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1:29 PM on 07.26.2015

Steam Security gaff left users vulnerable to anti gambling vigilantes

So most of this is a write up of a reddit thread where these events first happened. On the 25th of July part of Steam's own security system stopped fuctioning. The part in question was the pasword reset code verification system as shown in this video by a Steam and Youtube user showing the now fixed exploit.

The Vunerability as you can see was that you were able to reset any account's password without needing access to their email. So now before everyone goes off in a panic don't worry your Hats should be safe as to log in from using a new device you need the validation code sent to your email otherwise your accounts ability to buy things on Steam or even trade or use the market will be locked down or your own protection. This code system was still functioning so while some nefarious Russian (yes its been suggested it was Russians) did get access to accounts for the most part they were unable to do much, unless the individuals in question had turned off their Steam Guard system (which is on by default do again don't worry).

Another suggestion has been as well as the exploit people had found a possible exploit in a well known CSGO gambling site which uses part of the Steam API to let you log in and uses some information from your Steam account to allow you to bet using your CSGO items and skins. The suggestion is the majority of those hit by this exploit have been steamers who also have been shown using Counterstrike betting sites. The rumour so far is these streamers were targeted in an attempt to stop the unregulated betting problems becoming rampant in parts of E-Sports. 

Now it might shock you to learn I've previously bet on E-Sports. I bet a whole $0.20 of DOTA 2 items. Items that I got free from playing DOTA2 as random drops and I either didn't want or already had a spare copy of and wouldn't be worth selling on. A lot of people do this and have done this for a while. I mean it's not some huge bets and it was a good way to dispose of items or try to get value out of them.

The problem and what the recent group targeting people have alledgedly been objecting to is the unregulated nature of the site such that essentially kids can bet on them, which is a problem. Added to that the idea that kids would use their parents money to buy high priced items from the Steam Marketplace an then put these up on betting sites only to lose them and essentially have lost their parents money. The claim is that this was leading to higher toxicity in matches with abuse sent to losing teams from people who bet on them. In DOTA2 the betting problem has definately lead to some problems most notably the real money betting scene. With past instances of match fixing and more commonly and more recently a rise in pro teams in onine tournaments getting DDossed or even servers DDossed, the present E-Sports betting rules stating that if the servers are deemed unstable or teams internet is a problem while they throw the match most betting sites won't pay ut and will refund all bets. The claim being that people with large bets worried they were going to ose wold pay for botnets to DDoss either pro teams or in some cases regional Valve servers if pro teams were behind Proxy protections. people seeing the small cost of a DDoss from a bot net as a more acceptable loss than their large bet.

The Betting problem is in part not helped by recent developments in the E-Sports world such as Beyond the Summit (a fairly big DOTA 2 competition) having a betting website of a kind sponsor them and having large segments shilling for the site. It appears The Summit may have thought better of it for the next tournament but it did get a bit Wayne's World there for a bit.

All of this brings up a number of questions and potential problems that both Twitch (as the main E-sports viewing platform) and E-sports leagues and groups themselves need to look into addressing. I mean betting websites being heavily plugged in sports Streams open to younger viewers could present a fairly big problem. Heck I've heard it suggested that it could be seen as an issue that Twitch allows you to watch Live Poker and people betting in digital poker as ar as I'm aware without the need to verify your age to do it. There's a reason that Football clubs and other sports have been quite careful with their sponsors and advertising (yes some are still sponsored by betting sites I know, but they don't shill them half as much).

Either way it seems those most impacted by the Steam Security Gaff and almost targeted where those streamers who have regularly shown their participation in CounterStrike betting. Luckily the exploit was fixed within hours of being reported but some well known streamers are likely going to be spending a few weeks unable to do much other than play existing games on their accounts at-least until Steam Support gets back to them and lets them unlock their account restrictions. 

So the big questions from this.

Will this shake consumer confidence in Steam that such a public error happened ?

Do you think the "hackers" were right or wrong to use the exploit to target people they saw as promoting betting in an attempt to stop the betting problem ?

Is E-sports betting set to become an even bigger problem in the future or will regulation step in first ?

 

If anyone has found themselves unable to login due to this Steam Exploit being used on you it should be possible to reset your password again and this time have the reset go to your email to recover your account. If you have for some insane reason diabled Steam Guard you may have to contact support to recover any lost items or undo any transactions if you have payment details saved on Steam.

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2:18 PM on 07.23.2015

Preview: Theo & Lizzy

 

Disclaimer

  • This preview is based on a short amount of time with the game and should not form your entire basis for a purchase or be considered a review. I'd encourage you to check other places for more information and be an informed consumer..
  • Footage recording was done so with an 8 Megapixel phone Camera recording a monitor so the real game will obviously appear far better with less video noise.
  • The Video Audio is muted as the footage was captured at a technology show on the show floor the game itself is not muted / silent.
How to describe Theo & Lizzy ? Well the best way I can describe it is a timing based platformer similar to Super Meat Boy but without direct control over the character. Theo constantly runs forward until he bumps into a wall, at which point he turns round. The gameplay comes from being able to switch which surface Theo is running on from running on the floor to running on the ceiling.
 
Have a look at some of the footage I managed to acquire.
 
        

The first part of the video shows a level which has presently been cut by the developer. Though I'd strongly encourage the developer to try to keep the level in if only as a bonus level, especially considering there was a child of about 8-10 I witnessed managing to beat it.

Hiding Under what, from the poster and other bits of media, looks like what  might get called an "Art game" is actually something that looks like it will be able to blend both narrative and gameplay. The simplicity could work well not just on PC and console but be playable on tablet and mobile devices.

Hint: Even though it's cut throat if it's not much more work then mobile is worth doing if your game has mechanics which would fit the platform. Also remember there's 3 main app stores so while the Google and Apple stores are well known for their volume of titles the likes of the Amazon Marketplace isn't quite that level,

Having played a bit of it, including the level that was taken out, it's very enjoyable to play and I think it will easily find an audience especially if there are a few bonus levels or bits in the game for players who love a bit more of a challenge. Difficult isn't a dirty word or at least shouldn't be in gaming as it makes the success even more enjoyable. The only time people really object to difficulty is when it feels cheap. From what I saw and Theo & Lizzy so far the game does a good job of teaching its core mechanics and slowly ramping up the difficulty. If this is representative of the rest of the game I really think it will be one to look forward to. It seems like it will have both enjoyable gameplay and what could be a very interesting story meaning they'll be something for most people to enjoy.

