I'm a lifelong gamer who has enjoyed video games through the thick and thin of my life. I'm also a person who speaks my mind often, which is why I chose to start this blog here where others can discuss what I have to say.
Originally a Nintendo fan, I've turned my back on it when they turned their collective backs on their old following. Currently, my Wii is still connected to my TV and I play with it from time to time.
Had an Xbox 360, which got the red ring five times before I put it out of its misery, and got an Elite, which got the E74 error and couldn't be replaced or fixed. Currently, it's on a shelf in some game repair shop, collecting dust, and that doesn't look like it's about to change anytime soon.
Have a PS3, which is going strong. It's currently my primary console.
I also have a DS and am planning to pick up a PSP as soon as Valkyria Chronicles 2 comes out. And a PC that runs Crysis, Supreme Commander and World of Warcraft, often at the same time.
You see, my posts may get responses suggesting I'm a fanboy or a hater, which is why I clarify this here: I tried all consoles, and didn't cling onto them when they started to fail, either in company support or in hardware/software.
My favorite genres are real time strategy and first person shooters, and I often turn to role-playing games and fighting games, with a bit of platforming on the side.
I hate, HATE music games. I love the songs you can play in them, but I hate the concept.
I just read a post by Jim Sterling regarding Islamic ideologies when it comes to gaming. As a Muslim myself, I felt it was necessary to set things straight.
Please take the time to go through a small lesson in Islam. If you wish, think of it as a clear introduction to extinguish the flame war before it begins:
First off, Islam is built on ease of practice, not difficulty or complexity. However, there are some who take our texts and interpret them in ways that fit their individual world views.
In its purest form, Islam is built upon five pillars:
1. The submission to the belief that there is no God but Allah, and that Mohammad is His prophet.
2. Praying five times a day.
3. Fulfilling Zakat (a fixed percentage, usually 2.5%, of your capital, given as annual charity to the poor and needy).
4. Fasting the month of Ramadan
5. Performing pilgrimage to Makkah if capable.
Now, with the pillars established, let's look at a couple of other practices that Muslims agree upon, which are relevant to our argument:
1. It is taboo to murder, commit adultery, steal, drink alcohol, eat pork, listen to music and talk about people behind their backs.
2. It is taboo to draw pictures representing living creatures, and if given an item with such a picture, you should not use it for decoration.
3. It is taboo to disrespect other religions, because its follows will disrespect Islam in return.
4. It is taboo to provide visual representations of Allah, the angels and the Prophets (including Mohammad, Jesus, Moses, Abraham, David, Isaac, etc.)
Some people take such unambiguous laws, along with texts in the Holy Quran and the Hadith (texts of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him)) and misinterpret them, or take the ambiguous parts as justification of their behavior and ignore the unambiguous. They do that although it is clearly stated in the Quran that some parts are clear and some are not, and that there will be those who neglect the clear and embrace the ambiguous to suit their needs.
You see, not everyone who claims to be a Muslim should be taken as a model on which to compare all the Muslims in the world.
Now, let's look at how Sharia law, otherwise known as Islamic law, is meant to be formed: It is built on four aspects, as follows:
1. Quran and Sunnah: Use the texts of the Holy Quran and Hadith for the fundamentals.
2. Ijma'a: If the majority of Islamic scholars in any point of time agree on the Islamic views regarding any newly introduced topic, invention, technology or scientific method, then the consensus is formed and their opinion is written into law.
3. Qiyas: If something new appears, without any historical precedent to return to and/or no consensus is reached, personal judgment should be made by comparing the subject in question with loosely related subjects in which a verdict was reached.
You can probably see where exactly personal efforts can lead some scholars, even those not in any formal position or sufficient knowledge regarding the topic in question, to be lead astray by their research efforts.
Let's talk about the subject of gaming now. I have heard that gaming, and all other forms of entertainment, are undesirable under the following conditions:
1. It causes you to delay or neglect your religious duties (ie, when prayer time comes, you don't pray because you're playing a game.)
2. It has content that is deemed offensive to Islam (such as the depiction of God.)
3. It results in your neglecting your worldly responsibilities, including family, work, school and maintaining your physical health.
4. It has sexual overtones (ie, Japanese dating sim games, etc.)
I know a lot of fellow Muslims who are ready not only to play most video games, but to excel in them.
Now, to address any hate in the comment section before it begins:
1. Don't hate on any religion. That includes any and all attempts to question their legitimacy and the existence of any unseen entities related to religion.
