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Comment Re:I think Beck has started to believe his own con (Score 1) 1276

There's a huge difference. Saying that the Republicans are going to kill PBS and NPR is a far cry from saying that death panels are going to kill your grandmother and that the Islamic Brotherhood and "european communists" are working together to sew chaos in the middle east in order to destroy Israel.

The level of hyperbole is far more extreme on the whole on the right than on the left. Sure, there are leftist extremists, but there's no money in it, so no one really pays attention (Air America). Scaring religious fundamentalists and older conservatives is actually lucrative, absurdly so. Enter Fox News and Rupert Murdoch.

MSNBC and CNN pale in comparison when it comes to raw hyperbole.

Comment Re:That's disgusting (Score 2, Interesting) 207

I would love to see a citation of the program currently in place that pays people to not grow grain. The Farm Subsidies Act of 1973 pretty much eliminated the act of paying farmers to underproduce or not produce crops. Subsidies since then have favored over-production, particularly beneficial to very large companies and very damaging to small, family farms.

The Military

Military Personnel Weigh In On Being Taliban In Medal of Honor 171

SSDNINJA writes "This is a feature from gamrFeed that interviews nine US service members about playing as the Taliban in the upcoming Medal of Honor. One soldier states that games like MoH and Call of Duty are 'profiteering from war.' Another says, 'Honestly, I don't really see what the whole fuss is about. It's a game, and just like in Call of Duty, you don't really care about what side you're taking, just as long as you win. I don't think anyone cares if you're part of the Rangers or Spetznaz, as long as you win.' An excellent and interesting read."

Comment Re:Plot and script-writers (Score 1) 385

Any fiction writer, playwright or screenwriter will tell you that you have that backward. The king died and the queen died is a plot. It's a series of events. When you get into why it happened it becomes a story. But ultimately, you're right... story is more interesting than plot, but you can't have a good story without a plot. Story is dependent upon plot. You can have a plot without a story though.

Romeo and Juliet is a story. Boy meets girl from a rival family. They fall in love. They die tragically and kinda stupidly. That is a plot.

Star Wars. Small town boy fights an evil galactic empire with the help of a ragtag band of helpers. That's a plot. Small town boy discovers he's one of the last of a long line of mystical warriors. He fights an evil empire with the help of a mercenary in search of personal redemption, an embattled princess who is actually the small town boy's long lost sister, a couple of robots who serve as comic foils... blah blah blah. That's a story.

People like listening to, reading and watching a story unfold. Reading, listening to or watching a plot unfold is well, a lot like experiencing a powerPoint presentation filled with nothing but bullet points. This happens at this point. Then this happens. Then this happens. And this. And this. The end.

Comment Re:Plot and script-writers (Score 1) 385

Actually, you have that backward. Video games have plots, a series of things that happen. Story involves "story arcs", character development, internal conflict, external conflict, etc. Creating a plot where you care about the protagonist and his journey, then you have a story.

I'll use Dog Soldiers as an example again. Light on story. Heavy on plot, but a lot of fun. Most genre films tend to be light on story, but if you play to the strengths of the genre, watching the plot unfold can be a lot of fun.

You can have a plot without a story, but you can't have a story without a plot.

Comment Re:Doom is DOOM not Resident Evil (Score 1) 385

Ever see Dog Soldiers? Not high art by any stretch of the imagination, but a fun movie nonetheless. Reservists go into the wild for exercises. Oh crap! Werewolves! Find refuge. Survive the siege during the night. People die. Make jokes. Fist fight werewolves. Oh no! Someone's with them on the inside! Morning comes and the survivor moves on... Total genre flick. Entertaining, but not high art. Given the modest production budget, they made the most of it and made a lot of money in DVD sales and rentals.

Trying to make profitable summer blockbusters out of what are essentially cheesy genre flicks is an exercise in bad economics.

Comment Re:Plot and script-writers (Score 1) 385

Really, the only way they can make these work is to go all out as genre flicks where character development and story arc isn't all that important. Most video games map almost directly to some cult genre. LIke a poster above said, shoot 'em up, throw in some cleavage, maybe a boob or two, some cool explosions, some blood and guts, off color humor and bang! You have a direct to DVD movie that stands a chance of actually making a good return on investment. Trying to cram these into theaters is a lousy idea given the amount of money needed to market and distribute them. Cut through all that, print up a bunch of DVD's and sell them in the bargain racks at major retailers.... profit! Cult classics.

Comment Re:Plot and script-writers (Score 1) 385

Add to the fact that most video games just don't offer the kind of human connection most people expect out of a movie. They simply don't gel structurally. Doom? Lone man shoots monsters... not much to it. The moment you add character motivation, attempt to create a story arc and internal conflicts for the protagonist, you've already gone far beyond what the video game itself has to offer a good story. Like someone said, "Add a little Alien to 'insert another action/sci-fi movie here' and you have an instant hit." That's the ultimate problem with the conversion. What is fun in a video game isn't necessarily fun in a movie. Adding what makes for a good movie to a usually VERY simplistic storyline ruins both what makes a movie good and what makes a video game good.

Real Time Strategy (Games)

StarCraft II To Be Released On July 27 220

Blizzard announced today that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the first game in a series of three, will be released on July 27. The game will contain the Terran campaign (29 missions), the full multiplayer experience, and "several challenge-mode mini-games," with "focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies." It will launch alongside the revamped, which we've previously discussed. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said, "We've been looking forward to revisiting the StarCraft universe for many years, and we're excited that the time for that is almost here. Thanks to our beta testers, we're making great progress on the final stages of development, and we'll be ready to welcome players all over the world to StarCraft II and the new in just a few months."

Game Difficulty As a Virtue 204

The Wii and various mobile gaming platforms have done wonders for the trend toward casual or "easy" games. But the success of a few recent titles, despite their difficulty, has caused some to wonder whether the pendulum has swung too far; whether a little frustration can be seen as a good thing. Quoting: "The evidence is subtle but compelling. For one example, look to major consumer website GameSpot's Game of the Year for 2009: Atlus' PS3 RPG Demon's Souls, which received widespread critical acclaim – none of which failed to include a mention of the game's steep challenge. GameSpot called it 'ruthlessly, unforgivingly difficult.' Demon's Souls was a sleeper hit, an anomaly in the era of accessibility. One would think the deck was stacked against a game that demanded such vicious persistence, such precise attention – and yet a surge of praise from critics and developers alike praised the game for reintroducing the experience of meaningful challenge, of a game that demanded something from its players rather than looked for ways to hand them things. It wasn't just Demon's Souls that recently flipped the proverbial bird to the 'gaming for everyone' trend. In many ways, the independent development scene can be viewed on the macro level as a harbinger of trends to come, and over the past year and into 2010, many indies have decided to be brutal to their players."

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982