Letters to the Editor

Pie in the Face


In response to “Apple’s Forbidden Fruit” from The Escapist Forum: We’re talking about a society that is okay with its preteen girls dressing like prostitutes, but freaks out at public non-sexualized nudity. Until that’s overcome, it’s always going to be an uphill struggle to discuss sex in a mature, adult manner.

The Safari argument is a bit of sidestep–I’m pretty sure we’re at the point that most people realize the web is unregulated and anyone can set up shop there. You don’t hear people blame Microsoft if their kid finds a porn site using IE, and if someone did, they’d be ridiculed without mercy. But by requiring all apps to be approved by the App Store, Apple gives tacit endorsement to what’s available. They should treat the iPhone and iTouch like a VCR: if your kid watches a dirty movie on your Sony VCR, do you blame Sony? Of course not.

Apple should wash their hands of any responsibility for third-party content available for their devices, then they could a) get out of the wasteful business of bureaucratic regulation, b) save PR and legal costs by having to defend everything available on their devices, and c) stop alienating grown-up customers who don’t like big corporations micromanaging their entertainment. But I’m sure they find the revenue stream from licensing third-party apps hard to give up.


I’m all for adult videogames, and i think it’s a shame that they’re stifled by publishers and console developers. What I find much more troubling is that Apple thinks it has legal power over the software its customers install. Imagine if Apple sold a Mac that would only run Apple-approved software. Didn’t Microsoft face an anti-trust suit over this?

We’re already at the point where a manufacturer is producing an entirely new console just so they can release adult games on it. How far are publishers and hardware manufacturers going to take this? they’re throwing away a potentially lucrative revenue stream while stifling the freedom of expression gaming so desperately needs.



In response to “An Arcade in Your Pocket” from The Escapist Forum: The question I’d like to ask is, “what makes the iPhone a better choice than any other phone for porting arcade games over, and what makes it a desirable choice at all?” Apart from the recent domination of the iPhone in the smartphone market, which I believe says more about the advertising of Apple than the quality of the phone, many of the distinctive features of the iPhone could actually be considered disadvantages of the platform.

The touch screen, which is a capacitative design and not backed up by any buttons, is a distinctive feature of the iPhone platform which works against it when it comes to game design. Without the tactile feedback that a button can provide, or even any haptic feedback to compensate, playing games on the iPhone can soon become awkward and frustrating. The language which the iPhone uses, Objective-C, which dates back to Steve Jobs’ time at NeXTSTEP, is execrable. The App Store is restrictive, and the battery life is weak even among some other touch-screen smartphones, despite improvements made in the 3GS model.

At this point, it might be worth considering why developers put up with the platform at all, when it has such visible flaws. It boils down to customers, as it always does. The consumer doesn’t typically concern himself with the difficulties of the developer, and only sees the end-result. It’s why the PlayStation 2 managed to have such success, despite having an esoteric hardware layout.

My thoughts on the matter? It may be popular, but that sure doesn’t make it a good phone.



In response to “Cooking Up Digital Chocolate” from The Escapist Forum: As a former employee of The 3DO Company, my opinion of Trip is, shall we say, colored by the experience. As such, I fully expected Digital Chocolate to fall flat on its face.

So I must extend similarly colored admiration for the man for pulling it off. Even in the 2002-2003 timeframe, the body-count for “mobile entertainment” companies was fairly high, and the tech at that time was utter sh*t with a side of chips. But Trip can be very single-minded when he wants to be, and in this case it appears to have paid off.

As Jon Stewart might say…… [odd hand gesture….] Kudos.



In response to “How Do You Like Them Apples?” from The Escapist Forum:

That is weird… most FPS’s its fairly simple. Move, shoot, reload…but rpg’s require a lot more investment.

I know there is a culture difference, but that comment just doesn’t make sense.

This is based on our own cultural perspective on the medium. A lot of people look at shooters as simple “point and shoot” conceptually, but think about in execution. You have both thumbsticks used at all times, moving side-to-side and backwards and forwards while looking in completely directions than you’re moving, with enemies all over the place and all kinds of numbers flashing and displaying on the screen with an information overload. Not to mention this button shoots things, this button tosses grenades, etc. etc.

Most shooters I’ve played by Eastern companies are rarely as chaotic as Western shooters, with Lost Planet being one of the few to give it a try in an effort to gain worldwide love. Most complex titles like Armored Core from the East garner to a niche audience.

While RPG’s may conceptually seem more complicated, the actual interaction is kept rather simple.

This is also just taking the controls into account. I know it is popular to hate on Halo, but throwing in enemies that have physical shields while others have energy shields, and then foes that can only be hurt by getting shot in the back, and the complexity increases more and more.

It’s all a matter of culture and perception. We’re used to a different philosophy of game design than they are. While neither method is more complex than the other, they seem so.


So besides the fact you use one (ONE) company to try to shake off all of Japan’s criticisms regarding xenophobia, you didn’t touch on how the original Xbox was the most technologically advanced of all 3 last gen consoles and yet also tanked (worse than the 360 did) in Japan. So that hardly explains the solid showing from Sony and creates even more confusion for the solid DS and Wii sales.

Certainly I understand the point of your article and you’re entitled to your opinion, but I think it’s really just that Apple has, and always will be, a great marketer (at least until Steve Jobs leaves again and they have to get bailed out by Microsoft again). But I think Apple is a brand apart in this category; American/other foreign companies will always have a harder time in that market. Sony makes TERRIBLE mp3 players, but I bet they’d still outsell Creative, SanDisk, Microsoft, Samsung, and Archos mp3 players any day of the week. Taking the new Zune HD as an example, if it was even available in Japan there’s no way it’d make a dent despite being one of Microsoft’s best and most recent products.

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