RE: The Gospel (An Engineer’s Approach)

So, following a REALLY bad day where I am at my home feeling all kinds of down, a dear and very far-away friend of mine decided to cheer me up by sharing something with me.  It is a series of hand-written notes that detail and engineer’s perspective on how the Gospel and the acceptance of Jesus Christ affects their lives and why salvation is just the best.  This isn’t going to be a post where I use words.  I have saved the images, and you can see it for yourself.  I shall respond to each picture individually, then wrap up with my final thoughts.  Trust me, this is going to be fun.  I haven’t had something this nuts to take apart in a LONG time.

The Gospel (Engineer 1)Wow, this almost looks kind of smart.  They seem to have taken a mathematical approach for this.  And their logic has points where it makes sense.  Something had to have caused the universe.  However, like all the rest of the Creationists, you decide to take all the logic you have going and fill it in.  You say that the only way that there cannot be an infinite number of possibilities to cause the universe, there had to be an uncaused cause.  Why?  For real, why can’t the universe itself be the uncaused cause?  How is it that you know that the universe hasn’t always existed in some form or another?  What evidence do you have for this contention?  You are using God as your postulate, even though there is NO evidence for his creating the universe.  None.  So, right out of the gate your theory is flawed.

You end this by stating that you have proof that God is a person, with your evidence being biomimicry.  I did Google that, and you have displayed another stunning moment of ignorance.  You got it backwards.  Biomimicry is when we take something that we observe in nature and emulate it, in one form or another.  How is it that an engineer, who seems to be an educated sort, doesn’t get that?  It’s easy to point to examples of this.  Modern computing has been modeled on animal behaviors for some time.  It kills me that someone so intelligent is so blind to facts.

The Gospel (Engineer 2)God, all of this is so flawed!  Since your premise of God being the uncaused cause of the universe is flawed, all of the logic that you garner from this knowledge is flawed as well.  But, for the sake of argument, let’s run with it.

You state that God is the source of morality and ethics.  Here’s the problem – which part of the Bible are you using to back that up?  The Old Testament or the New Testament?  You gotta make a distinction, because each one has different laws.  You wear any polyester?  If so, according to the Old Testament, you’ve just committed a sin.  You have long hair or tattoos?  According to the Old Testament, you have just committed a sin.  You love your family more than you love Jesus?  According to the New Testament, you have just committed a sin.  When you say that God’s morals are perfect, that simply isn’t true.  One can easily justify almost any kind of violent lifestyle based on different parts of the Bible.  The reason for this is because it is written by people, who all have their own prejudices.  Do you believe, as the Baptists and the like believe, that gay people are bound for Hell?  Or do you believe the fun-loving Jesus belief that everyone belongs to God and that being gay is a-okay?  You can’t argue for perfect morality if you have all this discrepancies.

You then introduce another flaw into your reasoning.  You state that the world doesn’t live up to this perfection, without having addressed my points.  The world falls into that, and so you fall into that.  You define and visually express this separation from the world and God’s design as “sin.”  Yet, you only have emotional states in their.  Are you saying that all negative emotions are a result of sin?  Well, biology disagrees with you there, but let’s keep going.

The Gospel (Engineer 3)So, given that we have found flaws within your flawed reasoning, we must continue to find more flaws.  I can run with that.  You state that our failure to live up to God’s expectations is the cause of problems, and that doing good things is not enough to solve this.  So then, you do believe in faith without works, correct?  Just following what you’ve written.  You state that the punishment for sin is death, and because you will die, you deserve God’s judgement.  I find it interesting how a person who is educated never learned about the aging process and why our bodies eventually grow old and die.  But let’s not get hung up on the little plot holes.  We have bigger ones to tackle.

From your next point, you are one of these Christians who says that instead of God opening a giant can of Whoop-Ass (anyone remember that drink?) on us, Jesus died on the Cross for us.  I’ve already talked in detail about why the whole concept of Jesus and his sacrifice is garbage.  After all, he knew that there would only be a few days of suffering, with him then going up to Heaven and getting to rule over the universe for the rest of time with his Baby Daddy (who is also him).  In order for his sacrifice to mean something, he has to actually lose something.  But Jesus knew full-well that when he died, he’d be gaining something.  So how does that sacrifice mean anything?  God lost nothing.  He gave up nothing.  In fact, given that Jesus is also God, the reality is that he actually just did a giant circle-jerk with himself.

You end this page by saying that the Cross is a giant heat-shield that you protect yourself with.  That’s…hilariously absurd.  Haven’t laughed like this in a while.  Good on you.

The Gospel (Engineer 4)You state that the entire reasoning behind God and his circle-jerk is love.  Because God has so much love, he sent his son (who is also him) to be tortured and die.  Would you do that for a child of yours?  Would you really knowingly subject this kid to torture?  What kind of parent (not really, because it’s also him) would do that to their son?  And apparently, we are incapable of this kind of love on our own.  That’s just madness.  We’re capable of seeing through that and realizing that this God that this engineer loves so much is a monster.

He even acknowledges that because Jesus is God, he rose from the dead, proving my point about the death of Jesus being no sacrifice at all.  What idiocy.  And somehow, him rising from the dead makes it so that we can have the kind of relationship that God wants with him.  O-kay.

You end this by saying that by coming to God, you are no longer going to be causing the world’s problems, you will be helping to alleviate them, with the hint that this is what all Christians do.  I guess you don’t read history much, do ya?  This entire proof of yours is flawed from go, though, so in the end, it means absolutely nothing.  This is really really dumb.  That is all.

Until next time, a quote,

“Well, I mean, life is sacred?  Who said so?  God?  Well, if you read history, you realize that God is one of the leading causes of death!  Has been for thousands of years.  Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, all taking turns killing each other because God told them it was a good idea!”  -George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: The Men of Final Fantasy XV is wrong?! Are you Kidding Me?!

