Welcome, 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:
CHRISTIAN PORTER VS. RICK L
Christian Porter is a former GameCola staff writer who was known for his reviews as well as for “Top of the Heap“, a column that examined uncommon threads among varied videogames, and “Poor Player’s Paradise“, a column that helped you spend your gaming budget wisely. This is Christian’s fifth appearance in “Versus Mode”, having written previously with Britney Brimhall, Danielle Symonds-Yemm, Michael Gray, and Paul Franzen.
Christian Porter can now be found at Slothbot, the self-proclaimed “only videogame blog on the Internet. Ever.” Remember when Christian was funny in GameCola? He’s funny on his blog, too.
Rick L is a current GameCola staff writer and apparent anime hero known for his reviews. A few months ago, Rick pointed out the logical flaws of NES megahit Fischer-Price: Firehouse Rescue. Will he do the same to Christian’s arguments this month? Read on to find out! This is Rick’s second appearance in “Versus Mode”, having written previously in NewbieMania.
1. The Wii isn’t powerful enough to be considered part of the current generation of gaming consoles.
Christian: What has to be considered is what, exactly, makes a system “current gen”. If it’s graphics alone, then yes, Nintendo really dropped the ball with the Wii—and the “we’re going for gameplay over graphics” excuse is the biggest cop-out in videogame history, when they could have easily shipped a system with much more processing power and the same motion sensitive controllers.
However, I think that only one thing makes a system next (or current) gen: sales. Right now, the Wii is outselling everything that stands against it, despite its lackluster hardware and game library; and let’s face it, if the Sega 32X was selling anywhere near as well as the Wii currently is, we’d still have developers that would be pleased as punch to pump out games for it. With this in mind, I’d say that the Wii can very easily be considered current gen.
Rick: This isn’t a question about power, in my opinion. This is more about Nintendo going a different route with its system in order to improve things. I’ll be honest—I am a retro gamer to the core of my soul, and these newfangled systems just confuse me. I don’t get the need to jack up a system with more bells and whistles. Do all the videogame consoles need to be on steroids in order to be called even remotely good? My answer is: not really.
I feel that new systems should at least feel like some kind of improvement and do something different to set themselves apart from the competition. Maybe the Wii isn’t as powerful as the other two current gen consoles (I don’t know; I haven’t seen the specs, and even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of them), but what I do know is that the Wii is doing something different to make up for it. The Wii is fine as it is, if you ask me. (And for the record, I have an Xbox 360. I like all the systems and refuse to get into brand loyalty garbage.)
2. Microsoft should allow developers to create Adults Only DLC for games that are rated M or lower.
Christian: There’s certainly a market for it, as people 18 and up are a large demographic for Microsoft (and videogames in general). But, if the media shitstorm around GTAIV shows us anything, it’s that when a videogame tries to do the same thing that an R-rated movie does, the media will pounce all over it. Microsoft has very likely decided that offering content to make games like GTA more violent/vulgar/sexual would be a PR nightmare, as the Xbox 360 would quickly be portrayed in the mainstream media as some kind of baby-killing machine powered by grinding the bones of newborn puppies into a fine powder.
What MS needs to do is offer this content only to Xbox Live accounts that can be verified as belonging to people over the age of 18 through the credit cards linked to their gamertags. Would this stop the negative PR tsunami that would ensue? No, because the people who attack games don’t do any research, but at least Microsoft would be making an honest effort to keep both sides happy.
Rick: My personal opinion? Hell no. Sure, maybe it just changes nude hacks from unofficial to official, but it’s really not something I want to see in my games because they can be downloaded. Even if it’s good-intentioned and they go through all the blocks to try to keep the young ones from getting to it, it’s not going to work. If kids want the inappropriate content, they’ll just lie to their parents about it, lie about their age, and download it. It’s going to get in the wrong hands and people are just going to debate and bitch more about videogames corrupting the youth of today and all the blah-blah-blah. We don’t need more gas thrown into the fire about this, and allowing this kind of thing, to me, would just be dumping a bucket of gas all over this flame-covered topic.
