Saturday, June 18, 2016

Middle Ground for Gun Control Debate

If the extreme views were taken out of the gun debate and people could come together in the middle, there would be no trouble passing sensible gun laws but each side is entrenched in their beliefs and feelings about guns and each side has their extreme views, propagated further by their own media outlets, about the extreme measures that should be taken to push forward what they think is right. Neither is necessary to ban all guns nor allow them outright to everyone and anyone who wants them.

Starting with the pro-gun position, gun enthusiasts assertion that if everyone is allowed guns, then everyone would be safer falls flat when you realize several things. First, not everyone wants a gun or would get a gun. In fact, the people who want it most are gun enthusiasts and the crazy people that gun enthusiasts say you should get a gun to protect yourself against. Second, not everyone who gets a gun would be trained well in using that gun; in fact, crazy people will probably have spent more time and effort training than the average person with a gun and come prepared to commit their crimes. And third, there isn't a law abiding citizen with a gun everywhere we go protecting us, mass shootings still happen even in states where gun laws are lax.

Another thing they cite is that places which have strict gun control laws such as Chicago. Ignoring the fact that Chicago is just one city, that numerous countries have strict gun control laws and very little gun crime compared to America, they do not consider where these guns come from. Criminals go to other states like Indiana where gun laws are less strict and they buy guns and smuggle them into Chicago where they sell them to gangs. Furthermore, just as the culture of guns is a culture which has several factors that need to be addressed, gang violence has several factors that require more than gun control to address.

Finally, in response to those who say that criminals get guns anyways, it should be said simply that laws are for the law abiding to act responsibly and for criminals to be deterred from committing crimes. Law abiding, gun loving people should have no fear of these laws, they can still have their guns, collect them, pull them out on a criminals/potential mass shooters, and whatever else they love doing with guns within the law.

Regarding the side which speaks against guns, they claim that we can live without guns in our society but right now, the culture or attachment Americans have to guns and/or the right to own guns seems counter to that; it isn't something which will go away over night and taking an extreme stance only entrenches gun enthusiasts in their fears. Furthermore, whether you think it is of the home or of your person anywhere you go, self-defense is a legitimate reason to own a gun as is hunting for some people. Some countries with stricter gun laws than US still allow for gun ownership for such reasons.

Lastly, those who speak against guns need to stick to one issue, keeping the guns out of the wrong peoples hands. People who have a violent criminal record, history of psychological issues, or history domestic abuse issues, it shouldn't be unreasonable that anyone who wants a gun should have a background check to see that they do not fall under such categories; as mentioned previously, a law abiding, gun loving person should have no fear or owning guns if at least such conditions are passed in law. Then there are children, why would you give children guns unless you're shooting with them under supervision such as in hunting? Would you give them your car to drive around freely as well?

Other issues such as what kind of guns are allowed or ammo is allowed is more nuanced but I thought these issues in particular are important to talk about as they're brought up a lot when terrible mass shootings occur or other acts of gun violence.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Form and Spirit in Islam

It seems a lot very pious dressing and acting Muslims find it necessary to tell others how to practice their faith in the guise of dawah or tarbiyyat but they end up telling those brothers and sisters that they're kufr or hinting at them going to it and other similar "threats".

It's quite apparent that the Muslim ummah is in quite a bit of disarray due to centuries of degradation and the strengthening of ignorant religious leaders and fanatics. It is in ahadith too that a day would come that there would be 72 sects, that all of Islam that would be left is the forms but no belief, that the clerics would be the worst creatures under the heavens, and so forth.

I'd like to focus on the second prophecy because it really shows in such people who like to label other kuffar and tell others what is right and wrong. Without all the judgmental and forceful nature, they might actually be really good people but instead they come off as arrogant and hypocritical. There was a particular incident recently which I'd like to share to make my point.

I saw an argument escalate on twitter where a friend told another who was worried about having waxed her eyebrows that if you're not worried about covering your head or wearing makeup, eyebrows shouldn't be a serious issue. She proceeds to take offense that she's judging her but in reality, my friend who was giving the advice was trying to make a point that there many other things she can work on little by little aside from her appearance.

