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Tycho / on Wed, Aug 18 2010 at 12:00 am

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The RIAAl World

As is often the case, you can read a truncated, insulting version of a story somewhere else or you can go to Ars Technica.

What we say in the first panel of today’s strip isn’t actually that far off, which is already pretty crazy.  But when you get into the weeds of broadcast legislation (as the Ars piece does) you’ll learn some incredible stuff, and that’s aside from the fact that they want to stitch an FM receiver into your tricep:

“Radio broadcasters and music labels are at each other’s throats over the question of whether radio ought to pay performance rights to labels or artists when it plays their music on the air (currently, only songwriters get paid, not artists or labels). A bill percolating in Congress, the Performance Rights Act, would rationalize performance rights in the US; satellite radio and webcasters currently pay full performance fees to labels or artists, but radio does not, thanks to a longstanding exemption in copyright law.”

And it’s like, what?  There are at least three things in that paragraph that make absolutely no sense.  I understand that the devil is in the details, but the devil to detail ratio here is way, way out of whack. I think if you happened to disturb the papers that actually contain legislation like this, an evil spirit would hiss and fly around the room.  I’m not saying that being a government person is easy, but it must be easier, certainly, when you simply pass laws written by the companies you’re supposed to regulate?  Probably?  

Kiko came into our office day before yesterday, his face a gaunt and sallow mask, relaying a piece of information which surprised and terrified him:  that Monday Night Combat might be his favorite videogame.

I’m not entirely sure we’ve got an absolute conceptual handle on these platform native games yet - what they are, what they’re for.  You sometimes hear that something can be “good for an XBLA/PSN game” or “good for the price” or “good until the next major release comes along,” which projects the idea that the products in these channels are something less than true games.  The thing is, many (if not most) of my favorite games this generation fit this profile.  I started listing them here in the post, and it got stupid very quickly.  There was no post left, just a shred of chaff dangling from the end of some glorious registry.    

The reality that Kiko discovered is that Monday Night Combat is one or two updates away from being a classic, and it’s a denizen of this purgatorial realm.  We’ve come a hell of a long way from games capped at fitty megs to the next Lara Croft or Red Faction games being delivered strictly as downloadable titles.


when I lay me down to die

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