I work in the industry, and have for a while. I've grown more jaded about my own work and employer but gaming and games are still two things I'm passionate about.
While I'm interested in industry news I find the comminity a little intimidating sometimes, so I don't post on forums or update blogs that much. Sometimes it just seems like more stress than its worth. But on occassion certain topics make me want to speak up.
I like lots of games, some of my faves are: Left 4 Dead, Persona 4, Bioshock, Prince of Persia, Legend of Dragoon, Shadow of the Colossus, FFXII, Silent Hill 1,2,3,4,5, DAO, DA2, ME1, ME2, Dead Space 2, Bayonetta, Devil May Cry series.
I also like reading, writing, cooking, comics, movies and pretending to exercise.
Haven't posted on here in years... mostly because I couldn't be bothered, and also because sometimes forums and extreme reactions to things just stress me out. But recently, with a lot of drama cropping up surrounding Bioware - a studio I am still a fan of - So I felt like having a say.
I am neither a fan nor hater of Jennifer Helper. Her contribution to the stories of DAO and DA2 have that hint of Twilight-esque girlishness that I'm not super into, but she by no means ruined the series for me. I still enjoyed DA2 and still enjoy Bioware games in general. That's just my opinion of her, Bioware and the general quality of their games.
The notion that Jennifer doesn't belong in the industry because she is not a "conventional" gamer or gaming fan just blows my mind. I've worked in the video game inudstry for around five years. I've interacted with people from almost every possible area - from design, producing and programming, to marketing and web development. A lot of these people are some kind of gamer, but not all - and that is an actual fact... Being a gamer is by no means a requirement to work in this industry and I'm baffled why so many people think this should be some kind of universal requirement every studio should have before hiring anyone, for any position.
When it comes down to it, it's a job. Some SE's end up in this industry because it's a good starting off point, not necessarily because they've always wanted to program the next Street Fighter. The people in marketing are there more because they know how to sell a product, not because they have the best kill/death ratio in Halo or CoD. Jennifer Helper is writing because that's what she loves to do. She's getting paid to do it so she's luckier than a lot of aspiring writers, but Bioware hired her to do a job, not to be a gamer. Her job is to write, not design, not manage the entire art and story direction of every project Bioware has to work on. She writes for the titles she is told to write for. She does have someone to answer to, everyone does when they have a job.
There are times when being a fan or just plain over-zealous can be detrimental to your job in the industry as well. I've seen enough people get laid off or fired becasue they were too in love with their own ideas and couldn't see the big picture that it made them difficult to work with to know this to be true at least some of the time.
There are so many different types of people who are either working in the industry or are fans of the industry that I get kind of depressed when I see small (or large) contingents of people coming up with these ludicrous rules you have to live by if you want to be a part of this genre/clique/fandome at all. Bioware, for as long as I've known of them and followed them, have been extremely good to their fans. They're very active on the forums answering questions and responding to fans, they go out of their way to listen to their fans and make them happy. For example they're "patching" the latest Mass Effect novel which has a ton of lore errors, and (I don't know how much of this is true) when the screenplay of ME3 was leaked and certain parts outraged fans, they said they would make some adjustments regarding that as well. No one's perfect, and video game developers are no exception, but to me, Bioware makes a pretty good effort to stay as in touch with their fans as possible, and try to make them happy. To me at least, that counts for something.
So much of the very angry criticism flying around is based entirely on personal opinion. People stating their opinions as facts and then using it to justify the harrassment of a normal woman just doing her job, or to explain away why a company has gone no where but down is pretty scary to me. Just the amount of venom behind some of these remarks... It's easy to tell her that if she just wants to write she should go write a book, but it's never as simple as that. I can't claim to know exactly how she ended up where she is or why, but she is there now and for a reason. Just because you don't know what that reason is doesn't make it wrong, or a travesty, or any other exaggerated "bad thing" you may think it is. Maybe you really could do a better job. Maybe none of us will ever know because you spend too much time bitching about people on the internet rather than putting together a portfolio, or working on your manuscript, or applying for a job, or submitting your work to an agent. Maybe, maybe, maybe...
I got a little long winded and tangential, but my point is that not everyone who is a part of making games is a gamer. Having a passion for what you do is almost always a good thing. Being able to go to work and love it every single day would be great, but isn't always something everyone can have all the time, and that applies to the game industry as much as it does every other industry. I'd love an internet where the anonymity didn't equate to free license to harrass whoever you want over whatever you want, but that will not be happening any time soon. This is all based on my personal experience from working in the game industry. Take from it what you will. It contains both facts and opinions. It's hard not to judge when you feel strongly about something, but it's worth a try sometimes. Probably would save everyone at least some unecessary stress.
Actually, I have mixed feelings about them. But after seeing (but not actually reading/viewing in their entirety) all the recent hubbub about them I just wanted voice my own opinions on the matter - after not posting for a long while - as they have a special place in my heart.
I do not want people to stop asking that they be made, funded and supported in greater number, nor do I wish the current style of "just fun" games to stop being made either. I like having fun just as much as the next person. However there are a good number of unique, interesting and moving ideas out there that could probably utilize the video game medium much more than they have been able or allowed to up until now.
