Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another crash like 1983?!

I saw a link from today for an article called '5 Reasons the Video Game Industry Is About to Crash.' Sadly, the author is probably not wrong.

The reasons listed (re-written in my own words) were as follows...

5.) CEO's with no knowledge of game design are making creative decisions.

Actually, they know enough to make bad decisions. They look at market trends and use that to decide which games are made. That's why everyone and their Grandmother made a First-person Shooter after Doom unleashed Hell on Earth. That is why everyone made space shooters after Space Invaders and Asteroids began draining quarters from circulation. That's why everyone glutted the NES libraries with Platformers after Super Mario Bros. made that console such a huge success.

So, why is no one taking a chance to change the paradigm again? Why is the industry stuck on RPG's and 'Call of Duty' clones? See #4...

4.) Budgets are so big that companies have become risk-averse and stick to 'guaranteed money-makers'...

And that is why there's a new Call of Duty game every time you blink...  and why they all stink. I haven't played a single title in that franchise since World at War was released in 2008. I thought the quality was suffering back in those days, not to mention being sick of games that were set in either WW2 or the modern day War on Terror. It gets old. These 'new' settings they've used with the not-so-distant future aren't impressive either. It's been done to death. And it got done again here because some CEO thought that would sell after seeing Deus Ex make money for it's publisher. Lame! I don't want more games with Terrorists for bad guys or some kind of Cyberpunk geek fantasy! I am over that shit! Give me something new!

At this point, I'd be happy just playing an old Puzzle game, and I found one that does the trick. I'm actually surprised that it hasn't become a timeless classic/perennial favorite like Tetris. I'll discuss it in another blog sometime soon.

3.) Reviewers are being manipulated into giving good reviews to games they know are shitty... Or, they are just seeing/playing what the developer wants them to see and play.

As the old saying goes, 'You can't spell ignorant without IGN.' No publisher is going to send their games to reviewers who bad-mouthed their previous title(s). After all, you want GOOD advertising for the product you're trying to sell. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as bad publicity. Just ask automakers whenever the media gets wind of a major recall on one of their models. That heavily damaged (or even destroyed) the reputations for quality that Chrysler and Toyota once enjoyed.

Also, the reviewers are not playing the whole game, just the parts of it that the developers thought were the best. The level designers are also usually in the room with them giving them tips on how to get through said level. Again, Lame! How can they tell me about the game's difficulty if the freakin' designer is right there holding their hand through the whole damned gameplay session!

2.) The game's design (not to mention the hardware on which it will run) is CONSTANTLY changing, which makes developers have to re-work the code, art assets, et al. many times before release.

That's why Aliens: Colonial Marines looked much better in the previews that were released a year before the game hit the shelves. This is also why games on consoles usually never look as good as they possibly can until the very end of the system's life. Sadly, by that time, the next console has hit the shelves and the old one is forgotten.

It's happening right now with the PS3. Now that PS4 is out, it seems that PS3 is almost an untouchable. I bought 5 PS3 games from Amazon around Christmas time and the combined cost for ALL of them was about $70. 4 of these 5 came from signature PlayStation franchises like Ratchet & Clank, God of War and Twisted Metal. That has never happened with Nintendo games. Halo 4 still costs nearly $40 on Amazon right now. So, why are PS3 games so cheap now? The console might be 7 years old but, the games still look and play beautifully...

Oh, well... At least I get to add to my collection for rock-bottom prices. :)

1.) The industry treats the talent like a cheap and easily expendable resource, often requiring 60-80 hour work weeks when the game's development cycle gets into 'crunch time'.

'Crunch Time' is that last 20% of the time set aside for a game's development, which is also where 80% of the work is done. It is very stressful. I remember hearing a story about how Atari's CEO Ray Kassar once told his company's programmers (who were only asking for their name to be in the game's credits and a small commission) that they weren't very important, which is why some left and founded Activision. His exact words, according to legendary game designer David Crane, were "You are no more important to that game than the guy on the assembly line who puts it together." Bullshit! Those guys on the assembly line wouldn't even have a job without the designers making the games! Not hard to see how Atari made the bad business decisions that led to their downfall and the Great Crash of 1983, huh? Arrogant Ass...

Anyway, if you look at the games Activision made for the Atari 2600, you'll see the programmer/designer's name is usually on the label. That is especially true with David Crane. He's the man who made Pitfall!, the world's first platformer. Say what you want about Activision as a company today but, once upon a time, they were something truly special. They were to the Atari 2600 what Rare was to Nintendo's Cartridge-based systems.

Anyway, the industry hasn't learned from that lesson. The crunch time and poor treatment has driven away the talent in droves. They go off to other related industries where they make much more money for much less work. Why write code for MMORPG's when you can write simpler/easier code for automated monitoring systems on an oil rig for MUCH more money? Why create realistic-looking animated 3D character models for games when you can do the same in a small production company making TV commercials AND MAKE MUCH MORE MONEY that way?

Even worse is that many of these talented people are in my age group: Late 20's and early 30's. At that time, you want to settle down and start a family. How can you start (and keep) a marriage and family if you're constantly working 60-80 hours a week?

There are times when I get mad at the fact that I couldn't get into the game industry after graduating from college in December of 2008. I graduated at the worst time because that's when the economy went to Hell and everyone (including the once-seemingly invincible entertainment industries) started feeling the pinch. No one was hiring so, I joined the Army instead. As much as I don't like the Army, I do have to admit that I haven't been asked to do a 60-80 hour work week since I graduated Basic Training in February of 2010.

