Haven’t the indigenous people of Australia suffered enough?

Imagine that you’re an app developer. You think you have a great idea for a game that you want to put on the Google Play store. You consider yourself a reasonable, rational person who wants to be well-informed about the development process.  At some point in the process, you would probably come across the Google Play Developer Program Policies, and specifically this section:

Violence and Bullying: Depictions of gratuitous violence are not allowed. Apps should not contain materials that threaten, harass or bully other users.
Hate Speech: We don’t allow content advocating against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Upon reading the above content guidelines for Google Play’s app store, you (the reasonable, rational game developer) would probably realize that a game that promotes bullying against lesbians would be prohibited. You’d also most likely realize that a game advocating for violence against disabled people would be a no-no as well. And of course a game that calls for violence against a racial or ethnic group would be absolutely out of the question. But that’s you, the reasonable, rational game developer, and not everyone is like you. No, some people think there is nothing wrong with developing a game like Survival Island 3:

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Haven’t the indigenous people of Australia suffered enough?
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Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.7.14

I have fond memories of playing Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario 2, and even Super Mario 3 (though I never beat that game; wish I still had it).  In my Internet wandering today, I stumbled upon this site by illustrator and designer Christopher Lee.  Lee has created a 5-print series based on the world of the Mario Brothers as seen in aforementioned games, as well as Super Mario World and Super Mario Land 2:  Six Golden Coins (neither of which have I ever played).  The prints look really nifty:

These prints (and more) can be purchased here.

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In comic book movie news, DC Comics’ Suicide Squad will be getting the live-action treatment in 2016 as part of Warner Brothers’ efforts to expand its cinematic universe.

Variety is reporting that the cast for Warner Bros / DC Entertainment film Suicide Squad has been set. Jared Leto will play the Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Boomerang and Cara Delevingne as Enchantress.

The film will be directed by David Ayer, produced by Charles Roven and will begin shooting next April in Toronto. The film is set to open August 5, 2016.

The role of Amanda Waller has yet to be cast but it’s said the studio is considering Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Oprah Winfrey for the part. Also, speculation is that Jesse Eisenbergwill reprise his role as Lex Luthor from Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice but that has yet to be confirmed.

To the best of my knowledge, the Joker was never a member of the Squad in the comics (not that the movies have to follow the history of the comics), and he seems really out-of-place here bc he’s such a wild card.  Perhaps that will lead to some movie magic. We’ll see.

For those unfamiliar with the Suicide Squad, here’s some backstory:

The title was resurrected by writer John Ostrander following the success of DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths event and subsequent soft-relaunch (The new Squad made their debut in a mini-series titled Legends, which also introduced new takes on the Flash, Wonder Woman and the Justice League). Keeping the name and little else, Ostrander introduced the concept of “Task Force X,” a secret government agency headed by Amanda Waller, a character who remains almost unique in superhero comics: a black woman in a position of authority whose morality is murky at best, but whose ability to get things done is unparalleled (Following her introduction, Waller quickly assumed a position of power throughout the entire DC line, and was often portrayed as an equal to Batman in the badass stakes, to give you an impression of how powerful she was).

Task Force X was a program that worked on the simple understanding that there are some missions that are too dangerous for even the most capable spies or soldiers — and so they should be carried out by convicted supervillains instead, because (a) they have superpowers, and (b) it’s not a big deal if they end up getting killed in the process. Even if they get captured, Waller figured, it wouldn’t be a problem because in the unlikely possibility that someone would believe anything a supervillain had to say, all of them were fitted with remote control explosive devices that could kill them at the flick of a switch. Win-win, surely…?

I’m sure the racist bigots of the Internet have already gotten into a tizzy over the casting of Will Smith as Deadshot (he’s white in the comics, but as with so many characters in comic books, his race is not so innately tied to his character that it can’t be changed).  My only issue with that casting bit?  So not a fan of Will Smith.

