: August 06, 2007 (04:13 AM)

I love you
Like the Sky Loves Blue!
I love you
And you
And you
And you and you and you
And me!
Like the Sky Loves Blue!
And you and you and u!

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Title: A Rainbow-Colored Response to RE5 Being Racist
Posted: August 02, 2007 (10:46 AM)

- I played Resident Evil 6 today and all the zombies had red necks. Where's my blog?

- Perhaps the black zombies should have been The Color Purple.

- If a zombie is about to eat me, I think that my primary concern is not: "The Impact on Subvarieties of Melanin in Zombie-Human Relations".

- I don't see what the big deal is. They're obviously African zombies, not African-American ones.

- The problem is definitely with Japan. I mean, the Japanese should know that whites and blacks are not as equal in America as they are there. It would set a bad example and that's so not Oprah.

- The only people that can claim video games to be racist are ugly alien humanoids before they're beautifully dead. You know, the good kind.

- Resident Evil 5 is not racist. It would be if the zombies were distracted by holograms of KFC.

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Title: Storyplay
Posted: July 29, 2007 (03:13 AM)
A response to spaceworlder's blog entry on games as artful storytelling:

The definition of story is evolving - as games cannot be confined to the definitions of traditional storytelling, in which the differences between event (spectatorship) and experience (authorship) are distinct. Since games offer the player the ability of co-authorship, a new concept called "storyplay" has been established by the game industry to encapsulate the intersection of story and gameplay elements. Game content is actually becoming more story-driven - but not as we now know it. Instead, the "story" is becoming one in which the players (audience) are becoming more invested through their participation of the own personal adventures.

Sheldon Brown, Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California San Diego, reveals how video games need to be treated as a medium:

"Games will evolve our general ideas of narrative. Game narrative in the future won't converge to a narrative form such as cinema or literary narratives; rather, it will develop forms unique and probably indescribably by current critical vocabularies. While it is important for us to look to these antecedent narrative forms, we should also look at other areas of play, storytelling, and social interaction to understand how games can evolve into more revelatory cultural forms."

Traditional storytelling is an extremely tailored linear form. The author controls the pace, the emotional arcs, and the timing of those emotional arcs. In games, those emotional peaks and valleys can come at any variable amount of time depending on the skill of the player. This difference in timing presents unique challenges that game writers and designers face when forming an interactive narrative - and any solutions to this cannot be found completely through the storytelling mechanisms of other mediums. The art in game narratives, thus, can only be found by developing vocabularies and concepts that are centered around video games themselves.

Many say that the difference between a game and a film is that one is passive and one is active or interactive, but that distinction can be misleading. When an author delivers art through a novel, film, paintings, or the spoken word, the listeners and watchers can be said to be active participants as well. As the story is told, we create visions and images in our minds, and control how and when we receive or channel the story. On the other hand, games are centered around "doing" - taking action and seeing consequences - and the craft of how best to design a story for this highly active setting is still in its infancy.

It is not that games are not art, but that we have yet to develop the necessary foundations to show that games are art as a storytelling medium - at least to the same extent that games are art as a vehicle of game mechanics and rulesets (game theory) that create a desired set of aesthetics. Perhaps the most important things to note are that game-specific stories are not primarily told through the dialogue or editing, but through gameplay - and that powerful examples of storyplay are frequently out of reach, but there are glimmers of them playing in full force. In God of War, Kratos has to sacrifice a terrified soldier up a hill while battling enemies to proceed into the next room. Not only is this justified in terms of game mechanics and progression, but also shows the extent of Kratos' willingness to perform brutal acts to relieve him of his curse. It is moments like this, which cannot be fully described by traditional storytelling, that shows just how artful games can be as a medium all their own.

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Title: OMG, it's FanFic!
Posted: July 21, 2007 (02:27 PM)
If you are wondering what I've been doing for the past week or so, I've been writing fiction.

