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KingSigy's blog

The Linearity of Time
11:16 AM on 03.29.2015
The Convention that Changed it All
7:54 PM on 03.11.2015
GTA V: "Why Go On?"
5:59 PM on 09.29.2013
The Game That Broke Me
5:40 PM on 08.20.2013
There's V in my COD?!
6:04 PM on 08.14.2013
Dragon's Crown is Sexist?
5:29 PM on 07.31.2013





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About


Gaming; That is a thing we all do. Some more than others. I tend to be on the extreme side. If there isn't a game in my hands then I must have lost my hands.

Welcome to my blog. I will post my ranting and raving about games and other thoughts on the industry at whole. I am very opinionated, but willing to have an open discussion.

Some of my favorite games include anything Zelda, Mario, Street Fighter, Metal Gear and Yakuza.


Front Paged Blogs

Something About Sex: Get Out!
Aaamazing: Japan Hasn't Lost It's Touch
Freedom: What's The Whole Point Again?
East Vs. West: Seriously, Japan Hasn't Lost It's Touch

Favorite Blogs
Ico: The Essence of Art
Maturation And Acceptance
The Emasculation of An Action Star
Has Gaming Negatively Impacted Me?
h8 Out of 10
I'll Never Cross The River
What I Want in Life
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KingSigy
11:16 AM on 03.29.2015

Game developers have made great strides in providing gamers with multiple choices for a game's story. This has resulted in many critics and players labeling games as "non-linear" or "open-world." They all allow you to tackle events in any order of your choice.

An idea occurred to me over my vacation; as time seemed to stand still while I relaxed in the sun and heat, I thought about the Futurama episode where the Professor creates a time machine. In that plotline, he actually moves so far forward in time that he ends up seeing the creation of the universe.

Good news, everyone! We made it to Destructoid!

Time was on an indefinite loop. While the Professor could not move backwards, he could go to any point in history as long as he kept proceeding forward. This line of thought then lead me to the game Virtue's Last Reward. In that game, you deal with a similar phenomenon.

While the game talks a lot about Schrodigner's Cat and the Many-Worlds Theory, it allows you to skip between different parallel dimensions to progress farther in the game. Effectively, the game gives players a non-linear control over time.

I'm truly surprised that we haven't seen more games attempt this idea. While developers are so anxious to showcase their graphical advancements and claim their game is "innovative" and "cinematic," they never really deal with the way time affects our world.

Some other notable examples would be Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Braid and (weirdly enough) Forza. All of those games have a rewind function that will let you undo simple mistakes. Braid and Forza aren't really concerned with challenge, so their mechanic is unlimited (though you can thankfully turn it off in Forza for realistic effect).

Sands of Time incorporates this time shift into it's story. The dagger which the Prince holds can only store a certain amount of time altering sand before being worthless. This deftly explains why one cannot simply undo every mistake.

As much as that may be total dominance over time, those games are still set on linear paths. That quick rewind can only go one direction; resuming control only allows one path. None of these games question whether or not your different choice truly deviates from a pre-determined course.

No no no. My story included more paths...and naked women.

Virtue's Last Reward revels in that type of manipulation. Characters will refer to your physical appearance as "strange" and "decrepit" before you get to the final twist. Certain elements in the background will stick out, but have no real meaning until you swap to a different dimension.

The game crafts a tale in which every single possible choice is the only true path. It gets the mind thinking about every decision you've ever made. What if I said yes to that girl or what if I studied harder in school? (or as Peter Griffin said, "you don't want to spend your life wondering what if".)

I know the predecessor to that game, 999, had many similar themes. The mechanics of that game only allowed you to see one path through before exchanging consciousness and charting a new course. The sequel seems more concerned with granting access to every possible experience.

The closest I can think of a game coming to this type of focus is with Papers, Please. While that game doesn't place emphasis on you having knowledge from multiple timelines (or even acknowledging that different universes may exist), it does let you move backward in time to live out every possible outcome.

Papers, Please bases its gameplay on multiple choices. Every time a new person comes up to the border, you can either quickly let them through, tag them for search, properly check their ID or even forge their documents. All of these decisions result in a distinctive conclusion.

