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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Norman Chad: Albert Pujols on pace for historic flop

Stu Ungar laughs ~ (tweak mission break) ~ laughs some more ~ (extended tweak mission) ~.....................

A year ago, Albert Pujols was a postmodern Stan Musial. Today, he is a living, breathing “John Carter.”

(“John Carter” cost $250 million or so to make and was a bust at the box office. Pujols cost $250 million or so to land and has been a bust at the ballpark.)

Pujols thought he was going to Disneyland. Instead, he’s wound up in Dante’s Inferno.

In the off-season, Pujols, 32, left St. Louis for Southern California. He became the second basebal l player ever to s ign a $200 million-plus contract — remarkably, Alex Rodriguez has done it twice — and Pujols might become the first player to return the money with a note that says, “Oops — can’t hit no more.”

Repoz Posted: May 15, 2012 at 06:02 AM | 763 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   501. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4134074)
There are word games, puzzle games,


As it happens, I filled out a crossword puzzle just a couple of days ago.

It was on paper, of course.

twitch games, turn-based strategy games, competitive games, cooperative games, games that are about exploring worlds, and games that just tell a story in a different way.


Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry.

I'm also curious if you're at all familiar with modern video games.


I know they exist. I just don't care about them, in the same way that I'm aware that soccer & golf & tennis & NASCAR exist, & for that matter am pretty well acquainted with what sort of "action" they consist of, but also couldn't care less.

The fact that the people I (vaguely) know in real life who are obsessed with them (modern video games, that is, though I suppose this sentence probably also applies to soccer/golf/tennis/NASCAR fans of my unfortunate unacquaintance) could do with a good smacking around several times a day probably doesn't help, I admit.
   502. hokieneer Posted: May 17, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4134075)
Not even once? You're missing out on so much good stuff. If you haven't read Tom Bissell on video games, you should give him a try-- he's refreshing b/c he's the first to admit there's a lot of meaningless/forgettable/regrettable crap out there, but also a lot of creative uses of the medium. I enjoy the Nolan Batman films, but they're nothing next to the Arkham Asylum/Arkham City games, in terms of immersing you in the world and character.

Bissell's reviews and writing in general on video games is great. He seems genuinely interested with the progress and future role of games in society for both entertainment and art.

And yes Dead Space 1 is scary as hell. I'm sad to say I've never got around to playing the 2nd one more than a few hours, but soon I hope to block off the necessary time. Not sure if DS1 was the scariest/tensest gaming experience I've ever had. That probably belongs to RE, RE2, and SH2, but those have to be adjusted for context.

Never watched Event Horizon, i'll have to add that to my list.
   503. Lassus Posted: May 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4134080)
Speaking of horror movies has anyone seen The Cabin in the Woods yet? Saw it and quite enjoyed it.

I blinked and it was out of the theater in this area, which was disappointing. I knew the film editor rather well in college.


As far as my earlier comment on video games, I'm too competitive for it to be a compelling narrative for me. I wouldn't care about the story, I would care about winning. I guess as incredibly popular as video games are, I can't be the only one, but the entire idea of them as "stories" just doesn't work for me.
   504. The Essex Snead Posted: May 17, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4134081)
That Fangoria list is all over the place -- stuff that would seem to me to be canonical & have no place on a "you haven't seen it" rundown (cf. the aforementioned Romero flick, never mind both Henry: Portrait... & Last House On The Left), some lesser-known yet still no-brainer picks (Black Christmas, Motel Hell, The Stepfather, The Vanishing, The Beyond), "mainstream crossovers" like Manhunter & Sisters & Apt Pupil, and an odd mix of lesser lights from notable directors (cf. Cronenberg's Rabid, Wes Craven's Swamp Thing?!?!). It's a decent enough list, I guess (tho I question anyone giving Event Horizon the time of day -- it's watchable, as my leaving it on while I do menial stuff will attest, but that don't make it even remotely good).

As far as horror lists go, this one (from Time Out London) is more my speed. It's a best-of, so the usual picks populate the top 20 or so, but the back half is much more interesting (if only because of the "fresh blood" picks), and the feature includes the faves of the directors / writers / experts that were polled.
   505. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4134084)
(cf. the aforementioned Romero flick, never mind both Henry: Portrait... & Last House On The Left)


You're right, but oddly enough horror-obsessive me has seen neither one.
   506. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4134091)
As far as horror lists go, this one (from Time Out London) is more my speed. It's a best-of, so the usual picks populate the top 20 or so, but the back half is much more interesting (if only because of the "fresh blood" picks), and the feature includes the faves of the directors / writers / experts that were polled.


Decent list, certainly, but of course any such list (as many do) that ranks Dawn of the Dead above Night of the Living Dead is fatally flawed from the get-go (especially since the former happens not to be as good as its 2004 "re-imagining"), not to mention any inclusion of the Kubrick Shining as an example of anything other than a poor adaptation of a horror novel.

Otherwise, I've seen 78 from that list -- about the same as from the Fangoria list. Granted, there are some truly bizarre gaps in my viewing history -- no Rosemary's Baby, no Bride of Frankenstein, no (as just mentioned) Last House on the Left or Henry), no Jaws {movies about actual creatures just aren't likely to interest me unless they're, like, mutated & 100 feet long with metal teeth or or eyes that shoot laser beams or whatever), etc.
   507. formerly dp Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4134094)
As far as my earlier comment on video games, I'm too competitive for it to be a compelling narrative for me. I wouldn't care about the story, I would care about winning. I guess as incredibly popular as video games are, I can't be the only one, but the entire idea of them as "stories" just doesn't work for me.

This is one of the central driving conversations around games-- the relationship/balance between the importance of narrative and the importance of gameplay. Boiling it down a lot: basically, you have games like Bioshock, where there's narrative there if you want to discover it/pay attention to it, but if you're just interested in strategizing different ways to kill stuff, you can focus on the and ignore the narrative altogether, and still have a really enjoyable experience with the game. Bissell is fascinated by the fact that he, as a writer, manages to enjoy games that are terribly written (Oblivion is the primary culprit here, and he throws Fallout into that category too). Games can bea great medium for storytelling, but that's not where most of them innovate.

===

Bissell's reviews and writing in general on video games is great. He seems genuinely interested with the progress and future role of games in society for both entertainment and art.

