Thursday, June 16, 2011

EPISODE 52: "Dark Days"

UPDATE: As of 9/13/11 this video is at THIS LINK

39 comments:

Damian said...

First.

Anyways fact of the matter being even though the head of blackwater is helping out with the game it is still not a major issue to dedicate a show to. (and seriously 1.30 for an intro thats just weak) To be honest this wouldnt even work as a recruitment tool bvecause unfortunately all PMC companies require that whole experience background weather or not it be law enforcement or military. So recruitment is out. My bet is that Black water or Xe as they are called wanted an extra source of revenue and saw the world of videogames as a way to make some extra cash. Maybe it will turn out as shovelware for the kinnect in the end who knows. But guaranteed the only thing Blackwater has to gain out of this is a whole bunch of people buying a game to get their gun on. no more no less. and whilst this company does have significant problems in its history guaranteed it will gloss over them. So in a way no conntroversy no issue. Out of site out of mind.

matteo said...

Never watched (or even really heard of) "The Game Overthinker" before but I liked the video and I will come back next week (or whenever these videos get put online).

MovieBob, between "Escape to the Movies", "The Big Picture", and now "The Game Overthinker" you are rapidly becoming one of my favourite internet personalities. Keep up the good work.

AniMerrill said...

A while back there was a game called Ethnic Cleansing. It was a game literally made to recruit people into the KKK. You probably never heard of it. Here's a video review someone did of it so you can kinda get the gist of it:

http://testzerosblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/video-game-bunker-ethnic-cleansing.html

Bob, I think you're kinda exaggerating what this game will do. Need you be reminded what Nintendo just did for the last couple decades trying to improve the image of gaming? How the Wii basically became an iconic installment in family entertainment rooms?

We don't even know if this game will be "good", as in "entertaining" or "engaging to play." Regardless of its content, it may end up being a piece of shit and sift to the bottom of the barrel, getting a bad rep from Fox News for a week, and then fade out of the public consciousness. Plus, its for the Kinect. Who the fuck owns a Kinect without the sole intention of hacking the damn thing to do something more impressive than shitty motion controls?

And on the off chance people do like the gameplay, I hardly think most people who would play this are going to fly out and become mercenaries for an Arab nation just because some douchebag had a game. America's Army is different. Whether or not it's in bad taste, like you said it depicts an entity that theoretically only kills for self defense... but also one that hires locally, for THIS country. I have to imagine this organization would only appeal to a demographic with better access to this guy's job booth in whatever country he's hiding in.

You really have to have faith in your medium and people, Bob. This doom crying is sort of getting old now. Sometimes it makes sense, it just doesn't this time. Games are now officially endorsed by the National Endowment of the Arts now. Its gonna take more than one game with a shitty premise to bring us down.

Also, your intro is too long. I skipped it.

Damian said...

Also found a clip in youtube. Its a fricken rail shooter. A dogy piece of shovelware for the kinnect. Something tells me it will be in the dollar bins after the game has been out a week

Heres a vid if no one beleives me
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Yu6qC-S2A

Man Cant beleive bob got worked up over a minor piece of trash.

Axle said...

I'd like think that one day, gamers will understand the purpose of a boycott. That and actually having respect for the hobby/lifestyle/preferred medium/whatever. Chances of that happening on a wide enough scale? Um... well I try to do what I can at least.

Another thought. Even though those who want to find it will find it anyway, I wonder how much of an effect controversy that you are participating in more or less will have on the final outcome of the game. Whatever that may be. There's bound to be some people who will have only heard about it in the first place because people keep bring it up.

RAven_Glory said...

I think this game is fundamentally different to Ethnic Cleansing, in that this is coming from a serious operation and looks like it will at least try to be a big box release.

I do however think that peoples opinion on mercenaries is slowly changing, after all while they have never been anyone's favourite group of people. Their effective outlawing is a relatively recent thing, and happened around the same time as the rise of nationalism. Honestly I can't see a moral distinction between killing for your country and killing for money. Well I suppose killing in defence of your country I guess is OK, but not in war you started. Anyway getting side tracked.

I think the real shame is that by using the blackwater name they have missed the chance for satire or commentary. I think mercenary culture and the minds of those who do it are the interesting thing. By getting supported by an actual company however they have forfeited any claim to objectivity.

Anyway yes I think they make gaming look bad, but not in the lasting way you're suggesting.

Yordan said...

Big deal.

