Category Archives: Brut-Op Piece

How to Combat Bungie-Fever With These Simple Steps

Combat Evolved

Unfortunately this is not an article about combating a disastrous plague involving tall muscular men in green jumpsuits. Alas we do not live in such a world, but if we did, everyone would be teabagged…to death! No, instead this is a timely placed article about the repercussions of accidentally contracting a manufactured disease known as Bungie-Fever. Also since Destiny is super close to release, or is already here, I figure why not talk about Bungie and their relationship with journalists, and major gaming media sites? No?

Let me start out by saying this, even though my anticipation has lessened, I think Destiny is going to be a solid game. Also did you see that live action trailer? Before you read on, you have to check out this live action trailer that’s directed by the same guy who did Oblivion and Tron Legacy. It may be the best live action trailer for a videogame I’ve seen in quite a while.

“Proof that if you merge the Immigrant Song with space, you get something beautiful.”

Ever since the split from Microsoft, Bungie has been working hard on their upcoming MMO-shooter-HaloBorderlands thing. It’s perhaps one of Activision’s biggest titles that is said to have a 10 year lifespan, and maintains a budget of over $500 million. That’s a lot of Destiny themed Mountain Dew bottles they’re going to be selling in the future, and hopefully one of them has a flavor specifically made for the Peter Dinklage bot. I’m striving for a name like ‘moon wizard’ flavor, I think it can sell.
Although there is of course a reason why Activision has put so much faith in Bungie, and that’s because of some asshole named Master Chief (I don’t know the guy personally, but I hear he doesn’t tip at bars and doesn’t put on deodorant). Halo was, and still is, the poster-boy for Microsoft. Sure they have Gears of War, Fable, Forza, and uh…Viva Pinata, but nothing has taken the mantle away from Halo in terms of what Microsoft’s consoles represent. Without a doubt, Halo is perhaps one of the most inspirational, groundbreaking, and monumental successes there is.
See this is where the tables have turned, and I give my piece on why Halo is the most undeservedly praised, clunky as fuck, and ridiculously repetitive games out there. Okay, that’s bit of an extreme path to take. At best I’ll say this, Halo is a pretty entertaining franchise that constantly has made adjustments to keep itself fresh within the gaming world. Mostly its multiplayer is what keeps the game going, but the campaign’s keeps inserting small nods from previous entries and the books to keep hardcore fans happy. They’re fun arcade shooters that keep making small adjustments whenever a new one is released, just so they aren’t all easily identical.

Now that I said all this, let me move on to a, let’s just say, a controversial statement. Maybe not to many, but to some it’s considered ‘sacrilegious or ‘taboo’ apparently to say such a thing. So here it is, the main crux that I’ve been trying to lead up to throughout this entire article is – Bungie is not the greatest studio in the world. Put down your plasma swords, because there’s a reason why I wanted to bring this up.

Right around the time we saw our first glimpses at Destiny, I was stoked to imagine the possibilities of what a game like that can do. An open world game where you get to travel into space, customize your spaceship, collect loot, battle crazy bosses, and do other cool shit involving RPG mechanics. It sounded like something that could be a lot of fun, and perhaps overall word of mouth will say such things once people get their hands on it, but thing is I described the reasons why I felt like it could work. It had nothing to do with the studio, it had more to do with what the game was presenting.
I was noticing something fascinating though, like a common cold, apparently certain major gaming sites started to spread ‘Bungie’ as a buzzword. Like, ‘Bungie can do no wrong’, ‘don’t doubt Bungie’, and ‘how can you not love Bungie?’ In fact I heard less about the game they were promoting, and more about critical acclaim behind Bungie. It’s like a popular boy band that all the girls are into, except it’s a bunch of dudes in green armor on stage, and the girls are replaced with journalists who throw their wet pants on stage. I can only imagine the type of fan mail Cortana must be getting, yeesh!

What is it that makes Bungie this top-tier studio that apparently every other studio should aspire to be? I mean they did make forge mode, and you do not want to fuck around with forge mode, I’ll tell you that. They made Cortana naked-er in 4, I mean I don’t know how you do that to an AI robot lady, but they did it…oh wait that was 343 Studios, damn it! The warthog now has golden rims, oh wait that’s not true, that’s just something I accidentally read from my wish-list for Halo 5. Oh boy, I should stop doing that.

Despite Halo being a thing and the influence it wrought on the industry with the regenerative health/shield bar, I don’t think that constitutes as being one of the greatest studios out there. It does carry weight to the name, in the same way that Sonic once carried weight to Sonic Team and Sega, but that’s it. Halo is a competent shooter, but only got better once it started borrowing mechanics from Unreal Tournament (hey, be glad I didn’t say ‘ripped off’). And then for a long time based their third installment on a catchphrase that would make every greedy marketing manager cry with dollar signs from their eyes (‘Finish the Plate’ I think was the catchphrase). Halo: Combat Evolved, 2, 3, and Reach are all good games, but if we’re basing what makes a great studio judging from a franchise that has made minor to moderate adjustments throughout the years, then Infinity Ward should be on there as well.

Journalists and the gaming world love to put Bungie on this pedestal of greatness that no other studio can ever achieve, despite that their most notable accomplishments involve a franchise where a man in a green suit of armor shoots aliens (not enough love for Marathon Man apparently!)
I’m sure Naughty Dog is sitting on a park bench during the national Bungie ceremony, and saying to someone, “I’ve put out a PS2 platformer trilogy involving a talking ferret and a man with anime hair, and it’s one of the best franchises of all time. And then I put out another PS3 action adventure trilogy that’s influenced by Indiana Jones, that’s considered one of the best trilogies of all time. Then I lastly put out a survival horror game that has one of the most memorable endings of all time that’s so highly acclaimed it even got a PS4 port immediately after. Yet I still am not in league with the studio that’s been working on the same goddamn sci-fi FPS franchise for close to 10 years.”

Then someone says, “What about Crash Bandicoot?”

And then Naughty Dog says, “We don’t talk about that, not since the break-up.”

This is not a question of what makes the best gaming studio in the world, that’s a whole other can of worms to open up. This is a question of why Bungie needs to be looked at through a non-bias magnifying glass, and how they’re not the pinnacle of game development. Maybe Destiny will change that, or maybe not, but remember to contact your local doctor if you contracted Bungie-Fever. Unfortunately there’s no cure at the moment, the only way to treat Bungie-Fever is through Half-Life 2 children’s vitamins. Even more good news, they’re shaped like head crabs!