The newest trailer for the long-anticipated Final Fantasy XV came out and the hype train is running again, full-speed.  However, as is typical with anything in video gaming now, this trailer had to spark some rage in the Twitter feminist crowd.  Why?  Well, that’s easy – the party is all guys.

For real, that’s their argument.  Because the party that we saw is all men, they think that there is something wrong.  Obviously, they need a woman in this group.  And naturally, she must be a professionally-garbed and totally powerful character who totally overshadows all the others, right?

I am SO sick of this crap!  I mean, we’ve known that the primary group in this game was a bunch of guys ever since it debuted back in 2006, when it went under the name Final Fantasy versus XIII.  There is the prince, Noctis and his buddies.  Since a lot of the plot of this game is under wraps, we don’t know what has got them out together in the world, but we know that they are.  Each of these characters has a lot of character.  They are believable and the bonds between them feel real.  So what exactly is the criticism here?  That because there aren’t any women in the party, women are somehow demeaned?  We already know that there are women in the game, and one of them is part of a darker plot involving Noctis.

Why is it that the Twitter and Tumblr feminist crowd have to nitpick EVERY fucking thing!  For real, ladies, calm the fuck down!  I am a guy who totally loves equality.  I love seeing women in stuff I like.  Heck, I have no problem with female protagonists.  Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII was a cool character, and they better have her in Kingdom Hearts III because she’s earned it.  But you know what I don’t like – bad characters.  Rather than try and shoe-in a female character who is overly strong and super-capable and all the qualities that your kind wants, how’s about we instead let this game be this game and don’t get hung up on it just because it’s popular.

For real, I did not hear ONE thing about this issue eight years ago.  I didn’t hear about it last year, during the re-reveal when it got a new title.  It was clear as day from that trailer that this party was going to be a bunch of guys.  So, they only care about this issue when it becomes trendy?  That seems to be the case, as the anti-men-in-gaming lingo of the Twitter and Tumblr feminists picked up steam only in the last couple of years.

So, here’s a question – what if these guys don’t hate women?  For real, what if they treat women like anybody else and don’t go all “get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich, bitch!” about it?  For real, what if they are like the ACTUAL gamer audience who you all want to label and stereotype as neckbeards who live in their parents’ basements.  Wouldn’t that be acceptable?  No, that’s not enough for you.  The reason why is simple – NOTHING pleases you people!  You all just want to get men out of gaming.  You want to get men to leave this leisure activity.  An activity that, among the hardcore gamers, appeals primarily to men!  For real, that study that you all cite about how there are more women who game now than men didn’t take into account that women make up more casual and mobile gaming, which is fine.  But the hardcore gaming audience, the platform people like me, is mostly made up of guys.  Do we want to play a game where a bunch of women are driving around talking about how oppressed women are?  No, we don’t.

You all claim that there are so few great female protagonists.  I can think of ten off the top of my head.  Hell, I can think of twenty off the top of my head.  This game has been in development for eight years, and now you all decide that you are going to throw in some judgmental bullshit, just because you want to make a point about how many guys are in gaming?  If you don’t like all the guys in gaming, here’s a thought – don’t game!  I don’t watch Oprah or read Cosmo, so why can’t you all take the same approach?  Or, go Indie and make a game just like Final Fantasy XV and put it on Steam and show us guys how it’s done!  For real, ladies, don’t just complain.  Actually do something.

Although, that would take up valuable time that could be spent complaining about how sexist everything is on Twitter and Tumblr.  Tough choice.

Until next time, a quote,

“I don’t see pathology and imminent death.  What I see is a lively, smart, creative subculture, consisting mostly of tech-savvy guys, from all over the world.  But also including a small but distinct group of really cool women!  Now, if you love games, they don’t really care about your age, your race, your ethnicity, your gender, your sexual orientation.  They just want to game!  My suggestion to their critics – stand down!”  -Christina Summers

Peace out,

Maverick

#GamerGate – More Corruption and Dismissive Behavior

I watched a new video by the Investigamer today and I learned something new about the whole debacle surrounding GamerGate.  I was prepared to let it rest, but this is worth talking about, because it adds a whole new layer of corruption to a story that was already bursting with it.  For real, this has long since left behind its humble origins of one woman and her unethical relationships.  It has grown to encompass the entire industry of gaming journalism, with a new revelation showing how not only is it all-encompassing, it is coordinated as well.  This does not bode well for people who want honest coverage of video game news.

So, what is the new revelation?  Well, when I originally commented on the retaliatory actions of the gaming sites to the valid points that gamers were raising about the ethical standards of their practices, I said that it all felt very coordinated, to me.  For real, it was like every site knew exactly what to say.  That felt MIGHTY convenient.  Turns out, it was convenient.  A new piece of information has been brought to light that shows that gaming journalists and editors from a bunch of different publications have a private communication group on Google called Gamejournopros.  In a leaked email that went through the group, they discussed how best to handle dilemma, with the phrase –

I’m not even going to give the bullshit “journalism ethics” excuse for these attacks the time of day.

Did you all catch that?  They don’t even care enough about their own integrity to defend their ethical standards.  What the hell is that?!  When 14 different news sites post basically the same article, lambasting gamers and making us all seem like terrible people, and the people who wrote them are in cahoots with one-another via a group on Google, the lack of ethical standards has to be addressed.  These people have NO interest in reporting the truth.  They only care about what sounds good to their party line.  This has to be talked about.  Because there is another piece to this puzzle that needs to be looked at.

Recently an older feminist, who is much more educated and studied than the likes of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, made a video asking if video games were sexist.  She brought up the issues that these women asked, using the term “hipsters with degrees in cultural studies” to describe them.  That’s just awesome.  She did some compelling research, including something that sees to have TOTALLY slipped the mind of women like Anita Sarkeesian – talking to gamers!  For real, she went out and actually talked to gamers and got to know the medium that she was talking about.  She also raised the point that people like me have been railing about for a while – that women like Sarkeesian cherry-pick and take examples completely out of context in order to help their narrative.

