Super Mario Brothers Crossover

According to Best Week Ever: Super Mario Bros. Crossover is “a reprogrammed flash version of the entire original Super Mario Bros. NES game that you can play as Mario, Mega Man, Link from Zelda, Simon from Castlevania, or Samus from Metroid, complete with customized attributes, special moves, and music for each character.” Try it:

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – Shock & Awe Gameplay

The Shock & Awe level of may be the most exciting level of the game, or maybe just the most fun. How can you get more entertaining that manning the side gun of an attack helicopter, taking out tanks and nests of hostiles wielding RPGs? Mayhem and explosions galore!

See also: – Internet Marketing Posts 3/13 – 3/24

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Aqua Teen Hunger Force

My DVR describes as "food items solve crimes." They are food items but I can’t recall them ever solving crimes. This is one of my favorite shows and, if you’re not familiar with it, is of the genius that is .

The Hunger Force of the series consists of Master Shake is a self-centered milkshake. Frylock is a goateed box of french fries who plays the straight-man, has a jewel embedded in his back, and can shoot lasers from his eyes. Meatwad is a gullible glob of meat who can morph into the shape of a hot dog or an igloo.

Carl is their disgusting next door neighbor. He’s human…well, sub-human. Many of the episodes open with a short scene featuring Dr. Weird, a mad scientist, and his assistant, Steve.

The intergalactic characters include the Mooninites and the Plutonians.

The Mooninite characters include Ignignokt and Err, a couple of smart-assed two-dimentional pixelated game sprites lifted right out of any 80s arcade game. The Plutonians consist of Oglethorpe and Emory, a couple of spikey and stupid extraterrestrials. Oglethorrpe has an Austrian accent.

This is a typically great episode that includes most of the characters:

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The Gamer Vote

The is trying to convince gamers to set aside their controllers long enough to mobilize against legislation in various states and nationally that would put restrictions on the sale of video games and/or fine retailers who contravened those laws.

They’ve created the as the vehicle to activate gamers. It’s not a bad idea but count me as skeptical because those who are most likely to be most offended by such laws–hard-core gamers–are the hardest to reach because, you guessed it!, they’re playing games.

, the average gamer is 30 years old (just the age  when people tend to become more politically active) and the vast majority of game buyers are over 18 years of age; six in ten gamers are men; and most expect to be playing as much or more video games than they do now. That tells me they’ve got a vested interest in easy access to their pasttime.

I don’t think games should be treated any differently than books or movies or music. I do think they are a legitmate form of artistic expression that deserves every bit as much constitutional protection of any other form of artistic or political expression. And I most emphatically do not believe that there is a causal link between video game violence and it’s real life counterpart.

Video games are an easy target for politicians looking to bolster their "family values" credentials. As a Democrat, it pains me to admit that these politicians are largely from my own party. Chief among them are , , and . All three are sponsoring the so-called "," and all three have or have had presidential ambitions.

There was a study recently that demonstrated heightened levels of agressiveness in people just after they’d played certain video games. I’ve no doubt that’s true. But the implication that that violence carries over into everyday life does not follow.

A game like is crime and fighting game; it requires agressiveness. That doesn’t mean I am more likely to go out and put a cap someone’s ass or run someone over because I just did it in the game.

But if it’s discovered that some school shooter played Grand Theft Auto, then it must be the game that caused the violence. It’s certainly an easy explanation, however flawed.

A more realistic explanation–yet harder to fit into a news segment–is that the violence is a result of a whole host of reasons, many of which may be specific solely to that individual. I just find it an incredible stretch to believe that playing video games will cause an otherwise normal and healthy kid to commit violence in real life.

That’s not to say that kids should be able to play any type of video game they want. I don’t. My sixteen year old nephew was visiting some time ago, grabbed Grand Theft Auto from the shelf, and said let’s play this.

I do not for a second believe that playing the game would do him any harm and I think he’s mature enough to responsibly handle the game’s content. But it wasn’t my call. Until he’s 18 years old, that’s his parent’s decision. I’ve no doubt he’s played it before, but at least I was sending him the message that even his cool uncle thinks the game is not yet appropriate for him.

Had I let him play it, the "Family Entertainment Protection Act" would not have prevented him from playing the game and I guess it would have made me a criminal if not in fact, then in spirit.

The fact is that families already have the tools to "protect" themselves from entertainment (which is a rather absurdly hilarious thought, when you think about it). Their called .

The missing ingredient here seems to be the parents themselves. The parents need to read the ratings before buying the games for their kids. The parents need to be involved enough in their childrens’ lives to know when they’re consuming something that is inappropriate. My sister, for example, locks up the controllers so her kids can only play video games when she approves. She knows what games they play. That’s a fine solution.

What is intensely annoying about things like the "Family Entertainment Protection Act" is that I do not want to live in a locked-down child-safe world.

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Are Gamers Athletes?

I know this story is a week old, but I must address it. A week ago Sunday, on professional gamer Fatal1ty and how he’s making a ton of money winning .

The piece details the exploits of Fatal1ty (a.k.a.  Jonathan Wendell) and his growing celebrity as a gamer and his clout as a commercial endorser. His agent tries to argue that Wendell is an athlete for a new form of sport.

No. No no no no no no no no no NO. He is not.

I’ll agree that video games are sport in that they consist of people competing against one another and that they are quickly becoming a spectator sport, but gamers as athletes? Please.

One of the primary aspects of being an athlete is skill of a physical nature. Don’t tell me that a largely sedentary activity such as playing video games is a sport, the most excursion of which requires sweating over controller.

Wendell clearly has mad skills as a gamer (and actual athletic skills, as the piece points out), but to call someone an athlete merely because they excel at video games is purely absurd.

Watch the 60 Minutes Video:

This Week In Internet Marketing – 1/24/06 – 1/27/06

Here’s a roundup of this week’s posts at my :