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The Virgina Tech Shooter’s Last Victims: Logic and Sanity

The Virginia Tech murders got plenty of coverage in the press and on the Internet, but none of the writers here at Unsought Input weighed in on the subject. Really, there wasn't anything left to say that hadn't already been said a hundred times on a hundred channels already.

But now there is something interesting going on that isn't getting enough coverage. Did you know that there are two more casualties to add to the list of 32 people killed by Seung-Hui Cho? In addition to murdering and wounding all those people, Cho somehow managed to kill common sense and reason in thousands of commentators and high school principals across the country.

For example, school officials at Clements High School in Texas kicked out a student because they thought he posed a threat. No, he didn't threaten anyone, or buy guns, or stalk girls, or anything like that. He made a level in the game Counter-Strike based on a map of his high school. And posted it on his MySpace page.

For those of you who are out of the video game loop, Counter-Strike is a first-person shooter where you fight a bunch of terrorists, or alternatively fight a bunch of anti-terrorist troops. As you can imagine, it involves a lot of shotting and blowing stuff up. It's most fun when you compete and cooperate with other players.

Now why would a student replicate his high school in such a game unless he was using it as a simulation to train for an attack on his school? In the weeks since the VA Tech massacre, thousands of people would think that's a very good question. That's because they are scared out of their wits.

Why would he do such a thing? Listen, in high school I bought a game named Sim City 2000 (no I will not let you download it for free). One of the first things I did, after getting the hang of how to build a city, was build my home town. My home town was a dismal failure because I lived in a suburb with no industry and there were some scale issues, but that's beside the point.

Later in my high school career, I was president of the computer club. Yes, I know that also makes me king of the nerd patrol, whatever, I have to represent. One of our projects was to build a map of the school in the game Doom (or maybe Duke Nukem, the memory is getting hazy). It was a lot of fun, trying to get the textures right, figuring out where to put the power-ups so that the game would be fun to play.

It never occurred to us that we were doing anything wrong, or that we could use this map for plotting elaborate scenarios. It never occurred to me that building my little home town in Sim City and then unleashing tornadoes on it was wrong. That's because the whole idea is ludicrous.

Why do people play video games? Because, like any game, they are interactive. Some games take interaction to the next level, allowing you to do more than just explore virtual places - you can build your own. This appeals to the same kids who loved Legos when they were younger, and while they may not be the star quarterback or head cheerleader, they are hardly murderous misanthropes.

But what about the link between video games and violence? It turns out the link isn't quite that simple. Apparently only unstable people are really effected by violent video game content, but not any more than they are by violent movies, or even increases in room temperature.

What about the link between Cho and Counter-Strike? Uh, did he ever even play Counter-Strike? Or any video games for that matter? Does anyone actually know, or are they just making it up to get on TV?
After a tragedy like this, people want closure. They want to be able to do something to make sure it doesn't happen again, or find something to place all the blame on. Unfortunately, Cho was a self-important nutjob who refused the help that was offered to him at every turn. There's not really much we can do about that, so bring out the scapegoats and lose the rationality.

More Mario Bros

In keeping with Dwallz post today on a live action Mario Bros, I thought I would entertain you with something I found that I thought was amusing. Please keep in mind that the titles of these videos are Mario Frustration, so could all of the water bottle toting protesters please leave the room now?


Click on read more to see the other two parts of this video. It's worth watching even though it's 23 minutes long. I mean, you are already killing time here anyway, might as well watch it all.



Super Paper Mario for the Wii, a preview

Oh my god. I cannot wait for this to happen. Just watch how much fun this is going to be, and wait for it, I know he kinda tumbles from his topics but wait for the megastar! I mean, if you don't already own a Wii, this is the game to buy it for if Zelda wasn't. [youtube]xlFtjwSGy3w[/youtube] And here is some more, in case you weren't convinced. [youtube]CLkhGUEmhfg[/youtube] The creativity in games for the Wii is already awesome, but I have a feeling that this game will blow away any previous conceptions you have on video games.

