You Are Really Racist (A response to PBS Game Show)

I can’t believe that PBS funds this garbage.  I really can’t.  It boggles the mind.  This show has been on my list of intellectually-bankrupt pieces of social justice bandwagon-mates for some time, but now it has officially shot itself in the foot, and I feel the need to take them to task for it, because if I don’t, who will?  See, in their most recent video, which I will have below, they decided to talk about how NPC characters are racist.  It’s funny, it’s stupid, and the video is actually really racist.  And I’m going to explain why.  First, however, watch their video, if you have the stomach for extreme stupidity.  Then take a look at me destroying them.

So, let me start off by saying that it’s interesting that one of the pictures you have of white protagonists is one of the main characters from Grand Theft Auto IV, who was an immigrant.  That’s funny.

Next, why is Sgt. Johnson in this video about NPC characters being racist?  For real, I genuinely want to know.  Because when you actually look at the character, you can’t make any argument for him being racist.  For starters, let’s not get into how he is almost-directly modeled after Sgt. Apone in Aliens, because I know that context is icky to you people.  But Sgt. Johnson is an awesome character.  He survives Reach.  He survives the events of the first Halo.  He survives the events of the second Halo.  He goes hand-to-hand with an Elite, by himself!  Even when it is clear that he is probably going to die, he just gives the Arbitor shit.  In the third game, he even dies trying to help the Master Chief stop 343 Guilty Spark from preventing the use of the Halo ring to destroy the remaining Flood.  Please, educate ol’ Lucien on the racism with that character.  He’s a strong character, with an awesome voice-over and a noble sacrifice that enables the Chief to succeed.  I’m just DYING to hear how that’s racist.

Then there’s the argument about Resident Evil 5 being racist.  Yeah, we’re doing this again.  Why is it racist?  Well, because it has African zombies, of course!  Even though the game takes place in, you know, AFRICA!  I guess we should have had Irish zombies instead.  I am so sick of this argument!  The narrator of the video, who I call Hipster McGee, brought up how there were zombies that threw spears.  Yes, because there are no tribal societies that still exist in Africa and could be affected by the Las Plagas outbreak, right?  No, that’s just crazy!  Because then it would be like art imitates life or something!  And that would be just awful!  Oh, and let’s just forget how there is a scene where an African detachment of the BSAA comes in to save Chris and Sheva from certain death in one scene.  I’m surprised you didn’t bring that up.  It’s almost like you never played the game or something!  Or you have an axe to grind and deliberately forgot to talk about that.  Whichever works.

Finally, there is the piece de resistance!  The moment where the racism of that video really starts to shine.  In a segment where they are vaguely talking about how black NPCs don’t have their black heritage play enough of a part in their characters, they show Admiral Anderson, from Mass Effect 3.  Are you kidding me?!  No joke, I want to know.  Is this a joke?  He is a black man, voiced by Keith David, and if you look at what you are saying in that segment of the video where he is shown, it sounds like you are arguing that he’s not black enough.  That’s racist by your own standards!  A black man isn’t black enough.  That’s like if someone says, “Obama doesn’t sound black.”  You see how that works?  Amazing.  Simply amazing.

You even go so far as to call Sgt. Johnson a token.  A token?!  Are you kidding me?!  He’s a central character, you racist troglodyte!  So is Admiral Anderson!  Let me guess, Jacob in Mass Effect 2 is a token too because he isn’t enough of a black person for you.  How about Marlene in The Last of Us.  Hell, Joel kills her in cold blood, shooting her in the belly and then in the head.  That’s promoting violence against black people!  Oh, wait, what’s that?  He killed her because he knew that she would come after him and Ellie when she recovered, and killing her guaranteed their safety?  Oh.  Well, shit.

From what I’m seeing here, it’s almost like it’s not enough for a character in a video game to be a good character.  They can’t just be a likeable and fun character to be in a game.  They have to be glorified.  We can’t just have a black guy in our game.  They have to be put on a pedestal!  They have to be raised up!  They aren’t black enough for us!  You racist pricks.  The whole lot of you and your SJW-pandering crap on your show.

These people can’t handle well-written characters.  That’s not enough.  In another video, they talked about how Cortana was a sex object.  I never viewed her as that.  Why?  Because she was a well-written character who happened to be sexy!  I never viewed Sgt. Johnson as some token black guy.  Why?  Because he was a well-written character!  What will it take for you social justice wankers to finally realize that you don’t have to constantly praise aspects of a character like their race for them to be good characters.  It is possible for other things to factor in too.  This can be done.  Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.

And saying that a good character who is written well, acted well, and plays a good role in the game isn’t ethnic enough for you is so utterly racist.  Why am I the only one who can see this?

Until next time, a quote,

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace out,

Maverick

A Tribute to Mr. Spock

Leonard NimoyI wake up this morning and learned something very sad.  It was very upsetting for myself, because I have recently been playing Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, where he does the voice of the main villain, Xehanort.  He has done one of the most iconic characters in television history, and it only felt right to give him a few kind words, from my part, for whatever that ends up being worth.  Leonard Nimoy has passed on today.  It is a very sad day.

It seems that he was fighting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which stemmed from a smoking habit he had, which he had apparently given up three decades earlier.  Still, smoking is a health risk.  Today, that fight gave out.  At 83 years old, he was confirmed to have died in his home.  Man is this sad.

Of course, Nimoy’s most iconic role was as Mr. Spock on Star Trek.  Part of the three-man decision making system in the Enterprise, along with Kirk and Dr. McCoy.  His role is iconic in science fiction history, and will go down in that history forever.  My favorite of his works was in the sixth film, The Undiscovered Country.  There, we got to see a lot of his more human side, as he is stuck solving a mystery that will save his captain’s life.  Seeing him working through it, along with his pride and anger at his protege’s betrayal, was a really good role.  And it reminded me that Spock would have made a good captain himself, were he not interested in putting that career to rest, when he leaves the Enterprise.

