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School Shootings Explained 2001-03-09 Erik
Next week I'll explain where all the Army Men games come from.

Korea's top hip-hop MC was arrested, charged, tortured, and convicted of smoking crank, despite any real evidence against him.  His real crime?   Rapping.

-Silence Makes The Beat Go Stronger, Spin Magazine, 11/2000

Matthew Shepard was crucified on a split-rail fence for the crime of being gay

-The Democratic Inquisition, Salon, 01/22/2001

We had committed many crimes: the crime of being indigenous, the crime of being Catholic, and most importantly the crime of being united...

-A People Dammed: The Chixoy Dam, Guatemalan Massacres and The World Bank, RightsAction.org, 09/18/2000

The common theme?  Crime doesn't pay.   Especially, as in the last example, multiple crimes.  You'd have to be an idiot to think you can escape the world wide web of justice that extends from the mysterious, probably imaginary land of Korea all the way to wherever it was Matthew Shepard was living where they still crucify people.  Mexico, maybe.  Which brings me to my point: teenagers are idiots.  Yesterday, that's just how I explained the recent popularity of school shootings to a reporter from the San Jose Mercury News.   Of all places.

She must be writing some sort of awful think piece about popular culture and how it influences teens to massacre each other.  I don't know where she heard about Old Man Murray or what the Hell she thought I'd be able to add to the investigation.   As long as they continue to act out their murderous impulses primarily on each other, I couldn't care less, I said.  But please do call me again if they start shooting at adults, I said, then hung up and silently congratulated myself for a job well done. 

Thanks in large part to the Internet troubles, my fiancé and I have recently decided that we're going to wait to start a family, since it could impact our finances in such a way that I might have to acquire a part time job.  But that's a sacrifice we're willing to make for the online gaming community.  Later yesterday, while I was sitting in the lobby of the women's clinic that's near all the strip clubs over by the airport, waiting for her to be done getting her abortion, I couldn't stop thinking about these school shootings.  Though the clinic is inexpensive, the waiting room is filthy and filled with staff members screaming at each other in Hindi.  I guess you get what you pay for.  Still, it's annoying to the point where you can't really concentrate.  So I left to do some thinking and some research, and see if just maybe I could figure out what's wrong with today's teens.

Before we go on, Chet says I need to make our position very clear, so that we're covered, legally speaking.  We're both enthusiastic supporters of teens eliminating each through whatever methods they deem necessary, even if it means using extreme prejudice, but only if "extreme prejudice" is being employed as a euphemism for violence, because actual prejudice is uncool.  This support, however, is only in general.  We're taking a meta approach.  Chet adds that it's even more meta than that - meta-meta, in fact, and all very hush hush.  In other words, specific massacres are not encouraged.   As we stated in our Dreamcast contest disclaimer:

Neither Oldmanmurray nor its agents are responsible for any murderous plans, schemes, scenarios, blueprints, patterns or any and all synonyms for these words as yet unlisted in the American Heritage Talking Dictionary that Quake 3 may inspire in the winner, nor any general trend towards the devaluation of human life to which the grand prize may contribute.  Should the winner return to his or her junior high school after Christmas break and methodically kill every person inside it, it's not our fault.  We blame society.  But we understand that you can't sue society for your idiotic actions.  John Carmack has a lot of money.  We're just sayin', that's all.  You know who else looks like they have a lot of dough?    Rappers.  Maybe you could try suing a couple of them. 

My research first led me to this article at Salon which points out that these mass-murderers tend to be white.  This was my first clue.  If I could figure out what separates black teens from white teens, I might be close to an explanation or even a solution.  I don't like either group very much, so I was able to eliminate that as a possible point of differentiation between black teens and white teens.  However, that still left me with a lot of ground to cover.

I decided to skip the middle man - the worldview I've created based mostly on listening to the the televsion while playing gameboy.  I went to the library to do some actual research using actual research materials.  I started with what is essentially the bible of white teen culture, Starlog Presents: Sci Fi Teen.  Here's a picture of a recent issue:

Notice anything interesting?  They're still putting Yoda on the cover.  Yoda.  That's like twenty straight years of Yoda covers.  It's an embarrassment.  If I was ten years younger and white, I'd shoot somebody too.   On the other hand, here's the most recent issue of Hype Hair For Black Teens:

Guess what?  Not a single mention of Lando Calrissian.  Black teens have evidently showed some fucking spirit and moved on. 

