Thursday, November 24, 2011

Steam is evil. EVIL!!!

Okay, so maybe Steam is an amazing platform. A great way to get games online. I have more money in games on Steam than I'd like to admit. An ever growing collection of over 300 games now.

Steam runs silently in the background, taking practically not processing power. Which is great, as there are other similar programs that eat up so many resources, it hinders the games you're trying to play through them.

And Steam has amazing deals on games. You'll see daily deals, weekend sales, and other events where games are being sold for 50 per cent off or more. And this is where the true evil nature of the system appears. Why? Because I have no self control!!! And admit it, if you see a $30-50 game no sale for $5, can you honestly say you're not tempted to pick it up based on that price? You never know when you'll be able to find it that cheap again. And even if it's not a game you "must" have, if it's something that you've looked at and thought "Maybe, if it was cheaper"... well, now it is.

Steam's currently having an Autumn Sale. From November 23 to 27, most titles are on sale for about 50 per cent off, with bigger deals on select items each day.

I've already spent far more money than I had planned on this sale. As have my friends. Yesterday alone my gaming library has expanded by about 20 games or so.

Evil! Evil I say!!!
Though admittedly I'm still waiting to see what special deals they have today.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spiral Knights: A truly Free-to-Play experience.

Free-to-Play. We've all heard it. Seen countless games out there that label themselves this way. And time and again, you'll find out just how misleading it is.

Oh yes, you can play for free. Briefly. Most of the time, it ends up being more of a "demo" than anything else. You can freely play the first level of a game. Or get to maybe the first ten levels in an RPG, out of the 50 or 100 that's in the game. But if you want to progress further, or see that next zone... well, you'll have to pay up. World of Warcraft is even now "free-to-play". Of course, what that means is you can start off and do the newbie zone... but then you're cut off. If you want to see the full game, you have to pay. Meaning all you're really getting, is a brief demo.

Then there's other games, usually ones with a Player vs Player focus, that also hide behind this label. And in these, you can often play all the way through the game, or access all areas. However, if you want the better gear, better weapons, and basically what's required to give you a fair footing against other players... well, that will cost you. You hit max level, and have your nice +10 sword... and face another max level player with their +100 sword which was only available to those who paid into the game.

For many players, the whole Free-to-Play thing is just a scam. They know that they're not going to get much out of the game unless they pay up. And they're not going to bother.

But once in a very long while, a game comes along that breaks that tradition. Spiral Knights is one of these games.

Created by Three Rings, and published by SEGA, Spiral Knights is a multi-player dungeon crawler. Similar to Diablo and the many clones it has inspired. Players hack-n-slash, shoot, or bomb their way through the levels. Going further and further down, facing increasingly dangerous foes of many varieties, and of course collecting their "phat loot".

The game has a somewhat cartoony feel to it. And the graphics are definitely highly stylized. It's a fun environment, full of bright and vibrant colours.

The gameplay is deceptively simple. While the basic controls are very straightforward, there's a lot of skill required to survive deeper levels. And of course, you need to equip yourself well. With weapons and armours that focus on various elements and attack types, as well as supplying resistances to varying types of attacks.

You can easily play the game solo, but a lot of the fun comes from grouping with others. Joining up to three other players, to take on challenges together. The game balances for this. The more players in the dungeon, the tougher the enemies are. But teamwork will help you pull through.

The story of the game is rather straightforward. The players are explorers who have crash landed on a strange world. They explore the clockwork dungeons to try and uncover the planet's secrets, and find a way home. There are various bosses along the way, and a nice story to tie everything together. Though it's quite easy to just enjoy the game without worrying about the underlying story.

The dungeons themselves are varied. They will focus on various enemy types (slimes, gremlins, etc) or specific elements (fire, shock, etc). And the dungeons are actually created by players. There are four open dungeons, which slowly cycle out and are replaced by the next closed dungeon on the list. These closed dungeons are modified by players adding in crystal shards, which they collect on their travels. These shards and the amount and types added to closed dungeons will help shape just what each level will contain.

