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TheKodu's blog

a cycle of perpetual apology ,


"But you have no power or influence"

No I don't, i write blogs some people read on here and run a tiny review website with traffic of all of 100 people a day if that. I'm small fry and I know it.

The problem is I'm but one drip in an Ocean at present and so many little people acting together can do big things. A drop of water does no harm but the Ocean in a storm can cause serious damage. 

The funny thing is simply looking at the gamergate side and trying to understand it and can be a huge thing. 

I know plenty of people will ask about separating the artist from their art and I have to say it's up to the individual person if they want to do this or feel they should. 

 



If you've made it this far and still want to know about gamergate

here

Oh and remember

Gamergate, dispelling some of the myths [Some strong language & Nudity]
10:19 PM on 09.22.2014
I linked to this one before. That is an idea of how to do this right. You can have discussion of a product without calling it a review. Forcing this into a review is trying to force people to care about it, and no I don’t think “There is no neutral on a moving train” is a good message spread, tell people why they should care or let them realise on their own don’t force it in and expect people to then care because “The Greater Good” or some such rubbish.

Gaming at present is seeing critics that are pretentious and are attempting to push the audience to their views rather than letting the audience make a choice. They’re trying to make audiences feel bad for their choices and influence the market that way. These are the people who will tell you your a bad person for wanting to go see Scott Pilgrim or Gaurdians of the Galaxy and should instead see this new obscure French black and white film.

Games as art and their right to offend.
10:47 PM on 09.11.2014
this blog post which I believe everyone should read as it shows what well done art critique of gaming can look like even wtalking gender politics, it’s short don’t worry. Now this got me thinking and seeing Tim Schafer no less point out how he knew none of his fans would support gamergate and his recent posting of Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video as must watch material, well I had an idea.

I decided to run a thought experiment myself and I’d ask you dear reader to join me and look over the results.

My thought experiment was simple what if Broken Age (AKA Double fine adventure) was about video gaming and 2nd wave feminism.


Now for the purposes of this experiment I simply had to look for proof of this. I’m taking the art criticism approach rather than the critical analysis approach. The difference between the two is with critical analysis I would try to find and address evidence that disproves the hypothesis and not just evidence that proves it. In art criticism or at least the most recent iterations it's been accepted that peoples interpretation is important and can overrule the creator claiming they’re wrong, however it also doesn’t mean the creator saying it’s about something different is wrong either. It’s a strange concept to get your head round that there is no right or wrong and even the creator can’t control his or her piece it really is in the hands of the public as to the message it portrays.

So I have a mad cap idea to prove and absolutely nothing restricting me, lets go. Once that is I warn you this will contain spoilers from Broken Age Act 1 and this is not a review.

So on the surface Broken Age appears like a very high production point and click adventure about wacky situations and people, you know the classic style. However it is my aim to prove this game is no simple piece of media but infact is a commentary on the games industry and 2nd wave feminism.

So first a quick refresher of the two main stories in part one according to Wikipedia.


Broken Age describes the story of two teenagers with no immediate apparent connection between the two, each "seeking to break the tradition with their lives".


Vella Tartine (voiced by Masasa Moyo) is a young woman in a world that is ravaged by the Mog Chothra, a giant creature that is appeased through the sacrifice of young girls at a number of "Maiden's Feasts" held at various villages. Vella is chosen to be sacrificed at her hometown, Sugar Bunting's Maiden's Feast, but concludes that if Mog Chothra could be killed the rituals could be ended. She finds a way to escape from the beast's attack, ending up in Meriloft, a small colony which rests on a cluster of semi-solid clouds who are dealing with the aftermath of their own Feast.

She then finds her way to the local port town, Shellmound, where they are preparing their own Feast. There she discovers the Dead Eye God's temple, which turns out to be an ancient spaceship half-buried by the sand. She is able to awake its pilot from stasis, who helps her to rig the ship's scanning system to act as a weapon to attack Mog Chothra when he shows up for the Feast. Vella's plan works and she is able to bring down the creature.


Shay Volta (voiced by Elijah Wood) is a young man and seemingly the only passenger on the spaceship Bossa Nostra, an "incubator vessel". The ship's computer acts as a mother figure to Shay, occupying him with infantile games, dubbed "missions", and boring routines while preventing him from learning about or exploring anything outside the ship. The computer asserts he is part of "Project Dandelion", a last-ditch effort by his home planet to protect Shay (the only survivor of his race following the planet's destruction) and try to find a home for him.

When Shay sneaks into the bowels of the ship, he finds a being named Marek who is wearing the disguise of a wolf. Marek asserts that the computer has been telling him lies (showing him that a war rages in the galaxy) before telling Shay that he needs his help to save some innocent creatures who have been imprisoned in different areas of the galaxy as result of the war. Marek guides Shay through various missions against the computer's control, trying to rescue a number of the creatures at each location before their position is discovered by an enemy force. At the end of one mission, the ship is attacked by an enemy force, rendering Marek trapped helplessly under a pile of debris. In the ensuing chaos, Shay is knocked unconscious.


Act 1 ends when Vella finds that Mog Chothra is a mechanical creature and Shay emerges confused from inside, revealing that his belief of being in space was merely a part of an illusion. Vella attempts to punch Shay but misses and ends up trapped inside the mechanical creature while Shay is stuck outside, both uncertain of what to do in their new surroundings.

Ok so here we go.

During Vella’s story there’s exactly 1 guy who really seems to encourage and argue for change or as he sees it a return to how things were. This is who is Vella’s grandfather and is brushed off as merely a nut, except by Vella who is torn between accepting the socially accepted narrative and taking decisive action which would potentially stop her being eaten by a monster.

top row: Left to right Ch't, Vella's Dad, Harm'ny Lightbeard

Bottom row: Curtis, Marhall Dude, Walt'r

So what about the other Male character
Vella’s Father, saying it's youthful nonsense for her suggesting fighting Mog Chothera
Harm'ny Lightbeard = essentially a cult leader
Curtis = slightly mad male woodsman who according to the trees only wants to destroy things.
Marshall dune = Idiot somehow in charge of the comittee to organise the Maiden's feast in shellmound who has the problem that the sea keeps washing away the large sandcastles he’s trying to play to make the Maiden’s feast arena
Walt'r = Moronic father falling for a cult like belief and dragging his family along to Meriloft with it Ch't who goes along with his father.