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Too Serious or Too Goofy? A Look into Current/Future Tonal Shifts in Videogames

Tonal Shift Image

So I was reading up on the interweb gazette today, that’s what I call reading news on the internet, and found out something interesting with the development on Sunset Overdrive. In an interview with Siliconera, the creative director of the game, Marcus Smith, stated that maybe things are a little bit ‘too serious’ in the gaming community. “Games are kind of like uber-serious right now. In a lot of cases, people are trying to make interactive movies more than things you are entertained by. For us, we just wanted to divert and go back to our roots. Insomniac has always done games that were pretty self aware, always had a sense of humor, and are fun for different groups of people.

While I certainly am glad that Insomniac is returning to what made their games great in the first place, this brings up numerous interesting points about the current state of the industry. Have videogames gotten too serious that now we’re returning back to an era of fun and light-hearted titles? Should we absolutely return to this frame of mind after what’s been going within the last ten years? Can we reach over-saturation with having games that are colorful and are just based on mindless entertainment value?

Of course I grew up with colorful platformers when I was a wee dino-lad, so to me I absolutely have no problem with returning to making games be about…fun (I know, it’s hard to imagine that). However this really could be the proper dose of medicine the industry needs right now.

Since the beginning of the PS3/Xbox 360 cycle, major videogame titles were developed with the mentality of ‘we have the tech to make this as realistic as possible, so let’s go for it’. This type of thinking was fed into people’s minds, along with shooters like Gears of War, Halo, and especially Call of Duty making a statement that shooters were here to stay. But most importantly, it started the birth of ‘Realistic-Gritty-Unshaven-Masculine-Men-Games-That-Also-Happen-to-Have-Shooting-Elements’ genre that even greatly influenced other studios to go in that direction with their software (Mass Effect, Uncharted, inFamous, Resistance). However it wasn’t the games themselves that influenced the change in direction, it was the fact that publishers found out that making games realistic and gritty would allow for profitable sales. This is especially apparent after the success of the Call of Duty franchise once Modern Warfare became a huge success (this was the game that transitioned the whole ‘I’m tired of WW2 shooters’ to ‘I’m tired of modern military shooters’ phase), which led to the regenerative health system and the linear level-designs with occasional interactive cinematic moments squashed in between.

 

COD: Advanced Warfare

REALISM MOTHERFUCKER!!! YOU CAN’T HANDLE THIS!

It’s kind of like that moment when Max reached 16, and was like, “Ugh, I’m so tired of wearing shoes with bright blue colors and listening to the Dave Matthews Band! I’m gonna start dressing up in nothing but black clothes and wear Kiss make-up. And every time I turn on the radio I’m gonna make sure that The Smiths are on! Because I’m a reflection of this world  I’m living in, nothing but pain and misery!”

Of course you slap him, because you’re the mother or father, and say, “Son, you stop taking everything seriously and quit reading your crappy poems out loud! Even the cat is tired of listening to them, look at that, he’s curled up into a ball because you can’t stop saying the word ‘bleak’!”

This is what I felt about the past generation of gaming, a lot of developers want to be taken seriously, but just don’t have the writers or knowledge to be taken seriously.

But what makes Max as a child any better? All he was doing was making fart noises, writing inappropriate messages on the bathroom wall, and scribbles all his belongings with various amounts of crayons that just don’t complement each other. Max was an annoying little shit, and so was 16-year old Max, but in both their own unique way.

It reminds me a lot of how Saints Row became super successful after 3. Saints Row 3 features a lot of immature elements such as giant purple dildos, nude para-shooting, doing silly dances in front of public authority, and features a lot of crazy costumes. The third and fourth ones are pretty fun, but they also, and here’s where I’m probably going to receive a lot of angry messages for this, have terrible writing. It’s a colorful GTA mod where the writers and designers work in unison just to throw shit on the wall, and see what sticks.
However it never grounds itself, does it want to be a wacky slap-stick game or does it want to be the videogame equivalent to Airplane? Where everyone is taking things seriously, but they’re put in extremely ridiculous environments? The voice actors do their damnedest to sell their performances, especially Nolan North in Saints Row 4 who just sounds like a slightly different version of Deadpool, but the material they’re given is too minimal, redundant, and has not a whole lot of proper set-ups to the jokes they are telling. “Hey, look its Keith David – he’s Keith David! Hey look, it’s Shaundi, she’s dressed provocatively, but deep down is a tough woman even though people still call her a whore!”
Of course these games are known for their ridiculous missions, and the fact that it’s a sandbox game where you can do whatever the hell you want. But I feel like the franchise’s success is based on when it was released, which was around the time when GTA 4 was being mocked for being ‘too realistic’ and gritty military shooters were becoming popular. To many, it was the shining light of absurdity at the end of a tunnel that also had a lot of military shooters that looked the same. Personally I think there are other games out there that achieve the same sense of madness, but work so much better such as Deadpool and Bulletstorm.

Although that’s besides the point.

Thing is, I don’t think you can over-saturate the market with nothing but games that are made just for entertainment value and nothing else. Like, “Oh my god games these days are made to look colorful and are entertaining, where are the ones that make me shoot stuff and make me feel like shit?” No sane person says that, and if they are out there, they’re what’s holding the industry back. Realistic and gritty shooters will never go away, and no one’s going to take them away. It’s just that the amount of gritty realistic shooters is too damn high!

What we want to achieve as an industry is to have the perfect balance that we had with the era of the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube console cycle. An era where one genre wasn’t overshadowing the rest, and where developers were being experimental with the genre’s they were working in. The result would exhibit a wide spectrum of genre’s ranging from silly action games, to light-hearted adventure games, to realistic yet fun racing games, and of course your super gritty and depressing shooters. Instead of having an emphasis of one specific genre, and having occasional brief appearances of other obscure genre’s.

If Sunset Overdrive does extremely well, we could be seeing a refreshing start to more colorful and entertaining games that don’t have a strong emphasis on just shooting stuff. Or maybe we just can’t get enough of our big-chinned and scruffy white protagonists. Maybe we could reach an agreement by just removing the ‘scruffy’ part, and having them just be big-chinned white protagonists. There we go, yep I finally found a compromise that everyone can get behind!

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How The Current Trend of MMO’s Can Backfire

MMO Banner

 

These days, everything has to have an online component. Whether it be for keeping track of how far you’ve gotten in a game, showing your gamer score when combating against other online friends, or proving how little you care about online components in the first place. It’s like having a restaurant force you to pay attention to their salad menu, even though it’s a goddamn salad menu. I’m sorry, but unless I see you tossing squid tentacles or live rattlesnakes into a bowl of lettuce, I’m not going to care! I’m happy you have this new selection of salads, but don’t make it out to be the future of your restaurant’s business!

It’s at this point Brutuxan forgets what he’s writing about, and instead goes into a long tangent about salads. Also what does this have to do with MMO’s? You’re just talking about online functionality in today’s games! Either stick to the topic, or discuss how much you dislike salads you flip-flopping carnivore!

