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So GTA V got pulled from shelves in Target Australia and K-mart allegedly due to this petition. Target themselves have said it was due to feedback from a majority of consumers.
Unless you mean the majority of Target customers in which case 40,000 in an entire country ? You really should worry about your customer base guys.
Now I can entirely understand the argument that Target and K-mart are independent privately owned stores and are free to stock or not stock what they like.
However this does have shades back to the UK Video Nasties idea. For those not from the UK or who’ve never watched all of the Young Ones (where the title from this blog comes from) the video nasties were a serious of over the top horror / gore films which due to a loophole in the law were able to be released without a British Board of Film Classification rating and due to the content of many of the films it was said they’d never have made the required 18 certificate for sale in standard shops (there is a higher certificate than 18 believe it or not called R18 which is rarely used but carries far more sales restrictions.). Many of the Video Nasties films have since seen the light of day and in terms of being memorable well I can only name a couple and have seen none of them. The most well known being Driller Killer (which now sells in Pound Land shops around Halloween), I Spit On Your Grave and Cannibal Holocaust. All they exist as now and their only real fame is from their Infamy and coming out of what is loosely know as the grindhouse scene.
At this time the NVALA (National Viewers and Listeners association) lead by Mary Whitehouse where the main force behind pushes against such films and other “offensive or inappropriate” content on TV. You can see an interview that Mary Whitehouse did in the video below.
Now does any of that sound familiar ? I’ll leave that to you.
As a knock on effect of the ban of GTA V from Target a store chain New Zealand called Warehouse not only pulled GTA V but all adult rated games and content. There have also been numerous petitions showing up to attempt to ban GTA V from sale such as in Canada most recently.
My take on the GTA V removal is this. Target are within their right to do it as a private retailer however they are also being extremely dumb for simply going along with a petition which flagrantly misrepresents GTA V with claims such as.
“It's a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment”
“The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'health' points”
“GTA 5 literally makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women”
Ok so let’s deal with the points here. You’re not encouraged to kill in the game in fact you normally get a wanted level and chased by police for doing so. Next the games doesn’t encourage you to commit acts of sexual violence against women. I don’t think you can commit ny actual sexual violence in the game. You can hire a prostitute in game but is sex work now sexual violence ? What happened to the calls of “my body my choice” did I miss that. Sex work is one of the oldest professions and oddly scientists found out this same conceptappeared amongst monkeys when an experiment was done to teach them to use something like money. Sex work exists.
GTA V doesn’t literally make a game out of specifically killing women.
If you want to have the nice cotton wool family store then at least Warehouse didn’t do it by half measures they removed all adult orientated material or subject matter.
I do however think it’s entirely stupid to remove it due to false information and the strange idea that somehow it’s the stores fault for parents buying their little 8 year old kids the game and not you know the parents refusing to take an interest and inform themselves on the products.
I respect people being able to make a choice as an adult be that their choices in life and their choices in entertainment. I don’t see some great need for a pre-emptive intervention just in case of a possibility of something happening without any solid proof beyond taking the words of an already crazy mentally disturbed person out of context.
“But it’s been out a long while” I hear you cry. Well only one version as the PS4 and Xbox One versions were only released September this year meaning when it was pulled the Xbox one and PS4 versions had only been on sale for about 2 months.
It presently seems like the same morality campaigners and ideologies of the NVALA are making a come back. So it will be no surprise to anyone that Video gaming already has it’s video game nasty. The game in question Hatred.
Hatred I think it’s fair to say received plenty of condemnation when it was being announced. What no-one could have expected was for gaming websites to not be too up in arms over this. I mean they mentioned it but Destructoid ran apiece on the last game to be prevented from being on Steam and how silly this all is. Though it's Polygon who decided to heavily announce the rumours about the developer to try and push people from supporting said game.
Steam is not a family friendly soft cuddly store it’s a store aimed at everyone. It’s a store designed to cater to many niches and not simply be some mass appeal only retailer. Which is why I’m happy the game has been placed back onto Steam Greenlight. I dislike overly gory horror films they do nothing for me and just seem boring / designed for shock value they’re not to my tastes but I know some people enjoy them. I’ve tried to get into the genre but I just can’t see the appeal, I’ve seen every Saw film and the only one I’d ever tell people was worth watching would be Saw 3, which worked entirely and oddly other than a few parts most of the gore isn’t shown as much. Hatred because of the demonisation in the press has become the first in what will no doubt be the video game nasties.
