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Part One: Up, Up, Down, Down 333

The pace of cultural change in the western world has accelerated so rapidly that it's reached the breaking point, according to the late anthropologist Margaret Mead. And that was before the Net, and the ascent of role playing and electronic gaming. No longer a subculture, gaming is becoming our ascendant culture, growing more than any other cultural form, sparking a moral panic and affecting the way people think, play, learn, communicate and work. First in a series.

"The future of technology is about shifting to what people like to do, and that's entertainment...I'm telling you: all the money and the energy in this country will eventually be devoted to doing things with your mind and your time." --- AI pioneer Marvin Minsky.

Up, Up,

Down, Down,

Left Right, Left Right, BA Start.

Recite this combination to millions of younger Americans, especially males, and it's like a secret handshake: the cheat code for Contra and other games for the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Most will know that for two-player mode you insert "select." Recite the same sequence to most older people, and they'll think you're mentally ill. But the beautiful thing, e-mails James Sumner of Yale, "is that all I have to do is start "up, up, down, down ..." and any male my age will finish it."

"I would recognize it anywhere, instantly..." one gamer e-mailed me when I sent him the sequence. "Until my dying breath ...It's a cheat, that you use to get 30 lives instead of 3 ... You press that combo while the intro screen is sliding by, then start the game and you get 30 lives ..."

Another answered this way: "Sure, I know it, it's a reflex, a neuron. My parents still think gaming is a weird hobby. But for me, it's a way of thinking, a password."

In his remarkable new book Playful World, Mark Pesce reminds us of Mead's observation about the pace of change in the Western world.

In earlier times, Mead had written, elders could educate the young in their traditions and wisdoms, passing along important lessons that would serve the youngsters well.

In the past generation, though, cultural development -- centered around new forms of popular culture, mostly involving computers, has so intensified that the generational transmission of values has become even more outmoded, increasingly irrelevant. What's evolved is perhaps the widest gap --informational, cultural and factual -- between the young and the old in human history. In many ways, gaming is at the center of this chasm.

Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along. All they have to offer are boring and outmoded educational systems, political structures that no longer work, and exhausted forms of fading, sacrosanct, heavily subsidized "culture."

Obviously many older people do have useful things to pass along, especially their experiences with life and their accumulated perspectives. But there are also cultural and technological advances, more all the time, that they simply can't grasp. It often seems that only adolescents really have the time, instincts and motor skills to grasp the mechanics of cutting-edge gaming, programming and other digital technologies.

This chasm first opened on the cultural front, with the evolution of distinctly youth-centered entertainment forms like hip-hop, rock 'n' roll and then Nintendo and Sega; it's widened as gaming has expanded beyond its subculture status. Gaming isn't just a hobby any longer. In fact, it needs a new label, something like VI -- Virtual Imagination. Well on the way to being culture itself , gaming has all sorts of implications for education, work and politics.

Gaming has exploded in the past few years until, according to Steven Poole's book Trigger Happy, videogame sales now equal movie ticket receipts. Sales of game consoles and software in the United States will top $17 billion a year by 2003 (the music industry, by comparison, reported revenues of $15 billion last year).

The average American child plays videogames forty-nine minutes a day, but games are no longer the province of kids; 61 per cent of videogamers are eighteen or older, and more than a quarter are over thirty-six. Videogames are no longer bounded by gender, either: players are evenly divided between men and women.

This revolution has spawned its own vast, diverse and complicated media culture --,,,, These sites teem with games and reviews, from programmers, writers, artists and designers. Media sites like and report on story lines and offer essays on the creative shortcomings of game programmers.

Newer sites like are gaming weblogs; they fuse gaming with individual stories. Recently, that site ran stories about a player named Sheyla who faked her death in a ploy for sympathy from the Everquest community; the stories linked to a story about the kind of gaming work ethic that prompted a Starcraft programmer to bring his laptop to the hospital birth of his daughter. covers Quake III like MSNBC covered the presidential election. Academics all over the country are using the Sim games to teach urban planning and financial and social interaction.

And eBay now routinely auctions off characters and property from games like Ultima Online to newbies who don't want to spend years developing their own characters. The gaming industry employs thousands of writers, artists, producers, animators, filmmakers designers and programmers.

Virtual characters are now sometimes worth thousands of dollars, something inconceivable outside of Hollywood just a few years ago.

No other form of culture is ascending as rapidly. Compared to gaming, traditional kinds of culture -- some elements of book publishing, opera and classical music, dance, appear declining and endangered.

Next: Gaming and Moral Panic.

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Up, Up, Down, Down

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  • I was busy playing soccer, baseball, and football. I guess my childhood wasn't complete. Damn you mom.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've heard many explanations for the decline and fall of Rome. Overextension, corruption, taxation, bread and circuses.... The list goes on and you can always find an historian who will support you. Video games are rising in use in America. Spectating was correlated with the fall of Rome. Ergo, video games will be correlated with the fall of America.

    Rome declined and eventually fell for a host of disparate reasons. Using one or the other selectively is poor historiography, and using it as an argument about events more than a thousand years later is just stupid.
  • OK Flame on...but it seems that gaming is a very dangerous cultural opiate. Of course for one, there is the whole "time-suck" issue. I'll never forget that freshmen year epiphany when I inwardly acknowledged my old JediMUD 25th level fighter that I had labored over so astudiously (while other chumps were at class) was nothing more than a text file *sigh*. Kids these days seem to have even less of chance to make this type of realization with the advent of super hi rez 3d polygonal graphics etc etc (these kids say quite perplexedly "pong what?")
    However, my most serious concern with Gaming-Culture and our Media driven culture in general is the lack of need for the imaginative faculty. Who needs to use their own imagination anymore to picture the fantastic, the otherwordly, the sublime? It seems we have a generation who are growing up largely relying on the imagination of others. They allow others to paint their canvases for them, to populate it with specific imagery and tone. Why would they want to bother reading books or, *GASP* roleplaying in non-graphical old "traditional" RPGs with a human being as GM, when for a miniscule amount of $ they can take the easy road and have everything envisioned and depicted for them?
    I'm not sure that it even occurs to kids that they can rely upon the power of their own imagination. Whereas with the games of my GEN (2600 rules supreme), you HAD to use your imagination to really want to defend that DAMN city of colored square blocks from missles!
  • I used to agree with Auberon Waugh that it was "Red or White?". But now I know different - It's Jon Katz with "First in a series"
  • You forgot idchoppers and idkfa. And I don't even like Doom :)
  • Don't forget Street fighter 2 for snes, The Code puts you into ``championship mode'', where both players can play the same character.
  • I still remember "XYZZY" and "PLOVER", and I've not played ADVENT in something like 20 years. :-)
    -Rich (OS/2, Linux, BeOS, Mac, NT, Win95, Solaris, FreeBSD, and OS2200 user in Bloomington MN)
  • Quite the opposite, in fact. Society is turning away from spectators (TV, Cinema) and towards participators (videogames, chat).

    So there you go. :-P

  • by deanc ( 2214 )
    >I enjoy reading Katz's little
    >phillipics even though I think he's usually full
    >of it. On the other hand, he _always_ generates a
    >good disucssion, and that's exactly what
    >he's trying to do!

    Doesn't it strike you that something is wrong when the discussion revolves around, "the author is full of crap"? Of course poor quality work generates discussion-- people are so naturally hostile to it that it gets their blood pumping.

    It's bad enough if Katz is naive enough to actually believe the tripe he writes. It's even worse if he just makes up poor generalities and ignorant, ahistorical statements just to generate "discussion."

  • Well, if gaming is culture, it is a very immature one at that.

    I consider myself to be a "serious" gamer. I don't play the average 49 minutes per day the Katz mentioned, but I do enjoy playing games (not just electronic) on a fairly regular basis.

    So far I have been totally turned off by an sort of "social" gaming such as online Quake or any of the MMORPG's.

    When this culture evolves beyond the "You #$!@ cheat!" and "Watch me take my level 2000 character and kill all the new guys." stage give me a call. I'll be waiting. Until then I will continue to play computer games either alone, or with some of my real friends.

    Case in point; if you want to see a comic strip that's more intelligent and funnier, IMO, than Penny Arcade, check out Player Vs Player []

  • Nah, that's only if you want two players. All the select does is move the little widget to the 2 player selection.

  • no really....just curious.

  • Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along. All they have to offer are boring and outmoded educational systems, political structures that no longer work, and exhausted forms of fading, sacrosanct, heavily subsidized "culture."

    This is true in one sense: Our elders don't have much to teach us about pompous, self-congratulatory, pseudo-intellectual drivel. This remains the purview of JonKatz.

    Katz must spend a lot of time dreaming up weak premises on which to base huge tracts of near-meaningless text designed to prove somehow the superiority of the young geek worldview and that this narrow segment of society represents the whole of the modern world. Fact is, he just sounds like another sullen and disaffected teenager who's certain his profound thoughts have never been thought before and that his elders are a bunch of idiots. Just like the thousands of generations that went before him.

    Ignore the older generation at your peril. They might not be able to write long shell scripts in their heads or dominate NFL2K1 on seganet, but they have the experience to have seen Katz's brand of self-absorbed whining many times before. When "the young" are "the old," something that will happen very quickly, they'll look back at a new generation patting itself on the back on scorning them and then they will understand that, as some French guy said, the more things change, the more they stay the same.


