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10:05 PM on 10.25.2013

Anyone wanna help me avoid becoming a pirate? [shortblog]

OK guys, here's the deal, I'm trying to take advantage of PSN's Sale of the Dead, however for REASONS Sony won't let me add funds to my wallet using Paypal ("transaction unsuccessful" every damn time) and when I tried to buy a $20 PSN code from Amazon I got a "codes only available in US" message, sooooo the way I see it I can take 2 routes:

1) Become a pirate: It's not like I want to but I can only take so much BS before snapping

2) Ask for help:  right now I got a code for a $20 Amazon Gift Card that I'm willing to trade for a $20 PSN code purchased from Amazon. Any of the regular Dtoiders living in the US wanna help?

If you are, post a comment here and I'll PM you, thanks in advance.

UPDATE: Problem solved guys, thanks to Caimdark for his suggestion as it worked flawlessly.   read


2:40 PM on 02.11.2013

Is Wii U's Touch Screen Controller a Red Herring Hiding a Deeper Strategy?



A couple of weeks ago in a comment thread a discussion arose about how Windows XP users and the HD twins are are holding back gaming development. At the time I thought it was a foolish idea but while writing a rebuttal I stumbled upon a much more interesting idea:

What if Wii U's touch screen is nothing more than a huge diversion hiding a deeper strategy?

Crazy? hear me out first and decide later. Let's start with...

The Myth of Underpowered Systems Delaying Gaming Progression


there's no such thing as small fry


By this point I'm pretty sure we're all familiar with the fact that almost every past gen of consoles the winner has turned out to be the most technically underpowered system in the race, but why is this? if the claim about underpowered systems holding back game development is true then why is it that systems with underpowered tech can still bring amazing experiences to the table and ultimately become the winners of the race over their more robust opponents?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that it's those very technical constraints (or rather the embracing of the constraints) that actually encourage interesting game development when it comes to originality in games and the reason isn't a secret either: instead of tackling a problem with pure raw power, the use of clever tricks and workarounds to those limitations gives way to outbursts of brilliance that make a game stand out among it's peers and in some cases, become iconic landmarks in gaming.

Let's illustrate this with an example, in the original Silent Hill on PS1 the fog and darkness played a big part in the game limiting the players field of view which in turn contributed greatly to the claustrophobic feeling that made the game so memorable. Yet the fog wasn't something present in the original design but a solution to the PS1's technical limitations. Now can you imagine how Silent Hill would have turned out had the PS1 had enough raw power AND it's consequences on the franchise? you don't have to, Silent Hill HD Collection may be regarded as load of crap by many but it shows us just exactly how plain Silent Hill 2 could have been had it not inherited it's iconic fog from it's predecessor.



how things could have turned out


"But what about multiplatform games, don't the lower specs affect them?"

Sure, they may look better on a rival system, so what? did PS2 owners avoid Resident Evil 4 on their system just because it looked better in Gamecube? did X360 users shun Skyrim just because it looks better on a state of the art PC? of course not, granted, they might think it doesn't look as good at first but once they've immersed themselves into the game's experience they don't really care; Let's be honest, by the point you've slayed your first dragon or survived the boss battle with Del Lago your inner graphics whore has been gagged, tied and thrown into your mind's basement for quite a while. preemptive *rollseyes* to "THAT'S MISOGYNISTIC!" comments

But just to make sure, let's go the other way, do graphically impressive games have any similar effect? Final Fantasy XIII and Crysis come to mind when I think graphically impressive yet most people will have a hard time pointing something truly memorable about them besides their impressive visuals (at the time of release). Sure, some of you might argue that I willingly picked the easiest targets of the bunch to validate my point, but in all honesty even if I come up with a group of visually stunning games I'd still fail to see anything "progressive" on 80% of them, the reality is that 8 times out of 10 a brilliant idea that later became a staple on a genre came from a game that relied on wits rather than the system's raw power for it's design.

Even when graphical power doesn't play a big role in a game, there's much better chances to achieve something significant by craftily working with the available resources than to push further the eye candy. A perfect example of this point would be Pokemon: in a system were graphics were pretty much restricted to shades of the same color, Pokemon shined by using the Game Link Cable in a more creative way than simply adding multiplayer by introducing Pokemon exchange. The results? a revitalization of the Game Boy sales and a world wide craze.

The Achilles Heel of PS4 and X720


he had it all going for him... and he still bit the dust at the end of the movie


A little while ago an interesting post popped up in the front page detailing alleged leaked specs of the PS4. Now for the rest of this writing I'm going to assume that the final specs of Sony's and Microsoft's next gen consoles are at least similar to these.

