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4:47 PM on 03.22.2011

Gamercise Me: Week Six

Okay, got up to five hours this week, but for a lot of the exercising, I didn't feel it. So next week I'm going to an hour and fifteen minutes. I also start counting calories that week. I sort of counted calories the previous week, but I want to be sure this week.

The games I worked out to this week:

* Monday: Gold's Gym Cardio, then Just Dance 2.

* Tuesday: DDR Extreme 2, DDR Max 2, Gold's Gym Cardio, Just Dance 2.

* Wednesday: DDR HP3, Gold's Gym Cardio, Just Dance 2.

* Thursday: Gold's Gym Cardio, Gold's Gym Dance Workout.

* Friday: Off Day

* Saturday: Gold's Gym Cardio, Just Dance 2.

* Sunday: Off Day


Week one report.

Week two report.

Week three report.

Week four report.   read

8:52 PM on 03.19.2011

Weekly Top Ten: Sexiest outfits... and 5 I don't find sexy.

Just for the hell of it, I'm posting a list of (usually) ten items related to gaming. But for the most part they won't be the typical stuff, like my top ten Gamecube games. I want to make discussion over more varied things. Plus if you have your own list on these subjects, feel free to make your own, and either post it in the comment, or show us all a link to it.

Also, don't argue with something on the list if you just don't like it. Make your own list, so we can see it.

Now I'm not a misogynist, but I'm no prude either. I'm willing to admit when things turn me on... okay sometimes with things turn me on. Anyway, these are the video game outfits I think are the hottest, following some outfits that many say are sexy, but for various reasons, I don't.

Also, you might have to look some of these up. I'd post pictures, but like my fanfare list, I don't know of that many that would reliably stay around. Plus they shouldn't be too hard to find.

Top 5 Sexy Outfits I don't find sexy:

5. Rikku's theif outfit in FF X-2: Never was into Rikku in the first place, and this suit just looks weird to me instead of sexy anyway. Plus her hair and headband remind me of Captain Jack Sparrow (insert Johnny Depp androgyny joke here).

4. Bayonetta's outfit: First of all, never really got skintight outfits. Just not my thing. I know the outfit can make itself nude, but to me that's just trying too hard. Plus there are her infamous freakishly long legs, and her hairstyle is just weird.

3. Sheva's alternate ouftit in RE5: Some say it's a fur bikini, but it looks like animal print to me, and that's not something that turns me on either. Plus the tooth necklace makes me shake my head. I don't think the game is racist, just stupid, and this is not helping.

2. Samus's Zero Suit: Funny how much attention this is getting when it shows less skin than her best ending outfits in the first three games. Plus with how she got treated in some of the games since that got introduced, it annoys me more than anything.

1. Ivy's outfit in Soul Calibur IV: This is most certainly trying too hard. It's like the movie Showgirls, so desperate to turn you on, but also desperate to pretend it's not porn.

Top 10 Sexiest Outfits
10. Street Fighter II - Chun Li's dress: Okay, an elegant sexy outfit is more my thing, and Chun-Li's classic outfit fits that bill. Find the spiked bracelets a little weird, but the rest is nice.

9. Soul Calibur II - Cassandra's blue and white dress: Another elegant sexy outfit, just without something odd like the spiked bracelets. Nothing particularly enticing for me either (why it's just #9 here), but I like the overall look of this.

8. Onechanbara - Aya's outfit: Honestly, it's placing here because of the feather bikini. Nice. The cowboy hat and feather boa (at least when they are draped around the neck like that) just don't do anything for me.

7. Final Fantasy X-2 - Yuna's Gunslinger dress and Singer dress: Yeah, I just like the cut of these dresses. Too bad Yuna has the silly run. I do mean it looks silly. If she had walked a bit nicer, this would be higher on my list.

6. No More Heroes - Bad Girl's dress: Speaking of walking nicer, this is a major reason this outfit is on this list. It looks good on Bad Girl, and she looks good in it. Combine her sexy sashaying, and the way the skirt just bounces with her hip sways, and I have a save file just to fight that battle, and not even try to fight her, just get her to walk that way some more. If she's a playable character in another NMH game, I'm so there.

