Archive → May, 2006
As you may have noticed, this website now bears the legend above (and if you don’t see it, press CTRL+F5 to refresh from the server).
This came about after somebody from a forum came to koffdrop.com read a few posts and branded me “dangerously anti-Nintendo”. I think the statement says a lot about today’s gamers and gamer culture. In fact, I believe it says far more about that than it does about me.
Those that know me understand I have a bee in my bonnet about Nintendo. This isn’t because I hate them, it’s because they are universally adored for being a ruthless capitalist corporation and that their vocal fans will merrily avoid facts and conveniently forget or attempt to disprove poor behaviour on Nintendo’s part so as to ram the “can do no wrong” ideal down the rest of this culture’s throat.
Whilst Nintendo talk about innovation as they pitch Zelda sequels and re-brand Tetris so heavily that anyone might assume Nintendo actually invented it the general gamer consensus is that they are the golden boys of gaming. Unjustly knocked off the top-spot by ‘evil’ Sony. Oddly enough it’s unlikely that Sony would ever have created the PlayStation if Nintendo hadn’t got greedy on their SNES-CD dealings with them in the first place.
No, I don’t blindly dislike Nintendo. Certainly not in the way that huge swathes of gamer culture blindly adore them or blindly hate another company.
What I seek are facts about the movements of these companies, the industry and the culture. What the culture responds to and believes so clearly in are not facts but urban myths. Combine this attitude with one that cannot handle criticism, is frequently the first one to throw abuse and is generally the least understanding or informed and the result your average vocal gamer. The alternative is someone like me. A gamer of twenty-five years, working with a respected developer in the games industry watching the monkeys take over the zoo and deciding that enough is enough.
To be anti-Nintendo is not ‘dangerous’. I might ask why some people think it is. They might suggest that my stance on Nintendo must be down to some misunderstanding, lack of appreciation, unfamiliarity or plain bigotry. Few have ever entertained the notion that my stance might be based on the opposite of all these things.
“Dangerously anti-Nintendo” has a strong whiff of McCarthyism about it. It suggests that, to be anti-Nintendo or to be perceived as anti-Nintendo by those that glance at me and judge me so quickly, is somehow wrong. It threatens the status quo of gamers perhaps?
Those comfy, happy campers who think innovation is spelled with an N at the front and that endless remakes of 20 year old games are a testament to the ingenuity of grinning Japanese corporation might not like such sentiments. Whilst they dish out accusations of copying to anyone who comes too close to their electronic idol they resolutely refuse to see the full picture of what it is they are so determined to protect. They refuse to have their illusion shattered.
That makes my stance dangerous?
I prefer to think of it as a disruptive approach.
If you’re a free thinker, a gamer that can formulate an opinion beyond the media hype and the herd mentality then you too can be dangerous – just like me! Koffdrop.com will soon be hosting dangerous buttons and badges for you to use. Don’t believe the hype. Be disruptive! Be DANGEROUS!
Watch this space.
Seems like a silly question when you consider that they’ve probably bought the same game at least TWICE from Nintendo over the years – and more often than not as a launch title to a new console.
I mean, if they’re thrilled at being given the chance to buy things twice then why are they getting all huffy and puffy over console retail prices?
The answer, of course, is that it’s a SONY console. The internet can barely contain it’s glee at having another stick to bash Sony over the head with and, as usual, is doing a shockingly poor job at it when you apply some facts and a sense of perspective.
So, courtesy of an article Curmudgeon Gamer, it gives me great delight to offer some facts:
The image to the left shows console prices at launch dating back to 2006 in the US. You’ll notice that there’s a couple of consoles that significantly outweigh Sony’s latest offering. The easily excitable amongst you will argue that the Neo Geo was a flop (not true – but games retailing at £300 a pop didn’t help) and that 3DO was a failure (not strictly true – but down to lack of 3rd party support, which I don’t think anyone would be dumb enough to accuse Sony of lacking). Of course some readers might ask “What the hell is a Neo Geo or a 3DO?” to which I’d respond with something slightly less civil than “STFU n00b!”.