2. Don't turn this into a religious flame war. In the VERY long run, we'll all know who is right and who is wrong.
3. No name calling. Not at me, not at Jim Sterling and not at the inevitable offensive commenter above your post.
I read an article in another website about what video game questions could be answered by 2040. I thought of compiling my own collection of predictions, so here goes.
By the year 2040...
Advances in technology made it possible for gamers to have total immersion in a virtual simulation in which games can be played.
Annual gaming tournaments will be as televised as the Olympic Games, and will have a worldwide audience.
Game developers will double as movie producers and directors
The conventional means of social interactions will go the way of the newspaper, and the majority of people will prefer spending "quality" time with their peers pwning others in their game of choice. Face to face interactions will be viewed as a fancy alternative to the norm (similar to how most of us view the people who still read print newspapers every morning).
Game achievements will be considered by potential employers in your CV.
A new form of social segregation will be seen emerging in some circles, built around the pro/noob and/ or hardcore/casual gamers.
Game consoles will continue evolving, with each new generation providing more features until the inevitable cross-compatibility consoles can play each other's games, forced on the gaming industry by increasingly empowered studios to maximize their profits.
A massive gaming world will be built, almost to the scale of 1:1 of Earth, which has geographic locations for different game types, with gamers able to travel (although with some difficulty and item monitoring to ensure the balance issues of different locations are kept,a-la airports) through different genres and settings. Although, you will find some people trying to smuggle healing potions into the futuristic militarized dystopia area, or smuggle firearms into the fantasy realm to try taking over Hyrule. Read the little-known novel Epic by Conor Kostick for a little preview of a world run by a glorified MMO.
Future conflicts will be resolved through FPS or RTS battles.
As games become more mainstream, you can expect more games to have heavy-handed religious and political messages.
Reality TV shows will make place to Reality Gaming Show, where contestants are sent to an unfriendly virtual environment under varying degrees of disadvantage to compete for a prize.
In-game currencies will have an exchange rate with one another, as well as real currencies. Fifty Wasteland Bottlecap equal one Hylian Rupee, which equals 1.8 American Dollars.
That's all I have for now. If you have other ideas, please post them in the comments.
I recently posted a blog about the relation between the gamer and your character, and the single comment I received mentioned that I seemed to be building toward something, but didn't really reach my conclusion.
To be honest, I was writing from my train of thoughts, and didn't really know where I was going with it.
A possible conclusion came to me when I was playing Fallout 3. My current character is pretty much evil by now, and I have finished all add-ons except Broken Steel. The Enclave had just appeared, and it seems like my character needs the closure she deserves.
It came to me after a conversation with the character's father in the Project Purity lab, where my character was confronted about the destruction of Megaton. This was the first time I made the decision to destroy Megaton in all playthroughs, and the confrontation took me off-guard. The conversation was postponed in favor of more pressing matters, brought forth in the form of having to provide the lab with the resources it required. While I was going around doing my thing, the Enclave appeared, and not noticing me, stormed the lab.
The military force confronted my character's father, and he ended up sacrificing his life to take them down. Through heavily enforced glass, I could see him looking straight at me, and repeatedly telling me to get out of there.
So there it was: Closure. My character started off by escaping from Vault 101 to search for her father, who left without a trace. Here he was, shortly after being found and "saved" from the mess he got himself into, sacrificing himself so a terrible military organization wouldn't get their hands of a critical experiment. In a sense, he has redeemed himself.
So what is left for my character? After going to the Pitt, Point Lookout, the Anchorage simulation, and even Mothership Zeta, all that's left is to take the fight to the Enclave.
I figured out what my character needed: redemption. As much as I enjoy playing a villain in video games, I enjoy the story of a villain's redemption. It would be a nice, heartwarming conclusion for my character's story.
Today I have decided to take it one step further: After finishing the game, I would be parting with a character I spent a lot of time with. As much as I like to see closure, I find myself getting drawn to an interesting idea: Recreating the character in New Vegas. It takes place three years after Fallout 3, so it just feels like it fits.
The conclusion I have arrived at is this: We all find ourselves influenced in varying degrees by our in-game characters. After the game is over, and the controllers are put down, it's the characters with the greatest resonance, mentally and emotionally, that you will eventually revisit. It is just as much about the journey as it is about going out with a bang and leaving you, the player, craving for more.
A final question, for the commenters: Would you recreate the same characters, if you could, in different games that have a character creation feature? Would you focus more on recreating skills, personality traits or physical appearance?