Friday, April 6, 2012

Dream Big, Slacker

I can wrap my mind around a lot of video game concepts.  Listening to a sweaty John Madden for hours on end.  Micromanaging bathroom habits for Sims.  Delving into a fantasy that is anything but final.  Getting married to an elf chick in WOW only to find out he's a stay-at-home dude.  I can, on various levels, understand that.  One thing I've never understood, though, is video games based on the Olympics.

The Olympics appeals to the broadest fan base as possible.  Many die-hard sports fans that I know find the Olympics to be boring fluff with consequences that matter not one bit in the "real" world of sports.  The games themselves are great for the networks, as they justify inflated ad rates.  With this in mind, I find it extremely puzzling that anyone plays video games based on these games.

First of all, I know these games are produced, but I don't know if anyone really buys them.  I've never seen anyone play one.  I've never heard of anyone outside a game critic who has played one.  I don't even recall seeing them available for rent at any video store.  Nobody has ever said to me, "Oh, you've got to play Vancouver 2010."  Nobody.  Ever.

Who are these games made for?  Who plays them?  Slackers looking to dream big?  "Well, I always wanted a gold medal in downhill skiing, but I'm stuck working at Wendy's and can only do it in video games because I can't get time off to train."  I seriously doubt that is the scenario at play here.  So what is it?

I imagine the companies that put these games out lose money on them.  They think, "This will be the Olympics game that puts Olympic games on the map."  And they see the profits rain in.  Or maybe they are tax write-offs, which seems far more logical.

If anyone has any insider information on this senseless craze, I'd love to hear it.  In the meantime, I'm avoiding these like I avoid corned beef hash and other senseless items.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

To The Kill -- Nazi Hunting in a New America

If there's one group even the most peace-loving, bleeding heart liberal thinks it is okay to kill, it's Nazis.  One need not look any further than video games to see this in action.  In fact, when it comes to video games, the only group to fare worse than Nazis when it comes to head and crotch shots is aliens.

The Medal of Honor series, started by Hollywood's most acclaimed Nazi hunter Steven Spielberg, is a franchise created around the joys and hopeful historic revision of Nazi hunting.  This isn't the only franchise or game where this has happened, either.  Nazi shooting is uber alles.  Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines, Wolfenstein, Battlefield 1942 ... the list goes on.  Had any other group been the target of such animosity, people would be up in arms.  A franchise based around the killing of, say, the Quakers?  Congress would be holding a special session and lots of hand wringing would ensue.

There have been other groups of people targeted (no pun intended) by video games.  People from the Middle East come to mind.  When it comes to Nazis, however, it seems not only okay, but lauded.

Yes, Nazis were "bad guys."  And, yes, as a group it is historically fascinating.  I just find it odd that people aren't a little uncomfortable with this wholesale slaughter of people who really existed as entertainment.  I know that video games are fantasy, but is it really this many people's fantasy to go around collecting Nazi head shots?  Again, what if these games weren't based around killing Nazis, but instead shooting Occupy Wall Street members?  Liberal Slaughter: Tent City Terror brought to you by Rush Limbaugh?  Wouldn't that raise some sort of red flag?

Of course not.  It's Nazis.  Who gives a fuck?  They lost (or so we think).  They did horrible, awful things, unlike any other political group in the world or throughout history.  Plus, it's a matter of numbers. When the US put Asians in camps during WWII (sponsored by Nabisco), it was for that blanket known as National Security, and we didn't execute millions of them.  The Nazis are always worse.  That's why we brought them into our country and utilized them on the space program ... so we could keep an eye on them.  Right?  Right.

Eventually, and it is bound to happen, history will present us with a bigger target than Nazis.  Islamic terrorists aren't there yet, but they are working on it.  One can only wonder what will happen if 50 years from now it isn't Nazis finding themselves in the video game sniper scope, but American troops.  How well will that go over?  We may never know because as Americans we are always finding new and exciting ways of demonizing anyone but us.  History shows that, and so do video games.

Keep killing Nazis.  It's fun, exciting, and requires zero critical thinking.  Happy hunting!