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REVIEW: "Doctor Who: Deep Breath"

Peter Capaldi's premiere episode as the Doctor. Does it hold up?

Disney's "Star Wars: Rebels" Release Date Announced

The galaxy far, far, away may be closer than you think...

Test Footage for Deadpool Movie Hits the Internet

Finally, the "Merc with the mouth" gets his time in the spotlight"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

PREVIEW: Spartacus: War of the Damned "Wolves at the Gate"

By Dave Bouressa



Be sure to check out last week's episode of Spartacus HERE

Be sure to check out the full preview for next week's episode HERE



On the next episode of Spartacus: War of the Damned...

"Spartacus requires aid from Gannicus' Roman friend if he is to take the city. Set eyes on this exclusive scene clip from the new episode of Spartacus: War of the Damned." -From the Official Spartacus Facebook Page




Catch "Spartacus: War of the Damned" Fridays at 9pm on Starz.

Could Nostalgia Be Why We Love Adventure Time?



By Dave Bouressa


You know that college kid in his 20's wearing a Jake the Dog hat? Well that could be more normal than you think.

Although Adventure Time is clearly for kids, it has evolved to the point where it is just as much for older audiences, if not more so. But why is that?

Could it be the adult jokes that are snuck into the overall bigger picture? Is it the bright colors and absurd images? Could be the incredible humor? Could it be the longing for adventure?

Yes. To all of those. And it can be all summed up in one word: Nostalgia. Youtuber Pbsideachannel explains...





As stated above, the show has been getting darker to please older audiences-particularly as we learn more of the backstory of The Land of Oo and it's inhabitants, while at the same time still staying bright and colorful and giving laughs by the minute! And I hope to Glob that it continues that way!

Adventure Time is a show that has continued to grow over the years and grabbed the attention of children and adults. I know from experience that the best thing anyone can do to finish a stressful night is have a few beers on hand, a few adorable kittens walking around, and some great friends to marathon Adventure Time with.

Adventure Time can be seen Mondays at 7:30pm on Cartoon Network.

<--The Sonic Saber on Facebook




Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Youtube to Introduce "Paid Subscriptions" in Spring 2013




By Dave Bouressa

A new article by Adage.com was just released, stating that Youtube would be "experimenting" with paid subscriptions this coming Spring. 


From Adage:

YouTube has reached out to a small group of channel producers and asked them to submit applications to create channels that users would have to pay to access. As of now it appears that the first paid channels will cost somewhere between $1 and $5 a month, two of these people said. In addition to episodic content, YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.


The "pay-per-view" idea, I can sort of understand. Few people actually use the "live" feature on youtube, and the few times it is used is for important events, such as charity concerts or government announcements. However, to make people pay for their subscriptions is absurd.

There is a reason people click that subscribe button-it is because they like the content, and want to see more in the future. Youtube is doing literally the exact same thing with Facebook. Facebook made it so a page's post only shows up on 7% of it's "liked" audiences newsfeed, unless the page owner wants to pay 5 dollars for every 500 additional people they want to reach, for every single post.

And as a youtuber myself, here are two points on why this is ridiculous.

As a viewer: I have had an account on youtube for about 3 years now, and I have built up a high list of subscriptions in that time, reaching over 300, many of which post more than others. However, if this goes through, there will be no way to tell who is posting more, or even posting at all without having to fork over some money. What's worse, a major chunk of the youtube audience consists of children, who have no way to pay a monthly subscription. Rather than inspiring young filmmakers, Youtube has decided to rather discourage them, because they didn't have 5 dollars they could spend, and essentially destroy all traffic to their site.

As a video creator: My username is Davey647Returns. I have 612 subscribers and over one million total video views. However, I make Star Wars videos, particularly Star Wars videos using clips from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I am unable to join the Youtube Partner program because I work with copyrighted material. I am able to do what I do, and continue doing it over these past 3 years simply because it is parody/tribute/free use/etc, (it's complicated and tricky). In other words, I am not allowed to make any money off of my videos, or Youtube and possibly Lucasfilm (And now Disney) will have lawyers chasing me up a tree. And even though I don't make a single cent off my videos, I'm ok with that. I do it because it's fun, creative, and interesting to see what other people who make the same types of videos have to say. It really is like a community. However, when those 612 subscribers have to pay 1-5 dollars to see content I've worked hard on, 

1) It discourages the creator to make new content

2) It discourages the viewer to continue watching

3) Youtube is getting 612-3,060 dollars on my account, and I'm not seeing a single cent of this. I'm used to not getting money on my videos, particularly videos with ads thrown on them (due to using copyrighted music), but this is ridiculous.