A big aspect of the game is crafting. Players will craft their own gear, out of components collected during their dungeon runs, obtained by defeating various enemies.

Everything in the game, from exploring the dungeons, to crafting, requires energy. And this is where Spiral Knights' free-to-play model comes in.

All players receive 100 Mist Energy over a 22 hour period. It slowly fills up over that time (one point every 13 or so minutes). This energy can be used to do anything, from traversing the dungeon to crafting and upgrading new gear.

You can also get Crystal Energy. Which will supplement your Mist Energy, and be used to craft even higher quality items. Things requiring over 100 Energy, that would take more than your daily allotment of Mist.

Crystal Energy can be bought. Now, you can pay real money to get yourself large quantities of it quickly. However, the beauty of the game, is that you can buy this Crystal Energy with Crowns, the in game currency. This means that you never have to spend a cent on the game if you don't want to. In a day's run, going through your 100 free Mist Energy, you can often make enough Crowns to buy yourself 100 Crystal Energy. While it may take you longer than someone who just pays real money to stock up, you'll get the same results as everyone else. You are not punished for not paying money into the game, unlike other supposedly Free-to-Play models.

Crystal Energy bought with Crowns actually comes from other players. There's a market where all players can buy and sell CE. The prices will fluctuate, as any open economy will. Many players "play the market", stocking up on CE when prices are low, and selling when high. Others simply stockpile all they can for whatever crafting they wish to do. But either way, it's up to the players to set the prices, and decide what works for them.

This Free-to-Play model has been working well for Three Rings. Spiral Knights has been making quite a name for itself, and has been padding their pockets nicely. It seems that when given a choice, instead of being forced to pay for game content, players are a lot more willing to donate. Whether you choose to spend money for a quick boost, or prefer to just earn your way up in game, everyone gets to the same standing in the end.

Three Rings deserves praise for giving us a game that is truly free to play. A game that anyone can enjoy. It's available both on Steam or through their official site. I highly recommend this wonderful title.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another thumbs up to the Dean Blundell Show.

This morning, one of the callers during their Psychic Nikki had a problem with an ex who was stalking her. She has a restraining order out on the man, but whenever she contacted police about him breaking it, it turned into a "he said, she said" argument.
Blundell took a stand, and helped get her in touch with an officer he knows in her area, who would definitely take action to make sure something was done about this stalker.
It's good to see people helping others, in whatever way they can.
Good job, Dean.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine Review


At least among the Warhammer 40K fans. And this game is definitely one for the W40K fans. Because it’s likely they’re the only ones who would truly appreciate what this game has to offer.

Not to say that this is a bad game. Because it most definitely isn’t. It just isn’t anything special. Just like Halo and Call of Duty, it’s another shooter. Just like all the rest, it’s rather linear, giving you scripted encounters at set points in the path. You have a variety of ways to dispatch your foes, and the combat system is quite entertaining (and gory).

The story is rather well developed, but it does assume that you have an understanding of the Warhammer 40K universe. You can definitely play it without that knowledge, but you’ll probably be left scratching your head about the comments and actions of the characters at times. The story will make sense, but there’s a lot of lore and references that fans of the setting will pick up on instantly, while newbies will not pick up on. I’ve spent a lot of time on the GameFAQs forums explaining to people the meaning of various comments, actions and items seen throughout the game. The story itself isn’t too long, which is typical of shooters these days.

The combat is solid. An interesting combination of ranged and melee attacks. The melee basically has set combos with each weapon, which is basically the attack button hit X number of times followed by the interrupt button if you choose. This will let you stun the enemy (hopefully) and let you perform a finisher to kill them off and regain health.

The shooting in the game is quite standard for third person shooters. A decent variety of weapons, that all play their own roles. The main weapon you start with is the classic bolter. A combat rifle that fires explosive rocket propelled slugs. Makes a wonderful mess of the enemy. You have a sniper rifle, laser cannon, grenade launcher, and plasma weapons. Whether or not you know the W40K world, you’ll quickly find the functionality of each of these weapons.

