My real name is Max and I'm a diehard Browncoat. I also have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Star Wars universe left over from a childhood obsession, as well as an actual Star Wars encyclopedia, but that's another matter.
I like to sleep, but keep odd hours, I like food A LOT, I like TV on occasion, I'm not a huge fan of any music except symphonic, and apparently I have bad music taste, even at 20 I can barely grow enough facial hair to justify shaving more than twice a week, I love to write, I kinda read, I hate a couple of the people in my J-school program, HBO is perfect, LOST is actually alright, I'm a total gearhead, Avatar was a terrible movie but an incredible experience, How to Train Your Dragon was very, VERY awesome, and all I want at this moment is a 1:1 stuffed Appa.
Guess what this last paragraph used to be for? My two cents on the games/art debate. Guess what's here now? NOTHING, and that's the way I likes it.
I've recently been perusing the PA forums in MASSIVE anticipation of PAX, which I recently found out I'd be able to attend. Now when I get into communities, it doesn't take me long to get that magical, omnipresent nerd-community feel back, no matter how long I've been away, and no matter which community it is, you know the one I'm talking about. And every time this happens, I'm reminded of the endless fun I had in the first one I really dedicated myself to: This one.
So to all who made my first year and a half here incontestably amazing, and you know who you are, I'm sorry I've been absent and lazy and away from FNF for the past several months, and I cannot wait to see each and every one of you that I can at PAX or the next NARP where that's possible. Oh and I should start blogging and FNF-ing again soon, I just gotta get like a 40 ft long ethernet cable for Mr. Xbox.
And to all those here and who will be attending the show or FNFs or just write here who I have yet to make best friends with, as I'm positive is the inevitable result of our relationship, I say "Hi, I'm Om Nom, here's a hero cookie, you probably deserve it."
I was thinking about how I'm gonna deal with my kids today, and aside from deciding to be the lightly teasing, gently cuff you upside the head and call you an idiot but in a way that magically makes you laugh kinda dad, I came to a decision on the kind of games I'll let them play, at least as long as I'm able to reasonably make those decisions for them.
This is actually a somewhat personal issue... actually "issue" is a little alarmist than I tend to enjoy, let's call it a subject. Anyway, anal correctness aside, my parents pretty much kept me away from anything even resembling graphic video game violence until and often past the recommended age limits, that is until I figured out I didn't have to actually tell them what I was buying. Parsed that one all by myself.
The point is, they kept me away from the guns and the punching and the baby-stomping, insane-going, non-face-showing anti-Christs for fear that I would myself become a murdering, raping, pillaging psychopath, but I think they went at it the wrong way.
4th Google Image result for raping pilllaging psychopath
I'll give you an example. If little Om Nom plays, let's use the example from before, Dead Space, he learns that shooting and punching and kicking and stomping people is not. a good. thing. Little Om Nom would see and hear lots of squirting and gushing blood, not to mention gut churning death wails. Now call me crazy, but I don't know a lot of kids who would see that kind of consequence as a good thing.
Let's contrast that with, oooh I don't know, the Monster's Inc game that little Om Nom was actually allowed to play. When he sees the big hulking blue fur monster put his entire weight behind blow after bone jarring blow as he beats the evil monsters to what would normally be a bloody pulp, little Om Nom is greeted not with a realistic or even exaggerated portrayal of violence, but a softened toned down version. The monsters that aren't trying to help you pop into little confetti addled puffs of smoke, accompanied by sickeningly adorable sound effects like an AWOOOOOGA.
Now, I may be perfectly insane here, but I would much rather my kids play games that have real representations of violence than softened ones. I don't want little Om Nom junior thinking that every time his sister even mildly pisses him off that he can take a swing at her and nothing will happen but a poof of confetti and the sound of a turn of the century car horn.
There is of course the issue of the glorification of violence, and that's something I will tend to avoid. I completely accept the ubiquity of violence in video games, but I think I'll keep the little critters away from games like Gears until they're old enough to not be super impressionable.
I'm actually interested in this little issue (for the sake of that sentence, I'd love it if you said it iss-yew), and because I'm a man of a mere 19 winters, and many years away from kids of my own, I'd like to know how some real bonified gaming parents have handled this issue, and why.
It's vacation tiiiiiiiiiime, YAY! And we all know what that means, the return of an inconsequential Dtoid community blogger, EXCELSIOR!
But yeah, school's finished, and not having to expend my writing juices on that has left more than enough to reinvigorate the old destructoid fingers. Hopefully all the friendly faces I remember will still be here, and will also be attending PAX, which I hope to see all of you at; it'll be my first Dtoid meetup, and I couldn't be more pumped.
But you didn't come here to read nostalgic ramblings from some dapper skeleton, you came because that mildly suspenseful title caught you at an especially bored time, and you had a what the hell moment.
