RAB: GNC and My Enjoying David Cage Games

I don’t normally take requests, but since I found out my coworkers read my site, they posed a thought to me about a post idea that at the very least I had to take another look at.  You ever notice these GNC stores all over the place?  At least two malls I’ve been in have had them.  Here’s the thing which gets me and my coworkers – there’s never anyone in there.  Seriously, how do they stay in business?  I have never, ever seen a single person in any of those places.  Neither have my coworkers.  Yet they are all over the damn place.  How does that work?  You’d think that the lack of customers would eventually get to them.

Of course, I have the same thought about Sears.  Seriously, in the town I grew up in, there is a Sears with this big-ass parking lot, and it’s almost totally vacant.  Yet while a Sears here in my current city shut down, that one is still open.  It legitimately makes no sense to me.  I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while.  You’d think they’d need a certain amount of business to pay the overhead cost of staying open, right?  Is that something the corporate office takes care of?  There’s an interesting thought.

Next up, it seems that I am really in a minority when it comes to liking David Cage’s video games.  I enjoyed Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, and his newest one Detroit: Become Human.  I think they are not the most original stories, but the presentation is good and the performances have all been engaging for me.  But all over the Internet, it’s lambasting everywhere I look.  Did I just miss something?  Are these games all just secretly so awful and I am missing something?  I don’t think so.  Part of me thinks it’s the whole thing that people have against games deemed “walking simulators,” which is a mentality that I have never and will never subscribe to.  I don’t mind games that are more about the narrative than the mechanics.

Everywhere I look it’s that his games are hackneyed and boring and stupid.  I swear, sometimes it feels like I am lost in this industry.  My favorite game of 2015 was Life is Strange.  Even though the end does piss me off, it was an engaging experience up to that point.  But everywhere I looked there, it was people saying it is stupid and boring and hackneyed.  I’m not sorry for liking these things.  I think they’re good.  No apologies for something that I like.  If you don’t, you don’t have to play it.  You can engage in whatever PUBG, GTA clone you want.  As for me, the story is the only thing that matters.  Sure, if the gameplay sucks, I won’t partake, but the story is the one and only thing that factors in my mind when thinking about a game’s playability.

Maybe it’s the culture war against the SJWs and the total death of nuance in any dissection of anything.  Part of me thinks I am on to something.  After all, I remember doing a post about how people calling Life is Strange “SJWs: The Video Game” was dumb and these people are missing what I found.  But of course people would think that.  See, I don’t mind something that has some amount of socially conscious content, so long as it’s not smashing it in my face or making me out to be judged by it.  I have no problem with the female empowerment brand of feminism on display in the Wonder Woman film.  Not even a little.  But some people choose to find every stupid thing that they don’t agree with and make it a huge deal in everything, regardless of context.

I don’t know what is separating me from mainstream culture, but I’m pretty sure it’s not me missing something.  I think it’s just people who are “suffering” from a difference of opinion.  Yeah, David Cage’s games aren’t for everyone.  I’m the first to admit it.  But am I the only one they are for?  That can’t be right.  Unsure.

Until next time, a quote,

“Thank you in advance for your cooperation.” – Connor, Detroit: Become Human

Peace out,

Maverick

My Magic Realm

In my dreams, sometimes I see a special realm that is just for me.  It doesn’t conform to the rules of this world.  This cold, unfeeling world.  It’s a special place, and I alone have access to it.  A world where all my hopes and dreams exist and I can live the life that I want to live.  Sometimes the days are pretty, sometimes they aren’t, but no matter what, that place is still warm and inviting to me.  I don’t have to be afraid of life.  Let me tell you about it.  Maybe you can understand.

In that place, I’m not afraid of my finances.  I’m not bone-dead terrified of the fact that I’m kicking 30 in the ass and I don’t have any kind of career going.  The future is a fun thing to think about, not a scary one.  Medical bills aren’t the end of the world.  They are an issue, sure, but one that I can overcome with enough planning.  I have a car I really want and it’s super awesome.  Sometimes I just go driving places that I haven’t been before, just to see what’s over that.  It’s a great time.  I can afford to eat healthier and I have a fully stocked kitchen.  My home is an actual house, not some shitty apartment in a shitty part of a shitty town.

That’s another thing – my place is on the ocean!  Each day I wake up to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.  My amazing kitchen has a view of the ocean and I get to sit on my porch watching the sun set every night.  It’s pretty awesome.  The salty breeze telling me stories of all sorts of adventures that are yet to be had.  And I don’t have to worry about money.

Because I have a cool job that I really like.  A job where I get to analyze information and share the conclusions I come to and the predictive models of that info with people.  It’s hard work, but at the end of the day I get to go home and really feel like I accomplished something.  I get to show off my intellect that I have worked so hard to refine after I nearly lost everything because of a head injury all those years ago.

Speaking of, in my magical realm, my head injury hasn’t left me a glass human being, one knock to the skull away from losing it all.  My neck isn’t fused and I can feel my feet.  I get to walk through the grass at my place.  One of my favorite things is to mow that.  Back at my parent’s place, one of my favorite activities was being on the riding mower and just losing myself to the act of mowing grass.  That was loads of fun.  It doesn’t sound like it, but it is.

In my realm, there are tons of people who come over and who ask me how I am.  People don’t see my depression as something to avoid.  They accept who I am and do their best to have a good time because they know that I will do all I can to make sure they have fun.  I love to make tasty food and show off.  I’m a damn good cook.  You have no idea.  Got probably one of the few real friends I have left who comes over for dinner every now and again, and I fucking kick ass every time.  I keep joking that if I fuck it up, we’ll have pizza and be sad, but I never do.  Lady Luck decides not to fuck with me on those nights.  It’s pretty great stuff.  People have abandoned me en masse.

Coming home every day, I don’t just have my empty fridge.  There’s a couple awesome kitties who I get to greet.  They’s super sweet.  One of them is white and orange, with this big fluffy tail.  It loves to swim.  The second one is grey with black stripes and spots.  I’ve known her all my life, and in that place she’s still there.

In that place, I have a person that I am seeing.  It’s been going on for a while, and I’m thinking about asking her to marry me.  She’s this really cool girl I’ve known for most of my life.  We grew up together, and when I told her how I felt, she was really surprised, but then came back to me later and said she thought it was worth exploring.  The rest has been really exciting history.  Thinking about one day having a kid with her.

