This time, I'm going to do something a little different... It's technically not a rant. I used actual legitimate sources and included a bibliography, so this is considered a scholarly work. It is citable in other scholarly works.

Blame Game?

Ever since society began, there have been problems in society. These problems have frequently been wrongly blamed on whatever is new to society. A few of the victims of this blame were books, television, rock & roll, rap and comic books. One of the latest victims of this erroneous blame is video games. The typical gamer is often stereotyped as a fat, lazy, antisocial slob who has very violent tendencies. This is simply not the case.

Gamers, the group of people who spend most of their free time playing video games, are generally not antisocial. The vast community of gamers across the globe has found many ways to communicate, despite the great distance between them. One of these forms of communication are forums, which are online discussion boards, many of which have a gaming theme. Contrary to popular belief, the discussion is not limited to the workings of video games, which is rarely actually discussed. People discuss everything, from debating new scientific theories, to explaining grief and loss they might go through. This is a very social atmosphere that encourages people to be open minded and supportive of one another.

Another place gamers socialize is in the games themselves. Some games now offer the ability for players to talk directly to the people on one’s team by using headphones and microphones. In this case, however, most of the discussion is strategy; while blasting aliens is not the time to talk about such things as creation vs evolution. This functionality is seen in some computer games and Microsoft XBOX games. The Nintendo DS, Nintendo’s newest handheld video game system, has this as a built in feature called “Pictochat”. With Pictochat you can write messages and draw pictures to send to other players using a stylus. The other player’s Nintendo DS has to be within the wireless radius of the Nintendo DS unless the player connects their Nintendo DS to a wireless internet connection, allowing them to join a chatroom with any other players who have connected their Nintendo DS to the internet.

Not all in game chatter is strategical. In a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), the people are able to have such a wide range of communication. Not only can you type a message to anyone, but you can also have your character react physically to the conversation. They can laugh, cry, make a rude gesture, blow a kiss, or portray any of the many other emotions available.

On top of that, the gameplay of a MMORPG requires you to socialize. In Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, for example, your character can learn a trade skill, like blacksmithing. To be a good blacksmith, a player must have their character make a lot more weapons and armor than they need. The player’s character will also need a lot of things other players can make, like a bag to hold their goods, made by a tailor. To buy and sell goods, players travel their characters to the big cities of the game’s virtual world where there are auction houses. They can also decide to sell an item immediately by sending out a general message to the area they are in of what they wish to sell. In a well balanced game, there is a thriving economy based on the buying and selling of these goods, as well as rare goods that are found by few people.

The social atmosphere of a MMORPG is more than just economical. Being a role playing game, the players play specific roles. The players are so immersed in their character’s role, that they often find themselves talking to players their character might talk to and having conversations their character might have. It’s like a separate personality. To use the example of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft again, a player who plays as a Night Elf might have an argument with a player who plays as a Dwarf about the deforestation and mining going on in the Dwarven lands. Although a Dwarf and a Night Elf fight on the same side in a battle, their fundamental values are different, and this is reflected in how the players converse with one another.

MMORPGs also require players to team up to complete many quests. While in a group, organization and strategy are things that must be discussed. Everyone will usually have a different role. A healer will have to watch everyone’s health while everyone else keep the monsters away from the healer, for example. When players like one another’s company, they might decide to be in the same guild. A guild is a larger group that tries to help it’s members with their quests as well as bartering goods between it’s members.

Despite this very social atmosphere, gamers are often depicted as antisocial. This is especially true for MMORPG gamers who are often considered the most antisocial of gamers. Since this is obviously not the case, the why do people think that they are? In our society, we have a tendency to exclude people from things. “A lot of the kids have girlfriends. I feel left out. I don’t have any best friends. It’s not my fault. It’s my size. Everybody thinks of me as a little kid”(qtd in The Second Self, 72). By excluding some people, we make everyone else feel included. The ones who get excluded are usually unpopular children. The children who are unpopular, excluded from society, are able to achieve acceptance by the gaming community. Since no one in the gaming community can see them, they are not judged by looks or physical ability. They are judged only by their personality; what they say and do. They will often give up on the society that has forsaken them, which consists of all the non-gamers. Since they don’t try to be social with those that shunned them, they are looked at as antisocial. There are also many gamers who are social in this society. As usual, it is the group that is different that the whole is stereotyped by.

This same stereotype portrays gamers as violent. Most people have heard of games like Grand Theft Auto or Postal 2 and the level of violence in them, then equate that to the fact that a lot of children play video games. They assume from this that children are playing these violent bloody games. Games like those have darker, more realistic graphics. They don’t attract the child’s eye the same way Mario’s bright red hat does. There are a great many games that are not violent, but fun and challenging, that attract the child’s attention.

