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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Avatar, Star Trek and iPads

Posted by Stradden Friday January 29 2010 at 2:04PM
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It’s been a long week for me to be a nerd. All in the same week, I finished out playing in the Star Trek Online beta, finally saw Avatar and watched all the hype blow up over the announcement of everyone’s favorite unfortunately named piece of technology iPad. I mean not since the unveiling of the short-lived fast-food burger the McDouche has the name of a feminine hygiene product so captivated legions of fans.

Bad jokes about the iPad’s name aside (I had to make at least one, lest I feel left out), I wanted to take a few minutes to address each of the three highlights of my week from the point of view of my own particular nerddom.


I finally saw it. Not much of a nerd thing, I suppose, given the amount of time between when the thing premiered and when I finally got off my butt to see it, but the Imax has been sold out steadily since it opened and I’d be damned if I was going to see this one and not get to wear those super stylish 3D glasses designed by, I assume, Elton John.

In any case, I don’t really see what all of the fuss is about. I mean, it was an enjoyable flick, and I thought the 3D was handled particularly well. It wasn’t God’s gift to moviegoers (even if box offices would say otherwise), but it certainly wasn’t the shallow bore-fest some people are making it out to be either. I walked in, sat down and for a couple of hours got exactly what I expected, a decent movie with some cool visuals.

What I can’t get past are the number of people crying out that the movie has an “environmentalist, left-wing agenda”. I mean, sure, it’s a thinly veiled movie about what was done to Native Americans ad their culture, but to say that it has some kind of agenda is a little bit like saying that the original Star Wars trilogy supported domestic terrorism. I mean, come on, the rebels blew up the Death Star, a highly visible government target, killing uncounted numbers of Imperical citizens.

Guys, in movies there are going to be plots and good guys and bad guys… just sit down and let’s enjoy (or not enjoy) the ride.

Star Trek Online Beta

Ok, before everyone gets all hot and bothered about this. I am fully aware that Star Trek Online has a large number of issues with it, and that they’re going to need to be addressed in order for this game to be in any way successful.

Now, with that out of the way, I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with STO. I don’t know if it’s the setting, which I like, the features (yes, I like ship combat and the ground combat is enjoyable to me as well, sue me), or just that it’s something a little bit off the beaten path.

I like the game, and I can completely see why some other people can’t, but what I want to know is why do the people who think that this game is going to do poorly or fail have to come over and stomp on my fun and the fun of anyone else who happens to be enjoying the game?

I mean, over the last few weeks, I’ve seen anyone who posts a positive opinion on this game get completely torn apart by people who don’t like it, or don’t like Cryptic. What’s the point of that exactly? You don’t like it. You think it sucks. That’s great. I fully respect that point of view, and contrary to what some of you out there seem to think, I am completely aware of the game’s shortcomings. I have not been blinded to them, I am not wearing rose tinted glasses, I am not a “Fanboy”. I just disagree with you.

I’ve said it once and apparently I’ll say it a thousand more times: You don’t have to like what everyone else likes, and people don’t have to like something just because you do. We’re all entitled to our opinions, so let’s have a little bit of respect for that, shall we?

The iPad

To me, it looks basically like a big giant iPhone. I heart my iPhone, and like many people who own way too much technology, I burn with desire for my own iPad… Which is funny, because I can’t really say exactly why. I just want it.

I think it’s because they remind me of the Pads in Star Trek The Next Generation. You know, those portable computers that everyone had that allowed the to do everything from write notes to read very large files and access information quickly, not to mention to network with larger computers… all fitting in their hand without a keyboard or mouse or any input device save for the touch screen…

Ok, I think I’ve solved the mystery of why I want one.

NovaKayne writes:

hehe, I enjoyed the movie too.  It was not the greatest movie ever but, it was visually stunning and enjoyable.  I am not a fan of the STO game but, do see where some can find it fun to play. 

No worries there, just not my game ( which is what some people always say, not gonna be fun for you ).

