Monday, March 21, 2011

Geek Speak
So this one is pretty dated, but I still think it's funny. There is definitely a trend in games to...I guess 'sexualize' game content is the right way to put it. Take the story of the game, plot out the major events, flesh out the story and character arc, then realize that you're marketing primarily to males between the ages of...say...13 to 30. That's a pretty big demographic that consists primarily of hyper-hormone-fueled sex maniacs. Hold a project meeting to decide how to bridge the "horny gap." Almost inevitably the solution is a weirdly bolted on 'romantic' story line which basically consists of incredibly awkward dialog that I'm sure someone thinks sounds flirtations. Ultimately you get your half-clothed character grinding on another half-clothed character in what is supposed to pass for sex, but begs the question "how are they doing that with their pants on?"

Explain this to me, Subaru:
Every day I leave work in the afternoon to head home for a half-hour or so. In that time I walk the dog, usually make something for lunch, and sometimes find the time to check an email or two. That's about all the time I get before I have to drive back to work. Occasionally I see things as I'm commuting home for lunch, then back to the office afterward that make the whole trip worthwhile. Today it was the car that was in front of me for most of the drive. It was a Subaru Forrester, which in and of itself is nothing remarkable, but on the other side of the car from the logo "badge" was another metallic badge proclaiming the car to be a PZEV. Included in this badge was one of those trendy green leaf designs that is meant to indicate the car is enviro-friendly and the driver is a tree hugging stud that women should be falling all over themselves to mate with and spawn low-carbon offspring.

Turns out that PZEV means "Partial Zero Emission Vehicle." I wouldn't call this the dumbest thing I've ever read, but it comes close. How can something be a "partial zero" anything. A car is either a zero emissions vehicle or not. You can't have "partial" nothing. You wouldn't see kids fighting over partial nothingness. "Mom! Paul's nothing is bigger than mine!"

Here's the other thing that left me dumbstruck, or at least struck me as dumb. This Subaru, this environmentally friendly "Partial Zero" emissions vehicle had not just one exhaust pipe, but two. Why does a vehicle manufacturer create a vehicle they claim emits less harmful emissions than the butthole of your average field mouse and then put two tailpipes on it? Here's the better question; how much more do they charge for the superfluous tailpipe? "That extra tailpipe cost us $200 to purchase and install. Mark up the price of the car by ten-thousand dollars. I'm thinking of buying a ski lodge."

Perhaps I'm becoming jaded by the claims of manufacturers about their products, or perhaps I'm finally getting wise to the two-faced artifice redolent in the marketing schemes of these cash mongering profit whores.

Air travel
American Airlines recently pulled the plug on reserving flights through Orbitz and Expedia. This move was apparently in response to resistance on the part of Orbitz and Expedia to change their pricing and fee structure. At least, that is what American is alleging. The move does also heavily favor their own online ordering system, and requires travelers to go through their own website to order tickets. How convenient is that? American can claim Orbitz and Expedia didn't want to play ball, then pull their flights from those services and channel travelers who want to use their services through their own website. Oh, and did they mention this means they also get to charge whatever they want for tickets? Nope. They left out that little detail. American Airlines has already posted the second highest total revenue in baggage fees in the country at a little over $400 million. I CALL SHENANIGANS! There are already analysts coming out saying that airlines pulling their flights from travel services such as Orbitz and Expedia is a move that will hurt consumers. Well...yeah. At least where the air travel carriers are concerned, isn't that the point? Subaru and American Airlines should get together and form a club for cash mongering profit whores who hurt consumers.