3. Shigeru Miyamoto is the most influential person of the year.
Christian: Miyamoto is certainly an influential man, playing no small part in taking the dying videogame industry of the 1980s, giving it a coat of much-needed polish, and helping it mature into the massive industry that it is today. Let’s be honest, though: Making the Internet vote between George Clooney, Al Gore, and Miyamoto is like laying out a hamburger, a hair brush, and a set of pinking shears in front of a panel of fat people and asking them to pick their favorite. There’s no way a bunch of nerds here in Internet Town are going to vote for anyone but their fellow nerd. This includes me, because I totally voted for him.
Rick: Gonna have to go against that one, because I really can’t take a fan voting scheme seriously, especially when I haven’t even seen the full results and that it easily boils down to people picking the biggest name they know instead of taking it seriously. Maybe it’s because I don’t keep up with the gaming news like I should, but as far as I know, he’s the head honcho-type fella of Nintendo, the systems we get from them, and the first-party games of theirs. If this was over a period of time, I’d say Miyamoto-san is definitely an influential person for helping steer the gaming industry to what we know today. If we’re talking about solely for this year…I’m really not all that sure on that one. I respect the man a lot, however; don’t get me wrong on that.
4. Parents should be fined and/or jailed for buying GTAIV for their kids.
Christian: Parents need to be allowed to parent. And this works both ways—if parents feel that their children are too young or too easily influenced to play games like GTAIV, then they need to keep the game away from their children (rather than banning it for everybody). On the other hand, if you’re the parent of, say, a 14-year-old who is marginally intelligent, reasonably well behaved, and firmly rooted in reality, I say go for it. This has very little to do with age and a lot more with whether or not the people involved are complete and total imbeciles who will adopt GTAIV as their own personal moral compass. (Hint: Extremely few are actually this stupid.) Should you give GTAIV to a 6 year old? No, probably not, but let the parents take care of their own children and keep the government’s hands out of it.
Rick: OK. Before I answer this question, I want to say one thing that I’ve always wanted to say in a public fashion about rating systems, children, and underage stuff.
Why even bother using a rating system if it won’t be enforced or adhered to?
You know what? Maybe it is for legal reasons, I have no freaking clue. Thing is, parents still buy this crap for their children just as cluelessly as before the rating system came in. Kids who shouldn’t be seeing it are still seeing it anyway because it’ll be over at their friends’ houses. Are parents assed to even bother punishing their children for playing a game that has horrible things in it? Likely, no. But the ratings are there for a reason.
Now, perhaps jailing is a more severe way of dealing with the issue, but I’m all in favor of a nice fine. If you want to hit people hard and make them pay attention, you hit them right where it hurts the most. No, I’m not talking about the nether-region; I’m talking about the wallet. However, even this has to be enforced, or it’s just all for nothing. I know when I finally have kids, yes, I am going to watch the ratings and, yes, I am going to make sure they’re ready for what they’re going to play, and if they’re not, I’m not going to allow them to play it. The rating system is there for a reason.
5. Rock Band, or similar videogames, will some day be as popular a medium for music as the radio or CDs.
Christian: Rock Band and the radio are two very different things. If I listen to the radio, it’s because I want to enjoy some music. If I play Rock Band, it’s because I want to enjoy a fun videogame that just happens to be music-based.
If a band I hate—let’s say Fall Out Boy—pops up in my playlist in Rock Band, I’ll play through it, maybe briefly lamenting that it wasn’t a less shitty band, because I’m in it to play the game, and the music (though still very important) is secondary. However, if I’m listening to the radio and Fall Out Boy comes on, I’m probably going to change the station—or, more likely, dismantle my radio, set it on fire, and get a CD player, because in that case, I’m focusing only on the music with nothing else to occupy my interest. Radio stations should worry about Rock Band muscling in on their territory about as much as The Louvre should worry about Mario Paint.
Rick: First off, we need to know that this is actually gonna last in popularity. Do you remember Dance Dance Revolution? Yeah, it had a nice, long stay at the popularity ladder, and it’s still there, but when I hear about music-based games now, I hear Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Right now, I really just can’t see this happening unless the next big thing comes and goes and Rock Band and Guitar Hero still stand at the forefront. Right now, it’d definitely be a great idea for the music industry to get its stuff in these games because it’s free advertising, and of course, to put their best stuff forward so it’s not in the “some of the music’s bad” category. If these types of games can last, then there’s no question in my mind that it will be as popular a medium. If not, well, kiss that idea good bye.