Friday, January 25, 2008

No no Timmy, you're not old enough to play that Video Game

Video Game Legislation. One of the most ridiculous phrases I've ever heard, seems to be getting passed around more and more these days. Considering I'm a die-hard gamer, I do have quite a bit to say when it comes to regulating sales and creation of video games. People like the PTC threatening to target political officials who "cash in" on any video game industry funding is a load of crap.

The idea surrounding video games needs to change. Video Games aren't just for kids anymore. In fact, if you delve into the history of video games, games were never exclusively targeted at kids, but video games have been passed off onto kids. The whole idea "games are for kids" needs to be changed.

I imagine somewhere down the history of Video Games, they got looked at as unprofessional, and not an adult activity. I don't know when, and I don't know for sure why, but it is my belief that because of the ideas that were created surrounding video games, that we are having the issues we are having now. Video Game Legislation, Jack Thompson, the link between violence and video games, and those are just the major issues that we see today.

The Video Game Community is a big one. The age range is huge. I'm 22, and I put probably enough hours in video games to equal a full time job. I am in a relationship, I have a full time job that I love and am good at, I'm also a full time student at a community college. and I don't kill people. I've been playing video games since the NES. I've played on just about every console that has ever been. ( At least the major brand names... ). The point I'm trying to make here, is I'm an adult, and I play video games.

My Brother, also known as Shishka, (A big name in the Bungie Community, the Makers of the Halo Trilogy on the X-box, and X-Box360.) is 26, and he helps create, and plays video games, for a living. In fact, if we look at the industry, I'm damn positive their are people twice my age, who work on and even play video games.

Video games aren't just for kids anymore. I phrased that in a specific way, as not to say that video games are just for adults. How do I figure? Well, look at the ESRB rating system. You have a variety of age ranges.

  • EC - for Early Childhood (6 years of age and up)

  • E - for Everyone

  • E - 10+ for Everyone (10 years of age and up)

  • T - for Teen (13 years of age and up)

  • M - for Mature (17 years of age and up)

  • AO - for Adult Only (18 years of age and up)

  • RP - for Rating Pending (Still in process of getting a rating)

  • Now typically you don't see many AO rated games in the US, mostly because vendors of game consoles such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, don't support AO, so most often you see E, T, and M ratings. 17 years old is a teetering point. I wouldn't call a 17 year old a child, or an adult. Considering legally you are an adult at 18, I would say that pre-adult or young adult is suitable. At 17 years old, you have a good idea of what morals are, and how society works. In other words, you know right from wrong in society. At 17 you have had some experience with bad, and good, you know what sex is, you know what violence is.

    Now, I've said this in previous posts, but Video Games are rated accordingly to content. Just the way, a movie, or television show is rated. If there is adult language, sexual content, violence, or anything adult in nature, it gets an M rating. If there is mild violence, and some language, it could get a teen rating.

    It's important for me to express and explain these ideas, because what is pushing the Video Game Legislation Movement is people are convinced that all video games are targeted at children. Which is a fallacy. Video Games aren't just for kids anymore. 17 years old does not make someone a child either.

    So tell me, Fox News, why the attacks on Mass Effect when it's for people 17 years of age or older? It even says that on the case of the game. For a major news network, I'd also think that Fox would have journalists that are decent at their job. Apparently not, considering that they stated things like, "…a new role-playing video game that is leaving NOTHING to the imagination… in some parts of this, you’ll see full digital nudity. Imagine! And the ability for the players to engage in graphic sex and the person who’s playing the game gets to decide exactly what’s going to happen between the two people, if you know what I mean…" This is a quote from Martha Macallum from the Fox News Network. (If you want to read more about this go here.)

    Given, it was well defended by Geoff Keighley from the Spike Network, but still, that is nothing but untruth. You would think that a journalist would do her job, but unfortunately it just seems to be something to get some numbers in for Martha. How pathetic. If you are going to report on a game, at least have the common sense to play it so you know what you're talking about.
    Bad Journalist! Bad!

    It's crap like that, that is moving the Video Game Legislation. Fallacies being treated as truth. It's sad really. It makes me wonder where this will go...

    So, to sum it up, I feel that the people talking down so much on video games, shouldn't be talking so much. A violent act is not persuaded by video games. Video games of a more mature nature are not targeted at Children. Parents need to start using the ESRB ratings if they are worried about their Child's safety when it comes to influence. The power is not in the government to regulate this sort of thing, this is something parents need to do. To blame video games for sex, drugs, or violence is down-right wrong. It's also important to know what you are actually reporting on. That way you don't look like a jack ass on national television. It's time to change the idea that video games are for kids.

    I am an adult, and I play video games. Don't be ashamed if you do too.

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Video Game Rage: An observational experiment by Jared Armstrong

    All this talk about how video games raise aggressive behavior in people has got me thinkin'. It's got me thinkin' if video games, (especially violent ones), do raise my aggression, how does it affect me? So I have decided that I'm going to record myself, for hour long sessions playing a variety of games, ranging from non-violent games such as Bejeweled, to super violent games such as Call of Duty 4, and Halo 3.

    So here's the jist of the experiment:

    Playstation 3, X-Box 360, Nintendo DS, and PC will all be platforms that I use.

    I want a 3 game range for each system. I need 1, non violent, 2 is semi-violent, and 3 is all out blood and guts.

    Each hour session will be recorded with a Web Cam, including Audio, to better review.

    This will be for Single player and Multiplayer, but will be separated due to the nature of playing against AI and against people.

