Mortal Kombat X came out late last night, and I took some time to mess with it. I was having a good time, minding my own business with the story mode and enjoying myself. You know what? This is a pretty good-looking game, I must say:

It looks great, plays well, and has a fairly interesting character selection.

During a match, I paused the game to get a look at the movelist for my character, and I saw this:

I like a lot about this. I like the quick reference to the special moves. My eye moves down, sees “Easy Fatalities.” I remember hearing them talk about this on one of their pre-release streams – simplified button inputs for the series’ trademark ultra-violent finishing moves.

You know what? That sounds pretty cool. Not everyone has the ability to put in those commands within the timing window available. I think to myself, “That’s a pretty cool feature.”

There’s a red skull icon next to the commands; I think nothing of this as there’s also an icon that’s to the left of some of the special moves because they are limited to a specific character variation. No biggie. Later in the night, I’m wrapping up and I’m sitting at the main menu.

I figure I’ll take a look at the Store and see what’s in there; I already have the DLC pass as I bought the special edition at discount. Wonder what else is in there?

Oh, OK. So they are going to take lazy people’s money. That’s fine; I’m not lazy so I won’t bite, but sure – go ahead and take what you can. I’m sure some people will throw down an additional $20. (BTW, this would make the game cost $110 at this point if you also bought the season pass.)

Next page:


This causes me to double-take. And I look at the pause screen yet again:

It’s not just an icon. It’s a consumable. OK, I guess, sure, I’m not going to use this, but that’s a bit dodgy that you put the command inputs that make people spend bits of money on the pause screen and hide the real deal behind another button press, but sure, whatever—I’m starting to expect this out of AAA games.

This morning it hits me—they are putting a microtransaction price on accessibility. The simplified button inputs, combined with other system and button-level changes on the PS4, would definitely help people who need accessibility options play this game, but this is a pay-to-play lock on content for people who might need the command assistance.

You (and everyone else) should be angry about this. Games already have enough of a problem with being accessible to everyone. Now we need to put something that would be honestly helpful behind a paywall?

WB Games/NetherRealm Studios, I urge you to do the right thing and make Easy Fatalities a non-consumable feature. Charge for other things. I know I and probably a lot of other people would buy some skins for the fighters that have some nostalgia or other hook to them. I’m willing to bet there will be purchasable characters beyond the season pass, just like you did with Injustice. And I’m perfectly OK with that; it’s part of the business now.

Accessibility shouldn’t be something that goes behind a microtransaction paywall.

You know what? I probably don’t even have to type out this entry because you saw the image up above there, so you should understand.

Or maybe, your response is:

“Wait a minute. Did he post the wrong image? I distinctly remember seeing a gin and tonic up near the title of this post.”


Friends, I did not post the wrong image. I will repeat it here, inline, so you may behold this rather amazing(ly bad) response to my request for a dry Hendrick’s martini:


Your next response should be, “Dear God, Ryan, what did you order? Are you sure you did not order a gin and tonic? With two olives for some unfathomable reason?”

For your information, this is how I order a martini:

  • What gin you do you have?
  • (When the response is inevitably “What gin do you want?” which is a horrible answer that translates to “I don’t care enough about drink orders to memorize the list”) Do you have Hendrick’s?
  • I’ll take a martini with Hendrick’s—extra dry—like desert dry, Sahara—you know what, why don’t you just wave at the vermouth and say “hi” to it instead of putting any in the martini?
  • Don’t shake it.
  • No, really, don’t shake it. Stirred. Yes, stirred.
  • Oh, and two olives, please.

The above is how I ordered the martini at the otherwise moderately OK Tavern on Main for our CrossFit gym’s annual Christmas party. (Open bar = Martini Time.)

Again, this is what I received:



  1. That’s a rocks glass, not a martini glass. Hence this is already not a martini. I don’t even need to discus this further, were it not for the fact that—
  3. I think we can safely stop there, yes?

So I ordered a dry martini, and what I received in response was basically a glass of iced gin.


Yes, I drank it. Did you really think I was going to let that gin go to waste? I had to drink it rather quickly so as not to end up with a lot of ice melt in my drink, but gin is gin and cold gin is delicious.

I didn’t order another one, though.

