Playing the Lame Vol. 10

Hey folks, Mark B here with a column, though not the normal one. I’ve been kind of busy with some things, both real life and website related, and while I have a little something planned for ya soon (well, WE do… you’ll see), I figured it’d be kind of… well… LAME to not put SOMETHING out here for you dedicated fans… all five of you… so here you go. Random, non-sequitur commentaries about stuff going on in the world of gaming. Don’t say I never gave ya nothin’. Not that I ever did, but whatever.

LINKAGE:

Tom Pandich does the RAW thing. No gaming goodness from him, sadly, though on the plus side, I do agree with his assessment that Maria is a beautiful young lady. Well, that’s more or less what he said, anyway.

Eric S talks Golf and wrestling, once again. He also reveals that my favorite wrestler of all-time, ever won’t be wrestling the match he was scheduled to perform, and the title he was supposed to be competing for has instead be transitioned onto the same worthless bastard it’d been on in the first place. Says I, this is why I don’t watch TNA. Not because of the booking issues (that’s Liger’s problem), but because they have no idea what the hell to do with their titles. Woof.

Of course, this opinion is in direct contrast of the one the above noted writer holds, but it’s not like he or I really care. Besides, I completely agree with his theory about the ONS booking (I was kind of thinking this is exactly WHY Edge and Foley had the hardcore match in the first place, but then I realized that would require forethought), so I’m sure that’ll make him think I’m less of an idiot.

Da Boss Mon reviews an obscure PC game. He also pointed out that there is a “Cthulhu” movie in production, which, after watching the trailer for such, made me feel confused and borderline insane, so I guess it does its job.

O’Reilly points a bunch of stuff, including the Euros thing, which I can sum up thusly: if the PS3 is going to cost $600 out of the gate, sorry, I don’t need one that bad.

Actually, Kennedy, quite a few people would probably remember the SMS; after all, there were TV spots advertising the Power Base Converter at launch, remember. And the SMS sold like gangbusters across the pond (so to say), so I know someone out there played that piece of shit besides me. And I keep telling you, I’m not a freaking birdman, ya bastard, knock it the shit off.

PLAYING THE LAME, VOLUME 10.

AKA “I have nothing interesting to say”.

I WANNA RIDE THE HORSIE:

So, in case you’re not playing it or not paying attention, last week Bethesda dropped some downloadable content for Oblivion, in the form of “Horse Armor”. Basically, if you own a horse, you can equip it with a suit of armor, so as to increase its expected lifespan as you ride it across the plains. Now, the average response, as would be dictated by things like “logic” and “reasonable behavior” would be to sit down and decide if you want such a thing. For, you see, this update isn’t free… it costs the whopping amount of TWO WHOLE DOLLARS. American, of course. So, yes, the logical, reasonable response would be to sit down and decide if two dollars is enough for such an investment, come to a decision, and act upon it. If the answer is yes, you fork over your cash and move on with you day; if the answer is no, you wait for something more desirable.

But, as the fine folks of Penny Arcade and Mac Hall have proven, logic and reason do not enter into the equation when we’re talking about people who have internet access. So, basically, there are a bunch of people who are bitching about this content update, such as it is, and the fact that it costs money.

Now, let’s establish this here and now: it’s TWO FUCKING DOLLARS. Two fifty if you’re downloading it for the 360. Granted, I understand the concept of such cheapness; I’ve worked in retail, where people will literally DRIVE back to the store over fifteen cent overcharges. So, yes, I understand the whole “principle of the thing” argument, and I can wholly tell you that this doesn’t apply.

You rationale doesn’t matter. Okay? Deal with it. Bethesda made this game, they’re the ones making the content updates, either you buy what they offer at the prices they offer, or you don’t. It’s not like Bethesda’s not paying their people to make these content updates; their development people are making these updates on company time, for hourly wage, and if Bethesda wants to recoup some of this money, well f*ck you for thinking they shouldn’t. DOA 4 has been out since December, how many content downloads are available for it? Oh, that’s right, NONE. Ridge Racer 6 has been out since launch, and is anyone bitching that their content downloads cost money? No. And why (besides the fact that no one’s playing it)? Because really, do they HAVE to make ANYTHING?

Of course they don’t.

And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. Bethesda is not obligated to make add-ons for the game if they feel no need to do so. That they do is a blessing in and of itself. If they want to make back their money with a WHOPPING TWO DOLLAR charge, well, that’s their right to do so. If you own the game on the PC, suck it up and wait until someone else releases free content that may or may not crash your game and move on with your day. If you own the 360 version, then either download what’s there or don’t.

