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RESURRECTION!

Gill

So after 2 years, like everyone’s favourite boss Gill, I’m resurrecting (!) this here blog because what a waste it would be to let it continue to wilt in the darkness.

That’s all, really. As ever it’s an ongoing experiment so let’s just wait and see how it turns out.

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The Right To Say Who’s Wrong

Against all better judgement I’m choosing to venture into the bleak world of politics again today after a long hiatus. Heaven help me.

Everywhere I’ve looked over the last little while there has been someone claiming such and such caused the London riots and another someone claiming they’re wrong because no one knows what caused the London riots. It’s unknowable, apparently. At least for the moment. Except, they’re over-intellectualising it.

A lack of individual discipline caused the London riots, nothing more and nothing less. Teenagers from whatever background committed cowardly crimes because they didn’t know, or didn’t care, that what they were doing was wrong. When causation is discussed I think this part is taken for granted, smoothed over and a greater societal reasoning is sought out instead.

But why is anyone doing that? Hold these individuals accountable for their own actions, and throw the book at them. Most of the punks involved probably thought they were safe from consequence, insulated by their numbers. Prove that assumption false by not handling them with kid gloves. If they choose to re-offend in the future after a brief stint in jail or juvey or whatever, lock them up again.

General commentary seems like it is finding someone else to blame for what were individuals’ actions. Or wants to find someone else to blame for it. This writ large lawlessness is currently being scapegoated to support all-and-sundry of causes from the break down of traditional families, the failures of multiculturalism to the perils of the welfare state. Let people champion whatever they like if they see merit in the argument. I’ll abstain from those debates, but hey, live and let live, right? But there is something that upsets me about it all.

Despite the fact that we don’t know, or cannot know, what caused this wave of looting and violence, some people are condemning views as flat out wrong. To take the first cause I mentioned, the degeneration of the traditional family, as an example (since race and class discussions are only going to be worse flamebait) , people seem bent on the idea suggesting fatherlessness is bad amounts to heresy.  Miranda Devine at the Daily Telegraph and Kevin Andrews at The Punch have both touched on connections between a fatherly influence, family stability, disenfranchisement, detachment from society and thus a lack of consideration for said society. And they’ve been savaged for their opinions.

How can people simultaneously argue that something is wrong when they don’t know what’s right? Specifically how can someone claim a presented hypothesis is not responsible for the unrest if they cannot say what is? Admittedly Devine was courting trouble linking lesbian couple child adoption with modern family issues, but did that warrant such barbarism in the comments on her article, most of which were personal slurs lacking any coherent rebutalls? Since when is it ok to so cruelly and so self-righteously attack someone, especially if you have no valid counterpoint to the debate?

It seems to me that a lot of the zeal those on the PC-side of discussion consider their ideas somehow more legitimate than others, as though the proof of their views is self-evident. I find it more than little ironic that words like ‘bigot’ are constantly bandied by this group who seem, moreso than any other, ignorant and dismissive of opposing opinion. Especially on issues of race and gender, the views of the left are elevated above others and dignified with words like ‘progressiveness’ while others are demonised as being ‘outdated’. And why? Because of the perception that everyone or most everyone feels the same way? That has got to be a contentious claim if ever I heard one.

This is a case of vocal minorities causing a fuss and ad populum nonsense at its worst. The constant vilification of those on the right by those on the left only serves to stymie productive discussion. If someone is too fearful of hate-filled condemnation and social ostracism to say what they really feel, then how is anything that happens in society properly representative of the population? It’s a destructive sensibility being perpetuated at the moment by smug people more hateful than those accuse of as much. People who, so high on their own sense of moral superiority, grant themselves the right to say who’s wrong.

So it’s ok to have an equal society, so long as some views are more equal than others? I have to disagree with that one.


Is ‘Mists of Pandaria’ World of Warcraft’s 4th Expansion?

Since the beginning of time we knew World of Warcraft would get heaps of expansions. A leaked blue post a while back, before Cataclysm leaked a ‘Maelstrom Set’ and a ‘Legion Set’ and in December a Blizzard roadmap all but confirmed XP4 and XP5.

So now is ‘Mists of Pandaria’ that new expansion? Blizzard has made a copyright application reportedly similar to those of previous XPs according to MMO-Champion who felt confident enough to plaster it across their front page. The image above was taken of a piece of concept art at Blizz HQ back in April- could it give us an idea of what to expect with Pandaria? Asian scenery and Chinese dragons?

On the one hand I think that an Asian influence is one of the few currently absent in WoW. So I’m all for that. On the other hand, I sure as hell hope they include some of the missing old world areas, like Kul Tiras and the Broken Isles along with this new continent. And I hope that recent events haven’t ruled out future includions of Azshara and the Emerald Dream either. Who knows though- Karazhan, a Burning Crusade feature, was located in the old world so there’s hope yet.

I always thought of pandas as the perennial Warcraft April Fools’ joke, but I’ve missed those kung fu panda antics since The Frozen Throne and will look forward to saying hi to Chen Stormstout in any case. Let’s see how this all pans out at Blizzcon.


The King of Fighters i Impressions… wait, what?

