iPhone vs. Nintendo DS vs. Playstation Portable (PSP)

I just wrote this long, elegant (not really) post about the above title.  Somehow it was deleted.  I don’t have the energy to re-write it.

Here is a rundown:

  • iPhone’s multi-touch + gyroscope/accelerometer + software version 2.0 (and the download website) make it an amazing gaming platform.  I speak from experience with my “cracked” iPod Touch.
  • The iPhone is what the next DS should have been (and maybe will be):  the iPhone is the mini-Wii.
  • When it comes to portability, would you rather have many devices that do 1 thing really well or one device that does all the things pretty well (and in the Iphones case, maybe better)?  I would rather have one.  My pocket will thank me.
  • What does the future hold?  Nintendo and Sony (and probably Microsoft albeit through a software/zune gaming solution), will launch multi-touch, accelerometered gaming cell phones.  If they are marketed as gaming cell-phones, a-la Nokia’s Ngage, they will fail.  However, the PSP next is just an amazing looking (and working) Sony/Ericsonn phone that also happens to play playstation games, then it could succeed.
  • Microsoft will spend a lot of time making Windows Mobile gaming a reality
  • I might be wrong on Nintendo DS Next’s future — knowing Nintendo, they will keep it just as a gaming platform.
  • One thing is certain, the iPhone is about to steal the portable gaming market’s thunder the same way it stole the smartphone market’s thunder.  Cue the slapping your head “duh” moment from Nintendo/Sony/MS executives and fanboys alike (minus Nokia, they saw it coming although they couldn’t get it really right).

Check out this video from IGN.

Now I wish Randi could finish her work (it is 11:47pm and my twenty minutes of non-bar thought is up.  Time to go to bar dreams…evidence, crimpro, property — snore).

The violence of GTA IV

First, a disclaimer to my friends — I know you love this game.  Don’t hate me for not loving the violence.

Grand Theft Auto IV, the most recent chapter of the acclaimed series launched a few weeks ago.  It has sold a record number of copies and received an average press review score of 9.8 (out of 10).  For the uninitiated, that is unheard of.

I have played about a fifth of the game (if you are wondering how I found the time, it is because I barely watch TV, sorry networks).  Just like all the rest of the GTA games, it is violent.  But it is no more violent than games like Halo or Call of Duty.  Yet GTA is, at least to me, different.

GTA takes place in the real world and not some fictionalized alien planet like Halo or a fictionalized battlefield like CoD (although, I suspect, CoD might be more disturbing if we lived in a war zone).  GTA takes place in “Liberty City,” which is a game version of New York City.  You can steal cars, run people over, shoot, punch, kick anyone, etc.  You can do all the things in the fake New York City that you should never do in the world that is driving by your window while you read this.

What disturbs me about GTA IV is that the graphics are so real (although I think the character models are weak) that it is easy to lose yourself in the fake world and potentially mistake it for the real world.  You can’t turn off your TV and walk onto a Halo ring (however cool that would be) but you can do that with GTA IV.  As graphics technology improves, so will the “virtual” reality created by games.

In GTA, I find it disturbing to kill people, steal their car, run them over, and so forth.  Liberty City is supposed to be a living and breathing re-creation of reality.  I don’t enjoy doing these activities to my fellow pixelated citizens (who are specifically made to look and act like my real-world peers).  A lot (see GTA sales) of people do.

A large majority of society is logical, smart, decent, and mature and can distinguish between a fake world and a real world.  However, there is a subset of people who can’t.  The smart/decent people can easily become part of the subset if say, they have been drinking or are on some other substance.  Plus, I imagine that kids would have an even more difficult time distinguishing between the two.  Most everyone knows the difference between right and wrong but that difference is blurred in GTA.  When you turn off the TV but the world of GTA continues in your imagination, what happens?

I have yet to read anything that actually ties GTA to real world violence.  There likely is not a strong link.  GTA is a game.  Its creators should be commended for creating something brilliant.  People have every right to buy whatever they want (legally, of course).  However, ESRB should be enforced.

Go forth and enjoy destroying Liberty City but please, keep it in your Xbox, Playstation or online.

update on 6/26: Some teens went on a GTA IV wannabe rampage.  Check it here.