Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Video Games: Virtual Playground vs. Danger Zone

So, I just got done watching a video presented by Governor Spitzer of New York about Video Game violence and children. I didn't even get a quarter of the way through with out getting upset with the content of this video.

You can find this video here.

It starts off with having a, I dunno, 8 or 9 year old boy explaining his "favorite" video game. He states some things about how he shoots someone, then pours gasoline on another person and lights them on fire, and even cutting off someones head with a machete. My first question is, what is the rating on the game, because it is apparent to me that this kid is WAY to young to play this game. Then I begin to think, where are the parents of this child? Are they not even involved in what he plays? If they aren't involved in the video games he plays, what aspects of his life are they involved with?

Next we have New York Governor Eliot Spitzer stating the following:

"How is it that it's against the law for a child to walk into a 7-11 and buy a Playboy, yet everyday, children walk into Video Game stores and buy video games that contain far more disturbing images of sex and violence?"

This seems ludicrous to me. Not only ludicrous, but false. I have personally experienced in different retail stores, (including GameStop.), where I had my age verified. So to say, "... Everyday, children walk into Video Game stores and buy video games that contain far more disturbing images of sex and violence..." is just simply not true. GameStop even has signs posted that they follow ESRB ratings accordingly and will not sell to people who aren't of age for a particular rating. Which means if you are not 17 or older, you can't buy games that contain content such as shooting people, pouring gasoline on people and lighting them on fire, or cutting heads off, or just Rated M.

Now it isn't always true that retailers do age verification, but I can list a few major retailers that do, such as: WalMart, Target, GameStop (EB Games), and Best Buy are just a few retailers that I have had personal experience with Age Verification. Although, I'm sure Best Buy has let me slip by without checking my age, as well as WalMart, (But it helps to have a beard that covers most of your face.). So what does that say about violent video games? Nothing. The fact of the matter is, is it is up to the person at the cash register to do their job properly. I know for a fact that in WalMart, and Best Buy, that when they ring up an M rated game, the register tells the cashier to verify age. So who is at fault here?

Now here is the kicker of the video. A HUGE fallacy that really agitates me, considering it seems like they are just producing slander when it comes to video games. That would be in this video they stated that Cho Seung-Hui, the man behind the Virgina Tech massacre, "... Often played the violent first-person shooter counter strike..."
That is absolutely a fallacy. They found no proof of Counter Strike even existing on his PC, or in his belongings, the only game they found was Sonic the Hedgehog. So what is the relevance? None. That's what.

Then they go on to talk about a non-commercial game called V-Tech Rampage. Apparently it was mad in Cho's "honor." Which I would also say is a false statement. I think it was made by someone who has bad taste, and is probably a very disturbed person.

Following after the V-Tech Rampage, they start talking about the ESRB ratings and then list off some statistics such as "78% of boys say they own an M-Rated game," and "45% of kids purchase M-Rated games without a parent." What I would like to know, is what the age range was, how many people were in the survey. Also, define boy for me? You could call me a boy, and I'm 22.

The risks stated in this video are also quite vague, such as the one about increased aggression when playing violent video games. You can be playing a game of any nature, violent or not, and still get a rise of aggression due to frustration. The problem lies with what happens to that aggression when the game is over. Now to correlate the frustration of not doing well with a video game to actual physical violence against people is a bit ludicrous. If I'm getting owned at Halo 3 while playing capture the flag on Narrows, I'm not going to put down my controller to punch my girlfriend in the face. Violent Video games do not make violence. They may portray violence, but it doesn't cause it. I would like to think higher of people than that.

Do single player games make people anti-social? That seems a bit silly. I look at single player games as something to do when I have nothing better to do, or I just want to play the game. It's not that I am socially isolating myself. Especially with online multiplayer games. Wouldn't that be form of association with other people? Networking?

Does playing violent video games really desensitize people from real life violence? Let me re-phrase that: When children play violent video games does it desensitize them from real life violence? I think this really comes down to parenting. If the parent is involved, and lets them know what's right, and what's wrong, then maybe these "large" number of children will know better. Of course, people seem to beg to differ because video games are interactive, and you get awarded for things that in real life would make you wind up in jail. I think kids are smarter than that, and they know right from wrong. The world was a violent place before I got here, but because I've been playing video games, violent, and non-violent in nature doesn't mean I'm going to port my aggression into actually physically hurting people.

As for "diversion from real-life responsibilities," sure. I can go with that. Sometimes I even play video games instead of doing homework, or taking out the trash, but it I think of it more as procrastination than diversion. Sounds like sophistry to me...

Addiction. Can you become addicted to video games? Maybe, but the 16 year old kid who has an "Increased Appetite" for World of Warcraft can be easily solved if his mother, instead of crying about it, would just take it away. Parents have the ability to take privileges away from their kids. Instead, it gets so bad, and then word gets out, then it turns into an "Illness." I've said it once and I'll say it again. Ludicrous.

They say "Video games weren't always violent..." To me it sounds like they are saying it started out fine, then turned into something bad. Not ALL video games are violent today, and I feel like they are trying to ward off parents from even buying children video games at all with this statement.

As they are going over the history of video games, they go from Pong, to Mortal Combat and Double Dragon, to Wolfinstein 3d, to Doom, then finally Soldier of Fortune. Where's Mario, Sonic, Final Fantasy, or any other game for that matter? I guess for this demonstration they only need to show outdated games that are at least 7 years old to make their point. They didn't even bother pointing out the other options. More sophistry maybe?

Bully is brought up as well, and they say it condones harassment. Just because the game is about being a bully, doesn't mean it's okay in real life to harass people. Oh wait, video games desensitize people to make them think it's okay to take what's in a game and try it in real life? It makes me feel like they think everyone is a robot...