Either way though, it looks like BOTH occupations are very anti-family in one way or another. It's not necessarily intentional, either. The Army does try to help soldiers with families but, like all government programs, the results are mixed at best. Maybe not getting into the game design business or making a career out of the Army is a blessing in disguise? If you asked me (or, just about anyone, really) to give up on ever getting married and having children for ANYTHING, let alone a truly demanding and unsatisfying job, you are going to be severely disappointed.


So, is the industry headed for one hell of a downturn and a colossal shake-up? Most likely, yes.

Is this a bad thing? Probably not.

Any industry that treats customers/reviewers like idiots and their employees like serfs (or, at least, makes them feel that way) is doomed to experience a SEVERE market correction. It won't be like 1983 but, the industry is almost certainly in a LOT of trouble. Why else would hardware sales be so low across the board? Why else would big companies that survived 1983 (Activision, EA, et al.) have to rely on churning out crappy sequels to once-great franchises just to pay the rent? Reading that article was actually kinda depressing to me...

After 1983, Nintendo came along and saved the industry with the NES. They did it by offering to buy back unsold product from retailers, actually offering a good product (such a shocker, I know...) and, they marketed the NES as something more than just a game console. Hopefully, Nintendo will be able to save us again. While everyone else is suffering from 'Terminal Sequelitis', the quality in their games has been consistently high. Even if it's not them that pulls the industry's fat out of the fire, I still expect them to survive. They've become the 'Walt Disney of game companies.' I find that to be funny since Disney does make it's own video games.

Of course, this could also be an opportunity. Like 1983, the industry has become cluttered with too many similar products (i.e. too many games in the same genre copying each other's design choices) and just entirely too much product. $50 to $60 per game is a lot of money for most people. Thanks to reviewers being bought off/manipulated, we can't depend on them to tell us if the game is any good or not. (After all, you can't spell IGNORANT without IGN...)

So, what would I like to see in a market correction?

1.) A few different console makers...

Nintendo stays. Period. Without them, the industry would not be what it is today.

Microsoft, however, needs to go. Any company that sells flawed hardware and charges me for online services when the competition is free SHOULD go away. If it was anyone else but Microsoft, the XBOX brand probably would have gone away.

I'm on the fence about Sony's PlayStation brand. They made the PS3 difficult to program for, which I think is a mistake. (So did Nintendo with the N64, which they later admitted was a mistake.) That machine can do some really wonderful things. If they hadn't made it so much of a pain in the neck to work with, it might have beaten the XBOX 360 in sales. Developers would have stuck with them since PS1 & PS2 practically printed money for them.

While there are things about the PlayStation brand that I do like, most of those things are easily doable on other consoles too. How hard is it to make a game console play DVD & Blu-Ray movies? How hard would it be for someone to transfer/port those PlayStation exclusive franchises that I love (God of War, Twisted Metal, Ratchet & Clank, et al.) over to a new platform? SEGA didn't seem to have much trouble porting Sonic the Hedgehog to other people's consoles...

2.) A return to the hardware market of a few old legends...

Speaking of SEGA, I'd LOVE to see them start making consoles again. I recently had an idea where a few former console makers (namely SEGA & Atari) team up with some dynamite 3rd party game developers (particularly Namco and Capcom, despite their cash-flow problems) to form a new company that goes on to make a console of their own. Plus, any franchise those companies have will become exclusives to that console. That means that Sonic, Mega Man and Pac-Man are all on the same system. I wouldn't have to wonder if the next game will be available for a certain system or which system will have the better version for the multi-platform releases. They will all be right there on their own company's console. It could work!

3.) Less worrying about franchises and more worrying about delivering an awesome game experience... Especially in crowded/neglected sectors of the market like sports titles.

There is also another golden opportunity for the sports games side of the market. The Madden franchise has gotten pretty damned trite in the last few years. SEGA made a LOT of very popular sports franchises on their consoles, many of which are sorely missed.

Imagine if the SEGA Sports franchises from the Genesis era came back into existence and made a Baseball game that was actually interesting... Or, how about a good Basketball game that didn't depend on NBA licenses or some kind of 'street'/in-the-ghetto theme? I might actually want to play that kind of game.

Of course, if SEGA really wanted to impress the masses again, they could just make a 3D Sonic game that DIDN'T anger players so much. How hard can it be to do a *GOOD* 3D Sonic game? The 2 Sonic Adventure titles on the Dreamcast (which were later ported to competing systems after SEGA left the console market) were considered to be good. What happened?

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

- Lord Publius

How to minimize the NSA's abiltiy to spy on you

Wiith the recent revelation that the NSA is using smart phone apps and social media, I have compiled a list of the apps/sites known to provide them with metadata. Enjoy!

The programs that help the NSA to spy on you...

Angry Birds
Brightest Flashlight
Candy Crush Saga


Truth be told, the NSA collects more data than they can possibly filter through or store long-term. That being said, I am VERY glad that I don't have a smart phone, play silly games on Facebook, or use inferior social networking sites like Google+ and Pinterest.

- Lord Publius

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Battlezone Comparison video

Battlezone is one of my all-time favorite games from Atari. It's also one of those Atari 2600 ports of which I own multiple copies. (5 of them, to be exact. 1 is complete in the box.)

Anyway, the Gameboy and Atari 5200 versions are crap. The VIC-20 and MS-DOS version were surprisingly good for such primitive platforms. I still prefer the original Arcade and Atari 2600 versions above all others.

- Lord Publius

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Topics for new episodes of Penn & Teller's BULLSHIT!

