Recently the difference between the silver screen and the numerous thirty-inchers hooked up to gaming platforms, dotting bedroom’s across the globe has been merged. But has it been abused?

Adam Elkus wrote a piece that I recently discovered, titled Game Over, Curtains Close, which gives an interesting analysis toward why video-game adapted movies have always been worse than their predecessor. He lets in the common argument from disappointed gaming fans: that the cast of the movie, its director, and its plot pails to compare to the superiority of the original game.

But this is contradicted entirely with the case of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which was written, directed, produced, and scored by the exact same people who made the original game. Consequently, the movie was a complete flop — going straight to DVD. 

So what really is the difference between video games and movies that is so large, yet undiscoverable? Elkus argues that because video games are active and movies are not, watching a video-game based movie would ultimately be a direct contrast to watching your friend play video games over his back for two hours. 

Although I do believe this is true, I think there’s more to the argument than that. In truth, a movie may be different morally than a video game, the audience is a big factor. Movie-goers are simply different people with different tastes than gamers, and that carries out to the theaters. And no matter how original the remake may be, it simply will fail because no one watching it will enjoy. 

And because a movie is the opposite of a game, a gaming movie will never succeed in the box office. Simple as that.

After a long string of politics, I took cover by way of the local AMC, but in the end, I couldn’t escape what continues to surround me as well as everyone else — politics. 

No, this time it wasn’t Wolf Blitzer or a fiery Fox anchor, but a dose of something rare – an American citizen who just let it slip. It was actually the most exciting part of the movie, (Traitor), and the film hadn’t started yet.

After a quite loud tribute to the soldiers overseas wearing the red, white, and blue via song by Kid Rock (somehow with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. thrown into it) a sole man seated across from me booed. 

It wasn’t a scream, but it had meaning to it. Received almost exactly to the contrary by a enraged man in the row behind, the disagreement turned into a full-fledged political debate — all we needed now was Ralph Nater to show up.

And then there was me. From the outer shell, the innocent thirteen year old sitting with a friend for the sole purpose of enjoying a movie. But then here I was — the partisan, sometimes non partisan political blogger who is regularly mistaken for someone decades older. And that person, the late twenties or early thirties political mojo would almost certainly jump in, maybe even throw in a little dose of Anderson Cooper while they were at it. But no, of course not. I’m a kid. So I sat down. 

Eventually the two men were calmed down by some security and the whole thing was over with, but the buzz in the movie theater was still alive. The previews rolled on and the movie started, which was conveniently centered around terrorism, hardly a theme that suited the previous argument. 

So I didn’t move a muscle. Why? Certainly a highly opinionated and politically immersed person like me would have a voice, and this was definitely a time to show it. But in the end, until I grow over 5’10, lose my braces and higher-pitched voice, I would look like your average kid, associated with anything your average stereotypical annoying thirteen-year old would be connected with. But connect me with a pen and paper, and its a different world.

Another reason by blogging is the new media.

Today on Friday, August 29, 2008, the world knows the true meaning of political chaos.

Just the previous night, Barack Obama completed a historic speech for the record books to close a remarkable in itself Democratic National Convention, only to be greeted early this morning to a previous rumor made reality, the choosing of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin for John McCain’s Vice President. Throw that in with a newly-named Katrina #2 headed for American land — in the wake of the newly-hyped Republican National Convention — and you have a story: not to mention some busy bloggers. 

So how does all this fit into place in the world of politics? Its really a two way outcome that comes down to what it has always — a floor brawl between the two political powerhouses — Obama and McCain. Obama — fresh off his brilliant speech in Denver, is short pressed to respond to Sarah Palin’s nomination – preferably for him in the form of a official press statement. McCain, on the other hand, is in a bittersweet position that in my opinion could be politically suicidal if mishandled. 

Currently sitting on the momentum throne, Senator McCain has many options, but none as daunting as his long term decision with Sarah Palin. He knows that from a political standpoint that the next week is not just vital to his campaign, but it could make or break it. By choosing Palin as his running mate, he has made Obama look (in contrast) as familiar to America as Britney Spears, and that is something he needs to change very soon. 