  • It's not just Contra... the code is refered to as the 'Kanomi Code'... Kanomi made Contra and used the same cheat code in quite a few of it's games... And god I remember the frustration of putting that code in sometimes.... Fired up my cousin's old NES a few weeks back and it rolled off my fingers every time... flawless... Guess that shows what kind of addict I am. ;)

    Hey! What's this fruit-striped apple thingy in the corner?
  • C'mon, give me a break. This is such a lame outlook on life. The only people who have made a 'culture' out of games are total lamers who can't think of anything better to do. Wow, just what I want to be, part of an 'enlightened' culture of fat arthritic snotnosed boring morons.

    Sure, I play videogames from time to time, even code my own games, but give me a break. If your ONLY pastime is playing videogames to the point where you consider it a 'culture', then you need to get out more. Rarely do you get laid or paid playing videogames, unless you are some kind of fat lazy fag-boy who gets paid for getting his ass greased while playing video games.

    Videogames are great, but it's no more a dominant culture than people who play Monopoly.

    If drugs are illegal because they cause harm to your body, then shouldn't videogames? I think a potsmoker does less long term body damage than a fat lazy slob that does nothing but sit on his fat ass and press buttons.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Jon Katz wrote: "First in a series"

    Be Afraid

    Be VERY Afraid
  • Hey Katz, if it's part 1 in a series that's probably because it's NOT FUCKING DONE YET. Finish the article. Then post it. Or is this your own self-aggrandizing way of making yourself look more important and more prolific as a writer, by writing one article and passing it off as 3 or 5 or 10. It's one. one. one. You are a fradulent slacker.
  • A similar code also works in Sonic.
  • Many many things we take for granted. Sure, my 12 year old has real time multitasking built into his brain wiring now: 7 or 8 simultaneous chat sessions while concurrently juggling 2 different party line phones. Sure my older kid can actually work while listening to music loud enough to buzz the windows. Sure my 9 year old has probably learned to learn with an amazingly short attention span. But I don't see people becomming more interactive as the be and end all of entertainment. That is, you may see the half dozen or so distinct information regions on the screen of the monitor or the TV whether it's a game or a webcast or BET but that translates into constantly task switching for a few seconds. If you ask someone performing this way what it is they just looked at or were doing you'll get an "I don't know" answer. OTOH board games are more popular than ever including traditional or cultural boardgames like Go, Mancala and so on. I think this "games as culture" is the same thing as people thinking that in the future we'll be artists and poets and that our culture and our economy will be based on producing and selling art to each other. Unfortunately somebody still has to own the power company and still has to create a process model for the auction house.
  • There is nothing "simple" about it.

    For instance, there are *no* sure cures for arachnaphobia. You can't "teach* a person to not fear spiders, and it turns out to be damn difficult to even ease them out of their fears by continued exposure.

    It's a fear that's built deep and strongly into the subconscious mind. It's damn near unchangeable, and frequently the best that can be done is to layer it over with filters that prevent it from bubbling up to the conscious mind.

    I'm simply appalled that there are still people who think everything they do and think is completely under their control.

    They must be remarkably un-self-aware, as contradictory or zen-like as that sounds.

  • It seems Katz has been lately seeing too much doomsday films. in this point, he's as much as impressive as the people he talks about. Nock, nock Katz. Reality here.. And reality shows you olympics, greek theaters, religious processions, coliseums, duels, sports, again olympics, radio, tv, computers, Internet, etc., etc., etc. Katz humans need games and here there is no "generation's conflict", "mass matrixization" or whatever. Yes, there could be excesses, much like TV on the 50's and 60's or, to be more impressive, roman circus. Today some people fear the "Matrix".

    Games are here for nearly 30 years. And a good part of the fathers of today's gamers had their good time on the first electronic games. And I really don't see the fearful "zombies" some mass-media talked about then. Where are they? I only see the new-era profets echoing in a new form this same story.
  • This chasm first opened on the cultural front, with the evolution of distinctly youth-centered entertainment forms like hip-hop, rock 'n' roll and then Nintendo and Sega; it's widened as gaming has expanded beyond its subculture status. Gaming isn't just a hobby any longer. In fact, it needs a new label, something like VI -- Virtual Imagination. Well on the way to being culture itself , gaming has all sorts of implications for education, work and politics.

    Yeah, there's nothing like being immersed into a world too fantastic to imagine. Of course, that's where the artists like VanGogh and Monet came in, years past. I'm sorry, but there's no way a computer game can live up to an overworked imagination. You graphic developers can take that as a challenge, an insult, or whatever. You can't match my ability. You can only expand what I can envision, but you'll never surpass it.

    VI is an editor, Jon, don't abuse the term. I know that what is being accomplished by the game designers today is able to wow you, simply because as you've shown time and again, you have no imagination. That's why you need a virtual one. And it is a sad statement if indeed most people need to use this "VI" to experience a full, rich, world beyond their obviously drab excuses for life. Please, for the love of god, push using the imagination instead of taking a backseat to what your mind can create. Imagination is using Legos to build fantastic worlds. Legos are nothing but pieces, but that they can be configured to build something amazing is good. The major problem with these games is that you allow the developers to imagine the world for you.

    No other form of culture is ascending as rapidly. Compared to gaming, traditional kinds of culture -- some elements of book publishing, opera and classical music, dance, appear declining and endangered.

    And you're heralding the loss of other great forms of art?!? Egads man, I'd smack you upside the head if you were here with me. I'm all for expanding art, but destroying old forms to make way for the new. You are so typical of the Western mindset. There is room for all types of art, and it's simply a pity that mindless fools that have to live their fantasies out through some other person's imagined worlds have begun to depreciate the value of all art.

    I cannot respect a person who would wish to lose an artform forever in order to gain a newer one. It's a new low to even suggest such a thing.

  • Jon if confusing facts with knowledge. Today's parents may not be able to teach their kids anything about computers or video games, but those are just facts and skills. There are little things like dealing with people, dealing with failure, sportsmanship and patience that today's technically brilliant youth haven't learned. Are these things unimportant? Jon seems to think so, but I would say no.

    Another thing to consider is that Jon is only talking about a tiny subculture. Not all teenagers are avid gamers (and in fact, his Hellmouth series illustrates just how small and maligned the teen geek nation is). Of course gamers will remember up-up-down-down... just as football fans will remember "The Catch". This is hardly a cultural archetype. It will not define a generation because it doesn't span a generation. Not everyone is a gamer, and not everyone will major in computer science and join the tech industry.

  • I would have to disagree strongly with you here. I think that the exact opposite is happening. Video games and computers are changing our society of spectators (TV) into a society of participants. Just because people aren't participating in bear hunts or wars or whatever doesn't mean it doesn't count.
  • Well, I still remember:
    • idspispopd
    • iddqd
    and I haven't played DOOM in years!

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • The "spispopd" was something like "smashing pumpkins into small piles of p-something debris"? if I remember right.

    I downloaded and tried the GL-version of DOOM a few months ago just for fun - the sound effects gave me an incredible rush of nostalgia. But damn the graphics suck, now that I'm used to Quake III!

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • I can't miss /. mentioning the contra code. I would like all fellow slashdotters over the age of 18 who don't mind an occassional swear word to listen to 8 Bits of Power [] a moving filk [] song about everyones fave 8 bit system. Quite a differant step from Bratwurst Orange's [] electrical spoken gabber core, but I do play a shopping cart in it, and just try to count the allusions!

    8 Bits of Power []

  • I'm sorry... Wagner's music is far sexier than anything to come out of the modern corporate gruel factories and he didn't have to pose in his underwear to be famous.

    Popular music as a culture actually has little to do with music... how could it? It's all the same. When's the last time you saw a popular female singer who didn't have professional model-looks? There are a small number. I might be dating myself but in the 70's every one was gaga over Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac who's voice was OK in the early years, but eventually she sounded like a cigaretty grandma? Her bandmate Christine McVie was fairly plain-looking, but far more talented in singing and songwriting, but she was never as popular. Coincidence?

    Would the Spice Girls have been as popular if they weren't deluging the world with images of buoyant breasts and clockwork choreography, as well as the incredible marketing power of their puppetmasters in the industry? I have to wonder.

    The popular music sections have to have soft-porn decorations to make up for the fact that there's no substance there. Do adults listen to the same music as they did when they were teenagers, or do they look back at that music as silly bubblegum stuff. I do, but I'm an exception as I had a musical background, but my much younger brother went through a rap phase and an alternative phase and a classic rock phase and now listens to blues and bluegrass. Quite an evolution, I'd say.

  • Yes, after reading Katz it's _clearly_ not easy... and I write all the time, thank you very much.

    Just because writing is hard doesn't mean it's not okay to level legitimate criticism against an exmaple of it. I enjoy reading Katz's little phillipics even though I think he's usually full of it. On the other hand, he _always_ generates a good disucssion, and that's exactly what he's trying to do!

  • >Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along. All they have to offer are boring and outmoded educational systems, political structures that no longer work, and exhausted forms of fading, sacrosanct, heavily subsidized "culture."

    And how is this different from the 60's? or when Mark Twain made the famous quote about his father not knowing anything when he was 14? or when Socrates complained about the "youth today"?