So you can draw your own conclusions.  Though I wouldn't suggest it, since I've definitely thought about this more than you have.  Star Wars is like a plague on today's white teen.  I know it messed up Rune.

Advice For Gamers 2001-03-07 Erik
A new weekly advice column for gamers.  Thanks to R. Dulin for writing most of and then, after some editing, all of today's update.

If you somehow find yourself in a conversation with non-gamers or genius adventure gamers that unexpectedly turns to the topic of books, don't panic!  I've spent the last three weeks carefully crafting the perfect catch-all phrase for when you've gotten in over your head.  In situations such as the one I'm talking about, someone will probably say something like "I think the general theme of Tran poetry is not philosophy so much as pride - pride in the discovery or rediscovery of the Vietnamese identity.  How do you feel?"  Think for a second then say "The Harry Potter series is primarily aimed at young adults... but then so is my dick."  Female readers should note that although this observation references your dick, it actually works pretty well for both men and women. 

I want to point out that this is just the kind of useful information you've come to expect from Old Man Murray and that you can continue to expect from Old Man Murray in the months and years to come.  And we're going to remain free, just like the all world's copyrighted music and software, especially Photoshop.  We'll go get ourselves some jay-oh-bee jobs before we start begging you for money.  Sure we may try to sell you some worthless crap or rope you into a get rich quick scheme that may or may not involve helping you cash in your uncollected judgements, but we promise you won't ever have to see us beg, unless one of you actually hits one of us and then threatens to do it again.  If we attempt to separate any of you from your precious money, we'll at least respect you enough to assume that we'll have to trick you with half-truths and false promises.  Subscription fee?   Fuuuuuuck...  When the time comes, we'll give you an offer that will most likely double in value, though people can and do lose money.  And that's a promise.  And we'll be standing behind it.  So enormously behind it, in fact, that we might be in Canada. 

Not that anyone has to worry though, because according to this quote from the most recent UGO press release, they've secured an extra fourteen million dollars worth of buzzwords:

"we are looking to leverage our cash position to explore potential strategic partners. An ideal partner would enhance our market position and leverage the Company's core assets,'' said Joe Robinson, Chairman and Founder, UGO Networks.   

Most of you are probably wondering what effect all of this exploration and leveraging will have on the paradigm.  All I can tell you at this point is that the word on the street is an astounding "wow".

EriKKK 2001-03-05 Erik
This is my new Voodoo-Extreme-esque pun-named informal commentary column in which I recap  the weekend's events in books and gaming.

Yesterday, while taking a break from all my reading to watch a TV show about books, I saw a commercial that made me realize I'm now indifferent to the sight of people completely covered in bees.  So that's a new thing I'm jaded to.  With bee-covered people eliminated, I'm down to about fifteen things.  To give you some indication of how perilously close I am to rock bottom, none of those fifteen things are from Japan.

There's a book at the library that's filled with photographs of babies with little angel wings popping out of flowers and floating in what looks like a giant bowl of milk and reclined on a pumpkin and things like that.  I don't know whether each photo represents a specific dead baby or just dead babies in general, but either way it's some depraved shit and never fails to make me feel sick and sad and a little scared.   The way people covered with bees used to make me feel.  I went to the library to look at it.  It made me feel better. 

While I was there, I figured I might as well take something out.   Ahead of me in the long checkout line was a pretty lady with a little girl.   There was strong circumstantial evidence that both of us were book lovers.   And it's a short step from "book lovers" to "lovers".  All you have to do is forget about books, which, frankly, would be okay with me.   "What are you getting?", I asked her.  "Tide and Continuities; Last and First Poems by Peter Viereck", she said, "What book are you getting?" 

I held my selection at arm's length, so it was right in front of her face.   "Die Hard 2: Die Harder by Bruce Willis,"  I said.   Then I retracted my arm so I could read the box.  "...I think it's by Bruce Willis..."  When I looked up, she had her head swiveled mostly away from me in a way that seemed to indicate she was losing interest in our conversation. "It's a book on tape," I added.  "Videotape...  These are really convenient for me." 

The conversation was over.  A few seconds later, I tried to restart it by saying "Who is Peter Viereck?"  But she ignored me, and I got that embarrassment panic that you get. I started singing "Who is Peter Viereck" over and over again and bobbing my head a little so that everyone would think that I wasn't asking her anything but just singing.   