Other than the tie in to ST for some types, the iPad seems a bit gimicky to me.  If it were not priced so high it may be somethign to play with but....  I dunno.  I can see the apps for controlling all remote controlled items in the house with it, or your tv or the iVaccum coming next.  It still looks like a Fisher Price my first iTouch to me tho.

Fri Jan 29 2010 2:37PM Report
Snakes writes:

Always a good read.

I've enjoyed Avatar, however I suffered by seeing a simple copy of it - not 3D, Not IMAX, not Digital. I missed a lot - but I'm going over this weekend to see it in IMAX 3D - so it should be quite the site.
I see where you're coming from on the movie - I don't understand why people view it as an agenda.. but the one thing I really can't understand is the fact that it apparently made people depressed and suicidial... how? Personally (don't want to sound heartless), I think its foolish to get so involved (just like that guy who killed himself because his EQ Charater died... how?) I guess it all depends on the person.. but it's a movie, that's all.

STO.. .ahh STO, I've been involved in the beta, I agree it needs work - I'm not blinded but hell! I've had fun and will keep on playing and if you don't like the game, why must you slam us all? Why must you quickly register to MMORPG just to tell everyone that you hated it and because YOU HATED it, everyone else will to. The non-stop flame war.

Don't really know much about the iPad - but I can see why you want it. Haha.

Fri Jan 29 2010 3:14PM Report
Brenelael writes:

Avatar- I have no comment as I've yet to see it.


STO- I know exactly where your coming from and I'm sure you've noticed me putting my two cents forward in a lot of the discussions on this forum. I really like the game for mostly the same reasons you do and will be playing after launch for a while at least.

I too see the blatant shortcomings in the game and expect Cryptic to fix them all. If they don't they are really the fools a lot of people make them out to be as they have a gold mine on their hands if they don't screw it up. They need to get off of this nickle & dime the customer until they quit approach the seem to have adopted for CO.

Only time will tell at this point but I'm a little bit more leery of them after the 'pay for an end-game that should have been in for launch' BS they tried to pull on the CO community this week.


iPad - Another way overpriced Apple toy that no one really needs... I think I'll pass.



Fri Jan 29 2010 3:31PM Report
NoobTech writes:

Avatar rocks.


STO ruined by cryptic & atari money grabbers.

Ipad...when i saw it it remineded me of rubix puzzle (not the cube).

Fri Jan 29 2010 3:31PM Report
Lasastard writes:

 Avatar: just an overall complete and very well-crafted experience

STO: little depth and seems like the developer simply hasn't put that amount of effort and love into the product needed to make it what it should be

iPad: People don't know what to make of it and compare it to whatever they imagine will be closest - like the iPhone. But I believe the iPad will create it's own niche. Just imagine coming home from work, grabbing your iPad from where you magazines and newspapers used to be, sit down on the couch, quickly check mails, read a few blogs and then maybe play a game or read a paper/book. I can very well see this thing work. 

Fri Jan 29 2010 3:32PM Report
Cerion writes:

I was late to the Avatar experience as well, seeing it for the first time this past weekend -- and then I saw it again yesterday.  Both times I saw it in 3D, though yesterday in IMAX.  It is a brilliant movie in my opinion. There's a certain elegance in the simplicity of the story.  As for a left-wing agenda...I guess if a cautionary tale about the worst in human nature is considered 'left-wing' then sign me up.  Then you must attribute Star Wars with a left-wing agenda (rustic farm boy takes on military industrial complex), as well as Star Trek (peaceful coexistence of human cultures), Terminator (humans battling an out of control corporation taken over by uncaring machines), The Matrix -- the list goes on.  Not everything Humanity does is Good, even beyond the obvious Evils.  I know that seems kinda obvious, but might doesn't necessarily make one right.

Fri Jan 29 2010 5:15PM Report
RaddMonz writes:

Avatar: Visually stunning - story, just OK

STO: Looks like Star Trek, but it is a soulless husk without an ounce of the Star Trek feeling to it. Combat is a 3 button masher.

iPad: will probably sell millions...

