Tuesday, October 30, 2012

East Coast Hurricane Knocking The Gaming

The millions number keeps driving up for those without power along the East and North East. It's affecting services not just local but nationally.

Guess where a number of the credit card processing hubs are?

Or for those of us on the geeksphere, Kotaku HQ powerplant is in NY. They're running on a backup right now.

So today while you're out and about and wonder why things are running a bit slow, it's taking a while for your credit card to process, or you wonder why things are lagging behind, keep it cool. Take a breath. Understand that your little world is not coming to an end because you have to wait just a few more minutes. And don't yell at the customer service reps. They don't have control over the power in the NE.

Theater Games

Lots of love and well wishes to my friends and family along the North-East and East coast of the US today.

Onto business; a theatrical business!

A new set-up for theaters in New York is starting to take off, and it’s considered to be more of a “video game-like” experience. Actors are strewn about and allow the audience to walk around, watch different scenes, and interact with them. It sounds like an elevated haunted house. The difference is that instead of zombies walking around aimlessly for a night, the actors are all acting out pre-determined scripts for 2 hours. The design of the area is also taken into consideration, as well as how many audience members are allowed to attend. There isn’t a set path, either. Attendees can walk about virtually anywhere.

As one of the directors put it, they wanted to build an experience that allowed the audience to create their own narrative. In the play for the article “Then She Fell” is a turn on the “Alice in Wonderland” story. Audience members are both onlookers and take on the roll of Alice, given a set of keys that open a myriad of doors and drawers (each set is different for each person), and off they go to embark on their journey!

I’d be curious to see this, but I wouldn’t necessarily call this a video game experience. Choose your own adventure, sure, but those have been around forever in comparison to a video game, and even those typically don’t allow you to create your own story. ‘Immersive theater’ would be a more appropriate view.

Monday, October 29, 2012

What Do We Do Without G4?

So it was officially official that G4 will be finished off in December and rebranded in 2013. There were murmurs, but nothing really concrete until last week (always talks of changing it up, but nothing set in stone). The 2 highest viewed shows, X-Play and Attack of the Show, will stay on until the end of their current run.
NBC Universal has decided that the channel will be “rebranded” to focus on the “modern GQ male”. Aka, women still don’t want to play video games or do the “boy” things. Thanks NBC for showcasing your sexism once again. Weren’t you the dumb-farts that booted Conan? Yeah. We have so much faith in your sensibilities.

From what I’ve been reading, it wasn’t an issue of ratings with G4, just simply wanting to be more “hip” with the likes of SpikeTV and SyFy. Yeah. SyFy is hip. Somehow. I’m working that one out in my brain too.

G4 was the offspring of TechTV after a merger (holy crap most of you probably don’t know how awesome TechTV was). And for a while, it was pretty good. I actually enjoyed XPlay and AOTS for a few years until it became more about pandering to top-billing companies, boobs, beer, and more boobs. They still offered some inside access to the events most of us dream about attending, like E3 and San Diego Comic Con. Even with the rise of the internet taking over most of those positions, their coverage was something a lot of us watched and got a geeky perspective of. It was good. For quite a number of us gamers, G4 was our portal into a larger world. It'll be weird come 2013 when I turn on my TV and no longer see their logo on my favorite's screen.

But now all of that is up in the air because, let’s face it. The GQ magazines of the world don’t do gaming. They don’t do geeky things. SpikeTV is now our outlet. Wow. That just hit me. I feel really f-ing depressed right now that if I want to watch anything gaming related on tv (which is almost never these days), I only have SpikeTV to turn to. That’s just…wow.

GameSpot, Kotaku, time to really amp it up. You have the ball.

Anyone else feel that Adam Sessler kind of knew this was coming? Not that I blame him. I still have a lot of respect for the Sessler. Nice guy too. Met him once. He doesn’t seem bothered talking to fans and is always up for a healthy discussion. Just don’t ask him what his favorite game is. He hates that question.

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Already Looking Too Much Like Christmas

Pretty sure this is NOT kid friendly.
GameStop is launching at least 80 temporary pop-up stores for the holiday season. Whoopie. The idea is to sell more of the toys and weird little gimmicky items that are in limited quantity at the larger retail locations, like plushies, key chains, and apparently Minecraft axes. As the article points out, the intent is to focus on more kid-friendly items, but really most of us in the X-Y generations would want these things. Not kids. Kids don’t know about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. We do.

The holiday pop-up shops are a big deal this year. Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple have all been doing this around the country for smaller items (ear phones, phone cases, etc.). And really, any way for GameStop to make money, they’ll do it. These stores are more like the on-hand mini locations of ThinkGeek, with products falling into the “Other” category of sales (making up a decent size of the company’s revenue).

It’s not a bad idea, but having it target kids is, well, underselling themselves. Your target audience for these products is clearly going to be that 21-35 adult male range. They want those toys. Kids don’t. Kids want the Furby this year. When did those become popular again? I have an original!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Revised Stance on Video Game Movies

I think Disney have the right idea on what to do with a gaming movie. Make an original story that has 0 ties to a game. (Ok there is a game, but it's based off the movie. I'm talking about a movie based off the game.)

Wreck It Ralph will be coming out this holiday season, following the life of a villain who doesn’t want to be the bad guy anymore. So he breaks out of his game and tries to find a new life for himself. In it there are cameo’s from our kiddy gaming past, QBert, M. Bison, Bowser, and I’m sure a few Tetris pieces.

It’s cute and family fun oriented, but I also feel that it has a lot of potential to really open up the “video game” genre to the movie world. Now I haven’t seen it yet, in fact I probably won’t get a chance to see it until it’s released (reviewing buddy isn’t able to get too many advance passes). However, I feel there is a lot to look forward to.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Ace Attorney movie that I laud for being the awesome self that it really is. It made the game come to life in a way that I never imagined, by sticking to the campy aspects that make AA so flippin’ fun.

Those are two extremes of the video game movie “genre”. Unfortunately, that’s it. Those are my two examples. The rest fall in the middle and haven’t been able to hold up to the ideals we, as gamers, expect from our gaming movies.

My reasoning behind this is pretty simple: Hollywood doesn’t know what we want, nor do they understand what is the best way to transform a video game into a movie.

My best example of this is with books. There are a lot of book movies, and you know what? They still can’t get those right. There are the exceptions like your Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Twilight (commercial success and a lot of people have been enjoying the films, no matter what your opinion may be). But for every Harry Potter movie, there are thousands of others that are just, well, crap, for lack of a better term. Pick a movie this past year. Any movie. John Carter. That was a book called The Princess of Mars and John Carter of Mars. What to Expect When You’re Expecting? That horrible Cameron Diaz movie, yeah that’s a book too.

