Videogames provide the perfect tools for pure escapism or utter powerlessness. As a fully interactive media, the player can be as involved as the developer in the fate of our characters, or we can be utterly impotent in swayi... read
You've doubtless read by now the "official" top ten games of the decade, or indeed any of the top ten game lists that have spilled onto the Internet as the so-called "naughties" ends and 2010 ushers in yet another arbitrarily... read
Every week, "Reverend" Anthony Burch talks about aspects of game design and gamer culture in his weekly "Rev Rant" video series.
Admittedly, this week's rant turned out a lot more angry and weirdly serious than the other one... read
Killzone 2 launched exclusively for the PlayStation 3 this Friday, generating much bias from biased people who are biased. It also sold quite a few copies and has been setting the PlayStation Network afire with grenade spam a... read
[Editor's note: neveranything shares with us a very heartwarming story on how videogames helped him make new friends for his Monthly Musing piece. -- CTZ]
Throughout elementary and middle school, I was the textbook definitio... read
So you aspire to be a roadblock in the path of every hero, a hulking shadow that ominously hangs over the hopes and dreams of normal people, the guy that makes babies squall at your very approach. I know you. You've turned ma... read
[Editor's note: Tony Ponce, which we only knew as "megaStryke" when this was published, looks at three games that have destroyed people's bodies for his A Time to Destroy Monthly Musing. In 2012 he joined the Dtoid team as an... read
Nov 20 //
It all started here.
People who are fans of multiplayer games are already talking back, I know it -- you're saying, "If you don't want to play with other people, just don't sign into Xbox Live!" And you know, you're right. I don't have to do that. In fact, despite the fact I love to game alone, I do also sometimes enjoy playing with other people, and I do enjoy the ability to interconnect with them so easily at any time.
The thing is, people who have never been heavy into the solo experience in a game are just not going to get it. Why play a game alone when you could play it with other people? That's like watching a movie alone. Which, of course, I also enjoy doing. Often.
A common complaint about the recent RPG Fallout 3 touches a little bit on the "why" of what solo gamers passionately pursue. Some gamers said they disliked the beginning of the game in which your character grows up in the Vault, where you are surrounded by other people. Personally I found that when I escaped the Vault and got out into the open landscape, I found what I was looking for: the experience of feeling completely alone on an adventure that you are wholly responsible for.
I suppose it's a lot like reading a book. There's an almost reverential quality to the experience, because even though thousands of other people will read the same book, the unique way you will process it and how it will affect you is all yours. While total immersion into a game environment is being praised in games like Dead Space, solo gamers have to laugh -- we've had total immersion in the games we've played for a few decades now, not because of advanced graphics or sound, but because of our isolation and imaginations.
Because of my experiences as a solo gamer, I traveled with Crono and his friends and enjoyed their company as if they were my friends, I mourned the death of Nei in a way that actually prepared me to face real loss later in life (laughable, I know, but true), and I learned some pretty valuable lessons about life in general.
I think if I had had friends to share these games with at the time, I wouldn't have had the amount of free time to devote my attention to them in the same way. I would have been more distracted by those real-life interactions, and while that wouldn't have been a bad thing, I don't regret being an isolated gamer back then. I think the inability to share these gaming experiences with other people made them even more special to me -- and I believe the people who listen faithfully to RetroforceGO! on a weekly basis may understand exactly what I am trying to say here.
So yeah, I'm glad that today I can turn on my 360 and be instantly connected to a hundred friends who can invite me to parties, chat with me and enjoy games with me in real time. I think that rocks, and I'm so grateful that I'm getting to experience something like that in my lifetime. At the same time, some days I'm going to go buy a game, come home, turn out all the lights and make sure that I'm not signed on to anything that shows other people I'm there.
While it may not measure up to being verbally abused by strangers on Xbox Live, I still kind of enjoy it.
