It happens to the best of us. We all stumble; sometimes we fall flat on our faces. Whether because we didn’t know to look, or we were being perhaps a little too overconfident in not looking around, the outcome is the same: embarrassment and, depending on the severity of the fall, perhaps a skinned knee. I know I have more than a few small scars on knees and elbows from overstepping my bounds.
Corporate entities, with personalities and, seemingly, lives of their own, are also vulnerable to the same naive, arrogant or just plain “Oops!” moments. Rising to mind is the now infamous “Wardrobe Malfunction” witnessed by millions during the 2004 Superbowl. CBS was in big trouble when tens of thousands called their offices to complain. The rest of us millions were sitting in our living rooms asking, “Was that a…?” or running off to learn the words “nipple shield” on the internet. And not the kind related to raising children.
Speaking of raising children, toy makers are certainly not exempt from the “have been known to stumble” column. An article on Radar shared their picks for the 10 Most Dangerous Toys of All Time this past December, just in time for the holiday season. And these were pulled from toys not intended to hurt anyone. I’m not sure who thought it would be a swell idea back in 1951 to hand out an atomic science kit complete with Uranium, but … well, perhaps there was some logic behind it at the time.
The thing is, we “all do dumb things” as GEICO pointed out in their animated cartoons years ago. And we all have accidents – I know why my grandparents always told me not to run up the sidewalk at their house, as does my scarred knee, 20-something years later. And that’s really the point: Learning from those times we stumble and fall. And the only way to do that is to look at those moments and figure out what went wrong and how we could do better next time.
And looking at some of those oopsies, or stumbles, or even just plain old unfortunate events with or in games is the subject of this week’s issue, “Cutscenes at 11.” Russ Pitts leads us on a journey of several instances within gameworlds that contained or lead to real trauma for their players. Michael Zenke sheds some light on a year old decision to re-rate one of the top games of the last year that went almost completely unnoticed. Allen Varney explores what went wrong with SOE’s Star Wars: Galaxies‘ New Game Experience. Gearoid Reidy discusses Stanley Cohen’s notion of “moral panic” as it relates to videogames. And Richard Perrin relates the reality of the game behind the Night Trap fiasco of the early 90s. Find these articles and more in this week’s The Escapist.