However what I was building up to was this, there’s a reason why online components are being pushed super hard into games that shouldn’t even need them in the first place. Right now, we’re entering a phase where publishers think that there’s profit to be made with adopting the MMO model. Meaning, “Hey, if World of Warcraft was so successful and Blizzard is making a shit ton of money, why don’t we do the same thing?” Mostly by slowly planting those seeds in there, letting them settle in, and finally growing them into a full-blown MMO tree with all the features of the previous game. Rockstar did that with Red Dead Redemption, and is technically doing the same thing with GTA V‘s multiplayer mode.
Granted, not all of these developers have the same mindset, some of them just want to make an MMO because that was their creative intention. But for the publisher, that’s like seeing dollar signs just swarm around them like butterflies trapped in a cage. And why shouldn’t they? As I stated, there is a lot of business to be made with MMO’s, mostly because they harness every single thing that makes Brutuxan kind of cringe when he hears about them – micro-transactions, monthly fees, auction bids, guild events, slightly over-priced DLC, some bullshit cockatoo pet that you can teach to to play a ukulele (actually that last one sounds kind of cool). Hearing those words would make almost any executive want to create a happy accident in their…piece of clothing suitable for covering up their legs, something like that!
Games like Destiny, Fable Legends, The Crew are all games that are marketed as console MMO’s. These were games revealed almost around the same time, and were made in the same mindset of, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we mixed a racer/shooter/combat RPG with an MMO?” Granted, maybe I’m a little out of the loop here, but were people honestly asking for this? The Crew does sound genuinely interesting, and I could see that appealing to a certain demographic, Destiny only maintained its momentum because of Bungie’s name, and Fable Legends…I have no goddamn clue why that had to happen. However it’s not just about these games, for all I know they could be great games, it’s just the repercussions of sticking to that model that seems worrying.

As we all know, there’s a lot of resources that goes into making triple-A games. But an even bigger risk is to invest your company into the development of a major MMO title. Doesn’t even have to be up to the same caliber as World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2, the game can be as milquetoast as what 38 Studio’s title was most likely going to be, but it’s still a heavy investment. Also I know there’s going to be someone out there complaining about how I was belittling 38 Studios, but here’s the thing I want you to ask yourself, in an age where we have WOW, Guild Wars, Everquest, Old Republic, Planetside, Elder Scrolls Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Trek Online, Battlestar Galactica Online, Final Fantasy 14, Wizards/Pirates 101 and among a ton of other MMO’s how do you plan on separating yourself from the rest of the herd?
Let’s gloss over the controversy behind what happened with 38 Studios, because personally, I think there was equal blame go around on that. Right now, I want to look at Project Copernicus:

 

So there seemed to be some interesting designs, looked pretty, but other than that for a game that had a budget of $100, 000, 000 + was there anything in there that screamed ‘I have to play this’? Sure it was very early in development, but it’s blatantly obvious what this game wanted to be the moment I saw that fucking medieval compass, tree chandeliers, and Easter egg houses. Seriously, why are their Easter egg houses in the trees, why couldn’t they just be ‘treehouses’ – was that not grand enough for you 38 Studios? Just like every other MMORPG out there, it wanted to be WOW, but couldn’t because Schilling apparently forgot that maybe aspirations, dreams, and shit cost money. Even worse is that Rhode Island got nipped out of its tax money when realizing most of it went to this goddamn studio’s undesirable dream project.
Also get this, Schilling’s big reveal for the game was that it was going to be “free-to-play.” It’s like saying, “Hey, I’m going to be borrowing your money, well, most of it to finance my dream project. Oh, and I’m probably only going to give you a fraction of that money back, okay, maybe only 10%. But still, it’s at least something, right?” It’s a lovely message Curt Schilling likes to call, “Live your dreams, except if you’re a resident living in Rhode Island. Yours isn’t as important.”
Let’s not forget the people who worked on the game, I mean sure there are those who honestly were on board with the idea from the start, but there had to have been those who were there because they needed to work. If Schilling was aware of what was going to happen, in context he sounds like a really selfish person. Maybe he wasn’t, but when you put hundreds of workers jobs on the line for a dream project involving Easter egg houses and cartoon elves then perhaps its time to re-evaluate some things. Like maybe painting the Easter egg houses green, I don’t fucking know.

The problem doesn’t just linger with 38 Studios, it’s something that persists in mostly every other MMO since WOW‘s success. The Old Republic was an MMORPG built for those who wanted to play an MMO with a thick engrossing story built around their characters. If only most of the players stuck around though, because as it turns out the game took a financial nosedive soon after its release.  The Elder Scrolls Online was an MMORPG that was built on the concept of, “What if we made a more open-er Elder Scrolls that allowed you to interact with other players?” Instead the game came out with mixed reception despite its attempts to make it seem more unique than it was.
Future MMO’s face the same problems such as Destiny with its story. I mean, listen to this inspired piece of dialogue from Peter Dinklage!

This an MMO filled with content that will span for over 10 years. And this is the type of dialogue and writing we can expect from one of the central characters in the game…doesn’t that just fill you with excitement? Man, I sure can’t wait to get to know that Peter Dinklage robot who sounds more dryer than a eraser broad being cooked in the sun, and without the decency to at least be lit on fire cause that would require…trying!

There are several major problems I have with MMO’s that I will not fully get into with this article, but let me briefly bring them up. One, if it’s a fantasy MMO it’s story is probably ripped off from Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, if it’s a sci-fi MMO it’s story is probably ripped off from Star Wars or…Star Wars. Two, every task giver says pointless dialogue just to send you to do another mundane errand, that will later send you to another task giver and then do several more repetitive errands, eventually leading you back to the mundane task giver with the mundane repetitive tasks because you need XP to put more numbers behind your numbers. Three, the idea of giving your character this extreme purpose like he’s Neo from The Matrix is bullshit the moment you see another player with the same class doing the exact same mission. Four, if you’re a turn based MMORPG, chances are, you’ve probably hijacked the same mechanics from WOW.
Not to mention there’s the wastefully time consuming talents, the mounts you won’t get till a higher level that also requires a ton of gold, the constant slow run back and forth between missions areas, and the raids that prevent you from furthering your progress. There’s a difference between, let’s say, playing something like Deus Ex or  Pac-Man Championship Edition. Where one offers you the choice to play the game your own way, and the other is all about stacking as many points as you can within short bursts, so you can come back and play it later. Those games offer great entertainment value without the hassle of monthly payments or repetitive uninteresting gameplay elements, and eventually you can find the end of the tunnel with them. With an MMO, you’re investing your own time into a tunnel that keeps going and going and going and going and going and – wait – keeps going and going.
That’s fine if you’re into that sort of experience, especially if you have a tight group of friends who just play one game all year. What I’m saying is, this is what the industry is striving toward right now. Games based off a model that worked once or twice, involve very expensive budgets, and have a high possibility of only bringing in a specific crowd. Essentially, these publishers are just sticking to building mansions instead of well-put together two-story houses or one-story houses. Or hell not even equaling things out by dabbing into all three columns.

