Ten Myths of Gaming

Lloyd Case brings us a very well thought out article on Ten Myths of Gaming, hitting violence in games and hand held games being too simple. Here's a quick run down, and my two cents.

Myth 1: The Playstation 3 will fail.
I don't agree with Lloyd on this one. I firmly believe, based on historical evidence, that the PS3 will fail.

Myth 2: PC Games are doomed.
I'm really tired of hearing this one. It's just like the board game contingent. Whenever something knew in gaming comes out, people scream that board games are going to die. Just shut it. If all the MMOGs, Sims, and 88th installment of Myst is any indication, PC games are here to stay with all their gooey goodness.

Myth 3:You need a $500 graphics card.
What? Since when? Midranged hardware will do you well. The only people who need $500 graphics cards are movie studio editting rooms and digital preservation departments in large research libraries. (A plug for Sarah and Jules.)

Myth 4: Comsole Games are for twich players.
I guess these people never heard of RPGs, very few of which aren't turn based and need no button mashing.

Myth 5: Handheld games are for kids.
That's why I own a GBA and a DS. Because I'm not an adult with a degree, a well paying job, and a husband. I'm two and love games like Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, and Kingdom Hearts. Give me a break.

Myth 6: Console Games are too simple.
Get off the PC gaming pedestal! Down! Right now! If I have to hear that Final Fantasy X, Shadow of the Colossus, Halo, Parasite Eve, Beyond Good and Evil, and Shadow Hearts are simple games one more time, I'm going to tie every single 'PC only' gamer down and make them figure out that Tidus is dead before you get to Zanarkand.

Myth 7: PC Games are too complicated.
Yeah. Solitaire and Mine Sweeper are complicated. Yes, Myst was in depth, complicated, and its sequel, Riven, was almost impossible, but PC games have exactly the same amount of difficultly and story as any console game: as much as the developers put in it.

Myth 8: PC Copy protection is too onerous.
One bad apple ruins the bunch, eh? But let's remember people: the sale of these games puts food on someone's table, and if you want to see more good games, you are going to have to vote with your cash.

Myth 9: Games are too violent.
Jack Thompson anyone? First it was Dungeons and Dragons. And then it was Vampire: The Masquerade. And now it's video games. Everything is the cause of society's ills except... society. Grow up and show some responsibility. Video games, when taken on the whole, aren't violent. The most violent game I've ever seen is God of War, and do we hear an up roar about that? No, we hear about Grand Theft Auto because a bunch of morons refuse to be held accoutnable for their actions. It's like saying your rice crispies made you do something.

Myth 10: I'm embarrassed about gaming.
Why? It's a multi-billion dollar industry covering everything from board games to video games. Everyone games in some way, shape, or form whether playing Texas Hold'em Poker or Pokemon. I'm a gamer and I'm proud of it! Because of gaming, I've become a better multi-tasker and am less stressed in a very stressful job. Because of gaming, I've acted as an official consultant to large library systems looking to introduce gaming to pull more people into the library. And it works too.

You are a gamer. Shout it from the roof tops!

Video games are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.


Rikku: Age 82

You are never too old to game.


Just Because You Have a PhD

doesn't mean you know what you're doing.

Or that you're smart.

I'm not going to repeat the whole argument for you, so here are the links to the articles:

How the Government is Hearing Flawed Research
Violent Pac-Man Researcher Responds
Responding to Dr. Thompson

I work for a large research library at an even bigger university. So, I'm going to tell you exactly what this is all about: recognition, funding, and tenure.

As the government weighs in whether or not to censor my video game enjoyment, someone with a PhD stands up and throws a highly suspect study into the mix. This gives the professor, national recognition (no matter how dubious), moneys and grants for further research and projects, and a spot among the tenured elite of their university.

Using absolutely rediculous research standards, a professor will throw out a blatant, politically motivated piece of drivel in an effort to get the big 3: money, recognition, tenure.

So let's se how this adds up to Dr. Thompson:
Dr. Thompson runs KidsRisk, a project that needs funding. (moneys and grants)
Dr. Thomspon runs an open course called
Probabilistic Risk Analysis: Assessment, Management, and Communication, which is needs enrollment to continue. (recognition)
Dr. Thompson is an associate professor, which means she does not have tenure. (tenure)

Now, I'm all for game control. A ten year old should not be playing Grand Theft Auto, but the ESRB system works just fine. The only people who object to it are those who are too lazy to turn the game box over and read why the game has a particular rating. But all of this research means nothing when you take into account that average video game buyer is 37 years old. And we aren't talking about parents buying for children. We are talking about people buying the games for themselves. Thanks to the media, we have an over inflated view of exactly how many children are playing video games.

I remember being a kid. I had school all day and homework when I got home... in second grade. I didn't have time to play video games. The video games I managed to play have a special place in my heart for their corny graphics, and the hours of fun provided to my brother and I solving puzzles together. Homework these days is longer, more complex, and once it is done, the child still has to show up for a myriad of school and extra curricular activities. I give my little sister a game for Christmas and she
might have it finished by next Christmas.