However, that wasn’t the only role that I loved Nimoy for.  I never would have imagined that he could make a great villain, but his performance as Master Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep was absolutely amazing.  It’s a pity that he is not going to be able to reprise that role in the next game.  That actually does bum me out in a big way.  In Birth by Sleep, you see him stringing along three people, all while working to take an ancient weapon and restart a war.  His manipulation is clever, and watching how it all goes to shit is pretty crazy.  I think that only Nimoy could have made that character work.

Finally, there was his role as the king in Atlantis: The Lost Empire.  That is one of those movies that got a lot of shit on it, and I partially understand why.  The villain’s motivation was as boring as it gets, and that really did detract from the film.  But still, there were a lot of great characters in that movie, and Nimoy’s was one of them.  The aging ruler of the city, he is trying to keep his people hidden away, but time is running out.  When his daughter is taken and turned into the Crystal, with his last breath, he begs Michael J. Fox’s character to save her.  It was a rather sad end.  Perhaps rather poignant, seeing what has happened now.

Leonard Nimoy was a great man.  He inspired a generation of sci-fi nerds.  He never talked do to us, like some people who have become big sci-fi icons have.  He embraced that culture, but also worked to spread his voice through music, poetry, and the occasional ridiculous musical about The Hobbit.  For real, find that video.  It is so ridiculous that you can’t help but be amused.  I, for one, will never forget Nimoy.  And it is with this in mind that I give him my final send-off.

You lived long and prospered.  Now, the world is just a little bit less logical.  Rest in peace, Mr. Spock.  You’ve earned the rest.

“If I were human, I believe my response would be – go to Hell.  If I were human.”  -Captain Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Peace out,

Maverick

So, You Now Want to Change Video Games, Eh? (A response to Anita Sarkeesian)

One of the biggest points that people make to defend Anita Sarkeesian is that she’s not trying to change the game industry.  She is just critical of it.  Turns out, that that is a lie.  How do I know this?  Well, it seems that she has blatantly come out and given game developers her list of how to make video games that fit Anita’s VERY strict standards, that no real game ever could.  We’ll get to why in a moment.  Here’s an article where Kotaku kisses her ass in every way that an ass can be kissed, and outlines her guidelines.  There are a little vague, so stick with me.  Oh boy…

Avoid the Smurfette principle, a reference to both having just one female character in an ensemble cast and the character limitations that can spring from that.

It’s funny, her examples she uses for games like this are multiplayer games.  Never single player.  Never, ever single player.  Of course not.  So, you have a bunch of characters, in a multiplayer arena where their personality is the people controlling them.  They have no personality outside of that.  Why have more of them be female?  I don’t care what the gender of a character is if I am playing multiplayer.  Male or female, I’m going to blow your head off all the same.  You know, Anita, I have a better idea – let’s have them be aliens!  No-gender aliens.  Don’t you think that’s more fair!  After all, you are not being open and accepting of non-binary people, to borrow an SJW bullshit term.  You prejudice bitch.

She called for more body diversity in female characters, lamenting the “Victoria’s Secret catalogue” physiques of so many playable women and yearning for the kind of bodies that the male characters in the upcoming Blizzard game Overwatch have.

Anita, you made a video where you judged women by their appearance and called them sex objects.  Who the fuck are you to say what is appropriate to look at for women.  Oh, by the way, I couldn’t help but notice that you are also excluding lesbian and bisexual women from the discussion.  As always.  It’s nice to know that when they aren’t your shield, the LGBT community is just a nice scapegoat for you.  You’re a real winner like that.

But seriously, let me ask you this – how many women who are overweight do you see in the world of The Last of Us?  For real, a post-apocalyptic ruin where food is incredibly scarce.  How many women do you see like that?  Having more women with different figures is fine, so long as it makes sense.  If you just shoe-horn in a fat person, and it doesn’t make sense, then that detracts from the game.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Since you know fuck-all about designing games, I’m not surprised that this slipped your mind.  I am a dude with a few more pounds than I should have, so I can call you out on this, you skinny, white, upper-middle class con artist.

She pushed for more representation of women of color in games, and more that are neither reducing such women to ethnic stereotypes nor so divorced from their cultural history that it “is eased or invisible.”

Like Marlene in The Last of Us?  She wasn’t an ethnic stereotype.  Granted, Joel kills her in cold blood later in the game, but his reasons made sense.  She would have gone after them.  Also, who on Earth are you to talk about people being “divorced from their cultural history?”  Again, white, upper-middle class con artist.  If you have a character like the black pirate in Final Fantasy XII, who isn’t in touch with any kind of African history, is that a bad thing?  But wait, it’s a fantasy world.  There is no Africa there.  So, how should he act to fit your narrative.

Other ethnicities in games are great.  There was Jacob in Mass Effect 2.  But wait, he wasn’t at all like his African roots either.  You see how this works?  Good characters from any ethnic background stand or fail in context with the world they live in.  That’s fine.  Just shoe-horning characters in to a situation and saying that it is diversity is bull if the character doesn’t fit.  As much as it was cathartic to watch her die, I actually got why Marlene was in the game.  She was a good character.  Man, The Last of Us sure is beating the hell out of your argument.  I wonder if Kotaku will address that in the next article they write where they bury their nose up your ass.

After playing what she said was an audio clip of a female League of Legends champion in combat (above) she called for less sexualized female-character voice-acting/grunting—”start with trying to make pain actually sound painful instead of orgasmic”.

This is nothing!  This is such a non-issue.  Why even bring this up?

And she rejected clothing female characters in cleavage-emphasizing armor whose “only functionality is to titillate young straight male player base.”

God does this upset me!  For real, I’m so pissed about this right now.  How does nobody call your bigotry out, Anita?!  You really must view yourself as the arbitor of women, and all women get in line with your thinking.  Because I guess you don’t believe that a single lesbian or bisexual woman could EVER find the women in games attractive, right?  Given the reaction of pieces of shit like Arthur Chu to what Mercedes Carrera was trying to do for her friend, I guess I know where you sit.

