Blue's News artwork by Walter |2| Costinak <2@2design.org>

Please visit our sponsors and buy lots of their products. Also, you should floss. ignlogo.gif (1565 bytes)

Mailbag
December 2, 1998 -- Previous Mailbag

The colorblind reading the colorblind

From: unicos

I'm also 'colorblind' (as well as unable to spell deficiency).

Is there any info for chromatically challenged gamers out there? I can't see the damn hook in Lithium and the new rocket arena skins are all black. Maybe a .pak file for similarly disordered folk?

I also read about some corrective glasses on the web (sorry, I've since ditched the URL) but the page looked less than slick so maybe it was a scam.

OJ plays Blood 2? Go figure.

From: OJ

I dunno if you noticed (or have even played it), but blood 2 has a lot of stuff in it which is "derogatory" toward half-life. For example, in one area, it has a room called "Valve Control". Another example, during the loading of one level, Gideon (main evil villain type) is giving a speech on "A VALVE'S ONEROUS HALF LIFE" or something like that... just figured you should know.

Gravity sucks

From: PureBoy

Quote from Nov 24th mailbag:

>Why does the player fall faster than a rocket propelled projectile? I don't remember this ever happening to me in Quake 1.

That's because Quake 1 was unbalanced weapon-wise. If the Rocket in Quake 2 would fly faster than you fall, it would be the most powerful weapon in deathmatch by far. Real World Physics(TM) is great until it hampers gameplay.

Forgive the English? Not after Neville Chamberlain.

From: 2 am and Wasted

Sorry to say the Half-Life Multi sucks! CD-Key really screws with my action and makes it impossible to play more that twice a day. Looked for some answers in registry and code no luck yet. Man this makes the common man (ME, not a computer guy) want to hack. This must be a last minute addition by the some corporate type (takes one to know one!) FIX IT MAN!!! This is a great game! And I know that that you have the time and the resources to make my wish come true (Boy am a I geek). If you need some help bugging someone for answers e-mail me. I really hate to see a a great product get screwed by all the hyper-critical posters. Hey forgive the English, 2 am and Wasted.

Half-Life and health care

From: Dave Waggoner

This is a copy of a letter I sent to Valve today. I don't know how many of these you are getting, (or if you are even interested in this "controversy") but is there enough interest in posting something about this type of thing? Is there any way you could get an answer on the mods breaking, quality control, and how they expect WON to keep all the cheaters or "evil" players out? I suspect that my position will be quite unpopular at first, but when people think about it, they will realize that proprietary game authentication and forced patching is just as wonderful as "managed" health care.

You know, after the single-player game was so great....You take the Quake/Quake2 engine, the finest, simplest multiplayer setup that EVERYONE in the world is used to, and graft on some JUNK so that you can milk a few bucks out of WON. What a disappointment.

I know, piracy, blah, blah, blah. I am in the software business, too. Don't you think if you make a great game, you will make enough money? Carmack and Co made an absolute fortune, and turned it into a series that will make even more, and they had none of this proprietary crap.

No LAN + Internet game, unless they authenticate. Forced patching. Like no one ever wrote a bad patch or something. I know, for newbies it is easier, but not even being able to choose? What if there are mods that work with specific versions, and you "fix" them into oblivion? This has happened with almost every version of Q2, but you guys are immune? And Sierra's quality control? Every game they have put out over the last few years has required at least 2-3 MB worth of patches just to get the games' promised features working (That was just the FBPro and Baseball Pro games that I have first-hand experience with. Red Baron 3d, EarthSiege, etc. are infamously buggy.)

I really liked this game, in single player. LAN was pretty fun, too. The Internet SUCKS. I doubt I will ever play another game, and that just means less time on your game, and more on someone else's that cares more about customer choice, and less about milking every last cent in licensing deals.

With Team Fortress 2 coming up, I believe that the same shabby treatment will result greatly diminished enthusiasm (sales). Maybe I am wrong, and perhaps I am the only one that feels this way, but I doubt it.

More customer choice = more customers.

Scary monsters and strong words

From: MC

I'm sorry, but that cowboy Barney animation on Blue's Barney Page was one of the scariest things I've ever seen. I mean, "Damn."

Look Ma, new thread!

From: theAntiELVIS

Why the change of heart here? You have raised what is, perhaps, the only discussion about FPS gaming that isn't trivial. This IS important stuff. Don't be embarrassed by your "soul searching" - I think the whole community would be a bit better served if we all did a little more of this.

