Sunday, 25 March 2012

HeroClix Rules Update

HeroClix is one of those games that I love to play but I end up having no one to play it with... This is something that happens often with any hobby game... yet I can't say that fact stopped me from engaging in my geekness...

About a month ago I came across an announcement that the rules for Team Abilities have changed. Probably the biggest news was the introduction of a new Team Ability: Avengers Initiative. Anyone following the Marvel film, especially Iron Man, should know this refers to this year's Avengers film. In other words, the changes came about in anticipation of people getting interested enough in superheroes that they would go and buy some miniatures. Especially since there are plans to release a set that would include a lot of characters from the films.

Last summer I decided that the small rulebook and list of powers provided with the starter sets are just not good enough. The problem with the game is that small changes are introduced every so often so if you want to have reference sheets that are up to date, you have to buy the sets regularly. Alas, I can't get myself to buy a set solely for the purpose of getting a reference sheet... so as with most things, I made one for myself...

If you want to take a look, I've created a download link just for you. I have all those pages printed out and put in a small folder, whenever a change is made (which I think is about once a year), I print out the pages that have changed and replace the old ones with the new ones.

Even though I never even got to use it...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Black March

Well... Black March has started... if you're anything like me you've been hearing about protests over internet censorship for the better part of the past two months. If you're not, then this image should help.

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

All really nice words and ideas... sadly a name is not what makes a law. Most people don't even look into what is incorporated into those words. I can't say I do either but I do know that just from looking at the public, it's not a welcomed change. Alas, most people don't care to look beyond the names.

My main issue with them is that they allow for taking down websites based solely on allegation. I was shocked when I found people who thought it was a good idea. I can understand their thinking in a way, allegation is the first step in prosecution but there's a lot of other steps between that and deciding whether the accused is guilty or not. These acts simply give organisations the ability to decide whether a website is illegal or not based solely on their own decision. This in turn gives an organisation a very scary ability. It is now allowed to define what is right and wrong and always be right about it, without anyone having the right to argue their point.

What I found even more shocking is how some have said that while they can understand this point of view, this would not happen because an organisation of power would not abuse such power. This is a fair point since no organisation of power has ever been known to abuse their power.

I'm not really sure when reading George Orwell has stopped being a mandatory lecture in schools but apparently it did happen... either that or someone wasn't paying attention.

No, I don't see any of these as good ideas. They are a clear attack on culture, an attempt to stop people from engaging in it. Copyrighted material is used in speech constantly, talking about films and literature is a past-time between friends, modifying a still from a film as a form of a joke is funny, adding a clip from a film to your video review of it is expected by the viewers, drawing a character from a cartoon with your own hands is what makes people awe yet all of these are apparently illegal and you should be given a five year sentence to serve in prison for putting people out of their job.

This is really what this is about. The companies in the entertainment industry see their profits going down so they lobby to get laws like this passed. They think that by making it illegal for people to engage in their own culture, people will have no choice but to buy the culture they are producing. It doesn't matter whether the product they are giving is better or worse than the one someone else would offer, it only matters that the money goes to them.

So I think this Black March would be a good idea. I do actually like having books and DVDs. Enough so that I buy some on a monthly basis with the disposable income I have. I do want to support the people who are making the things I enjoy but then I am suddenly not allowed to even talk about it. It just doesn't make sense.

I did read an article once about how piracy has changed the entertainment industry. It argued that due to people downloading films, the movie industry doesn't want to invest in productions that they deem risky. In turn this causes the industry to invest in remakes and sequels. While this does make sense from a logical standpoint, it's just not the sort of impression I get from people. Whenever I talk about films, one of the most common questions I am asked is what sort of special effects are in it and what year is it from. This to me indicates that people just want special effects and care very little for the story or content of the film. Give people lots of Computer Generated Images and they'll awe at the brilliance of your film-making. Since this is apparently the main reason why people spend money on film, this is the main focus of film producers. And that has nothing to do with people downloading films.

In the end it all comes down to money and where it's going. A fact that is often forgotten is that you don't have to spend your money. I am amazed at how many people complain about spending their money on something they don't like (which was not a necessity) as if they had no choice in the matter.

Right now I don't like the attitude of the entertainment industry, instead of adjusting to live in this economy and this era, they try to halt our cultural progress. So I won't be buying anything in March and I hope enough people have heard about it so that this can actually work and someone can get a taste of the fear of their people...