The Second Sky: Prologue - The Rough Horizon

Now, onto writing a staff review for Twilight Princess! Because, eh, we don't have one... oink...
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Title: It's My Birthday!
Posted: July 07, 2007 (09:21 AM)
I feel ancient. :)

Oh, and Live Earth just has to be on my birthday. Darn. However, I will be made up for it with an ice cream cake from the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Oh, lychee and mango, how I cherish thee. And a Korean BBQ buffet. Yum, yum. (Hmm... makes me look like an emotional eater. But I don't care, it's my birthday!)

So far, on my birthday:

2:30 am - 4:45 am: Play Twilight Princess.
4:45 am - 10:00 am: Sleepy Sleepy
10:00 am - 11:00 am: Watched Venus Williams make her come back to win her fourth Wimbledon as the lowest seedest ever (23) to win a major! She now joins the ranks of Martina Navritalova, Steffi Graf, and Billie Jean King.
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Title: How The Magic Circle Protects Video Games
Posted: July 03, 2007 (01:22 AM)

"Video games are different because they are interactive."
"Movies are passive; video games are active."
"Video games are dangerous because people are actually performing violent acts, not just watching as an observer."

How many times have we heard these statements, these casually spoken sentences, from those who seek to severely restrict video games. Yet all of them ignore one crucial component: the magic circle. One core feature of playing - video games or otherwise - is that it occurs in a separate and self-contained sphere that encloses players in a spatiotemporal frame; that is, a frame that is either bounded by space or time, or both. This magic circle effectively isolates the game from the more "serious" tasks of daily living. For a sports game, this is usually the actual playing field: the baseball diamond, the Olympic stadium, the chessboard. There are sharp temporal boundaries as well, a beginning and an end that marks gameplay as a temporary interruption from daily life. It is within this closed world that games are primarily played.

The magic circle is far from being a phenomenon. When two puppies play, it is mutually understood between the two animals that though they are biting and tackling each other, in an actively aggressive mode, that they are not going for the kill. Even the temple or church is a sacred area in which religious ceremonies occur within that confined space, where worshippers practice some forms of behavior that is only appropriate for the duration of the ceremony. For video games, this space is confined by the actual ruleset governing them. That the rules are meant to be balanced and fair to all players - an idealistic and special world - separates the video game from the hardly fair and idealistic world that we all live in.

In fact, this element of fair play within the magic circle presents a serious issue of morals in players, especially online players who frequently deal with cheap tactics or immoral behavior. When certain players step out of bounds, or hack into the system to give themselves an advantage, it disrupts the agreed-upon conventions and rules by which the entire gaming community is held. Usually, moderators have to come in and resolve such abuse, but more often than not, this develops from the reactions of many more numerous players, taken as a whole, who desire justice against these "lawbreakers."

Thus, it is only under the rare occurence when people are unaware of the magic circle that problems occur. The magic circle is meant to serve as a hidden protective shield that supplies a safe and reliable gratification of human drives, but it breaks down when the players themselves are unaware of it. Believing that the reality of Doom extends to the reality of regular life is as dangerous as biting someone's ear off during a boxing match. This is the primary reason why children, many of whom have undeveloped lines of what is acceptable in a game as opposed to real life, are restricted to buying games.

However, interactive, violent, and active video games - like nearly all (if not all) forms of media - naturally exist in a bubble. Games naturally presuppose that players are consciously aware of the game's objectives and rules, and play, even in its most primitive sense, imply this intuitive understanding. Indeed, video games are pleasurable on the fundamental basis that they are make-believe. Thus, no matter how engrossing video games become, they are bound by the force that makes them engrossing in the first place.

Hey, the magic circle ain't magical for nothing.

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Title: Wii Transform
Posted: July 01, 2007 (02:25 AM)

If the Wii could become a transformer, I believe it would be a very user-friendly robot. And you could control him (her?) (it?!) comfortably between three and eight feet. Oh, Wiimote recommendations for the sensor bar, I hardly knew I needed ye.

Of course, the whole purpose of this blog entry is to celebrate the Wii-ness that is now in my life. I found the system in Chinatown of the New York City variety selling for $350. Not bad around here or the Internet, really. And that was without tax, with the added bonus that my money was going toa small store. Hey, there needs to be some competition with the GameStop/EB Games giant. There's nothing more American than bringing down big businesses; that is, unless you actually reach the dream of owning one.