While I was doing that, I watched the lady's little girl grab a straw wrapper off the ground, carefully crumple it into ball, and shove it way up her nose. As far as I saw, it never came out.  I didn't mention it to the lady, though.   Maybe Peter Viereck wrote a poem about what to do when your daughter gets a nasal infection so bad that she gets an abscess on her septum

For the gaming part of today's update, read Bruce Geryk's awesome critical comparison of Odium and Shadow Watch at QuarterToThree.   Armed with nothing but words and swear words, even a smart guy like Bruce Geryk can't make Odium into a decent game.  It's a testament to fancy pants everywhere, though, that he was able to make me consider that it might be slightly less terrible than it actually is.  Briefly.  I'm okay again now.  And I was high on Nyquil!   And my manmeat, etc.

crocdundeelow.jpg (6392 bytes)
This was supposed to be a picture of Odium, but it's a scene from the trailer for the upcoming movie Crocodile Dundee In Los Angeles, starring Linda Koslowski as Sue Charlton.  I couldn't care less about Crocodile Dundee, but I'm glad to see Hollywood's decided to reintroduce the mixed-race street gangs of the 80's.   Recurring OMM character The Battlestar Galactica Font would like to congratulate the people of India for finally being represented in the world of post-racialized thugs.   "But", he adds, "please stop setting women on fire.  Only if we work together can we change the world.  It doesn't take a Battlestar Galactica Font to know there's no 'I' in Cylon!"

Notes From The Microsoft Underground 2001-03-01 Erik
Everything I've ever said aside, I'm all for ending this plague of irony and cynicism.  That said, the phrase "This isn't your Daddy's Microsoft" (as seen in the article we'll be discussing here) should never be employed without first being virtually laminated in cynical ironic sarcasm.

J. Allard is the funventor or the head fungineer or the chief fun!ancial officer of the crazy X-Box team at Microsoft.  I don't know exactly what he does.  However, thanks to this article from the Seattle Times, I can say for sure that both he and the entire X-box staff are the gay-hating troublemakers of Redmond, Washington.  In his own words "We're the Eminem of Microsoft."  Evidently, life at the Microsoft campus is fast becoming the classic tale of snobs vs. slobs.  Only this time, both sides are fruity sweater wearing rich people with "personal collection[s] of Warhols, Lichtensteins and several commissioned ... Mark Kostabi paintings."

Aside from providing these kind of quotes that're only going to get more unbearably embarrassing as the months and years roll by, the article doesn't offer much actual information about the system itself.  Though it does assure skeptical consumers that Chief Technology Officer for the World Wrestling Federation, The Rock, feels that "there's no doubt the Xbox will deliver."   

Since Seattle recently experienced an earthquake, which means that any or all of the fact checkers at the Times may have gotten hit on the head by a falling brick, I won't berate them for calling Michael Abrash "the creator" of the "role-playing game Quake".  I'm only mentioning it so that I can point out that they spelled all the words right.  Good job!

Automotive liability insurance covers if you kill someone by accident.   A while ago, because I sometimes get distracted towards the end of sentences, I was under the impression that I'd be covered if I killed someone on purpose.  So that's an example of how mixups can happen if you just miss one or two words. 

Another example is in an interview with J. Allard on the Italian gaming supersite NextGame.  When asked what effect the X-Box's hard drive will have on games, he responds:

Imagine games which have no "loading..." screens and simply stream data from the drive without having discreet levels...   Imagine games with real interactive music and true-to-life, non-repetitive commentary. Imagine levels 20x the size of a typical console game.

Presumably, Allard confused "hard drive" - as in "as seen on the PC" - with the similar-sounding phrase "magical hard drive".

Serious Scoop 2001-02-21 Chet
We can finally afford to update again -my heavy betting on the darkhorse Steely Dan Paid off.

We are all for links, getting mentioned on the Big News Sites and driving traffic to the only thing that matters.  We just haven't been in the mood to do any of the work involved with a normal update.  So in the place of one of our own normal updates - I have taken what I have learned from the big news sites.

First I saw this Serious News Update!
GameZNet has upped 17 new screenshots from the Public Beta Test of Serious Sam.
Wow the Public Beta Test!  Thanks for saving me the download!  This is a serious scoop for GameZNet!  And thanks to EvilAvatar for bringing us this breaking news!  God knows we need more news sites when the news action gets this hot and serious!

