Hoeg Law’s 2018 Game of the Year Countdown

2018 has been a great year for media of all types.  Whether you’re a fan of TV, cinema, or the written word, chances are something (or more than a single something) was made practically just for you. 

As our first love here at Hoeg Law is and always will be interactive digital entertainment (or, you know, “video games”), please join us in celebrating the end of 2018 with this list of our favorite games from the past year.

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10. Red Dead Redemption 2

Certain to raise the ire of some fans, Red Dead Redemption 2 comes in first…to be mentioned in Hoeg Law’s 2018 Game of the Year Rankings, in the number 10 slot.

Rockstar’s latest open world magnum opus is nothing if not grand.  Grand vistas, grand scale, the grand plans of its characters dashed on the rocky shores of a world unwilling to allow them to come to fruition.  Again, and again, and again, and again.

While there is little doubt that Red Dead Redemption 2 features fulsomely drawn characters traveling through interesting and meticulous detailed locales, its relatively thin narrative plotting (as opposed to characterization) struggles to support the massive infrastructure upon which it is built throughout the games 60+ hour running time.

In other words, if you thought Breaking Bad’s pacing was slow, well, “Saddle Up, Partner” because Rockstar’s got another gear slower to show you.

But that’s far too negative (and just goes to explain why RDR2 appears this low on the list.)

Never has a video game world felt more “solid” and “real” then the world of Red Dead Redemption 2.  Featuring by far the best graphics we’ve ever seen, from the mountains to the prairies, from dusty Valentine to the soot and smog of Saint Denis, if you are looking to have your own Westworld virtual tourism experience, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the place for you.

And since it features one of our favorite musical scores of the year, you’ll be enjoying aural pleasures to go along with the visual.

In terms of gameplay, Red Dead is pedestrian but serviceable.  Ride with interesting character to point X.  Shoot bad guys at point X (and maybe Y).  Ride back with interesting character.  Repeat for 60 hours.  But that’s too reductive. The real beauty is in the “in-between”.

The sounds of thunder coming over the mountains as the buffalo scatter before you.  The look of a stream in the first light of morning as a passenger train passes by.  The hustle and bustle of a turn of the century city that feels endless in possibility.

Narrative is absolutely important in games, and Red Dead 2 might well have been better off if it cut a 60 hour story down to 20, but that’s only half the tale.  The world of Red Dead Redemption 2 is the other half, and it is just an absolutely stunning, wonderful, and immersive place to visit.

All of which makes Red Dead Redemption 2 a more than worthy inclusion on this list. Continue reading “Hoeg Law’s 2018 Game of the Year Countdown”

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Urban Rights or “Consultants Tell You What You Want to Hear”

About three weeks ago, Ohio State University (“OSU”) Head Football Coach Urban Meyer (“Coach Meyer”) released a statement in which he admitted to speaking “inaccurately” at Big Ten Media Days in July, but was otherwise a model citizen.

You can see my analysis of the positions Coach Meyer took in that statement, as well as his anticipated defenses strategies: HERE.

Last night, Coach Meyer and OSU executed on those defense strategies, taking the path I had suspected: that Coach Meyer was simply too confused by the questions and circumstances of Big Ten Media Days to answer truthfully, and that his actions there and in the past were imperfect, but reflect the (allegedly) muddy facts surrounding Coach Zach Smith (“Coach Smith”) and his wife Courtney.

But now comes the “independent” committee’s report, and given what it shows, it’s somewhat incredible that OSU elected on this path.  (Incredible only if your metric for credulity rests on something other than winning football games, of course.)

Let’s dive in.

Continue reading “Urban Rights or “Consultants Tell You What You Want to Hear””

Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone

While Rules of the Game is largely intended to reflect on the rules, regulations, and incentives that help influence our lives, occasionally something hits close enough to home that I feel compelled to write about it on this blog.  This is one of those times.

SPOILERS ABOUND

Check out the video here! – YouTube

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On October 29, 2014, Disney’s Marvel Studios announced Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (“MCU”), the culmination of a decade-long effort to infuse 20+ major motion pictures with just enough connective tissue to plausibly bring them together in one universe-shaking, climatic, cross-over event.

Well, that event is here.  Avengers: Infinity War (“Infinity War“) has arrived.

40+ characters.

A dozen galaxy-spanning locations.

6 Infinity Stones.

1 damn triumph.

As the MCU has grown to dominate the box office, almost every other movie studio has at least feigned interest in starting their own “universe” of interlocking films and other materials.  But whether Warner BrothersUniversal, or others, none have come close to what Marvel has achieved, and after Infinity War, the bar has been set even higher.

How does Infinity War do what it does?  How does the MCU work so well when seemingly all others have faltered? And how does Infinity War successfully navigate the “impossible” task of serving as the climax of dozens of plots over almost 20 movies and half as many years?

How? Let’s dig in.