The AI in the game is fairly simple. The enemy either sits back shooting at you, jumping behind cover now and then, or you’ll be rushed by a swarm of melee attackers. What they lack in skill, they more than make up for in numbers. It’s common to be fighting 20 or enemies at a time. Fortunately, during parts when your fellow Marines are with you, you can use them as a handy distraction, as they seem to be invulnerable. So if you need a breather, just break out of combat and run for cover, letting your allies keep the enemy busy.

Now for the multiplayer.

It’s fun. Really.

Sure, it’s currently imbalanced as all hell, and has major technical issues that need fixing. But all in all, it’s something you can jump into for some quick and easy violence.

You get to play as Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines. For those who don’t know the setting, Chaos Space Marines are basically regular ones corrupted by the forces of Chaos. Simple.

You play as one of three customizable classes. Tactical Marine, which is your basic soldier with a wide array of weapons. The Assault Marine, a jetpack equipped melee expert. And the Devastator, the heavy weapons specialist.

There are two game types.

There’s Seize Ground, which is a score based game. Each map has a few control points. For each point that a side controls, they slowly increase their team’s score. First team to 1000 wins.

The other mode is Annihilation. Your standard team death match. First team to 41 kills takes the victory.

Seize Ground games will last a lot longer than Annihilation. Plus they tend to be a much easier source of XP for players. As you gain XP, you level up, unlocking new perks and abilities.

There’s also weapon perks that can be unlocked by using the weapon and scoring kills as well as other specific objectives, such as kill streaks, or multi-kills. These perks can really turn the tide of battle for you. And when killed by an enemy, you get to re-spawn with their weapon and perk load out, which gives you a chance to keep up while you’re still learning.

One of the great things about multiplayer is the customization. As you play, you unlock various armour sets to use on your character (for both sides). You get to select every part of your armour. Helmet, left/right shoulder pad, left/right glove, breastplate, left/right leg, and backpack. And each piece can be coloured with primary, secondary and an optional colour is you like. This leads to you seeing all sorts of interesting designs in game. Though many people like to select pre-made official chapter colours.

The problems with multiplayer however, are many.

Firstly, there are no dedicated servers. And as any shooter fan will tell you, this is a horrible mistake for a shooter. A host is randomly selected from the players in a match. This leads to a lot of lag and connection issues.

There is also no push to talk option. Everyone’s microphone is ALWAYS on. Naturally, this leads to a lot of feedback… not to mention morons munching a sandwich into their mic, or arguing with their girlfriend to the entertainment of everyone else in the game. The polite players unplug or mute their mics so as not to irritate others.

Team balance is another issue. Basically, there is none. Players are randomly tossed together on teams. And it’s quite common to see a team full of pros up who can snipe someone at full run from across the stage up again a team of newbies who are still learning the controls. Seize Ground games will often end with a 1000/0 victory, which is a big turn-off for a lot of players, who will get a pounding and then give up on the game.

The balance for weapons and perks is also iffy. Some weapons are basically one-shot kills, while others will leave you emptying a clip into the enemy in vain. A lot of skill is needed to get good at the game, and even survive basic encounters with the enemy. And the perks suffer from this as well. Some are just downright useless, while others are pretty much a must have. You’ll see the same setups coming up on most players.

Then there’s the basic game bugs, such as clipping issues, stuttering, disconnects, graphical bugs and all the rest. These tend to not be as big an issue as in many new releases, but there have been complaints by quite a few about them.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with Space Marine. Of course, a big part of that could be because I’m a huge W40K fan. And as I said, for those who don’t know the world, you’ll probably enjoy it, but you will miss a lot of the little things here and there.

Once they’ve fixed the issues with multiplayer, the game will definitely be a must have. As it stands now, I’d recommend it to Warhammer 40K fans… but for the rest, you might want to wait for a price drop.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - A step in the right direction.

But just a step. There's still a long way to go for modern gaming to reclaim the depth of the classics.

