Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Small Update

This is going to be a shorter update than normal. I originally started this blog so I had a way to share things that were interesting to me, share my thoughts about topics, and help improve my writing skills. Since then, I am now a writer for The No News (www.thenonews.com) and am a staff writer for The Coyote Chronicle (www.coyotechronicle.com). I also in the process of a third venture, but I can't share anything about that now. My point being that there may be some times where I may not update for up to two weeks at a time here. However, the major features that I do for these other sites will be linked here, so you will still be able to stay informed.

Greatest April Fools
I'm not sure if this is the first of its kind, but on April 1st, over 7,500 people legally sold their souls. U.K. retailer GameStation inserted an "Immortal Soul Clause" into their Terms and Conditions page. The clause read as follows:

"By placing an order via this web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one o
f its duly authorized minions. We reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act."

Very few ever actually read the terms and conditions. Many times, it is filled with the common end user agreements, terms of use, and other legal conditions that are normally generally agreed upon to use a service. In this case, 88% of users did not read the Terms and Conditions, and therefore legitimately relinquished their souls to GameStation. However, the 12% who did notice the clause also found the opt-out option, which came in the form of a voucher for £5 (roughly $7.75) off the price of their purchase.

GameStation later stated that the company is not changing its business model to harvesting souls, and would be sending an email to all its customers, making its claim on their souls null and void.

Roger Ebert says games are not (high) art
Film critic Roger Ebert revisited his 2007 argument that games "can never be art." Later that year, he clarified his statement, claiming that "Anything can be art. Even a can of Campbell's soup. What I should have said is that games could not be high art, as I understand it."

His latest entry into the rhetoric is an article published on the Chicago Sun-Times website in response to the TED talk at USC last summer, given by thatgamecompany President Kellee Santiago. In the article, Ebert compliments Santiago on her presentation, but posits that games can never be art. He does admit that "never" is a very long time but adds "no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form." His main point argues that games consist of "rules, points, objectives, and an outcome," which conflicts with his ambiguous definition of what art is.

However, Ebert does bring up a very true and interesting point. "Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art? Bobby Fischer, Michael Jordan, and Dick Butkus never said they thought their games were an art form."

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