Anita, and all the people at Kotaku and all the white knights who support her – you people are scum!  It’s fine to use lesbian and bisexual women as a shield, but when it comes to just ignoring their sexuality in a conversation, that’s just kudos with you!  How can you be this heterophobic?!  This bothers me so much, because you are blatantly ignoring the sexual agency of women in the LGBT community.  And the fact that NO ONE seems to want to call you out for this is just so upsetting.  I have a lesbian friend who loves games with hot women.  But here we have Anita Sarkeesian, saint of the SJW community, who is basically saying – fuck what you find attractive.  For all your schtick about being more inclusive to women, there sure is a demographic that you are fine with ignoring.  Fuck you people!  You’re all a bunch of hypocrites!

Going through her list, she called for game developers of third-person games to “de-emphasize the rear end of female characters,”

Hey ladies who are sexually attracted to women – liking butts is wrong!  Anita says so!

And I’m done with this.  This is so repugnant.  It pisses me off that people like me, who believe in REAL equality between the genders, are getting to dictate what the sexual attractions of people should be.  That’s beyond insulting.  These Sex – feminists, who are clearly terrified of sex, are selling a worldview that excludes other women.  Will no one call out how sexist that is?!  Anita, by your own standards, you are a misogynist!

This is a worldview that people fall in line with.  Angry Joe defended it.  Am I, a bisexual man who is not ashamed of his masculinity, the only person who is going to stand up for women?!  Am I alone on this?!  I really need to know, because this viewpoint not only excludes a group of people from the conversation about themselves, but it enables people who want to strip away the sexual liberation movement that so many women fought so hard for.  You belittle lesbians and women who are in the sex industry, because they don’t fit into your little narrative.  Fuck this horseshit!

Until next time, a quote,

“What really fucking bothers me is that for the last two months, I have sat by in GamerGate and I have watched false, faux-victims utilize the world for their own personal and profit aims, claiming victimhood over emails and over comments on Twitter.  And here you have a woman who’s a real victim of a real rape and a real assault, and those same women who claim they care about women’s rights have done nothing!  They’ve done jack-fucking-shit!”  -Mercedes Carrera

Peace out,

Maverick

You Copyright Nazi D-Bags (A response to Saban Entertainment)

Oh yeah, I’m going there.  I’m about to attack these people without a single bit of mercy.  They deserve it.  They deserve all the vitriol and all the trash talking they get.  Why?  Because Saban Entertainment has decided to exploit the DMCA.  For what reason?  Because they’re butthurt.  For real, that’s what it boils down to.  They got butthurt about an amazing fan film (that was 100X better than their POS film is going to be) that they don’t like, so they requested that it be taken down.  A bunch of amazing people put a lot of time and effort into this movie and what do they do?  They destroy it, purely out of spite.  I have a lot of rage to go around, so let’s get to it.

POWERRANGERSFor those who don’t know, the producer of Dredd, another awesome film that was made after something cartoonish and silly was made, decided to make a short film based on the series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Keeping with the style of Dredd, it was dark, gritty and in-your-face.  What’s more, it touched on some of the elements that I actually thought about as I got older.  Zordon recruits the original Power Rangers as teenagers.  So, they are child soldiers, fighting his war for him.  The short film looked at that, showing how it would actually be horrifying to live that kind of life.  It had some awesome performances form the guy who played Dawson in Dawson’s Creek and a woman whose name I forget in Battlestar Galactica.  It was a great film.  There was a lot of heart and it looked at dark issues that, when you read between the lines of the original series, were there.

Now, Saban Entertainment, the people who hold the original copyright to the series, saw this film, they were not happy.  Turns out, the guy in charge of the company is a control freak and kind of a douche.  They really hated that film.  They didn’t like how it painted the Power Rangers and the universe they inhabited.  They didn’t like the grit and the violence (and it was violent.  This short film had a LOT of blood and gore).  They didn’t like the implication that the Rangers were being used as child soldiers (even though they so obviously were).  They didn’t like it.

They weren’t the only ones.  The guy who originally played Tommy (the only good character in the original series, though only when he was the Green Ranger) was also not a fan.  I kind of get that.  After all, he made his career (what it is) on the back of that series and he doesn’t want to rock the boat.  It is still making him money.

However, the Internet LOVED it.  For real, that film got almost 12 million hits in a few days.  Do you know how crazy that is?!  The Internet, as a whole, thought that this was the best thing ever.  Most people wanted more.  They wanted to see an entire film about this.  Myself, I kind of do, but I also recognize that this might have worked better as a short, so some of the sillier elements didn’t stick out as much.  Like their Ranger outfits, which were still kind of silly.  Still, this got a lot of online attention, and when something has the Internet’s attention, do you know what you don’t want to do?  Try and ruin their good time.

See, Saban used DMCA to get the video taken down.  Why?  Well, I have a theory – it’s because they are trying to preserve the series wholesome and family-friendly image (as stupid and cartoonish), which as relevance now for them, because they have a new movie coming out.  That’s right, Lionsgate has made a reboot film for the franchise, which is going to be coming out reasonably soon.  Saban, being the butthurt douchebags that they are, doesn’t want this film to color people’s expectations.

Too late, Saban!  For real, they are now the victims of the Streisand Effect.  They have tried to censor this movie, but that is only going to make this worse for them.  If only they let this alone, the blowback might not have been so ugly.  After all, you can bet that a TON of people are already working to mirror the video.  The more they work to take them down, the more people who will put them up.  This is the Internet, you morons!  Do you really think that a video this popular can be released and that you can just destroy it?!  If so, then you are the stupidest people to have ever existed, and you deserve the PR meltdown that will happen to you because of it.

For my take, I have this to say – Saban, your movie is going to suck.  In fourteen minutes, that fan film had more heart and character than your hour and a half film will.  What’s more, the Internet is not a forgiving place.  You have gotten its ire.  Sales will suffer because of this.  Since the bulk of what’s left of the original series fan base is people who are on the Internet, the bulk of whom loved the fan film, you are going to suffer for this in a financial way.  And you have no one to blame but yourselves.  You are stupid.  You got butthurt, and now you are going to see the Internet’s wrath.

You fucking deserve it, you copyright Nazi pricks.  Good luck with the new movie.

