Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday Musing - Buzz Word: Female Gamer

Read before continuing -->Steph Louise K on the 5 Reasons It's Still Not Cool To Admit You're a Gamer - Girls Edition.

First, an applaud to the article for giving a better perspective of girls/women who play games. I think there are a lot of good points. Overall, it seems too...generalized. I believe that would be the appropriate word. I feel that Steph has been plagued by one too many bad experiences that it gives a depressing view on what life is like as a girl gamer.

Being a woman and having a gaming hobby, I understand where she's coming from. It's hard to not be harassed on Xbox Live or forums when you lead on that you're a chick that plays video games. Typically you get one extreme (zomg! it's a girl! WHALE ALERT!) or the other (r u hot?). But the male species (and I use that term loosely) has evolved since the early gaming days. They are more accepting of women in the gaming arena, albeit on a small scale. I've been watching more girls of all ages, races, sizes, and religions going into stores and buying "real" games (not the Imagine series of stereotype) and entering competitions, while guys are being more receptive and not jackasses. This isn't to say that we are on equal footing with men. We are a long way away from that, but it's slowly getting better.

What we need to have is a new classification of girl gamer, one that better suits the new generation of those growing up with games. It'll be a step in a positive direction. As Steph pointed out, the terminologies associated for girl gamers is degrading. They conjure up pre-conceived notions that further propel the idea that girls really don't know what the hell they're talking about when it comes to video games. Gender is a tough issue to crack. You can apply the same terms Steph listed for cars, computers, tech support, basically anything that is subjected to a male dominant field. As such, we need a new term to describe those girls and women who blend into the gaming field while breaking the stereotypes people have come to know. So here's my buzz word:

Female Gamer

Go ahead and Google it. You'll find a link to, which has nothing to do with my classification (which I will explain in a moment). Other then that, you're going to get a ton of links about Girl Gamers. So I call dibs on the term.

A female gamer is an individual of the female gender (of any age range) that enjoys playing video games. They speak about video games openly in a philosophical manner. They don't shout from the top of their lungs "I Play Video Games" nor do they hide in the shadows. The female gamer is one that acts as themselves, i.e. they don't allow games to be a resource for male attention, or allow games to become an obsession such as a Weeaboo. The female gamer explores all outlets/genres of video games and does not limit themselves to one area.

That's the best definition I can think of. I don't feel that I fit into any of Steph's classifications of a girl gamer, so I made my own. A girl gamer is childish, and a woman gamer is what Ubisoft tries to grab the attention of with their casual games. The female gamer is a combo of both, but not in their extreme forms. It's someone who enjoys all forms of video games, but has a life. Here's how to use it in a sentence:

I'm a female gamer that likes to play Grand Theft Auto and the color pink.

I feel like I'm writing a definition for Urban Dictionary.

Anyway. I feel Female Gamer would be a more appropriate term for individuals such as Steph and myself. We don't fit the stereotypical girl gamer image. We walk a line of Feminist and Weeaboos, but are not near teetering the edge to those avenues. It's a term of a balance of everything that allows us to transition into the male dominated field.

Instead of providing a rebuttal to and Steph's article (both bring up valid points on current trends in society, though paint a bleaker picture then how I view the world), I'm going to post my own list of Top 5 Ways to maintain your dignity as a Female Gamer:

5) Don't talk on Xbox Live/PSN. Xbox Live, in particular, is a thriving community of 12 year old boys who enjoy cursing and talking smack. I realize that I'm stereotyping, but honestly, has there ever been a moment on Xbox Live where you weren't speaking with a child as they were swearing and being jackasses? I enjoy playing online, but I learned through my brother, it's safer to keep the headset off. He was playing Halo 2 one day and a girl entered the lobby. The moment she spoke, she was immediately run over by all of the boys, left and right with trash talk. I use the rule "keep comments to yourself." If you are a female gamer, you don't need to throw insults at everyone online. Put "Female" in your profile and leave it at that. I'm all for saying hi in chat, but not Xbox Live. Pick your battles in more "adult" (not XXX rated) conversations such as legitimate gaming forums and Ventrillo/Team Speak.

4) Don't act like you know everything. Same rule applies to cars. If you act like you know everything and anything about games, you're going to slip up and get caught. Simple as that. Speak when you are passionate about a topic and have the facts to back it up. Be eloquent with your words. Don't use leet speak or horrible grammar. Be an adult about your speech.

3) Don't let men influence your games. This is more of the feminist side of me coming out, but it speaks well on this point. Play games that you want to play because you want to play them. Don't become the Attention Whore Steph describes in her article. By letting a boyfriend, husband, brother, father, etc. convince you to pick up a game, you're only proving to them and the world that females know squat about games. Don't play a game because your boyfriend tells you to. (Mine keeps trying to get me to play Warhammer Online. I'm not caving in for something I have no interest in.) Stand your ground and explain why you don't want to play it and/or why you want to try another game that they may not be interested in. If they talk back or keep pressuring you, then they're a shitty boyfriend/friend/etc. >.>

2) It's ok to maintain your feminine qualities. We live in a world where, no matter how far society has come, there are still gender roles pressured on boys and girls to fill a certain niche. That will never change no matter how hard we try. It's ok to like feminine things and still play video games. You don't need to make yourself out to be a man and change everything about yourself to conform to their image of a gamer. You can still be you with a video game hobby. Just like the last point, don't allow yourself to be influenced into thinking you have to fit a certain mold. You can like shoes and video games.

