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Strip 932, Volume 5, Page 165

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< Piro >

news is good for you

"your perception does count"

Sunday - November 5, 2006

[Piro] - 15:09:00 - [link here]

Over the years, I've been pretty circumspect about the kinds of opinions i give in my rants. Rarely do i flame or lambaste others, aside from the occasional chiding for things i feel strongly about (like the whole Chibi Vampire thing) or defending myself against what i feel are inaccurate accusations (like my last rant). I pour a lot of myself into this comic and the world of Megatokyo, so it's pretty hard to not have some of my personal opinions or views find their way in. No matter how objective I try to be I have my own perception of the world and my work and words will always reflect that. However, I always keep in mind that other people may have different perceptions than I do. While I may not agree with, support or understand those perceptions, i at least try to understand and respect them the best I can. It is something i wish was a little more common in this world.

I've often been tempted to be more vocal about how i feel about about many of the things going on in the world today. Like many of you, i have some strong opinions, but i've always felt that this was not the place voice them. My goal with this comic is to entertain you, to make you laugh, cry, think, feel... I'm not of the belief that because i give you something good, you should listen to what i say (a sadly too common practice in the world). Even when i have voiced (what i considered) respectful opinions on something, I get emails from people telling me that they come here to read a comic not hear about my views. A part of me does bristle at the audacity some people have, that i should know my place, do the comic, shut up and keep my opinions to myself. They refuse to give me the courtesy of allowing me to speak my mind openly. It is not for these people that i am circumspect. It is out of respect for those readers might not agree with me but would listen to me. You don't come here to find yourself at odds with my feelings about something that may be important to you. It is out of respect for you that the main focus of this site will always be the comic, no matter how strongly i feel about something.

I don't feel like the following violates this respect. Yes, it is about politics. Yes it is about the election that will be held here in the United States on Tuesday, November 7th. No, i'm not going to tell you how to vote, or try to encourage you to vote one way or another. I simply ask that you vote.

I've heard just about every argument there is about why people shouldn't vote. My vote has no impact on anything, I don't like any of the candidates, i don't know who to vote for, i don't understand what is going on, i don't have time, It's not like it really matters, I'm protesting the political system by staying home... there are tons of them. Of course it is your choice, but you should think carefully about this before you decide not to participate.

Many elections across the country this year are very close. The impact of these elections will have major effects on the balance of power in the United States and will have a serious impact on its future direction. These things do effect you, they effect all of us - including those of your fellow MT readers who don't live in this country. They can't vote here. You can.

Even if you feel like your vote wont help the people or ideas you support, not voting does nothing but help people and ideas you may not support. It's not easy figuring out who best 'represents' you, especially these days, but you should try to educate yourself. If you can read the archives of a webcomic like this, you can hit a news site and browse for news about your candidates and get a reasonable feel for the choices you are being asked to make. Don't vote for someone because someone tells you to, because you just 'don't know' and you need an opinion. Make your own decisions.

There are those who argue that many people shouldn't vote because they don't understand what they are voting for. They say that encouraging people to vote only helps one group or another. Elections unfortunately are not a real representation of what the majority of people in this country feel... not with over half of the population not voting. It has become a game in which the side that is most successful in getting 'their' people out to vote wins.

That's pretty sad.

Don't just blow voting off like its a game you just aren't interested in playing. You are in the game, whether you like it or not. Not voting makes you an Non Player Character. Do you REALLY want to be a NPC, letting others decide what happens in the game?

Think about it before you skip on voting.

If you have any problems, issues, complaints or questions about voting, you can call the MyVote Election hotline at 1-866-MyVote1. Do some research. Google and news sites are your friend.

Thanks for reading.

< Dom >

Richard Muller, awesomeness in physician form.

"Rival topics, united by fate"

Tuesday - November 7, 2006

[Dom] - 00:00:00 - [link here]

Those of you who know me should not be surprised that two of today's topics involve the University of California Berkeley, while the third involves superheroes. So let's get started, shall we?

Saturday was the Cal-UCLA game, which wasn't really a crushing, given that UCLA's offense was moving well but just couldn't finish. But that's not the point - for many fans, especially those of us in the Young Alumni section (which I'll be populating for at least 7 more years, thankyouverymuch), the game is about shouting at the visitors section of the stands.