So with a nice art style, potentially a intriguing story line and simple mechanics which are quite easy to learn yet could provide some quite complex levels and gameplay without feeling difficult. Seriously the game's art style does look great.

For more information you can look at the trailer:


For yet more information you can go to the developers website  or the Game's Website or find the developers on Twitter @_Butcherlab
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9:37 AM on 07.21.2015

Rocksteady - after the asylum?

So I've recently got done with the main parts of Batman Arkham Knight and I'm still debating if it's worth me reviewing it. However I realised something about it and about most of the objections to the game. The idea of this Batmobile tank and peoples objection to its weaponisation; the brutality of Batman throughout the game, this kind of style would really fit one Hero who hasn't seen much quality air. The Green Hornet, for those not too familiar with it here's a quick catch up.

 

So with Rocksteady pretty much done with the Arkham Batman games (short of them making a sequel called Arkham days)  it would be interesting to see what they could do with a franchise which has quite a bit more freedom to it. According to cannon there are and have been multiple Green Hornets so there's plenty of choices. Also other than a the panned film the Green Hornet this character hasn't seen a much attention at all. The Green Hornet doesn't even have much of a rogues gallery beyond mobsters and about 3 colourful characters  so it would be a great opportunity for Rocksteady to be set a bit more free and create a few villains of their own to fill out the rogues gallery.

I think The Green Hornet would be a great fit for the kind of world Rocksteady made for Batman. The Green Hornet is a little more flexible on that no kill policy and is definitely not opposed to guns and weapons as the Black Beauty (His car) has been shown to have machine guns, multiple rocket launchers and a host of other gadgets including smoke screens.

Considering how dark Rocksteady took Batman Arkham Knight it would be interesting to see them take on what was the original far darker character of The Green Hornet who plays up to his criminal / villain persona and even in the TV series threatened and almost tortured enemies for information.

Rocksteady could use a lot of the same mechanics etc from its Batman games with the Green Hornet often using a number of gadgets and with the AI fighting shown off in Arkham Knight it would work well with regularly having both The Green Hornet and Kato in fights. Also the whole remote control Batmobile thing could transfer over with one character in the location and the other in the car.

Oddly one of the best things I found about using the Batmobile was one of the least developed parts and not hugely expanded upon. The High speed car chase sections. In Arkham Knight the game focuses so much upon the battank combat that the high speed car chases seemed to get very much pushed to the back. Sure you have to do the car chase sections to take down the APCs roaming the city and do a few chasing down a villain but other than that it's maybe chasing down the odd Riddler henchman in their car or saving the odd policeman. Car chases play next to no part in the story and yet this seemed very much to be the better use of the batmobile. They'd work very well with The Green Hornet with the option to be trying to escape the police as well as chasing down villains as said previously the car Black Beauty is a rolling arsenal of weapons.

It's also not uncommon for The Green Hornet to be forced to use Stealth tactics to take down larger groups of well armed enemies. So there we go, Rocksteady already have an engine that wouldn't take a huge amount to adapt and it would give them a nice chance to tackle a series that allows  a lot more freedom to it in terms of the stories they can tell. Add in the whole idea of a huge connection to newspaper publishing and there's a number of style options available say for recounting events later on, progress screens or even game over screens. Adding in the elements of the Paper publishing could be a nice touch similar to how in some games radio stations talk of your exploits in this you could have newspaper stands and or radio talking about it.

So will The Green Hornet ride again ? Only time will likely tell. But I'd still love to see what they could do with it.

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6:07 PM on 07.19.2015

Preview: Raging Justice


Disclaimer

  • This preview is based on a short amount of time with the game and should not form your entire basis for a purchase or be considered a review. I'd encourage you to check other places for more information and be an informed consumer..
  • Footage recording was done so with an 8 Megapixel phone Camera recording a monitor so the real game will obviously appear far better with less video noise.
  • The Video Audio is muted as the footage was captured at a technology show on the show floor the game itself is not muted / silent.
Disclosure
I did get given a free gift from the stand (this was a standard hand out thing and not something specifically given to press, just to be clear.)
 
Yes I got a free beer mat.
Raging Justice is an upcoming side scrolling beat em up by by Makin Games  and is coming fairly soon to Xbox One and Steam. There are some standard elements of the side scrolling beat em up genre such as special moves that use up a small amount of your health. What seemingly sets it apart is the art style. Have a look at the video I captures (note that's not me playing).
 

     


As you can see it's a rather unique art style that (unintentionally, I did ask) brings back memories of the old claymation art style some games in the past used. At the show the version there offered Co-op play and was running using a 2 player fight stick variant (so fight stick support looks very likely on the PC). I do hope that Co-op on both Xbox One and PC is both couch co-op and online play as PC players aren't known for local co-op play that often and Xbox One players might appreciate local co-op for couch play.

Having a look over the developer's website I noticed a very intriguing which I didn't actually see in play in the game. The idea of multiple approaches to the game with the option to arrest or pummel criminals into the ground with possible consequences from this. I really hope this is still part of the game or at least the plan for it.

At present Raging Justice is planned to release on Xbox One and PC at the same time. The developer has hinted maybe later down the line the game might also find it way onto PS4 after any Xbox release rules / timed exclusivity expires.

For those who want more you can check out the trailer:


For yet more information check out the developers website
or
contact them on twitter @Makingames
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6:44 PM on 07.18.2015

[18+] A response to Thomas Apperley of DiGRA and his "Research" Nerdcore porn

This Blog is NSFW and due to the subject matter and content will be in appropriate for younger readers.

 

In case the title didn't make it clear this piece and many of the links are very NSFW.

So a researcher who is part of DiGRA chose to release his "research" into "Nerdcore" porn if you want to read the full thing you can go here (and yes it does contain some of the images used for "reseaerch")

This is a rebuttal to it. I did send him a rebuttal via twitter but he wasn't too happy.