I’ve already given my take on Hatred and it seems many in the press are after any possible reason to stop it coming out including going after the head of the development studio. What could have been a tiny indie game that slid under the radar is now a huge well known name.
I have no intention to play Hatred. On an objective level the animations and model quality doesn't look too bad though gameplay wise I’d question if there’s much to it. Oh and the hair modelling looks terrible too. The reason I have no intention to play Hatred is because it looks subjectively terrible, I have no interest in playing a game where the objective is simply to kill everyone. The idea of having that as an objective undermines the point of doing it which is of course to simply rebel against the game and its systems. I won’t play Hatred just the same as I’ve never played State of Emergency or Hooligans storm over Europe, two games which in their time also received some condemnation.
Just like the video nasties have a right to exist. It doesn’t mean I have to go out and buy them just because they do. No-one is forcing people to watch them. The big difference between the Target incident and Steam is the PC gaming store not some store that stocks kids toys and household items along with games.
But hey “They’re not trying to censor your games right ?”
I mean it’s not like the NVALA (now called Mediawatch) tried to petition the British Board of Film Classification here in the UK to ban Madworld on the Wii or anything.
It’s not like the same kind of self styled moral police are symbolically destroying video game discs after talking about how bad said AAA games are for consumers.
Ok well at least said self styled moral police haven’t started burning books with ideas in them they dislike right ? Wrong
With Sony recently cancelling the releases of The Interview due to threats to theatres by an unknown hacker group objecting to the film it’s starting to look like plenty of people don’t like people having the freedom to express views they dislike. That’s kind of part of the point of art to allow such things to happen. In Sony’s case 90% of cinemas apparently declined to carry the film due to the threat prompting Sony to can the film due to lack of potential distribution. But hey I at least the same self styled moral police haven’t been celebrating this right ?
So well done Moral police Mary Whitehouse would be proud of you I’m sure. But remember this, it’s you that made Hatred infamous, it’s you that gave it attention and it’s because of you trying to stop it that people will now be more curious as to the game and want to try it simply to find out what the game could possibly contain that you were so eager to suppress. Let the rise of the video game nasties begin and long and shocking may it stay for.
Next blog from me a totally non controversial blog about being a game that lets you be a farmer. How could that be in any way controversial right ?
Free on IOS, android and Amazon App store.
Kindle Fire HD
Ok let me get this out of the way to start with. I liked Shaq Fu....... not the SNES version but the Megadrive version with more characters and a bigger story. Shaq Fu on Mega Drive was essentially and in narrative terms the sequel. Don’t get me wrong here I can see why people hate Shaq Fu: It’s got no real combo system and the game is a little slow and unresponsive. So now you know how I feel about what’s considered one of the worst fighting games of all time. Let me say that Shaqdown 2 is a bigger waste of licensed names and actually manages to drag Shaquille O’Neal’s name further down into infamy with gamers. In other words this game is bad.
Worse still Shaquille O’Neal isn’t alone this time and is joined by some other notable names to be dragged down with him in this case: Jet Li, Lee Kemp (The flow wrestler), Brian Shaw(Worlds Strongest man) and Muhammad Ali. An all star line up for what is a spectacularly bad game. I mean either the company spent the entire budget on the name licences or they’re going dirt cheap now.
So let’s start off with the story which is a direct sequel to Shaqdown 1, which isn't on the Amazon App store so I haven’t played it. From what I could gather of the story it sounds like it was written by a 10 year old and not in a good way like the show Axe Cop. The story is as follows, zombies have shown up and killed most of humanity. Shaquille O’Neal and others have formed a human resistance and Shaq is “The world’s only over 7 foot superhero” in an attempt to stop the zombies which are suspiciously well organised Shaq fought some huge battle with a high cost of some kind (and not just because of microtransactions). However the Zombie still remained and now Shaq must fight them in Los Angeles, why L.A. ? Well because the script says so...... no really the reasoning is because it’s the only real place to have a final showdown, that’s in the script for this game. Meanwhile the zombies have stolen more zombifying chemicals to create even more powerful zombies (are these Zombies or master criminals now ?).