One thing I really, really hope they get right is Amanda Waller.  She is a bad-ass black woman.  She’s also one of the few female characters in comics who has traditionally been plus-sized (her nickname ‘The Wall’ stems from that somewhat, but also the fact that she’s tough and unyielding–you pretty much have to be to stand up to Batman). I say traditionally because Amanda Waller used to look like this:

In 2011, the DC Universe was rebooted (you may have read of my disdain for the reboot more than once).  One of the changes they made was to Amanda Waller. She looks like this now:

See anything different?  When it comes to representation in comics, plus-sized people are among those groups who are least represented.  The world is not made up of thin super models.  Comic book readers have been demanding better representation of minority groups, and the comics industry has been making strides. While I think Marvel is doing better than DC, the latter has made a few good moves.  Since the reboot, DC has introduced Cree superhero Equinox, Arab-American Simon Baz (Earth’s newest Green Lantern), and Brazilian ally of Aquaman, Ya’Wara. Despite this welcome influx of diversity, it saddens me that DC decided to change Amanda Waller from short and stout to tall, thin, and sexy.  We see enough of the latter in comics already. For those of us interested in more diverse comic book characters, characters who represent the diversity inherent in the human race, the change to a sexualized Amanda Waller is a huge step backwards (along with eliminating Barbara Gordon as Oracle, this was one of the biggest alterations that I, and other readers, disliked).  Here’s hoping the Suicide Squad movie sticks to the original intent of her creator, John Ostrander.

(speaking of Ostrander, he penned a column in which he expressed his disappointment at the changes to Amanda Waller)

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6/23/17

And now the Gal Gadot starring Wonder Woman movie has a director–Michelle MacLaren:

According to insiders, MacLaren will work with the project’s writers, who remain unnamed at this stage, to lasso together a script for the movie, which would star Gal Gadot. The actress will make her debut as the heroine in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Charles Roven, Zack Snyder and Deborah Snyder are among those producing the Wonder Woman movie, which is set for a 2017 release.

MacLaren was a top choice for the project due to her muscular work on Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, although she is perhaps most associated with her directing and executive producing work on the much-loved Breaking Bad.

MacLaren’s signing caps off a director search that began in the summer, and her deal culminates an on-and-off-again dance with the Amazonian princess.

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I think this would be the perfect Xmas present for Two-Face

This is who to thank if your next phone has two screens

I can’t seem to copy/paste the article, so click the above link for more info on this two-faced phone.

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I’m sure I was the only person who, as a kid was curious about fire.  Yep. Only men.  Seriously though, I liked doing so, though I wasn’t a pyro.  It was stuff like lighting napkins or straws on fire using the stove top burner.  As I got older sometimes I’d burn two straws together in a restaurant while waiting for my food to arrive (this was in the days when smoking was allowed in restaurants; I’d burn straws over an ashtray). Burning stuff is just cool you know (I ain’t talking about people, animals, private property or anything like that though).  In light of that (see what I did there), the following is just beyond bad-ass:

The wristband that turns you into PYRO: Gadget lets you shoot fireballs from your hands like the superhero

From balloon-popping lasers to Wolverine-style claws, there are numerous concept and protoype weapons designed by wannabe superhero inventors.

But, a magician has not only created a wristband that turns the wearer into Pyro from the Marvel comics, he is selling it for $174 (£111) online.

Named after the comic book mutant, the Pyro band features four chambers that fires four fireballs, and it can be controlled from the wrist or remotely. 

Its inventor, Adam Wilber explained: ‘Fire. Since the dawn of time it has been the reward at the end of man’s quest. Both creator and destroyer, it has historically been the element hardest to control.

‘Until now. Your quest is over. The power of fire in the palm of your hand. That’s the power of Pyro.’

It is available from the Ellusionist site, and ships internationally.

The band resembles a watch and can be concealed under a sleeve.

Pressing a button on the device shoots the fireballs, or a remote control can be used to fire them from a distance of up to 30ft (nine metres) away.

It uses so-called Flash Cotton, or Flash Paper that fits inside the barrels.

A heater coil then ignites the material when the button is pressed, forcing the flame to fire from the chambers.

The pack contains enough of this material for up to 50 uses.

Refills then start at $8 (£4).

Flash material is used by magicians to create fast burning flames for tricks.

Mr Wilber describes Pryo as a ‘badass professional device’, and as a result only over 18s are allowed to purchase or use the fire shooter.

The site ships internationally, but a disclaimer stresses that the device ‘contains dangerous elements’ that are governed by the laws of the country in which is it bought.

Buyers have to agree to the terms and conditions, and watch an instructional safety video by Adam Wilber, before buying the device.

It is recommended, and has been built for, magicians.

