Friday, October 28, 2011

When Starcraft Meets The Office

I'm just going to leave this here and get back to decorating. All I can say is wow.

Takes dressing up as a game character to a new level. I'm not sure what that is, but it was an amusing episode none-the-less.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NYTimes and BlizzCon?

Putting the two into the same sentence seems odd, doesn't it? But it happened. The New York Times did a story about BlizzCon 2011. I was reading it this morning while having my coffee. But why I'm posting is not because it's a simple fact sheet about what happened at the event. Rather, it offers insight into the convention-going crowd that few people seem to understand.

At least a few people out there still think of video games as inherently antisocial. Certainly, a single-player game doesn’t involve interacting with another person, though neither does reading a book. But the most powerful and important games are the persistent online dimensions like World of Warcraft and Eve Online. That is because they’re not really about the games; they are about the relationships players form within them. 

When you think about it, generic anime and gaming conventions are much like this. Sure the panels and the contests are fun. But when you get to the core of the scene, it's about relationships (friendship and others). After the previous statement, the article transforms into something more real. It's nice to see a writer take the time to actually dive into the subject and come up with something poignant (as this article shows what happens when people go the other route).

If you have the time, it's worth the read.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obligatory Halloween Thread

It's almost that time of year. And despite the fact that commercialism keeps attempting to destroy this holiday that I hold sacred, (seriously how is this NOT AN ADULT COSTUME?), I still believe in the spirit of Halloween. So some random things to get you into the mood.

Some gaming pumpkins:

This one is courtesy of a former co-worker and his girlfriend. Good work guys!

Ceemdee on deviantart does some amazing gaming pumpkin. The shading is insane. o_O

If you're looking for a way to create your own pumpkin gaming masterpieces, you can use this Photoshop (and GIMP friendly) tutorial to take any image and transform it into a pumpkin template. I'll be using it to make my own this coming weekend.

Costumes that make you cry at the sillyness that is America. One is a blow-up that you can not unsee. And gaming costumes this year. Angry Birds.../sigh. And I can assure you those Street Fighter costumes are NOT that nice in person. lol

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kotaku, who is Misti Dawn and why should I care?

Blooper from True Crime: Streets of LA
Apparently it's apart of a "Geek Girls" series about adult porno actresses that also play video games. Because clearly being a "geek girl" means you have to do porn also. It started as a digital series by BananaSyrupCompany, and has now taken over Kotaku. One of the actresses, Misti Dawn, in the series talked to Kotaku about her favorite game and who she thought was the sexiest female character.

Why is it that we can't talk about women and gaming without sex being brought into the mix? Even news articles about the number of women playing games these days still has to include "they prefer it over sex!" Really? Why did that even need to be introduced into the mix? You could have had a nice article discussing how and why women are playing games, and the changing culture. But no. You had to drop the sex bomb. Can't even Google "how many women play video games?" without the first page referring to sex.

This is why I get pissed off at gaming blogs/websites. They "try" to discuss sexism through outside resources to better inform the community and create the gaming atmosphere we all are striving for. And then the next day they talk about no bras and cute Japanese girls. Thanks for taking a progressive stance guys.

Let's face it. The female "role-models" for women that play video games in the entertainment industry is pretty non-existent. The women that do say "hey, I'm a gamer" are really pretty or work in porn. I made the point before with Olivia Munn that just because she's pretty, doesn't make her the role model for female gamers. How am I suppose to relate to these people if I'm nothing like them? How is a little girl expected to feel empowered and love herself for who she is when the world is saying "hey, if you want to play video games you need to be a slut"? How is that ok?

We really need to wipe the slate clean. Today there are more women and girls playing games out there then men. We outnumber their playtime. And yet we still force ourselves to try and fit their stereotypes in order to play on their level. Why? We never needed to in the first place. Gaming has always been, and always will be, for everyone. We should never fit into a stereotype. Such that "gamer girl" is what we are called. We are not all girls. Most of us are women. Join the Female Gamer revolution! It's time for us to find some REAL female gamers to call icons. Not pretty girls that enjoy taking their clothes off.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blizzcon 2011 Cosplay

I had a post going on about the developers of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 claiming it to be the "most anticipated game of all time". I know right. What the heck are they talking about? But after watching the video of the winners of the costume contest, they took precedent.