 

So this is what happens when a piece that I'm sure will be claimed was "meant to start dialogue" finds its creator refusing responses.

In the interest of fairness I did happen to send him some of the pictures contained within this. Partly to prove the point of how comedic his "research" seems and how much it took a certain angle.

Now have already  done a big long write up of the whole Rosalind Wiseman and Ashley Burch "research " to see if I could pull something out of what was there ignoring the huge glaring validity problems. (Much like many in the media chose to.)

So I started to look into the "research" on nerdcore porn. It starts off claiming that nerdcore porn shows the stakes in the present politicising of video gaming and claims that it discusses and demonstrates the impact and objectification of women.

At this stage I'm sure you can already see where this is going and most likely how "nerdcore" porn is some special entity. You'd be right of course because a lot of the paper is talking about how "nerdcore" porn is somehow a special kind of bad.

The article discusses the changes in gaming markets and of course the development of demographic based marketing etc. The research paper then goes on to discuss how gaming can potentially harbour a unique form of toxic masculinity due to the nature of their competition.

So according to this research paper because guys weren't taking part in a standard for of masculine activity like oh:

  

Then it therefore means they're hugely in danger due to a toxic for of masculinity caused by:

 

 It's almost comedic as the paper attempts to justify the distinction and it's because apparently in games white males re-enact exclusionary practices, in some cases to illegal extremes, towards women and minorities in gaming.

So to put that in another way. In fighting games your opponent could be a minority and or a woman and that means because in a fighting game you can fight against one of them it means it's a toxic form of masculinity because......... Um........... DIVERSITY YOU SHITLORD!!!!!!! MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO YOU NEANDERTHAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But seriously again it seems very much like once again this paper is having a problem seeing the line between fictional representations and actions taken towards them and actual real worlds acts. The part I left out till now was the paper citing an analysis relating to the connection between Columbine and video games. Killers have been inspired and undertaken acts due to films like Batman and even one serial killer being inspired by The Beatles. Trying to rationalise a mind that doesn't understand traditional rationality and rationalises that such killing sprees are somehow acceptable or good isn't going to work anymore than you can understand the mind mental patients who believe they are Napolean. It's not some quick fix that can be done by changing video games. I don't want to go too more into it but recent events here in the UK compared to events in the US suggest there's a big difference when people can have extremely easy access to firearms (Look I know it's part of the US constitution and I respect peoples' right to own arms but maybe those gun laws need looking at a bit to stop crazy people getting hold of said guns)

Ok back to being a bit less serious and talking more on this piece of "research" which most likely had the expense sheet read:

15 boxes of man sized tissues: $20

The "research" goes on to discuss an example of how extremely demeaning nerdcore porn is more so than other porn by using an example of a naked woman on a Wii Fit.  The paper then goes on to claim it's a deliberate evocation designed to make gamers think about the model and the fact the Wii Fit assesses their age and weight to determine fitness and balance thus further objectifying by reducing the model to desirable numbers. You know instead of the rather more simple explanation, Wii Fit is a game generally played standing up and with less motion meaning photographs are easier to obtain and the entire point of it being "Look attractive woman naked on a nerdy thing".

The paper then goes on to claim other such examples of "Nerdcore" porn are trying to make gaming like motor and sports cars and re-assert a form of masculine dominance in gaming. The paper then discuss how gaming apparently still has a sexual angle to it and how progression through this stage is part of the maturation process. It continues stating that Nerdcore Porn shows a desire to control women. To which I have to roll my eyes and say really? Nerdcore porn shows control by showing women playing games or around gaming apparel while nude? You can find porn of almost anything on the internet. The range of porn out there of men and women doing ordinary things is insane somehow now it's a special case because nerd things are involved?

Back to the paper it claims that Freud wrote that sexual drives often conflict with "civilised behaviour" and claims this proves that #Gamergate therefore wants to break civilised behaviour to establish gaming as a Male privileged space. Because apparently #Gamergate and its magical time machine went back in time and invented nerd porn, presumably.

The paper carries on to imply that as Freud wrote about a child playing with their shit long enough sees this as normal this is how gaming has become. The word oddly not used here and the correct psychological term now according to Piaget being the concept of creating an established Schema (which I'm kind of surprised wasn't used here as it's considered far more relevant to modern Psychology than a lot of Freud).

The paper continues to talk about how this kind of "nerdcore" porn represents a sexual desire...... well points for the most obvious statement ever. Sex is desirable, people like sex. The article closes off with claims about how all nerdcore porn is proof of a desire to control.

So I think it only right that I post some completely uncovered laid bare nerd porn in here right so here you go.

 

 

 

 What you knew I was going to do something after all I support #Gamergate and therefore I'm uncivilised. But this once again brings up the rather long standing question relating to representation and it seems only fair that using some resources found on The Escapist forum a number of very easy rebuttals be made.

To call nerdcore porn a particular kind of perverse you'd have to fail to realise that Male characters are often sexualised both in games and in Anime too. As Rosalind Wiseman and Ashley Bruch's GDC piece said in part women are the more vocal in speaking out against perceived objectification of their gender in media than men are of speaking out against theirs.

Maybe rather than being some "uncivilised" nerd culture is actually being far more civilised ad understanding sex is part of life and not some dirty little thing that should be suppressed and an Opal Ring worn to show some kind of "higher morality".

 The idea that somehow nerdcore porn is a display of control would mean that in no kind of nerd culture there is any sexualisation of male characters. And I think it was these few images that  Thomas Apperley took some kind of objection to being shown to him on Twitter.

 

 

 It's quite comedic when in truth a lot of ideas in gaming (and many other areas of entertainment) for modern male characters comes in part from the male heroes deliberately aimed to appeal to women and featured in what's loosely called the Swords and Sandals genre of the past. In this Era it was common for Strongmen or people in body building to often end up as the main star, this started in Italy but carried on for quite a while and most likely inspired the hiring of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the terminator, at least in part.

 

 

What's even funnier almost is a certain someone recently at E3 who chose to take objection to sexualised characters. Which then spilled out to objecting to what actual women were wearing as part of booth staff calling it unsettling.