What effect will playing a violent video game for more than 13 hours a week have on a child? If they are implying that it will make a child violent, I beg to differ. Although, I also don't think a child should be playing violent video games because they are probably aren't within the range of age for the rating. You know, the letter in the little box on the corner of the case that the disc comes in. Yeah, it says 17 years of age or older.

The "Inconclusive" research that states that cartoonish violence has the same short-term effects on children as more violent T-rated games. So short-term means, once they put down the game, their aggression subsides? I'm not sure what they mean by "short-term effects," but I would think that it means exactly that, short-term. Not lasting long.

In the second study, they say children who have had more exposure to violent video games have pro-violent attitudes. Could it not be true that people who have pro-violent attitudes are attracted to violent video games, and not the other way around? Maybe they were pro-violent to begin with. That makes more sense to me.

For me, playing a violent video game such as Halo 3 doesn't make me pro-violent in real life. Now I'm all about landing a good frag grenade at someones feet and shooting them in the head with a battle rifle, but I'm not going to make a pipe bomb and take it to a public place and throw it at someones feet then shoot them in the head because I did it in a game. Although, their research is "inconclusive." Maybe because their are several things that factor into violence.

Now not all of this video is bad, they do list some decent tips for parents to purchase games for their children, and to control their hobby. They also list some resources that parents can check out, but unfortunately one of them is a KNOWN hoax site (Mothers Against Video game Addiction and Violence.). It is absolutely not okay to list false resources for parents, what good does it do to try to help educate if you are directing them to a hoax?

To sum things up for you, this video wasn't well put together. They didn't know what they were talking about, it was biased, and not very educational, especially due to some of the false or incorrect information they gave out. When it comes down to children playing video games, parents need to keep a watchful eye over them if they feel their kid will be influenced in a negative way by violent media. They do have what they need, online, and offline, to determine whether or not a video game is appropriate for their child.

Video games aren't just for kids anymore. This is a common misconception with people. It's looked at like an adolescent male hobby, which isn't true at all. Video games are made for kids, teens, and adults. I think that maybe if the Video Game industry emphasized that more, and even made a little bit more effort to educate people about the rating system in place, they would have less problems with people such as Jack Thompson, or other Anti-video game crowds.

I fully support parents in protecting their children. I do not support people trampling on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression. If you don't want your kid to play it, take it away. If your child goes somewhere else to play it, take away that privilege, if your child is throwing controllers and punching holes into walls because they are getting owned, take the damn game, console, computer, internet access away. YOU HAVE THAT RIGHT. USE IT. In the end, it might be better for your child. If you feel your child can handle violent media, be sure to be part of what they are doing, let them know how you feel about it. Parents can make the rules, and I hope more parents figure that out.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Playing Video Games with your Significant other.

Playing video games is a fun hobby. Gaming has many benefits, including hand-eye-coordination, concentration, and I'm sure there is more, but do these things matter if you're just having a good time? I suppose it matters when Gaming conflicts with other things like, work, school, or more specifically, your significant other.

Maybe your significant other is a casual gamer, and prefers games like Bejeweled, or other various puzzle games, or maybe they are game specific, or they just down-right don't game at all. Gaming can take up a lot of time, and that can make your significant other very unhappy.

So let me start out by stating, that I am a Gamer, and my Significant other is a Gamer. Which in its own right has benefits, but there is a problem with this. I play all games. Console games, Play Station, X-Box, whatever, as well as PC games. She plays WoW. Occasionally she might play some Mortal Kombat, or Bejeweled, but for the most part, she just plays WoW. Now don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with that, but I do play Halo 3 quite a bit, and she hates Halo 3. She hates Halo 3 so much she refers to Halo 3 as "The Dirty Mistress." I love the Halo series. I think it's awesome. It would be safe to say that the Halo franchise is my favorite, considering the hours I spend on X-Box LIVE playing Halo 3, and before it, Halo 2.

Now obviously, I don't spend all of my Free time playing Halo 3, (Considering I'm also playing Oblivion, BioShock, and Guitar Hero 2. That's right, Guitar Hero 2...), I do have to put time into my job, school, family, friends, and most importantly my girlfriend, yet I find that I don't feel like I'm putting as much time into all those things, so when possible, I try to kill two birds with one stone. Not literally, I'm saying I try to spend time with my girlfriend and play video games. It's not as easy as it sounds.

I can't make my girlfriend play Halo 3. I can't make my girlfriend even like Halo 3. Like I said, she calls it The Dirty Mistress. I have attempted to get her to play WITH me. That didn't work out either. She just doesn't like it, yet she still gets mad when I decided to play it, instead of opting for bed. (I'm a night person, and I get off at 11:30PM at the earliest from my job...)

Here is what I've done to try to make things easier:
1. I have given her specific evenings
2. I spend time with her when I get home, then after she goes to bed and I tuck her in and I play my games.
3. When she is playing WoW, I play one of my games.
4. Offer her a spot to play with me.

Considering we have totally different tastes, schedules, and ideas, it's hard on finding an appropriate time. So I've pretty much made the decision that when I get home from work, I'll play for a few hours and go to bed. I hate making a regiment to follow, but I don't have much choice in order to please my better half, my friends, my family, and myself. What's a guy to do? I just want to play my games.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hey Mr. Thompson....

So if you don't know who Jack Thompson is, you might want to try to Google him.

I can't stand the guy. He is against one of passions --Video games.

This clip below is absolutely hilarious.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Halo rules them all

So, the trilogy is amazing. It's so amazing it even had a rap song made about it. It's even more so amazing because you're apparently going to be able to play the Halo theme song on Guitar Hero!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Halo 3 rap

While surfing the internetz I stumbled upon this absolutely hilarious video. If you're a Halo 3 fan, you should get a good laugh out of it.