It’s a magical place.  Too bad it isn’t real.  Waking up on those nights fucking sucks, because all reality does is trample down on me.  I hate my life.  Not a fan of being alive, but since there’s nothing after you die, I’m kind of stuck in this game.  But who knows.  Maybe one day I’ll wake up and I can be that other person.  That person in that place, who isn’t me.  Who is some other guy.  Someone that people can like and get along with.

It’s a nice thought.

Until next time, a quote,

“I…I hate myself.” – Anna Sasaki, When Marnie Was There

Peace out,

Maverick

You Are a Flying Monkey (A response to ESA President Mike Gallagher)

I just love when we have those who are supposed to at least tangentially represent the protection of consumers coming right out and admitting that they are full of shit.  It’s kind of cathartic.  Like when you are completely vindicated on a food that you thought you wouldn’t like because it smells bad, and then tastes worse.  Your friend was so insistent that it is much better than it smells, but then you get the confirmation of how right you are, and it is a fulfilling little moment.  That’s what we have here.  Only difference is, it’s ESA President Mike Gallagher trying to get us to eat bullshit and like it.

In an article for Games Industry, he lays out why regulation of predatory loot boxes is bad, and how gamers are overreacting about the predatory nature of this stuff.  It’s capital bullshit, and I felt like responding to it.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s get started.

This is something that our industry is really, really good at,” he said. “It’s one of the hallmarks of our success: how we engage consumers, and build a business model around our products that is dynamic, exciting and, at the end of the day, profitable. But it’s done in a way where the gamers are pleased with how we interact with them.

Yeah, let’s ask EA how that’s going.  Like when the Battlefront 2 mess exploded in their face, and how they tried desperately to play it off on Reddit, only for the whole mess to blow up even more in their faces.

I just love the bullshit corporate speak here.  The way that this guy is just sucking off the corporate industry as hard as he possibly can.  No surprise, since the ESA has been lobbied HARD after US politicians tried to go after lootboxes on legislation.  No doubt the corporate tools of EA and other publishers were on the phone with them that afternoon telling them they need as much cock-sucking as possible for their predatory practices.  Every time I heard language like this, my senses immediately go off that every word out of this person’s mouth is bullshit.  Language like this is used by somebody who has nothing true to say.  Not once in the history of anything I’ve ever read with substantive points has been done in corporate speak.  Trust me, you are going to see more.

But today, one particular business model, loot boxes, has come under intense scrutiny, and it has come under that scrutiny because of these forces I’ve shared with you: intense cultural engagement, relevance, the economic connection; all of these forces, when you align them together, lead to the interest of government.

No, it didn’t.  What happened was that the predatory nature of microtransactions has been under scrutiny by gamers for years.  We’ve NEVER liked it.  Ever.  But when EA decided to lock all the content of a new game in a big IP behind lootboxes, and made their big game pretty much pay-to-win, then people decided they had had enough.  It was genuinely encouraging to see gamers come together to unite against this kind of predatory bullshit.

Activision didn’t make it better when they were trying to patent an algorithm that would make the buying of lootboxes even more enticing.  It’s become all too clear that predatory lootboxes are what the games industry sees as the future, along with “games as a service.”  The latter can only be fought by gamers speaking with their wallets that we don’t want games that are just Destiny or The Division clones.  The former, however, is gambling.  And when players decided that we had enough, and you had corporations like Disney desperate to not have their corporate image or brand name associated with this bullshit, that’s when government took notice.

Today, though, several governments around the world are seeking to classify loot boxes as gambling, taking power away from the industry. This, Gallagher said, “challenges our industry’s freedom to innovate, and impairs our ability to continuously test new business models, which drive creativity and engagement with our audience.”

Yeah, clearly that’s bullshit too.  The audiences said “NO!” to lootboxes.  They said that we don’t want them, and we are tired of game companies nickel-and-diming gamers to death with this shit.  See what I mean about corporate speak only ever being bullshit?  This man is trying to weave this fanciful narrative of companies like EA being so restricted when governments in the EU decide to rightly call these lootbox practices what they are – gambling.  Wants us to believe that the poor companies are all about fixing things and responding to what the gamers want.  Oh really?  Then after gamers came out loud and proud saying that we don’t want this, why is EA saying that they don’t give a fuck and are staying the course?  Funny how that works, Mike, you fucking corporate tool.

One common aspect between each of the challenges Gallagher laid out was a lack of understanding or education to the opposition view. This is the case with the would-be regulators of loot boxes, he said, who don’t understand that similar mechanisms and tools have existed in games for “a long time” – upon saying this, Gallagher elongated the “o” in “long” for effect.

Yeah, Mike, it has, and gamers have hated it for that amount of time.  The only difference in this case was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Companies like EA have been bilking the consumers for years, but this was the first time that consumers came together and voted with their wallets and their complaints got too loud to ignore.  That and Disney stepped in.  In all honestly, it’s probably just because of that that this issue reached the point it did, but hey, at least SOMEBODY took notice of gamers.  Clearly EA doesn’t give a flying fuck what we have to say.  Neither do you, it seems.

“Most importantly, these in-game transactions are not gambling,” Gallagher continued. “Video games never take money from a player and leave them with nothing. They never do. Players always receive an in-game feature that aids in customising their experience… When you look at the definitions of gambling throughout the world, and how this is done and how it’s regulated in places like Las Vegas and the US, it’s quite different to the mechanism with loot boxes in games.

There are two examples to show that you’re wrong on this, Mike.  For starters, in Counterstrike GO, there are mechanisms to be able to trade in-game perks for real-world cash.  Second, look at pachinko machines in Japan.  Those don’t pay you real money either.  What they do is pay out tickets that you redeem prizes with.  The difference is that because gambling is illegal in Japan, they can’t give you actual money.  Instead, you trade in prizes and get money.  But the idea is that same.  You pay real-world money for something you can use for the game, and then get something for your money, depending on the odds of play.

