Monday, May 13, 2013
Leigh Alexander and I agreed to move the chat we started via Twitter to email so that we could express and explain ourselves without the character limit.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
A topic that deserves to be talked about, and for that reason we should subject morally attractive propositions to more scrutiny, not less.
Moral posturing is so alluring that it leads us to neglect normal standards of logic. Take, for instance, RPS assuming the moral DEFCON 1 alert posture.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Sunday, December 11, 2011
As a gamer, I don't pretend that a stone-faced fake soldier doing knee bends over another guy's face is scandalous.
Let me tell you about last night. I still play the parts of characters I create on the spot over VOIP in Team Fortress 2. Rory Manion and I tend to take turns, with one of us coauthoring the goonery in Ventrilo, while the other talks to people playing the game. This time, Rory convinced one particularly uptight player that he was promoting the growing sport of competitive gaping. (Anyone unsure of what gaping was could turn to the wall that was likeliest to attract attention, and see Rory's TF2 “spray”: a photo taken from Something Awful's FYAD forum that depicts a wiry man squat on a catastrophically colossal dildo.) Let me be the first to insist that there's nothing funny about passing this picture while on your way to capture a flag. But when the Red Letter Media reviewer's voice calmly explains that the photo is of gaping champion Gary GuyGapes and his record-stretching performance at this year's Planet of the Gapes invitational, I pause. And when the same person flawlessly fields every incredulous question he raises, revealing that he's GapeEscape.com's webmaster; that he's a third generation competitive gaper whose grandfather pronounced “I could do this professionally” after falling on a railroad spike; and that although opioid use is banned -- “open-oids” in gaper slang, and for reasons that I trust are obvious – if he becomes the Barry Bonds of gaping, then so be it; I laugh out loud. And when that one particularly uptight and unsuspicious player is sanctimoniously screaming that his forebears fought in world wars while Rory's character and his clan shoved shit up their bums for sport it becomes hard to breathe. To cut the crap, you can't convince me that I'm out of touch with gaming's childish abrasiveness.
“As seen on TV” is a sure sign that something that was once funny is now far from it. Unfunny people always think that celebrities certify funny. It never worked that way when dad appropriated the shit you said, and I don't know that it does when awards shows adopt them. Parents and actors are unflattering mirrors: when you find your reflection in them, you know you need a makeover. So tonight, we'll shun the scatological with the characters we create.
Monday, September 6, 2010
I asked Rory for permission to post two unsuccessfully solicited Kevin Beverage articles on my blog. Here they are, unedited:
Nuclear Launch Detected
The Juche is Loose
By: Internationally renowned games journalist and pundit Kevin Beverage, PhD in Important Topic Contemplation, Harverd Correspondence College and Chiropractor
Like most gamers, the moment I heard about the tragic sinking of the Republic of Korea corvette Cheonan in the contested Yellow Sea, my heart went out to the bereaved survivors in the Blizzard financial department. I had an almost uncanny suspicion that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea—or North Korea, as we in the industry like to call it—was behind the attack. Such agitation could lead to war, and a war between North and South Korea threatens to take more lives in a week than fan death and LAN center brawls claim annually, and that can’t be good for Blizzard’s bottom line or the longevity of professional StarCraft. With that in mind, I cast a fretful gamer’s eye eastward, and think the unthinkable.
Though I’ve done no research on the topic, I think it’s safe to panic over the thought that of the 10,000-plus DPRK artillery batteries aimed at Seoul, several thousand are probably zeroed-in on any number of e-sports stadiums. And though I’m no expert on military ordinance, I also feel confident in asserting that a 150mm howitzer shell landing in the middle of a StarCraft tournament might be detrimental to even the most focused player’s clicks-per-minute. The damage done to the gaming reputations of Korea’s most famous competitors could be catastrophic. Some experts have put the potential number of Facebook friends lost by affected ‘Craft professionals in the tens of thousands, a staggering number just vague enough to inspire terror without warranting corroboration.
Should their reputations survive the shelling, the threat of compulsory military service looms large for displaced e-thletes. Or at least I’m guessing it does, I can’t really be bothered to look up the Republic of Korea’s stance on military drafting. Nevertheless, I assume that StarCraft experts will be in high demand due to their superhuman logistical prowess and micro skill. Though the possibility of losing an entire generation of ‘Craft experts to war is daunting, one can’t rule out the psyops (psychological operations) benefit to fielding a “gosu” corps of trained StarCraft strategists.
There is a silver lining to this menacing cloud of gaming despair. While the various e-sports stadiums in South Korea, being of immense strategic value, are undoubtedly targeted for immediate devastation by DPRK hardware, the numerous LAN centers scattered throughout the nation will be more difficult—if not impossible--to neutralize. The gaming idealist in me can’t help but choke up imagining the remnants of Korea’s professional StarCraft elite feverishly pounding away at hotkeys amidst the smoldering ruins of their former home cities, desperately seeking meaning for their shattered lives in the warm glow of a monitor screen. The movie rights alone ought to net a hefty sum, hopefully offsetting any financial losses from missed StarCraft 2 sales opportunities. But I’ll leave that for economists to ponder.
Reached for comment on this important man, a man whom I believe to be the Republic of Korea’s Electronic Gaming Commissioner said, through a translator: “Are you f***ing kidding me? Who is this? Don’t call this number again.”
