Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Dear Nintendo: Consoles Are Not Nikes

The SNES Classic launch is already a disaster. But you knew that was coming and I knew that was coming and honestly I don't see much reason to get too mad about it. I'm still mad anyway because I've always wanted to play games like "Donkey Kong Country" and "Super Metroid" and this was a fantastic affordable way to play. But I was asleep last night and ate lunch at 1 PM today, so I couldn't order one. My Walmart pre-order was cancelled and Walmart did nothing to give me a chance to order again, I just missed my chance at Amazon at 5 AM this morning.

So in the SNES Classic department: I'm fucked.

I don't see why it has to be like this. I don't get why Nintendo has to be so utterly stupid. At least with companies like Walmart you can see the psychopathic corporate logic at play. Walmart has never pretended to be anything other scumfucking evil since the start and when they actually are scumfucking evil, you can't really blame them for it. Nintendo meanwhile acts like this dumb little puppy that is only peeing on your leg because it loves you that much. I've had quite enough of the family-friendly rounded-corners nostalgia hug routine. There's charmingly foolish and then there's the medieval nightmare that is "Splatoon 2"'s voice chat system. Don't call this anything but what it is: stupidity.

The SNES Classic pre-orders are, to nobody's surprise, hopelessly inadequate for the demand of the console. This is either due to gross incompetence on Nintendo's part or some kind of brilliant scheme to drum up interest by limiting supply as all the armchair economists on /r/nintendo claim. Either way, this is supposed to be a nostalgia piece. Now I don't know about your childhood, but I don't recall mine being filled with frustration, failure, and utter confusion. (Unless we're talking Wet-Dry World in "Mario 64".)

I thought Nintendo was a company for everybody. Instead they're trying to be Nike - badly.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Tolerating Intolerance Myth

Since John McCain had to ruin my last post by growing a spine, the Health Care debate is over. The Trump administration has proven itself to be a feeble and utterly useless machine that cannot accomplish any Republican goals. The battle in America isn't in Washington anymore. The battle now is in the streets. Charlottesville this weekend revealed to everybody a lot of ugly things about this country that I've been seeing for a year now. Trump is a failed joke who cannot govern. But as a symbol of the festering evil in this country? Oh, he's a brilliant success.

Donald Trump is not a Nazi. He is however, a source of inspiration to Nazis. He's deeply beloved by Nazis. He hesitates to condemn Nazis when he never hesitates to condemn his own cabinet members. Trump is a willing accomplice to these people and only maintains vague pretenses of plausible deniability. Charlottesville may not be what you thought of when Trump said he would "Make America Great Again", but this is the result. (Trump himself has no idea what MAGA means and never cared to find out.) The president might not believe he is a racist, but his actions, inactions, and statements are a clear message otherwise. There is no political calculus that explains the president's behavior. Also there definitely are no excuses.

The solution for the White Nationalists is not easy. But let's not bog ourselves down in false equivalencies here. Freedom of Speech is a great virtue in this country. However, fantasies about open discourse being the solution to everything have already failed. But while the government can't stop Nazis from speaking, that doesn't mean the rest of us are bound by those same rules. The First Amendment lets you talk. But it doesn't say you're still welcome in society after you've spoken.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

John McCain's Speech Was a Fraud

It takes a lot to make the single worst speech of 2017. It takes a special lot to make that speech just a few hours after Donald Trump's furious rant about everything under the Sun to poor innocent Boy Scouts. No, the worst speech of 2017 needs to actually in some way disappoint. Nobody expects anything from the president anymore. It should come from a voice that has earned respect, that has actual weight behind it. That way the utter hypocrisy and fraudulence of the speech can have its true weight crushed down upon you.

Senator John McCain today has made the Worst Speech of 2017. It is a final stain on a storied career of heroism and national service from a man I honestly respect*. At a key moment in American politics, boosted by the drama of a cancer diagnosis, McCain had the eyes and ears of the nation. This was his time to make his legacy. And instead of doing that, he made a cowardly, nonsensical argument full of false equivalences. His words were the literal opposite of his actions. It proved in the end that John McCain only wanted to appear to be a "Maverick". He never would actually be one.