Then Voodoo Extreme gets one of their exclusives!  THE ACTUAL BOX for Serious Sam!  That's right - not sure if you should order it or not?!   Take a look at that box!  Look at it!!!  That is Serious Boxage!!!

So to jump on the Serious Bandwagon!
Here are Exclusive !
Not to be found anywhere else!

Warning! Do not go any further if you want to have something
new left for you when you buy Serious Sam!

serioussmallhome.jpg (5305 bytes)

The Croteam's (makers of Serious Sam)
Serious Homepage!

Me making a Serious Post In the
Serious Sam Forums!

screenshotssmallscreenshots.jpg (5553 bytes)
Serious, Serious Sam Screen Shot of
Serious Sam Screen Shots!

seriouscd.jpg (3877 bytes)
The Serious CD!  That is a Serious reflective surface!
If this doesn't make you want to buy the game - nothing will!

Thanks to Kevin over at Videogamenews.com for the Serious CD Shot!

Bring OMM's Erik To Work Day 2001-02-13 Erik
My new weekly column in which I return after a mysterious three week absence to offer advice to the editorial staff of IGN.

Hello and I'm sorry.  Hello and I'm sorry to everyone I've let down and to all the people I've yet to meet and then let down.  If it means anything, these last three weeks have brought me much closer to my ultimate goal of being accepted into the government's elite SSI total disability program.  I've paid taxes for a number of years now, and I think it's high time I reap some of the benefits of my brief period of productive citizenship back in the 90's.  I've always been pretty antsy about going outside, but two and a half weeks ago my brain manufactured a Todd McFarlane-esque detailed miniature version of this larger problem by convincing me that I should also be afraid to go upstairs.  That left the kitchen, the bathroom, the coat and broom closet, the bedroom, and the room with the old TV available for use, but restricted my access to the second floor, which contains my computer and the big television attached to the Nintendo, the Playstation, and the Dreamcast.  I feel better now.  But I'm sorry that I've missed a few updates.  

I know that within the game community, I'm viewed as a crusader - of might and magic but for justice.  I realize that I'm often perceived to be quick to anger, difficult to like, hard to kill, under siege, on deadly ground, under siege 2, and the glimmer man.  It's a responsibility that I take seriously.  So I understand it when hundreds of you send me vile, angry letters every time I disappear for weeks at a time.   However, understanding is not an excuse.  All I can say is that - assuming all of you manage to come to my house and then also manage to enter one of the parts of my house that's safe to me on that day - you're all dead, like Bruce Willis during the last ninety minutes of the Sixth Sense.  I didn't mark that as a spoiler because I'm fucking crazy.  And if any of you gets a phone call from the Ohio Disability Determination Services, I'd appreciate it if you mentioned that fact.  Feel free to point out to them the death threats I often make and don't forget about the frequent and shameless Sixth Sense spoilers.   If you need some prefabricated descriptions of what a deranged murderous nigga I am, you can get some good ones from rap.   Change the words around so it doesn't rhyme, though.  Because that might tip off the DDS caseworker that you're just stealing your testimony from rap.  With the government's finacial help and your continued support of our benefit claims, we might just make it through this Internet implosion in one piece.

On the other hand, if we updated every day, we might end up having to print some things like this story about Majestic on IGN.  Everything I know about being a man I've learned from IGN For Men, which is IGN's version of Celebrity Sleuth, only without all the nudity.   In fact, just before my recent breakdown, one of their editorials convinced me that I'd sure like to screw that Jennifer Love Hewitt.  So I hate to say anything bad about them.  But if I don't, who will?  Certainly not me.

Majestic is an upcoming game published by Electronic Arts that appears to be a mix of a därk email client and David Fincher's The Game, sort of an American McGee's Outlook.  A few days ago, there was a public demo of it at a conference called DEMO 2001 in Phoenix.  The IGN story's strapline promises lots of first-hand information:

Revealed to a stunned crowed [sic] at DEMO 2001, Majestic makes a big impression.

The article then proceeds to not mention anything about the actual demonstration.  Nothing.  Not one word about what was shown, or any specific reactions to it.  There's a recap of some previously available information and some enthusiastic quotes by a few people who attended the rumored demonstration but who also have a financial interest in saying nice things about Majestic - such as EA VP of production Neil Young.  The closest IGN gets to mentioning what happened or what the game looks like is in this sentence from the first paragraph:

the word on the street is an astounding "wow".

