Get off my Internet!

Banned! Article: Get off my Internet

Whilst my own online social activities (arguing on message-boards) have diminished to nothing, I still read many sites and observe comments and responses posted by readers.

Following big announcements, such as the type made at annual shows, there tend to be plenty of extra-sensationalist news articles produced that tend to elicit a more intense type of response than normal. In part, these responses are provoked by the presentation of the article. Making comments and refreshing a page all counts towards pages hits and advertising exposure for the site. It’s not in the site’s interest to have people just calmly acknowledge what was written, after all.

Things can get to a point where conflicting views result in a call to have someone banned from posting or for there be some other means to suppress the disagreeable opinions of a poster.

The internet is an amazing place. It gives everyone a voice. People practice this freely (as I am doing now) as is their right. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, in my opinion, and so it makes no sense to practice ones freedom of speech by dictating who else may or may not speak. It demonstrates insularity and narrow-mindedness that someone is so wrapped up in having their own voice acknowledged that they feel justified in silencing others to do so. Nobody likes a loudmouth – especially one with double standards.

Or to put it into game terms: if you can only win by cheating the rules, you’re just showing you lack the skills to take part. Maybe this game isn’t for you.

In my experience when issues arise where one person experiences difficulties stemming from the behaviour of others there tend to be two approaches to take:

  • Petition to others that their behaviour be modified to suit you whilst you continue to behave as you normally do.
  • Modify your own behaviour to accommodate the circumstances of the issue.

In short: there’s things you can reasonably control and there’s things you can’t.

Now, the forms those two options take may be many and varied. For example, you can expect other road users to get out of your way, responding to your aggressive driving and beeping your car horn or you could start your journey earlier so that their behaviour won’t impact on you quite so heavily.

If you find the online community of those around you to be too ignorant, biased and narrow-minded you can argue your superior knowledge with them or you can leave them to their own devices. That one can take a while to sink in!

The mature response to those that consistently say things you don’t like the sound of is to simply ignore them.

Ignoring things is easy on the internet. You just don’t read whatever it is you want to ignore. Or, if you’re particularly disciplined, you’ll scroll the offending text off the screen or maybe even cease to visit the page the text is on. All methods that are simple to grasp and execute without calling upon anyone to make some sort of change on your behalf.

Expecting gamers, shielded by anonymity, throwing personal insults and making threats to take this pro-active approach to this is, of course, totally unrealistic. Remember, we’re talking about a culture that expects to be handed absolutely everything on a plate, doesn’t actually know what they want but will complain that they don’t get it and persistently present themselves as victims of corporate greed.

Really, how on earth could they possibly be expected to scroll past some text on a screen?

Such lack of discipline is exemplified by a variety of sites that allow comments to be graded by others. Some sites even go as far as hiding comments that have been graded especially poorly by other site members. I don’t recall ever seeing one of these systems requiring voters to make themselves known or to justify their grading of others.

So, what you naturally get is a corruption of democracy. Get enough people to vote a comment down and you get it hidden. Demonstrating a mistaken belief in that dismissing a point is the same as disproving it.

Unpopular views, views that go against what people may wish to hear, are not necessarily invalid views. Were that the case then we’d all still be talking about the earth being flat and burning witches.

In my past I’ve belonged to online and also managed online communities and made many comments online. I’ve clashed with more people than I can possibly remember and, without question, I have always been right. Always! Others have not always appreciated this fact but, showing mercy and benevolence, I have never called upon others to have these people removed from my presence. Sometimes it has been better to educate them or let them dig a hole for themselves so that their inadequacies are more clearly broadcast to others. In some cases I simply move on.

I read some sites with increasing amusement, witnessing people’s inability to control their own behaviour whilst demanding changes be instated to control the behaviour of others. I don’t think this is a good solution to an issue. In case you find yourself disagreeing with me, I’ve installed such a function to help you. If you look at the very top-right of your window you’ll find an ignore button installed, marked by an “X” in a square. Click on it whenever you think I should go away and I’ll be happy to oblige.

Aren’t I nice?

9 out of 10 isn’t bad

Over the Easter bank holiday a good friend paid me a visit. We ate, we drank, we were merry. Unlike me, he was gainfully employed throughout 2009 and he had bought many games that came out in that period. He left me with ten games and an arrangement to meet again at the start of June.