1) Immerse yourself in all game genres. This includes the Imagine series and Pogo. Why? So you are well rounded. Providing negative feedback to a game that you have never touched only propels you into a tunnel of bias. You need to try out all genres, even the ones you don't like. I do this with movies on a weekly basis. My goal is to watch 5 movies that I have never seen every week. There is no limit on the genre, length, country, or year. It includes everything from new releases to the origins of film. This allows me to better educate myself on the subject, and reinforces my love for movies. It also makes you a hell of a lot smarter when you can pull out random movies out of your ass. >.> While I dislike the Imagine series because of their pro-girl/house-wife roll restriction, I have attempted to play some of the games and can back up my opinion.

Overall, I think this new term would apply to a multitude of women who sit in the middle and are not defined by the stereotypes presented under Girl Gamer. We are moving into a realm when females are being accepted as a force in the gaming community. It's going to take a while before we get onto equal footing.

(Aside: Finding images that best represent this subject was a pain...apologies that it's more text heavy then picture friendly.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week in Review

What a busy, busy week while I was unavailable.

* The big news is the rash of suicides in Chinese factories, in particular the electronic factories of over worked, underpaid individuals. And I thought my job was bad. I think the Kotaku Exposé best sums it up. What a mess.

But I'm not surprised. Corporations have been outsourcing to other countries for centuries because labor is cheaper for the same production. But $130 a month even in the poorest countries (certainly not China!) is pretty weak. At least you're not giving away your secrets to competitors in your country. Nope. We're giving it away to our future competitors in China. they can master the craft and kick your asses in a few years. Good job!

* Next is the boom in the I-Pad, and schools beginning to integrate them into the system. I am surprised the I-Pad became that big of a deal. I'm also ticked that this crap wasn't around when I was going to school. I remember back in high school our district started a program for middle-schoolers to give each of them brand new laptops in their 6th grade year, and receive a new one upon entering high school, without needing to return them. >.> How is that fair? Make it equal to all grades in the district. Don't screw over the majority to give a few an advantage of a better education. Jerks.

* Say it ain't so Mark! In a recent interview with IGN, he's claiming Arkham 2 will be his last outing with the Joker. So sad! :( He is the epitome of the Joker voice. No man can ever match it. My hope is that he will be influenced to come back for another game, or animated show, or direct to dvd animated movie.

* Gaming related deaths:

Gary Coleman, May 28th 2010. Voiced Kenny Falmouth in The Curse of Monkey Island.

Dennis Hopper, May 29th, 2010. King Koopa from the Super Mario Bros. movie. That one hurts more. Fantastic legacy of acting. And E! should be ashamed of itself. MSNBC had the news long before you did! -_-

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stop shi*tting on FFXIII

I write this post with a note that I will be gone for a few days. So don't miss me too much. This moment came about after blog surfing and seeing the absence of positive.

There are a lot of people out there dumping on FFXIII. Negative press always gets more attention then positive. It's how the universe works, sadly. But guess what. I like the game. Is it a Final Fantasy title? Yes and No. Would it have sold as well if it didn't have Final Fantasy in the title? Probably not. Would it still have been a good game? Yes. Quick run through of why I like it, in no particular order:

* Progressive story arc with subtle thematic undertones.

* Linearity enhances the story. It's linear for a reason. This is a pretty detailed story that if you were to be thrown into a wide open world from the get go, the average gamer would have gotten lost. The linearity is there to keep you on track. You need it. It helps. Trust me. (If you want to complain, FFX was very linear, maybe even more-so then FFXIII. The map on the top right corner of your screen was just a little bit wider.)

* Memorable characters. It's not about if you like the character or not. But they are ones you will remember.

* Easily adjustable battle system. Reminds me of the dress spheres in FFX-2. You can quickly maneuver your party to a setup that best suits the fight. It wasn't clunky and easy to customize.

* Expansive mission track. I agree that getting to this point in the game does take too long (32 hours for myself). But once you get there and you put a little time into it, the missions and side-quests are immersive.

* Final Fantasy game? It is in the sense that it is breaking apart from it's traditional molds to create a new mode of storytelling. FF4, 6, 7, 10 are examples of the how FF has managed to reinvent itself. With Final Fantasy you are not going to get the same game twice. However, you are going to get certain staples. FFXIII took those characteristics and created something new. That's why it's a Final Fantasy game.

Something to keep in mind. With a Final Fantasy game, you're not going to finish it in 10 hours like God of War. This is a 60 hour game, minimum (first game in a long while I felt like $59.99 was worth the price of gameplay). To get to the good stuff, you have to earn it. I'm not saying this is the best game ever. There are some things that I have qualms with, but it's not a bad game. People are too quick to judge and not willing to put in the time to actually finish the story.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Counting Down to 1

I actually made a Sunday musing today. But I didn't want to pull an April Fool's and make you wait. So, here is the rest of my list of my favorite cartridge games:

5. Super Mario RPG Super Nintendo, 1996- When Nintendo and Square (now Square-enix) join up, good shit happens. SMRPG moved the plumber out of his flat 2D realm into a 3D esque territory with a Chrono Trigger battle system and a world to save. This is the first time Mario was rendered into a 3D image and the platform aspects greatly reduced. This was a more live-action Mario that would level up, get special abilities. Unlike other RPG's, you had greater control over Mario. You could jump. You could swim, sort of. Environments were also rendered into a 3D world for Mario and his friends to interact in. It's not just the graphics that make this game great. The story took a step forward in the Mario legacy. It wasn't just about saving the Princess. Bowser joined your team and you had to save the world from an evil magician sword and repair the star road. It's a great combo of story, game play, and graphics that make this an enjoyable game.