The game features multiple endings, even if most of them are not satisfactory. As with life, you may not like where your course of action has brought you. Unlike life, you can always undo the change (and without reloading a save file). Now, I realize there are more games with this style of gameplay, but even Papers, Please isn't fully non-linear as far as time is concerned.

To me, I wouldn't mind seeing more games like Virtue's Last Reward in terms of narrative structure or gameplay. How about an adventure game in the vein of L.A. Noire where you get to switch dimensions to figure out clues? Maybe a shooter where allowing key characters to live can result in various conclusions?

All of these ideas don't really nail non-linearity of time. Maybe the real reason we haven't seen more games tackle this style is because everything has to move forward. You cannot undo time, no matter how hard you try. Our lives are set on linear courses from the day we are born.

Given that power to move backwards, I think most of us would just stick to a single day or two in our childhood. Why move on when you can always redo? This might ultimately be what gaming is trying to tell us; the choices you make are the ones you must deal with.

I could also be misunderstanding my own point of time flowing linearly. Maybe I just never pieced together that games allowing you to flow in reverse are really non-linear. If that is the case, then a game like The Bouncer is the most non-linear a title can get.

Whatever the case, I feel like developers should try to focus more on continuity and time. Shake things up with your franchises by allowing us to skip forward and backward at whim (but not pre-determined). The worst that can happen is we erase the history of Resident Evil 6. =)

I will gladly pick no.

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Absence makes the heart grow fonder; while the origin of this quote is unknown, the impact of those words can be profound. Removing yourself from your favorite place can be quite difficult. Sometimes the change is needed, other times the change is made from an irrational viewpoint.

About two years ago, I asked Andy Dixon to remove me from Destructoid. I noticed I was getting into fights in the comments section and writing crappier blogs in some vein attempt to get noticed. I just wanted to be liked, if not help people view games in a different light.

I still visited the site, but I refused to comment or make any blogs. I wanted to be done with the community and everyone around the site. I felt like I had failed them by being a petty child. I didn't want to stain the good name of their community.

After returning to the community blogs over on Screwattack, I started to realize a lot about myself. I had changed over those few years. I was more level-headed and less angry. I was more willing to discuss instead of assert my opinion. Most importantly, I missed the communities that helped me fall back in love with gaming.

I just wasn't ready to return to Destructoid. On Screwattack, I actually never lost respect. People accepted that I was on hiatus and the crew members looked forward to my appearance at their yearly cons. I ended up volunteering and feeling empowered and happy. I was glad to give back to a website that kindled a passion in my heart.

I never got that chance with Destructoid...that is until this past weekend. I never expected that PAX East would be the place that I would finally understand what I seek from my writing, but funny things happen to us humans. One minute can be a mundane cycle of repetition while the next is the catalyst for the fire in our minds.

After a hectic first day, my friend clued me in to a DToid meetup for Saturday night. While I skipped out on the photo in the afternoon, I made damn sure that I was able to get to the planned restaurant for that evening. I never expected to be the only person there, but life likes to throw funny curveballs our way.

When the crew ended up being late, I began to panic. I thought I had either wasted my time and money or just misread the location. I didn't want to say no to the whole situation, so I decided to put myself on the waiting list and get food.

About 10 minutes later, Jed walked in with some friends. Seeing his Twitch shirt, I figured asking if he knew Jonathan Holmes would be a safe bet. Not only was it safe, but it was rightfully founded; Jed was with him for that evening.

This began a very surreal night for me. While I'm not afraid of meeting "celebrities" and talking to them, I never expect to get into a more personal conversation with them. I was also caught by surprise when we sat down for dinner.

This is how it looked like in my head!

Nothing felt out of the ordinary after the talking got started. It was almost as if I were a part of their crew. It seemed like old friends catching up with their non-stop lives. We talked about games we had seen that day, films that were interesting to us, how stupid Cliffy B is and awful interviews.

I also volunteered myself to hand out community awards on the show floor. For all you guys who voted back at home, know that your voices were heard. I went around with the motley crew of DToid members and we handed out those little foam cards with pride and joy.

