Busquests. Ronaldo. Robben. Yeah, Neymar is going to fit in (if he doesn’t already) really well with this group. These are some of the best divers on the planet on the pitch. During this weeks Confederations Cup match between Brazil and Uruguay, Neymar gave us a dive for the ages. Not only was it blatant, it was quite comical. Walter Gargano was shielding the ball from Neymar when Gargano seems to elbow him in the face and Neymar acts like he got shot. But his punishment was not met with a yellow or red card. It was met with Street Fighter style ass whooping!
Now 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.)
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.
(ed. note: Intrepid contributor ViciousPjuraHead is spending the summer in Italy and will be filing dispatches of a gaming or comic related nature, when he gets around to it.)
Moving on from Italy I decided to head to another country that begins with an I. ISRAEL!! Luckily I have some friends there who I had visited over Christmas and since I was already in the neighborhood I thought I’d take a little trip back to the Promised Land. Though this time, getting into the country was a little more difficult.
My first attempt was through Israir with an 11:55 PM flight. I got there two hours early as per international travel protocol but two hours wasn’t enough. If you’re heading to Israel, protocols state you have to arrive three hours early. Whoops. After an hour of trying to get on the plane while being asked a series of outlandish security questions I was told I would not be getting on this flight and to try again tomorrow. How outlandish, you ask? Well, it was to the point where security read my Facebook messages and looked at my bank account to make sure that I was in fact a public school teacher and not lying about my profession. The situation wasn’t helped when security noticed I told me friend that I would shave before the flight; This prompted a new round of questions about why I would want to shave.
I decide to go home and sleep at my friend’s house and try again the next day through El Al. I get there three-and-a-half hours early, just in time for the fun to really start. I get yanked out of line by security again, this time though I get the pleasure of a tiny room all to myself for the next three hours. I was told that my bags would not be allowed on board with me and that I would have to submit to a full body search. Naturally I just comply and don’t make a fuss because I have nothing to hide (ed note: yeah right). When all was said and done I was escorted to my seat with a few minutes to spare and and only after the seat-belt was around my waist did airport security leave my by myself. As you can imagine, a great experience.
Upon my arrival to Tel Aviv I was told to go to lost and found and file a missing luggage report. I was given a very nice tote bag with a shirt, shorts, socks and various toiletries (ed. note: Score!!). My luggage finally did arrive… two days before I was set to leave. All that nonsense aside, once in Israel my time I had a crazy, exhilarating, exhausting time. From floating in the Dead Sea, side trips to Acre & Jerusalem, and culminating with a Dark Knight Rises showing (which surprisingly had an intermission), Italy and Israel really knocked me on my ass. Though welcoming me home is none other than……..ACE FREHLEY. I LOVE YOU ACE!!!!
Enjoy the photos!!
I have disposable income and am quick on the draw with my credit card. That, combined with Amazon Prime, leads to hasty purchasing decisions, especially when they fall into the “Nerd Spectrum” (ed. note: Ugh.).
Perfect examples: I woke up today convinced that I needed to by a PS Vita. Keep in mind, I have ZERO time to play one. I’ve barely played my PS3 over the past two months! My time is now split between work, this site, catching up on reading, comics, and time-, soul-, and money-sucking Facebook games. So throwing a PS Vita into that equation is foolish at best and a complete waste of money at worst. And yet…I still want it. I have the means to acquire it. Right now if I want. I know I’ll eventually lose this battle, especially when this hits:
Maybe it’ll be a moot point, when WordPress reveals that their adrates are $100/hit/day. Then I can can repurpose the 10 hours I spend at work towards something far more useful, like playing video games in my Forever Lazy while becoming a hermit. Dreams! We got ’em.
While struggling (ed. note: overstatement) with whether or not to buy a PS Vita today, I started playing Avengers Alliance on Facebook. It’s basically Outernaughts but in the Marvel Universe. Or I guess since this came first, Outernaughts is Avengers Alliance set in space and with stupid knock-off Pokemon. As I had thought, my ravenous need to play Outernauts has already greatly subsided and my dalliance with AA is fading even quicker. Mostly because THIS GAME IS STUPID BULLSHIT THAT IS WHOLLY ARBITRARY, MAKES NO SENSE, NAKEDLY WANTS YOUR MONEY AND IS DUMB. Everything costs either gold OR Avenger points OR S.H.I.E.L.D. points which you somehow deplete doing game mandated activities, yet it’s mysteriously hard to suss out exactly how you earn them back. Well, I guess not THAT mysterious (see pic above). Can you not earn them in-game? If not, then this is just a ridiculously gussied-up money pit designed to trap comic fans & children. I’ll give it a day, after that it’s heading for the Big Deletion bin in the sky.
