Category Archives: halo

One Million Time Bombs

I’m taking a break from the usual stuff I do here on The Non-Gamer’s Gamer’s Blog today to reply to something Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said today. You probably know what’s coming because it’s been all over the news.

“I think video games is (sic) a bigger problem than guns. Because video games affect people. But the First Amendment limits what we can do about video games and the Second Amendment limits what we can do about guns.” He said these words in a discussion, on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” laying the blame of recent school shootings on guns and video games, but noting that video games were a bigger societal threat than guns.

My reply is simple. You, Senator Alexander, are ignorant and misinformed, and should learn to think before speaking. If you are right however, we have a huge problem in this country, and the entire world.

The video game industry is gigantic. Certainly not as big as the gun lobby or the tobacco lobby, but still very big. Their profits range into the billions yearly. Do you know what that means? Somebody is buying a lot of video games. Millions, tens of millions, buy and play video games every single day, for hours and hours at a time. Many of them could be considered obsessed with their chosen hobby. I’m not judging, I’m just saying.

If video games truly do affect people, and cause them to go on shooting rampages at schools, we as I said, have a huge problem. If even a fraction of these people as affected as the Senator says, there are at least a million time bombs out there. Ready to blow at any minute.

But that’s not true. After all, what were the violent video games that Hitler played? Or Caligula? Was Al Capone a big Call of Duty player? It’s not true at all.

The NRA used to have a slogan they were proud of – “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” it’s partially true. Guns help, but it is people who kill people. And let’s face it, if you give a psychopath a butter knife, somebody might die. Do we outlaw butter knives? No. But there are better ways.

I grew up around guns, hunting specifically. I had to take a course before I could use a gun. In my father’s home the guns and ammo were stored separately, and locked away. And I grew up as not a gun guy, but I’m educated, and have ideas how we could make this better.

First, get over yourselves, you don’t need automatic weapons to hunt. And guns should not be available at gun shows or Wal-Mart. If you want to collect guns, you’re not allowed to own ammo. You’re just a collector, remember? If you want to own a gun, take a three week gun safety course, that’s what I had to do. Also I would take a hint from Chris Rock, and tax ammunition. A lot. If one bullet cost $100, you will think before you shoot. Have the money go to victims of shootings.

And Senator Alexander, get off of video games, they are not to blame. And please start thinking before you open your mouth, because if you’re right… I would guess you’re surrounded by Halo players, who are also potential time bombs…

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Wreck-It Ralph

This review, in a slightly altered form, has already appeared on my pop culture blog, Welcome to Hell. Since it’s videogame topical, I figured I’d share it here too. Enjoy.

First things first, Wreck-It Ralph being a Disney/Pixar flick, we get a Pixar cartoon before the main feature. “Paperman” was a sweet short utilizing different animation than usual for Pixar, and it also had a bit of a Japanese anime vibe to it. I liked it a lot, a big reason to see this movie is to see “Paperman” first.

Wreck-It Ralph, the newest from Disney/Pixar, is loosely at first glance a cross between Toy Story and Tron. Like the first movie we discover that the entities in our videogames actually live, especially when we’re not looking, and like the second flick we discover that they live in their own little universe with its own physical and moral laws, all within the confines of one arcade.

Wreck-It Ralph is the bad guy in a game called Fix-It Felix, Jr., essentially close to Donkey Kong in many ways. Ralph, shunned by the other denizens of his game, determines to leave his game and make good. He goes off to Hero’s Duty, a hybrid of Halo and Starship Troopers, to win a medal, and recognition. When things go awry, he becomes stranded in Sugar Rush, a mix of Mario Kart and Candyland. There, Ralph must decide if truly is the bad guy, or a hero.

It’s a complex plot that is quite dark in places, but for the most part, it’s an enjoyable journey through 1980s videogame nostalgia. It has a sharp sense of humor, great characters, and the voice work of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and especially Jane Lynch is first class. There are also many cameos of classic videogame characters that make the flick a real treat.

An added trivia bonus for old school videogamers is the song that plays over the closing credits, “Wreck It, Wreck-It Ralph” by Jerry Buckner, formerly of Buckner & Garcia of “Pac-Man Fever” fame.

I liked Wreck-It Ralph quite a bit, and while I wonder if this might be over or under the heads of some folks who weren’t into, or alive for, 1980s arcade games, I highly recommend it. Great flick.

District 9

District 9 ~ Despite what one might think, there’s not a lot of shaky cam going on here, but it has all the intensity of those types of films. While this scifi flick from Neill Blomkamp starts off with documentary news footage style and seems to be an Apartheid analogy (even though the ‘A’ word is never mentioned) it fairly quickly and dramatically becomes something else entirely.

Decades ago a gigantic spaceship enters the atmosphere and hovers fixed over Johannesburg. The alien population on board is brought down and placed into a tent community until it’s decided what to do with them. The integration doesn’t go well until the present when the South African government basically determines to put the aliens into what are basically concentration camps. Documentary cameras accompany the ‘eviction’ of the aliens.

Non-actor Sharlto Copley plays the patsy in charge of the operation. At first an extremely unlikable character, when he discovers an alien device the movie charges into overdrive. Over the course of the film he becomes not only sympathetic, but also turns in an amazing acting tour-de-force, despite most of his performance being ad-libbed. And when we finally start to see the aliens’ story from their point of view, it becomes a whole new movie.

District 9 is equal parts Alien Nation, Enemy Mine and David Cronenberg’s The Fly. It’s a story of survival, triumph and trust with a very intense ending. There’s even better mecha action than either of the Transformers movies. This is must see.

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