While the award for the Witcher vanished mysteriously, everyone else was genuinely surprised and happy to be getting these plaques. Seeing their smiling faces and getting to speak with them made me feel accepted. For once in my life, no one looked at me like a psychopath; now I was the bearer of good news and a "golden" trinket.

After we managed to tear up the PAX show floor, we needed food (as most humans do). So, who could turn down a bit of lunch with Mr. Holmes? Not only did I end up meeting and dining with him the night before, but I got to do it two days straight.

Really, what more could a DToid member ask for? I finally got to put faces to the people I have been following for years. Their words and analyses have given me hours of entertainment and introspection that I am thankful for. I cannot imagine myself being alive without such a website.

So while I may have neglected DToid and been an angry little basted for a few years, I feel that I've finally matured into the person I wanted to be. Seeing the struggles and challenges that these people go through to give us the content we take for granted really put a lot into perspective for me.

LIKE A BOSS!

So thank you Holmes, Caitlin, Jed, Kyle and Rob. Shout outs to Jared and that partially Asian sounding guy (I'm very sorry! I forgot your name). While I may never become a full fledged friend, you guys certainly made me feel like I was important for a few days. For that, I wish you all the best of luck.

P.S. Remember to name your child Jim, Holmes!

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KingSigy
5:59 PM on 09.29.2013



Grand Theft Auto was a series that blew my mind back in middle school. It was so edgy and violent. It felt almost wrong to be fantasizing about the game, but I wanted to pull back the curtains and look inside at the scandalous nature of the game.

It also felt like something that needed to be played. This was mostly peer pressure rearing its ugly head, but when I was 13, I couldnít be caught dead having not played Grand Theft Auto III. †This was helped by the fact that the game was highly original in its approach to building a game world.

Gamers had never really seen a game set up a city that mimicked real life. You could forget the actual mission structure of the campaign and just go for a walk. Taking a slow, leisurely drive through the streets of Liberty City was a distinct possibility. Tackling objectives in whatever manner you saw fit was unprecedented.

Skip ahead to 2013, 12 years after Rockstar Games revolutionized the games industry, and Iím left feeling hollow. Having played Grand Theft Auto V to 100% completion, I have no idea why I was even really excited for the game. I was overcome with a sense of peer pressure from peers I donít even possess.

Worse still, Iíve been tackling therapy to get a better grip on my own mental state and GTA V revels in the idea of, ďOnce a criminal, always a criminal.Ē There is no conceivable way to change the fates of the protagonists in GTA V. They have committed unspeakable acts against their fellow man and have to just continue the process. It makes me feel hopeless.

Other than a few mean spirited advertisements, nothing about GTA V is comical. The script is angry and unwilling to view things from a new angle. Missions appear steadily, but lack any variety. Some of the tasks are simply, ďSteal this car.Ē There is nothing else to the mission and you can even kill the person whom the car belongs to with no consequence from the police.



There is no real challenge other than battling the awkward controls. The driving is markedly improved over its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto IV, but the cover system and gunplay feel clunky and outdated. Adopting a Call of Duty style lock-on system doesnít mitigate the fact that I canít aim at the guy to the left if Iím presently stuck on the person to the right.

Even the open world feels devoid of pieces. Random events are a neat way to provide pseudo-procedurally generated missions, but even these fail to mix up their objectives. †GTA V does nothing that television and film hasnít tackled better.

One should not compare this game to other mediums, but when hit TV show ďBreaking BadĒ has characters growing from their actions and even coming up with new situations to throw their leads into every week, why has Rockstar failed to provide new set pieces for their flagship series?

The overlooked Max Payne 3 took the titular hero to new horizons. It swapped the dark, dreary and slick streets of New York for settings in bustling Sao Paulo and drug cartel offices. Max was out of his league and skimming by the skin of his teeth. His anguish felt intense, visceral and utterly hopeless. Conquering a challenge made the player feel like a god.