This is not me saying we should eliminate the MMO genre altogether, this is me saying there’s a lot of incredibly risky moves being made right now, and the result of said incredibly risky moves will hardly be beneficial, in fact it could be disastrous if this is where the industry is going. Right now we have several free-to-play MMO’s that aren’t the sharpest looking tools in the shed, but they can certainly kick the crap out of your shiny run-of-the-mill fantasy MMORPG’s that have over millions of dollars invested into them. Want to know why the free-to-play model is succeeding? Because they either stick with one poison, instead of all them (micro-transactions, monthly fees, full retail pricing). And even then, some of those free-to-play MMO’s still have just as many problems as a monthly subscribed MMO.

It’s why I hate hearing the concept of a Pokemon MMO being thrown out there, like it’s going to be fuckin’ rainbows and kittens. There won’t be any of the expected problems we run into with other MMO’s with the new Pokemon MMO! Those are just there because we put them in a box inside the darkest recesses of our mind that we occasionally check due to morbid curiosity! Same damn thing goes for those geeks who want a Firefly MMO, an X-Files MMO, a Lost MMO, anything based on a beloved geek property or something Joss Whedon had a hand in must have an MMO because that genre represents the high point of gaming! Everything in the world needs an MMO, despite the fact that it’s probably been done already in one of WOW‘s latest expansion packs!

You see what I mean? You can put all your time and effort into a product that you claim will be different than WOW, but guess what? Even if those fans flock to your game for a few weeks, they always go back to WOW. Because WOW never dies, but those who try to be WOW, despite their best intentions, wind up just clutching on for too long, and finger by finger they lose grip, falling into the never-ending abyss of Everquest sequels and whatever DLC The Old Republic has coming out.

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The Future is Here, Except Not Really Cause it’s a Virtual Illusion!

Oh hi, it’s been a while (again) since we’ve talked. Apparently some stuff has happened in the videogame industry, but sadly not every news day can be about Battlefield 4‘s plethora of online issues or how Kinect is still sucking harder than PS Vita sales right now. Man my hyperbolic meter is off the charts today. Point is something grand has happened today…or tomorrow…or whenever this article will go up. It’s the dawn of the age of…

BDSM Goggles

“Steam-punk BDSM goggles?”

It’s not what you’re thinking you sick son-of-a-lovely-reader, you. Virtual reality is here, and it wants your living room – badly!

What could eventually be the next gaming trend had its roots shaping into form when the Oculus Rift starting hitting news outlets via Kickstarter. It’s essentially a giant head-set that looks like  like a clunky modem strapped to binoculars that were used by gnomes. It wasn’t pretty, at first, but in due time thanks to its founders – Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Michael Antonov, and id Software co-founder John Carmack it looks more like you’re wearing a mini-laptop instead.

Oculus Rift 1

“It’s also a great way to pick up the ladies.”

All kidding aside though, the Oculus Rift is quite an impressive piece of hardware. With its intriguing resume of maintaining a 5.6 inch display, high-speed IMU, along with its special firmware (requested by Carmack) and you get a pretty beefy set of 3D glasses. Speaking of Carmac, the man himself actually left id Software just to put more time into the damn thing. This goes to show that when you leave a highly complex piece of equipment on your front door step, a Carmack will appear. Granted we still have about a year or two  before we finally can get our hands on these bad boys (in about late 2014 or early 2015), but the reception so far has been pretty great for the Oculus Rift.

It was so great that even Sony was like, “Hm, we’ve tried selling these blue dildo controllers, how about we take these futuristic visors from Picard’s sex dungeon?” And indeed that is how Project Morpheus came to be.

Project Morpheus

Project Morpheus is the latest attempt from Sony to try and rail in some of that Oculus Rift dough. Currently the kit will come at 1080p resolution, has sound rendering, and will have full 360 degree support along with other fascinating technical attributes. However with that said, it will be used mostly with PS Move and the PS Camera. So you’ll practically be looking like a mentally challenged Darth Vader, and not even as intimidating. It would be one thing though if it was just Sony doing this, oh no, now we have several different types of VR headsets.

We have Seebright working on a headset that separates its experience by removing the feeling of ‘isolation’. Cause that’s doesn’t sound concerning about your mental health.

Seebright

Then we have Sulon’s Cortex headset that can map any room. Even the inside of your own body for sexual purposes that may be talked about on launch date.

Cortex

Also there are rumors of Microsoft wanting to make a VR headset, and Valve has already been in talks of working on something similar. Probably. Virtual Reality is coming, and it’s coming real fast. But even after its initial phase, will consumers still buy into it?

Motion gaming was at one point being claimed as this new wave of innovation that everyone was waiting to get on board with. It sure did seem like it too with the way Nintendo was making some serious money off the Wii on launch week and the year after. Though there was one major problem that Nintendo would soon encounter with the Wii, there was no software to back that shit up yo. Plus once you bought the Wii, you would recieve a copy of Wii sports for free, and that was all you essentially needed. That was until you got to the latest Mario, Zelda, or Super Smash Bros. game.
However by the time the age of the Wii was ending, Sony and Microsoft would seize control of Nintendo’s reign of mediocrity. While both of their peripherals or systems were different, both the Playstation Move and the Kinect were both trying to ape the Wii from the get-go. Certainly Nintendo wouldn’t just let it go down like that, especially not after they released Wii Sports Resort? Well tough shit Wii Sports Resort, because Move had JK Rowling with her new kooky videogame and Kinect had baby tigers! What more could you give us you piece of retirement home entertainment?!

Therein lies the problem with these peripherals. The Wii began as an excellent idea that capitalized on the least likely demographic you would ever expect to play videogames, your parents and grandparents. But once grandpa Lester stopped giving a shit about his high score on Wii bowling, he probably wouldn’t have given a shit about anything else. Move’s problem didn’t consist with its titles since apparently we’re talking about a peripheral that looks like someone strapped Doctor Manhattan’s testicle on the other end of a remote. The problem there was just basically a combination of a peripheral that looked to similar to another’s, and the timing behind it.
Kinect as well began with a cool idea of utilizing your entire body as the avatar for whatever game you were playing, it just so happens that everything else was kind of shit beyond that concept.