    Children have always in some ways advanced beyond their parents... that's called advancement of society. However, that does not mean that the accumulated wisdom of adults is irrelevant or meaningless. The fact of the matter is, all this technology which we so happily embrace (me too!) only outmodes a limited part of life and thinking. Morals do not change (the popular mores of society might). Truth does not change although our understanding of it does. If you take this article to its logical conclusion, we have nothing to learn from the past. Clearly this is not true.

    Futhermore, while the pace of technology is surely accelerating, I think Katz has a very limited view of the world. Most people are not immersed in the computer world the way we /. types are.

    Gaming is changing popular culture? Sure.

    Are book publishing, opera, classical music, dance, endangered? Hardly.

    You want a good modern opera? Try Dream Theater's latest album "Metropolis part 2"? Classical music? I'd offer up the recent huge explosion of progressive-oriented rock and jazz music mostly created by people with a strong classical background. There's a rich world of complex, sophisticated and rich music out there to be found, just don't try to find it on the radio or MTV. Dance? Seems to me dancing is as popular as ever, even as a performance art. Consider something like Cirque du Soleil... These forms of culture are changing as all do, but they aren't going away any time soon or this will be a boring, sad old world indeed.

  • Being jewish and orthodox I would still almost mark this down as 'Flamebait', but there is something to what you said that I was thinking about.
    Does a culture that maintains something akin to the Sabbath (a day without all of the modern conviniences/interuptions) help maintain itself between generations? I know one family that is not jewish, but sunday was family day. The whole family would be and do something together. Do things like this help make a younger generation more respectful or more likely to listen to an older generation?

    I know for myself one of the things I enjoy the most about the week is the Sabbath, when I can throw my pager in a drawer and not worry about it (was very handy for when the Millenium turned and lots of my co-workers were on 24hour call). Oh, and for the record, my two 'accomplishments' for the week in my own mind is working through the tractate of Sotah with a friend, and completing the single player missions in 'Star Trek: Armada'.

  • Ah yes, another remnant of my youth. The Konami Code doesn't just work in NES Konami games. It works in some Konami titles on other platforms as well, but not always to the desired effect. Sometimes it kills you for being a cheater.

    But yeah, every kid remembers this. But how many can remember the code to get to Mike Tyson in the NES title?


    I think that was it. But I can never remember the actual numbers accurately. I did it by muscle memory. Same thing with phone numbers, coincidentally.

  • Howdie. I'm a musician of 20 years experience, primarily instrumental, some vocal, classically trained, with forays into diverse aural and improvisatory genres; my focus for the last 10 years has been Renaissance and Medieval Western European musics.

    With all respect due a fellow student of the Muses: you're full of huey. :)

    The rock music on the radios today bears a striking stylistic resemblance to certain musical genres of the 1000 year period I study, and mostly convinces me that Nothing Ever Changes.

    The reason, as far as I can tell, that the populace doesn't much care for Mozart operas is that they are not in a cultural head-space where Mozart operas speak to them. That doesn't mean they're dumb, or lazy, or foolish, or philistines, or morally destitute. It means their problems, their ideas, their imaginings, their passions are different than those of the people Mozart was writing to.

    In the 14th&15th centuries, a bunch of english songs about love, sex, and death got written. Some brit chicks noticed, and formed a rock band (Medieval Baebes) singing this material. I went to a concert, and hordes of goths showed up, cause, you know what, love+sex+death speaks to them in their language.

    The fact is that more musics are readily available to the (first world) public than have ever been available to a people in history: the miracle of recording not only allows many to hear where only a few used to fit, but our liberal, multi-cultural culture has thrown open the doors to genres unimagined to our grandparents: world music, historical music, new forms of popular music every month. There are more choices available to us.

    Part of the reason the opera house down the street was packed with peasants was that those peasants were tired of hearing one another play on the vielle-a-roue, and they didn't get much else in the way of options.

    Today, such overwhelming majorities in one genre of music are unlikely. You can basically say that most people like what is new, because we crave novelty, but "popular music" splinters into factions and styles if you examine it.

    Perhaps (to wrench this back onto topic) what people are observing is that in comparison with older cultural forms (tv, music, literature) gaming is (comparatively, mind you) undifferentiated. As such all gamers appear as a single fan base -- and thus, large.

    Perhaps in the not so distant future, gaming will fragment into stylistic factions so diverse that people will not consider "gamers" to be a culture any more than "music listeners" -- you will see the equivalent of "classical music afficianados" and "early music nuts" and "punks" and "goths" and "metalheads", and, and....

    (We aren't there yet. Nobody would presume that because someone likes Wagner they would like Pink Floyd; but FPS players also do tabletop also do LARP also do tradable card.... The day someone says "Wow, you do cards and FPS? That's so eclectic" is the day we have reached the same level of diffentiation in gaming as music.)

  • ce/,1381 ,6 474,00.html ec h.html

    If you disregard that that last link is from a Christian site, I think you'll get the point that as, perhaps general violent crime is going down, we are seeing more and more, random, unpredictable, spontaneous and meaningless crime from young people. I read this as due to a deterioration of culture and tradition. No I'm not talking about a "moral crises" per se, and I'm not religious, but psychologically, a strong foundation of culture, tradition, acceptance, and an inherent place in the world are very important for the developing individual. Instead, our culture is the ultra-competitive capitalistic race, into which we bear children, slap their butts and yell "go!".

    If I'm correct, we will start seeing these trends occur in more "developed" nations, shedding their traditions to embrace free market rat races (the two of which aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, although that's what seems to be happening in more developed countries).
  • 26. Female. A computer bought with gaming in mind (800 mhz athalon). Quake, Quake 2, Quake III (but NOT team arena, yuck, what a joke, CCTF all the way). Diablo II. Rollercoaster Tycoon. Civ, Civ2, MOO2. Simcity 2000/3000, The Sims w/addon.

    You have to look in the right places. CRPG's get a lot more women playing then say, action games, and so do the sim games. Heck, I've never had problems finding other girls on Diablo II to party with (because they're actually more fun and friendlier). Don't see a lot playing Quake, however.
  • Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along. All they have to offer are boring and outmoded educational systems, political structures that no longer work, and exhausted forms of fading, sacrosanct, heavily subsidized "culture."

    I try to be fair to the estranged Mr. Katz, but this is just plain dumb. So kids are smart and older people are vapid? Sure, a 15 year old may know how to use a PDA and PlayStation 2, but then his mom knows how to cook a thansgiving dinner and use a sewing machine.

    Arguing that knowledge of pop-cultre, mass market fluff is empowerment is, well, really dumb. If anything, it leads to short-sightedness. For example, there are quite a few young open source hackers who seem to think they know everything is there to know about software engineering at age 19. This includes such knowledge as not creating regression test suites, and tossing in minimally tested features right before uploading a new version.

    All teenagers think they know everything. That's the nature of the beast. By the time they realize they don't know everything, they have kids who think they know everything.
  • I was thinking about this last night as I was watching a Moody Blues concert on our local PBS affiliate. It's pledge week again. But the Moody Blues have been making their music for nearly my entire life. When they were new and I was young, my parents were listening to musical genres that I considered dead at the time. Their musical taste proved longer-lived than I had realized. People hang on to the things they like.

    Few people can remain novophiles their entire lives. Teenagers are the most likely to be open to new cultural trends. They have lived long enough to have mastered the basic framework of the society they are a part of. They have gained a measure of independence from their parents. And they have little investment in the past.

    However, before we write off everyone over 30 as hopeless antiques, let's ask a couple of questions. First, whose generation first used the phrase, "Don't trust anyone over 30"? Second, for the 99% of Slashdot readers who are geeks, do you find that the copyright date on technical books is a major consideration in your decision of whether to buy it? Have you started to care about the month in which they weere printed?

    This issue is not a new one. Future Shock explored the accerating rate of change in the 70's. Videogames are only one current manifestation of it.
  • The power to generalize things inot a fitting metaphor is NOT an easy writing task. I get tired of people always jumping all over Katz. Think writing is easy? YOU try it, bub.
  • "Gaming" is no more a culture than "Cars" or "Food" or "Music" or "Technology".

    It's just the starting point for lots of little cultures. Quake Arena is one. Everquest is another. Guys bragging over their new PS2s is a third.

    My little sister goes on a lot about Pokemon

    Hence, to say that "gaming is becoming our ascendant culture" is a bit odd. "A lot of people play some form of electronic game" is better, "Democratic capitalism, based on a globalist economic viewpoint, built around a primarily but not solely Judeo-Christian post-Bastille work ethic is becoming our ascendent culture" might be better still.

    Not that many people has a NES anyway. Maybe everyone YOU know, but who are they exactly?
  • I don't think so: have you ever watched anyone play a video game? It's pretty dull.

    And playing the game is participation, even of a seditary sort.

    Video games might be turning us into a slightly fatter society, but one of spectators? nah
  • EQ and AC ?

    Get real. These are hack and slash games and, except for the fqct that they are social and progressive (you gain as you go along) are nto in any fundemental entertainmtn way different from Space Invaders. Its still "bang bang your dead."