Hopefully this does not go through, but seeing how Google owns Youtube, and Google practically owns the digital world, there's a good chance that's happening...

So be sure to go through your youtube subscriptions and watch as much as you can, because unless 
you've got a nice fat wallet, you won't be able to see anymore. 

And while I still can, be sure to check out my channel, Davey647Returns, if you enjoy Star Wars and Star Wars videos. It would be greatly appreciated, especially since I feel like my subscriber count will be going down shortly...



Monday, January 28, 2013

Gears of War: Judgement Available for Early Access


By Dave Bouressa

Gamers and fans of the Gears of War franchise will be able to get an early look into the latest entry into the franchise: Gears of Wars: Judgement.

This prequel takes place years before the original game and focuses around Kilo Squad, with Damon Baird as it's leader.

Gamers who get the game early will get to experience the brand new multiplayer game mode called "Over Run". Check out the trailer here:



Early access on Xbox LIVE begins March 15 exclusively to GameStop PowerUp Rewards™ members who preorder “Judgment” online or at any GameStop, and the demo will be accessible to all Xbox LIVE Gold members across the world at the game launch on March 19. The “early access” experience for PowerUp Rewards members who preorder at GameStop will be available from Friday, March 15 at 11:59 p.m. PT to Monday, March 18 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

Early downloaders will also receive multiple bonuses from character skins to weapons.

According to EpicGames.com, here are some of the perks pre-orderers can expect.


“Young Marcus” character skin – Decorated war hero Marcus Fenix is the legendary leader of Delta Squad, a small group of COG soldiers responsible for saving mankind from destruction at the hands of Locust and Lambent forces.  This exclusive character skin takes Marcus back in time, six weeks after the end of the Pendulum Wars, and during the chaos of Emergence Day – a time before he was hardened by his long imprisonment.
Lambent weapon skin – This exclusive weapon skin lets you show off your grub-slaying exploits and customize select weapons with the emulsion of your fallen Lambent foes.
Additionally, everyone who preorders “Judgment” from any retailer worldwide will receive the Classic Hammerburst, a fearsome and effective weapon that served as the standard-issue assault rifle of the Locust Army.

Check out the Campaign Trailer for Gears of War: Judgement 



Gears of War: Judgement comes out March 19th, 2013

You can pre-order Gears of War: Judgement here.


<-- Check out The Sonic Saber on Facebook


Star Wars The Clone Wars Moving to Disney XD???


By Dave Bouressa

Up until this point, it was simply assumed that Star Wars The Clone Wars would be moving from Cartoon Network to Disney XD for it's 6th season after the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm. Now we have confirmation...kind of.

During a press release for Cartoon Network, the names of returning television series for the 2013-2014 season were mentioned.

Although no mention of Disney XD is to be had, Clone Wars is nowhere on the list of returning series.


RETURNING SERIES/SPECIALS

Adventure Time

Regular Show

Annoying Orange

MAD

The Amazing World of Gumball

The Looney Tunes Show

Ben 10 Omniverse

Dreamworks Dragons: Riders of Berk

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc.

Johnny Test

Pokémon Black & White: Adventures in Unova

Beyblade Metal Fury

Almost Naked Animals

Scaredy Squirrel




Cartoon Network WILL, however, release 3 more Lego Specials called The Yoda Chronicles.

Here is the official "description" from the press release.

The Yoda Chronicles: LEGO Star Wars returns in epic style with a thrilling, funny and action-packed new LEGO Star Wars story told in three animated TV specials! Set in the “Prequel” Star Wars timeline,The Yoda Chronicles stars the one and only Jedi Master who has seen it all, done it all, and taught generations of Jedi Knights—in an all-new adventure. With the help of a fresh class of Padawans, Yoda leads the Jedi in a desperate fight to stop Darth Sidious and his minions from creating a new super-weapon that could crush the Republic and win the war for the forces of Evil.