I've been a fan of the series 'Penn and Teller: Bullshit!' ever since I discovered it in college. If you haven't seen or heard of this show, you are doing yourself a disservice. It has been described as 'South Park meets 60 Minutes' by some critics, probably because the hosts, magicians Penn Jillette and Teller, speak rather freely on the issues explored by the show. They examine and tear apart just about ANYTHING you can imagine: Feng Shui, Environmentalism, PETA, the Death Penalty, the Bible, the Vatican... NOTHING is too sacred. In fact, if you have a 'sacred cow' of some kind, chances are good they did an episode where it was carved into steaks. While I don't agree with every opinion of theirs (i.e. their episode on the Bible was flawed in it's approach), I still find their point of view quite fascinating and worthy of my interest.

Sadly, they stopped making the show in 2010. While it went out with a bang, absolutely DESTROYING this BULLSHIT myth about vaccines causing autism, I still want the show to return. I've also developed a list of topics for the show. Hell, I'd host it myself. Anyway, here's my list for new episodes... And the reasons why these topics must be explored...

Topics for new episodes of Penn and Teller: Bullshit!

1.) Army Weight and PT standards

They haven't changed since 1942, even though the Sciences of Biology, Medicine and Health have made enormous gains since that time. Also, if athletes coming into the Army straight out of High School are having trouble passing the PT test, then, something is fundamentally wrong here.

2.) The Military's 'Rape Culture'

The Military is dangerous, especially if you're female. Since the Military is a 'boy's club', women are routinely harassed, disrespected in all kinds of ways and often sexually assaulted. Even worse, these assaults often go unpunished by the Chain of Command. This is why I will NEVER let any future daughters of mine EVER go anywhere near a recruiter.

3.) (Hollywood) Celebrities coming out of the proverbial closet

Do people really need to know that some actor or musician is gay? I personally couldn't care less.

4.) Celebrity worship (especially in the Media)

Why do people place so much emphasis on the opinions of famous people? Being famous does not necessarily make you an expert on anything in particular. #3 and 4 should probably be combined.

5.) Bias in the News Media

Think the Media is giving you accurate, unbiased information? Think again.

6.) Family Law in America

Men are often being forced to pay child support for children that aren't really their children. That is BULLSHIT.

6.) New diagnostic requirements/grading rubric for 'Autism Spectrum Disorder' in the DSM-V

Lumping anyone who is 'neurologically different' into one broad category with it's own 'spectrum' just to simplify paperwork from Healthcare providers and Insurance companies does NOT help treat these patients. Also, there is a huge difference between an Aspie and someone with Classical Autism. Aspies are the 'weird genius' kids in class. Classical Autistics, due in no small part to our flawed educational system, are lucky if they ever learn to read and write on any level.

7.) Obamacare & Government Entitlement programs

Another HUGE government program intended to make people's lives easier instead makes them MUCH worse and threatens to destroy  America's economy. Why is anyone surprised this could happen? It has happened before with the New Deal and the Great Society plans...

8.) The NSA

The agency charged with protecting America's freedoms from foreign threats has itself become a threat to those freedoms. How did this happen and what can be done?

9.) Labor Unions

They were created to protect the worker from unsafe working environments and business practices designed to screw them over. However, they already did that DECADES ago and now just drive up costs for the producers, which get passed on to us consumers. And that is why so many American manufacturing jobs were outsourced overseas.

10.) Hillary Clinton

The very definition of 'career politician' incarnate. She's probably one of the most polarizing figures in America today. Liberals think she's an Angel and everyone else thinks she's the Devil. So, what are the facts here? Is she the Devil or just someone who's (possibly) incompetent and corrupted by power?

11.) Education

Specifically, Common Core and the No Child Left Behind Act. 'One size fits all' solutions don't work.

12.) Making money from people's grief...

Selling 'miracle cures' to parents of children with a special need, self-help courses for mentally disabled/neurologically different people, et al. This one and #6 are very personal for me.

13.) Failure of the New Orleans levee system during Hurricane Katrina

As a New Orleans native, this one is also very personal for me.

After Hurricane Betsy struck and flooded NOLA in 1965. The Federal government had the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers build a system of levees to protect the city from another disastrous flood brought on by a Hurricane. 40 years later, that Hurricane came... and the levees failed. How and why did this happen? Who exactly is at fault? What can be done to make sure it never happens again? (And why did Penn and Teller never make an episode on this topic?)

14.) Political Parties

Ever wonder why our leaders can't get anything done? Why is it always one side or the other trying to dominate and force their views on others? Why is it more about getting their way rather than doing something to help the American people? Because of Political Parties and the pack mentality that goes along with them.

15.) Organized Religion

Now, here's a topic I know Penn and Teller would love...

People blindly following a Pastor's lead, lack of critical thinking, some religions adopting policies and traditions that are CONTRARY to the beliefs expressed in their sacred texts... All of this happens in Organized Religion. I personally would use the Catholic Church as the example/poster child/whipping boy here. That is the organized religion that is most familiar to the viewing audience in America and much of the Western World.

16.) Scientology and other cults

Speaking of organized religions... Scientology is not only obvious BULLSHIT, it's also a dangerous cult. Members are not allowed to leave. When they do, the 'Church' of Scientology essentially declares them an enemy of the state and tells other members to do physical harm to the people that left. They also neglect children, often refuse to let members see doctors and have their own fictional Space Navy. Sound too crazy to be true? I would have thought so too if it hadn't come from a former member that grew up in that crazy cult.

If anyone has any good ideas that should be added to the list, let me know.

- Lord Publius

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Random Thoughts on collecting for Atari 7800, Jaguar and other old systems

- The guy who wants to sell his Jaguar stuff to me wanted $840. That's for the Jaguar console, Jaguar CD attachment and 35 games. I don't know what all the games are. There are doubtless going to be a lot of titles that I *DON'T* want.

- I told him that was too much. He tried to lower it to a mere $800, thinking that would help. It didn't.