Fri Jan 29 2010 11:02PM Report
Votary writes:

 I think it's funny that even in THIS article, there are comments about how STO sucks :)

Fri Jan 29 2010 11:48PM Report
gary0515 writes:

Avatar was fun, but it isnt as good as bogart.  STO has a lot of shortcommings, but let me compare it to any other mmo I played at launch - it is not much different as far as game quality goes, the reason game developers put out unfinished games is because we, the consumers put up with it. We act like junkeys looking for a fix, so we tolerate games that are only 75% finished. The fix I can come up with here would be to boycot half finished games.  

Sat Jan 30 2010 2:54AM Report
Professor78 writes:

Avatar : Realy great film, still have yet to see the 3D version, as seeing the other way around the 2nd time may not have been so good. Its a must see.

STO : Interesting idea, gameplay is not that bad both space and land. The problem most seen to encounter is lag which hopefully will be sorted out soon. I would say give it a shot, you may be pleasantly surprised.


iPAD : Great choice of name, like a sanitary towel! iBook maybe better? Well I can see that it look very appealing to some, but it doesnt have a specific purpose. Its nice to see what can be done, but calling it magical and revolutionary! Nope. Its missing vital things like USB, Camera (so no video calling), GPS you can only install things through the app store. And have you ever tried holding an item the same shape and weight up for an extended period of time (like a book - but books have a hinge as such which helps with the dispersal of weight) sitting on the sofa you would have to have your knees up resting it on them. Maybe somebody should make a tablet that actualy resembles a book....oh there is, try googling courier tablet - if that goes the way its planned - it has a purpose. Sorry iPad, if I had a spare £600 in my pocket and didnt already have somthing that does everything it does - but, i still wouldnt come to think of it. But of course they will sell, Apple could sell Gold to somebody dying of thist in the middle of a desert.


Sat Jan 30 2010 3:19AM Report
Papadam writes:

Another blog defending STO and Cryptic??

Yea sure Stradden, you are not a fanboy... But do we really need the head editor to write blogs saying the same thing as the horde of rabid faboys in the forum?

Sat Jan 30 2010 5:26AM Report
E_Z_livN writes:

Hey Stradden

How goes it buddy?  In regard to all the flaming star trek posts I agree with you totally.  People seem to be so bitter these days, it's a shame.  I havent played the game but I am looking forward to checking it out.  I just came out of the last 2 years playing LOTRO.  I really enjoyed that game, especially all the people in the game.  99% of the people in it were really helpful and fun to play with.  You didn't have to deal with a load of children in the game.  Anyway maybe I'll see you ingame.. take care....

Sat Jan 30 2010 12:03PM Report
Thradar writes:

I enjoyed Avatar.

I enjoy STO.

I think the iPad is cool.  It's actually what I want...a bigger iPhone without the annoyances of...a phone. Still waiting on the Flash support info.  No Flash, no sale.  Why buy a device touted for browsing web 2.0 when it may not support Flash.  O_o

Sat Jan 30 2010 1:58PM Report
Terranah writes:

Avatar- It will be listed as one of the classics of sci fi.  3d just takes it to another level.  Cool movie.


STO- Playing and loving it so far.  It's nice having a cool space game AND a land game too.  Can't wait to see how the game develops.


Ipad- Can't afford another monthly fee.  If they make it like the Kindle 2 and its just to download books I might get it.  Also throw in wifi so I can sit on the couch or in my bedroom and get the morning news and stuff...that would help.  But ATT charges too much money already.  I'm paying for 3 phones in my family, plus cable, plus online, plus mmo, etc, etc.  Already too many bills.

Sat Jan 30 2010 2:24PM Report
Cursedsei writes:

Personally, I see nothing special in avatar besides its effects. The story is, and has always seemed to be to me, a rip-off of Pocahontas and a few other flicks. The special effects are not nearly good enough to convince me to see it in theaters. I already know the story so why bother either?

As for STO? Eh. Not a trekky so was never too into the game. Honestly though, it sounds like Cryptic is heading down the same road with it as they have with Champions, i.e., not a good one.

And IPad? Oversized IPhone, nuff said, not worth the cash, no matter how much Steve Jobs tells you it is.