Now with the previous points established and our theoretical specs defined let's cut to the chase, the biggest hurdle to success the PS4 and X720 face is precisely the raw power that comes with those specs. If you guessed that it has to do with development costs, then you're absolutely right and yes, this is nothing new, other savvier community members have touched this subject many times before, pointing how publishers resort to creating new tactics to monetize games (HT to Alan Argentina), so let me present the three scenarios I see:

1) Prettier games, bigger budgets: This is the same as usual scenario of all gens up to the 6th gen, a new gen of consoles arrives and better looking games with it, the main problem here is that development budgets on the 7th generation of consoles broke the point of stability for game development. In addition to this, publishers pushed harsher regulations, controls and tactics on studios making it so that a single failure could potentially put a studio in hot water.

Given the specs presented earlier one can only imagine how much will budgets rise in the 8th generation of consoles, and it doesn't take much thinking to realize how this could go horribly wrong. All we have to do is look at the fairly common news about studio's staff layoffs and closures these recent years and take it to a bigger scale to get a very ugly picture of how things could turn out.

2) Similar games, bigger budgets: In this scenario both studios and publishers realize the problem the new consoles bring and decide to stick to making games with similar graphics to current gen but on a broader scale, to get an idea of what I mean imagine GTA games at least 3 or 4 times the size of Grand Theft Auto 4 with it's expansions included, not prettier, just larger with more interactivity and details.

Once again the problem in this case comes when eventually it results in a similar situation to the previous scenario, with budgets rising not due to prettier graphics but greater development time required to create a game of such scale.

3) Similar games, same budgets: In this scenario both studios and publishers realize the problem the new consoles bring and decide to stick to games similar to the offerings of the 7th gen. This works for them but puts the onus on Sony and Microsoft to justify paying for a new console that doesn't bring anything new to the table.

In this scenario the new consoles are brought down by their own manufacture costs as Sony and Microsoft would be unwilling to offer price drops any time soon after release, hence causing slow adoption, hence fewer devs and publishers willing to take a risk making games for them past the launch line up. Think something resembling the current PS Vita situation but on home consoles.

Enter the Wii U


like this but with a touch screen for distraction purposes


Combining all previous info, we know that a powerful console doesn't necessarily make great games and that in fact, hardware more powerful than the 7th gen of consoles carries huge economic drawbacks to development, so why don't the same rules apply to Wii U? well, here's the way I see it:

1)Everyone's obsessed with the "tablet controller": For better or worse, to praise or criticize, intentional or not by Nintendo, the fact remains that when it comes to the Wii U pretty much everyone has given a lot of focus to the new controller. One of the first things to pop into a Wii U discussion is the new controller, from gamers to critics it's so prevalent that even Nintendo's rivals seem to be already preparing tech of their own to try and counter Nintendo's new threat (SmartGlass and Wonderbook anyone?). The key here lies in the controller becoming a red herring that blinds rivals (and pretty much everyone) to the rest of advantages on the Wii U's corner, namely:

2) Cheaper development budgets: To put this in simple terms, this is like the joke where two guys are running from a bear and one tells the other "Why do you run? you can't outrun a bear!" to which the other guy replies "I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!". Game development on Wii U doesn't have to be cheap, just considerably cheaper when compared to it's 8th gen opponents.

3) Better specs than 7th gen consoles but not enough to require much bigger budgets: Roughly speaking, we could say Wii U sports (LOL) twice the resources of 7th gen consoles but doesn't require doubling the development budget to make games for it. Star Wars 1313 is said to run on current gen consoles and it looks amazing, now imagine how much devs could improve that with twice the resources without incurring in the risk of their budget having to bloat drastically.

4) This isn't your parents' Nintendo: With the Wii U Nintendo has shown a greater compromise towards embracing new tech, and despite jokes about them finally reaching 2006 the reality is that what they've done so far isn't half bad, is there still room for improvement? no doubt, but compared to their prior stance they've advanced tremendously and they still seem committed to keep getting better (even if some of the things they do are still puzzling).

5) Time is on the Wii U's side: it's no coincidence that Nintendo launched the Wii U at least year prior to the launch of Microsoft and Sony's new consoles (estimating a December 2013 release), when I made a point about Star Wars 1313 looking great in 7th gen consoles I also omitted the fact that it took them 5-6 years to reach a level of expertise with the hardware good enough to produce such a game. Wii U's got half of that covered with it's specs alone but giving devs time to get to know the hardware will only produce even better results. Another reason to release early is to use the time to grow a user base for the console.

6) This is the second time Nintendo has used a similar strategy, the first time being the Wii:

"Wait, what?"

