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Many shades of abusive relationships

I’ve kept pretty tight lipped, publicly, about this atrocity of a story. I only post now because I really want to share someone’s review of the movie, and once the door is open, I can’t help crashing the party!!! (Just like tequila, right Jim?)

"If your BF does THIS....you might be in an abusive relationship" - Please read if Jeff Foxworthy's voice...

“If your BF does THIS….you might be in an abusive relationship” – Please read if Jeff Foxworthy’s voice…

Anyways, by now I’m sure you all know about this 50 shades of grey book, which has now transitioned into a movie. The story, in short, is basically about a wealthy guy who seduces some “innocent” girl and they proceed to have a kinky sexual relationship, and eventually fall in love. Sounds decent, right? Well here’s the kicker: It’s not about real S&M, it’s more abuse than anything else. The dude basically beats the piss outta this girl, even after she screams the safe word over and over, and is generally a complete asshole to her. In the end, though, she “understands him” better, he supposedly grows a minimal amount, and they end up in love. The moral of this story? If you get involved in a physically abusive relationship, and the guy is a complete asshole, just stick around and endure it cuz he might end up changing into an ok guy. Seriously?! Is that what we want young women to believe? Is this the lesson we should teach our daughters? Fuck that! This crap is the least empowering-to-women tale I’ve heard of in recent memory. Twilight is a close second, which is ironic since this book is just Twilight fanfic made into a novel. The worst part about this whole thing is that women were fucking obsessed with this crap, and tons of them read it and got titillated by it (see what I did there? huh?…..nm). What is so exciting about being physically abused? Is it just because he’s supposedly very attractive? So hot dudes can abuse women, and all is cool? Pretty fucked up shit, when you think about it.

Anyways, enough about ME. Check out this article, which is a brief review of the movie. I was laughing my ass off reading it, and couldn’t help but share it. Good times. Oh, and be sure to also watch the Honest Trailer for Twilight if you haven’t already, they sum it up pretty well there too.

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Gamergate harassment is still happening…

I just read an article by Brianna Wu, detailing how she is still receiving death threats from people online claiming to be part of Gamergate. She also details how many other women in the industry are still facing the same shit, as well as potential women devs throwing in the towel before really going because of threats. To date, law enforcement hasn’t done anything visibly, and those who run sites like youtube, twitter, and reddit have also not taken action against these hate groups.

I seriously don’t get the insecurity and cowardice required for such behavior. Threatening someone because of their gender is stupid as hell. Different people will bring different ideas and thought processes to the table, and we need some innovation in gaming right now. We’re at the point Hollywood is, where everything is recycling and there are very few original ideas. What sense does it make to keep that limited?

This is all aside from the question, why the fuck do you think it’s ok to threaten people? What possible logical justification do you have for ending the life of one of these women? All because a game developer might be female? All because maybe, in the future, women characters in video games would be portrayed realistically as the relevant people they are and not just set design or plot devices? For all you know, this could greatly increase your enjoyment of games. Oh, and guess what, if you don’t like that shit, DON’T BUY THEIR GAMES!!! Decide with your dollar and get your satisfaction, instead of deciding with violence and threats and getting a prison sentence. I can assure you, you won’t do well in prison, and being good at Mortal Kombat or Call of Duty isn’t gonna help you there. Basically, just stop acting like angry spoiled children throwing tantrums because of something you have an extremely limited perspective about. Man up.

A farewell to our captain

As you probably already know, Robin Williams has passed away. He committed suicide earlier this week, and to be honest it came as less of a shock to me than it did to many others. No, I didn’t have any insight into his personal life that made this less of a shock, I just understand a bit of how funny people are on the inside. I’ll explain.

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The man, the legend, the irreplaceable.

