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So after plenty of times being told by person after person that Gone Home is the perfect / near perfect game that everyone should play I decided to finally start asking the question “Well why ?”
Now as you might expect I got plenty of responses from people saying “You just don’t get it, if you can’t see it you never will.” So after a number of such responses I finally decided to push a bit further and asked someone to explain it. Eventually I found someone who would and what was the great secret thing that apparently made Gone Home so great ?
"It doesn’t require complex knowledge or experience to play and understand".................At that alarm bells were going off like mad in my head and as such I think it’s time to dive into the unfortunate can of worms called mass appeal games.
I’ve objected before about the simplistic narrative structure making it close to PSA level so I won’t go too far into that. The part that initially baffled me was those pushing for simplistic games then I remembered recent reports about rise of mobile gaming and more women playing mobile games and cogs started to tick in my head, or more correctly someone poked the hamster and it started moving in its wheel to make thoughts happen. I’m literally watching someone fight and claim games need dumbing down. If a game is getting near universal praise for its accessibility then there is a problem looming. Now to cut down on long explanations here’s a Moviebob video to explain this [I'd advise watching it].
The very short explanation is film companies like mass appeal because it gets good numbers however passion projects or art projects aren’t what draw in the real money in films so can often get canned to make way for more mass appeal stuff.
High art isn’t that accessible, not really. It’s the reason teachers in schools spent class after class telling you about the symbolism. It’s the reason there are actual books to help people understand an interpret themes in works of art such as the works of Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde.
So don’t go telling me that good art has to be works that are easily accessible. There is a reason for film critiques to exist and there is a reason films and the arts can be studied as a College or University course.
Here’s a piece that was in the running for the Turner prize, personally I think it’s one of the best pieces of art in a long while.
Yes a shed, but to understand the true art of it you have to actually understand more about the piece. The reality is the shed is only part of the actual exhibit. Inside the shed is actually a film showing why the piece is called Shed Boat Shed it shows that the artist built the shed, made it into a boat, sailed it down a river and then rebuilt it into a shed again. It’s a testament to human ingenuity and just how things can be repurposed. I mean no-one would think of a shed sailing down a river but that’s just what was done in essence it represents the interchange ability of things. So now I have a little challenge for you. What does the following art piece mean ?
I won’t tell you its name so no googling it I want to hear what you think it shows. So what do you readers think it's about ?
Now I can entirely understand why there is a push for games like Gone Home. People want more women in the market I have no objection to this and infact welcome it. Here’s where the problem is though the demographic isn’t catered to yet. There is and can be a niche for everyone in gaming who wants it. The reality is not that the present niche needs to change to accommodate more people. More on this another day as it’s just part of this that really deserves expanding to its own blog.
The big problem with Gone Home and similar games is there’s not much going on under the hood. Video games have moved on quite considerably in terms of mechanics and complexity to the games we likely grew up with. Now oddly enough games can and do manage to cater to both a casual and hardcore audience, would you for example believe there was depth in Mario Kart ?
Well there is.
Now that’s not saying that games can’t appeal to a hardcore only audience such as MoBA games where almost every Moba aimed at a casual market is struggling or why it seems so hard to make a game like Candy Crush Saga appeal to hardcore gamers. There are places in the market for both however it seems insanely dis-ingenious for so many places to claim a game like Gone Home is one of the best products gaming is capable of producing when it’s been shown that games can have so much more depth and it’s even been shown you can have that depth without alienating casual players in many cases. Gaming is capable of so much more than a essentially a slightly better hidden object game.
So why should this be considered the highest form of art in this medium ? Art is complex why should art be any different in video games? Is it just the audience not being able to see games as anything more than toys ? just as stories are capable of being so much more than a PSA mechanics can provide much more depth and even someday maybe even become part of the metaphors used themselves. I put it to you that mass appeal games aren’t the best the medium can make and just because games like Gone Home are made to try and appeal to everyone it doesn’t mean they actually do a great job of appealing to anyone in particular. While some people might find this a grand obscure idea it’s actually part of the reason in film we have movies like The Fast and the Furious 6 or Transformers 4 and yet titles seen to have less of an appeal like say Guillermo Del Toro’s Lovecraftian film Mountain’s of Madness gets canned actual art suffers at the hands of mass appeal.