Keep reading

I'm Having A Weird Deja Vu Feeling Here


this is all just in my mind, or is it?


From my perspective this is actually the second time (at least on home consoles, it's fourth if you count the DS and 3DS' touch screen and 3D screen respectively) Nintendo pulls this type of strategy on us, sounds unbelievable? let's see the similarities first:

a) Wii and Wii U use slightly beefed up "old" tech (when compared to competitors in their respective gen) that was initially met with disbelief and even mockery.
b) Wii and Wii U have a controller perceived to be the main weapon of Nintendo's new hardware (and to be fair it is a weapon, just not THE weapon).
c) Wii and Wii U require smaller budgets to develop games (when compared to competitors in their respective gen)
d) Wii and Wii U released close to the start of their respective generations.
e) Wii's main weapon to success was perceived by their competitors to be it's gimmicky controller and based on this perception counter measures of their own were developed but eventually failed to make any significant dent on the Wii's market. Again, in Wii U's case we're already seeing something similar with Wonderbook and SmartGlass.

OK, now that I've established the similarities between systems let me show you how this strategy works in theory:

1) Release a system with beefed up "old" tech but with a gimmick, it (the controller in this case) will attract audience attention at first and act as a red herring to drive attention away from the rest of the plan (steps 2 to 7).
2) Let devs and publishers realize the huge risk that development budgets for games on competitor systems can create for them.
3) Release first party games which:
3.1) Show audience and devs that system is capable of graphical prowess despite its "inferior" specs
3.2) Show devs and publishers how to use gimmicky controller in ways to attract audience attention
3.3) Show devs and publishers how much safer budget/profit/risk wise the system is compared to competitors.
4) Ignore competitors aping your gimmick feature, by the time these "counter measures" reach the market they are doomed to fail because your gimmick is just a red herring that has accomplished it's purpose of attracting audience attention and misdirecting competitors attention from the rest of the plan. Also they are add-ons with an additional price tag.
5) Let devs and publishers flock back to your system and release games for it making a huge library of games.
6) Now that you have audience attention and great library of games, profit!

Now the points where theory and reality diverge are step 2 and 5. On step 2 this is revealed by the increase in frequency of news about studio closures, whether this happened because devs and publishers didn't realize the risks and toll of overblown budgets, thought they could beat them or didn't care is irrelevant. On step 5, the massive library of games was mostly composed of low quality, unpolished or shoehorned motion control games mostly aimed at the (perceived) casual audience game developers saw in the Wii. This in turn made Nintendo almost the sole provider of quality experiences on the Wii for a long time but also tarnished the system's reputation as a money pit for 3rd parties. Despite this situation the Wii managed to generate a sizable amount of profit for Nintendo.

So, after understanding how Nintendo's strategy works and seeing the Wii U's current situation regarding 3rd party support considering most games to be released this year don't have a Wii U version, the question here is: what exactly is preventing the Wii's situation from happening again on the Wii U?

What's Different This Time Around


spot the 7 differences!


A lot in fact, so let me break this into 2 categories :

Devs and Publishers

Unlike the start of the 7th gen, publishers are already feeling the financial pressures of raising game budgets and scrambling to find new ways to extract more money out of the same products, we've seen this with the introduction (and distortion) of ideas like DLC, season passes and microtransactions. Then there's the inclusion of other tried and true tactics such as double dipping (GOTY Editions anyone?) or ideas that are not even logically justifiable such as online passes.

A more recent tactic is the release of HD collections of titles from the 6th generation of consoles, this is yet again a move to get more money out of existing assets with minimal effort when compared to developing a game from scratch. This particular tactic has even been extended to successful 7th generation series like Mass Effect, Bioshock and Assassins Creed (I'm gonna take a chance and predict Dead Space will follow suit in a few months). Another less spread variation of this approach is to port successful titles from portable devices, for example God of War (even coupled with double dipping) and Resident Evil Revelations (and if recent comments from a Mercury Steam dev are anything to go by, I suspect Castlevania's unreleased 3DS entry has strong chances to see an HD version on consoles should the 3DS release prove profitable and popular enough).

By far the most common strategy is the trend of mainstreaming IPs to appeal to broader audience, one that in fact has produced less than satisfactory results, after all if a main entry from a long standing franchise selling 4.8 million copies is deemed a failure then what are the survival chances of newer, not so popular IPs?. Considering the leaked PS4 hardware specs imagine just how much budgets will rise and what consequences this could bring to publishers, see where this is going?.