Left to right: Vella's Mother, Levinia, Meriloft Maiden.

That's not to say the female characters come off all that much better. 

Vella's mother & Levinia the maiden's feast organiser just want to go along with the Mog Chotera thing because it’s tradition and heritage.
The Shellmound , Meriloft & Sugar Bunting maidens all of whom feel it's an honour to be sacrificed and or a dishonour to not be chosen.

Broken Age is Feminism the game ?
7:07 PM on 09.09.2014
EA rly ? Access [Some strong language]
8:47 PM on 07.30.2014
Review : Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
8:16 AM on 07.23.2014
Mighty Tactical Shooter: preview
9:35 AM on 07.20.2014





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About
A qualified Environmental Chemist who happens to live in a fairly dense city with no real environment or chemistry industry.

I review indie games on another blog and you'll see them pop up here if I think the review is a good or interesting one (along with a shameless bit of self promotion)

I also operate another blog reviewing films and I mean t pick that back up when I can.

I've been gaming since the SNES days. I've been in the pro scene before for tribes 2 but hate the present pro scenes and have no interest in going back into it.

I tend to get into quite a few Betas and love ones without NDA as it means I can write about them. I have even beta tested an xbox 360 game in my time (and no not a normal public Beta one )

In gaming I'm normally the guy looking at the shelf below the AAA titles first to see if there are any great hidden gems.

My gaming drug of choice: Timesplitters in any flavour (Why won't you make Timesplitters 4 Crytek, why ????? I need my fix of insanity )
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Disclaimer

Sending people death threats or abuseive messages is bad OK........... seriously the fact I had to say such a damn obvious thing to begin with should tell you how insane this has started to get.

I speak for myself not gamergate, If you want to discuss this further with me there are the comments here, the PM system and even my twitter  or even my Tumblr

Any truly entertaining abuse I get because of this article I will be publishing potentially as a separate blog, you have been warned.

If you are going to send me any kind of threats or abuse, be original and entertainning, I'm a Dota 2 player so being told to go kill myself is a weekly occurence.

OK so I was trying to hold back on writing about this, I really was. I wanted to wait till the nuclear fallout settled and there was a clear idea of what the hell had happened. I'm done with silence now. I'm done with waiting because other's aren't waiting they're casting they're hats in.
This was not the blog I wanted to publish today, I wanted to talk about my experiences with the Oculus Rift, but looks like it's coming full force into the C blogs so being silent only lets ignorance win.

 

On To the Article

It looks like I won’t get to because the balloons gone up. Some idiot out there has declared this a war. “There is no neutral on a moving train” or “your Either with us or against us” I was trying to remain somewhat neutral or more correctly in the 3rd faction of “It looks like some people have done some real messed up crap why is anyone defending them ?”

So lets start with the obvious myths and see if I can clear some stuff up.


“It’s all about Zoe Quinn sleeping with 5 guys how dare you slut shame her”

Here’s a simple thing.
Infidelity shaming =/= slut shaming
Infidelity shaming is pointing out someone screwed up and broke the trust of another person. It would be slut shaming if Eron and Zoe had an open relationship and both were clear on this. They didn’t therefore it was infidelity.
So if you still want to get mad, yes how dare people be slightly annoyed that one person cheated on another repeatedly and allegedly almost caused them to have a nervous breakdown because of trying to cover it up.

Here’s the thing though Zoe Quinn and her actions are part of a separate thing which turned into gamergate and is to an extent still going on at the same time. This was Zoe Gate or the Quinnspiracy and it is still going on. It’s a whole muddled affair of DMCA abuse against multiple websites. It does however have a connection to Gamergate via the issues surrounding coverage of The Fine Young Capitalists campaign to help women make a video game and press coverage round that.

In reality Zoe is a far smaller part of Gamergate than people would have you believe.

Again for clarity, Do not send abuse to Zoe Quinn and Do not send death threats OK


“OK what about Anita Sarkeesian, she’s a big part of this right ?”

Well yes and no, the extent Anita is part of this are actions surrounding her such as having a critic of hers banned from twitter and the numerous articles blaming gamers for the death threats she received because it conveniently fitted the media message of gamers being super evil monsters.
Oh and Anita is also an advisor for a media think thank that’s been funding a some journalists and game designers work via patreon and some writers. Also with links to a promotion system called critical discussion known for promoting the work of certain writers.
Oh and Anita’s boyfriend is one of the main staff at the think tank.

Anita is just another side branch off the insane chaos of Gamergame.
As for the death threats.

"I want to bite the side of your neck and drink your blood"

"but instead I'll drink the blood out of you [word removed on taste grounds] after I rip it open"

Well I’d say that sound more like a person who loves vampire related things and is angry at Anita, I mean it’s not like she’s made a video about True Blood or anything right ?


Yep gamers did it..................... couldn’t have been an insane True Blood fan................ Gamers am I right guys what basement dwelling neckbeards they all are.

 

 

“You’re just scared people are going to take your games away you paranoid tin foil hat wearing weirdo”

Here’s the thing, I wasn’t scared of that. I’ve not been scared of that because as I keep saying there is room in gaming for diversity. Now I’m not too happy with the self proclaim gate keepers of diversity who seem to only want to accept a very rigid acceptable portrayal of characters rather than you know actually a diverse range of people. “The fighting Fuck toy” “the Damsel in distress” “The Man With boobs” “The white guy who happens to be black”................ seriously what the hell is wrong with some of these people, the same people who produced this suggesting one of the best female characters in recent years were character less mutes.


Apparently having games with women who are business leaders or world leading geneticist s don’t count because the women have big boobs.

You know what I’m presently playing ? Defiance the video game, You know what that has in it as part of the main cast ? A lesbian couple, one of which is a brilliant doctor and the other is a skilled mechanic. Oh and did I mention one of them is also an alien ?

Here’s the thing when I’m hearing quotes like “Oh video games need to change to be considered art” or “Oh people obviously don’t want video games to be considered art, why won’t you let us make games into an artform” or even crap like this.