The Last Will and Testament of Noted Games Journalist Kevin Beverage
By noted games journalist Kevin Beverage
The opinions expressed herein are rarely endorsed by anyone anywhere.
If you are reading this will, I, noted games journalist Kevin Beverage, have perished. Most likely I was done in by my years of hedonistic excess; hoisted by my own gaming petard, as they say. Maybe I suffocated in one of my several indoor ball pits, paid for by decades of hard-hitting games journalism. Or perhaps I have been found nude and supine in my subterranean gaming palace, asphyxiated by an HDMI cable. If so, please ignore the controller on my crotch, and pay no mind to the Pocket Pikachu chirping mournfully from somewhere in my colon. I died as I lived.
Throughout my storied career, nothing has filled me with more pride and intense self-satisfaction than my charitable donations to Child’s Play charity--except telling people how much I donated to Child’s Play, Twittering about the thrill I get up my spine after donating to Child’s Play, shaking my head in silent judgment of those who don’t know the good works of Child’s Play, and altruistically--publicly, usually shouting--requesting that people make Child’s Play donations in my name rather than give me gifts. It warms my heart to think that, after years of being derided as myopic sociopaths whose entire sense of self-worth is tied directly into the public perception of their chosen pastime, gamers worldwide now come together annually to hurl mud in the eye of their detractors by selflessly purchasing video games.
Because when you really think about it, if the charity you support isn’t acting as a public relations tool for your hobby, what’s the point? If I can’t use my generosity as an emotional bludgeon to savagely batter the perceived foes of my beloved gaming, why should I even bother? I could give my scads of games journalism payola to indigent youths, or auction off my Olympic-sized swimming pool full of Shrek SuperSlam promotional t-shirts for cancer research, or whatever, but anonymous individual kindness will do nothing to salt the wounds of the many foes I believe to be misrepresenting my beloved gaming community. Besides, past attempts to force Game Boy cartridges into Salvation Army collection tins have led only to savage bell-whippings, so it’s not like I haven’t tried.
And so, being of sound body and superb mind, I do hereby bequeath my gaming estate (once it has been converted from Gamestop trade-in credit to cash) to Child’s Play charity, the only charitable organization on Earth cognizant of what really matters to gamers: Netting press accolades for assuaging the boredom of hospitalized children via colossal handovers of cash to massive entertainment corporations.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Of course, without that context it's impossible to come to any worthwhile conclusions (including whether developer Infinity Ward was courageous to include intellectually challenging content that can sustain complicated readings; foolhardy in its assumption that meaningfully violent videogames can come of age in the present reporting climate; or crass in its belief that no press is bad press). It is, however, fair to frame questions. A few that come to my mind include:
Would an alternative approach effectively “establish the depth of evil and the cold-bloodedness of a rogue Russian villain” and “add to the urgency of the player's mission to stop them.” What if the scene, for example, cast the players as a counter-terrorist who monitors the massacre while en route to the airport where he will engage the enemy? And what, if anything, will the answer tell us about the differences in reading a novel narrated from a monster's point of view, and in acting monstrously in a videogame where the player presumably has other options?
What happens when the player turns and attacks the terrorists? Do they die, or does the game end then and there (since the story sustains only one outcome and the bad guys need to live in order to play their part in the escape scene at end of the level)? If the latter, must we comply with the terrorists to complete the mission and continue the story? I don't see why not when the character we play is destined to die.
Must we commit mass murder to appreciate the extent of its evil?
Is the scene's ending intended to serve as absolution not only for the character -- a CIA agent complicit in mass murder even should he never fire a shot -- but also for the player who presumably will want to “kill” the part of himself that played such a role?
Saturday, October 10, 2009
The One and Only Right Review
I'm the wrong writer for this review. I've given the game a score it doesn't deserve: too stingy because I'm biased against the platform it's supposed to sell; unduly generous because I hoped to hide my bias towards the competing console. I've been bribed to deny that the game sucks; bribed to say that it does indeed.
I'm an imbecile. My score doesn't match the aggregation site average which, to indulge one co-conspirator, I wanted to raise. Actually, I intended to reduce it in order to satisfy the other.
My editors are morons. Instead of assigning this review to a fan of the genre who wouldn't have naively mistaken imitative mediocrity for innovation because he hadn't already played the eleven other games exactly like it, they gave it to me: a cynic who, having played and appreciated almost every game of the genre ever released, has unreasonably high expectations.
I evaluated a sim according to arcade standards, and I expected simulation in a goofy arcade game.
Had I played more than a mere 40 hours prior to collecting my $60 check (which may or may not arrive in three months) I'd have noticed that the game takes an irreversible turn for the worse on the third replay and redeems itself on the fourth.
I neglected to dedicate individual paragraphs to the trophies and achievements, the customization, the cutscenes, the voice-overs, the Havoc physics, the pause menu, the patented and groundbreaking player abilities bullet-pointed on the press release, and if not these then everything else that the discerning readers who choose to use the comment function on this site point out while proving that they are, in fact, far more qualified to have written this review.
Now the credibility I never had is as good as gone. This website and/or magazine was demonstrably better before its former writers and editors departed to become the despised new regimes at rival websites and magazines.