Since that visit I’ve ploughed through a number of games and as observers of my “Recently Completed” column on the right may have noticed, I’ve beaten almost all of them. Here’s a quick summary, in sequence, of my findings:

Uncharted 2 (PS3)

A lot has been said of this title that I don’t need to repeat here. I enjoyed the first game and expected greatness from the sequel. What I got was a supremely well put together piece of entertainment that was consistently very very good. It was surprisingly light on truly memorable moments and set-pieces though. Perhaps it’s an sign that I prefer peaks and troughs in my gaming experiences as opposed to a steady stream of quality. [4/5]

X-Men Origins – Wolverine (360)

It’s perhaps a little harsh to call a game based on a spinoff-film based on a franchise based on a comic series derivative but that’s the word that seems to spring to mind with this one. The production quality is very good but there was more content than the gameplay could support.  Too many levels, too much unnecessary long-windedness, not enough variety overall. Wolverine fans will get the most from it. [2/5]

Darksiders (360)

Zelda gameplay meets chunky comic-book stylings. I had really enjoyed the demo to this game and the full title lives up to the demo’s promise. Minor quibbles with the responsiveness of the controls doesn’t dampen the striking visual style, engaging theme or rock-solid gameplay. A reasonable amount of challenge combined with grand spectacle kept my playing right through to the open-ended climax. They even threw in some Portal-style gameplay too! [5/5]

The Darkness (360)

Going back before 2009 here but a game I’d been recommended nonetheless. Reasonably solid FPS mechanics laced with some special powers of the dark set this apart from regular fayre. The game succeeds in making you feel most comfortable in the shadows but some powers are poorly explained leaving the player to fumble around arbitrary gameplay spikes. Good back then, not so hot now [3/5]

Killzone 2 (PS3)

Pretty and featuring a more varied palette than many naysayers would lead others to believe. Like its prequel, it starts out quite clumsy and throws you into battle without giving you a proper preparation. Once over that hurdle a solid-feeling FPS awaits. All the elements are there along with some interesting efforts at character development. Rico sense of judgement being an unexpected turn in particular. [4/5]

Spiderman – Web of Shadows (360)

Better and more fun that it has any right to be. It’s goofy and its characters, particularly the peons, are a little off but its heart is in the right place. Some of the signature characters look superb. The development of side-missions is very poor – merely upping the numbers in a challenge and nothing else. Crucially, web-slinging your way around the city is a delight in itself – effective transport and true to the character. Absolutely worth checking out. [4/5]

Condemned (360)

Another pre-2009 title and it shows. Not just in its graphics but across all its presentation. FPS mêlée is novel but too limiting to support a full game – even a relatively short one as this. The narrative carrot being dangled in front of the player never becomes a true reward and the slog through relentlessly grim environments awaiting attack or a grisly discovery was something I failed to find entertaining in any way. [1/5]

Batman – Arkham Asylum (360)

A big 2009 title and by far the finest Batman game in decades. Great visuals and voice-work (though a patchy script). The gameplay is solid and makes great use of the Batman legacy for gadgets and characters. Combat feels superb with the player feeling empowered and confident when surrounded by a dozen thugs. Great execution of item-hunting, giving hints without being too explicit. Bags of fun. [5/5]

inFamous (PS3)

Finally, a game with a good excuse about why water should kill the protagonist! Far more climbing than I expected. Solid but not exactly thrilling third-person combat makes up the bulk of this game. Variation offered in the side missions where skills other than shooting are put to the test. Great comic-book style cinematics pace the game well though don’t quite fit the in-game visuals. Good, but room for improvement. [3/5]

Condemned 2 – Bloodshot (360)

Given my feelings on the prequel I didn’t even start playing this game.

All of the above have certainly done wonders for my gamerpoints and trophies. A shame then, that I don’t care for either. Final Fantasy XIII has had a viewing but it’s too early to give a verdict – it is what I expected it would be so far. Mario Galaxy 2 drops in a few days and, by then, I’ll probably have another 10 titles to go with it courtesy of the same generous friend.

Looks like I won’t be going outside for a while!