An apt quote, to close out on,

“Good luck!  You’re gonna need it.” – Han Solo, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Peace out,

Maverick

The Naked Shame

The silence was palatable.  It was so thick that the clock in the corner and the ticking that was coming from it were almost like a booming drum.  The two sat in that room, staring at each other.  One was young.  She looked to be in her late teens.  Her outfit was a T-shirt and jeans.  The shirt wasn’t very form-fitting.  Neither were the jeans.  They were baggy on the legs, also showing signs of having been worked in.  Worn knees and old grass stains.  This girl showed the signs of having done a lot of physical labor.  Her small hands were rough, from years of being worked.  Her dirty blonde hair was done up in a ponytail.  Green eyes showed signs of not wanting to be there.
Across from her, there was a woman.  She was dressed a professional blue shirt and black pants.  Very conscientious of her.  Dark brown hair that was done in a bun above her.  The woman had a paper pad in front of her, where she seemed to be taking notes.
“So…there a reason why I’m here?” the girl remarked
“I think we both know why you’re here, Ms. Schmidt.
“Ugh, don’t call me that!  I’m not my mother’s age.”
“Okay then, we both know why you’re here, Leanna.”  The woman’s voice was so direct.  It was slightly off-putting.
“Because my parents think that I’m a mental case.  Real geniuses in that bunch.”
The woman gave her a cold look.  “You cut yourself, Leanna.  In a very serious way.”
“No, I didn’t cut myself.  I purged an imperfection from my body.”
“A mole.  You sliced a mole off of your body and had to get four stitches.  You don’t think that that is worth talking about?”
She looked less confident.  “Not really.  People cut off moles and whatnot off themselves all the time.  What makes what I did so strange?”
Taking a look at some notes.  “Other people go to doctors and have trained professionals do that.  They don’t take a razor and cut it off, along with a chunk of skin too.”
“The fucking thing was bugging me, alright?!  It doesn’t help that pretty much every girl in gym made fun of me for it.  So now they can’t!  Now it’s gone.  Good fucking riddance!”  Her voice was cracking a bit.  Not from sadness.  There was anger, steeped up inside.
“You get made fun of?”
“Yeah.”
“Why?”
“You name it!  ‘Why are you so skinny?  What’s with the scars?  You cut yourself?  Maybe if you waxed your bush, the boys would like you!'”  Her voice had adopted a condescending tone, laced with venom.  “A thousand insults every day.  Then there was that fucking mole.  I got so many comments about it.  So, I decided that I would show those cunts.  Grabbed my dad’s razor and cut the whole thing off!  One less thing for them to make fun of.  When they aren’t make fun of my underwear.  Yeah, I don’t wear slutty panties like them.  I like to be comfortable.  I guess that’s a lost art.  My grandma had a word for women like that – who-res.  They are a bunch of who-res.”  The venom was practically dripping at that point.
More notes being taken.  “You seem pretty good at dealing with criticism.  Why does their criticism bother you?”
“It ain’t criticism!  It’s them being bitches to whatever girl they mark as the omega.  The bottom of the pack, who they can attack so they can feel better.  Not physically, of course.  Wish one of them would try.”
That got a raised eyebrow.  “Why?”
“Because then I’d have an excuse to kick the shit out of them!  I’ve been learning tae kwon do for years!  One of those girls raises up to me and that’s the last thing she does.  Then maybe the rest would back off enough to leave me alone.”  The girl seemed to curl up on herself.  She brought her knees to her chest and rested her chin on them.
The woman across from her took notes, then looked back up.  “You seem to take a lot of them making fun of your body to heart.  Why is that?”
A dark look at the floor for a few seconds.  “Maybe it’s because I have to get naked in front of these bitches every day, just for it to be the Make Leanna Feel Like Shit Happy Hour.  I swear, those people just wait to make fun of me.”
Another set of notes.  “You don’t want to be naked in front of them?”
A snappy response.  “I don’t want to be naked in front of anybody!  I don’t want anybody looking at my body!  I don’t want anyone talking about ‘mosquito bites’ and my pubic hair!  What fucking business is it of theirs!?”  More crawling into herself.  The girl was trying to look tough.  It wasn’t going especially well.
“Your history tells me that you’re involved in ice skating, learning martial arts.  You must have had to change in places with people before.”
A little calmer.  “That’s different.  There, it’s people I know and trust.  They don’t make fun of me.  Not to mention, I’m top dog there!  Nobody gives me shit when I’m on the ice!  Anyone gives me hit on the mat and I can lay their ass out!  Can’t do that at school.”
More looks through the notes.  “It says here that you’ve gotten in trouble for fighting several times before.  What changed.”
The dark look was back.  “Mom threatened to kick me out if I got into fights again.  I don’t exactly have anywhere to go, so yeah.”
“You think she’d do it?”
The girl gave her a look.  “That cunt would sell me, if it could make me the perfect skater.”
A disingenuous look from the woman.  “You don’t believe that.”
“Yeah, I do,” she snorted.  “I’m not a daughter to her.  I’m a vanity project.  Her way for her to believe that she still matters.  I get to hear, over and over, about how she never could do what I do.  Yeah, like that makes it better.  When I couldn’t compete anymore in skating, after my leg injury, she was so upset.  I swear, it’s like the fact that I could have had my leg torn off didn’t matter.  Even Dad looked pissed.  Good on him.  Wish I could put her behavior in its place.”
The woman looked right at her.  “Wow.  Sounds like you’ve had it rough.”
“Years of being told how I’m not doing good enough.  No shit.”
“Does it hurt, not having your mom’s affection?”
She curled up tight again.  “Maybe a little.  It would be nice to know that I at least make her proud in some way.  But nope.  Just a lot of annoyance about how I am not doing well enough.  And don’t even get me started about dating.  ‘Why haven’t we heard about any cute boys you like?'”
That got the woman’s attention.  “You aren’t interested in dating?”
“Not particularly.  With skating, honor’s classes and tae kwon do, and helping Dad with the sheep and whatnot, I barely have time to think.  Never crossed my mind.”
“Not unheard of.  So, no boys who at least catch your attention?  Maybe you don’t have time to date, but you must have at least thought about it.”
An awkward silence for a few moments.  “No.  Nobody.”  Something about how she said it, she was holding something back.  But what?  And that’s when the woman noticed the clock.
“Well, I’m afraid that our time is up today.  I’ll see you next week, Leanna.”
The girl got up.  “Sure, whatever.”  She grabbed her black jacket and put it on.  The girl was so tight into herself.  Like she didn’t want to feel exposed at all.  It was kind of off, in a way that the doctor couldn’t put a finger on.  She would just have to keep thinking about it.