(as a small aside, if you were looking for a sense of how out of my mind school and corectness is, I spelled that skeleton up there with a 'c' the first time around. Yeah, I know)
What I've kinda picked up on, and I could be months behind on this, is that actual consequences are starting to make there way into a couple games here and there, and it's something I'd love to see continue. Oh and don't think I haven't come prepared with my own suggestions for the thousands of industry buffs who read this blog with baited breat. WACHYOO NO 'BOUT INSIGHT?!?!?
The obvious example would be ME2. At the end of the game, if you didn't know your teams abilities and strengths well enough, chances are some of them were gonna die.
And now LA Noir claims that the players will have significantly different experiences based on the choices they make. If you don't go into an effective line of questioning, misread a subject, overlook clues, arrest the wrong person, your path will deviate. Essentially, you'll have to deal with your mistakes.
Now I am well aware of the fact that two games in no way constitutes a trend, and there are many other examples, but I chose those two because they're concrete, popular examples, and mentioning little known games and thinking I'm smart because of it is a little more hipster than I like in my iced mocha blog-uccino. Oh, and I don't really know of any little-known games. There's that too.
The reason I think this happened is because, for the entirety of games history, our generally accepted consequence isn't. The "game over" is an inconvenience, a time warp back and a cause of many shattered gamey things. (Par example, In a fit of CoD age, my roommate somehow managed to pop the rumble weight out of the 360 controller, have it return to its normal shape, and display little evidence of the preceding excretion . And that's a mild example, at least he's not this guy)
Permanent consequences for failure give a player's actions and choices weight, and force them to actually act rationally. To some degree it takes away the ability to say fuck it, it's a game, and forces though before choice. And if the consequences are serious enough, like in ME2, it can actually help to make a player care, and to me, that's a game's top priority. It could be about the protagonist's cause, it could be about a fucking annoying winged ball of blue light that won't shut the fuck up, but a game must make the player care. It also means that the "inconvenience" you get out of failure is more unique game time.
This could also be introduced to the achievement system as well. Maybe some achievements can only be attempted once, and if you don't get it, and here's the insane part, you can't ever get it. Then they would actually be a measure of a player's skill, in stead of the amount of time they're able to burn on any single game, and offline achievements could be more than milestones in the story.
Of course there's the issue of mediation; a player shouldn't be able to screw up their game to the point of unplayability. And I'm not reductive enough to say that this is the end all be all, and the only place that games can go, but it's definitely something I'd like to see more of, thoughts?
It being the five year anniversary of our fair website's emergence from the dark, scary womb of Niero's brain, and the 20 somthingth anniversary of Niero's emergence from the dark, scary womb of his mother, I thought I'd put something I learned in school, as well as internet arts both black and sinister, to actual use, and present you guys with something kinda cool. Check this shit out:
Destructoid.com - Age: 2 1/2 Weeks
The suckling babe, fresh out of the womb, takes its first steps into a big, scary, Rule 34 controlled internet world.
Destructoid.com - Age 1 Year
Sporting a picture of its handsome birth mother, little Destructoid (Destructy to its friends at school) has gained slight motor function, and remained ad free, at least up top.
Destructoid.com - Age 2 years, 1 month
Growth has certainly had an effect on little Destructy after 2 years, and it's gone through a visual change, many would say for the better. Now called Destructoidy by the other websites in its class.
Destructoid.com - Age 3 Years, 1 day
Now simply known to its classmates as Dtoid, the site has learned to walk, talk, and poop. All at once. It's also started to look much more like its current toddler form (Not a metaphor for quality, just the image of a three year old walking talking and pooping at the same time made me laugh)
Destructoid.com - Age 4 Years
Just a year ago today, ish, this is the site we all remember quite well. It wasn't as stand-uppy as its earlier incarnations and- you know what, I've completely run out of appropriate childhood metaphors. Think 'em up yourself. But yeah, the following year, possibly internet puberty, would see many changes to the layout of the site, some retracted for QA, some kept, blah blah blah
I need you deer reader. My sweaty, clammy, cheesit cheese covered nerd palm is hovering squarely over the help button, and that bitch is about to get the pushing of a lifetime. I need you to help me write.
Basically what has happened over the last couple months, closely related to, if not a direct cause of, an almost complete halt in blog production from yours truly, is a sudden and crushing lack of satisfying topics to write on. (Unfortunately, this also comes with a really shitty written sense of humour. I sat staring at this screen for a solid two minutes trying to come up with something funny to add after that last sentence. You know what I came up with aside from nothing? Penis jokes. And not funny, ironic, I'm-still-a-kid-at-heart-who-finds-peni-funny jokes, I was gonna simply mention a false erectile dysfunction. That actually passed through my brain and almost out of my fingers before I had the wherewithal to realize that that shit doesn't really fly in the sky of funny anymore) <- longest bracketed passage evar.
Those of you who've been on the site a bit longer know that I used to post two, maybe three times a week with actual material, not these sad excuses for blogs that I've called "Om Nom on Thoughts." If you've signed up more recently, you'll be more familiar with an almost equal number of posts where I bitch incessantly about the very fact I bemoan here, followed by a lame attempt at rectification. (another penis joke about how rectification sounded like the combination of rectum and erection almost made its way onto the page here. You see why I ask for help?)
