In response to "Confessions of a GameStop Employee - Part One" from The Escapist Forum: My main problem with gutting new game is that it reeks of hypocrisy. If I buy a game and open it, even if I never put it in my console, it becomes used as soon as the shrink wrap comes off. However, if Gamestop opens it as a means of preventing theft, well then it's still a new game even though DLC codes, maps, stickers, and god knows what may have been removed by store employees.
However, what I will say is that Gamestop has an awesome return policy on used games. Seven days, no questions asked. If you can't find a way to turn that into week long free rentals then you are doing something wrong.
It doesn't surprise me one bit that a national retail chain staffs its stores with people who aren't particularly, deeply passionate about games. Why? Because that's not their job. Their job is to sell product and mind the store, and they don't need to have a life-long love affair with games anymore than a guy who sells cars needs to be some sort of huge car nut, or a waiter (or even the cook for that matter) serving and making your food needs to have been, from birth, wanting to serve or cook food. Certainly there's a minimum level of competency and service required, but that's really a different set of criteria.
For what retail chains pay people, how can you expect there to be some stringent bar to qualification? I absolutely love games of all sorts, but the last thing I ever wanted to do was to work retail, nor would I suggest it as a career path to anyone - they're jobs you take because you have to, in most cases. Or, in the author's case, for spending money I guess, though I'd think anyone headed to graduate school might find a better way to fill those months before he starts classes unless he really, really needed the money.
All that being said, I don't hold the same sort of contempt that a lot of gamers seem to have for retail game sales outlets or their employees. I don't excuse poor customer service or shoddy merchandise, as some of the previous examples state, but I don't go there with the expectation that I'm going to be dazzled by the passion and interest of a game store clerk. I go there to buy things, and as long as I'm getting what I paid for, I'm happy.
In response to "Second Real Life" from The Escapist Forum: It's because of articles like this that I love The Escapist. Fantastic, and remarkably moving. I also am guilty of prejudging the people who play Second Life, and I expect so are most people. Not going to do that again. Wow.
I just feel so sorry for K. For W as well, but to a lesser extent. At least he has the option to have a real life and a real family; that doesn't seem to be the case with K. It just amazes me that people like her are abandoned by others and left to look after themselves. I mean, she's even been deserted by her family, the people you'd expect to be there for her. It just makes me feel so depressed; I'm misanthropic anyway, and it's stuff like this that makes me lose faith in people. How can they justify it to themselves?
In response to "Tetramino, Falling" from The Escapist Forum: So I was going write this post about how the article made me realize that Tetris is a work of art of pure gameplay, not because of any meaning it has or some silly interpretations people came up with... but then the last few paragraphs of the article said it for me. How often do you get ninja'd by the article itself? XD Still, I hadn't ever really thought of gameplay as an art form on its own before, so that's pretty cool.
I'm kinda sad that the Tetris version that came with Ubuntu has such messed up controls. The pieces simply don't move sideways fast enough, so it starts to get unplayable just around the point where it's getting fast enough to be interesting. :( I guess I could fix it myself, given that it is open source and all... but I'm much more likely to just find some new AAAs for my good old TI-89 and play the real version. :)
Yes, I consider the TI-89 version the One True Tetris. Hey, don't look at me like that! :P
So, back to the article a sec; it almost said something I found interesting: The way video games can imitate movies but don't have to has a lot in common with the relationship between paintings and photographs.
Although, my favorite use of the tetronimoes was their use to solve thermodynamic problems of entropy and chaos. By making the classic seven pieces fall randomly, the were able to model entropic systems. How awesome is that?
I think it is key to the discussion of games-as-art to identify their use of "videogamic" qualities (althought we might want to coin a better term). In this debate, sometimes people point to the fantastic visuals (whether realistic or abstract), sounds and music, the engaging stories, or the production values matching those of films. These things are videogames incorporating other forms of art. Videogames as their own art depend on "videogamic" qualities; the importance of what you do as opposed to what you see, hear, or even feel.