So what better time to do so than the convention? And now that the previous focus for the conservatives (trying to top the party-like atmosphere the democrats featured) is out of the question, McCain must use his media attention wisely in introducing Sarah Palin to the world — and more importantly — his future voters. 

And then there’s Obama. 

A recent powerhouse in the media, Obama’s “Messiah” stature in media reportings and stories has just been snatched away from him, replaced with news that he knows he can use for his advantage. CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien put up a good question by asking if the McCain camp has put “firepower in the democrat’s hands” with their veep pick, but that question actually divides into a strategic answer that is more complicated that one might think.

The line between weakness and political retaliation has been very slim this election, but it is one that Obama has mastered, as I wrote in another post about political ads. And now that Obama has been given the ball next to the hoop practically unguarded, he must choose to simply lay it in or attempt a demoralizing dunk. What I mean by this is that Obama has been given a situation that he can take advantage with, but if he goes to far with it — he could come out as weak rather than powerful. What he must do, what he will do, and what he can do are totally different approaches that will lead him in totally different directions.

What he should do (in my opinion) is take advantage of the fact that McCain, a hard hitter on the “ready to lead” diss for Obama, has chosen a less experienced, younger running mate. Questioning her political stance (i.e. her foreign policy weakness) is very risky and would be something he probably would like to use as ammunition for one of the many debates he will have with McCain and Palin. 

Enter the storm.

Politics will soon take a turn to the scientific as tropical storm Gustav takes a turn for the bad, projected to make landfall near major city New Orleans, which we can’t forget was the victim of deadly hurricane Katrina. Gustav will probably win the conservative “best timing awards,” as it is expected to hit the city right when the Republican Convention opens up, concerning many convention executives, as it will drive the the president himself away from the convention, where he may make a political difference. 

This news, if timed right, can take away from the election, and not only for the Republicans. The delay of the convention will give the Democrats time to get to their senses and stitch together an effective ad towards McCain regarding anything from his convention to his running mate. 

And as politics continues, one might wonder how and why anyone could keep up with the recent chaos, rumors, press stunts, announcements, ads, and conventions. The truth is — you can’t.

pacer521, author of Culture Decoded this post is also featured here

The internet is alive with breaking news of John McCain’s running mate choice of Sarah Palin, which greatly surprises myself as well as pleasantly surprised many democratic bloggers. In their opinion, Palin is probably the best choice to pound on in a political way.

First off, Palin is the exact opposite of what McCain’s strengths are. She is a 44 year old Governor with barely any foreign policy experience, prides herself on being a reformer, and her main strengths are really managing. So with this, one might think of her to be a secretary or treasurer rather than a vice president. 

This also shocks me in a huge way. Palin’s rumored chances as running mate were rendered by me (as well as many others) as either a joke or a public stunt. McCain loves to tell Obama he isn’t ready to lead, but what if he was elected and — God forbid — anything happened to him because of his old age? Is Sarah Palin ready to lead?

In my opinion, no. I couldn’t imagine Palin leading, obviously not because she is a woman, but because she truly doesn’t have even close to enough experience. I am too worried that if something happens to an elected McCain, Palin wouldn’t be able to keep the country stable, and you can forget bringing the country back from its economic crisis. There is no doubt that she is an impressive person politically and socially, but I can’t help but be against her leading our country in these times.

So as McCain’s huge pep rally (where he appears with Palin for the first time ever) nears to a start in about 15 minutes, one might need to shake the man to his senses a bit, for his running mate is not only his opposite, but she is certainly not a future vice president, and NOT the commander in chief. 

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Presidential races have had a history of being dirty and under the rug, and political cheap shots were never hard to find. But this year, in an already breakthrough election, candidates have thrown out more ads recently than ever before. Political standoffs between two parties or campaigns have usually resulted (or been the result) of an attack ad, complicating already very political situations by letting the general public have an unusually high say on the outcome. Thus, TV spots have turned into political weapons — with endings both beneficent and disastrous to their authors. 