 


I just have to say what is wrong with people, if you don’t want people to think you’re taking their games away or changing them to something unrecognisable then don’t tell them you’re killing games or they need to change, how simple is that you fucking morons ?

As I keep asking and no-one can yet answer, why do games need to change to be considered art ?

Oh and before anyone says "but won't someone think of the children because of that nudity" I was recently trainning to become a teacher. I was told by my mentor while taking a PSHE (Personal Social and Health education lesson) ,which also talks about social and cultureal issues, to include art depicting nudity to allow the students to develop an appreciation of art and show artistic renderings to prevent the idea of body shame. So yeh, if you wish to state an objection please do but bear in mind I've had qualified teachers tell me to include similar work in lessons to 12 year olds to foster an understanding of art. If you want to object then you are asking me to treat you are more sensitive and than a class of 12 year olds. got it ?

Who says what is art and what isn't ?

What arbitrary things need to be hit for something to be art ?

Is there a line between art and "proper" art or is a childs drawing just as much a piece of art as something in a gallery, sure there are quality differences but both are still art right ?

“The video games journalism mailing list is nothing”

Here’s the thing, what’s coming out of that list is a co-ordinated selection of articles.

 

All those appeared within 3 hours of the video they relate to going live. If you don’t want people to suggest there’s some serious collusion and a PR agency having heavy influence then it seems rather insane to do something like that.


“Gamergate will kill diversity in games”

Well no, I think people can vote with their wallets as they always have done. Here’s part of the problem though. As much as some people seem to want it, people don’t seem to want to play the games certain people think are important and should be played because um......... Socially progressive symbolism ?

Where as gamergate or at least plenty in it pretty much simply want artists to be allowed to do whatever crazy crap they want and not feel like they have make some super progressive pseudo intellectual nonsense. I’m sorry but Gone Home was a huge cliche’d story and minimalistic gameplay the only reason people have heard of that while Dinner Date is less well heard of is the socially progressive “Edgy” story of having a lesbian characters.

I’m fine with different kinds of games existing just don’t try to vilify those who don’t enjoy the very specific brand you want to be the popular one, let people vote with their wallets.





"But you're harming peoples careers here"

Well yes both sides are.

Here's the funny thing it had to happen at some point. 

The Boycott list and actually forcing a reaction is happening because individuals haven't been taking responsibility.

Here I'll let Movie Bob give you an example.

I mean how dare people be asked to behave professionally eh ?

The funny thing is I've not yet called for anyone to be fired, yes people have done in the gamergate movement, I have constantly said they should have a chance to say sorry and then see what they do next and if that apology holds weight or if it becomes a cycle of perpetual apology ,


"But you have no power or influence"

No I don't, i write blogs some people read on here and run a tiny review website with traffic of all of 100 people a day if that. I'm small fry and I know it.

The problem is I'm but one drip in an Ocean at present and so many little people acting together can do big things. A drop of water does no harm but the Ocean in a storm can cause serious damage. 

The funny thing is simply looking at the gamergate side and trying to understand it and can be a huge thing. 

I know plenty of people will ask about separating the artist from their art and I have to say it's up to the individual person if they want to do this or feel they should. 

 



If you've made it this far and still want to know about gamergate

here

Oh and remember

Photo Photo Photo








I just thought this image was cool

Ok I’ve touched upon this subject before in numerous other posts I’ve made. However I’m doing this as a separate and very much an opinion piece because I feel the environment around this article is going to be rather different.

There has been a big push to say gaming is art.

Now recently in the media there has been a big push to address certain political issues and their representation in gaming.

Here’s the confusing thing art is not good or bad short of being made deliberately to offend people. At present people are calling art wrong. So I have to ask, how can art designed to provoke thought be wrong unless it’s a deliberate attempt to insult people and even then art like this can be used to make people reflect upon themselves. Is there a limit to art ?
Is having the UK priminister fuck a live pig on TV is that art ?

Shall I show you a highly offensive piece of art in the medium of comedy ?

Are you offended ?
You’re not ?


How strange but the portrayal of darts players as drunks did offend plenty of darts players at the time so much so they decided to improve darts and made a ruling that during a match players may not consume alcohol. A very simple change because of a piece of comedy.

Art should be able make people feel uncomfortable as it is a mirror to reflect society.

The people we are dealing with claiming “The medium needs to change to be art” are the same sneering backroom critics people ignore in film. The same ones who make the kind of comment about oh let’s say Scott Pilgrim vs the World being a hideous piece of misogyny while Dogtooth won numerous awards .

So how many here have watched Dogtooth ? Well if you haven’t I have and well put it this way, I’ve watched the Human Centipede, I watched Saw films while eating my tea before (which was sweet and sour chicken in nice red sauce at the time too), Dogtooth was the only film that not only made me feel sick but actively dry heave. That’s right while I felt ill watching the Human Centipede the film that made me almost actually puke was Dogtooth.

Film is an artform and no-one other than same pseudo intellectual critics are sitting there saying that the Summer Blockbuster releases should include more themes and address more complex issues and people who go to see them are bad horrible people for doing so.

Look at that link for the Scott Pilgrim vs the World review notice the scores?
Now I can’t be the only one who can see a similarity between this as oh lets say Dead Rising 3 getting a 3 on Gamespot recently ?

 

I’m not against art. I’m against poorly done ham fisted art that tries to drive its point home on a battering ram because whats the point in art there is no need to intepret when it's so blatant that is when it's trying to be serious. Yes you can focus a single issue and still do it well in art and various mediums allow more or less to be expressed with painting allowing only one still images and films allowing so much more potentially. This is the limit of the medium itslef and doesn't make one medium better than another as the static image can also portray multiple ideas too but has the issue of making them distinct and clear.

I wrote before about my take on certain games compared to art and I stick by it.
I can equally appreciate the work of Beksinski as I can appreciate this image called “fluff is mad” by an unknown deviant artist . Sure there are different levels you can appreciate them on but is that wrong ?

