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Videogames and violence

Now Playing: Games that make me want to kill people
Now Listening to: The sounds of dying innocents
Now Watching: Snuff films

Yes, that old beast is back again (and I'm a bit late to the punch, this happened a week or two ago, but ah well). I won't say much, but rather ask you to watch this:

This clear misrepresentation of the facts (and plain ignorance) has lead to a complaint being submitted to Ofcom:

Breach of the Ofcom code

We feel that The Alan Titchmarsh Show has breached the Ofcom broadcasting code several times during the course of this programme. Specifically:

* In the above article, Tim Ingham recounts how the audience was encouraged before recording began to specifically boo him when they disagreed with him. No such recommendation was made regarding the other guests. This is a clear violation of article 7.2 of the Ofcom code, which requires that all contributors be treated fairly and equally.
* In the same article, Ingham feels that the broadcast footage did not accurately reflect Kelvin Mackenzie’s receptive attitude to, and appreciation of, the comments Ingham made. This violates articles 5.7 and 7.6 of the Ofcom code, which require that views not be misrepresented and that any editing reflect the contributions made.
* Julie Peasgood cited a piece of research but failed to name it. This violates article 7.9 which states that material facts must be presented in a fair way. By failing to identify the study, Peasgood offered no chance of rebuttal.
* Peasgood’s personal involvement in the subject matter was never made fully clear to the audience, in violation of article 5.8. Her personal involvement is outlined below.

Perpetuation of misconceptions

We feel that very little research was undertaken by The Alan Titchmarsh Show before this discussion took place. Alan Titchmarsh did not know the names of the games and clearly did not understand that video games are classified and age-restricted in exactly the same way as films. This show perpetuates the misconception that all video games are aimed at children. Three of the four games named by Titchmarsh (Left 4 Dead 2, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2) are age-restricted and can only be purchased by adults aged 18 or over. If the adults then choose to give the games to children and allow them to play, it is not the fault of the gaming industry, but of the adult themselves.

Whether or not these games corrupt children’s minds is both unproven and irrelevant. Children should not be playing these games in the first place, and the person that allows them to do so is responsible, just as they would be responsible for showing a child an 18-rated film.

This point was never adequately addressed, and when Tim Ingham tried to raise them he was cut off.

Julie Peasgood

Julie Peasgood provided voice acting for the character of Harroway for the PC and PlayStation survival horror game Martian Gothic: Unification, released in 2000. This game carries the ESRB rating Mature (17+), and contains several scenes of graphic violence.

Yet Peasgood makes no mention of this during the show. Instead she makes categorical statements such as:

* “Video games are addictive, they promote hatred, racism, sexism, and they reward violence. What kind of a message is that?”
* “I am categorically against violence for entertainment. It is just wrong.”

To make such accusations while at the same time profiting from the industry you are criticising is a sickening display of hypocrisy.

Additionally, when referring to the Iowa State University study, Peasgood asserts that increased levels of depression and low self-esteem were linked to playing violent video games. However, there is no mention of either of these conclusions in the study’s publicity by Iowa State University. It seems clear that Peasgood is adding her own conclusions to make her point seem more valid than it is.

In conclusion, we the undersigned seek a public apology from The Alan Titchmarsh Show for its breach of Ofcom guidelines and its perpetuation of misconceptions about video games, and from Julie Peasgood for her hypocritical statements and exaggerated claims.

Submitted to Ofcom 24/03/2010.

For full details of that and a chance to 'sign' the complaint, click:

http://playstuff.tumblr.com/post/471266385/ignorance

Utterly tedious stuff from ITV once again. Feel free to vent a bit; I might chime in with a short editorial after the Easter weekend.

Nintendo Europe Media Summit 2010

Now Playing: Timesplitters: Future Perfect
Now Listening to: Turin Brakes - Outbursts
Now Watching: BBC News

Rather than make you all fall asleep by telling you about my bus journey (long and uncomfortable) and talking about the food (inappropriately sit-down-and-eat-me for mingling), I'll give you something interesting to mull over. Shocker.

Over the last few years, Nintendo has gotten a whole lot more adept at making lot of noise and showing us all how impressive it is. NoE press events used to be fronted by the oft-robotic David Gosen and were frequented by geeks and ghouls and were altogether quite shabby affairs. Fast forward about five years and look at how things have changed.

