Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Weekly Link Round Up

I didn't intend for this to be a round up post, but my news sources were overflowing with some odd topics today that it would be a crime if I didn't do this today. So here is your wonderful, weird gaming and nerdy news for the week!

- Get ready, everyone. Twinfinite has it all figured out; the reason why video game movies don't succeed. Movies don't replicate our gaming experiences to be meaningful for us, as individual gamers. Captain obvious much?  Look. We get it. Movies based on video games haven't done well in the past, mostly critically, sometimes financially. And we're fully aware that movies can never be like games. Ever. It takes compelling stories and dynamic characters to make a movie work, but in any adaptation, stuff will get left behind. Once gamers and fans of games realize this (as many have with the onslaught of books to movies), they'll stop blasting the "okay" gaming movies.

- A professional cosplayer is running for a political office in Arizona. It's not a gimmick. It's a real thing. Going by the name AZ Powergirl, Cara Nicole has joined the Green Party and is looking to be elected into the Arizona legislature for the House of Representatives. Her goal is to give that "other" voice to this election cycle. "I want to give people the opportunity to choose something more outside the red-and-blue party system," she comments. Her platforms involve environmental reform and families - specifically supporting legislation that helps divorced parents (on both sides) and custody cases to allow for more fairness. Whatever happens with her campaign, good luck to her. Being a cosplayer and a model is going to open her up to a slew of attacks from those on the field.

- I wanted to post this article from Florida Today because of the headline: Research shows the benefits of video games, dogs, sex. I'm intrigued. Please. Tell me more. The article is a bit cobbled together, but it indicates that your bachelor or bachelorette lifestyle of playing games, owning a dog, and drinking is healthy. In moderation, of course. Getting sloppy drunk every day and binging 20 hours on games is not good for anyone at any time. But a drink once every few days, and gaming a few hours each week can help improve your mood, thus leading to a happier life and more sex. So...go forth a game!

- Blastr.com has an opinion piece on how future video games should take a page from Mass Effect and develop more female leads like Commander Shepard. I'm a fan of the game, and appreciate BioWare's attempt at providing content to all genders by allowing the player to make their own decisions, I don't think femShep is the best representation of female characters in games. Why? Because she's a replica of broShep. Choosing to play as female Shepard doesn't change the dynamics of the game at all (with the exception of one scene I remember from Mass Effect 2 and even that was just a passing "that just happened" and was immediately forgotten). You have the same dialogue, movements, actions, and choices presented to you, regardless of whether you picked male or female. The only choices that you won't share are companion relationships - except Liara and Kaidan. Spoiler. Otherwise, the two genders are indistinguishable. That's not part of the female experience. At all. I'm not saying that femShep can't exist, but she's not representative of what we want in our female characters. We want avatars that represent us - our highs, our lows, our quirks, our flaws, and be a bad ass all at once. femShep is a copy/paste of broShep. I still enjoy the game and customizing her to tailor my snarky needs, but she's not the dynamic character that other female gamers should look up to.

- For an unknown, strange reason, not even 24 hours after the event, some people are comparing the attack at an airport in Istanbul to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 mission "No Russian." The few similarities are eerie, but in the end it's just a coincidence. It was an act of extreme violence and blaming the game won't solve anything. It's just a band-aid for your brain so you can feel better about life and move on, knowing that you can have a tangible cause to associate the attack to (no matter how wrong or right it may be). Gamerranx and Observer have compiled a few stats to showcase how violence in games hasn't affected crime in the way the media likes to portray it.

- The Science Blog has posted a study that reports that the theory that women are crap at games is debunked, after a team reviewed thousands of gamers playing MMO's. Females make up 20% of the MMO market, which seems small to me since I tend to run into a lot of women in Final Fantasy XIV. According to the study, after looking at 9,000 gamers in Everquest 2 (that's still active? holy crap!) and 2,000 gamers in the Chinese game Chevaliers’ Romance III, the skill level between men and women was virtually the same. There was no variable difference, or the percentage level was so low that they cancel each other out. I'm curious to find out how they received the gaming data, but there you go. Science in action.

- The Games for Change festival, held last weekend, believes that VR can help spur social change in the world. The thought is that with the new technology, it'll be easier for the average consumer to jump in and explore, which is what a number of games and apps include with the simulators - climbing mountains, working at a car repair shop, etc. They hope that VR will become more accepted over the years and encourage women to play and develop their own games, due to the ease of use.

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