Long-Term Subscriber Bonus

I just realized that I will probably never have the cajones  to drop 50 dollars at once on a subscription service for a website (I'm cheap).     So here I am spending 60 dollars a year supporting the GiantBomb community. What does this mean? It means, gentlemen and ladies, that I am a supreme member of this site. A "Platinum" member, if you will. NOT ONLY do I support GiantBomb with more money yearly than these "Gold" members, I am also doubling their revenue by (tolerating) viewing the fine advertisements on this site. What can the Gold Members say? Sure they're giving Whiskey Media a short term boost with their 50 dollar drops, but in the long run who is it who's going to be giving you guys all that fun stuff to play with?? (All of us) Me.  
Okay that's enough of that. 

What I would like to know is do you guys feel there should be some more incentive by subscribing for prolonged periods of time? Something for the yearly gold and monthly silver (platinum) members who sign up for the second year, perhaps?  I'm talking about something more and exciting than what brand new subscribers would be receiving for their first run around the Sun. I think it'd be a pretty neat business strategy to try out since this is kind of a big experiment that Whiskey Media is running here. 


Solution to Subscription

 To get it out of the way, I want to say that I've been a member of GiantBomb since the beginning and love the idea of supporting the Whiskey Media brand. A subscription based system is certainly a way to go about it but as many of the users have pointed out it is a way of splintering the user base into pay scales. Either you as a member are completely supporting GiantBomb by donating the 50 dollars a year or the five dollars a month for x-many months, or you don't and let the ad revenue you generate from simply visiting the site cover for you. Or you can be a total douche and have ad-blocker on at the same time.  
My idea is a little wild and crazy for the internet. It's something people who listen to the radio are accustomed to, especially if they listen to National Public Radio. What I am eluding to is akin to a "Donation Month" where users from the community chip in to cover the extensive costs of running this website. This has the possibility of users donating values across the board and can become problematic if everyone merely donates a dollar or two. To counter-act this simply setting a bare minimum of five-ten dollars and you have a decent revenue service in place.  That's roughly the price of an inexpensive Steam game, and we all know how crazy those games sell

The Very Reason This Still Exists Is Evidence Enough
So what's going to be the incentive of donating larger sums? Ten dollars a pop isn't going to keep this site independent from advertising dollars and allow all the nifty features that Whiskey Media wants to implement. Well, we return back to the NPR model and offer people gifts for donating specific amounts or higher. Say someone donates fifty dollars to GiantBomb, in return they send them one of those fancy dancy T-Shirts that's going away with the fifty dollar subscription. The higher the donation the grander the gift.  Seventy-five dollars for a signed photo of the crew or a personal phone message from Matt Kessler? One hundred dollars for swag from conventions or company promotions?  Anything higher could warrant a lunch with Sara from Comic Vine, or the chance to get a tour of the Whiskey Media complex... Or you can walk Will Smith's Dog.  

This would continue until the goal for the next several months (or possibly further) was met . This would include the HD Video option, the taking down of advertisements, as well as a complete bombcast  It's a new and inventive way of going about it but it allows everyone to reap the benefits of a subscription based system without segregating the community. It's not too late to switch gears and try it out. GiantBomb's members (especially the general Whiskey Media audience) are incredible supportive and in my opinion are of a higher class than your typical video game website.  Opinions are always welcome guys, feel free to comment on such a proposal.      


BioShock Infinite's Worldly Issue.

With the recent (enough) release of the BioShock Infinite trailer a sense of disappointed overwhelmed me more than any other feeling.  Irrational is a devoted developer with several fantastic games under their belt; their games have pretty much been fantastic from start to finish. So what was it about this beautiful game from a highly rated developer that rubbed me the wrong way?

 Yes I consider this to be the ending of BioShock, Move Along.

A lot of people seem to have touched on this argument as a whole but I haven't seen a lot of talk on the world itself. This is saying a lot since Irrational has created games such as System Shock 2 and the Freedom Force series which all featured worlds with incredible depth and atmosphere not seen in a lot of games today. From what I can tell this game will be exactly like that as well, a lot of character in the world which makes it feel unique and well thought out. So...where's this issue you might be asking? The issue I have is that this will most likely be set in the BioShock universe. One of the things that I enjoyed about the first game was that it felt real even considering the fact that people shot lightning bolts and harvested little girls for magical powers.