Top 5 Stop-Motion Recreations of Video Games

Yes, you read the title correctly. Thanks to the advent of YouTube and it's brethren, anyone with a camera and some free time can put video up for the world to see. So it's almost inevitable that people would re-enact their favorite video games with food, people, and various objects in stop motion.. First, a medley of classic arcade games from [youtube]nhbt9z4fkWo[/youtube] Now let's get serious - old skool racing games might not have the realistic graphics of today's Gran Turismos and whatnot, but they made up for it by really testing your skill. It's hard to avoid other cars when you only have a few pixels to maneuver in. Here's a recreation of that Atari classic, Pole Position (credit goes to [youtube]ywqu_8RIDvU[/youtube] Super Mario Brothers 3 was one of the most amazing games of all time - what other video game has cured a poor mute boy? This video shows the first level, done in Lego. It's so good it's hard to believe it's real. From YouTube user jmehatesyou. [youtube]qHvb_3TVAfA[/youtube] This one is short. Using candles as pixels in Pac Man might seem strange, but just think - this is the only version so far that required the animator to risk mild to moderate burns. Also, when your significant other catches you wasting hours setting this up, you can always claim you were preparing for a romantic dinner, and not being a huge nerd. [youtube]wKbJvM7VbQc[/youtube] Finally, here's by far the best--using an entire building to play Tetris and other games. It doesn't count as stop-motion, you say? Well, they are creating a series of frames which then create the illusion of motion, so close enough. Besides, they wired a building to play Tetris! By my official scoring table that means they win every top 5 list for all eternity. [youtube]2pjPapxUrx0[/youtube] This is actually an edited clip, you can see more at Project Blinkenlights.

Entertainment for road trips and four hour drives

So, as stated previously in the title, this article is supposed to be about entertainment for road trips (and four hour drives). In particular, road trips that I am taking, but these can be applied to all sorts of events, even just short road jaunts, like the family trip to Wal*Mart or the much more anticipated Sunday excursion to The Mall. I mean, most of these games are created to entertain bored passengers at the expense of others, so please feel free to not read these if you are going to be offended when I am making fun of you on the highway. Just trying to help. Okay, so most of these can be played anytime but some of them are seasonal, which will be decidedly marked as such as we go down the list. Also, and I will mention this again, please feel free to leave in the comments section more ideas for entertaining games for road trips. I will definitely comment on whether they suck or not. 1. The accident game: This is an easy game. The first person to spot an accident gets the points. Points can be assigned as necessary, the severity of the accident is proportional to the amount of points assigned. The accident has to be confirmed in order to count for points by at least one other person inside of the vehicle. Now, if you are the cause for the accident, you lose this game for life. If you are in the accident, no one gets points for it. Also, a seasonality exists for this game. For example, in the winter, a jack knifed truck in a snow drift doesn't count for as many points as it would in the summertime when the weather is much less adverse. So, just keep that in consideration. 2. Honk and Wave: This game is basically self explanatory. You honk and wave at people, and if they wave back, you get points. You can make your own points assignment system depending on where you live, but if you are located in the midwest US area you can feel free to use the point systems allocated to me by my friend The Vic who made this game up, or at least this particular point assignment. -1 point for pedestrians -2 for people on tractors -5 for people in cars -10 for people in mac trucks -20 for people in horse and buggy -50 for any accidents you cause This game is not as compatible with the aforementioned accident game. Play one at a time or pick one you like more. I don't care. 3. The Mullet Game: This game is a game for all times. It is not limited to just playing on road trips. This game is a lifestyle. I mean, when someone wakes up in the morning, looks in the mirror and says "damn, this awesome hairstyle looks so rad!" they are just begging to be made fun of. And if you have a mullet and are reading this, no you do not get points for yourself. Here are the rules: First one to spot the mullet gets the point. It has to be spotted by a second for the points to be valid and the group must agree that it is, in fact a mullet. The points for this game get a little complicated so feel free to customize it to fit your particular needs. -1 pt for a regular mullet. If you don't know what a mullet is, just remember this catchy little phrase, business up front, party in the back. -2pts for a skullet (the bald mullet), the she-mullet, the 80's rocker mullet, the manicured mullet and the red neck mullet. -double points for a pair of mullets, such as two friends hanging out or lovers. -triple points for a gay couple who both have mullets, groups larger than three or mullets that are hair sprayed higher than three inches. -Automatic win for the day would consist of finding something like this:mullet1.jpg Please, feel free to comment on how to improve upon these classic road trip games or post new games for the generation. If you even put down the license plate bingo game, though, you will be cursed to die the most unoriginal death i can think of at the time.