As you will have probably already heard, FOX News panellist Carole Lieberman thinks the videogame Bulletstorm and others like it are depravity engines, turning regular people into violent rapists in much the same way Nietzsche turns dorky teens into insufferable budding übermenschen. Here’s exactly what she said:
“Videogames have increasingly, and more brazenly, connected sex and violence in images, actions and words. This has the psychological impact of doubling the excitement, stimulation and incitement to copycat acts. The increase in rapes can be attributed, in large part, to the playing out of such scenes in videogames.”
That’s a pretty big call, and since Lieberman is a practicing psychiatrist, then surely she has some compelling empirical evidence to substantiate it. Or – you know – perhaps not! Despite repeated requests by Wired and other outlets to clarify her remarks, she is still to cite a single study to support her extraordinary claim. A single fucking study.
Lookit: if you’re an accredited scientist it’s generally not a good idea to go on television and make sweeping causal claims for which you have not even the slightest shred of evidence. It’s a bad look. It’s a bad look for you, and it’s a bad look for your discipline. Obviously remarks like Lieberman’s negatively influence the public’s perception of videogames, but I’m more concerned with how they affect the public’s perception of science.
Psychiatry is a relatively new discipline and doesn’t enjoy the same level of prestige that the hard sciences like physics and chemistry enjoy. When a respected psychiatrist makes up some crazy nonsense – either because she felt the controversy would help her career, or because she was trying to please her employer – and presents that crazy nonsense as fact, it gives an already sceptical public another reason to think the entire field is a scam.
And that’s one of the better outcomes. Worse still is the possibility that people will believe said nonsense and let it inform the way they think, vote, and legislate. And the funny thing about bullshit is that once a person eats it up, it is remarkably difficult to flush out. Misinformation is resilient – like a disease it spreads and evolves, defying attempts to stamp it out. Remember when everybody thought Night Trap featured explicit sex scenes? I know people who STILL think that.
What I would like to see is professional bodies like the American Psychiatry Association condemn “experts” like Lieberman for professional misconduct. It’s one thing to go on television and make a legitimate claim, supported by evidence, that later turns out to be mistaken, but to actively and knowingly spread misinformation is grossly unethical and warrants censure.
If Lieberman wants to spread nonsense to her friends and relatives, then that’s totally fine – but being a scientist in the public sphere comes with a certain amount of prestige, and implies a certain amount of responsibility. Lieberman has failed to exercise that responsibility, invoking her authority as a psychiatrist to justify nonsense, and – until reprimanded – carries the implicit endorsement of the psychiatric establishment. No wonder there are so many Scientologists these days.
In other news, I got a kitten! His name is Mordin and he is awesome. Here is a picture:
Remember how almost a year ago, I started a storyline with Those Guys and never finished it? You do? Well forget that memory; that memory is now obsolete, because I have finished that storyline, so there!
You may consider this THE END of EEGRA Hilarity Comics as we know them. That doesn't mean there won't be any comics on EEGRA in the future -- hopefully there will be! But this is me finishing whatever project it was I started when I drew Mario in a top hat back in 2007. This particular collection of dumb jokes about games and gamers is now complete.
You can read more, not-especially-videogame-related Hilarity Comics here, although if you knew that already and you've been waiting since June for me to post a new one, ignore that link and spare yourself the disappointment. Alternatively, RELIVE THE MAGIC!!
It's a chatlog! I know a lot of you have been asking us to do more Octopodcasts, and we're totally working on that, but in the meantime this is like an Octopodcast. It's a conversation, between two guys, about videogames. The only difference is that you don't have to hear our annoying voices. Bonus!
Metal Gear Solid RIsing
apparently Metal Gear Solid Rising is a third-person Fruit Ninja
to judge by the on-stage demo at Microsoft's TGS conference
There's a ninja cutting fruit?
Or a ninja dressed as fruit?
Or a homosexual ninja?
All of the above?
ninja cutting fruit
he may or may not be homosexual
Maybe his cutting fruit is symbolic of his struggle with his latent homosexuality.
Draco and Gordon Ramsey
Project Draco from the team behind Panzer Dragoon and Phantom Dust
also for Kinect
You don't fly a dragon by spreading your fucking arms and tilting, do you?
Because that would be super fucking shitty.
yeah, sounds like Panzer Dragoon for Kinect
Someone should make a game where you play a bird and have to flap your arms constantly to stay in flight. That would be SO MUCH FUN.
