Do you love Lieberman? - August 12th, 2000 - Drew Cosner
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not neccessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. Remember how you hit that dog and took off? That wasn't so much a dog as an old guy in a coat. Don't say that I didn't warn you.
After writing yesterday's column, it occured to me that there are probably some new readers since my departure. To introduce myself more properly, I've posted my bio that accompanies my work in other publications.
Drew Cosner has been writing about Internet humor since 1994. His syndicated weekly editorial, Bits and Bites, currently appears in the Miami Herald, New York Times, Plain Dealer, and Washington Post. In addition to journalism, Drew has had several books published, including Ping? Pong!, Your Sound Card's in my Peanut Butter, and I Lost my Muffler on the Information Super Highway.
Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, Drew went on to graduate from Kent State University with a degree in engineering. At Kent State, Drew was actively involved in the school chess club and readers' club, and the Kent State Junior Republicans Comittee.
Drew now resides in Washington, Pennsylvania, with his wife Sally and dog Proteus. When not writing, Drew enjoys reading, gaming, and downloading inordinate amounts of pornography to compensate for his nonexistent sex life thanks to a wife who is as equally overweight and unattractive as he is.
Now that we've gotten to know one another, let's get this show on the road.
|THIS IS AN FFIX SPOILER. IS THAT PERFECTLY UNDERSTOOD?
Just so you know, Zidane's tail is NOT fake. I won't say more because it is
a huge plot point and I don't want to spoil it for anyone. (You find out
about his tail some 30-35 hours into the game.) I'm not joking, either. I
just finished up Final Fantasy 9. It has a fantastic story. And
admittedly, Garnet does look like a mini-Rinoa. Their personalities are
different, though, so don't worry.
It must be revealed in the storyline that Zidane is the last in an ancient race of people who need my fist in their faces.
|I have the best readers
Drew, you are funny bastard. I hope death spares you, unlike the rest of us mortals, but continues to age you until your a withered pile of man hashings, all wrinkled up and dry unable to speak or move, but still able to feel the breeze agonizingly brush against your mangled skin whilst smelling the putrid decay that pours forth from your bedraggled flesh.
-Kandrin on ice.
|It's my latest recurring theme. How do you like it?
Off the bat, I might as well tell you that I'm 14. Moving on, I went to the movies yesterday, to X-men. We have this really nice Marcus theatre by us, besides for one thing.. The manager and two of the workers there look like the guy at Krusty Burger from Simpsons. This isn't normally a problem, I see the movies with some of my older friends/my brother, but I was going alone today. I step up to the booth and ask for a ticket to theatre 13 4:15 show of X-men. He responds with, "I don't think you look old enough to see this movie." ...... This is PG-13, mind you. And that's SUGGESTED, not a solid rule. And anyways, I'm 14..! I give him a well drawn out arguement about why I should see this movie, and I ask to see the manager, I get refused and somone from security "escorts" me out (Grabs me by the back of the shirt and more or less drags me out). I email the manager of the theatre, complaining about this, something like 900 words long, I forgot exactly. And instead of an appology, or atleast a well-written response, I get this, an exact copy from the letter. " Thank you for your e-mail. We welcome all opinions of our theatre." ....
Now if that wasn't bad enough, it's apparent that the same guy that kicked me out of Marcus theatre, I went to Software Etc. yesterday, and I was asking to buy Age of Empires II. The guy refused to sell it to me because of how I spoke to him at Marcus. Luckily some of my EB friends whos buisness of mine keeps them open (I spend usually $50 a week there. And if you're wondering how I'm so rich, I'm a paperboy and Caddy.) They go back and talk with him, I end up buying the game anyways...
You should've thrown a bucket of chum in his face.
|This is the funniest thing I've heard in a long time
If you're scratching your head over that Rock and Roll McDonalds thing, check
out WesleyWillis.com. Wesley Willis a 300 lb, 6'5", schitzophrinic musician.
All of his songs pretty much sound the same: a Casio keyboard with the
preprogrammed beat "Country Rock 8", with a few variations here and there in
each song, each song's chorus is the title of the song repeated four times,
and he ends each song with "Rock over London! Rock on Chicago!" and then
inserts a pop-culture catch phrase at the tail end of the song. There's
actually a Wesley Willis lyric generator available at:
http://sexsexworld.com/jxl/rolroj.html. Here's what I came up with for your
I love the way you tell the stupid son of a bitches to fuck off
It whupped a horse's ass
The grunge rock show was over at last
This venue is called Electric Lounge
You are the president of American Recordings
The classic rock jam session was a joyride
I like you a lot like flash in the pan
The jam session was a success
Rap harder like a Magikist
Both of you are on my side
You can really rap your ass off
You are a rich millionaire
I like you a lot in the long run
You are my buddy to the max
I love you like a chuck wagon
I love it here when I play a rock show with my band
Rock over London, rock on Chicago
The heartbeat of America - that's today's Chevrolet
That would just be a beautiful song,
Wow, you readers open entirely new worlds to me. And every one of those worlds is freaking nuts. I love you guys. Wesley Willis is further prooves that to get reknowned you either need to do something really well or do something really poorly and be a raving psychotic. I'd say that I fall decidedly into the second category when it gomes to hosting letters columns. All of you, go download the MP3 of "Shoot me in the Ass." You owe it to yourself.