Sure we still have Kinect 2.0 and Move is still around, but as usual with Nintendo, they love to start trends such as implementing a tablet controller into their next system. Tablets around the time before the announcement of the Wii U were an interesting concept that companies such as Apple and others seemed to have an understanding of. Some of their games weren’t too shabby either, one of these ‘not-too-shabby’ games was Infinity Blade which utilized the touch screen and was an actual game (shocking). After seeing the success of the iPad, Nintendo thought they would catch lightning in a bottle again and…yeah…ZombiU.

Also 3D doesn’t count because ‘who cares’.

But look I’ve already mentioned motion gaming, tablets, 3D made a resurgence once again, but virtual reality at a time seemed like something that was only heard of in Star Trek episodes. Now it’s becoming real, bulky – forehead sweatin’ – red eye inducing – realness. Granted I don’t think it’s fair to make a full judgement of a piece of hardware on launch day when it hasn’t had much time yet to progress into something great (except for the Ouya). So at the moment I can’t make an assessment of what the future beyond launch will hold for this piece of equipment.
Anyway I’m dilly-dallying along here, point is will virtual reality be welcomed into the industry like a warm toaster strudel that was left in the oven for the right amount of time? Well the icing may, I mean, the answer may surprise you because…I think it will…have its place somewhere. For the longest time this industry has suffered from being too safe when it comes to making decisions in order to attain cash from consumers, or a lack of decisions in some cases. So with the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, perhaps we could gain new experiences and challenges that will boost this industry’s creativity?  I’m no fortune teller, but if I was, I would have the sickest crystal ball you would ever see and perhaps assume that virtual reality would have a relatively nice stay since it would give something different for developers to work on.

But then again, I have been wrong before…Hm…nah! It’s all going to turn out just the way I foresee it.

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Why Trying to Make Videogames Accessible to Your Dad is a Lost Cause

Family

It was always an odd thing trying to reason with my dad as to why I play so many videogames. To where he would always say, “Go read a book!” And my response was, “But I don’t know how to read!” It was always leading up to a stifling conversation, sorry, argument that never really solved anything. Now that I’m way older and have matured somewhat for a man pretending to be a dinosaur on the internet, my perspective has changed immensely.

It was even more apparent when I saw this clip from a show across the pond on Channel 4. It featured an upbeat Charlie Brooker bringing over to test out his PS4 with Jon Snow, who seemed more out-of-place than a baptized Christian baby in a Jamaican rave club. I’m not going to say much from here on out until you finish the video, go on then…press play…just see what happens.

Alright, so several things of note here. One, Jon Snow has no idea what a ‘kid’ is. Two, this videos reminds me so much of the arguments that me and my dad would stumble into when it came to playing modern videogames. However I kept thinking about this, and in general it’s the same argument I see a lot of young gamers have with, to put it bluntly, old people.
Several years ago Roger Ebert gave his opinion as to why videogames can never be art. Now I disagree with that statement, but it seems like a good chunk of the internet took that as to him labeling the medium as ‘nothing but garbage’. Keep in mind the majority of people commenting on the internet aren’t necessarily your grandparents or crotchety old uncles, but instead are composed of young adults and mostly teenagers. It’s a technological disconnect that ultimately leads to…

“Why can’t you take my games seriously?”

And the answer should be ‘why does it even goddamn matter’, but let me explain in an orderly way that may make more sense…possibly.

Context in Videogames Makes About as Much Sense as the Jackalope –

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Think about your favorite videogames, Red Dead Redemption, Portal, or The Last of Us. Those are some fun games, but examining them through an older lens you start to see things that just don’t make sense. Like how come John Marston can easily skin a bear off-screen in less than 10 seconds, how come the Clickers don’t notice Ellie, or why would GLaDOS be programmed to make cakes?

Well in a videogame you have to provide convenient supplements to the mechanics in order for them to be, well, videogames. Hence why we have explosive red barrels in so many shooters, why there are tons of disposable health pack stations in action games, and why there are so many rats to kill in RPG’s. Those elements serve their purpose to the player, but for those who are unfamiliar with the medium it just seems…stupid and insanely questionable. Just like the Jackalope.
That’s because of the automatic comparisons those make to older mediums, like film or books. Once you’ve become acquainted with something for so long and grew up with it, anything new that comes about much later gets looked at with intense detail simply because it may be the new thing you hate. Hell I do the same thing with iPhone games, like why would anyone want to play a game in which you fling a bunch of roided-up birds at a group of retarded pigs? I know the answer to this, however not a whole lot of older people do nor would they care since they could just watch Philomena a billion times over instead.

So regardless of how well you could easily pitch a game to your 50-year old mother, the moment your mom plays Gears of War be prepared for a lot of, “Why does everyone in this game have a six-pack? Why would you attach a chainsaw to a rifle, isn’t that a bit overkill?” Or in actuality, “Are all these characters based on Vin Diesel or something?”

Game Recommendations to an Older Generation Becomes Pointless –

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I’ve been there before, the idea of trying to have one of your parents sit down and listen to a bunch of gibberish that would sound insane even in a bum-house. For instance, try explaining the plot of Metal Gear Solid in the most sufficient way possible. And let’s say if you do manage to persuade them about checking out the game, are you willing to spend over $50-60 on something that could possibly be resold the day after? It’s a huge financial risk to try to pick out a game that your parents could possibly play for more than 30 minutes.

This is why I ultimately recommend smaller games like Journey or Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. One is a nice relaxing game that can appeal to anyone, while the other is a straight-up shooter designed for those who love 80’s action movies. They’re not too long, they can be played any time without injecting a disk, and they’re damn good games to boot.
However while these smaller games don’t cost as much as the full retail games, this idea can also backfire. Especially if you think it’s a good idea to introduce them to indie games like Braid or Limbo. Nobody likes a hipster as much as the next guy, but even your parents will wax off that ironic mustache once they have ‘rage-quitted’ for the 50th time.

Games are Still Marketed Toward Young Males –

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Oh what’s that? You’re enraged by the idea that videogames still are considered just for teenagers and racist children on Xbox Live? Well sucks to be you, because publishers still think that’s the case.

Sure we’ve come a long way since Duke Nukem and Doom, but let’s be fair here, for every Bioshock Infinite there’s a Call of Duty or Battlefield just right around the corner to prove why the medium is dominated by young males. In fact let’s take a look at a commercial for Call of Duty: Ghosts, and see if it does appeal to older folk:

Well you do have Frank Sinatra playing in the background, and there is a dog, but it just for some reason seems to be missing that old-timely feeling. I think it may have to do with the dozens of explosions, the hip banter between the team mates, and the celebrity cameo appearance by Megan Fox. These are the types of commercials that get played over and over on sports channels, which makes sense since those are the type of rowdy crowds these publishers want to purchase their games.
Videogame covers are also susceptible to this, including some like Bioshock Infinite and Mass Effect 3.