Until next time, a quote,

“Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.  Well, never mind.  You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until it’s faded.  But trust me, 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.”  -Baz Luhrmann, Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Arkham Knight Being Rated ‘M’?

So, I’ve made no secret of how stoked I am for ‘Batman: Arkham Knight.’  All of the ‘Arkham’ games have been nine kinds of awesome, and this game looks to be no exception.  I have my personal theory as to who the titular character of ‘Arkham Knight’ is, but I suppose I’ll have to wait a little longer and see.  However, the ESRB has decided to give the game’s rating.  And this is really interesting.

See, the game has been rated M.  That’s right, M.  It stands for “Mature.”  And you know, on the one hand, that makes sense, to me.  See, the ‘Arkham’ franchise has long been very mature.  I’m not talking about blood, guts, and titties.  I’m talking about mature subject matter and dark themes that younger audiences could not appreciate/get.  I wrote an entire post about how ‘Arkham City’ was probably the best critique of the concept of superheroes, to date.  While they rarely show you the violence in the games, if you read the journal entries and hear conversations, you realize that there is some REALLY dark stuff that happens in those games.  But it’s almost all subtext.  Plus, it never felt like the studio really cared about that stuff, or how people saw it.  In fact, that ties in with a response from Rocksteady Studios about this rating being given to their latest game.

From our point of view, we never wrote it or made it with a rating in mind. We never did that in the previous two games… We just felt that this is the story that we really wanted to tell.

Wow.  You know, I gotta respect that.  For real, that is really admirable.  They had a story that they wanted to tell, and didn’t really care about the rating that they got.  That is very impressive.  But it gets better.  See, they also understand that this rating is going to affect how many people play their game.  What do they think about that…?

I’m not blind to the fact that [the M rating] does mean some fans will miss out… I don’t want to be oblivious to that fact. It would have been wrong to water down the game and deliver a story we didn’t believe in to keep the game ‘mass market’ or enable it for more people. We feel that’s the wrong way to go about it. We said we love the story and we don’t want to jeopardize that.

How can I put into words how much I respect this company right now?  I can’t.  For real, I can’t.  This is so awesome!  These people respect their artistic credibility and don’t want to hurt that by watering down the game that they are making.  Respect, yo!  Not even kidding, I have so much more respect for this studio now.  They clearly are care more about bringing players a quality game than mass marketing.

And this is something that the rest of the gaming industry as a whole can take a lesson from.  Have you ever noticed how most genres are now going out of their way to please a huge audience?  Games that have no business having multiplayer in their game have it now.  Games like the new ‘Tomb Raider.’  That game was totally awesome with its single player.  Why tack on multiplayer?  Did you think the fans would walk away if you didn’t?  That’s kind of silly.  Yet so many players go nuts if they don’t.  Why?!  Are you people not satisfied with a good game, even if it focuses on one area, rather than another.

I saw the recent review of ‘EVOLVE’ by Angry Joe.  In it, he talked about how there was no excuse for there not to be a single player mode in a game.  I disagree.  If a game shows that it clearly only wants to be multiplayer, there’s nothing wrong with that.  And same if a game only wants to be single-player.  I would much rather we get quality games that don’t sacrifice on quality and give players the most awesome experience they possibly can, however they wish to focus their attention.

With that in mind, I tip my hat to Rocksteady Studios.  I was already planning to pre-order your game, now it’s guaranteed.  You all have shown your hard work, and I can’t wait to see you finally be able to bring the potential of the new consoles out.  It’s long past due.

Until next time, a quote,

“Failure is not an option!”  -Gene Krantz, Apollo 13

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONL: Game of Thrones: Season 4

So, I just got done finally watching the fourth season of Game of Thrones.  I will say that this post is going to spoil the shit out of everything to do with that season, but you all have already seen it.  Whether you waited to see it on DVD, like me, or pirated it, or actually have HBO on cable.  Seriously, who does that?  For me, I waited to buy the DVD copy because I want to financially support the show.  The budget for it is astronomical, and I want to help in whatever way I can, considering that this show’s budget could be one of the things that kills it.  Besides, the only reason that people pirated the shit out of it is because HBO has been so stupid in not having anywhere to stream it, other than their site that you have to have their subscription service to get.  Why they have done this baffles me.  But there are signs that they might be wising up.  New information points to the next season being rolled out with a streaming service that HBO is making.  If they are smart, they will do like FUNimation does and have the newest episode be paid, with the older ones being free.  A nice little incentive, for people who have no patience (like me!)

Anyway, got off topic.  I love this season.  For real, Game of Thrones is one of those shows that keeps getting better and better.  Each season has more intrigue and character development than the one before.  They always are upping the stakes and it makes the show just fantastic.  For real, I cannot overstate how good this show is getting.  And what I have been seeing for where the plot of the next season goes, it is just too hard to wait.  HBO, you have a golden opportunity to bring in a fuck-ton of money.  Don’t mess this up!

In any case, what did I like about this season?  What didn’t I?!  I warmed you about spoilers, so I am going to say again – if you haven’t seen the fourth season, do it!  Do it now! (insert Schwarzenegger accent)  Alright, you’ve been warned.

Right in the second episode, they kill Joffrey!  Oh MAN was that cathartic!  Watching that little fuck-nugget die was very emotionally satisfying.  Alas, they had to establish a new, totally-insane character.  Ramsey Snow (Bolton) is an EVIL Loony Tune.  This guy is crazy in a way that even the Joker would be a little weirded out by.  It is telling that they introduce him by having him hunting a young woman for sport, with some other lady who he is having sex with.  I don’t remember them explaining what her relationship to him is, but I’m sure it’s messed up.  Then you have Theon, who has been turned into Ramsey’s slave, after being psychologically broken.  Can’t say I was too sad about that.  Theon was a piece of shit.  Still, sucks to be him.