But Mike doesn’t get that.  In his ethnocentric view of the world, he doesn’t see it as gambling like in Vegas.  Because that’s the only kind of gambling, right?  Fucking idiot.  This man is so out of touch, all so he can try and play down what lootboxes are.  It’s fucking bullshit and it pisses me off that this man is the head of an agency who is supposed to at least tangentially represent gaming consumers and instead just sucks corporate cock all day.

“IARC, and the parental tools in video game hardware, they represent our industry’s commitment to children, and to getting it right with policymakers,” Gallagher said. “We do this ourselves, we do it proactively and voluntarily, because we know it’s how we’re going to grow our market responsibly.”

Yeah, we’d like to believe that, Mike, but it’s pretty damn clear that you’re an absolute tool for the corporations whose predatory business models are taking advantage of gullible adults and gullible kids.  After all, it isn’t M-rated games that are doing this.  FIFA and Battlefront 2 weren’t.  These are games either for teens or all consumers.  And since grandma isn’t going to be paying attention to this sort of stuff, and you want to slide it all under the rug or try and put some meaningless label on the game box that the aforementioned grandma isn’t going to read, SOMEBODY has to actually be looking out for consumers.

The short answer is that we DO NOT trust you and yours to be in the best interest of the consumers.  The rest of this interview was you pissing on governments in the EU, knowing full-well that if the EU cracks down on this shit, your company is going to have to alter your business model.  Because those countries are too big a market to ignore.  And the corporations that you are OBVIOUSLY a flying monkey for would have to take notice.

You are a tool, Mike.  This entire interview served that up on a platter.

Until next time, a quote,

“My step-douche has a bunch of stuff in the garage, and he is a tiny tool.” – Chloe Price, Life is Strange

Peace out,

Maverick

Bad PR 115: Mike Jungbluth, Bioware, and More Total Biscuit Hate

There is a lesson in my last post literally yesterday that Bioware either can’t or won’t take, and it is going to fuck up their company if they don’t learn it fast.  Really fast.  Like sending an office memo with a strict understanding for all employees that if they fuck up again, they get fired fast.  Because after David Crooks, we have another, still-current Bioware employee who felt the need to run his mouth about the death of someone and making them out to be a bad person.  Oh, he tried to do his best to pay lip service to the nice things he saw, but then had to let his actual thoughts seep out.  This person is Mike Jungbluth.

In his own Twitter diatribe (why is it always on Twitter with these people?  I swear, that’s where all the butthurt of humanity lives anymore), Jungbluth decided to go into his own rant saying that while TB might have done some thing that he approved of, it’s totally good to throw shade at him and we have some obligation to do so.  Naturally, the backlash against this was just as swift and just as vicious as it was against David Crooks.  And because Jungbluth is such a brave man, he has decided to make his profile private and delete the Tweets.  Again, class acts working for that company.  Nice to see that the gutless coward waited until the dude was dead and couldn’t respond to these attacks before launching his assault on TB’s character.  Real backbone you got there, Mike.

To any corporation who is going to employ butthurt millennials, you need to get a handle on your employees.  If they have your company represented by their social media, what they say reflects on you.  I don’t agree with that, but it’s how the world is.  I sometimes have to take the world for how it is, not how I want it.  There are now three major PR stories about people working for your company and their inability to keep their social media under control.  Manveer Heir, David Crooks, and now this guy.  You want the social justice sphere represented, for whatever reason, in your company.  I get that.  But these people are butthurt, angry little bitches and if you can’t keep these idiots from running their mouths online, it might be time for some training.

There is a YouTube personality I follow who is a game developer and has made some very reasonable video criticizing the politicization of games by the SJW media.  But he did this outside of his position as a game developer, when he wasn’t actively working on any projects for a company.  He has recently started working again, so he’s gone quiet.  That makes sense.  Since the SJW mentality is so pervasive in millennial culture, he has to be careful what he says when he is working for a company in an official capacity.  Again, since I like his content I wish my perfect world existed, but since it doesn’t, that’s how it goes.  He’s what I call smart.  Mike Jungbluth is a fucking idiot who needs to learn to think before he runs his mouth.

The PR lesson here isn’t very complicated.  If you can’t stop your developers from running their stupid mouths, it is going to sink your company.  Their actions reflect on you, because your name is in their bios.  More and more, this is what Bioware has become associated with.  It’s not a good look, especially when you are in a precarious position with your next big game project either making or breaking your status in the industry.

Casey Hudson was fast to clamp down on David Crooks and give him the boot, but they are very silent on this guy.  Could it be because this dude has connection to Anthem as a developer?  Huh, makes you wonder.  And that’s not good.  Not at this pivotal juncture of Anthem being only months away since EA has lost a lot of patience with them.

After all, it’s not like EA destroys companies left and right because they don’t make enough profit for them anymore, right…?

Until next time, a quote,

“You advance because you serve me, and the way in which you serve me reflects upon me!” – Lord Charles Cornwallis, The Patriot

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Detroit: Become Human

David Cage is something of an odd duck in gaming.  See, modern gaming has gotten a great deal of criticism from people who were big old school fans of just being interactive movies.  And nowhere is this more represented than with David Cage’s games.  This man loves him some narratives.  Every game he has made is narrative rich, very dark, VERY depressing, and with character who are motion-captured like it’s nobody’s business.  This guy has gotten himself something of a reputation for his work.  In my eyes, this man has made some games that are never perfect, but always engaging and to date have always left me spellbound by the end.  Oh, and they all have control issues like you wouldn’t believe.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get started.  This game is basically three movies rolled up into one, with all of them coming together at the end kind of like Crash.  Each narrative has its own qualities, and there is something here for everyone.  First off, we have Kara, the android who is in the service of a drunk asshole dad and his daughter.  Then we got the android Markus in the service of an artist name Carl (played brilliantly by Lance Henrikson).  Lastly, we have Connor, an android created by CyberLife to help bring the “deviants” situation under control.

As said before, each narrative brings something different to the table, so there’s something for everyone.  Kara’s is one of becoming a family and bridging the gap between an android and her human surrogate daughter.  The growth of their relationship is really touching, but it does get bogged down by a narrative issue later in the game that I am going to get into.  Markus’ story is about an android falling from a life of opulent luxury and then becoming the leader of an android uprising to help get his people recognized.  Basically the Moses story, for the religiously-minded among you, minus the supernatural element.  However, it is Connor’s narrative that stole the show for me.  He’s paired up with a drunk police lieutenant who is something of a has-been, to solve a mystery that threatens to destroy the city.  It’s a buddy-cop story, and the narrative has some great moments with that.  It’s my personal favorite.