 

It seems the present movement seems to believe they can determine what is and isn’t art and what is and isn’t worthy. I say it’s up to people to decide and those wanting to comment upon it should observe how well the message is delivered without it being shoved down peoples throats or worse still the message being so obvious no other messages can be taken out of it. Good art makes you stop and think about the subject matter or discuss it. Bad art hits you in the face and tells you how just how to take it. If art is so blunt it doesn’t allow people to interpret it then what’s the point ? How is that art any better than having a picture saying “I think this so should you” ?

The present movement is so mad, if this were film, I’d be asking are about to see waves of people condemn Conan next ?


I’ve already shown the result of a thought experiment of how I could read complete nonsense into Broken Age the game. In the past I’ve also offered alternative takes on what Anita has been saying in my Questioning vs Tropes series of articles. If you want to claim it’s art criticism then there is no right or wrong , no game should bend the knee because some pseudo intellectual critic says so or it’s seen as the in thing. If you want to claim art criticism then me on this tiny little relatively low readership blog is under those rules making just as valid a point as those paid professionals. The only difference is scope and readership. Having more people seeing and agreeing with your interpretation of art doesn’t make it more right it just means you reach more people.

 

What gaming is presently seeing is people essentially Bechdel testing games to prove their worth. There are however OP-ED (opinion piece / Extended discussion pieces) worth reading, I linked to this one before. That is an idea of how to do this right. You can have discussion of a product without calling it a review. Forcing this into a review is trying to force people to care about it, and no I don’t think “There is no neutral on a moving train” is a good message spread, tell people why they should care or let them realise on their own don’t force it in and expect people to then care because “The Greater Good” or some such rubbish.

Gaming at present is seeing critics that are pretentious and are attempting to push the audience to their views rather than letting the audience make a choice. They’re trying to make audiences feel bad for their choices and influence the market that way. These are the people who will tell you your a bad person for wanting to go see Scott Pilgrim or Gaurdians of the Galaxy and should instead see this new obscure French black and white film.

Will changing the very art itself change society when what they see in art has no reflection of society in it ? Should art be being used as some guiding light for society or is it better to stay merely as a reflection of the society that created it ?


To those claiming “But it’s offensive” You will sit there you will be offended and you will understand why it’s important that happens. 
Yes Video gaming has a way to go to better reflect society and does have it’s problems I’m not trying to deny that but the movement for change has it’s own issues, such as in this picture.


Notice anything wrong ?
Well let me ask you a simple question, tell me about Chell from Portal ?

That’s right apparently a mute female character is a good role model and well rounded character. You might as well say Gordon Freeman is a good character too then rather than a walking tripod for the player controlled camera. There is also nothing wrong with a character simply being a vessel for the player but calling them something more is baffling.


There is room in this industry for diversity. There is room in this industry for fun.

If fun is no longer enough then this is no longer an entertainment medium and to those who claim fun is not enough, then to them I say I want to part in this industry they want to make. The industry they want is not the diverse marketplace gaming could and should become.


I’m here to enjoy my time and that can mean exploring conceptual ideas or it can mean just kicking back and turning my brain off to enjoy the ride. If I am wrong for wanting to just enjoy the ride sometimes, I don’t want to be right.

There is room in this industry for diversity. There is room in this industry for fun.

Photo Photo Photo








So with Gamergate blowing overhead still. I thought I’d take a break from sitting in the storm to write an article. Now obviously I’d love to write an article about gamergate and do plan to but until revelations stop anything I write will be out of date in 3 hours or less.

So while looking round the controversy I stumbled upon this blog post which I believe everyone should read as it shows what well done art critique of gaming can look like even wtalking gender politics, it’s short don’t worry. Now this got me thinking and seeing Tim Schafer no less point out how he knew none of his fans would support gamergate and his recent posting of Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video as must watch material, well I had an idea.

I decided to run a thought experiment myself and I’d ask you dear reader to join me and look over the results.

My thought experiment was simple what if Broken Age (AKA Double fine adventure) was about video gaming and 2nd wave feminism.


Now for the purposes of this experiment I simply had to look for proof of this. I’m taking the art criticism approach rather than the critical analysis approach. The difference between the two is with critical analysis I would try to find and address evidence that disproves the hypothesis and not just evidence that proves it. In art criticism or at least the most recent iterations it's been accepted that peoples interpretation is important and can overrule the creator claiming they’re wrong, however it also doesn’t mean the creator saying it’s about something different is wrong either. It’s a strange concept to get your head round that there is no right or wrong and even the creator can’t control his or her piece it really is in the hands of the public as to the message it portrays.

So I have a mad cap idea to prove and absolutely nothing restricting me, lets go. Once that is I warn you this will contain spoilers from Broken Age Act 1 and this is not a review.

So on the surface Broken Age appears like a very high production point and click adventure about wacky situations and people, you know the classic style. However it is my aim to prove this game is no simple piece of media but infact is a commentary on the games industry and 2nd wave feminism.

So first a quick refresher of the two main stories in part one according to Wikipedia.


Broken Age describes the story of two teenagers with no immediate apparent connection between the two, each "seeking to break the tradition with their lives".


Vella Tartine (voiced by Masasa Moyo) is a young woman in a world that is ravaged by the Mog Chothra, a giant creature that is appeased through the sacrifice of young girls at a number of "Maiden's Feasts" held at various villages. Vella is chosen to be sacrificed at her hometown, Sugar Bunting's Maiden's Feast, but concludes that if Mog Chothra could be killed the rituals could be ended. She finds a way to escape from the beast's attack, ending up in Meriloft, a small colony which rests on a cluster of semi-solid clouds who are dealing with the aftermath of their own Feast.

She then finds her way to the local port town, Shellmound, where they are preparing their own Feast. There she discovers the Dead Eye God's temple, which turns out to be an ancient spaceship half-buried by the sand. She is able to awake its pilot from stasis, who helps her to rig the ship's scanning system to act as a weapon to attack Mog Chothra when he shows up for the Feast. Vella's plan works and she is able to bring down the creature.