The woman, Christina Summers (AKA, The Factual Feminist), raises a lot of good points about how this idea that video games are spreading misogyny, homophobia and racism is unfounded, because the people who are part of the key demographic are among the most open-minded people in the western world.  This world of sexism that women like Sarkeesian paint us gamers as being a part of just doesn’t exist the way that they think it does.  Naturally, using strong evidence and reason to point out something against the party line that Gamejournopros is a part of didn’t sit well with them.  Especially when she did a little jab at one of their big stars – Anita Sarkeesian and her ilk.

Once-again, in what is CLEARLY a coordinated effort, several articles come out that are completely dismissive of the points that this woman makes, claiming that she is nothing but a pawn of a conservative think-tank.  Naturally, a minor amount of research shows that these accusations are totally baseless and that the people who make them don’t have a fucking clue what they’re talking about.  This woman has a Ph,D. in Psychology, along with a Bachelor’s Degree.  She was a professor in Ethics are Clark University and is currently a respected scholar at the NON-PARTISAN think-tank the American Enterprise Institute.  If there is anybody who might know a thing or two about how to actually talk about something academically, it is her.  What is Anita Sarkeesian’s credentials, again?  Oh, right, a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies and a Master’s in Social and Political Thought (seriously, WTF is that degree good for?!).  I can totally see who is the superior mind in this debate.

Crazier still is the fact that a lot of the articles that dismissed Summers were using the fact that she actually talked to gamers as a reason not to take her seriously.  For real, because she actually talked to the subjects that she was wanting to discuss, she should not be taken seriously.  How the fuck can ANY of the publications who made this argument take themselves seriously anymore?  I can’t!  For real, all their credibility has just up and jumped out the window, because they have just confessed that they don’t even care what the people they are supposed to represent have to say.  What the fuck is wrong with these people?!

This is beyond insulting.  These people are worthless.  They have no integrity.  They are an insult to journalism.  They don’t care that they are yellow as fuck.  They don’t care that they are pandering to whoever they are fucking and the friends of those people.  They don’t care about even engaging the crowd of people that they are supposed to represent.  Thank Cthulhu that the gaming companies don’t care about these people.  They are too smart for that.  They have actual RESEARCH to back up their work.  These journalists cater to people who despise gamers like me.  That, more than anything else offends me.

Until next time, a quote,

“Are there video games that are rife with sexism?  Is that true?  Do they promote a culture of misogyny and violence that must be dismantled?  Well, my answer is – no.”  -Christina Summers

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Final Fantasy XV (TGS 2014 Trailer)

This is a game that we have been waiting for for over eight years.  It debuted in 2008 and the hype train has gotten so massive that nobody cares about practically anything else that Square Enix is doing, other than this.  This game was set to be Tetsuya Nomura’s baby, his magnum opus.  It was advertised as a fantasy game that is based on reality.  And something that has consistently eluded this game is the feeling that it is based on reality.

At E3 of last year, the game came back in a BIG way with a new trailer and a new name – Final Fantasy XV.  This got people pumped in all the right ways and we assumed that it was going to be released either that year or this one.  However, when Square Enix kept everybody in the dark, we got more and more annoyed.  It looked like the annoyance was going to hit critical mass, but then, at the Tokyo Game Show of this year, we get this trailer –

About fucking time!  For real, it’s about time that Square Enix gave us something to sink our teeth into with this game.  In addition to this trailer, they have scheduled a playable demo of this game for March of next year.  The timing of that leads me to suspect one thing – a holiday season release date for Final Fantasy XV within 2015.  The timing of that would be perfect.  For real, you couldn’t plan that better.  But enough about this stuff, let’s focus on the trailer.

Something that has always eluded me is the claim that this is a fantasy game that is based on reality.  I remember seeing a realistic city and realistic clothing, but how is it based on reality?  Well, now I know.  This trailer is pretty much Noctis and his buddies going on a road trip.  For real, that’s it.  No big narrative, no sudden revelations.  Just Noctis and his pals going out on the road, eager to have an adventure.  You have them shooting the shit, listening to important news on the radio and then parking and resting at a lake, enjoying a beautiful view.  This feels like something that real people would do.  For real, all of these guys felt like people who I would know and hang out with.  That is a MAJOR step in the right direction for this game.  Since I get the feeling that the plot centers on these four guys, letting me take time to like them is important.  Though there are still little tidbits in the trailer that hint at the plot, but they don’t lose focus on the our guys.

And of course, we see the battle system.  It looks awesome.  For real, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into that as well.  Getting to fight huge monsters in what feels like a very dynamic battle setting, where every decision effects how it plays out and what lines of dialogue happen, feels just right for this game.

The visuals were fucking amazing!  It opens on a wow shot, which was smart in the extreme.  If you are going to hook an audience, it’s best to do so right off the bat.  There are a couple other little wow moments, like the city at night, the quiet lake that has giant animals chilling in it with the sun setting in the background, and the “astral shard” that has fallen from the sky.  This trailer definitely wanted to wow with the visual elements and it got me right off the bat.

However, there is one major problem that I have with this trailer.  It ends on the line from Noctis, “It’s been a long time coming.  Almost there.”  Yeah, no fucking shit!  How’s about we actually get there!  Don’t play this like a joke.  That’s not cool.  You’ve got the hype train going again with this trailer.  It’s time to get on it.  Next up, when you have that demo, should be your dub.  For real, another trailer of your dub work should be next.  That would be smart.  It’s time to get this thing ready to launch.  I have a feeling that the holiday season is when you want to do this, so let’s get it done!

This is an amazing trailer, and I am stoked to see where it goes next.

