Earlier this week it was revealed that Electronic Arts-- erstwhile publishers of The Bard’s Tale, Dr. J vs. Larry Bird and Zany Golf, and now one of the world’s foremost experts in digital warfare-- had moved into the research and development of real life murder tools.
Surely you think I’m joking and have already entered the world of outlandish hyperbole?OhgodIwishIwerejoking.
Look at that thing! You’re not going to cut down tree limbs with that! You’re going to cut off person-limbs! That’s not a tomahawk! That’s a Tommy’s-missing-his-head-hawk! That’s not a hatchet! That’s a manchet!
You get the idea.
“Fine” you say, nervously eyeing your freshly minted pre-order receipt for Dead Space 3, “That doesn’t necessarily prove EA is responsible for the murder other human beings, a hatchet is a camping tool and it is unlikely any of these will be used to excavate a man’s brain from his brainpan despite possessing a pickaxe that was clearly designed for high-speed trepanning. Also why do I continue to speak like this when it’s clear my dialog has been hijacked for the author’s own interests”
And sure. It’s a camping tool. It’s also clearly some sort of Dwarven-designed lobotomy tool, but that thing is probably legal in most states in the Union. But what about these guys:
Surefire LLC sure as hell isn’t a camping outfitter! These are the sorts of people you get in contact with when you need to fill a boat full of guns and take over a small Caribbean island with a group of likeminded individuals. Surefire might not actually sell guns or ammo online, but they sure as hell don’t have a business model beyond “make it easier to kill other humans”.
This is what EA is doing with your money. Outfitting “Tier-One operators” with silencers for automatic rifles and providing R&D dollars for man-hatchets. And by “Tier-One operator”, what is usually meant is “highly unstable dude who’s bitter about the breakup with his girlfriend and is nervously pacing back and forth outside a Denny’s. Actually your Denny’s. The one you’re inside right now. DUCK!”
Look, I’m not asking you to become socially conscious and toss away your EA merchandise-- Boycotts are a fruitless endeavour with geeks, our culture is built around mindless acquisition. Also, Need For Speed Most Wanted is going to be fucking amazing.
I just want to make everyone aware that things like the Voodoo Hawk Speedy Field Amputation Aid and EA’s partnership with SureFire LLC exist. Perhaps if you find yourself in a position to ask EA executives pressing questions about the monetization model for The Old Republic, maybe ask them why they felt it was a good idea to go into partnership with the same sort of people who outfitted James Eagan Holmes.
Gaming is a scummy, villainous industry, and this is largely the fault of a bloated, archaic, insanely wealthy publishing model. In fact, I would say that all publishers are at least partially evil, and should be driven into the sea by a pitchfork wielding mob. I mean save for Valve, of course, those guys are pretty great.
Don’t believe me? Here are just a few of the the awful, terrible things your favorite developers have been parcel to that industry insiders have kept hidden from the public. Save for Valve. Also, pre-order Dota 2!
Activision: After the dismal failure of Tony Hawk: Ride, Activision sought to free themselves of the disastrous licensing contract with Tony Hawk by assembling a crack team of internationally feared skate-assassins, headed up by a crazed, bloodthirsty Bam Margera. The resulting battle at School II resulted in a decimation of the pro skater community, the deaths of over a dozen greasy teenagers, and untold property damage.
Also, Activision refused to give Troika the time and money to patch V:tM Bloodlines correctly, resulting in the shuttering of Troika Games and likely several dozen starving children. So fuck you, Activision. Fuck you.
Atlus: Faced with the improbable success of Catherine, parent company Index Corporation was hungry to see Atlus capitalize on the popularity of the game and the lascivious titular (hehe) character. Lacking any better ideas, Atlus decided to spend several millions of dollars funding what was supposed to be a relatively tasteful softcore pornographic movie in the tradition of Andrew Blake. Sadly Atlus did not do their research and instead trusted filming to infamous German fetish filmmakers SM Studio Berlin.
All copies of the resulting nine hour long epic-- called “The Ben Hur of German scatocological bondage” by experts in the field-- were burned, the ashes then mixed in concrete and entombed in an undisclosed location.
Also, good lord Atus:
Capcom: Once paid tens of millions of dollars to accurately re-create a zombie outbreak in an isolated midwest town to gain mocap footage for future Resident Evil and Dead Rising games. Sadly, most of this footage was instead used for Lost Planet 2.
Konami: The continued employment of Mercury Steam.
Microsoft: In addition to the much publicized Xbox 360 manufacturing shortcuts that resulted in the Red Ring of Death fiasco, Microsoft took part in a number of other, undocumented shortcuts designed to make the system cheaper or at times seemingly out of pure malevolence:
- Microsoft shunned conventional ABS plastic in early 360 launch window units, instead opting for a form of bakelite constructed largely of formaldehyde resin and asbestos fibers
- Attempts to produce a special anti-microbial coating for the 360 controller were hampered by a rushed schedule and regrettably most units were mistakenly released using what the Center for Disease Control would later classify as a “super-microbial coating”.
- Purchased Rare; forced them into development of several highly regrettable 360 launch window games, then later converted the studio into a gulag for Kinect development
- Also the Kinect
Namco: In 2002, Namco collected and trained an army of fighting bears in order to research the feasibility of a proposed Tekken spinoff game Paul & Kuma vs The Ursine Uprising.
Rumors of animal abuse aside, this would actually sound like a pretty neat idea and not at all terrible if bears had not eventually bested their Shinto masters in open combat and escaped the facility, never to be seen again.
Nintendo: Gamecube discs never really spun the opposite direction of commercially availableDVD burners, although Nintendo made not attempt to dissuade the public of this notion, so Nintendo are basically a company full of liars. Also totally had Gunpei Yokoi killed by Japanese triads.
Nippon Ichi Software: Staying solvent, regularly producing games targeted at the sort of people who would buy NIS videogames.
- Secretly provided Ridley Scott hundreds of millions of dollars to fund Prometheus and several sequels in a desperate attempt to keep the Aliens: Colonial Marines franchise alive.
- Bankrolled a failed attempt to expand the Olympic games from one event every four years to four events per year.
- Guilty of the continued exploitation and growth of the Sonic fandom community and making no attempt to gather a database of these members for use by law enforcement officials.
- Basically forgot that Shining Force exists.
- Somehow placed the pause button on the console for the Sega Master System instead of the controller itself
- Galaxy Force for the Genesis was very poor and should never have been attempted in the first place
- Never killed Vic Ireland despite knowing his precise location at several E3 conferences.
- The Dreamcast D-Pad
- The move from Sega’s amazing plastic clamshell game boxes to cheaply produced cardboard boxes for the Genesis, otherwise known as The Day The Music Died
- The Gunvalkyrie control system
- Once gave Bernie Stolar a job
Sony: Regularly attempts to trick 3rd party developers to produce Vita games despite an unsteady economy where a single high production bomb can wipe out an entire studio. Also, the Vita.
Ubisoft: Operates an oubliette deep within the bowels of its shadowy central-europe dungeon fortress, where it keeps the families of the Assassin’s Creed lead designers, holding them hostage to Ubisoft’s dark will. Also never developed a sequel to Scott Pilgrim vs the World.
If there’s anything we can stand to learn from this ugly scenario is that, while nothing is going to ever stop behemoths such as EA or Activision, perhaps instead of buying your second or third sixty dollar MSRP game for the month, spend some money supporting your publisher-less indie devs instead.
Save for Phil Fish. Seriously. Fuck that guy.