Gaming Roundup 8/21/08: Tin Men

Nathan Grayson

"Mwahahaha," I cackled gleefully as I skewered a yet another hapless Storm Trooper in the recent Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo. "Help!" the poor soldier's cry echoed off the walls. But I didn't care. With a flick of my character's wrist, my foe's armor was put to its final test: a steel reinforced ceiling. My grin only widened when gravity yanked the Storm Trooper out of his skyward flight, planting him on the cold floor with a satisfying crack.

I'm a maniacal jerk.

Or at least I was -- in the game. Actually, "irl," I'd say I'm a fairly mild-mannered person. But unless you consider cheaply-constructed, mass-produced action figures to be an artistic medium, videogames are the only medium that allows us to act out our (seemingly sick) fantasies. Gaming's greatest detractors fault our hobby for being violent, and I'm not inclined to disagree with them. But hey, over-the-top violence goes hand-in-hand with interactivity. With the aforementioned action figures, many of us staged tumultuous battles, with swords, guns, fists -- everything -- in an almost primal manner. And it was fun.

Fact is, people are inclined towards violence. We wolf down popcorn while watching actors pretend to put bullets in each others' brains; we slow down traffic for a gander at a car accident. Our media expresses this -- caters to it, even. But society goes on. Few of our sane population are lugging around shotguns or holding up convenience stores with trusty stabbin' knives. Sure, circumstances cause people to do some pretty awful things, but generally out of necessity -- not for fun. And really, that's why videogame violence is great. It's catharsis -- a harmless arena in which we can live out our horrific, Trooper-smashing fantasies.

So, what's the most sadistic, cringe-worthy thing you've ever done in a game? To take things a notch further, think about the gamess you typically play. How many of them aren't in some way violent?

Today's Roundup features games that are, as you'd expect, violent, but one in particular uses its controversial brand of destruction to further a greater cause. In addition, you'll find Clive Barker's pie-in-the-sky dreams for the horror genre, hardware manufacturers' dirty little piracy-related secret, and more. It's all after the break.

Hollenshead: piracy a "hidden benefit" of PC ownership

The PC may have lost its vacuum-esque ability to inhale exclusive games, but they'll never take our solitaire every dark cloud has a silver lining. The PC's? Piracy, apparently.

"I think that there's been this dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers, which is that the perception of free content - even if you're supposed to pay for it on PCs - is some sort hidden benefit that you get when you buy a PC, like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games," id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead said.

"And I think that just based on their actions...what they say is one thing, but what they do is another. When it comes into debates about whether peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that by-and-large have the vast majority, I'm talking 99 per cent of the content is illicitly trading copyrighted property, they'll come out on the side of the 1 per cent of the user doing it for legitimate benefit. You can make philosophical arguments that are difficult to debate, but at the same time you're just sort of ignoring the enormity of the problem."

A somewhat myopic view on the part of Dell, Alienware and co. but it makes sense in the short term. In a sense, they're being paid for piracy, and free cash for a ship I didn't even build sounds like a nice proposition to me. But with piracy slowly drilling holes in their livelihood -- giving devs second thoughts about the PC and driving their consumers toward consoles -- how long until hardware manufacturers decide to take a stand?

Mythic VP Brushes Off ‘Warhammer’ Credit Complaints, Wants To Talk To Anonymous Developer

“If you really think that we’re doing something wrong, at least have the balls to stand up and go ‘Hi, my name is so-and-so,’” said Mark Jacobs, VP of EA-owned Mythic Entertainment.

Translation: Yes, it's an issue, but hey, look! Uh, over there! Something...else!

“[Leaving the person out of the credits] could be a mistake. I’m not saying it’s not happening. I just don’t know who the heck this person is. So come out, stop hiding behind the anonymity of the internet and the legal shield of ‘I’m going to sue EA.’”

Translation: Because we're going to sue you harder.

He then went on to make some good points about how jamming hundreds of MMO devs into a single game's credits list can be a teensy bit difficult. Obviously, neither side is crying over spilt milk; each and every Tom, Dick, and code monkey #236 who worked on the game deserve credit, but how to go about doing it? And ideas?

Clive Barker Admits ‘Jericho’ Flaws, Promises Film, Wants Different Horror Games

Without a doubt, Clive Barker's Jericho is the scariest game you'll currently find lurking in the bottom corner of Gamestop's bargain bin. Even so, however, Clive Barker isn't dwelling on his lackluster past. Instead, he hopes to create a brighter (or darker, as it were) future for gaming.

"...I feel when you talk about Resident Evil and Silent Hill, you’re talking essentially [a metamorphosis] of zombie movies. They have limited appeal for me. Though I respect hugely the effort and the care and the beauty of games, I want to be working with people who want to create the 'War & Peace' of games, the 'Citizen Kane' of games, and not just be warming up George Romero.”

Interesting. Maybe if Barker asks really nicely (or scarily; it's like they speak a different language or something) EA, Mikami, and Suda51 will let him in on their little project. Well, I can dream, anyway.

Space Invaders Vs. World Trade Center — Creator Explains 9/11 Project

"The World Trade Center attacks mark a deep cut in our recent history that is still being processed. The French-American artist Douglas Edric Stanley has found an unusual – though obvious – metaphor with his work 'Invaders!', which is based on the 1978 arcade original. In his interactive large installation, the players must prevent the catastrophe by controlling the well- known cannon at the lower screen border with their bodies and firing it using arm movements. Like the original, this trial is ultimately unsuccessful, thus creating an articulated and critical commentary about the current war strategy."

Rock the Vote and Microsoft team up, register to vote on Xbox Live

“If Xbox Live were a state, it would rank as the country’s seventh largest, giving it approximately 20 electoral votes,” said Microsoft citing its 12 million Xbox Live users.

The idea has potential, but unless Microsoft plasters Xbox Live with voter registration ads, I'm not sure it'll have much of an impact.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer

So very, very cool. Now if only Blizzard would consider developing Warcraft IV...

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