Initial Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Christian “Harry Potter” is Effing Classic

So, a Christian woman who doesn’t like the Harry Potter books and decided to rewrite them for her children.  I’m not shitting you.  Since she’s not selling them, JK Rowling can’t sue her ass for copyright, but all the same, it’s hilarious.  See, whereas the books are considered timeless classics in the world of young adult literature, these books will go down in history as the incompetent ramblings of a loony Christard who thinks that she can one-up a multimillionaire.  So, let’s take a look at some of the changes that this woman decided to make.

First, it’s not longer the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Now it’s the Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles.  And Professor Dumbledore is now Reverend Dumbledore.  Here is a gem from him –

Reverend Dumbledore beamed.  “Why thank you, little one!”  His voice had a distinctive southern twang to it that made Harry feel so safe and welcome.  He knew that moment that the Reverend was a man of God.

And it seems that Voldemort is no longer the evil wizard who is looking to become immortal.  Now he’s an EVIL atheist who is looking to pass legislation through Congress that will stop the Christians from being able to practice their religion in America.  Naturally, Harry is all upset about this because –

“But that is what our founding fathers built this nation for!” Harry cried indignantly.  “The freedom of religion!”

I’m starting to get why you never hear about America in the Hogwarts series.  We’re too busy fighting Voldemort’s American cousin and his atheist agenda.  I bet the real Voldemort would be scratching his head and very confused by this, if he knew what was going on.

Naturally, instead of being the kind of people that this author would have liked, hating magic and whatnot, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon in this book are more EVIL atheists who want to stop Harry from practicing his faith.  But the power of Gawd is just so awesome that he is able to break free of their atheist tyranny.  And of course, Hagrid is trying to help.  He wanted to save Harry.  Here’s a passage talking about this –

It was a good thing that Hagrid had got here in time.  Five years down the road, Harry might have been a fornicating, drug-addicted Evolutionist!

Oh no!  He would fornicate and believe in something that has actual evidence, unlike your Bible?  The horror!  Plus, what exactly is wrong with people have sex?  I guess that you’re one of those people who believe that sex should only be between a man and a woman and after they are married.  And of course, it must be missionary and for the sole purpose of bearing offspring, right?

Modern Christianity is scared to death of knowledge.  The thing that turns Adam and Eve against Gawd is the Fruit of Knowledge.  Christians don’t like kids to know stuff that they don’t approve of.  So, they have kids take in only the Christian-approved propaganda that you want to tell.  And what does it create?  It created horrifically bad and amusing fan-fiction that did tickle me to read.

Well done, Christards.  Well done.

Until next time, a quote,

“But I gotta tell you the truth, folks.  I gotta tell you the truth.  When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major-league bullshit, you have to stand in awe – in awe! – of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims – religion!  No contest!”  -George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Retro Review: Rigoletto (1993 Film)

RigolettoThere was a movie that the sister was absolutely in love with when I was younger.  It wasn’t a mainstream movie.  In fact, it wasn’t even known by hardly anybody.  It was made by a small company called Feature Films for Families.  Who the hell are they?  When I was younger, I thought that it was a really stupid movie.  That’s what being a little boy is all about.  But the other day, I happened upon the soundtrack for the film and I discovered that it is actually filled with beautiful pieces, most of which are performed by the stars of the film.  That’s impressive.  And the film itself was fairly engaging.  Does this mean that I am maturing?  Who knows.  However, since this is the first time that I have seen this movie in ages, I thought that I would do a Retro Review, because it isn’t exactly a new movie, is it?

The film is loosely based on an opera by Giuseppe Verdi.  The opera tells the tragic story of a hunchbacked jester named Rigoletto and his daughter, and a curse that follows the two of them.  The film, on the other hand, goes totally away from that.  It is set sometime during the Great Depression, in very rural America, where the worst of it is just starting to be felt.  The story follows a young girl named Bonnie Nelson.  She is a girl with a talent for singing, but no formal education in it.  A mysterious man named Ribaldi and his lone servant move in to the plantation manor that has long been abandoned.  Following a series of events, Bonnie comes into the employ of Ribaldi and discovers a man who is disfigured and broken, with a beautiful talent for song and a man who may not be a beast underneath his scars.

Now, on the technical side, this is not a very challenging movie.  For real, the shots are nice, but simple.  The setting is very drab and dull.  While a lot of the townspeople have character, the town itself does not.  The manor of Ribaldi is a trippy and beautiful set, but you never see much of it, aside from Ribaldi’s chamber.  That could have been expanded on.  Also, a LOT of the characters in this film are forgettable as fuck or minorly annoying.  There are three exceptions to this.

The first is Bonnie Nelson.  This girl starts out as a sweet little innocent, but as she gets close to Ribaldi, a paternal connection (because she has no father that we know of.  It’s implied that he died, but you never know) grows between them.  She unveils the beauty inside of him, while finding an internal strength that she didn’t now she had.

The second is Ribaldi and the third is his servant, Hans.  I’ll talk about Hans first.  Hans is a faithful butler who, it is implied, has been with Ribaldi since birth.  The nature of who Ribaldi is is hidden from the viewer, with little hints as to something mystical in origin.  Following being maimed, Ribaldi is utterly cruel to Hans, using him as something to attack and vent his anger.  However, despite how he is treated, Hans still wants what is best for his master.  It goes back to who it is implied that Ribaldi is.

Speaking of, my favorite performance in this film is Ribaldi.  His face is horrifically disfigured, following an incident unknown.  He left wherever he hailed from in order to escape his mutilation and the world that knew him.  It is implied that he was quite somebody back home.  Now, he is in this town, viewed with suspicion by the rest of the people there.  Yet, as he begins to discover that he can enjoy life again, his development is so beautiful and touching.  It helps that this guy has a GORGEOUS singing voice!  Oh my god, it is amazing!  I could listen to him for hours on end.  It’s that amazing.