    True role-play is as rare as it has always been, and gernally still cosnidered as "weird" by the masses.
  • Of course I recognized the code before I even read the story. What guy my age (24) wouldn't? That being said, I think it's ironic that Katz talks about how games are becoming more and more prevalent in American's (and the world's) lives when lately I've been thinking of quitting gaming all together. After seeing the auction on eBay top $70K for the guy's entire game library, I've begun to question why I have 10+ systems sitting around my room. I have been playing games since the Intellivision and though it's been fun, what has it really done for me? TFC has brought me into a new circle of friends (my clanmates), but other than that, I begin to wonder if the _years_ I've spent staring a TV or PC screen playing games have been a waste. Entertaining, but not fulfilling.

    Over the Thanksgiving weekend I brought a book (Ender's Game. I am still a geek after all) to read and realized: I haven't read or enjoyed a book that wasn't a computer book in about a year and a half. Why? Because I play games till all hours of the morning, go to sleep, wake up, go to work, come home, hang out with the girlfriend a bit, play games, repeat. Obviously I can't give up work or eating or sleeping, and I certainly don't want to give up my gf, but is gaming really that important to me? When I read a book, I feel educated. When I've beaten a game, I feel entertained, yet I don't feel improved.

    Last year about this time I passed up a position at Daily Radar as a webmaster for the very same reason: Would I really want to be surrounded by games all the time? They're just _games_. They're not people, I don't learn new things really when I interact with them, and if I looked back on my life 50 years from now, what would I say? I've played a lot of video games? It just seems kinda empty.

    This is not a "get a life st00pid gamerz!" rant, but more of a "What have I been doing with MY life and is this really what I want to remember about my time on earth?"


    Ironically that originally stood for Playstation Nintendo Dreamcast

  • There was a fairly similar code for TMNT 2, and the accepted name of the code *is* the "Konami Code"

  • Since I can't even remember my passwords half the time :) All those damn video games killing brain cells and .. ooh look, a flying thing!
  • It happened to me. When I was in the 2nd grade, and Castlevania 2: Simon's Revenge (I believe) came out, I had memorized the code to put you at the very end, with all items. OYZYUQAU R12SSMIA

    How the hell can anyone remember that? I don't know. That was 13 years ago, and I still know it by heart, it's kinda scary. But one good thing, it's a great code to use for passwords. Something that no one could ever guess, but you know by heart.

    UUDDLRLRBAS is a good password, huh? :)
  • Once again Jon Katz has blessed us with his myopic vision of the world. Through an essay (I use that word loosely in this context) filled with generalities and sweeping conclusions with absolutely no sound reasoning to back up his arguments, Mr. Katz has once again revealed how disconnected he is from reality. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Jon Katz's world view is completely ahistorical, and therefore extremely naive.

    Mr. Katz also speaks as if the United States is the only country in the world. I hate to burst his bubble, but gaming is not revolutionizing daily life in probably 90% of the world. For example, I am relatively certain that people in Afghanistan do not have the excess liesure time required for gaming (nevermind the fact that most of them lack the necessary technology).

    Furthermore, what is so remarkable about the rise of the new and demise of the old? Isn't that simply a description of the human condition? Hasn't that happened throughout history; the young challenging the conventions of the old, and thereby expanding everyone's horizons? Mr. Katz thrashes Mozart (by dismissing opera and classical music), but Mozart was a revolutionary for his time (putting dance in operas was practically unheard of before Mozart did it).

    Actually, it's pretty amusing to witness Katz's overblown sense of self-importance balloon even further as he tries to pass off this hackneyed essay as original material. Give us a break, Jon.
  • Nah. It's the 'gore' code from the Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat. :-)
  • Indeed, almost all her studies have been refuted (I am going to try to dredge up what little I can remember about all of this). She was part of the school of thought called cultural relativitists which still exists today. It really came from Franz Boaz her teacher and an anthropologist in the early part of this century.

    Cultural relativists believed that people were mostly a product of their culture, and sought to prove that things like gender roles were purely cultural in construction. They had a bit of the noble savage type mentality going on as well. Part of their ideas (more implicit than overtly stated) was that a lot of other, more 'primitive' cultures were a lot off in many ways because they were free from the rigid strictures of western society.

    In addition to her seminal work, Coming of Age in Samoa, in which she 'proved' that puberty was an easy process without all the stresses that appear among teenagers in our society. This has since been shown to basically have been a lot of crap. She was mostly trying to provide anecdotal evidence to provide the theoretical foundation of her socio-political agenda.

    She went on to study a few other cultures. One was called the Tchambuli people, and that had something of a matriarchal system, and she used these seemingly reversed gender roles to show that they are the result of enculturation. Again, this whole study has now been refuted.

    She should well be remembered as a pioneer in the field of ethnography (writing about another culture), but her scientific detachment left a lot to be lacking. She went out trying to prove her beliefs, and like many before her succeeded. It turned out to be helpful that her proof existed on the far Pacific Rim and spoke funny languages.

    Unfortunately I don't have any references at hand, but this is discussed a some length (with good references) in the book Human Universals. As an aside, there is also a book which I believe is called, the Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl or something similar (which I have not read) that tells of a male baby who was raised as a girl due to a botched circumsision because his physician was a cultural relativitist. Of course, the child had all sorts of problems going up, and opted to live as a man later in life. Anyway, just an anecdote of how the cultural relativists have made at least one persons life miserable. As a counterpoint there is an interesting book Gender Outlaw that is partly an autobiography of a man who had a sex change operation to become a lesbian, and it is filled with interesting ideas on the complexity of gender (as you might imagine).

    Although this has regressed into a discussion of gender, I only wanted to make the point that Margaret Mead had a strong agenda in her 'research' and writing that does not make her an objective observer. It is easy to say that the world is becoming too complex and fast paced. But maybe they said that with the domestication of the horse (and I won't go into listing all the technological advances improving transportation and communication since then).

  • by ruin ( 141833 )
    give me a good left-jump-left-bubble-left-1up any day...

    Sigh. Leave it to Katz to take the best thing in the world, (games) and turn it into his usual bland, unresearched, over-generalized paste.

    Oh, and I just have to correct the most egregious mis-statement of the post:

    Videogames are no longer bounded by gender, either: players are evenly divided between men and women.

    Depending on how you look at it, videogames have either always been bounded by gender, or never bounded by gender. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Pac-man, a game which has been around forever, has always had an even gender split in its players. This may be stating the obvious, but games that simulate things that boys like to do (play sports, fight, shoot people) are more heavily favored by boys, and games that simulate things girls like to do (play house, design cities, run around a little maze gathering power pellets) are more heavily favored by girls.


  • I must agree. The more I learn, the more I realize that there is a lot of stuff I haven't yet learned.

    And what is true of knowledge is even more true of wisdom. The two are not the same, though it is easy to lump them together. Sure, I may have more ready access to facts and pure information than my father or my grandfather ever had, or have even now. But then, I've never fought in a war, or been through a Depression, or visited half the places in the world that they have. Plus, they've had at least a couple more decades to 'think things through' than I have. ;)

  • I agree. Parents need to be there for the kids. Allowing games to fill a void and become a part of "culture" is frightening and sad. Parents need to teach kids what they NEED to know. True culture is more than mere entertainment, it is values, shared experiences, artistic expression, etc. I am not saying gaming is utterly useless, just saying keep it in perspective.

    People need to get out in the real world, and do good _in the real world_. Fight for freedom of speech. Fight racism. Make a difference in the life of a child. Give hope to someone who has given up. Stop people from picking on those that are "different" (geeks, minorities, women, heavy people, skinny people, etc, etc).

    Build real culture: invent something of value, produce a beautiful work of art, etc.

    Go home and play Quake to relax, or watch TV, or whatever.

    Just never let that become the focus of your life, or make it into something more than it is.

    Jon Katz has gone off the deep end here.

    I may get modded down for exercising my freedom of speech, but if so, it was worth it. Some things just need to be said.

  • Sure did. We talked about her "research" in class. She violated pretty much all the principles of good anthropological scholarship in her field work.

    Didn't actually live with the people Didn't get a representative sample to interview Didn't learn to speak the native language ...

    It goes on and on ...

  • >Want some more hardcore oldschool goodness? Check out this review of the Pentium 200 at Glide Underground.
    P200? hardcore oldschoool goodness? Please, god let this be a troll for "when I was young" stories. oy.
  • But cheats to simply make the game easier to beat? I guess I just don't get it. "I was playing the game for 3 hours every day and it rocked! Then somebody showed me this cool cheat and I beat it in an hour! Now I don't have anything to play anymore, and I'm bored."

    First of all, this code wasn't that disgusting. It gave you more lives, it didn't put you in god mode. In some games, it grants you additional weapons as well; Big deal.

    Second of all, the thing that makes a game worthwhile is replayability. A good game is worth playing even after you've beaten it, except for the majority of RPGs. Even an RPG is not entirely worthless after beaten if it's a good game; You can go back and check for all the easter eggs, comb the map, et cetera. Final Fantasy VII, for example, has endless replayability with the mini-games.

    The cheat codes make games easier. If you can't beat the game after weeks or trying or what have you, then it's time to find a cheat. Maybe you suck, or maybe the game is really hard, but either way there's no need to frustrate yourself.

  • do they look back at that music as silly bubblegum stuff.

    Well, I don't.

    Then again, I was listening to Black Flag, Violent Femmes, Dead Kennedys ...
  • [joke]Go easy on him. Can you really blame him for not wanting to read a Jon Katz article?[/joke]
  • >>Could it be that video games are turning our
    >>society, the global empire, into another
    >>society of spectators?

