September 2006

This Game Is Not Yet Rated Because Our Reviewer Is Only Level 38

Senator Sam Brownback wants to nuke the ESRB from orbit, just to be sure.

Brownback alleges that the ESRB needs to “include more accurate and complete information in the ratings assignment process.”

“The current video game ratings system needs improvement because reviewers do not see the full content of games and don’t even play the games they are supposed to rate,” he said.

Unfortunately, politicians do not have a similar requirement for learning about industries that they legislate/abuse as tools for electoral posturing.

Ah, I Love the Smell of a Good Rant in the Morning

Penny Arcade’s Tycho quoting a new venture into the online comics space:

“We want to make a statement that it is safe to do this, that people can do this.”

Good, because as it stands only rabid weasels are reaping the benefits of digital distribution – it’s about time human beings got into the game. It’s either a statement of profound naivete or profound hubris. Saying that you’re going to make the web a place for comics is like suggesting that you plan to colonize the Earth. If they want to break down the walls that keep artists from publishing online, well, I hope they brought a wall with them, because we don’t really have anything like that here. I suppose we could special order.

Guild Drama Spill, Aisle Four (aka the infamous “Flowers of Happiness” from the EQ and now WoW PVP servers) break down the various and sundry guild drama queens and kings you’ll run into in your online travails. I compiled a similar list for my “Dummies” book, but theirs is more complete and thus funnier.

Henny Penny. Nobody gives a weather report of how the sky is falling, like good old Henny Penny. “Nothing is the same anymore since (insert name of quitter here) left the guild. This place is going downhill. Fast. Chat sucks, the raids suck. Everything sucks. I tried to get a group and nobody answered me when I spammed guild chat looking for people to run me through that one instance. I give it two months.” They will log out shortly before the guild raid is about to start so that they can document this prediction into their Myspace.

The Serial E-Dater.Serial E-Dater often budgets the cost of making trips to hook up with Sex-Talk and other guild mates within their sexual orientation, but is repeatedly disappointed when their e-love turns out to be nothing like the hot elf that they pretended to be online. The Serial E-Dater makes vapidly agreeable responses to every statement made by the person of his or her affections. They will jump to that person\’e2\’80\’99s defense no matter how idiotic the person acts. This is due to Serial E-Dater\’e2\’80\’99s brain matter shifting to their frontal nether region immediately after logging in. That is, unless more than one of Serial E-Dater\’e2\’80\’99s objects of interest are disagreeing with each other. At this point, The Serial E-Dater impersonates an ostrich. If your server played \’e2\’80\’9cSix Degrees Of (Serial E-Daters Name)\’e2\’80\’9d the results could be catastrophic.

Yeah, I know pretty much all of those people, as do you.

This Week, Cosmik Updated More Often Than I Did

So, I got no excuse for why I haven’t been writing here. Work’s been busy, but that pretty much stays as a constant. We moved to a new house, but, well, we’ve BEEN moved, and this is about the third move this year anyway so I’ve gotten awfully good at dodging the worst by paying other people to do it for me. The industry’s been kind of in meh-mode, but, well, it’s been in meh-mode for how long now? Oh yeah, since WoW launched and took our creativity with it. Right.

So, some random hits since that’s about all I can do when my muse takes a holiday:

– Community Relations managers have their own blog now. It’s, like, a community about communities. Meta!

– Eve’s Magnus Bergsson talks a bit about their design with Shacknews.

– Brad McQuaid, in a thread on, says that Vanguard is so not going to be all brown and gray like EQ2. No, instead they’re going to be brown, gray and PURPLE. So, uh, yeah, take that, haters! Innovation, thy name is diku.

The Hearings, Of Course, Will Be Held In Camera

The CAMRA Act, introduced by noted cultural commentators/political moderates Joe Lieberman, Sam Brownback, Rick Santorum, and Hillary Clinton, has passed the Senate.

This act directs the CDC to take resources away from unimportant tasks such as AIDS and cancer research and investigate, with all possible speed, the effect of violent media on children with an eye towards future legislation. As Gamasutra reported when the bill was first introduced, Lieberman introduced the bill with a clear eye towards the video gaming industry.

“We are particularly interested in the impact of interactive media on our kids, now that the Internet has become such a staple and video games sales have surpassed movie box office receipts,” Lieberman said. “For one thing, we should know whether games like Grand Theft Auto that celebrate violence against women, beyond being sick and offensive, are actually leading to more violence against women.”

Followup acts regarding the effect of violent political rhetoric on those our representatives treat as children were not discussed at this time.

Moving Beyond “Moving Beyond “Men In Tights””

Well, I thought Damion Schubert’s “damn you, we do fantasy dikumuds for a reason, and if you’re going to fix them, understand the reasons” talk was pretty good, but clearly there is a second opinion.

Schubert claims that combat is included in games because it gives player “what they want”.

This is a view that subscribes to a dionysian, internal-locus-of-control view – a view that desire is pre-eminent force in human affairs (as opposed to necessity). I’m really surprised to hear this coming from a “combat designer”.

Note: I didn’t say this was a good second opinon.