Versus Mode: Pause Buttons, Going Outside, the Virtual Console, and More

GC writers Alex Jedraszczak and Sprite Monkey discuss whether games need pause buttons, taxes on videogames, playing games on the Virtual Console vs. the original cartridges, and more.

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pauseWelcome, one and all, BACK to Versus Mode—the column that calls upon GameCola writers as well as denizens of the videogame world at large to talk about what’s up in gaming.

This month in Versus Mode we’ve got:

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Alex Jedraszczak vs. Sprite Monkey!

Alex Jedraszczak is a current GameCola writer known for his reviews. Recently, he’s been known for his “gimmicky” reviews—specifically, reviews from the perspective of a private investigator and in the form of a poem. This is Alex’s third appearance in Versus Mode, having written before with Eric Regan and Jamie Juett.

Sprite Monkey is a current GameCola writer known for his reviews as well as for Are You Game?, a column that rates your videogame collection and tells you if it’s up to snuff. He’s also the artist behind Secret of Mana Theater, a flash Web comic based on the classic SNES RPG. This is Sprite Monkey’s first appearance in Versus Mode.



1. All videogames should have a pause button.

Alex: ALRIGHT! Let’s make things a little more interesting! Rather than giving the answers I truly believe, I’m going to give the answers the READERS DESERVE TO HEAR.

If you need a pause button to play a game, then you have no right to consider yourself a gamer. Expecting a package or an important phone pausecall? Then…don’t play! If you can’t hold your own guts in until they explode, then go play Where’s Waldo until you’re ready to join the adults.

Sprite Monkey: Yes, all videogames should have a pause button. I see what EA is trying to do there, but they’re missing the point. An immersive horror experience is not created by taking away the option to pause. The first time I played Resident Evil, it was at 1:00 in the morning with the lights turned off on a big screen TV with the stereo surround sound cranked. You better believe I screamed like a little girl when shit started crashing through the windows and coming after me. Point is, a player defines their own level of immersion, with or without a pause button, and a pause button is necessary when life gets in the way of gaming.

2. Videogames should be taxed to support “outdoor education programs.”

AlexOF COURSE games should be taxed in support of outdoor education programs! Remember how Windows used to say “It is now safe to turn off your computer”? You don’t remember it because it was comically archaic technology; you remember it because you used to ACTUALLY TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER! GO OUTSIDE, FATTIES.

Sprite Monkey: No, there shouldn’t be a tax on videogames. People need to take responsibility for their own health and choices. No one is forcing you to sit here and read GameCola—you could just as easily put on your tragically unhip sweats and go outside for a jog/bike ride/squirrel chase. If we really want to follow this inane path, we need to start adding proportionate taxes to the other factors of the same problem. A 1% sales tax on videogames will come with a 15% sales tax on fast food, a 20% increase on cable television, and an astronomical tax on ADD and low-grade factors like MySpace, Facebook, and text messaging.

3. Five is an appropriate ages for kids to start playing videogames.

AlexHow old is old enough? The moment they are capable of handling a controller! As with driving, alcohol, or voting, the matter is not of age but of discipline! Millions of drunken old men have gotten into car accidents while on their way to vote for the McCains and Romneys of their time, all while the brilliant youths affected most were only capable of sitting by and watching the disaster unfold, not allowed to take action due to age discrimination. If a child lacks the fundamental ability to discern fantasy from reality, or the discipline to attend to more important matters, then they should learn from the failures of their own actions, instead of being guided along by a governing force while those more capable are forced to suffer!


Sprite Monkey: Ignoring the obvious issue of WHAT kids are playing, five is an appropriate age for kids to start playing videogames. I started playing cartridges when I was 6 on a Commodore 64 (look it up, fuckers; I’m old). I had an NES by the time I was 7 and although some of it slightly warped my formative years (See: Barbie for the C64), my parents did give me a lot of math and educational games for the computer. More importantly, I learned about computers. Considering how increasingly important technology is in today’s society, giving your children a head start is essential to their growth and socialization.

4. It’s better to own old games on the Wii’s Virtual Console than to own the actual cartridges.

Alex: Buying classic games on the Virtual Console detracts from the experience of playing a classic game! It’s the same thing as downloading a ROM and playing with a USB controller. Playing on the original console with the original equipment is essential to the gameplay experience! If you say that you want to support the developers, does that mean that you pay $15 for a CD collection of classical music?! The money you pay goes not to the wonderful coders, artists, and designers of your favorite games, but instead to the publishing companies! It is better to pay twice the price to a collector and have the original experience than to encourage greedy CEOs to stifle creativity by focusing efforts on sub-standard ports of old games!

Sprite MonkeyIt’s not better, it’s just different. Once the VC starts releasing more exclusive titles like Sin & Punishment and more classic all-star titles like Secret of Mana, then they will have something revolutionary. The VC is currently relegated to what it was when we first heard about it: a promise of being able to play your favorite titles for systems that no longer work, you no longer own, or no longer have software available. Until they stop releasing garbage like Donkey Kong Jr. Math and Double Dungeons, the VC will never replace owning the cartridges, and it’s not better at the moment.

5. Rockstar is trying too hard to be controversial.

gtaivAlex: People still care about “controversy”? They’re trying way too hard.

Sprite Monkey: At the end of the day, Rockstar is a business. Controversy creates buzz, buzz sells products, sold products equal profit, and profit becomes capital to finance other games that are not GTA. This is important because even though GTA is a dead horse, games that come out of that revenue like Red Dead Revolver and Bully are worth spending your money on. The simple truth is that Rockstar probably could not have made these games without the GTA dollars. Actors do this too—accept a several million dollar role in this summer’s steamy dog pile blockbuster and use the money to finance movies of good quality that they are really interested in. If it brings out more excellent titles, then I say Rockstar isn’t trying hard enough.

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