Sat Jan 30 2010 4:02PM Report
Horusra writes:

I think people are up in arms about an agenda in the movie because Cameron said the movie had an agenda.

Sat Jan 30 2010 5:30PM Report
Uronksur writes:



Just kidding, but seriously, the world is practically exploding over it, and I have to admit, I'd like one myself.

Sat Jan 30 2010 7:29PM Report
quickman007 writes:

the ipad looks really stupid. im not a fan of ANY apple inventions. i prefer the pc over the mac and zune over an ipod.

i havnt seen avatat but i heard its AWESOME.

Sat Jan 30 2010 10:53PM Report
Delvie writes:

Avatar - was ok - but I'm not a huge movie person so that is actually saying a lot.

STO - Loving it, warts and all.

iPad - Sympathy to the person who mentioned monthly bills - we just divested the family of all cell phones and cable - we sat down and analyzed exactly how much we really used both - and decided to up our internet connection instead as we use it a whole lot more.  I have a Kindle and love it, I expect iPad will get more attention from me once it hits version 2.

Sun Jan 31 2010 2:31AM Report
Alienovrlord writes:

Saying one likes STO while still saying it's full of flaws makes absolutely no sense.

"Maybe they'll fix it" isn't an excuse.   As long as people keep paying companies to produce garbage that needs fixing then companies will keep making garbage instead of doing it RIGHT.  

MMORPG developers have gotten away with foisting junk onto their customers  because people keep cutting them slack that no other game genre would allow.     Nice job keeping the cycle going.  

Sun Jan 31 2010 4:05AM Report
avalon1000 writes:

 The ipad was a big let down.  My Droid does more than it does (and soon will have flash 10.1).  And the name does not sit well with female consumers.  If you want a real tablet get the HP slate that runs a real OS and does so much more.  Apple is mostly hype.  

Sun Jan 31 2010 1:27PM Report
JacobFlowers writes:

Avatar - Very entertaining, and visually pleasing.

STO - I've been involved with the forums since Dec of '08 and have been active in the community ever since, much more so than for any of the other MMO's I've played. The game has grown on me, and while I find certain aspects of it enjoyable, there are others that simply anger me or make me want to cry. I can understand a lot of the angst and disappointment within the STO community.

  1. For any of those people who have been there for a lengthy amount of time, their disappointment stems from how Cryptic spun the game, and how they built up our expectations. Slowly over time, they began to whittle away at STO cutting things out left and right until all we were left with was a shallow and repititive game.
  2. Then you have a decent amount of Star Trek Fans. This group is pretty much split, as some love the game and some dislike it. Far to many reasons to go into here.
  3. You have the MMO gamers, who either strictly categorize themselves as such, or also happen to be ST fans. These guys (as you know most likely) are the ones looking for (and hoping) for a game that goes beyond the status quo and offers progression. To them, they feel the game to be rather generic or "meh".

One thing I keep hearing from others, is how Cryptic essentially rushed this out the door and dropped the ball what with the vast amount of potential the Star Trek IP offers. What with how mindless and combat centric the game is, many consider it to be a disservice to a beloved franchise. Again, a good lot of these people have been waiting for a good Star Trek game for ages for which we haven't seen the likes of since Star Trek 25th Anniversary.

I personally am impressed with how much Cryptic has been able to cram into completion given a relatively short development cycle and while working concurrently on another MMO (CO). Regardless of this, most people in the gaming industry are less forgiving or understanding.

There have been issues with Cryptic's marketing tactics, and their business practicies which really call into question the company's credibility. (

People have a right to complain and voice their concerns and criticisms just as much as you have a right to exclaim your enjoyment of the game. Some people go to far on either extreme of either being haters or fanboys, I recognize this. But even from my own perspective (as someone who has been openly and reasonable critical of the game), the fanboy's can be just as irrational, disrespectful, and downright annoying as the haters, and in some cases even more so (for their lack of ability to reason).


Sun Jan 31 2010 10:19PM Report
JacobFlowers writes:

P.S. iPad - I feel the same way.