Pop Culture Link Round Up 12.7.14

Want to prove your homophobe credentials? Play ‘Ass Hunter’

The above is the ad for the game Ass Hunter, a top-down shooter game in which players hunt and kill gay men. Existing as an online Flash game since 2006, the game has been available from Google’s Android app store for weeks. With more than 10,000 downloads and more than 200 5-star reviews, this game is every homophobes dream come true. Finally they have something that allows then to engage in their homophobic desires. Marriage equality got you down? Download this game and put gay men down for the count. Think God wants believers to fight a holy war against homosexuality? This game allows you to be a warrior for Christ.

Oh, and then there’s icing on this shit-cake.  From the description of the game:

Popular game hunting on gays is now on android! Play and do not be gay! Legendary game, where you are hunter and your mission is to kill gays as much as you can or escape between them to the next level. Gays may be hidden in bushes and unexpectedly catch you. Remember! When they catch you they will do with you whatever they want 😉

Not content with a game that simply allows players to act out their bigotry and prejudices, the makers of Ass Hunter decided to play upon the unfounded fears of homophobes that gay men secretly want to rape them.

Lovely.

Thankfully the Google Play Store bans apps that contain hate speech or violent/bullying behavior, so no more Ass Hunter from Android.  The bigots will have to continue playing the game online.

::Spits::

Want to prove your homophobe credentials? Play ‘Ass Hunter’

Want to prove your homophobe credentials? Play 'Ass Hunter'

The above is the ad for the game Ass Hunter, a top-down shooter game in which players hunt and kill gay men. Existing as an online Flash game since 2006, the game has been available from Google’s Android app store for weeks. With more than 10,000 downloads and more than 200 5-star reviews, this game is every homophobes dream come true. Finally they have something that allows then to engage in their homophobic desires. Marriage equality got you down? Download this game and put gay men down for the count. Think God wants believers to fight a holy war against homosexuality? This game allows you to be a warrior for Christ.

Oh, and then there’s icing on this shit-cake.  From the description of the game:

Popular game hunting on gays is now on android! Play and do not be gay! Legendary game, where you are hunter and your mission is to kill gays as much as you can or escape between them to the next level. Gays may be hidden in bushes and unexpectedly catch you. Remember! When they catch you they will do with you whatever they want 😉

Not content with a game that simply allows players to act out their bigotry and prejudices, the makers of Ass Hunter decided to play upon the unfounded fears of homophobes that gay men secretly want to rape them.

Lovely.

Thankfully the Google Play Store bans apps that contain hate speech or violent/bullying behavior, so no more Ass Hunter from Android.  The bigots will have to continue playing the game online.

::Spits::

Want to prove your homophobe credentials? Play 'Ass Hunter'

The Great Big Pop Culture Link Round Up 11.8.14

Mark Wahlberg is the $6 million Billion Dollar Man!

images (3)

Director Peter Berg and “Marky” will join forces to create a 2016 remake of the $6 Million Dollar Man. Obviously things have changed a bit since Lee Majors starred in the popular 70s show. It costs a few billion dollars to make a bionic man these days. I think $6 million would only cover minor changes like bionic lips, ears, or fingers. I think you might be able to get bionic breasts or a penis for that amount too, but that’s probably pushing it.

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Quit trying to wreck my suspension of disbelief!

Suspension of disbelief is essential when enjoying superhero comics. There are certain ideas in comics you have to accept for the sake of enjoying the stories. Take for instance the Flash. We know that no one in the real world could run that fast. We know that the human body could not withstand the impact of hitting the ground thousands of times a second or withstanding the friction while moving at Mach 3. Still, it can be fun to bring some real world knowledge into comic books just to see how far we’re suspending our disbelief.  The Physics Special Topics Journal of the University of Leicester recently published a paper by several students that examined a scene from a recent episode of the CW’s Flash television show. Check out the video below for their findings.

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 Superheroes make the worst roommates!

What if Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Thor, Spider-Man, the Hulk, or Captain America were YOUR roommate? Thanks to Dorkly, now we know!

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 Video games as a varsity sport?

Students are getting paid to game at an Illinois university, and the school says the first season of its eSports team is such a success that the program will definitely continue next year.

There are 35 students on the eSports team at Robert Morris University in Aurora, the first school to categorize playing video games as a varsity sport, even offering scholarship funds for the “athletes.” The team meets every weekday for practice between 4 and 9 p.m., with an hour break for dinner, and competitions are every Saturday, the school’s associate athletic director Kurt Melcher told ABC News.

“It’s going great so far,” Melcher said, adding that the team’s practices are just “like any other sport.”