Without complexity in mechanics then mechanics can never become more, a game can never provide more to the player and it can never hold people playing it.
So to those who say games need to change to appeal to more people to be “ART” I say to you this.
It is not me who “Doesn’t get it” because what you’re calling for are game to try to appeal to everyone but leave out those who actually want more from a game. You’re leaving out those who do want to study and learn a game and you’re doing it to try and appear sophisticated.
I’m by no mean a sophisticated person but seriously you need to Stop being so pretentious. Rather than making claims about some superior audience and superior games you want, how about looking at the games we have. If even 5% of those in the media claiming games need to evolve would spend some time looking at games and not simply looking for ISMs to accuse it of for easy hits then the medium could evolve. Very short history lesson this happened with comic books too and it was only when people bothered to look for deeper themes that writers could include them more. So you, yes you Garms Junralists are holding the medium back with these claims you need a superior audience and games aren't art. You're holding it back by not looking at the art we have but the art you seem to want. Games are a new medium they offer different things to film so stop trying to push for very narrow simplictic narratives.
Name: Magic thighs and Slightly Phil
Cost: £0.69 / $1
Format: Xbox 360 only
Review bit: So this is a requested review that’s taken some time coming and for that I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the developer for taking quite so long. I unfortunately have the feeling the developer won’t be too happy this review is happening.
Magic Thighs and Slightly Phil or to give it the full name Magic Thighs and Slightly Phil Save Japan is an homage to Bomb Jack. Here’s the big problem I’ve never played Bomb Jack. I have played plenty of old games but this is one I’ve not played. So I’m going into this judging this game not as a homage but as a game in its own right without any connection to other things.
So enough of me talking nonsense I need to talk about the game. The assets in the game look nice the models look quite unique the UI isn’t bad and the controls and methods to do different actions are nice. The variety of actions available is impressive. The music is ok.
Gameplay wise you collect coins on the level and try to avoid being hit by enemies that spawn in at certain locations. Collect all coins and you finish a level. The aim of the game is to go for a high score and to do this you have to collect “Fire coins”. Fire coin spawn after you collect one coin, at any one point there will only be one fire coin and this replaces a normal coin, fire coins give a you bonus points. The game forces you to try to balance collecting fire coins with dodging enemies and avoiding being killed. The game also does quite a good job of teaching you mechanics one level at a time early on.
All the enemies in the game kill you if you touch them, so no Mario stomping them. The enemies themselves come in two main varieties initially, ones that walk and ones that fly. Walking enemies who make it down to the bottom of the level will then turn into bouncing enemies which bounce round the screen without such set paths. Due to bouncing enemies being formed by regular enemies touching the bottom of the screen this adds a further time like element to the game with it becoming harder the longer you’re in a level. To remove enemies you simply have to collect one of the power up orbs when one spawns, this turns all enemies into harmless animals such as fluffy cats and if you touch these the enemies vanish from the level.
Ok there’s no escaping this any longer. It’s a score attack game. The depth of the game relies upon your desire to compete with people for scores. I played on easy and ended up 3rd or 4th in the world ranking on my first try. For a game like this to work it really needs people to want to compete as the reality is while the level background changes not that much else seems to, sure the platforms move round a bit as do the coins but it just doesn’t feel like it mixes it up much. For anyone other than a dedicated score attack gamer variety is a huge requirement or at least the feeling of variety. Technically the game hold up fine, it’s one of the first games in a long while whose screen size select worked absolutely perfectly (I play on a 4:3 non HD non Widescreen TV ). The only minor complaint is that there is no transition between the enemies being vulnerable and them being able to again kill you, there is no warning the power up is about to wear off meaning I did have a couple of cheap deaths due to it.
I should also immensely praise the games options menu, yes the options menu with separate music and sound effect sliders and the option to change the controls to be more tight or loose.