Beyond the Gamer Stereotypes

This post is in response to a post at

If you haven't noticed, a lot of attention seems to be going around for the people who make your gaming experience (specifically online.) less than enjoyable, is going to the lamers of gaming. Between campers, loud-mouth-obnoxious-kids, or tools, it just seems silly to me not to point out the many many numbers of gamers that actually make your experience worth while.

Believe it or not, their are people who play video games who still give the good ol' GG after a game. Win or lose. These people typically don't partake in insulting, racial slurs, or in general shit-talking. These are the guys who just want to play, and have nothing to prove. Are they not worth mentioning?

Why is it assholes get all the attention?

Oh wait... Assholes get all the attention because that is how the history of human kind is. Right?

So tell me folks, what is your multiplayer experience like with people?

Personally, I don't talk much shit, unless of course it's called for, and I never insult, or use racial slurs, or am just plain annoying for the sake of pissing people off. I find no point in pissing someone off if I can't see their facial expression. On top of that, I tend not to respond to assholes over the wire, so they can't get the satisfaction of getting a rise out of me.

Why do people even respond to morons, assholes, jerks, or just plain annoying people during a video game experience? I can't imagine it makes someone feel better.

I guess the whole point of this post, is to just point out that it's silly to give the losers of gaming an undeserving spot-light, because it only gives them more incentive to be an idiot.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Girl Gamers: What's the fuss all about?

--Let me start off by stating that this isn't so much a defense for girl gamers, but sympathy for the crap Female gamers go through because, well, they are female, and gaming is looked at as a "boy activity." I would also like to say in no way does any female gamer need my defense for their hobby, and I just want to point out and state a few personal opinions I have about the whole thing.--

So as of late, I'll catch random posts about Girl Gamers on the internetz. Whether it's on Digg, GamePolitics, or sites of the like, it always seems to be something ridiculous. When I say ridiculous, I mean people of the male gender are really retarded sometimes...

I've gamed with girls. Halo 2, Halo 3, World of Warcraft, Bejewled, Oblivion, Mortal Kombat, all sorts of games. Hell, my lovely significant other is a gamer that plays WoW and could own most peoples faces off. (And it makes me hot...). Some are better than me, some are worse then me, some are just as good. Which tells me... Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So where am I going with this? When I read blogs about the shit Females have to listen too when they are online, it makes me shake my head and ask "Why?"

Here's a question for you: What does it matter if you're playing a game with a female? Are you really so compelled to say things like, "You must be a fat and ugly since you play video games." Or "Girls belong in the kitchen. Go make me a sandwich." It makes me embarrassed to be male sometimes... I played with a female on Halo 2 for a long time. She used to own people too. I am comfortable saying she was better than me, and every time we were in the lobby after a game of Team Slayer, people always had to talk shit to her because she was, well, a she.

Personally, I don't care what gender you are. I just want to play, I want to win, and most importantly, I want a good team that I can have fun with. If you're female and you suck, how is that any different than if you are male and suck? It isn't. Get over it.

I find it sad, and I would apologize, but it would be pointless.

For all you Female gamers out there, I just say ignore the chauvinism, and Game on.

So tell me folks, what is your take on Female Gamers? Why do you think they get so much guff? Do you think it's intimidating to play against a female better than yourself?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Manhunt 2's doomed publicity

So, as of late, there has been a lot of hype and media coverage over T2's game Manhunt 2. It's a super-violent game, where pretty much you hide in the shadows and only lurk out of the dark to somehow maniacally and grotesquely kill some unsuspecting victim. Hence the reason it is rated M, which means for people 17 plus years of age. All though it wasn't rated M to begin with.

Manhunt 2 was getting coverage before the game went gold. It seemed to get a lot of attention mostly due to the hype involving Rockstar's game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Where somebody had found a way to get to part of the game that the average gamer couldn't. This later became know as the Hot Coffee Mod where the player could make the lead character have sex with his girlfriend. Due to this, there was an uproar, between anti-gamers, parents, the ESRB, and the like. Let me make it clear that this was not an easy thing to get to, and you had to know how to pull apart the game itself to even get to it. Also, you couldn't get to it on a console such as Playstation 2, you had to do it on a PC. So again, this was part of the game that the average gamer couldn't get too.

Due to the hype around a previous game owned by T2, Manhunt 2 became a prime target because of, how shall I put it, questionable content in a previous game they made. All of this hype, and pressure, not only was on T2, but more so on ESRB who rates the games. I believe due to politics, Manhunt 2 got the A0 (Adult Only) rating originally, which pretty much makes a game impossible to sell. Sometime later, there were "changes" made to the game, and it was re-rated to its current rating of M.

Now that Manhunt 2 has been released, the anti-gamers, Leland Yee, Jack Thompson, etc.. Are wondering how Manhunt 2 could be so violent and only have an M rating. Especially considering the Wii version where you actually "perform" the killings with the motion activated controller.

Now what is the plaintiff's defense on the matter? It's getting into the hands of "children" and going to psychologically harm them, and the ESRB as well as the Video Game industry, is letting it happen.

I can sympathize with the children part. Young kids, and even some young adults should not play this game. It is oriented for people that are of a more mature nature. It is a violent game, and kids shouldn't be subject to things of a grotesque nature such as Manhunt 2, or games of the like. What I can't sympathize with is where the blame is being placed.

ESRB rates the games. Understanding the rating system is not in any way confusing as I have read all over the internet. E is for Everyone, T is for Teen, M is for Mature (17+), and AO is for Adult Only. Now that we have that out of the way, lets cut a little more into their defense.

Manhunt 2 is rated M. So for people of 17 years old and up. So, the ESRB recommends only people 17 plus be able to purchase and play the game. Now who sells the games to the general public again? ESRB? Noooo, they just rate the games. Try retailers. Like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Game Stop, K-Mart, and the like. They are where people buy their games.