The offended person goes on to say my friend wasn't a real Muslim and used several profane words alongside being quite angry. Forget her appearance, she was doing all this and judging others all while fasting. She couldn't see that she had bigger issues than having her eyebrows waxed could send her to hell. From what I can gather, she was either a convert or previously liberal Muslim who "found God" and became super "religious" and started hanging out with the "holier than thou art" crowd who probably influenced her to start practicing such things.

I wont get into whether or not plucking eyebrows is "haraam" b/c a woman's body is her business and there's more I look for in a woman as a person than her eyebrows. My point is that in her search for truth and Allah taalah, instead of focusing on self-improvement, she focused a lot more on the practices of the faith and from the looks of it, those that suited her best. This isn't unique to her but she showcased it quite well IMO.

People have forgotten, as the ahadith prophesied, that Islam isn't just forms, you need the spirit and passion as well. They forget that when Islam was revealed, Muhammad (saw) didn't just tell all the men to have beards and the women wear abayas, the teachings revealed early on in Mecca and the early part of Medina were mainly those of improving and strengthening the spirit and will of the Muslims so that they could ease into the practice. He didn't tell them to smash their containers of wine and free their slaves the first day but when that time came, the streets flowed with wine and slaves were freed in the hundreds and eventually the thousands.

Another friend of mine who's in my community wear's a bushy beard (trimmed mind you) and that's uncommon in my community b/c it is usually associated w/ extremists, especially those who shave their mustaches off (he hasn't). However, he said that he went through a lot of truth seeking and self-improvement before he decided on it. More specifically, he stated that when a person delves into something he believes to be true enough and his faith strengthens, he will automatically want to adopt the forms and practices also.

I have seen this in another twitter friend who did not wear the hijab and all these people kept pushing her to do it and she eventually told them to back off. Much later though, after much prayer and soul searching, she picked it up of her own accord and belief in Islam, not by anyone's force or guilt tripping. That I believe is what many of these haughty and judgmental Muslims fail to see. It is because of this Islam is seen as some extreme faith that seeks to subjugate others and they hurt both the cause of Islam and their own spirituality by judging others and only practicing things that make them look more righteous.

Form is meaningless without the spirit and it's because of people who act otherwise or think that form alone leads to spirit that many liberal or moderate Muslims who have much spirit but lack in form don't improve it because they see these staunch "defenders of the faith" and they don't want to become that. If people believed and behaved more moderately and with more tolerance, they would show a better example to everyone but instead, they drive away others in their fanatical beliefs and goals.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hadrat Khadija (ra) was the Exception, not the Rule

Someone mentioned on twitter how if Hadrat Khadija (ra) was the prototype of pre-Islamic women, then Muslim women today are worse off then the women then.

https://twitter.com/CEMB_forum/status/308332457005027330

It makes a number of general assumptions which are used to support its absurd comparison.

First, not all Muslim women are oppressed today; certainly, many women in villages in Pakistan/Afghanistan or more dictatorial societies like KSA or Iran are oppressed but in the same societies, you'll find many women from feudal families or families w/ big businesses or political pull who have a lot of wealth, education, and freedom and many don't even practice hijab. In the west, you'll find even more professional women, hijabi and non-hijabi, who are middle class, independent, and educated. Similarly, to just assume off of one individual that all pre-Islamic women were better off w/o Islam is downright ignorant and insensitive to those women who suffered before Islam and suffered at the hands of pre-Islamic people for joining Islam. There were women who were given an opportunity thanks to wealth, status, good men, etc. and were free but many women were also quite oppressed as they are today in Muslim countries.

Second, the baseless assumption here is the Islam practiced today by Muslims everywhere is practiced the same way it was 1400 years ago. The reality they ignore, and probably why they left Islam, is that much of the oppression stems from cultural practices of pre-Islam. You look at the abusive nonsense they do in Pakistan for example, it's very similar to what Hindus or Sikhs do but no one would ever assert their religions made them worse off than before. Even how KSA implements Islam can be traced back to the restrictive bedouin roots of the House of Saud. That in itself shows that the state of Muslims around the world but mainly in the Muslim countries has not remained stagnant and has in fact reverted in some places to pre-Islamic practices. In India and Pakistan for example, some people abort their babies while in the womb b/c they find they are girls or they feel shame from having a girl; before Islam, they would wait for them to be born, then go out back, and then bury them.