My score reflects my own feelings on the game very much as someone who is not a huge score attack game fan. It reflects the idea that there seems little there for me. I would suggest if you want to read an alternative take Tim Hurley of theXBLIG wrote a review on this. As a first game by a new developer there’s a lot of good work the problem being despite everything somehow the parts while all working don’t seem to work together to make the game actually good. It’s by no means bad it’s just not good either. Honestly from the title the assets and everything else it feels like there was a game of it’s own not trying to pay homage to the past. Not meaning to take away from the artists vision but I just feel everything in the game could have been turned into something much more than a simple score attack game with very limited appeal.
2 out of 6
So yeh, I guess as everyone else has seemingly weighed in on this I’ll jump on the bandwagon after the reveal trailer for a new game called Hatred
My question is simply why ?
What purpose does this game have ?
In most other games there is some kind of a purpose to the killing even if you’ve had a bad day and are doing it simply to rebel against the game by say killing pedestrians in GTA.
This game just doesn’t seem to have a point to it. Part of the reason for mindless killing in other games is because you’re not meant to do it. You’re being a dick deliberately to the game. This though I have to ask why ? What possible purpose does this game have ? I’ve heard plenty of people say “Well you mow down hundreds of people in other games too” and my response is yes, normally with some plot related reason to do so or you’re doing it merely to go against the game itself. The idea of rebelling against a game is a pretty big thing it’s why people have worked out how to do Pacifist runs in Postal 2. That’s right people have figured out a way to make it through Postal 2 without intentionally killing anyone. Most games further give a framing device for the killing to provide some level of motivation even in Postal 2 the unless you’re doing to because violence is the easier option in the game most of it is trying to get a list of tasks done. I literally went and played Postal 2 just to be able to write about it in this article, I have had it a while and got it cheap out of pure curiosity about it more than anything but this was the first time I played it.
The idea of Hatred just seems a little archaic really. There are plenty of people saying how it’s fine because it’s just a game. The problem is the game is aiming to make a statement it is putting players into the shoes of a murderous psychopath and it is telling people to just kill people for the sake of killing people. And no before anyone suggests it I don’t think this will inspire similar shootings in the real world. Those on the outside of gaming looking in might decide to use it as evidence against gaming when similar events occur. It’s this kind of stupid stuff that let the Comics code Authority take a strangle hold on comics before when people on the outside view it and whip it up to use fear to mobilise and weaponise people to their cause.
Now I’ve also heard plenty of people use the line “Well video games are art so it has the right to exist” and yes sure it does however I question just how much the developers are committed to art when they’ve released what could be seen as a very cynical planned move to get more people to buy the product even simply to condemn it. The idea of video games as an art only works when it doesn’t look like a cynical cash grab with no real concern for video games as an art and any possible ramifications on said art .
It just feels like this game is a cynical calculated cash grab that’s not really trying to be anything else. I mean I’ve literally said in the past I hate the world and it was one of the reasons I didn’t want to push to go into research and development science . I literally hated the world so much and watched science get corrupted and used to harm people even it broke my spirit, even my own research at the time could have been used to help humanity or to create one of the world’s most toxic poisons . I hated the idea of watching science be corrupted to harm people rather than help and I hated the world for it. I hated watching people treat anyone in science as some kind of lacky who’s only purpose was to make their lives better and didn’t matter because all scientists are just useless subhuman nerds right ? Now considering all that even I struggle to find anything to care about with the protagonist here, here’s just seemingly a non character who could have been used for so much more. The human mind likes stories and that’s why I’m hoping there’s more to this.
Here’s just an idea.
The main protagonist was a business owner in the town, the town officials were corrupt and tried to run him out of business. At the same time his significant other is killed by some local town celebrity type. At the trial despite the evidence the court and jury lets him off as not guilty and the town’s populous shun the protagonist for seemingly trying to smear the supposed good name of their home grown celebrity.
That’s just an idea off the top of my head. It’s a way to let ideas be explored such as the idea of people being driven to kill. Now plenty of people will say “well games shouldn’t have to be a commentary on politics and real life things” and I’d say sure but this game already is a commentary on politics and reflecting themes of real life events.
