Music of the Month; Hero Story

When you put you think about it for a moment, we don’t have anyone who is like Jackie Chan at this time. He has made physical comedy and action into his own. Every strike, be on himself or on the opponent, has a smile with it.

We don’t need another Jackie Chan. Much like some regard Jackie Chan to be sort of continuation of Bruce Lee’s more serious fights, the cinema will be in need of somebody who would carry similar rough and real style in fights on the silver screen. He wants no trouble, but the audience sure enjoys when gets some.

I’m going to let myself loose with this one. I don’t give a damn how this post forms, I’ve drank a bit too much whisky after my work computer decided to screw with me.

As usual during the upcoming Christmas season, all and every day becomes a bit more hectic and there may be weeks where there may be lack of posts here and there. This also means that many parents will be purchasing their kids games as presents. I would recommend any parent or person buying a game as a gift to a younger one to pay attention to the recommended ages on the boxes. Much like with movies, games do have adult content you shouldn’t direct towards child minded people.

Thus, I find it absolutely idiotic that Target Down Under removes Grand Theft Auto V from their shelves. Why? The V2 .pdf doesn’t say, but it’s because it portrays violence towards women. Whoopdy fucking doo I say. Here’s the thing; GTA has always portrayed violence and it has never changed in that regard. Be it a woman or a man in the game, the player has all the freedom to blow their heads off if they feel like doing so. If modern feminism was concerned about equality, they would have raised other issues, but no. It has to be this damn politically correct comfy zone bullshit we have nowadays everywhere. Going to the petition that Target seemed to deem valid enough misses the point that everything they describe the player can do in-game applies to everything. What about all the men who have survived the violence in their lives? It’s incredible double think just to note the other side while disregarding the other completely.

In addition, the petition makes a point that games like GTA V, in all essence, encourage certain kind of thinking and causes violence via grooming. This is absolute horseshit. There are numerous studies that show the exact opposite. People with inclinations to violence will always be more violent despite what form of media they are exposed to. It takes mentally ill person to think the thing he sees in fictional setting is right. Only a stupid and ignorant person would assume people take everything at face value. It takes a special kind of idiot just to listen and believe rather think for themselves and search further information while challenging his views. Everything affects everything, and if we are to say electronic games affect people, we also have to take notice that all forms of media and interaction does the exact same thing.

In a sense, a lot of psychologists are wasting their time and effort on proving points everybody and their mothers can say through life experiences. There are better things to research on, like development of psyche.

However, there’s two more pressing matters in this one; this is censorship through pressure and obstruction of free market. Target continues to sell other games and DVD with similar content for whatever reason. I would have thought we already got over this ‘games-are-evil’ thing a decade ago, but it seems this generation that first time grew up with digital entertainment have no real fights anymore to fight, so they need to grasp every little bit they can challenge for whatever reasons they can think of. There are other battles to be fought and won, including making the macro economical situation better and teaching people to fish rather than give them the fish outright.

It baffles me why people would go their way out and take away something they enjoy, something that doesn’t harm anyone? Rather than concerning what media does to people, be it men or women, we should pay more attention to the people themselves, in the education they are given and in what sort of raising they are given. It’s not every day you hear news about a mug victim saying he had it coming for being a privileged person. This thing baffles me to no end. If a person comes up to you and holds you at gunpoint, taking your money, you have every right to call them a criminal and a bad person. Not to mention the mugged person has horribly mangled view of what middle-class is. Sometimes I wish we could take everybody, including myself, into somewhere else where the social norms we are so used to do not apply. Having only one point of view and sticking with affects anyone negatively.

Accepting certain universal truths is a good thing to do, like that the tree makes a sound in the forest when falling even if somebody is not listening to it and that a person who mugs you is a criminal and should be judged according to local laws, but we always need to remember that the view one holds can be completely contradicted by someone other’s and it is always good to understand why is that. We do not need to agree with each other in any point, but neither should we be forcing our views or actions on others that disagree. Informing and encouraging further information search should be something we do rather than becoming heralds of some agenda. Hell, go read the researches I linked earlier. There’s few things there that do not completely match the sentence they are linked in, and I fully encourage you to read research documents that argue otherwise. Information is power, and the more objective and valid information you have, the more powerful you are.

When you become a preacher of some word, you’re essentially inside a religion and enact the exact the same things certain religions have been criticised for doing. I can understand a religious person coming to be and asking if I have found God, because that is their faith and that is how their religion reads them to do. When somebody comes with a political agenda in their hands to convert me into their political movement, I often ask them to screw off. Except Greenpeace, with Greenpeace I usually have good chat what’s going on and what sort of crazy stuff these people have been doing as of late.

