Say What??

I nearly didn’t type this because blogging about politics is something I’m really no good at. Honestly, I’m barely good at covering games, but I read an article recently that made me stop and ponder.

Here’s an article from Eurogamer that caused my pause. Basically, the NRA (in a statement by its executive vice president Wayne LaPierre) has blamed the video game industry for corrupting people through its publishing of violent video games. Later, the organization realizes an iOS shooting game that teaches people how to shoot guns. The game, named NRA: Practice Range, is advertised as a teaching tool and is actually meant to promote gun safety. What better way to do that than with a flick of a finger? The clincher in all this? The game is rated for ages 12 and up!

At first, I was actually quite irked when I read that article. The whole thing seemed to reek of hypocrisy. Why blame the video game industry for corrupting people than release a game that teaches people how to shoot guns?

Therein lies the rub. The NRA’s gun is meant for education, not the fantastical act of slaughter. It’s possible the NRA believes Practice Range  is nobler than other shooting games in the video game industry because of its intent to educate.

And yet that doesn’t ring true either. With the all the violence that has occurred, especially against children, why would the NRA have an iOS shooting game that is rated so low, even if no actual people are shot? It just seems counter-intuitive even with the game’s focus on education.

And education about proper gun use likely wasn’t a problem for Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza. He went to the gun range with his mom and even used ear plugs during his rampage, which may or may not have come from his habits at the range.

President Obama has already released his proposals for gun control, and part of his approach to gun control includes researching video games and their possible effect on people. Not that I mind the study, but I’m certain of this: no amount of legislation will be better than parental intervention. That’s common sense for most, I’m sure. Let’s see what happens.

Until next time.

Peace & Pixels

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Final Fringe Friday

I’m going to take yet another break from video games to focus on television. In just a few minutes, Fox will air its final episode of Fringe just months before the show’s fifth birthday. Thus the “Fringe Friday” era of TV will come to an end.

Of course, there just had to be a Bulls game on the same night…

Fringe will get my attention though, as it has in the past few years. I didn’t start off liking the show; I thought it was just an X-Files rehash. Of course, actually watching the show made me appreciate it for the type of program it is. I love its sense of subtlety, mystery and conspiracy. It’s a show that demands its viewers pay attention, and so far the payoff has been worth the time for me.

I came to Fringe late, so I don’t remember the first time the Observers appeared or when Peter first kissed Olivia. I do remember the first time that I saw one of the show’s many glyphs. That was around the beginning of 2011, when I began to actually watch the show. I found myself engrossed in what those glyphs meant and through Google’s ramose touch, found this post by Julian Sanchez (a few years late) which impressively explained the meaning behind the glyphs’ meaning.

From there, I just kept watching. I started out looking at some old episodes on the show’s website than visited Fringepedia to catch up on its history.

Now, here’s the last stand of the show. So many mysteries and so many memories; it’s been a great show to watch. I would’ve liked John Noble to get an Emmy nod, but we can’t have everything. At  least Astrid got her own episode, though.

Go Bulls and good-bye Fringe. It’s been good.

Peace & Pixels

Happy New Year! (A week late)

Happy New Year, folks! The new year is a week old, and I’m breaking it in like a new pair of church shoes! The following is an article that I planned on writing for Examiner, but put it aside. Last year was a great for year for anniversaries in geekdom, with several major entertainment franchises celebrating birthdays. Each franchise covered is at least fifteen years old. Unlike the other articles I’ve done, this one isn’t focused purely on video games, but instead includes other types of entertainment.

Film

Both Paramount and Universal Pictures celebrated their 100th anniversaries last year, marking 10 decades of a whole lot of cinematic success.

The James Bond films turned 50 with the anniversary of Dr. No.

Star Wars turned 35, an accomplishment punctuated by a blockbuster multi-billion dollar deal that saw Lucasfilm sold to Disney. Could this mean a Mace Windu skin will be unlockable in Epic Mickey 3? Stay tuned.

Several classic films turned 30. ET: The Extraterrestrial, Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanThe Thing, “Poltergeist”, Blade Runner, and Tron. Wow.

PredatorEvil Dead II, and Robocop all turned 25.

Alien 3 turned 20. If only Newt had survived…

Oh, and Titanic turned 15.

Television

Star Trek turned 46, and Google celebrated with a nifty Doodle on its home page.

Knight Rider, the television show that launched David Hasselhoff into superstardom and made sentient cars cool, turned 30. The show actually had a heck of celebration with a party in Las Vegas, and can only hope this was a part of the festivities.

Star Trek: The Next Generation turned 25. The second live action television series of Star Trek lore, Star Trek: TNG introduced the world to the redoubtable Jean-Luc Picard, portrayed by Patrick Stewart.

Quite a few shows turned 15, among them Daria, King of the HillBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and South Park.

Literature

The 200th birthday of Charles Dickens was celebrated with activities all over the globe. What a legacy.

A trio of centennials here: Edgar Rice Burroughs’ characters John Carter and Tarzan, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. All of the above have been adapted into films, the most recent of which is John Carter, which was released in to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the character.

The literary world observed the 80th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s death.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, turned 75, and Peter Jackson’s film The Hobbit was released just in time to commemorate the release of the novel.

E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web turned 60. Some novel it is, indeed.

Spider-Man turned 50, a milestone celebrated with the release of Amazing Fantasy #15. Furthermore, the film The Amazing Spider-Man marked the reboot of the Spider-Man films.

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, turned 30. The first novel in King’s Dark Tower series, it’s soon to become a movie.

Philip K. Dick, the sci-fi writer whose work inspired such films as Blade Runner and Total Recall, passed away thirty years ago.

Todd McFarlane’s Spawn franchise turned 20.

Steven Gould’s Jumper, the novel which inspired the 2008 movie of the same name, turned 20.

Jim Grant’s (aka Lee Child) novel Killing Floor turned 15. Killing Floor introduced the world to the character Jack Reacher, who now is portrayed by Tom Cruise in a film bearing the character’s name.

Video Games

Atari turned 40, and consequently so did the home video game market.

Two of Capcom’s flagship franchises, Street Fighter and Mega Man, both turned 25. Both games were celebrated in Street Fighter x Mega Man, a free to download PC title that pits Mega Man against some of the brawlers from the Street Fighter series.

A couple milestones from both Sega and Nintendo respectively. The Sega CD and Contra III: The Alien Wars (a Super Nintendo exclusive) both turned 20. Contra III saw its initial release on the Super NES, and featured Mode 7 graphics on some stages. The Sega CD’s legacy is mostly difficult full motion video games, disc reading errors, and grainy video. Things weren’t all bad, though. At least Scottie Pippen had his own video game.

Wizards & Warriors, the first game in the Wizards & Warriors series, turned 25 as well. The series  even featured Fabio on the cover of the second game in the franchise.

Goldeneye 007, the seminal first person shooter developed by Rare, turned 15. Hard to believe that there was a time when first person shooters were thought to be best suited for the PC. Goldeneye 007 helped change that view and the video game world has not been the same since.

The first bills have come in, so 2013 isn’t quite happy any more. Until next time.

Peace & Pixels

Edit: It just hit me that Metal Gear turned 25 last year. Being a Metal Gear fan, I’m surprised that I didn’t know that. I remember the box art of the first Metal Gear game, which featured a Solid Snake who resembled actor Michael Biehn.