Sean Berry's Thoughts on The Human Mind, Behavior, Movies, Video Games, Television, Technology, Internet, Culture, and Everything Else In Between


Debate Requests: Can videogames be considered art?

Posted by sean berry on November 15, 2010 at 8:59 PM Comments comments (0)

If you go by what the definition of what art is, then there is no doubt that video games can be art. I have always saw art as being something created to convey emotion as well as create one.  I think the problem comes in that people think of art in the confines of being simply visual, like a sculpture or a picture.  The art in games is that of its experience, the path it draws before you leads you to many different states of emotional awareness. Art is not so much a thing as it is a trigger for the mind; it’s a recognition of something beyond its basic parts, an involvement in a process that supersedes the accomplishment of the process itself.  When you are playing Pac-Man, the reality of it is you are simply moving up and down and left and right eating pellets and avoiding ghosts, but in your mind, this has become your singular focus and in some ways most of your consciousness is being dumped into this little world,you embrace the cat and mouse play and relish the victory when and if you attain it.  When you die, it affects you emotionally, however insignificant you may think it is, it does, so I think in that respect video games can certainly move us, thus, making them art in my eyes.  I think this topic is easily boiled down to a matter of perspective and there is just no way to determine who is ultimately right, since by believing it makes it true for one person and not believing in it makes it false for another. I will say that video games are definitely not traditional art, but as we evolve, so must our methods of expression.


Top 5 Weapons You Won't See in Halo Reach

Posted by sean berry on September 29, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

5  Little Yapping Dogs-This futuristic form of biological combat involves releasing genetically enhanced feral packs of small dogs to bark, bite, and piss on the ankles of your opponents. Due to their naturally keen sense of smell, they are great at detecting snipers and campers alike.   


4.  Spam Bomb-When this bomb ignites, any one in its blast  radius will get a ton of spam emails sent directly to their visor display, thus blocking their view.  This will help you disorientate your enemy before laying the beat down on them.


3.  The Testiculator-Designed for use against the avid "teabagger", the testiculator is a bionic, weaponized grizzly bear arm, which is used to grab an enemy opponents balls, even through the thickest of armor.


2  The Inebriater-This miniature cannon is used to attack a player from the rear, whereby you fire a bottle of liquor right up their ass, depositing the booze directly onto the colon and getting them super drunk.  This is a one shot kill type of weapon, so be sure you have that ass lined up in your sights.


1.  Paris Hilton's Gaping Vagina-Paris Hilton is such a whore that her vagina became a weak spot in the time/space continuum.  After yet another night of partying, finally the fabric of time and space was ripped between Paris's legs.  So when a group of enemies surrounds you, tug on her leash and have her spread eagle, every one in the general vicinity will be sucked in atom by atom by the black hole that exists between her legs.  The only downfall to Ms. Hilton is that she is only good for one go, upon which then she spends the rest of the round trying to score some blow. 


Duty Vs. Halo

Posted by sean berry on September 15, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

There are basically two virtual kings of the online first person shooter genre, Halo being the original top dog and Call of Duty the eventual usurper of the top online spot. Halo was the first game to really bring me back to video games, as my entrance to college had provided me with many distractions and the last place you could find me was at home in front of a television.  When college had ended, so did much of the social life incorporated with it, which led me back to casual gaming.  It was at a friend’s house that I first played Halo on a system link versus a few of my friends and ever since then, it was love at first kill.  As many people could agree, there was nothing quite like the fluidity and fun of Halo—awesome vehicles, massive fire fights, and more importantly, your own screen.  This was a big deal since back in the day most of us had to play versus mode on a split screen, which was fun for the time, but when you finally had a screen all to yourself and could fully visualize the world you were in, it was yet another level of immersion to further enrich your enjoyment of the game.

When Call of Duty first came onto the scene, I really didn’t pay much attention to it, as I was kind of turned off by the realistic weaponry and World War II setting.  After all, I was so use to needle guns and plasma rifles that the idea of using a bolt action rifle seemed sort of lame at the time. It was only until they released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare that I finally sat up and took notice.  I remember renting it and at first I found the game awkward and merciless, yet I really couldn’t drag myself away from it. I played it for ages until finally trying to go back to Halo 3, which was still fun but I just didn’t have the motivation to play it as much since Modern Warfare had become sort of an obsession to me.