- I suspect he also wants full retail or whatever he paid for the stuff. Excuse me while I laugh for a few minutes...

- Anyway, that is not going to happen. I hate saying it but, most Jaguar games were crap. The only ones I want are the ones on my list. Most of those I have had before in years past. That's how I know they are good and worth owning again.

- I tried to tell him that all I really want was the few Jaguar titles on my wanted list and the console itself. He said he'd call me back. I haven't heard from him since that conversation took place 2 (or more) weeks ago. I'll probably hear from him again but, my stance is not likely to change. I'm not buying things I don't want.

- He mentioned that he didn't want to get stuck with games he didn't have a system for and I just had one word to respond to him: ebay.

- I wonder if this guy got the impression that I was trying to get the complete collection for the Jaguar. Not true. The only console where I want to get the complete library would be the Atari 7800. That console's library is relatively small and quite cheap. As an added bonus, most of the system's titles were pretty good and comprised largely of arcade ports and 1st party titles. Score!

- Also, I'm not 100% sure I will actually keep all of the 7800 games, once I have them. I may just keep the ones I like and sell/trade the others. That might be profitable since the 7800 does have a cult following among retro gamers. Not only will the system play it's own games but, it also plays the old Atari 2600 games too. That's a nice bonus and really helps keep the cost for 7800 consoles from bottoming out like the 2600 did.

- The retro market was hot for Atari games about 10 to 15 years ago but, not anymore. It bottomed out because EVERYONE hopped on the bandwagon and tried to jack up the price.

- While there are plenty of gamers who want to see what those old systems were like, most were in it just for the nostalgia. We had these games as kids and wanted them again. Now, we all have what we want (for the most part) and prices will NOT be going back up EVER. Unlike classic Nintendo and SEGA systems, the graphics on Atari consoles are too primitive to even tell what a character is much of the time. Besides the all-time classics that are constantly showing up in Atari compilations for newer systems, it's unlikely that many other 2600 titles will have an audience with newer generations. They just haven't aged well. So, anyone selling loose 2600 carts for more than a buck or two is out of their mind.

- You can probably say the same thing about many of those early 3D games from the PS1, SEGA Saturn and some N64 titles with the really low polygon counts. They haven't aged well, either. Other than certain classic shooters and RPG's, just how often do you see someone going out of their way to collect old PS1 games?

- The classic Nintendo and SEGA systems of the 8 & 16-Bit era though, had graphics and sound that were timeless... and often cartoonish. So, the NES, Super NES, Master System & Genesis will always be valuable. Atari should be able to get in on that too with the 7800 and Jaguar. Both of those consoles ended up with some really great games that have stood the test of time. The 2600 hasn't been so lucky because of the now-dated visuals and VERY primitive (yet instantly recognizable) sound. The 5200 is reviled because of its lackluster controls. That is a shame since it did have a few good titles but, stuff happens...

- Lord Publius

Friday, January 24, 2014

Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh 30 years ago today

Say what you want about Apple as a company. It doesn't matter. This computer is still easily one of the most important machines that Humanity has ever built.

Happy 30th Birthday, Macintosh.

- Lord Publius

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hilariously Controversial Opinions

And now, to test people's loyalty/limits by expressing opinions that are bound to entertain and/or piss them off... :P

1.) The Death Penalty is BULLSHIT.

2.) This 'Autism Spectrum' is also BULLSHIT. Comparing an Aspie, who's usually just the weird kid in class, to someone with Classical Autism will NEVER be anything but a logical fallacy. Aspies can learn to function in society. A Classical Autistic will be lucky if they can learn to read and write their own name.

3.) If you are trying to sell your old video games to someone, don't expect to get anywhere near what you paid for them. Even if they are rare, that does not mean that they are as highly prized as a night of passion with the woman of your dreams. In fact, old games are like any other collectible commodity: They are only worth what someone is willing to pay for them. Besides, game collecting is usually for nostalgia purposes. Most of those old games don't age very well...

4.) Women are like Bacon. They look good, smell good and taste good... and slowly kill the men that love them. Despite that, I still can't get enough Bacon. :P

5.) Fake Tits are BULLSHIT, unless the woman getting them is having the surgery to correct serious deformities or replacing tissue removed in a mastectomy. No, I don't care if having a small bustline makes you feel insecure as a woman. I can promise you that having large bags of saline or silicone stuffed into your chest is not going to get rid of those insecurities. Learn to love yourself and then someone will actually be able to love you. Besides, not all guys care about bust size. Some prefer that you be packin' some heat in them jeans, girl. Why did you think the phrase 'Dat Ass' actually existed? My Anaconda don't want none unless you've got buns, hun! (Yes, I did just shamelessly rip off Sir Mix-A-Lot. The brotha had a damned good point.)

6.) Criminalizing Prostitution is also BULLSHIT. All it does is make it possible for violent Pimps to practically enslave some poor Hooker, steal her money and beat the shit out of her. Not only does that sound much like what the Feds do to the American Taxpayer but, it also sounds like a good blog topic... Also, I am not the least bit interested in screwing Hookers. Why pay for it when there are plenty of good sluts giving it away for free? :)

7.) I don't care if Marijuana is legal. It won't make me want to smoke the shit...

8.) I don't care if the Government legalizes Gay Marriage. Churches are not going to be required to recognize the marriages as valid. That would be a violation of their Freedom to practice their religion under the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution. That being said, Homosexuals probably didn't really need to push for Gay Marriage to be legalized in most cases. Ever heard of a civil union? It accomplishes many (if not all) of the things they were trying to get from being able to marry and the religious nuts won't give a shit about them. They would view it as a legal contract because that is all they are... (This would also make a good blog topic...)