But for God’s sake, stop f*cking whining about it. You’re adults, people. You know how the world works. People ultimately want to make money for what they produce. It’s as simple as that. If you’re so utterly incapable of understanding this incredibly rudimentary business concept, well then perhaps it’s about time you sit down and read a Business textbook to familiarize yourself with business practices that occur EVERY SINGLE DAY in the world around you.

Ultimately it comes down to this: Bethesda wants to make money. TWO DOLLARS is not a lot of money. If you don’t like it, feel free to trade your copy of Oblivion in at the local store (or delete it if you’re a pirate… and if you are, really, you have no right to bitch about ANYTHING) and stop playing it. And if you can’t do THAT, well then, might I suggest you keep your stupid opinions to yourself and stop polluting the rest of the internet with your idiocy, thank you very much.

Oh, and for the record, yes, I did shell out my $2.50 for horse armor, because I have a JOB and can afford such things. So piss right off, yeah?

RUMBLE FROM SOME BUNGHOLES:

For those that are not aware, usually, when I’m writing my reviews/columns, I try to do some research prior to doing so. Usually this is done to find screenshots or information I might not otherwise know (unlockables that are beyond the capability of a rational person to find, for instance), but occasionally it’s just done for a good laugh. Seeing what other people think about a game is often quite amusing, especially since nine times out of ten it’s not the opinion I happen to share.

And as I’m banging together a review for Rumble Roses XX, I was in the process of doing such research, when I started to notice something.

“Creepy”. “Demeaning”. “Strip-club”.

Basically, denigration against a title that, honestly, doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not: soft-core cheesecake with a game attached. And yet, here are these words, referencing this title, disparaging it for doing exactly what fans of the title expected it to do.

For the record, most of the people who are getting pissed off are getting pissed off because of the “Queens Match” where the losers are required to perform some sort of humiliating act or another, ranging from Limbo Contests to Para-Para dancing. Because, y’know, Americans are well acquainted with the idea of Para-Para. Regardless, this match type seems to be generating a lot of hatred, mainly because it’s goofy Japanese bullshit that, for one reason or another, offends the sensibilities of the reviewers in question.

Really?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means against taking cheap shots at games, but come on guys: what the f*ck did you expect? It’s RUMBLE ROSES. It’s GLOW for the Japanese appreciator. It’s not a great game or anything, but really, we don’t need you to tell us “there’s a lot of goofy sexual shit in it”: WE KNOW.

Or, hey, here’s a better question: Who do YOU think is buying Tomb Raider?

You know, the game you guys gave 8’s to across the board?

Come on. I don’t mind if you have some sort of problem with the whole “goofy sex appeal” side of things, but let us not play double standard, yeah?

Games like DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball, Rumble Roses, and Outlaw Golf consistently see shots taken at them for being “trashy” and “creepy” and whatever else the reviewer can come up with to say “I’m pretending not to like this so I can get laid some time before I die”. Because, y’know, working for a game mag does wonders for your sex life. But these same rags turn around and say “TOMB RAIDER LEGEND IS THE ROXXORZ 8.5!” or “DOA 4 IS HELLA GOOD 9.5!” without realizing the inherent irony here: you’re promoting Playboy whilst condemning Hustler.

Now, I’ve no issue with Playboy OR Hustler, but come on: the guy who tells you he’s buying Playboy for the articles is lying his ass off. You’re READING THE ARTICLES in Playboy, yes, but you’re BUYING Playboy for the naked women. Hustler just happens to be more up-front about this, so it’s condemned for such.

But really, are you buying DOA 4 because you like the fighting engine? Partially. But you also like Kasumi (and, perhaps, the fact that not a single female render in the game is below a C cup, ever). There’s no shame in this, mind you; I’m perfectly fine with Kasumi myself. But I also happen to think Ruy Hayabusa’s a bad ass, and I was perfectly fine with Hayate until he started wearing his Yummy Sushi pajamas into battle. Point being, you tend to purchase THESE titles because they feature characters you like, and if these characters HAPPEN to have Double D gazongas, hey, bonus.

How else can we explain that out of seven Tomb Raider titles, only ONE has ranked below 70% on Game Rankings?