And then, there’s the perspective to add to those figures. This second graph adjusts those launch prices of consoles and applies the cost of inflation to them. Now, I’m pretty certain that a lot of the thoughtless pro-Nintendo zealots are totally unfamiliar with the concept of inflation all I can suggest is that they go off and speak to mummy and daddy about it. Oh, just so you’re clear kids, I’m not talking about the process of blowing up balloons here.
So, there you have it – some facts, some perspective and all that jumping around and finger pointing and jumping on the Sony bashing bandwagon is shown up for the baseless mindless drivel that usually fuels the actions of these little twerps.
Oh, by the way, if you want to strike back with the “Ah well, but they’ve dropped RUMBLE in their new PS3 controller so they still suck” then I’ll respond by saying that, just possibly, Sony are copying Nintendo again. I mean, when was the last time you felt Nintendo’s Wavebird wireless controller rumble?
See how astoundingly dumb you look when you all leap to bash something without actually paying attention to a few small yet significant facts? It’s just the flip-side of the coin that the easily led demonstrate when they believe the baseless hype their favoured company spouts.
You can be sure that I’ll be there to set the record straight. I may be outnumbered, but I’m never outgunned.
I think that bowl might be some addon that Nintendo will release at a later date. Speculate about it NOW!
OK, so Sony, who get a lot of flak for the kids who can’t bear the fact it’s not 1995 any more, have pulled a blatant copying stunt with the tilt-sensing Dual Shock 3. First of all, it appears to me that it’s far more of a copy of tilt-sensing games like the older GB games like Kirby’s Tilt and Tumble than the Wii-mote. But, fanboys and their short and selective memories will only go as far as the first thought that enters their head. So what’s new there eh?I applaud Sony for having the balls to do what they’re doing. It’s not particularly grown up or noble but, frankly, business doesn’t need to be. And kids, this is a business we’re talking about here. None of these companies love you, they all want your money. Yes, even Nintendo.
By the time we’re talking about boxes on shelves the overall impact of Nintendo’s vision will be vastly reduced. Sure, it’ll still have total freedom of movement and still look like a remote control but it won’t be the only thing out there that does that sort of thing. Frankly, it never was – only those fanboys too ignorant to believe that such a device could ever exist before Nintendo thought of it ever thought so. So, that leaves Nintendo with a lot less originality to take to the bank courtesy of Sony. You could argue that Microsoft do this to Apple a lot of the time actually. I don’t think Bill Gates is regretting those decisions, do you?
But this topic is about the noble art of plagarism. There’s copying ideas and then there’s copying of entire identities.
Allow me to elaborate. Apple ‘chic’ is the fashionable look. You can spot their style a mile off. Apple, perhaps more than any other manufacturer around, has made their technology fashionable. The Apple interface look and those damn glass buttons are still being copied on websites and operating systems all over the place. They’re trendsetters in technostyle and fair play to ‘em!
Consoles don’t sell on their appearance. Gamers would never be so superficial! Who care’s what something looks like. It’s like caring about graphics over gameplay! The notion is ridiculous! Nintendo are, apparently, making this point very clear that we should not care about the superficiality of our hobby but care about what it feels like.
Well I’ll tell you this: when you touch a DS Lite or stroke a Nintendo Wii it’ll feel just like the Apple product that it so thinks it is.
This is no accident. Nintendo’s redesign of the DS and their overal design of the Wii is straight from Apple. I really don’t think anybody is going to argue that. Even Wii – a totally made up word makes you notice the ‘i’ more than any other letter. That same ‘i’ as in iPod or iMac. For a made up word it might as well be ‘Woo’ or ‘Wee’ – the latter being far more suited to the notion of “we” and “inclusive gaming” and far less like a mis-typing of Wi-Fi than Wii does. But if Nintendo did that then they wouldn’t share that all important ‘i’ that has seeped into the consumer consciousness of people with Apple products and those aware of iMac and iPod. Frankly, the only way Nintendo could be more blatant would have been to call it iRev.
But what am I going on about? I’m just making this up! Maybe the logic makes some sense but some of you simply must think I’m making too many assumptions in another critical review of Nintendo’s practices.
