If there’s one thing gamers can’t get enough of it’s creepy Deviantart pages dedicated to Sonic the Hedgehog characters!
If there’s two things gamers can’t get enough of, it’s hashing over what horrible imagined threats wish to strip our games away from us and force us to get real jobs and/or pay attention to our spouses. While most of these are irrational bogeyman, it’s an understandable reflex; our industry is composed of highly creative individuals whom we wish to support who happen to be managed by awful, awful people who are horribly ineffective businessmen and/or outright sociopaths. In addition, every time a new school shooting takes place we’re the first people the media want to blame, which leads me to question how William’s pinball division avoided a media firestorm when Charles Whitman climbed atop a bell tower in Austin, Texas.
But that’s for another day. For now let’s take a look at who’s currently trying to ruin our industry, and how they’re going about it, both from within and without and their odds for doing so:
Title: CEO, Activision
Accomplishments: Reduced the Tony Hawk franchise to a flaming ruin, made Guitar Hero a tedious chore; urinated upon grave of Kurt Cobain; turned Infinity Ward into the most hated name in PC gaming; Ruined Blizzard, crushed creative spirit of all subordinates.
Method: All-consuming hatred; greed.
Synopsis: Bobby Kotik hates you and wants your money and has exploited this managerial philosophy to make Activision Blizzard the largest and most profitable videogame publisher in the world. Bobby Kotik cares not for the creative process or the idea of “games as art” or even for “games as reasonably price mediums of entertainment.”. He is possessed of nothing but contempt and greed, and you kinda have to respect that sort of singularity of vision.
Odds of Success: 1:10. Seething contempt and unlimited power are a powerful combination for success, something any student of Soviet Russia can attest. We are fortunate in that Activision has overstepped its bounds somewhat this console cycle, what with Guitar Hero 5, DJ Hero, Band Hero and Tony Hawk Ride all selling for $120 each and their absurdly large boxes competing for shelf space inside the cramped confines of your local Wal-Mart electronics section this holiday season.
Title: President; EA Sports
Accomplishments: Head of Sega of America, Corporate VP of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business, destroyed Sega as we know it Worldwide five time Head That Most Resembles Creepy Alien Skull winner.
Method: Shifts focus of EA to digital distribution and PC hardware; Mastery of sinister telepathic powers.
Synopsis: Okay so maybe Peter Moore isn’t that much of a danger to the console world, but it was his recent speech at the PLAY Berkley Digital Media Conference that inspired this update, wherein he described the current console business model thusly:
“I’d say the core business model of video games is a burning platform”
Which would seem to indicate that EA doesn’t have a lot of faith in the way console games are currently sold. Which is all well and good, but you do also wonder if we’re going to make a shift to a download only retail model if there’s any real need for the console at all at that point and if we wouldn’t be better off just playing games on our computers– which is not something I necessarily disagree with, to be honest.
Odds of Success: 1:100. Let’s not forget, Peter Moore might be hugely successful, wealthy beyond all reason and can dent the side panel of a ’74 Buick via headbutt, but this is also the guy who oversaw the Dreamcast launch in America and Sega’s subsequent departure from the console market. Also the disastrous launch of Microsoft’s first Xbox, wherein Microsoft managed to release a popular console that they did not own the rights to manufacture. Or the Xbox 360, a wildly successful console with a 57% failure rate. What I’m saying is, EA may well abandon the console retail market, but only to see every game downloaded also infest owner’s computers with child pornography and/or the code for Skynet.
Title: Co-Founder, Eat Sleep Play Games; Creative Director, SCEA; Game Development Dude, leader of the Cult of the One Console Future
Accomplishments: Directed the Twisted Metal games; also the God of War games; berates interviewers; engaged in an unhealthy and destructive relationship with NeoGAF.
Method: Refuses to shut up about the One Console Future; excessive use of Quick Time Event elements in God of War.