Remember PhD does not equal smart.
No PhD does not equal stupid.

I've seen to many people with advanced degrees who are so functionally illterate its scary. I've had professors argue with me over research and policy so often, it'd make your head spin.

And before I leave, how about a low blow:

No gamer should ever trust someone with the last name Thompson.

Makes you wonder if there's any relation, huh?


Castlevania update

1up.com's Kurt Kalata has written a great article on the 20th anniversary of my favorite of franchises: Castlevania.

Also, here's the latest version of a homebrew Castlevania Chronicles: Dracula's Curse for PC.


Making Buttons

just making buttons!
feel free to steal!

Motivational Posters

for Gamers.


SanDisk Vs iPod: Round One!

SanDisk is stepping up to the iPod challenge!

Apple has market saturation, iTunes, and a hard drive loaded into every iPod.

SanDisk has lower prices, the ability to play WMA and MP3, and a flash drive, which SanDisk makes.

Apple has ridiculously high prices for their machines, can only play M4P, and a recall on half of its batteries.

SanDisk has lower capacity, small market share, and bad advertising.

So who will win this battle of the bands?

My money is on Microsoft.

Didn't see that one coming, huh?

Microsoft has proven time and again that they can come in and steal any thunder Apple has or tries to make. So the iPod's been around a while and has iTunes? So what? All of the iPods are terribly overpriced. Plenty of small companies are putting out MP3 players with just as much capacity as an iPod that can store more music. iPod's single file style will kill it.

My MSI mega stick has the same capacity as the iPod Shuffle 512, cost me less, has a screen that let's me see my music, plays MP3 and WMA, and holds more files.

I'll be perfectly honest here: I don't want an iPod unless I can get the sucker free. Hence the 'Evil iPod Designs' to the right. And if my touching it can kill iPod, all the better.

Google as Artifical Intelligence

Here's an interesting concept.

Go feed your brain.


Sand Circles

Called 'Fairy Circles,' they appear to be the desert equivalent of crop circles.

Check it out here.

Geezer Gaming

Richard at Aeropause talks about the aging of the gamer population.

Being 2 years and 3 months from the big three-oh myself, I wonder if we'll ever see the promised Duke Nukem, or if I should be satisfied with Mario 4000.

Super Mario Parkour

David Bell does parkour Mario style.


Dervish Warjack

I am such an Iron Kingdoms geek.


User Created Video Games

Microsoft is breaking out XNA Game Studio Express. This little piece of love brings me one step closer to buying the Xbox 360 (I mean besides Enchanted Arms).

XNA will allow users to create video games on the PC for the Xbox. By joining a 'creator's club' for $99 (annually), you can share, test, and get some feed back for what you've created.

Finally, you won't have to be an employee to a large developer (or have a ton of your own equipment), to make your own, complete, and unconfusing, version of Final Fantasy VII.

(We love you Nomura, but man...)


An Open Letter to All Companies Who Oppose Net Neutrality

Do you like money?

Sure! We all do! Everyone would like to make more money than they currently do.

But charging a website money so their page loads faster is NOT going to make you money.

In fact, it will cost you money. And we aren't talking hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but millions.

This is why:

There are millions of websites. They are owned by the millions of customers who pay for high speed internet access.
Your customers pay you to make every page they make or see load quickily and flawlessly. If you make one page load faster based on how much that site pays you, you are stiffing the customers who pay you to make every page load fast. If the pages aren't going to load at the same rate, why should the average joe (from whom you make most of your money) pay for anything more than dial up? And dial up, by the way, is free for a lot of people through work and school.

You will be forced to hire a large number of technical and service staff to speed up and slow down paying or non-paying websites.
The cost of staffing for such a foolish endeavor is more than you ever plan to make. With the internet working on minutes and seconds rather than days and weeks, you will need 24 hour coverage for every site that pays or doesn't pay you to load at certain speeds.

Gutting net neutrality will 'carve up' the internet and lead to losses from dissatisfied customers.
Let's pretend you are Verizon. A large company, such as Amazon, pays you to load their site faster than Alibris. Alibris pays Time Warner to load their site faster than Amazon. The end result is that neither of the websites get what they pay for because they are shelling out cash to two different companies. Only Verizon customers will see a faster load for Amazon, and customers that don't use Verizon at all won't see a change in the load time.

You will not gain customers based on certain websites loading faster.
The internet users of the world do not use the internet to look at large companies everyday. Large companies, if stupid enough to pay you, will be lumped together as part of an elite few that will be protested against for going along with your mad scheme. And let's face it, after the forty-billionth pr0n site pays you to load them faster, the majority of internet users will be very, very angry.

You will lose market share and stock prices will drop from your lack of innovation.
The investment savvy call this type of suicide an 'IBM.' I.e. everyone makes the mistake of picking up this clunker because it should do well in a portfolio and never does, because they never do anything. The resistance to innovation on the internet will lead to the stifling of young companies that would make you lots of money later in life - if they weren't killed by your 'must have it now' type of greed.