With these nine perfectly chosen words, someone at IGN has finally crafted the ultimate, empty fucking kiss ass preview.  Expect to see this string of words a lot, as it's about to become an enduring OMM catchphrase.  Note to the person at IGN who actually gets paid a salary to worry about these things: I'm not a professional editor, but "wow" isn't especially astounding.  I even opened up Notepad and typed "wow" in all caps, but that only made the word mildly intriguing, and that's only because "W" looks sort of like Lara Croft's tits, which kind of remind me of tits, which reminds me that, thanks to some compelling arguments on IGN for Men, I'd like to wax Charlize Theron's ass.  Maybe "astounded" would have been a better choice.

Today, I discovered this account of the Majestic demo on C-Net news:

The team from EA.com had it even worse. As the presenter began his demo of "Majestic," a suspense thriller that allows people to interact via chat, e-mail, voice mail, fax and the Web, everything just blew up.
The presenter, an executive vice president named Neil Young (no, not that Neil Young) was fast on his feet and talked his way around the glitch for a few minutes until the system could be resuscitated. Then the system blew up again...

Which may explain why the IGN piece contained so little information.  

Health Update 2001-01-15 Erik
Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

Today's award was supposed to be "Best White Game Developer", but then Martin Luther King Jr. Day kind of snuck up on us. We decided the timing might cause people to misconstrue our motives - we only wanted to point out the achievements of hard-working Caucasian developers, who have lately been marginalized to such an extent that they and their Ferraris risk becoming completely disenfranchised.   We've been burned before, such as in 1998 when we founded our well-intentioned but, in retrospect, genuinely regrettable Negro Developer League.  So thanks to that, and because there was some scandal surrounding the fact that the winner, John Carmack, may be Jewish, we canned the award entirely.

Instead, I'm going to address the huge number of emails Chet and I received over the weekend asking if I really did get hit by a car.  In answer to that, I did.  On Friday afternoon, a car smacked right into me.  Though I was knocked on my ass, I wasn't otherwise hurt.  This incident gives me much more confidence in my mounting belief that I'm indestructible, like Bruce Willis in whichever Die Hard movie wasn't the one where it turned out he was dead.  The driver was adamant that she did not mean to hit me and that the car appeared to have a mind of its own.  Those of you maintaining fan sites devoted to my growing list of potential superpowers should note that this may mean that, along with being unkillable, I am also magnetic.  Or that the car is magnetic and I am, in fact, made of metal, which would help explain why I'm so indestructible.  All I know is that, as the car hit me and I flew forwards through the air, my only clear thought was, "Oh my God, SomethingAwful is closing!"

Evidently, due to the recent Internet troubles caused by either too many or not enough people shocking the monkey, Something Awful is going under.  Normally, we're not ones to kick anyone when they're down, because you could still catch your foot in their crotch and maybe twist your ankle.  But the display of mawkish sentimentality on the SA forums would embarrass the the final very special episode of Full House.  Invincible as I am, to view the goddamn thing even I had to create a special schmaltz-retardent suit and then invent a computer program to come up a cool pun name for it - the Bathosphere.  Here's a sample I found at the bottom of one particularly syrupy lake of tears:

I'm sure the group of nine year olds that invented the Internet never imagined it might some day be co-opted by grown ups.  You fucking idiot.  I think I speak for all adults when I say that we're not crazy about you either.  If it wasn't for us, you kids wouldn't have any food much less lucrative careers in kiddie porn.   And if you weren't our larval form, do you think we'd even let you live?   Hell, the most hotly debated issue among adults is whether or not to continue killing you in utero for our own convenience.  Regardless, we here at Old Man Murray guarantee that when our time comes - and, mind you, that day will arrive - we're going to go out with a little more dignity and a lot more swearing.  And maybe another Dreamcast contest!  So stay tuned!   

I Like Big Rebuts 2000-12-28 Erik
Thanks to Epp, L. R. (1998). Why aren't they laughing? The clinical significance of a hypothesized 'humor deficit disorder' among at-risk adolescents: An exploratory study. Dissertation Abstracts International, 59(3-A).
In much the same way that I didn't expect Red Storm's Anne McCaffrey's Freedom: First Resistance to blow up my monitor, I had no idea Jonah Falcon would read my rebuttal to his review of Giants and respond with a rebuttal of his own.  Normally, I'd permit him to have the last word because he's obviously a little retarded and isn't responsible for who he hurts with the beam of concentrated crazy that he can shoot out of his mouth. 