The new Deus Ex game is definitely a great one. A wonderful first person shooter, that provides tangible RPG elements, unlike most other "action RPG's". While the core mechanics are definitely set in the shooter genre, the game delivers a lot more.

As you play, you earn points with which to upgrade your character, through the use of augmentations. These provide you with new or enhanced abilities, ranging from improved combat abilities, to hacking skills, to stealth and maneuverability. These skills greatly affect how you play the game. They can drastically alter your experience, changing your play style from simple run-n-gun shooter play, to a game of stealth and avoidance, to the crafty art of hacking.

You can choose various approaches to each mission, with more possibilities opening up as your skills in various areas improve. You can choose to gun down all opposition. Or perhaps taking a less violent approach, simply stunning a guard or two on your way to your objective. Or maybe you'd prefer coming around to a locked door and hacking your way through, perhaps accessing a restricted computer and unlocking a new path to follow. It's quite literally possible to beat the game without killing anyone (except for forced boss fights).

The story is very well written, giving you an immersive experience. The game is full of information, both crucial and trivial, giving you a detailed and thorough understand of the world you're in. Though, be warned, there is a lot of reading involved. Of course, for those more focused on action, there's no shortage of that to be found.

The characters are well developed, and as you play, you learn a lot about the various figures you deal with. Some are honourable, others seek only self gain, while there are some who seem to play the villain due to their extreme devotion to their own cause. It's definitely a nice thing to see, compared to the bland and two dimensional characters found in many modern games.

The graphics, while not exactly ground breaking, are definitely beautiful, and give a real sense of walking the dark and dirty streets. Character models are hit and miss however. Some non-player characters definitely have a cut and paste look to them, while others are fleshed out in great detail. This tends to give you a quick idea of which characters are important, and which are only bit players.

Through the game, you'll have many choices in how to approach a situation. Many including conversations, which you guide through various styles of speech. Choosing to be honest, confrontational, demanding, and many other possibilities. While certain choices lead to better results, the game gives you a lot more depth than the simple "good or evil" options most games present. Each NPC will react differently, and you need to carefully gauge how the conversation is going as you make your choices.

The main problem with the game, and where is fails to live up to the standards set by the original, is in how your choices affect the world. In the original Deus Ex, every choice you made had an impact. Be it saving people or not, whether you choose to kill the bad guys or let them live, everything had meaning. And your ending would change based on what you had done. Sadly, for HR, your choices mean nothing in the end. While you may get a slightly different conversation from certain NPC's, the overall gameplay won't change. And when it comes down to it, the ending is simply selected by a literal push of a button. With all four endings being accessible to you, regardless of how you played the game. This makes your actions meaningless, and hinders any real purpose in replaying the game.

That flaw aside, the game delivers a solid experience. In a thorough run, players can expect a good 40+ hours of gameplay. And the ride is definitely an enjoyable one.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution definitely gets my recommendation as a "must have" game of 2011. It should please fans of shooters and RPG's alike. While there is still room for improvement, it's good to see that Eidos is bringing some depth back to modern gaming.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever is out, and the reviews are offensive.

So after a very long wait, Duke Nukem Forever is finally out. The reviews that accompany it are troubling. There is a slew of horrible reviews out there. Scores of one to three out of ten. Essentially saying that this game is completely unplayable. This level of hate is unfounded, and truly unprofessional.

The game isn't perfect, that's clear. But it is in no way as horrible as these so-called reviews are trying to claim. Scores such as they give are reserved for games that are broken. Full of bugs and glitches, unplayable, un-winnable, graphical and sound errors everywhere, and basically a game you can't play from start to finish. That's definitely not case.

DNF is a decent shooter. It's nothing new, using features seen in most of today's First Person Shooters. It uses a two weapon system, that limits what guns you can carry around with you. That is one of the main complaints that the fans have, as they prefer the "carry all you can find" style of Duke Nukem 3D. There is also a regenerating health bar (or Ego in this case). Which leads to a lot of cover based play instead of the run and gun style that the previous Duke game had.

