The American Federation of Musicians To Expel Grammy-Nominated Game Composer
What is it about Unions which make them behave like organised crime rackets? Protecting the rights of workers ought to be a good and positive thing, yet all too frequently these bodies tend to focus inwards on myopic internal politics, while coming to be typified as cabals of brutes and bullies. In 2012 the American Federation of Musicians hammered out a new set of guidelines for musicians working on the production of video game soundtracks. These guidelines were so onerous that it was virtually impossible to get any video game publisher to agree to them, as they basically doubled the cost of recording and introduced additional fees for future usage of any game soundtrack. Subsequently, for the past two years video game recording work has dried up throughout much of America; retreating to several right-to-work states like Tennessee, else fleeing the country entirely to record on foreign shores. In such a grim climate AFM members have two choices – go without work, else risk expulsion by seeking work under non-union auspices.
One such musician who sought the latter path is Austin Wintory, the composer behind Flow, Monaco, The Order 1886, and Journey, for which he was nominated for a Grammy award. It was during Wintory’s recording of The Banner Saga in Texas that he fell foul of the AFM for producing the soundtrack under a non-union contract. The AFM initially threatened to fine Wintory $50,000 for his breach of union rules, though they eventually relented, fining him a more manageable $2,500. Wintory is nonetheless refusing to pay this fine on principle, as doing so would be a tacit admission that the AFMs broken regulations are legitimate and just, instead preferring to donate the $2,5000 to Education Through Music “where the money can be used toward building on dreams instead of destroying them.”
It is absolutely unthinkable that a body charged with protecting the interests of its members would foist on them a rigid structure which serves to render them uncompetitive in the marketplace, and then refuses to blink once it became obvious that work has dried up for them – and yet this is precisely what the AFM has done to its game composers and musicians. The impending expulsion will not prove overly onerous to somebody as well established as Austin Wintory, as any studio interested in his talents would in all likelihood be more than happy to accommodate him in locations where the moribund grip of the AFM is unable to reach. The real victims of this childish Union intransigence are the up and coming composers and musicians who now no longer have any work, yet cannot find alternate work without the risk of being blacklisted – a cruel catch-22.
Hotline Miami 2 Has Been Refused Classification in Australia – Because of Course It Has
Australia’s ridiculous ratings classifications strike again! When Australia’s ratings guidelines were redrawn to accommodate a new 18+ rating, few gamers could have predicted that the former leftist government could have botched it to quite such an arsetarded degree. The Achilles heel of the rating system has always been the way that it handled sexual elements, especially when in conjunction with violent content. This famously led to a situation where the Vita re-release Atelier Totori was awarded an R18+ rating for sexual violence when the PS3 version had previously been rated PG [a classification suitable for children]. Now it seems that Hotline Miami 2 has been straight up denied classification, or rather has been given the classification RC – Refused Classification.
“The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer games that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.”
Nice that the ratings legislation could be so crystal clear as to what content is permissible under the current ratings system. Just on the off-chance that the above is not specific enough for readers, Australia’s censors have gone into greater detail about the offending scene which was sufficient to see the game banned in Australia:
“In the sequence of game play footage titled Midnight Animal, the protagonist character bursts into what appears to be a movie set and explicitly kills 4 people, who collapse to the floor in a pool of copious blood, often accompanied by blood splatter. After stomping on the head of a fifth male character, he strikes a female character wearing red underwear. She is knocked to the floor and is viewed lying face down in a pool of copious blood. The male character is viewed with his pants halfway down, partially exposing his buttocks. He is viewed pinning the female down by the arms and lying on top of her thrusting, implicitly raping her (either rear entry or anally) while her legs are viewed kicking as she struggles beneath him. This visual depiction of implied sexual violence is emphasized by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.”
It this description which Dennaton, the game’s developer, appears to have had something of a problem with, claiming that the censors have described elements that do not even appear in the game:
“In response to the report itself, we are concerned and disappointed that a board of professionals tasked with evaluating and judging games fairly and honestly would stretch the facts to such a degree and issue a report that describes specific thrusting actions that are not simply present in the sequence in question and incorrectly portrays what was presented to them for review.”
Having viewed the footage in question one can confirm that Dennaton’s assessment of the description is correct. There is no thrusting involved. Regardless, the scene does certainly depict a violent faux rape, which appears to have done for the game in Australia. This is what happens when Feminists draft a nation’s media guidelines. Three cheers for the nanny state and the puritans which govern it!
The Xbone’s Price Has Been Lowered Once Again to $350
Spare a thought for all the people who missed out on purchasing an Xbox One at its holiday season $350 price point, and then, resigned to having missed the ‘promotion’, elected to put down the full four-hundred bones for the full priced system last week. When Microsoft raised the price of the Xbox One on the third of January, Lusipurr.com was one of the first sites to tell them that they were being complete retards. It would seem that they took that criticism to heart, as from the sixteenth of the month [less than two weeks after the price was raised] Microsoft have reinstated the $350 price point.
“Building off a record-setting holiday, we are excited to announce a new promotion in which fans in the U.S. can buy an Xbox One at a special price of $349, starting tomorrow, January 16, from their preferred retailer.”
Microsoft is a deeply flawed company which makes many utterly dreadful decisions, leaving them in bad stead with gamers. This being said, one has to offer the Xbox team some grudging respect for the way in which they have become so attentive in reversing their bad decisions following Phil Spencer’s ascent as Xbox boss. Raising the price of the Xbox One was the wrong decision, and within a mere two weeks of it being in effect this wrong decision has been reversed. That being said, Microsoft’s language regarding this change of heart still refers to it as being a ‘promotion’, raising the specter of the price being once again raised at some future juncture. Perhaps Scalebound‘s status of “Game of All-Time” will justify this premium pricetag.