This game’s story is gripping.  There are a lot of intense moments that will leave you thinking about them long after the story is done.  It isn’t the Cage’s narrative are super original.  The ideas of a world of android or robot servants who are abused by society is nothing new.  What I love about Cage’s games is the fact that since the narratives are not super original, the characters can be super dynamic.  Each one of our main characters has so much personality and you feel them as characters instead of the people playing them.  My favorites are, as said before, Connor and Hank.  Since I really built up their relationship in my run-through, seeing their dynamic as Hank goes from outright hating androids to having Connor and even the android’s struggles grow on him is really poetic.  There are some genuinely nice moments with them as Connor is struggling with his inner insecurities leading to becoming a Deviant.

Not to say that the other narratives aren’t good.  Markus’ starts off good, has a bit of a rough patch right when he first is heading to Jerico, but gets much, much better by the end.  Kara’s was the only one that I felt had some issues.

Let me explain.  This is going to get into spoilers, by the way, so if you don’t want to get things spoiled, then best to skip ahead a bit.  See, in my run-through of the game, I killed Alice’s father when he was beating her.  The story about Kara and Alice becoming a surrogate family was really, really touching.  Especially after I got Luther in my party.  But when I got to Rose’s place, I noticed something.  Alice is so quiet throughout so much of the game that she rarely talks about herself.  Then you get there and she refers to herself as if she’s a robot.

For a second there, I was giddy as fuck.  It made perfect sense!  This girl has had a very isolated life with a horrible, abusive man as a father.  Every human the two come into contact with after this point treats both of her and Kara like shit.  The first people to show her any kind of affection are androids.  So for her to start referring to herself like she’s one of them is a brilliantly dark psychological deal!  I can see all the narrative possibilities now.  For Kara to realize that the charge that she has to take care of is starting to have a psychological breakdown and forget that she’s human is just fantastic.  It has some great potential for dark moments when Alice has to accept that she is human, in a time when there is potentially a very violent uprising against us.

Instead, it is revealed that the girl is a robot.  And this does not sit well with me.  There are a TON of plot-holes that come up with this that never get addressed, outside of the fact that the girl does feel warmth and cold.  For starters, you feed her dinner back at her father’s place, and it is understood this has been an on-going thing.  If she’s eating the dinner, then where does it go?  That’s a neat question.  You never see her eat back at Rose’s place, so I guess that’s able to be ignored, but it still is never addressed.  Next, Rose said that the girl felt like she had a fever.  Why is that?  Do robots have a fever protocol in their programming?  That makes no damn sense.  Another one that came to me – does the father not remember that she’s a robot?  He consistently refers to her as if she’s his biological daughter, and Kara asks if she’s going to school as if that’s something she does.  I could go on and on about the plot holes but I’ll leave it there.

The whole thing is nothing but wasted potential, when the potential if the girl was a biological human and is losing her mind was infinitely more interesting.  When I thought that was where they were going, my mind was racing with Kara having to deal with this and being pushed to her limits while the heat is on.  Given that this is a David Cage game, it makes sense.

But that’s just one gripe.  The only other main issue I have with this game is the same one that everyone has with every David Cage game ever made – the controls.  Tank controls are back, ladies and germs, and it’s no less frustrating here than it has ever been.  Not to mention the insane QTE’s that are all over the place.  I can’t bitch too hard, as it is a David Cage game and you come to expect this stuff.  Since I am used to it, I am not too annoyed.  Still, would have been nice to have that get less in your face.

Aside from the narrative, there are lots of other things to talk about.  There is another reason that I love Connor’s arc the most.  Since he is helping the cops, you look at a lot of crime scenes.  It becomes L.A. Noire all over again, and that’s awesome.  You know, the fun examining of crime scenes and interrogating people kind, not the boring shooting lots of people way.  The gradual arc of the cases getting more intense and Connor having to push harder and harder to get the truth is really great stuff.  Not to mention how you have cases where things are happening on a time limit.

This game has some added challenge that other David Cage games have no had – strict time limits to get things done.  You have some complicated things to get done in a limited amount of time, and failure to do so may result in a main character’s death.  That’s another thing about this game – permadeath is a thing.  You can get all three of the characters killed and outright fail.  David Cage has always held that he didn’t like the idea of game failure being a thing, but it seems he has moved on this and allowed it to be allowed.  And once you lose a character, that’s it.  There’s no way to get them back.  I like that.  Helps you really want to be careful about the shit that you do.

One last thing to mention is that this game has a neat thing where the game helps you avoid the endless QTE’s of complicated tasks by having the character preconstruct a solution with you having to use the crime scene analysis tool to analyze the best route to get things done.  I like that.  Cage’s style is growing, despite some of the long-standing issues.

Overall, this is a marvelous game.  It was at the top of my list for this year, and thus far it’s my favorite to date.  It’s a dark game.  It is a depressing game.  You will cry, if you’re a pathetic little bitch like me.  But if games that are lauded as interactive movies in the way that David Cage’s are are your jam, you’re going to find a lot to like.  I loved Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, now this one is on the list as well.  Do with that what you will.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Bad PR 114: David Crooks, Bioware, and Total Biscuit (RIP, John Bain)

I’ve been wanting to talk about the passing of the YouTube gaming personality Total Biscuit for a bit now, but I couldn’t find an angle to go after it on.  He was an interesting personality with some good videos.  His video on school shootings and the alleged connection to video games is in my Favorites list on YouTube.  Now, I wasn’t a super huge fan of his.  He made no secret of having the focus of his channel be PC gaming, and I am a console gamer.  I just want something that I can plop a game into and play, and anybody who has played on the PC knows that that is not how that works.  At all.  Still, was an interesting personality and my condolences go out to his family.  My grandfather and one of my best girly-mates’ mother died of cancer, so I know how ugly that can be.

The gaming sphere as a whole seemed to come out in solidarity of the mourning of TB, but there had to be somebody out there who decided to be a prick about it.  And it was somebody who, up until this instance, had represented a company who is not in a good place.  I’m of course talking about the now-former Bioware developer David Crooks.