While these two games may be of the same genre, they have huge differences that make them completely different experiences to play online.  For me, the biggest difference has always been the movement.  Both games are very fluid in the sense that what you want to do, you pretty much can, but Halo allowed you to jump up to areas that were otherwise inaccessible, while in Duty, you do not have such grace as you can jump as high as a man and not a space super soldier.  Duty may have lacked in the jumping department but it certainly made up for it with the aiming mechanic, which allowed you to look down the barrel of the gun to get a more precise shot on your target.  You could also zoom in on Halo, but I still never really felt like I was behind the gun when doing so.  I always found the precision to be much higher in Duty then in Halo, which for me really made it a much more serious game.  Not to say I didn’t enjoy playing Duty, but it was a much more frustrating game in the sensethat you could die pretty quickly if you didn’t adhere to some basic rules and avoid the typical hot zones.  

I found the next major difference dividing the two games to be your own mortality.  In Halo, you have an energy shield that your enemies must deplete before being able to chip away at your health.  This allowed you to takea few hits and keep on running to safety, whereas in Duty, if you are hit 3times, it’s safe to say you are probably dead. It is at this point that Halo becomes more like a comic book fight opposing the realistic boxing match type of fight you find in Duty.  Both games do have your instant death kills,in Halo you have the sniper head shot, the melee to the back of the head and ofcourse, the classic sticky bomb, but with Duty, you also have the sniper headshot and your knife attack is your melee instead, and Duty has its own versionof the sticky called a Semtex.  Your average life span in any Halo game should be much longer then your average lifetime in any Duty game, but both are fun in their own way. 

The enjoyment of the online experience was a little different for each, namely Halo being more a team orientated game where by a lot more people seemed to talk, as opposed to the Duty crowd which is often times really silent save for the occasional baby crying or 7 year old playing his music through the microphone.   Playing Halo was always a gas because there was a ton of vehicles to get on, a lot of interesting weaponry and also some incredible environments that often times had you catapulted across the screen.  Master Chief hops around effortlessly and could head stomp any soldier in Duty easily,you can also leap off tall cliffs and buildings and never really take much damage.  You had a little leeway in your movements about the map, which I think would explain for more of the talking in Halo versus Duty, as people tend to concentrate a little harder in Duty because well, because there are a lot of guys that can drop you in one spread of bullets.  The vehicles in Halo allow you to haul ass around the level and even fly around and shoot your enemies and who doesn’t want to be in a tank at one point or another and just nail someone witha direct hit?  Duty has no vehicles to speak of, but it’s to the point, looks beautiful, and offers some extremely precise shooting. 

So who wins?  No clear side really for me, because I find myself growing old of one and then going to the other, just as I fell out of playing Modern Warfare 2 religiously, only to find myself purchasing Halo Reach yesterday. I think they both are great games in their own right and offer a different level of atmosphere and intensity that appeals to all sorts of people.  It just depends on your mood and style and maybe what ever your friends play. There really is no such thing as competition when both companies are making fine games, but let them think that so they strive to one up eachother.  I will purchase Call of Duty:Black Ops when it comes out, so already I am planning on backing the competition.  In conclusion, the two franchises are both kings in their own realms and both set to be around for quite a long time to come, explaining their long history on the top spots on Xbox Live.  So in the end, every one wins in this fight, if only it could always be that way.


The Various Ways We Curse When Playing Games

Posted by sean berry on July 17, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s no secret that people like to curse, because let’s face it, there is nothing that quite sums up a feeling like a good ole cuss word.  You can say so much with so little and you can drive home a point that just wouldn’t have been taken seriously before without it.  It’s not only that, but when I curse, it’s a release of energy that I feel if I had not spoken that word out loud, I fear I might have damaged one of my more costly electronic devices. I can’t think of a single activity in which I curse more than when I play videogames.  I must have said “fuck” more times playing two hours of Super Mario Galaxy 2 the other day then I had mentioned casually throughout an entire week’s worth of conversation and I’m no stranger to f-bombs in my normal day to day dialogue.  So what I have done is come up with the various methods of cursing that occur when different conflicts in gaming occur. If you are offended by bad language, please don’t read any more of this, nor any of my blogs because I do love using curse words.  They don’t cause any harm and the reason people think they are bad is because they are rooted in superstition which is just complete bullshit to me. 