Originality in the business is pretty low. At least 90% of movies released today are from other sources. Life of Pi, the critics are clamoring over this one recently, also a book.

While there are good movies based off of books, this has been a process that has taken decades to perfect. Even going back so far as the 1920’s with Shakespeare, tweaking and fine-tuning we’re finally at a point where movies based on books are finally coming into their own. It just took a really long time. Transforming a book into a movie is a difficult task. Obviously, you can’t convert a book directly into a film. Not many people are willing to sit through 20 hour films. Even LoTR had to cut out much of the books in order to accommodate the screen. There’s a way to finesse it so that the intent of the book remains without diluting it by mainstream Hollywood.

Video game movies are going through that same process. We’re going to see a lot of crappy movies based on some really good games. It’s going to suck and a lot of us will complain. But they will get better, eventually.

Resident Evil, the darling child of hits that we didn’t expect is nothing like the games. When you don’t think about them in relationship to the games, the movies aren’t bad. Zombie fightin’ apocalypse, what’s not to enjoy? However when you try to interweave them into the RE game franchise there are obviously a lot of differences. A lot a lot. Like, make you want to tear you brain out and throw it out the window “what the hell were they thinking?’ type of differences. Enjoy the separately, not together else you’ll be asking for headaches.

(I realize that I unintentionally bash on the RE movies a lot. I still find them enjoyable for what they are, but they are not Resident Evil movies by any stretch of the imagination. Alice can shoot and walk, that’s the first problem.)

The Tomb Raider movies were ok, if you didn’t think about the games. The same could be said about Prince of Persia-not a bad film for what it was, but totally not Prince of Persia, the game. Or Doom. Well Doom just sucked. They tried too hard to make it too much like the game with the way it was filmed and edited, but then not like the game with the story, dialogue, and characters. It was a bad hybrid.

I feel that in order for video game movies of the future to stand a chance, they need to take one of the extremes and roll with it, instead of trying this hybrid maneuver they have been doing since Street Fighter (i.e. by trying to be styled like the game but with a story that has no relationship to the game(s).) Or Super Mario Bros. Oh Bob H and Dennis H. How did they ever convince you two to be in that mess?

But think about it for a moment. Almost every video game movie that has been produced, up to this point, has gone for the mix: wanting to look like the game but a different story then what we, the gamers, are accustomed to. Super Mario Bros. Street Fighter. Mortal Kombat. Double Dragon. Wing Commander. BloodRayne, Hitman, Max Payne. Need I say more? There is a way to tell a story of a game without dismissing the entire plot. If AA can do it, anyone can.

I’m curious to see the outcome of Wreck It Ralph. I have a strong feeling that it will do well, not because it’s Disney, but because of the premise. It’s a video game movie, but not the hybrid we’re use to experiencing. If it garners the same reaction as us gamers have had towards the Ace Attorney movie, then we might have an answer to our problems.

Another Movie In The Works

I just…I don’t know. I’m going to give up on Hollywood at this rate.

Mass Effect. The Movie!

I mean, really? Someone please explain to me how the hell you can make a game based on player decisions into a movie? I realize that the story arc is going to be the same regardless of what path you choose to follow in the game. However, those nuances of the game by selecting different answers and outcomes is part of the charm of Mass Effect (and why I’m enjoying it even more going Renegade).

The rights to Mass Effect for film purposes were purchased back in 2008 by Legendary Entertainment, but they have been sitting on the property. Until Mass Effect 3 became the “it” thing, followed by rage. The original screenplay was in the hands of Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend), but it’s now going to Morgan Davis Foehl. Um…he’s best known for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Yeah. Fail.

On the plus he was an assistant editor for the FX show Rescue Me. That’s not a writer, but um, that’s something.

Apparently he was tapped because he’s a fan of Mass Effect and has helped pen other action movies. Very, very small writing credits. So I don’t know why Legendary is rolling with him; it has to be something in his contract.

Now Muzyka and Zeschuk, will be executive producers on the project (co-founders of Bioware) so there might be some silver lining to this. Also the Arad’s (Avi and Ari) will be producing the film. They’ll also be behind the Uncharted, Infamous, and MGS movies.

Take that as you will. I’m going to sit over here and weep for the future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Felicia Day Is Not My Idol. And That's Ok.

This past weekend I attended Dallas Fan Days, which focuses more on sci-fi and fantasy versus the Comic Con they hold early in the year. And it was fun. I spazzed out at meeting Tara Strong, Ray Park, and Stan Lee (all commented on my costumes, so awesome!) It was a geekery come true.

So while I was talking about this to a friend of mine, he asked if I met Felicia Day or got her autograph or anything.

“Nope. I wasn’t interested in seeing her. I really wanted to meet Ray Park and get my wall scroll signed.”

“But it’s Felicia Day.”

“Yeah. So?”

“She’s a gamer girl, like you.”

“So? I didn’t want to meet her. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. She’s good at what she does, sure, but that wasn’t my interest. I wanted to meet Stan the mother f-ing Lee. The holy one himself!”

“Well I figure you like games, you’d want to talk to a gamer girl.”

I didn’t think much about this until today. It was just like any other conversation where a man assumes I would want to meet the gamer girls because I’m one too. I guess it’s bothering me now on two levels: assumption that I’m going to idolize a woman because she’s known for her gaming cred, and that I’m a girl so I have to flock to the female celebrity of the gaming world.


I guess I should start this off by saying that I have no qualms with Felicia Day and feel that she is a talented individual. She’s just not my cup of tea, so to speak. Great for her for building the career that she has. I don’t know her personally and haven’t felt drawn to learn more about who she is. Given a choice between her and David Hayter (who probably doesn’t play video games? I don’t know to be honest), I’d choose David. I’m a Metal Gear Solid fan and I would not pass up the chance to meet the voice of Snake. And you know what? That shouldn’t be a problem.

I shouldn’t be questioned on why I want to meet a male voice actor over a female actress that’s into gaming, simply because I’m also female.

I can forgive my friend. He was making baseless assumptions because of how we’ve all been brought up in this society to think. I know it wasn’t done maliciously, and he’s probably going to apologize after reading this. It’s another thing I deal with, that I’ve become so accustomed to.

But hopefully you can see why I’m a bit unnerved by it. This goes back to my posts about “nerd princess” Olivia Munn and porn star Misti Dawn. Just because these women exist and play video games does not mean that they are the end-all, be-all people that girls and women have to idolize. I have the opposite reaction seeing these women. I don’t want to idolize them.