Crooks decided to celebrate and mock the death of TB.  He went into a huge, long diatribe about TB and how he didn’t like him.  Why?  Because he was critical of two games that Crooks worked on.  No wonder he worked at Bioware.  He’s a fucking whiny crybaby.  I’m sure he fit right in.  Go figure.  After Tweet after Tweet about it, he concluded by saying “Fuck that guy nine ways to Sunday, good riddance to bad rubbish.”  Wow.  Class act, this one.  It doesn’t sound at all like he has some insane insecurities about the things he has made that he needs to work out.  Nope, not at all.

Of course, you can expect that the backlash against him was immediate and vicious.  Rightfully so.  This pussy had it coming.  He couldn’t take someone disagreeing with him, so he had to make a big public spectacle of it.  Once the full force of the backlash it, he decided to delete the Tweets and put his account on Protected.  Strong man, David Crooks.  He can dish it out, but can’t take it.  Mind you, he couldn’t dish it out while TB was still alive.  Like most in the SJW-approved gaming sphere (his tirade was all about saying TB was silent on GamerGate and Anita Sarkeesian, so I think I’m right to call this spade a spade), he was too pussy to step to somebody’s face, deciding instead to (as he outright said) piss on their grave.

Casey Hudson came out on Bioware’s behalf to condemn Crooks and extend his condolences to TB and his family, saying that Bioware has nothing to do with this, along with Crooks no longer being with the company.  Probably as a result of his little tirade, but I don’t know.

The PR side of this is two-fold.  First, Bioware REALLY needs to get a reign on their people and their posting while on their accounts that are representing Bioware in their bios.  We saw how this can go with Manveer Heir, who decided to be public about his hatred of white people, and now we’re seeing it again with this.  Now, do I think that an entire company should be judged negatively due to the actions of one loud-mouthed moron?  Absolutely not.  I am a huge proponent of free speech and I believe people should have the right to speak their minds how they want.  But here’s the thing – that’s not how the public reads shit like this.  The public reads it as “wow, this person bad-mouthed a personality who died and who is being mourned by many people.  Fuck that company.”

PR is an art of maintaining brand loyalty.  And the thing about brand loyalty is – she’s a fickle bitch with a very short attention span.  Like Sander Cohen’s muse.  At a time when Bioware is having bad PR all around them, this is not what they needed.  First it was the colossal failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda, which happened because a studio not capable of tackling the project was given it, and EA got involved.  They fuck up a lot of things for Bioware.  Most people don’t know that it’s their fault that the ending to Mass Effect 3 sucked.  They were rushing it out to launch, so they went with the first draft ending they had.  The rest is really unfortunate crashing and burning history.

It doesn’t help that they are attached with EA, who has been trying to put out PR fires left and right due to their predatory business practices, and some might say that we shouldn’t judge a company for who they are associated with, it’s a fact that “tone at the top” is a real thing.  EA is a predatory evil mega-corporation, so of course that attitude is gonna seep down into their subsidiary companies.  It doesn’t help that they also have a reputation of sacking any company that isn’t making them a shit-ton of money.  Some have speculated that if Anthem fails, Bioware is next.  It’s part of why so many of the best talent there has jumped ship.

Speaking of, Anthem is not in a good place.  After all the madness with EA, they are suffering even more with story after story of big names associated with the game up and leaving.  They have tried to calm that down, but since we have already seen how this played out with Mass Effect: Andromeda, fans expectations are being tempered more and more.  We have also learned that EA is running out of patience and looking to rush this out the door, which doesn’t bode well either.  They need some good press right about now, and to have Crooks be the centerpiece of more bad press is not helping them in any way.

The second angle is that David Crooks is an idiot.  Not only has he made his now-former employer look bad, but does he just not realize that this is going to hurt him finding work?  TB was a pretty big name in the gaming industry.  Going on a massive tired that a TON of people have archived and any potential employer can and will easily find just doesn’t make you look better.  If you are looking for work, you don’t want to have someone able to find out that you ripped open someone who gave you legitimate criticism for your work.  Having your neuroses hanging out for all to see is not a good look for anybody.

Again, I’m not saying that I approve of the fact that Bioware is going to look bad because of this.  I think it should reflect on Crooks alone.  But that’s not how public perception works.  It’s a bummer, but it’s true.  Casey Hudson clamping down on this so fast is a good sign, but Bioware needs some good press, soon.  If Anthem does indeed fail, as many are thinking it will, the critics are probably right about them being the next on the chopping block.

Here’s my lesson – if you are going to be representing your employer with your online accounts, learn to watch your mouth about who you bash.  It’s bad business to be liberal with your shit-talking.

Until next time, a quote,

“Confidence is silent.  Insecurities are loud.” – Anonymous

Peace out,

Maverick

ThunderCats Reboot, Oppa Tumblr Style!

Anyone remember Teen Titans?  A show that had some pretty awesome characters, some pretty sharp animation, some really intense and dark themes, along with one of my favorite cartoon villains (Slade)?  I remember it too.  Was pretty alright stuff.  Anyone see what happened to the series with Teen Titans Go?  That terrible, kid-friendly animation for a series that is as void of darkness as it is with fun.  The animation is god-awful.  It looks like some shitty Flash animation from the early 2000’s.  I think that show is shit, and people who say otherwise are retards.

Let’s talk about the 80’s.  In the 80’s we had the cartoon Thundercats.  It was made to sell toys, as most stuff in the 80’s was, but it was at least dark and violent enough to be taken seriously.  There was a reboot in 2011 that had animation that was much more anime, but it was still high quality stuff, and the show was pretty alright.  But because LEGO had a show in the same universe that could be made for half the cost, it got cancelled.

Well don’t you worry, nostalgic people for all things 80’s!  Because a new series done by a soyboy has got you covered!

What the fuck is this?!  What is this terrible animation?  What is this garbage aesthetic?  Did Steven Universe shit this out?  Oh fuck, even that show has more self-respect than this crap.  These are not the ThunderCats!  These are the Tumblr stereotypes that had to be created for a series that is made on a budget of a ham sandwich and is going to have all the dark violence of the aforementioned sandwich.