Everything is now shiny, Nintendo are proud to make a noise and a statement and they have the confidence to do so. This latest presser not only showed Nintendo have the confidence, it also showed they have the product to back it up.

Their bullish profiteering and market domination in some areas have created a whole different beast that is all about impressing and cramming how good they are down your throat. Just ask Reggie...

The Nintendo Media Summit 2010, held on three days in three different countries, allowed the company to once again jump up and down and shout 'look at me!'. The gaming press duly listened and some of the more mainstream media even raised a little nuance of an eyebrow. It was certainly a well put together day and I for one was suitably impressed with what was on offer, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Metroid: Other M in particular (Sin and Punishment 2 just gave me a headache).

It is certainly a far cry from a Nintendo who struggled to get games in the top-ten of the gaming charts, warbled on about the hardcore and floundered to make the GameCube a sales success. What's refreshing having played their wares last week, not only are Nintendo doing well (hooray for their pockets and corporate jacuzzi parties...) they're also overseeing the production of some rather exciting software.

And at the risk of being too positive about things, I'll shut up now.

The gaming decade that was

In line with continuing our review of the past ten years in gaming, I'm going to share with you all some of my thrilling and oft tedious memories of the last decade in the world of videogaming.

Chatting today with Jorge, the general overlord of all things Cubed3, he pointed out that this little site will soon be celebrating its 7th birthday (we came into being on the 4th Jan 2003). That's a long old time. And moreover, that encompasses most of the time I'm going to be talking about in this blog.

I think the first game I reviewed for Cubed3 was either Eternal Darkness or Super Mario Sunshine, scoring them both 9/10. The latter is certainly not a score that passes the test of time. The life of the GameCube was one that I spent playing a lot of games. And a lot of the games I played I ended up reviewing. On the N64 I had been an occasional gamer, only picking up the titles I really wanted; keep in mind that I paid something like 50 quid for Pilotwings 64 from Woolworths (RIP). The GameCube however provided something very different: quantity.

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When the Wii was close to release, I went through my various boxes-o-games and did a mass cull. I was confronted by a shedload of titles. Some of them were utter tat (Asterix and Obelix springs to mind immediately, as does some Digimon related fighting dross), but amongst the pap were some absolute sexy monsters of games. Sadly due to the fact I had no storage space for them at the time, I had to part company with some titles I really loved. There were so many great things about the GameCube. For one, it looked great. I don't think a games console has ever been so well designed. I think the Wii looks mildly tatty; heck, mine certainly hasn't worn well. Its all scuffed and grubby looking and no amount of cleaning quite makes it gleam. My black GameCube however still looks great. All dinky and cute...

So yeah, the 'Cube certainly did it for me looks wise and because it was a mild failure sales wise on Nintendo's part (ie: it got merrily trounced by the PS2) it retained that plucky underdog sort of feel. This was a proper gamers console with a bucket-load of proper gamers games. Not to get all nostalgic, but this was a time when games were games and men were men and...well, it was bloody good. What the GameCube meant was epic titles, proper 'genre games' and a full roster of the best gaming franchises.

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For me, gaming has always been something to enjoy with friends, so a lot of my favourite moments and memories of the past decade have been from multiplayer titles. No other series has ever done this quite like Super Smash Bros, although a decent mention needs to go to Mario Kart too. I've developed far too many nasty little calluses on my thumb from over-playing both games. The term 'Smash-headache' is now part of my vocabulary. This is a mildly depressing fact but also the sign of an utterly addictive game.

Which brings me to the Wii, and the start of my general disenchantment with all things waggly and motion sensitive. My most played games on Wii are by far Super Smash Bros Brawl, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Super Mario Galaxy and on the Virtual Console The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. What you might notice there is a lack of motion controls and the dreaded 'waggling'. I just don't like it and I don't like the gimmicky feel of so many Wii games and neither do my friends. We like to get around the TV, have a beer or two and play proper games that don't require us to live in some Ikea-a-like house in white linen trousers smiling all the time playing sodding shovelware. Mild rant over.

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But I still love games, and I still love gaming and I still love writing about them. This past gaming decade has encompassed some truly great titles and I'm still going through the rather painful and irritating process of picking out my favourite game. You'll get to see my decision and disagree wildly with it when we publish our round-up coverage in the coming week or so. And beyond that we'll be feeling all teary and nostalgic and old as Cubed3 turns seven. Seems like only yesterday, time flies, my haven't you grown, etc.