5. Soul Calibur IV/Broken Destiny - Amy's Dress: It's higher than Cassandra's dress frankly due to how the fur trim wraps around her low neckline and because she's a redhead. Although I like her white dress even better than the black on. Not too crazy about the boots, but whatever. The odd thing is that it looks even better in Broken Destiny. For some reason her outfits in IV look like they are a layer of black with just some fur shading and bump mapping for the fabric. It looks really "off". That is done in the PSP version, so looks much better there.

4. Battle Chess - Queen's gown (cover): Yeah, it's not in the actual game. I still like it. Heck, for all we know this is what the Queen wears when she and the king get it on, and she was nice enough to pose for a painting in it.

3. Resident Evil 4 - Ashley's second outfit: Yeah, her screaming is annoying. Yeah, let's get the "ballistics" jokes out of the way. I just like this outfit. It looks really good on her. Don't have much else to say about it. It's just my tastes, and they really favor this one.

2. Princess Maker 3 - Rabbit Princess: Now this is how you do a fur bikini. Too bad it's just shown in one of the ending screens. If this was properly rendered in a game, it would be my absolute number one.

1. Final Fantasy XIII - Vanille's oufit: I love, or at least really like, everything about this outfit. Okay, I agree with the blog "Go Make Me A Sandwich" that the pose in her primary picture is ridiculous. And I know that her characterization herself is the annoying "cheerful" girl. I just like the whole look of her anyway.   read

12:05 AM on 03.15.2011

Gamercise Me: Week Five

There's a setback. The scale says I barely lost anything, and my new picture shows barely any change from the first one.

Does this mean this doesn't work? Not necessarily. I'm taking personal responsibility for this. I tend to procrastinate, which meant I would work out too late, and took more off days than I should have. I also didn't really exercise outside my comfort zone except for a few times. Okay for keeping in shape, but not good for losing weight. I didn't really watch what I ate as much as I should. But most importantly were the emotional and psychological reasons I gained weight in the first place, and I really had to sort a lot of that out this month.

So what might have made me just give up instead has made me more determined. It seems I do have to go above an hour a day, to make sure I burn enough calories, and I also have to start counting calories as well (I stated from the beginning I should take out fattening foods). Plus I also have Wii-compatible weights I'm adding for some of the games.

So this first month, wasn't quite a wash. It was just me showing myself I can do this. Now it's me actually doing this.

The games I worked out to this week:

* Monday: We Cheer 2

* Tuesday: Just Dance 2 (but for half an hour)

* Wednesday: Skip day

* Thursday: Gold's Gym Cardio Workout

* Friday: Gold's Gym Dance Workout

* Saturday: Skip day

* Sunday: Gold's Gym Cardio Workout (but for half an hour)


Week one report.

Week two report.

Week three report.   read

5:57 PM on 03.12.2011

Weekly Top Ten: 10 Games That Are Not Bad The Way Many Claim

Just for the hell of it, I'm posting a list of (usually) ten items related to gaming. But for the most part they won't be the typical stuff, like my top ten Gamecube games. I want to make discussion over more varied things. Plus if you have your own list on these subjects, feel free to make your own, and either post it in the comment, or show us all a link to it.

Also, don't argue with something on the list if you just don't like it. Make your own list, so we can see it.

This week, I'm listing games I've played that a lot of people (but not everyone) claim are bad, but actually aren't. These games aren't perfect, but they aren't loaded with broken controls and design that make truly bad games. So these games I think are unfairly saddled with bad reputations.

10. Wii Sports/Wii Fit: These get hate mainly in the form of "they suck because they are casual crap", but get other forms as well. Wii Sports gets flack for lack of features. The problem with this criticism is adding loads of features would defeat the purpose. This isn't supposed to be a bunch of dedicated sports games in one. It's supposed to be a bunch of pick-up-and-play games in one. Wii Fit doesn't get quite as much hate nowadays, but it's still wrongly dismissed as a "non-game", especially by people who think cut scenes make better games (as in they don't get that movies aren't games either).