If we can't make games that have questionable moral actions in them (Rapelay) or that are in and of themselves expressing a certain ideology (Blackwater) than games would never be an "art" medium.

Would literature be better without "Monk"? Would Art be better without Christian/Isliamic motifs? Of course no, so we need to accept that the same goes for gaming.

hazlenaut said...

When something boycott or illegal it adds to the value. People usually curious at something taboo. that what got me to see the Porygon seizure episode or seeing within limits .
I would think it just another generic game with shock value. However this is the stuff can use against games when it comes to a debate. Remember, Nightrap was another cheep generic game with just shock value that gave it publicity. Let’s see if we learned our lesson.

hazlenaut said...

I ment to say Pokemon episode episode of porygon. trust me it aint worth it was just bad filler bad for your eyes. the safri episode that was entertaining.

Steven said...

http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/10/03/rape-iraqi-women-us-forces-weapon-war-photos-and-data-emerge

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCzLN61RoOQ

How is what blackwater did worse than that done by the US mmilitary?

The Offender said...

Like it or not, mercs do somethings that need done that we don't want to be seen directly doing. Is it right? No. Is it completely wrong? No.

azex said...

ScrewAttack needs to get a better player for its vids...this thing loads like ass and isnt synced

Aiddon said...

good points. Blackwater are scum and they DON'T deserve to be shown in a positive light. I have no doubt that this game will tank or just be forced to not make it to light.

Clifford said...

Pretty much everything I wanted to say has already been said by others, so instead I'll harp on the damn intro sequence.
For god's sake, an intro needn't be that long when it mostly consists of one person. We don't care if you want to milk those cheapo special effect shots from the previous series for all they're worth, we don't get anything out of them as an audience. Hell, the show's name "Game Overthinker" already says more than the sequence needs to. Get a 5-10 second ident, and save me having to go through the petty annoyance of skipping exactly 1.30 into the video every time.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

I'm going to completely disagree.

For games to be speech or art means that they are going to say controversial things from time to time. That's the reality of it... speech and art can and will offend people. They very fact the premise behind this game can offend people so much is affirmation that games are speech. To be offended by a game's message is confirmation that the game has a message to be offended by... thus, it is speech.

Despite how I may feel about the game itself, this is undoubtedly a good thing for gaming as a whole.

Pierre Chanliau said...

Bob, it's not a first-person shooter, it's a rail-shooter, and a very mediocre and non-shocking one at that.

Seriously, this is the biggest overreaction I've seen you have in a while.

Here is the gameplay footage as someone has already pointed out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Yu6qC-S2A

gone said...

I forgot you had added a near minute and a half opening title sequence, so that was disappointing.

All of your other shows have a VERY short introduction that lets you jump straight into the content -- of which here has maintained its recent level of quality.

Obviously story and style are not inherently bad and are merely choices to spice up the web series, and often it's one of my favorite things about videos I watch elsewhere.

But with this series in particular, it's always felt shoehorned into your previously crafted aesthetic. Like a break from gameplay or film immersion, so to speak. And not in the wonderful "see the wires on the monster" sense.

It seems like you're still figuring it out, and more power to you for experimenting on your own show. I'm sure with experience you'll be able to dissipate the segregation between Story & Gameplay. But for now? That intro really could use a trim.

hughi94 said...

Your intro is WAY too long.

biomechanical923 said...

I just watched Pierre Chanliau's link above. For those who didn't, this game is a rail-shooter for the Kinect. While I did think the "hide behind cover" thing is a neat idea, it's already been done.

So basically, this game is Time Crisis without the intentionally over-the-top, so-bad-it's-good settings and characters. Instead, they replace it for generic brown and gray "realism".


I think Bob is really overreacting on this one. It's gonna be a shitty game, released to a very limited audience (Kinect, and possibly Move users) and in all likelyhood, will never hit a store shelf, and will be stashed away in a corner of XBLA.

On an unrelated side note, am I the only one who thinks that developers making games for Kinect/Move exclusive are shooting themselves in the foot? They're selling games for a peripheral that most people don't have anyway.

Chris Evans said...

What's with all the preemptive outrage? A lot of this is based on your assumptions of what the game will be. For all you know it will have a 'no more Russians' type moment in it, or have a built in morality system. It's like the outrage over Bully 5 years ago.

I'll save my outrage for if it does just whitewashing and aggrandizement of Black Water. It seems stupid to attack a game because it touches on a thorny subject before knowing how it deals with that subject.