If a very violent game is given to children, however, they will play it. This is why there is a rating on every video game’s box. It tells the parents not only what age group it’s appropriate for, but the reasons that were given for this rating. For games with high ratings, like M for Mature, most retailers will check the buyer’s ID before deciding whether or not to sell the game. If a parent hands their kid Postal 2, which is quite possibly the most violent game out there, than they are just as irresponsible as a parent who hands their child an R rated horror movie.

The reason someone might release a game that is so incredibly violent is that there are many violent people. It is in human nature for some people to be violent. They are attracted to the violence in the game and use it as an outlet for their urges which society forces them to repress. “...when he feels angry he plays Robotron. There he can really concentrate, feel in charge”(The Second Self, 72)

They cannot, however, use the information obtained in a game to effectively hurt anyone in real life. In a first person shooter (FPS), the most violent genre of gaming, the player sees from their character’s eyes. They hold a gun and fire at the enemy. Firing consists entirely of holding down the spacebar. If the player runs out of ammunition, there is no need to look at the gun and reload because the game does it for you in an exact, predetermined amount of time. If handed a real gun and asked to load ammunition into it, the player would find the weight of the gun to be disorienting and loading the bullets to be awkward. Aside from that, aiming would be impossible for someone trained from a video game because the video game has a target where you are aiming and does not effectively take a gun’s recoil into account. A person can learn more about using firearms from the average television show than they can in a video game.

A video game cannot teach the skills necessary to perform acts of extreme violence, but can it cause someone to want to perform violent acts? John L. Sherry concludes that “... there is a small effect of video game play on aggression, and the effect is smaller than the effect of violent television on aggression. ...there is a trend suggesting that longer playing times result in less aggression.” (427) The effect of violent games on a person depends on the maturity of the person’s mind. A child might get a bad impression of how to act from such a violent game, which is why games have ratings to begin with. An adult, however, knows the bounds of reality. Their personality is set as it is and will probably remain the way it is for most of their lives with very few, if any, changes. The same guy who’s a class clown in highschool is usually the joker at the old age home.

As further proof of how video games don’t cause violence, let’s look at a few statistics. Video games came about in the 70s. They began to become popular in the early 80s. The first popular “first person shooter”, which is known as the most violent type of video game, came out in the late 80s. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (Bureau of Justice Statistics), violent crimes have decreased steadily by more than half from 1973 to 2003, with no real bumps in the graph. As the violent video games get more and more violent with time and technology, the rates for violent crimes decrease, showing that the obvious increase in video game violence cannot be causing more violence in the real world, and may even be a constructive alternative for violence, rather than a contribution to it.

Obesity is also on the rise in the United States. Since video games are on the rise as well, many people assume a cause and effect relationship. Obesity, however, is not rising any more in gamers than anywhere else in society. Many critics of gaming say that children should read books instead. Books generally make people tired. It requires very little physical energy to read a book. Books are a great way to exercise the mind, but they do nothing for the body. Television, the greatest pastime of America’s kids today, brings brainwave levels down below the activity of sleep and require even less physical energy than books because there are no pages to turn. “Amounts of Fm-theta and the degree of blink inhibition were maximum while playing the video game, which all subjects reported they most preferred, and minimum while watching animation, which eight subjects reported to be most boring. An interesting task would seem to provoke Fm-theta and inhibit eyeblink activity”(Yamada, 1). Video games, however, are the most active of the sedentary activities. There is constant button pressing, as well as twisting of the body when the character is in a tense situation and stimulation of the brain. After playing a video game, the player is likely to be more alert. They are not going to want to go to sleep, but instead do something more active.

The reason for the blame placed on video games for obesity is quite obvious. It is the newest sedentary activity, and as such causes fun without giving the player any exercise. The reason for blaming sedentary activities, however, is faulty. Quite often, the child has no choice but sedentary choices, like when the child is sitting in a car ride. When in a stationary place, however, video games do not have to be sedentary. There are games like Dance, Dance Revolution that require you to use your feet to play the game using a special controller made for your feet. While playing a game that requires the use of feet, the player needs to use their arms and upper body to keep themselves balanced while their feet his the buttons quickly.

If video games aren’t causing obesity, then what is? The cause is simply too much dessert and not enough chores. Before this generation, children were expected to help out a lot around the house. Generations before that, they had all sorts of stuff to do on the farm. Today most children are not even expected to clean their own rooms. That lack of responsibility is a lot of exercise completely removed from their life. Many parents are very busy, and do not even have time to spend with their own children. In this case, having the child help out around the house would benefit both the parent and the child because it would free up some of the parent’s time, give the child some exercise and give them time to spend playing together when the work is all done.