BTW, I would have listed Wii Play, but I haven't played it personally.

9. Sonic and the Black Knight: I haven't played that much of this game, but what's there is not the mess that many make it out to be. I mean I don't pay attention to reviews anymore, particularly for reasons like giving a game a lower metacritic score than its predecessor, when that game had noted problems that this game actually fixed. About the only problem it added was swinging the controller for the sword, but that's mainly a problem with extended rapid swinging (which is something the reviews of Red Steel 2 seemed to ignore or downplay), and this game doesn't work that way.

8. Fester's Quest: This game notably got bashed by the Angry Video Game Nerd, and this is one of the few games I have to say he's wrong. The game does have flaws, but it's a solid top down action exploration game. Oh, and complaining about the powerup system ignores the fact that the game was made in the days when people were still reading instruction booklets, instead of relying on tutorials.

7. Mega Man 6 & 7: Okay, 6 more than 7, but I see these games often treated as weak games just because people were getting sick of all the sequels. Now I can understand that sentiment, but that just means the formula is getting tired, not that the games themselves are bad. They are still some of the more polished games of the main MM, and even the X series.

6. Mortal Kombat - the SNES port: The game that immature guys used as an excuse to claim Nintendo is only a "kiddie" company. Okay, even if it was a collective "revenge" against Nintendo over their policies, it still doesn't make this a bad game. It doesn't play that much differently than the arcade game (which I noted was a complaint often added like an afterthought to review, likely just so the reviewers wouldn't look like a bunch of gore hounds), and even got a bit of the last laugh when a) Sub Zero's "fixed" fatality was added to the sequel, and b) the SNES port of that sequel is considered better than the Genesis version.

5. Zero Wing: I've actually seen this on a "Worst Game Ever" list, and even the people discussing that review noted it was likely just because of the infamous translation than the actual game. The game itself isn't simply a decent shoot-em-up game, with a great mix of control and design. It's not up there with R-Type or Gradius, but a good game nonetheless.

4. Castlevania II Simon's Quest: This one was also trashed by the Angry Video Game Nerd, but even he states that it's not horrible. It's basically Symphony of the Night 0, and has one of the best soundtracks of the entire series. Yeah, the game would have been a lot better with clues that actually made sense and boss battles that were actually satisfying, but the rest of the package is a solid game.

3. Zelda II: You've likely heard most of the reasons this game is hated, and a lot of them are wrong. The challenge is from good design*, not cheap deaths, for one thing. For another, the control is not random or based on luck (nor is the control of first Legend of Zelda, Jim Sterling). It's quick and responsive, and requires you to be so to beat the game.

* Okay, one design decision I have to call is making axe weapons require the shield spell, and putting enemies with them well before you have any access to it.

2. Dead Rising Chop Till You Drop: After giving much thought, Capcom completely dropped the ball on this. I don't know if it was stupidity ("Surely gamers won't mind if we don't tell them the pictures of fewer zombies are just the first day,") or malice ("This will "prove" that we "can''t" do this kind of game on the Wii,") but heads will be smacked there over this. They also did an interview discussing how they didn't just slap this version together, but only posted it on one minor site, instead of discussing this info everywhere they could to show it wasn't a cheap cash-in (which would make an odd choice of cash-in for the Wii, which would logically have been something like a Mega Man ripoff of Mario Party).

As for the game itself, it does have less features than the original game, but that just means the original asking price was too much, and that isn't the case anymore. The game does add things like control that works better, pausing when Otis calls you, fixes the prisoner battle, and makes escort missions actually beatable instead of making you want to just leave those idiots to die (something I find myself doing in the original game). All of those fixes are ignored by the game's detractors, which is not cool. There's a difference between not liking a game, and lying that it has no objective advantages.