Most recently, these political ads taken huge strides in the form of attacks back and forth from the two remaining candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain. Although Obama has just recently started sending out “attack” ads, mostly as responses to McCain’s harsh accusations. The first real sign of this was McCain’s “Celebrity” ad, which was the result of a non lethal (in the sense of attacks) but heated standoff between the two senators.

The ad, sent out by a semingly fearless McCain squad, compared Obama to the star-struck Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and was responded to in a surprising fashion — by Hilton herself. The response was brilliantly played out to both send a message to McCain, and — as another topic — improve Hilton’s public status. It worked, flooding out McCain’s original ad and setting the stage for Obama’s more political response, which delivered a more serious but at the same time up-beat message. 

This was really the start of McCain’s continuous but mild public downpour, in which his previous political gaffes have come back to haunt him, including his Iraq-Pakistan border nightmare as well as his foreign policy mistake in Jordan, pictured, which occurred during a press confrence.Obama, though, has never capitalized on these public weaknesses. Taking a position many politicians in his would have quickly decided against, the senator will only fight once attacked. This way, not only has he kept a very clean slate, he has had time to asses the attacks aimed at him, quickly differ what he can say, and then release a public spot with many more directions and points to make than McCain. This, however, has never been referred to as “weak.” Obama’s team has carefully picked apart attacks (some of this is public) and assessed where they can attack and how they can cover up their softer political spots.

A great example of this was Obama’s second major attack ad towards McCain, named “Fix the Economy“. The ad was placed a few days after the “celebrity” fiasco, and is applauded by myself as well as many political experts for its seemingly perfect timing.

The spot aired during the dubbed “aftermath” of the war-like celebrity dispute, where the public was waiting for more moves from the two campaigns. Obama immediately recognized the situation and sent out what I like to call his “smoke grenade.” Geared towards a topic not mentioned around that time due to the previous Iraq-centered debates, Obama took footage of McCain claiming the American economy was in good shape and threw it against clips of American’s disagreeing with him intently. The ad was politically and factually sound down to the finest details, even including the states the Americans lived in, which were battleground swing-states for Obama and McCain (Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky ect.) that are currently up for grounds in a political perspective. 

I call the ad a “smoke grenade” because it both did tremendous damage and put a cloud of smoke in-between the conservatives and the general public. The points made in the ad sent the McCain party wheeling for a response, and the eerie gap of time made an effective bad aftertaste towards the republicans publicly. What I mean by this is since political attacks were plentiful up to that point for weeks, the world had prepared itself for a McCain attack. But in a sense, it never came. So who can we credit this to? In my opinion, it has really been the work of Obama’s campaign working together, headed by the smart PR decisions of Jim Messina, the Chief of Staff. 

So as McCain keeps pumping out attack ads (here is the newest and the response), Obama will keep bouncing them back in the same way he always does — sifting through the ad and hitting hard on the facts. And that’s why Obama is not only winning in the PR department as well as the television side — he’s dominating.

  • Bill Clinton delivered a very rewarding speech both to Obama and himself as well. He secured his politics with the public and also received a very welcome introduction and standing ovation by the crowd which forced him to quiet them down for what seemed like over five minutes. He successfully attacked the Republicans, and the crowd loved his remark: “The third time won’t be the charm.” A good note: this time Bill kept his speech short — anyone remember the 30+ minute 1988 DMC address?
  • Running mate Joe Biden accepted as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, and introduced perfectly by his son, who jerked tears out of virtually all the delegates in the crowd. Biden himself delivered in my opinion the best speech so far, which really introduced himself to the public as well as giving a national TV look at his wife and mother, which the crowd fussed over as well. His speech also had less politics in it as I would have liked from him, but he really rode off of his son’s introduction and took that momentum and used it very well.
  • An interesting update — CNN tells us John McCain has officially picked his running mate, and he is to appear with him/her tomorrow night (August 28, 2008). A very interesting diversion from the convention itself.

Mixed feelings surround tomorrow’s (August 28, 2008) change in the MLB’s rule policy toward instant replay, which is noticeably only geared towards disputes on home runs. Most proclaim that its too little of a change, that baseball should suck it up and admit to the new age of technology, and forget all the old stuff. And very few, including me, argue the other way, claiming that baseball should stick to the original rules. 

