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12:41 PM on 05.17.2015  

I'm fed up of Politics, can we talk about games........... oh.............

Ok we've had the UK general Election recently (for those of you in the US who may not be aware) We've had months of politics on TV. We've had a majority government formed.

Then we had people go out onto the street and desecrate war memorials because the party they wanted didn't win.

 

I see politics as something important and I'm aware that engaging in it is to an extent an important thing to do, at least to keep somewhat up to date (Even if most of my engagement is half watching the news and watching Have I Got News For You). What I'm seeing recently is everything becoming a political battleground. As it seems if you have nothing but politics when your politics fails you do some very stupid things. 

The idea that everything is political and thus we should talk about politics in everything and forcibly start the debate is dumb. It's not some great show of how we're all mature adults now. It's the reason in the past I wrote the Subjective Brutal Legend Review; it's why I wrote my bit about how I Am Bread isn't inclusionary enough; it's why I wrote my parody piece on Minecraft .

 With the insanely huge war seemingly going on over Mad Max (yes really there's ideological wars going on over Mad Max) I thought I'd take this opportunity to point out how fucking stupid this is getting how will I do this you might ask ? Well I'm going to give a list of media or series that have content people could object to if you're the kind of person whose entire life must include you following only pieces of media which do and have always fit your personal politics.

Mad Max - A series which the first film shows the aftermath of an brutal assault and rape of a woman. No I'm not joking, Mad Max 1 is a film few people seem to talk of much but go back and watch and you see a Motorbike gang attack a couple, killing the guy and the girl, well she's left by the roadside extremely traumatised. 

Thor - Racism, no really in one of the Thor comic books Thor throws a radioactive villain at China and the Villain then explodes in a mushroom cloud.

Superman - Oh you though DC were all nice? How about their slap a Japanese person campaign

 

 The Hobbit (films) - Animal cruelty. Did you know during the Hobbit films 27 of the animals you see at various points died during filming ? Well they did and not due to natural causes. Causes included a mix of neglect, exhaustion and dehydration. Well done enjoy supporting a film that failed to look after it's animals.

 The Passion of the Christ - Anti Semitism

Jeepers Creepers - The Director is a convicted sex offender

 

It seems any media property which displays anything is now being claimed by people as "one of ours". You think I'm joking I recently found this on a very social justice centric subreddit.

 

 Yes suddenly anything that in any way relates to any of their politics must mean the author unwaveringly supports all the insane ideas tht SJW warriors put forward. Oh and this is including a number of them who want JK Rowling to re-write Harry Potter to include more diversity such and Hogwarts students with severe disabilites because trying to pressure an author to re-write your world view is apparently now fine because "Diversity".

Oh and I can hear it now.

"But this is cultural criticism, how dare you try to supress criticism"

and I'm not trying to, I'm pointing out criticising the political message in a piece of media is low hanging fruit that even a Neanderthal like me can do (see previously linked blogs) . If you want to play yourself off as a high art critic then picking off low hanging fruit is not the way to do it. Hell some would say criticising a piece of art for not having the political message you wanted is downright  entitled , exclusionary and close minded. It's almost the most bonkers thing as though people are so uncertain of their politics they require all media to constantly reassure them about it. Or reassure themselves they are somehow not the monster they often choose the paint other people as for "microaggressions" (Which has now been expanded to include: asking questions people don't want to answer, teachers correcting students spelling and being white and sitting in a room). Infact in his near 50 page essay on the subject Oscar Wilde notes that the idea of criticising a piece of work for not agreeing with your own politics is a poor critic who cannot appreciate art or other peoples points of view. Oscar Wilde points out that criticism should be about execution and portrayal or themes an ideas not if you think said themes and ideas are particularly good ones. I mean for fucks sakes here in the UK on a new (as of now most likely dead) attempt to bring video games back to TV audiences one reviewer on the show was lamenting how Battlefield Hardline wasn't a politically charged takedown of the over militarisation of US police. I mean seriously what the hell. When I'm seeing that on TV I have to stop and ask if it's a game you want or a deliberate piece of political propaganda to make yourself feel good while you sniff your own farts.

I want to share an old Churchill quote with you

 

 What do I mean? Well the idea of the great fight for the purest of equality now says parents being good parents and reading to their children is unfair because other parents (you know the ones who don't give a shit) won't and thus one child may be at an unfair advantage. To this I was "Welcome to the world we live in where people do compete for jobs and positions, we don't live in a grand socialist utopia because all people are different. So expecting everyone to simply behave like the lowest common denominator to make things equal is inherently denying peoples hard work and effort." So no it's not equality to attack Notch and then try to get money out of him, it's damn near emotional blackmail.

 

It seems to some that my existence (and that of many other people) is seen as a crime I should be judged guilty of and as such rely on using that guilt to leverage agreement or even money from me and others who they claim are "privilaged". Is that not just a bit undermining to you know principals of having your work seen as good on its own merit and not trying to get support via guilt. Oh but that would require skill and work and you know, whose got the time or patience to do that when you can cry oppression at any criticism and try to guilt people into supporting you or else you'll try to tar them as a horrible monster. It seems social justice is as far from liberal as you can get as no longer are people free to spend their money as they like. They're being pressured to spend it on certain things with the idea of a terrible "Or Else" hanging over their heads.

At some point people have to learn that the entirity of adult life isn't merely talking about politics and talking politics doesn't make you a mature adult. Stepping back from the politics about being able to laugh is an important thing (that's laugh not merely jeer and mock those who don't agree and claim it's all fair cause comedy, then whine if someone does it to you). Then again I am from a country who had this on TV the night before the election.


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12:26 PM on 05.11.2015  

Preview: BFF or Die

Disclaimer

  • The preview footage presented is of the Alpha (0.2) build of BFF or Die
  • Footage has been captured in 30 FPS the game itself on my system ran at around 60 FPS consistently and this is in Alpha still
  • Any frame drops apparent in footage are due to recording using a different method than my computers standard internal capture system (The game is so new I couldn't use AMD graphics card capture)
  • Unlike other previews this preview does not feature footage from the show floor. I did record footage but given the opportunity to download the demo I chose to capture better quality footage.
  • Unlike other previews I spent quite a bit of time with the demo for this game just not at the show.

This is the first time I've decided to do this here on Destructoid I'm now putting in  video version of what's mostly written below. The video does have adverts enabled so it's up to you if you want to watch the video and give me nice ego stroking views, or read the rest of this article.

BFF or Die is a co-operative Puzzle adventure game by Honey Tribe Studios which tasks you with playing a group of time travellers whose ship has crashed somewhere in in the past. Each level requires you to collect all the fuel in a maze and then have to high five to finish the level.
 
As you progress you gain access to more of the ships gadgets and are required to use them to navigate the mazes.
 
Now before I carry on I think it's time for the preview footage so you can see what I'm talking about. (No adverts on this video but no commentary either just)
     

Now you may have noticed the game is designed with controller sharing in the controls which is an interesting idea and almost seems custom made to allow shows like How to with Joel and Adam Or Play Pals  to really be able to showcase the game. Oh and just to be clear no I'm not saying this is a youtuber bait game I'm saying it's a game that could be used by such shows simply due to the controls. You can play the game single player but to quote the developer recently on twitter "You need ninja skills so yes for the really hardcore gamers out there that's a challenge for you already to try and complete the demo solo (it is possible I have done it).

What makes the game is the different roles. With two players one of you will be running through the maze while the other will be working the gadgets on the ship. In the Demo the gadgets are as followers: Spotlight to see the maze; deployable decoy activated by shinning the light on an enemy and pressing action; a grabber that allows you to lift objects up and even over walls; a teleporter which lets you set up a single use teleport to move about and a jump block that is activated by the spotlight and lets you jump over walls etc. Now the teleporter and the grabber arm have second uses with the teleporter able to drop stun bombs that stun enemies for 2 seconds and the grabber arm able to destroy walls on the level. Oh course only on a few levels in the demo do you have access to everything, so while one player is running round the maze and dodging enemies the other is acting as their support trying to keep a light on them or keep enemies off them while they gather the required fuel. If you are playing single player that means trying to keep the maze runner alive while you switch positions on the ship to activate different gadgets. Obviously with more players it would be easier as you're able to have people operating individual gadgets and thus have both the light and say grabber arm in use at once. Each gadget has it's own power gauge too thus limiting it's use slightly to prevent you spamming say the decoy. On the later levels of the demo managing the power (which does regenerate over time) become a real part of the game as you desperately try to stay alive long enough to be able to distract enemies with the decoy again.