The last generation didn’t have dessert so often either. Dessert wasn’t three scoops of ice cream, or seven cookies, it was one scoop of ice cream or three cookies. A person didn’t get dessert every meal, like today. They had dessert about twice a week on average. Today, a child’s breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, is quite often just a dessert. Cereals like Choco-Donuts Cereal or Cookie Crisp, which are nothing more than junk food covered in milk, are given to kids as a replacement for the good meal breakfast should be. Choco-Donuts Cereal might taste better than a couple of fried eggs, and it’s a lot faster and effortless to make too, but it is certainly a poor substitute. It’s not just breakfast and dessert that need improvement, the other meals of the day do as well. Lunch and Dinner are often fast food, which is fast because it’s quicker to cook things in boiling grease. A place like McDonalds is fast and convenient for when someone is in a rush, but going to fast food places regularly is unhealthy because there is no variety and it’s boiled in fatty grease.

While video games are often blamed for problems in our youth, they have actually helped many young people in a variety of ways. Those who do not have social abilities are given a broader spectrum of social opportunity than in the past. Video games can be an acceptable outlet for self expression. “The anonymity of most MUDs provides ample room for individuals to express unexplored parts of themselves”(Life on the Screen, 185). (MUDs, or Multiple User Dungeons, are the text-based predecessor of MMORPGs) Video games cannot be used as a scapegoat for poor parenting skills. Rather than taking responsibility for limiting a child’s intake of food or monitoring their level of physical activity it has become easier for many parents to blame video games for the unhealthy state of their children. People must take responsibility for the decisions they make and those they fail to make. Finding any avenue for blame does not help to correct societal problems; it just serves to help them grow out of control.


Sherry, John "The Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggression: A Meta-Analysis." Human Communication Research 27.3 (2001) 409-431

Turlke, Sherry. Life on the Screen. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Turlke, Sherry. The Second Self. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984.

United States. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Crime Victimization Survey Violent Crime Trends, 1973-2003. Nov. 2004 <http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/viortrdtab.htm>

“World of Warcraft.” Video Game. Blizzard. 23 Nov. 2004.

Yamada, Fumio "Frontal midline theta rhythm and eyeblinking activity during a VDT task and a video game: useful tools for psychophysiology in ergonomics" Ergonomics 41.5 (1998) 678-688

Video game genres have very disputed boundries because there are no standards. People who like RPGs say Zelda's an RPG and people who like Adventure say it's adventure. The same could be said of the newer Metroids being called FPS by some and FPA by others. I have made an analysis of video game genres and come to what I feel is the most logical conclusion, and therefore what should be the standard in my opinion. After each, I'll give a rating of how much I like that genre, on a scale of 1 to 10, so you can see more easily where my bias resides.

Broken down into 2 sections, Action and Adventure
Platformer games have platforms. You stand on them.
Rating: 10; I like it best.

Contains subcategory: Collection
Action games have levels. You do them in order. It may be possible to do them out of order, but they are still linear. A few common examples: Mario, Kirby, Megaman, Sonic.
Rating: 9; These games are great

Subcategory of Action
You collect items to unlock later levels. You don't need to collect everything, usually. A few common examples: Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Cool Spot.
Rating: 8; They're very good

You are able to fully explore the world by the end of the game, which should seem seamless. In order to explore properly, you get new abilities. A few common examples: Zelda, Metroid
Rating: 11; W00t! Go adventure games!

Role Playing Game(RPG):
Contains subcategory Multiple User Dungeon(MUD)
A game is an RPG if there are either turn based battles or there is both a system of EXP to level up and a party. An RPG will usually have all 3 characteristics, but it doesn't have to. These games are generally story driven, inwhich new areas are unlocked as the story unlocks them. A few common examples: Paper Mario, Final Fantasy, EarthBound
Rating: 4; They're good occasionally

Multiple User Dungeon(MUD):
Subcategory of Role Playing Game(RPG)
Contains subcategory Massively Multiplayer Online RPG(MMORPG)
Text-based game with a lot of player to player interaction. There are many players.
Rating: No rating; I won't rate what I haven't tried. I don't plan on trying it either.

Massively Multiplayer Online RPG(MMORPG):
Subcategory of Multiple User Dungeon(MUD)
There is an expansive graphical world, which can be explored based on your level rather than plot. Plots are created by quests, which are the equivalent of sidequests in RPGs. In good MMORPGs, there are a lot of these quests, but in some of the older ones, like Everquest, there are only a handful, so the player must decide on their own how to level up. There are a great many actual players and it is played online. A few common examples: World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Everquest
Rating: 2; I played a good one, once, but that's only 'cause I won a copy of the beta. I'd never pay for the same game repeatedly.

First Person Shooter(FPS):
Contains subcategory Hunting
Generally played for their multiplayer, you just shoot while looking in first person. That's really all it is. A few common examples: Counterstrike, Halo
Rating: 1; I generally don't like them. They're OK at LAN parties, but without RTS to back it up, the LAN party gets real boring and repetitive real fast.