Comparison

Let’s see, do we have both characters holding really masculine or advanced weaponry? Check. Do they have intense looks on their faces? Check. And finally do they seem to be leaning downward as if they’re about to grab a shiny quarter off the ground? Check!

Oh yeah, games are totally marketable for older demographics. But once you put the game in their hands, it becomes a different and disappointing story.

Games Are Much More Complex Than they Used to Be –

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One of the most frustrating things was watching my dad play Ghostbusters: The Videogame. Not only because was it a mediocre game, but he seemed to be having a difficult time grasping the controls. Each time I saw him play that game I just wanted to grab the controller and say, “Look, there’s a right analog stick for you to control to camera! So now you can spend less time doing the moon-walk and more time catching ghosts!”

Little did I know, or should have known to be completely honest, this was his first time playing a PS3 game. Despite how easy it is for me to grasp the idea of utilizing a modern videogame controller, he didn’t know that, and furthermore it takes time to become used to a different layout. Think about it, arcade games back in the late 70’s and 80’s were fairly understandable to use because each button on the interface told you what it was for.
The outline for those games were simplistic not only in design, but also in the way they spelled out their objectives. Like Space Invaders – prevent aliens from invading earth, Street Fighter – compete in a world tournament to become the champion, and Pac-Man – um, you’re a yellow puck who eats power pellets in order to eat blue ghosts. Okay, not all of them made sense, but they were simple and told you well enough of what you were in for. Nowadays, that’s no longer the case.
Game genre’s have evolved and bled into each other, so much so that trying to explain to someone of my dad’s age how an action game like Arkham City is different from a hack & slash game like Devil May Cry can be quite the hassle. Because from his point-of-view it’s, “Well aren’t both games about beating up bad guy’s?” It also doesn’t help that manuals have pretty much become extinct, and that in order to understand the controls you have to look up an e-manual online. It’s Natural Selection in videogame form, except instead of leaving your inferior genetics behind, it’s your crappy skills at Madden or Call of Duty.

Before someone says, “Oh, well should games be dumbed down then? Is that what you’re asking?” Absolutely not, but that’s the reason why…

You Get Games Like L.A. Noire and Heavy Rain

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If you love L.A. Noire or Heavy Rain, I have no problem with that. I may personally disagree with your opinion, but don’t let what I say hinder your experience or enjoyment of those games.

…Are they gone? Okay, I strongly disliked L.A. Noire and Heavy Rain on multiple factors, but the key one here is their failed attempt at trying to reach a mature audience. L.A. Noire premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, a place made for older and mature folk who really like a bunch of artsy shit. Kidding, that’s the Cannes Film Festival!
Anyway, L.A. Noire was the first game featured at the film festival, and while on one level that is impressive, on the other…it’s a fucking videogame. This isn’t the only time that’s happened though, Beyond: Two Souls was also featured at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013, which was made by the same studio that did Heavy Rain. All of these games were grasping for that older demographic in hope of attaining a new market of gamers, however they also forgot that they were suppose to be making videogames. L.A. Noire was an open sandbox game that had about as much freedom as Farming Simulator 2013, and forced you to go down a linear path. Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls were worse about this by replacing actual gameplay with quick-time events while stringing together a mesh of ideas that wound up disintegrating the main plot.

Hm, what’s the common theme here? Ah yes, products based around fantastic performances, incredible motion capture, and beautiful photo-realistic graphics. But suffered immensely due to lack of substance or no substance whatsoever. These were games that rubbed glue all over themselves and were launched into large batches of tired tropes and clichés we’ve seen in a billion other movies. While stripping what little meat of gameplay is there, and substituting it with this blatant illusion of choice and repetitive quick time events. Sadly, this was the only way it could have gone since, well, it’s a bunch of old fuckers trying to play modern videogames! How else would you expect them to buy your product, relaunch the Atari 2400 and port the games on there? Actually, I kind of want that to happen.

Although there may be hope, well…

Some Games are Being Taken Seriously, but You may Not Like the Answer –

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Yes, you people finally won the argument about why games should be taken seriously! But what games are we talking about exactly? Well let these fine gentlemen explain.

So does Wii Sports and Wii Fit count as the pinnacle of gaming then? In case you forgot, most old people were having a grand ol’ time playing bowling on the Wii with their grand-kids. In fact them and families in general were the driving force behind the Wii’s success. The console that at one point was dismissed as some piece of motion-sensing plastic, was harboring the demographic that every publisher was trying to attain. That’s about as hilarious as the Wii U’s software line-up, kidding, sort of.

It’s like what I was saying with the arcades, these games were simple and easy to get into. Not only that, but while Wii Sports was never as in-depth as Fight Night or Tiger Woods PGA Tour, it was still a challenging game. If captivated seniors, parents, children, except for that one hardcore gamer who was upset no one noticed that he was playing Half-Life 2 in the corner. And I hate to break it to ya…

Nobody gives a Shit About How Important Your Games are –

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You can convince my dad all you want about playing Red Dead Redemption, and surprisingly that almost happened, but nothing dwindles curiosity more than constantly saying how great Red Dead Redemption is while he’s trying to do something. I’m sure people around your age will believe you, oh I’m sure of it. The problem though is that there’s a difference between being passionate about something, and shoving a property down someone else’s throat just because you want to be recognized for your vastness of gaming knowledge.

I know Shadow of the Colossus is a brilliant game, and I really enjoyed Bioshock. But let’s be real here, people like Jon Snow, Roger Ebert, and even my dad gave little shit’s about how important that one mind-melting moment in Halo meant to you. The only people who can make up their minds and decide if they want to further their knowledge of gaming is themselves, and that’s it. You can try convincing them by saying that the story is great, by appealing to them through nostalgia or stripping gameplay from the product, but by the end it’s a lost cause.

Videogames require a ton of patience and work just to get through, which is something your mom and dad who work almost 24 hours a day barely have time for. Hell, I barely have time for it and I played a good chunk of 2013’s games! Look, they’re of a generation that grew up in a different time than we are in now. As for you…

Just…Let it Go –

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You want to show the world why videogames have become ‘the medium’, the ‘end all’ of entertainment. To a point where movies have become less epic than what you see in most videogames. I get that, I’ve spent so much time playing Mass Effect 2 that it’s been fairly hard for me to become invested in other universes because of how much time and thought was put into that experience. The medium needs to be proven to everyone why it has become one of the biggest gateways to how they’ve become the person they are today. It’s the idea that ‘I’ve immersed myself in this world, and I want to share it with others.’ However, there are other people around your age playing those games and having a blast!
More people than ever are playing videogames, so why does the concept of proving why videogames are important even matter? Sure you do get some old grumps or dumb politicians who dismiss it as either brain-cell deteriorating garbage or Satan’s personal entertainment of choice, but in the end we’re all going to brush that over. Let bygones be bygones, let morons be morons, and enjoy your freaking game.