Synopsis: David Jaffee and his legions at NeoGAF have hit upon the hellish idea of the One Console Future, the insane concept that it would be far preferable for there to only be one console and we’d like it very much to be a Sony console thank you very much
Odds of success: Even. Well, it’s going to happen eventually of course, but hopefully not until some point fifty years in the future where there’s one little company in Brazil dutifully producing Sega Genesis consoles. Other than that, Not Bloody Likely, as Jaffee and his proponents forget that we already did the one console thing twice over– the first time lead to the Crash of ’84, the second Nintendo was sued for anti-competitive business practices. Luckily as long as Jaffee remains tied to Sony he remains utterly harmless
Title: Online distributed computing client; lousy controller
Accomplishments: Soaking up millions of venture capital; raising hopes to ultimately be dashed; allows Steve Perlman access to only the finest Columbian blow with which to snort off the asses of $1k/hour Japanese hookers; instantly erased any gaming community credulity built since the announcement of The Phantom; promises to rid Newegg of millions of dollars worth of USB v1.1 hub back stock.
Method: Dissolution of console games industry through use of secret internet alchemy that allows data packets to travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum.
Synopsis: OnLive promises to rid gamers of the restrictive, DRM ridden, expensive console games industry with its own restrictive, proprietary games-to-rent system using games you’ll never own in physical or digital form. It aims to accomplish this feat by a system of distributed gaming cloud computing, where instead of sitting in front of a television attached to a gaming console, you’d sit in front of your PC, which is attached to a OnLive Router, which is attached to the Internet, which is attached to the OnLive server farm somewhere in Santa Clara, California, where the game would be played on a computer there instead, sent back through the internet to the router to your computer back to you. OnLive proposes to accomplish this feat through “secret optimization code” that may or may not involve ground unicorn horn and fresh pixie blood.
Odds of Success: 1:100,000. Games currently run at anywhere from 30-to-120 frames per second at HDTV resolutions. If OnLive had the sort of technology that allowed transfer of that much data at that sort of speed why in god’s name are they wasting this tech on Burnout Paradise? Even if this works, it’s instantly shut out of any ISP that institutes bandwidth caps and wholly removes gamers who do not have access to broadband speed. Although I’m sure OnLive also has a plan involving unmanned zeppelins and microwave beams to help these poor benighted folk.
Title: Lovable buffoon
Accomplishments: Through a series of comical misunderstandings obtained a license to practice law in the state of Florida; subsequently stripped of right to do so sometime shortly after
Method: Incessant legal filings; clowning around before the media; somehow hired to write state law for the state of Louisiana.
Synopsis: To be perfectly honest Jack Thompson, who was more or less a marginal threat to begin with has been largely neutered by the fact that he is now incapable of practicing law. His once formidable powers are now bent upon the destruction of Facebook, which he has sued for forty million dollars as well as his new quest; to seek bloody vengeance upon the entire judicial system of Florida.
Odds of Success: Nonexistent. Games legislation is advertising for Jack Thompson and he knows it. If gaming goes out of business, he goes out of business.
Title: US Senator; De Facto 44th President of the United States of America; Anti-Christ
Accomplishments: First African-American President, Appeared on cover of Amazing Spider-Man and Savage Dragon
Method: Use of executive powers to force gamers into slave labor camps
Synopsis: He’s on the record as saying parents need to force their children outside instead of sitting inside playing videogames– We can only assume this is to make it easier for government officials to round up the confused, winded gaming masses and force them into government-operated gulags. Also his daughters love the Wii, which itself is attempting to destroy gaming. Plus a significant portion of the populace is convinced he is the Son of Satan, so that might be a concern for some.
Odds of Success: 1: 100,000,000. Luckily there’s no way Obama gets to pass anti-gamer legislation without someone at the Huffington Post mis-hearing it as “anti-gay legislation” and thus subjecting the administration to three weeks worth of hyperbolic, knee-jerk blog commentary and the administration decides to meet everyone halfway by buying everyone in the nation a Nintendo Wii as long as they promise to buy a copy of Wii Fit.