Now, I know for fact, that Walmart, Best Buy, and Game Stop ID check. So they can verify age. In fact, when they ring the game up on the register, it buzzes at them to check the customers ID to verify that they are 17 or older. You can even see it on the display they have that shows you how much you owe. Now do they always check my ID? No, mostly because I look like I just came out of the mountains somewhere.

I've known kids who have been able to get by the age verification at most of these retailers. So that tells me that the M rating means squat to the retailers. Now tell me, how is it the ESRB's fault that games like Manhunt 2 get into the hands of Children? It's not.

Further more, people like Leland Yee are getting praise for taking a position against Manhunt 2. Arguing that "a first-person, interactive game about a vicious rampage doesn’t trigger an “adults only” rating, you have to wonder what would?" Is 17 to young to witness violence? A 17 year old is on the border of adult-hood. Is this not true?

On another note, Manhunt 2, (in my personal opinion) is not a game of interest to most gamers. It has the graphics of early PS2, and the story line isn't enticing in the least bit. For the most part, the game itself is weak. I could understand Manhunt 2 getting so much coverage, but the fact of the matter is, to gamers, this isn't that great of a game. If the media coverage did anything, it helped Manhunt 2 with sales because gamers, and people period, are wondering what the hype is all about.

I believe, that parents need to get more involved with what their Children do. If you know me, that comment may sound odd, but it's true. If you're worried your child's fragile little mind will be warped by certain or all video games. You have the power to tell them no. If you don't mind letting your children play M rated games, and yet you find yourself siding with the people who want to ban M rated games, you're a hypocrite. Stop blaming someone else because you are stepping aside as a parent. Get involved, get informed.

So I'm curious, where do people stand when it comes to this blood-bathing, psychotic, interactive, violent game? Do you think 17 years old is too young for a video game of this nature? As a parent, where do you think the line should be drawn on video games of this nature?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just shut up and play...

If you know me at all, you know I'm a huge fan of the Halo series. Well, its also First Person Shooters in General that I love. I find I have the most fun playing those, and Halo 3, I gotta say gave me an amazing gaming experience. Single-player, and Online Multiplayer...

Now with EVERY game you play online, you are going to run into the dingbats who semi-ruin the experience for you. Let me give you some examples of people who just aren't fun to play with online:

Minors who think they are funny and can cuss with the worst of them.

People who are in general jerks, and from the beginning of the game try to tell you, you are a noob or try to tell you how to play. (Same team or opposing team.)

Perverts. (I shouldn't have to explain this...)


If you have played a game online before, you know what I'm talking about. These people can be annoying...

Well, I ran into a little blog, that kind of annoyed the ever living hell out of me.

You can find it here.

If you don't want to read it, I will summarize it for you. He basically talks about "People who ruin Halo 3." Which as I've stated above, there are people who can semi-ruin your experience, but the term "ruin" is a bit of an over statement. Considering there are several ways to eliminate the problems, or deal with them.

Let me go through the list JW has compiled for us.

1) Swordsmen
"... Are classified as those people who use SOLELY the sword..."
"The worst of these punks are those who hang around near the sword’s spawn point, camping like a little pansy ass until it spawns."

Now the sword is a Power Weapon. It's good for short range attacks. All you need to do is get your reticule to turn red, and hit the right trigger and BLAM! Beat down. Instant kill. This can be agitating if it happens to you a lot, but that means you are rushing in to quick, or need to change your strategy.

How do you stop this "sward" wielding d00d who keeps owning you every time you get near him? Stop getting so close... Use a midrange weapon. A few bursts of the battle rifle to someones head takes care of them quite quickly. Maybe a few bursts and a grenade? How about a sniper? Rockets work great. Hell, I've killed them with an Assault rifle. If you can't figure out how to get past a sword, then you still got a lot of experience to gain, because you apparently are still a n00b.

2) Rocket Whores
"They use rockets. Only rockets. All the time."
"... The rocket whores in Halo 3 are of a special breed, known as “intercourseius remediali”, or in lamens terms, “fucking retards”."

It saddens me that JW has to get upset about someone taking control of a weapon. The fact of the matter is, the Rocket launcher is a Power Weapon. Much like the sword where it can be one shot, one kill. People who know how to use them, typically have a good idea on how to avoid getting killed by them as well. So if someone is rocketing the crap out of you, find a way to avoid getting rocketed. Kill or be killed n00b. To bitch about something legitimate is completely useless. It just makes you sound like you are a sore loser. Rockets, just like the sword can be defeated. Try to anticipate where they are going to fire. Keep the rocket whore at a distance and it won't be nearly as hard to stay alive. Stay away from corners and walls, because rockets tend to blow up when they hit something. I find grenades, and running behind things tend to get a rocket whore double-shotting at you, which means after two shots, they need to reload, which is when you need to take action. How you do this is up to you, because the reload time on rockets are slow, so you have more then enough time to do the damage you need to do in order to kill them. Silly n00b.

3) Laser Lovers
"These are the ones who’ll take the Spartan Laser and try to use it as a standard weapon… seeminly forgetting that it takes a good five or six seconds to charge and fire..."
"... They’re just… well, stupid, for a lack of better terminology."

So what? They don't know how to use the damn thing. Practice makes perfect you know? Why are you whining. In a Team based game, it tends to be a good idea to watch each others backs. So if you see your buddy getting messed up because he sucks with the laser, maybe you should help him out. If you're better with the Spartan laser, why not try to ask him if you can use it? If you're polite, people tend to respond better.

4) Children
"IT MEANS IT’S M FOR MATURE! On the back of the damn box, lower right-hand corner..."
"So, when your kid snaps and goes on a murderous rampage through his high school because the cheerleader turns him down for the “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance because she had a date with that new, hip Calvin Klein kid, maybe you should look in the mirror and blame yourselves for not stepping in and being a damn PARENT!