Shay Volta (voiced by Elijah Wood) is a young man and seemingly the only passenger on the spaceship Bossa Nostra, an "incubator vessel". The ship's computer acts as a mother figure to Shay, occupying him with infantile games, dubbed "missions", and boring routines while preventing him from learning about or exploring anything outside the ship. The computer asserts he is part of "Project Dandelion", a last-ditch effort by his home planet to protect Shay (the only survivor of his race following the planet's destruction) and try to find a home for him.

When Shay sneaks into the bowels of the ship, he finds a being named Marek who is wearing the disguise of a wolf. Marek asserts that the computer has been telling him lies (showing him that a war rages in the galaxy) before telling Shay that he needs his help to save some innocent creatures who have been imprisoned in different areas of the galaxy as result of the war. Marek guides Shay through various missions against the computer's control, trying to rescue a number of the creatures at each location before their position is discovered by an enemy force. At the end of one mission, the ship is attacked by an enemy force, rendering Marek trapped helplessly under a pile of debris. In the ensuing chaos, Shay is knocked unconscious.


Act 1 ends when Vella finds that Mog Chothra is a mechanical creature and Shay emerges confused from inside, revealing that his belief of being in space was merely a part of an illusion. Vella attempts to punch Shay but misses and ends up trapped inside the mechanical creature while Shay is stuck outside, both uncertain of what to do in their new surroundings.

Ok so here we go.

During Vella’s story there’s exactly 1 guy who really seems to encourage and argue for change or as he sees it a return to how things were. This is who is Vella’s grandfather and is brushed off as merely a nut, except by Vella who is torn between accepting the socially accepted narrative and taking decisive action which would potentially stop her being eaten by a monster.

top row: Left to right Ch't, Vella's Dad, Harm'ny Lightbeard

Bottom row: Curtis, Marhall Dude, Walt'r

So what about the other Male character
Vella’s Father, saying it's youthful nonsense for her suggesting fighting Mog Chothera
Harm'ny Lightbeard = essentially a cult leader
Curtis = slightly mad male woodsman who according to the trees only wants to destroy things.
Marshall dune = Idiot somehow in charge of the comittee to organise the Maiden's feast in shellmound who has the problem that the sea keeps washing away the large sandcastles he’s trying to play to make the Maiden’s feast arena
Walt'r = Moronic father falling for a cult like belief and dragging his family along to Meriloft with it Ch't who goes along with his father.

Left to right: Vella's Mother, Levinia, Meriloft Maiden.

That's not to say the female characters come off all that much better. 

Vella's mother & Levinia the maiden's feast organiser just want to go along with the Mog Chotera thing because it’s tradition and heritage.
The Shellmound , Meriloft & Sugar Bunting maidens all of whom feel it's an honour to be sacrificed and or a dishonour to not be chosen.

Left to right: M'ggie, Car'l, Vella, Brommel

So beyond Brommel her grandfather who else see’s sense or the madness in their particular situations ?
Well
Car'l the wife of Walt'r who sees this as just another silly phase he’s going through and is trying to make the best of it.
M'ggie the daughter of Walt'r and Car'l who thinks all this is stupid and thinks maybe she just doesn't get it but feels she can't do anything about it.
Vella herself

So what is Mog Chothera ? Well it’s patriarchal oppression of course. A giant Scary monster that initially at least is some kind of formless legend you hear about until you do finally see it.

Look at it beyond one guy who is passed off as a nutter by his peers all the other male characters are either at best apathetic or at worst actively encouraging belief in the Maiden’s feat approach to Mog Chothera and in the case of those in Merlioft other male figure headed enterprises. While the only female characters who see sense in the madness of some of the beliefs are being forced along with them whilst many other female characters accept the narrative they’re told without questioning it.

So those simply going along with the Maiden’s feast belief are in the women that some would call those corrupted by the patriarchy or puppets of the patriarchy and unable or unwilling to actually go against the beliefs generally held in society.

So onto Shay’s story and how it relate to the game industry. Most of the stories surrounding Shay revolve around him getting fed up of childish things and childish games, then being offered the chance to do something better, something more by a wolf. A wolf that represents the film industry, often decried for it’s macho power fantasies already. So the Wolf convinces Shay to act in what Shay believes to be a noble way trying to make the world better. Shay is the games industry and as is implied in the end of Act 1, Shay might not have been doing the good he thought he was. The people he thought he was saving were the Maidens being sent out not to be saved but to the slaughter, Shay was part of Mog Chothera without knowing. As such it can be interpreted as the Games industry trying to grow up, trying to go beyond being a child and treated as such, leaving behind the more child friendly games of say Nintendo and going to the more mature rated games offered by the likes of Microsoft influenced by the film industry. Rather than making things better the games industry was lead astray.

This concludes me presenting the result of my thought experiment.
Now is Broken Age actually a comment upon feminism in the games industry and community and patriarchal oppression ?
I’m going to guess at no, that’s probably not what the game is about, it may simply be a coming of age story of some kind it may simply be a really cool story about how a spaceship is really a giant monster and how perspectives matter.
All that can be said is it’s quite an enjoyable well made point and click game so far and when part two does come out who knows it might answer a lot of these questions. It might entirely change the interpretation of the narrative entirely.

The reason I’m not writing it as a review is well I’ve only played half the game as Act 2 isn’t out yet. I’m almost certain there’s far more to a lot of the stuff that hasn’t yet been revealed such as what on earth Harm'ny Lightbeard is really up to in Meriloft or shock horror maybe the characters aren’t super deep metaphors and are just you know funny characters, not much more ?

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and while I really don’t see what great deeper meaning Tim Schafer is seeing in Anita Sarkeesian videos such that he’s telling people they are must watch material. I’m also not above ruling out that maybe he might not have seen them pulled apart and maybe like the millions who shared the invisible children Kony 2012 campaign maybe he thought he was just doing some good is his own slightly unfortunate way ?

Again just for clarity this is not my take of Broken Age act 1 this is the result of me running a deliberate thought experiment, if you want to believe it then fine go ahead but don’t expect me to back it up as again thought experiment.

Hope you enjoyed this piece as it's a little outside of what I normally do but I somehow felt in the present climate it felt right to do.

 

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So EA has recently has announced itís new idea of a subscription based service for Xbox One.

The system breaks down as follows:

$30 a year to access a library of EA games and play as many as you want or pay $5 for a month for the same.