So onto the gameplay. Shaqdown 2 is a spectacle fighter with virtual control button on screen. You move with a virtual thumbstick and fight by pressing either combat dive, attack or block. As you fight you fill up your special meter letting you do special attacks to help clear the area if you get swarmed, that is if you’ve unlocked the ability to use special attacks with said character yet. The thumbstick barely works and the character response is terrible and often though to position a character. The fighting being essentially about getting in hits first and blocking being unidirectional. In terms of combat the game seems to work on some kind of random number generator esc system as sometimes a single punch to the face was instant killing zombies while other times they took 15+ hits to the head. While there is simply an attack button to do all the main fighting I will give some credit for the visual range of moves that pressing attack and chaining attacks can create. The biggest problem whoever seems to be in the fighting mechanics and hitboxes. I had fights where I was squarely hitting a person in the face and doing nothing yet other times I hit 3 foot to the left of their head only it hit. On later levels I found enemies who were hitting me without their attack animation actually functioning and importantly these enemies did huge damage and interrupted most attacks so it wasn’t possible to time blocks. I will give the game a bit of credit, out of the 3 characters I did try each did feel different to play and have a different style: Brian Shaw having big powerful attacks, Muhammad Ali having quick combinations of punches and Shaquille O’Neal being a balanced mix. The objective on each level is simple, find and save the civilians and kill all the zombie which spawn in until the displayed number is depleted. If you get killed you can resurrect for 10 gold coins.
|You get one of those special attacks on the top bar and only the red button the dive and block on the bottom the rest enjoy grinding about 5 hours worth of survival to unlock each one.|
Now this is the point where I admit I only got to the subway level about 3-4 levels into the game. The reason being due to sloppy controls, enemies attack animation not syncing up with their attack animation and other general nonsense. I used up all the starting coins you’re given and decided enough was enough. From what I saw they had tried to make a variety of enemies (and I saw more types in my brief try at survival mode). The big problem being how the game chooses to try and milk you for money. You see gold coins are only awarded for a good run in survival mode or finishing a level. Finishing one level will net you 6 coins. Or managing about a 15 minute survival run. To make any real progress you’d have to grind and grind to get coins to pay for continues and for the most part you also need coins to unlock additional special moves. The first unlockable special move costs 120 coins and the shop only sells coins in 100 packs starting at £1 ($1.57) for 100 coins. What is this the old days of the arcade or something ?
Now the game is meant to let you go into a costume shop and upgrade characters to help you beat levels and this is meant to use the non premium currency of the game in this case basketballs. You may have noticed I said the game is meant to. That’s because this feature didn’t work on the kindle version and wouldn't load the upgrade shop at all.
This was also going to be a video review not a written one as Shaqdown 2 proudly boasts about how you can record gameplay in game and share it easily. This also doesn’t work on the Kindle Fire version and believe me I tried multiple times to get it running and got nothing from it.
In terms of controls you can change the language settings and there is an option to use the touch screen or controller. If you select controller you just see the on screen controls. If you select touch screen then you have to use the exact same controls except now it doesn’t display them on the screen so you have to guess.
I probably should say one actual nice thing about the game. The character models look good for a tablet game and it doesn’t run at a terrible FPS like The Hunger Games did. However that is when the character models limbs aren’t clipping through other parts of the model due to the animation of them
Shaqdown 2 may be free but you pay the price in this case as you get a barely functional game with most features broken and gameplay that at beast is overly simplified and at worst is imprecise to being a critical flaw. The game seems to exist purely to extract cash of players silly or desperate enough to want to finish this game and most likely fans of Shaquille O’Neal. It’s truly shocking to me that so many people were ok to sell or lend their image rights to this abomination of a title that is a reminder of all that is bad from the arcade days without any of the good. It may be free but this game is not worth your time. In the end rather than some game showing Shaquille O’Neal in a good light this just comes of like the company saying “Shaq F. U.” As they once again make his name synonymous with terrible poor quality video games.
