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ManWithNoName avatar 4:39 AM on 11.14.2012  (server time)
The Random: Labels, Originality in Sameness and Troubleshootings

I got tired of labels. They never meant much anyways, and now they mean even less. We live in a world were things got so mixed up and share so much in common that labels are pointless. They don't help you to understand what something is or isn't, don't define what is good or bad and certainly don't define who you are. I always defined me as a bit of nerd, geek and otaku, until I started seeing that other people who also defined them as such are completely different from me. And completely different from each other. Making the labels pointless.

The funny (well, not really funny, more of amusing) is how people defend their labels so much. The problem of defining who you are with labels is that when someone completely different from you use the same labels to define themselves you feel threatened. Not because those people are some kind of menace to the things you like, but because you fear that what define who you are is pointless, therefore losing one's identity.

When 'gamers' feel that people that they define as 'non-gamers' are playing games and calling themselves 'gamers' and they are completely different from you, what you question is not if the 'gamer' label fit that person. It is if that person so different from me is a gamer, who am I? I know it is a bit of an existential question, but we question our existence all the time.

Think about rock music. There is so much variant of music styles, that you can't just group all people that make what they call rock in one single label. Even the sub-genres have sub-genres now, like 'progressive pop rock' or such. This make the labels so pointless that the only label that can be applied, specially to a person, is 'This is me, and there is no one like me'.

So, I am tired of labels, since not only they are pointless, they just work to create dissent between people. Stop labeling yourself and just be unique. You will be happier and everyone too.

While talking about being unique, a lot of people asks for originality. Being original is hard, it is expensive and people seem to ask for it a lot, but buy/support sameness more. A lot of unique games get lost because people prefer to expend their money with something they know than risking with something familiar. It doesn't mean that you can't find uniqueness is something that looks like the same.

Take the Megami Tensei series by Atlus and their spin-offs. It is JRPGs at its core. Random monster battles, status, levels, plenty of numbers. All typical JRPG stuff. If you don't know better, you could take it as any Final Fantasy clone. But them you discover that the games works (usually) in modern day settings. That make all the difference in the world. Not only that, the story, while usually a 'save the world' thing, is much more personal, because it deal with lots of deep concepts like psychology and philosophy. A simple change in setting and tone make the games unique, while still keeping something very familiar.

Another example, more recent and maybe more familiar to many people here is Spec Ops: The Line, that at first glance is a modern military shooter, a Call of Duty with 3rd person perspective and cover mechanics. And while it is a modern military shooter with cover mechanics, it is not just a CoD clone. And they made it just by telling a unique story in a unique setting.

It is not a tale of badass US soldier fighting mid-eastern terrorists, but of US soldiers fighting themselves (in more of one way). Saying more than that would spoil the game, and I can't recommend it to any shooter fan enough. It will make you question many things you did in other games without blinking an eye and doing like that is The Line will make you feel so guilty.

So, to close my randomness, I am enjoying playing on my PC. Despite not being able to play one single game without having to go to Google and see how to fix a problem. The only game that ran the very 1st time without problems till now is the original Portal. All the rest got at least one problem I needed to solve. Some times is simple as resetting the machine. Others, like Jade Empire, I needed to mess with my registry to make it run. And this in the second time I tried to play. The first time also asked me to go do some troubleshooting to run.

So, I think consoles will stick around for a while. Not all people that play games is savvy enough to go messing around with their PC configurations and gladly will pay more so they can just pop-up a game and play. Yes, I know, there is console's day-1 patches, but it is still easier than what I have to do to make PC games run.

And, yes, Jade Empire, made by BioWare is a great game. It is like a Dragon Age: Origins set in a China-like world. I am just a few hours into it and already want a sequel. It is really good, but if you want to play, remember this is an updated X-Box game, meaning it is not quite on par with today's games. And that you probably will have to go through hoops to run it.

Well, that is it for my randomness. Thanks for staying with me in this.

I am eager to go back and play as her. I call her Ayane.

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