The first and by far the most common type of cursing is explosive. This is a sudden yell of “fuck” “shit” or “mother fucker” if you will or any other variation you might possible speak.  This usually happens when something happens completely out of the blue and you find yourself dead, whether it be a sniper shot or even a stupid goomba you bumped into by accident with only one health bar left.  These types of outbursts are easily gotten over though and because of their short duration, they don’t generally disturb the peacefulness of your neighborhood.  Of course, they may send a sleeping cat into a flash of furry light exiting the room in which you are playing. 

The second type is angry cursing, which generally takes an outburst and turns it into a personal insult.  This is when the game is really starting to get to you, perhaps you’ve been playing too long, maybe you didn’t have your Wheaties for breakfast, but for whatever reason, the game is kicking your ass and you are not appreciating the challenge whatsoever.  If your television had feelings, it might cry at what you say to it or shit its pants if it wore them.  Also, if people outside your house don’t know you are playing a game, they might overhear you and think you are really giving someone the third degree when you are really just cursing out one of Bowser’s underlings for being a 'piece of shit cock sucking asshole mother fucker'.  

The third type is confused cursing, which lacks the intensity of some of the other methods because you just don’t know what exactly happened.  You thought you hit down when you were supposed to but your head still got chopped off, so what the fuck?!  This can also occur when you come across a part in a game that seems so ridiculously hard that you question how it is even possible to get through it.  When using this method, you may notice that it is often done at a higher pitch then your normal cursing.

The fourth method is narrative cursing.  This is a steady dialogue where you go into great lengths of what you intend to do to your digitized enemies, all the while exhausting your curse word vocabulary. This is when things have gotten uber personal and you will not sleep properly until you either beat the level or smash your system into dust.  At this point, you are insulting each enemy as you kill them and when you confront a boss or an extremely difficult part of the game, you go into a detailed exposition using oodles of curse words to further prime the anger fueling your tired hands and mind from playing this game.  It’s really at this point you should take a break and eat or just do something else because you went from doing something for entertainment to doing some simply for vengeance.   

The fifth method is “so be it” cursing.  This is just a simple utterance of the word with no particular feeling, but almost like reciting fact.  You jumped at the wrong time, you got a fireball up your ass, you say “fuck” non-chalantly and then you restart the level.  This is usually when you are not mentally invested in the game or maybe possibly too depressed to express any clear passionate response to the frustration.  You may even just mouth the words without feeling any sort of distinct pressure shooting them out of you.  The “so be it” curser just knows shit happens and while they may not be able to abstain from saying a bad word, they certainly don’t say it in any way to affect their own emotional state.  It is simply a force of habit and the game itself hasn’t impressed upon you any grave importance.

I did my research on cursing and a lot of experts seem to conclude that it is infact a healthy thing to do.  By expressing ourselves, we can deal withour emotions directly instead of covering them up and having them manifest in some other, possibly more destructive manner.  Cursing is the brain’s response to over-whelming stimulation and it doesn’t all have to be negative either.  There are obviously people out there though that for them to simply curse is not enough, because you have your controller chuckers, your console punchers and your table smashers.  This level of frustration is really not conducive to people playing $300 game systems because though electronics are made to withstand some wear and tear, someone’s raging fist is most certainly not covered under warranty.  So I am not advocating in anyway the idea of cursing, but I’m just saying that it is natural and we do it for a reason. 

With that in mind, it’s still good to respect those around us, especially if you live with other people, because it’s not fair to scare the shit out of someone in the other room who is eating a sandwich because some guy in Call of Duty multi-player sniped you in the head as soon as youre respawned.  I live alone thankfully, but I can tell you that whenever I play Call of Duty by myself, I almost always unplug my microphone so I don’t give the assholes killing me the pleasure of knowing just how much they are pissing me off.  Just keep in mind though, if you do express your continual frustration on any kind of multi-player game, people will go after you and if I’m on, I will definitely be one of those people.  Happy gaming folks, enjoy our freedom of speech, because this is America mother fucker! 


