Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rated E for everyone.. with parents

Nothing quite cracks me up yet kills me inside more than when a news station covers a story that has absolutely anything to do with videogames. If you happen to come across such a happening, you can be absolutely certain of one thing: the news station will not be saying anything flattering about the game. As a matter of fact, they will usually try to blame the videogame for causing some sort of problem.

Today's great and honest story comes from a more local yet completely professional and capable news station, North Carolina's WBTV. While this station is not very well known, it attracted massive internet attention after it aired a very interesting story.. < /sarcasm>

In the news clip, a father voices that he was very upset when he was playing Portal 2 with his adopted daughter because one of the game's characters (Wheatley) began to mock the main character (Chell) for being adopted. He taunts her for being "fat" and for having a lack of parents. How insensitive! Well, it certainly appears that way from an outside glance, or, the glance WBTV allowed you to get. Too bad they never actually played the entire clip from this so-called "offensive" scene. While it doesn't explain everything, it does show that this certain part of the game isn't as bad as it seems. If only the entire clip was shown.. then maybe WBTV's audience would have been much better informed. But that doesn't exactly contribute to ratings, now does it?

In the FULL clip from the game, it is much easier to tell what's really going on here. We can clearly see that Chell was immediately defended after Wheatley's remark by another character from the game, GLaDOS. Yet again, from the view of someone who's never played Portal, this may seem a bit better, but why would that mean little robot ever say something so horrible and insensitive? Why is Valve making such mean characters in their games! After all, isn't Portal supposed to be educational?

Well, I'm going to make a few points, and first off, Portal is not an educational game, however, that's what WBTV would like you to believe. In no commercial, magazine, flyer, poster, or any other advertisement by Valve will you ever see Portal being sold as an educational game. It's just a bunch of science fiction puzzles with a nonexistent gun. I suppose they teach you how to use fictional physics to solve puzzles? Portal is essentially as educational as Tetris: they're just problem solving games. I guess it COULD be claimed as educational in the sense that it makes you think about things for half a second unlike games like Call of Duty where you run and gun. Either way, the claim that it was marketed as educational is completely false and made up on the spot. Awesome reporting WBTV!!

The next point I'd like to make is, well, doesn't EVERY game, movie, tv show have a villain? Isn't the whole point of a villain supposed to be someone you don't agree with or someone who is wrong and needs to be stopped? Of course they're going to say things that are mean, that way you feel the need to act against them. If not, aren't they just normal people? Should we get angry at Disney for letting Jafar call Aladin a street rat? After all, there may be someone who'd take offense to that! No.. We shouldn't, because the villain is ALWAYS going to do and say things we don't like, that's the point of them being a villain! In this part of the game Wheatley is now considered the main villain, so he is SUPPOSED to be against the main character, therefore, he will say things that go against the main struggle. And for those who don't know, his role in the entirety of the game was that he was a computer core DESIGNED to be stupid and to make bad decisions. This was Valve's way of making it humorous. The main villain was supposed to be evil and intelligent, but instead is a dumb robot that degrades itself to childish banter. Not only that, but within 30 seconds of his mean comments, GLaDOS interferes and shows just how shallow and childish they actually were. When I was back in school, I got teased MUCH worse than anything in this videogame, I think WBTV needs to make a story on that too. While they're at it, the government should ban children from talking in school because they're going to say mean things and someone's probably going to get offended. WBTV's and almost every other news stations' problem is that they don't UNDERSTAND what they're reporting, and neither do ANY of the parents watching. I bet if we did do that story on Jafar, everyone would think it's pointless. Well, how come? It's the SAME situation. Reason is because no one condones the actions of the villain. They're supposed to be there to advance the plot.

Finally, the last point I'd like to make is, why was there no mention of fat people in this news clip? After watching it, I actually felt the insult was pretty insulting to fat people as well. I think we're going to need another story that covers fat people too! They were probably SUPER offended when that fictional character called them out!

So even with all this nonsense and stupidity from news stations that makes me want to scream, it's always nice to put your fist in your mouth and try to find the humor of things. What I find even MORE hilarious and ironic than a news station covering something it has no idea about is that this was nowhere near the most offensive clip in the game about adoption... In the video below, which does take place in the game far before the "controversial" section of the game the news covered, GLaDOS gets pretty nasty about the whole no-parents issue.

