Press Start!: Zynga To Buy Gold Farming Prison Camps!

You can almost smell the sizzling scent of frying flesh on this forthcoming long weekend. Or uh, tofu if you’re of the vegetarian assort! Whatever it is, hell yeah motherfuckers! Welcome to the  pretty much fucking Memorial Day edition of  Press Start! The  column that spits on the five things in the world of gaming that caught my eye this week.

The list is incomplete, based on whimsy, and structured in a way to encourage your participation. Let’s fucking dance!


#1) Zynga Is Filing For An IPO. Goddamn Soon.
Zynga currently controls something like 75% of our collective consciousness through their variety of bullshit quick release games. Muffin Wars and Sex ToyVille and whatever consumes all sorts of good people, from soccer moms to procrastinating high schoolers. These motherfuckers are about to even get more dominant by getting poised to to file for it’s Initial Public Offering. This means they’re about to transition from a private company to all up in the public bidness, and this is going to make them rich and powerful beyond sense.


And comprehension!

Not just rich though, like really fucking rich. To the point where they’re going to be up there with  Activision Blizzard:

[The] company could rival — or handily best — publishing contemporaries like Activision, EA, and Take-Two. The social game publisher’s last valuation pegged it at a cool $10 billion, a number  All Things D’s Kara Swisher believes could climb even higher for an IPO. For comparison’s sake, the largest public game publisher, Activision Blizzard, is valued at $13.07 billion as of mid-day today … and that includes the  Call of Duty series and  World of Warcraft.

Sweet Jesus Christ Allah Guy!, that’s affluent indeed. The motherfuckers behind FarmVille are going to be able to throw down with companies like Activision and EA. That shit is a testament to the profitability of smaller games, and the general restructuring the gaming community is undergoing.

You don’t need some GIANT EXPLOSIONS ACTION SEQUENCE title to make a fucking boatload of ducets. Not these days.

Speaking of those kind of games though…


#2) Oh Shit, Annual Call of Duty Reveal!
The Modern Warfare 3 reveal came this week, about seven or so days after every aspect of the game was leaked. Check out that motherfuckin’ segue! Thousands of dollars dedicated towards the pointlessness of a degree in literature  can pay off! See Mom! Just because I live in your basement and coat myself in my own fluids doesn’t mean I’m worthless!  Anyways, as I was saying. Activision rolled out the official trailer for Modern Warfare 3 this week, and it made my nipples perky. Sort of embarrassed when they were still playing Peek-A-Boo a couple of hours later whilst I rolled up to 7-11 for a Big Gulp, but what the fuck can you do.

Now listen.

I don’t blame anyone for hating on CoD or a specific tendril of its Leviathanian body. It doesn’t change much, it’s Frat Boy Meathead Rock type arena, but I enjoy it. Sometimes it’s just nice to spin-down the brainstem and blast the living fuck out of things. Then I log onto Xbox Live and get my ass soundly served by a selection of sixteen and seventeen year-old kids with far better reaction times than myself. All that caffeine and I can’t spin around and squeeze off a clip with any accuracy. Maybe it’s the unrelenting jitters.


#3) L.A. Noire Could Help Asperger’s Patients.
L.A. Noire sits still wrapped on my coffee table because I’m a douchebag. The girlfriend bought it for me, and I’ve responded to her kindness by choosing to whittle my way through a couple of  K. Dick novels before cracking the son of a bitch open. If you’re looking for a review,  Whole Milk provides one, assuredly superior to anything I could produce. This shit isn’t about the quality of L.A. Noire though, it’s about the possibility of using it as a teaching tool for people with Asperger’s.

The game is predicated on the notion of reading people’s reactions like a legit detective. Facial expressions and the such. All of this intuitiveness can be a fucking hurdle for people with Asperger’s, who suffer from mind-blindness. Where some people may see a game that is essentially broken to some people,  Professor Tony Attwood seems a potential teaching tool.  Attwood says “I think those with Asperger’s syndrome would actually find the game quite fascinating as although the player is expected to make a decision on whether someone may be lying, there is the possibility of reviewing and replaying the scene to confirm whether the response was correct or identify the characteristics should a mistake have been made.”

Video games as causes of improvement to society as a whole is pretty neat. Granted this is the conjecture of one Professor who may be way off base, but the potential itself is pretty exciting.


#4) Sony Loses $171 Million From  Hacking Fiasco.
Sony is definitely the butt of the fucking gaming community this Spring. Nary a day or two goes by that they don’t get hacked by someone. I can only imagine all the suits, running their hands through their hair and weeping at the Gods. This sort of hackery isn’t without its cost, either. In a revised fiscal forecast, Sony speculated that their “currently known associated costs for the fiscal year ending March 2012 are estimated to be approximately 14 billion yen on the consolidated operating income level.”  That’s a real, real, real lot of Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers.

I generally don’t feel bad for enorm-corporations who gallavant around the social landscape smashing and pillaging, but I can imagine that every human body within parts of the company connected to this situation is aging at a speed far beyond normal. Bodies, meet accelerated  decrepitude.

No worries though,  they have a new console coming!  It’ll fix things. All of them!


#5) China Using Prisoners For Gold Farming. Amazing.
This is one of the most tremendous fucking stories I’ve heard lately. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be stuck in a Chinese prison labor camp. Even conjuring up my wildest fantasies, I’m sure I wouldn’t come close to the misery, the slogging through the time, and the discomfort. What I never would even have thought to imagine is being stuck  grinding for gold in WoW for hours. I mean, grinding sure felt like a fucking punishment back in my WoW days, but this is some officially punitive shit.

According  to one prisoner, “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [ £470-570] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.” Sweet Jesus! That isn’t fucking all, either. When I didn’t do the grinding and potions making that I was supposed to, I only had my raid leader calling my ass out to deal with. These motherfuckers have to deal with some real shit, “If I couldn’t complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things.”

Good lord.


That’s the steaming crap that caught my eye this week, how about you guys?