0 Kazams out of 6
So for those of you who may not know yet Feminist frequency released a new video about the 25 invisible benefits of being a male gamer. I could talk about that but you know what we don’t need two blogs on about it this week. So I thought what can I do as a blog now that the (co?)writer and producer of Tropes vs women has stepped out into the spotlight rather than hiding ?
Well I thought it would be fun to do a little challenge and see just how good this professional pop culture critic is. So it’s statements from Jonathan McIntosh vs me an idiot with vague pop culture knowledge and Google. So enjoy as I show just how good a pop culture critic Jonathan Mcintosh really is. Oh and incase you feel I’m being too brutal here and mean spirited. It’s ok I’m scaling this entirely based on comments made by Mr McIntosh himself as he decided to attack a dead guy without any evidence.
Lets start this shall we ?
So seemingly a simple objection one which happens regularly here in the UK (no really) there’s a group calling for this every time the Doctor regenerates. So valid point you might think right ?
Wrong. You see Dr Who has had spinoffs with. The Sarah Jane adventures with a female main character and Torchwood which had well an omnisexual main character. That’s if you also entirely ignore strong female leads in Doctor who such as River Song, Amy Pond, Rose Tyler and others. Next
So objecting the idea of there being no attempts at a female version of Sherlock Holmes. Except there has.
Ok I’m not too familiar with Nancy Drew but I can see how people might not consider it quite the same thing. So I can go one better than simply female detective.
Meet Shirley Holmes a TV series which followed the adventures and cases of a character who discovers she is the descendent of Sherlock Holmes in modern times and sets about solving various mysteries. It was a Canadian series and aired for a full three years from 1997 to 2000 also it was based on a series of books. The series has been broadcast in over 80 countries.
Ok so games with friendship and such ideas as a core part of them. Shame none of the following exist.
The Creatures series. You help teach an educate little creatures to help them explore their environment and make friends with other creatures and one another.
The Sims a long running series which is based round relationships and making friends. I don’t know if it’s still a core mechanic but previously job advancement dependent on how many friends your Sim had to get the promotions. Literally a game with making friends as a core mechanic in it.
Viva Pinata. Make friends with and help out Pinata animals .
Harvest Moon – Run your own farm, make friends and find someone to marry. Quite a long running series.
Now for the crème de la crème
Animal Crossing – a game where you talk to friendly NPCs can send them messages and post. Talk to them and if you want invite other friends into your town to join in the fun and go fishing or bug collecting or do a number of other activities together .
Shame none of those games exist right ?
So Moba games. An area I’m quite familiar with. Shame Mr Mcintosh isn’t it seems. Let me introduce you to some characters
Moya a lesbian otter Pirate
Mina, a member of royalty who’s spirit has ended up trapped in a doll.
Tess a female sky pirate captain.
Lillin an ancient spirit of the forest
Zeri a 15 year old female artist
Raina a librarian in charge of the military history section.
Oh but wait there’s more you see I know people will just go “Oh that’s only one Moba” So here are some from DOTA 2
Legion Commander – a Female tank in the game
Phantom Assassin – a female carry in Dota 2
Arachne – another female carry in Dota 2
Here’s the thing I can even manage a couple from Smite.
Scylla –terror of the deep
Arachne - the first spider.
There’s even a couple in Awesonenauts.
Alya – psychotic super powerful alien girl.
Raylyn – female well bounty hunter / smuggler who lost her eye in a fight .
So how about a hard one eh ?
Yeh now there’s a hard one to tackle. Or it would be if what was being said was correct. You see that study being used to base this on only points out it’s the competitive element in games which increases aggression. You know the same competitive element found at chess championships.
It's ok though because Mr Mcintosh thinks chess is violent and should have a more wholesome alternative too.
So I hope I’ve done enough to suggest that losing to an idiot like me with google might make you want to consider how good a pop culture critic a person is.
So I think it’s time to just sit and laugh or face palm at the other statements that just defy belief.
You know like him complaining that in action films the only conflict resolution happens through violence........... Hint the reason is in the genre title .