I’ve always been the class clown type, always cracking jokes and trying to make others laugh. While many others benefited from this, they likely never realized that I did so because I was damaged inside. Cracked.com did an article on just this the other day, and it’s very true. Although I always sought to make people laugh, a big reason I did was so they wouldn’t hate me. When I was a kid, I was often disliked by my peers right out of the gates, just by being me. My way around that was to make them laugh, since it’s harder to hate someone who makes you laugh. That continued into my adult life, and is still prevalent to some extent. I’ve known quite a few hilarious people as well, and they are/were just as fucked up inside as I, some more so. It’s a difficult thing to deal with, and much of it stems from some form of depression and/or a lack of self worth. Rodney Dangerfield, one of my comedic idols, also suffered from this, and Robin Williams was no different. These are two of the funniest people ever to exist, in my opinion, and though they possessed a profound ability to make others laugh, they would often sink into deep depression. I can’t speak for what got them down, but for me it was a mix of many things, acceptance being a big part of it. This is nothing to sneeze at either. Sure, people can rebound from depression with tons of therapy and whatnot, but when it goes on for this long, it becomes a core part of them. The depression or lack of self worth can be so deeply rooted that, in my case, it cannot be fully overcome, just accepted. Some wounds never heal, no matter how many doors you open and how many demons you face. Now, the demons have taken one of the most phenomenal entertainers of the past hundred years.

Oh Captain, My Captain....

Oh Captain, My Captain….

I honestly can’t think of anything Robin was bad in, or that I felt ‘meh’ about. From his stand up routines, to his work in Comic Relief, to his many movies (both comedic and serious), he’s made us laugh, cry, think, and dream. He inspired so many people, especially in comedy, and had a presence that could never be recreated. These are shoes that cannot be filled. We’ll always have his movies, his jokes, his inspiration, and his awesomeness, and we can introduce him to the generations to come. I haven’t been able to watch any of his videos or movies yet, since it’s still pretty fresh, but I will again. Everything from Good Morning Vietnam to Mrs. Doubtfire to Jumanji to Good Will Hunting and What Dreams May Come will always be with us as a testament to how phenomenal of an entertainer this man was. I truly hope he has found some peace, and is perhaps hanging out in some afterlife with Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Jonathan Winter, Red Fox, and Benny Hill. One thing is for sure, IF there is an afterlife, it’ll be fucking hilarious! Be at peace good sir, we will forever miss your genius…

 

If you know of someone who is struggling with depression and/or self destructive behavior, do not hesitate to act. You don’t need an intervention, just let them know that you see that they are in pain, and you’re there for them. Talk to them, show that you care, and be there if they need you. I assure you, it’s importance is paramount. The only thing worse than being in pain, is watching everyone around you ignore it. Yes, I speak from experience.

NEW BLOG!!!!

So since my arcade addiction has become such a huge part of my life right now, I’ve decided to create a special blog just for gaming. I reposted a bunch of my gaming posts from this blog to that one, as well as some new ones. ALL future posts that are gaming related will be posted there instead of here. Go check it out, subscribe, and enjoy!

http://addictingpixels.wordpress.com/

The poser spokesman

So a story has been circulating through the news lately, and it’s something I happen to know a bit of insider information about so I figured I’d share. This, of course, is about Chris Kooluris, the guy from NYC who turned his bedroom into a small arcade. You can read about what he did, and that he lost his fiance because of it, here.

Now, let’s start earlier. He joined the arcade collector forums for KLOV/VAPS, apparently looking for help in building his arcade. He posted for awhile, and before long things soured. He disregarded advice, was combative or obnoxious for no real reason other than ego, and ignored rules of the forums. He’s since been banned permanently for threatening people via private message. It seemed from the beginning that he was really pushing to be a sort of public spokesperson for the hobby. He works in public relations, so the Wired article that started all of this was likely arranged by him, though I don’t know for sure.

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Yup,this is him.

Now before you all get uppity and defend the guy, let me throw this out. Buying a few games and throwing them in a room is something anyone can do. He spent $32k on about $10k worth of games, and has one of the most poorly designed MAME pedistals I’ve ever seen. An example of what I’m talking about is that the player 3 and 4 controls have 6 buttons each, which no game in existence uses.

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6 buttons per player, and angled joysticks….yikes!