But the final nail in the coffin for the PS4 and X720 has to be the much needed reality check to publishers brought by the fall of THQ in January. Yes, studios closing has become fairly common in recent years, but publishers managed to survive games failing to meet sales expectations by closing studios and keeping their IPs, not this time around though. Publishers would have to be crazy not to feel at least a little concern regarding this matter considering it wasn't a small publisher of niche titles like XSEED but a fairly big one with recognizable franchises to it's name like Saints Row and even annual sports IPs like the WWE series.

Finally, the reason the Wii U won't be flooded with poor quality games is simply because unlike the Wii it's not nearly as safe budget wise, yes it's cheaper to develop for it in comparison, but not cheap enough so everyone and their mother can release a poor quality game and fail horribly without causing some serious damage. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure we'll see a few games aimed at families, kids and the "casual audience" in general, but they won't be as many nor as poorly designed as some of the games released on the Wii.

Hardware Makers

For hardware makers, the overall general situation at the start of the 8th gen is almost complete reversal of the previous one, unlike the beginning of the 7th gen Nintendo has no problems in the money department, in fact after raking it in with the Wii and DS they have enough liquidity to experiment and try things they would have handled very carefully before, we've already seen this to an extent with them implementing a better online service, a better eShop, a working Miiverse, relaxing requirements for publishing games in the eShop and doing away with fees for game patches and fixes, all this within the first year of the Wii U.

Microsoft on the other hand has just started receiving profits from his gaming division in 2011 with the release of Kinect (only to go back to red numbers not long after), i'm guessing that's the reason behind the rumors of a Kinect V2.0 integrated on the X720. Another problem for MS is the big stain in their reputation left by the RRoD, cheap hardware may have given them cost advantages with the X360 but that won't work twice if gamers even smell something similar with their new console and this is without even taking into account rumors about the X720 blocking used games.

Finally Sony who went from being the pack leader to last place, not only has it had four straight years of loses, had it's credit rating cut by three levels to -BB(essentially "junk") but also has been having trouble keeping the Vita afloat. Sony's dire situation even caused the once mighty Playstation brand to take an 86% slump in profits on Q3 2012. At least there's no signs they have considered blocking used games like Microsoft did... oh wait.

Considering all this, Sony and Microsoft have little if any room to maneuver should things go wrong for their new consoles somewhere down the line. Even in the event they chose to take the wait and see approach and go into a war of attrition Nintendo is still in a much better position than either of them.

In Closing


Closing, Closer, any excuse to post stripper Natalie Portman


To close this already long post, I think there's a lot more to Wii U than meets the eye and while others have presented some interesting perspectives as to why Wii U could be the big winner in the race of the 8th gen consoles, IMHO they have only scratched the surface. Of course this is all coming from my point of view and as the Wii proves even best made plans can take unexpected turns in reality. But all in all, I think Nintendo has planned this more thoroughly than we give them credit for.

Clarification: the opening image may or may not be based on Conrad Zimmerman.
Also tune in next week for "50 Shades of Wii U: A Sex Story"   read


8:25 PM on 08.24.2010

Teh Bias: They Don’t Make’em Like They Used to Anymore



Since the theme for this monthly musing was announced I’ve been thinking long and hard about the possible bias in gaming I could have (if any really, it's me we're talking about after all) and after excruciating effort I found a somewhat unexpected answer: the Wii, i know right? shocking! I’ll give you a few minutes to let the thought sink in… done? good, the thing is it was only after reading some interesting news, editorials and articles from both community members and editors I came to realize what is it that makes me so biased to that particular console: oldschool gaming values.

You see, as a guy that started gaming at the age of 6 with an Atari 2600 I’ve seen many changes come and go in the industry and while the majority have been technology related most of those were aimed at improving and add to the overall gaming experience and make better, more enjoyable and deep games, at least until this generation that is, from the cheap but faulty hardware of the X360 to Sony’s use of the PS3 to push the Bluray format with the consequence of a overblown price at the beginning of this gen most changes have been for the developers and hardware makers benefit at the expense of the consumer.

Multiplayer

We’re all aware by now of the “mediocre shoehorned multiplayer” syndrome even "AAA"games seem to suffer these days but the issue that seems to have passed unnoticed is the gradual vanishing of the local multiplayer option in favor of online multiplayer only (something that now seems will become standard to pay for), personally I find this unacceptable in more than one way, economically since now you need another console, copy of a game and internet connection for each player instead of an extra controller and in a technical way considering how much the “incredible processing power" of the HD twins is touted left and right by both fans, devs and hardware makers.


Not gonna happen

This is especially more obvious to someone that enjoyed dozens upon dozens of hours of Super Contra co-op and even more time than that on the Goldeneye multiplayer in crazy 4 player matches with his best friends two console generations ago (and that if things turn out well will get to do that all over again once more on the Wii).

