Welcome everyone again to another edition of the Community News Review. This week, I am pleased to have Hist, Rain, PSychotic, Di5a5terp13ce, and Fever Ray contributing. This week, we will be covering George Hotz' apparent lack of knowledge of Sony as a corporation, L.A. Noire's selection by the Tribecca Film Festival, ratings tampering on Xbox Live's Indie section, David Cage's comment on L.A. Noires facial capture technology, and the latest motion in the West/Zampella/Activision lawsuit. So sit back, relax and enjoy as your fellow community members give you their take on some of the biggest news stories of the week.

Question #1 - Hist

Monday, March 28th, 2011

On Monday, Gamasutra reported that George Hotz, infamously known as Geohot, would be attempting to defend his actions by stating that he was unaware of the existence of Sony Computer Entertainment America. This defense is intended to prevent Sony from establishing a connection between Hotz' hacking and California, where the judicial system would be more favorable to Sony. My question for Hist was this:

Do you believe that George Hotz was completely oblivious to the existence of Sony Computer Entertainment America? If this becomes a major problem for Sony in their case against Hotz, what changes to the system would you expect to see in the future that would erase any doubt of whether someone was aware of SCEA or not?

While Hotz may have been oblivious to what exactly the name of the company was, I don't know how anybody could think that there isn't an American subsidiary of a major multi-national corporation like Sony. So I think he's overstating his case with that statement.

That being said though, I don't think that's enough to "prove" that the case should be heard in California. They don't have to prove that he knew what the SCEA was.They have to prove that he agreed to their Terms of Service. According to that article, and from what little I've read about the case, they haven't done that.

I also don't understand something else about that article. The lawyers claim that the serial number of the box used to set up that account doesn't match what Sony says is the one that did it. But then they go on to say "but his neighbour borrowed Hotz's PS3 and set up that account." Who cares, if he didn't buy the box to begin with?

Maybe it's one of the three that hasn't been disclosed? I don't know.

In the future, I would say that they would have to put it directly on the box, and on the front page of the manuals (so that it shows through even if they're never unwrapped)

Some disclaimer like "All PS3 connections to the Internet are facilitated by the SCEA."

(Demon: The notion that this guy was hacking a company's product and was completely oblivious to the existence of a branch of that company exiting in the United States is preposterous at best. More than likely this is just a ploy as it is difficult to prove in any way. At the same time, like Hist, I don't know how much I necessarily agree with trying to move the trial to California because of it being more favorable to Sony. Justice is supposed to be blind. If Sony wants to prove their case, do it to a neutral court, not one that will lean their way.

As for changes, I could foresee Sony putting a message at start up informing the user of the location of the EULA (which the could review on the console) and state that all interactions would be subject to the EULA. This eliminates two birds with one stone. It makes the EULA available to users regardless of level of usership, and also provides a prompt that states that they are aware of it's existence, even if they choose not to read/understand it.)

Question #2 - Rain

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

On Tuesday, Game Informer reported that L.A. Noire had received an official selection for the Tribecca Film Festival; the first for any video game. My question for Rain was this:

Do you believe that this selection solidifies video games into the realm of being a legitimate form of art? Why or why not?

Well for me personally, I feel the whole “games as art” argument was settled a long time ago, whether people realize it or not. I always see these great new games coming out, and I look down at the comments and it is all “Look at this! How could this NOT be art” or “Bleh, this is still not up to the standards of something like Rembrandt!”. I'm a little tired of the whole thing

For example, when Heavy Rain came out, there was a huge debate of whether or not this was what defined games as art. When I saw this, I just thought back to Bioshock, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and many more and see that they have been art for many a year.

Sure, there may be games that are just plain stupid fun, like Gears of War. But the same thing can be said of movies, for they have their Terminators and 2Fast2Furious. Not every game is going to be art, but when one is, I don't think we need an official institution like the Tribecca Film Festival. As long as we as a community recognize it, that’s all we need.

So to answer the question in a more direct way, yes L.A. Noire is art, no this is not the defining moment for games as art. This is the moment when the rest of the world notices that it is art.

(Demon: I'll admit that I am a bit of an oddity within the gaming community, as I don't believe that games are an exclusive form of art. To me, they are artful, or composed of many arts, but are not art themselves.

The reason I say this is that if you look at every form of art, you can distinguish the defining aspect that makes them an art form. You have music,which is an organized set of rhythms, and sounds brought together to form something creative, yet with a universal form. You have painting, which is a visual representation of life or images that one imagines. You have film which is a series of images brought together to form a  sequence of events from a specific perspective.

Each of these has it's defining feature that makes it a form of art, but for video games, that defining feature, what sets it apart is the interactive nature. However, that interactivity is not there for everyone. If someone watches someone play a game, they do not experience this defining aspect. Additionally, this defining aspect is seen in other products as well, but is not considered art, such as a GUI (or graphical user interface) for a computer. To me, the defining aspect is not exclusive enough to warrant the title of art.

However, I do believe that the different aspects that make up video games are art. From the character and setting design, to the narrative, to the cinematic qualities of many games, there is a lot of art within games, yet the whole is a product of its parts.

While I may not view video games as art, I still have a great respect for those that work on games. As an enthusiast of video games, I am excited to see a game be recognized for the aspects of other arts that it brings to the table. In my opinion, what L.A. Noire is doing is pushing new boundaries in the realm of cinema, and is definitely worth of this selection.)