Subcategory of First Person Shooter(FPS)
Shoot the targets. It's like FPS, but you can't really move, you just rotate, aim & fire. A few examples: Duck Hunt, Big Game Hunter
Rating: -2; Not good at all

Real Time Strategy(RTS):
Usually top-down, these games require you to build a base such that you can train units to destroy the opposing base(s). These generally have resources found in the world that are required to build things. A few common examples: Warcraft, Starcraft
Rating: 3; They get too complicated sometimes, but they're still fun at LAN parties

You're in a vehicle of some sort, and go around the track to the finish line. You want to be the first one there. A few common examples: Mario Kart, Burnout
Rating: 6; The Mario Kart series is great, as they put a nice spin on it. The others... they're OK I suppose.

Ball goes back and forth. Get it in the opposing goal, and keep it out of yours. A few common examples: Pong, Football games, Tennis games, Baseball games, Basketball games, ect...
Rating: -1; Bores the hell outta me. Then again, I don't watch or play sports either.

Beat your opponent before they get a chance to empty your health meter. These generally have sucky moves for single button presses and good moves for impossible combos.
Rating: 0; I hate combos

These are essentially one genre. Party simply means that it's multiplayer, wheras puzzle means it's single player. In these games, there are odd rules and you have to do something. A few common examples: Tetris, Mario Party
Rating: 7; They're pretty good

These games simulate something of the real world, like being a mayor or living in a town, and require you to regulate your resources. A few examples: The Sims, Sim City, Sim anything, Animal Crossing
Rating: 5; I get bored of them, because they get very repetetive, but they're good for a time.


So, my take on the disputes mentioned at the top is the following:
Zelda is an adventure game, as it fits the definition perfectly, but Zelda 2 has an RPG element.
The Metroid Primes are adventure games with a touch of FPS, because they fit the definition of an adventure game perfectly, but happen to have an FPS feature.

Years ago, after knowing a bit about the gaming habits of gamers who started on 3D systems, I started thinking "Why the heck do they think they know what makes a good game? If they want good graphics, go watch a cg movie! Gameplay is what's important!" Then, I realized that it's a phase of the industry to develop graphics and went "Oh right... It'll pass once it reaches it's final point." Eventually, they'll run out of graphical improvements.

After that, I was still annoyed by these new gamers for other reasons. For example "What's the deal with all this Pokémon crap! It's the same basic thing as cockfighting and children shouldn't be playing it." Or... "Too hard? All 120 stars is EASY to do within a day! How can you say the game is too hard? Do you want the game to be really simple and boring?" Stuff like that...

However, I figured out that what I was reacting to was the same thing that caused the previous generation to denounce gaming. I got used to something, then it adapted itself to a newer generation. I'll bet the Atari generation felt the same about us. Maybe they still do.

The best games, to me, are all side-scrollers. They're old, 2D, sprite-based games. When I play the newer games, I'm not looking for new innovations; I'm looking for allusions to past works. In Mario Sunshine, for example, those bricks in the warp zone... I think it's pretty cool that they implemented those. It's a very minor part of the game, but it is still important to people like me that it's there. Team Chaotix in Sonic Heroes is another example. I thought they were gonna be forgotten. Too bad Mighty wasn't in the game. Mighty Armadillo is also one of the Chaotix, but only 3 characters could fit & they picked the best 3. (Although... They could've stuck Mighty with Heavy & The Bomb, but playing with a walking anvil & someone who keeps exploding might not fit right with Sonic Heroes. Or it could be super-hard mode!)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time... This game is well known to all Zelda fans. To many fans, this game is the REASON they're a Zelda fan. Well... I liked it... It was a fun day playing it... No real replay value since I got everything. The hookshot was nice... But there's not much else I can say in it's favor. It was WAY too short. It was easy. The water temple was nice... They actually made a 3D room in the water temple. The Great Deku Tree too. What do I mean by "A 3D room"? I mean one that isn't just a 3D representation of what COULD be done in 2D. The water temple's central room, with all those doors that were each openable a different way... THAT was what it's all about. Figuring out each one... I was fairly impressed by The Great Deku tree as a first dungeon. It had that vertical drop that basically told me "We will be using all dimensions in our puzzles". Then I go to the Dodongo's cavern and there's just that elevator... Nothing else... I figure "Well, I'm barely into the game. They're still going easy on me". Later, in the forest temple, all I get is the twisting of those hallways 90 degrees... By then I'm starting to go "Hmm... I expected a bit more than this as far as 3D challenges go". Later, at the water temple, I walk in, see that room and think "Finally! They're showing me what they can do!" When I left the water temple, I was ready for the challenges the shadow & spirit temples offered... At this point in the game though, I was expecting some sort of plot twist to add more levels. It was looking fairly short... After being disapointed by the shadow temple, and disheartened by the lack of usage of light in puzzles for the spirit temple, I went on to finish the game. It was fun to play... But in no way did it measure up to it's predessessors. There's a lot that they COULD have done with it.