Why? Baseball is all about the old stuff — the crack of the bat, the outdoors, the spitting on the ground like no one is looking, the game of gentlemen, the slow pace, the rain delays, and yes — the pile of chewed gum at the side of the dugout. But most of all, my favorite part about Baseball is letting the umpires call the shots. This game isn’t just like any other sport; its America’s pastime, and it deserves to be recreated every time the ball-players step onto the field. 

Personally, I am a huge fan of the JumboTron and its counterparts including Cricket and Tennis’s Hawkeye. Trust me as a die-hard Lakers fan, I’d die without correct calls, instant replay or not. But although Baseball isn’t exactly my forte, I can go this far — as a sports fan, and an American — the one sport that is ours entirely should stay entirely as it was meant to be, and if that answer is “old” — then so be it.

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At last night’s day two of the Democratic Convention, with millions of eyes watching, Senator Hillary Clinton delivered the speech destined to come — her complete and sincere backing of Barack Obama. Saving her from stealing die-hard delegates and once again making herself known as “running against” Obama, Clinton’s speech made it very bold and clear from the start that she was for Obama. 

But what really made the speech stand out was the fact that it went straight to the point. Clinton and her team knew her role and didn’t overshoot it, which proved my expectations wrong. She shot right to the point after a very short (and rather disappointing) introduction by her daughter with the repetition speech strategy that both she and Obama share, addressing the overall point of: “I speak to you as a mother, a senator, an American, and a supporter of Barack Obama.” 

The long awaited speech was both executed perfectly, but also added its own dose of fun as well (the sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits remark) that even got Obama to laugh. So for what purpose did this speech really pose? It was a mere reminder of Obama’s Thursday speech that gets more important by the hour.

The first day of the Democratic National Convention, even without Barack Obama, was a very successful one. Though many suggested it was just a warm up for the senator’s big appearance on Thursday, August 28th, it really had a more important vibe to it, different that many people — including me — precluded.

Some of the things I noticed included the fact that very few politics were discussed, making the event more about showcasing and introducing Barack Obama, in which Michelle Obama took to her advantage. Throwing out a speech with emphasis on her more personal points about Obama’s history, story, and the hurdles he had to jump to be where he was today. It was a very effective speech that loosened up the previously uptight crowd of delegates to near tears. And not only was the speech powerful, convincing, and persuasive, it also helped out the Obama campaign in a strategic way, too. It in a sense gave the convention, politics, and the Obama campaign a more relatable feel, which both parties are hard-pressed for. Nevertheless, the speech not only may have convinced many would-be non voters or die hard Hillary supporters to punch in Obama’s name on the ballot in the near future, but it really was an attack in itself to the Republicans, proving that Obama had the family and comfort appeal more than they have. Matthew Yglesias may have missed this attack for something literal, as he claimed the only one who really pulled out a true attack was Claire McCaskill.

Nevertheless, this first day has really set the tone for a convention of the ages that well-suits this very different election year. Hearing Barack Obama’s very anticipated speech on Thursday will definitely be something to look forward to.

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Although it hasn’t exactly been breaking news that sinking software-God Microsoft has hired America’s favorite family comedian Jerry Steinfeld to promote their previously poorly advertised Vista, the big question still remains: was it really worth it?

Dumping 10 million dollars on a single promoter (in my opinion) was really something that shows the outside world that Windows has a failing operating server, and they know it. If you think about it, Mac didn’t make much noise by hiring lesser-known Actors Justin Long and John Hodgman, and in a sense they really came out of nowhere with that strategy in delivering one of the greatest ad campaigns ever assembled. And in Microsoft’s more high profile recruiting of Jerry Steinfeld, they have really taken another approach. Will it work? It all depends on Steinfeld.

Obviously, the most effective ads have been brought out by the advertising company, but really executed by the actors in the actual ad. And because of that, Microsoft really needs to focus on pumping out a lot of their time on a great supporting cast (if there requires one) and a great director. If that doesn’t fall into place, Microsoft needs to spend their next ten million on a new operating system.

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