From my Twitter feed just now:

Interest isn’t the problem, unnamed guy in this conversation. Women are already interested in games. They are playing games in huge numbers. They are interested in what games have to offer and are broadening the market in ways I couldn’t have predicted, both in terms of consumption and in terms of creation.


Nothing needs to be fixed regarding my wife’s interest in games. Or my daughters’, which for them started from a very early age—and I doubt we are alone in the influence we’ve had on our children being engaged and interested in games.

It’s not a matter of interest. It’s a matter of a toxic culture that takes that interest and then stomps on it. That culture is created and fostered by the men that already inhabit these spaces. It does everything it can to take that interest and convince women that games and gaming communities aren’t for them, then tries to hide the responsibility by saying “this isn’t broken, or at least if it’s broken, it’s not our fault, it’s just how it is.”

Chris Klimek, The Dissolve:

I still had to pedal my bike to a video store to get these movies back then. In 2014, the idea of impressionable tweens requiring protection from upsetting material they encounter in a movie theater is a similarly quaint notion. The most lasting effect of the PG-13 rating seems to be that it’s kept most mainstream pictures clear of the profanity and sexual candor that populates critically acclaimed cable dramas. Is it coincidence that while major studios have never been less inclined to invest in movies that won’t sell toys, or open huge in non-English-speaking countries, the quality of television storytelling is the strongest it’s ever been?

It’s long been obvious that movie studios’ blind adherence to “keep it PG-13 so the teens can give you their money” has been holding back artistic vision. As the article later states, once the budget reaches a certain value, it’s likely that creators lose control over the audience they wish to target.

I was going to link to this article from Business Insider about the whole GamerGate nonsense (and I have a link dump post on it coming soon), but this comment on that article pretty much sums up the attitude of a lot of the pro-GG community:

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.00.43 AMLET’S DISCUSS:

  1. “Smack talk” isn’t the right descriptor for what people say in these online games, let’s say—I don’t know—”harassment,” and it’s the primary reason I—A MALE—have my chat muted except for people I know at pretty much all times, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like for women, and
  2. Doing these things is NEVER OK. It’s not a joke. It’s not acceptable. It’s not in good fun. It’s just horrible, detestable behavior and we need to find a way to root it out.
  3. Don’t read the comments. Unless it’s my blog, where you can read the comments and even leave one yourself if you want with the understanding that I’m going to moderate it BECAUSE I CAN.
  4. Just. NO.


I’ve been having a lot more problems with Simple as of late, and I noticed when logging in this morning that some additional information was available concerning the one that’s been the most annoying:

Balance Display Issues: Some settled charges may not immediately reduce your displayed Available balance or Safe-to-Spend. This is temporary and all displayed balances will update when another transaction posts to your account.

Check Hold Display Issues: When a check hold expires, funds are released to your account, but the hold may still be visible in your transaction list and your balance may not appear to increase. When another transaction posts to your account, your displayed balance will update to reflect the new check funds.

So let me get this straight.

Simple—a banking service I switched my disposable income to because it was miles ahead of any other bank when it came to mobile usage and funds movement—now has a hard time accurately displaying how much of your money they have. And there is no notification as to when this might ever be fixed.

I’ve already overspent a goal twice because the amount they say I have isn’t the amount I have. It’s only a matter of time before a payment is declined for something I thought I had the money for.

Simple now doesn’t even qualify as a basic service bank because the service can’t perform arithmetic properly.

Last night in Ferguson (which is around 30 miles from where I am in the St. Louis metro) was a crazy series of happenings, with the arrests of several people in the media, one elected St. Louis city official, and numerous protesters.

Some reports showed/described members in the crowd responding to the police firing control measure by throwing molotovs back in the direction of the police.

It’s been clear from the start that the County PD is largely at fault for what’s going on here. They are the ones with the heavy gear and the armored vehicles, and they have been named as being in charge of the site.

Now comes a handful of news tweets about what’s going on. First, a state representative claims that the county PD is being relieved from the scene today:

Then, the Ferguson PD chief (who is completely in over his head right now) is planning on two press conferences, one around noon and one around 6 p.m.:

And almost right after, that there will be a statement from the President just after 11 CT:

So now, we wait. Does this mean that the police presence is merely being disbanded? Or does this mean that we’ll be seeing the National Guard and a real curfew tonight?

I can tell you which will make things worse.