I’ll Bet if Joe Biden Ever Played Ni No Kuni, He Would Dig it

BidenNow that Joe Biden has firmly inserted himself into the realm of video game chatter, his chatter seems to be causing a stir. According to Politico, he wants to pass a bill taxing violent video games…and he sees no legal reasons not to do so.  Now, I know I’m just a history teacher and not a hot-shot Columbia lawyer (ed.note: what is this, your “aw shucks,maybe I’m not as smart as you city folk” routine?) but if my memory serves me right, I believe there is a law that would legally not let this happen: it’s called the First Amendment.  Didn’t the Supreme Court pass a bill stating this already?

“Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection.”

The notion of taxing violent video games because they “may” be corrupting America’s youth is just absurd.  Also, who is Biden, or anyone else for that matter, to consider what art is good and which isn’t? What form of art is mildly violent or so violent it’s taxable?  I don’t feel anyone has the right to impose judgement values on others, and that we, the video gamers, should be financially punished for poor judgement calls. It is not the government’s place to decide what art is good and bad, and if it is somehow deemed bad, to tax it. (Sidenote: in calling video games an art form, why are violent paintings by, such as, never under the jurisdiction of the government. Check out the Renaissance painting Judith Slaying Holofernes by one of the few female artists of the time, Artemisia Gentileschi, and try to get Biden-style on that piece of artistic culture and history.)485px-Artemisia_Gentileschi_-_Judith_Beheading_Holofernes_-_WGA8563

By using Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 as an example, the link between violent video games and real life violence is quite minimal.  I am not saying that there is no connection, that would be way too ignorant, but I do believe it is quite minuscule.  My girlfriend (#humblebrag) asked me once while playing Black Ops, “Is there any game that you and your friends play where you don’t kill people?”  It took me a while to answer because most of the games out there that aren’t sport games do usually involve killing. Whether it be zombies in The Walking Dead, or little furry anime creatures in Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. (side note, FFVII lovers pick up this game) Black Ops 2 made over $1 billion dollars in the first 15 days of sales; at $60 a game that’s 16.5 million games sold.  I find it hard to believe that 16.5 million players will now become violent offenders.  If that’s the case then he also has to pass a bill taxing comic books starring the Joker.  Or video games starring the Joker.  Or any movie that has a gun in it where people die.

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One-Touch Dekes and True Performance Skating

In this, EA’s second of their three part series showcasing new additions to NHL 14, we see one-touch dekes and an improved physics-based skating engine.  The one-touch offer a more user friendly way of pulling this maneuver by just using the left stick and one button.  As for the physics engine EA says it has “improved balance between speed and momentum, quicker pivots and enhanced lateral skating”  I added a video that Sportscenter made highlighting the best dekes.  Here is hoping that the NY Rangers can coerce Marek Malik out of retirement and use some of his magic against the Bruins.

When Titling Your Film for International Release

American films sometimes have much different titles when shown abroad. . If You Leave Me, I Delete You  f/k/a Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Hot Shots? Nah, Warm Shots.  I wonder whether Hot Shots Part Deux is Warmer Shots or Warm Shots Part Dvě.

China clearly seems they don’t want any of their movie goers to have a good time so just spoil the endings for you.   Sixth Sense? Nope, He’s A Ghost. Thanks for the heads up guys.  Here are some badass movie posters that go along with some of the bizarre names. Trust me, these posters are a hell of alot cooler.  I think Poland takes the cake on how to make a movie poster.

via WhatCulture

I’m Gonna Make Gretzky Bleed..or Just Fall to the Ground In the Most Realistic Way Possible

No more bleeding in sports video games anymore. Sad I know, but that doesn’t mean all the fun and hard hitting is taken out of sports games.  EA today released a new trailer highlighting their improved collision physics that will be used in NHL 14.

While you’re at it hockey fans, head on over to the cover vote website and vote for who you want on the cover of NHL 14.