4. Donkey Kong Country Super Nintendo, 1994- Mine cart level. Still my most favorite platform level of all time. Donkey Kong became the god guy in the DKC series. He wasn't throwing barrels at Mario. Instead, he was throwing them at bees, and fish. Why? Well to reclaim his stolen banana pile, of course. (Kids. Games didn't need an elaborate story to be great a few years ago.) DKC, for me, was about fun platforming and integrated 3D visuals. Before Super Mario RPG, DKC took over as one of the first to have a 3D generated character. It was still a 2D game, but had a 3D look. Levels ranged from tropical jungles, to the depths of the ocean, to volcanoes, and a mine shaft. Riding around in the mine cart still makes me smile. You can't beat the simplistic joy of DKC.

3. Sonic 3 Sega Genesis, 1994- I consider this my favorite because it was a progression of the Sonic franchise in the right direction before it was mucked up. Sonic evolved into a brighter, colorful, engaging game. It was the standard gotta beat up Robotnik, collect as many rings as you can, added in another sort-of bad guy, get the chaos emeralds, and save the world. It gave more life to his side-kick Tails, and allowed the second player to take control of him. Granted the use of Tails in second player was kind of crappy at times and if you fell off the screen, all hope was lost until you regenerated a minute later, but it was enjoyable to have be there with Sonic and be useful. What I love about Sonic 3 were the detail of the levels and the overhaul of the Star Post levels. The star posts were gives a top-down view with a crazy 3D board with speed insanity. The levels were redone to provide more depth, longevity, and texture. It made the game more alive and brought Sonic to a new level of maturity. Before he got slammed down by Sega.

2. Final Fantasy IV Super Nintendo, 1991- Between this and FF6, it rotates as one of my favorite games of all time. FF4 is the first time that characters were focused as the main point of the story. Previous iterations characters were known for their jobs, and little else. Back story was limiting. Basically you're the hero and you and your friends are going to save the world because you were chosen to do so. FF3 introduced the characters as orphans, but it was not until the Nintendo DS re-release of the game that they were provided with names and personalities. FF4 broke out of that cycle and created a memorable, though ill-fated, cast of characters. It also expanded upon the story arc and played with multiple themes, love, sorrow, light and dark, destiny. They're staples now. Back then, they weren't around. The intensity of the story makes it worth the play through. It was the start of what became the Final Fantasy that we know best.

1. Final Fantasy VI Super Nintendo, 1994 - Truly an epic role playing game, and still one of my favorite games of all time. Even better then 7, 8, and 9. Sorry fan boys. If you are a real FF fan, you would know the greatness of FF6. It has war, science, art, steampunk, and mechs! You can play as a mog (moogle). You have a psychopathic bad guy that exceeds all evildoing by ten fold (Sephiroth has nothing on Kefka in the crazy sector). It is everything that we love about Final Fantasy but refined. It also has one of the best soundtracks of the series. One of the first games to have a synthesized voice for the song "Aria di Mezzo Carattere." This game has one of the most diverse, and extensive song collection of any cartridge game. "Dancing Mad" is roughly 17 minutes. I have played this game over a dozen times, easily. The characters and the story always tug at my heart. Undying love for this Final Fantasy.

And there you go. That wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's a top 10 list of something!

I don't know why, but I feel like doing a top 10 list. But I don't want to limit it to a console or a genre, or a publisher. What about top 10 pre-disc systems? Which means anything before November 1998 when the Dreamcast was released. Cartridge games. We still have those, though they aren't as cool as the originals.  Excluding PC games mostly because my only non-CD experience for a PC game was a floppy disc of Star Wars X-Wing. And that's about it. Now for a fancy title:

Top 10 Cartridge Video Games,
Before the Sega Dreamcast!

Look. It's all bolded and colorful. That makes it important.

This is based on personal opinion. Because everyone has a different perspective on their favorite lists. No two lists are going to be alike. But feel free to comment. If anyone is reading...anyone?

This list takes into account everything from the Magnavox Odyssey up to the Nintendo 64, including hand hold systems such as the GameBoy and Sega GameGear. It's a lot of ground to cover. I'm skipping over the Commidore's poor attempt in 1993 with their CD based system for obvious reasons. Oh and the Sega Saturn and Sega CD. Cartridges only.

10. Pokémon Red/Green/Blue. GameBoy 1996 - Pokémon was good until it got oversaturated into a television show, manga series, and endless collection of spinoff games. I'm talking about early Pokémon. Before any of that madness began. Back to a simpler time. It was a game(s) that was about simplicity. Try to catch all of the weird creatures in the world. Back where there were only 150 of them. What are we up to now? Google says 493. Damn. That's a ton. Just getting 150 in Red and Blue were a pain. I can't imagine 400+. Anyway. The gameplay is simple, but it was highly addicting. The addition of the GameBoy and GameBoy Advance cable connection allowed you to trade your Pokémon with friends. That seems trivial now, but this was unheard of back in the day. It was the first game that you felt like you could play alone or with a friend and experience everything it had to offer.

9. Pitfall Atari. 1982- If you had an Atari, you had Pitfall. It was a simple concept. You had 20 minutes to pick up all of the treasures in the jungle, while maneuvering through a maze of traps, such as alligators, snakes, quicksand, and pits. It's considered one of the first platform games created and a challenge. I remember so many nights as a child trying to get the last treasure, and dying to something silly. Like missing the jump to catch the rope. That sucked. This was a childhood favorite before the Nintendo entered our home, and it brings back a lot of memories.