Maybe I’m taking this all too personally. But man. Being a woman really sucks sometimes. No one to look up to in my geekdom. No one to talk to, other than fellow female geeks (which results in talking about how unfair things are with men). /sigh There’s really no easy way to end this article. Things suck and we need to start changing it. *cracks knuckles* Time to hit up the gaming hangouts, me thinks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Glamour of Kickstarter

As we revel in another week of multi-million dollar Kickstarter funds, we also need to be aware that not all projects are meant to be. That’s the risk with Kickstarter. You could donate your money to a good cause, but the idea may be cancelled.

Most recently, funds were finalized for a sequel to Wasteland, a cult and critic hit that Take-Two didn’t want any involvement with, and a role-playing game Project Eternity, which is currently the most funded Kicksterter video game project, at just under $4 million. Which is great! It’s good to see that the community is willing to donate and help develop a new industry of gaming that is desperately needed. But, there’s no guarantee that there will ever be a final product.
Haunts, the turn-based horror game with macabre visuals, is one example. Reaching beyond its Kickstarter goal, it has a lot of promise. But now the game is in limbo, possibly to be scrapped, because programmers walked out.
Or how about this old school RPG, cancelled with 2 weeks left in the crowd funding timeline, though they’ve already met their goal.
“Ultimately, our pitch just wasn’t strong enough to get the traction we felt it needed to thrive. In game design, mercy killing is the law.”

I wonder how soon gamers will feel disenfranchised that projects are not being finished. Very few have made it to the point that they are being produced/finalized. There’s no real way to know for certain that something will be completed until it’s done. Those promises of “Give $10k and we’ll put your image in the game” are pretty empty, when it comes right down to it. There are no guarantees with crowd funding. Maybe that’s the appeal, or the thrill of giving. You don’t really know what’s going to happen until it happens.

I’m still a supporter of Kickstarter, but I hope this isn’t a growing trend of ideas falling through because of development. It will turn people off from funding these projects, and the really great concepts that would be completed, instead never see the light.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rockstar Wants You!

Wait. Why didn’t I know about this?

Apparently last Thursday Rockstar posted a request from fans on their website for input into GTAV. Holy crap! They’re asking for input on their “Crews” feature, which ties into the Rockstar Social Club. Basically it allows you to create groups/clans/guilds/whatever you wish to call them, track your progress online, create in-game situations, tags/calling cards, interact with others, etc. etc. etc. And they’re willing to take any idea.

Whether it's suggestions for competitive in-game Crew features in Multiplayer, new ways to manage and recruit, ideas for enhancing Social Club Crew pages and leaderboards, things you did and didn't like about Crews in Max Payne 3, or any thoughts at all related to Crews really that you'd like to share - we're all ears. We'd especially love to hear from current Crew members and leaders so that we can continue making our unique approach to persistent team based Multiplayer as fun as it can be in GTAV.

Obviously, if you try to ask questions or throw out other ideas for the game, they’re probably going to ignore it. What they want to do is take the Social Club to the next level and really get more gamer interaction. The club hub isn’t bad, but I found it lacking when I first used it for GTA: Chinatown Stories.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gaming Dev Fined/Jailed For Not Paying Employees

As if the gaming industry isn't in enough poo. Owning a business requires you to be a responsible person. Not many people that make it to the top understand what that means. Has anyone else noticed that the less intelligent you are, the higher you climb on the corporate ladder? But that’s neither here nor there.

David Rushton, Sensory Sweep Studios, had a business that focused on selling games that were adapted from movies. And he had a problem paying his employees. Because of this, he’s being sent to jail for a year along with a 12 million dollar fine, which probably won’t go to any of the unpaid employees. This also includes a charge of tax evasion and racketeering.

These people must have been incredibly trusting. If I saw even one paycheck late and given the excuse “oh it’ll be next Friday” I would have gone straight to the department of labor. But these employees were letting this go on for years. I’m sure they’ve all found new jobs since then.

I hope they all find some comfort in this, but the butthole will be out in the year and will probably try it again. Cheaters are always cheaters.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kotaku Chat With Amano

I'm keeping this light and easy. I love Amano and would be thrilled to meet him, but I can't. At least I don't expect it to happen. So this interview with Kotaku at NYCC will just have to do.

I do like his method of creating pieces. Just throw a bunch of paper and projects on one desk and see what happens. Beauty out of madness.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why all Sci-Fi games piss me off. Except Star Wars.

Universal translators.

They are abused in Star Trek like nobody’s business. They started out in books, most notably Murry Leinster’s 1945 novella First Contact. The concept of the universal translator was to offer an instant translation of any language. It’s a pretty nifty idea when you think about it. Technology companies today are striving for such a device for more practical, every-day uses. So far Bablefish is the best.

Now universal translators allow us to understand what the other person is saying in their language. It doesn’t convert everything into your language. Well unless you have a little device that reads/repeats what the person says. It’s almost telepathic in a sense, in that it conveys the translation to your brain directly. You don’t have that time wasted with the program trying to translate for you and spit it back out. You just… know.

So why does it bug me in video games? Well this happens with most sci-fi television shows and movies. Everyone is speaking English for really no reason at all. There isn’t a “basic” language like it was laid out in Star Wars, which would explain why a number of aliens were using English. But there are still multiple languages, and aliens speaking in their native tongue, with an inherit understanding being directed to the brain (and subtitles for us normal humans who don’t have this power, yet).

Not even Futurama could escape the paradox!
The situation I’ve described doesn’t happen. Instead it’s just assumed that these translators are actually correcting the way other species are speaking. Which is implausible. The translators can’t physically change the way you speak, but somehow they do! So everyone in Star Trek, Futurama, The Last Starfighter, even Battlestar Galactica allows this to happen. Everyone is speaking American English for no reason at all. American’s apparently take over space in the future, because damn, we’re getting everyone to conform to our ways.

And what sci-fi video game doesn’t follow suit? Everyone speaks English!

Listen. I don’t care what your qualms may be about Star Wars and what happened to the franchise, but I give them credit for having their own languages and a proper universal translator, with subtitles. I like seeing my Hutts speaking Huttese. It’s really flippin’ weird when they don’t. They tried that in one episode of the Clone Wars. People got annoyed and they didn’t do it again. At least not that I’m aware of. At least that’s what the Wookiepedia says…roll with it. But everyone is not expected to conform to one language. There are multiples with rich history and heritage, and they don’t get oppressed by “must be English only!”

Klingon’s have their own language, sure. We have a dictionary for it. But how often do they actually speak it in Star Trek? Not as often as you’d think. All Klingon’s know English, even with clan meetings they rarely speak their native talk. So it’s almost arbitrary that they use their own language.