Of course, considering most of the children I come across in that game, I wouldn’t doubt that these parents have failed in every facet of life. I shouldn’t be out-cursed by a ten-year-old."

Yes, children will be annoying when they can, and I got to say, this is the most ignorant thing this guy has said so far. Kids are stupid, immature, and can be little shit-heads. This I understand, but because a kid finds he can swear and get away with it, or be a little shit-head, doesn't mean the parents failed. Kids act out. Also to say that the kid is going to go on a murderous rampage is quite ridiculous. You know what I do when there is someone of any age being obnoxious on their microphone. I use this neat option called mute. Don't listen to it if you don't have to. Also, if you report them for it, eventually they will get in trouble for it, and possibly have their Gamertag banned. Be proactive, don't whine about it and act like it's the parents fault that the 10 year old who knows right from wrong has a foul mouth.

5) Campers
"Campers, as I’m sure we all know, are those who stand perfectly still in a single spot, waiting for someone to come across their paths before engaging in combat."
"Some (mostly campers, themselves) consider this a “viable tactic”, but I just find it to be laziness on a level unmatched by normal human beings."
"However, when you kill a camper, it is one of the most rewarding feelings on this Earth."

I can agree that killing a camper is oh-so-satisfying. Although, camping IS a viable tactic. If you are dumb enough to just run into the same person in the same spot over and over again, you deserve to be killed over and over again. If you get killed in the same spot twice, then you can be sure they are camping, so go throw a couple grenades where they are and watch them panic as you kill them. Campers are easy. Don't whine because they are kicking your ass, because you fall for the same thing over and over again.

6) Hip-Slingin' Snipers
"This one is just bizarre. There are some people who will go through hell and high water to get their hands on the sniper rifle. Once they get the weapon, rather than going to a high spot and picking people off as, say, a sniper would, they go all gunslinger with the damn thing. I don’t have any real complaints about it, and it doesn’t really take away from the game experience… it’s just odd."

Why would you whine about this? They are easy to kill and it can get you a Power Weapon. Also, if you're good enough, you can snipe someone who is running right towards you. It's called practice. A sniper should never sit in one spot for too long either, for fear of being found and teamed up on. You need to be able to move. Normally I grab me a Battle Rifle with the sniper, make sure I have a few grenades, snipe a few people from one spot, and move, and typically, people who you have sniped previously, will go to where you once were, and you snipe them unexpectedly from somewhere else. It's called strategy...

7) Achievement Whores
"Look, people. When a developer puts an achievement into the game, they do so expecting you to earn these feats. So when you get into a lobby and ask “hey, do you want to do achievements?”, you’re inadvertantly undermining the efforts of the development team who went through the trouble of creating these achievements. Also, you support terrorism and the drowning of kitties in burlap sacks.

I normally don’t care about whether or not people cheat to get achievements in online games. Usually, when I hear people talking about it, I exit out of that games lobby and find a new game. Unfortulately, with Halo 3, you can’t do that. Once you’re in a game, the only way to exit out of it (without penalty) is to exit all the way back to your damn dashboard. If only Bungie would have included the option of exiting out of a game before it began (I.E. USE THE B BUTTON!) this wouldn’t even be mentioned. But alas, Bungie wanted to force feed us matchmaking, so now we get stuck with this crap. Fantabulous."

I think it is lame to not obtain achievements like you are suppose to, but if that is what people want to do, let them do it. Now, if you stay in the game, and you just try to play anyways, people will get frustrated and start fighting back.
Don't drop the game if you care about your experience. You lose experience if you drop from a game for any reason. If you lose, it doesn't hurt your experience. That is why it was set up this way. So if you have morons who "De-ranked" in Halo 2, you don't de-rank because of it, that's what makes the Halo 3 ranking system better. This sucks when you run into groups like this, and there is no real way to avoid these people if they catch you in a group, but oh well, it isn't going to hurt you either. Can't win them all. Quit whining about it...

8) Deserters
"You, those people who exit out of a game the moment it begins simply for shits and giggles. I’m not going to name any names of people who do this, because frankly I’m above that… thankfully, A1PRIMA and dannte1971 are Xbox LIVE handles, and I have no problem pointing out to all the world that you two are schmucks."
There is no excuse for this. There simply isn’t. If you get online, and get into a match, just shut up and play. Exiting out of the map (especially in team games) only hurts your ranking, and hurts the team as a whole… of course, if you exited out, you didn’t care about the team in the first place. You only go about pissing off people…"

Deserters suck. It's true. They do screw you over in ranked games if you lose, but the beauty of Halo 3 is, you don't lose experience if you lose the match. You may lose skill level, but that is easy to make up. I also like how JW first states how he is above naming names, and posts two GamerTags. Who is the schmuck here?
There is no excuse? Maybe their connection dropped? Maybe their dog caught a network cable or power cable? Maybe a kid brother or sister accidentally spilled something on the X-box 360. RROD? There are a number of genuine excuses, or maybe they just didn't want to play with your whiny-ass because you were being a whiny-bitch in the lobby? Shut up and get over it... Practice what you preach and play the damn game.

9) Heavy Breathers
"This is easily the most annoying of the groups, because they are easily the most distracting. Every two seconds you hear the heavy breathing sounds of someone who, if you heard said breathing at random, would think they just ran the Boston Marathon. I would be able to at least partially forgive it if, you know, they actually talked during the game. But 99.99478675309% of the time, they don’t. They just breathe… and breathe… and breathe…"

I do believe I already mentioned that neat little option called Mute. Try it. Or why don't you send them a message, or try letting them know they are breathing into their microphone. Politeness goes a long way.