While you can probably tell the game is still clearly in alpha by the lack of actual animations on the main playable characters it seems to be progressing well. In the full 30 level demo I ran into only two minor glitches. One being around level 15 -17 where if your character was stuck on a wall as it raised up then you could float above all the walls and still collect fuel ignoring the maze. The second was on a level between 17-23 where the enemy didn't leave the doorway and thus the door shut with the enemy still behind it blocking them from entering the level.

The game really is a balancing act and a fun one at that. With the 3 types of enemies in the demo it pushes you to try and keep the different enemies from reaching you. The mummy enemies walk round following the maze path to reach whoever is in the maze, they also follow the paths to the decoy. The blobs will move towards the decoy round the maze but otherwise don't move. The final enemy type in the demo, the ghost, moves directly to whoever is in the maze ignoring the maze walls entirely. If you get caught by a enemy then your character turns white and is essentially petrified, you can however be revived if another player / character can reach you. If the person / people in the maze get caught the monsters will then come for whoever is in the ship working the gadgets.

What I will say more towards the developer is I really hope being on console is part of the plan for this game as it would seemingly sit perfectly with the idea of console couch Co-op gaming. I'll also say that for PC you really will need to put in some kind of online mode at least in the present PC gaming environment. It's not that common for people to gather round a single PC to play Co-op games at present. If the PC gaming environment will hugely change with Steam Machines is unknown and as such and uncertain risk so online co-op is at this stage almost a requirement.

For those who want to know more have a look at the developers website  where there are plenty of other video of people playing the game and footage of the developer working on the game itself so you can see it's progress. Or you can reach the developer on Twitter @HoneytribeStu. Or go download the demo  honestly it's a good hour or more of gameplay already and it's only the demo.



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5:22 PM on 05.08.2015  

And so it starts again.

"Comic books lead to a rise in youth delinquency". So was the call of a book by psychologist Fredrick Wertham. A book called Seduction of the Innocent which contained a number of claims about the impact of comic books. None of the claims based on actual peer reviewed scientific papers. People merely saw an "expert" and due to social conditioning chose not to question it. This is the basis of almost every social engineering scam known today, it relies on people believing people are honest both about who they are and what they say. It relies on the idea that people do not have a bias and are being honest good and truthful and not questioning things. We don't live in that world. I mean it's almost pure comedy that the same people who talk about the need for critical thinking are the same group who for a while tried push this.

 So why after having talked about the comics code authority in the past and the damage done am I again here and again talking about them. Well a psychologist is about to do almost the exact same to video games. Here's an interview taken from BBC Radio 4 with Dr Zimbardo the author of upcoming book Man (Dis)connected.

  I'm almost waiting for certain companies to pick up and use to claim gaming needs to change and is harmful etc. (Looking at you Polygon). As you can hopefully hear in the interview at least this time there are other academics etc fighting and challenging the book.

You might have also noticed a similarity between the comments of another individual who objected to violent video games in the not too distant past.

 

Yes the exact same claim about changing brain activity was brought up once again by this psychologist as was done by Jack Thompson. Yes I thought it was time to give you that again just to remind people of the past. The claim brought up again and again by people is "Media affects people" well yes, it does. Media can make us feel happy, sad scared safe and run the gamete of human emotions. But here's the important piece of reasoning people forget. After a sad film are you permanently sad? Ok are you permanently in a state of terror after a scary film? Putting someone into an MRI machine having just played video games will show changes in brain activity, just like putting someone into an MRI machine having played sport would or having gone to watch Disney's Frozen. So yes media affects people, but are we really going to turn round and say media being able to illicit emotional responses is going to be the downfall of our society? I mean what kind of crazy people would see suppression of emotions and human nature as a good thing.

  

What you knew I had to do that at some point. But on a more serious note being able to differentiate between feelings and logical reasoning is an important distinction to make in term of attempting some degree o objectivity based arguments. Using logic and reasoning doesn't mean you have t suppress emotions, just don't let your emotions cloud your entire judgement. Emotions such as fear are what has allowed Humanity to survive as a species. So before every-one goes entirely moral panic mad (as many no doubt will when this book releases) I think it only Fair to close off this piece with a clip from Penn & Teller.

 


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4:34 PM on 05.06.2015  

Review: Broken Age Act 1& 2 mostly spoiler free

Name: Broken Age Act 1 & 2

Cost: £18.99 / $24.99 on PC

Reviewed on PC

Review bit:

Ok Tim Schafer has said he wants Broken Age Act 1 & Act 2 to be reviewed and rated as a singular package. I'm not going to do this because honestly this feels like two separate games. If Broken Age were a film I'd have compared it toGuest House Paradiso, which I looked at on my other blog a while ago. Broken Age feels like an Alfred Hitchcock film that was left unfinished only to be completed by Michael Bay.  So what I'm going to do is this is the Spoiler Free version of this review, if you so want you can read the more detailed Spoiler filled version on my own site (as I can't really have a hidden C-blog to link to and don't want to spam the C-blog feed with two in one day) if you're not content with this one and don't mind having the game spoilt for you.

Story wise Act 1 does a brilliant job setting up then revealing the big twist and setting up the characters and locations. Shay's story plays out like a strange mystery game as you try to find out the truth of Shay's situation. Vella's story plays out like a grand sprawling adventure as Vella sets out to take down a monster.

In Act 2 however the main story threads seem to be thrown aside or at least relegate to small comments with little true explanation or satisfying conclusion that ties up all the nice loose ends. A few plot threads are tied up but oddly not the main one. Act 2 not only leaves you with many questions from act 1 but also brings up its own series of brand new question. The big question being why the hell everything changed ? The timeframe between Act 1 & Act 2 is meant to be a matter of minutes or hours at most, yet people have changed, in some situations fairly dramatically. Vella's family have somehow managed to easily follow and catch up with her along with launching a missing person's campaign.Broken Age Act 2 feels like it's taking place the near 1 year's worth after Act 1 the game is in actual time. This creates a big feeling of disconnect between the two. Act 2 seemingly replacing much the intrigue and answers with flashy explosions and almost action scenes, I wish I were joking here.

Gameplay wise Broken Age act 1 received much criticism from many people for being a little too easy. I would say I kind of agree as a smashed through Act 1 getting stuck on a single puzzle and finishing the game in around 4 hours. The only puzzle which caused problems in Act 1 required combining items (which the game hadn't much up to that point) and a slightly sort of warped logic which still made sense. In Act 2 it felt like a lot of busy work walking through the areas with many of the puzzles relying much more on obscure little things people say on Shay's side and on Vella's side it's often about finding the small bits of the scenery you can interact with. Act 2 brings in two new things, firstly using items from the inventory directly by double clicking on them and secondly puzzles which can only be solved by playing through both stories part by part.

 In Act 1 the puzzles could be said to be simple, however for the most part they made logical sense in the narrative, inAct 2 switching between characters to solve puzzles really makes you feel like you're playing a game and not part of two epic stories inter-twined. In Act 1 while the stories crossed over there wasn't a point where one character magically gained knowledge based on the others actions. 

In Act 2 some of the more deplorable puzzles require you to find information as one character then remember it and switch to the other character and use the knowledge you as a player have gained. That's the problem though it makes you feel like a player and not like you're the character trying to solves the puzzles in a way which could make logical sense in their own individual stories. By making Act 2 feel like a game and not characters stories it's hard not to feel ludonarrative dissonance at times at the disconnect between the story and the gameplay as from a story perspective the characters don't learn so much as magically gain the knowledge they need thanks to the player imparting that knowledge. Playing Act 2 over a year on from act one also has its own problems as many times the game calls back to knowledge and information in Act 1 and again often only tiny little comments that were made.

I'm not some puzzle game noob, I've played a good portion of some Broken Sword games, I've played some of Sam and Max, I've finished the old Famous Five point and click and even finished Machinarium. I've recently clockedDetective Grimoire (review coming in the future) after looking up the location of a single item which I'd been unable to find. I've solved multiple room escape games with varying degree's of insane puzzles. I'm not some puzzle game noob but the puzzles in Broken Age Act 2 had me reaching for a guide in some places. The big problem being mostly in the presentation of the puzzles as Act 2 and the requirement in some cases to switch between the two stories to gain the required knowledge. In some parts of Act two the puzzle and problems you come across are very much a game of merely trying to find quite which bit of the environment to interact with. 