In GTA V, all one needs to do is simply sit behind cover for a few seconds and wait for the AI to kill itself. Police have a terrible habit of flying their helicopters into wind turbines or driving their squad cars straight into explosive gas stations. You can even mask yourself from them in bushes, dismantling the otherwise clever mechanic of staying in the dark to escape police.

Worse, though, is that no character grows for their troubles. Franklin is the only character that begins the game in a classic GTA style. He is a gangbanger from the hood who is going nowhere and doesnít have much to his name.

By the end, apart from the $70 million dollars, Franklin still has no one. Heís learned nothing from his adventure and will probably fall into obscurity for the rest of his life. His game stats barely even improve, though that feature of the game does virtually nothing.

Michaelís story has him bickering with old friend, Trevor, until the two are told to ďShut the fuck upĒ by Franklin. After that, the plot kind of drops the setup to the game and tasks the player with just finishing their last heist. The ďbestĒ ending of the three possible even wraps everything up like the three characters are all best buddies, despite nearly killing each other a few times.



All of this and I havenít even mentioned how polished the game is and how many extra side missions there are. For something so vapid and shallow, Rockstar definitely included a tremendous amount of meaningless bonus content.

Finding barrels of nuclear waste serves no purpose other than to give you a trophy/achievement. The extra guns and cars that used to come from finding hidden packages are just gone. Now if you collect all of the ďletter scrapsĒ and ďUFO parts,Ē you get a pathetically simple side mission and a trophy/achievement.

Stunt jumps donít even boost your stats or give you a shiny new car. They donít even follow the physics of the game. My car often did backflips while attempting a few jumps or would kill me upon impact with the ground. Rockstar seems to have simply filled the game world with so much extra nonsense to make people believe their $60 wasnít wasted.

Couple this with a soundtrack that evokes no sense of presence or indicates the quality of its era and youíre left with a rather peculiar triple A title. Itís highly polished, runs smoothly and features a vast amount of ďthingsĒ to do, but feels empty.

It makes me realize that Iím probably not a true gamer. Iíve been playing all manner of games since I was 4 years old, yet now I feel like an old man screaming about the ďgood old daysĒ and wishing for something new.

If youíre down with everything this game has to offer, then I could easily recommend it to you. The game may not be the finest example of an open-world game, but one will not finish this within a single sitting (or even weekend). Thereís even an online component that hasnít launched yet, which may change my attitude towards the whole affair.

As my thoughts stand right now, I think I really am finished with mainstream gaming. Gaming has changed so dramatically from the old school era that itís silly to sit here and expect newer gamers to have the same expectations from a game that I do.



Itís also utterly pointless and insensitive to assume that games should be purely about ďchallenge.Ē The controversial ďskip sceneĒ feature of GTA V makes sense to people who purely want to witness a story unfold. It also highlights how not every minute of gameplay is actually worth seeing.

I just donít see what else gaming can do. Weíre entering a new generation which features launch titles that are also releasing on current generation hardware. The next few months sees the release of more shooters than any other time period I can remember.

I just donít know how else to enjoy this hobby. When Rockstar Games canít even provide me with escapism, then I truly believe that no one will ever be able to again. At least I can save myself money in the future, I suppose; silver Linings and all that jazz.
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KingSigy
5:40 PM on 08.20.2013



The dream of most writers posting blogs on gaming websites is to one day review games for money. We all make claims like, ďIt doesnít matter if the game is bad. I CAN DO IT!Ē A lot of us even consider ourselves experts in the field of game knowledge.

Well, I finally got my chance to write for a little known website. Going by the guise of NewGamerNation, I was tasked with reviewing a few things and writing some news until I was handed The Curse Of Nordic Cove. Now I feel like my life is for nothing.

I donít think Iíve ever truly played a game as horrible as this. I understand itís an indie title and that no more than 3 people made it, but I just canít do it. Iíve finally met a game that I canít finish. Even Duke Nukem Forever wasnít this repugnant.

I donít know where to begin, seeing as how Iím panicking on how to actually review the game. I donít want to rate something a 1 out of 10, but I feel that this game is just truly beyond redemption. It sickens me to think that people are charging money for what amounts to an amalgamation of the entire games industry.