I have to applaud Blizzcon for having a good tradition of judging costumes. It's not about the hottest or the skimpiest. It's about the craft, accuracy, and innovation. And some kick ass prizes. Holy crap. 1 grand for third place? I might have to make a StarCraft costume now. o_O

MCing was Jay Mohr, who is now an official Blizzcon veteran. And because we know it'll get posted everywhere, the poor Minecraft cosplayer that fell on stage. Good for him for shrugging it off. Walking around in cardboard with all of those ramps on that stage is not easy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BlizzCon 2011. Pandas and Pocket Monsters!

This sounds like every 5 year old's best dream. Ever.

With BlizzCon being held this weekend, press releases and news about the company are flying all over the place. The most surprising has been the new World of Warcraft expansion pack and their in-game pets.

Mists of Pandaria.

Yep. That's the real name. It's been a known product for a while now, but I think we all assumed it would be a brand new title that had little to no affiliation with WoW. Well guess not. Now you get to be a panda! A monk panda at that! There's a little girl inside of me that squees at the idea of being a pande in a video game and kicking ass. But not in a Kung Fu Panda manner. Not so good of a game.

And while the Blizzard PR people keep screaming "it's not Pokémon", every WoW pet owner will see their little buddies transform into xp monster stompers.

If you want your full WoW news over the weekend, wowhead has the most comprehensive guide up and running, live-blogging during panels and such. When the new expansion pack is out, the pet battle system will kick into gear, allowing users to battle their pets against one another. You can also go out into the wild to collect and fight new pets. Random, rare pets will appear under certain conditions and only on certain maps. You will also encounter enemy trainers for your pets to fight. Defeating them will help you unlock special trainer powers.

Yeah. It doesn't sound AT ALL like Pokémon. Just keep telling yourself that guys. While you're making the grown men cry, you might just pick up a new crop of kids.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mario Kart 7 Online Info. Thanks Nintendo!

A legitimate thank you from me. You're starting to listen Nintendo!

At their press conference yesterday (they're having quite a few this year!) Nintendo released info on how Mario Kart 7's online game play will work.

The online system will revolved around the Mario Kart Channel, the 3DS counterpart to the Wii version. People will be able to view other racer's scores, connect with new people through past races, make groups, and community leader boards. Up to 8 people will be able to play at once.

There is also a system called StreetPass and SpotPass. StreetPass allows you to exchange data with friends and rivals such as racing times, coins, scores, etc. SpotPass is the exchange of ghost data. Why they needed to separate these? Who knows.

One can assume that this will be more then Local Play Only, a death trap to many DS titles. From the way it sounds, this is an online feature not only by country, but globally. Nintendo is also going to introduce a system to deter cheating, but did not go into detail as to how they plan to achieve this. All in all, welcomed changes.

Mario Kart 7 will be available for the 3DS on December 4th (tentatively).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rockstar Dev Speaks About Original GTA3

With the re-release to mobile phones coming up fast, Dan Houser gave a rare interview about the game's past. Rockstar dev's are not like the other companies. They tend to keep themselves quiet and fight when they need to fight. And Dan explains why in the article!

GTA3 will hit 10 this year. Which means as of May next year I will have been out of high school for 10 years. -_- Old geek feels old. And Rockstar wanted to commemorate the game with a mobile edition, which has been receiving high praise. You can also get a nifty action figure. So why does 3 deserve a re-release? It's the game that made the series.

Without GTA3, Vice City, San Andreas, and IV would not be the products that they are today. GTA3 took the original top-down version of it's predecessors and brought it into a 3D-like world. The city became expansive. The people became real. The missions were more daunting. The world felt alive. And I think many of us were amazed that the PS2 had that much power in it's little body. It's nice to see that in the decade since it's release, Rockstar has been the same company producing the same quality of content we have come to expect of the crew. If you have a few minutes, read the article. It's nice to see someone at the top of a company that actually gives 2 craps about the products they are releasing. Also the note about the "violence in the game", so true. You're more likely to find much more bloody, violent content in an FPS over a GTA game.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Actors and Gaming and Commercialism

Posting because I'm amused at the video. Harrison Ford is appearing in commercials for Uncharted 3 for Japan. Why just Japan? Well the game is pretty well known here. And what better way to get the Japanese on board then to have Mr. Indiana Jones himself in an advertisement for it.

