Category: general

Fun and games with ads?

After talking about the biased coverage of the Strickland vs. Sony case, and Jack Thompson’s role in it, I noticed the ads that Google had put at the top of that post. Oddly enough, they were about class action law suits, and Vioxx lawsuits. This caused me to begin thinking of the ways you could play around with the content of a post to see what type of ads would appear on the page. Would that be a game? Or would it be play?

I know that there are lots of spam blogs out there that are just about getting Google rank and linking to other spam blogs. I also know that there are allegedly some people out there that have started blogs about asbestos and mesothelioma just because the payoff on ads relating to asbestos and mesothelioma are supposed to be incredibly high. So just by mentioning asbestos or mentioning mesothelioma am I trying to force the ads to display things related to that? Is it cheating to just talk about mesothelioma or asbestos just so those terms show up? I know Google probably has some filters to make sure that people don’t just “game” the system so that they get ads that pay the best, so is that Google playing the game as well?

What about asking my readers to click on the ads? I’ve heard of people making lots of money off the ads, but I’ve had those ads up there for a year and have only made a little over $35. Of course you only get paid when you earn over a hundred dollars. Of course if people were to start clicking on the ads more frequently, if because I were to make a pointless post about asbestos and mesothelioma, would that be cheating?

Of course, it could also be that I’m playing more than one game at a time. One with Google, and one with my readers? They could play their own game back, I suppose…

Very Interesting Jack Thompson Video…

I went to yahoo’s video search and did a search for “Jack Thomson” and came across a video of good old Jack talking about Janet Reno. The page with embedded video (which starts as soon as you go there) is called, “Jack Thompson Exposes Reno at [IBT] Indianapolis Baptist Temple.” There is another page that just has the links to the videos. It is over an hour long, and I only watched part four, but it is quite and insight into how Jack Thompson thinks. In just that part he calls Janet Reno, Hillary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt lesbians, Says that the Clinton administration was a bunch of witches and that if Janet Reno isn’t the antichrist, she is close to it. Now, I’m no expert on Janet Reno, and I didn’t vote for Clinton (I didn’t vote for Bush either, but I did vote!), but those are some extraordinary claims.

The videos are hosted on the American Patriot Friends Network website and while there’s no evidence that Thompson endorses or ever had anything to do with that site, it is a very interesting site. If you look around, you can find out the “truth” about the World Trade Center and 9/11, AIDS is a manufactured virus, and that the United States is secretly still a British colony

Again, I have no evidence that Jack Thompson has anything to do with this website. However, it is interesting to know that Jack’s talk about Janet Reno was given at the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. I’d never heard of the place, so I did a search for Indianapolis Baptist Temple and it seems like the temple has a pretty colorful history of its own.

So I wasn’t far off on my guess of what Jack Thompson would say to the Florida Bar Association…

Yesterday, I posted that lots of people from Penny Arcade have been complaining to the Florida Bar about Jack Thompson and I jokingly predicted that he would respond to them in the same way he responds to gamers who contact him: with threats. I never imagined that he really would do such a thing. Well, guess what? He did!
In a message posted on gamespot, Jack Thompson addresses the Florida Bar. The message ends:

Now, let me be clear. Any Bar complaint coming from these morons arising out of the above incident is baseless and itself constitutes a violation of a specific federal civil rights statute.
If The Bar proceeds with any of these, it does so at its own peril. The Bar paid me once. I am certainly willing for it to pay me again, along with others.
Regards, Jack Thompson

Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I can only assume that attempting to intimidate the Bar Association can’t be a good career move.
The Advanced Media Network has some slightly different quotes, one of which states,

If America’s law enforcement officials allow pimple-faced geeks who use death threats to drive people of faith and with values from the public square, this country will not long endure.

I’m not sure why the two sites have slightly different letters from Thompson, unless he sent out two versions. However, it is interesting that he implies that not only are the people who oppose him “pimple-faced geeks” (but if they are pimple-faced, then aren’t they teens and therefore not to blame for their actions because of playing so many murder simulators??), but he also implies that they are people without faith or values. Now it goes without saying that Jack Thompson thinks people who play videogames are without values, but now they are without faith? Too bad there isn’t some sort of Christian Game Developers Conference, or that Christians can’t use Halo to witness to gamers…

It is also worth noting that Jack has updated his website, with lots more of his propaganda. I recommend reading it to see where this guy is coming from and the numerous inaccurate statements he makes.

I can’t open my browser without hitting a Jack Thompson story

Man, everyone has jumped on the Jack Thompson bandwagon, haven’t they? I wonder if this is the new All Your Base? Of course there’s the whole deal with Penny Arcade. While I like Penny Arcade a lot, I read it every day — yes I know that they only update 3 days a week, but that’s how much I like it! ,, however, you don’t mess with Penny Arcade! Hell, I’ve probably just unleashed a hoard of rabid fanboys by just linking to them!

So now, it seems that the people on the Penny Arcade forum have pestered the Florida State Bar Association and now poor old Jack is under investigation

If he gets a letter of reprimand, his response will be something like this: “dear idiot: you initially contacted me. stop, or else. got it?

