What I’ve Been Reading: April 14, 2013

Greetings, fellow residents of the Blogosphere. I’ve got a meaty What I’ve Been Reading for you today. Enjoy.

  • Well, this should come as no surprise: according to a Consumerist poll, Electronic Arts was voted the worst company in America for a second year running. The Penny Arcade Report’s Ben Kuchera takes a look at why EA earned the (dis)honour. EA certainly has a lot of shitty business practices – malfunctioning DRM, swallowing up smaller studios, excessive microtransactions, and poor treatment of its employees – to name a few. But “worst company in America”? Really? Over fucking Bank of America? With nearly 78% of the vote? Look, I know this is just a stupid Internet poll that has no bearing on the real world, but come the fuck on! EA might have shitty, anti-consumer business practices, but it hasn’t been accused of massive insider trading, widespread fraud, deception of homeowners, or illegal foreclosures. Unfortunately, the people who were hardest hit by Bank of America’s misdeeds during the recent financial crisis were (or are now) at the lower end of the income distribution. There’s not much overlap between them and the video-game-playing, Internet-savvy, middle-class demographic that voted in this poll. If you voted for EA in this poll just because you thought it would be funny for them to win two years in a row, then fine, whatever, you’re simply being silly. But if you seriously think that your problems with EA are greater than those of someone who lost his home due to a shitty, misleading mortgage from Bank of America, then get your fucking priorities straight. Show a little compassion for those who are in worse circumstances than you. Send a message that corporations that prey on society’s less fortunate have no place in a modern capitalist society. Or, you know, continue living with the delusion that EA truly is the worst company in America.
  • Kotaku’s Jason Schreier has an in-depth look at how Metacritic is harming the video game industry. We’re not just talking about the now well-known controversy¬†that occurred when the Fallout: New Vegas dev team missed their bonus by one point on their Metascore. Schreier brings to light situations in which studios and publishers have adopted shady practices in an attempt to boost their Metascores. My feelings on the subject are similar to Adam Sessler’s: Fuck Metacritic.
  • ABC has drawn ire for its recent “Save Happy Endings” campaign for many reasons, not the least of which is that unless you’re a Nielsen viewer, tuning into Happy Endings won’t actually save the show. (Seriously, ABC, go fuck yourself.) Taking Happy Endings’ recent woes as a starting point, Maureen Ryan of Huffington Post TV has an in-depth look at what’s happening to broadcast comedy and how an increasingly fragmented audience has influenced comedy development. Cable networks have already stolen the drama crown away from the broadcast networks; is the same thing about to happen to comedy? Time will tell.
  • At his personal blog, Kevin James Wong has advanced the idea that BioShock Infinite is ultimately a meta-commentary on the dominance of fixed narrative over emergent narrative. I see the game as more of a commentary on how manipulating a story to one’s own ends leads to adverse effects, both on a macro or historiographic level and on a micro or personal level. However, I’m always interested to read well-thought interpretations with which I disagree, and so I highly recommend you give Wong’s take a read.
  • Here’s a brief, funny piece from the Onion about a guy who doesn’t know his coworkers’ names.

Alright, that’s enough jibber-jabber. Feel free to peruse these links at your leisure and sound off in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.