Act 2 also has a significant amount of  traipsing from one area to another then backtracking with newly found information to unlock different interactions. Some of the puzzles in Act 2 also feel like repeats of previous puzzles such as using teleporters  in a certain order or using certain natural products to harden things. It's very clear playing through Act 2 that playing through Act 1 and Act 2 at once is far better than trying to play Act 2 over a year later however the problem will be the similar puzzles / repeated puzzle elements would stand out far more (Over a year on and I'm managing to point out similar elements). Broken Age act 1 is possible to complete with little struggle without referring to a guide, Act 2 however does start to become a case of trying to read the mind of the designer and realise what they wanted you to do, even if in the game it doesn't make a huge amount of sense. One particularly nasty puzzle requires you to do something in Act 2 which in Act 1 of the game causes a game over, that's right in Act 2 the rules change and the puzzle in question requires you to do nothing for 2 minutes in a situation which in Act 1 killed you.

Verdict:

Broken Age was clearly meant to be played through in one got with both acts yet at the same time Act 2 repeats some puzzle elements of Act 1 doing rehashed versions of them almost. Mechanically and story wise Act 1 and Act 2 fail to remain consistent with Act 2 bringing in a new mechanics including the character switching puzzles. Character Switching puzzles which cause the game to lose internal logical consistency and disconnect the player making you clearly feel like you're playing a game. Act 2 seemingly introduces less new locations and characters and mostly re-uses previous ones with some changes yet there's seemingly no consistency in the story or characters as over the course of minutes or hours between Act 1 and Act 2 in game time some characters have undergone quite vast changes while others have remained almost unchanged. While Act 1 clocked in with me at a short 4 hours act 2 took me 7 hours to finish the problem is it wasn't much longer it just took longer due to more back tracking, busy work and more obscure more logic bending puzzles. Most likely anyone with a lower tolerance of annoyance before reaching for a guide will finish the game far quicker than 7 hours.

Broken Age Act 1 and Act 2 feel like different games. One being a well done if slightly easy game with a story of intrigue and the other half being a game of obscure puzzles which create a feeling of ludonarrative dissonance which throws out deep plot development in favour of flashy action sequences and explosions.

Did I enjoy my time with Broken Age ? Act 1 I did, Act 2 felt like a slog due to the story disconnection and the moments of actual story seemingly not explaining many if any of the multitude of questions that come about.

Can I recommend Broken Age as a whole ? Well no as people who want these cool stories will be let down by Act 2and people who want plenty of different innovative puzzles will find plenty of elements and themes being repeated included one part where the same puzzle concept is used 3 times in Act 2.   

When the only way to logically explain how characters can magically do something or gain information they wouldn't know in the game in any natural way, without simply going "it's a game,  is to suggest magical psychic powers. Well you know you've jumped the giant Mog Chotera monster into being just plain silly.

The Visuals are nice and the voice acting for the most part fine but the story and the gameplay just come into conflict such that the story suffers. Yet the lack of logical consistency often means the gameplay and puzzles suffer as they become frustratingly obscure or even counter intuitive.

Score

Act 1

Act 2

Overall



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4:40 PM on 05.05.2015  

#Gamergate and the price of freedom

So Gamergate is still going. However I’ve noticed an interesting argument being used again and again by those staunchly opposed to it.

“Is it worth it? Worth all the damage?”

It seems like such a simple question very much akin to asking if the ends justify the means. The problem is in this case while Gamergate isn’t perfect, it’s not been the one to cause most of the damage. Most of the damage comes from poor media reporting, pushing of narratives and spreading round ignorance. The media is doing the damgae itself. and as such people are saying “If you hadn’t opposed the journalist no damage would have been done so you’re to blame”.

Who has been the one saying gaming is full of just Straight White Men ? It’s not those in #Gamergate, heck in Gamergate many women and people of colour formed an additional hastag #Notyourshield. The idea behind that was simple to say that the media cannot defend its vile stereotyping actions by claiming they represented “minorities”, or that this was somehow for some greater good.

What the media managed to do was tell people they’re not welcome by making false allegations and listening to those whose only interest was pity funding and profiting out of this. Now many in the media will defend their reporting as public interest. Ok fair enough but maybe the public would be interested to actually learn about what people in Gamergate are fighting for in this consumer revolt turned culture war.

The simple answer is freedom. The freedom for a growing medium to tell stories. The freedom for artists to tell the stories they want. Stories such as those we take for granted in other media.

How fair is it to deny a storyteller access to all the tools because he has chosen a newer medium ?

This is the big problem people keep saying how video games need to grow up. That’s not the problem. The problem is people need to let video games grow up.

 

 

Video games are no longer simply a child’s toy they are a medium in their own right. A medium that just overtook film as the most popular form of entertainment.

When people ask

“Is it worth it? Worth all the damage?”

What appears to be their motive is the mistaken belief that #Gamergate doesn't support diversity in games.

Now no one person can speak for everyone but I’d say confidently that most of gamergates supports have no issue with diversity. What they have an issue with is diversity for diversities sake and simply using tokenism to mask underlying issues such as poor writing the idea of

“You can’t criticise that character, they’re female”

As if that somehow defends poor writing. I myself recently traded in a copy of the video game WET which I’d finished. I still own copies of Mirrors Edge,Beyond Good and Evil, Primal, Infamous first light and the new Tombraidergame. It doesn't bother me that the protagonist doesn't look just like me heck in video games you can end up playing aliens from other planets. If people really only cared about having a character look just like them then ask yourself this. Why on earth is World of Warcraft so popular ?

 

I doubt many people in the world look like this.

 Diversity in games is a good thing and was becoming more common. The problem is certain people chose to start objecting the characters for seemingly arbitrary reasons.

 

Publishers got scared of being attacked because they didn't make some super perfect female Avatar but made a real character with depth and some people didn't like the depth.

Hell I bet the same people criticising female characters would even take objection to Loadout’s Helga.

 

The price is not diversity vanishing from games or being stomped out.

 How on Earth would a push for better ethics stomp this out ? Because you feel the only way to achieve it is to lie to customers and try to manipulate the market using the media ?

I thought I had little faith in humanity, but I'm not the one who feels the need to try and Shepard people around and control them and hide anything that might make them think freely.

 So when people ask

“Is it worth it? Worth all the damage?”

I can’t help but look at other mediums and see what happened there. I've written about this before, be it the Hays Code in films or the Comics Code Authority. Censoring and trying to restrict the new medium on the block has happened and kept happening in history. What video games did differently to those forms of media was it acted to self regulate with a ratings system rather than an arbitrary banned list of content. Video games were designed and allowed to avoid harsh morally motivated restrictions.

When you look at comic books and see that for example Batwoman being raped is considered controversial, but only just now ok to have as a story. Well it shows the damage the comics code authority did to the medium that this is considered to be treading new ground.

 

The comics code authority was brought in, in 1954 and was fully disbanded in 2011. Over time the Comics Code did relax the censorship of comics starting on 1971 and continuing relaxations with major relaxations happening in the 1990's. Comics books starting to become popularised in the 1930s.

The comics Code authority was brought in by one man making unsubstantiated claims about comics and how they would corrupt people and others believing these claims on faith alone. If you let ignorance spread, it will and it will grow.

 
 

It’s a very similar message to the claims about how harmful comic books were and how they were corrupting people. Except this time it’s not a book like Corruption of the Innocent that’s spreading false information, it’s a webseries by someone claiming to be an academic. Yet ask yourself this, if they are such a good academic, there are plenty of research funds out there so why not get funding through traditional means to accomplish the research ?

The simple answer is because what’s being passed off as academic research an analysis would never truly stand up in academia, where claims need to be verified and proven. Where you need to be critical of different interpretations that could go against your own work and conclusions.

So

“Is it worth it? Worth all the damage to the perception of gaming being done by people standig up and saying no to people?”

I have to answer 100% yes. Because as was seen with films and comic books the damage of not standing up for freedom is far worse. It took comics nearly 20 years to be able to have a comic published tackling merely the idea of some-one taking drugs (even showing it negatively). Once censorship happens it takes a far braver person to stand up and fight back once it’s in place.

 What Gamergate is against is the modern day Mary Whitehouses who seek to have games censored or banned. I know what someone is going to now say “Anita doesn't want to take games away” and to that I say I’m sure she doesn't however many following her ideology do as was seen with Grand Theft Auto V . If people don’t stand up against the ignorance then it allows the ignorant to be on control.

 

As almost anyone will tell you art is more than some simple message. Art’s worth is more than if you feel the message is one you like or not. Taking art and reducing it down to some academic analysis of it’s worth is the kind of thing films regularly ridicule.

Art is meant to offend. Art can and does challenge ideas. Most of all though art is freedom to do those things or not. The worth of art is not in if you agree with it but in that said ideas could be expressed in the first place.

Games shouldn't be made to appeal just to me. Nor should game be made merely to appeal to Ms Sarkeesian or Jonathan McIntosh or the others who follow their ideology that all games should be some super safe thing.

 

Because I have a radical idea for you. Maybe just maybe sex being seen as some huge taboo is part of the problem? As such people confuse Sexy for Sexist.