9.) I used to think that H. L. Mencken was very cynical. Now, I'm starting to wonder if he was a freakin' Nostradamus. His expressed opinions on the Media and Government were quite chillingly accurate to today's sad state of affairs... Or, is the current state of the Media pretty much the same as it always has been? Either scenario is pretty scary...

10.) If you get elected to public office, you should accept the fact that you are going to be thought of and treated like an ASSHOLE. You should also accept the fact that you probably deserve it since some of your decisions are bound to have some very negative consequences for someone. That someone most likely did NOT deserve to be bothered/burdened with your Bullshit, either. And that is the reason why I am so hesitant to run for public office, despite so many people asking me to do so over the years... (Yes, I know. I think they're all crazy too... :P)

11.) I believe the money I make is mine and should be used to take care of me and my family. It does not belong to some idiot bureaucrat that wants to give it to some welfare recipients squirting out Crack Babies. Besides, the 'War on Poverty' failed. There is still just as many people in poverty now as there was in 1964 when that waste of tax dollars began. The problem is not based on economic disparities. It's a social issue based on some people either having very bad luck or just being stupid. That will never go away. Like a Jewish Carpenter friend of mine once said, the Poor will always be with us.

12.) I don't believe that anyone ever got hurt by listening to one of Ozzy Osbourne's songs. Unless, he was in a mosh pit when it happened... Speaking of which, no one ever got hurt because of ANY Heavy Metal song... Unless it was played so loud that your ears began to bleed. In that case, you either have a fantastic sound system or you're attending a damned good concert. :)

13.) If want to sell me a hamburger, you better do it in American-Standard English. I shouldn't have to speak Spanish (or Ebonics) to place an order at Burger King. Besides, speaking Ebonics just makes you look and sound like a retard. “Yo Nigga, let me get some of that Whopper and shit. Ya feelin' me, dogg?” Did that sound intelligent? I didn't think so, either. And these mouth-breathing Ass-clowns want to be paid $15 an hour... Yeah, right...

14.) I don't use excuses like "It's for the children" as a shield for unpopular opinions or actions. (Take that, Democrats!)

15.) I think that Rap is the worst excuse for a form of music that has ever been used to plague mankind. (And you thought Disco & Dubstep sucked...) As long as the Black community in America continues to embrace the Thug culture that Rappers tend to glorify, what racism against them that still exists will grow. Advocating dangerous forms of anti-social behavior (i.e. pimping, gang-banging, drug dealing, drive-by shootings, et al.) has a tendency to do that... Their community will also be the permanent underclass of American society from here to the end of time unless they make some serious changes soon. (That ought to cause some controversy!)

16.) I think you can kiss God's ass however you want, just leave me out of it, okay?! That also applies to your sexual preferences.

17.) Hillary Clinton is the Devil herself!!!

18.) I don't hate the rich or pity the poor. Nor do I want to make rich people poor by taxing them to (supposedly) support those who were already poor with some ridiculous government program that will never work. (Please refer back to talking point #11.)

19.) I strongly suspect that Global Warming is largely BULLSHIT. Where are all these 'climate change experts' when I'm freezing my ass off in another long, extremely cold winter? Where is the evidence to support your claims? How can emissions from cars be destroying the Ozone Layer or creating a Greenhouse effect? Hasn't Science already proved that Chlorine gas emissions from chemical plants are what damaged the Ozone Layer? (Those emissions have since been outlawed in the United States.) Also, how can Carbon Dioxide be the catalyst for global warming when it comprises only 3% at most of the world's Greenhouse Effect? This must be some Asshole trying to push an agenda...

20.) About this 'Reparations' crap... I've never owned a slave or been a slave. None of my ancestors owned slaves either because they were essentially dirt-poor White Trash from Sicily, Ireland, Germany, Spain, and England. They were practically slaves themselves in the economic sense. And yet, no one is thinking of giving me a reparations check. What the Fuck? Also, I didn't wander around in the desert for 40 years after getting chased out of Egypt. I haven't burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks. Neither have any of you. So, please SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!!!

21.) Speaking of Race-baiters... I want to know which church that the Rev. Jesse Jackson preaches in every Sunday. And where does he get all of his money? And why is it he's always part of the problem and never part of the solution? (Same goes for Al Sharpton.)

22.) I think if you're too much of a freaking retard to figure out how a ballot works, then you don't deserve to vote. (Especially if you're going to decide who's going to be running the most powerful nation on Earth for the next 4-8 years...)

23.) I never worry about dying before I get even. All of my personal enemies have long since been eliminated as a threat. Muhuhahahahahaha...

24.) I believe that it DOESN'T take a village to raise a child, it takes TWO GOOD PARENTS!!! And I don't care if those parents are a gay couple. Having gay parents will not make the children gay. For the most part, Homosexual leanings are genetic rather than taught via socialization. Children can be successfully raised by single parents but, that is usually not an ideal situation.

25.) Dr. Seuss was a genius.

26.) I'm not that angry or disenfranchised; no matter how desperately the elite media wants the rest of the world to believe otherwise. Chances are that I'm even more pissed off than they could possibly imagine!

27.) Violent video games DON'T make a kid shoot his classmates. His parents are the ones who should be blamed for that brand of stupidity. What kind of parent allows a (possibly deranged and/or mentally impaired) minor to have unsupervised access to guns anyway? (Fuck YOU, Adam Lanza, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold!)