Game Time: Red Dead Redemption

Posted by sean berry on May 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I have had this game since it was  released, but I didn’t want to writeanything about it until I had a chance to get a decent amount of hours into it,which for me is about 15 right now.  Much of the hype surrounding thisgame is well founded and when you play it for yourself, you’ll realize that thegraphics are more amazing to behold than any screen shot will do justice. Now, I’ll be honest, the controls took awhile to get use to, as your horse isnot the easiest thing to control, neither is your own character for thatmatter.  This has always been my complaint of every Grand Theft Auto typegame, which if you played any of those titles before, this game will seem veryfamiliar to you.  As usual, the missions are story driven and once you completea certain amount of them, you are called out to different areas of the map,which is f’ing huge by the way.  Fortunately, the game is so damn prettyyou don’t mind galloping around the country side following someone to completea task and let me tell you, you will follow A LOT of people and have MANYconversations.  I would normally be quite pissed about this, but where RedDead really shines is with its characters and story.  John Marston (you)has a lot of interesting philosophies and his reactions to many of the land’sodd inhabitants are quite classic. 


The land you traverse in the game is filled with peril.  Youcould be on a mission and accidentally ride off the main trail, only tosuddenly hear the roar of a mountain lion, who first kills your horse then promptlyrips out your own throat.  Worse yet, you might come upon some poorbastard being hung by a group of guys who are more than happy to turn theirguns on you when you arrive to save the day.  Hell, people will even comeup to you saying they need a ride and then suddenly steal your horse away andleave you for dead.  These are all great things, because there is alwayssomething to do in the game, whether or not you are completing the main storymode.  Now much of the side quests are your typical, search thisparticular area for this and that and then when you are done, search anotherarea for that and this, but the level of variety in each of the terrains andalso the animals that inhabit them is very rich.  You can even skin theanimals you kill for pelts and meat, which can later be sold for money.

The shooting can be a little difficult sometimes because your reticule is sosmall and sometimes the white dot disappears into the background itself makingit difficult to line up your shot, but with the dead eye feature (this allowsyou to slow down time and paint targets on your enemy for rapid firesuccession) I think it all sort of balances itself out.  You also have touse a lasso quite often to ensure you take the people you capture alive, whichyou’ll want to do because it means more money.  And fear not about money,my fellow cowboy or cowgirl, there are a ton of ways to make money-for example,you can take a job as a night watch man and follow a dog around a respectivetown looking for trouble–you can track down wanted men–you can play poker–fivefinger filet–black jack–liars dice–pick flowers for people and there are evenhorse breaking jobs.

A lot of the things I would normally criticize, Rock Star has thought outbefore hand regarding this game.  For instance, at first you have noissues riding around all the time to the various locations that you must go,but it does get time consuming after awhile.  You can take carriages for aprice or you can just camp and fast travel from there, so if in case you don’tfeel like riding all the way across the map, you are not necessarily forced to,unless, of course, it’s part of the mission, which a lot of them are–but Irepeat again, this game is gorgeous!  I love nothing more than gallopingacross the country side with the crisp moonlight sky above me, whipping myhorse until he nearly bucks me off him.  Also, as with any other GTA typegame, there are various shops you can visit.  There are general storesthat sell health, stamina for your horse and dead eye meter and of course,there are gun shops where you can buy new weapons.  Feeling thirsty?--pulla seat up to the bar and nail back a few or maybe stop off at a theater andwatch some old timey cartoons, the point is, whatever you feel like doing, thereis more than enough to accommodate you here.

In conclusion, I have to say this game is a pure bred winner.  Thisgame promised and this game delivered!  I also love being able to roam theland with a couple friends and eliminate gang hideouts online, but as far asthe “death match” type games are concerned, I think I’ll stick to Call ofDuty.  I say that only because with the type of aiming this game has, Ifind running around and shooting human opponents to be really clunky andunenjoyable.  You spend half the time trying to find someone, only to findthey’ve already spotted you and unloaded their clip into your chest.  Wantsomething that will suck up all your time and make you forget about thesun?  Pick up this game and save some money for awhile because you won’tbe going out much.  I can’t wait until I beat the main story simply forthe fact I’ll be able to raise hell in every town I come to without itinterfering with me progressing.  Hell, many of you may be doing thatalready, but hey, that’s your choice and therein lies the beauty of a game ofthis magnitude–there is little right or wrong, there is only time and place andin many cases, desperation.  Just what kind of man are you, any way? Are you gonna let your words make your point or are your guns going to do allthe talking?  Now you’ll just have to play to find out.