You know, I had this idea for a remake of this film, but in a more modern setting.  I was thinking something like a city, with more attention drawn to the mythical aspect of the character.  It is implied that this man is a character in a fairytale of that world.  I would like to see that worked with.  Plus, develop the young girl who works with him a little more.  Have less focus be on the local populace, or maybe have that focus be on a couple of dynamic characters.  Not sure how to handle that.  Still, I see potential there.  Wish I could write a screenplay, because I would.

In any case, this is a movie that I came to respect a whole lot more when I was not a little boy who was afraid of cooties anymore.  It stands the test of time okay, and while most of you have probably never heard of it, I would recommend checking it out, if you like music that isn’t cheap-ass musicals like “Frozen.”  Yeah, I don’t like that movie.  So sue me.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Are “Gamers” Dead? No. (A Response to Backlash of #GamerGate)

I suppose I could end this post there, and that would be it.  But I want to expand on this, because some recent conversations and watched some videos following the end of the whole GamerGate fiasco and it got me to thinking.

I don’t know what happened along the way.  Perhaps I forgot about what happened to disillusion me to corporate news and the bias in the media.  I forgot that the news is bias as fuck and the world of reporting facts just doesn’t exist.  The Huffington Post doesn’t make money by writing factual stuff.  They make money with click-bait horseshit.  For real, it’s all too dumb to be a political agenda.  These sites just want to make money.  So they pander a certain line in order to do so.  I hardly read The Huffington Post anymore, because I just got tired of all the crap that I see on there.  I read The Guardian and watch BBC and PBS for my news.  When I saw the story about Zoe Quinn and all that BS, I got annoyed because I always kind of figured that a medium that supports a hobby of mine would be above that kind of petty crap.  But I forgot that all media is like this.  How did I forget?  Who knows.

Now, however, I realize something – who the fuck cares what Kotaku or any of those sites have to say?  I never really followed them all that closely anyway.  I would watch Angry Joe, The Investigamer, Angry Video Game Nerd and several others on YouTube in order to hear about new games, along with Gametrailers, and I would watch trailers and evaluate them for myself, outside of the whole sphere of what people on news websites that don’t do real research anyway have to say.  I would actually think for myself and talk to the people who I know who are gamers (which has gotten a lot smaller these days.  For real, I remember a time when I would see a new trailer and gush with my people.  Now, it’s just me and my split personality.  Sigh…) and we would do our own thinking.  What does anybody care what people at Kotaku think?  So a woman decided to sleep with a person who reviewed her game.  This is media, after all.  And as I’ve said, it’s all corrupt.

But there is something that I thought was worth commenting on.  A final part of the backlash that really ended the discussion once gamers like me realized that the other side of this debate has nothing of any worth to say.  What was this little tidbit?  They said that the term “Gamer” is dead and that the gamer culture is also dead.  And you know what – that’s bullshit!  It couldn’t be further from the truth.  Gamer culture is doing great!  Most people didn’t even hear about all this stuff with Zoe Quinn, because they didn’t care.  They were too busy being pissed at EA for fucking up yet-another Sims game in the latest version.  They were too busy being underwhelmed by the overhyped Destiny.  Or, if they are me, they are too busy with class and stuff that matters to get involved in any of this BS.  Gamers are too busy playing games.

What’s more, all the people like Anita Sarkeesian and her ilk aren’t even talking about anything worth talking about anyway.  You know why?  Because they are painting the gaming community as a bunch of neckbeards who sit in basements and hate women, when the reality couldn’t be further from that.  Gamers are normal people!  For real, the average age of a gamer is 25-35.  The people who love this medium the most are those who grew up with it and have watched it grow into what it is today.  It is a lot of guys, but a lot of women who are unique and fun people are getting into it as well.  The latest people to join the party and millennials, and you know what – they are less sexist than ever beore.  All this stuff about how oppressed women are in this country is bullshit and the fact that people like Anita Sarkeesian and her followers can only complain about video games, with that being the high point of their argument about sexism and misogyny, shows that they have no real ground to stand on.

Gamers are not just neckbeards in basements.  They’re professionals.  They’re stoners.  They’re liberals.  They’re conservatives.  They’re straight and gay.  They’re casual and hardcore.  They’re men AND women.  They’re young and old.  They’re all walks of life.  Everybody plays video games.  Anita Sarkeesian has NO basis for her accusations for all the misogyny in gaming because the fact is – she’s wrong!  If all this misogyny were so ubiquitous, then why is it that people are now more accepting and open-minded than ever before?

Gaming is now a force to be reckoned with.  I remember an article where they talked about how Halo 4 premiered with sales that were in the same range as Hollywood movies.  Companies like the now defunct Studio Ghibli (may they rest in peace *sad face*) teamed up with a gaming company to make an AMAZING RPG called Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.  This medium is everywhere.  It is now being recognized more and more as an art medium, with games like Limbo, Shadow of the Colossus and Journey telling beautiful and heart-wrenching tales with visual elements that help the story grow.  You get characters like Joel and Ellie and the beautiful and tear-jerking relationship that develops between them in The Last of Us.

So gamers aren’t dead.  Gaming culture is alive and well.  In fact, it’s bigger now than it’s ever been, and that doesn’t look to change.  But hey, Kotaku, if you want to believe that gaming is dead, then please, go and write about something else.  Maybe you’ll find your niche somewhere else.  See how that works out for you.