Single Player Mode

Related to the previous point, a side effect of the unnecessarily excessive focus on multiplayer mode this gen has been the reduction of quality and length of the single player campaign in games, in the best case scenario this reduces or compromises the length and/or development, polish and quality of the main campaign, but in the worst case it completely crushes any good point the game could have had originally. In contrast the limited online support the Wii has compels most devs to choose focusing solely on main campaign mode. Ironically even with a solid single player campaign and the limited online support compared to X360/PS3 there are still instances where devs have made a real effort to balance the multiplayer component (offline or online)


Single Player mode done right

Online Capability

Now we come to the very defining feature of this generation (or in this post’s case the main problem), the ability of consoles to download content from the internet for various purposes such as upgrading it’s software to add features, buy/add new content to games, get patches to fix problems that went unnoticed during development and even offer a chance for smaller developer studios to display the results of their efforts in an equal ground to the big boys (shameless plug is shameless), all this aimed to enhance the gaming experience… or at least that was the intention, problem is this new feature in consoles has taken a generally negative twist in the various ways its used.

The system upgrades in the HD twins which are supposed to add or enhance features have turned into frequent, tedious, cumbersome chores (most likely due to poor coding) resulting in an extension of even 20 minutes from the insertion of a disc in the console and the start of the game, the increase of failure rates or even clumsily take away features instead of adding new ones, and while the Wii is certainly not exempt of this problem, it is also true that it is a far less common situation.

DLC began as an interesting idea to add value to a purchased game for additional fair price, and while it's true that some developers have followed that initiative it is much more common to see the concept twisted into a near rip-off situation where they shamelessly admit to removing content from full games to sell later as extras or charging for recycled content. I find it pretty ironic that what others consider a detrimental flaw or even an archaic design on the Wii is under my point of view a relief to my fears of buying a chopped game to be further nickel and dimed as a consumer later down the line.

The worst part is that not even what could be a saving grace on it's own of this feature, game fix patches, has been done properly or without taking a turn for the worse. The "buggy game" ratio during this gen seems to have drastically spiked, even development studios once know for their fine attention to detail and QA seem to have traded their "quality comes first" mentality for "let's release as is and issue a patch to fix things later", in some cases MUCH later. While in all honesty i have found myself really wanting this feature on certain occasions on the Wii, on the other hand i've also found it very satisfying that developers taking the route of laziness have been forced to bite the bullet and face the music for their unprofessional conduct.

Conclusion

So am i biased to the Wii?, don't even doubt it, but still after all the previously exposed reasons what i find mind boggling is how it gets so much hate in contrast to other consoles mostly based on being underpowered in comparison, sure all consoles have in the past have taken flak at some point for some reason, but to me its incomprehensible that people that call themselves "core gamers" and that enjoyed the wonders delivered in consoles like the PS2, Gamecube, Xbox, PS1, Dreamcast, N64, Snes, Genesis, Nes and Atari 2600 can be so blindly critical to what could perhaps be the last console to offer a similar to it's predecesors, wholesome, pro-consumer gaming experience, why do i say this? because i'm also not deceiving myself and while i would like to believe that Nintendo's next home console will keep everything that made the Wii awesome in my eyes, i too have to face the possibility that Nintendo being just another company no different than the rest will embrace the new way of doing business and will design it's next home console to resemble or add features from the X360/PS3 architecture in order to appeal more to the old market. So while some of you keep shouting about the coolness of your 1080p definition, humongous harddrive size, online matches and DLC on your HD console of choice i'm gonna be over there playing with my Wii and having fun in the exact same way i've done for the last 20 something years, because this might be the last console i have the chance to do that before becoming a nagging old man reminiscing about the old days when games were about mad fun and not a popularity contest between companies that only care about raising their profit margins at the expense of their customers.


You know kids, when i was young i played the greatest game ever on the Wii, Skyward Sword, that was a real fun, long, awesome game, not like these 3 hour, 80$, 2048p, cookie cutter bloodfests with dumb stories they make nowadays   read


8:57 PM on 05.23.2010

Fanboy Rage! [shortblog]

Is what we're gonna see once PS3 fanboys get a whiff of this XD



Seriously now, i think companies should invest a wee bit more of budget in the QA department, cuz this gen embarrassing screw ups seems to be the new standard.