28.) I think the RIAA has a lot of nerve suing a 12-year old for downloading music off of the Internet. Almost every piece of 'music' that comes out nowadays is total crap. Hire ACTUAL artists with some ACTUAL talent and then you won't need to worry about piracy. You'll be selling Records like Gangbusters again. People like buying things! They just don't want what they buy to be CRAP. Also, Vinyl needs to make a much larger comeback than it is already. That format has much better sound quality than any CD or digital track ever will.

29.) I really wish people listened to George Washington when he told us that political parties were a mistake. Things have gotten so partisan that hardly anything can get done.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. - From George Washington's Presidential Farewell Address.

^^^Well spoken, Mr. President.

30.) I think that any and all kinds of leaders in the world (regardless of their political leanings) could learn something from the leadership of Ronald Reagan. Even his mistakes (i.e. Iran-Contra) could provide valuable lessons.

31.) I think America's borders should be protected and that illegal immigration from Mexico (or anywhere else) should be stopped as soon as possible. I don't care how badly Wal-Mart, Farmers and Contractors want cheap (practically slave) labor. The quality of that labor is usually worse than Labor Unions!!!

32.) Speaking of unions, why do we allow that particular form of Socialism to exist? They're the primary reason for outsourcing and the reduced quality of goods/services in manufacturing, education and many other areas of the economy. (The sooner the UAW burns in Hell, the better...)

33.) I know that Freedom is more than a state of mind. It's also a lot more than just another word for “nothing left to lose.” (Sorry, Janis Joplin.)

34.) I think Political Correctness is the new Fascism. Since when do Left-wingers think they have the right to tell me how I should think and feel about something or someone? If I want to dislike something or someone, that is my concern. Same goes for Right-wingers who may not like my opinions on the War on Drugs being a farce, the Death Penalty being BULLSHIT, the Vatican being an Organized Crime Syndicate, etc. etc. etc.

35.) Gaming websites are also BULLSHIT. Since Nintendo decided to use cartridges on the N64 instead of optical media, they have been trying to convince people that the company will go bankrupt. That never happened. N64 & Gamecube didn't sell as well as they liked but, they were still profitable. Nintendo OWNS the portable market and has since 1989. The Wii surprised the Hell out of these 'analysts' (which are usually financial authors and opinionated dopes talking out of their ass) and went on to sell more than 100 Million units. THEY AREN'T GOING AWAY. Nintendo has so much cash saved up that they can do anything they want for years.

36.) All that being said, Nintendo hasn't done a good job of properly marketing the WiiU and that needs to change pronto. That system is awesome. Thanks in part to that system (and the high costs of their competitors offerings), I have ZERO interest in buying a PS4 or the XBOX One. Sony made their console too expensive by throwing in EVERYTHING they possibly can except backward compatibility this time around. Microsoft wants to control what I do with a product that I purchased and make me pay for online services that the competition gives away for free. No dice, assholes.

37.) Speaking of Microsoft... What the fuck is that company's major malfunction? I like the first XBOX but avoided the 360 like the plague because of its hardware issues. Those issues could have easily been avoided if they just designed the internal hardware and electronics BEFORE designing the external case. Also, I got so sick of the BULLSHIT with Windows that I switched to Linux last summer. I'm not likely to switch back. Linux has no viruses, no random download sabbath and it will NEVER help the NSA to spy on me. EPIC FAIL, Microsoft.

38.) I will never even consider buying a Japanese car. They turn me off about as quick as a broad that can't fill a sweater. Korean cars are ABSOLUTE SHIT. Most European cars don't do it for me, either. I HAVE SPOKEN!!!

39.) ...and finally, (Bill Clinton please pay attention)

I believe that if she has her lips on your dick, then it is sex. It is sex for the both of you. This even applies if she's a fat pig with self-esteem issues and you're a fool that sold his soul (and gave his last name) to the Devil to become President of the United States. "IS" means is, Dumbass!! How the Hell did you get to be President (or get your now useless law degree since you've been disbarred) without knowing that ‘is' is a preposition and doesn't even have a definition!?!

- Lord Publius

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy MLK Day... I guess...

Every year, we turn MLK's birthday into a Federal holiday where many people take off from work or school. I doubt the good Reverend would like that since Education and meaningful employment were so dear to him but, people do it anyway.

However, what would he think of American culture and/or the Black community today? What would MLK say if he were alive today? I shudder at the thought of it... Especially since this scene from an episode of the Boondocks might not be too far off...

For once, I have nothing further to add. There's just no way that I can follow even a fictional MLK. He just said it all... and he can get away with it because he's not White.

And no, I don't feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable discussing this subject. I just don't like giving leftist morons any kind of reason to accuse me of racism/sexism/homophobia or anything else they routinely use to destroy people's reputations.

- Lord Publius

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Death Penalty is Bullshit

I came across a news article in my Facebook newsfeed about an execution gone horribly wrong in Ohio. It's not uncommon to hear about such things, either. Feeling horrified yet? You should be... Truth be told, this shitbag the State decided to murder deserved a pretty horrible punishment. He committed a truly terrible crime. However, I am still against capital punishment for many reasons. They are as follows:

1.) Many executions end up getting botched in some way.

These botched executions cause a lot of cruel and unusual punishment. Cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited under the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2.) The most common method of execution, Lethal Injection, does not provide a truly painless method of executing criminals.

More often than not, there is less anesthesia used on the convict than a Veterinarian would use on an animal being put to sleep. Horrified yet? You should be...

3.) Furthermore, Lethal Injection was NEVER intended to be a humane and painless way of executing people.

It was invented by Adolph Hitler's personal physician, Karl Brandt, as a means of exterminating enemies of the State, namely Jews in Concentration Camps. Horrified yet? You should be...

4.) If it is not okay for an individual to commit murder, then it is not okay for the State to do it, either.