 

Video games are now a bigger industry than film and yet in film would you say all horror films should appeal to romance film fans ? Would you say all sci-Fi films should appeal to fans of musicals ?

It’s insane to think about it right. However that’s just what is going on here the idea that every game should be something everyone should enjoy. The idea that something is inherently bad or wrong for not specifically appealing to you.

I dislike Mamma Mia but that doesn't mean I cant understand it’s existence. Just because I don’t like something I do go round claiming it shouldn’t exist or it’s “problematic in it’s existence” 

What makes games different to other media is they require learning, they have entry requirements to fully appreciate them. I’ll let Dara O’Briain explain it

So as I’ve said before they shouldn't be turned into glorified PSA’s simply for those who do not understand them.

Would you ask Shakespeare to be made so it was far easier for school children? Or would you teach the children to understand it?

Would you want all the killing fighting and death in Romeo and Juliet to be edited out and a super happy ending put in because it might upset people?

You can’t keep people wrapped up in a bubble forever and never expose them to something that may make them feel sad. Emotions both happy and sad are part of the human experience.

So I now put it to you dear reader who has got this far.

Is it worth it? Worth all the damage to sit and let an artistic medium be neutered. Worth stunting the growth of an entire medium by 30 years or more just because someone might have to feel something at some point ?


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10:05 PM on 04.13.2015  

Wild predictions about Nintendo's NX using butts and how Amiibos die

 

Using the power of both logic and Pygomancy, I've decided to take some wild stabs in the dark and try to speculate what the insane minds at Nintendo will dream up and what we'll see from Nintendo's new console .

Now the first hugely important piece of information is Nintendo announcing their partnership with a mobile phone maker. It may not seem huge initially but hopefully I can explain a possible scenario of what may be going on. You see I don't believe this is Nintendo just following the money train. The mobile company may relate quite a bit to the next console. Amiibos use a near field system based on the idea of Radio Frequency Identification system (RFID) used in many other applications. As well as show security systems another system set to use RFID are contact less payment methods. One such RFID capable system which is used in some parts of the world already to allow payment for goods are mobile phones. That's right the phone in your pocket has an RFID system with similar capabilities of an Amiibo, except a phones system is programmable to an extent and can allow two way data exchange. Now the idea of Nintendo using the RFID system in your phone sounds a little over imaginative, that is until you realise Nintendo have been not so secretly testing the capabilities of data exchange systems for years and I bet plenty of you have been helping them. I am of course talking about the 3DS and its street pass system which while not using RFID does use a short range wi-fi style signal the same kind of technology also found in some modern smartphones.

 

Nintendo has known for a while Amiibos can't last forever and as people already talk about how they're fed up with them, even those who were really into them initially so what Nintendo may be about to do is genius. I predict that Nintendo will be putting RFID use and short range wi-fi use into their smartphone games and give the functionality of an Amiibo to a digital app or mobile game you buy.

 This sound insane but if you think about it this really is nothing new. What Nintendo would do would be the first company to fully utilise it. As far back as the Dreamcast (and of course the Playstation One mobile memory card) companies were looking for ways people could take games on the go with them and then still have made progress, in one form or another on their console games. The two examples that spring the mind were Chao's quest and the Powerstone mini games . Chao's quest being where you could train your Sonic Adventure Chao characters and get weird fruit and other stuff  on a short maybe 1/2 to 1 hour adventure. Powerstone's VMU game being a series of little minigames which unlocked full game items. So if you've spotted the pattern already you'll see the true genius of what  Nintendo may be about to do . Short quite simplistic games. Games that allow you to unlock things in the main titles. Nintendo is about to take the idea of the companion app and make it functional and actually desirable.

Companion apps themselves are nothing new from the Mass Effect companion apps to Evolve Hunters Quest and even to the Watchdogs Ctos systems game, all of them have been trying to find a way to cross over between mobile and console. With Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare and other games trying to find ways to implement tablets into the games and gameplay itself. The WiiU was also testing these kind of concepts with it's tablet controller. Finding out what works and what doesn't. Amiibos themselves were testing things as I've heard from many people about the disparity in what Amiibos unlock in certain games with some giving a single rupee in Hyrule Warriors and others giving an entirely different costume in other games. Nintendo were testing and listening to people (if they were smart) and taking this feedback given free in many places online and putting it towards the next system. Even on the likes of the Podquisition there has been talk of good and bad Amiibo implementation, so Nintendo would be foolish not to be using this to influence their next console.

 Just think for a moment what Nintendo might be able to make. Imagine say a console based Pokemon game where instead of daycare you could transfer them to your phone and look after them while out and about Tamogochi style. Yes I'm suggestion Nintendo might make a Pokemon Tamagochi app. This would even make sense as there has been a slight resurgence in the popularity of Tamogochi with apps on tablets for them.

 It's genius really as Nintendo could well be adapting to the simplicity of mobile games and rather than make it a downside actually turn it into a positive as progress on them contributes back to the main console game. Or buying an app gives you something that can be transferred to other console games along with it. Nintendo may have found a way to cut out the need to make expensive plastic figures and program in RFID chips and instead have found a way to use what many people already have to do the exact same thing. So the death of Amiibos is a stepping stone to this new way of approaching mobile games an companion apps, all based round ideas that have been about since the Dreamcast. It's not even as though Nintedo don't have a nice collection of quite simple games they've been dusting off and selling again and again for years many of which would work quite well on tablet I'm sure.

 

Hell you know what I recently got to try and not feel sick after using ? Mobile phone based stereoscopic gaming using a VR headset which is basically just a holder for your phone. With the WiiU Nintendo tested the viability of streaming gameplay to another smaller screen. So by going into the mobile market Nintendo could well be hedging their bets with the VR market by going into a market where they can foreseeable enter into VR without needing to throw their hat into the ring with a major company or make their own kit. If there is to be a future in VR gaming I have to say I think it's going to be based round using other technology with few people paying the what $200 price most other VR will cost. Especially when my experience with VR on using a phone war far superior to my experience with the Oculus rift (admittedly I haven't tried the Dev Kit 2 Oculus yet though).

                             

However until next year with Nintendo's big reveal all we can really do is sit round scratching out collective butts as this remains just a theory.


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10:07 AM on 04.12.2015  

Review: Claire - Horror has a new queen

Name: Claire

Price: £6.99 /  $9.99

Format:  PC (available from Steam and Desura)

PC specs used can be found in this sites FAQ section

Review: 

Ok I got a request to review this game and honestly I was more than happy to do it as Claire is a game I had seen about and while it looked nice I never really felt like trying it. The simple reason is I thought looking at the game initially it would be quite tame. After the whole thing of Beyond the Sleep turning out to have a twist like ending and not being some super horror game you could say I was gun shy. Beyond the Sleep was a game I had planned to get and after I ran into the ending (I forget how but I didn't plan it), I really didn't feel a compulsion to play the game or many other horror game. Now I had planned to look at Lone Survivor but then that's really well known. So when I suggested people take a look at Claire and one person asked me "Well why should we beyond the developer sticking up for their consumers?" I had to say to myself fair point. Hence this review.

Now I know a lot of people are going to shout from the roof "Nepotism" because of this review and let me say this. The developer standing up for their customers earned me buying the game and suggesting others look at it. It was a person asking for a review of the game that spurred me to actually do a review. Now I could have just done a quick forum review of the game and moved on. It's a testament to the game itself that I'm choosing to give it a full review here. Some of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed I announced the delay, the reason for this is I really wanted to explore the game more. 

Now I did miss a few bits, if the developer is reading this I missed the guy in the school bathroom and still can't find where he is, help please! I did however really enjoy the game and it's possible to get the best ending (Ending A) without an absolutely perfect run which is good as it's quite easy to miss things even if you were trying to comb every inch of the game like me. This is a game having reviewed (and pushed myself through) I can see myself coming back to in the future and not feeling quite as pressured in the playthrough. Claire is a game you savour not rush to the finish line on. My playthrough missing a few bits took a little over 4 hours. Now thanks to me being a save scummer and repeating some sections etc my total play time is closer to 7 hours. I'd say 4 hours for your first playthrough 5-6 if you're going for 100% first try.