Then you have Tyrion.  He is, without a doubt, my favorite character in the series.  It’s telling that he is George R.R. Martin’s favorite character too, which gives me hope that he will live.  Which reminds me – that show’s reputation for killing everyone off is SO overblown!  A lot of people die, but I’ve seen more characters I came to like die in The Walking Dead and Attack on Titan!  People who say that everyone dies are really overselling this show.  But yeah, you get to see a new side of him.  My favorite moment with Tyrion is right before the trial by combat.  He is talking to Jaime, and it is a surprisingly-human moment.  He looks back at the past and you see a part of him that acknowledges that there is a very real possibility that he will die.  What he ponders on is fascinating, and that scene is one that would go on a list of my favorite scenes, were I to make one.  Not likely. Though, I will be making a list of Top 10 Game of Thrones Characters, once the series is done.  Thus far, you all know who is at the top.

However, the two characters that really came into their own in this season were Arya Stark and Jon Snow.  Both gave amazing performances, and both found something about themselves that they didn’t see before.  For Arya, it was a darker side.  Indeed, the darkness ran thick with that one in this season.  She gets a couple of kills under her belt, and it is pretty intense stuff.  She finds something about herself that she hadn’t seen before.  The scared girl who was new to the world is long gone.  It is fitting that the season ends (for real, I’m about to give away a major plot point, people!) with her on the way to Braavos, to learn the way of the Faceless Men.  Then there’s Jon Snow.  He really comes into his own as a leader in this season.  Hints at how he is going to have a much larger role to play in the events to come.  By the end of the season, pretty much all of the Night’s Watch leadership is dead, and it is understood that Jon Snow is going to be the front-runner for the role.  By the end of the season, he is clearly in control of the Watch, and pretty much everyone there respects him.  This matters more than ever, since Stanis Baratheon has come to the Wall, and he knows who Jon Snow is.  What’s more, he seems to respect him.  This is going to go a long way, down the road.  I can feel it.

The next season has promise to be the biggest one yet.  The Seven Kingdoms are going to shit, Winter is coming, and the threat of the White Walkers is bigger than ever before.  I have no doubt that shit is going to get real!  It’s almost too exciting!  HBO, don’t fuck this up.  You have a chance to get mad-views in.  Hell, some places are showing the episodes in theaters.  Why do I live in such a ho-hum city!  That sounds kind of fun.  We’ll see what happens next.  What do you all think?  Let me know down in the Comments section.

Until next time, a quote,

“So what do you think?  Why did he do it?  What was it all about?” – Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: The Oscar’s are Stupid and Should Be Ignored

Here’s something to learn about as you go through life and are a pretentious film buff (along with video game buff) like me – good films stand the test of time without the gold statues that everyone goes nuts over.  It’s another night where the Oscar’s happened, and you know what – I didn’t even bother watching.  After all, my favorite film of last year wasn’t anywhere to be seen (Gone Girl).  Seems like every year I watch movies, there are a ton of great films that don’t get any recognition at all.  Why?  Because the Academy who votes on this stupidity is one of the most crooked institutions of all time that is stuck-up as fuck and doesn’t care who knows it.  They are suckers, very picky about film genres, and don’t respect genuine talent nearly as much as they should.  The culmination, a lot of people and films that don’t deserve the awards get them.  And there are people who take this seriously.

Let’s start by talking about people.  Let’s set our clocks back to 1974.  You had Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson both giving incredible performances in fantastic films.  The former was in The Godfather: Part II and the latter was in Chinatown.  Both movies are regarded as classics in their respective genres.  For damn good reason.  So, who won Best Actor that year?  Art Carney, in a film about a dude and his cat.  Seriously?!  There are a ton of examples like that.  Let’s talk about Sigourney Weaver in Alien or Aliens.  Not only did she not get the award for either, she wasn’t even nominated.  Are you kidding me?!  Ellen Ripley is an iconic character.  For real, iconic.  Her performance in both those movies should have taken that gold statue home with her.  Neither did.  Then there are the recent films that Leonardo DiCaprio has done, all of which deserved recognition, and none got.  It’s insane!

Then there is the problems they have with genres.  The Academy HATES popular movies.  For real, they hate them.  Look at the list this year for Best Picture.  It’s a bunch of artsy shit.  When everyone saw The Dark Knight and lauded it for the unbelievably-awesome movie that it is, did it take home the gold statue?  Did anything?  Oh, right, Heath Ledger for his phenomenal performance as the Joker.  But you know, had he not died, I have a feeling that he wouldn’t have.  The Academy hates superhero movies.  Scratch that – they hate popcorn movies in general.  Although, they did nominate Avatar for a bunch of awards.  The funny thing about that is – that movie is a piece of shit!  Why did it win awards?  I’ll tell you.

They like preachy movies.  For real, Dances With Wolves won Best Picture, and that movie SUCKED!  It came out the same year that Goodfellas came out, and that film is rightfully seen as a classic.  The English Patient won the Oscar, and that film is one of the slowest and most boring movies that I have ever seen!  Who likes that movie?!  For real, anyone in my audience, tell me if you like that movie.

And the thing that just bugs me is how science fiction films are continually snubbed.  What is their deal with those?  For real, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, Inception, fucking Star Wars the list goes on!  None of those movies were even nominated!  All three of those films were game-changers.  All three cemented the careers of their directors as among the best.  All three will be remembered for years to come.  I ask you all – do you honestly believe that Avatar is going to age well?  Be honest.  Because I don’t think so.  After all, it’s gorgeous to look at, but that’s it.  The plot is SO recycled from SO many other preachy environmental movies.  Visuals alone do not make a movie.  If they did, then people would actually like Michael Bayformers.  And we all know what people’s opinion of those are…

This year was interesting to see, for me.  Why? Because the biggest films this year were, almost-all superhero movies.  And it will be a cold day in Hell when a superhero movie wins an Oscar for anything but visuals.  This is a real bummer because there have actually been some truly stand-out superhero films.  I can and will argue that The Avengers should have gotten some recognition.  Maybe not be nominated for Best Picture, but come on!  Something!