Our new racist mascot,  Francis The Talking France.  Big thanks to cowboys for the cowboy font.

Unfortunately for both of us, he decided to question not just my statements, but my journalistic integrity.  And my ethics as a journalist.  As many of you know, the only thing standing between me and not being a journalist are my journalistic and journalistical credentials.  So here we go again.  Jonah's original words are in yellow.  My words are in red, white, and blue.

If you didn't notice, I did not accuse the developers of racism, nor did I say it was overt. However, it struck me as disturbing as I played along that it very much reminded me of The Phantom Menace.

Between your accusing the game of being racist and then accusing the game of being racist, I must have missed the part where you didn't accuse the game of being racist.  Sorry.  I didn't like the Phantom Menace either, except for the one monster or robot or lightsabre or whatever it was that was just like a stupid, crazy, sassy black guy like they have on all the shows on the WB.   That cracked me up.  I was like, "take that George Washington Carver.   Here's a little message from a galaxy far, far away: just cuz you invented the peanut don't mean your shit don't stink. Or have peanuts in it, I guess." 

Considering I live in New York City, and have a wealth of diversity around me, I'm more keen on such trends.

The only compulsion stronger than the one that drives people who don't watch TV to tell you about it every few minutes is the mysterious force that compels people who live in New York City to mention that as often as possible.   I think it's really pretty admirable, then, that you managed to hold back that information until the third sentence.  Congratulations. 

I don't live in New York, so you'd generally be right in assuming that I don't know much other than what I've learned from Home Improvement, NASCAR races, and the sort of rudimetary management skills seminar one gets while designing and executing plans to drag Negroes and homosexuals to death behind my pickup truck.  Unfortunately for you, in an attempt to eventually learn to appreciate Lucas Arts Force Commander, I've recently started reading a lot of books.  In fact, I just finished the biography Bronson!, and I'm currently working my way through American novelist Jack Martin's Halloween 2.  It's going to be hard, but I'll try to use what I've learned from my books to combat the undeniably opinion-validating fact that you live in New York City. 

The question remains: WHY must all the light-skinned characters be on the side of truth, and WHY must all the dark-skinned characters (some of whom hedge uncomfortably close to stereotypes) by evil? Some have emailed me stating that that's the way it's been, always has been, and ever shall be. In other words, the good guys never wear the black hat, which simply is not true. (One only need to refer to Clint Eastwood to dispute that.)

I think my reaction to this paragraph is best expressed by this passage from Jack Martin's Halloween 2 in which the reporter character, Robert Mundy, makes the following statement:


I'm not saying that you're an escaped mental patient who is likely to kill three people, I'm just saying that after reading that insane paragraph, we can no longer rule it out.  In reference to your use of the phrase "ever shall be", permit me to indulge for a moment in a bit of provincialism and just say this: fag.

What disturbs me about Erik's attack is that he characterizes me as being "obviously either a lunatic, an idiot, or some fanciful, Lewis Carroll-esque combination of the two." Furthermore, I never said "Giants is a clear example of dehumanizing racist propaganda". He ends his comment which "if Borislav Herak's Bosnian Rape Camp Superchamp is stable and lets you save anywhere, there's still a good chance Jonah might give it a 4.5." should speak for itself.

I... agree.  I guess we agree to agree, then.  So that one's a either a tie or I win. 

This is not journalism of any sort. If it is a "report", he is not going by any facts since he has not contacted me, asked me any questions, much less offered a rebuttal before reporting.

Well, I think it's clearly journalism of some sort.  Instead of offering you a chance to respond, I simply sent our hateful, time-travelling mascot Marvin into the future to fetch the rebuttal you ended up writing.  I didn't print it because, frankly, I wanted to save you the embarrassment.  No need to thank me, however, because I'm printing it now.

The fact is, I was noting a disturbing trend that has been echoed in such games as Soldier of Fortune, which several reviewers bashed for the same aspect - which is even more overt. I think it bears repeating: I never accused the developers of racism. I only noted the troubling coincidences which seem to be de rigeur. Additionally, I wouldn't, say, accuse Peter Molyneaux of racism for Black & White - it's all in the subtext.