8. Banjo-Kazooie Nintendo 64. 1998- My N64 submission. Before you start yelling, I do enjoy Super Mario 64 and it is one of the best games in the Mario series. But I enjoyed Banjo-Kazooie more. It was the one game I can remember playing for hours on end, for months at a time. Even now, I can remember the puzzles inside Clanker's Cavern, where you had to maneuver though a mechanical shark. It creped me out every time. Banjo-Kazooie was one of the more polished N64 games. It wasn't as clunky in textures as the earlier titles, had expansive levels, and combined platforming, puzzle working, and role playing into one.

7. Space Invaders 1978-Atari/Calico - It's Space Invaders. If you haven't played, I'm sure there are 20 thousand iterations on Xbox Live you can download. This is the quintessential time waster. You shoot at aliens. They blow up into little pixilated pieces. What's not to love? Miyamoto, the guy who made Mario, considers Space Invaders a game that revolutionized the industry. Without it, we wouldn't have all of the stuff that exists today. It's one of the first shooter games that took a top-down view approach instead of side to side action. It allowed for more use of the screen, which meant more pixels could be applied, and more action. It's simple view created a new genre of arcades and shooters alike.

6. Tetris GameBoy 1984- The Tetris Effect. Do I need to say anymore? You're silly if you do not enjoy Tetris. Still one of the best puzzle games to date. Bar none. From it's catchy music to the complex puzzle creations, Tetris took over the gaming world in ways that no one would have imagined. It started as a computer game but didn't take control of the gaming world until its release on the GameBoy. I remember when I received my first GameBoy. Tetris was packed with it. I can't imagine how many months of my life I have spent playing Tetris. It is the simplest and yet most complex puzzle game. Admit it. If you haven't seen Tetris blocks in a building or on the street, you've hummed the music. You love it.

5 through 1 tomorrow!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rockstar Throw Back

What a long day today. Glad I have Lazlo to keep me company.

In an interview, which only makes the BBC cooler for allowing thoughtful reader questions, Lazlo (best known as the figurehead DJ in the GTA series) gave his thoughts about Rockstar's new release Red Dead Redemption, GTA, gaming controversy, and other fun topics.

My favorite question:

How do you feel about accusations that games such as yours are responsible for more violence among young people?

Our games are not designed for young people. If you're a parent and buy one of our games for your child you're a terrible parent. We design games for adults because we're adults. There's a lot of kids games out there that we're not interested in playing. Just like you enjoy watching movies and TV shows with adult themes and language and violence that's the kind of thing we seek to produce.

Thank you Lazlo. I'm sure everyone at Rockstar is singing your praises, or ready to give you a pink slip. Because let's be honest. 99.99% of the complaints about GTA come from parents who are negligent and bought the game for their own children. It wasn't some random act of a store employee shoving the game into the child's hands. Nope. It's the parents fault. Way to go Lazlo!

If anything, it does make Redemption more appealing. I've been apprehensive after the failure that was Red Dead Revolver. Redemption has been coming out as the title worthy of it's name. You know...redeeming themselves for the failure of Revolver.

On an unrelated note, Happy Birthday to Pac-Man. 30 years and still going! Google has been kind enough to have their own mini version of Pac-Man through the Google logo on their homepage. Very awesome. Same time as Empire Strikes Back. Go fig.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sometimes the comments are better then the story.

Kotaku made a small comment regarding the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. Earlier this week some of the original cast members, folks from Episodes 1-3, and the animated show attended a screening of the film. Donations went to the St Jude's Hospital. All well and good. Age has not done these gentlemen well. Really, what amused me were the comments.

Ewen Mcgreggor looks completely out of place in that line up. "Hi. I'm throw-away Ben. I know I'm not the original actor. In fact, I'm related to the guy who played Wedge. I should be standing next to him instead. Sorry that the first 3 movies were so crappy." You're still a good actor and did a great job as Ben.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dragon Quest!!!

If there is one thing I have a beef against Square-Enix (there's a list, but this is a pretty big one) it's keeping Dragon Quest in Japan. On the rare occasion (DQ8 and DQ Swords) they will release one state-side.

With DQ9 selling well over 4 million copies in Japan (yep, it's that big of a deal folks), Nintendo has harassed SE enough to create an English version for the U.S. Hurray! Finally more slime stabbing action!

The estimated release date is July 11th this summer. By July 23rd in Europe.

With the ginormous numbers in Japan, why hasn't the series been introduced into the West at a steady pace? With DQ8 for the PS2, a little over 400 thousand copies were sold during the year. Even with the bonus FF12 demo disc, not good numbers for SE. Thinking back to those days, a part of me feels that it was due to the game's limited advertising. I remember the commercials, but they were no where near as apparent as they were for Kingdom Hearts 2. KH2 was everywhere on tv...good god. >.>

Another part of me feels that the Western audience has little knowledge of the DQ series. Unless you stay up to date with Japanese gaming culture, you are probably unaware of how big of a series DQ is. So to take the latest release, DQ8, and throw it to the U.S. had the opposite effect of what was intended. "I don't know what this game is. And apparently there were 7 more games before this. So why should I buy it? I'm going to be so lost." That's the gist of the conversation I had with my brother when I bought DQ8. And I can understand his position. It's hard to pick up a game that looks to be apart of a series, to which you know nothing about.

