Korak slipped me this in IRC. Everyone who wonders why I get so worked up about the commercialization of virtual worlds (whether they be through eBay sales or what have you,) look no further.
This article rules like none have ruled before. It is beyond ungodly in its examination of virtual chat rooms like Habbo Hotel (and its sibling, Coke Music) and Second Life. While the article is primarily aimed at showing the growth of in-game advertising as a revenue vehicle, it also points out that sometimes, the players willingly embrace real-world commercial iconography as a means to make the virtual world more “real”:
Habbo Hotel is currently a relatively brand-free space with few overt sponsorships and yet its members have willingly and intentionally turned it into one of the most “branded” virtual worlds online. But it is important to understand that teenagers who use brand names to construct online identities are not necessarily doing this to help the company advertise its products. Rather, the symbolic text and imagery of corporate branding is used as a way to place oneself within the world’s social structure.
I’m reminded of the Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin declares he wants a t-shirt with a corporate logo on it. “It gives a message: ‘My image is so wrapped up in what I buy that I paid the company to advertise its products!’” (Lowtax of SomethingAwful made some commentary about this three years ago, well before its time.)
I play games to escape the real world, thank you very much.
In related news, Second Life gave away 1,000 accounts over the weekend, many of which were snatched up by SomethingAwful goons. Hilarity ensued, including “goatsecx” boxes being throwing around, attacks by giant dildos and harassment of those engaging in kinky virtual sex acts (of which I’m told happens a lot in SL.)
This is also, sadly, an example of why virtual worlds need some kind of monster bashing (or “foozle whacking,”) and ideally some player conflict (or “PvP.”) It’s Freudian. If there’s no aggression, it’ll be about sex. And if there’s no sex, it’ll be about shopping.
Edit: Lum joins teh funnay.
So, not only did I go to see two movies today, I went to two revenge flicks.
And not only were they revenge flicks, they were two movies that a lot of people tend to assume are going to suck, in part because a large part of what they are and how they came to be, lends itself to suckage, in all but best case scenarios.
They don’t suck. In fact, they are both very, very entertaining movies. Better than Desperado, in the cool-ways-to-watch-people-die way.
To me, anyway. More on that as you read on.
Continue reading Kill Bill Vol. 2 / The Punisher…
I’ve been in Texas less than three years, and I’ve just read a third story of some fucking Steve Irwin wannabe looney with a bunch of exotic animals and no means or ability to care for them. It wasn’t that long ago that I read about the crazy wolf lady in Houston who had a “preserve” — near where other people were living — where the wolves kept getting out and attacking them. They never got vaccinated, and most died of distemper. Meanwhile “wolf lady” was paying her personal expenses with donated funds.
And now I see this today:
ANNA, Texas – A tractor-trailer crammed with eight tigers, a wolf, baby lion and bear remained parked at a truck stop Friday for a fourth day while their owner tries to raise money to build them a home.
James Garretson said federal agriculture officials who are investigating him regarding the animals have given him until the end of the month to build a facility. But he has run out of money and cannot build on his 25 acres in Florida until his state permit is renewed.
To raise money to feed the animals – which eat several hundred pounds of food a day – Garretson has charged truck stop onlookers $1 to feed marshmallows to the 13-month-old bear, Malyna, and $10 to have their pictures taken with the 7-month-old lion, Savannah. And some local stores have donated food.
“I’ve skipped a day here and there, but it’s OK for them to fast sometimes. It’s not cruel or anything like that,” he said at a truck stop in Anna, about 30 miles north of Dallas. “I’d rather see them in pens where they can run around. But with what I’ve got to work with, I’m doing all right.”
I hope that lion just fucking snaps and rips his throat out. Idiot.
UPDATE: Tiger boy apparently drove off in a huff after a local SPCA guy confronted him about feeding the animals.
This shot, wherever it came from, about proves the awesomeness of this game.
Warcry might even be worth working for again, with Ophelea being gone.
For those who don’t know the story with me, we didn’t get along, and she was a large part of why I left the network.
“Inspired by a true story,” viewers are shown right after the big roaring MGM lion. Actually, it’s in all capital letters, so it’s more like “INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY.”
Whatever. Walking Tall is less about a story than it is an excuse for The Rock and Johnny Knoxville to tag team it WWE/Jackass style, kicking ass and tearing shit up old school.
That doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie. Just don’t expect much in the way of plot. It’s just a little bit of lead-up, then action scene after action scene with some pathos and a very awkward and gratuitous love scene in the middle to sort of hold it all together.
Expect better action sequences than in The Rundown, but expect Knoxville to be a much better sidekick than Seann William Scott. At least, you won’t want to be kicking Johnny’s ass, even though he gets his ass kicked all by himself. Expect a great soundtrack that could have been picked by yours truly, including The Allman Brothers (Midnight Rider), Soul Coughing (Circles) and Johnny Cash (Three Feet High and Rising.)
Yes, I realize this was both a Joe Don Baker movie and a short-lived TV series, and there really was an old-school lawman named Buford Pusser that started the whole story. While this Walking Tall pays due tribute to old Buford, this movie is all heart and muscle, but no brains. Don’t need ‘em.
Expect to laugh a lot, and be amazed by the rest. In the words of my old buddy Bubbie Fatt, this shit ain’t art, but I sure as hell was entertained.
Two and a half stars. J. says check it out.
I went to see a movie. It’s called The Alamo.
It’s very good.
Continue reading The Alamo…
This is the last day I get to be 27, and it’s nearly over. I’m watching the American Splendor DVD with audio commentary by the directors and the real people upon whom the comic book and movie are based.
My mom baked eight dozen cookies and mailed them to me, to give to my co-workers. Chocolate chip cookies don’t travel very well in Ziploc bags wrapped in a cardboard box. They’re kind of hard. I’m not sure there’s much I can do to freshen them up. But the thought counts. I’m also planning to give away boxes of Annie’s organic macaroni and cheese. This will be my gift to the newsroom. Hoping to blow a few minds while I’m at it.
I don’t feel old. That’s one feeling among many that I’m thankful not to have. Among the others are instability, dread and self-hatred. Uncertainty, complacence and vague dissatisfaction are still taking up space in my brain and not paying rent. It might take a while to get all the squatters out. Maybe then I’ll have time to get old.
Hellboy the movie came out today. Still need to see it, hearing nothing but good stuff about it.
For those still unfamiliar with the Mike Mignola creation that started it all, check out Playboy.com’s presentation of one of Hellboy’s most classic standalone stories: The Corpse. (Yeah, it’s Playboy, but don’t stray from the Hellboy stuff and you won’t find any porn.)
And no one has been able to get me to care. But if you care, you probably ought to read HRose’s initial thoughts on the game.
Note that for those who don’t know HRose, he’s a native Italian, and his English grammar has been slowly improving. He’s also of the mind that if he doesn’t espouse his thoughts clearly and completely before he experiences something new, he won’t get another chance and/or those in charge won’t pay attention.
He’s probably right. About at least one of the two. Best to get it all out now.