In Majora's Mask, they showed us some of what they could do. They had built some VERY good dungeons. The social system was stupid... Link never had a social life before... And the masks... meh; I was never a big fan of all the new races they added to the game. But the dungeons were very well made. The Goron dungeon took full advantage of the implemented Goron physics, combined with the 3D-ness of the game. The Zora dungeon's water requiring that you freeze & melt it with your arrows was creative and gave your ice arrows an actual use... Like turning octorocks into stepping stones. Then, in Ikana, they conserved all that space by having half the dungeon upside down. (I liked the dungeon-flipping based puzzles) The statues were interesting too. I also liked a lot of the minibosses a lot better. Especially the ones taken from a Link to the Past, like that eyeball monster. He's a favorite of mine.

In order to finish setting up for my example, I must also bring a Link to the Past into play here... This was a 2D game graphically... But 4D by gameplay. Puzzles relating to the vertical direction was just as common as those along the world's lattitude & longitude. They had implemented many 3D rooms by using stairs & holes to connect rooms on seperate floors as being the same room. On top of that, every screen had 2 possible altitudes to work from. A Link to the Past took full advantage of all of it's capabilities and offered a fun challenge. Today, yes, I can beat it in a day, but my first time took me a full week. (Ocarina of Time took me a day the first time. I don't use guides on a first run though.)

Now to my point... See what happened when graphics improved? From a Link to the Past to Ocarina of Time, the graphics improved. Gameplay did quite the opposite. In Majora's Mask, however, the gameplay improved, but they kept the same better graphics from Ocarina of Time... So, basically, it's just a matter of how much they understand what they're doing. Practice makes perfect... Since they already reached perfection in 2D, they had to go on to 3D. It was time to do that. As they make more 3D games, they should get better and better.

WindWaker... Great game. It's great that they stuck with the cartoonish look that Link always had in 2D. It's great that they had vast areas to explore. It's not so great, though, that it was so freaking short. They had 2 more levels planned... But even then! It's shorter than Ocarina of Time! The grappling hook certainly added to the game... My biggest problem with WindWaker, however, is the Great Sea. What's so great about it? It's long stretches of boring! And getting the Triforce... The charts were fun to get, but not the shards themselves.

I chose the Zelda series for my example, but I could easily have used Sonic or Mario. The results for Metroid are quite different, as the games are just that awesome, even 3D. I heard they plan on ruining it by bringing it down to the level of 1st person shooters though...

Seriously... What's with all the seriousness? For a while, I've been a forum-goer. I remember the first thread I read... It was an argument between 2 people, immature in different ways (one was a clown, the other intollerant). The intollerant one wanted to put all of the clown's posts on ignore, but couldn't because the clown was the mod of a section the intollerant one never went to. (We were almost all mods there somewhere). Since then, that forum has crumbled.

One of the forums I still frequent has also had a similar clown. This time it was most users who ganged up on him. They do this quite often. Within 5 posts of any new user, that user is either a part of the community or hated by most people there. A few have been able to get both... Before the clown though, there WAS an actual problematic user. Constantly breaking the rules and being hostile to TRY to piss everyone off. Well, he won & lost. He won because he left his mark there & now new users get judgged so quickly... He lost because a few of us were smart enough not to be bothered by him. Also, same board, there's a lot of resentment from one person to another inwhich the 2nd person never knows. And a few people have actually tried to start up projects in this environment... It's no wonder they all failed & frustrated the project leader.

So, finally, I get to the point that brought up this rant.

I was playing a MMORPG. Not usually my style, but this one is REALLY good. I need this item, right? It's in an area 5 lvls above me... No way I can solo there. 4 Healers that average 7 levels above me happen to be going in there, and a 5th person can't hurt, so they bring me along. (How nice of them.) Well, we get in the area and nearly reach the 2nd room, but an item drops... A pair of boots I can't use... Awesome boots... The other 4 CAN use them & whoever touches them first gets them. They're untradable. The person who rightfully got them decided to have everyone roll instead. He lost... Of the other 3, one of them misread the rolls and made a very simple mistake. Basically, he thought all 4 had rolled when only 3 had. He was winning so he took them. The last roll was higher.

Oops. That's basically all that amounts to. A simple oops. But does the other person let it go? Not for a half hour... They stand there arguing about it. The guy feels like he was screwed out of loot that wasn't his. The other guy, who won the loot by picking it up, offers him 2 gold. That's a LOT of money in that game. Just because the guy said 2, the other guy wants 3 & won't settle for anything less. After wasting a long time on this 2 gold vs 3 gold debate, the group leader, who's turn to loot it really was, finally kicked the guy out of the group. So, just because he didn't get a pair of shoes that weren't his, he was so intollerant that his group left him deep in the middle of high level, un-soloable monsters.