    I'm going to play as I normally would, after work, and into the early hours of the morning. The only difference will be that I will have to set up my Web Cam before each session, and change the lighting. My cat, (Chiyo, who loves to attack my headset microphone when I'm on XBL.) will also be in on the experiment.

    Now, here is the kicker. I need 3 games for each console. Here is what I have for each console for this experiment:

    X-Box 360: Call of Duty 4, Bejeweled
    Playstation 3: Assassins Creed
    Nintendo DS: Zelda: Phantom Hour Glass, Dementium: The Ward
    PC: World of Warcraft, Collapse!

    I need some assistance in picking out a few more games. Obviously I need a mid range for the 360, and non-violent and mid range for the PS3, and The DS needs a Non-Violent game, and PC I need a game that is violent.

    So, any suggestions so I can start this observation of aggression on myself?

    Sunday, January 6, 2008

    A soldier that brought tears to my eyes with his words

    So I'm sitting around at work, and I found this blog post... It's from a soldier who had a friend post it in the event of his death occurring while over seas in Iraq.

    This touched my heart, and moved me. I think everyone should read it

    Andy Olmsted, you are a great man.

    Thursday, January 3, 2008

    Being related to Shishka

    If you don't know who Shishka is, let me inform you. He was once a forum moderator for the Bungie Forums at, he got that way from being an active member of the forums. People either revered him, or hated him. When I say hated, I mean with that deep seeded purple passion sort of hate. Only because he was fair, and followed the rules strictly and wouldn't listen to morons.

    He then became an employee of Bungie, where he did things mostly unknown to me, other then helping with screen shots, and merchandising. He dipped his fingers in Halo 2, then after 2 years moved on to a company started by a former Bungie Staff member. At Certain Affinity, he is a technical artist, and worked on the final two Multiplayer Maps released for Halo 2. What CA does now is beyond my knowledge.

    If you don't know who he is at this point, I can't help you, but I can say this, he is, and always will be my brother. No, literally, my brother. As in we came from the same womb. The same blood runs in our vains. Now you are probably wondering who the hell am I? Nobody special, but I can guarantee there were times I was the bane of his existence. (Isn't that what little brothers are for?)

    There have been times since my brother became known in the Halo community that I have over heard people actually talking about him. In which I will bring him up, and usually the response I get is, "Shishka is such an asshole!" Which makes me laugh, because the only reason he comes off as an asshole to people at any time, (including myself...), is probably because you are/sound like an idiot. If you think he is just like that because he is behind a computer, you are sorely mistaken. He would tell you the same damn thing in person. So please, refrain from calling him, "A pussy behind a computer."

    Now, before I get to ahead of myself, I definitely don't need to defend my brother. He does it quite well himself. I mean, look at all the people that despise him. Mostly because he is smarter than them, I can be sure of that.

    So how does it affect my life being related to Shishka? Certainly not in a negative way, in fact, more often than not I get a good laugh out of some of the things I hear. I have even been asked if I could get his autograph before by a co-worker who's son loves the Halo Franchise. I've had people ask me where he lives, what he does in his free time, it's even gotten me an invite to a party once. Other times, I pretty much remain in his shadow.

    Shishka is a smart guy. Not just smart, but super smart. Like at a quantitative level. He could probably destroy my existence if he thought about it hard enough. Seriously, who goes to college and already knows what they are doing. Shit, he should have been TEACHING the classes. Yeah. Me? I just play video games, and fix computers/computer networks. I'm not saying this is bad, I'm just putting us in comparison. To make it more easy to understand, think of my brother as chaotic-neutral, and I'm chaotic-evil.

    If Shishka has taught me anything, it's this: If you work your ass off, for something you love, you'll get it. That's what he has done, and if I can even come close to working as hard as he did, I'm sure I'll do well.

    As for all you haters out there of Shishka. 5HU7 UP U N00BS!!!!

    Wednesday, January 2, 2008

    Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

    For Christmas my lovely significant other bought me a Nintendo DS Lite. Not just any Nintendo DS Lite, she got me the Zelda Addition DS Lite. Which the only real difference between a regular addition DS is it has the Tri-force symbol on it and it is colored gold, and obviously it comes with Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. I was stoked!

    Immediately ripping apart the packaging and smothering her with kisses, I got to playing... Playing this game ensued up until about half an hour ago. I only have one thing to say. Awesome. I was super impressed with the graphics considering it was a hand-held console. Easily comparable to a PS1. (Now I understand graphics on a PS1 aren't amazing by any means, but this is on a hand-held! Totally awesome.)The game play was certainly different, it took me a second to get used to navigation due to the fact that you have to use the stylus to move, attack, and perform actions. It didn't take too long for me to get a hang of it.

    Now, there were some really neat features that were thrown into the game that made it that much better. Like having to use the microphone. I actually found myself yelling into the Microphone on a few different occasions so an NPC (Non-playing-character.) could hear me. I even had to blow out a flame by blowing into the mic. That just blew me away. (Sorry, bad pun!)

    You know how the DS Lite has two screens? (If you don't, you should have stopped reading a long time ago...). Well I had to make an imprint from a map that I found on a wall, onto my map, and to do so, I actually had to close the DS with the map on the wall on the top screen, and my map on the bottom screen.

    Now, if you're not a fan of the Zelda franchise, I doubt you'll like it, it's the same game it was on SNES with just a few added features, but if you are a fan, I recommend getting your hands on a DS and buying Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. I got a good 15 hours game play, the story wasn't bad, and with the added features, makes the game well worth it.