Weekend Ponderings

The Irony of the Governator

Is there a bigger hypocrite than Arnold Schwarzenegger? Here’s a guy who made his name by starring in ultra-violent action movies like Conan the Barbarian and Terminator, and now his state is at the centre of the California Violent Videogame Law controversy. Make no mistake, the Governator is a big part of all this (the case is, after all, called Schwarzenegger Vs. EMA). Isn’t it amazing how people quickly forget their roots when it comes to politics?

You can easily make the argument that he wouldn’t be the governor of California today if he hadn’t been so famous for his starring roles. And now he’s front and centre in a fight to control video game content. What happens if California wins this case, setting precedent for other states to introduce their own laws to control or outright ban the sale of “violent” video games. Do you really think it’ll just stop with video games? What happens when another politician that doesn’t want to tackle real issues decides that other entertainment industries should be next? Like, say, movies. Wonder where Arnold will be then?

Rock Band Bundle Bungling

Here’s something strange. PS3 owners in North America won’t be allowed to get the Rock Band 3 bundle that has the keyboard and game disc. You’ll still be able to buy them separately, of course, at their standalone prices, which is looking to work out to $10 extra. Of course, non-North Americans? Good to go, the bundle will be available. Xbox 360 and Wii owners? You’re good too. Only the PS3 version in North America is affected. Why? Harmonix are claiming this is “due to the agreement terms for the region”. Because vagueness always works with gaming fans. Speculation is already abundant that this is Micro$oft at work again, buying an exclusive. Doesn’t explain why one particular bundle is affected and why the Wii will still get it, but fanboys will always find a reason to rag on MS. You know how much I love the practice of artificial regional rights restrictions, and this is just another example of that. You would think that at the very least, Harmonix or EA should offer an actual explanation beyond what little they’ve given here, if for no other reason than to kill the speculation and not make them look so bad.

The Nerds Are Attacking

We’re typically against pirating games around here, but maybe we should soften that stance, given the recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks by members of their forums on the websites of anti-piracy targets. The RIAA, MPAA, BPI, ACS:Law, AiPlex Software, and other targets have all felt the nerdwrath. We don’t have the skill, quite frankly, to combat and recover from an attack like this, so, uh, long live piracy!!!

Seriously, though, while I personally may not condone what the 4chan guys are doing, the fact remains that these organizations have kinda brought this on themselves, since many of them have taken to using heavy-handed measures to combat piracy. So much so, in fact, that I really can’t sympathize with them too much. There has to be a better way of dealing with piracy, but a lot of these organizations don’t seem all that interested in looking for those, preferring easier methods like lobbying for favourable laws and brute force lawsuits. (AiPlex actually thought it would be a good idea to DDoS some torrent sites themselves. Points for balls, but all points and then some taken away for the inherent INSANENESS of that idea.)

These 4chan guys are hardcore, and when they focus their rage, it’s not pretty. I’m not sure how this will end, or how far it will go. Like the bomb threat against anti-piracy law firm Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver on October 2nd that some think might have been called in by a 4chan’er (they’d already DDoS’ed them a couple of days previous). But I do wonder if some of these “victims” will re-evaluate their tactics and ease off a bit, or if they’ll be emboldened by these attacks and use them for justification to continue pursuing litigation, etc., or even step up their efforts. Just understand that this proxy war is going on when you’re giving your kids that DS with the R4 cartridge, or downloading those songs/movies/games from your favourite torrent site.

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Co-founder and Managing Editor of GamerPops, Jeff Peeters is a husband and father of three precious and energetic boys who make every day an adventure. When it's daddy gaming time, he enjoys games in the inFAMOUS, Assassin's Creed, and Uncharted series. Follow him on Twitter @jpeeters.


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