The game is also full of Duke, in all his rude, offensive, sexist, ego maniacal glory. And that's something the fans are happy for. The old Duke is back, just as promised. While the action may have changed a little, the one liners, puns, horrible jokes, insults and general crass behavior is still there.

The reviews out there have been bashing the game in many ways. And Duke's personality tends to be a main theme. Saying that the game is too offensive. That it's humor is childish and crude. That nobody could enjoy such things. Which is odd to see considering that it's exactly what the game was supposed to be. It's what the fans have been crying for for the last 14 years. To make comments like that in the reviews is like saying that Gran Turismo (one of the most popular racing games out there) is a bad game because there's too many cars and too much racing in it. It's a baseless complaint, and generally insulting to the fans out there who have been waiting for just what they got.

There is one review that went into a rant about how horrible the graphics and lighting in the game are. Specifically, they referenced a level called the Hive, complaining that the level is too dark to play and horribly designed because of it. The thing is, the level is SUPPOSED to be dark, as the entire point of the level is to make you use your night vision to find your way around. The stage is specifically designed for that, yet the reviews make it out to be some horrible error in designing the game.

Duke Nukem Forever has been a long time coming. Announced about 14 years ago, the game was originally being made by 3D Realms. They worked up a semi-complete game, but then scrapped the whole thing to start anew with a new engine. This happened multiple times. And a couple of years back Gearbox software took over the project from 3DR. They basically restarted the project using the design concepts left from 3DR. Yet again building the game from the ground up, and using some pieces here and there that were left over from the previous build.

This may be part of the problem. The reviewers seemed to be expecting a game that technically took 14 years to produce, a game that would be an epic masterpiece that was finely honed over all those years. But in reality, it's a game that took about 2 years to make (much like most games) and wasn't designed to be ground breaking, or to revolutionize shooters... but rather to give the fans what they wanted. More Duke. And that's exactly what it did. But, as it didn't live up to the expectations of the reviewers, it's met with nothing more than scorn and slander.

This sort of behavior is unprofessional and downright insulting. Fortunately, there are countless people out there who love the game. Most European reviews haven't jumped on the "hate" bandwagon. And the gamer written reviews are a lot more honest. While the game isn't getting perfect scores, it tends to get a seven or eight out of ten. It's a decent game, that may have a few faults, but is definitely not the garbage that the so-called professional reviewers are trying to make it out to be.

Duke Nukem Forever is to video games is what Bruce Campbell is to movies.

You don't go see a Campbell movie expecting Oscar winning performance, ground breaking special effects, or even a well written story. You go to see them for a good laugh. Often childish and crude, but still appealing to those who enjoy such humor.

Duke Nukem Forever is much the same. People didn't want the new big hit shooter. They didn't want revolutionary. They wanted more of the classic bad Duke humor, and that's what they got. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sony owns up to security problems...

Sony admits utter PSN failure
So Sony has gotten around to admitting that they've been hacked, and that the account info of PSN users might be at risk. Naturally, this is a huge issue. Personally, I've already changed my passwords, and gotten a new credit card ordered, just in case. It's highly unlikely that my information will be used, especially considering I'm only one out of 75 million accounts, but better safe than sorry.

The thing is, while it is a shame that Sony's security has been breached, all the hate seems directed at them. Why is none of it being placed where it belongs, on the hackers themselves?

If your bank gets robbed, is it the bank's fault? Or that of the robbers?
There's a reason the robbers get charged and the bank does not.

Sony's not at fault in this case. Yes, they could use better security, but you never know how effective your security is until it's tested. The criminals here are the hackers who have violated not only Sony's servers, but your personal information. People cry out for lawsuits against Sony... where are those calling for the lynching of the hackers who have decided that you don't deserve to keep your information private?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sheridan needs to teach Roadwork 101

What a surprise. I drive in to school this morning, and see that they've finally filled in those huge potholes in the parking lot. That's great!
There is a slight problem though... they filled the holes up with asphalt, but didn't compress it. Part of how the process works, is that after you lay down the asphalt, you need to use something like a steamroller to compress it down. Otherwise, all you have is a pile of black oatmeal which crumbles apart.
I could already see that a couple of the holes have been mostly emptied by people driving over them. They're going to need to get those redone at some point. Hopefully correctly this time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A sign of the season...

