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March 16, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-16

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, March 16, 2009 - 5A

Give me discs,
not downloads

There's something beau-
tiful about a compact
disc. First, there's its
circular shape, which symbolizes
the unending -
cycle of death,
rebirth and a
life of gaming.
Then there's its
art, a teaser of
the wondrous
beauties to be JMSr E
witnessed upon BLOCK
a game's instal-
lation; the physical solidity of the
thing - the fact that you can hold
a disc in your hand and just stare
at it for a minute, letting the feel-
ing sink in: "This game is gonna
be fucking awesome."
But games on discs are slowly
becoming obsolete. The first
things to go are expansion packs,
which, especially on consoles, are
starting to be available exclusively
as downloads. Something just
doesn't feel right about this. The
vicious behemoth some blindly
call "the Internet" is already
devouring physical, paper-bound
books as we know them. Why
does it have to prey on games, too?
Now, the matter is obviously
different for games than it is for
books. When a book is put online,
the format in which people read
it changes. Yet no matter how you
go about buying the game, you
still play it on the same screen.
What the disappearance of the
disc means for gamers is an end
to the wondrous process of buy-
ing a video game and anticipating
playing it.
Some of my favorite childhood
moments were spent in Best Buy.
I would rush into the store and
make a mad dash for the game
I wanted. Once I got my grubby
little fingers on it, I would turn
it over in my hands, reading
every single letter printed on the
shiny and colorful new hox, right
down to the distribution info and
seizure warnings. Once I had
scanned it thoroughly, I would
walk up and down the aisles
looking at the vast array of other
games and watching the bigger
kids play demos, all the while
clutching the box tightly to make
sure nobody tried to steal it.
.As soon as we got back to the
car - if I could wait that long - I
would rip off the plastic and open
the box, finally beholding the disc
itself. As I did with the box's text,
I would diligently scour every
page of the instruction booklet,
stopping only when we got home
and I could finally experience the
game first-hand. These were fun
But today's youth are simul-
taneously spoiled and deprived
by their own impatience. Sure,
when you download a game right
to your system you can play it
right away, but where's the fun in
that? Nobody plays any one game

forever, so it's not like you're los-
ing any play time by going on an
adventure to the store to pick the
game up yourself.
Also, the last thing gamers need
is a way to become even more
sedentary. In the world of yester-
year, you could always buy a game
on Amazon.com.without leaving
your house. But at least you had
to get off the couch and go over to
the computer. And then, when the
game arrived, you had to open the
door to get it, possibly even get-
ting some much-needed fresh air
in the process.
But there's also an economic
aspect to those sneaky game pub-
lishers' decision to move online:
They're killing the used game
market. Sure, you'll still be able
to sell your old Xbox and Game-
cube games, but for how long?
As newer systems come out, the
market for retro gamingbecomes
narrower and narrower. And the
older the system, the harder it is
to find a functioning console.
Games that are downloaded
can't be bought and sold after
the initial purchase. They're on
Taking games
out of stores
takes the heart
out of games.
.your hard drive, and that's where
they're staying. It's a sinisterly
clever move by the game compa-
nies, who are basically assuring
themselves financially by mak-
ing everyone who wants to play
a game on their own console by
their own copy. You can't even
horrow from a friend anymore.
The advent of the downloadable
game is going to have unforesee-
able consequences on stores like
GameSpot and the local Get Your
Game On, so I won't attempt to
foresee their futures with any
particular degree of specificity.
But suffice it to say this: A store
that sells video games will have a
hard time making it when video
games are no longer sold in stores.
Whether you're a retro kid
like me who thinks that discs
and game boxes are just plain
pretty or a hardcore gamer who's
worried that he won't be able to
mooch his friend's copy of the
next "Grand Theft Auto," there's
something just plain wrong about
selling games solely via down-
load. Besides, the Internet is
probably just a fad.

School in France: Pretty good actuall

At the top of its class

'The Class' offers a gritty,
realistic view of teaching in
inner-city schools
Daily Film Editor
The line between truth and fiction is expertly
manipulated in "The Class," a
French docudrama that won
the Golden Palm at last year's
Cannes Film Festival. The class
The film is about the teach-
er of an inner-city middle At the
school in Paris and his stu- Michigan
dents, who hail from several Sony
different racial and socioeco-
nomic backgrounds. Director Laurent Cantet

("Heading South") achieves an incredible sense
of realism for a scripted film, thanks to constant
improvisation, use of non-professional actors
and fly-on-a-wall filmmaking techniques. "The
Class" will transport even the most jaded view-
ers back to the trials and turmoil of their middle
school years.
The source material for the film is a 2006
semi-autobiographical novel by former teacher
Francois Begaudeau. Begaudeau co-wrote the
screenplay and stars as the teacher in "The
Class" who is also named Francois.
His students are played by the real-life stu-
dents at the school where the movie was filmed.
The students gave up five weeks of their sum-
mer vacation to sit in a cramped classroom and
be filmed yelling at their "teacher." When kids
are sacrificing their vacations in the name of
higher art, something magical must be at work.
The students' parents in the film, who make

brief appearances during parent-teacher confer-
ences, also play themselves. Their scenes high-
light ever-present cultural borders between
teacher and parent - when Frangois attempts
to tell one mother about her boy's troublemak-
ing habits, he is distraught to find she doesn't
speak French.
For its first half, "The Class" refuses to devel-
op a coherent storyline, instead dealing frankly
with the many issues that present themselves
in the educational system. In focusing on little
details like the effort it takes Francois to quiet
his students at the start of class every day, "The
Class" further cements its status as a refresh-
ingly realistic tale about the educational sys-
tem. There are no angel-like.Robin Williams or
Edward James Olmos types barreling in with
their amazing teaching abilities to sweep the .
students off their feet. Here the kids are often

Fighting to relive pop-punk's heyday

ruled t
ple Plan
41 c
the con
by addi.
and sci
to their
result, t

By DAVID RIVA the top of the "TRUL" charts, made
DailyArts Writer countless girls scream and placed
the Warped Tour high atop many
ember when pop-punk teenagers' summer to-do lists.
he world? Then something predictable
like Good * happened: The novelty of three-
te, Sim- minute songs with three-chord
and Sum New Found guitar progressions wore off. By
hallenged 2004, spiky hair and nasally vocals
aventional Glory were a thing of the past.
id mold Not Without But New Found Glory didn't
ngguitars a Fight seem to notice. The band success-
ssor kicks Epitaph fully defied the odds and remained
on-stage a relevant relic in a fading scene.
ires. As a Tireless work ethic and relentless
hey consistently climbed to touring have earned the band a cult

following and made it one of pop- from this overused and often stale
punk's elite acts. subject matter or the traditional
On Not Without a Fight, NFG verse-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus
continues to spread its infec- formula. It shouldn't come as a sur-
prise. Pop-punk has never been an
overly progressive genre, favoring
Success be a consistent, fan-friendly sound
over musicainnovation.
danred. The classic NFG sound is alive
. and well on "Don't Let Her Pull
You Down." The song's chugging
guitar and continuous repetition of
tious sound with fist-pumping the title are dangerously similar to
sing-alongs about girls, broken "My Friends Over You," the band's
hearts and failed relationships. most recognizable single. Still, the
The album never deviates too far See NEW FOUND GLORY, Page 8A



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