Face up to it guys: you like tits. There’s no shame in this; I like tits too, as do most of the guys reading this. Women expect this of us, and they aren’t so disgusted by our love of breasts that they’ve stopped talking to us, so admitting publicly that you like them isn’t going to change much. Condemning one title that trades in sex whilst praising another is, wait for it, wait for it, HYPOCRITICAL, and you really need to knock it off. I’m not saying don’t give Bloodrayne or Rumble Roses bad scores; they pretty much deserve them. I AM, however, saying that maybe you should stop and consider that when you’re handing out punishment for how “creepy” a stupid one-trick pony wrestling game can be to anyone who hasn’t quite hit puberty yet, that maybe all that high praise for how great Lara Croft looks seems a little odd in comparison.

And in conclusion, grow up. That is all.

WHAT, EXACTLY, ARE YOU STUDYING?

Sooo… the American Medical Association did a study of, and I quote, “The Effects of Media Related Violence on Health-Related Outcomes Among Young Men”. Basically, they’re testing to see what happens to men when they partake in violence in the media. This is, in a word, loaded. It becomes MORE loaded when one looks at the media in question, which based on the location of this column, I shouldn’t have to draw you a map to help you figure out the media in question.

So, the games chosen? “The Simpsons: Hit and Run” and “Grand Theft Auto 3”. Apparently, the people performing the study decided that these were similar games, and therefore, would be good “test” products.

Anyone who’s played both of the listed titles would understand this observation to patently and obviously false, on account of GTA 3 can be described as a “good” game, whereas Hit and Run, while not a “bad” game per say, is incredibly limited in comparison, and most likely not going to generate the level of amusement GTA might. Unless the player in question is a Simpsons fan, but if that were the case, he’d probably already own Hit and Run himself, and wouldn’t be a good case study.

Anyway, the study focused on one hundred college age males (18-21) at an undisclosed college university. One would assume that those performing the study tried to weed out males who had played either of the two titles, while trying to maintain “differing amounts of lifetime home and community violence” in the group. Says I, fine, pick half of the students from Trenton State, the other half from Princeton University, and be done with it.

Anyway, the study found that “Men randomly assigned to play Grand Theft Auto III exhibited greater increases in diastolic blood pressure from a baseline rest period to game play, greater negative affect, more permissive attitudes toward using alcohol and marijuana, and more uncooperative behavior in comparison with men randomly assigned to play The Simpsons.” Basically, GTA3 got the blood going more than Hit and Run. Now, note the “permissive attitudes” line, about alcohol and marijuana. I want you to note this, because if you’ve played GTA3 you’re probably going “marijuana? Huh?” just like I was. Drinking? Possibly. Mary Jane? I think I’d remember that if it were in the game somewhere. I’m kind-of-sort-of wondering if some of these results weren’t, perhaps, fudged a touch to get the results the AMA were hoping to find. Now, okay, yes, people can very easily lie with statistics, and we understand that. But this seems a tad… blatant, doesn’t it?

There’s also an article on the site that documents the ESRB’s failings as an organization, most notably instances where content descriptors should be noted about certain negative elements of the title, but are not noted for one reason or another. The study finds that popular M-rated titles may contain a ton of things that aren’t noted in the content descriptors that kids shouldn’t be seeing.

Ummm… duh?

Now, okay, I’m not entirely sure what they’re talking about with the unlabeled elements deal… of ten games I just randomly looked in my collection, the best thing I could come up with was “Haunting Ground” and how the main character is practically naked in the opening cinematic, which isn’t noted (god knows they throw “Partial Nudity” around for everything else). That said, assuming we work off of the idea that “children” are twelve years old and under… really, what kind of an idiot would buy a game with a big “M” on it for their ten year old and not realize that “Hey, maybe ‘Final Fight Streetwise’ might have some violence in it”?

Look, the ESRB puts the labels on the back of the boxes so that parents don’t have to do a lot of research. Look at the label, if it says “Strong Language” or “Drug Use” or whatever, put it back on the shelf and take Billy home without it. Not to be a pest, but if parents are buying “M” rated games for their children, they either trust that their kids can handle the occasional bloody death scene or naked boobie, or they are failures as parents. Period. There’s no middle ground here. Spending your money on a report that parents either A.) don’t care about or B.) won’t read seems kind of pointless to me, and if you have that kind of money to waste on pointless studies, perhaps you could take some of that money and mail it to me. Lord knows I won’t waste it on inane, Kreskin-like observations that any idiot could GUESS at and be correct.

CLOSING COMMENTS:

Well, this was certainly amusing, wasn’t it? I’m sure you all loved it lots. No no, no need to thank me, your sneers of contempt and hateful words directed towards your monitor are all I need to keep me warm at night. Anyway, hopefully I’ll have something worthwhile for you next week, and some reviews in the interim, so until next time, I’m Mark B and you’re not. Later gators.

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