Yesterday’s News Today

Commentary on paedogeddon iOS style, more anti-gay nonsense, teachers against videogames and mind-splattering Halo stats.

I work with 3-11 year-olds during the school holidays so I have a touch more sympathy for the teachers crying out for better legislation to prevent minors from playing violent videogames than most. Not a great deal mind, the finger-pointing is still born out of ignorance, but it’s certainly disconcerting to listen to a 7-year-old armed with a plastic cricket bat yelling, “who wants to play Halo: Reach?!” followed by a chorus of “I’m Master Chief!” 

It’s alarming but there’s already “stringent legislation” in place to prevent minors from playing violent videogames and it doesn’t work. Parents are the loophole and the ATL provide the only answer to the problem in their fretful statement. This isn’t about bolstering the law – the law is pretty black and white in this case – “it’s about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can’t do it alone.”

Might be worth rallying for better parenting in future then.

 

Apple bans harmless iPhone app out of fear of initiating paedogeddon

The problem with Apple’s app-certification service is nobody understands how it works, not even Apple. The company worth more than Poland has gladly banned apps that depicted political figures in a humorous light yet hasn’t been perturbed by anti-abortion apps; apps that ask their users whether they support a woman’s right to have an abortion and respond with “INCORRECT” if they answer yes. The system is obviously flawed.

Cutesy PixelJunk Monsters rip-off Childhood’s End is the latest app to be expelled from the App Store. The rationale? Its teddy-bear characters look a bit too much like popular meme Pedobear (apparently) leading Apple to conclude that Childhood’s End must be, without a shadow of a doubt, 100%, a paedophile recruiting tool. Yeah.

Said Steven Hunn, developer at Pixel Brain,

“She then asked me if I knew about Pedobear. I quickly put two and two together but played dumb so I could hear her explain it to me. She basically said that the combination of the game’s (original) icon and one of the submitted screenshots plus the title ‘Childhood’s End’ made someone along the review chain think that the game might be a recruiting tool for paedophiles!”

Childhood’s End is a tower defence game. I’ve not had chance to play it, but based on Apple’s response you’d assume the towers fling candy at long entourages of wide-eyed and parentless kiddlywinks who unwittingly chase the trail of sweeties into pedobear’s pedo-dungeon of pedo-doom where they’re pedo’d into pedo-oblivion for all of pedo-eternity. 

As ever, a little common sense would have gone a long way here. Someone, somewhere, probably after putting down a copy of The Sun, believed this 69p tower defence game could be a pedophile recruiting tool and nobody bothered to question that as it flowed back up the chain to Pixel Brain. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and Childhood’s End is back up on the app store, but this isn’t a one-off occurrence and it’d make great sense for Apple to publish clear guidelines for releasing products on the App Store so that future developers can avoid using brown bipedal bears in their titles as well as tall, undernourished clowns, I imagine.

On the plus side, the world is a safer place now peadageddon has been averted and Apple should be turning its attention to something a little more important. Perhaps the wretched treatment of its employees in the east.

 

BioWare inundated with demands to ditch same-sex relationships

What we have here are two grown men of moderate intelligence, tackles free and minds caught in the fiery throes of passion. Were the scene to suddenly come to life, the man on the left, who we shall come to know as Man A, would take a single step toward the man on the right, who we shall refer to as Man B. Man B, heart-pounding, would then extend his left arm, slipping the sturdy limb around Man A’s waist. Man B brushes Man A’s bottom causing Man A to become ever-so-slightly aroused. In turn, Man A places both arms around Man B, drawing him in just close enough so that he can feel Man B’s breath caressing his lips. Now, this is where it gets really scary guys, their willies are actually going to touch. Just imagine it. Two little willies, dangling side by side like thin baubles on a Christmas tree. One to the left. One to the right. Soon, those willies begin to grow and one is going to embark on a romantic expedition into the depths of another man’s bumhole.

And scene.

Now, you may only have seen this take place in your head, but I’m afraid that, having seen it, there is no way to unsee it and you and your children and their children and their children’s children are now all raging homosexuals. If you believe you have been infected, you should probably set yourself on fire. 

Another week and another rabble of hate-mongering bigots calling for BioWare to axe lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender relationships from their future games. I’ve gone into detail before about how, in Mass Effect 3 for example, you and only you can initiate a same-sex relationship but that hasn’t prevented people like this from getting nervous about all the pesky forced LGBT antics in BioWare games. 

‘We must protect the children’ is the pervading rhetoric this time out with complaints heralding largely from family groups within the U.S. A particularly benighted message from the Family Research Council (led by Tony Perkins) begins, “In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!” Presumably the activists have hijacked a Star Destroyer and are plotting to pilot it right into The Family Research Council’s Gay-Free Space Station.

It’s far, far too easy to mock these dogmatists and while it’s fun, they’re not going anywhere. What’s important then is that rational, intelligent people demonstrate support for companies like EA as they themselves continue to support the LGBT community. And indeed any other community that ought to be represented in videogames. EA have said they won’t be swayed on the matter, but you can sign a little petition in support here anyway. The petition is already knocking at the door of 21,000 votes, which is nice to see.

Remember, nobody is ramming same-sex relationships down our throats. We’re talking a couple of games that bother to even include same-sex stuff out of thousands starring men drowning in their virility. Same-sex relationships are a tool in the developer’s plight to build believable worlds that anyone, not just the straight male gamer, can enjoy. 

If people like Tony Perkins would only embrace their sexuality, we’d have a whole lot less demoralising hassle every time a game provides space for players to project their own beliefs into a fantasy world.

 

Bungie says goodnight to stat-tracking system with staggering statistics

Bungie has bid farewell to its stat-tracking system with a series of mind-splattering statistics. Over 20 billion games of Halo have been played across four games stretching back to the tail-end of 2004 and the release of Halo 2. That equates to over two-billion hours, or 235,000 years of fragging, tea-bagging and dickheads hiding around corners, crouched with the plasma sword. Smarter people than I estimate that man has been on earth for 200,000 years, to put that into a bit of perspective. Even more remarkable, Bungie claim that in the combined time humanity has spent playing Halo we could have backpacked across the Milky Way and back, admittedly at the speed of light.

136 billion kills, 68 million screenshots uploaded and 49 million posts on the Bungie forums. The fact that Bungie started this in the year 2004, and companies like Infinity Ward and DICE are only just cottoning on to the power of the community, is a testament to Bungie’s progressive spirit. 

A staggering and much-deserved achievement. 

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