I have one thing to say to all of you who are petty like these people above.

And I also have a message for forumgoers who get annoyed at other users.

I truly feel sorry for these people. It's just sad if all your life amounts to a game or the internet... Sure, I spend a lot of time on here, but why should I care what a group of total strangers think of me? That's what you all are. If I haven't seen you IRL, you are a complete stranger.

I've thought up a better system of deciding who gets great loot like that too. Anyone want to try it out? Click on a person, hit inspect. Look at their armor. Of the people who can use it, whoever gets the biggest gain from it gets it. THAT benefits the whole group the most. It doesn't benefit each person more than random, but to the group as a whole, it has the biggest benefit.

Here we go again... This time, though, I'll be helping you out on deciding which game system is right for you. I reccomend that you have your parents read this one too if you don't already buy your own games.

I'm going to list each system with these ways of measuring them:

Pros: What's good about this system?

Cons: What's wrong with it?

System Sellers: What games get people to buy this system? (If you get this system, these games are a must-have)

Rating: I will use the standard ESRB(Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating system for video games to rate the system based on what the games usually rate. For those who don't know already, the ESRB rating system is similar to the G -> NC-17 scale used for movies. It's not quite as confusing as the movie rating system though. The ratings are:

If you're not familiar with these, you should be. A rating of EC (Early Childhood) means that the game is eduware (educational software) meant for little kids, like toddlers. E (Everyone) means that the game probably has a bad guy, but everything is fairly cartoonish. This is like a 'G' rating. T (Teen) means that the game has a bit more realism. It's more violent too. M (Mature 17+) is a rating that contains lots of blood usually. Shoot & hack through the enemies to reach your goal. All those crappy, over-violent, first person shooters are in here. AO (Adults Only 18+) is actually not as bad as M. It just means that there's nudity. Nudity's not such a bad thing when you compare it to the absolute violence of rating 'M'. Personally, I have no problem with people being naked. That's how nature made us, isn't it?



Pros: Can play DVDs

Cons: Large, Heavy, Bulky with huge controllers. If you get a used model, it probably scratches it's own game discs. Most of the games are crappy first person shooters that even the people who like first person shooters don't like. It's internal workings are more like a computer than a game system (has a hard drive & a version of Windows, for example). Not stable (Tends to give you the BSOD(Blue Screen of Death), which is the system crashing)

System Sellers:
    HALO - First person shooter. Was hyped up a lot while in development. It was going to be on PC. Disapointed many fans who got the XBOX specifically for this game. The reason for the disapointment? First person shooters are meant to be played with a keyboard & mouse.


Playstation 2

Pros: Can play DVDs

Cons: I'm not too familiar with this system...

System Sellers:
    Final Fantasy series (RPG series with a large following)
    Metal Gear Solid 2 (RPG series with a large following)
    Kingdom Hearts (Made by both Disney & Square (Square makes Final Fantasy). RPG containing characters from both.)



Pros: It's Nintendo!, Connects to Game Boy Advance for extra features in some games. They are about to come out with an attachment that PLAYS Game Boy games on it. Some origional Nintendo games are found within other games (Game Gear games are found within Sonic Adventure DX). SEGA has put almost all of thier Sonic the Hedgehog games on this system in one form or another. It's also small & portable (you can buy a screen for it that attaches to it & there's already a handle on the back)

Cons: Yeah, right...

System Sellers:
    Mario Bros. Series:
         Super Mario Sunshine - Mario flips & jumps & sprays his way around the island. Platformer with puzzles.
         Super Smash Bros. Melee - All the top Nintendo characters in a fighting game. (This one's rated T)
         Super Mario Kart: Double Dash - A racing game with Mario Wackiness
    Sonic the Hedgehog series:
         Sonic Mega Collection - Every Sonic game from the SEGA Genesis. All the origionals are here... Great games. Sonic runs around.
         Sonic Adventure DX - The same game from the Dreamcast, but slightly different with many unlockable Game Gear games
              (Game Gear is SEGA's version of Game Boy)
         Sonic Adventure 2: Battle - Also from the Dreamcast, great game. Sonic is very rarely a let down.
              This game has an excellent multiplayer mode. If you collect all the A emblems, you unlock a 3D copy of
              Green Hill Zone Act 1 from Sonic 1! It also gonnects to Sonic Advance 1 for the GBA
    The Legend of Zelda Series:
         Wind Waker - Excellent exploratory game with many fairly challenging puzzles. A must-have.
         Soul Calibur - This one's rated 'M' & isn't Nintendo's work, but has Link in it. It's a fighting game. That's all I know about it.
         Pikmin & Pikmin 2 - These are definately 2 great games. The first was too short. There are creatures called Pikmin &
              you have them help you out. They build & carry stuff for you. Each type of Pikmin has special abilities as well.
              The 2nd game can have 2 players cooperate.
    Animal Crossing - You live in a village of animals. You have a house, you can buy furniture (including many playable origional Nintendo games).
         You can also visit a friend's town. You can landscape the town. Many holiday's are programmed into the game. Connects to GBA, ect...
    Metroid Series:
         Metroid Prime - Rated T. It's the first "first person adventure" game ever. You land on a new planet & find out that the
              group who raised you (Chozo) used to live there, your enemies the Space Pirates are experimenting here with your bounty
              (which you hunt), the Metroids. There is also a new threat, the Metroid Prime, which has been giving off Phazon radiation & mutating.
              This game connects to Metroid Fusion (GBA) to unlock 2 features including the origional Metroid game.