– The other rash purchase I was considering this morning (Pro-tip: get out of bed, spend less money) was an iPad subscription to Game Informer. The preview issue that they’re currently offering is a solid visually, though not as tricked out as Wired. What initially gave me pause was, “Don’t I already get all of my game journalism online for free; why should I start paying for it now?”. The impetuous side of my brain, of course, was all “It’s only $20! It’s cool, you should totally buy it!”. First, shut up brain. Second, I managed to put the iPad down and wander off to make breakfast. While doing so I thought, “Wait, Game Informer. Isn’t…isn’t that the magazine that Gamestop tries to pawn off on everyone along with their BS Player’s Edge cards? Didn’t they TRICK me into paying for a subscription to this nonsense once?” and after a quick trip to the knowledge box, I had my answer. No thank you, game Informer, NO THANK YOU.
-A quick note on game journalism: when I was growing up,the best days of the month were the days that GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly showed up. Do you remember those massive year end issues of EGM? One year I think the holiday issue of EGM clocked in at over 400 pages. Pure bliss. After the jump, TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO A SIMPLER TIME IN VIDEO GAMES.
I’ll admit I’m not a patient man, a bad personality trait to have when dealing with the endless hype machine that powers upcoming video game releases. Thankfully, I live in NYC, where there are still a few independently owned game stores, the best part of which is their general willingness to break street dates. I’m not up to snuff on what the legalities of street dates are, but I know that independent stores are doing what they can to survive the crushing boot heel of Amazon, GameStop & Best Buy.
I’m fortunate to live midway between two such stores and am generally able to pick up new games the Friday before they are released (generally Tuesday is new game day, with the odd exception, like Skyrim, released to coincide with 11.11.11), Monday at the latest. I’d support the independent stores regardless (shop local!) but the willingness to slide me games early definitely keeps me coming back. A partial list of games I’ve gotten early:
– Rage, inFamous, inFamous 2 , Uncharted 2, Uncharted 3, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Mass Effect 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fallout: New Vegas, UFC Undisputed…
(Craigslist is also worth checking starting the Friday before new games are released; you never know what’s going to appear.)
Which brings me to my point: I fully expected to just stroll on in to either of my locals, pick up a copy of Max Payne 3 and be bullet timing people in the face, no sweat. So much to my chagrin, NOBODY had an early copy. I called around to all five of my usual spots and nothing. So is this the new trend? Broken street dates are now a no-go? The owner of one of the shops I frequent once said “GameStop is cracking down on early releases”; what does GameStop have to do with it? Do they really wield that much power? Yet when Mass Effect 3’s release rolled around, I was in the store and told, “Jimmy* is on his way back from the distributor now with a limited supply for each console.” So it would seem that the distributor themselves are the ones who decide who gets what when. Adding another layer to the mystery is that GameStop often has games the Friday before release date to make sure order fulfillment**; so if they aren’t even apart of the distribution system serving the independents what could Jimmy possibly be talking about?
I hope to look into this in greater depth in a future post. Stay tuned for that, but for now, know that my Early Acquisition streak has smashed up against the rocky shores of an Unattainable Copy of Max Payne 3.
Max Payne (PS3) – Acquired early? NO.
*Pseudonym; also I don’t know his real name. His real name might actually be Jimmy.
**This is just conjecture on my part. Based on me acquiring an early copy of Fallout: New Vegas with a sticker on it that read “D0 Not Sell Until October 19, 2010”; I bought my copy on October 15th, 2010. I knew it had come from a GameStop after I opened the game when I got home because the pre-order bonus gear matched with the bonus being offered at GS.
I had a wonderfully written, somewhat concise introduction slated to run here, what with funny observations about early gaming experiences and a description of what I was looking to accomplish with this site. Tumblr, however, had other ideas. Perhaps this platform is acting as de facto editor and spiked my first post right out of the gate. Not an auspicious start. Pieces will be picked up and the work will being. Anew.