Maybe it was only my radar that this curveball flew under but either way the late SNK Playmore has graced us with an unexpected but totally appreciated version of its famed fighting franchise in The King of Fighters i. That’s i for iPhone and it’s up on the App Store today.

The fact that it’s for iOS isn’t the only odd thing about this KOFXIII port- it includes Billy Kane, who will be a console exclusive character come the game’s October release. Currently, he isn’t in the arcade version or anywhere else for that matter. The game is also strangely-fully-featured. It has wireless multiplayer, unlockable galleries and social network integration all for less than $10. Oh and it beat Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition to the punch with on-screen mini challenges (perform 3 3-hit combos, etc.). Granted they were in the arcade version of The King of Fighters XIII first, but who here has actually had a chance to play that?

As for the game itself, it’s better than Street Fighter IV Volt, its only real iOS competition. I’m an SF4-devout so I think that says it all. The controls are better, the graphics are better and the framerate is smoother. This is the only iPhone fighter you need to play. If I had to find something odd about it it would be that Iori Yagami isn’t part of the game’s 14-character lineup. But if I had to guess, I’d say that he, along with Vice and Mature, and Kyo, Robert and Takuma will likely be the 6 free DLC characters promised us between now and October.

I’m scratching my head as to why The King of Fighters i wasn’t better publicised. Sure a game so adept deserved more press pre-release. Or, if treated solely as a marketing experiment, why wasn’t it released closer to the console release of KOFXIII later this year? I’m not complaining, however. If nothing else, this will be most folks’ foray into the world of KOFXIII, failing a nearby arcade with it or less reputable means. And before you mention that The King of Fighters XII has been widely available for a couple of years already, don’t go there. You don’t want to make me cry over how that game turned out all over again, do you?

To close, go and get The King of Fighters i- I couldn’t recommend it more.


The Corpse-grinder that is Team Bondi

Here’s a funny story: when I was fresh out of university wondering what the hell I was going to do with my life oh, maybe 5 years ago, I happened upon a game developer in Sydney. It was Team Bondi and they were making, as they described it, ‘GTA set in the middle of last century’. I can’t remember who I saw or even exactly what the role was (no doubt ‘Junior-[insert alternative for shitkicker]‘) but the fact is I didn’t get the job. Thank heavens I didn’t.

Now that L.A. Noire has shipped, and is in fact nothing at all like GTA, IGN Australia has published a riveting expose on what is quit possibly the most exploitative studio in the world. If they’re to be believed, the man above is not only a collosally poor manager, but also a colosal prick. To summarise the article, 100 hour weeks were common throughout the troubled 7-year cycle, the boss was dictatorial despite lacking a clear vision or good management at any level and now 100s of people who worked on the game have not been credited anywhere for the project.

Brendan McNamara takes the cake though when he comments that his only regret is doing it in Sydney. I find it funny that some cocky Brit with one hit under his belt can relocate here, act an atrocious boss, devoid of any talent if the accounts are true, and then claim that the real problem is the Sydneysider work ethic. Fuck him. He rode Sony’s cock to success with The Getaway and even they dumped him for failing to deliver with L.A. Noire. No surprise- between platform shifts, rapid technology changes and the gall for someone in HR to tell me the game was effectively a GTA out of time it’s apparent that vision was clearly lacking throughout.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: L.A. Noire is a bloated, overstuffed monstrosity that wouldn’t have received half its notice had it not coasted on Rockstar’s coattails. Despite that I feel sympathy for the 100s of artists, coders and designers who were mercilessly burnt through by the travesty of management at Team Bondi. According to IGN, many of them will never work in games again solely because of how they badly were ill-treated on this project. McNamara thinks he’d have had it easier had he opened up shop in Canada or the US. Go ahead and do so you talentless tyrant and leave what’s left of Australia’s already-struggling game industry alone.


DLC it is for SSF4AE

Was there any doubt? I posted a while back that leaked shots of achievements for a supposed Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition on the 360 suggested the update was coming. The only questions at that time were 1) will it be a disc or DLC update and 2) were any features outside of 4 new characters coming? Captivate has brought about answers to both those questions.

The trailer below leaked out ahead of Captivate’s media embargo until the 12th. Basically, yes, we are getting Oni, Evil Ryu, Yun and Yang and yes there will be new features in terms of online and replays.

What we’re not getting is any further addition to the roster (Alex and Urien fans, like myself, are crying their eyes out now) and there are strangely enough no new stages. To top off the oddity, SSF4AE players will be able to match up against regular SSF4 players so no idea how they’ll manage the rebalancing issues there. 2 versions of the game coexisting perhaps?

My gut feeling is just that this is too little too late. Simply because, like with the original release of Super Street Fighter IV, the community has been aware of these additions for way, way too long. Even now we still don’t know when this will actually hit the XBLA or PSN. I’d written about Capcom’s PR strategy on this topic before. I didn’t agree with the approach then and I don’t now. This had obviously been in the works since at least November. Stringing us along all this time comes off seeming callous at best, downright malicious at worst.

It’s a shame since a release which would have wildly excited me not too long ago has instead left me a tad too indifferent for my liking.

Anyway, check out the SSF4AE DLC Trailer at Metacafe. Most other media outlets seem to have pulled it already, probably at the Capcops’ behest.


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