Crono, Nei, and I Being a gamer over 30 means that you likely fell in love with gaming a long time ago. For me, that affair started around age 6, as my uncle showed me the Atari and I prowled through his Commodore 64 collection, wondering what... read feature
I submit evidence of one man, which I am going to use to paint all World of Warcraft players as subhuman scumworms who deserve to be shot. This creature owns 36 WoW accounts, plays them at the same time on 11 computers, and g... read
As readers will know, I recently confessed my closet Pokémon fandom and am celebrating my newfound liberation with a selection of Pokémon-themed articles for those who also like to throw hard metal balls at fluf... read
Jun 24 //
Jim Sterling 1. Pokémon makes children believe free healthcare works:
In America, there is a widespread belief that free healthcare is a wondrous and desirable thing, something that America needs in order to become a civilized example of humanity in the world -- this is WRONG, and games like Pokémon only make that flawed thinking worse.
Speaking as a Brit, I can confirm that our National Health Service is so bad, it's actually considered crueler to treat the cancer rather than just let nature take its course. British hospitals will make you sicker coming out than when you went in. It's understaffed and underpaid, and the waiting lists are astronomical -- if you're on the NHS, expect to be dead before a doctor will consider your case serious enough to see you straight away.
Not so in Pokémon Land -- if your Pokémon are even slightly bruised, you can just take them to a Pokémon Center and have their ailments quickly and efficiently cured in a matter of seconds, completely free of charge. Pokémon Centers are an idealist's view of the NHS, one that is sadly unattainable in real life. Free healthcare is a great idea, and I'm no fan of the other extreme either, don't get me wrong -- but Pokémon is damaging us all by pretending that the NHS is just that good. If it were accurate, you'd have to wait a year between battles before your team is fully recovered, and even then, one or two of the buggers will have contracted SARS.
2. The whole world revolves around Pokémon:
Now, I get that the game is about Pokémon and all that, but does everyone -- everyone in the entire game world -- have to care that much about the little bastards? I get it, Pokémon are cool and funky and have beaks sometimes, but does every single bookshelf in the world have to be "full of books about different types of Pokémon?" Does every show on TV have to involve them in some way? Does every person in every town need to have something utterly profound to say about what their fucking Magikarp likes to eat for breakfast?
For a place full of penguins that can say their own name, the world of Pokémon must be, in actual fact, the most boring place on Earth. There are no TV shows about anything else, no books that broach any other subject. It seems that hobbies and interests concerning things that aren't related to Pokémon in some arbitrary way have been banned by the government. It's George Orwell's 1984 all over again, except now revolving around turtles with trees on their backs.
It makes me cringe. Every time I approach some new character, I naïvely anticipate him surprising me with a frank discussion about Ayn Rand's views on sexuality, or to show me his collection of rare Velvet Underground LPs, but no ... no, he's just going to tell me that he loves Psyduck. Again.
Just once I want a character to say "You know something? I am sick to death of Pokémon!"
3. The Gym Leaders became Gym Leaders even though they're shit:
Tell me, how did the moron who owns nothing but level 5 Rock-type Pokémon rise to a position of prominence in his town? Is it a place populated entirely by people so stupid that the village idiot is a brick? I'm supposed to believe that the man who thinks composing a team that has two Geodudes in it instills fear with every mighty footstep he takes, and quite frankly, I don't.
Throughout the game you are reminded of this one simple fact -- if your team consists of one type of Pokémon, you are going to get screwed eventually. It would seem that your role is actually that of karmic truth, as you teach that very lesson to all the idiot Gym Leaders who ignored the advice you got five minutes into the bloody game.
Oh sure, the second I hear that the next guy uses nothing but Water-types, I am looking at my Grotle and literally shitting myself with terror. And tell me, HOW can you be a trainer for so long and not even have your Pokémon up to level 10 yet? Are you a fool? Are you a stupid fool?
4. This thing:
I mean honestly ... what the Hell?
5. There's a difference between Pokémon and dogs:
Even though there are Pokémon that look, act and sound like dogs, they are not dogs. Similarly, dogs are not Pokémon. Pokémon are split into different subspecies and types, yet are distinct from animals. And I don't understand how. It's just like trying to divide by zero, is attempting to understand what makes a Pokémon different from a dog.