Continue reading “Busting the Block – How Avengers: Infinity War Changed the Game…for Everyone”

A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 3)

In the modern, digital world, each of us is asked to read and accept hundreds of pages of terms and conditions governing the way we use our products and services.  While no one could be expected to read every term (especially for entertainment or other “low risk” services), as a specialist in reading and drafting such documents, a lawyer can offer insight into just how they operate (and what rights the average user gives away when they sign on the dotted line). 

In “A Lawyer Reads…”, we’ll take a deeper dive into a few of those little-read contracts, terms, and conditions in an effort to provide just a bit of that insight. 

For more, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

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Today we finish our reading of the Facebook Data Policy with discussions on data deletion, what happens when the law comes calling, Europe, and more.

Interested in how we got here?  Check out Part 1 and Part 2!

Continue reading “A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 3)”

A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 2)

In the modern, digital world, each of us is asked to read and accept hundreds of pages of terms and conditions governing the way we use our products and services.  While no one could be expected to read every term (especially for entertainment or other “low risk” services), as a specialist in reading and drafting such documents, a lawyer can offer insight into just how they operate (and what rights the average user gives away when they sign on the dotted line). 

In “A Lawyer Reads…”, we’ll take a deeper dive into a few of those little-read contracts, terms, and conditions in an effort to provide just a bit of that insight. 

For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

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Today we continue our reading of the Facebook Data Policy with some of the most important questions facing the company and its users:  “How does Facebook use your information?” and “How is your information shared?”.

Check out Part 1 HERE.

Continue reading “A Lawyer Reads…the Facebook Terms of Service and Data Policy (Part 2)”

TGIF: May 19, 2017 – On the Constitutional Oddity of a “Special Counsel”

Despite what you may have heard, lawyers are, in fact, human beings with interests and hobbies all their own. They are not, I repeat not, robots sent from the future solely for the purpose of billing hours, drafting documents, and negotiating terms.  Not all of them anyway.  

In TGIF, I touch on some of my own interests primarily through the lens of the “Rules of the Game”, focusing on the rules and incentives that affect many aspects of our daily lives. I may even crack a joke or two. Hard to say.

TGIF will be published regularly on (surprisingly enough) Friday mornings. For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

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On Wednesday May 17th, 2017 acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (in place of recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions) appointed former Department of Justice official and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to serve as “Special Counsel” to oversee an investigation of “Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters”.

(Mr. Mueller’s title of “Special Counsel” is not to be confused, of course, with the executive branch’s permanent and not at all independent, “Office of Special Counsel“. Because naming conventions in Washington have never been anything if not entirely and completely clear.)

Given the nature of the investigation as a response to cries of a “constitutional crisis” in the wake of the President’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, what you may not know is how tumultuous a Constitutional history the concept of a “special counsel” or “independent prosecutor” has had in its own right.

Can an executive branch official like an Attorney General appoint an individual that cannot be fired by his or her own boss?  If not (or if there is some doubt), can Congress empower the Attorney General to do so?  If so, what does that mean for the separation of powers?  And what if that Congressional authority should expire?

Many of these questions have been asked and answered multiple times (and in multiple ways) throughout our nation’s history, but never in a fashion which one could deem “definitive”.  Such is the nature of an inherently political but simultaneously “independent” position.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Continue reading “TGIF: May 19, 2017 – On the Constitutional Oddity of a “Special Counsel””

TGIF: May 5, 2017 – The “Delta” Between Service and (Wind) Schear

Despite what you may have heard, lawyers are, in fact, human beings with interests and hobbies all their own. They are not, I repeat not, robots sent from the future solely for the purpose of billing hours, drafting documents, and negotiating terms.  Not all of them anyway.  

In TGIF, I touch on some of my own interests primarily through the lens of the “Rules of the Game”, focusing on the rules and incentives that affect many aspects of our daily lives. I may even crack a joke or two. Hard to say.

TGIF will be published regularly on (surprisingly enough) Friday mornings. For more information, check out www.hoeglaw.com or drop Rick a line at rhoeg@hoeglaw.com.

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In the spirit of my last TGIF post, “On Being United“, comes the stirring sequel.

Flight 2222

Editor’s Note: Like most cases tried in the media and not in a court of law, there is a fair amount of dispute regarding the facts on the ground here.  In looking at the issues, I will attempt to keep an even view of the factual possibilities, but keep in mind that stories regularly change as each side gets its say.  The bulk of the facts presented here come from the investigative story posted at heavy.com here.

On April 23, 2017, Brian Schear, his wife, and his 2-year-old son, Grayson, boarded Flight 2222 from Maui to Los Angeles.  The family sat in three separate seats for which they had purchased tickets.

Sometime after boarding, the family was approached by Delta personnel requesting to have young Grayson removed from his seat.  The Delta attendants informed Mr. Schear that they were empowered to make this request because the seat in question was reserved under the name Mason Schear, the family’s 18-year-old son.

Mr. Schear explained to the Delta crew that he had paid for Mason to return to Los Angeles on an earlier flight expressly for the purpose of using the family’s third seat on young Grayson.

He taped the resulting confrontation.

Continue reading “TGIF: May 5, 2017 – The “Delta” Between Service and (Wind) Schear”