There you have it, my break down, of what makes JW whiny, and lets me know he probably needs to find a new hobby other then Halo 3. I find it sad when people have to whine about shit that can be beaten, or completely avoided. The real fact of the matter is, it's just a game, and if you find yourself getting pissed off, maybe you should turn it off for awhile...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Working in the IT Department

So, I've been working in a "Help Desk" IT department for about 6 months now. It's been a good job. I'm going to school, and currently studying for my CCNA. Which is perfect with this job because I'm getting experience in the process. Basically, this job is perfect for me, and I'm loving every minute of it. Well, I haven't loved every minute of being at my job per say, but the job itself is awesome.

If you want to view the full size image you may do so by clicking on it.

When I say, "I haven't loved every minute of being at my job per say..." I mean for about 2 and a half months I worked with a dingbat, dumbass, stupid-fuck, annoying, cocksuckin', motherfuckin', douche-bag. Or Danager. (Potato-head if you prefer that!). This guy annoyed everybody. I'm not just saying me, I mean the whole damn building. People wanted him to go away. It didn't matter if it was management or just some worker, they didn't like him from the start. (He was lazy too!) Although I worked with an idiot, this blog is not about him.

This blog is about the wonders of working on Night-shift crew of two, in an environment that is incredibly laid back, and when we aren't getting calls to change a toner for somebody, we have an inordinate amount of free-time.

With this free time, and with enough boredom, we start getting creative...

There was a time when I was mostly by myself, and the crimes were committed could only be enjoyed mostly by myself. Which is still gratifying, but not quite as much as having someone else to enjoy those memories with. Such as tying your Day-shift co-workers chair to his desk, or changing the source destination to the shortcut for Firefox on your supervisors computer so that every time he clicks on the shortcut it shuts down his PC instantly. Yeah, I did it. Luckily my Supervisor is the coolest guy every, along with my other co-workers.

One of my favorite pranks was re-arranging the keys on my co-workers keyboard. Here was the result.

Yeah, type-o, I know, but I don't care, the prank was priceless.

Now, here are a few images of other pranks by my co-conspirator and I.

The above image is of my Supervisor's cube. We filled it with boxes and styrofoam and lined the walls with bubble wrap. It was good, but not good enough, so we wrote the following note to go along with it.

In case you can't read the above sign we made it says:

"Brain Lee we (Heart) you!!!

We have chosen to express our love for you through the placement of bubble-wrap, styrofoam and cardboard.

Who are you to say that's wrong!"

Now the next picture, well this prank, it kind of just fell into how it is. It started out just with the face drawn onto the styrofoam, and was set into our Supervisor cube. Not amazing, nothing to brag about, but then I had made the comment that it looks like another co-worker, and the ideas just sparked. Originally, we were just going to draw everything on the foam. I decided to be more creative and make a hat. Then we made an talk-bubble, and added some comments. With the hat and the talk-bubble, it really made it clear who it represented, and made for a good laugh in the whole department. The best part is, is that this co-worker has left it and it's still there. It's been there for about a week now...

It says:

*grumble, grumble, grumble*
*grumble, grumble, grumble*

Well, I would like to inform all of you that yes, we do spend some time screwing off, but that is mostly time that we are aloud to do these things. When work needs to be done, we get it done, no questions asked, but like I said, we get an inordinate amount of free time. Although, when we aren't pranking, or playing jokes, we find neat little projects for ourselves.

This would be one of them.

Isn't it great. We used a 9 volt battery, two paper clips, some scotch tape, and a piece of wire from a CAT-5e cable. On top of that, we had a bad hard-drive, so I took it apart, and used the magnet inside of it, and there you have it. A working motor.

I just want to say, my job kicks ass.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oh Halo 3, how I love thee, let me count the ways...

So, I just did a pretty solid Halo 3 Marathon. I got to say, it was fuckin' awesome. So basically, I came home, watched some TV with my girlfriend, then around 1AM, I started playing. I didn't stop, until about 8AM the next day, (After an argument with the significant other...), and slept until about 2:30PM, and got up, played some more, until the Girlfriend came home, then I consumed some food, watched some TV, then played some more.

My Roommate thinks I'm nuts, considering he got up for work, and I was still playing, and when he got home from work, I was still playing. I stopped about an hour ago, my eyes aren't to happy with me right now. I guess that happens after concentrating on a television for several hours at a time. If I could use this LCD on my computer as opposed to my piece'o'shit TV I would probably be writing in between games right now. Ha ha...

Either way, I figured I would share with you people why I can do this.

Campaign was fun, with added elements, and new Easter eggs, there is plenty to keep me busy with out any kind of Network connection, but considering I was a huge Halo2 nut when it came to XBL, I couldn't resist plugging in as soon as I beat Campaign on Normal.

The new interface is nice. Choose the type of matches is easy, and the fact that there are more options for Guest players, (Like if you have a friend who doesn't have an X-Box Live Tag.), you can play pretty much any ranked game in an un-ranked fashion.

For of those of you who are unfamilar with Halo 2/3 on XBL, I'm not going to bother giving you all the Matchmade game types. If you really want to know, check it out for yourself. If you know me personally, and I like you, I'm sure I wouldn't mind takin' you online with my own account to show you the ropes...

You have your Un-ranked list, which consists of things like Social Slayer, Social Skirmish, and things of the sort. The options you have now to play online with a friend next to you is so much better now, you have more of a variety.

Then you have the Ranked games, such as Team Slayer, or Lone Wolves. They have all the regular ranked stuff, just in a separate list. These are the games that get you a reputation in Halo 2, but in Halo 3, I've found that I myself have ran into someone with a much higher rank than myself, and I was able to walk all over them.

The ranking system is good in that I believe it is starting to work now that Halo 3 has been on Live for awhile, but it seemed very off when everyone started at the bottom. Not only do you have a rank, but you have a Skill number too, (mine is about 12 or 13 right now), and to be honest, I don't know how the games are sorted, by skill, or by rank. I'm assuming skill, considering that would make the most sense. Either way, it seems to be a good idea... For now...