So I think it's only fair I get onto talking about the game itself. Claire is an instruction manual titled "How to make a working horror game beat for beat". If Five Nights at Freddy's is the king of Jumpscare horror then I have to declare that this generations Queen of psychological horror is Claire. Everything works so well to unsettle and disturb the player. I consider myself someone that's hard to effectively scare: I've played horror games before mostly to no effect; I've walked alone through a fairly secluded area of forest in the black of night; I've stayed in essentially a small log cabin in the middle of a forest with a metal shutter for one of the windows and watched the film Dog Soldiers then walked 15 minutes in pitch black through a forest area to say hi to people on a campsite. Those things didn't scare me, Claire did. I started playing Claire in broad daylight at 3pm in the afternoon with headphones on and the game is so well made it had me almost shaking in fear. Only 1 other game has ever inspired such fear in me and it's the game Call of Cthulhu. Claire is just so well designed to inspire dead from the dark mist like shadows lapping at the edge of the screen to the enemies that let out an unsettling screeching noise to the music itself, which when used often inspires dread. The limited ball of light provided by the lighter and need to conserve the torch power helps the darkness feel ominous, all consuming and oppressing in on you from all sides. 

The Monsters themselves while they shouldn't be terrifying do manage to come off as such, not instantly repulsive but they feel horrifying on a deeper almost primeval level. When they appear suddenly all your instincts are to be afraid of them. This deep seated fear is a testament to their design with a sinewy twisted shadowy forms. Their movement is unlike anything else in the game creating a confusion of slightly blurred movement. The monster even play into the idea of the uncanny valley a bit by seeming so much like a discernible identifiable something but being just different enough and indefinable enough that  your body itself screams these things are wrong. While most of the enemies pose little threat they're so well designed they inspire fear and dread be it when your dog barks to warn you about them (and set you n edge) or when they've chased you out of a door. Even when you've left a room having been chased out you hear them banging on the door before breaking through to continue the chase, forcing you to try and lose them in the labyrinth like levels or hide if, you can find a place.

The level designs themselves are also a great demonstration of how to do horror well, not just for the theme of each level. Each level while seemingly playing on a near trope level standard horror location shows how with a few minor changes such locations can be made horrifying. It's not so much about horrifying images but changing things enough to make the players mind constantly tell them that the location isn't right be it from a quite dirty run down hospital to a near empty school or a dark foreboding apartment complex, all are familiar yet also wrong. With each level having a vague story in it's own right and talking about how this loosely connects to Claire's own life story.

I've seen plenty of people complain about the pacing and honestly I think the slower pacing and lack of constant scares helps build the tension up. While you may feel the actual scares and monsters are a distance apart the game does an expert job of keeping you on edge and unsettled.

I also need to give credit to the games art as while it is a retro art style the animations are superb. From Claire moving the torch about to the idle animations almost all the in game animations look beautifully created.

The story itself (which I won't spoil) is almost a master piece and really pulls at the heart strings in places making you feel sorry for the characters all trapped in this horrifying place. Each character seemingly having their own story and tale to tell all of it mounting up and adding to the main story and explaining the warped world of the game. These are not merely some stock characters but feel like real people with real world problems who reacted in a fairly realistic way to them. I don't want to say more lest I spoil it.

Ok so enough of me gushing about how this game is some superb horror experience as to say the game is perfect would be a lie. The game does have a number of issues which can hamper the experience or minor changes which could greatly improve it.

The controls are a big problem for a number of reasons. For whatever reason on my system the mouse seemed to suffer some degree of mouse lag and as such this is a game I can only recommend playing with a controller. The problem is the controller set up itself has a few problems and a case of multiple actions bound together. This would be fine if you could change the controls but for whatever reason on my system only the keyboard controls can be rebound and not the controller buttons. The big issue being that the accept button for menu control is the same button as interact. This wouldn't be such an issue if being in a menu paused the game but it doesn't. Multiple times I found myself accidentally coming out of hiding while trying to check my map or accidentally entering rooms while trying to look at note, maybe this could have been solved by having accept be bind able to another button (or key on the keyboard settings), or having the menu accept button being different from the enter / interact button. There does also seem to be a minor bug relating to the controller and it's interaction with the note menu, a number of times a scrolled down the notes only for the selection to refuse to return from the scroll arrow. This bug meant to read the later notes I had to enter the note menu, scroll down, close the menu and re-open it to read the later notes.

While the controls are a problem they're not the only issue I found. If you create a lot of save files the game seems far slower to actually save (though this may be due to additional progress through the game also being saved not just more save files). Worse still this problem is made worse by the lack of an easy delete save option to erase older saves if they become useless. The only way to seemingly erase the data is by finding the save files on your computer, which is quite tough to locate  (and no I tested erasing all local contents doesn't erase your game saves too).

The games map can be a problem with the map sometimes failing to register blockages, marking blockages incorrectly on the map and even in one case a door (top left on the second floor of the final level) being shown in an entirely different location to its actual position in the room. I also feel like the map needs to do a better job of indicating passages and newly opened holes in the walls as these are not only extremely easy to miss but often very frustrating to try and find leading to plenty of time wandering round getting frustrated with seemingly no direction to go. A map indication of these things (if you pass them) would greatly benefit the game. Also I'm going to suggest this and it may be unpopular but a minimap wouldn't go a miss (or at least a single static picture of the room you're in orientated as it is in game) This would cut down on confusion and constantly having to check the map to figure out which was the rooms are orientated and as such which way you need to go to progress.

The blockage to the left of the blip on the map is meant to be over the door not floating in the middle of the room. Also the room in the top left on this map doesn't line up with the the doors position in the adjacent room itself.

I feel like the hiding mechanic is under used or poorly used as while I understand the desire to make hiding places scarce they feel too spread out. While I don't want them as abundant as the final boss "fight" I think maybe a hiding space every 2-3 rooms around the starting location of enemies would be a better fit. As while running from your life that last thing you want to have to do is stop an open your map to find where you marked a hiding spot on the map.The enemy AI while mostly fine could do with a tweak or two to stop it door camping (a complaint I noted was also brought up by some of the Steam forums). Also the enemies simply appearing without warning (it only happens twice or three times all game) make any damage taken here feel cheap, one such instance being a particularly egregious example as the enemy comes out of a vent / box without warning right infont of you. These instances of door camping and enemies dropping in instantly without warning in a couple of locations simply feel cheap and the player feeling like they were somehow cheated takes away from the experience. If the enemies spawning are meant to be an attempted jumpscare then maybe them being hallucinations or  illusions would work better. To stop the door camping it might be an idea for the developer in slightly increase the distance at which enemies can break through into adjacent rooms.

Speaking of cheap stuff the forced terror sections feel often quite cheap. As your mental state drops in the game you have the screen haze up and darkness close in and your actual health drop. This would be fine if in certain sections the game didn't force your sanity to drop essentially creating areas where your health slowly eats away. I think the idea of these sections is to push the player on and give a feeling or terror and panic. The problem is they feel like a very cheap way to drain precious resources like health items. These sections could be made to work if the game gave a way to undo their impact after passing through (and make passing through a second time not induce the same terror effect) Maybe have some lights turn on or appear in the terror areas to make them safter to pass through to backtrack / explore more. Maybe a single use thing like a cuddly bear toy that vanishes when approached but restores you either to full or to a state recorded before entering the  terror section.

The final problems (and this is minor t best) would be to add better visual feedback when Annubis (Claire's pet dog) barks. In game Annubis barking is designed to alert you to the presence of enemies and put you on edge but with only an small subtle animation showing this. I feel it needs more visual feedback such as either the word bark being displayed or (and saving on any possible translation) a small sound wave like cone being shown after Annubis barks. The second one is can the torch please give consistent light levels. I understand that in real life torches get dimmer as in the game but when you're limiting the use of the torch via the battery draining it feels rather cheap that often you'll have a far worse torch beam due to being near the end of the battery. As visual feedback it's nice but in a gameplay sense it's annoying. As an alternative maybe as the battery runs out have the torch sometimes cut out for a half second before returning to when the battery is on its last 1/4.

What seems so strange is the game despite all its flaws has some very nice touches. the different lighting effects from the lighter, the torch, candles in the level and electric lighting look beautiful and unique to gaze at. The Lighter creating a warm circle of light while the Torch given a nice white light beam you can direct around and candles giving off an eerie red glow. As I previously mentioned the animations and even idle animation are quite cool and well done. Annubis while being a relatively small part of the game really is amazingly done as a horror tool as while he will sometimes bark at shadows putting you on edge only to let you down, boy do you miss him when he's not around (and I really dislike dogs normally so making me miss a virtual one is a testament to his design).

So what I'm going to do is lay out what I think is the best way to experience this game / play through it and some hints / tips.

Self impose on you the following:

  • Only use grandma's candy when you absolutely have to (such as in the terror areas)
  • Accept that your first playthrough will not be a 100% run, you playthrough, get an ending then play again to go for 100% (and a 3rd time on new game + if you want the secret S ending)
  • Understand you can't save everyone and accept that whatever choices you make stay. This is one game you really need to play essentially with your choices etc locked in and accept them.
  • Use the following puzzle hints below and gameplay hints to help you as hopefully they won't spoil too much.