It's never explained enough for my liking why an Eevee can learn Tackle but your common household Alsation can't. If you threw a Pokéball at a monkey, would it get trapped inside? If not, why does it work for Chimchar? How did these Pokémon even start looking like other animals?
Also, how come nobody is ever shown cooking and eating a Pokémon? It would happen in real life, wouldn't it? I intend for no offense to Mereep fans, but if you're going to walk around looking like a delicious sheep, then you're just asking for trouble.
6. The game is needlessly complex:
I consider it a fallacy that Pokémon is intended for children. While it looks like innocent playground fun on the outside, beneath its plush surface lies an eternity of statistics and arcane secrets that have been known to make sane men mad and mad men sane within mere minutes.
I refuse to believe Pokémon is for kids. You need graphs and charts and ancient runes to make sense of it all. If I'm on the bus and my Bidoof wants to evolve, I'm stuck -- I don't know if letting the little furry monster evolve now will mean he won't learn an important move later. Why do they do that to you? Why make it so keeping a Pokémon unevolved for several levels might be of benefit in the future? That just makes you frightened of evolution, and Dr. Richard Dawkins would laugh at you if he heard that!
Pokémon fills your head with too much knowledge. I now know that breeding an Alakazam with a Medicham will create an Abra capable of learning Fire Punch. I will NEVER need to know that much information about anything else in the world! There are professional hostage negotiators out there who will not have put as much effort into learning their trade as some four-year-old is expected to put into small drawings of animals. This is why children grow up stupid nowadays -- it's not that they're incapable of learning, it's just that their small brains have become completely filled by mental maps showing them were all the Rawst Berries are planted.
Pokémon has doomed us all.
But I do know where all the Rawst Berries are!
Believe it or not, I really like Pokémon. I've been a big fan of the series since I was a child, but even though my interest in the series diminished as I got older, I still find myself dipping back into the monster-ca... read feature
There really is nothing quite like a good old-fashioned action game. From God of War to Bujingai, they are the bread and butter of a lifelong gamer's diet. A third-person mixture of combat and exploration, it is a genre absol... read
We have had many useful commandments for loyal readers over the course of our Ten Golden Rules series. From learning how to be an online gamer and fanboy, to crafting a successful JRPG or Survival Horror, there have been fail... read
What industry can truly call itself an industry without fanboys? Those who prove themselves obsessively loyal to any product or corporation can be found among many communities, and nowhere do they flourish more freely than wi... read
Apr 17 //
Anthony Burch No Country for Old Men: The scene with Ed Tom at the hotel at night is shot in a confusing, inefficient way that makes the whole moment far more esoteric and distancing than it was originally intended to be (the other character is supposed to be in the room across from the one Ed Tom is in).
Blade Runner: The romantic subplot doesn't quite feel legitimate, and the shot of Roy releasing the dove at the very end is incredibly contrived and contradicts the story's promise that all natural animals are pretty much extinct.
The Godfather: When Sonny is beating the crap out of Carlo, James Caan throws a really, really, really fake-looking punch that misses Carlo's face by at least three inches and the viewer is totally taken out of the experience.
Now, those are three of my favorite movies of all time. I think those films are some of the most brilliant, subtle, emotional works of art I've ever experienced, and I will defend their quality to the death against all comers.
But they are not perfect. They're the best examples of cinematic achivement I've yet witnessed, but all of them have numerous and readily-identifiable flaws. Does that make them any less wonderful? Does that mean The Godfather doesn't deserve a 10/10 score? Of course not.
Everything is flawed. Nothing is perfect. If The Godfather isn't a 10/10, what is?
Now, extrapolate this way of thinking to videogames. Every single videogame you will ever play -- ever -- will be riddled with flaws of some sort or another. Fallout's skill system is totally unintuitive. Shadow of the Colossus had a crappy camera system. The main ship in Ikaruga is twice as big as its hit box.