Or how feminist media criticism is not lucrative
Or you know the idea of controlling a character in a video game itself is sexist.
Note: the follow up tweet to this which I don’t have a copy of unfortunately has been deleted claimed that Characters should resist player control and not allow players input........ So yeh making games less interactive and more into movies.
There can be but one way to end this.
Congratulations Mcintosh you delusional fool. You are truly an incompetent sanctimonious shit. The worst part is you think people just hate the ideology. No they don't hate the ideology they hate the compete fuckwit talking to them. The same one who felt it appropriate in a San Fransisco Coffee shop to go up to a person he didn't know and accuse them of being racist because of how they wanted to run their buisness and not the fact he walked up to a blatant stranger talking about their buisness plans which included a way to bring subsidised phones to Africa and tell them how to run their buisness.
Oh and by the way. This blog this is just a small sample of the stupid stuff Mr Mcintosh has said and done as of late including claiming Action films having Violence in them was a problem and Action should refer to diplomacy and talking.
Google Play = free
IOS = Free
Amazon app store = £0.60 /$0. 99
Kindle Fire HD
I’ve actually been looking at reviewing this game for a while but couldn't justify the price. Hence why I waited for it to be a free app of the day. In terms of the franchise it’s based I have some experience with; I did watch The Hunger Games and I thought the first film was kind of trash, it tried to play off more artistic scenes and was so heavy with symbolism even Superman would struggle to lift it. Suffice to say I didn’t like it, I could see what it was trying for but I felt it was spending more time trying to distance itself from Battle Royale than anything else. I did however go and see the second film and with a different director the film felt so much better, the number of artsy shots went down making the ones that did happen seem more impactful. The film embraced the slight absurdity of the premise and rather than trying to distance itself from Battle Royale it seem to feel more than ok with the comparisons. Catching Fire was a better film, not one I’d say was a great film but it was one I felt was worth watching. I have not read the book nor do I really intend too.
So I guess I have to talk about the game now right ? Well it’s crap, that’s the short answer. It’s an infinite runner which was so poorly optimised I’d guess it managed 12 FPS on the Kindle Fire HD (which is the more powerful of the two Tablets I own).
The basic premise is you’re running following the route Katniss took previously collecting the sparks and resources she left behind on her tour of the districts. As this is a runner you need a reason to be running. In this case you’re running because the government has sent a swarm of tracker jackers to chase you.......... Hold on......... what ? Is what almost anyone with a passing knowledge of The Hunger Games will be saying. The reason is tracker jackers in The Hunger Games are a genetically modified highly venomous form of insect, they are not targeted attack creatures. They swarm like normal insects and then disperse they don’t actively chase one target liked guided missiles. So yeh the “story” or at least motivation makes no sense at all in this case.
So the next part is the gameplay. For the most part the gameplay is that of a standard runner game seeing you switch paths to go round some obstacles and with others you end up jumping over or sliding under them. The game also tried to mix it up a bit by having running archery sections where you either tap the target or swipe in the direction of the target. These archery sections feel all too easy only needing you to swipe in a direction to get the score. The biggest problem however is found in the running itself as while the game runs at a terribly low FPS the game is also highly unresponsive compared to almost every runner I’ve played. This becomes more of a problem later in the game where obstacles appear closer together requiring you to do multiple actions in quick succession only for the game to refuse to allow you to. This wasn't some issue with my tablet either as it works fine on other games. Before each run the game also gives you a random selection of bonuses which you can choose to upgrade or leave as they are which are designed to help you gain higher scores.
The next part of any runner is the upgrades system, in this game it’s all done with either resources or coins. Each run depending on how well you do will earn you 30 – 60 coins. Most upgrades cost 300+ coins. The other way to get upgrades is by collecting and using resources you collect. There are 9 resource types in all and each of the 6 upgrades requires 3 different types of resources and can require between 5 and 20 of them. In a good run you might manage 4 of the easier to collect resources and 1 of the harder to find resources and there’s no certainty they will be of the types you need so expect to be repeating runs again and again. The sparks you collect are useless, they give you nothing but score at the end of the day and only coins from the run or resources count. On my worst run of about 2,000 I got 33 coins. On my best run of 20,000 I got 67 coins, it’s clear the game really doesn't reward you hugely for doing well.