Smashmatt202 said...

New intro music? Um, okay... I still think the intro's going to take some getting used to...

Personally, I'd vote for a pirate senator before I'd vote for a ninja senator. Because having a pirate in the senator would make them look a lot more trustworthy they they currently are.

How about "indefinitely suspended", instead of "temporarily suspended"?

You like Sly Cooper? Never would have guessed, since I don't ever recall you mentioning it before...

Also, come the fuck down, Bob. The Tanooki suit is nice, but it would have been better if they made it the raccoon suit, instead of the suit that allows Mario to turn into a stone statue that he apparently can't do now. You can't let it's mere inclusion in the game get you all hy-HOLY SHIT, IS THAT BOOM BOOM!? HELL FUCKING YEAH!!!

Wait... Bob, you got a haircut! You almost look bald, now... And, no offense, but it kind of makes you look fatter, for some reason.

Funny thing, I never even heard of black water before you brought it up, nor did I think there were any mercenaries left in the world. Shows how much I know about the real world...

Now they're called Z? ...er "Xe"? ...Okay...

Personally, I think you do best with downer/super serious episodes, WITHOUT having to resort to showing something you personally like at the end. It's kind of a mood whiplash, you know?

Anyway, GREAT episode, one of the best in a long while.

1424nathan said...

I think a lot of you guys are missing the big picture here. Will this Kinect enabled game be a blockbuster? No. But with the supreme court case involving video games coming up this provides the perfect fuel for the anti-gaming fire. Would it take that much for them to put together one of the kinect ads where it portrays the family and kids along side with photos of actual war crimes that Blackwater committed. I can see the Fox news segment already. "From the same system where you can play Kinectanimals, you can now play as a member of the shady Blackwater company."

imsmart said...

It's funny you should say that "private military contractor" is a euphemism for "mercenary," because in the Arab world, "terrorist" is the exact same thing. Terrorist groups are nothing but armies for hire over there with little concern for who employs them, and the reason that Western powers can't realistically hire them to fight Arabs is pretty much the exact reason why Arabs can't realistically hire Blackwater to fight the West. So Blackwater is, in essence, a Western terrorist group.

Damian said...

@nathan
Fact of the matter is that while this cpuld be fuel for the fire, why has it not Been ised yet. Atomic games came under fire when they announced six days in fallujea and this was before any development was started. Blackwater is at a playable level and running public at e3. If this was going to be used as fuel then it would have already been done. If anything Blackwater the game's only real relation to the actual group is in name only. That and the whole president of the group providing help thing is probably taken out of proportion as well. For all we know the help he is giving them is probably monetary

TheAlmightyNarf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ imsmart

In principle (if not in practice), mercenaries and terrorists are completely different things. Mercenaries are soldiers for hire with, generally, no ideology beyond getting paid. Terrorists aren't soldiers (in that they generally don't partake armed conflict when they can help it, nor do they engage other armed forces but instead attack mostly civilians) and are extremely ideological.

The argument could be made that Blackwater crosses the line between the 2 (I'd say "no" since they aren't ideological at all, and are mostly engaged in military actions), and I'm sure there are "terrorist" organizations they could be more accurately described as mercenaries (though, I don't know of any... certainly not any of the big ones like al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah, or Hamas which are all extremely ideologically motivated and have attacked mostly civilians), but either way the distinction needs to be made between the 2 terms.

imsmart said...

@TheAlmightyNarf
The vast majority of Arab terrorist activity is Arab-on-Arab, and in those cases it's basically the most trained and battle hardened men working for whichever government or faction pays the most.

toosoo said...

i dont think its the low point of gaming that is ethnic cleansing,its littler known sequal white law, another one called zogs nightmare, or the 21 AO games out there there are like 1 or 2 that use the AO rating in good taste but the rest are needless gore and T&A

we dont need a black water game regardless if its gonna get out to people or not at least thats what i think

tho looking at some of the youtube comment for this game im feeling better that this game wont sell well

Agospy said...

I seriously question the notion that this could be used as a recruitment tool. Its not exactly easy to join a PMC. You have to have an exemplary military or law enforcement record, and most companies only take people with Special Forces or SWAT experience. Its not like you can just sign an application and send it in.

More like its being used for PR purposes, and why the hell not. They've become Satan incarnate in the eyes of our more liberal citizens in the last few years. (Never mind the fact that not a single diplomat has died under their protection).