To those unaware of Dragon Quest, think of it like Final Fantasy. The numbers are just numbers. No two games are alike (other then character design and monsters). They each have different stories. The short of it: it's a big fing deal in Japan. I can't wait for this game!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To the point...lets put the money to better use

I really don't care why people are buying PS3 systems. But apparently someone at Nielsen did. Enough to waste money to only poll 700 people. Yep. Out of the millions that own a PS3 and are registered through PSN, they only took 700 people's opinions into consideration. I'm going to bet they dumped at least 100 grand into this project. What a waste of money. Let's put it to something more useful, like, I don't know, AIDS research? That seems more important then what 700 PS3 owners think.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Force is srong with the Wii

I don't have a lot today. Other then GameStop put up a new product for pre-order today. The Wii Darth Vader Sensor Bar Holder. Yep. It's silly. It has no real use. But it is awesome and any Star Wars geek would want it. Father's day is coming up. Just a hint to the world. lol

Oh, and more GameStop bashing on Joystick. It's a slow day today.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Musing Abridged

A shorthanded version, as work this Sunday was busy again. It would help if the company actually had the resources to update their system more efficiently without taking everything offline for 2 days. But that would require them to spend money. What company wants to do that? Especially when they have the money to burn? Psh. You peons can suffer while we roll around in our gold encrusted pool filled with million dollar ice cream. (As I'd imagine anyone with money would want to do).

With Rock Band continually attempting to one-up Guitar Hero, Harmonix released a survey for potential future Rock Band titles. This does come with a disclaimer that there is 0 guarantee that Harmonix will create the titles listed on the survey. But it gives the developers a general idea of where the gaming population will go for the next music game.

With the Guitar Hero/Rock Band wars for single bands, Rock Band wins hands down. Beatles Rock Band is the best collection of music/difficulty/crazy art amongst the other titles (such as Guitar Hero Metallica, and Guitar Hero Aerosmith). I'm not on board with the Rock Band Green Day idea, but feel free to prove me wrong Harmonix. As long as you stick to the classics and not throw in the new stuff.

The survey is pretty simple. They list 5 bands (The Eagles, Zeppelin, Floyd, Queen, U2), if you would be interested in purchasing one or more of the games that focused on those bands, which titles in particular peaked your interest, and suggestions for another band. I suggested Depeche Mode, because it would never happen in a million years.

And then I went back and suggested a South Park only Rock Band. How great would that be? Rock Band clearly embraces the creativity of Matt and Trey with Timmy and Lords of the Underworld in the first Rock Band, and Cartman's rendition of Lady Gaga's Poker Face for download to RB2. The next step is a full on South Park Rock Band. There is plenty of music to make it into a series of games, or at least a butt ton of downloadable content. Think about it Harmonix. It is a win-win situation for everyone. Guitar Hero missed out on that one. Big time.

Harmonix, do everyone a favor and work your damndist to make this happen. I'm sure getting the licensing for the Beatles songs was near impossible, but you did it. You can make it happen for Zepplin. I promise I will buy a copy for each of my friends if you do. Or as much as $59.99 is willing to take me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

ModNation at a Playstation near you.

Sony is getting better about the demos. ModNation Racers will have a demo release on May 18th on PSN. The demo is to include racing for single and multi-player, and some designing stuff. Looks like I have something to do this Tuesday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hey Bioware, STFU.

Before I go on a rampage, yes I did read the full article on Strategy Informer to make sure the comment wasn't taken out of context.

Daniel Erickson, a writing Director at Bioware, gave an interview about the Old Republic. And what turned into a friendly convo hit a sour note. Here's the question and response:

Strategy Informer: The main staple of The Old Republic has always been its story, but I'd argue that without good game play to support it, there is a lack of incentive to want to find out that story. I use Final Fantasy 13 as an example here: excellent story, but sometimes the grind or the linear game play made me struggle in wanting to see it through. What are your thoughts on that?

Daniel Erickson: Well, before I address the main point I just want to take a slightly more controversial route: You can put a 'J' in front of it, but it's not an RPG. You don't make any choices, you don't create a character, you don't live your character... I don't know what those are - adventure games maybe? But they're not RPG's.

Bioware, you all don't know shit about RPG's. Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Mass Effect your games are not RPG's, no matter how many ways you want to try and throw them under that umbrella. Action adventure games, ok. RPG, no. Before you start harpooning another franchise that is the king of RPG, examine your line of work first and determine why it doesn't fit and is not as successful.

I don't know what stick is up Bioware's butt this time (probably the numbers from March showing FF13 kicked Mass Effect 2), but don't argue unless you bring something to the table that is comparable to an RPG.

Yes, FF13 is a leap from the typical FF setting. It does a lot of things differently, but keeps within the RPG genre that they have created. The stuff Bioware puts out are RPG clones. An attempt to be an RPG, but it doesn't quite make it. They also reskin their products under a new title with shinier objects. >.> Not really fitting the criteria.

I don't want to completely throw a tantrum at Bioware. I have high hopes for The Old Republic MMO. Just shut up and work on the game. Stop picking fights you're not going to win. No wonder this game keeps getting delayed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Second Life At Cannes

How did I miss this one? The premise is a gamer at a competition becomes overworked and after getting a massage (a normal one, not one of those happy ending types) he falls into the world of Second Life. It's a video game movie that's not based on a video game. Holy crap. It's original work. Hurray!!! It's a Dutch film taking place in Taipei. The trailer, isn't bad. Hopefully the scenes of Second Life are better integrated. Doubtful this will be released in the U.S., but hopeful that it'll be on the production crew's website...eventually...please?

Unrelated note, the Dragonball movie was on this morning. I haven't seen it. Something possessed me to watch it. Chow Yun-Fat makes me sad. He is so much better then this...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

EA gives the finger to all Used Game Retailers, and their customers too.