The game also offers you a nice resource sink by letting you craft different arrow types which when used to hit targets give you more useless sparks as a reward.
Aesthetically the game doesn't look much better than Temple Run 2 and runs far worse, it does vary up the look between the districts but it doesn’t do a huge job of making them seem unique such that the game really only has three level styles. An industrial outdoor mining area, a series of warehouses and moving bits and a small waterside dock area. The worst part is how the game attempts to make areas more dynamic by having crates move across the top of the screen, which then blocks your view of upcoming obstacles. The game initially asks you if you’re male or female and will assign you a character based on your choices. This idea of a character of your own felt like it was going to be a main part of the game, the idea of buying cosmetic items and customising your character...... except it isn’t, you don’t get to customise your character at all. The game will give you a randomised male or female character each run meaning that while my character started off looking like Nathan Drake from Uncharted I also had runs with characters looking like Harry Potter’s Malfoy and Ron Weasley. The whole lack of cosmetic customisation feels like a huge mis-step especially in terms of monetisation.
So I’ve been putting this off till the last and this issue is the monetisation model. Remember this is a paid game in its own right but with the monetisation model you wouldn't think so. The main monetisation is the coins themselves which start at about £1.24 (About $2) and got to £31.15 (about $50) depending on how many you’d like. You can also watch adverts for other games to earn free coins too. The upgrades for the most part are fairly rate fairly useless powerups you have to collect and the arrow upgrades are a pointless resource sink with no purpose for being in the game. The standard items you collect (sparks) are useless beyond going for high scores and the coin payouts are low with next to no improvement based on play. With items designed to be quite expensive the game pushes people to buy coins. The funniest thing being when you do upgrade a skill or craft arrows the game has a waiting timer on it which you have to wait to complete till the upgrade is complete or the arrows made. As you’d expect you can pay between 300 and 600 coins to skip the waiting timer which even on the lowest level is about 1-2 minutes.
A poorly made nonsensical cash in using The Hunger Games name. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Panem Runis designed to do nothing more than gouge Hunger Games fans for as much money as possible, initially with the price tag to play then with extremely exploitative monetisation in game. This game represents everything the corrupt capital in The Hunger Games would have revelled in and nothing the message of the series stood for. This game is far more cat piss than Katniss in the end and I suggest you avoid this game as it’s terrible for both normal players and fans of The Hunger Games alike. As it turns out even mobile games aren’t immune to crappy movie tie in titles.
1 Mocking Jay out of 6
So it’s Christmas time. The shit storm is still raging on such that the FTC and FBI and now involved and insanity rules all. Not just online but those fighting in shops on the recent black Friday.
So it seems almost refreshing that I’m once again back talk about a topic from the past. You see at present Microsoft are slowly starting to look like this Christmas they’ll be the star in their own version of A Christmas Carol.
You see (and I sincerely hope otherjournalists will have the guts to report on this too) Microsoft has once again screwed up payment to indie developers on the XNA system who have their games published on the Xbox Live indie Games Marketplace.
So a quick refresher for those who don’t know. The XBLIG was Microsoft’s own indie game self publishing arm. Once a game is passed by peer review it’s allowed to be sold on the system. Each quarter Microsoft then pays said developers their portion of the games sales. The system itself also includes a clause that payment is not considered “late” until it’s beyond 45 days after the stated payment date. Previously they managed to go over that date by 7 days meaning from the date developers were meant to be paid it was 52 days after the stated payment date. Well this year they’ve gone even better. Indie developers using the service were expecting their Q3 payment on September 30th. The Date as of writing this is the 3rd of December, developers still haven’t been paid meaning Microsoft is 64 days late on payment a full 19 days beyond the rather generous "Acceptable" delay period they gave themselves.
I’ve heard from a couple of developers who confirm payment hasn’t been made to them.
So let me tell you a tale of what happens when you keep forgetting to pay indie developers. Ghosts of the past come back to haunt you about you previous misdeeds. People like me will make it so you seem once again haunted by spectres of your present misdeeds and if this keeps happening then the Ghost of indie games on Xbox future will soon come to show you your fate.