Another education rant, brought to you by... ME!

OK. I know educational rants are weird, but aren't they more interesting than hearing about our boring lives?

Today's topic is grammar. There are certain things about natural human grammar that people never realize. There are certain instincts to it. All languages follow certain rules. Knowing these make learning any new language fairly easy. Being instinct, however, they are never taught to you unless you take Linguistics 101 in college. Here's a crash course.

Concept 1: The XP (X Phrase)
An XP contains 3 parts:
(specifier), X & (compliment)

The order of these is language specific, but once chosen NEVER broken. X is the head & always required. The specifier & compliment are sometimes required & sometimes not, depending on the language, but almost always available. The 3 types of arrangements of these 3 are called:
* Head initial: (X, spec, comp)
* Head Medial (spec, X, comp)
* Head Final: (spec, comp, X )
In some (extremely few) languages, comp & spec are in the reverse of what you see here. English is head medial.

Concept 1a: The IP (Inflectional Phrase)
Spec: NP (Noun phrase)
Comp: VP (Verb Phrase)
What's the I? The answer here is simple: the tense.

"I am ranting"
"I" is the NP(spec), "ranting" is the VP(comp) & "am" is the I
You can also say: "They rant" Here, the I is (present) since you cannot identify a specific word for it. Some languages require the I to be filled. This has, in the past, caused some translational errors, like the famous: "All your base are belong to us." In that sentence, "are" is in the I position. It sounds funny because we would normally put (present) there instead (and we'd plauralize "base").

Concept 1b: The NP (Noun Phrase)
Spec: Determiner (det) such as "A", "The" & "Those"
In some languages a spec is always required, but not in English. The spec is optional in English.
Comp: 1 of a few things... It could be a PP (Prepositional Phrase)
N: Either a noun or pronoun, obviously
I will not get into APs (Adjective Phrases), as thier placement is much more complex.

Concept 1c: The VP (Verb Phrase)
Spec: Adverbs
Comp: Could be a PP, or a second NP, or it could be a CP (complimentizer Phrase)
V: Verb

Concept 1d: The PP (Preposition Phrase)
Spec: Empty, but not in all languages...
Well, not empty, but for our purposes, since we almost always (if not always) chose to leave this empty
Comp: NP, PP, ect...
P: Preposition
In a language that puts prepositions after, rather than before, like head final, It's called a postposition instead, but it's the same thing.

Concept 1e: The CP (Complimentizer Phrase)
Spec: Same as PP
C: "because", "and", other joining words...
Comp: IP. Yup, another full sentence...

Concept 2: Questions

Concept 2a: Verb Raising
In old English, all verbs did this. Today it's only the verb "to be", in all it's forms. (In some forms of modern English, "to have" also raises) The contents of V in the IP's VP are moved to the I of the IP. Sound complex? It's really not. I've made a diagram to illustrate this below. No difference, you say? There is. The difference comes when we finish altering the sentence to form a question.

(Diagram coming soon)

Concept 2b: Do insertion
If a sentence does not have a word for the I in the IP, then "Do" is put there in the correct tense & the tense is removed from the verb.

Concept 2c: ????? (I forgot what it's called)
In a question, The I is moved to the C...
This is why a word must be in the I at some point.

A sentence is really a CP shell with everything in the I in the comp, except when you have a question... Then the other stuff gets filled too when it's a question. Since the C has to have something, it has a (q-) in the C when not a question. If the C is still empty when it's a question, it's a (q+).

Concept 2d: Wh Movement
If one of the words in the sentence is a Wh- word (or How), it is moved the the spec of the outer CP shell:
"The person is who" -> "Who is the person"
Note: the verb moved from the V to the I to the C... This is the verb raising I mentioned earlier mixed with the one I forgot the name of. I told you it would matter. In ancient English, all verbs did... Some sentences are fixed phrases from back then, like: "How dare you?" or "Members of the jury, What say you?"

With this information, you can make almost any sentence. The "almost" is because of fixed phrases from long ago & the few things I didn't mention, like APs (Adjective Phrases). You can also create trinary trees out of almost any sentence from this.

