videogames

UAE Crackdown Against God of War

Even though I blogged about the issue before when it started in KSA, I am very surprised to see that the stupidity has infiltrated the UAE as well. Yesterday’s news mentioned a crackdown against God of War, possibly one of the most popular games in recent history.

The game is loosely based on Greek Mythology, and features the slaughtering of lots of mythical creatures and fighting various popular Olympian gods or one of them wonderful Titans.

Note that this is not the first game in history that features Greek mythology and it definitely is not the first game where a form of God is involved in. Heck, if this is the case then why isn’t Xenosaga banned? Or is the term Lost Jerusalem has nothing to do with religion? Why don’t they ban Final Fantasy VII? Sephiroth, Jenova anyone?! How about Final Fantasy X? Or the most blatantly controversial Tactics?

Heck, even Legend of Zelda has three deities… oh my the blasphemy!

And God of War contains sex scenes… oooh! Cuz Extreme Volleyball is fine with an all-cast women with breasts so enormous and bouncy they defy all laws of gravity. You don’t believe me? Watch this and this.

Well then… if they’re banning a GAME, why not as well ban, I dunno, the bars, the night clubs, the alcohol, and maybe close down the prostitution street?! You know where it is! The whole district shakes every night!

Practice what you preach and stop being hypocrites. Don’t say this is an Islamic country and ban non-Islamic stuff, then sell books and videos and movies and services that are anything but that!

I understand it is because kids are playing it – but it is an 18+ rated game and for good reason too. Don’t ban the game – fine the retail outlets that are selling it to minors!

Stephen King Talks Videogames

You gotta love Stephen King for this.

For those not in the know, videogames have taken the center stage with respect to violence in “the country” aka USA. My main argument has always been – and always will be – that regardless of any negative effect that a game will have, it all depends on how the kids are raised as well as other external factors that feed violence in kids.

Sure, there is violence everywhere. But when you have a population that is exposed to many mediums of violence, parents who are generally nonchalant about what their kids are playing/reading/watching, as well as a legal system with more loop holes than pores on the human skin, as well as a different interests and lifestyles than the general Earth population, you don’t need to look far to see that the problem is not in videogames.

Here in the Arab world, there is a ton of family support (generally). When I was in the US I was amazed at how long we kids stayed AWAY from family. Heck, we would literally spend the whole day outside doing all sorts of stuff – from school to tennis to hanging out on the streets (and getting my bicycle stolen *sniffles*) and eating/watching/doing anything we want. Away from family and without proper adult supervision.

Heck I remember we even rented Scream. From Blockbusters. The oldest of us was 13.

Now how can you come and tell me now, in 2008, that if a person had an accident because of speeding it is because of Need for Speed? Do you believe that if someone organized a little crime and a getaway, it is because they played Grand Theft Auto?

What happened to all those movies? What happened to all the other media? Obscene songs?

Just games?

Grow up!

I will always hold the belief that if Earth was overrun by aliens or zombies, then only us l33t Halo-ers and Resident Evil-ers will be able to save the planet.

I end this post by quoting Stephen King, but go ahead and read his full article:

Elephant One is the ever-deepening divide between the haves and have-nots in this country, a situation guys like Fiddy and Snoop have been indirectly rapping about for years. Elephant Two is America’s almost pathological love of guns. It was too easy for critics to claim — falsely, it turned out — that Cho Seung-Hui (the Virginia Tech killer) was a fan of Counter-Strike; I just wish to God that legislators were as eager to point out that this nutball had no problem obtaining a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Cho used it in a rampage that resulted in the murder of 32 people. If he’d been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn’t even have been able to kill himself.

Case closed.

Perfect Wintereenmas Gift!

Wintereenmas is a great and joyous occasion for us videogamers worldwide! It is a time of great celebration of videogames… from January 25-31st (although the whole month is Wintereenmas Season)… and what a great way to celebrate this occasion than to get a brand new handheld!

Yes ladies and gentlemen… my best friend got me a PSP! How incredible is that! I was so excited I literally drove the office nuts with the device… so much for work! Now I have something to entertain me during lunch breaks and before exercise!

I also got seven games with it (well, five, I bought the other two)! Enough to last me a century (and I still have 3 unplayed games on my PC and soon-to-purchase games on my X360).

This is THE game to play! (Hamza don’t be jealous now :P )

Didn’t play it through on the PS2, but now I definitely will!

Every old school gamer needs his Castlevania fix… and it’s Rondo of Blood too!

Although we’re on Final Fantasy XIII (13) now… this is the millionth remake of the first one to cash in more. Don’t expect something grand from a 20+ year old game.

Purely for collection – now I officially played all Final Fantasy games!