A while ago now Microsoft renewed its commitment to indie developers. I scoffed at it back then as until I saw a change I wasn’t going to believe Microsoft had changed. I know a lot of people held out hope for change and were a little annoyed that I was so ready to bash Microsoft before they slipped up. I did want them to do better but as is being shown presently nothing has changed, in fact it’s getting worse: Payments are later than ever before; the new parity policy meaning an indie game can’t be released on the Xbox one unless it either releases first on Xbox One or on all platforms at the same time. Oh and to top it all off speaking to indie developers at Gadget Show Live most are baffled by Microsoft’s Indie game admission policy and methods. Many praised Sony and said looking into it even Nintendo had a far better far clearer system than Microsoft.
Because of your past actions and your continuations of them Microsoft you have a bad reputation with indie developers now. You’re not seen as you once were as pushing indie games forwards to the future. You’re seen as the unreliable platform which is a toxic for indie developers to rely on alone or as their first choice. With even big studios like Crytek choosing to put games onto PC due to poor sales, can you really afford to keep screwing over indie developers ?
You know what’s worse. It’s not just console developers I’ve started to hear from. I was contacted by an anonymous person whom claims to be a Windows Phone app developer (and appears to be that) who claimed Microsoft was screwing up the Windows Phone developer payments. On Windows phone developers were and possibly still are payed weekly. The developer claims that the analytics and sales data being sent, which use Microsofts cloud service for speed, are not 2-3 days behind as would be expect but the sale data analytics and payments are 11 days behind now and getting worse.
I did contact Microsoft for a Statement on this situation. [
[See update 2]
So yeh this is a problem Microsoft are more than happy to try to sweep under the rug. I was told by a developer that on a private developers own forum a member of the Xbox team had suggested payment may be a few days late this quarter but this is beyond a few days now. So I’m taking this issue public. It’s Christmas time and I’m sure Microsoft are hoping to shift plenty of units. So I wonder how many people will think again when they find out how Microsoft has been treating developers badly again. I’m talking about it here because the question now must be. Will Microsoft manage to pay its developers what they’re owed before Christmas now ?
Or will you end up on the naughty list ?
I've been contacted by Kris Steele who has had contact with Microsoft recently. While no official statement has been issues yet by Microsoft. Microsoft are claiming there was an error with the sales data figures which they are now working out. They apparently now intend to pay developers within the next two weeks.
Microsoft have issued an official statement and apology on this issue.
So in case you missed it in a previous C-Blog recap I was sentenced to Flappy Bird by Pixie. I decide to take this as a challenge. Could I write an entire article talking about Flappy Bird and not have it be repeating the same information everyone has heard before ?
Well no. Not even with the fact Flappy Bird is becoming an arcade machine now. However I was able to knock up this following article where I take a look at the sheer volume of Flappy Bird clones that came out. Now this isn’t going into the Tablet / phone ones because I wanted an article that wouldn’t take a full decade to read through. These are actual games that were and still are actually for sale on the Xbox 360 marketplace. Think on that for a moment
Also I really hate Flappy Bird.
Ah the first XBLIG Flappy Bird clone which open the floodgate. Little Flappers is actually passable in terms of gameplay with it feeling ok and not hugely punishing as Flappy Bird clones go. The mechanics work well and the unique selling point of this one is if you fail and touch one of the spinning circular saws you get some nice blood splatter effects. Oh and the game lets you play up to four players. The big problem ? The music, the game has one track, Ride of the Valkyries and it restarts the track every time you die meaning expect to get very familiar with the opening 10 – 30 seconds and nothing else. Oh also unlike Flappy Bird you can touch the ceiling and floor without instant death.
Rule 92 of the Xbox indie game marketplace: If there is a game that’s successful on any console or format someone will invariably remake it with the option to play as an Xbox Avatar and place it on the marketplace. The very simple principal being escape the tomb. You can run along the floor, touch the ceiling and touch the top or bottom of the obstacles. You only die if you touch a floor or ceiling with spikes or get crushed by failing to get through one of the gaps in the obstacles.