Now I know some will use the translator as a quickie plot device to propel the story forward. People don’t want to watch the hero or heroes spend months learning a new language. What’s the best way to resolve it? Create a translator and everyone will be able to speak English. Done.

This is a real thing!!!
I get annoyed by the technical aspects of this issue. People don’t just speak English out of nowhere. No devices can, or could ever, exist that would force someone to speak English. I’m sure there would be a number of alien races where it’s just damn impossible to use any type of human language (from a biological standpoint-i.e. no tongue, lips, or vocal cords to replicate the speech).

Which is why I’m even more perplexed that video games deploy this same tactic. Does it keep the story moving, sure. But then we sit and question the logistics of it. Video games work in their own time frame. They don’t have to fit into the convention of a 2 hour film format or 30 minute television show. It can use any extraneous, crazy ass languages that developers come up with. Again I refer to Star Wars. KOTOR and TOR really emphasize the uniqueness of the languages of each species, with subtitles of course. But let’s look at SWG, and oh, I don’t know, all of the other Star Wars games not made by BioWare. They did a great job preserving the uniqueness of each alien language.

But then you have Halo, Lost Planet, Dead Zone, and myriad of others and you have to sit and wonder why. The Grunts in Halo do say “wort, wort, wort” but I’d compare them to the Klingon’s. They still speak English without a need. “Look out! They’re coming!”

So thank you once again Star Wars for preserving the native tongue of alien languages and keeping things logical. At least I appreciate it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gaming Easter Eggs History

The literal Easter Egg.
Ok I’m going to jump off the Mass Effect bandwagon for a while. I got wrapped up in it like I’m sure you all did when you played.

But we’re going to move on to another fun topic that we all can relate to. The video game Easter Eggs. Those hidden gems placed in games that make us smile, laugh, and sometimes curse at the creators for creating these things. Darren Smart took us on a small trip of the history of the Easter Eggs and what their meaning is to gamers today.

I’m sure anyone who has played Diablo II is fully aware of the Moo Moo Farm. I don’t know if it made the hundreds of hours of gameplay worth it, but it was hella funny. To this day I still take the time to stroll outside of the boundaries of the GTA story to find their hidden gems. “No Secret Here.” I’m sure there isn’t.

Finding the eggs has become a part of the gaming lifestyle, just as much as the journey to the Easter eggs. Even when we know what the final outcome is, we will have fun with the ride. We’re at the point where we’re almost disappointed if there isn’t something hidden in a game. Even RE6 with the slides gave us something. Maybe in questionable zombie apocalypse taste, but it’s there and it counts.

I think Easter Eggs are a nice way for developers to interject pieces of their personality, or to make a mark on their game in ways outside of the norm. In the very early RPG’s, DragonQuest comes to mind, some of the developer’s names can be pieced together from forests, oceans, and mountains. And while they’re expected tradition now, when it becomes a requirement/expectation among gamers, sad things happen. Again I’d like to point to the slides.

Easter Eggs are only fun when we the gamers and the programmers equally enjoy them. Moo Moo Farm is enjoyment for all, even the most hardcore dungeon rompers, and you know Blizzard got a kick out of it. So let’s stop expecting them and let them create. We can’t hide pop culture references into everything. And we’ll stop getting these damn slides.

I Skipped Ahead And Now I Feel Your Pain

For all of you Mass Effect fan boys and ladies out there, I finally understand your pain regarding the ME3 outcome. I know the story summaries isn’t quite like playing the game, nor is surfing YouTube for cut scene, but wow. BioWare done fudge stuff up.

I’m probably being too forward to go after the story on something I haven’t played, but I’m going to interject anyway. I don’t have an issue with the hero dying at the end of the story. It happens. Not everything can come out rainbows, roses, kittens, puppies, and lollipops. Bad stuff happens. A lesser man, or woman, wouldn’t have sacrificed themselves on the altar of destiny (or creepy synthetic machines) in order for others to live. Whatever choice you make, it’s going to be brutal and Shep is probably going to die.

That’s not my issue. Now that I’ve received collective responses from others, the endings seem haphazard. A slap and dash to just stick stuff together for a release date. The influence with EA is strong in this one. It also seemed to leave a lot of plot holes wide open for anyone to fall into. Especially with the creepy ghost cyber-kid that forces you to make a choice on how to save the galaxy. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why are we listening to him? What the crap is going on here!

Well I don’t know. I’m still confused about why we settled the heart of the universe on a giant relay, and why everyone speaks American English (America, f yeah! Taking over the universe and forcing everyone to talk like us!)

And it’s not that I have a problem with companions and shipmates dying. You kind of expected it to happen after the first game, and again in the second game. It’s not original at this point, but not unexpected either. I think it’s the shear amount of companion death that gets me. For a few of them, they have been with you since the first game. Even without a romantic entanglement, you have developed some form of attachment to them. Having one of them die really sucks; there’s no eloquent way to say it. At the very least you hope that killing off Shep will at least allow your friends live. But nope. No one is safe from whatever ME ending you decide.

You can see why I’m now really hesitant to play ME2. Plot holes alone are annoying. Killing off companions I’ve spent 3 games with is just mean. But providing a very random ending, with a creepy cyber-ghost kid, to choose what color you want your beacon to be? It’s silly.

I’m still up in the air about ME2 anyway. The ending of ME1 didn’t really wow me enough to want to continue. I felt like it just ended there and Shep would walk off into the galactic sunset for another mission. Again I’m hopeful that the dialogue by being a full Renegade will cheer me up. That and blowing up more of the gas-pillow sheep on Eden Prime. Yea! Take that sheep!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Master Chief Radio

I listen to iHeart at work. There are a lot of stations locally that have pretty good stream of music and talk, and commercials are so few and far between that I don’t even notice them. So imagine my surprise when I found there was a Halo 4 station presented by 343 Studios.

Of course I had to click on it and listen.

Here’s the kicker: iHeart focuses on radio stations in the U.S. Everything is fair-play with the exception of college radio. Though they do have “Coffee Shop” if that counts. Basically if it’s not a top 40’s of rock, pop, classical, talk, or dance, you won’t find it on iHeart. Mumford and Sons have their own channel…that’s the type of music set-up we’re talking about here. Video game music need not apply. You’ll still have to head over to Live365 for that.

So Master Chief Radio is a mixture of music you can currently find on today’s radio, in alternative, rap, and very, very, very light trance. The things all the cool Halo kids would listen to. The idea is to get you into Halo 4 mode, and now you have a station to listen to when the game comes out and you get sick of the soundtrack. Of course why would you…it’s Halo.