In the wired article, he tried painting the KLOV community as a bunch of haters. I can clear that up right off the bat. The community there didn’t really give a shit that he had a Fix it Felix and a MAME pedistal. Most collectors have at least one multicade. MAME is very commonplace, especially since most people have limited space. As is typical with articles like this, things were taken out of context. If he was an honest, humble dude just looking to learn and get into the hobby because of his love of games, he’d have no problems. I have a MAME cabinet in my collection, and I’ve NEVER gotten shit for it. It’s all about how you talk to people, and this guy apparently sucks at it because he really tarnished his own image online. To be clear, I’ve NEVER had an issue with anyone on those forums that blew up, and none of my fellow collectors have either. Sure, there are some bad eggs, but MOST of the bigger names on there were his detractors. The idea is simple: if you want to learn about the games, fix them, and enjoy them, then you’ll be fine. If you want to go there to brag about what you just spent a ton of money on and don’t have any interest in learning about, then obviously there will be friction. However, you can choose to take that friction and laugh it off, or get combative. He chose the latter.

Anyways, pedantic ranting aside, let’s just call this what it really is. This is a story of a guy who spent 32 grand for his 15 minutes of fame. He’s not representitive of the arcade collecting/restoring community. He’s just like every other guy with expendable income who buys games to put in his place. Hell, I know a private collector who dedicated an entire floor to his arcade, and he has ~95 arcade machines on the floor up and running. Where’s the story for him? Nowhere. Know why? Because he’s not in it for the fame.

This kid overspent on his games, did pretty much no work on any of them, and had zero interest in learning anything about them. He is also known to have PAID people to come over and play games with him. Sorry, kid, but having money doesn’t make you special, no matter what you spend it on. He wasn’t really in this for the games, he was in this for the “I have cool shit” aspect, and fame he was able to get from his contacts. Let’s face it, without any contacts, he’d be low on the list of people Wired would approach as far as home arcades go. Hell, MY home arcade is more substantial, and I spent about a fifth of what he did. Considering all of that, I’m amazed that TIME magazine dubbed his home arcade as the best ever!!! What an absolute joke!

The real kicker here is that I was one of his supporters. I spoke in his defense when he mentioned the stuff about the wired article, but never read it when it was released. I had no idea he chose to paint the community in a shitty light, otherwise I’d have written this sooner. I’ve gotten shit from time to time from local collectors about having a bunch of JAMMA games in my collection instead of older titles, but that’s just a “to each their own” thing. Some people like older games, some like newer games. Don’t throw a fit online because someone disagrees with your preference for Fix it Felix or whatever. I don’t let game opinions bother me because they’re just that, opinions.

To Mr. Kooluris I would say this: You are not our spokesperson, no matter how much you’ve tried. I don’t care how viral that story goes (it’s been picked up across dozens of media outlets.). When all the shit is sifted through, you’re just a poser (regardless of what you think) with money and contacts, and people should know that. This wasn’t done for the hobby, this was done for your ego. You give those of us who really give a damn about the hobby a bad name and shitty image. Not all publicity is good publicity, and telling a story about how you threw some cabs in a room, which lead to your fiance losing you, is a pretty shitty image. If you wanted to help the community, why not suggest the story and interview different collectors? Instead we get a sensation-style piece about a guy with too much money who threw some globs of paint on the wall and called it art. You’re nothing more than a poser, my friend, like i-r()k from Ready Player One.

All of this makes me wish someone did a REAL story on arcade preservation, interviewing people who do restorations and collectors who’ve been at it for decades. We don’t need just one spokesperson here, we have a community. But, if we DID need one, this guy would NOT be it.

Xbox backpedals, Gizmodo blames us

I did a post last week about the latest edition of the console wars, and how the new systems have some drawbacks. The king of these drawbacks, was the new XBox. I say “was” because they’ve backpedaled a bit. I found this out through an article by Gizmodo, which stated that Microsoft decided to remove the necessity to connect to the internet every 24 hours, and removed the DRM restrictions on sharing, selling, and buying used games.