Itís one thing when a game has no conviction in its own identity and tries to cater to multiple crowds by including different mechanics. Itís another thing, entirely, when a game switches genres in-between levels. If you ever wanted to play an FPS Golf Game, Nordic Cove has got you covered.

The dialog is also some of the worst garbage Iíve ever listened to. One direct quote from the game is, ďFuck, fuck, fuck, fucking fuck.Ē Thatís it. I canít even fathom what that means, let alone how someone uttered this and thought it might work in a story.

What really conflicts me, though, is my own lack of ability. Maybe if I tried making a game, itíd be worse than this? Actually, I should change that maybe to a definitely. I possess no knowledge of programming languages or coding or any kind of idea how to link mechanics together, so why am I being so harsh on this game?

I am just jealous because I canít create something? Do I feel that berating this game will somehow make my life better? Am I just compensating for the lack of emotion that I have? Will I ever truly enjoy gaming again?



I donít know what to do with myself. Iíve wanted, for a long time, to just write about games and let people know how I feel. When the time has come, Iíve become struck with stage fright and afraid to voice myself. I donít want to hurt anyone, but Iíve mastered that skill with little training.

So, I think Iím just not going to write about a specific game ever again. Clearly reviewing things is not in the cards for me. Iíd hate to think of how sad the developers would be if I just belittled their title without a second thought. Theyíve spent countless hours slaving over PCs to get this game running.

What do I have to show for myself? Absolutely nothing; I am nobody and will likely remain that way for the rest of my life. So, I guess I should be thanking The Curse of Nordic Cove. This game showed me that being a professional is not my path in life.

I do believe that path lies at the bottom of a bottle, though.
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KingSigy
6:04 PM on 08.14.2013



When Call of Duty made the jump to the modern era, realism wasnít on the agenda. I mean, the game was certainly fashioned after combat with guns in a semi-realistic manner, but the scenarios and settings were clearly fantasy. You would have to be crazy to believe a two man team would somehow survive an onslaught in Chernobyl with one guy incapacitated.

It always struck me as odd that women werenít included. You do save a female pilot in Call of Duty 4, but then you meet your untimely death and she is gone forever along with you. So, I guess it honestly didnít make a difference if she was there (I also canít think of her name and I replayed the game three months ago).

Now with Call of Duty: Ghosts, one can finally be a female soldier. This is something that should have happened six games ago, but progress does take time. Iím happy that we finally can have some diversity in the most popular game of the generation. Iím also very happy for Elsa, since she enjoys Call of Duty.

Now comes the bad part. There was always going to be a bad part. I canít wholly praise something that Activision does. Iím sorry.



To me, Activision is parading the inclusion of women in Call of Duty as an excuse for the lack of originality in the series. Why should they bother changing up the formula? Those games still sell out on release and continually make billions for the company. Activision was able to divorce themselves from Vivendi Universal for $5.8 Billion, which Iím sure Call of Duty was mostly responsible for.

A lot of the features in multiplayer do seem cool. Iím a bit excited to actually try out the new Call of Duty, something that hasnít happened since Call of Duty 3 (I didnít much care for Modern Warfare until I stopped being a cynical prick). I wonít sit here and proclaim that the series shouldnít be loved or played or anything like that.

I just donít understand why, in 2013, including women in a game is a main selling point. Itís very sad that having women in a game even needs to be mentioned as a feature. Shouldnít this be a given? When other shooters like Blacklight: Retribution and Borderlands have had them for years and never promoted them outright, why does Call of Duty need to blatantly showcase the women?

It also doesnít seem like the inclusion is more than a model swap. There is no campaign mode where you play as a woman. There is no real reason aside from broadening the demographic. It just feels like they were added for purely financial reasons. This doesnít feel like equal rights in motion.

Thatís what makes the inclusion sound stupid. Still, as ridiculous as it might be, itís not bad. I want to sit here and hate it, but I canít. If Call of Duty sells like gangbusters, this will only lead to more games being made with female characters. That isnít a negative thing.

I really just wish that Activision would do more than simply include them. Maybe itís too much to ask of Ghosts, but for the next Call of Duty, I want women to have an important role in the game. Maybe even focus the campaign solely on a woman.