5 Games I Can't Wait to Play

Posted by sean berry on May 16, 2010 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

5.  Call of Duty: Black Ops


I have yet to play a COD game I didn’t like, even though I’m a little morepartial to the Modern Warfare series then I am the original, but that’s purelybecause there are more modern weapons.  I was happy to hear that thedeveloper Treyarch was going to have their newest installment take place duringthe Vietnam War era, which is great because I think we’ve played enough WWIIgames for awhile now.  I hope that the multi-player boasts some vehiclesthis time around and not ones that you call on via perks but ones you canactually get in and shoot people. 

4.  Super Mario galaxy 2


It’s been a really long time since I’ve wanted to play anything on myWii.  As far as systems go, the number of decent titles is pretty bare, ifyou are not under the age of 12 or over the age of 50, the Wii seems to havelittle to offer you.  I thought the first Super Mario Galaxy was a lot offun and after the amount of hours I had put into first person shooters andlong, drawn out RPG’s, it was not to play an engaging platform game onceagain.  From what I’ve seen, there doesn’t seem to be anythingrevolutionary about SMG2, but just pretty much more of the same, which is fineby me, because it will be nice to be able to justify why I payed so much moneyfor a game system I play maybe once a year.  Hell, I play more virtualconsole games on the Wii then I do the actual games that come out for it!


3 Halo Reach


When I first played Halo, it was only a few days afterwards that I got myselfan Xbox and then a cable modem.  With just one game, I picked up two newpieces of technology and haven’t looked back ever since.  I played Halo,Halo 2, & Halo 3 religiously until I got addicted to COD, but even despitemy abandoning the series new titles like ODST and Halo Wars, I still had the urgeto play the old titles once again.  Halo was always a FUN first personshooter and I have to say that the team work in that game seemed more prevalentand people just talked more online when they played that game as opposed toCOD, which always seemed to have nothing but little kids wailing or older guysjust babbling about their new truck with some other guy that was on theirteam.  Halo Reach is going to be my jump back onto the series that reallygot me into shooters to begin with and the joy of piloting vehicles and allrocket battles will be mine to behold once again.


2.  Fallout New Vegas


I have been looking forward to this game since I beat the first one, which isprobably the one game I’ve spent the most time playing...ever.  At some90+ hours and counting, as I still have yet to finish the Mother Ship Zeta DLC,it’s safe to say the original title was addictive and emmersive.  NewVegas looks to be much the same, only a lot better looking.  My only hopeis that there will be some sort of multi-player element to it, as it would becool to explore the new world with a friend or be able to encounter otherplayers at random while you go about your business in the main campaign. 

1.  Red Dead Redemption


It has been a long time since I have wanted to play a game as badly as I wantto play Red Dead.  Not only does the game look gorgeous, but it also has aton of things to do in a world that has a mind all its own.  I have been aGamefly game player for years, never bothering to shell out my precious moneyfor a game I’ll beat in a few days and won’t have any desire to play any moreonce I’m finished, but with a game like Red Dead, there really is no end to it,for it is a sandbox box game to the max.  Just like Grand Theft Auto, I’llbe able to boot the game up, get on my horse and ride around and cause allkinds of trouble or if I feel like it, I can even be a hero for the day. The fact it is set in the wild west is a huge selling point for me as well, Imean sure, it won’t have the great guns of Modern Warfare 2 or Halo, butsometimes it’s good to explore the roots of all that is today and I think RedDead will give us a great appreciation for history–video game style.  Thisgame is going to save me a lot of money because I’m not going to be doing muchelse but playing it.  There’s going to be a new Sheriff in town and hisname is the Cooter King, if you talk, do it softly, if you’re loud, you betterbe handy with that draw!