So no, you won’t get any sneak-peeks of Halo 4 songs. Sorry everyone. But apparently, this is the stuff Master Chief would have blaring in his helmet as he’s off to fight the Covenant. Linkin Park? Ok I could see that. The Darkness? Mmm. I don’t think so.

“Master Chief. We need you to head up the team. Covenant are swarming the area and we have to move fast.”

*chief bops his head*

“Master Chief?”

*random solder can hear a muffled voice under the Chief’s helmet*


*in best Steve Downes singing as Master Chief voice that one can muster* “I believe in a thing called love
Just listen to the rhythm of my heart
There's a chance we could make it now
We'll be rocking 'til the sun goes down
I believe in a thing called love

Yeah. No. Won’t happen. Ever. Master Chief is much cooler than that. Not that there is anything wrong with The Darkness. I enjoy them. But I’m pretty sure Master Chief wouldn’t swing that way. AC DC is more of his style.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 16: Journey to the Edge of the Universe

I have completed the game in under 30 hours.

This is going to be a long post, because a lot of stuff happened since the last update.

So after the nuke went off, I was forced back to the Citadel against my will. Booerns. I really do hate that place. But here I am. Again.

I didn’t care too much for this “sequence,” if that’s what you wish to call it. In the previous scene on the ship, the Council gave me the ok to do what I want, but they can’t provide backup. Now they’re saying no, don’t do that. You’ll piss people off. Well…I kind of pissed off a lot of people already to do the right thing. Why stop now? Let me go to Ilos and do what I need to do.

But nooooooo. The Ambassador of the Alliance and all humans is telling me to sit down and do nothing. Locks up my ship and keeps me grounded. PSH! Thanks for continuing the notion that humans are wusses. I’ll show you!

Mindless sequence was mindless. The only thing I really accomplished while on the Citadel was the “fan boy” quest. It was pretty obvious that I was going to get off the station. Thanks Captain of the Navy voice over. Oh Keith David. Your voice is silky smooth. We can’t help but love it.

That was the highlight. Listening to Keith David.

Not a bad trade off.

So I knew I’d be heading off to Ilos, with or without an army to back me up. Probably without. Pansies.

Ok so here’s my first issue, and I swear this happens all the damn time. Why is it that women feel the need to throw themselves at men when they think the world/universe is coming to an end? Is that the guarantee that they’ll all survive, because it’s stupid. It reminds me of Valentine’s Day. Not everything has a happy ending. What happens after everyone is safe? You’ll look at each other and go “what was I thinking?” And then that’s the end of that! Heat of the moment. Gone!

I’m a woman and I hate Valentine’s Day. It is a stupid day. It’s not even worthy of being labeled as a “holiday”. I know so many people that will feel like that’s the day to show you love to a person. The rest of the year? Screw that. We have Valentine’s Day. To me, that’s kind of a cop-out. You can’t tell someone that you love them at any other time during the year? You have to pick the obligatory day that everyone else does? Because if you really love someone, you don’t need 1 day a year to show them.

So very, very lame.

Well anyway, apparently Liara loves the Shep. And whatever that spiritual, existential, joining of the minds concept, it was anything but that. It was a hook-up. Just calling it what it is. My only recollection of this moment was sighing and checking my Facebook. I was hoping for something…actually I don’t know what I was hoping for. The way Liara described it sounded completely different then what actually happened. But whatever! Shep got some lovin’ and I got an achievement that had no relation to sexing up a teammate. I had a delay on using “Overload” 75 times. I laughed a little too loud and freaked out the dogs.

The next sequence I kind of enjoyed; slamming the dune buggy onto the ground within feet of Saren. Not making it behind the door before it closes, of course, but that was a flashy cut scene! And I like the layout of Ilos. I finally felt like I was more involved in the combative aspects of the game and didn’t get so bogged down by the RPG elements. There was just something about the layout, the staggering of enemies, and décor, it’s difficult to pin-point. I really enjoyed rummaging through Ilos. Even the silly one-way-only dune buggy track behind the wall was entertaining.

The music, well that whole fade-in and fade-out was annoying. I’d much rather it had stayed consistent because that was a pretty cool song. I even turned off my iTunes and VRock to listen in.

And then speaking with the ancient Protheaon database really helped clear up a lot of question, while drumming up more.

First off, who the hell didn’t realize that the Citadel, henceforth officially now the Shitadel, was a giant relay? It looks like one. It moves like one. I mean…captain obvious much?

Second, why the crap are we going to stick our greatest minds on the universe on a giant relay that no one knows squat about? “The Keepers take care of everything.” Great. Why? Aren’t you just a tiny bit interested in wondering what the Keepers are? Why they do what they do? Or hey, what’s in the maintenance tunnels? I mean…shit! I wouldn’t claim a giant space relay in the name of Earth without knowing what’s up with it, how it works, and how to keep it turned off. 2001 A Space Odyssey people. Go watch it. Would have saved ourselves millions of years of headaches!

Maybe Mass Effect 2 and 3 clear up these inconstancies, but f. For some smart ass aliens, they really are stupid. “We’ll just take over this place that’s in the center of the universe and make this our social hub, but won’t take half a second to figure out how it works, why it’s here, and why these creepy bugs walk around and maintain it.” So. Ridiculous.


Stupidity aside and barreling down the one-way road to the spire, in general with Ilos and the destroyed Shitadel *happy dance*, the intensity of action was very much welcomed. I could finally put all my shiny abilities to the test. Shooting things in the head in one hit gets old fast. I found a weapon upgrade that gave me an AOE-type of fireball. :D

Oh, I had Garrus and Tali with me throughout this. I’ve beefed them up so much, there was no way I would let them sit out. Liara…you’re still not good for combat, but I appreciate the comradery. Bow-chika.

And finally! I could see the other side of the Shitadel and walk through the maintenance shafts. This was pretty cool. And I can shoot down a ship? Awesome. *blitz combat mode*

When it came down to Saren and the find battle, I opted to stick to full Paragon mode and talked him out of fighting me. Well, sort-of. After reading a walkthrough (finishing the game first of course) the final form fight is one that you can’t avoid, regardless of your choices. But I skipped on the first section by talking Saren out of it. Spoiler alert, talking him out of going through with the Reaper’s plans means he commits suicide. I don’t know if that’s any better but, um, ok. I was thinking we could sit you in jail somewhere.

And then it was time for more decisions. Again didn’t consult a guide until after I completed the game, but I made an educated guess that saving the Council’s ship would give me Paragon points. It’d risk more lives, but with them being the figureheads of the universe, their death would deter the willingness of others to join the cause and fight the Reapers. I chose well. More Paragon points to an already maxed out bar. Yea.