When you charge websites to to load faster, you inevitably kill small websites that people use daily.
Small websites that people use daily? Whatever could those be? I'm talking about doctor's office websites, church websites, public library websites, small town governing websites. These are small websites that people use everyday and if access to them is cut off by your greed, you will have millions of unhappy customers ready to burn down your offices.

You will be bombarded by class action, anti-trust, and discrimination law suits.
Charging people for their website to load faster is a form of discrimination. Every person and company that owns a website already pays for internet service and pay seperate fees to have domain names, server space, and bandwidth. To charge more based on page loading time (and eventually to even load at all) is discriminatory to all websites and businesses who depend on the internet and are not loaded with money. You will face class action from consumers who paid premium prices for cable modems only to have the websites they want to see slow to a crawl. You will face anti-trust lawsuits from small businesses whose competition you are trying to kill by gutting net neutrality.

All the fees you charge to companies for faster loading times will be passed to your customers in the form of extra fees for services.
So not only will you be steering people in the direction of bad customer service, you will make them pay for it as well. And since we are already paying for internet service, it's another reason to drop to a cheaper, local, dial-up.

You are putting too much emphasis on money to realize that if customers are forced to deal with longer loading times on their favorite sites, they will not go to the quick loading websites out of spite.
In psychology, it's called being passive-aggressive. In business terms, it means that the 'second class citizens' you create on the web will use the 'second class websites' for information and services and therefore, deny you money.

Gutting net neutrality shows your customers that you do not know how the internet works and do not have the technical know how to even attempt what you propose.
We aren't stupid. We know that you're making obscene amounts of money off of us for internet access. But that you honestly believe that websites should pay you to load faster shows you don't have the technical know how to even run your own company. If terms like bandwidth and domain confuse you, you should put your lobbyist back in its box and back away before you lose millions of dollars. Having worked for many business, large and small, I've learned a thing or two about committing business suicide. This is business suicide.

The minute you manage to get this law signed, you will truly learn the meaning of the word 'hacker.'
This is not a threat. This is a promise. Net Neutrality means everyone has a fair shot at the information and services they want and need. No one appreciates having the services and information they want kept from them, least of all hackers. You will be forced to hire a large number of technical staff to combat the daily rage of viruses, cracked security, hacked flaws, and stolen information. This is on top of the technical staff and service staff mentioned above.

You already charge the big websites just to use the internet.

Stop being greedy. The big websites (and the little ones) already pay you an arm and a leg to be out there with everything from domain name fees to bandwidth.

In the end, gutting net neutrality for profit, will only lead to you losing money in embarassing and frustrating ways.

So listen up: If you want to make a profit, do what good businesses do: treat your customer base like gold, practice good customer service, and resist the need to be greedy. Money goes to companies with sparkling reputations. And cheaters only go to jail (Enron).

One last quick note to Congress:
Killing net neutrality will hurt you too. Whether or not you use the internet, you can bet your re-election that your constituents do. And wouldn't it just suck if you lost re-election because joe-bob's website loaded faster than yours? And wouldn't it suck if your website loaded really fast and everyone ditched your sell-out, fat cat ass for an up and comer? Choose wisely, grass hopper. We are watching you.


The Dream is Alive!

E3 was the dream of many a gamer. Being trade only, you had to work for someone, have a press pass, or be lucky enough to be invited by an exhibitor. Now that E3 has tanked, it seems our dreams are crushed.

Or are they?

With E3 downsizing, someone will have to take the reigns and PAX stands ready to make a monkey out of ESA.

As Gabe wrote: We already knew PAX was the best gaming festival in North America and after today's announcement from the ESA it's also the biggest. With a projected attendace of something like 13 thousand people and exhibitors like Nintendo, Ubisoft, Microsoft and ATI PAX is in position to pick up where E3 left off. Apparently we're not the only ones who noticed either.

And PAX, being the smart con that it is, is open to the public and gamer centric. Gamers of all manner will soon have access to what was only dreamed of before: E3 material. No longer will I be forced to watch E3 from the puter screen and rely on the words of often biassed insiders. No longer will I have to sit through endless articles about multi-million dollar deals to find out that Assassin's Creed is looking great.

And whether ESA wants to admit it or not, exhibitors want these collosal venues to show their stuff.

In a place like PAX, they won't get dollar driven feedback. They will get HONEST feedback.

Real gamers, as in the ones spending the money, will tell them what they want and will even go so far as to tell them how to do it. The advice comes free and isn't 'test marketted.' Games that gamers want (Beyond Good and Evil) will get noticed by fans, generate their own buzz, and explode onto the market.

This beautiful thing should have happened years ago. The Dream is Alive! Give gaming to the Geeks!


E3 Stupidity

I don't have words for this, so we'll just let Gabe say it.

The only up shot is that smaller venues will see more people and, hopefully, more people will get to play test the new stuff instead of a select few.