Oh, and two more things that do need to be dispelled: 1) The original game also has zombies pop out of nowhere. It was not created for this game just to cheat the zombie count. The firs game did it to cheat the zombie count (which is closer to 200-300 than the 500-800 I've seen claimed, still more than CTYD, but not that much). Just because it's harder to notice doesn't mean it isn't there. 2). The graphics are more detailed than many give credit for (but turn up the brightness to +8 or higher, whoever made that muddy look on the default setting deserved to be smacked as well), but it's about the overall look instead of any individual thing. It's not just the zombies, but also the shops, which means loads of different textures have to be loaded into the RAM at once. And I mean "at once". I don't know of any area that uses any streaming, save for possibly the tunnel. Even Resident Evil 4 and the original Dead Rising still use streaming to an extent. I would like to know of any other video game that crams that much detail into a level without any streaming (save for 2D games of course).

1. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest: Yeah, it didn't break the series into the West as Square hoped, but neither was it made in lieu of localizing Final Fantasy V (so complaints of that nature are objectively false). It's still a strong RPG, despite being short and simple (but not that easy, as you will get creamed if you don't stock up on potions. It also has a cool system that uses the weapons out of battle, sort of like the puzzles in Wild ARMs. And of course even the detractors often admit the soundtrack is great, which could make a whole other article alone. It also let's you see if you are close to defeating monsters, which is something that wouldn't even become common in RPGs for years (although by means of visible life bars instead of seeing them getting weaker). Personally, I also like the way it spoofs RPG tropes, even moreso today then when my brother and I first played this.   read

11:30 AM on 03.07.2011

Gamercise Me: Week Four

Got a couple more dance games, including Dance on Broadway (which is very similar to Just Dance, just with polygon dancers instead of rotoscoped ones) and the latest DDR for the Wii, which was for sale this week, so I did get a second mat.

Games I played each day:
* Monday: We Cheer 1 and then 2.
* Tuesday: That was my off day.
* Wednesday: More furniture moving, as the other dresser came in.
* Thursday: Wii Fit.
* Friday: Had some Spring Cleaning to do.
* Saturday: Played the new DDR game we got, and then DDR HP2.
* Sunday: Dance on Broadway, and then We Cheer 1.

So this week I stay with an hour, but ramp up the intensity.


Week one report.

Week two report.   read

11:31 AM on 03.05.2011

Weekly Top Ten: Best Game Fanfares

Just for the hell of it, I'm posting a list of (usually) ten items related to gaming. But for the most part they won't be the typical stuff, like my top ten Gamecube games. I want to make discussion over more varied things. Plus if you have your own list on these subjects, feel free to make your own, and either post it in the comment, or show us all a link to it.

This week is my top fanfares in video games. For those of you unfamiliar, a fanfare is a piece of music played on brass instruments (usually trumpets) in a bombastic manner, to celebrate something (it's also why it's now also used to describe a form of hype and promotion). You remember the opening music to "Star Wars"? That's a fanfare. Or the opening to "Superman: The Movie", or the ending music to the "Indiana Jones" films. Let's just say John Williams is very good at this kind of composition. So of course video games would have them as well.

I would like to provide links to the music being played, but as I don't know of any that will reliably stay up, I'll just post the games and the name of the musical pieces so you can search for them.

Now without further ado:

10. Sonic The Hedgehog (1, 2) - "Title": Now the Genesis sound chip makes it hard to determine if this would be played in real life with brass instruments, but otherwise the opening screen music for the first (and second) Sonic game is a true fanfare. It wastes no time in basically telling you "Here comes the blue speedster!" Now while I personally prefer Mario games (but the first Sonic games are classics nonetheless), and his games are rarely without their own fanfares, they don't hold a candle to this musical gem.

09. Golden Sun - "Overture": A little spoiler, this list will be dominated by RPGs, particularly JRPGs. This is because the composers quite often try to get the majestic feeling of an epic film or opera in their music. Nothing against western RPGs. I just find their music is often more of a background ambiance than something to be just as clear as the gameplay. I should discuss this piece more, but there isn't much to say other than I like it enough to make this list. It's just not as grand or majestic as the other fanfares here.