Oh, and be sure to keep on sharing your thoughts in the other blog on this topic over here.

Tell us about your gaming decade...

Now Playing: Planet 51 (DS)
Now Listening to: Christmas hits various

As the stupidly named 'noughties' come kerplunking to an end, it is a time to reflect on a decade that has seen us go from N64 to Wii, from MSN to Facebook and from...erm...2000 to 2009. Yes, quite. Where once 'tweeting' was something birds did in trees, it is now what everyone seems to do when they enjoy a sandwich or 'lol' at something. In essence, this has been the digital decade.

Of course, gaming has been at the forefront of technology throughout the decade. There have been some major stories, some major games and some major developments. Tricky to boil it down succinctly, no?

Over the next week or so the Cubed3 team are going to be clashing heads to try and churn out some reasonably intelligent waffle about the last decade in gaming. Stay tuned for that over the holiday period.

But, as always, we want your views and comments. If you're really witty and intelligent and interesting we'll even use your comments in our super-duper feature coverage of the decade.

So, have a good think and try and come up with some of your favourite gaming moments over the past decade, your favourite games. Go on, ramble away...

Nintendo's First Party Hopes for 09

Now Playing: Crackdown
Now Listening to: RHCP
Now Watching: Simpsons

Having played the 'big three' at Nintendo's E3 event in London, I've been starting to think about the prospects for Nintendo throughout the rest of the year. Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports Resort and New Super Mario Bros for Wii are undoubtedly three very important titles for Nintendo. They are the three big titles that Nintendo hope will carry the Wii forward through the back-end of 2009 and keep support for it strong both with retailers and consumers.

Our upcoming hands on reports for the games will show that everyone at Cubed3 was pretty impressed with them, but I'd like to stray on the side of caution a little bit. Yes, they are all great games, but when you consider one of them is a fitness title with some mini-games thrown in to break up the yoga-ness, another is a Wii-mote twirling 'family-a-thon' and the other is Mario with more players...it does leave a bit of a sour taste. There is no massive, proper game. Even Mario has been tossed around with a bit. That's not to say it isn't great fun, it is...the problem being it is just a little bit light on the 'hardcore' side.

Which is where my main concern comes in. When you see 'proper' games taking a back seat so often, as a gamer, it becomes a bit disheartening. That's not to say that the 'real' gamers (or whatever you want to call them) will be abandoned in 2009, not at all, it is just that the three titles that Nintendo are chucking all their weight behind aren't what you might call 'big hitters' for those who have followed the company since well before the Wii era.

I guess it becomes something of a sign of the times. Whereas before we'd be looking to Nintendo to deliver the sweeping epics and truly deliver something to make the true gamers salivate with joy, now we are left with the occasional 'big' game now and then. Obviously you have to play to your markets, and the profits and gains Nintendo and others can make from games like Wii Fit and Sports Resort are unquestionable, it just seems a bit of a shame that the 'big three' for Nintendo at E3 seem to niftily side-step the very idea of 'great' games in favour of mass-market appeal.

Which side of the fence do you all sit on though? Or is your arse firmly planted on the middle of the fence in a somewhat painful moment of indecision? Are the 'big three' from Nintendo enough for 2009? Does it matter? Rant away...

E309 | I predict...

Now Playing: Boom Blox
Now Watching: Fresh Prince of Bell Air

...Well, tricky, isn't it? Last year was a total wash-out with MotionPlus being mildly exciting but far off in the distance (we're only just seeing it now...sort of) and Wii Music which was pretty cack. So, what can we expect from this E3? Well, for starters its gone back to being a bit of a big bad orgy of gaming delights once again. Seems someone realised that gaming events don't do 'small, quiet and refined' all that well. So, it'll be big, it'll be brash and it'll be hugely competitive.

First up, Nintendo need to show off something big as they must have been doing something for the past couple of years. Put simply, they haven't put out a big title in a long time, so hopefully there will be at least one or two of them in the pipeline. Add to that the need to keep the Wii at the top of the gaming tree and I feel things will be nice and competitive. Microsoft have already come along and surprised us all with Project Natal (which, amazingly, seems good), so it'll be up to Nintendo to really pull out something show-stopping. And if what people are spotting in certain pictures is right (http://www.cubed3.com/topic/36301) we could well be seeing just about the biggest franchise Nintendo have to offer. Exciting times indeed!