I’ll defend almost anything’s right to exist as an art even things claimed to be blasphemous like The Life of Brain because it was designed to mock religion (being an Atheist might make this appeal even more to me though). So while I’d not going to say something like “Ban this filth” I will question quite what the point is, as the game doesn’t seem fun. You’re not fighting the games rules and systems really, you’re not doing it for a reason, it’s killing for killings sake and even Bond Villains kill for something. I just don’t see the point in killing merely for the sake of it, killing an annoying fly buzzing round you sure but killing it just because you can ?
I guess to me the game just seems to be devoid of any kind of motivation to make it worth bothering with be it narrative or even gameplay wise.
Name: Chainsaw Warrior
Format: Tablet and PC.
Reviewed on: Kindle Fire HD
Amazon version £3.09 / $4.99
Google play: £2.99 / $4.99
Iphone app store: £2.99 / $4.99
Steam £3.99 / $4.99
So it’s shocktober and as such a time for me to bring out some nice Horror games for review and today’s game is a Tablet based remake of a Games workshop single player table top game.
It’s quite hard to describe chainsaw warrior as it doesn’t really fit into many real genres. It’s part Solitaire and part RPG with a huge roguelike element. You play the Chainsaw Warrior a crack government special forces solider. Part man part machine. A strange void open in the city covering blocks in a black mist like thing. The military attempt to close the dimensional breach but are driven back by the entities spewing forth and the now zombified former residents in that area of the city. Something is keeping the portal open and with the black mist expanding you have just 60 minutes to save the city.
Initial you roll your stats for: health, shooting ability, hand to hand, carrying capacity resistance , reflexes and your special talent. Next you pick your equipment from a selection presented to you and then in you go. The gamplay consists of working your way through a two decks of 54 cards. In the second deck you’ll fight the darkness the monster keeping the portal open killing the darkness is your main objective and can only be done using a Laser Lancer (that you’re given by default). The first deck enemies consist mostly of zombies, rats and cultists who worship the darkness. The second deck contains far tougher enemies more often such as mutant monsters and the dreaded meat machine a super tough enemy that can and will kill you fast. Each action takes 30 seconds (including fighting) so you want to make your way through the deck avoiding as many traps as possible and wasting as little time as possible. After you’ve used 30 minutes you enter night time where your stats are slightly reduced too if you don’t happen to be carrying certain special items.
Part of the challenge of the game is trying to maintain your laser lancer and stop it being destroyed by lunatics or blown up, this is made harder by the fact you only have 3 shots and you may run into a special very lethal enemy that can only be killed with the laser lancer. If you run out of lancer ammo or it gets destroyed you have to leave the deck you’re in to get a new one wasting more time of course. If you fail the dice roll on a reflex trap you lose time; if you don’t have the right item for the job you lose time. You aim is to get the darkness before time is up.
Combat offers you the chance to try and shoot an approaching enemy (if you have a firearm) and using up some ammo or going right to Hand to Hand combat (except if you rolled a certain skill which can be used here to avoid fights). To shoot you first have to roll under a specific number as a reflex check then above it to hit the target. With Hand to hand both you and the enemy roll and you add your hand to hand combat to your roll and their hand to hand combat to theirs, who ever comes out higher wins and if you lose you take a wound. If you take a wound from a Zombie you also get infected and simply running into more zombies raises the infection level, if this gets too high you die. When you run into mutants some will irradiate you, if your radiation level gets too high you die. If in hand to hand combat you draw then you can try to escape on certain cards, roll again for another round of hand to hand or try a lucky shot. Lucky shots give you a special chance to try and kill an enemy a last chance thing with a high reward of instantly killing it but a high risk of potentially destroying your own kit or harming yourself.
Now just getting to the darkness is a task in itself but when you finally do you realise just why this game is like Solitaire. You need a damn lot of luck to win even on easy mode, you can carry items such as certain detectors to negate the reflex check but on every mode the darkness has the same very high reflexes. If you rolled badly on your shooting skills you might have to manage a roll of 11 or 12 on two dice to hit it. You can of course modify your chance to hit by negating the impact on night time on your stats or adding scopes to weapons but it’s still a tough fight. I’ve beaten the darkness 3 times and that’s all out of about 10 runs. Two of the victories were due to lucky shots and one was technically a draw as an item called an implosion vest lets you kill the darkness at the cost of your own life.
