Eye Catching 4 – 8 November

Happy November!  The holiday season is fast approaching and for those of us in gaming, it’s past time to start deciding what to buy for ourselves, what to give as gifts, and – perhaps most importantly – what to warn people NOT to buy for you.  You all do that too, right?  I mean, how else can you avoid your nongamer Aunt May giving you shovelware?

While exploring the internet this week, a parent’s guide to the new consoles, written by Keith Stuart for TheGuardian.com, caught my eye.  Now, I must point out that this guide was written for the non-gamer parents in the audience and I read through it wondering what fellow parents, who were not gamers, were being told.  It’s easy for gamers to decide what to buy fellow gamers or ourselves, but video games remain a mystery to a large percentage of the population.  The verdict, not surprisingly, is rather ambivalent and suggests that people buy the system that best answers the questions, “Why am I buying a new console?” and “What do I want this machine to do?”

As for launch titles, Venturebeat.com’s Dean Takahashi, provided a succinct review and links to the complete lists.  Of course, this brings to mind my belief that what separates people who play video games from Gamers, is that a Gamer will answer the question, “Why am I buying a new console?” with “Because it’s the only way I can play _______!!”  ~ Star (who bought a Dreamcast because it was the only way to play Shenmu.)

* PS4 or Xbox One? A Parent’s Guide | TheGuardian.com

* How the Xbox One Launch Titles Stack up against Sony’s Playstation 4 Lineup | Venturebeat.com

So how many of you out there are playing Call of Duty Ghosts?  Well, if you follow TotalBiscuit, you may not be.

I confess I’m not a big fan of first-person shooter games, but the ad campaign for this game has intrigued me.   The early ads were somber, taking the war theme seriously.

But the latest phase of the ad campaign is much more upbeat and, dare I say, happy.

and

Now, I get it.  Create some ads that show players having fun and promote the fun factor to gamers.  But here’s my soapbox moment.  You may remember that we featured an article a few weeks ago on Operation Supply Drop, a charity that focuses on supporting soldiers with battle fatigue and post-traumatic stress disorder.  One comment thread in particular on Kotaku’s article took issue with soldiers joining the military and then “complaining about death.”  While several commenters came in and took issue with the original comment, at the time, I wondered how, in this post-9/11 world, where the real effects of war can be found on several different TV program types aside from the news, some people still believe these things.  Then the “Epic Night Out” ad, with its Frank Sinatra soundtrack, came out.

Look how fun war looks!  And Old Blue Eyes is singing you along into the fabulousness of it all.  We can laugh in the face of our enemies, while mowing them down of course because, “There’s a soldier in all of us.”

I won’t lie.  I play battle style MMOs that throw characters into wars against monsters and other players, but no matter how fun my game time is, I’ve never thought my characters would come out psychologically unscathed had these been real wars.  And I’m not naïve about how war continues to be romanticized – that’s happened since the first wars in history; soldiers get glorified, and nothing has really changed in the course of human experience.  But I’m a little intrigued and a little disturbed by the last ad.  And I’m wondering if there might be a correlation between games that make battlefield combat seem fun and people without military experience growing callous or ignorant about the realities of war.  I don’t know.  What do you think? ~ Sandra

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