Third, why would the woman who had it all before the advent of Islam stick with the man who taught the faith that was allegedly more oppressive than pre-Islam? She still had her business and family to fall back on and if the society was so enlightened, they'd have helped her b/c a good bulk of them already hated Muhammad (saw) for preaching Islam. Yet, she pushed for him to preach Islam and carry out the message for 9 long years in which she gave birth to many children.

On a final note, I'd like to take a moment to discuss how a woman like Khadijah (ra) may have come into the position she was in. She had a lot of wealth and property and she was a widow so it's possible her husband may have been a good natured person who loved his wife. Alternatively, he may have been a Christian and not have believed in the super patriarchal culture of the Arabs; after all, she had a cousin named Waraqa and perhaps have had no issue w/ differences of belief, something which may have gotten her in the position she was in.

Other women in her time whom were prominent were the wives of the uncles of Muhammad (saw), some of which not only led and incited the persecution of Muslims but after many joined Islam, they became very active amongst Muslims. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan who at one times was the greatest enemy of Muhammad (saw), pre-Islam had a slave assassinate one of Muhammad's (saw) close uncles and then had his body mutiliated; post-Islam, she forced the return of retreating Muslims to battle.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Real (Muslim) Men don't beat their wives REDUX

Note: If you haven't read my first post on this (hence REDUX), read it first.

So I was thinking more about this subject for a while now where there are other safeguards for women in Islam and marriage that both critics of Islam and fanatics who impose their savagery on women forget both out of selective reading and lack of serious attempt to understand the reasoning behind certain things like why is "beating" your wife even brought up? I've already addressed that in my previous post about the subject but now I will discuss a point that has been brought to my attention both on twitter and the same debate that made me write my previous post on wife beating in Islam.

I've gone over everything I could think of that proves that a woman is not allowed to be hurt in anyway no matter how much of ruckus she causes for the family but I want to go back to the point about tapping her with a feather or toothbrush which the lady in the video kept bringing up. It didn't occur to me then but from a woman on twitter who had lost much of her faith in Islam, even if a man does this w/o even thinking how stupid he looks doing it, the act of him using an implement on her to express anger can be emotionally scarring. It represents that he sees and treats her like a slave or servant.

Again, I'm putting aside all the safeguards in the previous post that would just stop a man from doing anything more than harsher than a divorce (which I will elaborate on later actually). I want to discuss what would happen if a man takes full advantage of this and uses a toothbrush or feather or whatever to hit his wife. There are 2 things that are obviously not going through his head when he does this. The first is what the Islam says about a woman beating her husband and the second is what the Islam says about divorce. As far as I know, it's only hate, anger, and pride, all of which Islam is against.

On the first part, the Qur'an doesn't say anything about a wife hitting her husband other than what isn't already stated about any Muslim, man or woman, hitting another Muslim. I already pointed out in my previous post how the verse on wife "beating" can be interpreted as her being abusive toward her husband. She's already angry with him and being abusive towards him for it so striking her with anything whether it's a feather or toothbrush isn't gonna change that she's coming at him with a frying pan when she was previously only punching him or something.

It's not a last resort simply b/c it's wrong to hit women or it will look stupid considering the restrictions, it's a last resort b/c God knows the first 2 measures, talking out a problem and then total separation for an extended amount of time, will work fine on its own. To my knowledge and understanding, those who beat their wives, toothbrush or fist, do it as a first resort, never last but instead the only resort. They just see their ignorant interpretation of the Qur'an to be ignominious punks and go all out like the dogs they are. Contemptible savages are contemptible savages no matter what their belief.