Source: AllGamesBeta   read


8:49 PM on 03.27.2010

Wanna know 2010's AAA game release dates? i gotcha covered [shortblog]

Or rather VG247 has all of us covered thanks to a document leak from GAME, a very tasty one if i may add, but enough talk here's the highlights:

* Band Hero 2 - October
* Brink - September
* Call of Duty 7 - October
* Crysis 2 - September 24
* Fallout: New Vegas - October
* Guitar Hero 6 - September
* Singularity - June 28
* New Borderlands DLC - April 9
* Dead Rising 2 - September 3
* Kane & Lynch 2 - August 27
* Metal Gear Solid Rising - September 24
* Naughty Bear - June 10
* Yoga Natal - October (Natal confirmed for October?)

Also of note:

- Highlander (There can be only one!)
- James Bond Racing (if you guessed "licensed crap from Activision" you are correct)

source: VG247   read


12:40 PM on 03.03.2010

Heavy Rain has a nudity glitch

Want a reason to stop bitching about glitches in Heavy Rain? well, how about a glitch that let's Madison Paige walk around naked?, apparently one user found a glitch that let's you do just that (though he has yet to reveal the method to achieve said glitch) and posted a video as proof.

Is it just me or anyone else thinks it's freaky she has nothing down there? also, in before someone finds a Scott Shelby version of the glitch *shudders*

Update: here's a little more info on how to reproduce the glitch, still incomplete though

"It comes in the sex scene featuring in the level “On The Loose” with Madison and Ethan. The player refused to kiss Madison with Ethan, but, somehow, managed to trigger the scene anyway.

Reload the save game afterwards, and there you go: you have her in her full glory."

info taken from vg247   read


10:03 PM on 01.03.2010

EA: In 2010 games will be cheaper... but shorter.



At least according to EA Canada's senior producer Jason DeLong when he says "I think that we’re going to start to see – maybe not in the next year, but in the near future – games go down the route of smaller up-front experiences and lower prices at the beginning..." and then continues "....and then the ability to extend the game through episodic material or future feature material. I think that’s a direction we’re probably heading in."

Personally i think EA is taking the next step in DLC scams (or shooting some steroids into Ubisoft's current one), chopping up pieces from the whole game to sell them as DLC hence making games shorter while looking like they are actually caring for customers by lowering the prices mildly. You know what i think Mr. DeLong? you and EA can go get ass raped by a donkey.

Source: Gameinformer   read


9:39 AM on 12.19.2009

PSP-4000 Announcement leaked through ad

If the ad in question is to be believed it seems that the PSP-4000 is a reality and it seems to be the combination of the best features of the PSP-3000 and PSPGo. Now what does this mean for the PSPGo? if the lukewarm reception it got is any indication it probably means a (faster) fading into obscurity... unless Sony is just messing with people again.

Source: Playstationlifestyle

  read


9:43 PM on 11.21.2009

Bayonettor

There are days when things work out like magic, days when everything is completely normal, days that the world confuses me to no end and days where my mind gets warped by the insanity of things i see. If your reading this right now and wondering, then the correct option for today is option D. if you are a Bayonetta fan/expecting gamer turn away, do it, do it now, this will most likely weird you out enough to not look at anything Bayonetta related the same way for a couple of days... however if you're Jim Sterling this will probably be your fap material for the next couple of days so no worries.

you have been warned, so now scroll down at your own risk

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OMFG, MY EYES, IT BUUUUUUURNNS!!!!!   read


5:52 PM on 11.17.2009

Why the Game Industry Should Scrap Imposed Political Correctness



A space bounty hunter is sent to a remote deserted planet, a place void of hospitality, filled with all kinds of dangers and crawling with enemies so great that the galactic federation has not been able too much to deal with them. Against all odds this lone warrior infiltrates this incredibly dangerous zone, takes out their high ranks and escapes triumphantly after barely surviving the battle with their leader. This is the simple plot that spawned one of the most successful franchises in videogames. The game? Metroid. The bounty hunter’s name? Samus Aran. Its gender? Female. Would the mentioned game have enjoyed the same success if players knew they were incarnating a woman from the start during the mentioned journey instead of said fact be revealed in the game’s ending? unlikely.

A former elite force police officer turned special anti bio terrorism agent heads to Africa to investigate the signs of the resurrection of an organization that he has pursued for ten years for its crimes against humanity, destroying his once peaceful life and to avenge the death of his partner. Once there he is forced to engage in combat against locals that have been infected with mind controlling parasites and other monstrosities created by one remaining agent of the aforementioned organization. The game? Resident Evil 5. the mainstream media response to the game announcement trailer? negative. What was the reason of said response? allegations of racism.