Ah, screw it. One more for the road.


Christmas is here and parents need some guidance

With the release of the latest Grand Theft Auto we also got slew of news on parents and professional psychologists panning the game universally as a negative influence to children who play it. At this point, most of you will have alarm bells going off in your head, thinking what the hell is wrong with these people. For me, it’s a yearly event.

Let me tell you a story that I might have already told previously, but it’s still just as valid.

Few years back I was browsing some games in our local electronics store. At the time, the shelves had more selection than what we have nowadays, as the profit the stores gain from video games has dropped like a hammer sinking in river. A proper-looking mother, with a pretty spot on three-size, asked yours truly a question about games, as she knew nothing of them. Well, being who I am, I gladly helped her in deciding what she should do. First of all I asked what kind of games her child enjoys and how old is he. Sure enough, the kid had games spanning from Sly Cooper series to Call of Duty. Pretty standard games really, but she was unsure, as games had changed somewhat since she bought anything the last time. Sure enough, PEGI System has gone through a few revisions, and this was around after the latest one. I explained the markings on the game and how the PEGI system works. After some discussion that PEGI is a recommendation system and that it isn’t all encompassing universal law, thou it is sort of illegal to sell R-18 games to under age in certain regions countries. PEGI in itself is a recommendation system.

This led into discussion about the maturity of individuals and how physical age is never a direct indication of psychological maturity. For example, a child aged at ten can be completely OK with watching horribly violent movies and sexual material, while another person of same age might get traumatised by the material. After all, it is up to the parents to supervise their children and assess if they are mature enough to be exposed to a chosen material. This is, of course, practically impossible and hover parenting is generally not a good idea. However, video games and other entertainment is a different thing. I do agree that parents should be aware of what kind of entertainment their children are consuming in front of the screen, be it on PC or a game console.

Anyway, we chatted there for about an hour about these things and what they were to her. Ultimately, she confessed that a lot of this stuff was new to her as she never really thought any of it properly. I was glad I could help her, and after the chat she chose a game based on what her child had been playing previously and what his tastes were. Of course, parental concerns were present, but I later bumped to her and she told me that her son was delighted to get that particular game as a present.

Needless to say, the staff of the store, gave me a weird look after this.

What I try to illustrate with this story is that parents don’t know jack shit about the video entertainment in general. Only just recently we’ve seen a generation reaching adulthood and getting kids that understand what video games and films are as an entertainment in their current form. These people have been born in the 70’s and 80’s, and have witnessed the golden age of video games as well as how television, movies and world wide connectivity has changed. However, this is also a generation of stagnation, the one that doesn’t dare to dream. Much like we are taught to read movies, news and ads the right way to get the best out of them and not be fooled, we should be taught to understand and read other video media as well. Newgrounds and Youtube are the prime examples of the Web 2.0, but as much as we see it talked about, we don’t see anyone wanting to educate us on it. Personally, Web 2.0 is kind of bullshit but that is beside the point. The point is that if we’re taught to read behind the traditional media, and I’m covering films and TV with this remark as well, why is it so hard for some people to read through video games? As they are now, video games use vastly similar ways to convey messages and use almost the exact same visual methods as any video based material, be it a TV-series, movie or ad. Which actually begs the question if this is a good thing overall, but the point stands.

Of course, we know the answer. Any new form of entertainment is seen as a threat. Before video games it was the computer nerds, before that it was the radio geeks, before that it was the kids reading books all alone in their rooms, and so on.

It would be awesome to have some sort of leaflet that shortly explains what video games are, where they come from and why there’s no reason to be afraid of them. The problem lies with the individual parents of course, and that’s why one person can’t do it without the help of some larger organization. For example, if a well known game company like Nintendo, or a well known electronics company like SONY, would start a campaign to open this video game thing to those who feel they’re left outside, it just might be the thing to allow the worrying parents to understand that video games are just fictional entertainment like movies, music, television and books.

There was a decade long study on television’s and electronic game’s effect on children’s psychological adjustment. In short, video games have no negative effect on the psychological growth. As usual, we can always say that they do have effect on people with prior abnormalities, just like with any form of entertainment. A normal person won’t go out and start killing people after playing a session of Modern Warfare, whatever the age might be.

It’s a difficult issue, and I hope it’ll be met, just like the issues with other screen entertainment has been.