Check out the trailer below



At this point, no official release date has been announced for the Yoda Chronicle specials.


<--Check out The Sonic Saber on Facebook

Disney Cancels Star Wars Prequel 3D Releases?



By Dave Bouressa


According to Deadline.com, Disney has decided to cancel the 3D releases of Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith to focus on the new Sequel Trilogy. 


Deadline had this to say:

This surprising decision follows the underwhelming box office performance ofEpisode I: The Phantom Menace re-released in 3D in February 2012. It debuted to only $23M domestically but maybe even more importantly hardcore fans felt it was yet another craven cash grab by George Lucas. Back in September 2010, Lucasfilm and then-distributorFox announced that all 6 films in the Star Wars franchise would be converted to 3D. Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (first released on May 16, 2002) was to hit theaters in 3D on September 20th, 2013, while Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith(first released on May 19, 2005) was to play in 3D on October 11, 2013.

As always, until either Lucasfilm or Disney confirms this, it is simply a matter of "I heard from a reliable source..." 

It is not surprising that Disney wants to focus simply on "rebooting" the franchise, especially given their past efforts to do such. When "Tron Legacy" was introduced to theaters, Disney pulled all copies of the original "Tron" off shelves, because they thought the boring original would turn people away from the newer film.

As a Star Wars fan and a prequel fan (and here come the hateful comments), I am slightly dissapointed. I don't think the prequels are great by any means, but those are the films I grew up with, and most of the reason I saw Phantom Menace in 3D was simply to see it in theaters again. 

If we aren't getting Episodes II and III in theaters, Episode VII better make up for that! I'm looking at you, Abrams!

UPDATE: 

A mere few minutes after posting this, Starwars.com had this to say:

Lucasfilm has decided to postpone this fall's scheduled release of Star Wars Episodes II and III in 3D. Given the recent development that we are moving forward with a new Star Wars trilogy, we will now focus 100 percent of our efforts on Star Wars: Episode VII in order to ensure the best possible experience for our fans. We will post further information about our 3D release plans at a later date.




PREVIEW: Star Wars The Clone Wars Season 5: "The Lawless"



By Dave Bouressa

As we leave last week's episode, Pre Vizla is dead, Duchess Satine is in prison, and Darth Maul now rules Death Watch, and in turn, Mandalore, with an iron fist.

But it looks like some people other than the Jedi have caught wind of this...






Sidious is back, baby! Having making very few appearances in this series, it is always great to see him in the flesh and not via hologram. This episode will be spectacularly special to fans because

1) We get to see Darth Sidious using not one, but two lightsabers

2) He will be fighting against Darth Maul and Savage Opress.

3) It has been said that this episode is likely to be Ian Abercrombie's last performance as Darth Sidious/Palpatine due to his tragic passing last January.

And it looks like Obi-Wan Kenobi manages to sneak his way into the Death Watch ranks...

Will Kenobi finally bring Maul to justice? Will he free his love, Satine? Will Mandalore finally find peace?

No. There is another episode after this. However, that just adds so much more to the event that has been snowballing bigger and bigger over the past 2 weeks. If "The Lawless" is anything like it's past two conterparts, and judging from the preview above, it looks that way, we are in for a hell of an episode!

Be sure to catch "The Lawless" this Saturday morning at 9:30am on Cartoon Network


<-- The Sonic Saber on Facebook

Saturday, January 26, 2013

J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars Episode VII-OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED



By Dave Bouressa

Contrary to what Abrams has said about his decline to direct Star Wars Episode VII just a few months ago, it appears he has changed his mind.

Many sites claimed to have "confirmed" that Abrams was directing, however, no official news had been given, and they were simply stating rumor as fact. I was not buying it until either Disney, Lucasfilm, or Abrams himself announced it. And guess what? Lucasfilm just announced it.

From Starwars.com

After a bevy of emails and phone calls, the formalities have been wrapped up, and at long last everyone can exhale and properly share the word with an excited Internet. Yes, J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.


"It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie," said Kennedy. "J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Warsexperience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture."
George Lucas went on to say "I've consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller." He's an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn't be in better hands."
"To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor," J.J. Abrams said. "I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid."
J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner."
Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star TrekSuper 8Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year's Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm's preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe.