The second part is a reference to the rights of either gender to divorce. This is actually another issue many anti-Islam people bring up, that women must ask permission for a divorce from a judge and if he doesn't grant it, well, tough cookie. The truth is, a woman has a far easier time gaining a divorce than a man does. What has been interpreted as the reverse is the result of ignorance and fanatics being in charge of many religious courts in countries such a Pakistan where they turn every law in Islam made to protect women into a law made to condemn them.

It is true, a woman does need the permission of a judge to divorce but let us examine actually the smallest reason a woman needs to gain a divorce from the ahadith. A woman approached Muhammad (saw) regarding divorcing her husband. He asked her two things, first, did he beat her? She said no. Second, did he cheat on her? She said no. He asked then why she wanted to divorce and, to paraphrase, she said she didn't love him and for that, Muhammad (saw) gave her a divorce. In contrast, for a man's divorce which is described in great detail in the Qur'an, he must wait 3 months so that he should rethink his divorce and reconcile with her.

So think about it, if a woman is so emotionally hurt by a husband who strikes her with a feather that she loses any affection for him, all she has to say is that she doesn't love him or better yet, say that she was hurt by his action. The worst that can happen from a divorce by a woman, not counting the breakup of a family, mind you, is that she has to return her dowry that he gave her though at least there is no strenuous disputes over who gets what, having to deal with someone who is revolting to the woman.

In summary, beating your wife is not cool or Islamic and even trying to do it "Islamically" will make you look stupid, the point of it all, it might backfire even more violently, and the woman might just leave you for being an idiot. Furthermore, if you think you're at the stage where you need to beat your wife, you really aren't and you should talk more with her or separate if you haven't already or stay separate for a little while longer b/c that's even what Muhammad (saw) did. No feather, sticks, toothbrushes, or fists touched his wives.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pamela Gellar's Hateful Advertisement

As with the slanderous movie against Prophet Muhammad (saw), the latest ads being put up in the NYC subway and now the DC metro by Pamela Gellar should not require a rocket scientist to show that they are hateful. She has made it clear she does not like Islam or Muslims and has allied with groups and people such as the EDL and Robert Spencer who are on a Crusade of a sort against Islam and the so-called "Islamization" of the West. Nevertheless, people are confused as to why they should be offensive and again their ignorance is both harmful to the people being offended and harmful to any effort of interfaith and intercultural harmony. Therefore, this rocket scientist will try to explain why they are hateful to him and many other people.

Here is the ad:

 
The first part is a broad insult to humanity. Throughout history, more advanced civilizations have eradicated and/or conquered lesser developed civilizations and/or different cultures by saying that they were "savages". Th Americas, Africa, and Australia involved long wars of aggression against people who already inhabited an area of land based on the case that they were Godless savages that needed to be saved. The so-called "civilized man" therefore resorted to slavery and butchery of millions of people over hundreds of years that have left deep rooted hatred and ill-feelings till this day and a mark of shame upon humanity. To then say that such conflicts are justified is insulting to our growth as humanity.

The second part deals specifically with the actual conflict between the Israelis and it's enemies or those who practice "Jihad". Those who support the ad say that it is obviously about the Israelis fighting groups like Hamas and Hezbollah but if that is the case, why does it say Jihad and not Islamists or terrorism and so forth? Jihad is an Islamic concept, yes, and Islamists are Muslim, albeit it pretty cruddy ones, but so are over a billion others that do not support Islamists and their methods of fighting and they certainly do not all support their definition of Jihad. This part is where the prejudice of it's author comes to light.

Because of this, the ad is made into a religious matter as opposed to a political one which is what it really is and in the process, the religion and its followers are made out as savages. The truth is that Jihad is a broad concept that is practiced by all Muslims and of which the majority practice it to better themselves and convey a message of peace on behalf of their faith and not violence. Jihad means struggle or striving in Arabic and not Holy War which is what opponents of Islam have propagated and Islamists have furthered through their wrong actions. There are 2 types of Jihad: the Greater Jihad and the Lesser Jihad.