None of us have ever or will ever play a truly perfect game, and anyone who says otherwise is simply ignoring a few flaws they don't find to be terribly relevant. Perfection is an ideal, never to be practically reached by any art form at any time. That's just the way it works.
With that in mind, why would you waste an entire point on the 1-10 grading scale by devoting it to something that can, by definition, never truly exist? Instead of calling 10/10 "perfect," why not just call it "will cure cancer"? They're both equally likely to happen within our lifetimes. To hold the 10/10 score back as an ideal for the perfect game, just in case it ever exists, is to degrade the entire 1-10 system into a 1-9.9 scale.
Really, what good does it do a reader to see that a game rated 9.85/10, just because the camera isn't perfect? Are we truly improving the grading scale just by avoiding that elusive 10.0 at all costs, or are we just jerking off as we fantasize about an imaginary game which might one day come into existence and blow us all out of the water?* Who honestly cares about the difference between a 9.8 and a 9.9, especially when time and genre and context make it more or less impossible to reliable compare review scores against one another?
This isn't to suggest that the 10/10 should be thrown around willy-nilly, of course. I still don't agree with Dan Hsu's 10 score for Gears of War based on his text, and I've only awarded a single 10/10 out of the dozens of games I've reviewed. A 10 should still stand for a game which is, as the Dtoid official guide says, "Incredible. As close to perfection as we've yet seen in in the genre or gaming on the whole. A polished, unparalleled experience."
It's something that should be given out relatively rarely, and only to those games which are truly deserving. It shouldn't be given out everytime the developer throws money at us, or just because it's part of a franchise that has previous garnered high scores. Yet it should also not be tucked away like some sort of emergency score, only to be used in case of the videogame equivalent of the Second Coming.
*If so desired, the reader may mentally drop the words "out of the water" and get a thematically identical sentence.
So, I'm reading Topher's Ikaruga review and the comments resulting from it. Other than the usual half-ironic cries of "biased!" and "Anthony would have given this a 4!", I saw many repetitions of one particular sentiment tha... read feature
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[Updated with the 2005 and 2010 version! Remember Nex? This odd illustration still ranks amongst the most popular in the Destructoid Golden Archive; stories which I'm slowly restoring from our old publishing sy... read
As most of my Destructoid compatriots know, I await RPGs with intriguing storylines more than any other type of game. I enjoy nothing more than to sink myself into a rich plot, get to know the characters, and most of all, exp... read
Modding a game to make it glitch out and do freaky shit is one thing. Modding a game and turning it into an amazing work of art is quite another. Take, for instance, these clips of various user created worlds in Super Mar... read
A few weeks ago I tackled the issue of why videogame endings are so hard to execute effectively. So as not to be a Negative Nancy incapable of pointing out excellence in videogaming narratives, the following is a list, howeve... read
What if tomorrow morning you woke up and your life was exactly like your favorite video game?
What would you look forward to doing first? Would you drive down the I-90 in your Pontiac Sunfire at 100mph with no regard for traf... read
Drinking while gaming is such a stupid thing to do, and yet I know most people this site will have tried it. It's a match made in heaven when it comes to entertaining. But playing games drunk on your own is depressing and sad... read
Editor's Note: Hey all, DMV here. Atheistium's written an interesting rant on the whole girl gamer issue, which has always been a hot topic. So far, it's been a real hit on the community blogs, so give this Destructoid veteran some love and read her story. Enjoy!
I finally want to get my issues with the "girl gamer" culture to rest. This will be my final rant on it all... finally. read
"Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made. Spaceballs: The T-shirt, Spaceballs: The Coloring Book, Spaceballs: The Lunch Box, Spaceballs: the Breakfast Cereal, Spaceballs: the Flame Thrower.&r... read
File this under the "why in the hell did I not think of this?!" category. Intimate Control was created by Jennifer Chowdhury for her class thesis project. The aim of the game is to help bring couples together for a... read
I'm going to preface this by saying that I've never actually cleaned a pipe with pipe cleaners. As a small child Last week, however, I did manage to spell my name with them, with each letter corresponding to one pipe cleaner.... read