08. Final Fantasy - "Victory Fanfare": Although VII through X screw up the second part, this tune is one of the most common and celebrated in the series. It's not majestic enough for my tastes to place higher, but does convey the sense of "You won! You're awesome!" well.

07. Knights of the Round - "Stage Clear": Now this victory fanfare certainly is majestic enough for me. Sure the game itself is basically "Final Fight" but ripping off "Golden Axe" instead of "Double Dragon", but the music sure is great. Oddly enough, the SNES version actually pulls off the "trumpet" sound better than the arcade version in the music. I guess the arcade game just had a radically different sound chip.

06. The Legend of Zelda - "Overworld": If you haven't played any of the games before Ocarina, you might now know this tune. For those who have, you know how this tune drives you on to adventure. Oddly enough, the animated series played this as a true fanfare first, and while "A Link to the Past" comes close, it's the "Super Smash Bros" series that plays the theme in its full bombastic glory.

05. Chrono Trigger - "Lucca's Theme": Now some mistake this for a victory tune, likely because it plays when you win the over bike race. But considering who the tune is named for, it's actually a fanfare FOR SCIENCE! I don't care for the two Chrono Cross remixes, since even though they are victory tunes, they are not fanfares. The brass is gone after the first parts, and the tempo is slowed down on all parts. What the hell made the Squaresoft composers at the time think we wanted victory music to be softer? It's f*ing victory music!

04. Disgaea (1) - "The Anthem Of Braves": That's right, space cadets, being a Defender of Earth is always better when accompanies by a majestic fanfare! That's why Captain Gordon and his crew has this tune play when he and his crew are on screen. Note that this tune isn't named for him alone, or even for the title of Defender of Earth. That means this tune is for his invaluable team as well as him! After all, Jennifer and Thursday are no less brave than Gordon, and he wouldn't be the defender he is without them!

03. Star Fox (1) - "Course Select", "Course Clear (1)", "Course Clear (2)", "Ending", "End credits": Yeah, you read that right, I'm putting five of them up here. The reason is that they all contain the same bit of melody that I'm counting as the fanfare here. Actually the melody appears six times, but the "Control Select" music is soft instead of a fanfare. Regardless, music like this is why I say the first game has the best music of the entire series.

02. Brave Fencer Musashi - "The Musashi Legend": This is an obscure game, but I highly recommend it (haven't played the sequel though). Anyway, the reason this tune is so high on my list is that it hooked me in right from the first level. I felt like a great hero, just from listening to it. I don't think any musical piece has said "great hero" to me like this other than the aforementioned "Superman" overture.

01. Dragon Quest - "Overture": If you've played any of the games, you know what this tune is, and why it's number one. Every part just screams "epic adventure", while a few parts also say "but it won't be dark and moody". The opening from part VIII is the best for me, as it uses a full orchestra in the game, but all of them otherwise work just as well.   read

10:19 AM on 03.01.2011

Gamercise Me: Week three.

Sorry this is a day late. Anyway, finished week two of this experiment. Found a bunch of speed bumps, but looking at those just makes me more determined (plus I've heard the second week is often one of the toughest). I did the time upgrade to 45 minutes, and of course felt more burn and sweating from the extra time. It felt good, even if more sore at points.

I also added Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 2 to my gamercise collection, and later on would like to get the current DDR Wii game, just for a second mat.

Games I played each day:
* Monday: Just Dance 2, which turned out to be surprisingly intense, as well as fun.
* Tuesday: Gold's Gym Dance Workout. Got about 500 calories burned, according to the scoring on that game, and it felt at least that much.
* Wednesday: Ended up as a skip day, since I've gotten plenty of advice not to do this every day.
* Thurdsay: Didn't want this to be a skip day, but it happened. Don't want to talk about why.
* Friday: Got DDR HP2, and tried that out. Had to turn off all the fancy stuff after the first song though. Even though the weight loss is more important than the score, I still have to know what I am doing.
* Saturday: Moved furniture as exercise. My mother and sister needed new dressers, so we had to take out the old ones and put the new ones together.
* Sunday: Just Dance 2 again.

