Hello! Welcome to GYGO, your weekly gaming news roundup and soapbox for my strong feelings about the Uncharted series. Sorry.
Video Game Movies: Why?
This week was packed full of video game movie news, because Hollywood must absolutely wring whatever little bit of life they can from every existing media property, no matter how bad it is. How bad is it, you ask?
Well, let’s take a look at the Uncharted movie. I am an admitted fan of these trashy games (ya girl loves an adventure story), and I’ve been writing about games since 2015. Back in 2015, I wrote about the Uncharted movie—then said to feature Mark Wahlberg as protagonist Nathan Drake—being in development hell. Mark Wahlberg now plays Nathan Drake’s older mentor, Sully. That’s how much time has passed—the protagonist becomes the older mentor. And all this waiting has not paid off—critics are panning the movie, citing problems with the script, the acting, the plot… the whole thing, really.
Listen, the thing is that Uncharted really didn’t need a movie adaptation back in 2015 and it really doesn’t need one now, either. What makes these games enjoyable is that they feel like playing an action movie. When you make them into an actual action movie, you’ve… you’ve just made a mediocre action movie at best. That’s setting aside all the colonialism inherent to the Indiana Jones-style adventure story, which goes almost entirely unaddressed in the main franchise (Lost Legacy at least made some small gestures in a positive direction), and I’m just going to cut off this rant here because this is a news post and not my personal place to air grievances.
In other movie and television news, Amazon has signed a first-look deal with dj2 Entertainment, co-producers of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. dj2 Entertainment is currently working on adapting both the Life is Strange series and Disco Elysium. This new deal means that, if Amazon likes the pitches, they get first dibs (or first refusal) on producing them for Amazon Prime Video. As Ted Litchfield points out in the PC Gamer article on the news, it seems… odd for a company as associated with labor abuse as Amazon to potentially be financing a Disco Elysium show, given that the game is often associated with anti-capitalism. But then, it behooves Amazon to support this kind of media—as people much smarter than me have suggested in the past, it’s in capitalism’s best interest to sell anti-capitalist art and ideas back to us. Not only does Amazon stand to gain from attracting Disco Elysium fans who might otherwise not use their service, but they also get to look a little cool and edgy in the process.
Also, Netflix is adapting BioShock.
Kickstarter (Sort Of) Pumps the Brakes on Blockchain
Back in December, crowdfunding platform Kickstarter announced they would begin pursing blockchain integration. Many creators and backers voiced their frustration with the decision, including refusing to use the site any further unless Kickstarter changed their minds. Last week, Kickstarter released a statement that suggested they were listening to those complaints and would not be making any immediate moves to the blockchain, and they would be establishing an advisory council of creators and users to help them evaluate the decision. Which, uh, okay? Hear me out, though—what if you just didn’t migrate to a largely untested and spurious technology connected with money laundering and a disastrous effect on the environment (yes, even with carbon offsets and a low-impact blockchain, which with any success will eventually become a high-impact blockchain)?
If you haven’t already watched Dan Olson’s video on the speculative house of cards that is cryptocurrency, now’s a great time.
Someone announced plans to create/sell Magic: The Gathering NFTs, promptly heard from Hasbro’s lawyers, and is now hoping to get some “clarification” about the mysteries of copyright law. pic.twitter.com/Ef9VwCk2mU
— Matt Ford (@fordm) February 14, 2022
In other blockchain news, mtgDAO, a group of Magic: The Gathering fans who planned to take scans of MTG cards, mint them as NFTs, and let people use them in digital MTG games, has run into a snag: namely, Hasbro’s lawyers. mtgDAO seems to be operating under the mistaken assumption that minting an NFT grants you copyright over whatever it is that you’ve minted—except in this case, MTG cards already exist, and mtgDAO is not the copyright holder. Hasbro owns the IP and the card designs, meaning that while mtgDAO isn’t sure “how a court would interpret this situation,” the answer is pretty clear. It’s a copyright violation and minting NFTs does not grant you any special kind of right to that card (or art, or video, or whatever) other than a string of numbers or letters. Please do not do this.
In other news…
Color me shocked: Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has been running a secret company that backs conservative GOP candidates.
Scoop: Activision CEO @BobbyKotick has a second secret company that's spending big money to back GOP candidates, including at least $500,000 toward a super PAC run by allies of Mitch McConnell.
The company is called Norgate LLC. h/t @CampaignLegal https://t.co/XCdPP55ckm
— Brian Schwartz (@schwartzbCNBC) February 17, 2022
Gender Balance, an independent auditing company, found that Cities: Skylines and Stellaris publisher Paradox Interactive has an abuse problem, especially toward its female employees.
Audit finds Paradox has "clear problems" preventing and investigating misconduct, and in some cases even "aggrevated" abusive behavior
— GameDeveloper.com (@gamedevdotcom) February 17, 2022
Nintendo announced on February 15 that they would end Nintendo eShop purchases on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS beginning in late March 2023. The Video Game History Foundation released a statement on the closure, stating that the organization understood the business decision but questioned what Nintendo intends to do for people who want to play these games in the future, especially as there may be no legal method to do so.
Our statement on the closure of Nintendo's legacy digital shops. pic.twitter.com/mG5GzuGH4G
— Video Game History Foundation (@GameHistoryOrg) February 17, 2022
Melissa Brinks is Sidequest’s editor in chief, co-creator of the Fake Geek Girls podcast, author of The Compendium of Magical Beasts, and an aspiring beekeeper. She once won an argument on the internet, and tweets at @MelissaBrinks.