Probably because EA wants to make more money, not that they need more money. They're already too damn big for their own good. But EA is cracking down on everyone who buys and sells used games and rents games. Expect a lot of pissed off people at GameStop and GameFly.

Dubbed "Project 10 Dollar" beginning in June with the latest Tiger Woods PGA Golf release, games will be packaged with an Online Pass that requires users to register in order to activate certain content in the game. This will range from full use of golf clubs to online play. The code is only valid for one time use. So if you lend the game to a friend, they need to go through EA and buy the online access for $10 bucks. If it weren't bad enough that we have to pay Microsoft for Xbox Live, now it's $10 dollars every time you buy a used EA game to play online.

EA has said that they are offering a free 7 day trial for each psn/xbox live/Wii ID, in lieu of rentals. Though with the case of GameFly and Blockbuster (if people still use it) they can hold onto it for more then 7 days.

My thing is with sharing the game amongst friends you get screwed over. Any normal person lets their friends borrow their games. My brother is a good example of this. He and his 2 best friends buy NHL every year. They also go back and forth between a few states since they're in college, so playing on one system really isn't an option. So in order to take full advantage of everything in the game, two of them will have to drop more money. Interesting way of saying "screw you" to the customer.

It's also going to drive down the price of used game sales, which is how businesses such as GameStop make money. Not rocket science. EA issuing Project 10 Dollar means that the $45 used game you just bought is now $55. As the consumer you would probably say "Why should I buy this game at $45 if it's going to cost me $55 overall to access certain parts of the game, and I'll get a scratched disc with probably no box or manual. I'll just pay the extra 60 bucks to buy a new copy instead." Great for EA. Bad for stores. Expect to see a drop in the price of used EA sports games because of it. Lower prices = more money loss = more jobs gone. Fantastic for this economy.

I'm sure somewhere in this mess EA has good intentions. But really, it sounds like they are trying everything possible to make more money. That is what they do best, after all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

God of War...The Novel!

As if games into movies wasn't bad enough (I'm still waiting on a good one) the game to book franchise has been taking off. How appropriate of Sony to jump in with a God of War book. >.>

I have heard some good things about the Starcraft and Halo novels. They're probably ok for telling back story and suck. This one, however, is a retelling of the first GoW game. How weird. The book will be released in paperback on May 25th and you can read an excerpt here. Even has cover art ripped from the first game.

First impressions, blah. It's trying too hard to be like the game minus the experience of smashing X and O. Oh and all the gore, blood, and naked boobies. It feels as though the fire that's in Kratos has been stripped. Maybe it gets better as the book continues. But the general rule is that you can understand a book within the first 5 pages. No go for me on this one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bead Art - Not New, But Still Cool

I fail at bead art, mosaics, and all of that business. I envy those who have the tenacity to figure out which colors go where to make the right pattern. All hail Earthworm Jim. Appropriate considering his release onto DS Download this week! About as cool as my Red Mage pixel art magnet.

My favorite is one I found at a convention last year. The Super Metroid Boss Statue.

Holy crap. The picture does not do it justice on the pure awesomeness. If I had the money, and the luggage space, I would have bought it. Still considering Recommend the seller. She was down to earth and nice when I picked up my red mage.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday Musing

Note: This involves comments made by our current president Barak Obama, but has nothing to do with politics. It's about the disconnect between the digital generation and anyone over the age of 35.

So please, don't chew my head off.

Obama gave a speech at Hampton University in Virginia regarding education and how the 24/7 media environment is a distraction rather then a means of empowering ones-self.

"With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation."

Um...duh. Last time I checked, the whole concept behind video games is entertainment. I've been certified by my doctor to use gaming as a means of stress release (yes, she really does promote me playing GTA. I had a lot of stress issues in middle and high school affecting my health). Games are meant to be a diversion of reality. They are meant to transport you to different words, different periods of time, experience new things, move outside of our reality. Because reality sucks sometimes and we need to get away from it, if just for a few minutes.

This isn't a phenomenon with video games. Movies, television, theatre, and books are just a few examples. When was the last time you heard someone complain about a play corrupting our youth by being a distraction? I'd imagine that would have been the case hundreds of years ago.

That's the thing with entertainment. It's all intertwined with the same debates, the same conflicts, and the same stigma. Films have been around since 1894 and they're still fighting for artistic and theoretical integrity. It'll be a long while until video games reach that point. If Obama wants to talk about educational game, those will take decades before they are perfected. To pull a Sid Meyer think about fun first; education comes later. Kids and adults don't want to be forced into learning. The learning needs to happen on its own, as a side-step, not as the main focus. But I'll leave that for another musing.

Here's my deal. I do think that video games can be used for empowering the people. At the same time, they are used for entertainment purposes, and there is nothing wrong with that. It's a matter of how they are viewed, and this is where the generation gap kicks in. Facebook is a good example of this. The power of Facebook is astounding at times. There was a movement on Facebook to have Betty White host Saturday Night Live...and it worked! When you put the power of technology with the human spirit, things happen. Those who come from the non 90's era would probably not conceive such a motion. But we 80’s /90’s babies did. Video games will get there eventually. But for now, let's leave them. I'm ok with them just acting as tools of entertainment. I don't need Derrida running amuck in God of War.

Why Bother Guinness?

Here's a fail on Guinness Book of World Records.

In their special Video Game edition, they hosted a poll online to have people vote for their top 50 favorite gaming franchise. While good in theory, it removed everything that Guinness is about. They report facts, not percentages.