Well, now we have a Director, and a writer. Now all we need is a cast? I'm looking at you, Hamill! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PODCAST: Star Wars Talk Show- Clone Wars Report 5.14






Dave, Chris Seekell of the Star Wars Underworld, Jessica of "The Guild of Outlaws" and Glen Nelson of High Adventure sit down to discuss the latest episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Eminence. What happens when Darth Maul, his brother, Death Watch, Black Sun and the Hutts join forces to take over Mandalore from the peaceful Mandalorians? Listen in!


<-- Download This Episode To Your Computer.

<-- Star Wars Talk Show on Facebook

Monday, January 21, 2013

More Censorship on Star Wars: The Clone Wars


By Dave Bouressa

Fans of Star Wars The Clone Wars are no stranger to censorship on the show. It has happened quite a few times on this series. And let's face it, the show is growing up-and so is it's audience. Unfortunately, it's host networks aren't. Cartoon Network has tampered with it's crown jewel once again.

First, there was the infamous "Kiss of Death" censorship back in Season 3. An odd choice, not only given the heavy material that was let slide previously, but do to the fairly harmless nature of the act. In the original cut, Assaj Ventress uses the force to grab Clone Commander Colt into her lightsaber, impaling him, and giving him a "kiss of death" before letting him drop to the floor.


Although arguments could be made for the sexual implications for this scene, it is fairly harmless.

However, this most recent censorship is probably more warranted. Darth Maul, his brother Savage Opress, and Death Watch attempt to recruit Black Sun into their army to overthrow the peace-loving Mandalorians (EU fans everywhere just had a heart-attack). When the leaders of Black Sun decline, Savage throws his double bladed lightsaber down the table, decapitating every member at the table as it spins.

In the actual aired episode, we simply follow the lightsaber down the table heading for the head leader (pun not intended...ok, maybe slightly) and cut straight to a fellow Black Sun member's reaction shot.

At a recent USO screening in San Diego, Supervising Director Dave Filoni and Producer Cary Silver had this to say:


Filoni: You’re going to notice one point where it gets really awesome and Savage Opress is going to throw his lightsaber down this table.
[Cary Silver mimes out a spinning lightsaber].
Filoni: You will unfortunately have to watch the edited version of this for television. But on the Blu-ray, I’ve restored the …
Silver: Director’s cut.
Filoni: …whole head-lopping director glory of it with the smoking… well, you’ll see it on the DVD. It will seem abrupt. As a filmmaker, I have to bring it up because we’d never make a cut that sloppy, but there you have it. You’ll know now that it is better.
Silver: So, if you go for that sort of thing, pick up the box set, it comes out in October.
Filoni: Let’s try not to make it such a blatant commercial.
Silver: That’s the producer.

(Quote from Big Shiny Robot)


This confirms a few things.

1) Season 5 of Star Wars The Clone Wars will be released for Blu-Ray and DVD sometime in October

2) Cartoon Network did in fact edit the episode.

3) The restored cut will be on the DVD and Blu-ray.

As I said before, this is nothing new to the series, but the choice of censorships has been odd, especially since we have seen decapitations on the show before. It was a bit more subtle, but it still happened-and it was done by one of the main heroes!

Some would argue that Cartoon Network is at fault, and I partially agree. To be fair, the picture above shows a pretty grim scene, and it seemed Cartoon Network's hands were tied on that one.

One can only imagine what the future holds regarding this show's censorship now that it is under Disney's control...



Star Wars: The Clone Wars airs Saturdays at 9:30 am on Cartoon Network.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rumored PS4, Xbox 720 Specs Circulate the Web

By Kailey Rynne

Tantalizingly specific rumors about the Playstation 4 and Xbox 720 have begun to circulate in anticipation of this year's E3 video game conference, scheduled for June.

Before you get too excited, no, that isn't a real PS4 up there. It's an artist's mock-up. The real PS4 probably won't look anything like that, but hey--we can dream, right?

Though neither Sony nor Microsoft has confirmed a next-gen unveiling at E3, both have hinted that they're planning "big announcements" for the event. GamesRadar reported that Sony's vice president hinted at a PS4 reveal in a recent interview, and Xbox's programming director posted a countdown to E3 on his blog that could mean an Xbox 720 launch, according to Gameplanet.