I mean, who thought this was a good idea?  What incompetent retard at WB Animation decided “hey, let’s make a cartoon based on one of the most iconic series from the 80’s that looks like hot garbage”?  I have to know.  Look at the shit above, and then take a look at this original opening from the original series.  Tell me if you can see a stark difference in quality.

The original series eats that pile of ass’ lunch!  What the fuck even is that?!  It’s something that WB decided to throw up all over the Internet, and thankfully people are having none of it.  The votes on the reboot above is a graveyard of people hating the fuck out of it.  The guy who they have having pimp the series and his gay hairdo doesn’t help.  That hair is gay, and I just watched the original ThunderCats trailer.  That had all that beautiful, homo-erotic 80’s gay all over it.  That’s how gay that dude’s hair is.  I can see his Tumblr page now.

Man, kids these days grow up with such shit.  I remember growing up with Batman: The Animated Series.  Its art deco design, dark themes, and PHENOMENAL voice acting by the real Joker, Mark Hamill.  You had the animated X-Men series, which had messages about prejudice and not understanding people who are different than you.  You had the occasional series selling you toys like Digimon, but at least most of those series did take themselves seriously, and some of them were pretty awesome, flaws and all.  But this?!  This is garbage that we force on kids today like the new Star Wars film.

Identity Politics approved!  Come get your watered-down bullshit!  To be a kid today and have nothing but this watered-down bullshit to look up to.  Groj forbid I have a kid, I’m going to show them some real quality television.  Before the days when female characters had to be perfect Mary Sues that had no flaws, so little girls could shove themselves into them like a second skin.  Because what child can identify with a character who isn’t perfect in every way?

One of my heroes growing up was a kid who was clever, kind, principled, chubby, and loved to have fun – TJ Detweiler.  He had a streak of pulling pranks and being against doing what he’s told that did often conflict with what the right thing to do is, but in those episodes you see him realizing what the right thing is and setting aside how he feels to do that greater good, whether it be to help a friend or just because he knows that the greater good takes priority over his personal desires.  Or there are the episodes where his anti-authoritarian streak is for the greater good, even if he has to do some very bad things for all the right reasons.  He’s a punk, but he still is relatable.  It was the kind of kid I always wanted to be like, and I see a lot of more TJ in myself now than I did when I was his age.  Back then I was too much like Mikey.

Hopefully this series dies, but it probably won’t.  Since the budget does look like it was the same as making a ham sandwich, I figure the show will break even.  That hurts me inside.  Come to think of it, I think that Teen Titans Go may have predicted how this would turn out.

A good place to end on.

Until next time, a quote,

“‘Hey everyone, I’m Manbun McDipshit, and I watched ThunderCats as a kid, and it was my dream at a young age to rape the entire essence of ThunderCats and turn it into an absolute pile of shit.'” – TJ Kirk

Peace out,

Maverick

Your Pro-Gun Fantasies are Delusional (A response to Josh Feuerstein)

Man, I haven’t gone after a super-religious idiot in a very long time.  In my early days on this site, I had a lot of posts ripping on religion and some of the idiots who follow it.  I am firmly an atheist and think that people who need religion in their lives are people who are afraid of reality.  But the topic got old and it was basically beating a dead horse while playing a broken record.  It got pretty stale.  But I have always had at least a passing eye on the insanity that is Josh Feuerstein.  For those who don’t know, he’s an insanely religious man who is absurdly popular on Facebook.  His page has millions of likes.  It’s bananas.

The guy is also something of a scam artist.  Not just because of the beliefs that he touts, though there is that.  But he was able to crowd-fund over $60,000 for a special camera, but clearly still does video on his phone.  Yeah, money I’m sure well spent, given how obesity is clearly the biggest problem he has.  That and an inflated ego.  Many years ago he went after the biggest YouTube atheist, The Amazing Atheist, because TJ had responded to his most popular video – where he “disproves” evolution.  It was sad, to say the least.

Over the years, Josh has become something of a marvel of Christian stupidity.  This guy is not only a firm fundamentalist Christian, but he also is a radical conservative as well.  So naturally, when the Supreme Court cast its ruling that allowed gay marriage to be legal in all 50 states, Josh was against it.  Yet he took great umbrage when people called him a bigot because of that.  Funny how that works.  Oh, and he also in the videos where he said “Obama done did it” about gay marriage, he said that it was the beginning of the “Christian Holocaust” and held up a gun to say that he would fight the government.

Josh fancies himself one of these people who would start some kind of civil war against the government if they ever step out of line.  The reality is that he is one of a plethora of fat-ass conservatives who would fight the government for all of 20 minutes, until they blast him and his little obese army of “patriots” with a drone.  Any war against the government in the 21st century would very, very short-lived.  He is one of these people who says that if they come for his guns, they can have the bullets.  No, Josh, you’d open fire, and they blast you to bits.  Hell, I guarantee that the moment they blast open your door, you will piss your fat britches and surrender on the spot.  Because it’s easy to be tough when you are not facing down any real resistance.  Just the imagined kind in your head.

When I say he’s a radical conservative who is something of a class act in paranoia, I’m not kidding.  He had his wife driving around a Wal-Mart for ten minutes talking about how them closing it is a conspiracy and they are stockpiling weapons and tanks inside.  This guy is really something.

But now it seems that Josh has a new take on the idea of guns – that they’re in the Bible.  That the 2nd Amendment is in the Bible.  Oh boy, this is gonna be a hard sell.  Let’s take a look at what this moron has to say.

Oh my Groj, you delusional fuck.  So, let me see if I got this right.  You keep a loaded gun in your car, on the unlikely off-chance that somebody is going to come at you with a firearm.  And if this person in your fantasy world comes at you, you are going to let loose with .45 “freedom seeds.”  That is the funniest name for bullets I have ever seen.  Especially given the long history in this world of dictators using those “freedom seeds” to kill people they don’t like.  Guns have a long, sordid history of one thing – violence.  I’m not against people owning them, though I do believe there should be some regulation in that regard, but to call bullets fired “freedom seeds” is so utterly ignorant of history.  But why should I be surprised.  This guy is an obese “patriot” who is looking to be Dirty Harry in his fantasy world.