 

 

I wonder who looks more like they're trying to control women in gaming ??

 

What's funnier still is according to The Guardian and according to at least one Mary Sue contributor Magic Mike XXL is a good film. The film showing "Hyper sexualisation" isn't a problem to them apparently. So let's take Magic Mike as the example. Are the any games with Magic Mike XXL esc sequences? The answer is yes and for comparison here's a Magic Mike XXL gif first.

So first we have Saint's Row 4 providing some (Warning flashing images)

Or how about this sequence set in a gay club complete with a guy in a banana hammock ?

This is the internet age and honestly the idea of Rule 34 and every kind of porn being catered to means that if you want it chances are you can find that porn. The idea that nerdcore porn is somehow super bad is comedic considering if you wanted it you could probabaly find porn of almost any male video game character and even porn featuring vaguely nerdy guys now. It's not some unique issue the only reason it is seemingly coming up and being thought of as such as as was found by Wiseman and Burch that guys aren't making a fuss about what could very easily be considered sexy guy characters. You could argue and I have made the point in the past that sometimes it's not equal in games but it is changing. 

It seems almost comedic really that here I am, a guy writing this as a response to a male researcher whom was on about how bad nerdcore porn is for civilised society. So while I may break the conventions of "civilised society" by doing response in the form of a C-Blog here. I'm not endorsing some kind of domination. I'm saying lets have sexy for all. Strange that somehow that means I'm a weird pervert if this reseaerch is to be believed.

It's not as though the likes of Twilight don't prove it's fine and sex sells both ways round or should we now be calling Twilight and most romance novels sexist for their depictions of male characters?

So to round off on a slighty related topic after an article detailing failing and bias in the American Psychology Association media and video gaming research section (along with others too) it was found that over 230 researchers in the APA have previously written to the governing body in opposition to the present APA stance that there is a causal link between media and video games and violent behaviour. Many of the APA reseaerchers on the taskforce oddly also being DiGRA members alledgedly.

Oh and finally short of any real outrage or game bannings or real insanity I'm done for a while with the rather politically charged controversial things, at least for a week. So this coming week expect far more about actual games, cause I kind of actually like thise things.

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5:24 PM on 07.14.2015

[long] Yet another C-blog on the Rosalind Wiseman and Ashley Burch research

 

So looks like I'm doing one of these. I hoped I'd you know not feel like doing it but here goes. So by this stage many people have heard about the research done by Rosalind Wiseman and Ashley Burch be it from the media headlines claiming how male teen gamers want women to be less sex objects. Or be it from those who have discovered that the survey that produced that result looks likely to have been done online and not be too accurate due to who and where the link was posted and the nature of the survey.

So I watched their GDC panel all 1 hour of it (thanks for the link Jed) and I've skimmed a number of the articles in question and so many were laser focussed on sexualisation and teen boys on about it. So few took in the scope or majority of the points, almost like certain people have a problem with sexy female characters eh ?

Everything here is not direct quotes I've paraphrased some of the stuff just so you know.

The actual research or at least the aim of it can be summarised by what was said by Rosalind Wiseman in response to the question what do you see as the long term aim of this research? The answer was:

To alleviate parents fears that playing violent games might somehow turn their child into a school shooter.

Now I mean where would a parent get a silly idea like that.

 

The other major take away point mentioned by Ashley Burch was:

Developers shouldn't fear failure if they put a female character in their game or on their game box.

Which are two things that should  be almost common sense and people have been talking about for a long while including Jim Sterling who actually did a Jimquisition on it.The idea that female characters don't sell or that people don't want them is a myth and or related to various parts of market forces the latest example being Remember me not selling because most people said it wasn't that good.

So before I go deeper in lets address the issues about the coverage of this survey. Firstly the media took quite a laser fine focus on a very specific area of the survey and seemingly ignored the rest. Secondly is the doubt over how reliable the survey is because it was done on the internet with links distributed on Twitter and facebook. Oddly both parts are tied together as Rosalind Wiseman claims that the idea of teen male gamers wanting characters that weren't sex objects came up or the first time a week before the GDC panel. Which if true means somehow that part of the research was done in that week. C-Bloggers here have addressed this and actually Rosalind Wiseman and Ashley Burch addressed this confirming that some of the results (how much isn't said) was from that online survey and this was meant as an initial investigation.......... Which begs the question why push for more results if this was meant as an initial testing the waters one and you know work with the results just from the schools that were at least slightly more valid. If this was meant as a small scale investigation why not ?

However just to carry on with this article I'm going to push aside the validity debate and go on ahead talking about what was shown.

 Now I'm a supporter of #Gamergate as you might know and I can't talk for it but I can talk for the sentiment I've seen and the sentiment is people don't care as long as the character isn't some empty token gesture and is you know a character.

So no whatever this is

No matter how much Anita claims this should be the kind of good female character we have in the future. Not that essentially walking tri-pods are bad in games but I wouldn't call them a good female character either.

This leads nicely into something brought up at the panel and it was a developer who addressed Ashley Burch and pointed out why developers are now worried about putting female characters into games. The Male developer said that he was concerned about adding in female characters because on one side he feared being accused of tokenism and on the other hand he fear being attacked for using tropes and being called sexist for not writing "The right kind" of female character. I wonder why ?

 

 That's something that's been suggested in terms of the reluctance of companies wanting to put female characters in. This is the Guybrush Threepwood theory. The concern of being attacked for not doing a good enough job.

To her credit Ashley answered the developer by saying just write the character you want. Something I've seen many other people in #Gamergate asking for people to do. Make the characters you want and don't be afraid of people yelling because you dared to use a trope. Make an interesting character and not a Bella Swan.

Ok onto some of the other things that were said in the GDC video.

Boys think girls already do play games and girls already do play games. Well I'm sure no-one ever saw that coming right? I mean it's not as though people who are now quite a bit older than boys have written blogs about  women playing games even when the blogger was young. Heck the deputy of the first clan I was in was female and that was back in 2000 on Tribes 2.