I'm sure that you are all aware that the primary colors are Red, Yellow & Blue. I'm sure that you also know that the secondary colors are Orange, Green & Purple. Most of you probably also know about the second color wheel, RGB color, that is. For those of you who don't, the primary colors of light (this computer monitor, your television, ect...) are Red, Green & Blue. The secondary colors are Cyan, Magenta & Yellow (lighter versions of the othe set of primary colors). Which of these, would you guess, is how your eyes percieve color? It is, in fact, neither. Blue & Yellow only makes Green because the Yellow already contains Green in it. Blue cancels Yellow. Red & Green light make Yellow light because the Red and Green light each have Yellow in them already. They cancel each other too. A model for the eye would not appear as a wheel, but as 3 seperate scales. The first is a Black - White scale. The second is a Yellow - Blue scale. The third is a Red - Green scale. In the center of each scale is Grey. Yellow and Blue make Grey. Red and Green make Grey. And you already knew, I'm sure, that Black and White make Grey. Every color that you see has, basically, 3 coordinates. 1 in each of these scales. The question remains: Why does Yellow contain Green? Why do Red & Green light contain Yellow? The answer is quite simple. Where do we get paint from? Plants! Not directly, of course, but we process it from plants. Plants have green clorofil (sp?), even if they appear another color, like Yellow. We can compensate for the added Yellow in Red & Green, and thus provide an example of the Greys, as shown in the diagram below. I put the colors being mixed on the sides of each square. If you copy the image into paint & zoom in, you will see that they are, indeed, a mix of those two colors:

Naturally, as we now know that there are 6 primary colors, Black, White, Red, Yellow, Green & Blue, we would question our known secondary colors. In this example, I will ignore Black and White, as I'm sure you can guess those results. The secondary colors based on the remaining 4 can be found through a simple rearranging of the colors in the previous diagram, like so:

So 5 of the secondary colors turn out to be: Grey (see above), Orange, Purple, Lime & Sea Blue. To get the remaining 8 secondary colors, the ones containing Black or White, we make one last graphic:

I don't know why I felt so compelled to rant about this, but I did.



Thar be errors in this rant! So I'll address them.

Contrary to what I believed at the time, the eye's perception of color is NOT the true existence of color! The eye is a delicate visual instrment. It has a framerate of up to about 60 fps. It's no coincidence that 60 fps is usually the maximum framerate for games! The human eye CAN see better than 60 fps, marginally but rarely. Not only that, but the image the eye has to get and process, 60 times per second, is a VERY crappy image. It's REALLY blurry with lots of black splotches and red lines. It's really quite amazing we can see at all... Here's an example of what the eye sees:

Now, you look at that crappy image and go "Huh? How do we see at all?" Well, you still know what that image IS, don't you? It's Mario of course! The eye doesn't just take this image and send it off to the brain, first it has to fix it up. You're eyes use this image, along with the previous few, to find all of the edges. Edges are VERY importanat! It also looks for face shapes and large areas of solid or near solid color. Then, using the edges, it figures out what's supposed to be where those red lines and black dots are. As you get old, you get more black dots and they get larger, making your eye's task harder to complete. Once the eye decides that the image is ready, it zips up the image information siliar to the same way a JPEG is stored on the computer, and sends it off. As a result of all this, you get the detailed work of art you think you see. Of course, what the eye sends is not perfect, it just LOOKS perfect. As a result, the eye is fairly easy to trick...

Now, the eye is obviously not a good instrument for deciding what color wheel is the true wheel, right? Well, let's try difining color. Color is a wavelength of light. Well, that decides it. The color wheel of light is the true color wheel. The color wheels of the eye are still VERY interesting to talk about though, so I'll patch up some more erroneous information I gave earlier.

In the middle of the Red-Green scale is Yellow. If the eye is hit in the same spot by both Red & Green, it will appear Yellow. There is still a Blue-Yellow scale, however, with Grey in the center. So Yellow is both a Primary and a Secondary color to the eye. Another interesting fact here is that it takes a lot less energy to see Green than anything else. If a game was all Greenscale, it is my guess that that game would have a higher framerate limit than 60fps, because Green is easier to see. This is why, on a computer, if you have 16-bit color, usually the first 5 bits are Red, the last 5 are Blue, but the middle 6 are ALL Green. This means that 16-Bit color usually results in double the range of Green when compared to Red or Blue. Of course, some implementations of 16-bit color use that extra bit for the color Alpha. Alpha is transparency, the ability to see through that pixel of the image on the screen. This does not mean that the COMPUTER processes Green any faster, just the eye does.

You may have noticed that I'm using Yellow text on a Green background. Research shows this to be easier to read than Black & White. That's why a lot of schools painted their Blackboards Green and got Yellow chalk.