This isn't the commercial, but an extended cut of Mr. Ford playing Uncharted 3. And he genuinely seems to like it. Wonder how much it cost to bring him on board. It took nearly 30 years to get him to go to Comic Con in San Diego. But it's a growing trend to attach legendary names to games to grab more sales. How about Robin Williams and his daughter Zelda for a Legend of Zelda commercial?

I wouldn't be surprised if 2 months from now we're seeing Sean Penn in an FFXIII-2 commercial.

Ok. Sean Penn would be an exaggeration. He has more important things to brood about then an SE game.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gaming Online Is A Requirement These Days

I don't know if it's Nintendo's doing or Capcom, but Monster Hunter 3DS will not have online game play. Now you can download extra goodies via the Nintendo store for Monster Hunter 3DS, but you won't be able to battle against your friends like you can with just about every game on the XBox 360 and PS3 and PSP.

Notice how I left the Wii and DS out of that mix?

I've ranted on this before. The Wii has been losing sales because of it (and other reasons, but I'd argue that this is a big one). There is an extreme lack of online play. The only game that I think did it correctly, even without voice/text chat, is Mario Kart Wii.

Just think about how much better Wii Sports would be if you could play against other people around the world, and chat online? I think it would be a great motivation to get you to exercise more and get our fat American butts into shape. Playing by myself or with a friend in the same room is fine, but I want more challenges. I want to smack a friend who lives on the other end of the country with a wooden sword in Wii Sports Resort, but I can't.

My most obvious example is the Goldeneye remake for the Wii. The lack of online game play killed it. What better way to relive your greatest childhood memory then to be able to go online and experience it with others. Goldeneye Reloaded for the PS3 and 360 are fixing that issue. I wouldn't be surprised if more copies sold because of it.

So there you go. Another Nintendo failure. Or Capcom. I really don't know who's fault it is this time. They got an ok for Monster Hunter on the Wii, not sure what happened with the 3DS. I just know that it makes me a sad panda. I wish Nintendo would get the memo already.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NYCC Gaming Weekend

Lots of busy stuff this weekend at New York Comic Con. Not so many in the cosplay department, but lots from the developers. NYCC is more of the gaming center of the Comic Con circuit. Here are a few fun stories:

The Street Fighter x Tekken fight system has been revealed. It's a Gem system that will allow you to mix and match powers. I don't know what to make of it, but there you go.

Three minutes of game play with the latest Counter Strike. Enjoy!

A Men In Black game has been announced for 2012 release. Why now and not a decade ago when the original film was released? Who knows. But it's an easy tie-in the the MiB3 movie coming out in 2012.

And drunken FF trivia to promote the release of FFXIII-2, which a friend of mine attended and got to mingle with SE peeps. Lucky ass.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

PSN Break-In Attempt Again!

This is slightly different from the big hacking earlier this year, but it's along the same lines of concern.

Sony found someone, or some group, attempting to use names and passwords taken from another website and see if they match up to PSN accounts to steal. Sony estimates roughly .1% (or 93,000) accounts globally were affected. Those accounts have been locked down and will need a password reset. You won't know if it's yours until you log in, unless you're an SOE user then you'll get an e-mail.

It's a good message kids to not use the same password on multiple websites. I know it can be difficult. I myself at my old job had 12 different passwords for each program (and none could share!), but it's the way of the world. There are some people out there that are waiting for you to slip up to steal your info. So be careful.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sims Social Takeover

I get at least 3 requests a day on Facebook to join the move to Sims Social. Then again I never was a fan of FarmVille, CityVille, or Mafia Wars, so there really is no moving to be had.

But this week Sims Social is poised to topple the giant that is CityVille according to the most recent AppData info. It's so important, even the NY Times reported on it! CityVille has had an ebb and flow as of late with number of users logging in. Some days are great. Some days make you wonder. Where as Sims Social has been making a pretty steady rise since it's debut in August.