The maps on this game are simply gorgeous. The water is amazing! I'm totally impressed, although I got over it quickly after I had a sniper bullet ricochet off my helmet. I've only seen about 5 maps on XBL being repeated over and over again, although, I really only play Slayer most of the time, so I would really like to see more Maps. They all seem pretty big. Guardian and Narrows seem to be the small ones for the most part, but they never had the kind of atmosphere that maps like Lockout or Foundation, or even Warlock had from Halo 2. I wish I could see a little more of that in Halo 3. Just more Chaos. So as of now, I do love the maps, I just feel there are just too few. (Can't wait for the first Map pack!!!)

Next, the online experience is just fun. I love being able to interact with real people virtually. Given, if you play on Live often, you will run into morons, or stupid loudmouth kids, but when you run into people that make a decent team slayer team, you make friends, and your experience is better 10 fold. In the last 24 hours I've probably added a good 5 or 6 people onto my list to play with in the future. With their help, my Skill Level was at 8, and now is at 12 or 13. On top of that, when playing Ranked, my Rank is now a Grade 2 Sargent!

I recommend before hopping online and trying to play, actually play through the game. It's an awesome FPS, and if you haven't played the first one, WTF is wrong with you? No but seriously, if you haven't play Halo: Combat Evolved, or Halo 2, then the Campaign isn't going to make any sense to you at all. If you just want to have the skillz well, I still recommend beating the game on Solo, and then hopping online, because it will help some, but there is a huge difference when you play artificial intelligence and actual intelligence.

So between the added features, like new weapons, new customizations, speaking of those, I can SAVE entire games, or take Video clips from games and share them with people on XBL through Halo 3. I'm a little disappointed I can't pull it off of Bnet, and have it on my PC, but meh, I'm sure if they did that, the game wouldn't have released when it did. Although, I wouldn't doubt if it gets brought up, and made possible. It's pretty sweet though, on my Halo service Record, if you look under my file share, I have two short clips, one is me almost taking out an entire team of 5 on Last Resort, and the other is a kick as double kill on Snowbound. Totally sweet. If you want to check them out, you need a Gamer Tag for XBL, and my Gamer Tag which is Th4t 0n3 6uy. (The "0" in "0n3" is indeed a zero, not an ohh. ) If you don't have a tag, and want to check out my stats on Halo 3, go to and go to my stats, and on the drop-down menu click on Find a Player, on the right side of that screen type in my Gamer Tag Th4t 0n3 6uy, and you can check out all of the games I've every played on Halo 3, what place I came in, the game type, the map, everything. It's cool. You even get a snapshot of what my character looks like.

If you have any questions about the game, let me know, I'm still in a learning process, but feel free to ask me! I love this game.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Anti-piracy in the classroom?

When I was a young lad, (Grades K-5.), I was learning about animals, the environment, arithmetic, reading, Social Studies, and I even remember a class called Counseling. All important things to make me a functioning person in society, (Even though my counselor was convinced I was going to end up in prison when I was only in Second grade!), yet, the idea of kids as young as 5 or 6 learning about Intellectual property seems like a waste of tax dollars to me.

The Entertainment Software Association is a company that is all about protecting the rights of Intellectual property. For the sake of time, and effort, if you want to know more about the company, just go to their website here.

The ESA has decided that because they can't teach my generation about Copyrights, they are going to start getting them while they are young. As in K through 5. They have an entire website for the curriculum.

I have a couple problems with this. First being that it isn't shown in a light as to why it's a problem, and nextly, it seems to me that it is presented as a "This is the way it is, accept it."
No only that, but I don't think it should be put into a class room. I understand that today, technology is integrated with everything, whether it be school, or a brand new car, but the fact of the matter is, is they have proxies and firewalls and blocks at schools to prevent kids to getting to things they shouldn't be. So if a school is concerned with Copyrights, then block sites like Youtube, and MetaCafe and the like. Hell, don't even give the tots internet access if you are worried about it, because I'm telling you, there is always that part of every generation, who rebels and does what society considers wrong. Have you looked at how crowded the Prison system is today?

My point being is, this sort of thing doesn't belong in the classroom. There are better things to be teaching our future generations then why you shouldn't copy a movie or a video game, because no matter what, it will be inevitable that some percentile of people will be breaking those rules.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jackie Boy's at it again...

If you don't already know, Jack Thompson has put a new target into his crosshairs.

Halo 3.

Reading of this on has sent me into a rage. Especially since he is trying to have Halo 3 declared a public Nuisiance in Florida.

If you didn't already know, I'm a HUGE fan of Halo, and Halo 2. I am incredibly stoked about Halo 3, and to read about Jackie boy trying to get it declared a public nuisiance is so incredibly enraging.

Could someone please explain to me how in the fuck Halo 3 be a public nuisiance? Seriously? Is it the M rating from the ESRB? Or the duel weilding action of the Master Chief? Maybe the many placements of a sticky-plasma grenade? Wait, maybe it's when you pwn someone's face in multiplayer and you tea-bag their dead body, because you killed them with a pistol, and they had a shotgun?

Either way. It's a video game. If you don't want your kids playing it, don't let them, other wise, hope the retailers enforce the rating system.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thompson Tactics

Video Game legislation. That single phrase has to be one of the most dim-witted phrases to ever make its way into politics.

Let me be straight with you. Video Games should not be regulated and/or controlled --Any way, shape or form-- by any government entity. Given there should be rules as to what minors should be aloud to get there greasy little fingers on, and that is what the ESRB is for.

Before I delve my way into to much detail, I would like to explain to you a few things.

1. Video games come in all flavors; Everyone (E), Teen (T), Mature (M), and even Adult Only (AO).
2. The Electronic Rating Software Board (ESRB) is responsible for giving these video games their rating so parents can make the appropriate decision when buying a video game for their Child, and retailers know who can buy what.
3. If a retail store sells an M rated (17 and older) game to someone under 17, then that retailer is the one at fault and NOT the company that made the video game.