I always look forward to E3 and I don't think the rhetoric and hilarious showmanship ever really disappoints. There will be the usual high-flying promises and statistics, but beneath it all we'll come away in a couple of days with one enduring memory and one thing we're all really excited about. Can Nintendo pull that out of the bag later today? We shall see. One thing is for sure though, E3 is back in a big way...

DSwhy?

So the DSlite is out and about in Europe now and this has gotten me thinking. A quick comment from C3's Linkyshinks on this news article pretty much sums up my mild confusion...

Who is buying all these DSi's ?!?!

Go no then, answer me that. I mean the price-point is very 'ambitious' shall we say and the current economic climate somewhat dictates that disposable income is down and that 'luxury' items (which the DSi certainly is) are selling less. I'm just amazed its selling so well and that people are willing to part with that much cash.

So, what the hell is going on? Well, there's obviously the fanbase factor. There's been quite a bit of hype about the DSi and it will certainly have been pre-ordered A LOT. Aside from that, loads of stores have been offering deals on it for launch and heavily promoting their pre-order schemes. A quick walk down my local high-street a little while back showed a strong DSi presence in most games/entertainment stores.

But still, why buy it? I really don't understand. Aside from having the ability to be a bit of a iPod Touch-a-like, the DSi is essentially a DSlite with knobs on. A money making and money saving venture by Nintendo to make some inroads into a market that is shrinking. Whilst I admire the intelligence of the business move, I (personally) can't justify the expenditure.

It just seems a bit like money down the drain when I already have two sodding DS systems (chunky and lite) sitting in my desk draw, not to mention a proper GameBoy Advance and a GBA SP). Just feels a bit like I'm being ripped off...

Your thoughts?

Got Facebook? Join the C3 Fan Page thing.

Now Playing: FIFA 09
Now Listening to: Keane and Johnny Cash

I'm not a mad fan of Facebook. Some of my friends seem a little obsessed with it, leading to the very worrying verb 'to Facebook'. When you ask someone what they spent their afternoon doing, for them to reply 'I Facebooked for a couple of hours' is fairly depressing. Ah well, those are the times we live in and all that jazz.

Still, call me a hypocrite as I do use it regularly and it is an excellent way to share photos and stalk people and whatnot. In light of its alleged brilliance, I set up a fanpage (or whatever they're called) for C3 in addition to the rather dead group we have already.

So, JOIN UP!

C3 on Facebook

Thank you muchly.

What will you be playing this Christmas?

Now Playing: Exit DS
Now Listening to: Sex on Fire

With a shocking lack of good games on the Wii this Christmas, I want to know what you lot are planning to play. Some thought (Animal Crossing) might fill the void, but our 6/10 rating and general moans of displeasure from the press in general seems to knock it out of the running. We gave Wii Music a very generous 7/10 and in all honesty whilst fun enough for a bit, it isn't going to keep many people entertained for very long. These were the two games that Nintendo championed as part of their (rubbish) Chrimbo line-up on the Wii and with third parties hardly chiming in with anything worth mentioning, the Wii looks a bit barren.

Still, the XBOX 360 and PS3 might plug the gap, right? I really want to get my hands on a copy of Mirror's Edge at some point during the holiday, so I'm probably going to be hunched over that. As I'm going home for a couple of weeks though I'll only have my DS to entertain me so I'll probably be plugging away on Exit DS. A great little puzzle/platform type of game with a really nice style to it. Top pick-up and play title. Review of that soon.

So, back to my original question, in amongst the Wii 'casual gaming' related crap, what will you be playing this Christmas and will the whole family be enjoying the gaming fun?

To blog, or not to blog?

Now Playing: Exit (DS)
Now Listening to: R.E.M
Now Watching: 24 DVD Movie

So we've had the hallowed Staff Blogs running for a little while now and to be honest we've not really delivered. It was something I made a bit of a song and dance about appearing on the site as I thought it might be something the staff would enjoy writing and you would enjoy reading...maybe.

Anyway, they didn't really take off in terms of us writing them and now I'm looking to kick the proverbial arse back into action. The rather swanky new C3 mainpage highlights blogs rather nicely and there will be space for them to be featured in nice colourful boxes for all to see.

My question is then...do you care? What sort of blogging would you like to see from staff? What we're currently playing? What we think of gaming issues? Random rambles? I'd love to kick one off, hence this entry, so let us know your thoughts.

Cheers,
James T

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