That’s it. The idea of having videogames being taken seriously is a moronic endeavor, because all that’s happening is every studio will put out the same game. It prevents creativity from flourishing, and will probably makes things even worse than they already are. Let the medium flow naturally, and in return you’ll get some very analytic and thought-provoking stuff. By asking the question, “Why can’t you take my games seriously?” You’re only opening yourself up for more disappointment and ass-whoopings from your mom. And depending on where you stand with your mom, you better pray it’s the former here.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never be able to persuade my dad why I spend most of my days grinding levels in Skyrim or making my soldiers unintentionally commit suicide in XCOM. And I’m actually fine with that, though I would like to see him play Octodad: Dadliest Catch. Hm, looks like I know what to get for Father’s Day!

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Prequel-Schmequel! How Prequels Have Become The Final Word of This Generation

I’ve begun a hunt, not a literal hunt, but a theoretical hunt. The closest I went out on an actual hunt was when I was playing Duckhunt, it ended badly. Trust me, that cackling dog is in an 8-bit cemetery after I was through with that game.

Anyway, three major titles were released this year that happened to be prequels. The first one being about a man who’s clearly getting too old for this Greek shit, God of War: Ascension. The second being about a sassy side character who was the star of his own game, Gears of War: Judgement. And finally a comic book game that started from the broodiest of brood roots, Batman: Arkham Origins. Three installments, all of them part of huge series that have had quite a following. Along with the fact that the characters for these games have dazzling good chins, that’s quite a feat I would say.

However before I progress, let me bring up something that I think some would ask. Why are these prequels the ‘final word’ on this generation rather than these individual titles for each of the three main consoles? For example, some would say that The Last of Us was Sony’s ‘swan song’ for the PS3. It was definitely an incredible game that captured the spirit of old-school  Playstation titles along with the excitement of what was to come with the PS4. This could also be said for GTA V as well since it was giving one last push with the hardware before the jump to next-gen.

I believe these are fine points, but regardless of the quality and care that’s been put into those titles there was something else even bigger brewing in the industry. A bunch of publishers thought simultaneously, mostly Sony and Microsoft, that they should at least exploit some of their key series just one last time. One last time! It was just a smidgen of a game that took place before the actual games, you know, plus if the campaign’s aren’t lengthy enough lets slap some multiplayer in there! That oughta’ do it!

Unfortunately for them, things didn’t quite workout in their favor. Both games debut with a low 425,000 and 360,000 number of copies sold. Keep in mind, these games were both part of a series that made millions of dollars (with Gears of War 3 selling 3 million its first month, and God of War 3 selling a million within a few days after its release). It’s like that old saying, if your pimp hand ain’t strong then she ain’t gonna rake in that dough. Or maybe it was just something I heard randomly on the streets, damn hot dog carts and their ability for me to overhear unpleasant conversations…during the night…when no one’s around…I don’t even know if that was a hotdog I ate.

So why did Microsoft and Sony not reap the benefits they expected to receive? Well it’s rather simple, because they got greedy and impatient. So basically they acted like…publishers.

It was also too soon if you asked me to release another Gears of War, God of War, and even another Arkham game only for the sole purpose of one thing. We’ve played enough of these franchises in their current stages that it becomes harder to get even more excited for the next installment. Especially when that next installment is coming from a different studio and is not next-gen. That’s what’s killing these software sales, they’re released too early and are in the hands of someone else.

Not that they completely deterred the quality of these games, hell I give props to People Can Fly studios for at least making the necessary changes to make the multiplayer in Judgement entertaining. But it’s sadly only either ‘passable’ or just ‘good’, not ‘great’ or ‘incredibly entertaining’, but just those two categories.

Here’s something I also think that’s important, what were so special about the plotlines for these games that they couldn’t have just been translated to DLC instead? Regardless if whether you’re a fan or not of these games, there weren’t a whole lot of memorable moments in their main story modes. Also I’m gonna go on a slight tangent here, we don’t need to hear more of Kratos back story! I’ve had plenty of games, mostly PSP ports, where they explain everything about this character. Hence why the idea of making a prequel is pointless, and why for the most part these games have added barely any interesting development to their  universes.

Oh sure we learn more about the Kilo Squad and the Furies, but they matter little to the overall structure.

Earlier in the year I’ve said my piece on Gears of War: Judgement and God of War: Ascension, although I can hardly remember them now. Will the same be said for Batman: Arkham Origins? I’d say probably yes since not a whole lot of innovation has been seen and not as much trust is placed on this new studio, Warner Bros. Montreal. It’s also following the same pattern as Ascension by adding multiplayer, which I think could be a huge mistake if they invested too much of their resources into that feature. The game is due this Friday, and I’m going to see how it plays out because I’m fair and understanding like that.

However I cannot lie, I foresee a sad possible fate for this game. Remember kids, only Satan prefers prequels. Think about that, because I said it.

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Brut-Op Piece: How I May Be Getting Too Old For Videogames

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Yep, it has come to that point folks. Despite the fact that I’m in my early 20’s and have played a good majority of this years releases, I have hit that point to where picking up and playing videogames has been somewhat of a chore. Now it’s not too bad, I haven’t gotten any headache’s or thrown the controller at the nearest TV I could find. But for some odd reason, I get easily exhausted or lose interest with any recent title. Or maybe it’s not that, while I definitely admit that those are very solid factors, there is something else that I just couldn’t quite pinpoint.

I think these feelings started to become more apparent after the Sony PS4 press conference. Mostly everything seemed fine with me even though half of the presenters looked like they were sleep-walking throughout the entire thing. Sure some previews seemed either ‘forgettable’ or ‘good’, but the one that stuck out to me was the ‘Killzone: Shadow Fall‘ demo. Pretty much everyone watching the coverage was blown away by the spectacle of it, except for me. From what I saw, it just seemed like another sci-fi FPS with gorgeous visuals, but nothing beyond that.

This reminded me of E3 2007 when Sony debut the demo for Killzone 2, and everyone lost their minds over that footage because of how great it looked. In fact I’d say the first Modern Warfare is a much more accurate representation of the crowds ‘excitement’ for next-gen graphics. And to be fair, I was fairly impressed with Modern Warfare too, but before that I was impressed back in that same year, 2007, where Sony just showed off a montage of games that would supposedly come out for the system. They looked amazing, including the one for Madden, and even though some of those titles were pre-rendered, it was still something we could expect from the future of gaming.