Ghost of Jack Tramiel
Title: President; destroyer of Atari Computers; Hate-fueled Specter of Death
Accomplishments: Possible responsible for the Crash of ’84; Destruction of the US videogame industry; power from beyond the grave.
Method: Seething hatred for fun; vengeful ghost powers
Synopsis: More powerful than death than he was in life, the Ghost of Jack Tramiel seeks to finish the job he only began while still living: The utter destruction of the games industry. Driven by hatred and shockingly poor business acumen, his spirit lives on in every 360 Red Ring of Death, in every failed Wii disc drive, in every cracked DS screen hinge.
UPDATE: After further research it turns out that Jack Tramiel is inexplicably still alive. It remains unclear if this makes him more or less powerful than before or if perhaps he is a Litch, his shambling husk driven on by an all-consuming hatred for electronic media. If he is a litch, then no doubt his phylactery remains hidden in a place no one think to look or dare touch, most likely a Game.com or a copy of the Jaguar port of Primal Rage. As always, be vigilant and consult your local Romani for proper defense against undead.
Title: Leave Luck To Heaven (rough translation)
Accomplishments: Resurrection of the videogames industry immediately following the Crash of ’84 with the Famicom/NES; Third most valuable company in Japan; crushing the dreams of Ichiro Suzuki to one day play in a World Series game; murder of Gunpei Yokoi; ruined gaming; creation of the worst controller in the history of the world in the Nintendo 64.
Method: Continued success of the Wii; being Nintendo.
Synopsis: Founded by the Japanese Mafia to distribute gambling peripherals and to launder yen, Nintendo has built an empire of the family friendly racial caricature that is Mario Mario. Using this vast wealth Nintendo then produced the Wii and the DS, a two-pronged attack against good gaming that has proven enormously successful.
Odds of Success: It already happened! For fuck’s sake the top selling game of the console generation has been a minigame collection where gameplay largely consists of spastically waving your arms! It’s over! They won! I told you this would happen but none of you believed me! You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you all to hell!
Title: Sony Corp; Sony Computer Entertainment; Sony Financial; Sony Pictures Classics; Sony Pictures Mobile; Sony Pictures Studio; Arista; Arista Nashville;
BNA Records; Columbia Records; Epic; Sony Music Japan; RCA; Sony Ericson Sony Group.
Accomplishments: one of the largest media conglomerates in the world; establishment of the Playstation brand; complete and total destruction of the Playstation brand
Method: Overpowering incompetence
Synopsis: Despite such confusing signals as a price drop to $299 for the PS3, Sony remains a potent force in the dissolution of the console gaming market– The PSP Go looks to wholly ruin any hope of digital distribution gaining hold in the console industry and their continued bungling of over twelve years of industry dominance and community good will remains an inspiration for such global luminaries of incompetence as General Motors; AIG and America Online.
Odds of success: 1 : 10,000. Although Sony’s continued efforts in destroying their good name and the good will of the gaming community are commendable; they remain hampered by their continued inability to sell games and thus extend their reach of soul-crushing incompetence to a wider market.
Title: Microsoft Corporation; The Black Ram of the Forest with a Thousand Ewe; Wife of the Not-To-Be-Named-One
Method: All-encompassing predatory evil; Red Ring of Death; silent dread; hard drive attachment that’s tantamount to goddamned highway robbery; Space Marines
Synopsis: Sinister, cynical, openly malevolent and greedy as all fuck, Microsoft has launched a full-on assault on the gaming industry by producing a games console that at once possesses the largest and most compelling game library while at the same time making it an utter fucking chore to actually participate in the hobby. Between their constant nickel-and-dime tactics via overcharging for online play, wifi access and any sort of data storage combined with 57% hardware fail rate they’ve done more to destroy the public’s trust in console gaming than any single entity.
Odds of success: 1 : 10,000. Despite Microsoft’s best intentions developers remain intent on producing games for the system.
Wow, so that went on way longer than I expected and I still never got to Bernie Stolar or Ubisoft or Micheal Pachter.
WALLET ABUSE WEDNESDAY NEXT~!