This is one game where you will not win all the time but when you do it feels great. The motion comic intro to the game that sets the plot is enjoyable. The additional effects in game are ok (though I will say this is yet another card game where the cards are static icons and not much else. This app could have done far more to immerse players into the game but instead really does seem to choose to be a fairly authentic depiction of the original tabletop game, only without having to do all the rather large amount of maths yourself.
A fairly enjoyable if often brutally unfair game that will pass the odd half hour here and there. It’s good enough that you’ll keep coming back to it but not good enough to really pull you in for longer multiple run sessions regularly. It does use the fact it’s an app fairly well but I do feel like there was far more it could have added being an app. It’s worth the cost but not worth huge amounts more.
3 out of 6
Ok of all the absolute crap blogs I’ve ended up writing this one takes the insanity cake.
So here goes.
As also allegedly happened to Jade3Fox too
^was not one by 4chan. 4chan isn't a single entity.
^Taken from the comments of a Jayd3Fox video it had her number in lukcily Jayd3Fox has already had the number put out of operation.
^A supporter of Gamergate
^yes someone did that to me 2 days ago that's why I have the disclaimer That advert was placed in the animals for sale section and used my own damn private email. Luckily as I didn't confirm (Having never contacted them or made they adverts) they didn't run the advert
Indie Go Go had nothing to do with this shutdown
^@Legobutts is Maya Kramer Zoe's PR representative
^Alexander Macris better known as @archon operates 15 sites including the escapist, he's the big boss.
Milo Has since apologised about this sort of.
No the Videos shared by Adam Baldwin didn't contain this information.
Brad Wardell was cleared of harrassment entirely but that hasn't stopped people going so far as to claim his own fantasy book is Racist as some kind of revenge because people percieved him as guilty even after being cleared.
Zoe has since shown she did donate money to these charities but not they had contacted her.
I don’t give a fuck which side of Gamergate you’re on ! This shit is NOT OKAY and no it doesn’t matter if you think it’s justified to fight the enemy.
So no you're not justified in doxxing people you think are the bad guys. You don't get to apply this bullshit to one side and not the other.
So you know what consider this me standing here saying this is NOT OK no matter who does it. You want people to take a stand. I'm standing here. I wanted to write a review or do an article about something different today but guess what, I didn't get to. I had to point out to people on both sides things that should be obvious.
I've pointed out actions here directed and both pro and Antia Gamergate people. You know the worst of it ? This is most likely the tip of the iceberg. I've left out a good bit stuff said here.
This article doesn't include a lot of what other people have said which doesn't show them in the best light and yes again this is poeple on both sides of the debate who have said things in the past.
So I never thought I’d have to do this but then again I never thought I’d have to make a blog about why sending a journalist a needed full of unknown liquid meant you didn’t occupy the moral high ground and that’s coming soon.
So as some of you might know my writings here aren’t my only blog I actually operate another blog located in another blog site.
Why not do everything on Destructoid ?
Well part of the reason for the split is to make a more distinct separation between being a reviewer and my opinion pieces and cultural critique such as calling out the media for causing the seeming rise in death threats.
I could gain plenty of hits on my other blog if I posted most of the more controversial things there. I’m infact sure I would. However here’s the thing, I understand the people going to that other blog are interested in my opinion on the games. They’re not going there to read any of my complex political or social views. People going there want to know if the product is worth buying in my opinion. Now I can entirely understand people wanting to know more about my political or social views to understand why for example I rate Trailer Park King highly but Derp of Duty as a dud. However I also understand that I’m there to talk about the product not to use the product as a sounding board to push my own political or social beliefs. I’m there to get people to care or not care for a product based on my own views of it.
Originally cultural criticism acted as a high society for of entertainment as such as a way to show how intellectual well versed and possibly even in touch you were with issues or just how good their own comical talents were (Yes mocking something is and was even then considered an art form in itself) using art as a jumping off point for your own work essentially . After this however a second form of criticism evolved to look at art as product. The present debate is if there should be more of a return to the original style of criticism and whether objectivism is worth striving form.