 The question was raised about peoples Gender preferences and guys showed no preference really while girls in middle school had a 40% preference for playing female characters but in high school this shot up to 60%. The claim made by Ashley Burch was that because of this developers may want to consider it a better idea just to make female characters because one side didn't care and the other side were so vocal about wanting female characters.  I'm guess Ms Burch didn't mean it to come off quite as it sounded but it did come off sounding very much like a case of "Don't make male characters make emale ones because this is justice for having so many male characters for so long". Which probably wouldn't do a huge amount to help things in terms of a range of diverse characters.

 Ashley Burch also talked about why she believes Frozen is popular and it's due to the lack of female Heroes in the media. Which has a bit of worth as an idea (shame there wasn't research backing it up not even trial research). Younger teens don't really have many female heroes, at least not prominently in the media. Yes I know in comic books there is She Hulk, Wonder Woman Squirrel girl and many more but in terms of visible media at the moment. About the only ones would be Katniss from Hunger Games and whoever it is in Divergent. Most of the other female Heroes are part of mixed teams. Comics may have the new teen Batgirl but TV and film haven't seen her. The last Marvel film with a solo female hero was Elektra yet apparently Ant Man is considered well known enough to get his own film now. Again not saying there aren't female heroes out there and arguably games and comics are doing far better or those already in the medium but the visibility of these products could be considered lower. Though the mediums in part are lower visibility thanks to idiots trying to censor them or claiming they're uniquely harmful compared to TV, Film or books. Plus Disney are kind of known for being a kids thing as it is or at least popular and known about with a younger audience. With the WonderWoman film seeming stuck in development and fairly recently losing its female director and the planned Supergirl series pilot being described as "Trying too hard to be a girl power show" it seems unlikely to get much better soon. Also from what I've been hearing about Supergirl it's really trying to hard with lines like: "Oh you're concerned, what's wrong just because she's a girl you think she'll be weak and helpless." "Wow Supergirl now my daughter will at last have a hero to look up to." Oh and a villain who allegedly at one point says un-ironically "On My planet Women know their place they keep quiet and serve their men"....... yeh I'd say if that's true trying too hard is a fair commet.

 At one point there was a discussion centring round the comments of a Male student on about how he felt female characters in fighting games often worse slightly unrealistic or impractical outfits. Which could be said to be a fair comment, at least in some cases as Rooster Teeth showed off.

 

Then again I'm not sure how practical men of the Male outfits would be either.

 

The student then went on to say how he'd respect the characters more if they had more dignity themselves and this kind of sexualisation was poisoning kids minds with an expectation for women to dress like this in reality.

Now this isn't some huge thing unique to the student in question but it seems very much to be a divide still present in American culture that very conservative values are being maintained. The idea that you should only respect people with dignity and that somehow expressions of sexuality are undignified or primitive. The idea of it poisoning kids minds too sounds very much like it's come from many recent commentators and those of the past such as Mary Whitehouse who claimed somehow things were poisoning kids minds. It seems almost comical to suggest that somehow you've been granted this magical power to be uniquely immune to medias impact and to suggest that others can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality still. Again this is only a student but he seemed to very much be echoing the sentiments of many other supposed adults.

 Another student also talked about the adverts for Game of War that appeared while playing Trivia Crack and the prominence of Kate Upton's breasts. Again I'm going to suggest maybe this is less something about the advert and more related to the present culture in the US as in this interview with UK activist Mary Whitehouse suggests the US is seeing what the UK already has gone through.

  

The idea that sex is some naughty private thing and not part of human nature, or that sex is some sacred thing that should never be talked about or used in advertising. Then again to be fair whichever ad company is displaying adverts for Game of War on Trivia Crack is a complete idiot, as while there is  likely a small crossover, I can't imagine many who play Trivia Crack would be interested in Game of War.

 One rather important thing I think was pointed out by Rosalind Wiseman was that girls tend to judge other girls far more harshly at least during middle school....... then again it seems like some media critics never quite got out of that mindset.

  

 

Yes that last one is Leigh Alexander and if you don't know what nerdcore is, well have I got a fun blog coming up soon on it and some DiGRA "Research".

Ashley Burch then claimed it was important not to shut up about Women in gaming facing abuse. I'd agree to an extent with the caveats that people actually check it is abuse and not merely people saying nasty things on a forum about a fairly public person. Or some egg / troll account or person with a grudge. It's also pretty sexist to see the media making a huge deal of it when it happens to be someone seen as a minority and yet when the developer of the Puppeteer was threatened all it got was a side note on The Jimquisition, even when Nintendo was seeing it's developers getting death threats again the only coverage it got was seemingly on The Jimquisition. The reality is people will always have negative things to say about public figures, heck even not so public figures like me have stumbled onto people with negative things to say about them on other sites. Look if you want equality it means covering both lots. I mean how many hear know Cliff Bleszinski recently had people throwing insinutations at him over his choice of mouse mat and a video he did of it ?

In the end while the survey and some of the points were quite rough the basic concepts but some ideas brought up by it show promise for the gaming industry if they can be shown through more valid research. The idea of proving that games with female characters are fine and publishers are most likely scared of nothing and just like with the whole "Survival Horror is dead" or Square Enix and their "No-one wants turn based action RPG games" that the whole "Women in games cause less sales" is just another instance of companies shifting this way without evidence to support it. The idea of characters being seen as "Sex Objects" could require far more investigation as hinted at by Wiseman the spotlight is far more on women as "Sex objects" and sexualisation and far less aware of Male characters potentially being seen as hyper sexualised.

 

 Again there is an argument to make (and I previously made it too) that the chainmail bikini has a place in gaming alongside the loin cloth. The idea shouldn't be that sexy = bad automatically.  Then what am I saying the US is the country where purity rings and pledges court on leading to some, well some different attitudes, as presented in this comedy song by Garfunkel and Oates.

And I think after a song about anal sex it's probably time to round out this article and close by saying that I've found a lot of worthy talking points from the research and addressed most of them here. It seems such a shame that the media chose to all pick out one small component and nothing else.

 I mean it's almost like some people in the media have some kind of a problem with sexy.

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9:33 PM on 07.09.2015

Is it Censorship

"Censorship can only be done by the government removing your free speech"

This is a common argument I hear every time someone is accused of pushing for censorship.

According to the  ICCPR ( International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) Article 19 (you know that big thing called the EU Humans Rights court).

"[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice".

At no point does it say the government is the only one who can restrict it.

In 1971 a little film was released called A Clockwork Orange. At that time a large pressure group led by a Mrs Mary Whitehouse was in full force trying to rid the "Smut" off TV be it removing sex and or violence being shown. In 1972 a prosecutor, in a case of a 14 year old boy who'd killed a classmate, chose to claim the film had a large amount of relevance to the case. The film was also referenced in a case of a 16 year old who'd killed a vagrant (The boy in question having heard of but never seen the film in question). The Defence QC claimed the film itself was the reason for the boys actions as part of the defence case. The press took it upon themselves to additionally relate the film to a rape case. Incensed at the "Potential harm to society" the film could do many of the NVLA and associates of it started a campaign to get it banned. Stanley Kubrick (the films director) and his family suddenly found themselves facing a number of death threats stating his wife and child would be murdered unless he withdrew the film and the family faced protesters constantly outside the family home. Kubrick fearing for his family's life asked the studio to withdraw the film, he later released a statement.

"To try and fasten any responsibility on art as the cause of life seems to me to put the case the wrong way around. Art consists of reshaping life, but it does not create life, nor cause life. Furthermore, to attribute powerful suggestive qualities to a film is at odds with the scientifically accepted view that, even after deep hypnosis in a posthypnotic state, people cannot be made to do things which are at odds with their natures."

For 27 years A Clockwork Orange wasn't seen or heard of in the UK other than fleeting clips on TV shows. Upon Stanley Kubrick's death in 1999 the film was re-released to cinemas. In 2001 it was finally released in the UK on DVD to own.

Would you say the film being pulled and not shown was an act of censorship ?

I would. I'd say it was self censorship, however the reason for it was clearly pressure from the baying mob and those who thought they were somehow helping society by making such threats. It was people pushing for censorship and pushing for people to censor things.

 

That's just some of what Joss Whedon received prior to leaving Twitter. It seems recently there's been a lot of this going round. A thoroughly modern witch hunt by certain people against anyone who is seen to commit "Wrong think" or do something that could in any way be perceived as harmful for society. As in not pushing a hyper progressive near tokenist / exploitative stance.

We've seen it a lot recently with the amount of Polygon pieces about the game Hatred with them even going so far as to try and claim the developer was a Neo-nazi.

You know what a powerful tool for controlling people in this world is and is the big secret of much of advertising ?

 

It's not the only way for sure however it's a very effective one. Fear of facing the threats and fear of being ostracised.

Another such way would be, oh I don't know having multiple places all put out the same or a similar articles all inspired by the same piece of Digra research. All done in the attempt to push the idea that people's views don't fit the majority and should therefore change . But no-one would be that dumb I'm sure right.

  

 

For those who don't know about DiGRA well it's a multi disciplinary international research association whose work focuses on digital games and associated activities. The big thing that seems to cause a problem for them is being multi disciplinary they're not really subjecting their members to quite the stringent level of examination as you'd find as standard in most science field. In fact DiGRA have their own peer review group and at one of their meeting discussed how they could avoid standard peer review systems.  For those who want to know more about some of DiGRA's antics here's a video for you.

 Here's the thing. Many people hiding behind the claim "Oh it's just criticism" don't seem to realise that criticism is more than just labelling something as Racist, Sexist, Transphobic etc etc. You know what you're labelling people and products as inherently bad things. You're using deliberately hyperbolic statements in an attempt to create a fear based reaction with someone not wanting to be considered that and as such immediately changing fearing ostracism.

Fuck you, you fucking piece of shit for doing [insert micro aggression here] go kill yourself or I will, you otherkin-ist.

Sure that may be criticism but it's not useful or good criticism it's not pushing the industry to change via reasoned arguments it's trying to change it via social manipulation and pushing for a form of self imposed censorship through fear. Hell to an extent claiming portrayals are offensive to you is attempting to use a developers possible empathy to make them feel bad and feel they should change something. Playing on empathy itself has been used a lot recently by charities trying to raise money, it's one of the reasons the Kony2012 video spread so fast and so wide. Heck such charity tactics have come under fire recently in the UK.

So when you claim "Only the government can censor things" It's not strictly true. We've seen people attempting to push for others to be fired for merely disagreeing with what some people has said.

Are you really trying to tell me that somehow everything is different this time and there's nothing similar to the old NVLA we had here in the UK ?

 

The show she was talking about.... Dr Who.

My take on this is if people realise they're pushing for censorship or not you can be sure censorship is regularly the end result on this even if it's self censorship to avoid further hassle from the creator. If your criticism is throwing a label on it and then not explainning the reasoing or discussing deeper then what use are you as a critic ?

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10:09 PM on 07.01.2015

"Buy 'Better games' You B*****ds"

 

"We just want games to be better" This is a very common cry I've been hearing recently and it's becoming more and more apparent. It turned up in the Song about how people like Anita and her followers are not like Jack Thompson.

 

"We want them to be better, we don't want them to stay the same" It seems very nice the rest of the song about how games should co-exist etc etc and then I got to thinking "better games" you want games to be "better". How strange I didn't even know video games were ill.

Ok "better games" that's rather an objective statement. Well I asked myself what does it appear they consider "better games" and I took a look at Feminist Frequencies Twitter and found this.

 

Hhhhhhmmmmm not entirely conclusive I think you'll agree but then I stumbled into this article in the International Buisness Times. It's a very clear cut piece essentially saying "Some games should be considered art and others not". IBT makes particular emphasis on Lamenting the closure of Tales of Tales despite its heavy Advertising campign for Sunset (Done through the PR company Leigh Alexander helps run, yes that games journalist who has her own PR consultancy for video games). The article points out how it was only £15 and yet didn't sell. The problem is it was a £15 indie game with a narrative focus and according to HowLongToBeat it's 3 1/2 hours long. During the Steam sale I did buy a game by Tale of Tales, I bought The Path for about £2 on sale instead of its normal £7.

Much of the complaint in the IBT article seems to be about how people rejected games like Gone Home and Dear Esther. So I decided to write a short 50 page book for you guys here at Destructoid. No really go enjoy it, the things free.

 You see just as my book clearly doesn't use all the tools available to it, many games being held up as art games tend not to use all their tools either. They're mostly a fairly linear narrative with little to no interaction or gameplay. Video games have available to them both narrative and game yet many seem to want to simply be slightly more interactive books, where the book every now and again asks you to click a thing to continue. No additional thought needed. No gameplay elements or challenge presented. The IBT article is again seemingly laying the blame for failure at the feet of the audience going "Why didn't you support this you horrible uncouth uncivilised people?" I've said it before in relation to this but peoples' "art" is not entitled to my money.

What's all the more insane is in the name of progress and "better games" people are trying to guilt or even shame people for refusing to support them. I mean who wouldn't want "better games" right except the true question is better from whose perspective? Better games than we had previously? Some-how "superior games" dare I say? Why are they somehow "better games" and not merely different games?

 Continuing on with the IBT article it talks about how Fullbright are still in business, how The Chinese Room are still going and how Lucas Pope (Developer of Papers Please) isn't shutting down. The claim being that these developers are somehow proof people want there "better games" so let's look at that argument. Lucas Pope made Papers Please a game with multiple narratives present but also the challenge aspects of having to worth through the paperwork, it's quite different from being a purely narrative driven experience. Then we have The Chinese Room who made Dear Esther and while people bought that mostly to show on youtube how crap it was. What probably made The Chinease Room more money was them making a sequel to the well renowned horror game Amnesia. While panned as being a less game than Amnesia I dare say The Chinease Room still found it sold pretty well. The final one being Fullbright, Fullbright made Gone Home and I'd suggest part of its success comes from not desire for the product but from what the product seemed to be which initially was a "youtube bait" horror game where you find the house empty. Also in part due to a review written by a friend of the developer and  former member of the development group before it made Gone Home and became the Fullbright everyone recognises today. The next game by Fullbright seems to be following almost the same style but putting out the image of it being a sc-fi horror game not an earth based on. It will be interesting to see if it actually is or if it's another switcher roo.

 The article does point out people are not obliged to support certain properties but seemingly blaming the audience and saying "  Sunset died because, basically, most people who buy and play games do not want art." The same kind of argument could be levelled at many films and books. For example The Dresden Files series are most definitely not something I would call great literature, it's an enjoyable ride and bit of fun escapism but that's it. However I'd still say The Dresden Files are art, hell I'd even say a film like The Human Centipede counts as art. Look if We're letting Damien Hurt's output be called Art or a statue of a female riot officer pissing on the floor, complete with synthetic urine puddle, then I see no reason to exclude even the worst game from being called Art.

 

And yes that statue is on display in art galleries complete with a puddle of synthetic urine.

The IBT article seems to think that art means you must talk about social issues or do something beyond entertain. So can someone out there please tell me what social issue this picture below is commenting on ? (Answers in the comments please)

 The IBT article places the blame on the audience and claims people in the audience are to blame for refusing to try something different. You know not the press for entirely failing to cover the game or on the developers themselves in part to make it easier and less of a risk for people to try something new. Sorry but £15 for 3 1/2 hours is a joke at £10 it would have to be the best damn 3 1/2 hours of game I've ever played if there's no replayability or I'd be rather unhappy. I'm more than willing to try something new at the right price point. Hell I've spent some of my time talking about smaller developers and games that people don't normally experience and hopefully convince some people of some games worth trying.

 The claim that some games should be art and considered art, to some is not so much anymore about the medium but merely about separating regular games from the games they want to call art. Then using the new "Art games" to try and do what so many other arts allow. To gain art funding. It's not so much about funding artists as much as funding "The right people" funding people that share the ideology and values of those pushing for this separation or so it seems. It's less about funding great art and more seemingly about funding people, almost back to the old claims of "Jobs of the boys". As studios making certain content aren't finding an audience to sustain them seemingly. It's an old trick and I know some people will no doubt be dubious that people would be able to take advantage of art grants or benefits etc but Uwe Boll was one of the biggest signs of people doing this. Until recently the German government allowed people tax breaks for giving to people in the arts, one of the directors who saw a lot o this funding was Uwe Boll. With changes to German tax laws however it's means Uwe Boll no longer gets to see this kind of funding, hence him turning to kickstarter etc to try and fund some of his more recent abominations.

 

The whole reason I started doing the critical floor articles initially was to show just how much art is present in other games and not the traditional "art games" held up as some great high brow culture which if you hate you clearly don't get it. The thing is those who claim gamers "Just don't get it" seemingly just don't get media literacy and the art elements in standard games.

 If this were just one article in the IBT I'd say ok maybe one editor said some stupid things. Yet a very similar article also appeared on Tech Crunch and in that article they chose to criticise Steams refund policies, because if someone makes a barely 1 hour long weird interactive concept and sells it people can easily finish and refund it. The idea that some-how the experimental space will be damaged because shock horror people can't get paid from it by selling it as a standard product. Well I and many others in the C-Blogs are not paid does that mean everything here is terrible and not sustained? The are plenty of different funding options available now for developers who want to make their 15 second long "Super deep" experimental games. It's amazing to see people blaming gamers for not buying these titles. In seemingly no other medium are people shamed so much for spending their money how they want (Of course the whole Selma vs American Sniper thing not withstanding). We're not seeing a mass of film critics lamenting the success of Guardians of the Galaxy or Mad Max because people saw that instead of [insert one of the cannes 15 minute films shot on a mobile phone here].

How about this. Rather than lamenting the percived "Loss the the medium" when some pretientious art piece bombs and blaming the audience people look for the art in exsting games? You know without some grand PR drive about how the game is oh so mature and deep. That's just my 1,500+ words on it though. 

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5:04 PM on 06.25.2015

For the good of Humanity we should blow up Rome's Coliseum

 

What it was either E3 related guff or laughing at idiots this week. Guess which I chose?

 so some rather well paid individual has been extolling about how violence is bad and Doom showing such levels of violence is a problem Oh and this time it's not Jack Thompson I mean this time they made a PSA kids cartoon esc song saying just that so it must be true.