Money, as is often the case, is a very large deciding factor, I think, in whether or not an idea will become more than just an idea. Art games are risky. Maybe that is our own doing. We are still stuck on the roads paved by those who came before us. But that does not mean we can't find newer routes to travel.
Working for a large company I know what its like to see the same type of games made year after year, and the reasons for not branching out into new IPs is always the same. They never seem financially feesable to those with the power to put money towards a project. I personally think this is a poor excuse for saturating a market with the same old song and dance, and then acting surprised when people complain about the industry stagnating and games becoming boring.
All it takes its one game, one big company to take the risk. Movies have gone down this road time and time again and from what I've seen, games have been seeking the same recognition and respect that the film industry has, for years. If they want it they need to work for it and take the risks.
I'm not saying the road to video game glory will be paved with "art games" but I do think adding them to the roster in greater number and with greater support is a step in the right direction. It would take some extra planning and caution, but I think it can be done if only a company like EA or Activision were willing to make the leap. And I really do mean leap. Baby steps have been made, but nothing close to what can really be done.
There's a lot to consider, more than I or most average gamers know. Games are a business, and times are harsh. I can only hope that the querky little art games I love will be more available and more supported in the future.
If anyone knows of any cool art games out there please let me know! 'Specially if they're free... I'm so poor... :(
Somehow, between yesterday and today, the number of my cell phone got changed to a bunch of zeros and some other random numbers. Joyous. And since my phone is still on a family plan I dont have the magic password that will allow me to ask them to fix it. Rubbish is what this is. I'll have to wait till my parents get home from partying it up so I can call (on my sister's phone) and ask them for assistance. Bugger...
So I've been getting some questions on life as a QA tester. I shall answer them now instead of posting comments to myself. QA testing can be good. I currently work as a contractor so I get paid peanuts, but it's decent, and the way the industry is, at least in Vancouver, I'm just happy I have a job. Where I'm working now there was a good number of layoffs during the winter, so there is a shit-ton of people jobless and more talented than me out there looking for work.
QA testing, and the game industry in general has a good deal more politics than I thought it would. There's a lot of egos to deal with (even from the lowly dregs of QA), a lot of smelly people also, but I'm used to that after college... Where I'm working they have a lot of title's in production at the same time, however I've been on the same one for two years. Generally if you get good at finding bugs on a certain game, they like to keep you around, on that team, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Testing games is not all fun and games. Like I said. The egos can really get in the way. In a company this big, there's a lot of miscommunication, from all directions. But everyone here is generally pretty cool. We're all nerds, and we're all pretty easy going. Surprisingly enough they can be really strict with testers at times. You don't find enough, you fall asleep at your desk, YOU FIRED. Course some people do slip through the cracks.
Anyway thats life testing games. Today we played soccer for a team building exercise. IT WAS AWESOME! I didn't get kicked 5 times in the ankle and end up with a big bruise there for 3 weeks like last time! I think the first time I just took everyone by surprise cause they thought "oh she's just a girl, she wont actually try to do stuff cause girls are afraid of getting hurt (which I am)". So they would kick as hard as they could and I'd stick my leg out and get kicked in the ankle. But in doing so I was able to steal the ball from them almost everytime which made me awesome defense YEAH! :D. Goooooooo SOCCER!
Other than that... I like Persona 4 AND 3 however I've only watched my sister play 3 so I didn't wanna say it was a favorite game since I haven't actually played it. Anyway, I'm at the final month/boss/thing dealy in Persona 4 and I can't bring myself to finish it. I just don't wanna grind for a game-time-month in order to level up enough to fight that thing. I just... don't. I just want it to be over, I want the ending. I dont' wanna fight the same monsters and listen to the same dungeon music over and over and over. One day when I'm really really bored and have nothing better to do/play I may get it over with, but for now Persona 4 and I are on a break. This isn't to say I didn't like the whole rest of the game. I totally loved it. I just, ugh, grinding.... Its why I have to make my sister play the first part of FF XII for me. I can't fucking stand it! I love the rest (I <3 Basch). Just yeah. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
That's all for today. If I don't report in over the weekend, hope you all enjoy yours! Get some sun if you can! Just don't get heat stroke! I did that yesterday...
And westerns and Steampunk! I was looking at the Edge of Twilight trailer yesterday and I couldn't believe my eyes. It actually looked like a decent rendition of Steampunk, AND a game with some pretty sweet potential. (Also thanks for all the comments on my first post!)
The other thing I thought when I saw the title was unfortunately related to a piece of "literature" that involves teen angst and sparkly vampires... I kind of challenged myself to read Twilight so that I could rage about it and at least back myself up with the fact that I actually did read the monstrosity. However its been over half a years and I'm still not done... I started reading World War Z instead. The sad thing is when I start a story, no matter how stupid, boring or insane it is, I need to know what happens in the end. Which means I'll probably be watching the movies. Surprisingly I was able to enjoy the first one somewhat. Probably because it was shorter... and didn't involve first person narrative... *shudder*. Ugh, first person.....