What I mean is that this world felt like it was set in our own. Andrew Ryan grew up in Russia and American throughout the early parts of the 20th century:Economic Collapse, World Wars, and America and Russia duking it out for the title of sole super power were all present in this time line and universe. But then we have Rapture, a product of this real world but displaced in it's own, figuratively and literally. Even though it was at the bottom of the sea and these fantastical events took place there, it appeared to be rooted in a quasi-reality. Yes, people could eventually become super heroes if you brought all the best scientists, artists, businessmen together in your own high society. Once you establish that you could basically go anywhere.

BioShock Infinite however, if its actually in the same universe takes place in a country in the sky back 40 years before Rapture's creation and what sounds like 60+ years when Columbia was "founded."  The whole reality I pointed out early seems to be voided with the inclusion of this. Columbia is never mentioned in the series before, especially no enormous war of Independence. What this does is completely take away from the mysticism of Rapture and BioShock as a whole. City at the bottom of the sea? Eh that's no big, there was a whole country 33,000 feet above us 60 years ago! There are crazy scientists roaming this city with the ability to summon a swarm of bees and shoot fireballs out of their hands? Been there done that. Even the Big Daddy's are apparently clones of whatever the heck is hanging out in Columbia! This practically turns Rapture and Andrew Ryan into commonplace commodities in the BioShock universe, which is my biggest complaint.

The game itself is probably going to be fantastic however. I'm not jumping to conclusions on its quality but it's hard to think that it's going to be bad. My main complaint aside, I just wish that Irrational makes great connections with this game and the rest of the series. 


Is There A Way To Make A GOOD Video Game Movie?

Heyyy there Giant Bomb. I've been thinking of this topic for a LONG time, partially because I, and pretty much everyone else out there, has been extremely disappointed when a video game franchise decides to make the jump to the big screen. In my opinion the only successful one (yep, one) that has actually been capable of replicating the feel of a video game was the original Mortal Kombat movie from 1995. There have been other "decent" video game movies such as the Lara Croft films, the recent Prince of Persia movie, and even the Silent Hill film has some promise. Some might go so far as to say that the first Resident Evil movie and parts of the others in the series had some redeeming qualities. I do not believe this is true but I am more than willing to bend to these opinions compared to that of other films where their original sources are video games. Oh and don't forget the Super Mario Brothers movie.

So what is it that's preventing movies from successfully capturing a video game's feel or adapting it well enough to the big screen? In my opinion it's who the director and the producer want to appeal to that ends up killing the experience for everyone. With many of the movies I have linked above there is one core audience that these films were aiming for; video game players. Not just any specific video game players mind you, the fans of particular game that is being produced. So what's wrong with that you might ask? If you're going to make a movie about the Doom franchise you might as well appeal to the people who've actually played the dang thing! Plus, you will supposedly reel in a heck of a lot of First Person Shooter fans, as well as a bunch of video game fans out there who just want to see if it's any good.

 And we'll put The Rock in as well for sales. Kids love 'em. He's big right now isn't he?
The problem with this mentality is that the movie is essentially backing itself into a corner; artistically and economically. How many of these people are actually going to come out and pay 10 dollars to see your film? Is a semi-large fan base capable of supporting a 100 million dollar movie?  Are there enough people outside of these realms who will also pay 10 dollars for a film thats being advertised as a hardcore video game movie? Which leads me to my second point, artistically the film is going to be heavily catering to the fan base where it ostracizes anyone outside of it from completely understanding the premise of what's going on. Most video game movies will breeze over a sparsely put together plot just to speed up the pace towards the obligatory fan service and action sequences. I assume its because the film directors know that we know what's really going on, or at least know enough about what's going on for it to be okay. By doing this it creates a weighed down script that is more focused on throwing in as many characters and plot elements from the games as possible than creating a decent story to tell. Why create/focus on character development when we can have a sweet first person shooter scene taken directly out of the games themselves! In some ways I guess this can be fine on occasion, you're creating this film for the fans only but you're not really winning any brownie points from regular film viewers or critics.