Sak, for introducing me to the wonderful world of Wesley Willis, you are more than deserving of a Sexalicious Award.
Remember, exposure to the Sexalicious Award has been known to cause extreme radness! You'll be the coolest damned kid on your block! Can I have sex with you now, or will I need to wait in line with everyone else just to get my piece of Sak?!
|Slice and dice
Hey, agent Drew!
I have to say that I have nothing but respect for Joseph Lieberman. He knows
that some games are inappropriate for younger gamers, and he also knows that
their ratings impose no restrictions their sales. Unlike movies. Kids can't
get into R-rated movies, but they can slice and dice innocent people on
their Playstations all they want.
I, being a lowly clerk at an EB instead of a vice-presidential running mate,
will willingly sell a copy of Perfect Dark or Soldier of Fortune to an
adult, but I have trouble letting parents buy these games for their kids.
Though I personally don't believe seeing these games will cause a kid to
pull a Columbine on their school, I think that most kids shouldn't see
people getting torn apart.
As for the possibility that Lieberman's ideas will undermine the artistry
and human truth in games, consider that films are treated in a similar
manner. Many films deal with sex, drugs, violence, trauma ... but kids CAN'T
see them and we can. Adult moviegoers are not robbed of a humanistic
cinematic experience, and kid moviegoers see their Disney films and are not
cavalier about death and pain. Games should be treated in a similar manner.
We can have our Resident Evil, they can have their Pikachu.
-Kate, who is being much too serious today
I would have to disagree with you on one count: kids can certainly see some of the more violent films. It doesn't exactly take a genius to ask for a ticket to one film then go into another. Hell, I was, like, only 16 when I figured that one out. Of course, you've opened an entire can of worms with your "segregation of titles dependant upon age group" theory there, which is good. Again, no topic for tomorrow, so here you go.
|Greasing the wheels of democracy
The comparison between movies and videogames is somehow apt (noticed how cinematic videogames have become? Not that it's an inherently wrong thing...). It should be noted, then, that while we do sometimes get to see jems that open a dialogue on "some of the more powerful and and less attractive realities of human existence", the majority of US movies we are served up aren't that type of movie: rather, they're entertainment devoid of content and requiring preposterous leaps of faith in order to be watchable. Sounds like quite a few games to me..
Yet, affirming that movie ratings are somehow better at filtering for age than game ratings solely because they have been enforced as of late is somehow... simplistic. Sure, it may be that theatre owners do pay more lip service to enforcing the MPAA ratings, but said ratings are in and of themselves far from perfect. For one thing, it's easy for studios to get movie ratings lowered solely by removing anything that is perceived as too sexual in nature, while leaving any violent scenes virtually untouched; I mean, I'm not going to go on a limb and declare myself a fan of either excess, but it seems that one is being favored over the other, and that's just unbalanced...
Then again, considering this country was first settled by people who thought that almost any physical contact was sinful in nature, but had no problem putting people in stockades for the above reason, creating one of the most austere prison systems ever, and driving the natives of this land as far from them as possible by any means necessary (once said natives figured out that these settlers had different ideas on what living on land means, and figured out they better stop playing nice)...It's not that surprising.
I'm not denying that videogame ratings are a tad more arbitrary; that's due to the fact that they have been in place for a shorter time than their cinematic counterpart. And yet, that's not why loosely framed ratings for videogames are a more acceptable target than movie ratings...
Videogames are being targeted as sources of entertainment that promote violence, while criticism on unfettered violence in movies has been toned down somewhat, for a very simple reason: most bigwigs in the movie industry make for generous campaign contributors (of course, this is truer for the Democrats), and usually very good publicity at fundraisers. Videogames would be picked on a lot less if larger videogame companies budgeted for political contributions...
You would think it was all about keeping kids happy and safe, but it's really about those soft, fat checks... Sorry, but the welfare of American youth has never been less of a political priority than it is nowadays (case in point: the percentage of kids living in poverty in the US has never been higher...but that's being blamed on single motherhood...no, nothing to do with having a shitty record in social programs...)
Princess Jemmy, whose grammatical compulsion flared up, and it's driving her to point out that you mispelled the word 'weasel', among other things...
P.S.: Zidane must have been given a tail because wings have really been overdone recently, which must have put the game designers in a bind of sorts (at least he wasn't given wiskers or other overly cutesy
Damn, I did misspell the word weasel. Although I might point out that "mispell" is the alternate, less accepted way of spelling misspell. So there.