What if I told you they pulled this stunt over a decade ago?
What if I told you that the last time they did it they were latching onto Sony’s identity and not Apple’s?
“PREPOSTEROUS! YOU KNOW NOTHING!” comes the chants of the Nintendo supporters. I must be making it all up. Right?
Cast your mind back to the way the world was when Nintendo launched their astoundingly succesful Gameboy handheld. That was in 1989. If you weren’t around in 1989 or think I’m asking too much of you to think back that far because you were too young and your the sort of dweeb that happens to go around making “Sony copy Nintendo!” accusations then you can fuck off right now. You’re ignorant and narrow-minded and, most importantly, wrong.
So, 1989. What was big in 1989 around the time the original Gameboy launched? Well, I’ll tell you. It was small. It was portable. It ran on batteries. It was a global phenomenom and it was an entertainment device.
It was the Sony Walkman.
It’s not inaccurate in any way to say that the Sony Walkman was 1989′s cultural equivalent of the Apple iPod. Like the Apple and iPod, Sony and Walkman were synonymous with the ‘walkmans’ of every type and manufacture – even those countless Toshiba, Aiwa, Sanyo, Samsung, Philips and other makes. Sony was the name and Walkman was the brand.
Now, to make my point, say the word “Walkman” in your head at a moderate pace five times over.
Now, say the word “Gameboy” out loud.
Gee whizz! Did you notice that? Walk / Game, Man / Boy ??? There’s some pretty clear brand theft going on there wouldn’t you say?
Nintendo know what they’re doing and they’re happy to act the parasite and latch onto a popular cultural brand if it’s going to raise the profile of their product. They did it with Walkman and they’re currently doing it again, nearly 20 years later, with Apple.
Of course, to see this you need to stop gushing over ever word Nintendo say. You have to stop believing every false claim they make. You have to stop falling for the hype and look for the truth. The truth can be alarmingly obvious – as I’ve just demonstrated.
I wonder if Sony would bother to copy if Nintendo hadn’t been there to show them how to do it in the first place?
Hello folks, just a quick note to let you know I’m without a computer, phone or even a desk as I start my new job.
As such, I’m not getting to see much of (or comment on) what’s happening at E3 until I get home in the evenings – at which point there’s so much information to digest that I simply don’t know where to begin!
So, do me a favour and add a couple of comments and links to let me know what you think I should be focusing my attention on.
Back in mid-March I wrote a post here. The point of the post was more for me to vent my frustration than to educate or inform any readers. I’d been having a pretty hard time of it at work due to ridiculous workloads being handed to me – the direct result of staff leaving my team and not being replaced whilst picking up all the work for my system that they covered. This, in a nutshell, saw me doing the workload of four people with little support and no reasonable solution being made by my employer. I was planning on making an official grievance and was looking to do things The Right Way. I understood that seeing my GP to comment on how this was affecting my health and mental state would be worth doing and support my grievance claim. Unsurprisingly, my GP signed me off work. I certainly wasn’t planning on communicating with my employer but felt a good “work sucks” post (that deliberately didn’t mention names) at my own website would be good therapy for me. That’s what the ‘I’m not dead’ post was about.
So, if you’ve not read the post in question then why don’t you do so now? It’s ok. I’ll wait.
I expected a few comments from regular readers but was pleasantly suprised to see a new commentator at my site – Monkfish. It turns out that Monkfish didn’t think much of my situation and had plenty to say on the matter. Obviously, I had a differing point of view and decided to respond to his comments. Monkfish in turn felt it necessary to respond again and a little exchange began. You can read all of this in the comments below the original post.
By the end of the exchange it’s fairly accurate to say that I felt Monkfish was being deliberately antagonistic and what I’d hoped would be a mildly stress-relieving exercise had annoyed the tits off me.
This played on my mind for a few hours and one or two people said a few things to me about it and suggested that I try something..