An special covert agent is sent to infiltrate a terrorist group, to keep his cover he is forced to actively participate in terrorist acts that cause the deaths of innocent civilians or at the very least do absolutely nothing to prevent said actions, all this under the guise of achieving the greater goal against terrorism. The game? Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The mainstream media critic’s response? From disappointment about the depiction of such scenes to overwhelmingly negative

What links all previous stories is public opinion or to be more specific the way it was handled, in Metroid’s case Samus gender was kept secret in order to prevent a negative perception from gamers to a main female protagonist, something quite rare in games back in the 80’s. In RE5’s case it was Capcom’s error was trusting that all people have at least a little common sense, after all when you think about fighting human enemies in Africa you know that at the very minimum a part of them will be black people, not doing so would be similar to imagining a kung fu beat-em-up set in the heart of China and expect not to see/fight a few Asians. Now in the MW2 case things reach IMHO even greater levels of hypocrisy as people, defense groups and most media personalities seem incredibly outraged by the events depicted in the game while completely overlook that those very events (an agent incurring in terrorism for an alleged greater good) might have happened (or are still be happening) in real life, what they focus on is not that a fellow compatriot and soldier trained to protect the innocent might be doing the exact opposite by orders of a government agency, no, what bothers them is that people are getting to feel that experience through a video game, even when similar plots where a character steps over the line for the mission sake has been used before in other games, movies and tv long before.


Samus, failing? unthinkable today, a real posibility 20 years ago

The key difference between the first and the last two examples presented is the situation and age they were released in, in Metroid’s case hiding the characters gender was a logical step to an environment where straying too much from established conventions was could bring doom even if the product quality was the best, where gaming journalism was beginning to crawl and where old somewhat misogynist values, word of mouth or simply looking at the cover art of a game had more weight on purchase decision than a full review (mostly due to the scarcity of said reviews). In the cases of RE5 and MW2 the situation is completely different, we live in an age where information runs (mostly) free, for better or worse, where a simple blogger has as much of a chance to be heard as the most respected writer or newscaster, where interracial couples can be together without causing major outrage and gay marriage is starting to be acknowledged, and if so, why listen to the concern of a few archaic minded so sunk in their ancient vision of the world and neurosis that see demon worshiping in Halloween costumes and potential killer dogs in puppies?.

All of the above causes won their recognition not by abiding to the rules set by those in power, but by doing the exact opposite and pushing the envelope, by bravely standing and opposing them, by seeking options away from the established parameters and by assuming the risks and going against the established traditions. This principle can be applied to almost every aspect of human history. When conventions based on tradition and “how it’s always been done” are scrapped for new ideas based on wise thinking, the results tend to be 90% positive, this in turn sets a precedent that becomes the first step for the change of the old rules.

Game developers shouldn’t have to prostrate to the empty political correctness cries of “insert-cause-here advocates”; they don’t like your product? Who cares, they are not your customers, and it’s them that you should keep in mind not the whining defense groups. Most of the times these associations have taken their once noble ideals to the extreme of the irrational or ludicrous, take PETA for example with their sea kittens campaign or the Christians associations against Harry Potter . How about overzealous censors? Don’t publish your product in their country; you as a developer are doing much more for change of outdated censorship laws by making potential customers feel the burn of not being able to enjoy your product thanks to a stubborn few than by butchering your carefully crafted work in order to make people feel better about their bad parenting, their obsolete values or inability to accept change. If a developer still wants to release a game in a censorship-full country at least make a little math to see if it’s worth it.


No one winks if this happens in movies, but heaven forbid if happens in a videogame

The level of harshness the mainstream media shows the video game industry’s evolution is rarely seen against any other industry, why is that?, we have seen greater displays of senseless violence, foul language and sexual situations in music, tv or movies in mainstream media than most video games. The reason is simply that it’s much easier to bash and demonize a raising industry that has still to gain true mainstream acceptance, especially when said industry keeps allowing it by accepting and kneeling to the critics every complaint.

Some of the news as of the time of this writing seem to give glimmers of hope for a change, Sega deciding not to publish Aliens vs Predator in Germany rather than having to completely alter the game to comply to the strict laws that country is famous for seems a like a bold and brave move aimed at making people aware to the need for better, updated laws. Australia’s only man holding back the creation of a 18+ rating seems to be facing an imminent firing from his position thanks to voters tired of putting up with the constant deprivation of quality games aimed at adults, getting a watered down version or paying extra money to import a non-censored version on account of said man’s near sighted opinion. Even the display of common sense by England’s Labour MP Tom Watson in response to Keith Vaz’s distortion of the truth (something rarely seen in the world of politics) is incredibly encouraging.

Video games truly began shedding the “gamez r 4 kidz lol” image quite a while ago. The release of IPs like God of War which features an unapologetic violent and dark main character that is clearly aimed at an adult public, the upcoming Heavy Rain which promises a whole new level of maturity in storytelling and even the Wii’s influence in bringing gaming to previously apathetic or even opposing crowds (soccer moms and senior people) has created a really positive atmosphere for the acceptance of gaming as the art form and powerful narrative medium it IS.



