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Op Ed

We Hate This Ad Campaign - AtomicGamer. (We do too.)
One of the big issues that noted hater and lawyer Jack Thompson had with game publishers was that they were marketing these products to minors despite the M ratings from the ESRB. Well, don't these videos seem like they're trying to sell the game to kids? I mean, if you're twenty-something and living on your own, you donít need to care whether your mom approves of you playing a violent game anymore. To me, this footage is mostly targeted towards teens, possibly those who are too young to actually buy the game. Then thereís the fact that this footage, seen in the videos and reacted to by the mothers, is available on YouTube without any kind of age gate or age verification - thatís in direct violation of what the ESRB demands of the publishers they work with, and itís in violation of what the ESRB has asked of us at AtomicGamer directly (specifically, in regard to posting all-ages footage and trailers of a game whose final product was rated M).

Games On Net - Devil's Advocate - TF2 Is Dead, Long Live TF2.
The fact that this language of Team Fortress 2 was easy to master is what made it so successful. But now this language is polluted, filled with hundreds of new hats, weapons, unlocks and other adjectives, all pouring out of the Valve so fast that itís impossible to keep up. Now instead of rounding a corner, bumping into an enemy, and knowing instantly by their silhouette exactly what they are and what you should do in response, youíre faced with a dilemma. What hat are they wearing? Is it one of those hats that is part of an item set? Do they have all the items in the set, and what bonus does that set give? What weapon are they holding? What does it do? By the time youíve pawed clumsily through your mental dictionary to find out exactly what it all means, youíve been shot in the face and youíre dead. GG.

Smart Speak - Newsflash! Youíre All Screwed.
You have to ask yourself what is the point of blowing North of $20M on a project if you stand absolutely NO chance of making that money back. But most are still doing it. And itís not like the projects actually cost that much to make. No, the issue is that some of these numbers are due to the large cost overheads and marketing of these projects. Give an experienced indie $10K to make an innovative dream game and heíll knock your socks off. But why do that when you can just give 100+ people $20M and hope they actually come up with something? Thatís the logic for you and the primary reason why today the indie movement is running circles around mainstream development. Most are the unsung heroes who donít have two pennies to rub together, let alone have a marketing budget; but guess what? Theyíre making money and are having tons of fun doing it.

GameZone - Why You Should Be Playing Minecraft.
Minecraft is the perfect antidote to the modern gaming blues. There are no tutorials. In standard gameplay modes, there are rules, and there are dire consequences for ignoring those rules. Digging recklessly can land you with a face full of lava or a drop through the bottom of the world, and in both cases, every item you were carrying will be permanently lost. Thereís nothing that canít be regained or rebuilt, but on the flip side, you can carry a lot of stuff.

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