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Friday Buffet: The 'Worst Company in America' makes some darn good video games

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News Roundup

•••• The PAX East gaming convention kicks off today in Boston, with the fans and journalists eager to get a hands-on look at titles like Harmonix’s newest offering, “Rock Band Blitz.” It’s expected that Nintendo will share some more Wii U news, along with a rumored “amazing announcement” from BioWare. [Pax East]

•••• Newly-minted NBA superstar Jeremy Lin is catching up on his gaming while recovering from surgery. That lucky duck has an early copy of “DOTA 2” to pass the time as his knee heels. And that’s how you write a Jeremy Lin item without being super offensive. [The Verge]

•••• People are starting to worry that the inevitable “Hunger Games” video game adaptation might be a little too intense for its audience. Let’s not kid ourselves, anything “Hunger Games”-related that comes out as a wide release will be as tame or tamer than the PG-13 film. It’s not like they made a “Twilight” game that featured sexually explicit vampire lovemaking. Hang on, I just had an idea. [The Christian Science Monitor]

•••• The handy “HBO Go” application debuted last week to many Xbox users, but was withheld from Comcast customers at the product’s launch. It appears Microsoft and Comcast are nearing a deal to lift the blockade, giving Comcast customers a small glimmer of hope they will one day almost have as many privileges as full U.S. citizens. [The New York Times]

•••• Disney cruise ships are now being built with a sort of uber-”Dance Dance Revolution” floor to allow up to 32 kids to be stomping on floor screens at once. Let’s see those smug vacationers from the Corona commercials relax while that’s going on. [CNN]

Tweet of the Week

“If EA is the worst company in America, we’re doing just fine.” — @DaemZero

Blowing Off Steam

As you may have gleaned from our brilliant Tweet of the Week, Electronic Arts won Consumerists annual  “Worst Company in America reader poll.

To dredge up all of the “Mass Effect 3” stuff at this point would be fruitless, but ultimately what else would have precipitated EA winning such an honor just a month after the game’s release?

I’m fine with gamers being unhappy at EA’s products, they have every right to be. I haven’t been thrilled with the quality of a lot of them, but that’s the social contract you agree to when you buy a piece of entertainment. You hand over your money, they hand you something you may or may not like. If you don’t like it, don’t go back. It’s not masters-level economics.

My real problem with the whole “Worst Company in America” thing is that it brings to light just how petulant, irrational and hyperbolic gamers can be when they don’t like something. I don’t know if it’s a case of overcompensating of feeling like you’re never being heard, but voting a company that’s made some of the best products in the history of its industry “the worst” is just an ad hominem attack on the biggest fish in a pool that’s officially in the mainstream.

When I really feel like torturing myself, I’ll read a few select forums to hear what alleged fans of EA games have to say about them. More often than not, on release day, someone declares a game “broken” and “unplayable.” Excuse me? “Broken?” Broken is if I come to your house snap your disc in half for using words wrong. Do you want me to do that? No? Then stop calling things “broken” when you’re simply “disappointed.”

Is Electronic Arts the Most Disappointing Company in America in 2012? Probably not, but you’ve got a lot stronger case when you ditch the blustery overstatements.

Loading for Next Week

It’ll be a huge week for gaming news with PAX East going on, so we’ll be digesting the major announcements coming out of this weekend’s conference. We’ll also have another entry in our “Game Faces” series and talk about the potentially broken model for sports gaming. And if that fails to pique your interest, I’m sure they’ll be plenty of racy cosplay photos coming out of Boston this weekend to post.

Really Important Video

Do you still hold out hope there’s some shred of dignity left in the “Star Wars” franchise? If that’s the case, just watch this clip from “Kinect Star Wars” and let those last ounces of joy escape from your soul like Obi Wan’s ghost.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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