In his latest column for 8bitfix.com, Mike Cervantes discusses what it's like to play DC Universe online. No wait...I mean, what it's like to DOWNLOAD DC Universe online. yeah that's right.
Check it out on 8bitfix.
How is it going everyone? I’m MAS8705 and today we are here to talk about the future of games! I’m so excited since I can’t wait for the Wii U, but for now, we got details on the XBOX 720! I mean, yes this is a rumor, but bet it is going to be something absolutely incredible!
WHAT!?! Are they serious about this? This has got to be the most stupid idiotic thing I has ever heard of since SOPA! In case those of you can’t connect the dots, allow me to do it for you…
*start the count*
First off, this can be understandable as this could be a mean to combat Gamestop, who goes ahead to sell used games… Now I admit I am part of that small percentage that loves to do business with Gamestop as I do love to get rid of my old games to get new ones, I can understand why people feel ripped off if they decide to trade in games, but really if you have a problem about it, then why trade your games in the first place? However, in this case it is completely stupid to make CDs work on only one system and that’s it…
Imagine if you will the same examples giving in the article here: Used Cars, used Books, Used clothing, what do all of this have in common? The idea here is that much like games, these are traded in or donated in order to get credit back for other goods. Imagine if you weren’t allowed to get used books for college, you are spending another $50 compared to used books, or you have to spend $1000s to get a new car when an older car can still get you from point A to Point B. Hell, we can go as far and say that there would be no goodwill store if this wasn’t allowed…
Basically, if this is true, this is basically DOWNLOADABLE GAMES ON CDS! You see the problem here ladies and gentlemen? Why the hell would you spend $60 on downloadable games? Even complete 360 games are being sold for $30 at best, but would you seriously spend $60 on a game, especially if the price may drop in the future? And what rental stores like blockbuster? If you try to knock out used games, you also knock out rental games too…
This is almost as stupid as SOPA; they want to stop the idea of trading, but they are only shooting themselves in the foot by doing this, as it is taking away the ability to try out games before buying.
Why not simply say that Blockbuster ruins Hollywood studios because people rent movies?
I can understand that when you buy used games, no money goes to the developer, however this plays off the idea of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Not to mention, if a friend of mine wants to play this game I have, how can he play it? Do I need to give him my system too?
In conclusion, unless if games are going to be sold at $20 each, don’t expect people to fall for this trick. By removing the ability to play on multiple systems, you might as well be playing Downloadable games, and screw the CDs all together. Again though, this is a rumor, however let’s hope that it stays just that and Microsoft realizes that this is a completely stupid idea, for if they don’t, I’m getting a PS4 or Wii U…
I’m MAS8705 and that was my rant under 500 words…
Word Count: 499
Side Note: As always, if there is a rant you would like to see, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be happy to discuss it...
Remember this day. Have it circled on your calendar for next year.
Keep it every year as a holiday, not one where you get presents or time off, but instead one where you reflect.
Remember this day, for this was the day of a revolution, our first bid for the freedom of the free web against one of its greatest opponents, the United States government.
Honestly, there’s no need to be too informative about it. You know precisely what I’m talking about. Today, January 18, 2012, a variety of major US websites, among them Google, Craigslist, and Wikipedia acted in protest against the Support Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). I don’t have to spend too much time describing what these bills too. You’ve read about them on bigger sites like Kotaku and The Escapist, and if you’ve visited Google or Wikipedia today, you’ve probably signed their petitions, used their search engine to look up your local congressman and seriously consider sending them a letter.
You’ve heard all about SOPA, how people in jest call it the “Sons of the Patriots” act, in reference to the similar deed Solid Snake fought against in Metal Gear Solid 2. You have heard it is supported by gaming and technology companies you admire like Sony, Nintendo, and even the Entertainment Software Association. You’ve heard that its attempts to install DNS blocking for domains has the potential to damage the navigation of the web. You’ve heard that recently it has been revised to be slightly less endangering and President Obama intends to veto the act, which has caused several outraged pundits to calm down slightly, but only slightly, as people are still concerned by the loss of internet freedoms apparent in the Protect IP act. You’ve heard THAT law gives power to corporations to deem anything a violation of copyright and take anyone from the most powerful competing organization to the most humble writer of fan-fiction to court for copyright violations.
We all know it’s important. We all know it’s something we should all be fighting against, and yet the only thing I can be said about it in this article I am writing is just how personal a law like this can be to one person. It doesn’t sound like it’s a lot, but even if it’s the least I can do in support, it’s still worth doing.