 However all this was just seen with my own two eyes, I never got to experience these next-gen titles until I uncovered the first ‘Gears of War‘ back when it came packaged with the Xbox 360. I didn’t know what to expect, other than it was critically acclaimed and was very gory. While I didn’t fall it love with it like some of the critics did, it struck me just how detailed the game looked. From the crevices in the armor, to the lighting, and the way the camera was integrated into specific prompts, it all blew my mind. It got even better as the years progressed, Uncharted had crazy detailed action scenes, Crysis had environments that looked gorgeous, Modern Warfare ran smoothly, Killzone 2 amplified the overall look of the series, God of War 3 showcased some of the best set pieces in gaming, Tomb Raider 2013 took everything Uncharted did but merged it all within a fairly open environment, all these elements were gradually progressing to the point where if I saw anything attempting to put forth CG/graphics ahead of the gameplay/story I would look back and say, “That’s cool and all, but I’ve seen it done better.”

Not only have the crisp visuals of Uncharted 2 and Crysis affected my perception onto shooters, but it also affected my outlook onto movies as well. Movies like Transformers were knocked down a notch simply because I’ve seen these visuals and set pieces done way better in games. Fans love to bring up the action climax in Transformers 3 as this gorgeous piece of chaos that was worth watching just to sit through 2 1/2 hours of Shia LeBeouf shouting at the camera (oh snap!). But for me it wasn’t, it was dull, all over the place, and most importantly had no substance to it unlike some of the action scenes I seen in Uncharted 2. In fact I would say Uncharted 2 topped every action set-piece I seen that year as far as movies and even games go.

The first generation of 3D consoles was simply the birth of a concept, the second generation was the exploration, and the third generation was about reaching the pinnacle in terms of graphics. So what does that leave this generation at? Could it be developing engines with large amounts of frames, innovating gameplay, or continuing the trend of…*gulp*…story in videogames? I’m not sure, but I can say for certainty that there’s not much else we could do with graphics, engines sure, but not graphics, at least for the moment. This is why it boggles me to see such an applauding reception for Shadowfall, hell if you were to take away the sci-fi theme, plant the game’s plot in the middle east then people would say that it’s another Call of Duty or Battlefield.

What this comes down to is that history seems to be repeating itself for me, what looks great will wind up either continuing or recreating an annoying trend. That trend in which people are too distracted from the spectacle of it all to truly see the game for what it is, cliched.

It’s not only visuals that bother me, well in another sense it is, it’s the way women are portrayed in videogames. Not only does this apply to JRPG’s, but this also can be applied to western/European RPG’s as well. Take for example Triss in the Witcher 2.

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Her role in that game is to be Geralt’s lover, but doesn’t do much aside from some small investigations and gets kidnapped. In fact as it turns out, if you decide not to save her, she still automatically comes out in one piece anyway. What makes this even more laughable is that she seems to be utilized as somewhat of a sex device for Geralt, as shown in some gratuitous sex scenes, but never really becomes an interesting character. She is one of many tools used by developers to titillate the audience, or basically is just there to appeal to their market demographic, ‘young boys’.

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I never really personally understood how making a character look sexy became such a major factor in videogames, well other than due to the market being dominated by men and because ‘boobs’ equals cash-flow, but still the explanation behind these decisions just feels very immature considering where we are today.

I mean context is everything, sure, so when your objective is to make a self-aware game that knows what it’s doing then I’m fine with that. But when it comes to RPG’s that are trying to be taken seriously this often leads to seeing most men as knights or warriors, while I mostly see women as mages or thieves. The men get to wear this heavy bulky armor that covers them head to toe, but women mages/thieves get to wear as little clothing as possible because they got the power of magic/stealth behind them! And even if you were a female warrior, you’d still get the metal breastplate, thong, boots, and that’s it! To be fair, it has been getting a lot better, especially since the Tomb Raider reboot and Uncharted has shown that we don’t have to subject females to stereotypes.

Although I want to examine a major part of my childhood, which is the ‘Super Mario‘ franchise. The first ‘Super Mario Bros.‘ was what got me into gaming, and how I became a huge ‘Mario’ and Nintendo fan. In fact I owned a copy of ‘Super Mario All-Stars‘ which featured mostly every game that came out beforehand. It was a hell of an introduction, and gave me little incentive to play much else on my SNES (which some would say I’d be missing out on considering what else was on the console). Ever since then I grew up playing Mario titles; Super Mario 64, Paper Mario, Mario Kart, Super Mario Sunshine, I was a huge fan up until Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Then I realized something, it was basically the same as Super Mario Galaxy, only with more added references from the original 3 ‘Super Mario Bros.’ and that was it. Not terrible, but it was a let-down considering that I always thought of Miyamoto to be pushing gameplay innovation when it came to ‘Mario’ titles. But as it turned out, the critics adored it, some say it was the best game of the year, and of course the Nintendo fanboys creamed their pants over it. However I think what also caught my attention was how cutesy it looked, not to say that other Mario games didn’t look just as adorable, but despite it looking good for a Wii title, it had a bland ‘cutesy’ look to it. The gameplay was also very retro as you had to collect star bits in order to attain lives, and despite the attempt to appease hardcore players such as myself through bonus levels, it never ultimately won me over.

The great thing about ‘Mario’ games is that anyone could pick up and play them. But with ‘Super Mario Galaxy 2‘ and the recent ‘Super Mario Bros. U‘, the message I’m getting from Nintendo is to rely on your nostalgia, or just stop playing our games because you’re not part of our demographic anymore. You’re too old. I guess that’t the funny part about this, while I outgrew Nintendo and continued to mature (somewhat), they stopped growing at a certain point.

I think that’s the problem, half of the industry wants to change, while the other half wants to simply keep relying on old marketing tricks, spectacle, and nostalgia. And yet people keep buying into it, hence why we still have a market dominated by shooters rather than a pleasant mix of all genres. I don’t know if people know this, but my favorite generation will always be the ‘PS2/Xbox/Gamecube’ generation, because everyone, especially Sony, were hitting the mark with their software. While we have been getting better, I do feel like we’re just gearing up for another disappointing retread of history. I sure as hell am not a fortune teller, but I do hope I’m wrong.

And then I play something like ‘Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon‘, a game where I can lure giant neon lizards near a facility and have them annihilate an entire army with piercing red lasers. It’s those moments that make me reconsider staying around for a bit longer.

Anyway that’s the Brut-Op piece, take it or bury it in the backyard like your old ET cartridge…or something else more relevant. Also in case you haven’t noticed, the reviews have slowed down immensely, but in place you can plan on seeing more opinion pieces like this and other fun stuff! Also for those who do want reviews, I will have a couple coming up for Dead Island Riptide and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon sometime soon. So make a decision between the cupcake and the cookie, and enjoy it!

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