The poll had a selected list of 50 game franchises with a little over 13,000 readers voting on, so really nothing prior to 2000 was listed. The previous installment had developers discuss what they consider to be the best, in regards to influence on the industry. They wanted to do something different. Ok. I get that. But they tried too hard and should have left it as an online poll. Printing it in a book really doesn't help their cause and kind of dumb down their professionalism.

No surprise, but Halo was listed as the best gaming franchise amongst the 13k group with Pro Evolution Soccer at Number 50 (why is that even on the list?). #46 is Lego Batman so this is pure fail all around. Not that Lego Batman isn't bad, but better then Ico I think not.

Guinness, stick to what you know. Leave the gaming reviews to the professionals.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Planet Just Got A Little Bigger

The gaming blogs have been enveloped in a flurry over Little Big Planet 2. The June Issue of GameInformer contains an article regarding the news, and has been flug across the interwebs. I'm surprised that another LBP is on the way. I thought they accomplished their goal and were ready to move on. Apparently not.

Basically, everything you knew about Little Big Planet has been thrown into a washing machine, spun around, and will come out in a nice, clean, more robust version. You can view full details here but I want to focus on a couple of aspects that made me squee.

* Less platform game, and more of a platform to create games. I enjoyed the creativity of LBP. It was easy to get into and design a level. But it was really about platforming. You couldn't really race unless it was in a platform way. People have made amusement parks, moving orchestras, and what not, but you were still limited to a platform realm. To obtain most of the items for crafting a level, you have to play through the platformer developer levels. Not that they were bad, but did require time that you didn't want to put into it. All I want to do is make my stupid Ninja Warrior course!

* Game creation tool encourages the player to make whatever game they want. Someone at Media Molecule has made a functioning Command and Conquer-esque game using the new tools in LBP2. That is awesome. There is also a nod to the classic arcade games, offering tools, items, and stickers from Space Invaders, Tetris, and Asteroids.

* Unlocked and download content from LBP1 will transfer over to LBP2. Now if they could only get that to work for the PSP version, I will fall in love.

* Record your own sounds and music and throw them into the game! I'm sure that if you use copyrighted material you're going to get your level banned from the servers, but a good addition none-the-less.

* Record your own movie and take control of the camera. Another feature I like. Now I can make my sackboy RPG with cut scenes!

All of this before the end of 2010! Now that I'm finding difficult to swallow. So feel free to prove me wrong Media Molecule. I might go into hiding after this comes out.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Angry Wii!

So there's been another "incident" of anger over a game that caused a man to assault his own mother and hit a pedestrian with his car yesterday. But it was over a Wii game.
Here's the thing. What Wii game would cause someone to be so fustrated that they would harm other people?

I get the slip of the hand and sending the Wiimote into the TV, or across the room, or at your cat if you have good enough aim. But I don't know of a single Wii game that would make me so mad that I would want to hurt someone. Maybe Madworld? But that was a breeze and required little brain power. Maybe Mario Kart Wii? Sure I've been upset at losing a race, but not to the point of throwing my wii wheel out the window. Wii Sports? I just laugh. Whatever game this individual was playing, clearly he's nuts. You can't be angry over a Wii game.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Busy today with crafting for Akon. So random moments around the web.

Picture Fail:

Kotaku has posted an incorrect photo for a story regarding Silent Hill. Resident Evil /= Silent Hill.

Resident Evil Staple Not Involved in 6:

If there will be a 6th game, Jun Takeuchi will be out.

Ugh. Not another beta.

The next Medal of Honor game will be getting a beta treatment, as is becoming the standard for the gaming world.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Geek Faux Pas

I have made a grave error int he geek universe. Yesterday was Star Wars day and it was not celebrated. >.> In my defense, I thought it would be on May 21st this year, which would be the 30th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back. So enjoy the best of Star Wars parodies that YouTube has to offer:

Oh, and The Force Unleashed 2 was announced a release date of October 26th.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Iron Man 2 - Because everyone else is talking about GoW

I could talk about the new God of War PSP game that everyone is talking about, but let's face it. Everyone else is already talking. Instead, I'm going to write about Iron Man 2. Why? Because I went to an early screening today. Feel jealous?

To the point, it's not as good as the first movie. But then again, it is a rare commodity to have a sequel live up to its predecessor. I.E. The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather II are the only sequels that I can remember being as good as the original. Is Iron Man 2 still a good movie? Well it's not bad and it will surely entertain those who enjoyed the first film.


Better fight sequences. The bigger budget is being put to greater use in this film. More metal on metal combat in super shiny mode.

More is ok. There are a ton of new people to take into account in this film. You have Blackwidow, Whiplash, Sam Rockwell as the Stark's business rival, SHIELD...there are a lot of new people running around. But it wasn't so overwhelming that you lost the focus on Stark. They weave into the story well enough that you don't feel bombarded by the craziness.

Don Cheadle is a good replacement. Taking over Terrence Howard's spot, Cheadle's dry humor works as a sidekick to Stark's pandering.

Tony is still Tony. The characterization of Stark worked well in the first movie and it sticks around in the second. That's something I'm glad they didn't screw up.


Scarlett Johansson. This isn't a bashing moment. I think she is a great actress with impeccable talent. But when she's not in the suit as Blackwidow, her character was annoying, pouty, and looked terribly uncomfortable. I know we're trying to make her look sexy, but the 5 inch heels and super tight dresses so that she can't breathe do nothing for her facial expressions.

There is still a little too much. SHIELD takes up a huge chunk of the film. And I get it. They're working to segway into The Avengers. But less SHIELD, more Tony please. This IS Iron Man.

