Double Agent
How do you afford your rock and roll lifestyle? - June 5, 2001 - Chris Jones

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this column are those of the participants and the moderator, and do not necessarily reflect those of the GIA. There is coarse language and potentially offensive material afoot. My human tied me in a bag and throwed me in the water. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Last year was the Summer of Adventure, or SoA. This year is the Summer of Sitting Around Waiting For Metal Gear And The Gamecube To Come Out, or SoSAWFMGATGTCO. Next year I may learn to play mumblety-peg.

I dunno, maybe Tycho and Gabe are right, and games really are getting more boring.


'Sup, Chris,

I think you're right on when it comes to the music scene, but I don't think it can really be applied to games like that. Fact is, most consoles start with crap, end with crap, and have creamy crap centers. The few good games periodically punctuate the gaming landscape, and those are the ones we like to remember, but I'd say the majority of games that come out aren't really very good. Ever gone to your local video store and seen all the used games that no one wants? My God, there's heaping mounds of them.

Rather than applying a cyclical model to gaming, I'd say it's a pretty even flow of games not really worth anyone's attention -- which is why we don't pay attention -- with a good game popping up here and there. (But frequently enough to keep us all PLENTY busy.)

El Cactuar (I said "'Sup." I feel so dirty...)

Most honorable "'sup"-saying sir, this unworthy one must respectfully disagree. Good games seem to move in surges - maybe it's not cyclical, but there's definitely some grouping going on. When the SNES came out, games were few but what there was was gold: the first four titles I played through were Mario World, Actraiser, Populous and Final Fantasy II, and a better opening run I may never see again. When I first got the PSX, there wasn't much out for it, and now there's not much out for it, but last year we had a blitz of great titles from Square and others... I'm still not caught up. It's not that there's not crap coming out all the time as well, but there are plenty of times where there's so much good stuff coming out the that the crap seems... less crappy. Or something.

Gaming is.

Basically, them old school games we all pine for, from yesteryear, pretty much sucked about as much as the new games we all think suck now. Hear me out. Yeah, some few games like the original Super Mario or a bit more recently, NHL95 for example, were good. Same thing now: ATV Off Road Fury is fun, as is NFL2K1 and SoulCalibur. However, we always put on rose-coloured glassed when we think about the past, and we think that our present era featured crappy games and that the past featured god's gift to gamers with each and every game. The cyclical (or potato shaped) nature of gaming is all imagined. Gaming is. Each era is good, simply because no matter how many crappy games are released, some damn fine ones are released too, and we get to play them. And that is good. Yeah.


I could make the same argument I made above, but I'm too mellowed out by your dude-speak to make a big argument. And that is also good. Yeah. Or something.

The secret life of Fritz
,senoJ sirhC

In response to john's letters about Xenofans coming out of the woodwork, the reason so many lovers of the game have kept themselves hidden in the closet for so long is that, on January 9, 2001, Fritz Fraundorf was quoted in the column to have said in regards to Xenogears: "[I]Dislike the fans but not the game".

Now who in their right mind would wanna go and get on Fritzy's bad side? We are all aware of his past as a mob member and leader of numerous terrorist organizations. So for the longest time now people have avoided going out in the daylight for fear that Mr. F.F. might come and frag their sorry Xenoloving asses.

But now, with all the hype surrounding Xenosaga, fans have finally decided to take a stand against Fritz's Reign of Terror. They've all been holding it in for so long that they just have to let it all go, all over the column, making a sticky mess for everyone.

So what does this say about us Xenofans? we're all spineless wimps, but we can last forever in bed.

yours cruelly,
opultaM Forward

I thought Fritz himself needed to answer this one, but I missed getting it to him by press time. However, I was advised by the rest of the staff to mock you for your overly familiar tone, so...

Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!

Consider yourself mocked.

Anti-Titanic I
I am no Christian, but I totally agree with the Christian Answers Titanic review. In addition, their information about the content of games could be useful to parents who do not understand the ESRB ratings or just don't trust them.

You have to give them credit: their video game reviews are definitely unique. You certainly cannot get these kinds of perspectives from the GIA. ;)


P.S: I read the user reviews of Xenogears on that Christian video game review web site, and I found some reviewers that really praised the Christian virtues of Xenogears. And I quote: "I've even known two people who've been led to Christianity through "Xenogears"" I wonder how well Xenogears would have done if Billy Graham gave it endorsements like this.

I think Billy Graham recommending Xenogears would have been a sign of the apocalypse. That aside, the fact that some users praised the game while the writer trashed it is exactly what made the whole thing so interesting for me: everybody saw what they wanted to see out of the game. I'm not saying that any of the reviews on that site or wrong, but they're really different from my personal take on things, and they're moderately well argued, and I find that fascinating. As for the Titanic review...

Anti-Titanic II
"...this must be the only site in the world which finds Titanic more morally objectionable than Saving Private Ryan and Red Dawn."

For the record, I found Titanic far more morally objectionable than Saving Private Ryan.


There's two ways I can take this: jokingly, and seriously. Jokingly, sure; ha ha, what a lame movie, Celine Dion sucks, etc. If we're talking actual film quality, then of course I agree: I've always said LA Confidential got robbed by Titanic, and while I'm not a huge SPR fan, anybody should be able to see that it's a far, far better and more serious film.

But if we're actually talking morality, I can't agree. Let's take the film review on face value for a second: Rose is a slut and a thief, Jack's a low class wastrel, and Rose's fiance is a decent guy who's well within his rights during his violent outbursts, just another example of the horrid, horrid prejudice against rich white males. (Ok, I can't take that last part seriously, but let's pretend anyway.) On the other hand we have Saving Private Ryan, a movie which features completely average, regular American guys pushed into insanely trying circumstances. Germans are fragged, shot, executed, and barbecued, although to their credit, they attempt to do much the same to our guys. I'm not much for morals or ethics, but I do think it's fair to say the following: are the actions in SPR necessary? Yes, absolutely. Are they moral? No. That being the case, I can't seriously suggest that pre-marital sex and grand-grand-grand theft is worse than the wholesale slaughter of enemy soldiers, no matter what the context.

I really have no idea why I felt compelled to argue that point. Ah well, flame away.

Can you say, massive lawsuit?
hey chris,

i was surfing around the other day and i came upon this:

i don't know exactly what the legality of it is, but it's pretty crazy that a company completely unattached to the gaming industry would choose to name themselves after and steal their logo from zelda. of course in true double agent fashion we could see this as an example of gaming becoming even more accepted by the general public.


Ok, so what we have here is a mediocre-looking website with an incredibly prime domain name, founded by a bunch of guys who will doubtless argue that they were just huge Zelda fans in their youth. My bet is, it's just a front business to hang on to the domain name while Nintendo makes its mind up to buy it off of them, but perhaps they could also be contemplating some bizarre form of suicide-by-litigation. Who knows?

Closing Comments:

Fares' letter brings up an interesting question: what do you want from reviews, both from the GIA and from the many-faceted media in general? What standpoint do you want them written from, what criteria do you want them to cover, and what shortcomings do you see in the existing review method? I'll be back tomorrow, until then, sharpen your quills on that one.

-Chris Jones, as long as their soda cans are red, white, and blue ones

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