Darth Vader Delivers Pizza: A 12 Year Old Makes Their Dad Very Proud

Your friendly Star Wars: The Old Republic correspondent is a bit proud today. Whilst having a friend over for a sleepover, the two kids decided to make a movie about a story they’d made up. It just happened that Darth Vader got to play a cameo, including this carefully crafted prop:

(click on pic for full size)


There had been no prompting by me, though I was more than happy to whack on my Darth Vader mask and play the role of pizza boy.

There’s hope for this generation after all.

Standalone Star Wars Spinoff Movies Confirmed

Well this is just a little bit exciting. Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that there may be a ‘few’ spinoff Star Wars movies released alongside the much hyped Episodes 7-9 due for release over the next few years.

The comments were made in an interview to CNBC, which you can watch right here:

There’s rumours one of the first spinoff movies will be a Yoda one, but I’d just about kill for Splinter of the Mind’s Eye movie myself. What about you?

[via Bleeding Cool]

Minecraft and Star Wars: New Map to Download

I love nothing better than a huge Minecraft map that pays tribute to a genre / movie / TV show. There was the stupendous Game of Thrones in Minecraft a few months back. Now, a dedicated bunch have got together to create some iconic parts of the Star Wars universe.

Have a look:

There’s even an oceanic connection with Reece G, a member of the Gamers of Oceania Facebook Group, playing a part.

Kudos to all the creators of this – and if you want the map for yourself you can download it here.

Science fiction or Science fantasy?

We all know what Star Wars is, right? Swords made of light, a mystical energy field that pervades all life, spaceships, heroic (and not so heroic) good guys and dastardly bad guys – all of these are part of what makes Star Wars. The word science rarely comes up when talking about Star Wars. Star Wars is entertainment. It is not even remotely supposed to be factual in any way. So why do some people insist on calling it science fiction?

First we have to define these, and bear with me as I spout more dictionary stuff again. According to Wikipedia:  Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting.

It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a “literature of ideas”. Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possibilities.

The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality, but the majority of science fiction relies on a considerable degree of suspension of disbelief, which is facilitated in the reader’s mind by potential scientific explanations or solutions to various fictional elements.

So, science fiction is, in a nutshell, writing about something that is plausible. It may be totally improbable, but it is POSSIBLE. Spider Robinson, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, all of these people wrote science fiction. There are two basic categories of science fiction, hard and soft. Hard science fiction is where every single thing a writer writes is not only plausible, but probable. Jules Verne was laughed at by some critics when he wrote ‘20000 Leagues Under the Sea.’ Who is laughing now? Submarines like the Nautilus are science fact now. How about ‘From the Earth to the Moon’? Laughable that a man might get to the moon in a capsule. Right? Um, tell that to Neil Armstrong. Jules Verne wrote science fiction, and many writers have taken up his mantle, with great writers and not so great writers all over the charts. Soft science fiction on the other hand, places less emphasis on science and more on the actual story. Heinlein’s work is a bit out there. Anyone who has read ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ will likely agree. Modern day, most writers mix hard science with story and plot devices when science can’t cover things.

George Lucas did not write science fiction.  What he wrote is best described as space opera or science fantasy. This genre also has its roots in the early twentieth century. Also according to Wikipedia:    Space opera is a subgenre of speculative fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities.

Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale. Sometimes the term space opera is used in a negative sense, to denote bad quality science fiction, but its meaning can differ, often describing a particular science fiction genre without any value judgment.

So, by that definition, Star Wars is space opera. But is this a bad thing? We see enough real life marvels in our daily lives, cloned sheep, cars that use no gasoline or that can swim or fly, and other things that would totally astonish someone from less than a hundred years in the past. Take cell phones. The whole idea of having a phone in your pocket was ludicrous until the late 1980s. But now phones are not just phones. Now they are cameras, music players, datebooks, miniature computers with internet capacity…indeed some even have word processing functions. What was fantasy fifty years ago is reality today in many ways. We expect more, and many times more than real life can give us, so we look to entertainment.