It's so easy to complain about "partisanship" in Washington. Hell, I'll do it now: "there is too much partisanship in Washington". But I'm not in Washington. Nothing I do or say makes any difference in the end so saying it is easy. I wish that the Democrats and Republicans would stop screaming at each other and honestly try to work through a solution on healthcare. But that's an empty wish. I'm not actually doing anything. It's as empty as wishing for "world peace" or "ending racism". Sure it sounds nice. But without changing yourself and working towards those goals, it's all bullshit. Because to end partisanship takes bravery, self-reflection, and a willingness to admit one is wrong. Which are qualities John McCain said he had today, but did not.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Inescapable Choice: America or Trump

I've tried not to jump too fast into this Trump-Russia business.

I'll admit, I was one of those who wanted the story to be true. And it was exactly for that reason that I wouldn't believe it. Today's world is lacking in people who can question their own side. We need more second-guessers, we need more caution. Only, it turns out I've been over-cautious with this Trump-Russia story. My excuses for the president sound just like Republican talking points now. "Oh, this is all a liberal conspiracy theory." "Oh, the NSA is more evil." "Oh, he's just a stupid old man that didn't know anything." "Oh, maybe it was just a few bad apples in the campaign, but Trump himself is innocent." Let nobody accuse me of not giving the president the benefit of the doubt.

But that's finished. This week's latest revelation proved I was wrong. Donald Trump has conspired with enemies of the United States*. Say that out loud, if you will, because you need to say it. This is a real thing that needs to be said with your real lips. "Donald Trump has conspired with enemies of the United States." Of that fact, there can be no longer any doubt. The only question is how severe the crimes and whether he should remain president. Or rather, how best to solve the wound that has been inflicted upon the United States right now.

I am writing this post because we have a crossed a line into dangerous territory. Every one of us when presented with evidence like this have to make a choice. Trump supporter, Trump hater, your political past does not excuse you from the decision. If you still don't believe the story, this is no longer just willful ignorance. You cannot pretend this story doesn’t exist. You are actively making a choice if you still support Donald Trump at this point.

And if you're still with Trump, you're choosing something terrible.

Monday, June 19, 2017

E3 2017 Games I Want to Talk About

I think we've all come to agree that E3 2017 was one of the weaker shows in recent memory. Nintendo apparently "won"... though I've always been rather if-y on what mechanism actually determines "winning" E3. How do the points work again? Do you gain or lose field position when you trot out a pair of nobody English comedians for your soccer game? The point is that 2017 was a lesser show. The year blew its load early with all my biggest hyped games, like "Breath of the Wild" and "Persona 5" and "Horizon Zero Dawn" and "Nier: Automata" all out by April (I'll review the other half eventually). That left E3 to be a lot of filler.

Plus there just wasn't a lot of huge news even with new consoles to talk about. The Xbox One X or "XXbone" looks pointless to me unless you have a 4K TV in which case you're already so rich you don't need games. You can just hire poor people to fight to the death for exposure for you amusement. Sony was just killing time until 2018 when their new crop of exclusives will come out. And while Nintendo killed it, they can't exactly carry the games industry all on their own. We all know what the Switch is by now, that can't be the story anymore. And strangely there was also not a ton of indie presence, which I feel was a mistake. It all added up to a slow, weaker crop of games. But ironically also a ton of games that I think have promise. In fact, too many games I could see myself playing.

So for this year's E3 reaction I'm going to try to keep this as short and sweet as I can. We're going to use some triage and get right to stuff that I'm most interested in talking about. If a game is not mentioned here it doesn't mean I don't have hype for it, it just means there isn't anything to say. Here's why a lot of stuff got skipped:

1. It's just more of what we saw in previous years. This would include "God of War 4", "Detroit", "Cuphead", and yeah, even "Kingdom Hearts III".

2. It's new but isn't doing much that's really new. So nothing on the "Shadow of the Colossus" remake, "Far Cry 5", or that "Uncharted" DLC.

3. It used the word "loot" in the marketing. There is no faster way in 2017 to make me lose interest in your game then saying "loot". I hate loot. Loot is not a reason to play a game. Loot is an annoying extra chore. You of the "Minecraft" generation are killing gaming with this loot crap.