    Hardly. Gamers are actively involved participants in a virtual reality. I believe that this virtual reality will some day (50+ years) mix with current reality. If you are talking about spectators, you missed it. It was the TV generation, not gamers. Nekros

  • I don't think there is a code for that game, but (and I doubt too many of you remember this one) EGM once ran a code that let you use Simon Belmont from the Castlevania games in lieu of a ninja turtle. The code was hopelessly complex, and I remember spending soooo fucking long trying to get Simon to beat up Foot Soldiers.

    Of course, being the naieve kid I was, I never stopped to realize what month it was. Every April, EGM pulls an April Fool's joke on its readers. The year before it was Sheng Long in Street Fighter 2. Even the damn name on the submission was something like Fuld Ya Gen or something. The pictures looked real, dammit!

    The next month they revealed, to the Nation's shock, that no, you could not use Simon Belmont in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 for the NES. A lot of people lost it on EGM's head at the time for printing the damn code, but it was pretty funny, even if I cried myself to sleep each night for a week wishing I could use Simon Belmont from Castlevania in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 for the NES.

  • After your done with Playful World have a look at Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death [].

    Postman speaks mostly of television in this work - but pull a s/television/videogame - Its an excellent read... gave me an excellent perspective when I was learning about the world as a young teen.

    Note to Postman detractors: I too felt he went a little to far w/ Technopoly []. Possibly because it came a little to close to home (?) 8(.
  • Academics all over the country are using the Sim games to teach ... financial and social interaction.

    Maybe these nuts use The Sims to demonstrate the empty, souless lives that modern American cult-of-the-consumer provides... The Sims is a horrible game - give your Sim person some 'new crap' to make them happy, sounds a lot like the 90% sheeple living in USofA. The game is like 'playing' American Beauty []- without the happy ending

  • - You can only know what you've experienced or learned from others, with the former definitely being of higher priority. Age is a limiting factor on how much you can have of either. It is a factor but not neccesarily a limiting one. I work with high school kids part time and I have met some who are as mature and experienced as I am, and I have met adults who were as inexperienced as children becuase they had never learned on their own. What a person knows in terms of experiences depends the path their life has taken. I've seen kids 18 years old who have had more life-defining experiences, whether good or bad, than I have had at age 27. I believe that it's more what you have been through than how long you have been around.
  • I actually know quite a few. When my girlfriend and I are apart, sometimes we play net tetris, Yahoo! games like backgammon and checkers, etc. We don't a lot, but she is interested in games. In airplanes or long car trips we would even play palm pilot games while we wait, or if we are in a mall, we often stop in for a game of pool, air hockey, mortal kombat, etc.

    Also, a lot of women I know such as my sister, aunts, etc. like to play Yahoo! games and such too. There are definitely more women than men that I know who enjoy games. The difference is that a lot of guys only think of FPS and such, and women don't seem to like those as much. Jeez...I don't want to sound like an expert on women or something. I'm no gigelo. Umm...anyways. Yeah.

  • I'm frightened that you knew all that. And i thought I was a freak for remembering the "UP UP DOWN DOWN..." code, lol
  • I'll give you the fact that on the surface computer games have little human interaction, however I think making a parallel with fantasy novels also puts it into it's proper context.

    In reading a fantasy novel, one doesn't deal with any other people, only the ideas of the auther. The exact same thing is true of computer RPG's... I just see it as a really fancy 'choose your own adventure'. I'm not implying that computer games can replace social interaction, that's something else alltogether. I'm only stating that by playing computer games you get to deal with the extraordinary - which I guess would exclude dealing with anyone that you would meet in real life anyways.

    One thing that I've allways found is that I never made friends through RPG's. I'd play once in a while at the local club, but I rarely got along with the other players who weren't friends of mine in the first place and at most I'd deem them as acquaintences. I never found RPG's to be good for social interaction unless I could play with people that I knew well anyways. And lets face it, most people don't play RPG's with the intention of socializing, they do it cause it's fun.

  • I'd agree immensely. Games have always been a way to 'get away from the humdrum of daily life' for me. Ever since I started playing D&D and simple console machines I've found it to be very agreeable to my need to break free from the constraints of daily life on my imagination.

    Even now I spend 8 hours a day coding just so I can go home half the time to play another 8 hours of Baldurs Gate 2. I don't simply focus on gaming, but I do find that it is one of the best ways to 'waste time' and still enjoy oneself a great deal.

    When you were a kid you always dreamed of doing the impossible or something out of reach, games just fueled that desire. I guess I'm still a kid at heart (besides the fact that I've pretty much devoted my life to studying physics simply for the sake of understanding reality).

    I think the emphasis should be placed on the human desire to think outside of the envelope, not on the 'technology that makes it efficient at the current point in time'. Sure, games are a very good outlet for letting go, but people can still find the same experience from more traditional activities like reading and creative artwork (programming???). I think the fact is that younger people can grasp the immediate gratification of a game much easier than some convoluted appreciation for more traditional human activities, and that is why it is such a popular vehicle for kids to explore the limits of their imagination with.

  • The pace of cultural change in the western world has accelerated so rapidly that it's reached the breaking point, according to the late anthropologist Margaret Mead.

    Wait a second. She's dead, and she's Jon's source on the pace of cultural change now?

    I'm confused.

  • hrmmm...

    vidoegames are much more on the scale of a film than say, an opera performance or one guy in a loft making pictures of 'piss christ'. That's to say, the NEA (was? I seem to remember hearing that it had gone defunct) is more suited to funding the smaller, more traditional or classical arts than anything so large and intesive as an 18 month production cycle for 30-80 people. I don't think it would be practical to subsidize such an endeavor, the typical quality of games is already low enough, the designs and implementations generally weak enough that removing the capitalist incentive would leave us with the weakest productions imaginable.

    I have seen some of the offerings of nationalized, subsidized filmaking, and aside from animation from canada and comedy shows from UK, gov't funded media projects always seem to end up stuffy and introverted, ala the french and italian cinema scenes... what's that you say? can't place any particular films from that category? well, maybe that is because the 'artistes' were not held to the capitalist mandate of making 'attractive' movies, and thus failed to 'attract' many veiwers.

  • Games are really important to me.

    When I was growing up, my favorite games were Star Flight, the Final Fantasy series, Secret of Mana, and many other games that I can't remember the names of, but that I remember the essences of. Sure, I played Contra, and Mario as well, but they didn't really shape my values.

    I liked the social values that these series offered me; they were values that my parents did not. Hey! People in RPG's are kind and treat one another well!

    I think that I am a better person because of these games, and because of this I thank the authors for them.

  • Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along. All they have to offer are boring and outmoded educational systems, political structures that no longer work, and exhausted forms of fading, sacrosanct, heavily subsidized "culture."

    Ok "mono*" and "narrow *" are the actual words that sprang to my mind when reading this latest YARJK, FIAS & co.(tm) (Yet Another Rant from Jon Katz, First In A Serie & co. (tm)).

    I have to admit that I like the YARJK, at least because he have that way to draw your nose to areas when you don't want to stick it.

    I also am a parent. No old enough that my own father still think I'm not a small boy anymore, but old enough to have childrens anyway. And yes I discovered around 12 years old that my father was knowing less that me when he failed to manage the heavily hacked version of apples dos I adapted for my pleasure.

    And that's exactly my point : young people grow with even more technology exposure than there parents ever dreamed of, but they just know more on technology that's it. Playing won't teach them how to deal with womens, how to raise childrens, how to simply manage an happy life. Thas't were Jon miss the point. Yes, the common cultures have yet to adapt to the too-fast-paced word of thechnologies. No, gaming and other techies-related cultures won't explain everything, because once you step out of their relatively closed environnment, the rules disappears.

  • Two comments on that:

    • If you watch ESPN2, especially late at night, you'll see sports that exist primarily not to be played or even to be watched, but to be turned into video games. Motocross and BMX are the best examples of this.
    • I read an article in the Economist about pro wrestling that argued that it's an activity particularly suited for a video-game generation. Your typical teenage couch potato can't identify with Mark McGwire or Randy Moss, but he can see himself as Triple H stumbling through a pretend match. I was reminded of that when Kurt Angle appeared on the scene. He's similar to Bob Backlund, from my youth, except that he's the bad guy! After all, he's a real athlete, he's constantly spouting John Wooden rhetoric about hard work and fair play, he's succeeded in the real world -- that bastard!

    By the way, for those arguing that video games are really participatory: they are, compared to television, just not when compared to real life.

  • I'm not so sure about that. For most of human history, life hasn't changed much from one generation to another and because of that the older generations had a lot of lessons to teach the younger. But for the past few hundred years change has been coming faster and faster and it's getting to the point now where the world our parents and grandparents grew up in has almost nothing to do with ours.

    Are old people useless? No. Do they have nothing worthwhile to teach us? Again, no. But the similarities between the way they worked, played, and lived and the way we do now are few and far between.
  • First in a series.

    Actually, Jon, it isn't. It's just the umpteenth story in one long, never-ending line of JonKatzDrivel(TM).

  • "Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along. All they have to offer are boring and outmoded educational systems, political structures that no longer work, and exhausted forms of fading, sacrosanct, heavily subsidized "culture."