Carefully riding the subway back to my Flushing abode - carrying a Wii, three games, and numerous accessories in New York City makes one nervous - I finally returned home after dodging the sights of fledgling fanboys. Then, like all new things, I treated each Wii component like a baby, as my family watched me entranced by the whole process - and probably the scent of new technology. They should make a candle for that.

Installation, in line with many a blog, was a breeze, apart from my own stupidity. Yes, the sensor bar only works if I plug it into the console. (It should have been wireless... *grumble*). And now - I mean, now now - that I finally peer down at my clock, I know that it is 3:21 AM, the time which I stopped playing the darn thing.

I have been adrift in a school of Brian Academia and a stadium of Wii Sports - the only reasons why I have yet to open Twilight Princess. I touched WarioWare for a brief moment, but I didn't really get it. Let's just say I can understand why a 9.1-rated game is sitting in the used section. But truly, I'm just letting myself build up to the total engrossment and commitment that is Twilight Princess. (Hope it's the same with WarioWare.) I'm glad I let Big Brain Academy and Wii Sports get me accustomed to the system, the Wii-mote, and the Wii-ality of it all. (Geez... that was so Elmer Fudd). A visual interface for video games is viable and demanding - of which the Wii is an example and a pivot point from where the industry should be heading towards in terms of the next generation.

Sorry for the technicality of the previous statement. Maybe it's because my brain is overloading from all those activities in Big Brain Academy. By the way, I am quite good at all the areas of the game, except for Memorization. There's something about finding birds in covered cages and having the cages rotate that befuddles me more than the Shell game. And if you are a Gold Medal recipient of the face recognition activity, I bow down to your greatness.

Speaking of greatness, the Transformers movie is awesome. That's right... is. Like, I saw the movie on Thursday at 8pm before it is released on July 4th...is. To all fans, it's everything that you wanted out of a Transformers movie. Aside from a rather abrupt ending and epilogue, you will like this movie, and this is coming from a person who has never really been interested in the whole Optimus Prime/Megatron thing. Big robots of any kind has always been linked in my mind to compensation for something down below (Big O, anyone?). And yes, on a critical level, Transformers probably isn't going to win any awards (aside from perhaps the next MTV Movie Awards or something like that), but it's just entertaining. It's like 300 in that sense (though 300 might win for cinematography).

It also just goes to show you that Michael Bay knows what he's doing. Though I think Transformers ranks just a tad beneath X-Men 2, it's spades better than Superman Returns. You know,in the whole villians actually fight kind ofway. Why can't we have someone like him directing films based on video games? Why?! [Dumps question into MrCHUP0N's mailbag...]

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Title: Why Addiction Is The Wrong Word
Posted: June 25, 2007 (10:33 PM)

(Let's keep this short and sweet.)

PASSION. Somehow, this word is abandoned for the more fearful word: ADDICTION. Could it possibly be that when someone sacrifices much of their livelihood towards the pursuit of success in video games, it is not because of addiction, but because they are passionate about it? You know, like they would a sport - which is a GAME, I might add. Poker, blackjack, paintball, deer hunting, mixed martial arts. Last time I checked, sacrificing most of your livelihood, even for something that involves gambling or violence, can also be called dedication and heart.

Video game addiction is actually a myth constructed by the media. There's nothing inherently addictive about gameplay, and much of the media, politicians, and psychiatrists are trying to relate video games to drugs. Nearly all game studies practioners agree that game addiction does not exist, a mere fabrication geared towards generating alarmist reactions. I, for one, am only alarmed by the dismissal of passion, the place where all dreams are found.

Addendum: But let me cool my horses a bit. The operative word here is 'excessive' and/or 'addiction'. That video games just happen to be the vehicle for which the addiction or excessiveness arises, does not mean that video games are at fault. I refuse to believe there is something special about video games that make it any more addictive than anything else that someone wants to be successful in. Striving for success will always lead some to the extreme. Video game addiction really should be addiction in its most general form and should be treated in that general form, without any special need to focus on the "video game" in front of it.

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Title: Let's Compare The Manhunt 2 Ban To...
Posted: June 20, 2007 (12:21 PM)
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