Friday, February 15, 2008

My New, Very Guilty Addiction: Def Jam ICON

Okay, guilty indulgence time. After two years of me dropping thinly veiled hints and waiting for the price to drop (not to mention those bugs), AverageSis finally bought me a PlayStation 3 for Christmas. Except for AverageToddler, this was prolly the bestest present I've gotten since I was in like primary school or something.

I'm not too big on playing anything other than sports games with the limited time I do have (specifically NBA 2K8 and College Hoops 2K8), which means I don't really really take prime advantage of the real power of the system. But I'm just not really into those shoot em' up and fighting games. Or so I thought. The other day I found myself in my local GameStop, which is more or less a used video game store. While perusing the shelves for a pre-owned copy of Madden 08' (games for this thing are like $59, so why not buy a used copy for much less?), I stumbled across Def Jam ICON, the latest in a series of rap music influenced fighting games branded by the actual music label. The game allows you to choose popular rappers like Ludacris, T.I., Lil' Jon, Big Boi from Outkast, Mike Jones, Fat Joe, etc. and put them in typical hip-hop environments (the club, the trap, but sadly not the mall) where they duke it out Fight Club-style.

Righteous dude that I am, I just couldn't resist the temptation of bringing motion picture styled black-on-black violence right into my own home. I mean, it was only $17!

Check this out. Warning: NSWF Language and Violence, so cop those headphones first.


Even better is the Build A Label feature that allows you to design your own low level henchman, work your way into an A&R job by beating up paparazzi and shady management for rappers like Paul Wall, and eventually juggle the day-to-day operations of your label, allocating funds for airplay, promotions, etc. As you work you way up you can "date" groupies, and amass material goods, outfitting your character in the latest gear, jewels, and tatts. It's like a 50 Cent album come to (virtual) life.

Awww hell, who are we kidding: This is all about the fighting!!!

Black men run over other black men with 64 Impalas on 30 inch rims. Black men throw other black men against a wall of speakers in a strip club. Black men slam other black men's heads into baby grande pianos. It is sensationalized, over the top intraracial violence at it's best (worst?), and I am SOOOO addicted to it.

But as soon as I turn the game off, I start feeling really, really guilty. Of course my son (nor for that matter wife) is never around when I'm playing it, but something just feels soooo wrong about the whole thing. Would I feel differently if the game was Asians beating up Guatemalans or something? Maybe, but I can't really say since I'm not well versed enough in other similar fighting games to make that call.

Since I know many of my AverageCommenters are non-gamers, two questions today.

1. Non-Gamer's Question: Do you have a potentially questionable guilty addiction? If so, share it you know where.

2. Gamer's Question: Should I feel a tinge of regret at playing this ultra-violent game, and if I don't, what does that say about my (or anyone else's) regard for the value of a black life? In short, should I stop playing this game or is it merely harmless fun?

Weigh in early and often, you know where.

Def Jam ICON Website []

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