One of the internet’s pearls of wisdom is “don’t feed the troll”, following that same idea, publishers MUST stop feeding the shallow political correctness and scapegoating seen so often in politicians, defense groups and so called professionals journalists, the first step to do that is stop being submissive and running to make excuses about your design decisions every time one of the aforementioned feels like getting a little ego boost or support from people by using populist attacks against your work. Bad parenting, unscrupulous salesmen that sell kids adult material and politicians low approval rates are not your responsibility, proper mechanisms to control the distribution of games to their intended audience have been created already and the fact that they are poorly or not enforced ant all it’s not your fault, so stop apologizing and taking the blame for it. Make us proud to be your followers and customers, take the brave first step by disregarding ignorance when spewed at you or if you feel truly bold simply answer “FUCK OFF!” and we’ll be right there to support you.

Note: i took the liberty of using an image from an old post from this site, if there is a problem with that let me know and i'll nuke it.   read


7:04 PM on 10.15.2009

Tatsunoko Vs Capcom: Ultimate All Stars americanized intro song sucks

If anyone has seen the original japanese intro for TvC you'll know how awesome it is and a great deal of that comes from the great song (Across The Border) performed by Asami Abe, that song plus the well made anime style animation just pumped you up for the magnificent game you were about to enjoy. It's american bastardization on the other hand feels just so mediocre and generic in comparison it hurts to listen. Since an image(or video in this case) is worth a 1000 words i'll just let you hear the difference by yourselves.

ORIGINAL JAPANESE INTRO
[embed]152132:23708[/embed]

AMERICAN INTRO
[embed]152132:23704[/embed]   read


9:05 PM on 07.07.2009

Speculation time!: Tatsunoko vs Capcom's new characters

If you are as happy as i am with Tatsunoko vs Capcom being released outside Japan, then your excitement must have doubled when the news broke out that five new characters would be added to the roster (2 new for each side, 1 extra for Tatsunoko as replacement for Daimaō), problem is, we still know next to nothing about these new additions, Capcom had stated that there would be an announcement soon, but since we are still waiting and getting bored while we do, how about a little speculation on the possibilities?.

Before starting to randomly shoot names I think a few basic rules should be established, the first being that there can’t be more that 2 characters from a franchise (Ryu and Chun-Li from SF, Ken and Yun from Gatchaman, Doronjo and Yatterman from Yatterman implicitly define this rule), the second rule is that Capcom’s roster aims to obscure characters, secondary/supporting characters or main characters that only appeared in one game, and third and final is that Tatsunoko’s roster aims old anime franchises, so with the basic premises established, here are my top ideas for TvC new additions:

Nero: One of DMC4’s main characters and due to the previously established rules, way more suitable for this game than Dante, TvC would be the perfect way to give Nero a shot on the Wii outside the DMC universe, he also has plenty of moves to make him a worthy opponent.

Vergil: The perfect excuse to include Dante without including him, Vergil equals our favorite demon hunter in skill with his sword Yamatto and has badassery to spare but could get major bonus points if included with his original appearance as Nelo Angelo (unlockable skin optional).

Protoman: he easily rivals the blue bomber’s popularity and given that a character as unlikely as Roll was given a chance and regular Megaman is out of the question Protoman would be the perfect addition here. Most of Megaman moves from MvC would be easily adapted and having his shield could potentially give MM’s big brother an interesting set of variations like missile reflection or shield and counterattack moves.

Carlos Miyamoto: Appearing only on Final Fight 2 this skilled swordfighter and sword collector not only he fits the established rules perfectly, even more since by the rules previously set Haggar, Guy and Cody are out of the question.

Now to the Tatsunoko additions, however I’d like to note that since there could always be copyright issues no matter what, I will not take those into consideration.

Samurai Pizza Cats: One or two characters could be added from this particular one, I believe Speedy and Polly Ester are the obvious choices; an added advantage for these two is that this anime did get some popularity in the US.

Bonta-Kun: or Sousuke Sagara in a Bonta-Kun outfit if you will, this could be the perfect weird character to replace the genie from Hakushon Daimaō, it would be a perfect and funny combination of a tame looking killing machine. Major kudos if they include Kaname Chidori (with harisen in hand) as a helper during his special moves.

Speed Racer: Yet another one with strong possibilities due to its western release, add that to the relatively popular movie adaptation and the fact that he already did show he was a good brawler in the original anime and we have a pretty decent option here.

Well, those are my ideas, anyone has any suggestions or characters i missed? post them then   read


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