Awkward internal conflict. And what I mean by this is that there are moments in the film where Stark has character struggles with himself. But they way the sequences are edited together are...well...weird. You get loud music, fight scenes, hot women, metal crunching and then HALT! everything stops and Tony has a moment. That's that first thing they teach you in film school not to do. It's really jarring and makes it difficult to keep the audience on track.

Overall, it's not a bad film. It'll entertain you. Comic book geeks, don't expect this film to be accurate representations.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Avatar MMORPG?

I hate Avatar. A quick look at my Facebook profile, it's apparent that I have a great displeasure for the movie. While it has propelled the world forward from a visual standpoint, it has pulled mankind back to a primitive story-land. When I initially heard of the film, I was thinking 2 things would happen: it would have a unique storyline, and it would tank. I was wrong on both fronts. The fact that it did so well with such a horribly unoriginal story makes me wonder about the future of humanity. I have yet to find a single feature in Avatar's story that makes it "unique" from other films.

And I know I'm not the only one that thinks so. Take the Fern Gully/Avatar trailer mash up:

Amusing how the two are in sync. Pocahontas. Dances with Wolves. Same movie. Different title.

In an attempt to find to the positive, my thought is that maybe the story was dummed down intentionally. Knowing that the visuals would be overpowering to the senses, that having a story just as intense would cause the audience to remove themselves from the experience. Pearl Harbor, the most recent Disney incarnation, is a good example of this. Great visuals, but once you convoluted the story into a multitude of layers, it drew people away from the story. Not that the story was all that great to begin with, but having numerous directions can cause conflict. The concept works in the other direction as well. Inglorious Bastards. Extremely detailed script with multiple stories weaving into one. The visuals, simple. Simple sets. Simple shots. Simple camera movements. It allows the audience to find their way into the movie without too many distractions.

Considering the heavy dose of LSD colors and lush environment of Avatar, a simple story would help the audience. But the story is too simple. My brother, who will watch anything and everything and can find the positive in all, didn't like it.

My other issue is that the story was not James Cameron's style. One of his big themes as an auteur is the resilience of the human spirit. Terminator, Titanic, Aliens are just a few of his films that carry the theme. Avatar doesn't. Instead, humans are the bad guys and need to be removed. Great message that all humans are bad. Maybe that's why people were depressed when the movie ended. If it weren't for the visuals, I never would have known that James Cameron made this film. All of his signature styles with scripting were gone.

Truly, Avatar is a piece of film garbage. It's only good for being pretty and having lots of shiny colors. Which is apparently enough to entertain the world. Because now we're going to be stuck with remakes and rehashing the same stories for quite some time. "If Avatar did it and made a ton of money, we can do it too!" Thank you world for killing the dreams of new comers into the art of film. We get to have A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas and Little Fockers instead. The real film community appreciates your support.

Tieing this back into the intial topic, Avatar the MMO game is in the early stages of development. Now, I'm not opposed to this, assuming that the game will have a story that is more...unique. The way Avatar the movie plays, the audience would have a better experience by becoming a character. The idea of transformation into another creature has a better stage as a video game. As long as they don't allow the movie's story to take place in the realm. That would set up the game for disaster, which is why the current console game is crap. You get the most fun out of being a human and shooting at bushes on the ground. Yippie.

You can't take the console version and make it into an MMO. Nor can you take the movie and turn it into an MMO. It needs to be free from all constraints and allow the user to do what they want. The user has to be allowed to make their own story on Pandora. That is what will make Avatar the MMO a better experience from the movie. So this is my plea to the developers: Don't limit your creativity. Allow yourself to explore outside the boundaries of the film. You'll be amazed at what you come up with.

I want to have some form of hope for the Avatar MMO. But let's face it. Video games based off of movies suck. Movies based off of video games suck. No one has managed to get it right. And I don't think anyone will within the next decade.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Sunday Musings

I intended to have a giant post today, but got wrapped up at work by stupidity.

But here is a preview of the topic.

Oh, and a release date as well as pricing have been set for APB, All Points Bulletin. It's GTA in MMO land, but you can play a good guy too. The pricing plan will start out with hours rather then a monthly subscription. You get a base amount of 50 hours of game play. After that you can purchase segments of 20 hours, or go for a plan of 3/6/9/12 months. But it depends upon your style. What I like about the hour pricing system is that it's more realistic for someone like myself. I've been playing Final Fantasy XI for 5 years, and I just hit the 365 day mark. Some like ABP, I might not touch more then once or twice a week for a couple of hours. Leave the game alone for a month, come back and I don't have to worry about dumping $10 bucks for a monthly fee.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Game Crazy Closing Shop

While I don't like to admit it, I knew it was coming. Game Crazy is officially closing all remaining locations within the next month, with a liquidation sale starting in roughly 2 weeks. A post was found on Craigs List by the Store Director of a branch in Bend Oregon. Later confirmed on Kotaku that it was a legitimate post, followed by the Game Crazy website updated with a FAQ regarding store closures.

Game Crazy's parent company Movie Gallery Inc. filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and numerous locations along the East coast closed, leaving just a handful of stores open in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, one in North Dakota and one in Canada. Hollywood Video, under the same company, will also be closing it's doors in the upcoming month. Many stores are already discounting DVD's at ridiculous prices and anticipate to receive stock of new releases up until the stores close for good. So expect a lot of deep discounts. If you are in the upper West Coast, hunt out a Game Crazy and take advantage of what they have to offer. Many stores still have new releases in stock, so now would be a good time to buy what they have.