Until next time, a quote,

“But I warn you, you will be missed.  For all of 30 seconds.”  -Shirley Schmidt, Boston Legal

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America The Winter SoldierFor those wondering why it has taken so long for this review, it’s simple – I didn’t see it during the summer and just got it on Netflix, and I thought that it was worth reviewing.  Expecting a more interesting answer than that?  Sorry, can’t help you there.  There’s another summer blockbuster that I will also be reviewing with that being the reason that I never saw it when it came out.  I’ll give you a hint – it’s the one with the X-Men.  But I did finally get around to seeing this movie, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  This is a very good movie.  Considering that this is a Captain America film, that is the most surprising thing of all.  I make no secret of what a joke I think Captain America is, but this movie was quite a fun ride.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The plot of this film picks up where Avengers leaves off, with Captain Steve Rogers still a fish out of water, trying to find his place in the world.  He’s still working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but doesn’t feel the calling the way he used to.  He quickly realizes that the world he lives in may not be made for him, but corruption within the clandestine organization leads him to be back in the fight.  Especially when a ghostly enemy, called the Winter Soldier, enters the fray.  Now, Rogers must team up with Natasha Romanov and a new friend named Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon, to figure it all out.

The first thing to know about this film is that it is a LOT darker than I thought that a film about this character could be.  Steve Rogers confronting the fact that the entire life that he knew was gone was actually pretty hard.  It wasn’t just literal, either.  It was thematic.  So much of the values that he had been taught to believe in had changed and he was stuck with the realization that he might not have a place in this world.  This film doesn’t shy away from its darkness and it is made better for that.

But that’s just the heavy stuff.  The other stuff is great.  The action scenes are awesome.  As a villain, the Winter Soldier is a boss, and he knows it.  The fight choreography with the fights between him and the Captain are just great, with both of them being evenly matched and able to dish it out with the best of them.  I could watch this movie just for those fights and be thoroughly entertained.

Every character in the film is fun to watch.  The introduction of a character as silly as Falcon could have been a total disaster, but he made a nice addition, with them giving him some background as a soldier who served in the Middle East and became disillusioned with war, trying to find a way to live a normal life.  The titular Winter Soldier is a VERY cool bad guy, with his identity being shrouded in mystery until just the right moment.  It adds another level of bittersweet to the film when Rogers has to face the reality that he may end up having to kill his oldest friend and last remaining link to his former life.  They even manage to give Romanov some more identity.  There is also a character from the first movie who comes back in a really cool way.

Of course, as expected, the big action scenes are awesome.  I’m not telling anybody anything new there.  The third act of the film was freakin’ awesome!  It had it all and it never let up.

All-in-all, this was a far better movie than I anticipated.  I thought that I was going to have to suffer through a by-the-numbers superhero film, and this film surprised me.  Is it a great film?  It came closer than a thought, but no.  Still, it’s awesome to watch and I hope you all enjoyed it too.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: The Last of Us Movie Will Suck (Part Deux)

In case any of my audience didn’t know, they are making a film version of The Last of Us.  I have already talked about how the movie is going to suck, because there is no way that they could capture all the humanity of the game and the scale of time that the player was able to experience.  Plus, there is NOBODY who can fill the role of Joel and Ellie in real life who will do the characters justice.  For real, nobody.  It just can’t be done.  To try and do that is madness.  But now new information has come out about the proposed film that has made me convinced even more that it is going to suck.  There are some hardcore spoilers ahead, just so you know.  So if you haven’t played the game, well, I guess you’ve been warned.

In a recent article, Sony said that the film version of The Last of Us is not going to be like the game in terms of story.  This statement interests me because – the story of the game is both morally and ethically ambiguous.

Here’s the thing about modern America – they hate moral ambiguity in films.  They don’t like to have to think too hard.  Look at the success of filmmakers like Michael Bay.  He beats people over the head with the obvious message that he is trying to get out.  Then there is James Cameron’s latest work, “Avatar.”  That film has a message so blatant that it might as well hold up a big sign telling people what to think.  There is no subtlety in popular film.  I mean, does anybody else remember that scene in “Twilight” where Bella lays out how she feels about Edward?  I feel so bad for Kristen Stewart.  That scene must have been as hard to shoot with a straight face as it was to watch.  So when I think about a film version of The Last of Us, and I think about the fact that they are not going to follow the game too close, that leaves me a little bit worried.

There are a couple of scenes in the game that really get me thinking about this.  The first is the creepy interactions between Ellie and the leader of the bandit group, David.  David has her locked up in a cell and some of what happens between them is REALLY unnerving.  The part where he grabs her hand and the look on her face when he does this is powerful subtle.  It’s like a sex scene without anyone getting naked.  She immediately sees what this man is for herself, and she doesn’t want anything to do with it.  Then there is the final confrontation between the two in the restaurant, where David is beating her and choking her.  She gets his machete and then starts hacking the man to pieces.

The other point of moral ambiguity is when Joel decides to take Ellie from the hospital after he finds out that the cure for the plague that she has in her mind could only be extracted by killing her.  He decides to sell humanity up the river and doom the entire world to protect this one life that has given him a reason to live again.  He slaughters his former allies and even kills the woman who paired him and Ellie up in cold blood.  He lies to Ellie about what happened, so she doesn’t go back, once she comes to.

Lastly, there is the very end, when the two arrive back at Tommy’s compound.  Ellie was skeptical of Joel’s lie, but never said anything until they get back.  She tells him the circumstances of her infection, which tells a lot about her beliefs and shows that Marlene was right – Ellie would have wanted to die or the salvation of the human race.  She makes Joel swear that what he told her was true, which he does without a moment’s hesitation.  She knows that he’s lying, but decides to accept this lie, because Joel is now the most important person in her life.  The father she never had.  In him, she had also found a reason to keep going.

Will a film version of the game be comfortable with this level of moral ambiguity?  Part of the reason that we accept Joel’s cold-blooded murder of Marlene is because we came to understand the darkness inside of him that was born from years of living like a monster.  We came to care about the paternal relationship between him and Ellie.  Especially when he is saying the same things to Ellie that he said to his own daughter when he is carrying her out of there.  It’s a MAJOR tear-jerker moment when you are listening to his fear and his desperation, when he is trying to escape.  Could a film have that kind of dilemma without alienating the simpleton audience that permeates our culture these days?  Could the same people who liked “Avatar” like a film like this, which demands that they digest the same things that the characters in the game did?  I don’t know.

