Tag Archives: video games

Video game critics are, generally, 1) unsophisticated fanboys and 2) rather poor at debating Roger Ebert

Part 1: It’s really not that insulting if Ebert doesn’t consider something to be “art”
As you may be aware, there has been a bit of a debate the past few years between video game nerds and Roger Ebert regarding whether or not video games can be considered art. It seems the battle was rather painful for a lot of the pencil necks because they previously had some sort of respect for Roger Ebert that they feel has now been somehow betrayed. From the beginning, Ebert only vaguely described his criteria for achieving “art” status and he gave very few examples of what sorts of things do qualify as art. He thinks of video games in the same way that he thinks of football, tennis, checkers, and Clue. In other words, he sees them as games. But that makes sense, at least from a certain perspective.

Ebert really isn’t is a snob, either. This is a guy that enthusiastically recommended the lowbrow comedy Kingpin so I don’t think you can call him an elitist, at least within cinema. However, I imagine that within his definition he probably wouldn’t call Kingpin art. My point is, I doubt that Ebert believes that only high art is worth anyone’s time. Most recently, Ebert admitted he shouldn’t have opened his mouth about video games and that he wasn’t truly qualified to make some of the judgments he made but that he stood by others, etc. etc. Naturally, the nerds rejoiced as if they had won some great battle.

Part 2: Video game critics think God of War is art (LOL)
The saddest part of this epic is that so many of the writers that so righteously defended video games from Ebert are the same people that give such excellent reviews to soulless stinkers like Halo, God of War, and Call of Duty (I picked these examples because I hate them in every way available to me and don’t find them fun or well-designed in the least but they are indeed quite popular).  These are basically mindless franchise games that involve running around and destroying everything in sight.  They do not make any real statements or emotional connections with the player.  However, a lot of people think these games are fun.  And ultimately, reviewers are only basing their reviews on a game’s fun level and production values.  That’s fine and dandy, but they prove that they are not looking at the world, media, product and art the same way a typical film reviewer would.  Giving God of War a 9 out of 10 would be the equivalent of Ebert giving Transformers **** (<—that’s supposed to be four stars).  It’s just not going to happen.  Mindless, soulless crap usually doesn’t earn widespread critical acclaim in the film world.  In the world of video games, mindless, soulless crap gets great reviews all the time as long as it appeals to the fanboy writers between 25 and 35 that work for sites like IGN and Gamespot.

Was there a point to this post?  Probably not.  Just remember, in the year 2010, video game critics are complete fanboys that look at video games as games and grade them accordingly but then become enraged when an outsider also looks at video games as games and grades them accordingly.

Laconic Oration – November

Here are a bunch of images from Natalie and My image-blog: Laconic Oration.

All of these are from the month of November, which was a busy month over there. We found a bunch of great items that needed to be shared. This selection is just a very small fraction, so if you like looking at things, go to the blog.

ps- click here and here to see small collections from September and October.

more at http://laconicoration.tumblr.com


Fleur 4: The Movie

So here’s a respite from video game and Batman-related posts: a short movie made by myself and my good friend Ryan Ingram, waaaaaaaaaay back in 1999. Ten years! We made this during one of the very slow nights we had working at the Carmike Cinemas Fleur 4 Theatres in Des Moines, Iowa. Now known as the Fleur Cinema & Cafe, the theater shows …. But back in 1999 the Fleur was on its last legs, having recently become a discount theater due to the opening of a multiplex close by. The next year it would close, only to be reopened as an indie theater a couple years later.

ANYWAY….by the point this movie was shot, we often had nights where two, one or no people showed up. There was hardly anything to do…usually on these nights, we just reused popcorn made the night before instead of making fresh stuff. So even after doing our homework, we still had plenty of time to kill. Hence, this movie. I don’t remember where this idea came from…it was probably more of an excuse to screw around with camera angles and such, as opposed to creating well-rounded characters. But I think we’ve always found blind prejudice to be an interesting subject for comedy (is this funny?). But I’m trying not to oversell it: first and foremost, it’s a fun reminder of what was going on in my life ten years ago. So check it:

Thanks to Ingram for the upload!