Here’s my question to you, Josh – if you should come upon some fantasy shooting where you get your .45 out of your car and open fire, what if there are lots of kids around?  You say you are against school shootings, so what happens if you there are lots of little civilians around you?  Acceptable risk?  Killing kids?  You want their potential blood on your hands?  Not to mention, it ain’t like the guy is jut gonna stand there and let you shoot him.  Life isn’t a video game, Josh.  This person will move and then shoot back.  And say there’s armed security.  They come into things, not knowing who is who, so they start shooting at you too.  Are you just so convinced that they are going to know that you are the good guy?  If I saw your fat ass with a loaded gun shooting, I would assume you are the shooter.  You look the type.  You certainly have the attitude.

Then he says probably the most delusional thing I’ve ever heard – that the 2nd Amendment is in the Bible.  This is a dude who sees that painting of Jesus giving America the Constitution and cums all over it, isn’t he?  I believe it.  His evidence?  Because God armed angels.  I need scriptural evidence of this, Josh.  Because as I remember, angels in the Bible were pretty much just God’s messengers and heralds.  They had no form unless they took on the form of a human.  But in reality the angels of the Bible had more in common with those from Neon Genesis Evangelion than they do with your imagination of them being Dirty Harry with wings.  This man is so insane.  I don’t get how someone can be this delusional.

Guns did not exist in the Bible.  Nowhere.  There was nothing about guns in the Bible.  Not to mention, people having rights to own guns is also absurd in the Bible, because in that time period, people only had the rights that the king, Caesar, or other leader provided them.  It was a Feudal, primitive society.  Even Jesus said “give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, give unto God that which is God’s.”  A reference to taxes, neat fact.  So your weird belief that democracy and democratic republics with their legal perspective was a thing in the Bible is equal parts funny and ridiculous.

Then we get the conservative schtick about guns being the heroes always and the good guy prevailing.  His metaphor is that a bully only backs down when the little person has a bigger person.  He doesn’t see the irony in that statement.  The idea that the little person has a bigger person to basically go to bat for them.  Kind of like, in principal, how cops are supposed to work.  Because that big guy can’t be with the little guy all the time.  But the little guy knows that he can call on them and they will sort out the person hurting them.  It blows my mind how you are so dumb with the shit you say, and nobody calls you out on it.

Lastly, he says that we need vets in schools, armed with guns.  You know, Josh, I have this growing perspective on the military since a girly-mate who is quite important to me joined the Navy, and she tells me about life with that.  She took the oath of service, to protect her country.  And it’s weird that Josh of all people is saying that vets needs to be in the schools, because he has said that he would fight the government.  In his “Christian Holocaust” series, he outright says that he will fight the government because of the perceived attack on his religious freedom.

This fat ass has never once served his country.  He hasn’t done shit.  He champions a President who said he couldn’t serve his country because his foot hurt.  Just like all the stupid-ass conservatives who believe that underneath it all, they are Dirty Harry, he just lets the delusions talk.  Not to mention, why veterans?  Why not cops?  Could it be because we now have documented proof that cops have a bad habit of being gutless cowards who run from danger or shoot it in the back?  Or in the case of Scot Peterson, do nothing while a shooter is inside a school killing kids and ACTUAL heroes who gave his life to protect children from bullets.

I have said it so many times, these people believe that life is an action movie, and the villains are just gonna stand there and get shot, while not being able to hit the broadside of a barn.  But we know in reality that life isn’t like that.  That shootings are messy.  We saw that with the armed guards at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, and other schools.  Now, am I against armed security?  Of course not.  But this idea that we need to get random people who served in the military to do this, instead of people who are trained for the task of protecting kids, is absurd.

By the way, Josh, I guarantee that if you went into a school shooting to go pump some of your “freedom seeds” at the bad guys, your ass would get arrested too.  Probably because you’d have killed other kids instead of the bad guy.  But hey, maybe I’m wrong.  You are Dirty Harry in the flesh, after all, right?

Until next time, a quote,

“Most people are drowning in delusional ignorance, without knowing that their suffering was created by themselves.” – Jakushoa Kwong Roshi

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review (Sort of): God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2

I am not feeling very good today, and a friend of mine has these two films on bootlegged DVDs because he has religious family who gave him this stuff.  And I can safely say that I have seen the worst, the absolute worst in Christian propaganda films.  This is more going to be a discussion of what about these films annoys me, rather than the films themselves, because that’s a wash.  Both of them suck.  I will have a Final Verdict for them and justify it, but I really am just looking to talk about Christian propaganda films and how these two movies are exemplary of what is so wrong with them.  What an awful use of my time today.

First we have God’s Not Dead.  This was Pure Flix’s claim to fame, and they have never forgotten that.  Every chance they can they will shove that in your face.  In it was have Josh Wheadon, which always makes me think of Wil Wheaton (Shut up, Wesley!).  He has an philosophy class with the EVIL philosophy teacher played by Kevin Sorbo.  We also have a dozen other characters because that film has more subplots than Carter has little pills.  It’s really bad.

Here are the tropes in this film that exemplify themselves in other Christian movies.  First, we have Kevin Sorbo as the EVIL philosophy teacher who comes right out in the very first class and, instead of doing what an actual teacher in college would do at the start of class, like go over the syllabus or give some basic rundown for how things will work with that class, he has to make very clear the film’s forced message – God is Dead!  The quote by Nietzsche that religious people take such umbrage with without understanding it at all.

When Nietzsche said that “god is dead”, he didn’t mean there is a literal God and he is literally dead.  What he meant was that religion’s roll in society was coming to a close.  But the religious crowd have been touting that as the great heresy against their respective belief structures and how it must be destroyed.  One of the many stupid points in this film.

Since our good boy Josh is too good to do what the strawman philosophy professor tells him to do and write “god is dead” for that day’s only assignment.  Another sign that this is not even a real college course in any way.  Strawman course with a strawman teacher.  Christian films don’t set the bar very high.  He can’t write that, so the professor challenges him to a debate about the nature of God’s existence.  Another thing that philosophy isn’t exclusively about, but this film really makes it out to be.  In fact, this whole damn movie paints college as the act of EVIL secular society and people in there are snobbish assholes.