It doesn't hurt that he's a great writer, at least in my opinion. His autobiographical narrative about going from being an avid reader of poetry to an avid player of games is a nice rejoinder to the old guard people who study lit/cinema. I assign his stuff in all of my undergrad classes.
   508. Kyle S at work Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4134099)
Do you guys still care about the movie theater economics discussion from page 1? You can look at AMC entertainment's 10-K (they own theaters and show movies) to see how it works. In FY 2011, they took in $1.7bn in admissions revenue and paid out $887mm in exhibition costs to distributors. In 2010, it was $1.7bn and $928mm. In 2009, $1.6bn and $842mm. So the movie's distributor keeps roughly 50-55% of gross box office sales.

(BTW, concessions were $660mm in revenue and $83mm in direct costs. That bucket of popcorn? 700% markup!)
   509. formerly dp Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4134103)
hokieneer, sent you a PM about procedural game design.
   510. hokieneer Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4134113)
It doesn't hurt that he's a great writer, at least in my opinion. His autobiographical narrative about going from being an avid reader of poetry to an avid player of games is a nice rejoinder to the old guard people who study lit/cinema. I assign his stuff in all of my undergrad classes.

I think he is also. I assume you're talking about this piece?


hokieneer, sent you a PM about procedural game design.

Cool, does that come to my registration email, or do we have a BBTF messaging system now?
   511. formerly dp Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4134119)
I think he is also. I assume you're talking about this piece?

He tells the story in greater detail in Extra Lives, but the Guardian piece hits most of the same notes. Edit: I think the Guardian piece sensationalizes the account with discussion of his cocaine use. That's pushed to the very end of EL, so it provides less of a lightning rod for criticism.

Cool, does that come to my registration email, or do we have a BBTF messaging system now?

Registration e-mail, still.
   512. Monty Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4134121)
no Bride of Frankenstein


Man, that movie is so much fun. If you have any interest in Mad Scientists, it's essential. I'm sure you've been told this before, but you should really see it. Right now!
   513. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4134129)
One exception (not superhero-based, but certainly a very fine sf movie) -- The Iron Giant.


Good call. I'm surprised that one took ~400 posts to come up.

Since this discussion started out talking about film "flops", I think Gattacca is worth throwing out there. It lost around $25M at the box office, despite being a fairly low-budget film ($36M), but it remains one of my all-time favorites, easy top ten materiel. I love the message, and the tech noir atmosphere is gorgeous.

Some other HOVG sci-fi movies that I haven't seen mentioned- total recall, enemy mine, the last starfighter...
   514. puck Posted: May 17, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4134140)
Of course. There doesn't need to even be any "science" at all.


No one has mentioned "pew pew" guns yet?
   515. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4134175)

Man, that movie is so much fun. If you have any interest in Mad Scientists, it's essential. I'm sure you've been told this before, but you should really see it. Right now!


Of course. Hell, I taped it off TCM about 25 years & really liked the snippets I caught while doing so. I now own it on DVD, as part of the first Universal Monsters set (though bizarrely enough the Philips RF converter -- is that what they're called? -- I used to have when I bought the set just had all sorts of problems with any & all discs from Universal & a certain couple of lesser studios; I wound up replacing it, though of course with my latest TV & player I don't need one), so the only excuse I can come up with is that I'm a really bad person.

Big newsflash there, I know.
   516. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 17, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4134189)
- I'm a sucker for vampire stuff in general (non-Twilight category). I love, love, love Blade but it seems more action-y than horror-y. Same for the Underworld stuff, which is mostly just a device for Kate Beckinsale to look great in. Lost Boys is great fun.


Did you see "Daybreakers"? I thought that was very well done even though the end is ridiculous.

Willem Dafoe's character seems to be in a different movie, but he's been living off the grid for a while, so why not.
   517. formerly dp Posted: May 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4134193)
On Bissell, if you like football at all, his article on Madden is fascinating.
   518. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4134198)
Really liked Daybreakers. Don't much remember the ending, though; maybe I've blocked it out.
   519. CrosbyBird Posted: May 17, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4134212)
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry.

Actually, I'm sorry. We're talking about a remarkably broad medium and you're missing out.

I know they exist. I just don't care about them, in the same way that I'm aware that soccer & golf & tennis & NASCAR exist, & for that matter am pretty well acquainted with what sort of "action" they consist of, but also couldn't care less.

I understand feeling that way. I've got practically no connection to static, visual art (painting, sculpture, etc.) outside of "that looks nice." I don't really want to learn about it, I don't care to experience it in any depth, and I don't really see how hours spent looking at paintings is interesting. Except when I'm with someone who knows enough about both art and me as a person to introduce me to the areas of art that are engaging to me. At that point, I start to feel ranges of emotion that I don't get from the other areas of my life, great as they are.

I'll never be a person that is geeked out about this stuff, and I don't really understand what it is to be geeked out about, but that's very different than holding the position that there's absolutely nothing in such a broad genre that offers me anything in the way of useful experience.

Also, video games aren't reasonably compared to soccer; they're reasonably compared to all sports, and not just playing, but all of the other aspects. Video games are part of our culture, and they shape our behavior in very different ways than any other medium ever has before. Most of us have never lived in a society without mainstream acceptance of music, or film, or television; we can't even imagine what culture would feel like without these things. I don't see how anyone over 25 isn't at least marginally interested in the evolution of this art form within their lifetime, if for no other reason than how much and quickly it has changed (and continues to change).
   520. Greg K Posted: May 17, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4134218)
Thanks for the Bissell link dp.
He won me over sufficiently to order "Catherine". A game based on cheating on your girlfriend and then reflecting on the ramifications of that, with some nightmare sheep-man puzzles thrown in? Yes please! That sounds like one of those games where it's not immediately clear how it's a game.
   521. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4134233)
I don't see how anyone over 25 isn't at least marginally interested in the evolution of this art form within their lifetime, if for no other reason than how much and quickly it has changed (and continues to change).


Well said, but please remember: You're dealing with someone who refuses to own even something as basic as a cell phone or anything even remotely within that realm (i.e. any hand-held communication or entertainment device beyond, I suppose, an ink pen or remote control).

Obviously, I'm wired/weird that way. And at 52, I doubt I'll change appreciably, if at all.

(I'm also, insanely enough, the "Young Turk" in my 3-person department & by far the most tech-savvy.)
   522. Greg K Posted: May 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4134237)
Well said, but please remember: You're dealing with someone who refuses to own even something as basic as a cell phone or anything even remotely within that realm (i.e. any hand-held communication or entertainment device beyond, I suppose, an ink pen or remote control).