The former is the Jihad which all Muslims practice in themselves and outwardly through their words and actions. They strive to better themselves as Muslims and also promote a message and image of Islam which shows it's true beauty. The latter is the Jihad which is practiced in defense of persecution when there is an active effort by an enemy to stop the worship of God not just by Muslims but people of all faiths. This too requires unity among the Muslims to carry out but as they are divided and their governments are of a political nature and not religious as some will push that they are, there is no legitimate use of it in modern times. It's illegitimacy is even more apparent when we see conflicts between Muslim countries being coined Jihad by both sides such as the Iran-Iraq war in the 80s.

Therefore, the practice of Jihad by the majority of Muslims at large is a peaceful one, not one of violence. Those who claim they are waging Jihad against countries like Israel and the US are misguided and it shows when they cannot form any unity with other Muslims on such fronts and when their methods involve targeting civilians. Israel and the US technically do not persecute people by law and the rights of all are technically guaranteed. There is no declared program to wipe out any particular faith though there are crazies who voice that sentiment from time to time, including leaders in the federal government. What happens inside the country can be and has been protested by many people but when groups like Hamas incite violence, those efforts are wasted.

So while a lot of Muslims might be sympathetic to the grievances of the Palestinians and have similar, stress on similar and not the same, views as Hamas or other groups, that doesn't mean they support their methods or their most extreme goals and they definitely don't agree with their definition of Jihad so they should not be grouped with them as savage. Furthermore, even if the Palestinian statistics show a majority who support Hamas and their efforts, its expected of the people that are in direct contact with the people they are at odds with but it doesn't represent all Muslims everywhere, even in the Arab world. There are many Muslims and some Muslim countries that have accepted Israel as a legitimate state and have been called tools of the West for it by the very fanatics who call for violence but those fanatics remain the minority, even if they threaten others to follow them through fear and desperation.

There are also non-Muslims who don't believe in Jihad or probably don't even support Hamas but many of them, particularly in Palestine and countries like Lebanon, are ardent opponents of Israel alongside their Muslim brothers. Even if they aren't believers in Jihad, many will fight Israel in a war with countries that are declared enemies of Israel and a Muslim majority. Therefore, the ad might as well call Arabs savages as a whole because it implies that more than it implies Islamists. Many Arab countries have sizable non-Muslim populations who share the same animosity towards Israel as their neighbors. Lebanon is 46% non-Muslim and Palestine 25% non-Muslim but both have joined in fights against Israel because they have been equally grieved by Israel's policies. There are Jews that don't even agree with Israel's policies in the West and in the MidEast.

In summary, the ad is an insult to the sensibilities of all of humanity in trying to disguise a conflict between political powers as a religiously motivated war between civilized man and savage where the latter is using his religion. Without any distinction, this is incorrectly being applied to over a billion people who have different views about its practices, majority of which are peaceful yet not stated as such. Specifically, it is people of the region which Israel occupies, the Arabs, who are called out as savages both by being a Muslim majority and opposing Israel and/or it's policies while disregarding that many non-Muslims also live in the MidEast.

It is therefore not only Islamophobic but racist. I hope that others do not fall for the naive and ignorant arguments that it targets only violent people where the vague language and background of the promoter clearly demonstrates that the ad is directed at a larger demographic.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Breaking of the idols in Mecca


I don't know why people choose to look at individual events without background knowledge of what happened prior. Its like blaming the North for the Civil War without considering any of the violent politics that took place in the South regarding slavery and the propaganda about rights being taken away by the North being made up to turn the attention away from the issues of poverty and slavery.


Muhammad (saw), after taking Mecca back from the polytheist Meccans, went to the Kaaba and smashed the idols there and erased all depictions of people and/or gods used for worship too. On the surface, it is intolerant and uncalled for but then you read the rest of his life and the history of the Muslim community up till then, you find that Muslims were suffering and facing intolerance in Mecca long before this event and many died or were horribly maimed. They were even starved to death at one point.

This was because they believed in One God as opposed to the 360 or so gods that the Meccans had placed in the Kaaba. They publicly announced their disbelief in them and their belief in Muhammad (saw) as the prophet of Allah. The Meccan leaders and their faith and ideology had a strong grip on society and this new faith which was much kinder to the general public, had a much different belief system, and did away with many practices they held sacred for a long time was hurting not only their influence and prestige but their business as Muslims preached to all that came through Mecca as well.