I don’t watch The Oscar’s.  Why?  Because they are boring.  And the thing that you all have to remember is – great films stand on their own.  The films that are truly remembered aren’t the ones that you are going to remember getting a ton of Oscar’s.  At least, not usually.  I love Forrest Gump, but I recognize that it isn’t a truly great film.  I mean, if we are going to honor a movie about a man with a mental handicap being well-portrayed (and it was.  I give Tom Hanks credit.  He put heart into that), then why wasn’t What’s Eating Gilbert Grape nominated for Best Picture?  There’s another place where Leonardo DiCaprio should have won an Oscar.  His performance as Arny was incredible.  For real, you can’t argue how well he did that.

So yeah, the Oscar’s suck, and if you actually take them seriously, then you are an idiot.  It’s just the Academy’s big circle-jerk.

Until next time, a quote,

“Stupid is as stupid does.”  – Forrest Gump

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Final Fantasy XV Isn’t Coming Out This Year

I knew it.  I fucking knew it.  I hate being made to look like a fool!  I really do!  It grinds my gears something fierce when I am all for something and am then made to look like an idiot.  For real, it pisses me the fuck off.  What’s more, I don’t get how Square Enix can pull this kind of thing, when they know damn well that they are just setting people up to be disappointed.  See, there was a recent reveal about the demo that is coming out for Final Fantasy XV.  It is attached to the release of Final Fantasy Type-0, as Day One DLC.  Don’t plan on getting that game?  Well, tough luck, buddy!  You’re going to have to wait, until the game comes out in earnest.  When is that going to be?  Oh, you’re going to love this.

During a Q&A session with the team that is developing XV, it was revealed that roughly 60% of the game has been complete.  Are you kidding me?!  That’s it?!  You’re releasing English dub trailers, and you are barely halfway past getting the game complete?!  This is so annoying!  For real, it’s kind of infuriating how dumb this is.  The article linked above wants to get people hyped for the demo, but I wasn’t born yesterday.  I can read between the lines, and what I see here tells me that this game isn’t coming out this year.  Not a chance.  They are barely halfway done, and this game was announced nine years ago.  It’s going to be at least another year.  Maybe more.  I’m fucking done!  Square Enix is never releasing this project!

I get the feeling that I know what happened to this game.  See, Tetsuya Nomura is no longer in charge of it.  It’s some new guy.  Nomura has been relegated to working on Kingdom Hearts IIIFinal Fantasy XV was supposed to be his passion project.  It was just handed off to someone else?  I get the feeling that the studio has gotten sick and tired of waiting.  They pulled Nomura and handed the project to someone else, with an understanding – get it done.  With more and more rumors about Kingdom Hearts III being released sometime this year, and this game clearly nowhere near done, my worst fears are coming into focus – that both of these games are going to be rushed out the door.  With FFXV, it is going to be an amazing-looking half-baked game, and KHIII will be a cash-grab that features all the stuff that Disney wants to whore out, like Marvel and Star Wars.

I have waited for nine years.  Nine fucking years since the game was announced.  Now, it looks like it will all have been for nothing.  Kills me to see Square Enix go like this.  I just know that if FFXV doesn’t make bank in a big way, that’s the end of Square Enix as we know it.  Just terrible.

I want to believe, Square!  Man, just calling you that.  Makes me think of the good old days.  Back when your studio was synonymous with great games.  Hell, I even remember the Squaresoft days, when you made one of my favorite games of all time – Final Fantasy X.  What happened to that company?  Where did it all go wrong?  Did you purge all the people with talent in your company?  I really want to know what happened.  Get back to me on this, because I refuse to believe that I’m the only person who is losing faith here.  I mean, does anyone else remember the last game that was in development for ten years?  It was Duke Nukem Forever, and that game was a giant pile of shit!  That game was so bad that you could play with shit!  I don’t want this entry into a franchise that I used to love, and that I have so looked forward to, to be turned into another bad game that gets rushed to market.

Maybe I’m wrong.  I hope so.  But the people running the show are telling me that they are only 60% done with this game.  Does that say soon to you?  God-dammit…

Until next time, a quote,

“Everybody lies.”  -Dr. Gregory House, House MD

Peace out,

Maverick

In Memory of Ellis and Betty White

Ellis and Betty (right and center-bottom) with Patty and Frank Merrigan (left and center-top)

Ellis and Betty (right and center-bottom) with Patty and Frank Merrigan (left and center-top)

Man, I don’t even know how to start this.  How do you start talking about the lives of two people who have affected so many? How can you begin to explain the emotional attachments that they formed over the course of their long and happy lives?  This is genuinely the most difficult In Memory I’ve had to do, to date. It will probably be the most difficult one I will ever have to do, until…well, I think we all know who that will be.  My grandmother, Betty White (not the actress, although I have joked with her about sharing the name with her), passed away this morning.  I’ve been pondering, for hours, on how to write about this.  It’s unfathomably difficult.  See, my grandpa, Ellis White, passed away before I was doing this.  Now, I thought that I would do this for both of them.  I may not believe in an afterlife, consciously, but there is still a comfort that comes from believing that two people who have been apart for a little while are now reunited.  There’s so much to talk about.  Bear with me.  I’m doing this while a lot of emotional dust is getting stirred up.  Don’t know how long to get it done.  These two people, Ellis and Betty, led a life that shaped a community.  They won’t be remembered by all America, but an entire generation of people in this part of the world that my folks still live in remember.  But I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ellis and Betty white didn’t originally live in Alaska.  They came up here from South Dakota.  When they first came up here, they lived in Anchorage.  They set up a house on Raspberry Lane.  My granddad owned a gas station, and they lived pretty alright.  Well enough that they eventually came to live in Wasilla.  They homesteaded out here, buying a pretty sizable chunk of property.  From there, they became part of the web of life out in Knik.  Back when it was all people homesteading.  They were here.  Something that

Betty and the kids

Betty and the kids

people don’t know is that Betty lived out in the Homestead on her own, most of the time.  Ellis had to work in Anchorage, to put food on the table.  But she wasn’t living here alone.