“The coaches set up different scrimmages, different presentations on tactics,” he said. “And the same dedication is required.”

The eSports athletes are expected to go to class just like any other student, he said.

“The difference is that when they finish class, they walk fourteen steps over the arena for practice instead of going to the gym,” Melcher said.

The high-end gaming arena was built specifically for the eSports team, which was announced this summer. Melcher said the school got more than 100 applications for the 35 spots, and players get up to a 50-percent scholarship covering tuition and room and board.

The eSports athletes play “League of Legends” and battle club teams from other universities every Saturday.

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Michael Backes, author of the new book Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana
 on how to use medical marijuana

The Great Big Pop Culture Link Round Up 11.8.14

Rape and Death threats for criticizing video games?!

Yep. That’s the reality for women who criticize video games.  Just ask Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist and a media critic who is the author of Feminist Frequency, as well as the series Tropes vs Women  and Tropes vs Women in Video Games.  On the latter series, Feminist Frequency has this to say:

The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects. This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on Kickstarter.com

Earlier this week, she was forced to leave her home after receiving death and rape threats, for the “crime” of making a video that encourages video game makers to treat women better.  In what world is “I’m going to come to your house and rape you” or “I’m gonna slice you up” a reasonable response to someone requesting that video games treat women better?  First off, those responses are completely and unequivocally fucked up.  I do not support violence against anyone because I value the right to life of other humans. I don’t think violent rhetoric should be espoused either, as it can help create an environment where extremists might act on said rhetoric.  Even if I *did* think violent rhetoric was sometimes justifiable, it is not in this case.  Sarkeesian isn’t seeking to destroy countries and enslave populations.  She’s not trying bring the down the economies of entire countries.  She isn’t a comic book villain bent on world domination.  She’s a woman who wants video game producers to treat women better.  That’s it.  As Games.On.Net said:

Literally the worst possible thing that can happen here is equality. That’s the worst outcome, that’s the nightmare scenario. If, today, every AAA publisher said “We will start to include women more in our games and represent them better”, the only actual difference this would make to anybody shrieking about how feminists are destroying games is that they might have to pick their gender in the next Call of Duty game. Terrifying, isn’t it. Stuff of nightmares.

Yep.  That’s about the it.

Yet that right there causes a segment of the gaming population to get in a tizzy.  They rant and rage, spewing hateful bile, filled with violent, and often misogynistic imagery.  Another woman, indie game developer Zoe Quinn has become the target of harassment in the wake of details of her life being spilled onto the net by an ex-boyfriend.  I’m not a huge gamer, but even I’m aware that these are not a couple of isolated incidents.  Harassment of women in video games has been an ongoing problem.

Dealing with harassment and hatred is all too common for the everyday gamer. One moment you’re enjoying your favorite MMO and the next you’re being bullied.

Maybe you’re an LGBT gamer, or you’re a woman who commented in a forum that maybe it’d be nice to have more female characters to play. Then suddenly you’re faced with mean and bigoted comments from fellow players. The amount of bile in game culture is unfortunately almost equal to the amount of support found in the video game community. It has inspired numerous calls for change, especially at gaming conferences where panelists attempt to address the issue.

Greg Tito, editor-in-chief of The Escapist, moderated a panel at this year’s PAX East titled “What You Can Do to End Bile and Hatred in Games Culture.” To Tito, this year has especially hard, with story after story hurting the image of gamer culture.  

“Back when PAX was a new experience, it was this kind of get together where we could be ourselves and we didn’t have to feel embarrassed. We found people like us and there was this great togetherness and I feel over the last year that’s kind of eroded away, even at PAX itself…” he said.

Tito and others have written about bullying in gaming and found it’s an issue some just don’t want to hear about. Commenters remark on their stories that they’d rather just read about games.

That’s one of the big problems in gaming (and other areas, such as movies, comic books, television and more):  a segment of the population is perfectly fine the way things are and do not want the status quo to change.  Unfortunately for them, another segment of the population also enjoys the same things and want those things to become better.  Yes, there are gamers who are LGBT, PoC, women, and people with disabilities.  They would like to see better representation of themselves in video games (and I’m sure they’d like to see a reduction or elimination in the vitriol directed their way).  Those who are kicking and screaming the loudest are like petulant children who want everything to cater to them and their needs, not realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around them.  They need to fucking wake up and become better people.

Rape and Death threats for criticizing video games?!