Soldier of Fortune Special Report

Soldier of Fortune is a game that recreates the thrill of murdering people for money, and does it in demented forensic detail.  Your troubling subtext - that some of the people are not white - is kind of overshadowed by the text, that all of the people you're slaughtering are people.  In other words, although it goes against the secret messages composed by your own tireless, misfiring synapses, killing everyone you meet is, in fact, as bad as killing just blacks.  It might even be worse.  I don't know what side you were planning to be on when Blade Runner finally happens and the race wars start, but all of us whites got together and decided it's not going to be ours.  So your big mouth got you in some deep shit now.

I'm sure the entire Lionhead staff is breathing a big, fruity sigh of relief.  I hadn't really read your original review very closely, so I went back and did that.  I carefully reread the part where you didn't say Giants was anti-black.  My reaction this time was the same as it was the first time I skimmed it: If these Planet Moon guys are smart enough to write a cool game like Giants, maybe they know something about the blacks that I don't.  Hell, I'm not an anthropologist.  For all I know, black people cause cancer.  But then I read further and, for the first time, saw the the part where you, Jonah Falcon, Counsel for The Offended, uncovered Planet Moon's plot to impugn lesbians.  I turned to myself and was like, they're anti-lesbian?  ANTI-LESBIAN?!?

Well, now the racists have gone too far.  It just doesn't make any sense.  Who the Hell is anti-Lesbian?  As long as you don't count all of the male characters in the movie Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, lesbians never hurt anyone.  Without lesbians, there'd be virtually no lesbian erotica - just the foundation on which the entire Internet was built so that it could eventually support a really heavy load of Tribes 2 screenshots.  Jonah, if it wasn't for the fact that you didn't actually say what you actually said, we'd be in complete agreement!   What's next on these racists' racism list, Adoracubbies?  I'm not kidding.  I think it could happen.

My review of three stars was chiefly due to the lack of a save game, the numerous bugs included, and from the general lack of any real innovation. I get the impression people are using that paragraph as a way of attempting to undermine my low score of Giants: Citizen Kabuto. If that paragraph was to be removed, my review would remain unchanged, regardless.

Permit me to quote the novel I'm reading, Halloween 2, again:

Jill was eyeing the small novelty shrunken head that someone had left on the counter when the buzzer went off.

This really captures the moment in which I was eyeing my own foot instead of reading that paragraph you wrote.  I have no idea what you said, but I'll bet it was either crazy, stupid, or tended to otherwise support my side of the war.

If it's so troubling for people to read, then I'll ease their eyes, but, to quote the wise man, closing your eyes when you don't want to see is not always the wise choice.

I'd like to quote another wise man:

But, really, where was the dividing line between ritual and reality, between costumed playacting and genuine monsters?  Was the difference only in how seriously one played the game?  His wailing certainly seems genuine enough.  Who's to say it isn't true? Do I know what he has seen? Does anyone? It's real to him. We should all be so easily convinced.  Perhaps it would increase our potential for survival.

That wise man's name?  Dr. Sam Loomis from Halloween 2.  Thank you, good night, God bless, and I win.

For further reading, visit the official Daniel Johnston website.

Giants, As It Refers To Lips 2000-12-22 Erik
Thanks to Raskin, V. (1985). Semantic analysis of humor. Boston, MA: Reidel.
In my ongoing quest to read everything ever written about my new favorite game Giants - a product that, while it does have a few bugs, hasn't caused any part of my computer to actually literally physically explode - I ran across this review at Gamepen, a site for which I have no snide comment because I don't know anything about it other than the fact that its name sounds a little like "gaypen", a fact that could potentially be used against it if you absolutely couldn't think of anything else, and, hey, what an epic journey this sentence has been - welcome to the end of it.

The review, by Jonah Falcon, contains the following observation:

Another problem is more disturbing and insidious.  All of the heroes (the Meccryns, Smarties, and Delphi) are light colored, while all of the villians have dark skin (Sappho, the Reapers).  As if that subtle whiff of racism isn't enough, why is the evil queen named Sappho to begin with? If it was a reference, I don't see what the character had in common with an ancient Greek poetess.  If the developers equate sapphic with evil, that's a whole other can of worms to add to the bugs.   (Vocabulary time: sapphic is a synonym for lesbian).  Even if this all was coincidental, it still creates a nasty little subliminal message. 