Back to Star Wars. Star Wars is, to me anyway, a willing suspension of disbelief. I want to travel to ’A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.’ I want my bad guys to look and act like bad guys. I don’t want the bad guys to act like good guys until they turn around and kill my family because they can. I don’t want to quibble over what tenets of the Mandalorian Code seem out of place or stupid. I want the Mandalorians to be harsh, brutal and at the same time, somewhat honorable. I want them to be worthy enemies, not wimps. I don’t want to get in a long winded argument with someone about how hyperspace would not look like a long blue tunnel, or how parsecs are a unit of distance not time, or how elite troops are supposed to be able to shoot straight. I want to watch Jedi fight Sith and not have to worry about how the heat from the blades would melt the handles. I want to see starfighters fly and not think ‘Why did that X-wing just make a banking turn in outer space? There is nothing for it to bank against…’.

I want to be entertained. I want to have fun. Reality is good, but a smattering of the illogical, of fantasy, is necessary in today’s world or we get jaded. There is too much bad that is seen in today’s world, we need to relax, we need to have something simple that anyone can understand.

George Lucas gave us a simpler view in 1977. Empire was bad, Rebellion was good. Sith were bad, Jedi were good. Things have changed significantly since then. Some people may call the changes good or bad. Personally, I think they are somewhere in between. The Old Republic will likely turn a bunch of our preconceptions of the roles of Jedi and Sith on their heads, and that will probably be a good thing. We need shaking up every so often or we get complacent. And we all know what happens when the good guys get complacent, right?

In conclusion, some people may say Star Wars is science fiction, but they are in error. Science fiction is plausible. Star Wars is not plausible by our ways of thinking, and according to our knowledge of science. But that doesn’t really matter. It is FUN. And that is all that matters, isn’t it?

Picture from: http://paperart.deviantart.com/art/C3PO-and-R2D2-Cubees-122368801

WHAT did that being just say? Profanity in SWTOR

We all know what profanity is. None of us were born yesterday. But…what is it exactly? And why does it exist in Star Wars? Star Wars is a fanciful setting, filled with fanciful beings, so why have such a gritty, not very nice aspect to it?

According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profanity “Profanity are words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, desecrating, or showing disrespect.

The original meaning of the adjective profane (Latin: “in front of”, “outside the temple”) referred to items not belonging to the church, e.g., “The fort is the oldest profane building in the town, but the local monastery is older, and is the oldest building,” or “besides designing churches, he also designed many profane buildings”. Over time, this meaning changed to the current meaning.

Other words commonly used to describe profane language or its use include: cursing, swearing, expletives, dirty words, sentence enhancers, cussing, blasphemy, and irreverent, obscene, foul, indecent, strong, pejorative, choice, bad, or adult language.”

Profanity has most likely existed for as long as long as spoken language has. It is not always a bad thing. Interjections are used in sentences to indicate extreme emotion. Also according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interjection In grammar, an interjection or exclamation is a lexical category used to express an isolated emotion on the part of the speaker (although most interjections have clear definitions). Filled pauses such as uh, er, um, are also considered interjections. Interjections are typically placed at the beginning of a sentence or in a sentence by themselves.

The word “interjection” literally means “thrown in between” from the Latin inter (“between”) and iacere (“throw”). Interjections are generally uninflected function words and have sometimes been seen as sentence-words, because they can replace or be replaced by a whole sentence (they are holophrastic). Sometimes, however, interjections combine with other words to form sentences, but not with finite verbs. When an exclamation point is not needed, a comma can take the place.

Interjections are used when the speaker encounters events that cause emotions. The emotions are often strong (surprise, disgust, joy, excitement, enthusiasm, etc.), but are not necessarily so (boredom, irritation, mild surprise, etc.). However, several languages have interjections that cannot be related to emotions.

