Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shootings and Shooters

It would seem that my fantastic orgy with Treyarch's superlative Black Ops 2 has come to an end.  All things considered, it was a good run for me - and I will be returning sooner rather than later.  However, it was time to take a break and move on.  Interestingly, instead of switching to a different genre, as I am wont to do after burning out on a title, I continue to remain on a shooter kick.  When I saw an ad for the critically-acclaimed Borderland 2, I recalled that I really loved the original, but never finished it (as is often the case with me; I eventually lose interest when some other shiny bauble is released).  But now I have returned in a quest to finally find the Vault so I can move on to the sequel.  After spending a few hours in it again, all I can say is:  "Man, I forgot just how great a game this is!"  I love its wonderful (and daring!) shaded-cell art direction (Gearbox will forever have my respect for being the first game dev in a long time to abandon the crowd of "realism" lemmings), its engaging and darkly humorous campaign plot, and those four wonderful characters who just ooze personality via their quips.  Best of all, though, are all those wonderful guns - reputedly over 200,000 of them! - and how we get  to unleash wildly entertaining six shooter mayhem upon Pandora's raiders.  Borderlands is, quite possibly, the world's first National Rifle Association gaming tie-in.

Ironically, while I was happily re-immersing myself in this gun-toting orgy, a terrible tragedy unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut.  Of course I am referring to the mass murder of 26 children and adults at a local elementary school by an armed young man who apparently was suffering from some sort of mental affliction.  Sadly, this is not the first such shooting - there have been quite a few in recent years (but we are NOT seeing an usual spike as some would have you believe), and America is not alone in the carnage.

When something like this happens, it can cause a gamer to stop and reflect upon the nature of modern gaming.  Let's be brutally honest here: gaming is an uniquely bloodthirsty endeavor.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

If James Cameron Made Black Ops 2

[Yes, this is going to be another Black Ops 2 article.  No, Burke's Joystick is not turning into a BlOps 2 blog.  It just happens to be my flavor of the month. :) It also happens to be relevant in various ways to the mission of this the next posting will demonstrate. ] 

What do you suppose would happen if someone invented a product so fantastic that is garnered over a billion dollars in sales in around two weeks time?  Do you suppose that if someone did accomplish such a business feat, that he/she would be the recipient of a lot of mainstream media attention? Probably, right?

Let's be more specific:  let's suppose that James Cameron made another movie - call it Avatar 2: Feline AIDS Strikes Back - and it made another billion dollars, but in less time then the original film.  Do you think that - just perhaps - Cameron would be the toast of the town?  That Time, Newsweek, ABC News, TMZ, Entertainment Weekly, etc. etc. would be lavishing the filmmaker with cover stories, feature pieces, interviews, and other pieces of  "high profile" journalism, as they did with the success of the original flick?  That the various business papers and business news networks would be probing into just how Cameron became such a financial success?  How the movie broke new ground for cinema?  How 'this changes everything!', as the hyperbolic old media is wont to say about every new success?  Probably, right?  Well, if that is the case with movies, and just about any other product I can think of (I'm looking at you, Apple), why isn't it the case with video games?  For example, did you see reported anywhere in the old media this remarkable story: