Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

October 7, 2008 -

Sega, publisher of the upcoming MadWorld, is working closely with the ESRB on the bloody game's content, according to a report on MTV Multiplayer.

Sega's goal, of course, is to avoid a sales-killing Adults Only rating. It's more or less a given that black-and-white (and red) MadWorld will be tagged with at least an M rating in the United States.

Of the cooperation, MTV Multiplayer's Patrick Klepek writes:

Sega is working closely with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to ensure the game receives just an M rating, they told me. The ESRB receives new builds on a regular basis and Sega notes their feedback. Sega wants them to feel “part of the process” of developing “MadWorld” and isn’t looking to surprise them...

 

But don’t let the ESRB’s involvement make you nervous; “MadWorld” is plenty violent right now. It looks like “Sin City” was bathed in a bucket of blood.

As GamePolitics reported in August, Sega is similarly working with the BBFC on smoothing over MadWorld's path to a successful U.K. release. It's unclear, however, whether MadWorld will see release in other violence-sensitive markets, including Japan, Germany and Australia.

Although MadWorld is not scheduled for release until March, the game has already been the subject of at least one call for a ban.


Comments

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I really don't care about ESRB involvment. As long as we don't get the same kind of 'censored' executions like in Manhunt 2.

----

I'm an attention whore. So visit my DevaintArt and feed my ego. Feed the whore. http://keaton2008.deviantart.com/

I'm an attention whore. So visit my DevaintArt and feed my ego. Feed the whore. http://keaton2008.deviantart.com/

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I guess they can sell it on the sega site or through Steam or D2D.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Considering the level of violence that's already been passed by both the ESRB and BBFC in games with more realistic graphics than Madworld, is there really anything they might want removing that you'd want to see anyway?

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Castrating a virtual man with a pair of pliers, that I would've liked to see. Oh wait I'm trhinking of a different M game that I still need to pick up.

----------------------------------------------------

God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris 'Jedi' Knight

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Beardogg you are right but remember after the edited movies come out they can release the unedited and unrated versions on DVD. That is something that can not be done with games.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Actually they can. Only it will have to be ported to PC and most likely will not be able to be sold in any major retail chain.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Consider this: Trey Parker once said that when he appealed the NC-17 rating for Orgazmo(which was turned down), he was only given 3 minutes to present his case. But when he submitted South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut a few years later, the MPAA explained to him which scenes to cut down to get the R rating.

Is Sega's working with the ESRB to ensure an M rating really any different than a movie studio working with the MPAA to ensure an R or even a PG-13 rating?

Back in Black from a forced hiatus by Hurricane Gustav.

Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Pelicans. Solidarity for the Saints = No retreat, no surrender. 2013 = Saints' revenge on the NFL. Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Whoever said that Manhunt 2 was not social commentary because it pushed violence to a new level, but Mass Effect had great social commentary because it pushed sex in video games, stop picking and choosing which games should be released and games that should be forgotten.  Every game is a part of the first amendment and we need to fight to stop the censoring.  We need to fight for the AO rating to be accepted by stores and video game console makers.  The ECA needs to actually do something about it.

--- Official Protector of Videoland!

--- Official Protector of Videoland!

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

The ECA is doing something. They have already stated that AO games should be allowed. They are trying to get reps from the ESA, EMA, ESRB and ECA together for a sit down. Actually getting that meeting together is another story.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

*clap clap clap*

Personally, I don't find such censorship problematic or offensive in the slightest (it's not like they're editing a work of science or philosophy) - Erik would disagree, I'm sure.

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Of course I would find such censorship problematic.  What astounds me is that you don't.

I mean I think that Eminem's music is sleezy, ignorant, verbal garbage.  But still I would be angry were he censored.  People far too often get in the habit of only protecting the freedom of those things they like, not realizing that they let the predators get too close in their inaction.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I think I share the same position as GusTav2 on this matter. At some point, a society has to draw lines about what is and what is not accceptable in terms of all sorts of things if it is to be coheseive, functional and integrated - be it behaviour, creativity and more besides. These lines usually aren't fixed (even constituations have amendments or a Roe vs Wade to contend with), but they do set temporily-constrained boundaries.

IMHO, so long as freedom of thought is not impinged and the disciplines of science and philosophy are not interfered with, I tend to take the view that one particular generation's taboo is the succsessor's cause celebre. Consequentially, restrictions  on something like the cinematic release of the South Park movie, or questionable games such as Manhunt 2, don't really bother me - if they're truly worthwhile, the following generation will make them freely available. For a reference case, see Lady Chatterley's Lover as published by Penguin books.

I understand, Erik, that you are an idealist and therefore view these things in the all-or-nothing terms of a slippery slope. I tend to plump for a more practical, case-by-case view. Believe you me, if it had been GTA IV that had been banned I would have been furious, but a game like Manhunt 2, which brings no interesting social satire or thought-provoking commentary, isn't really worth the objection, IMHO.

Mad World may well prove to be a different case, but so little is known about the game it makes it difficulty to judge. Personally, I think violence has been done to death in videogames (if you'll patrdon the pun) - surely there are more interesting, thought-provoking boundaries to push? Mass Effect, for example, almost provoked an interesting argument about the role and depiction of sex in games. Whilst I'm not suggesting pornography, I do think that this is an area that has yet to be fully explored by games for grown-ups. If the BBFC, PEGI or ESRB (i.e. the liberal ratings boards) were to challenge a game like Mass Effect over sexual content, then I would be sounding the rallying call for gamers to get up in arms!

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

"if it had been GTA IV that had been banned I would have been furious"

 

Why?  What is so damn important or necessary about "social satire" or "thought-provoking commentary"?  It doesn't change what the violence is.  You mean to say that you would snub a virtual representation of someone getting their skull bashed with a hammer, but would defend it of the same scene had the murder saying "LOL, Bush Administration" because of some irrelevant social commentary?

Really, if you aren't willing to defend a game like Manhunt 2 then frankly we don't need your help with GTA4.  I can at this point only assume you are one of Jack's "thousands of friends" he mentioned in his latest email to Dennis.

To put it even more bluntly: Fuck social commentary.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Why?  What is so damn important or necessary about "social satire" or "thought-provoking commentary"?  It doesn't change what the violence is.  You mean to say that you would snub a virtual representation of someone getting their skull bashed with a hammer, but would defend it of the same scene had the murder saying "LOL, Bush Administration" because of some irrelevant social commentary?

The importnace of 'commentary', social or otherwise, is vital. The reason that this issue of such import in Western democracies is the importance of free speech and other forms of expression as part of the political process. The nature of the speech, and its position in wider political discourse, is part of the process whereby States decide what speech/expression is protected.

A few examples to show what I mean:

Shouting 'Fire!' in a crowed public space: cleary speech, but not protected speech.

Hate speech from a neo-nazi organisation: arguably objectionable, but protected political speech.

The creation of psuedo-images of child sexual abuse: creative artisit expression, but not protected.

The medium chosen to articluate the speech/expression is not important, what is important is the nature of the speech/expression itself, however it is expressed.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

"The creation of psuedo-images of child sexual abuse: creative artisit expression, but not protected."

Err that depends where you live. Here in the U.S. as far as I'm aware you can have images of child sexual abuse as long as they're drawings or computer generated images etc. If it's a photo of a real child then it's illegal. Although I think two midgets pretending to be children is legal though, but I'm getting off topic.

---------------------------------------------------- God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris 'Jedi' Knight

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I know what you mean. That's the reason I picked the example. It's a really tricky area where artistic expression and State control meet and conflict. Different jurisdictions will end up with different results. 

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

So once more, why is shooting someone in the face in Manhunt 2 oh so much of a tragedy that it must be banned, but in GTA4 suddenly its sacred and must be protected?  By defending only that that some people deem of some social benefit do people inflate their egos with this insipid pseudo-intellectualism?

This is a pretty simple concept really.  If I will defend GTA4 then I will defend Manhunt 2.  If I don't defend Manhunt 2 then I will not defend GTA4, or hell, even the penis laden sculpture that is Michelangelo's David.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

So once more, why is shooting someone in the face in Manhunt 2 oh so much of a tragedy that it must be banned, but in GTA4 suddenly its sacred and must be protected?  By defending only that that some people deem of some social benefit do people inflate their egos with this insipid pseudo-intellectualism?

I have never stated that there was any difference between the two. Disagreeing with one part of you view does not mean that I disagree with all of your views.

What I think it is important to realise is that the mere fact that both are games, and that both are violent, does not mean that both are intinsically the same. The manner and tone of the expression is important. Once you recognise that there isn't complete freedom of express yourself in any way you want, at any time, the more difficult question is how do we choose what to protect, and what not to. An understanding of why the freedoms are considered important is one part of that bigger picture.

Nothing is intrisically scared; no medium or person or view. All must be equally liable to control or censorship on the same basis.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

"The manner and tone of the expression is important."

I disagree.  I don't see the difference between say, GTA4 or Manhunt.  Or I suppose a better comparison would be staying within the stealth action genre and saying I don't see a difference between Metal Gear Solid 4 and Manhunt 2.  Both have you using cunning which is often followed by lacerations, bleeding and death.  Ergo if Manhunt 2 was banned then Metal Gear Solid 4 should be banned.  MGS4's pompus commentary be damned.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I don't see either GTAIV, MGS4, or MH2 being the same, they are very different in many ways; however, I don't see them being different enough to warrant different treatment or classification as a matter of law.

I do stand by my assertion that the manner, tone, and context of expresssion is important. Words or speech in one context may be entirely lawful, whereas in another will be unlawful. The only difference is context. To try and deny that is facile. On to the facile example, if I were to perform an erotic dance for the benefit of my partner in the privacy of my own home it would be distatsteful perhaps, but a form of protected expression. To undertake the same performance in the playground of a primary (5-11 years) school at lunchtime would be treated differently.

The context of an act in any form of media is vital to its nature. The way the events unfold, the point of view used, and the aftermath of the scene all effect the way it wil be viewed.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

"I do stand by my assertion that the manner, tone, and context of expresssion is important."

And I stand by my assertion that I disagree.  You really should detatch yourself from this context and approach it in a more mechanical manner.  I think the acts themselves need to be judged for what the are without regard for context.  Ergo shooting someone in the face in MGS4 should be equivalent to doing so in MH2.

Therefore if somehow any of you convinced me that there should be bannings I would put some violent documentary on the History channel (love those) on par with MH2 and demand that both be banned.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

smartypants

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

oops

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Social commentary is a means to an end.

You: "We want ultraviolent games and we want them now!"

Society: "Um, no. We don't like that."

You: "OK, what about this one? It has a nice story behind the action."

Society: "Hmm, OK. Hey, is that Samuel L Jackson?"

You: "Yup. Want a go?"

Society: "You know, this is kind of cool."

You: "Told you. Can we play this other game now?"

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

^Post of the Day^

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

If you are into censorship I suppose.  The rest of us just shake our heads at such posts.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I thought it was like a screenplay for realpolitik, rather than censorship.

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I read it again, still sounds like censorship to me.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

But in the end its annoying, as even Tolkien has pointed out.  And I really don't see the need for it.  I ignore such things when deciding what to defend or not to defend.  To me, as I have stated, will put forth just as much effort for crap like Manhunt 2 as a masterpiece as a sculpture like David.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I suppose I'm just not prepared to defend crap, as you put it. I realise that renders my views highly subjective, but I'm not espousing them as prescription (the ultimate difference between me and a JT/Julian Brazier). How are we to raise the bar for entertainment if we, the consumer, will put up with - defend, even - any old tripe?

As I said above, I'd much rather choose to defend a particular product based on its merits, as judged on a case-by-case basis, rather than take a hardline (almost fundamentalist) stance. But as I've said plenty of times now, I'm not an idealist.

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

"How are we to raise the bar for entertainment if we, the consumer, will put up with - defend, even - any old tripe?"

It's something for everyone, you and others like you may want more quality entertainment but I'm sure lots of people are fine with the quality as is and some people get a kick off of the sickest stuff they can find. Different people will cater to these three groups. If you insist on spending your entertainment dollars on top notch games or theatre and opera go right ahead. Who knows if enough people join you then the quality of that stuff will probably improve. There's enough consumers out there that you don't need to get everyone involved.

Oh and if you could recommend any good games or some great theatre let me know. I really enjoy a good play every now and then. I can also enjoy hockey and saw at the same time (well not literally at the same time, then it gets too confusing as I try to follow the adventures of a psychotic madman trying to tame a bunch of rabid hockey fans through starvation, sleep deprivation and sickening traps).

----------------------------------------------------

God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris 'Jedi' Knight

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

An excellent post. However I was more trying to make the point that we, as consumers, serve a vital role in the free market: to weed out unworthy products from the worthy ones, or producers will not have the incentive to improve their wares (or warez). But I take your point on board 100% and it still applies

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Well when it comes down to it you have to decide if you want freedom of expression or not.  And like all things you have to take the bad with the good.  Want freedom?  Grand.  But you have to fortify yourself to be prepared for things such as the KKK being able to present their opinion or crap like Manhunt 2 being made.  If you don't want to put up with that, fine, I hear Cuba is nice this time of year.

Many soldiers have died in many countries so the people in those countries have the freedom to call them baby killers.  Think upon that.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

And we do want freedom of expression. We just also know we're not going to get it right now just by shouting for it. You're not the only guy to have a dream that's worth fighting for. Dreams just take time and effort.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Then choose a side.  This supporting stuff like GTA4 but not Manhunt 2 seems rather wishy-washy.  The sort of freedom of expression you seem to be touting reminds me sort of those retractable dog leashes.  You know the dog thinks it has the freedom to run around wherever it wants, until its master clicks the button and the leash reels in and chokes the mutt.  I'm talking about freedom of expression, not just a good amount of running space.

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

It ain't about choosing sides, it's about choosing battles. The war to get the general public to accept ultraviolent games is not a winnable one at present. The battle to get them to accept GTA is far easier. First we need a strong foothold in the forested hills of San Andreas.

Here, have some pretention (courtesy of WikiQuote): Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious. The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

For the guy doing Manhunt 2's accounts: There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I like this analogy. I do want to tie this to the animal analogies up above.

In nature, herding animals will protect members of their herd that will provide the most future benefit. These are the young and the females. These same herding animals will often leave for dead those that will only drag the herd down and damage it. These are the sick, injured and old.

So when faced with a predator, the herd will protect the young and females while leaving the sick and elderly to be ripped appart by the predators.

As an industry, we need to learn which games and companies are the young or females of the gaming herd. We also need to learn which games and companies are sick and elderly. By learning these key facts, we will be better equipped to grow and eventually over power the predators that attack us.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

But then, I suppose in the idealist's worldview, all animals would be saved? Furthermore, is MH2 - in your opinion - young and female, or sick and old??

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

My personal opinion is that Manhunt 2 is a 3 legged 80 year-old cancerous antelope. It is best left for dead.

But that is part of the herd mentality. Not every herd member will protect the young and female. Not every herd member will abandon the sick and elderly. But those who support the wrong members will receive more and more injuries and become themselves sick and elderly. Those who support the sick and elderly will be faced with more battles more often than those who suppor the young and female.

Hope that makes sense.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I don't think Manhunt 2 is a sick or elderly member of the herd. Manhunt 2 is more like the calf who runs around and taunts the predators for fun. It has never really been a useful member of the group and would have been abandoned at a young age for being a liability.

Provocatively adult titles have a place on the pixelly savannah and we want to see them flourish. It's just very ultimately more hassle than it's worth defending those members who make life difficult for everyone else. Nature is cruel.

And I want to play Darwinia now.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Are you basing whether manhunt 2 is sick and elderly based on the quality of the game or the level of violence in it? A really violent game can be really fun.

----------------------------------------------------
God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris 'Jedi' Knight

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

A combination of the two, surely. To my mind, each case has to be judged on its own merits.

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I still say the anti-gaming crusaders are all bark and no bite ... at least in the U.S. Although even if it seems like the anti-gaming countries ban individual games instead of mass bannings with the exception of Thailand and probably China.

----------------------------------------------------

 God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris 'Jedi' Knight

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

I refuse to subscribe to such a binary world view. In my experience, there is always room for negotiation and, dare I say it… compromise.

-- teh moominz --

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

The the fishing reel leash it is then?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

If you insist on carrying the analogy to the straw, then allow me to expand on it. We are all on the leash of the society in which we live. The good dog knows what to do to get the treats and improve his life. The dog who chews through his restraints and runs amok probably gets put down.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

But the dog who gets put down at least gets some taste of freedom before hand now doesn't he?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

And then what does society do to its next dog? Gets a stronger leash. We need society to trust that violent games don't turn people into killers. Pushing the envelope too hard hurts that cause, because when a murderer is found to have played Corpse Mutilator IV the press has a freaking field day and we lose our save. By getting milder violent games on the shelves and into everyday media, violent games become just another part of life.

Oh, and no viewpoints are binary because stances and opinions are made up of lots of little substatements. On any given topic you will rarely find two people who either agree *entirely* or disagree *entirely*. They will always have a grey area that they agree on.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

So the press will demonize video games again. Whoop de do. Wake me up when something new happens. Video games are big business we have the first amendment, games have been declared free speech, it's been ruled repeatedly that the evidence saying games cause harm to children is insufficient. With this in mind what threat do these fear mongering creeps have anyway? It's been said time and again that as time goes by games like all the previous moral panics will become accepted. Corpse Mutilator V now with necrophilia will not change these facts.

----------------------------------------------------

God created alcohol so that the Scottish and the Irish could never take over the world. -Chris 'Jedi' Knight

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Sega Working Closely with ESRB on MadWorld Content

Well they must have some threat if Sega is willingly castrating itself now don't they?

-Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person's fear of their own freedom-

 
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