“Go check that he’s dead.” *pokes Tali and Garrus*

Oh right. Saren. Yeah he might probably be a jackass and jump back up from the…dead…Sovereign took care of that. Thanks.

I was disappointed by this fight. For a final battle it was dull. It was long simply because of the cut scene in the middle of the ships coming together to take out Sovereign, and Saren was jumping all over the walls. Other than that, another lame aspect tacked on to the board. It also netted me 2 more achievements: finishing the game once, and having more damage done to my shields then to my actual health bar throughout the course of the game. That means I’m awesome at shooting behind cover.

Let’s get ready for the awesome final cut scene I’ve been waiting for!!!

*Shep stands in the galaxy sunset.*

What? The Council talks, I opt to make the Captain a member of the Council, and that’s it?

/double sigh

F this. I’m doing another play through and going completely Renegade. There has to be way more amusing options, dialogue, and story-lines if I do that. And Tali. I will hit that. >.>

What a letdown for an ending. Yeah, yeah. I can hear the naysayers going on that it opens up the story for ME2. Who cares? They didn’t know there would BE an ME2 if this first one tanked. I want an ending. Walking/standing/flying off into the sunset is not an ending. It’s cliché.

But should I expect anything less from BioWare? This was about as meh as the Bounty Hunter storyline ending in TOR.

There you go. There’s my play though of Mass Effect. I feel bad that I couldn’t record any of this. It would have been amusing, but I think my wonderful blogging commentary was equally entertaining.

I don’t know if it’s enough to convince me to play ME2. We’ll just have to see how Renegade mode goes. Saren, we’re going to have a proper fight and you’re going to be a worthy final boss. Ashley…nuke it up.

Unless the eye thing persists in ME2. Then we have to get it for hours and derpy antics.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 15: V-Rock

The station of rockers and Vice City alum; and it apparently makes for a great soundtrack for Mass Effect. Twisted Sister starts up as you push your way through a line of Geth, to open up the gates on Virmire to the stranded Salarians. Nothing gets my blood pumping like Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden while shutting down a cloning plant. Not to mention the banter from the DJ and the commercials. Oh the commercials. Vice City had the best radio stations of all GTA games.

Lazlow, you are an awesome voice for a GTA Generation.

Back to Mass Effect: this was the first time where I was faced with a game-altering dilemma. If you need a spoiler alert, here it is.

Someone is gonna die!

I knew it the moment that the options were presented to me. I had to consult my boyfriend to ensure that my suspicions were correct. Yep. Pretty much; I was going to let someone die. But who?

Option 1: Kaiden. The guy with the chronic headaches and doesn’t really provide support to my team.

Option 2: Ashley. She says some funny, and sometimes brutally honest, stuff.

Humor will always win, especially when I’m spending 20 minutes rolling over mountains, I need someone to make me chuckle, chort, and giggle at their antics.

Sorry L.T. You go with the Salarians. Ashley comes with me to set off the nuke.

Interesting how a nuclear bomb is still the most powerful weapon. Not saying that I promote us, or any species, with experimenting with more firepower, but something to think about. Thousands of years of existence and the pinnacle of military technology is the nuke.

Making that choice to sacrifice Kaiden was easy. It was even easier when the time finally came to help Ashley with the nuke or to save Kaiden by disabling the AA gun. *looks at the map* Ashley is 10 steps back that way. L.T. is another 10 minutes down the road.

See ya!

Ironic that “Peace Sells” from Megadeth popped up when Saren arrived. He mubles and jumbles. I mumble and jumble (I finally got a Paragon blue choice for a dialogue, yea!). We exchange shots, and apparently Shep is a wuss and can’t fire at Saren as he fly’s away on his hover board. Jump into the ship. Away we go…

Kerblamo! Sorry L.T. Try to be funnier next time. It’ll save your life.

Of course Ashley gets pissy about it during debriefing. “Hey lady. I carried your ass back to the ship and prevented you from dying a very horrible, nuclear death. Be grateful! Military Women.” *rolls eyes*

And any extra companion points I drummed up with Liara and Tali still haven’t kicked in. I think I’m at that portion of the game where I can’t really do much else with my companions. I guess I’m getting close to the end of the road? At least I assume so. I know where the Conduit is. I just have to find it, kick Saren’s ass and we’re good.

…I’m going to have to go back to the Citadel at one point, don’t I?


"Turn Up The Radio." I’m going to need it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It’s ok to be a man, play a female avatar, and not be sexist.

The Sims series has thrived on creating a new identity.
Men play as women, and Women play as men constantly.
I’ve been thinking about this for a little while. We’ve been spending a lot of time recently, in the gaming community, on sexism within the industry and how female gamers are treated. I want to look at the characters themselves, particularly ones where we, the gamer, have to create.

Quite a number of people that I meet in MMO’s are not the same gender as their real life counterpart. The reasons behind this will vary. But should we fault someone for picking another gender because they want something “pleasing” to watch while playing a game for 100+ hours?

It’s a tough call. Strictly speaking from a dictionary definition then yes, it would be sexism to an extent. Even though I don’t feel the definition matches up to today’s world, if you pick a certain character because of their looks, you’re singling them out, while discriminating other choices in a sexual manner.

And I do it too.

Yes I’m a woman and a feminist, but I also create characters that I feel are visually attractive. I’m creating an ideal version of this person/alien/creature within their realm. Male or Female, I want it to be someone that I don’t mind looking at for the next few years.

Now I’m arguing that this is different from normal: i.e. the expected voyeur view that we have come to know with video games. “Oh that chick is hot!” “Look at her boobs!” “Look at his abs.” Things that game designers do to intentionally pander to particular audiences.

What I’m talking about, what I believe to be, is not sexist. It’s possible to view someone as attractive and still be a rational human being. We do it every day. Well, most of us do. I’m sure there are still the occasional idiots who want to grope and act like a jackass around any female in their visual range.
Given a choice, I will always pick Twi'lik.
Note: This isn't mine.

Here’s my reasoning: As animals we have been pre-programmed to have a certain set of features we find attractive in a potential mate (whether this be opposite sex, same sex, whatever your poison). Just because we find someone attractive does not make us sexist. I think we’re at the point in our society where everyone is too hypersensitive about, well, everything. We say a man or a woman are “hot” and immediately we’re labeled as sexist. We can’t even sneeze without someone being offended these days. Don’t even get me started on why I can’t put up Halloween decorations at my office, but Christmas is totally fine.

Sexism is much more harmful than that. When you intentionally go out of your way to put down someone because of their gender, when you belittle them, tear them apart mentally and/or physically, that is sexism. Calling someone pretty in passing is not.

