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Jiph Bottson's blog

5:03 PM on 01.18.2011

Ranter's Rant Asylum: Franchise Freak

Your guilty of it. You know in your heart its wrong, and justifying it is terrible.

"It" is Franchise Freaking.

When people buy games, it's more than buying games. It's a pact of trust between the developer and the consumer. When the customer goes home with that game, they expect to be
1.Entertained for a period of time
2.Satisfied with the price

I could go on forever about how different 1 and 2 are, but the general gist is as follows: When I'm entertained, it doesn't mean I'm satisfied with the purchase. When I'm satisfied with what I spent, it doesn't always mean that I'm entertained for as long as I expected. A little confusing, but think about it like this:

1- I buy an arcade title for 15 bucks. That was fun, I enjoyed playing through it, but 15 bucks was way too much for the game.
2.I buy a game for what I think it to be worth. Great price, but the game doesn't settle with me at all.

Many of us have probably experienced both, but getting at my main point, You'll realize when both 1 & 2 are satisfied, your more than likely to buy from the same developer again, and if not the same developer, then from the same genre. Maybe say you like Kingdom Hearts 2 gameplay. Your probably gonna like (and buy) Birth by Sleep and Tales of Vesperia. Say I like Phoenix Wright and Hotel Dusk...Well I'll probably be inclined to try out 999 by Atlus. I also do not need to explain how this applies to the FPS genre.

Simply put, when a game is good, you want more of it. This goes with everything. Someone gives me delicious Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Swirled Chocolate Bread, and I would be inclined to ask (read as:WILL TAKE) more. This is why I call it Franchise Freaking. When you want more of the same series or same type of game. I wouldn't call it bad, but its the most productive means of supporting the industry. Most people when finding a certain genre will stick to certain websites of their liked genre or specifically draw interest into the announcements of games from their favorite publishers or from similar entries into the genre. In simple words: You won't find a WRPG fan browsing the SRK Fourms.

These "problems" (as I hesitate to call them) would be pretty non-existant if not for the fact that the industry serves to grow and build upon itself by branching out to more customers. The problem lies therein the fact that "potentials" are not looking at their announcements. How then does one reach a new crowd?

The answers themselves are pretty interesting. The problem can be fixed by both sides doing some interesting things...I'll be honest and admit I had no interest in the fighting genre until Super Animoo Fighter Blazblue came along. I was pretty satisfied Grindan' and Traveling through the JRPG worlds of "Tales of", Final Fantasy, Disgaea, and Atlus GAmes (and WRPG's if you really count Lost Oddesy, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fable, and Mass Effect). Yet some viral marketing here, a splash of interesting designs & trailers there, and I was hooked. Delicious Story mode for the Visual Novel lover in me and the Anime designs to really set me off on a binge. Soon I looked for a fan website and found Dustloop. After my first combo thread, the rest was history. I now hit a local arcade when I can and you can best believe I'll play if you drop a controller and an opponent infront of me. It this case it was the fact that a game branched out and found the attention of someone else out of the fighting game loop.

Moving on, the second answer is not so simple. It revolves around people actually purposely trying to find things out of the loop from stagnation of their interest in their most played genre. It happens, but not as often as it should. There's nothing much to add to that other than sometimes the best thing to do is to head out of your comfort zone and take a chance. It applies to pretty much everything in life. Their are pretty equal chances of finding a good game and finding a bad game. I'm not telling you to disregard researching, (lest you love shovelware) but sometimes read a review for a different game and push yourself towards it; with Store Return Policies, you literally have nothing to lose.

soo...hit up the comments, tell me that genre you recently got into, tell me about that terribad purchase you made, or even tell me about my writing style. Responses are always appreciated.   read

6:45 PM on 01.03.2011

Ranting's Dream Land: Genre Killers

Now the title may be a little ambiguous, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it: If you don't like the new entries into your favorite genre, your more than likely the reason its dying.

Now woah, I'm not attacking anyone personally or any fans of any particular genre, but one has to understand that changes bring out the best things of a genre. If a genre never changes, the genre is already dead.

Now I'm not gonna pick and chose any fans to make fun of because every genre is guilty of having the purist fans that whimper loudly and complain about new games in the long line of entries. You know, the "Doom Guy" or that one guy who believes that the earlier need for speeds were the best and the only thing to contest them is twisted metal. (okay, maybe I made that one up) but still, all too often do Forums, Chats, and other public discussions, that we find people wanting more of the old back. Of course they never realize that its nostalgia and that they're wants are just them forcing their nostalgia onto a bigger fan base and possibly restricting a game from reaching outside of its inner circle of fans who are already guaranteed to buy it regardless of how much trash it is. (and if you thought of sonic, you should slap yourself on the wrist).