The software that powers koffdrop.com is called WordPress. It’s great. One of the many useful things it does behind the scenes is store information about commentators. A commentator must have a name and an email to be allowed to make a comment. It’s unlikely that any commentator will use genuine details and, for the most part, that’s fine by me. If WordPress detects a new commentator it will not publish that person’s comments until the Administrator (that would be me) approves them. After a commentator has had a few approvals WordPress regards them as a trusted source and automatically approves that person’s comments without asking me. This is a good way of tackling comment-spam which litters some blogs.
Another piece of information collected by WordPress is the commentator’s IP address. This is a number specific to the computer they were connected to the internet by. It’s a rather useful nugget of information to have if you need to moderate something troublesome. An IP number will look like WW.XX.YY.ZZ . Some of that number will be about one specific machine on a network. Another part of that number will be about the network itself. Just like a postal address has a line about the street and then the city and then the county, the scale of geography that each element of the IP address covers grows. With this, information I could block a certain computer or all computers on a specific network or an entire network completely. IP numbers are useful in moderating communities; anyone that has ever seen the workings of an internet forum will be familiar with this.
So, I fire up a DOS prompt and request a traceroute on Monkfish’s IP. Here’s what I saw:
I suppose now would be the appropriate time to tell you that my employer at the time of writing is Experian. Experian is a company all about data and they take their data security very seriously. Whilst my little PC’s traceroute request might knock on the door of Experian’s network, it sure as hell isn’t going to let me in unless I’m meant to have access. So that’s where the traceroute’s usefulness will end.
However, it doesn’t take a computer geek to work out what this means. Monkfish, despite the claims of posting from home on their day off, was clearly using a computer inside of Experian’s network. It’s not too much of a logical jump to assume that Monkfish is an employee of Experian. Which tends to put quite a different spin on the reasoning behind Monkfish’s comments.
WordPress notifies me by email of any new comments added to any of the posts here at koffdrop.com. So, with that in mind, the end result is that my employer is responsible for sending me antagonistic emails whilst I’m signed off work with stress. All in all not quite the therapy I had in mind when I decided to have a little rant.
Apart from the sheer amazement at my employer’s mentality to allow such behaviour to happen – (behaviour that certainly constitutes bullying and harassment as defined in Experian’s own grievance procedure documentation) I was more than a little bit annoyed.
I’m not thrilled that I’ve seen respected colleagues move to tears due to pressure put on them by other staff. I’m not happy about having to compromise my own level of service to the clients I speak to simply because my workload had increased to such a point that I simply couldn’t double or triple check the things I needed to check. I’m angry that Experian’s apathy of the impending crisis was magnified by their total indifference to supporting their staff and the sheer mis-management of the issue and accusations directed at the staff that were trying to get on top of the situation.
I’m not thrilled that so much was dropped into my lap that it affected my health and happiness outside of this underpaid role and that my employer clearly appears to resent the fact that I wasn’t prepared to sit around getting taken advantage of any longer. I am, of course, not happy that my employer allows their staff to persecute and antagonise the staff that they made sick whilst they have been signed off sick by making the comments that Monkfish felt it necessary to make.
I think that if you re-read Monkfish’s comments with what you now know you’ll see just what sort of agenda was being acted upon.
Fortunately for me, my employer and Monkfish were not quite as smart as they thought they were and, thanks to WordPress, they left a little digital trail of breadcrumbs that this post elaborates upon. Feel free to try out the traceroute command yourself based on the information I’ve provided on the screengrabs above – you can see precisely what you have to type in if you look at the top of the second screenshot. Knock yourself out.
I sincerely hope that both my employer and Monkfish read this post on koffdrop.com. I imagine they’ll feel pretty angry at me for daring to make such a post but will then feel embarassed enough to realise that if they hadn’t behaved in such an unsavoury manner I wouldn’t be sitting here typing about their failed little game.
As a final sweet note I’d like to point out that I prepared this post on my home PC. WordPress allows the user to draft articles in advance and then publish those articles with the push of a single button much like drafting an email to be sent at a later date. The very last thing I’ve done on my work PC is log into the WordPress admin panel at koffdrop.com and hit the PUBLISH button on this post. It seems like a very fitting final action to perform before I switch off this PC for the very last time and head down to the pub and say goodbye to Experian forever.