Also, someone should make a Gordon Ramsey game where you do chef related mini-games while he yells obscenities at you.
or maybe you have to yell the obscenities?
That could work!
Gordon Ramsey's "Cut Those Fucking Carrots, You Cunt!" Exclusive to Xbox 360 Kinnect.
Kinect and Move Pricing
huh, apparently Steel Batallion is "Kinect enabled"
not "Kinect required"
You can probably play with the original controller.
so you can choose which $200 controller to play it with?
Honestly, who is going to buy [Kinnect] at 200 bucks? David
How much is Move?
$200 for the two controllers, camera and one game
It's not like the PS3 is cheap to begin with.
so yeah, mum and dad this xmas will walk into toys r us and see a 360 Kinect bundle for $400, a PS3 plus Move for $600, or a Wii (with Wii Sports Resort) for $250
i wonder which one they'll get
Devil May Cry 5 and Parasite Eve 3
Ha ha ha ha haaaa.
This DMC trailer just gets funnier and funnier.
"My name ... is Dante."
*falls off building and explodes a motorcycle or something*
he looks like a rent-boy
Yeah, I could see him standing against the Darlinghurst wall.
"My name ... is Dante. Five bucks ... for a handjob."
Ebony and Ivory
i think SE just announced a new parasite eve
or did they reveal that at e3?
No, I think they announced that at E3.
It's not like a "real" Parasite Eve though, right? It's a shooter or something.
The 3rd birthday, it's called
Step into the horrifying world of party hats and ice-cream cake!
musical chairs! pass the parcel! Dan Are you ready to pin the tail ... on TERROR?
Dead or Alive is coming to 3DS
3D titties on public transportation! The future is NOW!
Is that what it's actually called?
3DD would've been good too.
And that's it! Thanks to David for having nothing better to do, and thanks to me for spending the last two hours formatting a bloody chatlog.
So I haven't drawn a comic in months -- not for Eegra, not for anywhere. But what I have done is the artwork for an album of cute, sort-of-but-not-exactly chiptune music, called Sound Club Sweet. Look, look!
This is what you see when you grab handfuls of sugar and just grind it into your eyeballs. (I know because that's how I came up with the concept.) Even now you can feel the tiny sweet crystals clawing and scratching through to your brain. There is nothing to fear. In fact, make this image your desktop wallpaper.
('Desktop wallpaper' is a stupid arse of a phrase, isn't it. Think about it.)
In addition to the artwork for Sound Club Sweet, I also did ALL OF THE MUSIC, HA HAAA, YESSS, THAT'S RIGHT. You wanna hear it? Well it's right...
What happened was, I contributed to the TIGSource 'assemblee' competition last year, with a few little tunes I put together during the month. And I enjoyed making them so much, I thought, "I'm going to make a few more, then put it all together and call it an album." And do you know, that is just what I did. THE END. You too can achieve your dreams, if you have a positive attitude and a huge, huge penis.
One of the great things about the internet – and let's be honest, there are manygreatthings aboutthe internet – is that it is gradually shifting the burden of objectivity from media producers to media consumers.
Take game reviews as an illustrative example. Before the internet came about, the games press – then consisting almost entirely of monthly magazines – was obsessed with objectivity. Reviews in rags like CVG, NMS, and Super Play (as well as all the American ones I didn't read) would usually be accompanied by a jumble of numbers and graphs, each providing a precise qualitative assessment of some specific aspect of the game. For example:
The (correct) assumption being that data, no matter how arbitrary and meaningless, makes reviews look like SCIENCE. And if the reviews in your magazine look like SCIENCE, then the readers of your magazine will be pleased, because it means they didn't pay 5-10 bucks to read opinions. Kids (as most readers were back then) don't want opinions. They want FACTS. They want to KNOW that Super Metroid is awesome, so that when they spend their pocket money renting it this weekend, they KNOW they aren't going to end up with a piece of shit.
Thankfully, the videogame media's enthusiasm for this sort of thing has decreased significantly in the last decade or so. There are holdouts of course, but by and large the numbers and graphs and so on have all but disappeared. Why? There are a couple of reasons.
