Saturday, September 06, 2008

Basic Reason why Democrats are Different than Republicans

Blogs never convince anyone to change their mind about political opinions so I won't even try. I simply want to state something that I've known for a long time which is the basic difference between D's and R's.

Democrats believe that people are good and that government can help them be better. Republicans believe that people make bad decisions and government can't do anything about that.

Thinking this truth for many years, I was encouraged to hear it summarized in the same way while reading Bill Clinton's book. In it he describes a discussion with a republican leader during the government shutdown in the early 90s when he is confronted with that same truth while being frustrated by Republicans in congress.

This basic belief is almost impossible to change which is why people rarely ever change sides in a political debate. Ask yourself if you think people are more inclined to be good or bad and you'll probably find your political footing.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I still don't get first person video games

This is a well worn topic in certain circles so I wont get into anything really that in depth, but from a design perspective I don't understand why anyone would want a game to take place from the first person perspective. If you don't know what I'm talking about it means all you see is what would be seen from a virtual character's eyes directly in front of him or her.

At first, I think people assume this means the game is somehow more realistic as if that is what you see in real life. So why wouldn't you want to play a game that way?

The thing is that in actual life I have more senses than just vision and crappy computer sound to tell me whats going on. For instance, I can feel my feet and tell what I'm walking on. I can also tell if someone is punching me in the neck from behind and it doesn't take me more than a split second to turn around and focus on said puncher.

But I don't care about how a game compares to real life. Of course it won't be like real life! I just care if the game is fun and the first person perspective restricts my motion in such a way that the game is 'LESS' fun. The worst example of this is when I'm required to jump or crouch to avoid some death bringing lava or other obstacle. The control in these situations is horrifyingly bad and makes me want to quit playing the game immediately. If you want me to jump on a platform, then let me see my character's feet please.

Most people assume that I don't know what I'm talking about at this point in this conversation. They think I haven't played first person games before. Truth is that I've been playing first person games since the Commodore days long before ID thought it would be cool to put an allied commando in castle Wolfenstein, but those games were not like the shooters of today.

Wolfenstein was the first 'First Person Shooter' (FPS) that I ever played, and I played it in college (94). It was entertaining and at the time technologically interesting. ID software dealt with the tech limitations of the day by not animating the main character but letting you see through his eyes. It was brilliant.

Now we have the technology to fully render complete 3D images of our video game characters, but whenever I play an FPS, I don't even get to see them. Instead all I see is a hand with a gun in it that rotates around as I search for targets over and over again.

My biggest complaint against the FPS is that it is by far the genre of game that has the least differentiation in gameplay between the various titles. My opinion is that these games are simply copies of each other with no discernable differences outside of setting and story. For example, I have the same experience playing Delta Force that I do playing Halo 3 and the games are more than 8 years removed from each other.

My most recent 'retry' on the FPS genre is the original Halo. I bought this for PC because it was cheap and because it is probably most responsible for making this genre into the monster money maker that it is today. Before Halo, I spent a lot of time with the original Medal of Honor as well as one of its sequels that had online play, so I have played FPS games with other people, including the old PC favorite Delta Force which I played at many a LAN party back in the missionary days.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

An e-mail discussion about who's news agency can beat up yours

My Thoughts - See below for the article and e-mail that kicked off the discussion

At least we know where Heather Mallick stands - thank God

Having been exposed to all of those media outlets you mention below and their coverage of the war in Iraq (I've only seen Middle East media in Egypt but I was exposed). I am much more confident in the news and journalism in the United States than that of any other region or country on the planet.

News is for people so it gets reported with a consumer's perspective. No matter what you learn in school your writing is changed by the audience who will receive your message. Our country has the best media outlets because we have the greatest variety of choice and because our government has the smallest role in directly funding the news outlets.

In France in particular 4 of the 5 Television stations are owned by the government and all deliver exactly the same message. Newspapers in France are a similar story with one or two independents and then a list of government subsidized rags.

As someone who considers himself conservative, religious and having 'brains,' I look at Fox news as a reaction to some of the other media outlets who don't seem to offer much balance at all. I think 'Liberals' offended by Fox news don't get that the people running it aren't interested in their opinions at all, they are interested in the people watching them. 'Fair and Balanced' because no one else will say what Fox will say so they balance the field.

As for crazies who think Fox is manipulating people's minds or inciting racial violence I say you are just that - Crazy. Every journalist on TV is trying to change people's minds the same way that Hasbro is trying to get you to buy Transformers. We have to be smart enough to filter out what is truth and not be surprised when we find out that the guy with the microphone has a point of view.

BTW If you are going to pick a reason why the war in Georgia was 'Staged' go with trying to challenge Russia for access to energy reserves through far east and central Europe. Money is always a more believable motive.

Discussion starts with this link and e-mail:

Frankly, I've never forgotten something my teacher told me when I was young. "Politics is lazy journalism."

There's no work involved in reporting on politics (election year or not). It always happens, regardless of how mundane. These days just seem worse in that it all seems "pre-canned."

"Weapons Of Mass Deception" is an interesting documentary about the media and the Iraq war. An intriguing point..."there were four Iraq Wars...the war that North America saw, the war that Europe saw, the war that the Middle East saw and the war that the rest of the world saw."

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