I could try to defend Giants by using sanity to prove that it isn't the Mein Kampf of third person shooters, or simply thank Jonah for explicitly pointing out that Giants' blatant racism is "more disturbing and insidious" than its lack of an in-mission save, but what would be the point?  Jonah Falcon is obviously either a lunatic, an idiot, or some fanciful, Lewis Carroll-esque combination of the two. 

Plus, the review itself contains something even more disturbing and insidious than simple, garden of eggplants variety racism.   From reading the review, here's what we know about Jonah other than the fact that he's koo koo:

  1. He is bravely, strongly against racism, including - presumably - racism based solely on the color of your lesbianism.
  2. Giants is a clear example of dehumanizing racist propaganda.

But it still gets 3 out of 5 stars!  And that's after he's already complained bitterly about the repetitive gameplay, the crash bugs, and the various annoying ways in which Giants is not more like Tribes 2.  So taking those non-trivial complaints into account, the fact that Giants espouses a dangerous ideology that Jonah Falcon finds morally repugnant ultimately only costs it one half of one star.  In other words, if Borislav Herak's Bosnian Rape Camp Superchamp is stable and lets you save anywhere, there's still a good chance Jonah might give it a 4.5

American McGee Genius Watch 2000-12-15 Erik
Today's forecast: Partly cloudy with a 100% chance that American McGee is a genius!  Dispatches from the frontiers of describing American McGee's brilliance.
Well Rounded Entertainment:

Giant Rotating Gear
giant rotating gear

Calling Alice anything short of a work of art would be an injustice... Meanwhile, subtle effects (like the fact that you'll never find a perfectly straight doorway) add to the air of insanity...  Wonderland is a psychotically haunting place that floods your imagination...  McGee and Rogue have started to tread a new path - and in the process have uncovered a Wonderland of their own. And, as gamers, we're damn lucky to be traveling along with them...  [McGee] prefers reading a good book when he gets home.

Game Basement:

I am truly bothered. I have seen some frightful images in my day, but none as truly bizarre as the ones conjured up by American McGee in his latest release, "American McGee's Alice"...  McGee's attempt at capturing the horror of this world is almost incomprehensible.  [meant as highest possible compliment - ed]


American McGee's Alice also offers something for those who ache for a little philosophy to go with their carnage. Alice doesn't completely disregard the intellectual side of things, opting to add some deeper meaning to Alice's struggle against the denizens of the malformed Wonderland.

Gamer's Pulse:

To break up the strategy of jumping, there are some true puzzles in the game such as one where you have to figure out how to open a series of doors...  Playing Alice is like playing in the mind of a lunatic and a genius: I wonder what American McGee is like?


Games Web:

Alice kehrt zurück ins Wunderland, doch statt einer fröhlich-bunten Märchenwelt erwartet sie ein düsterer und bizarrer Alptraum, denn nichts ist dort mehr, wie es einmal war.  [American McGee is a twisted genius.  We are still scraping our jaws from the floor, blood runs from our eyes.  We will make war against the Jews.  Alice is a psychotic Walt Disney movie... On Acid!!! 'Nuff Said!!! -ed]


This week FutureLooks reviews the Picasso-esque Alice...[actual meaning unknown, sounds smart -ed]  This image is forever shattered with amazing results in the paradigm shift of American McGee’s Alice... If you’ve never experienced nightmares before, you will after this game...  Daring and refreshing, enough said.


the Alice universe is so finely and professionally crafted, it doesn't just mask what is essentially generic gameplay… it makes it completely irrelevant.  [ellipses theirs - ed]

Gamespot UK:

[Alice is an] example of what a great conceptual imagination can bring to a mainstream gaming genre.

Video Gamer Guy:

And so begins the great storyline of American McGee's Alice...   You truly never know what's going to happen because the world is literally crazy...   the most crazy and demented world ever created in a video game

Gaming Orgy:

What follows is my venture into the last major computer game of 2000, and why I will never be the same...  I'm a hardened moviegoer with enough DVDs to make some cry. This intro chilled me though. I've watched it several times now and it hasn't worn off onto me yet. Give this movie an Emmy [sic] for direction and concept... Once you start playing, the graphics sweep you off to Wonderland and it's surrealistic milieu until you beg it to stop, but you don't, you keep going and going and going... Oh god. Oh GOD.

lava canyon

Addendum: Dr. Derek Smart Genius Watch

"I am very crative and have a lot of ideas"

-Dr. Smart in an interview on GA Sim


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