Still need to remind myself to drink more water, and did feel "off" some of these days, but I'm not feeling discouraged. I'm up to an hour next week, and then seeing if I should increase the time after that or the intensity.


Week one report.   read

3:00 AM on 02.22.2011

Gamercise Me: Week two.

Finished the first week of my gaming exercise experiment, so this is the update.

Games I played each day:
* Monday: We Cheer. Still haven't mastered the timing for that game, but I did break a sweat trying.
* Tuesday: Gold's Gym Dance Workout. Also started sweating after the first few songs.
* Wednesday: Skipped. I had some shopping to do, but since the grocery story was in walking distance, I usually walk there. But had to hurry, as there were rain clouds in the sky. I managed to get home before it ran, but it was still about 3-4 miles total at a hurried pace. My sister recommended I just count that as a workout this day due to that.
* Thursday: DDR Hottest Party 3. It was a good thing I waited until then, as my legs were still a little sore from walking the day before. So I started off with the lighter songs to get a warmup, and try to get adjusted to the "down" button on the pad (my biggest problem due to our carpet often moving the pad as we play). The more intense songs did leave me sweating by the time I was done.
* Friday: Skipped. More shopping. I didn't walk as far, but when I got home, I realized I forgot a few things, so had to walk back there all over again.
* Saturday: We Cheer 2. Spent some time beating three and four star songs, which was good cardio.
* Sunday: Wii Fit. Finished this week with a more rounded workout. I did a few Yoga moves to warmup, some of the strength moves, some of the cardio boxing, and did the "Lotus Focus" as a cool down.

All in all, was a good warmup week. My biggest issue is getting myself to drink enough water, which I'll make sure to work on this week. Will also make sure to have better portion control this week as well. It's also of course where I move into 45 minutes each workout.

Now I am posting this in multiple sites, to see what advice as many of you as possible can give, and I got some good tips. One was to not go for the full two hours, as just one is easier to stick with. I can understand that, as some exercise experts have stated it's not always the length of the workout, but the intensity. If some of you agree, I'll keep my time to an hour, but build up how hard each one is.

Finally, my family got Just Dance 2, which adds another game to this list. Will report on how it works next week.   read

12:41 AM on 02.15.2011

Gamercise Me - Can games really help weight loss: Week one.

My name is Luke Collins, and I'm overweight. I'm 31, 5'10'', and 280 pounds. I don't have a problem with exercising and eating right in the first place, just sticking with those things.

Well I like gaming, and my family and I have collected quite a few exercise games for the Wii and the 360 in the past few months, and I'm actually liking a lot of these games as well. Thus I am seeing if doing lots of exercising in the games can help me lose weight. And I'm posting this here and elsewhere, seeing if

Aside from the occasional walk, all the exercising I do will be with exercise games. No gyms, and no special diets. Not that I won't take out fattening foods, but I won't be replacing meat with tofu either (plus turkey meat is also healthy and tastier).

For the first week, I'm spending a half hour each day playing these games, and then adding fifteen minutes every week until I get to two hours. If this works, and I start seeing results by then, I'll be sticking with two hours a day until I get to below 200 pounds, and then sticking with an hour or so each day from then on.

In case you are curious, the exercise games, or at least those you can exercise to, my family owns are:
* The Biggest Loser (Wii and 360; actually that's the only such game we have for the 360 so far, so the rest listed here are for the Wii)
* Daisy Fuentes Pilates (although that's my sister's, so I'm not sure I'll try that for a while)
* Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party 3 (unfortunately we live on a second floor apartment, so we can't use it that much)
* EA Sports Active (bought used, since... let's just say I don't want to give EA my money right now)
* Gold's Gym Cardio Workout
* Gold's Gym Dance Workout
* Jillian Micheals Fitness Ultimatum 2009 (although that's also my sister's, so I'm not sure I'll try that for a while)
* Jillian Micheals Fitness Ultimatum 2010 (see above)
* Mario Power Tennis (even though it's lighter than most)
* We Cheer
* We Cheer 2 (probably my favorite of these, and partly even for the right reasons)
* Wii Fit Plus
* Wii Sports
* Zumba Fitness

This is a picture of how I look now, and I'll take another picture every month, but posting other updates every week.   read

1:45 AM on 10.02.2010

What if Hamza Aziz had more to do with Medal of Honor than Fox News?

