Sessler's Soapbox

Ah yes, the tried and true topic of video game violence! An oldie but a goodie.

This week on the Soapbox, Adam discusses a moment at work where someone brought up that they were offended by X-Play showing some footage of the upcoming Mature Wii game, Madworld. Now, obviously we're all very excited about this game, but the issue got Adam thinking; does interactive violence in video games desensitize us more than actual, real world violence? What does more damage to the human psyche, Manhunt 2 or the Iraq war? Madworld or U.S. sanctioned torture? Give us your opinion on the topic at hand in the comments section, but please keep it civil. We don't want to encourage any internet violence.


Sessler's Soapbox: Videogame Violence is Fun! »


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As Americans, we like everything bigger, faster, stronger, flashier, and smothered in cheese. But sometimes, bigger isn't always better.

Such is the topic of this week's Sessler's Soapbox. Adam is feeling nostalgic for the good ol' days when the hardware limitations of video game systems often forced developers to make a better quality product. Then when technology started to advange games got bigger, levels got bigger, bosses got bigger, and sometimes the original charm of the game was lost. What's your take on the subject? Would you rather have a more intimate, enjoyable experience? Or have the freedom and ability to roam free for hours in a massive video game world?


Sessler's Soapbox: Bigger's Not Better »


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In this week's all new Sessler's Soapbox (now available in HD), Adam explains exactly why a game like Fable II can lose all the awards it was up for, and yet still take home the big kahuna Game of the Year title. We know that many of you feel VERY strongly about this subject, so strongly in fact that we've had to bring out the Ban Hammer and evict a few of you from our little corner of the internet. So before you all go back to screaming at each other, take a deep breath and take 5 minutes to watch this video. When you're done, feel free to engage in some friendly and civil intellectual discourse amongst your peers and compatriots. Hopefully once you understand where Adam and the X-Play staff are coming from in their decision, you will be able to resist the urge to type a series of inappropriate expletives.

Sessler's Soapbox: Congratulations Fable II »


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What's in a number? What is it about numerical rating systems that helps you determine if a game is worth buying or not? Does it give you a good idea on the quality of the product? Or does it fall short of conveying all the important details you need to take into account when making a new purchase?

Such is the topic of this week's Sessler's Soapbox. Adam takes a recent Guardian UK game blog entry to the next level, agreeing that game reviews often fall short of properly conveying things like innovation and originality in their final score. While it's often difficult to be objective when reviewing something as interactive as a video game, critics do their best to give you a full picture of what a game has to offer. But if you only look at the Metacritic score, you're not exactly getting the full picture. Listen to Adam's take on the subject, and let us know what you think.


Sessler's Soapbox: Innovation Vs. Numeration »


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Tis the season to give thanks.

On this week's Soapbox, Adam gets into the spirit of things and thanks all the game developers, producers, and publishers that have brought us so many amazing games this year. No matter what side of the fence you may fall on, all gamers can agree that this year was the best year in gaming to date. With a huge number of top shelf titles, there aren't enough hours in the day to get through them all. We are very lucky to have so many talented people producing such creative expressions in the form of interactive media. Now get to work on next year's crop.


Sessler's Soapbox: Thanks Given »

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Remember what we thought the future would be? Flying cars, renting movies with the touch of a button, and ordering pizza with your remote control? Well, two out of three ain't bad.

This week on the Soapbox, The Sess reminisces about the glory days of TechTV and the late 1990s when all these lofty goals were promised to come true someday soon. With innovations like the New Xbox Experience and the ability to order Dominoes Pizza from your Tivo, it looks like that future world we all wished we could live in may be within our graps sooner than you think. Still waiting on those flying cars, Detroit. Look into the future, in this week's Sessler's Soapbox.

Also, Sessler's Soapbox has a Facebook page now! Don't forget to become a fan.


Sessler's Soapbox: All Together Now »


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Just from looking at some of the comments made on our website, you must know there is always a large divide between those who are dedicated to the Playstation 3, and those whose loyalty lies with the Xbox 360. This debate spreads across the entire internet, hiding in every little gaming forum and message board you may come across in your travels along the information superhighway. But sometimes, things go too far.

Such is the topic of Adam's rant in this week's Sessler's Soapbox. The mudslinging between Gears of War 2 and Resistance 2 fanboys on Metacritic has reached a critical mass, and The Sess does not understand such things. How can people have such hatred for a game they probably never played? Is it blind fanboyism? A refusal to see another point of view? Or just internet trolling at its worst? Chime in with your opinion on the comments section, and please, keep it civil.


Sessler's Soapbox: Get A Life, Fanboys! »


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With all the amazing games coming out this holiday season, you might want to stop for a moment and ask yourself "How many times can I save the world this year and still enjoy it?". Well once you ponder that query, you will understand Mister Adam Sessler's concerns that he airs in this week's Sessler's Soapbox. That's right, I just helped you get inside Adam's head. It's scary in there, isn't it?