Originally and even to this day I do try consider my own reviews to be in many cases jokes. Originally I began as the shamelessly unprofessional reviewer to mock modern review culture, that’s literally what it was. In many of my reviews this is evident as I go on multi paragraph tangents to no-where. The joke was I was deliberately being egotistical enough to spend chunks of reviews talking about crap that only related to me and expecting people to give two shits. My reviews initially starting up were meant to be a mix of entertainment and somewhat solid product review the entertainment being from my own mockery of modern review culture. Even the fact I give a score out of 6 was meant to be a joke both mocking score culture but showing how it is useful, the joke being 6 was a number that doesn’t work well on most metrics and more of a pain to make into a percentage based score.
I’ve never claimed to pitch my reviews at some baselines “average joe” I entirely say I’m biased as hell and opinionated as fuck and that’s the thing my tagline is “the home of shamelessly unprofessional reviews”. The reality is that no reviewer is an island and of course they will be impacted by their own biases in making reviews but you don’t want to for example hear if I’ve had a decent sandwich today. You’re not in the review to discuss those biases or sandwiches and use the product as a sounding board. The reality is if you want to divine the deeper meaning or cultural influences of a product then do it as an opinion piece or an editorial on it. On the plus side you get more articles and work to fill space in and pages online along with filling demand for this kind of information. Separating product review and critique would be an insane way to allow many sites to make more money and the great part, people don’t get annoyed at you for shoving your own views in their face.
The reality is while I’m egotistical enough to write blogs like this one and to throw my views out there in the hope someone does give a damn about them and even call out the industry sometimes. This is distinctly different to throwing your own views in and asking people to care about them by hiding it under the guise of a review. Hiding your views as a product review is egotistical to the nth degree, remember I started doing that stuff as a joke and my opinion is you’re doing a dis-service to the public by not talking about the product and also to the product itself by talking about your own socio-political views not the product itself. With a review people are there because they care about the opinion on a game. If you do want to share your unique world view in a manner other than twitter then opinion pieces are completely valid too. Hell that was the reason I have for the idea of doing a series called “Critical Floor” I was going to take do little ditty silly opinion piece / editorial art analysis of silly things I’d noticed like Brutal Legend mentioning Halmet.
And no I’m not saying that discussions of socio-political issues have no place I’m saying they do and that place is their own independent critical entity separated from the review itself. It’s the reason in my greenlight oddity piece I didn’t presume to speak on if My Ex Boyfriend the Space Tyrant was a good or bad representation of the gay community or was a positive or negative step for it. I could have taken an educated guess but the reality is I don’t presume to speak for anyone other than myself and it would be insanely egotistical for me to try and do that as even with research I cannot say what will and won’t upset or offend other people. Hell even as a Cis White male I don’t presume to speak about what all Cis White Males will or should like, I say if I liked or hated something and leave it up to others to decide if my view is close to theirs .
My views most likely don’t align perfectly with many other people and as such it’s always worth looking into a broad range of views and takes upon the same piece and through opinion pieces and editorials learning about that reviewer. For example I have a dislike for tower defence games generally so if I find one I do enjoy it’s important to examine just why I enjoyed it as my enjoyment might simple be the result of mechanics that ruin the game for a huge tower defence fan. On the flip side someone who doesn’t enjoy tower defence like me might look at it and consider the different mechanic something like me they’d also enjoy.
What I can ultimately boil this down to is to point at the idea that in any article you’re either there for the product or the art and trying to mix discussions of both into one single thing is where the problem starts. Especially if you’re seemingly pushing your views under the guise of a review. I understand there are issues people find important and wish others did too however it’s unwise to presume and be egotistical enough to believe your views are superior and people must care about them simply because you do. Oh and yes I understand the idea of a critic has been distilled to also include commentary upon a product without the more in depth analysis of a review. The distinction is not so much between a reviewer and a critic as much as between one the person focuses on, be it the article as a product or be it as a piece of deep meaningful through material called art.
However that’s just my take to see someone else’s just go watch Movie Bob discuss this stuff.