Old Videogame Magazines are interesting

As part of my gaming research I’ve started looking at older gaming magazines. I always heard about how great Next Generation magazine was but I never read it. So I got some on ebay and I’ve only gone through 5-6 issues and already found some really interesting things.

One of those interesting things was in issue 48. In that issue they interview Gabe Newell and on page 143 of that issue they ask Newell about things he wanted in Half-Life that didn’t make it in and he mentioned something about Half-Life that I never heard before. Newell said,

“Probably the biggest aspect from a story perspective was Gordon’s wife. She actually was a co-worker who was in the lab with Gordon when everything starts to go to hell. Unfortunately, she didn’t work with some other parts of the game, and Marc Laidlaw had to convince me that leaving her out would make the rest of the story stronger.”

So Gordan Freeman originally had a wife! I wonder if they plan on bringing that story element back in a future installment of Half-Life? Unfounded speculation might guess ask if perhaps we have already met her but she doesn’t work for Black Mesa?

Screwed by Securom once again

Once again I’ve installed a crack when a game wouldn’t work because of securom.

This time it was Bioshock. I found a cheap copy on ebay and it arrived so I installed it. Unlike other securom games this time it actually installed. But they added some crappy online activation and it wouldn’t activate so I couldn’t play it.

So I go online and 5 minutes later I’ve downloaded the crack and I can now play the game I paid for. Of course I could have found it faster if I had only wanted to download the entire game and not just the crack because there are tons of cracked isos online.

So copy protection is good how? It only keeps me, who pays for the games, from actually playing the games and doesn’t seem to do anything from keeping the people who want to download it without paying for it.

Thanks for nothing securom…

Is “you need to play it on the original system” the new “you need to see it on the big screen?”

I saw a post over at Cyberzel’s Mind discussing, “Game Preservation and it got me thinking about the topic. With the popularity of the new console’s online stores and emulation of older consoles, is it ok to play emulators?

I’ve long played Nintendo games on my computer and I have played Super Mario Bros.3 and Legend of Zelda Link to the Past on my X-Box. I never really thought about emulation and I never had any qualms about emulation until recently. I’m going to be teaching a videogame course next semester and I found myself buying an Atari 2600 so that my students could play the games on the original system — particularly paddle games like Pong or Warlords.

Not only did I buy a 2600, I actually bought 2 since the first one I bought didn’t work (It did come with a bunch of games in the boxes though so that was pretty cool). So clearly I have some kind of thought process going on which says something akin to “these damn kids these day and their emulators! Why back in my day we had cartridges and our controllers only had one button and that’s the way we liked it!” On some level I’m saying, “It is ok for me to play old games on an emulator because I know what it was like to play them on the original machine. You need to learn what it is like to play the real thing!”

It is more nuanced than that though since if there was an easy way to use a 2600 controller on modern computers then I would do it(there was a 2600 to USB adapter but it doesn’t seem to be sold any more). So is the actual console irrelevant and the controller is actually the important part? Perhaps for me at least.

Of course that doesn’t explain why I don’t want to buy one of those Flashback units…

First I defend GTA IV and now I Disagree with Those who “Defend” it… I’m complex…

So in my last post I criticized those who thought that Grand theft Auto 4 ads were so horrible they should be removed even though they didn’t have any problem with much more explicit ads for Sopranos.

Now I’m making a post criticizing those who criticized those who criticized GTA IV. Boingboing.net the self-proclaimed directory of wonderful things has posted a link and summary of the link titled, “Grand Theft Are You Fcking Kidding Me. The link is to someone named Susannah Breslin who criticizes Jack Thompson and the blog Feministing for criticizing GTA IV. Now I’m certainly not concerned about someone criticizing Jacko. And while I usually agree with Feministing I’m not so upset with someone criticizing them either.

What I’m upset about is the way in which Breslin attempts to refute Feministing. Feministing wrote, “It is no question that GTA is merely reflective of the bigger misogyny embedded in capitalist patriarchy, but the question is why is a game that depicts such violence towards women so popular?” How did Breslin respond? She wrote, “Jesus Christ, if this is what degrees in gender studies hath wrought, polysyllabic bloggers still carping about the patriarchy, please fucking stop handing them out.” Then she followed up with “Did we not hunt down all the feminists and shut them up already?” and argues that Feministing is wrong by asserting that men treat women like crap and like prostitutes (implying that all men do that and not just some) and writing that “men seek out prostitutes because prostitutes let men express themselves ruthlessly. With utter impunity. Because if you pay her, you don’t have to feel guilty” as if all of that proves Feministing wrong.

