Monday, November 22

JFK Reloaded: What were they thinking?

You know, most of the time I am rather proud of the industry I cover as a journalist. There is no question that computers have made our lives better. Can you imagine not having email, or the Internet? It's not until you get into the world of electronic entertainment that things get a wee bit murky. Violence in video games is a hot topic and that debate won't end any time soon. It gets worse when games featuring realistic violence, like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, are released to glowing reviews and huge sales. But at least that's realistic violence against fake people. Not so with the new "docu-game" JFK Reloaded. This charmer of a title alleges that its purpose is to help you settle once and for all the questions surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. If you didn't know you had any burning questions about this, don't feel bad. Neither did I. But apparently, a Scottish company named Traffic thinks enough of us do that they want to help us out by allowing us to re-enact the assassination in excruciating, gory detail. I suppose I'm giving away where I stand on this by using those inflammatory words, but realistic violence against real, historical persons crosses the line with me. Traffic is offering me a high score for murder, folks, so let me offer them this score: ZERO! This game doesn't need to exist. Someone in Scotland needs to be taken outside and spanked. Hey, come to think of it now...THAT is a videogame I'd love to play!

Wednesday, November 10

Halo 2 gathers $125 million in 24 hours

In the first 24 hours after its release, Halo 2 took in $125 million dollars. This is the biggest opening day for an electronic entertainment title, ever. It also happens to back up Microsoft's prediction that Halo 2 opening day sales would eclipse the largest Hollywood blockbuster. ("Spider-Man" has that record, taking three days to reach $114 million. Chump change, by comparison.) I'm sure that some of you say this is proof that Xbox is a stronger platform than previously thought, and the bolder ones might even thump their chests to warn Sony that Microsoft hasn't given up the game console war, yet. I think Halo 2 is a great game, but I've got to ask whether these stunning numbers don't just mean the Xbox is a console with only one great game. That, and I worry Hollywood will bust out $50 movie admissions to play catch up.

Wednesday, November 3

Spammer sentence fair, or just convenient?

Jeremy Jaynes was sentenced to nine years in prison for sending out spam (unsolicited commercial email). Now, I hate spam as much as the next person and I would certainly like to see spammers held accountable for their actions, but... NINE YEARS? People have been caught with drugs, stolen major sums, and beaten each other half to death without seeing that much jail time. Is this a case where a frustrated public, tired of the shadowy nature of spammers, took out its rage on the one who got caught? Should this guy really do nine years in the big house because he sent a hundred thousand junk emails? His sister, convicted with him, gets a $7,500 fine. In my opinion, this is a crime about money (the spammers have a desire to get rich without working for it) and the punishment should be about money. Take every dollar this guy has, or is likely to make in his lifetime. If he has to spend the rest of his life living in a shelter, asking people at work if they want fries with that burger, I am fine with that. However, I find myself cringing this morning at what certainly appears to be a mob mentality and a thirst for revenge on the part of the jury. Let's see what happens from here.