Medal of Honor: Underground has a female protagonist. It actually is the only World War 2 game I can think of that acknowledged the fact that women fought in combat in the 1940ís. Weird.

I wouldnít even mind contrived reasons for their inclusion in the plotline. As long as you donít have them focus on the fact that they are women or make their gender their personality, Iím down with more women in Call of Duty.

Now we just need EA and DICE to include them in Battlefield 4 and we can have an inclusive, loving battle for supremacy on the digital battlefront. I suppose we could also make jokes about late alimony paychecks and crash buildings on men.

Or tank through a house, jump out and knife a dude in the face for cheating. Or even reverse that. Have a guy parachute on top of his girl or grabbing the kids in leaving in the night. Holy shit, my sense† of humor is fucking warped.

So more V in COD is a positive thing. For as scummy as the incorporation might be, it will help in the long run.

I also wanted to find out the name of the soldier from COD4 (Cpt. ďDeadlyĒ Pelayo) and found out that the console exclusive Call of Duty: Finest Hour had a playable female soldier. She was named Tanya Pavelovna. Black Ops 2 also featured a female villain in zombies mode along with two female characters to play as and one in the campaign.




Sarah Michelle Gellar was included in DLC for the first Black Ops title, but I donít know if a celebrity counts. Maybe Call of Duty wasnít as exclusive as originally thought?
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KingSigy
5:29 PM on 07.31.2013



Is Dragonís Crown really that controversial of a game? What, exactly, is wrong with the art style? Sitting here and listening to TotalBiscuitís podcast, Iím stunned. Iíve seen coverage of the game on Destructoid, but I didnít realize how bad the public image was.

For starters, I havenít been the most accepting of people online. I typically over-react to situations and condemn developers for their indiscretions. Even this past weekend, I expressed how I was happy that Phil Fish was leaving the games industry.

Still, when I donít have a problem with the sexual depiction of women in a game, you should probably come to the conclusion that nothing is wrong with the art style. I donít care if you find fault with it, but I donít really see the point.

Itís like weíre shouting at our own problems. In the past, Iíve typically lambasted things like Street Fighter and Dead or Alive because of how scantily clad the women are. The real issue; there were no women in my life to talk to.

About the only complaint I can hold up is unfair difficulty curves. Sometimes games just do not teach the player well enough. They Bleed Pixels is an example of such. The first 4 worlds have a steady increase in difficulty, but the last level is maddening.

Regardless, I think we, as adults, need to grow up a bit. Most of the debates come from how insensitive the depiction of women is and how they might traumatize our children. Since we have the power to buy product, you can simply not buy the product.

Thatís a startling revelation, I know. I truly believe, though, that weíre projecting our own failings onto gaming. There is always going to be a game that truly sucks, but if the only problem you can find in a game is how bad the art style is, why are you complaining so much?

Itís a valid complaint and I accept it as the reason you may not enjoy something, but itís not the sole factor for deeming something as bad. Just because you disagree with something doesnít mean itís objectively bad.

My time watching Game Grumps has taught me more about how to view gaming. I even wrote a piece that focused on some aspects of Dust: An Elysian Tail that ruined the game for me. My opinion wasnít based in hatred or even subjectivity.

When you can tangibly call out a feature of a game instead of relying on pure emotion, it feels great. Itís much better than throwing stones at self-conflict. Obviously your own investment counts for a lot, but Iím tired of reading opinions where the only negative is how uninvested someone is.

So, this blog is unfocused and probably totally off base. Regardless, Iím fed up with spreading hate and seeing hate. I just want us, as a global community, to stop being so entitled and righteous. Sometimes, we just need to have fun.
I may be completely unable to have fun, but dammit if Iím not going to spread cheer around!

I also must add, I donít mind the Polygon review of Dragonís Crown, which sparked the debate on the podcast. The reviewer, [font=Calibri]Danielle Riendeau, doesnít focus on the supposed ďsexismĒ. Itís just a minor thing that conveys her opinion to like-minded people. Just find another review to agree with![/font]
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