    So the new paradigm is gaming? How is that different than what the parents view as culture? You say that the parents have "heavily subsidized" culture, but isn't that true of gaming as well? Don't games come from megacorps the same way that television and movies do?

    Seems to me that it's all the same source, but different 'fixes' for different segments of society. You are young? Fine, check out MegaCorp's Final Death IX. You are middle-aged? Fine, check out MegaCorp's Faded Dreams, the latest weepie movie.

    So what if web sites have cropped up around games? They crop up around every topic imaginable, including dreck movies.

    So what if the young have their own lingo for gaming that no one else gets? That's been true of every generation that's ever lived, you dig?

    It's all just more of the same entertainment being fed to the masses by the corporations. Only the target audience is different. Ain't nothin' that unique about gaming.

  • This code was fun for me. With three lives, I'd be very lucky to get past the first three or four levels. I sucked huge at that game. I found it very disappointing that, no matter how much I memorized where each enemy was, where each boss bullet would fly, I'd invariably end up getting killed. Then I found out about this new code, and it opened new doors and new levels for me. I was able to access parts of the game that I previously couldn't. I was able to appreciate the game in all its glory.

    Same thing with TMNT III (for which the code also works - 9 lives instead of 3). It's still a challenge to win, but it is possible. The problem with your pool analogy is that you did not get to actually play the game. This is analogous (sp?) to the Rocket Ranger (what a great game) cheat, where if you let the zepplin kidnap the girl, then just wait, and wait, and wait, and at the last second rescue her, you got to see the "guy saves girl kisses girl" end of game sequence. The joy of a game is in playing the game, and if you need a little help playing the game (as I did) then I see no problem to using a code such as this. Why do you think Nintendo made the game genie?

    As a side note, I prefer RPG's, where if I'm having difficulty with a particular point in the game, I can wander around getting experience/level ups before going back for a second try.
  • To say that gaming is a form of art is debateable. Gaming is first and foremost a means of entertainment (although there is often educational value), and part of the entertainment industry. Entertainment does not necessarily equal art.

    Let me make the disclaimer that naturally any statements I make about what is art and its value are subject to interprettaion, but you should get the general idea.

    The motivation behind art is to evoke an emotional response from a person/people, particularly the artist. Primarily, art is produced to indulge the artist. While the artist hopes for a favorable reaction from others, as long as the artist is happy with what he's produced, that's what really matters.

    Entertainment on the otherhand, while it does evoke an emotional response, is generally produced to engage the mind. As far as the entertainment industry is concerned, this will hopefully result in people throwing huge wads of cash at them.

    Now, one reason we have government and privately sponsored arts endowements/funds/etc... is to encourage these artists to continue to produce these things which we feel may have some sort of cultural value. These things may stand the test of time and point out what a great society/civilization we were to have produced such marvels.

    Now I'm not saying that games have nothing of artistic value to them. As a programmer, I like to think of myself as a craftsman. And certainly there must be some artistic value to some of the visuals and music produced for a game. But that doesn't make the game as a whole something we want to preserve and encourage people to create as something that will point to what a great civilization/society we have. Therefore, gaming is not something we as a society want to be throwing public funds at.

    Gaming MAY have some scientific value. I'm sure that some of the awesome 3D and AI routines game designers are coming up with may have some greater applications. Unfortunately though, the reasons these routines are being developed is to make money (having the better product than your competitor). That's why public funds for this type of research are thrown at the people who are tackling specific problems which we feel as a society it is in out best interests to solve.

    But I guess that's a whole different topic...

  • The chosen people study the Torah. Games? Hah.
  • I personally think that they're a great form of entertainment...better than just about anything the movie studios pump out.

    Revenue figures for the gaming and movie industries indicate that a lot of other people agree with you. Movie revenue (at least if you take away rentals) is in the toilet while games are booming.

  • "Video games are not a culture. They are entertainment."
    No one who was in the gaming culture would say that! ; -)

    The level of shared experience among video gamers that is strong enough to count as a culture. Gaming culture also has its own norms, language, etiquette, and social rankings. It's at least on the order of say, the 'culture' of "high school football". Communities form up around games, electronic and otherwise. But computer games are far more likely to be incorporated as a way of life and seeing the world.

    The culture of gaming is strong enough that there is even some alienation between groups- strong enough that gamers often don't know what to talk about with non-gamers. Their world views about what is interesting to discuss is too different. Endless detail on minute gaming strategies and stories of battles seem like trivia to non-gaming people - to hardcore gamers, everything besides that seems somewhat banal. ; -) "Real life? How many frags per second is that?"

    My final criteria was met when I found that gaming culture even has its own comic strip:

    If I.T. Culture has User Friendly, then Gaming Culture has Penny Arcade.
    ; -) Databass

  • You're right, of course. And anyone can verify that by going to the November/December 2000 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer, page 58. P.S. Somehow it doesn't surprise me that Katz would use a post-modernist source -- they have pretenious, pseudo-intellectual babble in common.
  • First off what's the difference in a huge multinational and a huge govt. entity owning everything?

    The difference is that the people have ownership, rather than a select, powerful few.

    in the great nationalized society that used to be the USSR, how much great art was created in comparison to the US?

    You're joking, right? The USSR had a lot of problems, but art was not one of them. Their ballet, opera and orchestras were commonly known as among the best in the world.


  • It's clear that the huge multinational corporations that are buying up gaming companies right and left are out of control. There is a simple solution: Nationalize the arts, including gaming.

    Once gaming companies are publically owned and operated, they will have the freedom to create whatever they want without the interference of having to "watch the bottom line" or "what will the Mother Company think of this?" It will be ultimate freedom.

    As for massively multiplayer gaming, they should be publically owned also, but should have a board of oversight from the government -- with veto power over all decisions -- to watch privacy issues, etc.


  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @05:20PM (#591365) Homepage
    It's not contradictory.

    By the age of five, most of your personality and unconcious mind is formed. These facets of your brain are deeply ingrained and extremely difficult to change as an adult. (Indeed, I tend believe that our core never changes, and we merely filter it to varying degrees of success.)

    The sensation of heat from chili peppers is not a part of your personality. It's illustrative, however, of how the brain will desensitize to common sensory input.

    In other words, the more you eat chili peppers, the less hot they'll seem; and the more a shy adult attends ToastMasters, the easier it is for them to speak publicly (but they'll still be wallflowers at a party).

    Whether you're a person that accepts or rejects behaviour that causes bodily harm to others is a personality issue, and *that* is where the risk of desensitization comes in.

    An adult desensitized to killing because they're in the front lines in a war will not necessarily find it easy to kill in cold blood back at home once the war is over. Their personality hasn't changed. Just pray they haven't adapted, layered over their personality with a kill-happy filter.

    A child desensitized to killing because they've been on the front lines in a war is another matter. Their personality is in the process of being formed: they are learning how the world works and how they should work in it.

    The proof is in history: countries that have internal conflict tend to stay in conflict, generation after generation. Countries that are stable tend to stay stable.

    But, hey, so you disagree with me. That's fine. Feed your kids whatever violent video, TV and game shit ya want... what kind of personality are they going to form?

    Garbage-in, garbage-out.

    Hope you enjoy your kids as adults. They're gonna be everything you made them to be.

  • by Remus Shepherd ( 32833 ) <> on Thursday November 30, 2000 @08:18AM (#591366) Homepage
    (Note to teenage flamethrowers: Yes, I know. You're smarter/more experienced/more mature/etc than everyone else. You don't need to remind us all. Thank you.)

    I'm not a teenager. (Just turned 33, so I'm nearing 'old fart', actually.) But so far I have to agree with Jon. My generation may not be smarter or more experienced than the older ones, but we're a hell of a lot more flexible and capable. And the generation below me is just plain scary, as adept as they are.

    Just this week at work I'm going to mandatory Lotus Notes training. That's right, they're forcing all employees to sit in a classroom for FOUR hours so they can teach us how to use an email client. Nevermind that I've used over a dozen different email clients, nevermind that I could WRITE Lotus Notes if I had to. Nevermind that for people my age and experience, an email client is about as interesting and as difficult to learn as a toaster. Nope...because some aging executive idiot thought it was difficult, we all have to waste our time training in it. (sigh)

    As for games jumping in cultural importance...I'm reminded of that NASDAQ commercial, where some kid asks 'where is the center of the tech world?' He goes through an assembly line, a lecture by a scientist...and then is thrown into a first-person shooter game. That gaming is reaching the same status as high-tech industry and science is, I think, a very interesting observation. I don't know how gaming culture will affect society, but I think it's a good bet to say that it will, somehow.

    And by the way -- the older I get, the dumber my father becomes. 'Filling my lungs with cigarette tar prevents me from catching colds!' Yeah, right, dad.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:46AM (#591367)
    It's amazing how our brains interconnect certain things. Soon as I saw the title of this article, I immediately thought of Contra. (BTW: I still contend that Contra is impossible to beat unless you have 30 lives. :) )

    I'm 25, and still a video game lover. I think it's a major culture shift. Sure, you had a few adults who were hooked on Pac Man and the like, but never anything like I've seen in the fast few years. More and more people my age are still keeping up with the latest trends in consoles and PC games. (I'm still waiting for my copy of Escape from Monkey Island...) I personally think that they're a great form of entertainment...better than just about anything the movie studios pump out. You're actually involved in the action somewhat, and they're a great way to kill an hour or two.