Sadly I had to crack on this when I moved to a new continent and a land-line for calls home wasn't feasible. I suppose I could have taken up "skype" or something, but the thought of actually being seen by the person I'm on the phone with is too horrifying for words. So instead I'm stuck with a cell phone I call my parents on which costs me about £5 a month.
   523. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4134255)
but the thought of actually being seen by the person I'm on the phone with is too horrifying for words


Not surprisingly, I know nothing about this system beyond the barest rudiments, but would it be possible to just have the equivalent of an avatar show up instead of your visage?
   524. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4134259)
I don't see how anyone over 25 isn't at least marginally interested in the evolution of this art form within their lifetime, if for no other reason than how much and quickly it has changed (and continues to change).

Over 25? Do you mean under 25?

Why should my grandfather care about video games?
   525. Greg K Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4134266)
Not surprisingly, I know nothing about this system beyond the barest rudiments, but would it be possible to just have the equivalent of an avatar show up instead of your visage?

I'm not really sure. I suppose I could just stand off to the side!
One of my most uncomfortable moments was when I got involved in a skype conversation at my friend's house because I was spotted in the background. It didn't help that I'm not a huge fan of the guy my friend was talking to. I was half-kidding earlier, but wanting to see the person you're talking to on the phone is something I will never understand. (Though to be fair I'm not much of a phone person to begin with).
   526. Greg K Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:12 PM (#4134267)
I don't see how anyone over 25 isn't at least marginally interested in the evolution of this art form within their lifetime, if for no other reason than how much and quickly it has changed (and continues to change).

Over 25? Do you mean under 25?

I think he means people under the age of 25 consider video games obsolete and have already moved on to their own form of media - semaphore rapping.
   527. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4134276)
Slans thought-project their scorn in video gamers' general direction.
   528. mex4173 Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4134277)
Just stick a piece of tape over your webcam, say it's broken and voila!
   529. formerly dp Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4134281)
We're catching Cabin in the Woods tonight, final showing before it leaves the crappy little theater next door.
   530. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4134296)
Just stick a piece of tape over your webcam, say it's broken and voila!


Or turn off all the lights, draw any shades & explain that your power is out.

In which case I suppose your computer wouldn't be working.

Hmmmmm.

Still, this could work if the person you're talking with isn't very intelligent.
   531. formerly dp Posted: May 17, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4134302)
Pujols hit another one today.
   532. McCoy Posted: May 17, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4134305)
Another albatross?
   533. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: May 17, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4134310)
No idea what the topic of this thread is at this point, but I just saw The Avengers and holy ####### #### was it amazing. 2nd best superhero movie ever. So, so, so good. This comes from someone who hates the Avengers and went in expecting all the hype to be unwarranted. Can't wait to see it again.
   534. Srul Itza Posted: May 17, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4134417)
This comes from someone who hates the Avengers and went in expecting all the hype to be unwarranted


So you bought tickets to the movie in the hope that your money would be wasted?
   535. McCoy Posted: May 17, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4134428)
Sounds like an Eagles fan to me.
   536. zonk Posted: May 17, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4134482)
I hate the ####### eagles, man
   537. Srul Itza Posted: May 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM (#4134497)
Me too. Almost as much as the Cowboys and Redskins.
   538. CrosbyBird Posted: May 17, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4134571)
Well said, but please remember: You're dealing with someone who refuses to own even something as basic as a cell phone or anything even remotely within that realm (i.e. any hand-held communication or entertainment device beyond, I suppose, an ink pen or remote control).

I feel like we've come far enough these days that there's practically no reason to have a landline at all. I am not one to buy useless technology simply because I think it's cool (or I'd have gotten an iPad or Droid tablet years ago), mind you.

I love my smartphone. I've never experienced a piece of technology that packed so much value into such a small footprint. I really wanted to hold out for a while, but the thing is just so useful.

Over 25? Do you mean under 25?

No, I mean over 25. People under 25 never really experienced life without video games in the mainstream. By the late eighties, the one serious hiccup (the video game "crash" from around 1983-1985) was completely over and the industry has never looked back.

I'm talking about games as an emergent cultural phenomenon.

Why should my grandfather care about video games?

Probably the same reason his grandfather should have cared about television.

Any time there's a culture-changing medium, I'd expect pretty much anyone who is not completely disengaged from society to have some connection to it. Pretty much every major business district or shopping mall has a GameStop these days. Video games are advertised during prime time. I feel like you have to actively resist them in order to not be at least marginally aware.

My grandfather never played video games, but my father who will be 68 this year has (and still might occasionally pick up a controller). My grandmother uses her laptop to play games.
   539. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 17, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4134575)
Any time there's a culture-changing medium, I'd expect pretty much anyone who is not completely disengaged from society to have some connection to it. Pretty much every major business district or shopping mall has a GameStop these days. Video games are advertised during prime time. I feel like you have to actively resist them in order to not be at least marginally aware.


I've never played a video game, per se. I'm aware of them; I just don't have any desire to play any of them. I have played games such as Strat-O-Matic computer baseball, but that's much more of a text-based game. And I don't own a cell phone, either. :-)
   540. hokieneer Posted: May 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4134577)
No idea what the topic of this thread is at this point, but I just saw The Avengers and holy ####### #### was it amazing. 2nd best superhero movie ever.


Just got back from Avengers myself. It was really amazing. I went into it with really high expectations based off of reviews, conversations with friends/coworkers, and even the comments in this thread. Wheden did not disappoint.

I'm curious, what is the best superhero movie in your opinion?
   541. PreservedFish Posted: May 18, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4134598)
One of the problems with video games as "cultural phenomenon that everyone should be engaged with" is that the really ambitious ones are nearly impenetrable to the novice. I played Nintendo and Super Nintendo for a zillion hours in my childhood, went a handful of years without playing anything, and now when I try my hand at Call of Duty, Halo or Madden, I am basically incapable of enjoying it because the games (and the controller inputs) are so complex. My father (aged 65) bought an XBox because he heard that the war games were so excellent, and he gave up after about 5 minutes. Even the dummiest of dummy modes is too much for him - I think it would take him a while to get a handle on Ms. Pac-Man. And you're telling me grandparents should be plugged into the video game world?
   542. McCoy Posted: May 18, 2012 at 01:49 AM (#4134603)
Just finished watching John Carter. Not an awful movie but not even close to a great movie. Very little excitement in the movie and the plot twists kind of feel like they belong in a smaller movie not in some grand epic that this is supposed to be. Plus even though it is over 2 hours long they cram so much stuff into the movie that they simply skim right through everything at a frenetic pace. Never letting anything digest or build up.
   543. rr Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:38 AM (#4134624)
I saw The Avengers tonight as well. Very slick, well-paced film with no real dead spots, and I thought they did a great job of using special effects to feed the details of the story rather than just as wowzers. Dug the Harry Dean Stanton cameo and the post-credits bit.
   544. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 18, 2012 at 03:04 AM (#4134627)
Careful, guys on the thread who don't have/want cell phones and find video games too complex and impenetrable — you're starting to sound like old sportswriters complaining about Moneyball and new-fangled statistics.