The direction of some of the movies today seem to be the other extreme of the pendulum. This is where we get movies that are trying to be movies but have a light coating of the original material plastered on purely for name recognition. This is where we find our Lara Croft type films. Yes there's Lara Croft and yes she's a famous archaeologist looking for treasure. Beyond that however, how were these movies "video game" movies? They catered to the fans with having an actress who's probably the closest proportionally to the titular character and it followed the basic premise of the games but beyond that did they really have a video game feel? Is one even needed to make a movie? Economically speaking these films were a success. They were even put together fairly well and enough detail and time was put behind them to the point where they could be passed off as a basic Hollywood summer blockbuster.

 Ohhh I get it now.
It seems as if this is the way to go in order to make a successful and "good" video game movie; to merely use it as a stepping stone, something that you can turn back to every now and then and say "Yeah, we based it off of that." Fans are put to the wayside in this scenario and the focus is then drawn to the movie goers. They're making a movie and they want it to sell, so they're going to sell it to the people who actually like movies for being movies. I however feel as if there should be a common ground. Some bridge connecting the two mediums in order to appeal to fans of the game, video game players, and movie watchers in general.

Here's my example: A way to do this is to expand on an element within the game that's frankly underdeveloped. Perhaps some characters simply go missing for a few games and pop up at a later date with huge ass muscles and/or blonde. I'm looking at you Resident Evil 5's Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Or perhaps you focus on minor characters who don't have a huge impact on the story in the game but play an integral role in the story as a whole. This lack of information is like an open doorway of opportunity, a place to fill in the gaps and delve into. What this creates is a sense of freedom for directors; there's sparse information to work with in these instances but you have the major points taken care of, you merely have to hit those and fill in the rest and you have the potential for a story that draws in the fanbase very easily. The promise of "secrets revealed" make us nerds squeal in anticipation.

SO what about the movie audiences out there? What do they get out of this? From this point it kind of feels as if I'm only catering to one crowd right now.  Well that open doorway works both ways. In one sense a director is catering to the fans of the game by filling in these blank pages, but at the same time the pages are still blank. This is an ample opportunity to create a well developed storyline that can work in a movie time period. There is no need to have a billion fan references when the movie itself is the reference. This should take a huge weight off the writer and the director's shoulders so they can focus on important things like character and plot development, proper mis-en-scene, and whatever else they can come up with in order to create an experience for the movie goers.

I feel that this is a direction thats rarely taken with films in this genre and would be very interesting to see played out if it ever comes to fruition. What do you guys think of this position? Do you have any ideas of your own to fix this problem with video game movies?


Virg Bernero Came Today

Just got back from Virg Bernero's (the Mayor of Lansing and a Democratic candidate for Governor) meet and greet at my college campus. He seems like he means well for our State, but then again, what politician doesn't try to get that across? From what I've heard beforehand it sounded like he practices a very Chicago style of politics, he does what he needs to do to get the job done and since he's the boss what he says goes. Personally I have no problem with this, probably because I myself grew up in Chicago under Daley's reign and don't mind the direction in which the city is coming from. I'm tired of  the politicians trying to be your drinking buddy or dumbing themselves down in order to get the votes they need. I want someone who knows what they're doing and has the balls to get their legislation through. 

I'm a little iffy on his stance that production needs to come back to Michigan in order for it to prosper again. That's kind of a cop-out answer if you ask me. In order for ANY economy to prosper it needs to produce.  Another issue I had was his apparent stance that cars are the future for Michigan; yes, cars will still be around in 50 years and yes we have the ability to make them still...but do we need to fall back on that crutch? Cars aren't a local business anymore, competition is kicking our asses and we're going to go back and rely on making cars? It doesn't matter if they're better, more efficient, and sturdy cars, you can NOT rely on a single product anymore. He simply brushed away the fact that we need more public transportation in Michigan too. Trains and buses need to become a staple of our State in my opinion, if we can build that commuting mindset we'll have more people coming in and going places in Michigan than being stuck in a small town with gas at $4.00 a gallon where there's no business. In order for our economy to grow we need to get out of this small town mindset here, we need people to go places and explore the rest of the State, and we can't do that without a proper transportation system....

Overall though he seems like a good candidate to support for the Democrats. He's a mid-left candidate and he's preaching support for Education and Businesses at the same time. He just needs to stop pandering to the old crowd and get with the times.