    One of the things that can get out of hand, as my brother who is a senior in high school is seeing now, is that no one's reading anymore. I do, and he does, but he says he knows so many people who haven't picked up a book in quite some time. This has obvious drawbacks. However, kept in perspective, gaming is a great pastime for any age.

    I'm feeling old right about now. Think I'll fire up NESticle after work. ;)

  • by kootch ( 81702 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @09:18AM (#591368) Homepage
    "Rote memorization

    Ask any old Nintendo players what the key combo for gaining unlimited lives in Contra Warriors is; chances are they'll immediately reply "up up down down left right left right B A B A select start". Ask those same old Nintendo players how to reach the first dungeon in Zelda and you'll see them try to visualize the landscape in their minds on how to reach the dungeon from the opening screen of the game. And if you ask one of your coworkers how to reach a certain point within the voice mail system, they'll probably rattle off a string of numbers and signs for the steps needed to get to a certain option.

    this isn't learning. this is rote memorization. puzzle solving through trial and error.

    explain to me how this puts children and their learning curve ahead of their parents and elders that, unlike the kids, have lived decades and have decades of experience dealing with people. Dealing with other people is how we learn the majority of our useful information. Not information we learn in books and such, but useful information about how to get through the day, interact with people, and be an integrated member of society.

    JKatz, the fact that you preach this to a group of people that you think are loners is horrific. We don't learn the necessities about human interaction by playing by ourselves in a dark room. We learn the necessities of life by being outside an interacting with people. We learn this by our village elders (family, neighbors, etc.)
  • by harvardian ( 140312 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @09:26AM (#591369)
    Katz needs to stop this attitude of "us vs. them" and realize that our younger generation will bring innovations to the table just like every other very productive generation. We're NOT reinventing the world in any sense, however...we're just adding amazing amounts to it. We still have to work within the confines of the existing system like everybody else.

    An example. Tech stocks DID take a 20% plunge this week if you (Katz) didn't notice. The reason for this is that tech stocks engender an amazing level of enthusiasm and excitement about the future...but that excitement simply does not transfer one-to-one to profit, as people learned when they realized that they needed to correct the market because their expectations simply weren't matching up with quarterly earnings reports. This is a perfect example of how our "new video game culture" that Katz worships simply does not create its own rules...we have to follow the basic rules of our predecessors just like every other generation in history.

    This is how our elders can always teach us a lesson. Katz, you presume that we can reinvent our society. We can make it intelligent, connected, and more progressive and successful than any to date. While you have a nice vision, you need to realize that a) this has been tried before by people equally as naive and as visionary as you, and b) they succeeded to some, but certainly not an entire, extent. Whom am I talking about? I'm talking about the hippies and the free thinkers of the 60s and 70s. Their situation is VERY similar to ours today. Kids in that age thought their elders were stupid, constricting, and socially unhealthy. They were to some extent right. How are the hippes of that day and age any different from you, John? They, too, had a vision of the future. They, too, had ideas that destroyed the boundaries of the previous generation despite what your egocentric view says. Ever heard of feminism and the women's rights revolution? The civil rights revolution? The strides in engineering that gave your spoiled self the Internet that you take so much for granted as a tool of YOUR generation, when it was developed by your supposedly stupid predecessors? The strides in bio-engineering that have produced amazing amounts of advanced medicine? These were amazing innovations that their generation brought our country. And it is off of the foundation of these inventions that we will build our revolution. Please realize that while your visions of the future are wonderful, intelligent, and inspiring, they are made possible by the hard work and cultural revolutions of generations past.

    And as wonderful as video games are, I refuse to say that my culture is built upon them. Our culture is built off of the Internet, personal computers, and other wildly expanding communications (and other) technologies. I can prove this quite simply. Katz's oh-so-worshipped sites, like and make piddles (as in millionths) compared to workers at Broadcom. What Katz is describing in his lengthy editorial on video games is not our generation's culture. It is one of our generation's sub-cultures. Katz may think that the Nintendo crowd of old is smarter and more innovative than the young AOL-ers of today, and he may be right, but the number of hard core video game enthusiasts simply does not approach the number of chat room users, personal computer owners, and young but non video game playing kids.
  • by Dannon ( 142147 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @09:41AM (#591370) Journal
    Simulated violence is far different from actual violence.

    From a detached, philisophical standpoint, yes. They are different.

    Still, they may bring forth similar reactions in a non-detached audience.

    Every time I watch the 'simulated' killing in Schindler's List, I get hit with an Emotion. That Emotion is, I would warrant, similar to that which I would experience were I watching the Real Thing. The more realistic the simulation, the more realistic the Emotion.

    I recently watched Titus (starring Anthony Hopkins) on DVD. A very powerful adaption of Shakespere's most popular (in his day) tragedy. The director depicted some violent acts in a very symbolic manner (making it easy for a viewer to take a detached view) and others in a bloody, realistic view (intending to hit the viewer right in the gut). If you do watch it on DVD, be sure to watch the commentaries.

    The problem with video games is that it's easy to develop a Pavlovian response. More guts->more points->more fun.

    Now, I'm not 100% against video games, I'm a big fan of Diablo II and the Warcraft/Starcraft serieses. But it's unwise to say that people won't be affected by a certain kind of violence because 'it's only a game'.

    We are influenced by what we do and the games we play. I've heard it said that a child at play isn't 'just' playing... This child is rehearsing for life.
  • by gdulli ( 177638 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:45AM (#591371) Homepage
    Didn't she kind of lose all credibility in the whole Samoan cultural relativism hoax debacle?
  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @08:31AM (#591372) Journal
    up up down down, etc

    these little bits of trivia are part of the jargon and the secret signals that make up the clue, the code that hold a culture together.

    be it the knowing discussions around the watercooler of monday nite football, or the lyrics of a favorite pop tune, or the ketboard sequence of a favorite game, those little words and signals allow members of that particular subculture to identify each other, among other things.

    Just as an example, look at the name of THIS site. True, alot more folks are on the internet.

    But how many even "get" the name of a place called slashdot?

  • by Tappah ( 224124 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @08:47AM (#591373)
    I read the above article, and was less than impressed with the author's grasp of the culture he attempts to portray. As the owner of the Online Gaming League [], the largest and most popular competition system for first person shooter and action games, I feel that katz has utterly missed the point - he has not even addressed the real dynamics of the gaming subculture, where they live, and where the memes of this culture are developed, expressed, and spread. I do agree that gamers are a rapidly growing, and distinct subculture, however understanding this phenomenon requires a more thorough review, than simply naming off 4 or 5 websites that specialize in providing banner ads to gaming websites (and citing them as the "diverse and complicated media culture " of gamers, is considerably less than clueful.)

    Gamers live, abide, and pursue their interests in very distinct layers, imposed by the "connectedness" of their favorite games. This layering has a huge effect on the interaction between gamers, and the cultural similarities they may (or may not) share. For example, until very recently, console games had no facility for connection to the net. And hence, console gamers have absorbed very little of that which we might call the "Gamer Culture".

    On the other hand, the fans of id Software's games, including Quake X, Doom X, etc. use those games as a communications medium, as well as an outlet for fun (The same is true of Tribes players, UT players, etc. id, however, must be given credit as the company which invented the gamer culture as we think of it today). These players have internet connections (and usually the very fastest available), and spread the memes and mores of the gamer culture through direct interaction. Not only do they communicate directly in games, but they meet in Clans (teams) outside the game, socialize together in IRC on networks exclusively dedicated to gamers like, and troll forums on clan websites, and other gaming oriented sites. They also meet at popular events catering exclusively to gamers, like Quakecon [].

    It is this interaction and communication that defines the gamer culture. And it is also why, for the most part, that which we describe as "the gamer culture", is in reality, the "id culture".

    While I certainly do think the gamer subculture is interesting and worthy of description, I suggest that Mr Katz spend a little more time getting to know it, and what it's really about, before pontificating about it. It's a fact that the corporate websites of banner ad providers aren't setting any standards within the culture.

    gg dewd.


  • by ilkahn ( 6642 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @10:30AM (#591374) Homepage
    You can also tell what children had friends, and what children didn't have friends by the way that they recite the Konami code. Those that had no friends will recite it: up up down down b a start and those with no friends will recite it: up up down down b a b a SELECT start. The select was how you set the game in 2 player mode :) Just another interesting way of knowing how people grew up.
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @11:05AM (#591375) Homepage
    Damn straight.

    In many ways, our perception of reality *is* reality. The monsters in the closet of a five year old *do* exist for that child, at that time; and your fears of being mugged as you walk down that darkened street arouse a primal response that is as real as the real thing.

    The brain adapts to its environment. Eat lots of chili peppers? Your brain will stop registering the sensation as being so hot. Stink in the office? Your brain will quit paying attention after a few minutes. If you're in Edmonton, you wear TShirts as soon as the thermometer breaks freezing; if you're in Mexico, a Wisconsin heatwave seems chilly.