Now, I took this as a win, and a step in the right direction. There shouldn’t be a system in place that would essentially brick your console if you lost internet for more than 24 hours, or took your game system on vacation with you, which I do. You should also not be restricted from selling or trading games. You bought it, you should be able to sell it. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, not if you’re Gizmodo, apparently…

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“Say, Microsoft, did you just have an enema?! Mmmmm”

Gizmodo released a follow up article to their first story, stating how the whiners on the internet, who bitched about the DRM, are now responsible for a loss of features and industry innovation. Their article, to sum up, basically said that what Microsoft was doing would have been a great thing, and would have brought convenience and ease of use to the console gaming platform, the likes of which have never been seen. Their stance is that the fear of losing the ability to play your games isn’t worth losing the convenience of sharing your downloaded titles, and being able to play games without the disc being in the tray. They also posit that if the devs were getting money for used game sales, then the games would be cheaper. Sorry guys, but that’s bullshit.

First of all, the potential to lose the ability to play your purchased games is NOT worth any sort of “convenience”, sorry.

“Excuse me, Microsoft support, yeah I can’t play my games cuz my internet is out”

“Sorry buddy, can’t help you.”

“Hey, what kinda shit is that?! If I can’t play my games, what good is this thing?!”

“Well, you can totally share your downloaded titles and stuff”

“I HAVE NO INTERNET! Why the fuck would I need to share a game I can’t even play?!”

“Hey kid, Gizmodo said this shit was totally innovative, so we’re rockin’ this shit. This is the future, son, where we own more and more of the content you use. Eventually, gaming will be a service, like Netflix, where you never own a game, just an invisible right to play it for as long as we allow you to. You don’t like it? Get some internet, get with the program, and stop bitching!”

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Not if Gizmodo and M$ have their way…

The other problem with this, is the future ramifications. I’m a well known classic gamer, and I tend to play a lot of older titles on my now-obsolete game consoles. Down the road, when the XB1 is one of those, the check in system could very easily brick the system, if they choose to stop supporting it. Then, you basically have hardware AND software that are completely worthless, since they’re unable to do what they were intended for. Think that won’t happen? How much support did the first Xbox get after 360 came out? They basically disavowed the system, and stopped supporting it.

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You’re welcome.

Allowing control on this level would create a bad precedent in the industry, and will pave the way for console makers to just sell a piece of hardware, and just stream everything to it rather than offer any sort of physical media. This way, they can code in DRM that bricks the games after the console is no longer supported, or simply giving them the ability to control what games we have access to, and for how long. This would be similar to Netflix, but with a huge drawback. Although Netflix is a great service, but if they stop offering a video for streaming, I still have the ability to buy the disc and own a copy (well, own a right to view a copy, technically speaking). The direction gaming is going in would remove the ability to get a game not offered by streaming. Console makers, especially Microsoft, are heading in that direction. Microsoft is also going that way for their other products, changing their focus towards cloud-based offerings, which would prevent companies from installing the software locally and using it as they see fit.

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Picard poses a valid question…

This Gizmodo article also cited WoW as a reason why DRM is good. Sorry guys, but people playing an MMO aren’t doing it for the convenience or just the game itself, it’s the draw that they’re interacting with other people and not just mindless NPCs. It’s a very social place. Also, there are PLENTY of people who don’t like the model they use, we just choose to not bother playing. I don’t see the point of paying 50 bucks for a game, then needing a 12 dollar a month subscription just to be able to play it. Sorry, but that’s bullshit, and I don’t think it’s at all worth the convenience or experience. You can’t use the DRM and licensing model of an MMO to justify DRM and system bricking technology on consoles that contain a ton of single player games. I don’t game online much, and there are quite a few people like me in that respect, so this is definitely not cool.

They also mention Steam, using that to justify their statement that games would be cheaper. Apples and oranges. First of all, Steam isn’t download only. You can also buy physical copies of games that use Steam. They also don’t require you to check in every 24 hours. Sure, you can’t sell used games in the US, but you can in the EUSteam is also working on a game sharing system, which will hopefully be better than the “family and friends” plan M$ was pushing.

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Not unless it makes them more money than they’d get from just console sales.