Anyhow, yeah, money certainly lubes the wheels of democracy.
|Warning: game contains crap content
On this serious and political subject I would point out this. The
Democratic National Convention this time is in L.A. I wonder since the
entertainment industry gives huge amounts of money to the Democratic Party
will Sen. Lieberman tone down the critisism of the entertainment industry? If
he does that it would be worse because that shows that our politicians views
change because of lobbyist's money which would make me sick. So it all
reminds me of Punching Puppet Ghaleon where contributers control what a
politician says and does. But we should be critical and be upset if game
companies use so-called "mature" content just to hide the fact that the game
really sucks because that has happened before.
That would probably explain why Senator Liberman began to awkwardly thrust his fists outword in strange poking gestures while giving a speech the other week.
Oh, damn. It's you again....
-Sunn, on his way to RPGamer
Usually Flamers' Corner is reserved for the kind acerbic hate mail that sends rays of rancor eminating from your screen, or incoherent rant-fests that look like a schizophrenic sat down at his computer and typed out his feelings towards the importunate voice in his head that tells him to burn things.
However, it's been so darned long since I've been able to give out awards, I was just itchin' to hand out a Flamer Award. So bask in it, Sunn. And you didn't even have to acuse me of homosexuality to get it.
Remember, the Flamer Award will come up and adorably peck at the bread crumbs you've scattered about, then thank you by shitting in your eye as it flies away.
|Think about it, now
As is everything I say, in my opinion, the games as art (or as cinema) movement is one of the more ludicrous events to occur in the industry in a while. Simply because of the history of video games, I don't think that anybody but the most obsessive of fanboys could begin to comprehend games as art, or see a deeper meaning that hasn't been reiterated a million times before and a million times more eloquently in a book.
The industry that esentially began with a computerized version of table tennis, to the casual fan, could never be considered to have as serious a nature as cinema. Even we, the alleged 'hardcore' fans, don't usually look to the artistic merit of a game to be one of the key factors in purchase. One of the remaining differences between games like the latest Sakaguchi (well...FF9 excluded I suppose) or Kojima epics as opposed to movies are interactivity. As long as gameplay exists in games, they will never be able to successfully adress higher level issues or morals without simply coming off looking foolish. (erhm....Xenogears) The essential statement is that by their very nature, video games are not meant to have true meaning, in the sense that works of literature, art, and select works of cinema do.
This said, it really should come as no surprise that I feel the best developers today are those who are the master of the...dare I say... 'old school' ethic of game as a game. Releases from developers like Capcom, Treasure, NCL, or SNK (rip) certainly don't even attempt to be on the level of Tolstoy. However, staying true to their innate nature is what makes their games so enjoyable.
Sure, sometimes games like Metal Gear Solid can get the fusion of higher level story and excellent gameplay together, but couldn't the gameplay exist seperately from the story and be considered good on its own? And what, apart from a few trite plot twists, separates the story of MGS from a movie like Chuck Norris's 'Delta Force'? Until some genius finds a way to completely unify storyline with gameplay, games cannot and should not try to evolve to be as deep as movies, art, or literature.
My counterpoint would be the striking similarities between the development of both movies and games in their early years. In the beginning, films were viewed as nothing more than a novelty. Eventually they became an accepted form of entertainment. From their they began to take on more complex issues, until they eventually became revered as an art form. And in fact, this perception of film even shows in critics' film reviews. When a film is a lighthearted, if hackneyed ride, critics will often tear into it. Occasionlly you'll get a nicer reviewer who will admit it to be cheap fun, but that's about the highest praise you'll find.
Similarly, games were initially a new draw that people were willing to try out because they'd never seen anything like them before. Now, games are at the stage where they're viewed as a form of entertainment, and nothing more. Will games ever make that next step as film did? Similarly, do our expectations in a game also have something to do the type of game that gets developed? The level of interactivity afforded by the video game format could really lead to some amazing titles if developers would be willing to try it.
Of course, this leads to quite a few questions, and since I'm not bothering to specify a topic for tomorrow, I'll let you ruminate about the points brought up in this letter instead.
I'm going to take it easy for tomorrow and not bother to specify a topic. I'm sure that will result in a whole slew of asinine letters. Frankly, those are my favorite kind. So mail me.
I understand that Chris has given you an entire guide giving you pointers on how to get a letter posted in the column. Never one to be outdone, here's a quick reference that will make it easier to convince me to print your letters.
- Be controversial. If there's anything the television show Will and Grace has shown us, controversy is plenty enough a compensation for a complete lack of worthwhile content.
- Send me ranting, raving flames brimming with hollow logic and made-up curse words. When creating your own cuss language, remember that vowels are necessary.
- Make absolutely no sense at all. Again, keep in mind vowels when writing.
-Drew "Rock over London, Rock on Chicago" Cosner