The system is meant to allow people to purchase it like Xbox Live gold membership meaning you can buy it in a physical shop or online in code form as a one off subscription just for that time.

The system will give a 10% discount on all EA downloadable content with the implication being on demand games on Xbox one.

Saves will be transferrable between EA access and full retail version.

Some games may be available to EA access customers 5-7 days before the retail release of them.

Suggestions indicate the system may also get the 2015 sports games and dragon age Inquisition.

YOU DO NOT NEED EA ACCESS TO PLAY AN EA GAME YOU BOUGHT AT RETAIL.

So I have every right to hate EA, I do, especially recently. I mean EA have let the Battlefield 2142 servers shut down after gamespy went offline, and claimed it was time to move on. Move on to what EA Titanfall ? Battlefield 4 ? Sorry but neither have the mix of combat I want with the ability to call down a giant Ion cannon attack on locations or fight as a boarding party trying to take the enemies giant troop carrier.†

Then we have the Dungeon Keeper Mobile affair. Not only did EA dig up the corpse of a franchise I liked but then put it out on the corner in a cheap dress and asked people to pay up or spend hours waiting to see just how rotted it was and how little was left of the original well loved game. Then to make matters worse EA turned round and claimed it was simply people not understanding itís vision.†



No EA, consumers understood your vision and we all thought this vision was something we werenít going to help you achieve.


However I have in the past written how EA maybe isnít as evil as people think, or at least every now and again something sneaks out that isnít completely terrible.


So with that in mind Iím going to try and look at EA access from three perspectives. The consumer advocate / Garmz jurnalizst †(read idiot with a blog), the downright confused and finally the Fuck you EA you complete evil bastards angle.



So to start with on the consumer advocacy angle I have to come out and say wow, just wow. This is insane industry breaking level of change. $30 for all EA games on the service for a year, this is insane, if you buy one new EA game a year at what $50 then youíre already saving $20 just by doing this and getting access to more games to try. So no matter how much people say ďbut trade insĒ Iíd rather save the $20 immediately than take a gamble about how much Iíll get trade in down the line.

So next the cry has been ďBut itís always onlineĒ to which I have to say, well so are most EA games that people play short of a handful like Dragon Age and Peggle 2. Most of the reason people buy EA games is to play them online like the Battlefield games or Fifa (blech I hate football). You can still buy the retail games and this is merely an option.

Now it also means that EA have to work on improving their games and bug fixing. They canít leave games in the terrible state they have (Battlefield 4) , if they do people will stop subscribing and when potentially people could be paying $5 for 1 month only to try the new game that theyíd normally have bought for $50+ then EA could be seriously hit if they do screw up releases and make buggy games.

This could seriously kill pre-orders, as why pre-order when you could be playing the game early thanks to this service which you might already be subscribed to why bother paying $5 down then $45 for a game when the service youíre paying $30 for gives you the game before itís out anyway ?

Then a 10% discount on DLC on top, this is insane.
Then if you realise that many of EAís yearly franchises could be on this it really means that people can move on more easily to the next iteration each year and it doesnít matter so much as the previous one drops out of popularity. EA are essentially shooting themselves in the foot now each year with the releases as people wonít need to pay full price for the new game.




This all leads me onto the confused angle.

This all makes no sense.
Even people who only buy 1 EA game a year will save money on the $30 model. EA will be losing a lot of money in sales revenue realistically from this especially those who buy multiple sports games a year.

EA have to fix their faults and work hard to make sure their games are good to earn the money and keep people playing and potentially giving them access to a large selection of games.

This makes no sense because EA will be losing money potentially from this in a big way as people pay $5 for their fill the latest Battlefield game then stop.




Now this nicely leads me onto the third angle. Fuck you EA you evil bastards.
Now this angle actually makes me look at this move by EA in a very cynical manner. Iím not going to go with the ďOMG EA ARE Trying TO Control our gamesĒ Move because theyíre not really. This is more of a rental service then a purchase service. Which then makes me think this is a very clever move by EA to kill off or make more money from the rental sector. One which here in the UK the likes of blockbuster have been gouging consumers with rentals costing up to ľ of the full retail price for a mere 2 nights. So could EA be trying to take it share of this cake ?


Now the real fuck you EA †angles comes with me suggesting this is a Trojan horse move.




EA are offering itís games as a service, now every time itís offered games as a service before even full retail games itís lead to one thing. Lots of DLC and or Microtransactions , this could well be EAís giant evil move to offer consumers what appears to be an amazing value service only to then pack all itís games with more DLC, to cut out more content and to add more microtransactions to the games in the name of choice or claiming ďWe need to because of falling profitsĒ . EA could be using this service to introduce consumers to a horrifically exploitative system designed to milk them of money and not only harm those who subscribe but also those who do buy the full retail release. EA arenít stupid, they might be arrogant, incompetent and downright ignorant but one thing they arenít is stupid. EA will have costed this, they must realise how much it will cost them vs how much they will lose and because of the shockingly amazing value of the service then there must be something weíre not being told lurking there behind the scenes.


In the end I have to look at it this way.

Will it convince me any more to buy an Xbox One ?
No because fuck you Microsoft youíre still screwing over indie developers †with the parity clause / system in place.

However would I be interested in this on other systems ?

Maybe. Iím very cautious to see how it goes but maybe in a yearís time once people have seen the system in action, and found out if there is some dark thing lurking there, then I might well want to do this. I mean a nice back catalogue of games like some of the old Dargon Age games. Iíd be tempted to subscribe just to try out some of the games Iíve never felt driven to buy at full retail but saw as something I might enjoy at a far lower cost, even if I only buy and play 1 EA game a year at normal retail Iíd still be saving and get to enjoy more games I might normally not bother with due to the costs of buying them.
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Name: Kim Kardashain: Hollywood

Cost: Your soul and faith in humanity........ sorry I mean totally free

Format: Android and IOS, reviewed on the Samsung Galaxy S3

Review bit:
So Iím back after a break and I needed to break myself into reviews again gently. So Iíve decided to review a highly controversial game which also happens to be some easy low hanging fruit.
Now before I start the review let me help give you an idea of the experience of the game and let me indulge in a bit of my normal stupidity first.