Sun Jan 31 2010 10:20PM Report
ravyne writes:

I absolutely loved Avatar. The visuals are stunning and the story line is fairly in depth. I do have to disagree with you on it not touching some sort of ecological base. Almost every movie ever created has some sort of hidden meaning out there, one just has to see it. Avatar has it as well. However, it doesn't take away from the movie's enjoyment.

As far as Star Trek Online, I would love to play but I'm sure my computer's not up to standards yet. Also, I usually don't test games I know will be P2P because I don't want to get hooked on them before release. I would like an IPad for the same reasons you would, lol. I guess I am a little of a nerdy Trekkie. I just love futuristic technology!

Sun Jan 31 2010 11:05PM Report
Xondar123 writes:

The only reason the author likes STO is because Atari/Cryptic's marketing department pays for ads on this site, for draconian moderation in the STO forum, and for paid shills to fanboy it up.

At the end of beta there were many, many negative threads even on the official forums saying that STO is shallow, incomplete, and also complaining about how Cryptic treats their customers.

If the author wants to be a walking wallet and contribute to the demise of the MMORPG, so be it. Everyone who actually cares about MMOs should avoid STO like the plague.

Mon Feb 01 2010 2:21AM Report
Xondar123 writes:

I hate to double post, but I forgot a few things. First of all, did the author of this piece read the popular "Top Ten Defenses of MMO X" ( article hosted on this very site? These arguments are what are normally called "logical fallacies," meaning they don't make logical sense. The author actually crammed quite a few of them into his bit about STO, which indicates to me that he can't actually defend the game logically.

He complains that the "trolls/haters" "think that this game is going to do poorly or fail have to come over and stomp on my fun and the fun of anyone else who happens to be enjoying the game?" First of all, if you're letting some random anonymous person on the internet destroy your love for a game by complaining about it, maybe you're simply hiding from the truth that it's a bad game? That, or you have far too thin a skin and you're letting negativity influence you.

The whole bit on STO reads like the editor-in-chief of this site begging people not to bash a game that he admits has issues.

Mon Feb 01 2010 2:34AM Report
Stradden writes:

Umm, the author of this blog WROTE the feature you mention. That feature also doesn't condemn people who like games, it just points out that the arguments both for and against any game are fairly cliched.

Next, I'm not defending STO, I'm saying that I personally like it. That's my opinion and I'm welcome to it just like you're welcome to yours.

By replying the way that you did, you're only highlighting my point. I admitted the game has flaws, I said quite clearly that I can see why some people don't like it. I didn't use any illogical arguments at all.

I also didn't say don't bash a game. There's a difference between expressing a negative opinion of something and going out of your way to scream in the faces of people who disagree with you. A world of difference.

As for the whole ad-space thing you said. Some people see conspiracies everywhere. If that's your thing then fine.

In the future, if you insist on bashing someone for their opinions, it may be helpful to make sure that you have read and fully comprehend the original text rather than raging and proving that you do not.


Mon Feb 01 2010 10:03AM Report
tiDdelz writes:

Alienovrlord that is simply not true. You can still like the core of a game even if it is riddled with flaws.

Mon Feb 01 2010 9:33PM Report
luvboox writes:

Avatar: I enjoyed the movie, mostly because of the great 3D. I can block out preachy messages well enough.

STO: I don't know much about STO, but I got the same bewildering treatment when I decided to play Darkfall- people hounded me with cries that it was a terrible game, a scam, a sure failure, etc. Granted, I've let my subscription slide until a few changes are made, but I enjoyed the core of the game. Not sure why some people feel bound and determined to force my opinion to be the same as theirs.

iPad: Meh. If they had released the iPad with all the features they should have, I would seriously consider it. But with no multitasking, no Flash, no USB ports, no cameras ( I would love to video-chat on a tablet device), and all proprietary connectors, I refuse to bite. There is no excuse for them to have not included these things, other than an iPad 2 (Max-iPad, perhaps?) down the road with the features that should have been their in the first place.

Mon Feb 01 2010 11:17PM Report writes:
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