Mario Family Tree

it looks as if i’m taking over matt’s specialty section of the blog today.

here’s another nerdy video game post:

some amazing person made a mario games family tree.

check out the full tree via geekologie


Nintendo Championships 2009

JJGames.com, based out of denver, just re-created the nintendo world championships and nintendo campus challenge in their “retro games championship”. i guess the owner of this company has the elusive gold cartridges from both competitions, and used them as reference for the competition. (as an aside, these cartridges cost him a total of $31,500) 

duplicate carts were made based on the ROMs, and they set them up on 10 screens for the competition. 5 screens for the world championship, in which players had to get 50 coins in super mario bros., finish a special rad racer track, and get as many points as possible in tetris before the time reached 6:21, and 5 screens for the campus challenge (based off the 1991 competition), where players had to get 25 coins in super mario bros. 3, 100,000 points in pinbot, and highest score in dr. mario also before the 6:21 time limit.

sounds like fun! maybe next year they’ll include re-creations of the star fox: super weekend and nintendo powerfest ’94?

JJGames.com | Retro Game Championship 2009


National Game Registry: Mattel Electronics Intellivision

United States Library of Congress

Mattel Electronics Intellivision

image: INTV Funhouse

Mattel Electronics Intellivision
image: Old Computers

Mattel Electronics Intellivision
image: Old Computers

This article features the best games released for the Mattel Electronics Intellivision as selected by the National Game Preservation Board and recommended for permanent preservation by the United States Library of Congress National Game Registry.

System: Intellivision
Manufacturer: Mattel Electronics
Debut: 1979 (test market), 1980 (mass market)
Nation of origin: United States

Mattel Electronics entered the video game business in 1979 with their Intellivision console, simultaneously launching the first great console war with competitor Atari. The Intellivision’s controllers were very complex, featuring button inputs, a keypad, and a dial/wheel for directional movement. So complex was the input that overlays were provided for users that had difficulty remembering the controls for each game. The Intellivision is considered by some, thanks to some rather acrobatic logic, to be the first 16-bit system, which shows exactly how meaningless bit counts really are compared to processors and graphics/audio chips. Debatable claims aside, the Intellivision was capable of some very attractive graphics and its games contained more musical content than many of their contemporaries on other systems. Along with its main competitor, the Atari 2600, the Intellivision survived the video game industry crash of 1983 when Mattel’s game development team bought the Intellivision rights from Mattel. The new company, INTV, continued as a mail-order business throughout the 1980s.  The following Intellivision releases have been inducted into the National Game Registry:

Astrosmash (1981)
SNAFU (1981)
Utopia (1981)
Pitfall (1982)
Shark! Shark! (1982)
Thunder Castle (1982)
Diner (1987)


Emulation: National Game Registry recommends Nostalgia for Intellivision emulation on home computers.

Manuals: Many Intellivision games are less than self-explanatory. An extensive collection of original manuals and controller overlays may be viewed at Intellivision Lives

Reviews: Video Game Critic offers several Intellivision reviews.

Visit the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

National Game Registry: Magnavox Odyssey2 / Philips Videopac

United States Library of Congress

Magnavox Odyssey2 / Philips Videopac

image: The Old Computer

Magnavox Odyssey2 / Philips Videopac
image: Old Computers

This article features the best games released for the Magnavox Odyssey2, known as the Philips Videopac in Europe and South America, as selected by the National Game Preservation Board and recommended for permanent preservation by the United States Library of Congress National Game Registry.

System: Magnavox Odyssey2/Philips Videopac
Manufacturer: Magnavox (a division of Philips – USA)/Philips (Europe)
Debut: 1978
Nation of origin: United States

The Odyssey2’s debut was so muted that Philips decided almost immediately to discontinue the system. In an unusual act of passive defiance, American Magnavox did not discontinue the Odyssey2 but crept forward on a shoestring budget without a large marketing presence to promote its games. Incredibly, Magnavox employed a game design team consisting of only one person, Ed Averett. In spite of its low profile, Odyssey2 managed to maintain its presence all the way up to the video game crash of 1983/1984, when Philips finally pulled the plug for good. The system had a small, derivative library with very little third party support but Averett a few releases have earned entry in the National Game Registry, including:

K.C.’s Krazy Chase


Emulation: National Game Registry recommends O2EM for Odyssey2 emulation on home computers.

Manuals: Many Odyssey2 games are less than self-explanatory. A collection of manual transcripts may be viewed at Ozyr’s Odyssey2 Archive

Reviews: Video Game Critic offers several Odyssey2 reviews.

Visit the National Game Registry to view more inductees.