So before you read this review, would you like to sign into google + to share this review

Voice of the Reader: No just get on with the review you useless hack




Ok so maybe youíd like to sign in with your email address instead to help our market research team

Voice of the Reader: What the hell is this bullshit I came here for a game review.





Ok so maybe your email is too personal, how about signing in and sharing it via facebook ?


Voice of the reader: Seriously are you kidding me you stupid smeghead ?




Ok how about sending a tweet out to your followers about this article ?

Voice of the reader: Ok smeg for brains kindly shove your head in a gas oven and turn it on. I came here for a review not to be part of your advertising team you incompetent hack



Ok fine how about you simply rate this review to give other users an idea of your feelings on it ?


Voice of the reader: What in 7 kinds of cola is wrong with you, I came to read a review not be part of your advertising team !

So now Iíve well and truly used that joke to death I should say thatís not so much a joke as it was the first 5 minutes of the game for me. The game pushes and pushes to try and get you to let it use your details. It starts with asking you to sign in with your google account, then the email account listed on your device, then facebook shortly after and then asks you to tweet about it.†


The game is a vapid piece of wait to play rubbish akin to most early facebook games, except this one is more insidious. This game goes above and beyond Candy Crush Saga levels of insidious social marketing methods to spread like a horrifying virus.†


The gameplay is simple, click on things to spend energy, once your energy runs out you then wait for it to refill. When you complete a task the game will shower out collectible icons things which each add to your different consumable resources. In this game they are energy, money and the premium currency star points (which retails at 50 for £3.99 or about $7) your star points of course being useable to refill your energy which costs about 30 star points per refill (or about £2.50 or $4 a refill). So you might be thinking itís fine youíll just wait it out right ? Wrong the game has time dependent activities that use energy. Now initially these activities have low energy requirements and will refill your energy for you with pick ups. After the game has asked for your rating however at about the 15 minute mark then these activities have a sharp increase in energy requirement mostly doubling the required energy and cutting the pick ups by at least ĺ. Itís fine though you donít have to spend real money you can pester the hell out of friends on social media to get them to give you energy you know because misery loves company. Now the third photoshoot alone drained all the energy and saw me waiting for 30 minutes for it to refill enough to finish the job, when the job itself had a 1 hour time limit attached. The game is great at keeping you on the clock constantly by telling you for example ďIn an hour your manager will phone with important informationĒ or ďIn an hour Kim will phone about a party sheís throwingĒ. The game is designed to keep you coming back as often as possible.

After the initial 15 minutes the game also ramps up the cost of things in star points with adopting a cat requiring almost the full 50 points from a small pack. Iím sure further down the line the costs just soar exponentially to try and get people spending more money. To climb the star rankings you take modelling jobs and other work along with dating. Yes the way to climb the social rankings in this game is to date, screw love and companionship itís all about being seen with the right people. †The game further pushes you to spend money by offering your premium content clothing etc which you can buy and I think it runs out to close to that $7 per set of clothes.



Ok so now Iíve talked about the mechanics †itís time to talk about the story, or at least the vague thing that passes as motivation. The game plays out as a vapid and vacuous piece of ego stroking on the part of kim herself. From the star listing placing her as an A list (seriously if Kimís an A lister then Kate Beckingsale is a double S lister) to the initial intro where you keep the store open for her and then give her clothes from the expensive boutique free of charge. The game does offer multiple options for tacking different scenarios but in the initial Kim meeting there is none, your choice is give her free clothes or nothing.




†Infact almost all your rise to fame revolves around Kim in some way with her setting your up with a manger and helping your meet people, it really does portray her as the centre of this fictional Hollywood. †The game also introduces Willow Pape as a rival to you being the snooty diva starlet who starts a grudge with you for various reasons, †playing as a female character (which I picked because something told me playing as a guy somehow would make it seem weird being friends with Kim so quickly ) you end up talking to and being accused of hitting on Willowís ex boyfriend. I will however give credit to whichever cynical member of the design team snuck in the little digs at the absurdity of so much of the game, pointing out how you can get a media relations manager to help manage your public image and the strangely empty photo studios that you sometimes go to with blinds over the window. Someone in the team snuck in these little things because no doubt even they thought this was too stupid to exist as a game without someone poking fun at these. Unfortunately the game is not meant as a parody game but as a somewhat realistic (to an extent) story. The message of this story being to get famous simply date loads of famous people or become friends with a famous person and give them free stuff.



I couldnít end this review section without actually saying this though. Kim Kardashian does lend more than her image to the game. Kim herself has actually done some voice acting for the game which you can hear breaking up the repetitive music. Now while I can say she has played some part in the game beyond image I now have to turn round as say itís the worst voice acting Iíve every heard, worse than Tidus in FF10 and his laughing, worse even than the acting present in the infamous film The Room

Verdict: †Seriously this game is kind of the worst combination of most of the aspects of social pay to wait games all rolled into one. When the best thing I can say about the game is that unlike dungeon keeper it actually lets your rate the game how you like, well that should give you an indication of my feelings on it oh and you have the choice of which gender to play which seems to be something people want in every game rather than a tailored sotry. This is a game designed to keep you on the clock as much as possible while also forcing you to wait, unlike other games like say The Simpsons Tapped out where you can set something up and leave it running then come back 8 hours to a day later, this game is constantly giving you maybe an hour before it needs attention again and again. †While being designed to use these time constraints to attempt to pressure you into paying for fear of failure.



The game feels like it entirely exists to stroke Kim Kardashianís ego and also line her pockets with a reported up to $85 million in the process. Some-one in the development team knew how ridiculous the game was and tried to sneak in a few jabs but even this canít save a game where t tells you the best way to become more famous isnít to be talented but to look good, wear nice stuff and date the right people. Rather than you know being genuinely talented and put in a lot of hard work.†


Score:
1 Out of 6
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Disclaimer

As with all preview pieces this is based upon a short time with a title that is still very much in development as such anything mentioned here is subject to change.

All footage was recorded with a 3 mega pixel camera unless the footage is the developers own trailers.