The two of them had five children.  The oldest was Kathy.  Then there was Dick (his name is Richard, but most everyone calls him Dick.  Always have), Scott and Jim.  The last was the youngest of the family – Sally.  She just happens to be my mother.  Funny how that works, right? (Just kidding.  Sort of) Five kids, four of whom were absolute hellions, but the telling of some stories around the campfire (I’m lookin’ at you, White Man!).  Betty had to raise them, for the most part, by herself.  But don’t you go thinking that she was some pushover.  Oh no!  When Betty got mad, that woman meant business!  You were getting an ass-whoopin’, you better believe it!  She had to deal with the homesteading life and raise five kids, she was a tough old gal.  They just don’t make them like that anymore.

But her toughness was directly tied in to how much she loved her kids.  See, Betty had to deal with a lot of stuff.  The foremost was her son Scott.  I barely got to know him.  I hardly remember anything from before my head injury, but I barely knew him before that.  The last time I saw him was when I was around five.  He had some problems.  Scott was gay.  He wrestled with that in a time and a state where that lifestyle was beyond frowned-upon.  It was part of the reason that he ended up having a severe substance abuse problem.  I’m talking the hard stuff.  This substance abuse, along with some mental problems, eventually lead to his death, many years ago.  Betty had had to deal with that for a long time, and she was able to keep her composure.  I have no doubt that it was hard on her.  I can’t even imagine.  But she carried on.

The connection to family that Ellis and Betty had was profound.  See, a ton of their family ended up living up here.  The foremost was the Merrigans.  Betty and Patty were two peas DSCN0153in a pod.  There are so many stories about the two of them arguing for a LONG time about who would pay when they would be out eating.  The two of them were tough women, both of whom had their fair share of problems, but were made stronger because of it.  And that tight bond led to two families being close in a way that most singular families aren’t.  But don’t think that their ties to family only went to the extended one.

Betty and Ellis were very close to their own family.  There are pictures out there of them sitting with their grandkids, back when we were babies.  They would love to see their grandkids.  Thankfully, because they lived on a lake and were down the road from a large chunk of them, they got to do this rather often.  I always got the impression that this was a happy thing, for them.  They also liked to travel with their family.  There are fond memories of time spent in Seward, with them in their ancient-ass motorhome and me and my family in the camper on  the back of the old man’s truck.  You ever see the vehicles that the family drove around, we looked like the Clampetts, sometimes.  The Clampetts go to Seward!  But they never mind.

Indeed, traveling was something that the two loved to do.  There are so many stories of the many trips that they took.  They could have told you, for hours, about how many times they had gone to all sorts of places across the country.  But I like to think that their trips to Seward, fishing with members of the family, was their favorite.  Or at least Ellis’ favorite.  He loved his old boat.  It was a pretty small craft, but I have vague memories of him sitting in his chair, fishing pole in the little holster on the side, looking peachy as can be.  Maybe I’m wrong.  We do color history with our own perspective, don’t we?  I admit that mine is less colored than most.  After all, with my head injury, most of my memories before my head injury were mush.

Homesteading Ruggedness!

Homesteading Ruggedness!

And the two weren’t just big on helping their family.  They were tight with the old community of both Knik and Wasilla.  The two of them were among the ones who started the Wasilla Food Pantry, at Good Shepard Lutheran Church.  That’s the place that I grew up attending.  Nice people, there.  Unlike some people, I left religion on good terms, due to how I grew up in a church filled with pretty nice people.  It’s going to be hard, seeing how hard it is on them, when I am there for the service next weekend.

There are so many people who could tell you so many stories about Ellis and Betty.  So many people who have stories that are just bursting about their interactions with those two people.  They lived a life that was fuller and more enriched than almost any of us are going to have.  Part of me wishes that I had taken the old journalist approach and cataloged all the stories that they had, from as many people as I could.  I know that the White Man has a thousand and one stories to tell.  Although, with him, you gotta take it with a grain of salt.  He’s the king of bullshit.  To live a life and touch the lives of so many.  It’s a little overwhelming.  How can I give those two the credit they so rightly deserve about a life that they lived that was so full?  I’m still debating this.  I’ve given you all pockets of knowledge, but it goes so much farther.  How can I do justice to a life like that?  It’s too much.  As I sit here, Chris Botti playing in the background, I am so uncertain.  Maybe I should have waited a few days, to collect my thoughts.  But you know, this felt right.  It felt right to talk about this now, when it is fresh on my mind and I can think of the most to say.

Still, I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the lives they shaped and all the memories they share.  Now, I won’t claim that my grandma and I were the best of friends.  We had our disagreements, and those were sometimes very unpleasant.  But you know, I don’t hold on to stuff like that.  Especially now.  Old disagreements fall by the waist-side, and we think back to the good memories.  Memories of days gone by, that make me lament for a history that I barely remember, where things were so much easier, and I didn’t have to be scared about everything the way I am now.

I also know that, writing this, it is going to give a lot of people pain.  I do hope that, eventually, this helps people more than it hurts.  I hope that this post can inspire good memories, not sad thoughts.  I mean that, from the bottom of my little black heart.  I hope that each and every one of you can have good memories in your own lives, of the people you know who have touched you so much.  To any family or friends of the two who end up reading this, feel free to share a story in the comments section.  Like I said, I haven’t even been able to touch on how many stories there are.

And to Ellis and Betty, I hope that, wherever you are, you are happy.  Your suffering is done.  Age and pain can’t touch you anymore.  That long good night has given you both the peace that you had a fair amount of in life.  A service is going to be held at Good Shepard Lutheran Church.  You are going to be missed, by so many people.  It is with that in mind, that I am going to share a quote that is of great significance to me, to end this.

Until next time, a quote,

“This may not make much sense to you now, a young man at the beginning of his career, but one of the things you learn as you move up the ranks and get a little older is that you wish you had more time in your youth to really absorb the things that happened to you. It goes by so fast. It’s so easy to become jaded. To treat the extraordinary like just another day at the office. But sometimes, there are experiences that transcend all that.” -Capt. Katherine Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager

Peace out,

Maverick