Wednesday, March 3, 2010

getting what you wish for

Abbot's argument that a realistic war game centered around the battle of Fallujah should be released because of its “potential” strikes me as hilariously misguided. He gives the game the benefit of the doubt, that this game will be an artful, delicate discussion of war and its consequences. I think we can all see this coming: Six Days in Fallujah will be Modern Warfare, but with the main character shooting at actual Iraqis instead of pretend-Iraqis.

Assuming a first-person-shooter war game will treat combatants with respect and artfulness instead of targets in a shooting gallery is just a hilarious way of framing the history of the genre. Even the comparisons to Hurt Locker don't faze me - in a movie, it is possible to work in a genre other than action. Maybe you haven't noticed, but every video game since the death of adventure games have been entirely dependant on "action" as a genre - the way we classify games is not the subject of the game, but by the mechanic with which we are experiencing the action. "Drama" doesn't really suit the existing paradigm for games. In order to argue Six Days in Fallujah will be a Hurt Locker instead of a Call of Duty, you literally have to argue it will completely repurpose the entire medium.

I have nothing to say about the morality or wisdom of releasing such a game. To do so would force me to address every FPS game that was set in a non-fictional circumstance.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

the critical phase

My mind has been blank lately. The games I’m playing now aren’t particularly stimulating (Darksiders, which is… Zelda. And Bowser’s Inside Story, which is… Mario RPG) until I get stuck on something for an hour because I’m terrible at videogames. Nothing interesting is happening politically except for a few fringe things like a dude promising to destroy liberalism in three weeks (Countdown timer!), the health care summit was boring, my programming attempts are foiled by simple technical problems, ET CETRA

So this is the time where I either buckle down and continue to stretch my brain, in order to write without anything occupying my mind – or I abandon this project in a fit of apathy. Since I’m writing this, that seems unlikely.


I occasionally revisit the global warming post with new information and links.

In a fit of whimsy, I also decided to ask ChaCha (the text message service that will pay someone to answer your inane questions, along with tons of ads) if global warming was real. About halfway through the convo I think someone else picked up the conversation though:

me: Is global warming real

chacha: No, Global Warming was created by politicians in Washington. They paid scientists to invent the idea of global warming.

me: How much did american politicans pay scientists to invent global warming

chacha: Most scientists consider global warming "unproved," dismiss it altogether, or highlight the dangers of focusing on only one point.

me:  What percentage of climate scientists do not believe in global warming

chacha: Over 31000 American scientists have signed petitions against global warming stating that it has not been proven.

me: How many climate scientists are there

chacha: There are hundreds of climate scientists or climatologists such as Krishna AchutaRao,Mark Cane,Joe Farman,Phil Jones and manymore!


If there are "hundreds" of climate scientists how did tens of thousands of climate scientists sign a petition against global warming?

chacha: Perhaps it's a misunderstanding. I believe it was said that tens of thousands of scientists in general signed the petition. Only hundreds would actually be climate specialists. Also, some sources are known to inflate the numbers to suit their cause.

me: Have average global temperatures increased or decreased in the past 100 years?

chacha: Over the past 100 years, the average surface temp has risen by about 1.3 degrees. Most of the increase has occurred since the 70s.


So the globe is warming, but its not global warming?

cha cha: It is global warming. Global warming isn't everything turning hot all the time; it means changing the delicate balance of climate. (This is where I got a new person, I guess)

Anyway. Cute fun. It’s silly to see how the person responded to my direct and specific fact-based questions (except for the last time, which was a silly trap), but I’ve also asked for Metacritic ratings on videogame titles in the past and gotten “The gamespot score is… !” so. Next time I’ll ask about the “hockey stick” study and if it’s legitimate or not, and see what the person being paid to sit in front of their computer and research this question comes up with (It will probably be wrong).