So here goes:
My family officially got internet access in 1996. At the time I was about 15 years old. More than the World Wide Web, my first explorations on the internet were on AOL keywords. I spent literally hours on the official Kids WB AOL portal, where I and a group of online friends wrote our first attempts at fan-fiction starring Earthworm Jim. The cartoon based on the video game had already been cancelled by the network, but on the internet it was still alive and kicking thanks to the efforts of our writing. So much so that the Kids WB keyword kept that message board open for about a year after the show was cancelled before finally taking it down. In the meantime I found other AOL and World Wide Web message boards dedicated to all the cartoons I enjoy, wrote several more fan-fictions and discovered…..Hey! I really enjoy writing! In fact I enjoy it so much I hope to write professionally someday!
Yeah it’s a hokey story about how I ultimately decided about what I want to do with my life, but the reason I bring it up is because I see SOPA and PIPA in terms of how it would limit me if I were still that age. I imagine myself at the age of 15, writing on a message board, when suddenly I’m summoned to court by…Interplay or Universal, suing me because an Earthworm Jim fan-fiction I wrote was a violation of copyright. In my day this happened, every now and then a fan-fiction writer would get a cease and desist letter from a company, telling them to take down some copyright material or face a lawsuit, and the individual would obligingly take the material off.
But SOPA permits companies to do SO much more…On that very first infringement, if they consider it enough of a copyright violation, they’d have me in court. No warning letter, no opportunity to quit, just…criminalization of myself over a work I wrote, not as a profiteer but just as a fan of the series.
If that were to happen to 15 year old Mike Cervantes, do you think he would have been interested in continuing a career in writing? What about the 15 year olds who are writing fan-fiction and drawing fan-art today? How will they feel once this act passes? A whole generation of creative people who, like me, were inspired by the fan-communities on the web would be forever lost.
Fast forward to just about a year ago and I’ve started attending UTEP. It’s just been a month since I’ve launched Augmented Reality, and I was taking a course in online journalism. It was a memorable course, not just because I was taking it while situating myself in the role of a blog manager, but also because I had a really great instructor.
My professor was a journalism veteran. He trekked across the world with his camera as a teenager and returned to the United States to become the managing editor of several English and Spanish language newspapers.
Naturally, you’d think that such a veteran of the printed page would put a lot of emphasis on the journalism techniques of old, but to my surprise, my professor spent just about every day of that class telling us how important the new digital media was. “If you’re a print media major, change your major,” he would often say “print is dead.” He would tote the modern technologies as giving the common man the ability to report news the instant it happened, citing an incident where an individual recorded an incident of Juarez gang violence using only the camera in his sell phone.
We would spend our mornings in each class exploring the front page of The New York Times and discussing current events. Often times our conversations would turn to the then-popular “Tea Party” movement. My professor was a professional journalist and never made any biases. But he did say once, that the one thing that concerned him the most about the Tea Party was that they don’t have respect for journalism. Couple that with what he had said about the new media and technology before, and I was able to form my own opinion about the information climate of today, which I will now share with you.
We live in a society of vast, widespread information. The web already contains more information than a person can ever possibly know in their lifetime and new stuff is being added to it every day. Anyone can update the web, including religious, political and social extremists, so you often have to be aware of where you’re getting your sources from, but besides that, anyone can share what they know about the world, essentially making anyone a journalist. Hell, I even do it as a hobby. Not since Gutenberg invented the printing press has communication been so revolutionized.
But with every technological evolution, there comes a series of technological revolutions. People who are comic book and video game fans know this because there were concerted, and at times successful, efforts to censor that material under the extreme belief that it was corrupting our youth, and interrupting our ways of life. We’ve grown to accept comics and are slowly growing to accept Video Games as media, but it just goes to show that whenever something progressive occurs in society, there will always be a specific group ready to oppose it.
There are people in our political climate who want to return to simpler times, adhere to traditional values, and hold us all to a standard of living that has served themselves well, but may not particularly fit with us all. Some of them are republicans, others Democrats and Independents, but they all certainly agree that the internet represents that last great frontier of free and open information an ancient conservative corporate society cannot fathom.
Think about it: Before the internet became public in the 90s, people had to rely on media run entirely on corporate sources. A small collection of very large companies own all the media in this country in every other form: television, radio, magazines, and newspapers, to the point where anything said in the media wasn’t in some small way biased.