Yet still, I'm not one to complain about the old "If it a'int broke, don't fix it" rule, but I find that the companies that look like they do this, never really do. I mean Pokemon on the outside looks the same, but the jump from R/B/Y to G/S/C was massive. On its exterior it looks like a child's game of expanded Rock Paper Scissors, but going Online with that mentality with get your ass baked, fried, cooked, torched, and then will still be on fire as the burnt silver platter is handed to your opponent. Suddenly those insignificant natures from R/S/E, arbitrary Special/Physical Attacks, and asinine Effort/Independent Values mean something.

and the same could be said from all major franchises. The jump from Street Fighter 2 to 3 to 4 is pretty deep in hindsight. Super Bars were pretty amazing in the 90's, Parrying in SF3 usually mean Losing or Winning and I doubt more needs to be said about 4.

I could go on and on about the changes in many major IP's, but the main point that is being lashed here is that those games are popular, and its because they add some change while teasing their previous consumers. The games that don't fare too well, seem to be the ones that just focus on pleasing their previous consumers, and as a result receiving no more. Crash Bandicoot suffered heavily from repetition of titles. That's not saying its not fun, but there was no real incentive besides knowing it was going to be like a previous experience. That was cool when everyone was 11 and the catalog of games didn't matter much besides buying what you already liked or what looked familiar (which also falls under advertising. which some companies could benefit from *coughnamcocough*, but that's a rant for another day...). Now when you realize the target audience are people in their 20's and 30's (aka people who actually receive games on days that aren't labeled "Birthday" & "Christmas"), you realize you can't rely on the opinion of your fanbase. More than likely the most vocal ones are the ones who are the ones who won't buy it or those who already will.

but I've ran on for long enough. You got beef? Wanna prove me wrong? hit up the comments. Or you could toss in some positive feedback.   read

7:27 PM on 12.27.2010

Secret of Ranting: Capcom Grading System

You know what's not fun? OCD. Ask anybody with OCD and they'll vouch for it. Now what if you met somebody (not me) with OCD and a penchant for getting the highest Rankings/Unlocking Everything. Well then you'd probably meet someone who hates Capcom and Platinum Games

I've always questioned the grading system in Video Games. It seemingly turns a game into a test. I'm not sure about most, but I'm sure most have played Viewtiful Joe, Mega Man Zero, or Devil May Cry; saw the results and had that weird deep down desire to want to get the highest grade/rank. Then the game may turn from fun past time to constant attempts to perfect the style the game wants you to. Collect Everything/Wipe out Everything while taking no Damage. In theory it sounds easy, but its muscle memory and reactions to the max. Yet why is this style so rare in the industry?

Most games will never "judge" you beyond startup. By that I mean that most games will lay down 3 options for you. Easy, Medium, and Hard. (and then Extra Hard & Impossible if they're fancy) and then release you. Most people are content with that. They play through it a once (or a couple if they like it) and then set it aside on the shelf; but the grading system is on a whole different level. It's like ordering your food, and then having a world renowned proffesional food critic stare at you intenetly as you eat it, then grade you on Time spent, Form, Cleanliness, and the how the plate looks after you finish eating. They then do not show you the results until you order the bill.

Ironically enough, if that were true eating would be alot more competitive, but for some the focus would be all gone. Eating just went from a enjoyable past time to pleasing the judge...and that's what I feel the grading system does to games.

Sure alot of times its used for short games with little to no replay value, but alot of gamers get so caught up in the achievement of the games rankings that they're blindly going through the motions of the games rules, ignoring its mechanics just to rush through to a high score and a sense of achievement (yet achievement entitlement is a rant for another day). One would question: Does that truly make a good game? I would like to believe so, but the communities revolving around these games usually turn into circle jerks of the people who've done the best or people who are attempting to circle jerk with the ones who have. Usually asking for help in these games gets you the insult of "Suck Less" and "Lrn2(insert general game mechanic here)". These generally make bitter warriors or alienate others from the community; and if there's anything I've learned about competitive gaming, Elitism is the last thing you need for a healthy growing, and thriving community.

But hey, How do you readers feel on it? Hit up the comments if ya got something to say back or just wanna share a weird story on those grading games like Bayonetta, Tales of Symphonia, P.N.0.3, or even trying to go up the ranks in SSFIV/BB/MvC

and on a final note: Of course Capcom is not the only one to do it, but I find it more prominent in their games and it has a ring to it.   read

12:20 PM on 12.19.2010

General Rant: Fighting Games

With the ongoing release of Super Street Fighter 4 and Blazblue Continuum Shift 2, I felt like a good rant is in order about the state of fighting games.

So I'll be the first to say, I hardly think that Fighting Games are befitting of being an E-sport or can every be fully "balanced". So come at me bro as I explain my far fetched idea's upon a nearly killed Genre of games, dedicated to taking your money.

Before I go into this anymore, I'll openly state, I love Fighting games. I like to keep my decisions schizophrenic because there are 2 sides to every argument, and every decision is a sharp double edged sword. Always another side. So believe me when I say I did not start this to incite arguments, but intelligent discussion.

