Tuesday, August 30, 2005

An American's Guide to Canada pt. 1

I've wanted to do this... well, since I got here, really.

Welcome to AN AMERICAN'S GUIDE TO CANADA!!!!!! pt. 1.

This will be a series (which may or may not be entirely made up of this one post) that will cover the weird shit that goes on in the Great White North. I'll talk about food, people, and uhmmm... other stuff. Oh, and TV. Canadian TV is really odd.

But I digress.

Today's post will cover some misconceptions that folks from the US have about Canadians. I, of course, base this entirely on the assumption that, despite evidence to the contrary, everything in Canada is the way it is in Edmonton. Because I can't be bothered to travel anywhere else to learn stuff.

Misconception: Canadians are just like Americans.
Fact: Canadians are sort of like Europeans wearing American skin-suits. I've never seen one of these suits in manufacture, so I can't say for sure, but in general, Canadians are more well-adjusted, awesomer, and more generally gnarly than Americans. They are less uptight about stuff, more generous on average, and much more willing to laugh at themselves. Which is good, because a lot of people wear socks with sandals around here, and that would get you killed in the States. The best way to tell a Canadian from an American is to ask if the person thinks "Corner Gas" is funny. If he says, "Haw haw, I love that show," he's Canadian. An Amercian will say, "Haw haw, yes, but I prefer to fart out in the open."

Misconception: Canadians say "eh" all the time.
Fact: This is true. One has to work hard to be able to decipher the different inflections and tones involved in the Canadian language. For example, "Eh eh eh EH eh Ehhhhh" means "Where is my window-scraper," while "Eheheheh eh eh EHEHEH" means "Well, then I said--GET THE FUCK OFF MY FOOT." Some people in Western Canada seem to say "Hey" instead of "eh," but this regional dialect is easy to decipher.

Misconception: Canadians can shoot fire from their eyes.
Fact: Also true. They are also impervious to bullets, can race at high subsonic speeds, and calculate pi the the bajillionth decimal point in 3.14 seconds. They just choose not to.

Misconception: What is up with Canadian potato chips.
Fact: Dude, I know. WTF.

You'd be surprised the differences here. The little ones. Like, "pasta" is pronounced "Past-a," as if Mario were saying the word "past" ("You won't get-a past-a me!"), as opposed to "Pahsta" like civilized humans say. They also have a Conservative party up here that is about as right-wing as Hillary Clinton is on Tuesdays (when she has her brunch with the Religious Middle). Oh, and their cars seem to transform from hideous minivans into sexxxy convertibles when summer comes, just as the hottie-vaults open up and let forth their cargo around late April or early May.

There is also no crime here, as far as I can tell. By that I mean, bad things happen, but they don't seem to be entirely illegal. Like, there's a billboard up on one main road that reads, "When you give money to prostitutes, who is really the victim?" That same billboard in the States would read, "If you give money to a prostitute, prepare to die, criminal." Actually, it'd read more like, "George W. Bush is awesome, all hail the glorious God-King," but you get my point. My point is that the billboard is trying to reason you out of soliciting a prostitute. It appeals to your conscience and your self-discipline. Same with drugs. In the States, "head shops" have signs like, "If you even say the word 'pot' in here, we get to kill you." In Canada, you see signs that say, "COME TO OUR STORE AND TOKE UP WITH US, BECAUSE WE SMOKE WEED AND SELL WEED ACCESSORIES AND DID WE MENTION WE'RE HIGH RIGHT NOW AND SMOKE WEED?!?!?!!?!? YOU TOO RIGHT?!!?!??!!?!"

Canada has $1 and $2 coins, called "loonie" (for the picture of a loon on the back) and a "toonie" (because the coin was invented by a four-year-old whose mother thought everything he said was cute). The decision to make these coins was apparently to help with vending machines, phones, etc., because you can't shove a dollar bill into a drink machine and hope everything will go well. The $2 coin was made because the average soda in Canada costs $14 CAN, and people got Repetitive Stress Injury from dumping loonies in one-by-one. Of course, this creates a problem when visiting strip joints. I'm still not entirely sure how people tip strippers here. The best bet would be a coin that could transform into a paper bill and back. And perhaps you could combine 5 different bills to form Devastator.