VPH Looks Ahead: NHL 14

The 2012-2013 NHL season hasn’t even reached the playoffs yet but EA decided to reveal the announcement trailer for NHL ’14 anyway.  All I have to say is WOW.  One of my first posts for MB was about the lack of effort put into welcoming first time gamers into the world of an NHL game.   Not to say that EA would concern themselves with the plebes this time around either. The WOW factor is entirely based on the trailer.  The way it moves from live to in-game action is  stellar. Sometimes I couldn’t even make out which one was which. (Check out the Semin to Tlusty doozy at the :39 mark)  EA revealed a few of the new gameplay mechanics and features as well.  With sports game I usually take a 1 year break between titles.  I mean, how much can actually change in a year?  Perfect example: the MLB 2k13 fiasco.

“We’re very proud of the history of innovation that the EA SPORTS NHL franchise has produced on this console generation, and this year we’re amplifying that innovation by leveraging technology from teams like FIFA and Fight Night.  We’re very proud of the history of innovation that the EA SPORTS NHL franchise has produced on this console generation, and this year we’re amplifying that innovation by leveraging technology from teams like FIFA and Fight Night,” says Dean Richards, General Manager, NHL, EA SPORTS. “This year fans will feel the speed, skill and aggression of NHL hockey like never before, powered by some of the best EA SPORTS technology to create the best game we could ever imagine.”

According to Joystiq, the game will have a ton of new additions and tweeks to both offline and online modes.   The list includes new collision physics (used in FIFA), the Enforcer Engine (used in Fight Night), True-Performance Skating, One-Touch dekes, updates on Be a Pro, and updates to the Hockey Ultimate Team and EASports Hockey League. EA Vancouver will be using said physics engine for the first time although it was first utilized in FIFA 12, by EA Canada.  Since then some  of the kinks have been hammered out, here’s hoping we see none of this:

The VPH Review: Rockpockalypse & Tekken Card Tournament

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-Why is this game free? Usually Vince McMahon and the WWE, owing to their carnie roots,  will do anything in their power to make a dollar. This weekend’s Wrestlemania XXIX is making fans shell out 55 clams for what’s almost assuredly going to be bad wrestling and awful cameos. So the fact that the app equivalent of that is free is suspicious.

-Why would the Rock allow this game to be free? It’s using his likeness and his voice. Dwayne’s as much of a naked capitalist as Vince is, I’m shocked he isn’t trying to capitalize on every single WWE promo out there.

-The story is….well….. there is no story. You walk out of a trailer and you learn how to fight.  And how do you fight? By swiping your finger in one direction or another. Very similar to (i.e. a complete & total rip-off of) Infinity Blade but not nearly as fun or challenging.  Each foe you vanquish is a level.  I made it to level 3. And then the game froze on me.  How do you fix the frozen game problem? Why, you delete the game and reinstall it.  Well…..that was fun.

-I’m back. I decided to reinstall the game and give it another go.  After passing the 4th level I realized every level was going to be exactly the same.  This is the kind of game you’d give to a 6 year old at a restaurant to keep him busy while his parents are eating dinner.

Final thoughts: Gawd Awful

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Let me start by saying I love Tekken.  Am I good at it? Hell no, but I really really do like the game.  The characters are all unique and interesting, the move sets are diverse, and if you’re playing by yourself it really can be enjoyable. My problem with these games, and this game specifically, is that that learning curve to play multiplayer is just ridiculously steep. You’re playing against people who have been playing this game for the last 10 years nonstop and it makes the whole experience 0% fun.  Just ask ImperviousRex about the latest Street Fighter game  I’ve witnessed first hand controllers being thrown across the room (ImperviousRex: What? I can’t hear you over the sound of all these broken controllers). .  AND HE IS NO NEWBIE!!!!!! When I saw the trailer for this I said “Wow, maybe a Tekken game I won’t completely suck at.”  Here are my reactions to the new Tekken Card Tournament:

-Great, I have to sign in using Facebook. Can’t wait to impress everyone with my mighty Tekken accomplishments.

-OK, so far it’spretty interesting. Your deck of cards and how you decide to play them (focus cards, attack cards, and block cards) determines your course of  action.

-So to be good at this game or even to enjoy it doesn’t require any prior knowledge of Tekken or any fighting game in general.  It’s a basic card game where choosing the right card action at the right time grants you victory.  It feels like a fresh take on the card game genre.

-Final thoughts: An entertaining and unique game, but one that I feel will wear out its welcome after an hour or so of gameplay (IE: Family Fued & Draw Something)