Firstly and foremost, I cannot find how any fighting game could be considered fair, and the same could be said for any sport for that matter. I mean c'mon, the only true way to balance is either the exact same character or little to no characters at all. The games usually run into which character is the most viable to popular mindsets. Why is Rufus popular? Because most of the SSF4 characters are blocking oriented along with the fact that dive kick into anything is a mixup. The reason why Bang is so popular in Blazblue is because the creator decided to have a character with a combo starting move that has more priority than 75% of the moves in the game. The reason Magneto, Senitel, and Storm are popular are because of Curly Mustaches. I mean I could go on and on, but the main fact is that there is always one character that can handle most like minded mindsets. Humans are hiveminds. That's why its a shock when Gamerbee comes out of nowhere and kicks ass with Adon, or when Tokido randomly Sweeps American ass at Blazblue without being popular in the scene.

Yeah, fighting fans complain about their precious balance in games, but then complain that the game doesn't have enough characters. Then when the game has more characters, the fans cry out about balance. PICK ONE. I mean hell, the closest game I've seen to balanced is probably Guilty Gear 1. Because Everyone had an equally easy One Hit KO (Look into your heart. You'll find it to be true).

In all honesty through, Fighting games were never made to be equal. I mean arcade machines themselves that almost all these games are created on are meant to eat quarters. So instead of a competitive fanbase, we just get a stubborn one that 1. Keeps tossing in quarters to keep losing as a character thats weaker or 2. Gives up because they realize the game is not for them/balanced. Lets not forget the end Bosses. Gill from SF3? Bison from Alpha? Unlimited Hazama from BB:CS? Eyegore from Killer Instinct? REPTILE!? (Shoutouts to SNK for "Break Arcade Machine" difficulty bosses) I mean hell. Playing arcade mode was like playing "How long can you drip the hot butter on your stomach". If you win, you just showed how much punishment you can take (and a chance to do it again).

I poke fun at alot of the Fighting games, but I do so because I love the genre. What I do not love is arguments on fighting game forums (coughshoryukencoughdustloop) that consist of everyone screaming about how the company could make the game better and complaining in various fourms about not being good enough to win as much as the said person would like. Is this the fanbase we've become? or should I say "have been" since I really don't see this any different from hanging out at the arcade as a kid complaining about something that we still enjoyed despite its flaws (moreso we enjoyed because of its flaws). Its nice to see the series rejuvenated with SSF4, and BB, while MK, Arcana Hearts, and MVC3 join the fray.

Of course if any of that didn't incite a comment or make any sense, its 'cause I'm ranting...
/rant.   read

5:28 PM on 12.13.2010

Starting Off: 2D Games

I'm not even going to pretend like their aren't 200-mille+10.03 blogpost, so just cuttin' to the nitty gritty. Going to post alot. Alot of them are going to be rants, and some will be reviews, but generally on the long side, and will be random in content and in dates posted. So onwards HO!

I guess today I chose 2D games. Before even starting this off, I will admit that I am no immune man to the powers of nostalgia. Generally I recognize my nostalgia and subtract nostalgia points on games I like to try to give them an accurate rating for the time they were released. I still find it ridiculous that anyone can spout how much greater Super Metroid is to Metroid Fusion or how the Original Punchout is better than Super Punchout (LIARS) and how anyone could find any pre-FF9 game better than than the ones afterwards. All developers attempt to outdo themselves, and every system offers them way more resources to do so. No Company is perfect, No IP is immune from having a previous entry better than one afterwards, but one has to understand when their N-Goggles need to be removed.

But moreso onto the fact of 2D games. A dead dying, genre of games in favor of 3D. We have a couple of iPhone games here, some DS games there, and some Console sprite based games scattered here and there (try naming some that aren't Scott Pilgrim or made by Nippon Ichi software). Alot of times I look upon the things that time has wrought and realize that this is only natural progression, and 2D was a phase long gone now. No longer will we be blessed with the sweet symphony of RPG's such as Secret of Mana or Chrono Trigger. No Beat 'em ups like Final Fight or Streets of Rage. No Puzzles like Adventures of Lolo or crappy attempts of genre's that don't deserve to be in 2D like Punchout. Yet I even doubt myself now and again.

Ofcourse we get hits like Scott Pilgrim or the newly announced Disgaea 4 or the new patch for Blazblue CS. With these games, the times make me have hope that 2D will live on in the form of random Pixel art such as Paul Robertson and random (indie?) developers. I can easily find it fitting in this world as an artstyle. Maybe fellow pixel enthusiast have a place with the nostalgia. Still, it is undebatable that 3D models are more convenient and (arguably) easier to make. So I end this slightly overly exaggerated soliloquy with an exasperated sigh and hope for the future of something that should be phased out. Now hit up the comments so I don't feel like I'm talkin' to myself.   read

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