    There is a vast unconcious mind inside your brain. Most of who you are was determined by hardwiring in the womb: the reaction by a fetus to an unusual or unexpected stimulation can predict whether the child will be shy or outgoing, to a remarkable 90%+ confidence level. The child has no choice in being shy or sociable: it's *built right in.*

    The rest of you was determined during the most plastic (read: pliable) years of your brain, between birth and about age five. Your experiences during those years made you who you are today. It's so far beyond your control that it's almost impossible to enact any significant change. You is what you is.

    If you take a child and begin desensitizing it to violence -- the same as if you were to desensitize it to the heat of chili peppers -- you *will* end up with an adult who is not sensitive to violence.

    And just as you, as an adult, can learn to love habenaro peppers, you can become desensitized to violence.

    As proof, witness the behaviour and attitudes of children and adults in the war-torn parts of Europe, Africa and the mid-East. "I prefer my child to die a martyr than remain repressed!" Ethnic cleansing. "Necklacing." Machetes. The casual disregard for the supposed sanctity of human life: the willingness to kill on whim: the inability to stop the violence and enact peace.

    I love playing Unreal Tournament. It appeals to the primitive lizard core of my brain: it's power and violence, hunting and hunted, it's caveman survivalism.

    But it's an adult brain playing a poor imitation of reality: the graphics aren't good, the interface is queer and it all takes place on a tiny screen.

    I don't believe a child will make that distinction (and, yes, QAPete can trot out his kid all he wants: time will prove me right). When imagined monsters in a closet are real, when Dad in a Santa suit is Kris Kringle, when playing house is dead-serious business -- well, playing violent video games *is* reality, and *is* desensitizing the child to violence.

    To think otherwise is to ignore overwhelming evidence as to how children perceive and understand the world.

  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:59AM (#591376)
    Game playing has always been a part of cultures. It is a way of bringing up kids into the culture, of teaching them values without bashing them over the head. But IMHO, America doesn't really have a culture. It's culture resides in the perception of what America should be, rather than is (see DH Lawrences' O! America, I believe). America is still searching for identity.

    We still have games, but these games are not created by the owners of the culture, but instead are the culture themselves. Each generation is faced with the task of finding its own identity, creating its own culture, and having very little to go upon except the artifacts of every day life, and of the past generation.

    And, at least partially, I think that this is why we are seeing more, unpredictable, violent behavior, and suicide in youth. Not because Doom made them do it. But because they do not have a culture to belong to, that gives them inherent purpose in life. Yeah, this is getting mushy, but I think studies have shown that those brought up with a strong sense of tradition, of culture, are better adjusted as adults than those just cast into an artificial world of empty commercialism. This is the basis of movies like Fight Club.

    It's just my perception that coming generations are having to build their own culture block by block from scratch, as the sense of any common culture goes away. The same thing is happening in Japan, where the previous culture is being left behind, leaving young people with a sense of isolation, with no common bond with previous generations.

    Which is not to say this is an entirely dire situation. I love pop culture, I love Andy Warhol, I love the sense that there are codewords and a culture that only my generation alone shares.
  • by kootch ( 81702 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @11:54AM (#591377) Homepage
    "young people these days don't appreciate taking your time to get from place to place" - old lady when the car was invented replacing the horse and buggy

    "why are you sitting there listening to that noise coming out of that box?" - parent dealing with a child who was addicted to some newfangled invention called the radio

    "why are you spending so much time staring at that stupid box?" - parent dealing with kids that watch too much tv instead of playing marbles

    "what do you find so fascinating about typing back and forth with someone named "KewlHakerDude" on the Internet?"

    it's the same generation by generation. each time with different obstacles.
  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Thursday November 30, 2000 @08:11AM (#591378) Journal
    Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along yak yak yak yak

    This isn't news. Wasn't it Mark Twain who said something like, "When I was 20, my father knew nothing, but by the time I was 25, I was suprised how much he had learned in 5 years" - basically showing that throughout time, the younger generation has always seen the older generation as a useless anachronism until they reach their mid twenties or even thirties? Why do people keep presenting this as "news" or "something wrong with the word" when it's probably been like this since humans advanced enough to have a culture?

  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @08:00AM (#591379)
    Adults still insist they have lessons to teach the next generation. But the young have come to believe, with increasing justification, that their elders know much less than they do, and have little worth passing along.

    I used to feel this way, but it seems that the older I get the less I know, and the smarter my father becomes. The young always think they know better. You can only know what you've experienced or learned from others, with the former definitely being of higher priority. Age is a limiting factor on how much you can have of either. The young have a relatively limited perspective, by definition, and therefore problems often appear simple and answers obvious. It's not till you get older that you realize that you're a dolt.

    (Note to teenage flamethrowers: Yes, I know. You're smarter/more experienced/more mature/etc than everyone else. You don't need to remind us all. Thank you.)

    No other form of culture is ascending as rapidly. Compared to gaming, traditional kinds of culture -- some elements of book publishing, opera and classical music, dance, appear declining and endangered.

    Maybe they're declining because they're boring or being replaced by something more obtainable. Maybe they're only being replaced as entertainment for some. Video games are not a culture. They are entertainment.

    In years past very few people ever had the opportunity to see an opera. The best that most people could get would be the county fair. Now everyone in the Western world is able to afford to hear music from their favorite artist, be it through CDs or radios. Concerts and TV have replace operas. Rock has replace classical music as the most popular, because now the populace chooses what's popular as opposed to the select elite rich.

    Nothing has changed here, except that now more people have the money to buy their own choice of entertainment. Bother yourself to pull up a chart of Maslow's Heirarchy of needs and you will see that this is as it should be. Except for some extreme cases, the Western world has conquered homelessness, hunger, and all the other lower order needs. With nothing left to conquer, men (and boys) turn to destractions.

    BTW, so some boys from one generation remember a secret code to a popular game? Do they know what the name of an oversized marble is? Gee, it seems that all the boys from the previous generation knew that. Did the marbles culture die?

  • by Oztun ( 111934 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:55AM (#591380)
    Another Jon Kat's conspiracy theory with no merit. I grew up playing video games and knew the cheat code immediatly. When I was a teenager I did believe I knew more then my parents, true. My parents when younger didn't have video games and they had the same belief in the 60's. I'm sure their parents went through the same thing. It's called being a teenager. My parents taught me many things I failed to listen to growing up. Now however I'm 26 years old and realize they were right and I was wrong on a whole lot of things. This whole process just happens a lot more and a lot faster these days because of better communication and more crap to think about.

    Nothing has changed much except that most parents aren't raising their kids and teaching them the lessons they need for when they decide to grow up. These are just my own rants and any opions different from mine are wrong. Just kidding =P
  • by mesozoic ( 134277 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @08:02AM (#591381)
    There are those who say that the Roman empire collapsed partly because it went from a society of participators--athletes, intellectuals, etc.--to a society of spectators--the Coliseum, theatre, etc.

    Could it be that video games are turning our society, the global empire, into another society of spectators?

    Food for thought. I'm just poking for ideas; don't think I'm that much of a pessimist.
  • by jaga~ ( 175770 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:56AM (#591382)
    To think that 'some pimply kids twitching and flicking themselves into early carpal tunnel syndrome' is all that the recent interest in interactive story-driven environments is, much less that it has and will have no affect on cultural development and the methodology of learning and progression is ignorant outright. Video games have a very strong influence on a very large and growing percentage of the population of our country. That's like stating that TV is this new thing that only rich people use and it wont ever replace or change radio.

    The future of entertainment will develop into a more interactive environment where users decide outcomes in increasingly chaotic story-threaded algorythms. Watching a movie once or five times can be great but 100 might be stretching it. Hopefully in the near future a game will be something you can sit down and play endlessly, and have no fear of 'beating' if properly done. This is the strong interest in online gaming and why PC game companies like id and Epic have recently focused on online multiplayer games; these unfortunately lack the story to gain the interest of many older/more 'serious' gamers but I suspect that is changing already. Games and gamers help define our culture at this point and taking advantage of the obvious interests of people who play games is good for companies (money) and can also be beneficial to parents and teachers in general (learning). I don't think this represents a monoculture at all, it displays one of the developing cultural changes brought about by the advent of technology and we should all appreciate it.
  • by dark_panda ( 177006 ) on Thursday November 30, 2000 @07:51AM (#591383)
    ... being one of those Nintendo kids, the code mentioned also works for these other games (mostly Konami):

    • Life Force on the NES at the title screen for 30 ships
    • Gradius III for the SNES, which dun blows you up when you pause
    • Operation C for the Gameboy at the title screen for level select
    • Gyruss for the NES at the title screen for 30 ships, although you have to enter it backwards (and Gyruss was released by Ultra, a subsidiary of Konami or something to that effect)
    • Legend of the Mystical Ninja for the SNES. Actually, you couldn't enter the code, but if you talked to somebody in the game, they mention the code as a bit of Konami history heritage
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles In Time on the SNES. At the # of players selection screen with the second controller, it gave you 10 lives and a stage select
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project on the NES. At the title screen, it gives you access to an options screen
    • Tendrils for the Playstation's Net Yarouze. I'll admit, I never heard this one before, but I found it on Google and it's pretty funny. Look it up yourself.
    • There's also a band evidently called Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right BA Start. I think they're from Ohio or something.
    I'm sure there's a few more games to use The Code on, but I can't remember any more of them. I'm surprised I could remember those ones. But that's what you get for trying to substitute real life for Nintendo's version of it.

    Damn you Nintendo. Damn you.


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