I'm curious, what is the best superhero movie in your opinion?
You may have just watched it. I'd say there's a cluster at the top between The Avengers, The Dark Knight, the 1978 Superman, and Spiderman 2.
   545. PreservedFish Posted: May 18, 2012 at 03:51 AM (#4134633)
I'm 30 minutes into John Carter. It is ... not good. It's like someone took the worst aspects of the Star Wars prequel as their bible.

Careful, guys on the thread who don't have/want cell phones and find video games too complex and impenetrable — you're starting to sound like old sportswriters complaining about Moneyball and new-fangled statistics.


I'm not worried about this - I think the video games that I mentioned are totally amazing, and their superiority to the stuff I grew up with is manifest.
   546. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: May 18, 2012 at 04:38 AM (#4134639)
Probably the perfect video game for people who "hate"/have no interest in the medium would be 'Journey', I think. Absolutely incredible, and a really inventive use of multiplayer.

For anyone who's not familiar, 'Journey' takes about 2 hours to play to completion. You're represented by a slightly abstracted walker, who can do two things - jump in the air, and 'speak' a single note (represented as a chime, a glyph, and a small soundwave). You travel towards a single destination, a great distance off, and along the way you may meet fellow players. You can help each other a bit, and can't really impede each other, but the only way to interact with them is by moving, jumping, or 'speaking'.

It's co-operative rather than competitive, but you have no control over who you meet. The only sure way to tell travellers from each other is by the design of the glyph when they 'speak'; you could complete the whole game alone, alongside a single companion, or meeting a variety of players along the way.

It's beautiful. Great soundtrack from Austin Wintory, stunning design, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. It's possibly the only videogame I can honestly say ought to be played, or at least watched, by everybody. Completely impossible in any other medium, and yet aligns very well in terms of mechanisms with how a film tells a story to its audience. You just get to determine how the story is told yourself.

And, at the end, you're told who you were travelling with (the IDs associated with the glyphs you've been seeing). You might just send them a message.

Well said, but please remember: You're dealing with someone who refuses to own even something as basic as a cell phone or anything even remotely within that realm (i.e. any hand-held communication or entertainment device beyond, I suppose, an ink pen or remote control).


I loaded up Out Of The Park Baseball on my phone yesterday. That, in itself, justifies the existence of the technology class to me. (Not that there aren't lots of other justifications, but that's a pretty incredible example of what mobile computing has delivered in the last decade.)
   547. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 05:36 AM (#4134653)
I'm going to second Journey, it's an incredibly compelling story with brilliant design, and the finest multiplayer component of any game I've seen... and I'm a gamer. It's flat brilliant. I thought I was playing with 1 person guiding me through the game the first time I played, it turned out to be 4 separate people helping me find everything. That you can only communicate through chirps you can only hear from nearby really helps, no way to get called a fag or even have someone annoy you by talking on a microphone.

ETA: The simple fact is that there are a lot of people out there who play video games who would never consider themselves gamers. The amount of time my 50-something mother spends on Words with Friends or Scrabble Blast or the Scrabble Ap for her Nook, for example, is not in essence far removed from the experience my younger brother has playing Diablo 3 or CoD. Vastly different in presentation, but not in what they're fundamentally doing.

As for smartphones, they're pretty amazing machines. I have a Galaxy S that I got near the end of it's sales life, and it still does more than everything I could want from a mobile device. I no longer need a cell phone, or a digital music or video player, or a GPS, or a handheld game system, or a netbook or laptop for weekend trips. The number of things it's replaced for me is stunning, and it's like the advent of Google and Wikipedia in that I'm not sure how the heck I did everything I do now prior to those services coming online. Highly recommend a decent smartphone for everyone, given that my model is over 2 years old you hardly need something top of the line to get everything you need out of the platform. The abilities granted by a smartphone is exactly what I imagined living in the future would be like.
   548. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 05:39 AM (#4134654)
(BTW, concessions were $660mm in revenue and $83mm in direct costs. That bucket of popcorn? 700% markup!)


And they STILL skimp on the butter.

Re: Cabin in the Woods, I friggin' adored it. A near pitch perfect deconstruction of the horror genre which could have used some slight editing at the back end to tighten it up. To be fair, given how crap I think the horror genre is currently and how worthless the torture-porn subgenre is that movie was bound to be in my wheelhouse. But, it would have been cooler with a merman.
   549. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: May 18, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4134686)
But, it would have been cooler with a merman.


I can see that. Ethel's been a corpse for 28 years.
   550. formerly dp Posted: May 18, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4134687)
Preserved, you're dead on in #541, IMO. I discuss this with a lot of academics (people who study film and lit) who aren't necessarily hostile to games, but can't get past the controller mechanics to engage with the texts. I've hd a controller in my hands almost since out of the womb, and there are still times when I just don't feel like learning a new game, because it's just difficult (can't hit for anything in The Show this year...).

scott:
The simple fact is that there are a lot of people out there who play video games who would never consider themselves gamers. The amount of time my 50-something mother spends on Words with Friends or Scrabble Blast or the Scrabble Ap for her Nook, for example, is not in essence far removed from the experience my younger brother has playing Diablo 3 or CoD. Vastly different in presentation, but not in what they're fundamentally doing.

Great point. A lot of that's bound up with the way we gender the term "gamer" and gender technology/technological mastery more generally.

Enjoyed Cabin last night. My wife is a huge Buffy fan and doesn't like slasher horror, so she loved the fact that it didn't really turn into a torture porn film the way it looked like it was going to be in the trailers (of course, we knew that going in to some extent, which is how we ended up at the film in the first place). And Gave Up was the perfect track for the ending credits, just an awesome little cherry on a thoroughly fun film.
   551. Lassus Posted: May 18, 2012 at 08:43 AM (#4134698)
I'm 30 minutes into John Carter. It is ... not good. It's like someone took the worst aspects of the Star Wars prequel as their bible.

I could be off, but in general it is my take that if you (plural) are ready to post 30 minutes in about how terrible a film is, you were already somewhat informed in that opinion - even subconsciously - before the film even started.
   552. zonk Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:03 AM (#4134707)
I loaded up Out Of The Park Baseball on my phone yesterday. That, in itself, justifies the existence of the technology class to me. (Not that there aren't lots of other justifications, but that's a pretty incredible example of what mobile computing has delivered in the last decade.)


