Archives for April 2008

Why I Am Not Playing GTAIV

Gamespot: 10 out of 10. Game Informer: 10 out of 10. X-Play: 5 out of 5. IGN: 10 out of 10. 1UP: A+. Gamespy: 5 out of 5.

I would not be surprised if GTAIV is Game of the Year. I’m not playing it, and I probably never will.

Here are my reasons in no particular order:

There are just too many reasons not to.

I’ve changed. In the past, I would play any game that was popular or a triple-A title without any regard to content or subject matter. I just cannot play a game where it’s good to be bad. I pretty much avoid games where you are a serial killer, psycho, or just some crazy going postal. The GTA games let you do just that. You’re rewarded for being evil, and not just a satiric or comedic type of evil. Generally, the worse you are the better. I’m not against violence. I like playing Crackdown and Assassin’s Creed, but even then I don’t play them all that much anymore. Now, someone will argue that I really don’t know the game because I’ve never played it. However, there’s so much about GTA in popular culture and reviews that I’m pretty sure I’m not too far off the mark.

Violence and language affects you. Argue this as much as you want, but playing games influence you. Any game. There is no way around it. Another argument is that anything we watch, do, hear, and feel influences a person. Over the past year I’ve come to realize that when I surround myself with violence I tend to be more agitated and have a shorter fuse. I’m also tempted to use language I shouldn’t when I hear a lot of it. That’s not good. I generally avoid movies, comics, books, and games with over-the-top violence and language.

I have two kids under the age of five. Why even fall into the trap of exposing my boys to this? Will I be able to protect them from everything? No. This is me being a responsible parent. By the way, the adult games I do own and play are put up and out of sight from the kids. I don’t watch movies or play games until after they are in bed.

My job. In working with teenagers, I am appalled at how many of them know about games such as the GTA series or any other type of game that the ESRB says they shouldn’t play. It’s only too obvious: they’ve played them. Gamers, publishers, and designers can scream all they want, but these type of games are being played primarily by kids. Who’s to blame? Parents? Retailers? Gamers? Publisher? Designers? You? Me? No one really knows, and that debate will go on forever. I’m trying to influence kids to live good, clean lives and uphold at least a modicum of morality. It gets difficult when I’ve got to break up a group of kids sharing gaming tips when it’s time to teach them. Oh, and it’s not just games either. Movies like Superbad (Quality matches title? Brilliant) and their ilk are just as to blame.

I know some of these reasons are tied together. Do I think anything negative about people who play these type of games? Not at all. Each person is allowed to set their own standards. I just feel that if no one at least stands up and reminds us what we’re really surrounding ourselves with and sucking into our lives what it is we might become. If not, we may see games where you can drive spikes through a person’s skull, come up with creative ways by killing a person by cutting their genitalia, and exploring all ways to strangle a man. Oh, wait…I think we’ve got that on a couple of titles.

In my hands

GTA and MK in the house

Impressions and Mario Kart friend code to be posted soon. Post yours so we can throw red shells at each other!

Update
Mario Kart Wii is that awesome. Here’s my friend code:

2750-1585-9944

…Nat cutting in. Here’s mine:

1762-3222-0503

back to Tony…

I’m throwing GTA IV in now that the kids are in bed, so I won’t be going back to Mario Kart for a bit.

That social thing

Tweet!Usually, I’m a pretty early adopter for new technologies and what-not. I started blogging before it was really “blogging,” for example. But sometimes I resist new things, usually for no good reason. Services like Twitter and Tumblr just didn’t seem to make sense to me. I already had a blog — why would I want a micro-blog (Twitter) or a mini-blog (Tumblr)? Then I found a few interesting Tumblogs and signed up for one myself. Then I tried out Twitter and was instantly hooked. How did I not latch on to these earlier?

So I’m now addicted to Twitter. I’ve already hooked a couple friends on it and am actively working on a couple more to catch the wave. I tried to explain it to my wife, but that didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. Regardless, I’m now a Twitterer (Tweeter?) and completely hooked.

I’ve already started following some of my fellow bloggers and some of you have already found my Twitter feed, but those of you interested in seeing what the fuss is and want to follow the absolutely riveting minutia of my day-to-day life, can follow me on Twitter here.

Beyond Twitter, I’ve looked into Friendfeed, which basically becomes a life-stream of everything I do online. It borders on creepy-stalkerish, and it is complete information overload. I actually hesitate to post a link to my Friendfeed, because it’s a little weird. Does anyone really care what stories I digg? Or what video I recently favorited on YouTube? Maybe someone does. For the truly intrepid, my Friendfeed is here.

Finally, I’ve recently been following a handful of people’s shared items in Google Reader. It’s a great way to find information other people find useful. I haven’t been using it as often as I’d like, but if you’re interested in seeing things I’m sharing, my Google Reader Shared Items feed is here. Yet another form of micro-blogging.

Do you Twitter? Do you Tumbl? Do you share? As resistant as I was at first, now I can’t get enough. Let me know what services you use/like. And of course post links to Twitter feeds and the like in the comments.

A Wonderful Weekend

Let’s tally.

  • Our youngest (2) is going on his fourth day in the hospital with a rotavirus.
  • Our oldest (5) has a double ear infection.
  • My wife and I have not slept in two days. I get the hospital shift tonight.

Mario Kart Wii helps pass the time. I’ve not played it, but my son keeps me informed.

It’s snowed off and on all day. A weird weekend is more like it. A Monday Madness would pale by comparison.

Second Skin, an MMO documentary

I haven’t posted much in the way of MMO’s since I quit EQ2 a few months ago, but this just popped up in my Google alerts and looks interesting: Second Skin, “a quirky documentary about the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games and the people who anchor themselves to computers for up to 18 hours a day.”

Link