There is a difference.

So when I read these forum posts from men asking if it’s ok for them to play a female character, I don’t see an issue with it. I’m not entirely sure why people are making it into an issue.

Heterosexual men do it with male avatars. Just as heterosexual women do it with female avatars. Is it wrong that we want to play “fantasy” versions of a character in a make-believe world? Why is that sexist at all?

If I’m looking at a female elf all day, I want her to look like my ideal elf. I don’t want her to have scars on her face, or freckles, or orange hair. I’m going to make her look like I want her to look. So yes, she’s going to be pretty in my eyes. Someone else might find the scars and pink hair pretty. That’s perfectly fine. Does that make us sexist? Probably not, because I’m a straight woman looking at a straight female character.

Which means it’s probably sexist when I make a handsome male character, correct? Let’s take Shepard from Mass Effect. When I began my “Let’s Play” series I opted to stick to the default look: not only to stick with the original vision BioWare had, but also because I felt he was an attractive character out of the options made available. I’m not oogling him or undressing him mentally. He’s a handsome male avatar acting as my primary character for the story I’m embarking on. I can look at him throughout my gaming time and be perfectly happy with my choice. I can do the wayward, banged up, anti-hero another time in another game.
Now this looks like a man that'll save the galaxy, no?

And apparently that makes me sexist according to the forum topics linked above. I think we need to redefine what “sexist” is. We also need to teach people that being attracted to someone does not make you sexist. We’re in a society where “everything is bad”. “Don’t do this or that or you’re evil, rawr!” when it’s all perfectly normal, biological feelings. How we act upon those feelings is the determining factor.

So to all of the male gamers out there that play female avatars because they wanted a pretty girl to look at, it’s ok. Give her big boobs, give him abs of steel, and make them both wear the tiny short-shorts. But don't do it if your sole purpose is to undress her, engage in demeaning sexual acts, and berate her for being a woman. Treat her like an equal to a male avatar then we’re cool.

This is also coming from the woman who loves anything Bayonetta, so take it as you will. But as a female, from my point of view it’s ok to create a cute/handsome/sexy avatar. What you do with him/her/it and how you react is the difference.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Link Is Clear! But Not Really!

Another one of those “violent video games makes kids aggressive” articles. I’m only bringing this up because apparently it’s now a “clear link” instead of “we just think it is.”

Yeah the link really isn’t that clear. The process is a little better, however.

The study took place in Ontario over a period of 4 years and nearly 1,500 kids. They started at 14-15 and ended at age 17-18, about half and half for girls and boys. Surveys were carried out, so no actual visiting of the kids to see what they were really doing and could monitor or verify that they were telling the truth, and the results determined that there were steeper rises in aggression by playing violent video games.

If my sarcasm wasn’t obvious already, there are a lot of flaws with this research.

First, at no point did they take into account any environmental factors that would affect the research. I.E. what was the child’s home life? Did they watch violent movies or television programming? What friends and peers did they hang out with? Among the myriad of other possibilities, to just limit it to video games and video games alone is…well stupid. For 4 years these kids did nothing but go to school and play video games when they got home? Dumb.

Second, the research paper published shows that no one verified that the kids were telling the truth. So how do we know that the kids did actually play or not play violent video games? For that matter, what state of mind was the child in when they filled out the survey? Were they mad at getting an F on a test, and thus resulted in their survey being altered?

Clear link? Yeah right. Try again. Though I appreciate the effort in a larger sample size and for trying to apply it outside of the testing room.

Mass Effect Journal 14: Just When You Think You’re Done…

…they throw more at you.

So yeah. I definitely now realize that I went a bit backwards on the story. Apparently I should have gone to the weird alien plant creature planet first (the Thorian). It cleared up a lot of questions that I had regarding the Matriarch’s back story and how she and the bad Garrus got involved.

This is what happens when you give us free reign, BioWare. We end up going places that we’re too young to see, and get our asses handed to us by derelict space probes and Wompas (oh Hoth. TOR does not like you, does it?). Not that I was killed going the wrong way. I’ve only had one death, completely accidental. My dune buggy decided to glitch out as I ran over a Geth on the bridge leading back to the Thorian. Instead of going “squish” the Geth did a “flip” and took the buggy with me…and free falling away!!!~

Free Falling~

Stupid way to die: by a glitch.

But I’m also at the point in the story where I only have one primary mission left. Yea! So at least I know that I’m going in the correct direction now.

“Correct” is probably not the right word. Maybe “proper” would be appropriate? Because that’s the charm of this game; while there are limitations on where you can go on planets and within bases, there is still that essence of being free to travel as you please. You don’t have to go with the story’s intended order if you don’t want to. And it’s been fun, regardless of certain portions of the story confusing the tar out of me.

And of course after incinerating the Thorian, about 5 more side quests opened up. Mother f-er. Really? Really? I thought I was done! Nope. Apparently not. More trouncing of the galaxy. I thought I had seen everything. In fact, I know I have. I wouldn’t have managed to finish up all of those galaxy-esque quests of finding resources, and dog tags, and lost Prothean symbols.

Ahh screw it. I’m going to keep going. We’ll just make this a new save. Save #173.

Yeah, after my first near death experience (also because of a glitch!) I save every time. Whenever I explore an Anomaly, pick up new equipment, or talk to a pet, I stop and save. It’s ridiculous. That should be an achievement. “Save Hoarder. Save the game over 200 times.”

Speaking of over-saving, who else has been saving just before convos to test out multiple responses? I’m going full Paragon as best as I can (I’m sorry to that one civilian that died when trying to get to the Thorian. I’m still not exactly sure how that happened). But I wanted to be an asshole for at least a few convos. Is that so wrong? I’m sure Wrex would appreciate the change in character.

Asari lady trapped in the Thorian: “So, will you let me go?”

Me: “Nope. Time to die. *shoots* “

All companions: “Was that necessary? She didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”

Me: “Not to worry! We’ll just pause and reload. Just let me have this tiny little streak of crazy for a few minutes, ok?”


Me: “You can live and help these people rebuild.”

*saves game*

*5 minutes later, back on the ship*

Me: “I’m not going after that nuke, sir. Clearly it’s a trap so you do it.”


*10 minutes later*

Me: “Hey. I was right! It WAS a trap.”

Ok. I really didn’t intend to channel Admiral Akbarrrr there. I’m just pointing out the obvious.

