A Week In Comments

What Did The Simpsons Ever Do For Video Games?
Comment by: westartedthis
Nominated by: NeöStarr

I don't think it's an overstatement to say that when video games were parodied on "The Simpsons" (and they were, countless times), it introduced segments of the population to video games who had previously not been interested or thought about them. After all, at the height of its popularity almost every TV-owning soul in the world was watching the show. Gamers and non-gamers alike were watching.

So when Bart was kicking Homer's ass in "Slug Fest", it legitimized "Punch Out" for people who weren't already playing Nintendo (poor bastards) and when Bart stole the Mortal Kombat-like "Bonestorm" while caricatures of Donkey Kong, Mario and Sonic cheered him on, it was a reference non-game players suddenly wanted to "get." And anyone who ever found themselves playing one of the many completely lame golf games that existed before EA gave us PGA-licensed golf sims can appreciate "Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge." What about the episode where Lisa got addicted to Bart's Crash Bandicoot-like platformer about Dingos eating golden babies? I'm not even mentioning the literally dozens of arcade game parodies Bart and others can be found playing in various episodes (okay, just one - Martin plays "My Dinner with Andre: the Arcade Game").

"The Simpsons" were notorious for lending their license to shitty products - something else that the show itself has made fun of ad nauseam, and that extended to video games, but it would be an oversight to say that the show was not fully engaged with games and game culture throughout the show's lifespan.

I think other comments on this topic prove that what the Simpsons contributed to video games was a healthy dose of satire within the show itself - people might not remember "Virtual Bart", but try finding a Simpsons/video game fan who doesn't still laugh at the words "BUY ME BONESTORM OR GO TO HELL!"

Which is kind of what scares me about Kotaku sometimes - the Simpsons hasn't contributed anything to "the broader medium?" Sometimes I think all you guys do is play video games because you are shockingly disengaged with how games relate to other media sometimes.

Alleged Unfair Work Conditions At Rockstar San Diego
Comment by: WittyUserName
Nominated by: jayntampa

"Look, when you marry a firefighter, you don't write blogs complaining about how they fight fires all the time and might get burned, right?"

You might if you were sent into a burning building without proper equipment or backup.


Alleged Unfair Work Conditions At Rockstar San Diego
Comment by: WittyUserName
Nominated by: WittyUserName

This is the reason why I left the industry and do not seek to get back in. I never made it past dev testing, but there is an overwhelming unwillingness to speak up on the issue with regards to everyone employed in these circumstances. These companies can and will take advantage of their workers and the potential workers who will fill the place of those, like me, who opt out of a career of extreme servitude. Until they actually do try to stand up, whether that's through the extremely unpopular prospect of unionizing or unilateral demands by some watchdog agency, this trend of overwork and negligence of personal quality of life needs will continue. To leverage a career over the head of people that are suffering because of that tactic is sick and twisted, and it is done because it is tacitly accepted. Until that acceptance changes then the industry will retain these cutthroat ways, and if it does, maybe the jobs will go elsewhere, and that will cause further problems down the line. Such is the path of growing industries, as it always has been, but hopefully won't always be.

Parent: Nintendo DS Would Have Distracted Newton From Discovering Gravity
Comment by: DZeroStar
Nominated by:

I am an avid gamer, and I am a physicist.

While growing up, my parents provided me with a Commodore 64, an Atari 2600, 7800, an NES, a Super NES and (eventually) an N64. I used our 486 computer (with math coprocessor—that I helped install!) for gaming, including modifying autoexec.bat to optimize playing Hexen. I coded my own DOOM levels as part of a high school programming project.

They bought me a computer for college that I made sure was more than capable of handling Quake II. I borrowed different friend's Playstations periodically in college, and got a PS2 when it launched.

I played a lot of games growing up, and still do. RPGs taught me strategy and patience and forced me to do a lot of math in my head. Installing and running games on the PC taught me a lot about computers, including how to troubleshoot both hardware and software problems. During middle school, my extra-curricular reading material was almost exclusively gaming magazines, which I would often memorize maps and strategies from.

But plenty of my gaming was just for fun. Did Mike Tyson's Punch Out! really teach me anything? I doubt it. Even though he's a lot of fun to hang out with, Mario probably didn't either. Sometimes I even got angry and threw my controller—until I broke a complicated turbo controller once and had to drill out the screw holes and bolt the thing back together to make it work again.

Now I am a physicist. Did I become one because of gaming? No, though the computer skills I learned by maintaining my own gaming PC still come in very handy. Did games keep me from following in Newton's (or Einstein's or Hawking's or Feynman's) footsteps? Definitely not! In fact, quite a few of my fellow physicists are gamers, so I'm not an exceptional case.

However, my parents certainly stressed the importance of education and cut off my gaming more than once to make sure I finished my schoolwork and my chores. I don't see why so many "parental watchdog" groups like to focus on gaming as the reason for poor grades or poor behavior. Poor time management skills I could believe, or perhaps an underlying psychological problem, like depression or anxiety, that a child attempts to "self-medicate" with games. But these problems need to be noticed and dealt with by the parents.

Gaming is fine. I'd like to say "in moderation," but I probably had much more than a "moderate" amount of gaming and I believe I still turned out OK.

I look forward to gaming with my son. We'll have some fun together. Maybe we'll even accidentally learn a thing or two. I'm sure that sometimes he'll behave badly and sometimes he'll bring home a poor grade. But I won't blame video games for it, instead I'll work with him to fix whatever real problem he has.

Video games are still relatively new. The first generation of true gamers is only beginning to change the course of the world now. Great minds like Newton and Einstein only appear once a generation or so, if we're lucky. It may well be that the next great mind is already among us, holding a controller in their hand as they contemplate the nature of the universe.


Muscle March Seems A Little More Than E10+ Described This Way
Comment by: Koztah
Nominated by: ggodo, the man from R.O.A.C.H.

Using nothing but quotes from the ESRB descriptions of popular games, I have put together what ultimately will become the greatest game of all time:

"The happy bodybuilders can dance together in space. Pedestrians, straphangers, school teachers, farmers, police officers, and librarians are fully clothed as they go about their business. Steak can be attached to a baby to attract lions; If players wish to, they may type in the word vomit, which causes a beige-colored lump to appear on the screen.

Machine guns, missile launchers, and sub woofers can be used to kill druids and consumed objects sometimes pop out of the snake's rear end, making a comical "splat" sound. Characters emit frequent splashes of blood that stain the city streets, walls and use profanity such as "sh*t," "a*shole," and "b*tch" in dialogue, in battle.

The goal is to be accomplished through assassination: when blades connect, blood shoots out in a fountain-like manner as targets groan or scream. The spurts and sprays of blood that accompany some of the stabbing attacks can be intense and include references to adultery, sodomy, prostitution, and rape. Telekinesis, electricity, and fire/freezing can also be used to kill the populace, blood splatters in all directions! F**king sodomites everywhere!"


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...Did WittyUserName just nominate himself or is there something I'm missing here?