Yes, the recent news of Taliban being pulled out of the latest Medal of Honor game does have a stink of giving in to controversy, and failing to stick to principles.

But was the controversy the reason this change was made, or was it more from gamers who genuinely wouldn't have bought the game if this was left in?

This notion isn't new. In 2001, Time Magazine considered naming Osama Bin Laden their "Person of the Year". Now this was a while before he officially took credit, but it was still clear for most people that he had a hand in September 11.

Now here was the sticky point. Bin Laden really did have the strongest effect on that year. Principle meant that he should have been named.

But people were threatening to pull their subscriptions if he was. That isn't a mere controversy, that is lost sales and revenue. They could not afford to stand on any high horse and tell their subscribers they were wrong should continue to buy the magazine anyway. Time chose mayor Giuliani instead rather than look like they were honoring America's most wanted man. Now before some of you bring up Hitler being given that title in 1938, that was 1938. Imagine him being getting that title for 1945, after all the atrocities of his regime were revealed.

It's just as likely EA faced a similar situation. What if what caused removing the Taliban wasn't from people who weren't going to buy the game anyway (like people from Fox News about Mass Effect), or were going to buy the game anyway ("They made Sonic's eyes GREEN!"), but from people who would have bought the game, but including the Taliban actually would have been a deal breaker?

Thus I refer you all to "I can't support the new Medal of Honor". This isn't from an attention hound on the news, nor a whiny fanboy. This is someone stating very politely and respectfully that he does not like the inclusion of the Taliban in the game. Now Aziz does not say outright that he's not buying the game, but what if others are?

What if EA found it likely that some people would refuse to buy the game for including a this group? We can't tell those people they are wrong. It's not like gaming fans who follow message boards and gaming news, and therefore should know better. These are people who would see the game and likely walk away.

EA cannot afford that, not after all their quarters of losses. If this game loses sales due to people turned away, principles cannot make up for that loss.

It seems sad that principles have to be sacrificed for money, but this isn't an underdog triumphs film.   read

6:58 PM on 07.09.2010

Even if reviews "can" affect buying intent, do they actually affect sales?

This study about reviews and sales might seem to be conclusive evidence that reviews affect sales, but there are two reasons why it is not.

1. The participants were required to read the reviews, and most consumers are not.

2. The study asked those who intended to buy games, not those who did buy games.

Thus the study doesn't give an actual indication of whether reviews affect sales in real market conditions. The way to properly determine that might just require something along the lines of a Zogby or Gallup poll, asking people why they did or didn't buy certain games, and seeing what percentage of the answers were caused by reviews.

Of course such a study would be hugely expensive, as you'd need a decent sample size of people not only owning games, owning various systems, but, if you want to leave no doubt, also a number of buyers approximating the respective sales of the game. Even a getting the US President's approval rating wouldn't need to talk to that many people.

Another method would be to compare review scores and sales. Let me tell you, the film industry has known for years that reviews might as well be dart throwing. The disparity among box office and reviews scores is blatant there, but for some reason gaming hasn't caught on to this. Now perhaps with games there is a connection, but without verifying it, assuming a game did well/poorly because it got good/bad reviews is falling for the "correlation=causation" fallacy.

It's holding on to those assumptions without confirming them that lost Sony their first place, and made it all the harder, and more expensive, for Microsoft to get just to where they are.   read

12:09 PM on 01.14.2010

Game "can" be artistic. They just shouldn't "have" to be.