Games have become more realistic and more gory. As we approach the point where they will make a quantum leap in realism, the effect of all this mass murder on the human psyche is a real issue. Anyone who ignores the link between violent entertainment and violent behavior is fooling themselves - it exists. My nephew bugged me for years to let him play these games, and for years I refused. Now that he's 12 years old, I have let him have Duke and Jedi Knight, but he still isn't allowed anywhere near Quake 2, Shogo, or other more realistically and explicitly gory games. That will come as I observe how he is handling the more sedate or cartoonish games. Play is a learning experience for kids, rather than a form of relaxation or diversion. For a kid, games teach, they don't just amuse. Desensitization to violence is not a lesson they should learn.

As with anything that excites our violent and emotional mammalian natures, care and moderation need to be exercised. We live in a society where many of the weapons which are used in games are actually available in real life. That's scary. How big is the step from wanting to play the game to wanting to shoot things in real life? For a young child, it isn't that big a step at all, especially when confronted with the lack of control kids have over their own lives. For an adult, or an older kid, the step is bigger, the separation between the fantasy and the reality is more established.

I'd like to see more discussion of this topic among gamers. As violent gaming becomes more prevalent, as the audience increases, this topic becomes more and more relevant. Let's talk about it. Along with the sheer joy of splatting your opponent with a virtual automatic weapon, comes the responsibility of ensuring that the line between fantasy and reality is clearly drawn for all of us to see, regardless of age.

On a school bus with a shotgun?!?!

From: David Krider

No way. I won't forget it. This is extremely relevant. I had the same experience with Quake II (in reaction to the Marines being tortured.) Furthermore, my wife didn't even want me to play the game anymore as it disturbed her so much. Admittedly, she is extremely sensitive to torture in "entertainment." We watched the first part of some popular video release not long ago and shut it off after a couple minutes because there was graphic torture in the scene. Mind you this movie was rated PG-13, and this guy is being drugged and dunked in water (somehow Captain Picard springs to mind though I can't remember the title.) We thought about it a minute, then turned it back on, fast-forwarded the section (satisfied to skip that part's dubious additions to the plot) and watched the rest of the movie. It was a stupid movie. The rest of it was commensurately violent and useless. Whatever happened to entertainment that wasn't grotesque, grisly, or vulgar? Star Wars is a great example of good entertainment which relies on a story, not violence, though action is certainly a (central) part of the film. Why must the trend be towards graphic realism in the case of killing? There was an incredible amount of time given to making Quake II's deaths messy. Was that really necessary? How many of us would shut that off in favor of the framerate boost? How many of us would sleep better at night after an 8 hour LAN party if we could? I could. You know why? Because it IS disturbing, and it SHOULD be. Seeing people's entrails splattered across a Q2 level isn't in our natural frames of reference, and I maintain that causing it to be DOES desensitize us to violence. Completely idiotic and brutal crimes are now being committed for the sake of nothing more than convenience. Can anyone honestly say that they don't think that the increase in the graphical depiction of violence in the media (including video games) doesn't have something to do with that? Bottom line: what's to be done? Give me the option to turn off the unnecessary visuals in Quake III, like I could do in Duke Nukem. You know, shooting creatures in Unreal is not bad. There's a little blood, and they fall over. But when you can blow them to bits, then blow the bits into smaller bits, that's excessive. Understand that I know some people want that. That's fine. I may want to see it myself once or twice. But... You know you've had too much Quake II when you have dreams of blowing people away on a school bus point blank with a shotgun. I have. Mind you, they were all smiling and we were having a great time, but doesn't that disturb the rest of you as well as me? I laid off for awhile and my dreams cleared up. Doesn't that tell us a little something about the effects of the game? Now I simply don't play the game that much. The problem is that Quake III, which I am eagerly awaiting, will focus on making the characters MUCH more realistic, to the point of being able to scan in, and paste onto the models, your very own skin. Now how disturbing will it be to blow your friends to bits on the network? Say what you will: your mind is in there watching and reacting regardless.

Yeah, I'm a pacifist. I'm gonna pass-a-fist right through yer face.

From: Kevin Lowe

No, he might be a bit right. We should analyze our entertainment a bit more before playing our hearts out. Now, I believe in the rights of the individual to play what he or she feels, but make sure you understand the implications of the violence you observe.

Other than that, enjoy your Quake. I know I will, sure of my sense of peaceful behavior off the screen.

No end to the sacrifices we make for you, the consumer

From: JohnH

Before I ruin a perfectly good coffee flask, could someone do a "review" of Magic Coffee? It's important!

Editor's note: You asked for it. But if you don't hear anything from us after a couple of days, call the police.

--MrCoffee