Birds are in the air, the sun's shining brightly, and big, noisy trucks block most of the main roads. Winter has passed, and Canada's other season has arrived... construction. Oh joy.

We go from having trouble getting around because of snow and bad weather, to having roads reduced to one lane by the crews "working"to improve our roads. Driving to school this morning, Trafalgar road is down to just the one lane, which naturally causes no end of problems for that early morning rush, and the trip home.

I suppose it wouldn't be too bad, if we saw the construction crew hard at work. But for some reason, it seems every time I'm driving by, all I see is a group of guys sitting around chatting and eating. The construction on the road actually started last year, but I've yet to see anyone actually "working".

Friday, April 1, 2011

The lesser of two evils?

So an interesting question came up with my table in class today.
Everyone knows that Buckley's medicine tastes horrible (but it works!).
So the question is… which would be a better, a spoon-full of horrid medicine… or a suppository?

The table was undecided. There are benefits to both of course.
Many people aren't too keen on something going up the rear entrance. But then, does that outweigh that dreaded taste?

Something to ponder.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nature's a Mother

Things were going so well. The weather was slowly improving. We were getting days where the sun would actually show its face. Where people didn't need to bundle up and hide from the elements.

Then I wake up this morning and look outside… Oh… My… God…
The hell is that white stuff falling from the sky? Snow? Really? Mother Nature just had to taunt us with some nicer weather, before giving us a kick to the boonies and having a laugh at our expense.

So it looks like we'll be putting up with some car cleaning, driveway shovelling, gloves and toque weather for the next little while.

Now, having lived most of my life in Canada, I honestly don't mind the cold all that much. And I do think that snow is beautiful. Of course, I'd find it more so if snow was warm. I'm just tired of winter. I thought it was finally over. That little groundhog had given us a thumbs up. Looks like the little bugger needs to have an unpleasant encounter with the local alley cats.

But as annoying as the weather might be, the worst part about today is the idiots. We put up with months of snow and horrible weather. Hell, we're Canadians, driving in the snow should be second nature to us. So why is it that everyone suddenly forgot how to drive? People putting along at 5 kilometres an hour in an 80 zone. Morons who are stopped in the right turn lane, even though there's not a car coming for some time… because they're obviously too afraid to make that big, scary turn.

Road rage is a bad thing. But if you have a sudden urge to drag these idiots out of their car and beat them with a sack of oranges, I think I'd be cheering you on.
There's a huge difference between driving safely, which is always advisable. And driving like a complete drooling moron who has no business ever being behind a steering wheel.

If you're going out on the roads today, yes, be cautious. But for everyone's sake, don't be stupid.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why mess with something that works?

So I watched the premier of the Muse version of Being Human.

Now, I've watched the original series that was released by the BBC. It was an incredible show. The characters were amazingly well done, the actors did an incredible job, the show had a gritty reality to it, while still bringing forth the humanity of the characters (even monsters have feelings and deal with life problems). There was a humor to the show in the manner that you'd find when hanging out with friends, or dealing with people in real life. None of the slapstick or silliness, but something realistic.

Sadly, the new version of Being Human, cast with North American actors, seems to take that great show, and make it more "mainstream". There's a silliness to the show. The characters seem a lot more exaggerated. The plot itself is essentially the same, though it feels a little more rushed. Feels like they're focusing more on some aspects which would play up ratings, instead of aspects that built the story in the original show.