The pressure is on both companies to deliver, with gamers clamoring for eighth-generation consoles despite a rumored pricetag of around $400 for both machines. Hardly surprising. Sony and Microsoft own console gaming, and that doesn't seem likely to change anytime soon. Since the Xbox 360 release in 2005, and the launch of the PS3 in 2006, both consoles have sold over 70 million units worldwide.

Let's take a look at some of the rumored specs of the PS4 and Xbox 720.

Playstation 4 -- Codename "Orbis" or "Thebes"

It's been rumored that the PS4 is built on a modified variant of AMD's A10 APU, and rumors of the PS4's incredible computational power have experts in the industry talking about how the Xbox 720 would measure up. VG247 reports:
Developer sources, speaking after meetings at CES, have told VG247 that the next PlayStation, codenamed Orbis, will have a run-capability of 1.84 teraflops. Conversely, the next Xbox, codenamed Durango, will be able to achieve 1.23 teraflops.

If true, these numbers mean PlayStation 4 will have a 50% raw, computational power advantage over Xbox 720.
Wow, that's impressive! But all that pizzazz comes at a price. A lot of fans are worried by rumors that the PS4 won't allow backward compatibility, meaning gamers won't be able to play their old Playstation or PS2 games on the new console, though PS3 games may still be safe.

This alarming news comes right after Sony's announcement that the company has halted production of the PS2 in Japan. Once existing stock is sold out, gamers looking to buy the popular game console will be out of luck.

Xbox 720 -- Codename "Durango" or "Kryptos"

Though the rumored specs suggest that the Xbox 720 falls short of the PS4 in terms of computational oomph, it features significantly more RAM than the PS4. The new Xbox supposedly has 8GB of RAM, with 3GB reserved for the operating system, apps and security. That leaves around 5GB free for games.

The PS4 comes with only 4GB of RAM total, rumors suggest, with 1GB for the OS and security, and around 3GB for games.

The Xbox 720 will reportedly run on the Radeon HD 8770 GPU.

Both the PS4 and the Xbox 720 will play 100Gb Blu-ray disks.

Clearly console gamers have a lot to look forward to in 2013, if any of these rumors prove to be true, but one thing no one can seem to agree upon is whether the big reveal will come in March, May, June, or November. Sony and Microsoft are sure to keep us guessing right up until the launch, while behind closed doors both companies vie to outdo one other.

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Sucker Punch" Director, Zack Snyder, to Direct Star Wars Film Outside of the Sequel Trilogy



By Dave Bouressa


Rumor has spread throughout the internet that Director Zack Snyder is working on an independent Star Wars film. To clarify, that means a Star Wars film outside of the confirmed episodes 7-9. This information comes to us from Vulture.com

From "Vulture":

He is in fact developing a Star Wars project for Lucasfilm that is set within the series’ galaxy, though parallel to the next trilogy. It will be an as-yet-untitled Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, with the ronin and katana being replaced by the Force-wielding knights and their iconic lightsabers.

It’s not clear just where Snyder’s untitled Jedi film would fall within the Star Wars chronology, but one insider expects it will not be considered part of the “numbered” episodes, but rather a stand-alone film set sometime post–Episode VI events, meaning the next phase of the franchise development is much broader than previously thought.

In late October of last year, when Disney CEO Bob Iger first announced the acquisition of Lucasfilm, he’d stated that after Episode VII, “our long term plan is to release a new Star Wars feature film every two to three years.” Our sources also say that Snyder’s would start production after Disney starts on its planned 2015 release of Star Wars: Episode VII, and while no director has yet been set forEpisode VII, clearly things are taking shape at Lucasfilm. (A spokesperson for Lucasfilm declined comment.)


Snyder has directed several films, such as Watchmen, 300, Suckerpunch, and the upcoming Man of Steel film, most which have received fairly poor reviews overall.

Although Snyder has made a fairly poor name for himself among the film industry, he has certainly made a prominent name for himself in the visual department. Say what you will about Sucker Punch, but that movie was one of the most creative and beautiful films visually. Story-wise, not so much.

Coming from someone who did not even want Episode VII to happen in the first place, or the rumored Boba Fett film that "Captain America" Director, Joe Johnston, wanted to do, I am very nervous. I personally enjoy Snyder's big name films, but to see ANYONE taking over Star Wars like this is both nerve-wracking and depressing.