The point of this language lesson is that profanity is probably one of the few things that can be recognized in almost any language. It is almost universal. Now, we might not understand what someone says that is profanity in another language, but likely we can get the gist.

It is worth noting that some of the better known science fiction series had profanity that resonate even today. Battlestar Galactica, both the original series and the newer version, had ‘frak’. Example: ‘That frakking piece of frakking junk just frakking frakked up’. Farscape had ‘frell’ which filled the same role, being profanity that would not anger anyone. It is obviously profanity, but it is not any that anyone would know, and it does not call into question anyone’s ancestry, beliefs or any of the other aspects that are usually impacted by profanity.

Star Trek, as it was originally envisioned, did not have profanity. They were supposed to be beyond that. But then, the Klingons came along and they had to have some form of insults for everyone. Calling someone a ‘P’tak’ who is not a Trekkie will probably just get you an odd look. A Trekkie may or may not reply in Klingon and possibly draw his dagger or Bat’leth. Or they might just laugh, depending on the Trekkie.

But in Star Wars, why would we want profanity? Profanity is not nice. But then again, many of the situations in Star Wars are not nice. But at times, being polite is better than being insulting. After all, would you call the real Darth Vader an ‘***hole’ to his face?

I didn’t think so.

Profanity adds a level of realism to the game. Real people, when they drop a wrench on their foot, generally do not say ‘Oh darn that hurt’. Well, not any of the real construction people I used to work with anyway. What they had to say in that kind of situation was not for any kind of online forum anywhere. Many people react in stressful circumstances with profanity as a stress reliever or a distraction of sorts. Soldiers in particular had a reputation for being profane, and it is one that if fairly well deserved. I once heard a master chief petty officer in the United States Navy curse for three solid minutes, without repeating himself. He had cause, mind you. A lower ranked seaman had done something dumb and put civilian lives in jeopardy, mine included. From the dawn of history, soldiers have used profanity to express displeasure at situations, officers or orders. Only in recent years has there been an attempt to curb the use of profanity in the ranks, a more politically correct military, which is an oxymoron if I have ever read one.

Profanity is seen a lower class thing, but that is not always the case. Anyone can use profanity, but it is not usually accepted in the higher levels of society. For instance, there had better be a very good reason for a President say, so speak something profane during a live TV broadcast.

In some cultures, profanity is more accepted than others. For instance, some parts of the Maritimes of Canada seem to have the F-word as a normal figure of speech. It shocked the heck out of me the first time I heard a six year old talking that way and his mother leaned over to me and said “It’s okay, that is just how we F-ing talk up here.”  You could have knocked me over with a feather. It is not insulting; it is just part of how they talk. That kid had no clue what it meant. It was just part of how he had grown up. My own mother would have literally washed my mouth out with soap at that age for saying that. She did it to my sister for that exact word.

In Star Wars, it is supposed to be a family friendly series and it shows. DarthDerriphan on the TOR forums actually put together a list of profanity that was used in the movies, shows, books, comics, etc. Swearing in a galaxy far, far away… It’s a long list. It helps add character to various beings in the Star Wars universe. They can act like real people.  Real people get emotional, get angry and say things that they sometimes regret. But sometimes not. Jabba the Hutt calling someone an ‘Echutta’ is obviously not a compliment. Boba Fett calling Han Solo ‘Son of a Barve’ likewise.

It adds another level of immersion to the game, to the story, when the characters act like real people. For instance, in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, Joker is NOT politically correct, but he more than makes up for it in piloting ability. If he drops profanity all the time, no one minds, because he is the greatest piloting things since sliced bread.

I personally think there should be a language filter for any game that children (Under the age of 13 when they likely know all of the words and more) will play. But I am old fashioned. Or am I?

What do you think? Profanity in Star Wars or no?

Image courtesy of: http://blastmagazine.com/2010/08/04/dj-qbert-joins-dj-hero-2-lineup/