So Puzzle and gameplay hints

The Hospital 

The Clock

- Set it to the same time as the others

 

The Lift

- You can close the vents. There are two in the lift one on the left one on the right.

 

Staff portraits 

- The dead hide their secrets well

 

Power puzzle

- Down is not the same as turning it off, just mess about till you get all green lights.

School puzzles and stuff

General

- The nobodies (the harmless creatures in the area) often scratch holes in the wall you can get through. This happens at specific times in the game so you're going to need to keep an eye out for them (especially as they don't get marked on the map)

 

Chess puzzle

- Read the pieces and relate the messages to the identity of  the chess pieces, So pawn, bishop, king, queen, castle and knight

 

Piano

-The biggest clue is the bear song but you can solve this one by experimenting away.

 Apartments

 

Doll house

- the clues for this one are all in the subsequent rooms, just remember to light a candle for the dead.

 

Frat guy

- He might not have cleaned everything out just of where he is, just look about the apartment.

 

Symbols on the wall

-Look up the 5 stages of loss / grief and that's your order.

 

The flesh maze

-You want to go through the flesh doors as these will lead you to where you need to go.

 

Valve puzzle 

-  33 minutes past 3 in that order

Verdict:

Claire is a game that really should be studied and examined by prospective game developers and anyone making a horror game. 

For anyone making a horror game it's a beat for beat instruction manual on how to create real horror and true dread in players from building tension to creating horror.

For anyone designing a game it shows some of the common mistakes it's easy to make and shows the importance of designing the game to be intuitive for players and to minimise the player hassle.

As a normal player the game is something well worth experiencing especially if you happen to be a horror game fan who has been let down by almost all big budget horror games recently as they tried to become action games (Alien Isolation being the exception to that rule of letdowns). Even if you've only a passing interest in horror games this is one cheaper title to look out for. Oh and while I started playing in daylight I made in my intention to wait till night and finish the game in a near pitch black room lit only by the glow from the screen and my controller. It was utterly terrifying such that I'm sure I was shaking for upwards of an hour  after finishing the game.

The story is beautifully crafted and while some games claim to be emotional this is one game that can legitimately make such a claim as it runs the gamut of emotions from: Horror to relief, Love to loneliness and despair to joy. This is a game that will make you feel sad, happy, confused and many other things. So if you wanted a game with an emotion other than despair / sadness this is a game worth playing.

 

Now the tough part. Can I recommend Claire? No, at least not at full price as it's both brilliantly made and yet so rough round the edges. As a first title by Hailstorm games I have to give them credit for making what seems like quite an ambitious title even if it is this ambition that's often it's downfall, along with a few common issues. So I'm going to do something strange now and give a list of the bare minimum changes it would need to get a recommendation.

  • re-bindable controller buttons (including using the shoulder or trigger buttons)
  • A minimap of some kind, even a static picture of the map orientated the same as the in game room being shown on screen would help.
  • Fix the enemy AI to stop door camping
  • Some kind of visual feedback when Annubis barks
  • Do something with the forced terror areas be it removing the impact to allow backtracking through them without the risk and a thing at the end to undo the damage they do to the player or mark them more clearly or even better have the terror immune items have a timer say 2 minutes not simply a single room effectiveness.
  • Sort out the save system if possible to make it easier to delete old saves

 

If you see the game on discount this is definitely worth a play especially on sale where I've seen it drop below the price of many paid for tablet games.

Trailer

                   

Score:

4 out of 6

This score is based on the game at it's standard retail price. on discount it may be more acceptable for people to overlook its flaws. The only thing holding it back from far higher scores is the need for a little more polishing to iron out problems.


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6:30 PM on 04.07.2015  

"Gaming should be for everyone...... I didn't mean you though"

                            

Ok I didn't want to write this. Not really. I was hoping I could get away from insanity for a while but hey, insanity keeps drawing me back in. Here in the UK the election is coming up so we have constant Politics and when I come to talk about gaming I'm getting constant US politics. So guess what you're getting a blog of me talking about politics
So this is a thing now ?

 

Ok let me make this quite clear so everyone knows it. I think politics in the US is batshit crazy. The two party system is insane and hugely divides people into two camps pushing to be more extreme constantly. There seems to be little middle ground and honestly the party I voted for in the UK did almost the exact same as Obama, infact they went further and made gay marriage legal (not simple civil partnership but actually wedding the same as straight weddings) , and this was a very good thing for society in my opinion. Now one of the clauses in the bill was religious right to refusal, what this means in practicality is if a priest refuses to do the wedding or allow the church to be used on religious ground then they can do claiming faith reasons. My take on this is fair enough, it's the church's choice, it's their land and the priests are acting on their behalf. I also think the church is entirely backwards and completely braindead for taking this stance against gay marriage because why cling to this tiny and stupid part of the bible but ignore so much else. Here I think it's only fair to let this Mitch Ben song Parodying the anti gay marriage argument do the heavy lifting.

                    

I'm quite a staunch Atheist and I advise people never to ask for my opinion on the church or religion as it tends to offend religious people. Now I also don't force it on people, I don't do the Jehovah's witness thing and feel it's my duty to spread my view to others. It's my personal view.
I think any business in that chooses to take a stance on politics is running a huge risk. I think any business that chooses to take a stance due purely to faith is downright insane but whatever it's their values and ultimately their dumbass choice.

That's what freedom is really. Letting people do stupid shit, you can tell them why it's stupid but ultimately without eroding their freedom you can't stop them short of it being illegal and calling in the government to remove the freedom and stop them.
So yeh............ I doubt it's some grand scheme objection to my politics which caused me to vote for these guys in the past too.

                                 

Yes that really is just one of the many political parties here in the UK.

Oh and in case someone is going to say "What about gender neutral bathrooms?" Every time someone says that I can't help but think of this.

                

(Look if you're going to have them everywhere people will fuck in them) That's pretty much all I have to say on that issue.

At some stage as fandoms grow maybe some people need to learn to share? I mean is it truly inclusivity when only certain beliefs and certain people are allowed in. I get the "Challenge the status Quo" but is replacing the status quo people are claiming was "Keeping people out because of how it was" with one actually telling people to their face to leave any better?

I mean isn't this basically what hipsters are defined as? Jumping from what's considered cool to other cool things and constantly claiming to have been there first and how everyone else should leave?
I keep saying Gaming is a big house and everyone else is welcome to their room and to have their room how they like. The problem keeps coming when people insist the entire house fits and follows just what they want.

Now I know I've most likely already set someone angrily clacking away on their keyboard about inclusivity etc. So I have to ask where should the line be drawn? I'm not joking. Should the line be drawn merely up to where you want? What about the children? Is it not ageism to make a game kids shouldn't play too? As gaming grows part of it is understanding that not every game will be fine for everyone. I mean there are now people claiming Pokemon is triggering them.

 

There's a line between having sympathy for someone and trying to sanitise the world. The more people are wrapped up the worse it is when they step outside their bubble to deal with things. At some point people have to take responsibility to their own issues in life, understand them and work through them or at least try to and not expect the entire world to bend to deal with them.

Now I know people are going to think maybe this is just a few fringe idiots and I wish it is but there's even been a push against Bloodborne recently claiming it should have been scored low because casual players won't enjoy it. Is that not a problem with casual players not learning about the game and appreciating what demographic it's for? I don't go round telling fans of Mama Mia that the film is bad because I as someone who enjoys sci-fi didn't enjoy the film (Yes I have sat through Mama Mia, it rates as the 4th worst film I've ever endured). The firing on Bloodborne has even had Frobes joining in on it and of course a quite familiar face to many claiming anyone who liked Bloodborne and gave it a good review was promoting elitism.

"Oh but you laid into Gone Home you hypocritical bastard"

So before anyone actually makes that comment allow me to explain my stance on Gone Home as clearly I stated my opinion on it and the justification for me not finding it very good was the cliched story (backed up with this link showing it was pretty cliche) and little to no gameplay depth. I was asking if I'd missed what made Gone Home such a celebrated game worthy of praise as I couldn't see it. However with let's say Life is Strange I can absolutely see why people are celebrating it. I can say it doesn't seem like something I'd enjoy, but it has more complexity and work behind it which I can appreciate from reading information on it and watching footage . For me I still don't see what the demographic for Gone Home is intended to be short of people already interested in Social Justice who just want to feel good about themselves or those who love sniffing their own farts, it does little as a game. To me Gone Home is about the level of those P.E.T.A. flash games the point isn't the game but the message, yet Gone Home is a product selling itself too. I'm not even going to come down and call all casual games junk, yes there's plenty of junk but I've been playing through Peggle 2 recently and there are plenty of other good casual games out there.

