Friday, August 30, 2013

The Despotic Branch



There was a story a few days ago concerning the Supreme Court video game related case, Brown et alia. v. Entertainment Association of America.  It seems that Justice Kagan had some...er, illuminating remarks concerning how they went about formulating their decision on whether or not video games enjoy First Amendment protection.  Justice Kagan said:
 
...the justices often turn to their clerks, who are much younger, to help them understand new technologies.

But they also try to learn on their own. In one case, involving violent video games the first year she was on the court, justices who had never played the games before dove in and gave them a try, Kagan said.

“It was kind of hilarious,” she said.

She didn’t say which games they played.

I found it interesting how the general consensus amongst the gaming press was basically "ain't it cool!" and "I wonder which games they played?"  The only appropriate response was outrage, of course....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Intermission: A Review of Girls und Panzer



This is going to be a first for me: I am actually going to review some anime!  I never really thought this day would come as I am not "otaku" for anime (the Japanese equivalent of being "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs").  Truth is, prior to this show, I've only ever watched TWO complete anime shows in my life, the first being the superlative Cowboy Bebop (in my opinion, one of the finest pieces of science fiction to ever grace the small screen - when will we get that live action version?!?), and the sadly mediocre Claymore (it started off great with a dark and gritty tale about monster slayers, but then lost its way and became a mindless monster mash).  And that is it.  Truth is, I find most anime to be little better than the after-school cartoons I watched growing up as a kid...an experience I have no desire to repeat at my age.  So this is why I am amazed to hear myself utter the following words (and by "utter" I mean "type"):

Girls und Panzer might be the finest television show I have seen in a very long time!

There.  I said it.  My feelings are now out in the open.

But I am getting ahead of myself here.  Let's start at the beginning:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Tank Chooses You



In the much revered martial art of "Tankery", they say that "you don't choose the tank, the tank chooses you."  I have found this to be true...well, at least it is with Wargaming.net's World of Tanks. Going into World of Tanks with its over 200 armored vehicles is a lot like stepping into a Walmart:  I mean, where do you turn first?  There is so much to choose from that picking just one from the massive pile of tanks often comes down to an arbitrary criterion.  For me and WoT, that criterion was simple patriotism:  if I was going to have a favorite tank, it was darn well going to be an American tank!  With that in mind, I decided to go with the WWII light tank classic, the M3 Stuart:


Some background:  built by Cadillac, a total of 13,859 vehicles were manufactured from 1941 through September 1943.  Initially, it was armed with a 37mm M5 gun, and five .30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns, but later the main gun was upgraded to a slightly longer M6 barrel, and some of the machine guns were removed.  It is a true American classic, and one of the backbones of American WWII war effort.

Unfortunately, it would prove nothing but a headache for me in World of Tanks!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slapping Hillary: The Game



As a dedicated gamer, you probably hate it when cheap Flash games make the headlines.  I know I do.  Don't journalists realize that Flash games are the gaming equivalent of restroom graffiti?  Regardless, I figured I might as well cover this bit of news since it is in the purview of my blog.

It seems the militant feminist Left have their panties in a bunch (but no word from Rock, Paper, Gloria Steinem yet) because an anti-Hillary Clinton for President PAC has taken a page from the Left's playbook and used it against them.  You see, back in 2008 a Left-wing hate site launched a Flash game called Slap Sarah Palin where you do just that: slap around the the former VP candidate, complete with an anguished scream, for giggles.  Aren't Leftists so high brow in their humor?  As if that wasn't enough, this site even includes a bonus for players who quickly tire of their juvenile humor:  at the bottom of the website you can take a gander at a X-rated picture that shows a photoshopped John McCain and Sarah Palin having graphic sex (this is why I haven't linked to the site - but it is still online if you want to double check what I am writing here.  Just Google it).  Clearly, this site is all about classy, pro-women stuff!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Get Your Snoopy On


It is one of those things where one game leads to another, which leads to another....  In this case the instigator was Red Orchestra 2.  As I detailed here, I've been having a blast with the Rising Storm expansion.  Well, after playing on a bunch of servers that also hosted the core Ost Front content, I started to notice that maps which favored armored warfare were coming up quite infrequently in the rotation.  Truth be told this is no big loss as I hate how RO2 restricts armored vehicles to players who choose the role of crewman/tank commander.  As someone who prefers to play infantry, I rarely get a chance to hop in a tank because of this restriction - how I wish Tripwire would ditch this limited class thing and embrace the more open system used by Dice's Battlefield 3!  Regardless, even though I do prefer gritty infantry combat, I did become wistful for the chance to slug it out in some armor.

So I started looking for a replacement and remembered Wargaming.net's World of Tanks.  Now, I was never much of a fan of this game because of the arbitrary setting - I mean, why is everyone driving around in tanks from the mid 20th Century?  Is this WWII?  Well, clearly not what with Soviet T-34s fighting alongside German Panthers!  Is it some sort of Girls und Panzer setup?  Possibly, but the game won't confirm it, even if this fan-made vid does....



 Seriously, what is it with Japanese men and their need to put school girls in bizarre situations?