I am still holding my breath for Man of Steel. I truly hope it will live up to the Superman name, but we will have to see...

At the very least, if this rumor turns out to be true, we can expect this film to look incredible from an effects standpoint.

I love Star Wars. I truly do. I love the films, and I watch the Clone Wars TV series on a weekly basis. But why can't we just leave it at Episodes 1-6 and call it a day?



Edit: Remember when I said that this was just a rumor? Several hours after this hit the web, Snyder's rep stated that none of the rumor was true. Although Snyder would love to work on a Star Wars film, he has no plans on working on one in the near future.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

VP Biden Talks With Gaming Industry About Violent Video Games


By Kaylen Duarte

Video game companies are fighting renewed calls for regulation of violent video games, the New York Times reported.

With the Newtown, Conn., massacre spurring concern over violent video games, makers of popular games like Call of Duty and Mortal Kombat are rallying Congressional support to try to fend off their biggest regulatory threat in two decades.

The $60 billion industry is facing intense political pressure from an unlikely alliance of critics who say that violent imagery in video games has contributed to a culture of violence. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. met with industry executives on Friday to discuss the concerns, highlighting the issue’s prominence.

No clear link has emerged between the Connecticut rampage and the gunman Adam Lanza’s interest in video games. Even so, the industry’s detractors want to see a federal study on the impact of violent gaming, as well as cigarette-style warning labels and other measures to curb the games’ graphic imagery.

This isn’t the first time legislators have targeted the gaming industry as a cause of real-world violence. The issue comes up every couple of years, and usually ends when game company lobbyists rally the “freedom of speech” banners.

When California introduced new legislation in 2005 prohibiting the sale of “violent video games” to minors, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional. The official court ruling, which you can read here, stated that video games are protected under the First Amendment and that “California’s claim that ‘interactive’ video games present special problems, in that the player participates in the violent action on screen and determines its outcome, is unpersuasive.”

But Friday’s New York Times article cited links between violent games and notorious gunmen like Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in the 2011 Norway attacks and “played Call of Duty six hours a day to practice shooting.” And though “no clear link” has been found connecting the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting to video games, the Times made sure to point out Lanza’s interest in World of Warcraft “and other violent games.”



Most gamers like myself feel compelled to defend the inclusion of violence in our favorite games. We point to cases like this one of a 4-year-old who surprised his father when he chose to have his Grand Theft Auto character fight crime and drive injured citizens to the hospital instead of beating hookers with a baseball bat.

There’s no question that it’s a sticky subject. There should be a dialogue about violence in video games, but before that can happen, we need to clarify just what makes a video game “violent” and acknowledge that not all violent games are created equal. Lumping together a fantasy MMORPG like World of Warcraft, an FPS like Call of Duty and an arcade-style fighting game like Mortal Kombat because they all involve pressing a series of buttons to attack something is not the way to go.

Friday, January 11, 2013

U.S. Government Responds to "Death Star Petition"



By Dave Bouressa

A while back, you may remember a petition for the White House to construct a Death Star by 2016. This, of course, is a ridiculous goal and would never actually happen, however, it would be fun to see how far it went.

After 25,000 signatures, the White House MUST at least look at the petition, by law. This particular petition got over 35,000 signatures! And with that, a response. Although the White House declines this petition, you can't help but read it and have a smile on your face.

The Official White House Statement:


This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For

By Paul Shawcross
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
However, look carefully (here's how) and you'll notice something already floating in the sky -- that's no Moon, it's a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that's helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts -- American, Russian, and Canadian -- living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We've also got two robot science labs -- one wielding a laser -- roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet.
Keep in mind, space is no longer just government-only. Private American companies, through NASA's Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Office (C3PO), are ferrying cargo -- and soon, crew -- to space for NASA, and are pursuing human missions to the Moon this decade.
Even though the United States doesn't have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we've got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we're building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe.
We don't have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke's arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.
We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White Housescience fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country's future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.
If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star's power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.
Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

So there it is, ladies and gentlemen. No Death Star in 2016. But the fact that this response was written in such a way certainly warms your heart and is a nice reminder that even the US Government can have a little fun now and again.