But in all seriousness, in the end, who are you to blame when your kids get into some sort of videogame such as this? Well, I may not be much of a parent, but I dunno, maybe you should TALK to your kids about it? GOD FORBID YOU TALK TO YOUR KIDS!!! I don't know what it is with parents and actual PARENTING but for some reason they want no part of it. If you have a daughter and she's already 10 years old, maybe it's time to tell her she's adopted... I'd imagine that's something you'd do when the child is 6 or 7? Not only that, but why is it so taboo to talk about something like that? Adoption isn't something that's frowned upon, it's completely fine. I don't see why telling your child they're adopted is hard at all. If anything, it should be easy. YOU chose THEM! You love THEM! Whether or not their biological parents do is literally meaningless. I define a "parent" as someone who raised the child, not someone who gave birth to it.

Young people never know anything

While stalking around facebook, I found a very amusing chain letter one of my friends had posted. It started out with the sentence "Anyone over the age of 35 should read this, as I copied this from a friend .."
Well, I'm not over 35, but I was nosey and decided to read it anyway. Here is the message in it's entirety:

Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. I apologised and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days".

The cashier responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations".

She was right about one thing--our generation didn't have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on "Our" day, here's what I remembered we did have....

Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building.
We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go half a mile. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappis because we didn't have the throw-away kind.
We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales.
In the kitchen, we whisked & stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not polystyrine or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza place.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please post this on your Facebook profile so another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smarty-pants young person can add to this.

As you can imagine, after seeing this I posted that it wasn't really true. This was met with several angry people (probably over the age of 30) claiming that it was and that all of their parents did ALL these things! How convenient!!

Well hey, I guess something like this would obviously make someone like me (a person well under the age of 35) quite butthurt. Why wouldn't it? That was it's intention, clearly. But it wasn't the fact that it was basically an article about an old man calling out the younger generation and trying to excuse himself from creating energy problems that bothered me. After all, why should I care? I'm certainly not perfect, but I am quite careful and considerate about the energy I use. The thing that really bothered me about this article is how false it was. Was this post intended for people over 35 or over 85?
The first aluminum cans were used in the 1940s and 1950s, the first company to use milk cartons was in 1915, gasoline lawn mowers were invented around in 1910, plastics such as polystyrene were being used since the 1800s and even bubble wrap came around in 1957.
So maybe that first sentence should've changed. Maybe people over 50 should have been reading that message.
Despite the age, what does this even matter? Cars, fridges, fans, TVs, and almost any other machine or appliance you can think of in the 1980s and back was horribly inefficient in the ballpark of energy consumption. Cars had horrible gas mileage, fridges and washing machines used twice as much electricity as they do now, and since there was never any sort of energy problems, people never bothered to upgrade or change their power sources. As a matter of fact, back then WAS horrible. But don't get me wrong, today is horrible as well. The only difference is that we now realize that we've majorly screwed up, so we ARE trying more "green" techniques. However, since there are literally 100 million more people living in the US since the 1970s, our population hasn't exactly been working towards our efforts to conserve things, but out actions are, whereas a dozen years back or so, the population was alright, but the actions were not being taken to conserve the environment. So WAIT, how funny! That lady in the story who was the clear villain was actually completely right. People from older generations actually didn't give a flying f*ck about the environment! Not because they were all evil of something, but maybe they didn't know or have the technology to change it. And even with all the people who happened to do all the things mentioned in the article things were still bad. Sooo I mean, the cashier was actually completely right. The only problem is that the article tried to turn the situation into some confrontational BS so the old man would have a good excuse to put 'er back in her dumb ol' youngin' place! Damn kids and their E-mail BACK IN MY DAY WE HAD LETTERS AND MAILBOXES!

Ok, so what's all that mean? Basically, the world is just as environmentally insufficient as it was back then. There is very little difference. What helped me deduce all of this so quickly? A simple afternoon of googling articles on my own and learning facts instead of believing some made up information you found in a chain letter over facebook. So why the hell would someone post something like that? Why would someone make up a story that's a blatant lie? Well, isn't it obvious? It makes people feel good and it SOUNDS true, right???
This is the essential difference between my generation, and the older ones. Where I see potentially false or biased information, I looked it up and educated myself. The older generation, on the contrary, likes what it sees and decides this had to be fact or dislikes what's said and immediately labels it as crazy talk. These chain letters and posts geared towards making people feel better about themselves and trying to passively-aggressively put other people down are quite pathetic. Why don't we all just accept it as our problem? Who cares what happened before, it was a different time, we can't blame people back then for not knowing about all these problems with the things they invented. It's EVERYONE'S problem and everyone, regardless of age, should be concerned with fixing it. Just because you're old doesn't mean you can sit back and criticize people. No one is going to change their ways if you post confrontational BS like this on facebook. It's only purpose is to rally old-people pride.