Show Me The Monetization

My daughter is getting to the age that she likes to play games on her mother’s iPhone or my tablet (which runs Windows RT – that’s another article). We didn’t let her play those games for a long time because once she charged $60 on my credit card purchasing in-game money for a game I didn’t even really like. I got my money back… eventually… but that event really made us aware of how careful we should be when letting her play on our devices. Even now, some years later, I still warn her not to purchase anything in the game.

It brings to light, at least for me, the paradigm shift in the video game industry that’s been more than a decade in the making. In fact, I would say that it goes back even farther. Like the Hebrews proclaimed:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. -Ecclesiastes 1:9

Back in the fledgling days of computer gaming, developers were borrowing money to build the games, and then distributed part of the game for free. If you liked what you got, you could pay for more episodes for a … Read the rest of my thoughts…

Star Wars: A New Hope… Against Hope

I saw an interesting article at blastr.com (which in turn was a repost off a story from IGN and Deadline) regarding casting for the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise.  As evidenced by this post from a friend on Facebook, there is some mixed reaction to this news…

The discussion, short though it was, centered around the idea that somehow, adding a daughter to Obi-Wan’s story would somehow sully the character, the Jedi, and the Lore. Of course, this is just another in a long line of contentious statements involving the franchise since Disney’s 2012 purchase of Lucasfilms. Much of that discussion questioned whether or not Disney, obviously best known to children’s films and animated epics, would be a good steward for the our beloved long ago and far away galaxy.

Star Wars Disney

For my part, I think it would be harder to find a company better suited than Disney to continue the franchise. Here’s why:

They’d already been purchasing the Rights
A lot of people don’t realize this, but … Read the rest of my thoughts…

Why I Secretly Hate MacGyver

Since I work from home, I need to have some noise playing so that I don’t go crazy – you know, to replace the din of the office. So, I normally have something inane on Netflix playing to which I don’t need to pay attention. MacGyver fits that bill. Not that it wasn’t a great late 80′s action/adventure show – it was – but I never really watched it as a kid. But even back then, it was so popular that MacGyver (played by sci-fi favorite, Richard Dean Anderson) had already seeped into the collective consciousness as the ideal man. He was kind, ingenious, non-violent, athletic, and didn’t drink or smoke. The perfect role model and the perfect Mary Sue.

But honestly, MacGyver had some serious character flaws, despite always saving the day, and single-handedly keeping the Swiss Army Knife and Duct Tape industries afloat in the 80′s. It makes me wonder if at the end of the day, he’s really the role model we want him to be. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of good in the character, but I think you’ll see there’s plenty of bad too. For instance:

MacGyver … Read the rest of my thoughts…

(Almost) Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned From Pro Wrestling

Everything I Need to Know I learned from Professional WrestlingOK, I know I’m a little off of my normal topic set on this, but since I’ve been gone for a while, and the Professional Wrestling has been in the spotlight a bit lately, I thought I would get back to my roots. See, what most of you don’t know about me is that in a past life, I used to write reviews and recaps for a local Independent Professional Wrestling organization called the HWA (the Heartland Wrestling Association) as “Crusher” Koontz. It’s been over a decade now, but the memories and lessons still cling with me. I’d like to share some of them with you now.

Lesson 1 - If it happens in the ring, or on the screen, it’s a “work”
That means it’s fake. This is why I can’t suspend my disbelief enough to believe any reality TV show isn’t fixed ahead of time. I don’t buy for one second that best singer wins American Idol, or that the votes even mean anything. Paranormal State had a “psychic” who is … Read the rest of my thoughts…

The Life and Times of PC Gaming

A while back – something like May of last year – I read about the web-based version of the classic PC game, Wolfenstein 3D. If you aren’t familiar – and if you aren’t, we can’t be friends - Wolfenstein 3D is the iconic Id Software game that became the grandfather of the modern first person shooter. What did I love about it? Personally, it was the bad guys shouting “MEIN LEBEN!” But for many people, it was the combination of the first person perspective and the constant action of a platform shooter. It was unique, and even if it wasn’t really 3D, it was such a jump graphically from the previous shooter games, that it felt like 3D.