For a smartphone game -- it's really not half bad.... I still think consoles and smartphone games are the lowest form of evolutionary entertainment, but that's at least one of the few that helps justify their existence.

Lately, I've been playing a lot my older PC games (where older = Civ4, Hoi2, EU2) -- and one thing that really amazes me is the amount of free mods available. There are at least 4 different Civ4 mods (off the top of my head, Fall from Heaven, Caveman2Cosmos, a Mars one whose name escapes me, and a fall of Byzantium one, among others) that are probably better than the vanilla --> Warlords or Warlords --> BTS expansions... more units, more changes to the core game, more stuff generally. There's a whole cottage industry of free and uber-cheap mods built off of Paradox's old Europa engine.... I'm just amazed at how much content is available free for these games that are really just 5-6 years old, and still quite enjoyable/playable.

Mark it here -- the next evolution in gaming isn't going to be buying titles... it will be joining code base "communities" where modders/the community provide the actual games.
   553. OsunaSakata Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:35 AM (#4134735)
My daughter plays Civilization 4 with the Hetalia mod. Of course OOTP is full of modders who create their own logos and uniforms.
   554. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4134740)
There is no way in hell The Avengers is not better than 1978 Superman, just for the spinning the earth backwards thing.


How about underrated comic book movies? I nominate the 1991 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for unexpectedly cromulent comic book film of the 90s.
   555. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4134744)
I don't play games anymore, but I credit the original Civ, which I started playing in grade school, and Civ II, which carried me through Jr. High/HS, with sparking my interest in ancient and medieval history and culture. Now I DRIVE a schoolbus!

   556. BDC Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4134745)
Has anyone here played LA Noire? I'm really intrigued by that game, though I can't manipulate the controller well enough to avoid getting punched out by every recalcitrant suspect.
   557. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:43 AM (#4134747)
Also, Baba Yetu is an awesome song! And it must have been the inspiration for the far worse Avatar theme.
   558. caprules Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4134766)
Saw that ABC is working on a Hulk TV series, but won't have it ready for the fall schedule. Stan Lee had an interview where he said that Dr Strange and Black Panther movies are being discussed (yes, lots of movies are discussed, just thought I'd pass it on).
   559. hokieneer Posted: May 18, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4134767)
One of the problems with video games as "cultural phenomenon that everyone should be engaged with" is that the really ambitious ones are nearly impenetrable to the novice. I played Nintendo and Super Nintendo for a zillion hours in my childhood, went a handful of years without playing anything, and now when I try my hand at Call of Duty, Halo or Madden, I am basically incapable of enjoying it because the games (and the controller inputs) are so complex. My father (aged 65) bought an XBox because he heard that the war games were so excellent, and he gave up after about 5 minutes. Even the dummiest of dummy modes is too much for him - I think it would take him a while to get a handle on Ms. Pac-Man. And you're telling me grandparents should be plugged into the video game world?

To be fair to the genre; the 3 specific titles you listed, while insanely popular, are terrible examples of ambitious games. That would be comparable to an alien coming to earth to experience movies for the first time, watching Transformers, Avatar, and Titanic and then wondering what the hell are these talkies. I suppose one could consider Halo ambitious when it was first released, being the first successful console FPS and perhaps CoD is pushing the genre from a tech perspective. Games are always going to be a highly genre driven medium, even more so than books and film, because of the level of interaction the player has with the narrative & environment. I doubt we'll ever see a Gone with the Wind or a Godfather equivalent in games.

I'm with you on the controller & inputs. Like dp said, I've been lightly playing some form of console game since the Atari days, and sometimes the inputs drag me down. War games and other similar twitch shooters are always going to be a nightmare because the have to appeal to the competitive shooter fanboy. Other games incorporate complex on screen action with a much more streamlined control scheme.

I'm glad to see 2 recommendations for journey. After reading #541 I was going to recommend Flower, but Journey is its spiritual successor. I believe Flower is a "game" that everyone should at least watch (preferably play) in their life time. A truly unique experience that could only be accomplished in the game genre.
   560. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4134773)
Any time there's a culture-changing medium, I'd expect pretty much anyone who is not completely disengaged from society to have some connection to it.


A wonderful ideal that I definitely aspire to, though I'm sure I'll never quite attain it.

Video games are advertised during prime time.


I don't have cable, either. Of course.

(And even when I did, the idea that anyone would actually pay attention to ####### adverts is so depressing that it makes me hate life even more than I ordinarily do.)
   561. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4134776)
I've never played a video game, per se. I'm aware of them; I just don't have any desire to play any of them. I have played games such as Strat-O-Matic computer baseball, but that's much more of a text-based game. And I don't own a cell phone, either. :-)


I'll subscribe to your newsletter if you'll subscribe to mine.
   562. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4134778)
I'm talking about games as an emergent cultural phenomenon.


As noted, I don't have cable, but I gather that reality TV has been an emergent cultural phenomenon for quite some while, too.

Color me unimpressed.
   563. hokieneer Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4134786)
Re: Cabin in the Woods, I friggin' adored it

I wanted to catch that, but it was only in the theaters around here for about 2 weeks. Should be out on DVD this fall. Joss Wheden has had a pretty big 2012 so far.
   564. formerly dp Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4134791)
I'll subscribe to your newsletter if you'll subscribe to mine.

Do you send yours by telegraph, carrier pigeon, or raven?
   565. zonk Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4134800)
My daughter plays Civilization 4 with the Hetalia mod. Of course OOTP is full of modders who create their own logos and uniforms.


The core engine with Civ4 is just an absolute beast -- and what's amazing is that it's seven years old. The mods of the last few years have even been able to soup it up quite a bit - most of the larger, newer mods have their own DLLs and plenty of customization that allows the old game (which used to crawl on huge worlds with many civs) to run just fine with even larger worlds and even more civs... I played a c2c gigantic game with 18 civs and while it certainly wasn't blazing in the modern age, it was acceptable given the size and scope of what the engine had to do.

I still haven't been able to really get into civ5 -- mainly, because the only thing it seems to offer over 5 is the hex tiles... various modders have been able to back-work virtually every 5 improvement into the civ4 game -- for example, there's an overlay that can enforce a unit-per-tile restriction, but allow to customize the limit -- which eliminates stacks of doom, but still allows you to field a proper combined arms force.
   566. zonk Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4134806)
Also, Baba Yetu is an awesome song! And it must have been the inspiration for the far worse Avatar theme.