The Kaaba was a shrine that the Meccans, Muslims included, and many Arabs from all around, believed was built by Abraham (as) and his son Ishmael (as) from whom most Arabs derived their ancestry. Muslims said he built it for monotheistic purposes as the first house of worship towards One God while Meccans believed that on some level but also gained the belief overtime that they needed intercessor gods to communicate to Allah and so those gods took on their own importance over Allah.

The people who ran Mecca were also in charge of the Kaaba. So whoever gained control of Mecca had the right to run the Kaaba as he/they pleased. So coming to the point, the Muslims didn't just rise up and break the idols out of some modern day Mullah rage like with the Taliban and the Buddha statues, they were heavily persecuted, forced to flee Mecca with many of them having only the shirt on their back, and then instigated against by the Meccans and their allies.

They came to a peace treaty eventually which did not stop any persecution that was still happening in Mecca or other tribes but stopped hostilities. A Meccan ally broke that treaty, a treaty in their favor, by attacking a Muslim ally and so the Muslims came to Medina in force prepared to fight if they had to. However, Muhammad (saw) made peace with the Meccan leaders and took control of Mecca without a fight and so to came the Kaaba in their possession. In this case, they had a right to remove anything they did not think belonged in the place of worship under their custody. If I bought a church to make into a mosque, I wouldn't keep the statues of Jesus (as) or Mary (ra) or the glass windows with the saints in them. Of course I wouldn't just break them either though in this case, there are plenty of Christians around and breaking their statues wouldn't do anything to their faith but it would piss them off.

That is the other thing that people don't understand. The Meccans' instigation against the Muslims was made into a very ideological fight. For example, Muslims fought the Byzantines and the Sassanians but they didn't do it for their faith and one proof is that they spared their places of worship (not including sporadic cases here and their of violence). Even after taking Arabia, many people were still polytheist with idols elsewhere remaining and they were not destroyed until they themselves converted to Islam eventually. Basically the logic was simple for the Meccans, if they won, their statue dieties were above Allah as being the All-Powerful God Muslims believed him to be and if they lost, they'd see, as they did after the statues broke, that the gods they put so much faith into for squashing the Muslim influence were powerless.

In fact, in one battle where they thought they had killed Muhammad (saw) and his closest companions, they were chanting loudly how their god Hubal had brought them victory over the  Prophet Muhammad (saw). Muhammad (saw) infuriated that the Muslims said nothing in return told them to respond that God is greatest despite the Muslims being in tough spot and knowing that, the Meccans retreated anyways also quite possibly because their faith was shaken visibly and audibly from Muhammad (saw) being alive and the Muslims still having fight in them despite taking a beating.

Going back to the civil war analogy, slavery as an issue was diverted a lot by the southern elite in an attempt to legitimize breaking away from the Union in the eyes of the masses who didn't give a damn about slavery because most were economic slaves themselves. The Emancipation Proclamation, while it did not free the slaves, returned it to front and center as the issue of the war and why the South actually split. The point was driven even further home when blacks troops were enlisted to fight in many engagements as they were literally now fighting for their rights against the abominable institution of slavery the southern elites seceded for in the first place. They too had their influence and prestige to maintain at the expense of the welfare of the average people.

To sum it up, the Muslims destroying the idols was not an act of intolerance but a political and ideological one that both sides understood just fine both because of their culture and how they let the conflict go in the first place and it was not a practice that happened over an over generally speaking either.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

NES games are hard but a lot of fun


Note: NES = Nintendo Entertainment System; SNES = Super NES. Also, whatever I talk about here probably applies to other consoles like SNES and the SEGA Genesis but NES is most influential in my mind and the true milestone in gaming history.