Honestly, I don't see why a remake was needed. The original came out just last year, and now they've already remade it. But the remake seems more of a lower quality imitation, instead of a true retelling of the original. And in the end, it simply wasn't needed. Are the UK accents too much for Americans to follow? Was it really necessary to "localize" a show that is universal? Sometimes, companies need to know when to leave well enough alone.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Season of the Witch

So I have just returned home after watching Season of the Witch. I found it odd, that this evening, I was one of THREE people who were in the theatre for the film. Usually that's the sign of a bad movie, considering it's just recently come out. Just as when my friend and I went to see Electra on opening day... and were the only two in the theatre.

Well, being a Nicholas Cage film, the odds were about 50/50. He makes a lot of movies, in fact, there was a trailer for his next movie showing before this one. Few actors can pump out movies like a Hollywood PEZ dispenser. With the number of films he makes, some are good, some are bad.
This time... it was definitely a good movie.

The movie was very well done. They did a great job of giving the characters enough of a past to make you feel for them, without flooding you with useless information that doesn't apply to the story. Plus Cage and Ron Pearlman did a wonderful job playing up their characters. I could honestly picture those two hanging out at a bar with mead and wenches. Admittedly Pearlman's character was pretty much like all the characters he plays. The rough, grumbling semi-hero, which he always does so well.

The main story involves two crusaders who are tasked with transporting a witch for trial, to try and stop a plague. It does a wonderful job of making you wonder just who is the real villain. And gives you plenty of action and suspense. Plus a lot of dealing with the demons of the past. Really brings out the humanity of the characters.

I highly recommend this movie. It was a great watch for me... and I'll definitely be grabbing the Blu-Ray once it's out. Two thumbs way up.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kudos to Dean Blundell show, and compassion...

Recently 102.1 The Edge's Dean Blundell show had a controversial guest on air. Shirley Phelps, a religious extremist from the Westboro Baptist Church. She brought on the show under the condition that she DOES NOT go to the funerals of those recently killed in the Arizona shootings, including the funeral of a 9 year old victim. Her organization had planned on going to the funerals to protest them, and spread their anti-gay propaganda.

The agreement was made, and honored, in exchange for a chance to go on the air to explain her beliefs. Which she did, and was promptly mocked, insulted and toyed with, as Dean poked holes in everything she stood for.

Giving someone like that some airtime where they are ridiculed, instead of letting them harass the already grieving families, seems like a good trade to me. And I applaud Dean and his station for taking a moral stand, and trying to help out those who have already suffered so much.

However, not everyone shared that opinion. The show received a lot of flak from various people, who essentially complained that they were giving credence to someone who was essentially a religious terrorist. Even though the show in no way approved of or agreed with her beliefs, in fact, they proved quite the opposite. But that didn't stop the hate from pouring in, and comments from "professionals" who honestly, should know better.

The thing that stood out to me, was the comments of Alan Thompson, a columnist for the Toronto Star, and a teacher at Carleton University. He stated how "I don’t think, journalistically, is an ethical course of action". Now, being a journalism student myself at Sheridan college, I've gotten a decent understanding of the principles of journalism. And while I understand that journalists have to keep a certain detachment from what they report... I do have some issues with his comment.

First off, to call the Dean Blundell show "journalism", is laughable. They are radio shock-jocks, there for entertainment. Blundell himself has comments on how he is in no way a journalist. His show is held to a different standard, that of the CRTC. They have their own rules and regulations on what's acceptable, and what isn't. And Blundell got approval for the interview before proceeding.

Secondly, religious extremists like Phelps will get attention. One way or another. As journalists, it is our responsibility to seek the truth. And there's no better way to do that than to interview these people directly. To bring their beliefs into the open, and question them, and their validity. And that's exactly what Blundell did. He may not be a journalist, but he did a pretty good job covering that aspect of it.

And finally, having her on the show, instead of at the funeral, saved the family a lot of torment, which they truly don't need in their time of pain. And Dean Blundell, and his station management, deserves praise for helping the family in whatever way they could. A shame that more people don't take such an active stance.

Er... yay?

So, I have my new Blog. Huzzah!
Hmmm... so what now?

Maybe I should have my first post include something deep and meaningful... all I can think of is...