In this installment, The Sess discusses the epic themes of apocalyptic conquest that we have all become accustomed to while playing our favorite interactive media experiences and the climax that they move towards in their story arc. Do games reach the same final high point that films and novels strive for? Or is the development process hindering them from reaching a high-water mark that other forms of storytelling can achieve? Listen to the man spit some knowledge and let us know what you think.

And just to clarify, watch X-Play's Resistance 2 reivew tonight at 8pm ET, and check back online for the full written review after the show.


Sessler's Soapbox: Games Must Climax »


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In case you missed it, the New Yorker recently posted an article online profiling Cliff Bleszinski and his upcoming game, Gears of War 2. Go ahead and do your homework, Adam will make more sense if you're well versed in the subject matter.

Now that you took some time with a respected publication, listen to what Adam has to say about the subject. When mainstream journalism takes a close look at the gaming industry, the outcome is usually hit or miss. This time, Adam thinks it was a miss. Not only do they talk down to gamers, but they also scoff at the idea that gaming journalism outlets depend on secrets and exclusives. Because, you know, the mainstream media has never engaged in backroom agreements, timed exclusives, and previously arranged interview parameters. Adam mad. Adam smash.


Sessler's Soapbox: Game Journalism Exclusives, "New Yorker" »


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With the emergence of the casual gamer and games targeted specifically at that demographic, there are a lot of new people paying attention to the gaming industry. We're always happy to welcome new-comers into our little coven of nerd, but sometimes they have a bit of trouble making the leap into more hardcore, traditional games.

Well in this week's Sessler's Soapbox, the Sess is going to give you a double dose of his sage wisdom. First, a small cautionary tale about gaming and spinal health. But the real topic this week is how Fable II might be the perfect game to help usher your little brother or mother or girlfriend into the world of hardcore gaming. Much like Wii games before it, Fable II has set the entry barrier low enough that almost anyone who can hold a controller can experience the incredible story and experience of the game. Not only that, but the combat, writing, and progression are still refined enough to please the most hardcore of gamers. Have we reached common ground? Is this a game that your girlfriend will WANT to watch you play? Check out the video and see if you agree with the Sess.

Sessler's Soapbox: Gateway Gaming »

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It used to be that if you possessed the minimum technical requirements for a PC game, you could play the game without crashing, though not always at the highest resolution or graphical settings. In order to play a game like it was truly meant to be played,  you needed the Recommended Settings.

In this week's Sessler's Soapbox, Adam is fuming over the recent signs that even having a machine with the Recommended Specs and beyond isn't good enough to allow you to play the game with full lighting effects and graphical power.

What do you think? Should the Recommended Settings only convey the conditions where the game will be stable or should they be the conditions for optimal gameplay? Check out the video and let us know what you think.

Sessler's Soapbox: A Glitch In The System »

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Well, boys and girls, Adam has finally recovered from all the jetlag he accrued over the last several weeks and he's ready to get back to what he does best: talk passionately about the video game industry.

In this week's Sessler's Soapbox, Adam is a little worried about the recent trend among publishers to release a title that it is incomplete rather than push back their shipping date. The Sess contends that the game your promised should be the game you get. What do you think? Do you think the trend of releasing a game that is "mostly there" and sending out update a couple of days, weeks, or months later is better than pushing back the release date? Check out the video below and let us know what you think.


Sessler's Soapbox: Finish Them!!! »


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Last week, the gaming community's sworn enemy, Jack Thompson, was officially disbarred and forbidden from practicing law in the state of Florida. In this week's Sessler's Soapbox, Adam talks about how Jack failed to add the discussion on games and also the media's role (even his own) in creating the villain known as Jack Thompson.

What do you think? Do you think we helped make Jack Thompson into what he is? Do you think he would have garnered the attention he received, regardless of what we in the games press said about him? Check out the video below and let me know us know what you think.

Sessler's Soapbox: Jack Thompson Disbarred! »

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It's always a sad day whenever a video game development studio has to close up shop, but the recent announcement of Ensemble Studios' shut down has hit Adam especially hard. Ensemble has recently gained attention for their development of Halo Wars, but they were also the team behind the revolutionary RTS franchise, Age of Empires.

For those of you who played any of the great titles in the series, take some time, check out the video, and share your thoughts on the passing of one of the most influential game studios in recent memory.


Sessler's Soapbox: R.I.P. Ensemble Studios »


Earlier this week, a bizarre rumor began making its way through gaming news websites, stating that Microsoft had purchased a 5-hour block of time on the G4 network to announce a slew of new features and titles to correspond with their Fall update.

Needless to say, the rumor was not true and didn't last long. It did, however, seem to go for a couple of days before there was any attempt at confirmation or denial. In this week's Sessler's Soapbox, Adam is taking on the issue of internet journalism and their reliance on rumor in order to help breed speculation and get the scoop.

What do you think? Do you think internet journalists have a responsibility to attempt to verify rumors they report on or are they free to simple pass the scuttle-butt onto the next person?

Check out the video and let us know what you think below or share your thoughts on our forums.

Sessler's Soapbox: Lies, Damn Lies, and Internet Rumors »

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