                                   

I can also see why many people object to the idea of games becoming more casual. I'm not a Devil May Cry fan but I have DMC Devil May Cry as it seemed interesting and a bit different to the previous games. However even I can admit it's a joke when I'm getting fairly regular S ranks in combat and barely getting near being killed. When I played Halo 1 through on easy then started Halo 2 and found easy to be boring, by Halo 3 I was on hard mostly. I even went back to Halo 1 at one point and tried it on hard only to get destroyed. I can see peoples frustration over not having a decent challenge in games. It just baffles me to see people trying to push for Bloodborne to be made for casual gamers yet it's a game made by the makers of the Souls series who are known for making tough punishing games , that's their demographic.

I know this blog came off as every rant like but I'm just fed up of this bullshit now. First we see people claim they're being intentionally excluded and that [insert fandom] is alienating to them and should change to include them. Now we're seeing almost the same people claiming that anyone who doesn't agree with them should now leave the [insert fandom] as no-one should make allowances for anyone but them.

The Phrase being bounded about has been "Oh people are just mad because we're taking their toys from them" often followed by "The stupid pissbabies" except the missing part seems to be "We're taking them and claiming it as our own that must adhere to what we want and not letting anyone else have a say". All this is being done in the name of equality yet it appears to be equality taken to it's most extreme end where every thing must be made for everyone and no-one can have products made for their preference. It's almost socialism to the nth degree the idea that everyone is the absolute same similar to some aspects of Bolshevik rule. I'm not saying every acpect of socialism is bad and all of capitalism is great before anyone thinks that. Both systems taken to the extreme have their problems and both systems have their benefits. Normally when some-one takes anothers toy and claims it as their own it's children, the actions of children. Is it not adults who are the ones who step in and say how people need to learn to share. Be that toys in this case cultures and fandoms. If having your sociopilitical agenda being dominant and never challenged is so important to you that you'll tell others to leave a fandom then I have to question how strongly your really care about the fandom. If you're telling other people to leave the fandom then it's clear you don't wish to share it and jsut want to use it selfishly for your own ends.

It says something that this now a culture war not to stand on the gates and keep people out but a culture war for the right to so much as co-exist without people trying to turn video gaming into a tool to teach their personal values. 

I've even seen people calling for anyone not subscrbing to specific belief systems in their entirity and supporting certain people to be banned entirely from conventions. 

It's almost ironic to think though that the side using socilist beliefs are approaching gaming from the capitalistic angle that they are the consumer and as such this the product should be made for them. Often times now ignoring the freedom of the artist to make their own choices.

I will be damned before I watch people push for a moral code system for video games similar to the Hay's code for films or the Comics Code Authority. I will be damned before I let  people turn an industry of artistic expression into merely some symbol of how they wish society was and how they wish the world bowed before their will.

If you can't happily agree to co-exist and merely enjoy the hobby with other people then I hope you enjoy the war you declared because it's going to be a lonely and tough time trying to impose your will when you demand absolute dedication and belief from people or tell them to leave. History is littered with examples of what happens when someone tries to forcibly impose their will on others, maybe learn from it before it's too late.

         


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3:06 PM on 04.05.2015  

Review: Jazzpunk

Name: Jazzpunk

Format: PC

Price: £10.99 / $14.99

Review: JazzPunk is a game that really suckered me into loving it using a retro style that will be familiar to fans of older Sci-fi and spy espionage shows such as The Avengers (No not the Marvel ones) and Danger Man. In fact the intro to Jazzpunk is very of the style of titles used by Maurice Binder, just take a look at the intro sequence for the film The Billion Dollar Brain for example. (Some flashing images)

                    

Throw in so retro futurism style elements such as flying cars and robots but film still being black and white and computers still using tape storage and you have a very stylish game at least starting out. The main problem withJazzpunk is while it has a great high flying start it seemingly loses much of this in favour and random (purple Monkey Dishwasher esc) humour. The game for the most part is at it's strongest when it's playing to it's spy theme and weakest when it's deviating from this.

The gameplay is a mix of puzzle and exploration with random somewhat referential minigames and other elements scattered about. For the most part the references feel like they're to solid enough franchises and entities that this isn't going to lose much with age just like the hatred towards Friday by Rebecca Black.

To the games credit there is a rather suspiring amount of dialogue for each character. To it's detriment the subtitles often only tell part of the actual dialogue meaning this is a game you have to hear to really appreciate much of the humour especially from side characters.

The Initial level feels very open with plenty to explore and a long twisting series of tasks and plenty of colourful characters to talk to. The level feels very full and works well with it's take on the spy cliche' of sneaking into the Soviet embassy to recover stolen data. The second level however seemingly cuts a lot of this freedom in favour of a very linear directed experience switching the spy aesthetic so something feeling more like the fugitive mixed with blade runner. It's this second level that really brings in the more random humour and it feels very much to the games detriment. The third levels set in a hotel is nice to explore and the story aspect plays on the cliche' of a darling mission to steal intelligence from the villain via a slightly convoluted plan.

While the third level does have plenty to explore and arguably more to do than the first level it feels at times still rather empty. For example at one point you can acquire a master keycard for all the hotel rooms (the nice touch being all of the keys are computer punch cards) the problem being only 2 rooms seemingly have anything in them. A comment by a member of staff that the hotel is haunted lead me to explore many of the rooms to see if there was some hidden joke but there was nothing. The third level feels like it had a huge scope but had to be cut back by the developer such that if feels very underpopulated despite there being arguably more to do, it's just spread thinner.

The fourth Cyberspace inspired level works for the most part and the very surrealistic humour actually finally seems to have found a place it works with some very well thought out gags such as a fake blue screen of death.

The Final level though just seemingly ends up entirely filled with random humour except a single joke about picking a lock. While some of them work it just feels like they threw as many random jokes in as they could and yet the jokes don't feel evenly spread as some parts of the level feel absolutely packed while other areas seen one or two jokes. The final level also feels like the story elements embrace this random humour far too much while discarding most of the spy theme. While it does sound great to have some grand confrontation with the villain as they take you on in a rigged series of contests but it just feels to random and too out there, not least thanks to the flying golf carts. The last level doesn't feel like a very satisfying pay off to the game at least it didn't to me as it felt like it had abandoned all of the spy theme to simply do some weird twist ending out of no-where. Now this kind of ending itself isn't bad as The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected have shown on TV in the past but if felt very out of place here with no build up or hint it was about to happen.

The gameplay is quite simplistic very much like a point and click game with some added elements. The minigames range from quite enjoyable parodies to some that feel only just fit for purpose. The stand out one being the cat destruction simulation found on the final level

Verdict:

Overall Jazzpunk feels like a game that set out with big aims and starts off well but just seemingly loses its way as the game progresses as it drops the spy spoof theme in favour of random humour. It feels like a game that the developer wanted to do much more with as sizable chunks of some levels are devoid of anything and just left as almost entirely empty space.

Can I recommend Jazzpunk at full its present price? The answer is no, I do think it's worth experiencing and picking up if it turns out with a decent discount on sale. At its present price I feel Jazzpunk doesn't manage to justify its price other than being "something a bit different and a bit weird".

At its best Jazzpunk will have you in fits of laughter, at its worst jokes will have you scratching your head going "huh.... well that was a thing".  

Score:

Out of 6


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5:29 PM on 04.03.2015  

[NSFW] 10 Games to offend your sensibilities with

So a section of the internet lost its collective Spaghetti over a joke from Pillars of Eternity. So I decided it would be worth me compiling a list on one had for those who really do want to see quite how far video games have gone and on the other hand for those twee little oversensitive twats about to show you what really offensive games look like. And no I'm not going to include the two most commonly known ones that are actually offensive and were made by hate groups (no I'm not talking about the NRA video game). There are games offensive enough to cause Mary Whitehouse to raise from the dead only to die all over again in horror that such offensive content can exist. Oh and just the be more clear the games aren't going to be purely porn games either.

10. Power Mad. This one gets it's place on the list because it places its sights purely at offending world leaders (or at least they were at the time). The game itself is a very basic turn based management sim. You have to try and swell your population and kill the enemies and balance construction of your army, your nuclear stock pile and your supply of hippie peace circles. Yes I said Hippie peace circles as once you dedicate enough population to make one, you and throw the hippies at incoming nukes to block them. Oh and it's a game where if you wish you can play as a representation of Osama Bin Laden and nuke the United States

9. Conkers Bad Furday. Take a cute kids patformer and mix it with a drunken night out and a copy of playboy and you get Conker, a money and sex obsessed squirrel who loves the sauce. This is a game where one bosses is a giant pile of human shit that sings Opera.