BTW - one of the mods has a Baba Yetu with customized lyrics that's pretty awesome --

There’s a game called Civilization where you get your own little nation
Be immortal, rule as you see fit, just one click and you can decree ####
From Civ 1 to Civ Revolution, it’s your job to find the solution
Need advice from somebody wiser? Just ask Elvis, he’s your advisor

Everybody thinks you’re nobody important
If this were Fight Club, you’d be Edward Norton.
A gimp, a geek, a shrimp… they call you weak they call you wimp (and so lame!)
Little do they know that you’re a man of power
You can conquer peoples hour after hour
They’d fear you if they lived in the borders of your Civ!

So keep playing Civilization, take good care of your little nation
Start a war with ancient Egyptians, spread your equally valid religion
Win with science, culture, or napalm
Watch out, Gandhi might drop the A-bomb
You can show your neighbors you love them,
Or just beat the dog #### out of them

Oh-ho, KEY CHANGE MOFO!

When you’re playing Civilization, history becomes your creation,
Learn to write before you can read and build the Taj Majal right in Cleveland!

Keep your wits and your sense of humor
Watch out for that prick Montezuma (He’s a #########)
You can change the future a lot, see?
You can even make Jewish Nazis
If it’s in your imagination, it can be your civilization
(Civilization is the #### I hope they don’t drop the ball when they bring it to Facebook!)
   567. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4134809)
I just wish the religion system in Civ 4 had been more interesting. I get why every religion had to be exactly the same, but it made it much less fun after the first game. There was literally no reason to pursue Judaism instead of Islam or Christianity instead of Hinduism, et.
   568. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4134815)
oh my god, those lyrics are hilarious.
   569. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4134822)
The Gandhi a-bomb line cracks me up. The first year my brother and I played Civ (I was in 6th grade, I think), we used to play through the games together. We still fondly remember the legendarily crappy game we played, when we picked a fight with India that went really badly. The climax was when Gandhi popped up on screen and said "I have decided to rid the world of your worthless civilization! Prepare for WAR!" We still laugh about it to this day.
   570. zonk Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4134828)
I just wish the religion system in Civ 4 had been more interesting. I get why every religion had to be exactly the same, but it made it much less fun after the first game.


This is one of the things that the Caveman2cosmos mod (which is technically an amalgam of lots of individual mods) excels at -- it added about a dozen additional religions and customized them all with specific attributes, buildings, and wonders. What's more - the revisions tend to make them epoch appropriate, too. The early religions like shamanism and druidism have custom buildings that provide food/health bonuses, while the medieval religions have wonders and custom units that are better for warfare, etc. They fit really nicely in the game - so it's no longer a matter of founding and early religion and running with it -- you tend to transition from age to age. Combined with the 'revolutions' option and inquisitions/option for religion 'decay'- it's a lot closer to the EU system of religion-as-politics, but with a longer timespan that mimics nicely religious 'evolution'.
   571. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4134829)
I wanted to catch that, but it was only in the theaters around here for about 2 weeks. Should be out on DVD this fall. Joss Wheden has had a pretty big 2012 so far.


And he's also filmed a version of Much Ado About Nothing, which is my favorite Shakespeare comedy. Can't match sex puns in a title!

As noted, I don't have cable, but I gather that reality TV has been an emergent cultural phenomenon for quite some while, too.

Color me unimpressed.


The largest genre of reality tv is talent competitions, which go back at the very least to Roman days in some form or another. Stuff like the Kardashians aren't anything new either. And even accepting your argument, a genre of television program is vastly different than the emergence of an interactive medium like video games. Nothing wrong with your above it all hipster iconoclasm, it's just that it's really no different than someone choosing to ignore Austen or Melville because ew, old books.
   572. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4134831)
Man, I really need to not be thinking about Civ4 when I'm already procrastinating. But such a good, good game.

edit to the above post: That came across as much harsher than intended. But at the same time, there is something unpleasantly snobby about your tone. It's one thing to not care much for a particular thing, it's another to be sniffy about it. I might be misreading you.
   573. cercle Posted: May 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4134835)
I'm not sure if it's available anywhere but on the Xbox Arcade, but Limbo was a really fun and stylish puzzle game for anybody with a sorta sick sense of humor. Very easy to play in terms of the controls, but the puzzles get pretty challenging.

Bastion is an action rpg that pretty much anybody can play. Also very stylish and the voice over changes depending on what you do and is actually pretty funny. Good soundtrack, too.

   574. The Good Face Posted: May 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4134852)
Bastion is an action rpg that pretty much anybody can play. Also very stylish and the voice over changes depending on what you do and is actually pretty funny. Good soundtrack, too.


Bastion is a really cool game, and I absolutely love the interactive narrator (can't believe nobody thought of that until now), but it does require some decent twitch skills to be really successful at it.
   575. cercle Posted: May 18, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4134870)
Yeah, Bastion would take a bit of practice for a newbie, but it's not too tough. My gf decided she wanted to try and caught on pretty quickly and the only video game she ever really plays is Galaga.
   576. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4134970)
Nothing wrong with your above it all hipster iconoclasm, it's just that it's really no different than someone choosing to ignore Austen or Melville because ew, old books.


Never said it was. I don't happen to read Austen or Melville, either, not because I find them somehow unworthy of my hipster-inconoclast attention but because for the last several years I've read almost entirely nonfiction, & for decades now the fiction I have read has tended to be genre stuff (mostly horror, increasingly less sf, some mystery). Even in whatever collge lit class we were supposed to read Moby Dick, I skimmed only the first & last chapters & still got an "A" on my essay on the book -- again, not because of my incipient coolness (which is, of course, undeniable*), but because life's too short to read things I'm not interested in reading, unless I'm paid to do so in my capacity as an editor.

And not that old books by definition don't interest me -- I quite liked Scarlet Letter & Wuthering Heights in high school, for instance, & of course I've listed Madame Bovary before as one of the few books not by Phil Dick that I've ever read twice; I rank it very highly -- but for the most part they don't fall within my sphere of interest. Period.

Which I'm damned if I'm going to apologize for; as I noted a couple of days ago in responding to a Facebook post by a friend who's part of the cult that's been lamenting the failure of John Carter with near-religious clothes-rending & teeth-gnashing (hey, a reference to the linked article!), I have no interest in seeing it under any circumstances simply because swords-&-planet stuff just isn't my cup of tea ... & god knows I've already got enough cups of tea to keep 50 English tearooms in business around the clock.

If I got into gaming & such, online or otherwise, my head would probably explode -- there's already quite enough in there to keep me distracted as hell every bloody second of the day, rest assured.