ESRB is a sustained entity within the industry that rates their games for Retailers.

The way this works is ESRB gets a script of the game, and goes over the content to decide on the proper rating to label the game with (E, T, M, or AO), so the Retailer can sell the games appropriately.

When I say, so the Retailer can sell the games appropriately I mean it is the Retailers responsibility to keep minors from buying a game that is rated M.

Now, I'm sure you are bit confused with what I'm getting at here, so to make you understand, I would like to introduce you to a man named Jack Thompson. Jack Thompson is infamous to the gaming industry. If you follow Current Events in the Industry, you will see his name pop up quite frequently.

Jack Thompson is anti-video game. He believes that they are responsible for such events as Columbine, and the Virginia Tech shootings. According to Mr. Thompson, these very sad and tragic events were caused by Massacre Simulation Training Programs disguised as a simple video game. Yes, he did say such a thing, and yes, if you have common sense, you should be scratching your head asking WTF.

I've been following Jack Thompson for awhile, only because he happens to pop up all over the place, and if you do know anything about him, you know that the Company Take Two Interactive is Jackie boy's number one enemy. Between the game Bully, which Thompson wanted declared a "Public Nuisance" and banned from Florida, and the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mod Hot Coffee, and Jack's recent venture against Manhunt 2, it's safe to say that Jack and Take Two don't like each other so much. Take Two even has a settlement with Jack, stating that he would not threaten to sue to block sales, and will not communicate or accuse Take Two or anyone they are doing business with, and finally, Jack is to contact Take Two through their attorneys.

Jack has already failed, and I don't know why Take Two hasn't brought a suit against him for breaking the settlement. He actually sent for the most part, harassing e-mails to Take Two's VP Gena Feist. (You can find the entire article here.)

So now that you have a little background on the subject, I would like to introduce to you an article that I read on about a little stunt that Jack pulled with his son, and claims no one is enforcing the ratings set in place by the ESRB. (That article is here.)

Basically, Jack had his 15 year old son go into a Best Buy, to try and purchase an M rated game. He was successful, due to the carelessness of an employee, who after asking for some ID, and Mini-Jack said he had none, and stated she didn't care and sold him the game anyways.

Now tell me, how is Take Two responsible for this? Or the ESRB? Or the Video Game Industry?

Oh Jack, how you agitate me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I'm quite fresh when it comes to the IT world. Currently I'm an IT Assistant for a large bookseller's Warehouse in Reno Nevada. ( Take a guess, it's not that hard to figure out.) I've come to realize one thing in particular in the first 6 months of my new career: I don't know shit. There is so much complexity when it comes to IT. It's almost farcical. It can almost be overwhelming trying to learn everything as you are going along.

I'm finding the more I don't know about something, the more books end up on my shelf. ( It's also quite nice that I get a fat discount because of my job!) I'm finding that I have my nose buried in several different books at one time. Be it CCNA, Active Directory, HTML and XHTML, A+, Linux, Ethical Hacking, Security+, or just leisure reading.

Until recently, I used to be the type to never read. I didn't care for it, even though I spend a good majority of time on the internet reading. I've found recently books to be an excellent source of knowledge and just pleasure alone. In fact, in the last two weeks I've purchased about 4 books. ( One might I add is The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- And it freakin' rocks.)

As of late, my main goal is to get CCNA certified. I've found a niche for Networking. I like it quite a bit, but with that comes an overflow of information that I need to know. Luckily, this job has helped me get the basics down of networking. I feel quite comfortable trouble-shooting a network.

With Networking itself, I've found security to be an issue, and I'm finding that I may have a deep interest for Network Security. Computer Forensics just sounds cool. So I've started to look into it, and I just might be pushing in that direction more as my knowledge grows.

To be honest, I don't really know anything when it comes to Computer Forensics. So naturally I have a few questions. Such as what the Job market is like? What kind of pay would a Computer Forensics person make an hour? A year? What kind of stuff would I be working on? Or am I better off sticking Network Security?

Either way, the IT field seems to be the right place for me. It has made me starve for knowledge, and has motivated me to ferret out and imbibe the knowledge I need to grow in this ever growing industry.

For all you IT folks out there, what have you found as you broke into the IT field? What are the pros and cons? Do you always find yourself having to pick up a book even after extensive experience?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Late night brain manumission

It seems lately my life has been about 3 quarters of a beat off. Which totally fucks up the rest of the scale. Between scheduling issues, work, school, friends, family, me-time, and most importantly my girlfriend, I feel spread thin. I believe Bilbo Baggins put it best when he said:

"I feel stretched, like butter being spread over to much bread."

I can't seem to give the right amount of time to make anyone happy. Including myself. It's really starting to piss me off. My lovely girlfriend doesn't like to go out and do the same things I do. So it makes it difficult to hang out around friends, because she never seems to have a good time. I also apparently work to much. --I love my fucking job. I'm tired of trying to make everyone else happy, I'm tired of making the compromise, and I think it's time I just do what the fuck I want to do. I'm 21 for Christ's sake. --Fuck Christ BTW.


I've decided that Bud Light isn't so good. I need freshly tapped Sierra Nevada. Oh yeah... Fuck, I haven't been to the Bar in awhile. I think it's time for a round.

Halo 3 is going to kick ass. I'm fucking flabbergasted about it.

Bioshock is SICK.

Jack Thompson needs to fall off the face of the earth. The fuck.

My Job fucking rocks. I bet you wish you could get paid to learn how to do a wrist-roll with Nunchakus for several hours out of your working day for two days straight!!!

Wow... 4:12AM... I'm out... I'm going to go pound a couple more beers and pass out in front of my TV.