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2:10 PM on 09.11.2012

Will true interacivity ever be available in games?

When I say true interactivity I don't really mean the kind of interactions one would find in everyday life, such as walking a different way to work or deciding to go to the gym for that day. I'm talking about interactions that really matter, such as pulling a loved one off of life support or not getting that abortion (Obviously not decisions like that, well maybe, I guess it depends on the game) Yes it will be really cool once games advance enough to allow us those insignificant aforementioned decisions, but those small decisions aren't game changing. I want grand scale interactivity and I want my interactions to matter in the game world, have lasting impact, and NPC reactions.

An example of what I want would be that, let's say fallout 3 came out 30 years later. instead of going up to an old man, clicking on him, having him say something, then you either choose one of three responses or leave; I want to be able to say something, either by typing or physically talking to this old man. I want to be able to interact with this old man in a real manner. If want to know what this old man's role in this world is, I just ask him. If I want to know how old he is, I just ask him, and if I notice that he is having a problem I want to be able to help in a way that doesn't bring that problem to the front and ask me as a player if I want to help by answering "Yes or no," In other words, I don't want the game to say "This is a problem, fix it or ignore it" I want to have to rely on myself to notice that there is an issue and then choose to fix it.

I also want to be able to solve the problem in any way I see fit. The game Dishonored has the right idea in letting the player choose how to solve the problem. For example at one point in the game the player is tasked with taking out two women at a party. The player can either kill them or take them out without killing them, they can get inside using stealth, acrobatics, possessing a fish and swimming in, charging in guns blazing and all of this is up to the player. They have even made it possible for a player to solve a problem in a way they don't even know about themselves. This is key to future game development because it is impossible to pre-plan every single way to solve a problem.

This brings me to the question I ask in the title. Will true interactivity ever be available in games? This question can also be phrased as "Will technology ever advance enough to allow us this true availability?" And I really have no answer for this question other than "I hope." We are privileged enough to witness the start of humanity's technological rise, Processing power doubles about every 18 months. New and more powerful graphics cards every year and innovation with gameplay and story mechanics happens everyday. I am confident it will happen but you never know. The goal of the industry could switch from making great and innovative games to only making money, and obviously that would be mostly bad.

So let's just all hope for a bright future in which people who care about video games as art and as story telling agents prevail. Let's hope for a more Gaben future. (Thanks for reading this garbage that didn't even answer the question it posed)   read

7:57 PM on 09.09.2012

The undramatic switch to a PC gaming lifestyle

I was raised on the console and knew almost nothing about PC gaming until about two years ago when I had matured enough to understand the advantages. For example, when I was a console player, "modding" was a bad word. Anyone who modded in halo 2 online would have to deal with the possibility of getting banned and from that mentality my entire opinion of modding was informed. But that is only one example of the differences in console gaming that PC exclusive players may not even know exist.

This blog won't talk about one platform being superior to the other, but what I want to focus on is my journey from exclusively console gaming to exclusively PC gaming, which was recently completed.

My start as a console gamer was with the Nintendo 64, which was the first console I owned, and the game Star Wars Episode 1 Racer. Which was the shit. Moving quickly through time, the next console I owned was the Xbox, then Gamecube, then Xbox 360, then PS3. I had the typical semi-hardcore gamer experience, always playing FPS games, specifically Halo and COD. But I also enjoyed other games throughout my career, such as Dynasty Warriors, Tenchu Z, James Bond 64, Super Marios 64, Super Smash Bros Melee, Jet Set Radio Future, Phantomcrash, Phantasy Star Universe and many more.

Ironically my first step towards PC gaming was getting a game for console, The Orange Box. That was the first time I had played any valve game and it was phenomenal. Portal was obviously wonderful and I can now say that I play Team Fortress 2 on the PC and the difference is amazing. (I actually own all of them on PC now) Free and frequent updates blew my mind. The TF2 that came out on Xbox is still that same TF2, whereas the PC version has triple the game modes, triple the maps, user created content, and thousands of servers to choose from.