                                           

Other bosses include having to piss out fire demons and attacking a giant pair of balls. Packed from start to finish with swearing, sexual references and of course a bit of the old ultraviolence Conker is truly a game to behold.

8) My Ex Boyfriend the Space Tyrant. A Gay Adventure game featured in many publications aime at gay men and made by a presumably gay male developer. This game offended so many people seemingly in the Steam greenlight comments that people wanted it prevented from being on Steam for two main reasons. The first being religious objection esc arseholes, the second more surprisingly were people offended it was "too gay" or "Not the right kind of gay". Honestly if people were claiming that this was a representation of the entire gay community then the next game really doesn't show straight White Males in a great light.

7) Leisure Suit Larry Magna Cum Laude. Oh this is a good one where do I start? How about the sex pest style antics of Larry himself in his quest to get on a dating show, to do this rather bizarrely he must sleep with women round the campus. This game upset people, it upset everyone seemingly from the monkey masturbation mini game to the drunken sorority to the stereotyping and the now rather infamous Summer Nights parody song.

                                     

There's plenty more to be offended by but yes enjoy playing and a quite unattractive straight white guy and he tries every possible trick to sleep with women showing all us unattractive straight white guys a lying little toads with no moral standards and values. Go enjoy.

6) Killing Floor, What you don't think killing floor is offensive eh? Ok so maybe popping the heads of mutants etc doesn't sound too offensive until you realise the mad scientist who designed them actually designed them in the images of people. The stalker a naked female monster that can make itself near invisible before striking it's suggested in the games lore was inspire by the lead scientists impression of his Ex wife.

5) Splatterhouse (the remake) - So low on this list because one publication described it as

Almost cute to see a game try so hard to offend people, as though people in this day and age are so backwards to be up in arms over a piece of media.

Splatterhouse (the remake) pumps the gore up to 11 and has collectable sexy revealing pictures complete with boobs showing in some. This is a game where you can rip off an enemies arm and beat them to death with it and vs one of the boss monsters you reach into it's ass an pull out it's intestines.

4) Postal 2 - This would be higher on the list if it didn't manage to offend everyone. From depictions of terrorists to anti video game protestors. This is a game where protestors burst into a library and set it on fire because the books aren't teaching the right ideas. I mean what kind of crazy monsters would hold mass book burnings of books who's ideas they dislike in this day and age.

Oh wait, that actually happened. Hhhhhhmmmmmm

3) NPPD Rush the Milk of Ultraviolent - You play a former addict whom has had her arms cut off and been turned into a police rush unit (a cybernetic sentient police bike). It's up to you to clear up the streets but taking out strange monsters and finding addicts to take back the NPPD whom will most likely be turned into rush units. It doesn't sound too offensive until you happen to run into the final boss, Ultraviolent a bio mechanical computer being used to try and help expand the NPPD rush department by being used and a living womb to grow children to be used in future rush units. Now this last bit is from the developers mouth the final boss throws aborted foetuses at you. Rather than let NPPD use her unborn children as weapons she throws them at you. For those with a morbid curiosity here's the developer on a recorded stream talking about the game, the boss bit happens at about the 35 minute mark.

2) Deer Avenger 3D, Dear Avenger 2 might have stereotypes people in general but Deer Avenger 3D set out to offend. Oh and boy would it to offensive to any Cabella loving redneck. The game is a hunting game but are Bambo the deer your job is to lure in the hunters and then kill them. To do this you have your calls which include "Hey look someone's rather attractive cousin naked in the woods" and "Who left the their pick up truck lights on". With Hunters including the huge fat redneck, the ex military gun nut, the drunk idiot and of course the fur obsessed female hunter. Don't think the game is done though as it has NPC hippie characters whom it takes the piss out of too. This one gets the number 3 spot because while it doesn't seem as offensive as others on this list. You gotta say it has balls to insult people with enough fire arms and beer to do something more than just write an angry email or start a hashtag.

                 

1) Armed and Dangerous. Ok I wanted to do this as a "Can I have some more" but you know what? It is one of the most offensive games ever. How can this be that offensive well how a about a blind man giving a mentally disabled prince a vasectomy. No that's not me taking the piss that's an actual part of one of the games scenes. The game is just insanely over the top and can best be described as Mighty Boosh but in video game form. Insanely random humour and it manages to take the term low brown and wipes it's arse with it as just when you think it's done as it dips into low brow, it then fully jumps in to a large degree.

              

 

Oh and to those of you already writing angry comments about how much this blog offended you and how offensive it was. Please don't bother email Destructoid asking for mre to be fired (as I'm sure some people have done) I'm not a member of Dtoid staff alright. Oh and also this.


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5:34 AM on 04.01.2015  

Half Life 3 coming to PS4 soon

Wow who on earth saw that one coming but I woke up to find my PS4 had updated as had the store and well it's there. Half Life 3 is up for pre-order on the playstation store hinting that the partnership between Valve and Sony will once again pay off for Playstation Gamers.

Having done a bit more digging into this it appears this may have been an accidental leak of the information on Sony's end. Having contacted Sony's press enquiry email for a response I got the following.

Dear Sir, Madam,
Thank you for your enquiry relating to upcoming exclusive Playstation 4 titles. We cannot confirm or deny that the title Half Life 3 will be coming to Playstation 4, until such a time as the title is officially announced. Thank you for informing us about this error that has seemingly occurred with our system putting titles up for pre-order early we have technicians working to rectify this oversight now. We Will be announcing all forthcoming unannounced titles at the coming E3 press conference.


So the big question has to be why would they have a pre-order page up and built for a game that's not coming to the system? I've heard of blind hope from a company but would it be just that.

Either way the coming of Half Life 3 to console will be a huge burst to any console it's released on and the idea of it being only on PS4 and PC could put a huge dent into Microsoft's sales. Not least as the Playstation 4 will be the first of the consoles running a game on the source 2 engine set to try to push the boundaries of gaming.

The initial screenshots of Half Life 3 look extremely impressive if veering close to uncanny valley levels of realistic just take a look at the detail on Eli and Alyx

 

The High quality texture work is clearly on show and hopefully these aren't merely bullshots as it would be impressive to think of this on consoles especially following on from The Order 1886 (except obviously Half Life 3 will have far better gameplay). It also looks like Valve might have implement something similar to Tres FX (if not Tres FX itself) giving the illusion of far more realistic hair.

While no plot details have yet to emerge it does appear (and surprising no-one) that a screenshot even shows the shadowy figure known only as G-Man will be making a return. The eagle eyed amongst you might even recognise his location, possibly suggesting the game will see Gordon Freeman return back to the Black Mesa facility where this all began.

It can't be denied the game looks stunning really and with the suggested streaming technology to be used to load more textures in situ it could also mean lower load times on consoles. This console release should come as a shock to no-one really though as Half Life saw a successful release on PS2 and on the Sega Dreamcast so such a move from Valve isn't without precedent.

I'd just like to close off by saying, before you leave a comment below please scroll back up and read the date this was posted on. Yeh. For those of you who saw through this, hopefully you won't blame a guy for trying and will enjoy this as the bit of fun it was intended to be. Oh and if this appears on Kotaku you know the person posting it was too lazy to read down to this point.


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9:34 PM on 03.26.2015  

Can I have some more: Primal

Ok this one I want to see become a remake or reboot or just something for a very specific reason. I never finished it because the controls were arse. It felt very much like resident evil Tank controls and that just killed the game for more plain and simple. So you might be thinking why on earth would I want this remade?

 It's quite simple really. The concept, setting characters and ideas behind the game are just stunning. You play Jennifer Tate 21 years old and in search of her boyfriend whom was kidnapped by a demon. Sounds like a very simple story as you play Jen traversing the 4 demonic dimensions. The Twist being that Jen herself may not truly be of earth and learns she can take on the forms of the 4 main demonic races. Suddenly you have less Buffy and more of it's own unique thing as Jen transforms into demonic forms and really take on the occupants of the realms on head on.

 

With Bloodborne recently released as a Playstation exclusive and the near constant calls for strong female protagonists this is a game that time seemingly forgot and it's owned by Sony. It would be so easy to reboot this and fix the problems it had and just watch as the series explodes. I mean the world alone in the games, the idea of 4 demonic realms etc is ripe to explore and if the remake does well there's a clear opportunity to expand the scope and make it into more of a franchise than a single outing. Hell the game could even go further into elements of the Lovecraft Mythos at some point if it became a franchise. This is quite a dark game from a time when games really weren't being that dark and with modern gaming and standards this could really be made into a game for adults able to be dark and brutal.


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