I genuinely believe that this movie is going to suck.  For real, there is no convincing me that it won’t.  If I’m wrong, then I’ll eat my words.  But there is no reason to think that it will be good.  Sony’s rush to get this game turned into a movie baffles me, but whatever.  I guess we’ll see how bad the damage is soon enough.

Until next time, a quote,

“Oh no, sir. With respect, can I stop you? No, with a poem or any work of art we can never say ‘in other words’. If it is a work of art there are no other words.”  -Timms, The History Boys

Peace out,

Maverick

The Europa Mystery: Part 5

The elevator started going down and I was immediately enraptured.  It could see outside and I saw lights below.  They were distorted and I knew – we were underwater!  Under the waters of Europa, at last!  This was the coolest day of my entire life.  I clung tightly to Angie’s necklace, wishing I could somehow send to her my feelings about this moment.  She would be one of the first people I wrote that night, once I got a Net link.  Then, something caught my eye – a submersible!  I could see it moving around the elevator, as if trying to shock us.  It worked.  A ton of people freaked out, thinking it was about to hit us.  But it didn’t.  This thing was able to move with the same deftness as a fish.  It was amazing to watch.  It looked so sleek, but appeared big enough to hold several people.  Something to do on-site experiments with?
The closer we got to Atlantis, the better I could see it, and holy shit was this place big!  None of the schematics or video did it justice!  There were bubbles coming from vents, with a vast spectrum of lights mingling with them.  It was like a rising river of stars.  It was circular, with a tower in the center that the elevator was connected to.  I could tell that there was another part that descended far down below.  As we got closer, I noticed something – no windows.  Part of that made sense.  I mean, what was there to look at anyway?  Not to mention, in an underwater facility, windows sounded like one hell of a structural weakness.  Too many things could go wrong.  I had a feeling that this place would feel very compressed without windows.  Would make for a stressful environment.  I wonder how they got around that?  I would find out soon enough.

The elevator docked at the bottom of the shaft.  After a decompression sequence for a few seconds, a virtual interface came on and welcomed us to Atlantis.  I stepped out and it was amazing!  While there were no actual windows, there appeared to be.  What’s more, they were showing images of a sunny day, in a field without the slightest tint of red.  Earth?  Amazing.
This place was everything I was hoping it would be and more.  So many people, all with different color uniforms for the various departments.  I could hear conversation buzzing about the work to come, the excitement from everybody who could see a bright future.  I couldn’t wait myself.  Part of me desperately wanted to go down to where my Band told me my station was and get down to business, but according to the integrated clock, I was not on for another 12 hours.  Best to get some rest.  I did feel a little tired.  Funny, considering that I had been in a freezer for over a month.  Still, part of me was utterly exhausted.  Mari and I got to our room and I got to link into the Net.  It was already up and running!  I sent a message to the folks, telling them that I had arrived.  Sent one to Angie as well, telling her how much I was missing her and wishing she was with me, because this place is so cool.  Then it was to the mess hall, to meet up with Lucas.
Walking around the joint, I couldn’t believe just how integrated everything was.  My Band was updated, and I would be getting my neural implant as soon as tomorrow.  Becoming augmented like the people on Earth.  I was so stoked.  Kind of wanted to go to work now, but I got why they were waiting to have us get down to it.  After all, we would have to get our implants and learn how to sync with the new tech.  It’s like being taught a new skill as a kid, or so I’m told, like tying one’s shoes.  It becomes simple, but it seems crazy-difficult.  So many new things, it was all a little overwhelming.
This mess hall was so crazy.  I felt a wind on my face, and could see a simulated open-air environment around me, like this was some kind of park that I was eating at.  Could hear birds chirping and the background noise and everything.  It was so weird!  This place felt so alien, yet so familiar too.  It was weird.  Dinner tonight was a very balanced diet, with the main dish being chicken Parmesan.  It’s so strange, how this place felt so realistic, yet was all just an illusion.  New technology that amazed me, yet also got me to thinking – is this because they’d rather be at home?  I mean, if you are going to make this place look like somewhere on Earth, then doesn’t that mean you’d rather be there?  Maybe I was being pessimistic.  After all, what else was there to look at?  It all just felt like wasted potential.  Like it could be so much more.  I mean, let me have a crack at it and I would get the walls looking like some underwater playground on some foreign world.  That would eff with people’s expectations.  In fact, I wondered if I could do that.
I turned on my Band, looking for where the interface was.  All rooms had one.  Had to, really.  Otherwise, nobody would be able to sync into the base’s operations.  I got connected into the network and started to slip in to the maintenance systems.  Hacking is a delicate art.  Rather than force my way into a system, which would set off all kinds of bells and whistles, my programs were made to quietly go around a system’s defenses.  This place was not as strong as I anticipated.  That caught me off-guard.  But still, I was in.  After mulling through the various systems, I found what I was looking for.  Another firewall to pass, and it wasn’t hard.  Of course, if I didn’t want to set off any alarms, I had to be careful what I injected into the projection.  After thinking it over for a few minutes, I finally had it.  Several people in the mess hall looked up as they saw a pink elephant doing ballet through the trees.  Lucas also noticed, suddenly looking over at me.  I gave him a wink.  We shared a quiet laugh.