Learning that TF2 was getting updates on PC and I wouldn't get them, not because of Valve, but because of Microsoft's updating policy, made me consider the move.

I had finally decided that I wanted to be able to play PC games, but I had one problem, my PC sucked ass. That was the hardest part about getting into PC gaming for me, getting a decent gaming rig. Now I didn't (and still don't) have the money to buy an Alienware computer and just jump into gaming, so I had to plan and practice patience. First I got an average desktop computer with a decent processor and 4 gigs of RAM. Then I purchased a low, low end, graphics card which ended up being a complete waste of money because it couldn't handle any games from even three years ago. It was a Radeon HD 4670 from XFX.

So I installed it into my computer along with a cheap $25 300W power supply. I didn't know jack shit about computer stuff back then but what I did learn extremely fast was that, in this world, you get what you pay for. My warning to anyone who wants to get into PC gaming the proper way is that you shouldn't rush yourself and buy the first thing you see, do your research, find detailed reviews for everything you can, and make sure you are getting the best value.

Shortly after finishing my sub par gaming rig I had issues with the motherboard my computer came with. At the time I had no clue what was wrong with it so I sent it into HP for repairs, got it back about 2 weeks later. It broke again. So I sent it back for the second time, 5 weeks later I got it again. Still fucking broken. At this point I was pretty angry so I was finally able to speak with someone sensible from HP and sent it back for the fourth time, this time when I got it back I noticed that I had a new motherboard in it and it never had issues again. The HP rep was nice enough to give me a $120 dollar gift card to the HP store for my months of trouble and I was able to get this bellow.

Shortly about this mouse; it is an R.A.T. 5 gaming mouse and at first, other than looking cool, I couldn't tell a difference. Using my dad's computer (He is a gamer with an even better computer than my current one even though he is 55 years old) and his normal mouse while browsing the web and not having the extra inputs for various functions made me realize its usefulness.

Back to computer stuff now; I finally had a fully functional computer and knew that I needed better hardware. I decided to really buckle down on my research and saving and once I had decided what I needed, I got it. A better graphics card and power supply. I now have the Radeon HD 6770 from XFX and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for an entry level card. It retails for arround $100 dollars. Make sure you have a power suppley and processor that can handle it, that is generally a rule for any graphics card purchase. I can't emphasize enough how important research is.

Okay, so finally I had a decent gaming computer, a good mouse, nice monitor, and Christmas was nearing which means one thing; fucking money (not fucking money, as in, money for fucking, just money, but I was fucking excited, so fucking money) Steam has these amazing sales usually twice a year with really great deals. I ended up spending about $100 dollars on games, but that got me 73 games, I repeat, 73 fucking games! (not fucking games, well you're not stupid, you get it)

[Steam and PC gaming are synonymous at this point and as much as I used to ask people their Xbox live gamertags I now ask for their Steam names.]

For the longest time I had been an Xbox and PC gamer simultaneously and was recently forced to switch to an all PC lifestyle after my move to college. I brought my Xbox and PS3 along but I left my TV remote at my house so I have no way of switching to the HDMI input. Surprisingly I have adapted really well to my new gaming outlook. My Xbox had pretty much devolved into a Netflix/HBO box and my PS3 a Blu-ray player. Even if I did play it was often just older games or GTA IV with close friends.

My Steam friends list has quickly grown and I find most people to be really friendly and good natured. One thing I have noticed is a greater sense of community within games. Counter Strike Source for example has servers with the same games running 24/7 with mostly full servers. Each game's community has sub game communities with their own political structure, or lack thereof, and niche in the universe.

The switch to this new and wonderful world has been a mostly enjoyable one that I am happy to have experienced and I hope that I continue to experience it. Thanks for reading this shitty piece of shit.   read

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