However, my love of writing blogs for you people has been unable to transcend my inability to think up worthwhile topics recently. Maybe I exhausted all the things I cared about enough to talk about, maybe I've lost the computational ability to find them, who knows.
The point is, I'm not writing, and I'm more sick of it than usual, so now I ask you to help me. I need you to suggest topics that you'd like to hear written about. And this is me we're talking about, so they should be topics you want to see written about in a slightly self-deprocating, cockily erudite, and slightly overwrought way.
The idea is that you post with some topic, no matter how ridiculous, serious, taboo or faux pa related to gaming, and I'll do my best to form my opinions about it into a blog, the reading of which will be preferably very distinguishable from inserting white hot catheters into your eyes, but I'm a realist.
Hi, my name is Om Nom, and I like to write blogs, though you probably don't remember that since it's been like three hundred and fifty billion years since I last did so. I know, long time.
But actually, the last month has been kinda hectic, what with exams and a busy work schedule. I regrettably haven't had the time to put out the blogs I used to, and that made me very sad. But now, oh yes, now I'm on vacay with the fams. I'm home in my glorious Vancouver, and the only responsibility I have over the next three-ish weeks is to ensure that I keep myself relatively un-laden with work of any kind. So pull up a chair, the next while will hopefully be very blog filled, and I'm glad to be draggin you guys through the dry, arid desert that is my writing again.
This latest tidbit of insight, and it always is a tidbit, was gained through playing through AC2, and ME2, which if possible is even better the second time through.
Anyway, the tidbit. It seems that if you give a player something concrete to show for their efforts, more concrete than an achievement, that can motivate them to action that has literally no consequence other than the reward.
You can see this in ME2 in the ship models and pets you can collect from across the galaxy. They did absolutely nothing except sit there and look badass, yet I found myself combing every store in the game searching for just one more. My first playthrough, I focused pretty closely on the story. That's not to say I rushed through the game, but I didn't spend a lot of time on sidequests, I think I did probably one or two before going through the Omega 4 relay, but I made damn sure I had every single ship model and little critter I could find.
Does anyone know what that mystery middle peg that goes forever unused is actually for?
It's the same story in AC2; the art collection was largely useless, yeah it contributed to Monteriggioni's value, but what it did give you was peanuts compared to everything else (fun sidenote: as a result of a fatal allergy to peanuts, I find it endlessly satisfying that the word stands metaphorically for 'shit'). I ended up running all over Italy just to complete something that had pretty much no bearing on the game as a whole.
So what does this mean? That we're shallow as gamers? Well, to some extent, yes. I mean, don't tell me you don't get more jazzed over seeing the fruits of your labour than actually just knowing you did it. Why do you think savages and Gary Busey scalp their victims? Well for one of those examples, it's because they've completely lost touch with reality, but for the savages, its because they like to have something to show for 'it.' Of course we non-savages and non-Buseys like it too, we like to have evidence of out accomplishment. But I think this covers something more complex than simply see = good.
I think the reason we seek out these purposeless little trinkets owes more to our sense of control than anything else, let me explain.
Choice in video games isn't really that much of a choice. You don't really have any authority over the story because at the end of the day, you're actually just choosing paths through a game that were laid out before you by the developer; essentially, you can't go anywhere they won't allow you to. But with these seemingly unimportant little statues, ships, pets, or paintings, the developer has put them into the game simply for the benefit of the player. They don't drive the story, they don't help with character development, they're just there for fun, and are completely benign.
First image result in a search for benign. Yeah, the creative juices weren't really flowing on this one
Because the developer has not given these objects significant meaning within the game, that void must then be filled by the player. We get to decide exactly how universe-shatteringly important it is to find every single ship model in ME2, and we get to decide exactly how completely useless it is to go around looking for every last painting in Italy.
I'm assuming of course, and here's where the possibility, nay, probability that I'm reading too much into this kicks in, that most of this happens on a subconscious level. Of course I didn't go into ME2 saying, okay, my Shepard is really freaking into model building and collecting. He has very dextrous fingers, and the shit is like crack to him. That didn't happen. What I believe did happen though was that my brain saw this as an opportunity to make a decision completely its own. It said, Om Nom, you want these ship models, I don't know why, and I don't care, but you're gonna drag your ass around the entire freaking galaxy until you find every last one.
That wasn't the devs telling me that they were important, that wasn't the game telling me I needed them, I made the choice to say okay, this is something I want. The importance of these little acoutrements was assigned completely by me, and the developers served simply to provide me with a means to fulfilling that want, they made no effort to me recollection to push the significance of them on me.
Funny story, that bronzed Adonis you see there is actually me
Now I don't want to be too reductive and say that every time a developer leaves something alone that the player will instantly gravitate toward it like flies to shit, but it's interesting to me that, as a gamer who heavily favours plot driven and mostly linear storytelling, I get a lot of thrill out of an element of a game that was entirely created in my own head and untouched by developer influence.