One of the best games released on the PSP… gotta be playing this after Valkyrie Profile

I really hate Mega Man, but Mega Man X was my favorite game on the SNES so I had to check out the remake.

Looks like the PSP doesn’t only play games… it has videos and music and photo sharing, as well as Internet! I instantly hooked it up to the net and browsed over to my blog. Cool, ain’t it?

Happy Wintereenmas everyone!
PS: Hamza please do not voodoo me… I am sorry your friends in KSA think Wintereenmas is bid3a and 7aram :P
PPS: Williams, I hope you get your DS Lite soon :P

Evil Rants

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the videogame industry, or actually any other industry that can raise the least bit of controversy, you can easily then identify Jack Thompson who is an attorney avid on attacking videogames and other forms of entertainment that are psychologically damaging to children and young youth. Given all the shootings that have been happening in the schools around the States, the murders and the crimes, Thompson has been actively attacking games like DOOM and, most importantly, the phenomenal Grand Theft Auto, mostly for its notorious use of organized crime, sex with prostitutes, and beating up police officers and running over them.Though parents of juvenile gamers have been warned of such games and are usually siding with Thompson, the entire gaming community is against such claims and rather blame any violent action by children resulting from playing such games on the parents who had an active (or non active) role in raising their children such that they could not discriminate between what is real and what isn’t.

A few years ago, it was put in a great way, “When you shoot someone in real life, you cannot insert a coin and go back. It is game over”.

Psychologists have done extensive studies on how the brain functions before, during and after playing violent videogames, and most have reported increased aggression, but that is often stemmed from excitement and competitiveness and does not in a long run translate into actual organized crime or increased violence.

People like Thompson though have gone overboard, stating that any kind of violence, even Mario hitting a mushroom on the head with a hammer, can be disturbing. We gamers claimed that Thompson was, in a former life, the said mushroom.

Anyhow, controversy in games have evolved from simple mushroom bashing, to organized crime, to simulation, where recent games have taken place in real life wars like WWII and, recently, Gulf War and even the recent war on Iraq. In this regards, everyone praised the concepts since the gamers were put in the feet of American soldiers taking out the “bad guys” and so it was perfectly normal. It was briefly an issue with non-American gamers but, as gamers, we all know a game is a game, and bad influence of who is the bad guy will definitely come in other forms of media in much more abundant and destructive ways than shooting down a now-extinct sect in Europe.

So why am I babbling all this?

Gamers (and recently non gamers) have been following the Resident Evil franchise since its debut on the PS1 around a decade ago. The most recent game on sale, Resident Evil 4, featured Hispanic zombies and settings, which, strangely, did not bring up any racial or ethnic dispute. In fact, people found it amusing that finally there were non-American and non-European zombies available for the kill. But what was really disturbing about the game was that the “zombies” were not as grotesque as their American counterparts, rather (at least before they start sprouting stuff from their backs and heads) they mostly looked human and attacked you with weapons in packs, violently. And you gunned them down. It was intense and disturbing.

But no one made a racial comment. For America, it was fine to kill Hispanics. To the rest of the world, zombies knew no race.

Now, a few years later, Resident Evil 5 surfaced, offering the first Resident Evil game in high definition, and, more importantly, the zombies are Africans. They’re Black. The main character? The ever popular Chris Redfield – who is white. White guy gunning down Black people. Now THAT is something to talk about.

Or is it?

Some bloggers (and others) are raising the issue that the game is promoting the hatred of black people by pitting a white guy against a horde of the zombified beings. Personally, I found the trailer incredibly disturbing and chilling, mostly though not because of the presence of black people, but because of the very pain you can see on their faces, which I believe is true.

Regardless, the concept of black people seems to be subjective to Americans, which rubbed off through globalization on the rest of the universe, but that does not mean that all countries view the concept of racism the same. Certainly, I doubt that the creators of the game, who are Japanese, have a grudge against Hispanics or Blacks.

Like any piece of art, what people interpret is probably different from what the artist actually intended. Games are a form of art on their own, and how each person perceives a game is subjective to that person.

Gamers, in majority, do not find the concept of Africans in a RE game to be racist. In fact, they put it in a nice way for me to close this post:

“According to the statistics of racial make-up in the world, I’d actually say that whites have been unfairly discriminated against in the series, if anything, since so many of them have been enemies in RE,” said one commenter. “It only seems fair that Africans get treated equally, and with only one game full of primarily black enemies to six games full of primarily white, from a racial viewpoint I’d say that the Africans are getting off easy.”

“There is plenty of real racism alive and well in the world today and words cannot describe how disgusting it can be,” wrote another, “but it is garbage rants like this that take attention from real problems. It is absurd and insulting to everyone to suggest this game is in anyway being designed to teach anyone to hate black people.”

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