I do understand that the sharing of digital games is something we should be moving towards, but I also get that M$ and game devs want to make as much money as possible with their products. If I borrow a game from someone, and don’t really like it, I won’t buy it. If I do like it, I’ll pick it up. It’s that simple. The gaming industry is a multi billion dollar industry right now, and that number keeps going up. These guys have no problems making money, and don’t give me the whole “this is hurting the little devs” bullshit. Our country, and console makers are the main ones hurting them. Also, a fair amount of them don’t make great games. Those who do, sell a bunch of games. There can be sharing of content without the control and restriction. The fact of the matter is this: companies make products, and they want us to buy their item instead of another item from a competitor. So, they add features to make it more enticing. These features would benefit the customer in some way, and would benefit the company by having their product purchased. If the company, instead, decided to add features, but remove others, just to make it more enticing to sell, then there’s going to be backlash. I don’t care how innovative the new shit is. If the company has to remove features in order to give features, then they obviously aren’t acting in the interest of the consumer or the industry. To think otherwise is to be completely blind to logic, and suckered into believing the bullshit propaganda being fed to you by the company. I’m disappointed in you, Gizmodo, I honestly thought you were better than that….

EDIT: I forgot, in my typing rage, to include an important fact about the whole ‘Steam sells games cheaper’ thing. Steam’s digital offerings has something that Microsoft’s Live Marketplace doesn’t…competition. There are a number of sites and services that allow you to purchase and download digital games for PC, which makes sales and price drops necessary to remain relevant and generate a consistent stream of revenue. It keeps people interested in your service, and makes them more likely to wait to buy it from you, rather than from your competitor. The Xbox has no such competition. If they’re the only shop in town, they can do and charge what they want, since they have a distribution monopoly. They won’t charge less for digital games, since retailers would take a beating that way, and M$ would have a shitstorm to deal with that way.

Bullying for the mark of your trade

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Sorry friend, you’re in the way of our profits.

Through the years, many people have asked me why I dislike Apple products so much. While I do stand by most of my major reasons for disliking them, like software and hardware limitations, the yearly hardware upgrade cycle, overpriced shit, etc, the tipping point from dislike to INTENSE dislike had to do with a lawsuit.

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and we follow with iSue and iRape!

Many years ago, Apple always tried to push themselves as the underdog from Microsoft, and played the “company for the people” card. They claimed to be there for their customers, and valued the “little guy”. This all changed when the iPod came out. Their marketing juggernaut made it one of the most popular electronic devices in history, even though equivalent and even better devices existed at the time. To preserve their branding, they started suing everyone who had the letters “p”, “o”, and “d” together in their name or trademark. Among those lawsuits was a device known as the “profit pod”. What was this device used for, you ask? It was used in the arcade industry to keep track of how many quarters arcade machines took in on a daily basis, and uploaded that info to a laptop or tablet.

Once this lawsuit became public, and I read about it, the scales in my head were tipped and I began my intense disliking of them.

Today, I hit another tipping point with a company, and for exactly the same reason. Games Workshop, the makers of Warhammer, Space Hulk, and various other miniatures tabletop games, is going after anyone who uses the words “space” and “marine” together in just about any science fiction setting. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a board game, video game, movie, etc, if you use the term “space marines”, they’re gonna go after you.

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That’s what it’s all about!

The term space marines has been around for a very long time, and is a common term in science fiction. That hasn’t stopped them from sending a legal threat to Amazon.com about author MCA Hogarth’s book “Spots the space marine”. They claim that the title of her book infringes on their mark, and Amazon should delist it, which they did. The really fucked up part here, is that Amazon was not under legal obligation to do so, since a takedown notice is a copyright claim, and this is a trademark claim, so it doesn’t fall under the DMCA. Be that as it may, this author is stuck suffering the consequences of this, all because she doesn’t have the spare capital to spend on a pricey legal battle over the trademark.

This is how these big companies work. They try to make certain words only relate to their products in common society, so they sue anyone who uses it, or a variation of it. This is done to reduce the terms’ market saturation as it pertains to other products, and preserves market saturation of its own product.

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Spread the word!

So now, going forward, I won’t be supporting anything Games Workshop has to offer. Plenty of other games out there, so you assholes can go fuck yourselves. I hate bullies who pick on other people’s legitimate work just because they can, knowing full well that the little guy can’t retaliate against such a huge opposition. If you know any other gamers with morals, pass this on to them. I certainly will.