Anyways, back on topic... BUNNEHS! So the one quam I have with Edge of Twilight (so far anyway, not really much to go on, I only watched the trailers :D), aside from the unfortunate timing of the use of "Twilight" in its title, is that I, as a female gamer, am not all the intrigued by the big, husky male character with a mullet, mustache and trenchcoat. I just don't know that I will enjoy being an elderly male, and elder male badass by the looks of it, but still. Something I wish game companies would realize about girls and games. A lot of the time, all it takes is the ability to customize your character to ridiculous extents, and girls will give it a try. Its why so many play the Sims. The level of Customization is nuts. I myself am not as gung-ho about it as some, but my sister is. She buys games for the character customization sections. Whether you think thats a retarded reason or not to buy a game *shrug*, but from a marketing or just plain money making standpoint that seems like a fairly simple way to broaden your audience, which has been males age 15-30 (or whatever) for years now. Instead of making Barbie, make Callamity Jane, just less, man-like and less drunken slurring, maybe. (Oh how I love you Deadwood). There was a Callamity Jane cartoon, way back sometime when I was but a wee tot. I wish I could watch it again. She wasn't so butch in that show... or drunk. Infact I think she was sober most if not all the time. It was a kids show I guess...
Anyway on to Western games? I notice there seems to be a new crop in the works. I love Western movies. Like I REALLY love them. I've been collecting them since I've been able to afford to do so. I would love to play western games but so far there haven't been any compelling enough for me to pick them up. I have GUN but I still haven't played it. It sits lonely, dusty and untouched like my PS3, minus the shiny EMO blackness. The New Red Dead Revolver and Call of Juarez looks pretty spiffy though. One thing I've really disliked about Western games so far is that the controlls always felt awkard to me, or at least the first person display seemed so weird it threw me off and I couldn't play any more. I can play FPS's set in the present and the future and deal with it but something about a dudes hand holding a revolver in the corner of the screen just messes with my head. Same thing bugged me in Bioshock. It was fine when he was holding a wrench or whatever, but when he picked up the revolver my eye was just constantly drawn to how awkward it looked the way he was holding it.
Anyway, that's all for now. Going to go enjoy my sunny day off work outside the "fresh" city air. I know, not playing video games. What kind of freak am I? O_O
This being my first blog ever in my whole life I humbly ask that people take it easy on me! I'd been thinking of writing one for a while but sometimes I hate the internet so much I wasn't sure how much I wanted to be a part of it... Anyway here I am. What's done is done.
I'm a girl gamer, I love Destructoid, its writers and personalities, and thats why I'm here pretty much. I live in Burnaby, B.C. and work at a game studio here. One day it is my dream to have enough money to make it to E3. (LOL, it'll probably happen when I'm 80, and I'll walk around pissing off all the young people because I'm blocking something interesting, or walk too slow, or stairing at them disgustedly because those games are nothing compared to the games of MY time, cause you know, that's what old people do...). I actually went to school for making/designing games. All my learnings were for naught as they could probably get a monkey to do my job, a monkey with exceptional typing skills.
Anyway... some game type things! I read about two irritating things of late. First the whole Activision sueing kindly game makers making awesome metal games that will surely be fun and entertaining and something that many many people have be looking forward to (huzzah run on sentence ftw!). I hate money. It makes people - the good, the bad and the ugly alike - do awful shithead, dick moves. Like, SERIOUSLY. I know from experience that many of the people making the big decisions, or at least a lot of the ones that involve money, are not gamers, possibly never will be. They don't really give two turds about the gaming community as long as they keep tossing their money at them. Therefore I just think its a shame that Activision are acting like sore losers. Sure they are entitled to some of what they're claiming, but seriously. Could you at least be a little more... I dunno, AWARE, that gamers are a fickle race? I mean you make one questionable move and their up in arms. And on that note!
L4D2! Why the anger!? I love L4D! I have no arguments about a second one being made. If everyone was williing to pay for L4D, and liked it, I see no reason to freak out because a second one is being made. It was only announced a few days ago. All I heard was that it will exist and be available in Nov. and have some new content weapons, characters, levels, etc. How is it that everyone seems to have crazy Valve ESP and just instantly knows that, even though they've promised to support L4D, promised more DLC, etc. that they're just not going to do it, rub it in the faces of their fans and then force feed them L4D2 with its evil bright lights and fiddle music. Seriously, whoever came up with that list should have just stopped at three points... Common sense doesn't exist anymore I guess, at least not on the internet. Despite how much I enjoy being angry and EMO about things, the creation of a new L4D game does not cause me to feel those things. Angry fanboys and girls do, at least when its for ridiculous reasons.... Perhaps Valve brought this upon themselves after spoiling the TF2 players with all the free DLC. But its no excuse for all the gamers to just complain because they'll have to pay for something that is worth money... Yes people did work on what you will see in Nov. They have families, stomachs, and mostlikely the urge to play games they like. Give them a break. You want Valve to keep making games? Pay them money. The shitty green stuff makes the world go round. Internet petitions make me sick...
That's all for now I guess. I'll be back when I remember... Maybe... Also when I get more internet savvy and figure out how to personalize this more. :) Laters and HELLO AGAIN DESTRUCTOID!