With regard to domestic policy issues, States should NOT EVER have powers that citizens can't have. Especially over matters related to Life and Death. By supporting the Death Penalty, you are granting power to the government that they should not have. Horrified yet? You should be...

5.) There have been many cases where a Death Row inmate's conviction was overturned after it was discovered that they were innocent.

It's usually because DNA evidence was either falsified, used to exonerate the convict, discovered to be inconclusive, improperly collected from a crime scene, et al. That means we are sending innocent people to Death Row, where they will be killed by the State for a crime they never committed. Horrified yet? You should be...

And before anyone tries to use some Bullshit argument like 'How would you feel if it was your loved one that was murdered?!' or some other non-sense, the answer is no. I don't want the perpetrator put to death by the State. I want that asshole to suffer for the rest of his life in prison, preferably in solitary confinement or suffering under hard labor until he's too old and crippled to break rocks with a sledgehammer. Then, he can stamp out license plates until he drops dead on the job. That's a lot worse (and a much more fitting punishment) than having the State give him a lethal overdose of some drug cocktail. It also spares someone from having to be the Executioner and live with the moral quandary of being employed by the State to kill other Human Beings.

There is no humane way to put a Human Being to Death. Period. The only acceptable instance where execution is even something to be considered (let alone carried out) is when dealing with an individual convicted beyond shadow of a doubt of Crimes against Humanity. End of Discussion.

- Lord Publius

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Random Thoughts for 12 Jan 2014

- Seattle people are assholes. Period. Also, to Seahawks fans, I have one thing to say: Feel free to suck-start a shotgun like your boy Kurt Cobain. That is all.

- 'Operation: Flawless Victory' is already underway. I'm pricing out the cartridges online right now. The list on Price Charting's website lists a few titles I've never heard of before, mostly because they were rumored prototypes and more homebrews. Too bad that a 7800 version of Crystal Castles doesn't actually exist. It wouldn't have been as good as the arcade version but, it would have been LIGHT YEARS better than the 2600 version.

- I hate it when female Porn Stars try to call themselves 'regular girls.' Bitch, YOU FUCK ON FILM!!! THERE IS NOTHING REGULAR ABOUT THAT AT ALL!!!

- Speaking of Porn, I am getting VERY sick and tired of so-called 'Christians' constantly trying to demonize that industry. That industry does a good enough job demonizing itself without the help of a Bible-thumping pastor.

- Why do I think that Porn does a good enough job demonizing itself? Well, constantly trying to force people into doing things they don't want to do might be one of them. If a nude model doesn't want to screw someone on camera, don't try to change her mind. If a starlet thinks that a particular sex act is too gross/painful, then it probably is, mang! Afterall, would you want to have some guy with a 12" cock fucking you in the ass? No, I didn't think so!

- Finally, The porn industry has NOTHING to do with global sex trafficking at all. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Quit trying to insinuate that BULLSHIT. Hell, Penn & Teller already did an episode of their show "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" about the Porn industry already and thoroughly disproved that non-sense.

- Anyone that posts anything to Facebook about Kim Kardashian that also ends up in my newsfeed is getting blocked. 'Nuff said.

- I need to spend more time trying to learn the ins and outs of the Linux OS. It is FAR better than Windows in virtually every way. The only reason I keep Windows around now is for old games that won't work in WINE or whatever other emulators may be out there for Linux...

- Speaking of which, I have a number of old programs that I need to install on my Linux Distro in WINE. My old copy of Photoshop CS2 (since the Linux equivalent named 'GIMP' is just plain terrible), a few games and maybe a few other things too...

- I miss the days when I had a new episode of a great Sci-Fi TV show to look forward to every week. I don't care if it was Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who or something else.

- Okay, that last one was a lie. I miss Star Trek more than all the rest. Still, I do miss seeing new episodes of BSG and DW on the Sci-Fi Channel every Friday night.

- Also, I miss when the Sci-Fi Channel actually still cared about Sci-Fi, when it wasn't called 'SyFy', DIDN'T waste their money on made-for-TV B-Movies and aired pro-wrestling shows.

- I need to get caught up on DW. The last episode I saw was the first one with the latest companion Clara Oswald. I have been a negligent Whovian.

- That being said, I haven't seen every single adventure from the first 7 Doctors, either. Some of them are difficult to find, even on P2P download sites. Demonoid used to be great for that but, alas, someone found a way to shut them down.

- Now that I think of it, I need to get caught up on the latest season of True Blood too.

- There are several things I'm going to do when I finally do return home to NOLA for good:

1.) Organize all the stuff I have in storage, especially my game/home video/music collections.

2.) Spend a LOT of time with my dog.

3.) Have a bonfire at a friend's house out in the country with some very special fuel in the form of some old clothing I don't need/want anymore. I may film it and put it on YouTube as well. No, those clothes can't be donated to a clothing drive. Yes, there is a damned good reason for that too. There will be more info on this bonfire once I finally get back to where I belong.

- That reminds me... I am thinking of switching over to Vimeo since Google is fucking around with YouTube so much.

- Google, take it from me, your attempt at a social networking site (aka Google+) is not going anywhere. Facebook has that market to themselves. The only reason Twitter even exists (let alone has popularity) is because Hollywood people use it a lot and Twitter has seemingly no restrictions on the kind of links and pics you can post there. That might also explain why Porn Stars seem to prefer Twitter over Facebook... Hmmm...

- I just talked on the phone to the guy who sold me a few Jaguar games a few months ago at Play Raven. I may be able to get a Jaguar system out of him. More details to follow.

- As of right now, my game collection stands at 69 systems (including all consoles, portables, computers and multiple copies) and 830 Titles spread across them. The actual number of games is much higher at a whopping 2,749 because many of the titles are 'greatest hits' collections and compilations. And I still want more... God help me and my wallet...