This is a particularly popular pastime for the many drunk fans in the section, which in turn makes it great entertainment for us sober schmucks who are there for the game as well as the atmosphere you'll only find at a sporting event. We had all sorts of chants going, like shouting "Beat the traffic! (clap clap clapclapclap) at the stereotypically Southern Californian habit of leaving in the third quarter, chanting "L you suck!" at the poor fellow who was carrying the third flag for UCLA and always seemed a step and a motion behind everyone else, and my personal favorite, "What's a bruin anyway? // A small dickless bear!"

But that's not really the point of this diversion into football - I'm wondering if there's any intrepid viewer out there who saw Thomas Decoud throw a thunderous block on some guy named Bosworth, and has it on video. Because dammit, I need pictures of that thing! I've already watched the ESPN video a hundred times, and I figure that I need more. Plus, there's this nicely edited video on YouTube, but as much as I like the Wu Tang Clan, I would rather just hear the crowd.

Okay, on to topic two. Today, I read that one of my favorite professors, Richard Muller, has his entire Physics for Future Presidents lecture series on google video. Now, I took said Physics for Future Presidents course three years ago, but I STILL find his lectures fascinating. The man has a very personable lecture style, a very good way of explaining physics, and while my brain instinctively shuts off at the first mention of the word "quantum," he's very, very good at explaining complex concepts in easy-to-understand ways.

I highly recommend that you find his lectures on google video (a simple search for "muller physics" or "physics 10" or "physics for future presidents" will suffice) and even if you don't watch the video and just listen, you'll learn a whole lot.

On to the last topic, which, really, has nothing to do with physics but everything to do with poor game design. Suberunker and I have been enjoying Marvel Ultimate Alliance's coop multiplayer for the past couple weeks. It's a great beat-'em-up and most of the characters are genuinely fun to play.

But sometimes, we just have to shout "Activision!" in the same tone of voice you would use to scold a dog which had just widdled on your sandwich. The MUA team fell into far too many game design traps that just ruin the experience of being a superhero and test your suspension of disbelief. I mean...

Problem 1: The Invincible Door
Okay, so I'm playing as the ever-lovin' Thing or the mighty Colossus. But egad! There is a wooden/metal door which bars my way and we must fight our way out! Rather than, you know, bash down the door like we've bashed down every other door that stands in our way. I mean, we bashed down walls with our bare hands, why are we being stopped by a wooden door? Mystic barriers, force fields, I can suspend my disbelief for those, but wooden doors? C'mon. My character can bench press 70 tons, what can a deadbolt possibly do to stop him?

Problem 2: The One True Puzzle Solution
Okay, so someone is being held over a pit of lava and we have to cool off the lava before we get him loose. Okay! Let's call on Iceman!

Hmm? No? Iceman's powers have no effect on lava? Oh well, I guess we'll have to find a cauldron to pour on the lava! Okay, Iceman, you're off the hook, lukewarm water has saved the day!

The same applies to when you find someone trapped in a block of ice - can the Human Torch or Ghost Rider melt it? No. But you know what can? THE INDIRECT RAYS OF THE SUN.

The logic, it breaks. There's even a part of the game where they say "USE SOMEONE'S LIGHTNING POWERS" and when you do, it works. Simple as that. So why not make ice powers, you know, have icy effects?

Problem 3: Inexplicable Platform Jumping
There is a point in the game where you have to climb walls and jump gaps and avoid hazards to get to a goal... but wait! I'm Dr. Strange, Sorceror Supreme! The mightiest of magics lie but a twitch of a finger away. I can wander the dimensions like they were the suburbs. I've spent the entire game flying or teleporting. WHY AM I ROCK CLIMBING? This makes no sense!

Problem 4: Box-pushing puzzles
Dear whoever decided that pushing a bunch of boxes into place is a riddle to challenge the greatest minds,

Please die in a fire. Your puzzles add nothing but tedium to the game, when what I really want is the next part of the level. You could at least have the decency to make the box-pushing portions move slightly faster than glaciers.

Love,
Dom.

Problem 5: Falling through the world at random
This has happened at least four times now, mostly during boss fights. It's distressing, but it's a testing issue, not a design issue like those above, so it's a minor point at best.

But anyway, when it comes to beating the crap out of things, Marvel Ultimate Alliance is great. Just don't expect a masterpiece - there are a LOT of ways it could be improved.

And that's all I have to say for now - tune in next time when I, uh... well, I don't know.

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