And when I say hard, I mean hard, they got you yelling at the screen in jibberish and obscenities when you lose and when you beat that boss that was only like the 3rd in the game but so hard for some annoying power he had or what not. My favorite moment of rage is when its some small enemy that is annoying for one reason or another be it that they're small or frequent like bats and birds (damn those bats/birds to hell!) and when you kill one, you flip out on it to show your dominance; reminds me of the story of the little man who slapped the wrestler on his bald head and the wrestler proceeded to pound the crap out of the little man who continued to laugh while the wrestler wasted energy in raging and hurting someone significantly weaker than him. Yeah, that makes me look bad but at least I got that damn bat right?

Regardless, they were some of the most fun games I have ever played, even more than some 3D games of modern times. They had this appeal to them that can't be captured. In a way, they were more real than modern games. For example, one really annoying trait of a lot of NES games was no save option. When you had a password option, it was like 20 characters to put in ranging from lower/upper case characters to numbers and symbols and you wonder how much better the gameplay could have improved than it already had if they had used the extra memory they spent on the password system for the gameplay instead. Anyways, in real life, you don't get to start from the last save point or even input a password but I doubt most kids would bother with that unless it was a particularly long game. Multiple lives is an issue too but for games where you die one hit deaths, that balances it out as there are many things human can survive in real life. Beat surviving hundreds of bullets to the head with bandages.

Another thing that is quite appealing is the music. There's something about 8-bit tunes that are 30 some seconds long that keep looping which keeps you going. Its like a jingle from some catchy commercial or the introduction to your favorite Saturday morning cartoon. There also aren't a lot of long lyrics, usually incomprehensible, which need to be remembered to hum along with it. Its particularly interesting to note that good NES music kept you going, especially if its a particularly hard game where you die a lot because you'll hear more of it when you come back. Imagine 8-bit Eye of the Tiger, except not just for training. They also make cool ringtones and alarms; thank God for the man who made available the tunes for Mega Man 1-6 on the Android market.

Also, a lot of games on the older systems had a lot of freedom. I don't mean lack of linearity though some games did have that, I mean freedom for the imagination. These games did come with manuals which gave stories and characters and even controls (will get to that in a bit) but who reads manuals? I do but I like to think I'm part of the minority. When they do, its still just text and some pictures of the game but they don't always help in actually getting through the game and there is where the adventure was. You could spend hours playing the game and still be less than half way through. Nowadays, you're led along like its a movie which has its own appeal but its not the same adventure I think. Tutorials are quite necessary now also, you drop straight into most any FPS without some onscreen help or tutorials, you might be at the first stage for a long time.

Finally, the controller. It had a D-pad, a start button, a select button, and 2 "action" buttons, that's it. There was a beauty in such a simple design for such difficult games. Mastering a game with so many obstacles and jumps was amazing and noteworthy. It reminds me of a language almost with limited letters which in the proper order can express so much. You didn't need to keep track of 20 hotkeys on a keyboard or 10 buttons with 2 joysticks on a controller though again that has its own difficulties and enjoyment. Nevertheless, that is all you had to defeat the final boss and his 20 fireballs or whatever.


It is a shame though that many people today don't appreciate some of the really good games of that day or wouldn't care to go back and play them for even a while or even on an emulator where the comforts of modern gaming are provided. I think some games definitely should be played again to see the roots of modern games, especially those games which still continue on today in remakes and sequels and prequels and what not on modern systems. It adds another level of awesomeness to the experience I think and to the story of the characters you play now. Its like people who listen to modern music. I don't like a lot of modern music but some people love it all but I think they need to check out old tunes to see how music really evolved because even some pop artists have probably listened to more classics than we think. Books too are a good example as something like Catch-22 or Count of Monte Cristo never get old and show where some ideas originated.

There are many other points I can get into as well as expand on many of the points I got to here but you get my drift. I would suggest checking out some of these games in your spare time if you have any. Even if you can't play, I would suggest checking out youtube videos of playthrough because while they're not the same, it has some of the visual benefits mentioned. Again, if you have time, don't give up your day job or family for it.

BTW, I haven't quite talking about serious topics, anyone who's read my first post should know I said I would talk about whatever. Also, I will discuss some NES games as soon as I beat them. That's another thing I like, they have a lot of secrets which gives a lot of replay value. It is after an adventure, even non-adventure games.