*Quoting, IIRC, the Red Rockers' first album, way back when they were the Clash Mark II (& I got to see them in Tempe, not that anyone got out of their seats during the gig till they encored with a cover of "Shakin' All Over") -- "Don't need to know what cool is/It's in my blood." Ahem.
   577. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4134973)
Stupid double post!
   578. PreservedFish Posted: May 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4134987)
I could be off, but in general it is my take that if you (plural) are ready to post 30 minutes in about how terrible a film is, you were already somewhat informed in that opinion - even subconsciously - before the film even started.


Of course it's tough to completely block out a film's reputation as you're watching it, but I've been predisposed to liking John Carter since I first saw it in previews. I wanted to love it, at the very least in a "this is shitty but at least it's fun!" way.

The beginning was awful, and I could go into more detail on that if you'd like. I did warm up to it as things got going, and I don't think it was an outright disaster. Worse movies than this have made huge profits. But it was not a good movie.

And, crucially, it wasn't very fun. John Carter single-handedly decimating an entire army of green 4-armed men by employing his superior jumping skills and swordsmanship? Sounds fun. That same scene, played in agonizing slow motion and interspersed with flashbacks of John Carter burying his wife and daughter in 1860s Virginia? That's not fun, it's foolish and ponderous. And it's a really strange pretension to find in a movie that also employs a good deal of childish slapstick.
   579. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4134997)
Do you send yours by telegraph, carrier pigeon, or raven?


I use cats.

Accordingly, my circulation stands at 0.
   580. PreservedFish Posted: May 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4134999)
To be fair to the genre; the 3 specific titles you listed, while insanely popular, are terrible examples of ambitious games. That would be comparable to an alien coming to earth to experience movies for the first time, watching Transformers, Avatar, and Titanic and then wondering what the hell are these talkies.


I mentioned games like that on purpose. I happen to think that an alien would be much more impressed with Transformers than it would be with whatever the movie equivalent of Journey is. Guy Maddin?

I mean, I think it's great that developers are finding a way to explore the medium and unleash its unique artistic capabilities. But that's not what we're talking about when we're talking about video games becoming a crucial part of our culture, right? We're talking about the new Call of Duty release which inspires people to camp in line around the world, earns literally a billion dollars, and is developed by a massive team that includes military personnel and Hollywood actors.
   581. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4135005)
So you bought tickets to the movie in the hope that your money would be wasted?

Visiting my girlfriend and she was at work. The ticket was 4 bucks.

EDIT: You may have just watched it. I'd say there's a cluster at the top between The Avengers, The Dark Knight, the 1978 Superman, and Spiderman 2.

I think it's:

1. The Dark Knight
2. The Avengers
3. X-2/Spider-Man 2
   582. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4135042)
You're all tied for History's Greatest Monster! All of you!

Except for the gamers -- they're even worse.
   583. Lassus Posted: May 18, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4135067)
1. The Dark Knight
2. The Avengers


At this point, I'm not prepared to give either of these films empirical, objective superiority over the other. They are going for such different things. I certainly liked the Avengers more, but I don't really think either of these films was critically better.
   584. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4135073)
[583] Not sure if this is what you're getting at, but after walking out of the theater yesterday I texted my friends that I thought The Avengers was the best superhero movie ever and that while I think The Dark Knight was a better film...I don't really think of it as a superhero movie in the traditional sense.
   585. CrosbyBird Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4135077)
One of the problems with video games as "cultural phenomenon that everyone should be engaged with" is that the really ambitious ones are nearly impenetrable to the novice. I played Nintendo and Super Nintendo for a zillion hours in my childhood, went a handful of years without playing anything, and now when I try my hand at Call of Duty, Halo or Madden, I am basically incapable of enjoying it because the games (and the controller inputs) are so complex. My father (aged 65) bought an XBox because he heard that the war games were so excellent, and he gave up after about 5 minutes. Even the dummiest of dummy modes is too much for him - I think it would take him a while to get a handle on Ms. Pac-Man. And you're telling me grandparents should be plugged into the video game world?

Would you say that baseball has "problems" because a novice with practically no experience can't just play a competent SS and hit home runs right at the start? Because you can't just show up to a game with no prior knowledge and understand what's going on right away?

I think you're using poor examples. CoD, Halo, and Madden are not designed for novice gamers. They're not even designed for all experienced gamers. I love video games and have been playing consistently for over thirty years, but I don't really enjoy playing Madden in part because it has a very steep learning curve and in part because the subject matter doesn't interest me enough to fight with it. I enjoy CoD but I'm terrible at it (and not for lack of practice either), and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't already completely comfortable with first-person shooters.

Limbo (XBOX Live Arcade) was mentioned earlier. You use the control stick to move and just two buttons in the whole game: one to jump, and one to push/pull/grab. The puzzles get a little tricky but you have unlimited lives and unlimited time, and most objects in the world behave fairly intuitively. The game also does a good job of teaching the player how the elements that can be manipulated work before demanding that you use them to solve puzzles. Also, there's very little serious twitch; once you figure out what to do, the interface doesn't require machine-like precision.

Everyday Shooter (PS3 store) is a pretty good example of a simple execution. One stick moves, one stick shoots. When you are shooting, you move a little more slowly. Don't touch any bad guys, collect points. This game is all twitch so people who like top-down shooters will like it and people who don't will hate it, but it's pretty approachable as a control scheme.
   586. Lassus Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4135083)
I don't really think of [Dark Knight] as a superhero movie in the traditional sense.

I've read this before (in this thread and elsewhere) but I simply can't agree. It's a movie about a guy wearing a batsuit fighting crime in a way no one else can or will. I see no way it is not a superhero movie, in any sense. The dude has always been a superhero, and when O'Neill and Miller each brought out the darker elements, he was still a superhero. Nolan did not birth a new paradigm.
   587. CrosbyBird Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4135084)
I mean, I think it's great that developers are finding a way to explore the medium and unleash its unique artistic capabilities. But that's not what we're talking about when we're talking about video games becoming a crucial part of our culture, right? We're talking about the new Call of Duty release which inspires people to camp in line around the world, earns literally a billion dollars, and is developed by a massive team that includes military personnel and Hollywood actors.

Avatar and The Avengers are among the most successful movies in the history of the genre. Do you think they represent all that film has to offer? Most of what film has to offer? Would you say that people who don't enjoy those two movies (like my grandparents) are people who shouldn't bother with the entire genre?

Many people waited on line overnight for the Harry Potter books. Does that mean that people who don't like them shouldn't read anything?

I have little interest in reality television, which is insanely popular. Should I not watch any television at all?
   588. PreservedFish Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4135097)
Should I not watch any television at all?