The internet changed that. No matter what is said about the violence in Juarez on 20/20, it can’t compare to the footage shot by that one rogue guy with his cell phone camera. Corporations are concerned, not so much about torrents and piracy as they are about letting the public inform themselves in the same way as that one human being with a camera and an internet connection.
The corporations’ response to this is to lobby congressmen, who want a return to a corporate-sponsored media, (and if you think I’m incorrect about this, please google ‘Net Neutrality’) to give corporations a way to lobby the government and assert control of their intellectual property. Once they’re in the machine, they can then attempt to regulate and justify any sort of changes to the internet landscape as they can get away with and before you know it you’ll have a corporate-controlled internet.
So you see, being against SOPA and PIPA has more to do with copyright infringement, criminalizing fan-works, or even free speech. It’s about technological sovereignty. I want to be a part of that information-rich future my professor saw so clearly. But if these laws are passed, I won’t be able to go on and provide the articles, information and features on this site that I have freely and out of my own personal enjoyment. I’ll be too busy dodging my corporate Big Brothers.
Of course, that’s simply the way I see this outcome affecting me.
What you have to think of, is how it will affect you.
Oh and for all you El Paso readers: Here’s a link to a list of your elected officials.
This book I’m about to review, Dog Tacos, by Terry McChesney, came to me through mail by the author. McChesney who has lived in Germanty as well as many different parts of the country, gained notoriety as the owner of “Skate City” in El Paso, a skate shop visited by many famous professional skaters. Now living in San Antonio, McChesney has written a book which takes place in the city of El Paso, and has traveled to El Paso during both EPCON conventions in order to promote the book. He contacted us because in both of his visits to EPCON he saw our cameras, but we were so busy with the convention in general that both times we overlooked his table. We agreed to review his book and also post an interview with him next time he was in the city.
We’ll get to the interview soon Mr. McChesney, but for now, here is my review of Dog Tacos.
The story centers around a 17 year old named Mike, an avid skateboarder, and his friends David and Cedric, as they skateboard downtown, cross the border, and eat at a Juarez taqueria affectionately referred to by Cedric as “Dog Tacos,” because of the three German Shepherds living in a pen above the restaurant sign. Along the way they run across gang members, get in trouble with immigration, get caught out past curfew and get involved with an incident involving two crashed cars that…well, I’d be spoiling the ending if I went any further.
One thing that stood out for me when I read this book was how familiar the setting of El Paso is within the story. I’ve read lots of books that took place with El Paso, and a lot of local writers have a somewhat nasty habit of romanticizing the city. If you were writing a book about a big major city like New York or Los Angeles, usually the author assumes you have locations and streets in mind, but with a lot the local literature I’ve read, often a street like Dyer is written as being “a menagerie of cracked cement floors, the lines of the jagged street etching a pattern like the branches of crooked trees.”
Dog Tacos mercifully has none of this; it goes about its narrative describing streets and landmarks as though they are there, making me feel more familiar with the settings than I would be if everything were spelled out for me. The way the three teenagers interact with one another as well as parents, girls, and gang members all have an authentic feel to them, and every single element of what they go through throughout their compact odyssey happens in an area of the city where it’s most believable.
It’s not a perfect book. At times it can be pretty literal in its descriptions, with one chapter ending with the declaration “They had no clue this night would change their lives forever.” Also, for a book written by a former participant in the professional skating scene, I was hoping that there would have been more emphasis on skating. The characters are skaters, and they use their boards to meaningful ends several times through the work, but there’s no real moment where any of them display any particular skill.
Terry McChesney shows he admires his El Paso audience by giving them a book written from their perspective, encapsulating the unique thrills of the city without making us feel like part of some elaborate rustic poem. Though the author’s interest in skateboarding has taken him far and wide, he illustrates that he truly considers El Paso to be his home, and if his life were like any of the three young teenagers in his novel, we can assume what he’s taken away from the city was something truly valuable. Pretty soon, McChesney will have a sequel to this book, along with plans to write other stories in the future. In the meantime though, you can get your own copy of Dog Tacos at Amazon.com or McChesney’s own website, DogTacos.com.
If you’d like your locally published or self-published book or comic reviewed on this segment, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will ask for a review copy, or if you cannot send us one, we will purchase a copy online at any nearby shop that has a copy available. We are all about supporting El Paso’s writing and art scene, and we look forward to hearing from you.