Wolfenstein 3D really made me into a PC gamer. At the time (1992), The Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis were the most commonly owned platform gaming systems. Sega CD was brand new, and the first Playstation was still two years away. CD-ROM games were still uncommon and my PC at the time didn’t have a CD-ROM drive. To be honest, I was lucky to have a CD player for music in 1992, let alone a CD-ROM drive. My PC was … Read the rest of my thoughts…

The Price of Freedom…

Boston Marathon Bombing - Terrorism

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”
- Benjamin Franklin, c. 1759

I know I don’t normally start with quotes, but considering the events of the day, it seemed appropriate. I also tend to stay a little behind the times on current events stories because many times, the “mainstream” media will begin saying things as fact that aren’t necessarily confirmed. Truth, and its pursuit, is very important to me. The way I see it, I’d rather be late and credible than early and wrong. But I couldn’t let this event pass without writing something, because its events like these that define us for generations to come.

It was late in the afternoon when a co-worker asked me if I had heard about what happened in Boston. It was a really busy day today (I didn’t have time to pick my own nose, let alone read the news), so I hadn’t. He related to me that someone had set off a bomb at the Boston Marathon, and that a bunch of people had been hurt. So, I stopped what I was doing and immediately went to … Read the rest of my thoughts…

G.I. Joe: Right in the Childhood

No One Died in GI Joe

***WARNING – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

Last week, I laid my money down to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation. As a child of the 80′s, the Joe’s are near and dear to my heart. And while I didn’t actually own any G.I. Joe action figures (Masters of the Universe was more my thing), I did watch the cartoon, and the cartoon movie. Some of the kids would bring some of their figures and the smaller vehicles to play with at recess. Yeah, not only did we get recess, but we were allowed to bring things from home to play with. Different times to be sure. I don’t think they would allow you to bring the tiny plastic guns into a school anymore, even though they are only about 2 inches long. Anyway, when they would cut the grass, it would pile up at the edge of a small wooded area on the edge of the school property. We would use the dried clippings, twigs and leaves to make forts, and the hedge apples were our weapons of mass destruction.

Ahh, the memories.

When G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra came out in 2009, I was excited to see the “Real American … Read the rest of my thoughts…

The Baying of the Dickwolf

Cosplay is not Consent

At some point, and in the not-so-distant past, people lost their ever-loving minds. Collectively, we’ve gone a bit daft, at least as it relates to how we treat women. Being a bit behind in my news reading, I’ve just stumbled across the “Cosplay is Consent” story from PAX East (I read the piece written by Jill Pantozzi on The Mary SueI follow them, you should too). The first line of the article struck a chord with me, particularly the beginning: “Convention harassment is just an off-shoot of regular, old harassment but seeing it invade your ‘safe space’ can be tough to stomach.”

 

It made me think about the recent events in Steubenville, Ohio, where two high school football players were recently convicted of sexually assaulting (read: RAPING) a fellow female student. At first glance, you might wonder how I could compare two wildly different events. After all, the ladies at PAX East were merely dressed as Lara Croft, not drunk and unconscious at a party. The cosplayers weren’t physically assaulted like the young lady in Steubenville either. But … Read the rest of my thoughts…

Separate But Equal… But Not Really…

Pride Flag

Normally I try not to get too political or religious on my blog. I have a lot of friends and family on opposing sides of a lot of issues, and I try my best to respect everyone’s beliefs, regardless of how I feel about them. We are, after all, supposed to be a society where we are free to believe whatever we choose. Supposed to be, at least. Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard two cases, back to back, that could define, once and for all, how we view marriage as a society. Those of you that know me outside of cyberspace know where I stand on this issue, but I’m going to take a moment to make a stand here as well. Why? Because I don’t think I speak loudly enough.

Some quick background first. I am from the Midwest. My family history is a bit convoluted, but suffice it to say that my mother and father have both been married multiple times. I went to a Catholic Elementary School and High School and I graduated in the early 90′s. I served in the military under Bill Clinton and since then have made my way … Read the rest of my thoughts…

Who Really Wants Armed Bears?

*** UPDATE – 9 April, 2013 ***

I’m not normally one for updating posts, but this issue is important. This morning, a student at Lone Star Community College in Cypress, TX, went on a stabbing spree (I’ve never heard the term, so I get credit for it), wounding at least 14 people, some of them seriously, before being subdued by authorities.

Why is this important? Because what we have is a mass murder attempt that was made without a gun. It deflates the argument that guns or access to guns, semi-automatic or otherwise, is the root cause of gun violence and mass murder. What we have here is evidence that someone like Adam Lanza or James Holmes can still inflict a large number of casualties even without a gun. People intent are harm will commit harm. It shows that despite a leaning in this country to ban guns and rifles, they aren’t the only weapons available. Anything can be a weapon when someone is properly motivated.

I’m inclined to wonder, though… would this attacker have been so bold if he thought that one of the people he was attacking might be armed with a gun? Lone … Read the rest of my thoughts…