What I wanted to discuss was the reason behind the popularity of Sims Social. NY Times seems to feel that if you are over 25 and don't have kids, you won't know a thing about the Sims.

Thanks for making me feel like the minority there Mr. Times. But I'll forgive you this time. Just don't let it happen again.

The Sims was released back in 2000 and has sold over 140 million retail copies. There was even an online version (Sims Online, which I believe Sims Social is trying to recapture that magic the right way). Before that was SimCity, which had a loyal following of millions starting way back in 1989. Many of the City folk transferred into The Sims quite easily. So the assumption that only the 25 and under crowd would play is a facade, at best. With the genius of Will Wright going strong for two decades, The Sims was a series that worked for all ages and genders. MTV's True Life did an episode devoted to people's alternate realities online with one girl from my alma mater Baylor University being a Sims addict (and I wish I had known her!) called I Live Another Life On The Web. This was well over 7 years ago, and by now she's nearing or at 30 like myself. Doesn't really meet the criteria of the NY Times.

But that's exactly why Sims Social is gaining popularity. It has a strong fan base of loyal users. Including myself no matter how much I rag on EA. I'm sure I'll be dropping into Sims Social soon at the rate it's going. It's a concept that easy to understand and allows you to develop the characters you want to play. The Sims fulfilled fantasies of being fairies or owning a store without the fear of failure in the real world, and now it's on Facebook in an easy to grasp format. Is it a business that's a copy/paste of CityVille? Absolutely and I won't deny otherwise. But I also feel that there are elements of game play and social interaction that you don't see as much as the other FB products. Sims Social takes the known formulas and enhances them for more customization, to make the Sim you've always wanted to be. I wouldn't be surprised to see it surpass CityVille by the end of the month.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Getting In Trouble With Claiming Game Footage As Reality

Almost 2 weeks ago, a few observant viewers noticed that footage from a documentary called Exposure - Gaddafi and the IRA (which aired in the U.K.), used gaming video from ARMA II and claimed it was footage from a 1988 terrorist shooting. Unfortunately the video comparing the two has been removed from YouTube (possibly a cease and desist from both ITV and Bohemia Interactive), but it was pretty obvious that someone took a standard video recorder and filmed a person playing ARMA II.

Mark Spanel, CEO of Bohemia Interactive, was not aware of the game's use until Kotaku contacted his company for comment. My favorite quote of the article:

but that after viewing the show he's baffled how the documentary makers could "make such obvious mistake."

Well the British regulators of Ofcom are wondering the same thing. They are starting and investigation to see if it was truly a mistake, or an intentional misuse of incorrect footage to provide a misleading point of view. AN ITV spokesman has stated that they will re-edit the documentary with the correct footage, but no date has been listed as to when this will be made available and currently all copies of the documentary online have been removed. What's at stake? Some pretty hefty fines and potentially stripping away their license for press credentials which could royally screw them in the long run.

I'm still amazed that they thought it wasn't game footage. Then again anything with a shaky camera is apparently meant to "look" real. *shrugs*

Friday, October 07, 2011

B3 Dev's Says Gamers Don't Understand It's A Beta.

I giggled at the title of the Destructoid article. It could easily be applied to every Beta and not just Battlefield 3.

The game's producer Patrick Liu answered questions at an event held in London addressing potential sales and showing off the game. And then came the questions about the Beta:

What made you decide to run the beta with that map? Some people have said that it's a shame you chose a level without vehicles…
Yeah, I think there's been a misunderstanding of the term 'beta test'! We ran the alpha tests with a rush map and we wanted to have some sort of reference so we could compare results – so we needed to have more-or-less the same map. But we do understand the concerns that we didn't show a conquest map, but we have demoed Caspian Border, and we did run a conquest map as a limited PC-only test. 

As someone who has "beta" tested a lot of games (not really Demos, but actual beta testing) I can agree without a doubt that a lot of gamers just don't understand what a tester is really all about. Instead they play the game like it's a demo and blab about it to the internet universe when the game is far from being finished. In the most recent beta I'm in, we get this a lot.