Contrast with the States, where people are regularly called in on false counterfeiting charges for trying to spend (legal tender) $2 bills. The US even tried a $1 coin for a while, but it failed, probably because people kept wondering why the stores were giving them Chuck E. Cheese tokens as change. Hell, the only reason they still have pennies in the States is because if they got rid of them, uncles would have nothing to give their nephews and nieces for Xmas.

The cops in Canada seems to be more reasonable, as well. I was pulled over by the Mounties in some National Park or other. The guy said, "Did you know what you did wrong?" I said, "Uhm, not really." To which he replied, "Well, okay then. Good day." I have yet to have a cop beat me senseless for being black. And no, I'm not black, but that doesn't stop cops in the States.

Anyway, that's part 1. I hope you found this post enlightening. If no crazy Canadians burn me to death with their eyes for this post, you can probably expect a part 2 sometime in the undefined future.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Startling New Opinion!!!!!!

What do this link, this link, and this link have in common?

Someone on GamerGod has an original opinion about how we need more women in the game industry.

We went almost a month before this popped up again. I already had the trifecta, and now we're bumping up against the covetted "quinfecta."

While I happen to agree with the sentiment (that female developers are generally better suited to make content that women will enjoy), the prevailing argument (that games are leaving out 50% of the audience) is still pretty much off-target. It's like saying that the NFL is missing out on 50% of its possible profits by focusing only on men. Marketing is a powerful force; if women were the target audience, then women all over the place would be playing video games. But gaming has become so much a part of the Western male gender identity that the real problem isn't "how to market to women" so much as "how to market to women without alienating the billions-of-dollars-a-year male gamer market."


  • More men than women play games.

  • More men than women buy games.

  • More men than women make games.

  • More men than women identify themselves as gamers.

  • More game companies market to men than women.

  • The game industry pulls in billions of dollars every year.


  • All media must appeal to all people equally.

  • Game companies have an obligation to appeal to you, no matter who you are.

  • Diet Dr. Pepper tastes just like regular Dr. Pepper.

Given these facts, I have two questions: 1) If people outside the target demographic for games enjoy gaming, then where is the complaint? What makes them enjoy gaming despite the fact that game developers are all sexist pricks who wouldn't know a real woman if they were one? 2) If those people do not enjoy gaming, why are they accusing the game companies of not serving the demographic? Why don't significant numbers of them come together and create games for a different target audience, rather than trying to change a game that has been played the same way for years? You'll notice I cleverly hid extra questions in within those two main questions. Mwhahaha.

Serving a massive unserved demographic is one way to make craploads of dough. But we're still waiting for someone to come along and make that game that sweeps up all the female gamers and gaming-curious folks. Are we to assume that companies like Microsoft, EA, and Sony, who would all kill their grandmothers to pick up a quarter rolling down the street, haven't done research into the feasibility of courting the female market? I mean, come on. Some press hack writes this article every few weeks; I can't imagine this "hot issue" somehow squeaked by the radars of the Big 3 game companies.

I agree that my company's games would be better if we had female designers and writers. That's a given; diversity of opinion and background only help a project appeal to more people.

But does the industry have to bend over backwards to be all things to all people?

Nah. Though it'd be nice to see the industry bending over backwards.

Because the industry is HOTT.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Jack Thompson is AWESOME!!!!!!

Behind this link you will find a transcription of an email exchange between VG Cats' Scott Ramsoomair and the intrepid Jack Thompson.

Essentially, this is something I wanted to do here, but couldn't. Because I had a brief email conversation with this jerkoff (Thompson, not Ramsoomair), and I didn't save it for future use.

This guy is a moron. Pure and simple. He apparently claimed that Will Wright was making deals with the porn industry to allow massive mods full of nudity and sex. He's making shit up now. It's so cute.

By the way, his email address is jackpeace@comcast.net. Have at it.