Why the Violence?

•May 29, 2010 • 1 Comment

I’m still around. It’s been three years since I started this blog, and I’ve found myself playing computer games less and less. It’s not at all that I have any personal vendetta against these pixels on a screen that can transport us to wondrous, magical worlds. But somehow the world that one enters, at least for me, has become less wondrous, and more unsettling.

Within this world of magic and fantasy there is a seeming contradiction. How does wonder coincide with violence and the worst of mankind so simply and easily? Even more at the core: why does violence play such a prominent role in video games?

I don’t think I’m any more prepared to give an answer than anyone else, but I do have ideas. One sees in rock music, many movies, and certainly video games a primal tendency. In rock music, animalistic rhythms replace any important human utterings. In movies, the message is trumped by a hulking beast of violence. And in video games, violence is merely an abused slave to those looking to waste an hour, a day, or maybe a significant portion of their life. It is like booze to soothe the soul. It is the postponement of a terrible conclusion.

Of course, I don’t think anyone is looking to waste their time. It’s all so useful, controlling these pixellated personas. A headshot here, a grenade thrown there, and one never sees the reality of what is happening. Yet there is a reality present; it’s the degradation of a segment of the population.

Perhaps I expect too much. Maybe video games are just there to excite and entertain, and violence is the perfect tool for that end. But some music and a few movies once carried a message and a purpose. And I’m not about to say that video games ever did. But maybe, just maybe, video games could. But with a great many people too ready to indulge in the same, tired violence and pointlessness, and with companies even more ready to profit from such people, change is nowhere to be found.


EQ3 = Furniture?

•July 19, 2009 • 2 Comments

Upon searching the Google behemoth for Everquest 3, the inevitable addition to the Norrath trilogy, I was surprised to be presented not sorcerers, or giants, or even a good fairy, but rather furniture. Apparently EQ3 is a renowned company dealing in furniture. How will SOE deal with this search engine identity crisis? They’re doomed.

However, I must really wonder, furniture aside, how SOE is going to remain competitive in the traditional genre of MMOs. Sure, they have the, literally, Free Realms. But what of the Everquests and SWGs? Even Blizzard knows that competing within the fairy tale MMO scene is a bad idea, thus resulting in their new MMO being a completely new intellectual property. Apparently Everquest 3 is in the works, continuing SOE’s line of traditional MMOs. But this seems like a grave mistake. It would seem that SOE has given up on creating a blockbuster traditional MMO. Making another Norrath MMO is proof of it.

Blackle Who?

•May 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

If you’ve ever done a search for the word Backle lately you’ve probably come up with a radical search engine named Blackle. I must confess I quite like it; the black background is easy on the eyes. I’m all for conserving energy. Some would think the Blackle search engine is a joke, but it does serve a purpose if nothing else–to remind us to conserve energy. After all, why do office buildings need to leave their lights on long after any humanoids have left the premises? So this is Backle here giving Blackle the stamp of approval. But, for the record, Backle has nothing to do with Blackle. I was here first.

Where This Blog Went for Two Years

•April 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So, in case you didn’t notice, this blog disappeared into the abyss after a mere month of existence. Without so much as a brief goodbye, all posting ceased. And for that, I offer my apologies. Indeed, it is the fate of countless blogs (mine included) that shrivel up after only a month or so. Did I actually have nothing to say? The answer is no.  The topics that can conceivably be written about are plentiful, especially when you’re playing an MMO. In short, I needed to stop, and mostly, I still think I do. After all, how can you write a blog about games when you don’t even play them?

But I wouldn’t say this blog is completely over. I’ve had some fun writing a few posts and I might continue to do so. But just to make it perfectly clear—I don’t play games anymore. Maybe you could consider this blog the commentary of an outsider to the world of gaming?

Der Anruf der Aufgabe (The Call of Duty)

•April 16, 2009 • 5 Comments

Call of Duty 2

One of the few (only) games I’ve played recently is Call of Duty 2. It’s a fun game, and along with Call of Duty 1, makes for an epic singleplayer experience (though limited by its unfortunate brevity). The multiplayer is similarly fun, and for me at least, has always been the equivalent of chocolate truffles—small treats to be indulged in every now and then. I never play the game for more than an hour, nor am I so compelled to do so. But I still wouldn’t mind having a little indulgence the next day. This of course greatly differs from the MMO perspective, which is one of addiction. It is not a chocolate truffle, but rather is like a wretched drug that invites one to continue further and further.

But, rabbit trails aside, I’ve always thought it would be interesting if there were a German singleplayer campaign in a WWII game. I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered something quite like that in a WWII shooter-type game. The epic nature of Call of Duty’s singleplayer campaigns could easily make for an interesting adventure on the other side of the story—the German Anruf der Aufgabe.

Going on the Offensive

•July 16, 2007 • 8 Comments

EQ2 Spam Filter

Today, SOE implemented a spam filter in Everquest II. I don’t think much else needs to be said to those of you who play Everquest II.

Doesn’t sound exciting to you? You must not be from Everquest II, then. Everquest II, like many other MMORPGs, is plagued by a myriad of plat farmers and spammers from all around the world, otherwise known as China. The difference is, SOE actually did something about it. Yes, SOE did something good. *Waves hands* SOE is not the Grinch coming to steal your Christmas presents. Let that sink in.

Anyway, the implications of this spam filter are huge. Perhaps this will pressure other MMO companies into taking such actions, improving MMOs for all? Ah, well, you never know these days…

Mickey Mouse Invades Norrath?

•July 13, 2007 • 2 Comments


I was adventuring in Everquest II, namely in the dungeon of Stormhold. Stormhold is a spooky, mysterious abandoned fort. So, as my group slowly advances through the forbidden halls, a skeleton arises to challenge us!

The skeleton lets out a fearsome battlecry! Err, what? No, the skeleton does not let out a fearsome battlecry, quite the opposite, in fact. The skeleton says in a Mickey Mouse voice, “Dying didn’t feel good the first time!” I doubt anybody would be fearsomely trembling due to that.

I thought skeletons were supposed to be scary? For me, when I’m adventuring in an inheritably dangerous, scary place, when I hear the re-incarnation of Mickey Mouse in the form of a skeleton, how can that not break the atmosphere? Why on earth (or Norrath, for that matter) do my skeletons sound like Mickey Mouse filled with helium?