- Lord Publius

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Operation: Flawless Victory

Goal: To collect one working copy of every officially-released game for the Atari 7800 ProSystem.

I've chosen to find the complete software library for this system because it has the smallest library of any console I have, expect perhaps for the Atari Jaguar. However, even the crappiest Jaguar games can be unbelievably expensive so, unless I win the lottery, completing that console's library will be impossible. (Not to mention that there are some really crappy games on that console that I really DO NOT WANT.)

According to Wikipedia, there are 59 officially released games for this system and 27 aftermarket homebrew titles. Homebrews will not be included in this operation because it might prove impossible to find them. (Or, at least just impossible to find at a reasonable price...) Also, all I really need is the cartridge. I don't care about the boxes and manuals. The boxes were cardboard and probably haven't held up well over the years. The manuals are also quite pointless since games for this console were so incredibly simple. Many of them were just arcade ports.

I mentioned this project to the owner of Play Raven earlier today. He mentioned that he didn't like 'completists' because they basically admit to having some really crappy games by tracking down a copy of every title on a system. If I owned a game store, I'd love those guys. They are a great source of revenue. Also, SOMEONE has to buy all those sports games and titles made by the company of Laughing Joking Numbnuts that usually collect dust on the shelves. :P


Games I have already:

Asteroids (2 Copies, both are complete in the box.)
Dig Dug
(2 Copies.)
Ms. Pac-Man
Pole Position II
(3 Copies.)
Robotron: 2084
Super Huey UH-IX
(2 Copies, 1 with a manual.)

Games I need:

32 in 1
Ace of Aces
Alien Brigade
(I have the NES version of this game. The 7800 version is better in some ways.)
Dark Chambers
Desert Falcon
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Junior
Double Dragon
F-18 Hornet
Fatal Run
Fight Night
Food Fight
Hat Trick
Ikari Warriors
(I didn't think much of the NES version of this game.)
Impossible Mission
Kung-Fu Master
Mario Bros.
Mat Mania Challenge
Mean 18 Ultimate Golf
Midnight Mutants
Motor Psycho
Ninja Golf
(I played this in an emulator. It's actually pretty awesome.)
One-On-One Basketball
Pete Rose Baseball
Planet Smashers
RealSports Baseball
Scrapyard Dog
Summer Games
Super Skateboardin'
Tank Command
Title Match Pro Wrestling
Tomcat: The F-14 Fighter Simulator
Touchdown Football
Tower Toppler
Water Ski
Winter Games

Furthermore, I don't mind acquiring a few more units of the console, its AC Power/RF Cables and controllers, either. Especially that joypad controller that was only released in Europe. Some of them have found their way to the United States over the years. While I don't have much of a problem with the joystick controllers, some think they aren't very ergonomic. They can become uncomfortable to me after I have been playing for an hour or so but, gaming sessions on 8-Bit Atari consoles don't normally last that long anyway.

There's no telling how long this operation is likely to last. Cartridges for Atari 7800 are often difficult to find in the wild. While millions were made and sold, they are not quite as ubiquitous as the cartridges from other classic 8-Bit systems like the Atari 2600 & NES. There are plenty of online resources, though. I guess I'll find out once I start lookin'...

- Lord Publius

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Random thoughts on New Year's Eve, gaming and other non-sense...

- New Year's came and went without me giving two shits. Holidays don't mean much of anything when just about everyone you'd want to spend a holiday with is a thousand miles away. I'm glad that I'm leaving my current job and heading home soon.

- I am not wasting time with Resolutions. No one ever keeps them and I don't need excuses like a new year to do anything or make changes.

- Got past Orxon (finally) on the original Ratchet & Clank (via the Ratchet and Clank Collection on PS3) last night. Only 7 more worlds to go before finishing the game... I think...

- Also made some progress in DOOM 3: BFG edition for PS3 as well. For a graphical upgrade/re-issue of a 2005 PC game with a few new levels, I'd have to say that the game is *quite* creepy so far... And I'm still not quite used to the controls yet but, that will change as I play the game more.

- The controls could use some work on the versions of DOOM 1 and 2 that were included on the disc. I'm also unhappy with Bethesda for changing some of the SFX and the graphic symbols on the medical kits in those old games too. Why was that necessary? Is a red and white pill really more symbolic of a medical kit than a red cross? Also, why does the music sound very tinny and off-key? I sure am glad that I still have the PC originals... [/kinda pointless gamer rant]

- I am really loving this PS3 that I got for a mere $60 but, I need to play with my Wii U and 3DS more, especially since I have the new Mario Game for Wii U and new Zelda game for 3DS. That changes tonight.

- I don't have to go to work today (Yay!) and it's also my birthday. So, I'll first head to Play Raven to see if they have any new stuff I can add to my collection as a birthday gift to myself. If not, it's no big deal. When I went last week, the place was pretty low on things that I didn't already have/would have actually wanted. However, they do have a hard copy of my 'want list' for Atari, Nintendo, SEGA and Sony consoles now. Anything can happen...

- Either way, I'm probably heading to Applebee's afterward to treat myself to a decent, non-microwave dinner. I wonder if they give service-member discounts on days that AREN'T Monday or Veteran's Day? Also, will they give me a free piece of cake for my birthday WITHOUT having all the store employees sing to me? I have hated that since Childhood. It's quite pretentious and just embarrasses me to witness it happen to other people. I'd imagine that it would be worse if I was on the receiving end. After all, it's not like anyone working there really cares that I managed to cheat the Reaper for yet another turn around the sun...

- Lord Publius