I don't see the need for these stupid questions.
   589. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4135099)
EDIT: You may have just watched it. I'd say there's a cluster at the top between The Avengers, The Dark Knight, the 1978 Superman, and Spiderman 2.

I think it's:

1. The Dark Knight
2. The Avengers
3. X-2/Spider-Man 2
I'm a huge fan of the first Iron Man, even with the crappy final fight.
   590. Lassus Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4135101)
Would you say that people who don't enjoy those two movies (like my grandparents) are people who shouldn't bother with the entire genre?

I don't think these analogies are particuarly accurate.
   591. PreservedFish Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4135102)
Look, I understand the argument - video games are an interesting new medium with untapped potential, they become more ingrained in our culture every year, and anyone curious about the development of American culture probably ought to be paying attention to this.

Would you say that baseball has "problems" because a novice with practically no experience can't just play a competent SS and hit home runs right at the start? Because you can't just show up to a game with no prior knowledge and understand what's going on right away?


Sure, I would say this is a problem. I think that baseball is the best and most beautiful sport, but it has been a very difficult one to export, and the learning curve is probably one reason. And I think baseball is an important part of American culture, but I can also forgive an immigrant for not bothering to learn the rules.

You argued that grandparents ought to be conversant in the world of video games. I was just noting a real and substantial hurdle to this.

I guess it was my error to think that the argument for video games as cultural force to be reckoned with was mostly predicated on the biggest, most successful and most commented upon games.
   592. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4135109)
I love video games and have been playing consistently for over thirty years, but I don't really enjoy playing Madden in part because it has a very steep learning curve and in part because the subject matter doesn't interest me enough to fight with it.
I think subject matter interest part is important. Madden has become extremely difficult for me since I've stopped watching football. On the other hand, I've heard the same criticisms of the NBA2K games, and I instantly comprehend the gameplay because I'm a hardcore basketball fan.

You don't have to be a great CoD player to have fun playing CoD. Pointing a virtual gun and shooting it is pretty intuitive. At this point, almost nothing about Madden is; you have to go in with some foundational knowledge. However, if a new player really likes and wants to learn about football, I don't see that as much of an obstacle. It's pretty immersive.
   593. BWV 1129 Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4135112)
Going off this list of superhero films, and taking off ones that clearly aren't (like Dick Tracy, of which I'm actually a defender, but comic book != superhero):

A (excellent)
1. The Incredibles
2. Batman Returns
3. Spider-Man 2
4. Spider-Man
5. Watchmen

A- (very good)
6. Batman
7. The Dark Knight
8. Batman Begins

B+ (pretty good)
9. The Green Hornet (though it's really more a Seth Rogen comedy in superhero dressing)
10. The Shadow (I know no one else likes this; I don't care)
11. Iron Man

B (good)
12. Thor
13. The Avengers

B- (good enough to see once)
14. Hulk (Ang Lee)
15. Unbreakable
16. X-Men

C (completely mediocre/good points and bad points even out)
17. Spider-Man 3

C- (below average)
18. Mystery Men

D+ (bad)
19. Batman Forever

F (failure)
20. Batman and Robin

If we were doing comic book movies, #1 would be A History of Violence.
   594. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4135113)
At this point, I'm not prepared to give either of these films empirical, objective superiority over the other. They are going for such different things. I certainly liked the Avengers more, but I don't really think either of these films was critically better.
The Dark Knight is superhero noir, but it's still a superhero movie.

I also think the orchestral score for The Dark Knight is far superior to that of The Avengers. Hans Zimmer is such a polarizing figure (kind of like Nolan, apparently), but his brooding, muscular Batman themes fits the movie perfectly. The Avengers's score is pretty superhero-generic, fun but forgettable.
   595. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4135116)
10. The Shadow (I know no one else likes this; I don't care)
If this movie had been made 50 years ago, it'd be considered a classic today.
C- (below average)
18. Mystery Men
Dude, you are wrong!
   596. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4135129)

I think you're using poor examples. CoD, Halo, and Madden are not designed for novice gamers. They're not even designed for all experienced gamers.


Baseball was a good analogy. For me, video games are the sport that I play. They are very competitive, I spend hours practicing on them, and although I'm certainly not the best, I am the Halo equivalent of, oh I don't know, Angel Pagan or David Eckstein. I take pride in my performance, and when I'm hot it's like going 4-4 with two HRs in a game.

As for games for non-gamers, has anyone mentioned Portal/Portal2?
   597. BWV 1129 Posted: May 18, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4135132)
- C- (below average)
18. Mystery Men

Dude, you are wrong!


You are right, it may be worse than that.
   598. Lassus Posted: May 18, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4135139)
Rating the Shadow (movie) anywhere in the top 1000 comic book films ever made makes your entire list rather suspect.
   599. PepTech Posted: May 18, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4135146)
We could make it a book thread now. I'm re-reading Cryptonomicon. Anybody get through Anathem?
   600. hokieneer Posted: May 18, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4135147)
I guess it was my error to think that the argument for video games as cultural force to be reckoned with was mostly predicated on the biggest, most successful and most commented upon games.

Well the 2 strongest cultural forces in gaming over the least 5-7 yeas have been the Wii and social/mobile games primarily through Facebook.

The Wii simplified the video game experience, removed a lot of the barriers commonly found within the medium, and made the concept of playing a video game for fun and entertainment accessible for all. There are very few demographics (besides the "hardcore" gamers) that turned a blind eye to the Wii. The Wii opened more doors and paved more roads for the industry than any other console, well ever. The Wii and it's limited software were extremely successful, didn't suffer as much from the learning curve or entry point problems of other games/hardware, and had a huge culture impact.

The mobile/social games are not anywhere near the complex software we have been discussing, but are still games and enjoyed by millions of people ever single minute. The impact on the culture and society are not yet fully realized, but for now they do help to bring people together (if even in the virtual sense).

Neither one of these examples are things that appeal to me or a lot of traditional gamers, but they still serve to create entry points into the medium. At it's core, the same emotional response, satisfaction, and appreciation I derive from say Bioshock; is the same experience my mother-in-laws has while playing Wii tennis. I don't think the "games as cultural force" idea is there yet for a variety of reason, some of which are just taboo. While M$ will make a truck load of money with the next Halo, and people will dress up in the armor for the release, those are not the games that are going to push the medium into the outer reaches of cultural significance. The games that are trying to push the boundaries of narration, visual/audio expression, and emotional experience are the ones that are going to pave the way for the medium to evolve into a cluster of entertainment, art, interaction, & emotional resonance that can only be possible through a video game.

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