Demo - Means the game is ready for release but they want to tease the audience in order to boost sales. So they send out a DEMO (and it'll be labeled as DEMO) via web or through a physical disc in a gaming magazine or coupled with another game from the company. It's meant to be played and blabbed about in hopes that it'll drum up more interest.

Beta - Means the game is being tested for bugs, issues, stability, and the like. By no means is it a finished product and its release to the "public" is to help determine what issues may arise during and after final release. It is not a finished product. It is not an Early Access play time (oh the number of times I've said this...) It is to help test issues.

It's really not difficult to understand the difference. And while I know that EA was talking directly about Battlefield 3, it is amusing none-the-less how easily this could be applied to every game out there.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs

It would be inappropriate of me to not make a posting about the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs yesterday. It's been known that he has been battling with numerous health problems over the past few years, to the point of stepping down from his position just a few months ago. But he was a passionate man about his work. Love him or hate him, he enjoyed what he was doing. He's one of the few CEO's that gave a crap about his customers and was humble, never feeling as though he was better then others.

I'm not an Apple person, but I have a lot of respect for what Jobs stood for. I wish I had the chance to meet him. Sending good thoughts to his Apple and non-Apple family through this tough time.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Men Are Not Men Because of Games

From SonicRTR. Funny guy.
If women are fat, ugly, or slutty in the gaming world, then men are apparently lazy ass bums. At least according to the opinions of William J Bennett, a CNN contributor and former U.S. Secretary of Education under Regan.

It reads like the ramblings of an elderly man without deliberately saying that he's sexist.

Basically it's saying that women are taking over the world because men are too busy at home playing video games. That's it. No real facts to back it up except for a little quip in the beginning (for stats that are over 20 years old) on how women are getting better educated and taking more of the top earning jobs. Um...there's this thing that happened called the Feminist Movement with a second wave hitting pretty hard in the 1960's up through the 1980's which, oh look! That's where Mr. Bennett's only stats come from. And part of the reason is because women were fighting pretty damn hard for more equality in education and better wages to match what men are making. As it stands today, women are still making less then men (about 77 cents to every dollar, even Time reported on it). CNN, you sadden me at your lack of fact checking, because this article is in dire need of some even for an Opinion Piece.

It seems as though Mr. Bennett is poorly attempting to get men to take back their manhood by getting them to stop playing the vidja games. We can't let those women folk take our jobs! I'm not even going to discuss his views about families and children as it clearly is a blatant attempt to say "women should be at home, making babies, and in the kitchen." Oh so very wrong. Mr. Bennett, the simpler times where men were men and women were slaves is long over. Get use to it and start moving into the new era because you're just looking silly right now.

Aside, there was one comment made by a man that made an interesting connection to sports. That people watching for sports for hours, sometimes days (ESPN) on end don't get a single bat of the eyelash. But if they play a video game for a couple of hours here and there, they are lazy and not providing any real contributions to society. Interesting how two types of gaming entertainment (sports and video games) have two completely different reactions.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

SEGA Sweepstakes Hints Another Revival

While not the most high tech video, the music is a dead giveaway. At least if you happen to be older then 25. :)  Sega is offering a contest in conjunction with the PSN release of this game. 10 random winners will get a copy of the game for free. Now to play nice I won't say the title of the game, and it's not like you can't scroll to the blog comments and see everyone blab away. But if you're an old-schooler like me, it won't take you long to figure it out.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Nintendo Piracy Case Wins 4.8 Million Euros

As a growing number of countries take a stance against piracy, Nintendo recently won with a cease on R4 cards and linkers that copy games and either sell them for a much smaller fee, or give them away for free.

Nintendo supported this criminal action not only for the company’s sake, but for the interests of its game developer partners who spend time and money legitimately developing software for Nintendo’s game platforms, and customers who expect the highest standards and integrity from products bearing the Nintendo name,” ~ Stephan Bole, Managing Director of Nintendo France.

 This isn't something that just applies to video game piracy, but digital piracy in general such as music, movies, and computer programs. Implications of this case can be far reaching.

So 4.8 million Euros is about 6.4 million U.S. dollars. Just a drop in the bucket for Nintendo. Maybe they could give their 3DS customers a free sticker pack. XD