The first Flappy Bird clone to really try anything different. You can pick from a number of different animals each with its own death animation: The sheep loses all its wool, the fish turns to a skeleton, the bird drops dead and the pig explodes into bacon. It’s up to four players and is quite hard.
Mechanically it’s rather different to the other two as how long you hold the button down changes how big a flap you do and thus how much higher you go, add to this that if you while moving upward from a previous flap you go slightly higher than if you flap while falling.
After you progress past the standard Flappy Bird pillars you go into something resembling the area above and have to avoid missile, fireballs and mines while the game still auto scrolls. Apparently there is an ending or at least end point to the game. What happens ? I have no clue nor the desire to put in enough time to find out.
Flupp the Fish
This is a slightly strange one as yes at its core it’s a Flappy Bird clone. Unlike most of the others here I thought it was actually a good game in its own right such that I could happily play it voluntarily for more than 5 minutes without needing to first be blind drunk. The game has a reverse flap Bird mechanic where you hold A to descent and you don’t need to hammer the damn thing.
The game actually has three modes: the classic Flappy Bird avoid the obstacles mode. A second mode called escape where you have to collect stars to speed away from a predator and hitting obstacles don’t kill you but slows you down letting the predator catch up. With the final mode being driving a water filled car trying to jump over obstacles and enemies to avoid losing water and at the same time collecting stars to speed up. The escape mode is actually rather fun to play and an interesting concept as it gives context to the idea of a scrolling screen and moving the game forward without as much time to react.
Rule 78 of video gaming: If some-one makes a game, someone else will make a voxel based knock off of it. In this case it’s Flappy Wrecker from Studio Team Shuriken, the team responsible for almost every game on Xblig featuring an anime chick with impossible cleavage on the front. They didn’t start that way as they make the rather enjoyable Tokyo 2029 AD which I reviewed previously. In a remarkable act of self restrait they didn’t slap a huge pair of breasts onto this entry. The difference in this version besides the voxel graphics is that when you die you are allowed to restart flapping or change to the wrecker and drive through the game smashing all the pillars and running over the flappy birds. A nice bit of cathartic relief from the slow death of any faith you had in the future of gaming because of how a basic game with 1 button became such a huge hit.
Yep there was not one but two avatar based flappy Bird clones and this one is actually worse but was released later than the previous one except with a two plaer mode. The flapping feels ok but there’s not much else to the title
Yes another fairly straight Flappy Bird clone. Mechanically it’s pixel precise with next to no leeway on touching anything including the top or bottom of the screen. The minor extra challenge is to collect the coins. That’s really it in terms of changes.
Yep it’s a Flappy Bird clone in space with 3D rendered graphics. Gameplay with it’s probably the hardest and most punishing of the lot so much so I’d argue that hit boxes are actually far larger than the flappy mech or the pillars. Expect to die, a lot, though at least when you do die the developer has programmed in a nice particle effect style explosion to watch.
If this looks familiar then I should point out it is. It’s a second Flappy Bird clone by the same developer who made Flappy Feathers. The difference with this one is you collect coins and if you collect enough you can spent them to unlock new levels each with new styles and new obstacles to avoid. Mechanically it’s the exact same as Flappy Feathers right down to the pixel precision.
Ah I thought I’d save the shittiest till last, quite literally. Flappy Monkey sees you play a monkey who can fly by flapping his arms. You challenge is to avoid the jumping alligators and those mysteriously coming from the sky.
The difference here being you earn points by collecting bananas and also by shitting on people. No I’m deadly serious one of the buttons makes the monkey make a straining face and after a few seconds he drops a big turd down towards the ground. You score points by hitting targets such as Vegetarians and of teachers. This game seriously feels like it was made by a 12 year old who has a serious hatred of both teachers and vegetarians, the first I have no clue on, the second but well PETA can go fuck themselves I want bacon damn it as can anyone who wants to tell me how we should all go vegetarian. To quote an environmental conservation lecturer of mine “Fuck the cabbage, cabbages are terrible and will destroy the earth and doom humanity”.
Has Pixie stopped reading yet ?
Launch the glider