Jack Thompson, author

Jack Thompson, noted videogame hating, pithy email writing attorney has a book coming out. The title of the book is Out of Harm’s Way. The first chapter is available as a pdf and it seems to be an autobiography. Most of the first chapter is devoted to his conversion to Christianity. The odd part, however, is the the first before you get to that, Thompson has written a page and a half about Howard Stern, once saying that, “His new name should be Coward Stern.” Then we get three pages about an early encounter he had with Janet Reno (who Thompson once claimed was a closeted lesbian and would be unfit to be elected because someone might try to blackmail her about her sexuality… Except the fact that we know about this alleged incident seems to imply that it would be hard to blackmail her because Thompson already “outed” her…).

All in all name calling and offering a very unflattering portrayal of someone don’t seem very Christian to me…

Regardless, it once again raises an interesting dilemma. I really really want to read this book, but I also really really don’t want to give Thompson any of my money. Which will win out, my morbid curiousity or my morality? I guess time will tell once it comes out at the end of the year.

I get sent stuff for free!

Well, all my time spent watching Kathy Griffin beg for free stuff on her reality show is paying off. I got an email the other day from the developer of Professor Fizzwizzle and a link to download the whole game for free. If it wasn’t a good game, I would just ignore it and not mention it. However, Professor Fizzwizzle is pretty darn awesome.

It is a pretty straight-forward puzzle game where you control the Prof. who has to push boxes, roll barrels, use magnets, and other devices so that he can get from one teleporter to the other. The settup is that the good Prof made some robots but accidentally turned the switch to evil, so occasionally the evil robots show up to chse around Fizzwizzle while he tries to get through the level.

The game is really well made. I’m currently obsessed with the windows version but there are also versions for mac and linux. The “story” doesn’t get in the way and, like many of my favorite games, is really just a pretense for the action. The game starts off easy (incredibly so, actually!) and eventually gets pretty darn hard. However, if you get stumped, there is a neat solution feature which actually plays through the level for you but can be stopped at any time so you can take over if you figure it out once the game starts it for you.

So go buy Professor Fizzwizzle! …and maybe that way I’ll get more free stuff!!!

The Games I Play…

I’ve been playing Max Payne lately. THe bullet time, while interesting, is kind of pointless. I found it odd and gimmicy. However, it was fun.

Over Labor Day weekend, City of Heroes gave a free weekend of play, so I got absolutely nothing done that weekend.

I’ve applied to the SCMS‘s conference in Vancouver. I don’t really want to go, but it seems like everyone in my department thinks it is hot shit, so I want to go just to show them that I’m not just sitting on my ass playing games all day! Luckilly it is at the hotel across the street from the DiGRA conference, so I know exactly where it is if I get accepted!.

The main game I’m playing is still Urban Dead. Besides the fact that it is about zombies, they are still adding features to the game, so it is intersting to see a game in progress and how the game changes as new features are added. …and plus it is about zombies…

First day of class…

Today was the first day of class here at IU. I’m back to teaching the dreadfully dull public speaking, but only for the semester. At the end of the first day of class, I always go around and have the students say what they know more about than anyone else in this room and, of course, I always say, “I’m Bryan-Mitchell Young and I know more about videogames than anyone else in this room.” I always get an interesting response, mainly in the form of people asking me what games I play. Today, however, I said that I do ethnography on videogame players and then asked if anyone knew what ethnography was and in both classes at least one person asked if it had anything to do with videogames. Damn kids. Like it’s my job to teach them or something… oh, wait!

Since it was the first day of class, it was short and I found myself having more free time on my time than normal. Of course I filled it with playing Urban Dead. Or rather, I spent it checking out if my character was OK. Since you have a limited number of moves a day and build up one move every half hour, I don’t want to waste them, but I want to make sure my character hasn’t been attacked by any zombies. So we talk about pervasive gamines, but I wonder if this is some sort of pervasive games, but it seems like we the players have made this game pervasive. We check on the safety of our characters, how secure our safehouse it (and no I won’t tell you where it is, you damn zombie sympathizer!). Someone set up a wiki where people update intelligence and strategy. We’ve taken to looking for the websites and messageboards of other players to see their strategy and working with other groups of human survivors.

Then I think about the gamers I wrote a paper about last year that played Counter-Strike and Starcraft. They would email each other about gaming. They would plan ahead on when they could play. Is that any less pervasive? What about the time I spent looking online for Euchre strategies? Or for a good walkthrough for Max Payne?

I understand that pervasive games are typically about fictional web sites and fictional emails, but are those types of games any less pervasive, any less than the way I am playing Urban Dead? I don’t think so.

lazy days of summer…

Not much going on. Doing some reading. I finished up First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. The first part is good. There is some good stuff in the ludology and narratology stuff for people that have no info on it. The second half, however, how you say… sucks… Note to authors: Rather than tell me how cool your art project is, why not just show me your cool art project. Talk about dancing about architecture… Don’t get me wrong, the art projects all sound cool, but I didn’t enjoy reading about them.

On the gaming front, I’m playing Urban Dead. Zombies and gaming? Two great tastes that taste great together!