The first is demographic: the people who read game mags as kids have grown up. We've grown up. We've found jobs and have disposable incomes. As such, it's not a huge deal when we buy (or rent) a shitty game because some dumb reviewer told us to. Annoying, yes, but nowhere near the world-ending tragedy that it was when we were kids. Basically, readers now are less invested in the objectivity of reviews, and the format has changed to reflect that.
The second reason is technological. 20 years ago (fuck I'm old), magazines were the only source of videogame news and reviews we had, and even then, only when we could afford them. Now, as you all know, it's a whole different deal. Experts estimate that there are roughly 30 trillion videogame websites on the internet that are both free to read and regularly updated. We're spoiled for choice, basically, and as a result we're not compelled to assign undue weight to any single source of information. Reviews have stopped being monthly decrees and have instead become more like voices in an ongoing conversation.
So where does this leave objectivity? Exactly where I said: in the hands of the consumer. In our hands. It's not "objectivity" in the empirical or logical sense of the term. It's more like the objectivity you get in ethics and aesthetics. It's consensus objectivity – if enough people whose opinions you typically share say something is good, then there's a better-than-average chance you'll agree. And that's it.
Not good enough for you? Tough cookies, mang. We're talking about videogames, not atoms and quarks and magnets and shit. So far as matters of taste are concerned, this is about as good as it gets.
It's from one of those terrible Matrix games they made for PS2. Here is what it looks like:
Isn't that something? It's like a scene from some depressing Polish film about consumerism.
In this scene, an alcoholic priest contemplates a branded drinks machine in a concrete dungeon, barely resisting the overwhelming urge to end his own life.
So anyway, stumbling across this picture has given me an idea, and that idea is this: Let's start a gallery of dull and depressing videogame screenshots. Official screenshots are always so pretty and action-packed – I'm sick to death of it. I want screenshots that capture the dreary drudgery of videogames. I want screenshots like the above, but different. And I want lots of them. A screenshot gallery dense with despair – that's what I want. I want it to ooze melancholy like Warren Spector oozes sex appeal.
Together, we can make this dream a reality. All you have to do is send me your depressing screenshots. If enough people respond, I'll upload them into a gallery, and update it in much the same way I (used to) update the haiku reviews. However, before you send me anything, please note that whatever you send me must be under 500k. Any format is fine, but PNG is preferred. Watermarked images are okay. Also, remember to include the name of the game in your email, preferably in the subject line.
Zolpidem is the generic name for the popular and controversial sleeping pill known to most people by its US trade name, Ambien. It is very effective at what it does, but like a lot of effective medications, it can also cause a variety of fun side effects, many of which I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing personally. These include increased libido, loss of inhibition, and loss of short-term memory. In my case, the last of these is especially pronounced.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve been playing Persona 3 on PSP and enjoying it a lot. One of the things I especially like about it is that it’s a good bedtime game: you get under the covers, get warm, grind Tartarus for an hour or so, get tired, fall asleep. In fact, hat has been my regular pre-sleep ritual for the past few weeks, including the days where I’ve taken zolpidem to combat my annoying inability to sleep through the night.
You might think that a sleeping pill would hinder one’s ability to play games, but not so in this instance. Unless it involves standing up or being tactful, pretty much anything you can do while sober, you can do equally well under the influence of zolpidem. (This is assuming a standard 10mg dose. I’ve only ever taken more than that once, and I fell into the closet on the way to bed.)
I can play Persona 3 just fine on zolpidem. It's remembering what I’ve done when I come back to it that's the problem. You know how sometimes you’ll be playing an RPG, and for whatever reason you leave it alone for a week or two, and then you come back and realise you have no fucking idea what you were doing? Well, this is kind of like that, except much worse.
When you forget something, the information is seldom totally lost. In most cases it can be recalled, at least partially, with the assistance of a few appropriate prompts. The same is not true of information that doesn’t exist. If the memory of an event isn’t encoded somewhere in my brain, it doesn’t matter how hard I try to recall it – there’s nothing there to recall.
So this morning I was playing P3P on the bus, and Junpei asks me: “How did you do on your end of session exams?” And I’m like: “What the fuck are you talking about? What exams?” Then I looked at my save file, and it told me that I played the game for THREE HOURS before going to sleep last night. I beat a boss, completed my exams, made some new personas, raised my Academics skill, and went on a date with that nerdy girl from the student council. And I don’t remember any of it. It’s like someone has been playing the game in my absence.
Which kind of sucks, but oh well. At least I have multiple saves. And no more zolpidem.