We then get to suffer through the debate, and this is just amazing.  The debate between our hero Josh and the EVIL professor is basically watching the absolute paragon virtue fighting it out with Ray Comfort’s vision of an atheist.  All of the terrible arguments that Josh makes are ones that I, a pseudo-intellectual asshole who got my degree in journalism could handily refute.  It’s terrible.  No atheist argues the way that the EVIL professor does, and Josh’s points are never refuted in a way that any atheist would.  It’s a stereotype beating a strawman.

Naturally, the whole film is really just a Christian circle-jerk.  All the Christians who feel so downtrodden in a country where 80% of the population identifies as Christian can sit there and feel so validated by what’s on the screen.

Overall, the film is terrible, but to stupid to be frustrating.  It’s almost kind of fun to watch Kevin Sorbo’s terrible acting.  That guy has always sucked.  But the next film absolutely takes the cake for Christian circle-jerk factor.

God’s Not Dead 2 came out and now we have Sabrina the former Teenage Witch and now reborn Mega Christian (no joke, the actress is very, very Christian now) starring as the teacher who is being trampled down by the EVIL secular society and their EVIL secular values as the EVIL ACLU is brought in to try and destroy her.  This film is made to have fundamentalist, conservative Christians cumming in their pants because their absurd sense of siege can be blasted all over the screen.

This film is the worst.  The absolute worst.  None of what happens in this movie would have happened.  If a teacher at a public school went into religion with a student, would they get talked to?  Maybe.  But this whole insane thing about her nearly being fired would never have happened.  It would have been just “yo, don’t get too crazy into the religious stuff, we don’t want to upset anyone, so just tone it down, will ya?”  And then any sensible person who gets the separation of church and state would be like “sure.”  That’s where this would end.

But no, they have to get the EVIL ACLU involved to try and destroy this woman’s life.  Because the ACLU is so awful, right?  Fighting for the constitutional rights of citizens to be upheld.  Those bastards!  Oh, and the film tries to head off the argument about separation of church and state by saying that nowhere does it say that anywhere in our law.  Here’s the thing this movie doesn’t get – part of the job of the Supreme Court is to interpret the laws as they are written.  It’s the reason that Roe v Wade gave women the rights to their own bodies, or Obergefell v Hodges granted gays and lesbians the right to marry in all 50 states even though that isn’t in the Constitution either.  It’s that branch’s job to interpret the laws in respect to other issues.  So in the case of Everson v Board of Education, it was strictly laid out the separation of church and state in respect to public schools.

You can’t explain that to conservative Christians, though.  For whatever reason, these fucking morons have this inexplicable sense of siege in this country, and I will never understand.  I know so many people in atheist groups I have been a part of online who are teenagers and say that they can’t say who they are to their parents because they would disown them, or even fear for their physical safety.  But nope!  It’s all Christians who have it so hard.  Hand to Groj.  Ugh.

This film has court scenes that are so bafflingly stupid.  From characters being questioned and the ACLU representative never objecting even though it is so obvious that this has nothing to do with anything.  Like when Lee Strobel is on the stand.  Hell the ACLU has no cross-examination then, and you can bet your ass that I’d be all over that guy if I had him in a courtroom to testify under oath.  Trust and believe.  Then we get this teenage girl running in and not only does the bailiff not do anything, but they allow this girl to take the stand.  Then, when it is patently obvious how much this case has been a breach of legal rules and how it would so obviously get destroyed in appeal, the film doesn’t do that.  Because after all, they have to suck the religious cock and make all the religious people blow their metaphysical load all over these films.  It’s the worst.

Unlike the other film, there was nothing to enjoy there.  That film is the worst, the absolute worst.  It’s religious propaganda at its worst and I hate that I devoted time to actually taking it in.  I don’t get how religious people aren’t offended by how their religion is made to look in films like this.  It’s terrible.

These films suck.  Don’t watch them.  Ever.  Oh, and the Newsboys fucking suck!  They are the worst group ever.  Brings to mind that great quote by Hank Hill – you’re not making Christianity better, you’re making rock worse.

Final Verdict:
God’s Not Dead:
4 out of 10

God’s Not Dead 2:
2 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Media Complicity and the Santa Fe Shooting

As always, the first thing everyone does when they see a school shooting is wonder why the shooter did it.  Valid question, for sure.  In this case, we have an answer, and it was pretty quick too.  In a statement by the shooter about why he spared the lives of people he liked, it was so he could “have his story told.”  In one moment today, as I am more than a little stoney baloney (been laughing for hours at that verbiage.  It’s my new favorite thing), I was reminded as to why the media makes me so angry.

See, the media is at least partly complicit in statements like that.  If the goal of this person was to do this shooting so their story could be told, it’s tied into something I’ve believed for a long fucking time about the media in respect to shooting such as this.  Every time we have a school shooting, the media is right fucking there with cameras in everyone’s face.  Not missing one goddamn tear.  Then begins the round-the-clock coverage about the shooter.  To Hell with the victims.  They don’t get clicks and constant coverage by the slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging retards who watch cable news (not just talking about Fox, so you know).  24/7 coverage asking to know everything about the shooter because the stupid-ass public for some reason feels this is vital information to know.  Meanwhile, you have all the people being buried that buried in the coverage too.

Then we have seen that there are copycat killers who rise up and choose to do the same thing, because they want to see their names made famous by the atrocity that they commit.  They want to see everyone talking about them.  The disenfranchised youth or unhinged adult who just wants someone to pay attention to them, they see this and because they already aren’t well, they think this is a golden opportunity.  Am I saying this is everyone?  Not at all.  That would be intellectually dishonest.  There will always be the Timothy McVeigh’s of the world who have some big political agenda or something.

But for fuck’s sake, can just one night we get one of these talking head assholes to actually say that maybe, instead of constant coverage of the killer and wondering what their entire life is like and getting their story told to the entire world, we can not do that?  We can instead make it about the victims.  Get their names known.  Have people know what they were like.  Or the heroes like the teacher in Parkland who gave his life to protect the lives of children.  At least glad we got some light shined on the coward deputy sheriff in Parkland who refused to go into the school.  One thing the media did right.

Maybe, if we get the victims of these crimes known and becoming household names, the people in our government wouldn’t be so quick to not give a shit about them as they do nothing to stop the next goddamn shooting from happening!

Until next time, a quote,

“There are conditions of blindness so voluntary that they become complicity.” – Paul Bourget

Peace out,

Maverick