Even the President admitted "Blackwater is getting a bad rap"

Drakengar said...

thank god, with a title like that i was expecting a 10 minute long video bitching about the 4 new Halo titles that were announced, lol

that said, i pretty well agree with everything you said, keep up the good work

Andreas said...

Seriously? You think about it a lot and then don't even bother mentioning games like MAFIA? It's called like the organization, you do stuff not legally allowed but identifying to the organization and EVERYONE CAN JOIN THE ORGANIZATION.
How are these games different?

Aurabolt said...

But they don't deserve respect. As you just said, 505 Games has decided to make a game which positively encourages mercenaries and their actions to harm the industry we love and compliment their own. In many ways by what you said, this is an attack against our core principles as game-players and our reputation. Am I the only one who thinks we should be more vitriolic about this? We were vitriolic about California making their little case to Supreme Court not only in public opinion, but also in a legally-binding document that served as character witness.

Arkynomicon said...

I believe in free speech and say that Blackwater or whatever they are called can release anything they want.

I also believe in that you are responsible for the things you say. So Blackwater will be responsible for whatever the consequences are.

As far as I am concerned this is not much worse then Call of Duty. Who imply that it is more awesome to die for you country so that it can make a profit rather then you making a profit yourself.

KaiserWarrior said...

Kind of light on the "overthinking" this time, Bob.

If this game was called "Army Man 2012", nobody would care, including you. The exact same game by any other name would just be another piece forgettable shovelware, but let's all get hyped up and outraged by the name!

Meanwhile, we'll continue to harp on FPSes for all being the same and failing to innovate, and stereotype the "that's soooooooo gay" 'hardcore' crowd, while gushing over Yet Another Mario Game #1208102 that added a half-functioning powerup from 15 years ago.

imsmart said...

@KaiserWarrior
What if Monopoly was exactly the same except instead of play money, you had to use playing cards? Looks matter buddy.

John M Osborne said...

Honestly, Bob, I'm not sure I'm on your side here. For art to work, art we disagree with (and this is one I disagree with) must exist. Of course this is more of a money grab than a piece to provoke discussion, but we can make it add to the greater conversation just by doing so.

That being said, I'd be mildly interested in a Merceneray Organization simulator / Tycoon Game to some extent - though I think Arma II has that covered (http://www.arma2.com/pmc).

Anyway it would show just who you have to rent your army to, and who asks for this sort of thing. Erik Prince is the closest thing to a real life Bond Villain I can think of (that is opinion, so don't sue me, Erik)

Jacek Rewkiewicz said...

I just want to put in a comment that may get some serious flaming, but I have to because I owe it to someone who can't speak for himself anymore. One of my grandfather's best friends was a mercenary in his youth. Did he kill people for money? Yes. Did he ever do anything he didn't think was right? No. So, does that mean that this issue isn't all black and white? You bet your ass it means that. I'm not defending Blackwater... those guys are douchebags, most of them anyways. However, claiming that mercenary work is inherently wrong is going way far, especially when you claim that armies have a higher moral standpoint. Or are you saying Navy Seals don't get paid for bag and tag missions?

counterpoint said...

bob,
first off, is this a game about blackwater, or a fricken LICENSED game?!

i shoudl say that i'm very much NOT down with mercenaries, certainly not as hired by the U.S. Obviously the specifics of BW's actions are bad enough, but the idea of a for-profit corporation operating in our WARS is scary, almost science-fiction-levels of capitalism-gone-wrong.

That said, I agree that you are overreacting a bit. How can you be sure this is a "recruitment tool," any more than CoD is a recruitment tool for british special forces, or madden is a recruitment tool for the NFL. The main thing this may be is PUBLICITY - "xe" trying to rehabilitate its image, via rehabilitating the image of blackwater. a different thing.

Besides, wasn't america's army free to play? The reason it existed was to PROMOTE the army. Why does this exist? To make money for the developer. any psychological effects it has on its players are secondary to its publishers, i'm sure. Thus, it fits more in a category with the other shooters than with america's army, which is sort of in its own category, i think.

And while I agree that it is in bad taste to glorify blackwater, the fact remains that game developers SHOULD be able to express whatever perspective they want, if this is ever to become art. there SHOULD be able to be a pro-nazi game. it doens't mean we won't all hate it, and think it is an abomination, but i think a diversity of viewpoints is not something we should discourage....

but then again, this is being done for PROFIT, not some art, so EFF them and EFF this game.

Leah said...

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