My reaction to this post is in no way a condemnation of GTA. I don’t have a current gen system so I can’t play GTA 4. I have played the previous GTA games and they are, like R rated films, meant for adults. The play mechanic of running over people, including prostitutes, is way over hyped by the sensationalistic media and that is not even to mention that ignorant people keep claiming that there is rape in Grand Theft Auto 3 when there is no such thing.

My reaction is a condemnation of summary dismissal of raising questions about what the depiction of women in the game means and the implication that not only is it an accurate depiction of the world but that all men are like that and that we should just shrug our shoulders in response and say “that’s just the way the world is.”

In all honestly, I’m not really concerned that someone posted some off-based defense of GTA IV. I’m saddened that Boingboing would link to this post, seemingly without irony. Really? This is what Boingboing things is a wonderful thing? I thought they were better than this.

So apparently not only is Boingboing anti-feminist and anti-intellectual, they don’t like criticism either because one of my posts got censored. That’s two strikes…

Ban These Evil (Video) Games (Ads)?

The UK’s Daily Mail once ran the front page headline, “Ban These Evil Games” but apparently the world of videogame culture is so vile and evil that we need to go beyond baning the games and taking up some sort of tobacco and alcohol style regulation of advertising and not even advertise games on public transportation. Or at least that is what some would have happen apparently.

With the imminent release of Grand Theft Auto 4, the advertising is in full swing including advertising on buses and bus stops. Now anyone on the inside of videogames and gaming culture would not be surprised that good old Jack Thompson doesn’t like the GTA4 ads but he isn’t alone. At least one local television station has complained about the ads and gotten them removed.

Of course the main rallying cry is “Think of the children!” and it isn’t just some reactionary “Vidja games am the eval!” moral panic, right? Because they would be upset no matter what violent (or uberviolent or ultraviolent or megaviolent or whatever word you want ot make up) and designed for adults form of entertainment was advertised on busses and other public places where children could see them, right? Right…

It is funny how all of these moral crusaders seemed to be looking the other way when The Sopranos was advertised on the side of a bus with a hand holding a handgun in place of the “r” in March. Or when The Sopranos was advertised by having a fake arm dangle out of the trunk of taxis implying that there was someone locked in the trunk. Or when The Sopranos rented out space in shoe store windows and placed “cement shoes” in the display window. Or when The Sopranos put stickers on taxis in Scotland that looked like bullet holes and blood.

But I’m sure that such oversites are just isolated incidents and these people really have the best interests of children in mind and not simply some moral panic, crusade, or ignorance of videogame culture or anything like that…

Despite the best intentions gaming the library initiatives can have some odd results

Apparently today is “gaming in your library day.” While there is some controversy over having games at the library, I’m all for it. After all libraries have had movies and music for years so why not games?

While the university has had little extension library things in the dorms that rented out games and movies for years it is only in the last few months that they main library has begun to rent out games. They have a small collection of xbox, 360, PS2, PS3, Gamecube, and Wii games. Imagine my surprise though when I notice a floppy disk version of Dig Dug:
Dig Dug C64
Then I took a closer look at it and not only is it a floppy disk but it is for the Commodore 64!
Dig Dug C64

I can only imagine where they found that disk gathering dust back on some shelf somewhere.

If that weren’t interesting enough, I was in the library today and noticed two games had been added to the collection:
H.E.R.O. 2600
H.E.R.O. for the Atari 2600
Ghostbusters NES
and Ghostbusters for the NES.

I can only imagine how many other games they have floating around in the system somewhere. Of course it isn’t unusual that they would have some unusual items in a system as large as IU’s library but it does seem kind of unusual that they would put them out on the shelf. It makes me feel like hooking up my Atari and NES just so I can check out a couple of these!

When Did Videogame Ads Get Such Odd music?

Once upon a time you could count on videogame ads to either have agro angry rock in it or pretentious orchestral music. Not any more. They have weird music in them. The first one that I noticed was the Gears of War Trailer featuring Mad World.

Then Lost Odyssey had Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit

Now Grand Theft Auto 4 has Miles Davis’ Move

Maybe it is just me but it is just kind of odd to hear Miles Davis in commercials for a videogame.