That was the weekend play session. Sunday was NiGHTS day. I haven’t had a chance to play since the re-release went live earlier this month on Xbox Live and PSN. I needed a mental break and wanted to not deal with mountains that take me 20 minutes to climb. And colors. Pretty, PRETTY COLORS. I swear they tweaked Twin Cities I don’t remember it being difficult to traverse.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Non-Gamer Haters Are Going To Hate

Of course we’re going to talk about the democrat in Maine running for senator for the state, but is getting flack from republicans, to the point where they made a website, stating she’s unfit because she plays World of Warcraft.

You couldn’t make this story up even if you tried.

It’s no worse than having Obama and Romney duke it out with Pokemon. Oh wait…

Colleen Lachowicz is into WoW. An 85 Troll Rogue. Damn Rogues. They can be dicks.

Of course, some of us gamers are supporting Lachoqicz. As my friend Jamie put it; we’re ok with Dick Cheney “accidently” shooting someone on a hunting trip. But video game violence? Oh no! That’s too severe! We can’t have that in this country.

The “violence” in Warcraft is so bare and minimal in comparison to what we see on the nightly news. This is animated, stylized, cartoonish violence. There isn’t any blood! At least I don’t remember there being blood, unless Blizzard went hardcore and we see purple goo spill out of Night Elves. I’m positive American football shows more bloody noses then you would see in WoW.

I get it though. More people within my age group with voting rights will side with her. Someone that gets where we’re coming from…about time!

I think the republicans are looking at this issue all wrong (and probably nabbed Lachowicz a few more votes). They’re centering on “Lachowicz wants violence and she says she’s for peace. She’s morally bad!” If the postings that were made online are from her, I would be more concerned about the fact that she’s playing video games at work. Money from our debt ridden government is paying her salary to play video games. Now to me, that’s a problem. While I support the fact that she is a gamer and isn’t shy about it, I wouldn’t admit to playing games on the job. I would want my elected officials to work when on the clock. Off hours, feel free to do whatever (within the legalities of what’s acceptable).

Playing WoW beats the hookers and blow that the republicans seem interested in. Oh whoops. Out of line there, was I? Well the democrats aren’t any better with their mistresses. It all equals out.

Extra cool point for the candidate. She shared a Colbert Report video on her Facebook page.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mass Effect Journal 13: I’m Almost Done Side-Questing. Rejoice!

Until I get to the next major plot point, right?

I’m continuing on my romp around the galaxy to finish off these side quests. BW really loves their copy/paste, don’t they?

“Hm. We have to go into this tunnel to get to the crime lord. Let’s go!” And it looks exactly like the Rachni lair I went to on the last planet. And the infected scientists hiding hole on the planet before that.

And let’s just talk about our Moon base. Man. We built a pretty sad ass moon base, didn’t we? I don’t care if it’s supposed to be a “training ground”. We’re Earth. We’re humans. We like bigger, better, and bolder. Not that tiny ass p.o.s. base we made. Which of course was copied and pasted 3 times to be 3 mini bases that make up one base.


Yeah. Bad form Earth. Way to make us look like wusses.

But this has been sort of fun, now that I’m at the point where I’m getting side quests from my ship-mates. Wrex is…he’s funny. I’m enjoying his one liners and he’s so direct. He’ll tell you to f-off and go about his business. Doesn’t matter! His random quips while searching for his family’s armor kept me chuckling.

“I think I’m starting to like you Shepard.”

Well you know what guy? I think you have been upgraded to my backup party member if Garrus or Tali annoy me. Congrats!

But huzzah! The questing is done! Now to move on to the story.

“Mister Shepard! I need you to do something else for me!”

Damnnit! Why did I go back to the Citadel?!?! Everything was going so well!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Now This Is How You Game For A Cause

Gaming with a purpose! Those hours, days, months, if not YEARS you have spent playing Facebook games, there’s finally a company out there that gets it. Soja Studios started WeTopia last year. Through the social gaming force it generated over $500k for children’s charities.

Now they are releasing Joy Kingdom, a farming type of simulation but your reward is helping out real live animals. You earn points and harvest this intangible object called Joy. You then apply that Joy to one of several animal charities (everything from saving endangered species to helping small shelters provide food for dogs and cats). Soja Studios will still maintain at least 50% of the profits (of course, gotta make money somehow!) but their heart is in the right place. You have to admit, this is one heck of a way to get people involved in a game and a social cause.

This is a wonderful extension to my post yesterday. While having a game about some of the human crimes in the world today to get the message across to people isn’t bad. Joy Kingdom is taking that play time and converting it into real cash to help real animals. Something to consider.

Slide By Slide Comparison!

This...is just silly.

Seriously. Whether it be giant alien bugs or a zombie apocalypse, our heroes always manage to find time to take a break and go down a slide.

I've argued previously that it's another building block to developing a character. I'm not sure where to go from here seeing Resident Evil 6 copying Gears of War 3.

Slide Debate!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Social Changes Driven By Games

It is possible. A medium designed for rapid and mass consumption could easily spread a message to help others.
The problem that I have with a lot of these “games” is that they lack an audience or a means of driving people to their game. Who would willingly go to MTV.com to play a game about the issues in Darfur? No one. It might capture a few people’s attentions, but most are going to MTV for music and entertainment, not social activism. In fact, just viewing the website right now, there’s nothing on the page that would draw me to think “this company really cares about the issues!”
Now that’s not a slam at MTV. They’re one of the few companies in the U.S. that actually gives a crap about social issues. They have segments every now and then, and their Rock the Vote campaign to get more of the youth of America involved in their country. That’s great. But when it comes to something like the Darfur issues, it’s not an issue that you can easily jazz up like voting. People are literally being killed and maimed. Not so much of that going on in elections.
It’s difficult to capture what really happens in a game. Not to mention, it might turn people off from wanting to help if they can’t make it past the first stage/level/area if things are too realistic.
And then the other issue. These games may affect us, but what about the people that are suffering or the people causing the suffering? The latter, more than likely, thinks we’re wrong. The latter, also, typically has more power and could find ways to use our good and turn it into something bad, like channeling funds to their “cause”. Sad and twisted, but humanity isn’t known for being morally kind all the time. People stole from the 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina charities, and vice-versa people attempting to steal from those that were affected.
What I’m getting at is just because WE think this is wrong, it doesn’t mean the other parties involved are going to change. There needs to be a better means of reaching out to people that are involved. Our money and time donated may help a few people, but it doesn’t stop the opposing side from continuing their cause. Video games might be a means of penetrating into the other side. Sounds like warfare, but it’s not. Games have an odd way of transcending into multiple cultures unlike any other medium. If even one soldier in Darfur played this game, that might make a difference.
But no one in Darfur is going to MTV.com. I don’t know of anyone in my generation that would go there willingly. Better marketing and global access to social video games would help.
Just a thought.