The next morning, I was down to it.  The first stop was the Medical Bay.  If I thought that the Mess Hall was cool, this place was state-of-the-art!  For real, they had holographic interfaces, these trippy pods where a person can have almost any kind of surgery done, in the event of an emergency and no physician.  The room was all-white, with the staff in these trippy white outfits.  Needless to say, I felt safe with them.  But, of course, my muscle was there to watch my back.  It was kind of funny to watch her reaction.  She got her neural implant at the same time.
When the connections to the implant came online, it was a whole other world!  I’m telling you, I was in awe!  Immediately, everything became sharper and clearer.  Scanning protocols came online and I could get a reading on just about anything.  Even the people.  Their bios would pop up if I wanted them too.  There were SO many ways to use this technology, and I couldn’t wait to fiddle with it.  Indeed, that was something I made a point to myself to do a lot of.  It was like being in a virtual reality game.  This was so cool.  I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my own information being displayed.  I could scan anything I wanted to.  I analyzed my entire body, to see what I could find.  I was wearing Angie’s necklace, and did an analysis on it.  It seemed so ordinary, what came back.  It told me what the metal was made of, that there were a couple of jewels imbedded in the spherical part.  It told me that the necklace was not especially strong, not made for violent impacts.  Such a basic analysis, yet it meant the world to me.  Each word was committed to memory, and I would never forget them.
Next up was my work station.  Again, this place was as state-of-the-art as one could ask for.  The drone bay was a place of hectic action!  Each person got their own station.  My interface pointed me to mine.  A lot of these controls were familiar to me.  I was in charge of a short-range drone, with the job of taking samples and analyzing them.  Yeah, it sounds about as exciting as it was, but you have to understand – we were on the cusp of something!  The water samples that I got on my first day were teeming with the chemical processes that we had come to anticipate.  This water was primordial soup.  There were chemical bonds that indicated the growth of life.  It may not be be actual celled organisms yet, but there was so much potential!  Everybody was excited.  The work may have seemed monotonous, to some, but we each wanted to be the person who made the big discovery.  This place hadn’t been working for long, so it could happen at any time.  Any one employee could be that one.  Of course, most of the drone workers were with the repair teams.  I could hear constant buzzing of comm traffic between teams out in the deep and those assisting with drones.  Constant maintenance was a must with this place.  Every time something was reported as a potential issue, they took it seriously.  Granted, nothing major had been malfunctioning yet, but better safe than stupid.
At the end of my shift, I went to the Mess Hall and met up with Lucas.  Turns out, his day had been more eventful.  He got to be front-and-center with the scientists who were studying the samples we got them.  I could hear at an adjacent table argument about what some of the samples could mean.  I felt so lucky.  It was such an honor, to be among these great minds and be a part of it.  I may pilot a drone, but so what?  I was here.

That night, I sent another message to my parents.  I got their reply not long afterwards, with them being totally stoked.  Dad kept saying how he was sure that I was going to be the one who found the first life forms.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if anybody found life, it was more likely to be Lucas.  After all, all we did was collect samples.  It was their job to analyze it.
After talking to the parents, I linked in with Angie.  I sent her the data I compiled about the necklace she gave me, telling her how much this means to me.  She didn’t quite follow, but said it was sweet.  I wished she was here.  Mari could tell that I was having some issues, but could tell that it was best if she left it alone.  That woman has a gift at knowing when to butt in, and when not to.  Her work station was right next to mine.  I was such a little girl around her, constantly telling her about the minutia of my day like it was the most exciting thing in the history of space travel.  I swear, this woman will make a great mom someday, in how she would just listen and pretend that she got why I was so stoked.

Days passed in the station.  I was trained on how to operate the longer range drones, to go out further.  One day, I was given given a pass to go to the vehicle bay and actually learn how to operate a submersible!  Can you believe it?!  Yeah, felt like pretty hot shit at that point.  Of course, I wasn’t about to say that in front of the instructor.  This guy did NOT play.  He was a hard-nosed man who took safety and all that very seriously.  I get that.  It’s important to not play with equipment that you have to depend on for your life.  But the little kid inside of me was having too much fun!
After about a month, there had been lots of mapping of the nearby sea bed and ice formations.  There was as much study of the ice above as the rocks below.  The mapping system was almost complete.  Granted, it wasn’t easy.  The sea bed of Europa was a mess of deep trenches and sandy dunes.  There were more signs of life, but it was still eluding us.  The scientists took this as a challenge.  They knew that something was down here with us, but it was too shy to come out and play.  They were not dissuaded.  If lie was going to be found, it would be found by them.
The real break in all this came about a week later.  You won’t believe by who.  Lucas was down at my work station, guiding me through an exploratory mission into a cave we had found.  They wanted somebody on-site during the exploration.  Lucas wasn’t the only one.  There was a scientist that he was paired with.  A young woman, who Lucas clearly had a crush on.  Thankfully, she didn’t mess with him the way some women would.  She kept it professional, but didn’t treat him like a whipping boy.  It was courteous and pleasant.
We came into a passage and I shined the light on the rock formations.  Something was odd about them.
“Bring the camera in closer, would you?” Lucas asked.  Both him and the scientist leaned in closer.  They weren’t the only ones.  Everybody who wasn’t busy was now moving over.  If the break was about to come, they wanted to be there.  I panned closer.  It was something!  But what?!
“Run through the imaging spectrums, would you?” the other scientist asked.  The room got quiet.  I cued up the system, going through the various imaging systems.  Suddenly, we had it!  Infrared!  There was heat!  Not just heat, but a network of heat!  You could hear a pin drop.  I had a hunch, switching to x-ray filter.  That’s when I saw it.  It was coral!  The entire cave wall was covered in the stuff!  I panned back, switching back to infrared.  The coral growth filled the entire space.  There was more!  I took water samples. A kind of algae was in here!  The cave had heat coming from the back.  This was likely some kind of volcanic vent.  The coral was feeding on the algae!
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have life!” I announced.  The room went absolutely nuts.  For real, you have NEVER seen a group of people get so stoked.  Lucas hugged me tight, knowing that this was our discovery.  Mari smiled at me and the female scientist hugged the two of us.  I felt like a million fucking bucks.  We had done it!  We had found life outside of our planet!  Alien fucking life!  This was the best day of my life.

Until next time, a quote,

“The real story of the ocean begins where you left off!”  -Captain Nemo, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Peace out,

Maverick