My last post on games and art was a thrown together rant, with the points not well put, thus leaving room for misinterpretation, as many of the replies showed. So I'm going to break the points down and and focus on them in different posts.

This post is about this notion that a lot of game developers and some people in the gaming press have, that games need to advance the notion of video games as an art form, and that any game that doesn't advance that notion is therefore bad.

This is just wrong. And it's also the same notion that has made movie critics so disconnected from audiences. Some films have been artistic, and some are just entertainment. But look at how the critics tear any film apart for being nothing more than something for people to sit down and enjoy for a few hours.

There is a similar thing with the aforementioned developers and press when it comes to video games. Anything that is just an activity with a set of rules where you win by performing well within those rules, and doesn't try in some way to make you think differently about life or has some attempt to create immersion, is therefore crap that should be spit upon at every opportunity.

Although the ideas of what makes films artistic and what makes video games artistic are different among these respective groups. While with films isn't about spending less money, with games it's about spending more money. Films praised as art are often for a "less is more" reason, while with games it's about trying to throw as much to simulate another world, ours or a fantasy world.

Now that approach to video games isn't inherently bad. The problem is insisting this is the primary way to make games into a true art for, when works in other media have varied ways they get praised as art, and that, again, it's a bad thing for games not to try to make games art.

This seems to be one reason they hate the Wii. Its lower specs make that approach impossible. So rather than try to find other ways to be artistic, or even not try to be artistic, they just avoid the system. For one thing, it shows a horrible lack of imagination and creativeness, and for anther thing, that approach actually puts style over substance. But those points are for another post.

The thing is games are pastimes to have fun. They can be art, and some have come damn close (Okami is one for me, as well as Orisinal, aka the artistic PopCap). But trying to drag the entire medium into being art is wrong. It hasn't happened with other media. Even painting was just as much about portraits as much as being art.

Yet the most important thing is that this narrow-minded view of games hasn't caused games outside these circles to be accepted as art. It's just made games more expensive.

Back to movies, I can see some looking at Avatar and thinking that's what they want. They see the film seemingly making that leap over the uncanny valley (can't be sure myself because I haven't seen it yet), and all the money it's made, and think if they just pull that off that will be the breakthrough they wanted.

What they don't realize is that James Cameron is one of few filmmakers going with that approach. If half the filmmakers were going for that, Avatar would just be lost in a flood of similar films. It wouldn't impress audiences.

We have a similar situation with games. So many try the same general approaches (even if the genres and actual graphical styles differ) that developers and the gaming press decided they should that only a few stand out anymore.

Some seem to think that if enough games follow this path than the medium will be pulled along by the tide and games will transcend beyond being just games and become just as real as movies and will be just as narrative as books. Even if that were possible, the approach is wrong. Because too many are doing that, anyone who doesn't follow gaming releases closely will just see too many similar games and go with what's proven and familiar, same with the recent burst of the "casual bubble".

BTW, I don't just mean HD games. I mean any game that tries so hard to be artistic. Even Nintendo has been guilty of this. Also, I like some of the games I'm discussing. But I know that they can't achieve what the developers and gaming press want them to achieve.

A specific example is Grand Theft Auto IV. Rockstar North spent record development costs to try to create the most immersive game ever. Critics lavished praise on it. And what did most gamers, and game detractors notice? That it was another GTA game. All that work and only the critics and developers cared.

And then Mario Kart Wii outsold it, despite being bashed for not being Gran Turismo with power ups. It clearly wasn't trying to advance games as art, but no one outside those circles cared about that either.

So what went wrong with GTA IV? Technically, nothing. What went wrong wasn't with the game itself. It was the need to make it something more than it was, and the expectation it would do so.

This in essence is the problem with the idea that games must be art, and that there is only one general path to games being art. It's an expensive pipe dream.

My personal advice to these people isn't to drop the idea that games can be art. Just drop the need for it to be so. And come at it from other, less costly, approaches. Also look at other kinds of art in the context of each piece on its own, not how you could make a game to imitate that form.   read

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