I did actually get some free pin badges off this developer (there were pin badges on the others to but I only ended up with pin badges from this one)




So take one part Ikaruga and mix it with one part Final Fantasy and throw in a dash of FTL and what you get is Mighty Tactical shooter a turn based bullet hell game. the game starts with the staff on a space station celebrating the completion of the new high tech prototype ship when something goes badly wrong, in the chaos the ship activates itself and grabs one of the nearest people about to pilot the ship.
Here's the intro for you courtesy of the developers own footage




It's up to you using a turn based combat system to fight through waves of enemies to reach the end of the level and take down the huge bosses. The game really does capture the feel of bullet hell shooter with the huge monstrous end of level bosses. It also manages to create a very deep turn based strategy game with plenty of abilities and tactical options.

The gameplay is surprisingly intuitive and deep as you plan your moves. Moving the ships destination icon to where you want but also being able to curve and modify its course to allow for more complex moves. All the time the screen showing where your own shots will go from the standard gun and where the enemies will move to and where their shots will go.

Here's some footage I took and after it I can talk a bit more about specific aspects and show some more of the developers own footage to better illustrate them.



The amazing extra tactics that come into play here compared to other games are the gravity weapons. Most weapons and even enemies are impacted by gravity, so on the ship you have two gravity weapons. A gravity wave which can be deployed to push shots and objects away from it and a gravity well which sucks things in.

Here's a demonstration of the Gravity well in action for you from the developers footage:



That extra level of tactical decision making just pushes the game beyond the norm.

You might also have noticed the nanodust being collected in the video above. This is used by the ship to repair damage using the repair buddy on the left and to use on the on ship production facility to refill certain special weapons such as missiles and gravity weapons. You are awarded nanodust for killing all the enemies present in a wave on screen and then collecting the dropped dust.

The FTL element comes in the form of being able to balance your weapons power and your shield power. More weapons power means you can do more damage and restore your laser quicker while more shield power means your shield can absorb more hits in on go or restore the shield if it's been broken. This further element adds so much to the game as you might find in the middle of a fire fight your shield is broken down and you end up diverting most of your power to restore the shield at the expense of your weapons. The importance being if your shield is down you take damage which takes time and dust to repair. However this is countered by the fact your weapons are less powerful. This dynamic allows for two pretty distinctive approaches to enemies: either you raise the shield and minimise damage or you go on the offence and keep your power as is then try and wipe out the enemy before they wipe you out.

Infact through out the game there are multiple ways to approach many situations. In this footage from the developer you'll see one possible solution to one of the obstacles present in a level.



Now in that footage the other possible solution could have been to loop a missile round and hit that power node. At another point you find yourself faced with falling rocks. you can either shoot them out the way or use a gravity weapon to hold them up until you've passed.

The game has an impressive range of weapons each with different options related to it. For example you can fire your ships guns in a V shape instead of right ahead, heck you can even fire the gun backward if you need to.

This footage from the developer shows just some of the weapons options and shows one of the large end of level bosses.



The cluster missile being shown is quite a cool weapon however the one I think I should highlight is the laser and the mechanics surrounding it. you see rather than set damage per second the laser has a sort of penetration mechanics. The longer you keep the laser on a target the more damage it does. What this does is change your tactics to match the enemies movement to do maximum damage.

The big difference I should say between Mighty Tactical Shooter and FTL is that in Mighty Tactical Shooter your survival is always in your hands. The game won't screw you over or make it impossible to win. If you're good enough you can escape anything an Mighty Tactical Shooter and as such no death ever really feels cheap or unfair. It's a game where skill is what matters not luck.

Now I absolutely fell in love with this game at the show and it is because I'm actually so exceited for this game that I'm going to point out just two little issues I had. Now the game is still very much in early development and as such I'm certain these will not be issue down the line as the game is changing. So much so that you might have noticed the ship looks slightly different sizes in the different video, this was done because people kept bumping into things due to the ships size.

The first issue that I think the game really does need a "baby's first" tutorial. By this I mean a tutorial that breaks everything down to a very simple level, the kind you find in many games there days and people go "Why do I need to learn to jump in a platformer I've been playing them all my life" the difference is here you need to be told about the weapons and you really do need to be introduced to them in such a basic way to allow you to grasp each concept so when you're using all the concepts and mechanics at once you really are prepared. The game does have quite a good tutorial already however I just felt it didn't quite go as deep as it needed to. I think maybe having the option to turn on or off a deeper tutorial or having an entirely separate tutorial to the main campaign could be beneficial initially to new players.

Secondly the game might need an easier difficulty option. Now I'm not saying make the game easier, the default difficulty should stay as it is but I feel it would be nice for the game to offer an ever so slightly easier option. While I'm not great at games I'm not dire either and it has to be said that I really found the game to be tough (I enjoyed it but I still found it tough). A slightly easier option would be useful to make sure players could get used to the game and if default was too hard they'd be able to drop the difficulty until they were practised enough tackle the default level. Heck you could even deliberately change the game and have either the true end or all levels only available on normal and have the game end on easy before then with a message like "Simulation mode over, are you ready for the real thing Pilot ?"

Now I've got that out of the way what I will say is the developer is extremely passionate about this. When I spoke with him he was nervous about having to do a video talking about the game and making sure people could see he was passionate about this. I wish him all the best in doing said video and can honestly say he was extremely passionate about getting his game out there and it was very evident how much he also loved this project.

I really do hope, down the line, Mighty Tactical Shooter does get onto Steam because the game really did just blow me away with how cool a concept it was and how great it looked and played.

Here's the teaser trailer for the game




Mighty Tactical Shooter is planned for release on Steam for PC, Mac and Linux along with a tablet version for IOS and Android devices though the developer is exploring potentially releasing on the Vita, PS4 and Xbone as well.

An estimate of the price sets it at about £3 ($5) on tablet and £5- £8 ( $8- $13.50) on PC with the PC version having more content to justify the higher price than the tablet version. I can say at those prices from what I saw even though it was an in development version it was well worth the price.

for more information on Mighty Tactical Shooter check out the developers website †or the Greenlight page


Or download and play a demo of the present in development version
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