 

So doom, a gloriously over the top FPS game which is quite on par with the idea of many gore films has some people up in arms again. Now from what I can gather it's because apparently violence is actually an artificial thing in our society a true sign of how damaging the patriarchy is to the world by perpetrating totally un-natural violence. To which my answer can only realistically be this.

  

What poor giraffes they must have learned their violent behaviour from being so exposed to our culture for so long and learning it from us.

 

Yep even other animals have clearly been learning these violent behaviours from our human media and society [Sarcasm mode deactivated]. That's the thing though it seems that the old right have returned in force with their claims that video games cause violence just with a new face. Now I've said my piece on this before. In fact I've said it twice. The claims haven't changed much either from those against violent games. The claim is that, just like comics before them, video games are a unique medium thus somehow things are different.

It's comical. The constant claims that somehow any depiction of violence is making our society worse and making people desensitised so should be condemned. Yet Rome has one of the largest symbols to violence as one of its main tourist attraction. I talk of course about the coliseum, home to the gladiator fights. Now when we look back on the Romans do we see some horrific uncivilised mob or people who helped significantly advance the world? If we're to go with the claim that anything violent or that is a reminder of violence used as entertainment is wrong then surely it should be blown up and demolished right. In the case of the coliseum it was actual violence done to actual people for entertainment.

 Now people might claim "Oh but it's a special case with the coliseum it was far more brutal" to which I now have to say that research at present is suggesting it wasn't. There's a lot of evidence suggesting that Roman gladiators shared much with present day wrestling. Sure there were deaths in the coliseum but actual matches to the death were apparently quite rare. I mean you can't have every fight be a death match or you'd run out of trained gladiators pretty quickly. It's even suggested many matches were rigged with the winner pre-determined in an attempt to create crowd favourites to watch and draw bigger audiences. There's even talk of gladiator training teaching people how to hit and cut one another in such a way to make the injury easily healable and nothing serious to allow trained Gladiators to have the minimum of recovery time before coming back on. Even suggestions that in matches with wild animals lions were often declawed. It seems quite funny today that WWE exists, the coliseum exists both being real people simulating violence for peoples enjoyment. We have Boxing seeing a resurgence and brutal MMA fighting being a thing now. Yet it's the digital coliseum that's the problem?

 

Boxing itself is thought to have been established in part due to the popularity of bare knuckle brawling matches often popular with the upper classes (and they were illegal). we're in an age where everyone is claiming violence is corrupting people. I'm going to tell you a little story about my brief time as a Teacher. Some of the best students in class, best behaved and best ability wise I heard some of what they were into. The one girl who I'd consider the smartest in the class played GTA V online and watched Game of Thrones regularly. One of the guys in the class who was quiet, well behaved and did amazingly well (almost as well as the previously mentioned girl) he played GTA V Online and Mortal Kombat these were 14- 15 year olds in the class. I found out one of the other girls in the class who again caused no trouble and was doing well, she was a big fan of the series Supernatural. Some of the worst in the class you might ask, two Male Football mad boys and two girls who loved Bratz dolls. Yes this is only anecdotal evidence. However with previous evidence showing violent game sales vs the rate of violent crimes it's becoming a bit more of a solid case. Again correlation doesn't equal causation but surely having a healthy outlet where no-one but digital figures gets hurt would be better outlet than someone wanting to take out their anger on the pitch, the court or somewhere else against other human beings. I think Penn and Teller put this quite well.

 

So if the Roman society can make some great advances and thinkers in its time, the idea of violence being part of society is quite something to remember as at least for the Roman's it didn't suddenly destroy the whole of society. It's not as though media itself hasn't explored the idea of utopian societies with the film Rollerball showing how even in a world without war there will still always be something violent. Demolition Man shows that when the world is a "safe space" free of naughty words and violence then it's very easy for people to take advantage of and the truth is finding a balance between freedom and complete safe spaces.

 So a few more stories on this for you that have happened in the past few months now. So we have this recent bit of news coming in from the UK that if kids in primary school talk about playing violent games, the school will report their parent's to the police. Not Films, not books, no video games and just video games because video games are somehow now a special case. Just like comic books were a special case before them.

 Now I hope you'll all go and read Jonathan Holmes piece about his experiences with violent media as a child as he expertly outlines how all this talk about games being dangerous to society is total nonsense. Now do I think it's right for kids to be playing content far beyond their intended age? No I really don't, sure I can understand a 16 year old on an 18 game. Here in the UK we have both PEGI and BBFC ratings systems either of which can appear and both of which give a clear numerical suggested age.

Oh but the outrage doesn't end there, you see we've also had a police commissioner call for an adult only rating for video games. I mean if only there were such a symbol in use which specifically showed only someone legally considered an adult could buy a game..............

Here's the thing, here in the UK most stores are very strict with sales of restricted goods. I've seen on occasion people working in games stores even speak with people they suspected of being parents sent to buy games by kids. The staff explain the content of the game and the age rating system. I've been to conventions and now at over 20 (quite a bit past it) I'm still having to show ID despite having grown a beard and moustache. the idea that somehow and AO rating alone will stop 18 rated games getting into the hands of kids is a joke. We've had the BBFC classification system for years on films and media. The UK does have an AO rating. AO ratings are reserved at present almost exclusvely for one Kind of media... Porn. So the way things are going it looks like I'll be going to my local sex shop to buy games in future if certain groups get their way, carrying my copy of Doom home in a black paper bag.

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2:48 PM on 06.22.2015

Goodbye Freelance Games

So while everyone is mourning the loss of a certain indie darling games studio in the media recently I thought I'd take the opportunity to say farewell to an indie studio as well. Freelance Games. For those who don't know who Freelance Games are they're a one man indie studio who at this stage I think it's fair to say they've gone. The official website vanished last year and the official twitter (and devs own twitter) have been dead since December 24th.

Now you might wonder why I'm doing this ?

Well some developers go out with a giant fart

 

Some go out with one last fuck you

 

Freelance games did neither. It vanished into the night without a word. So rather than showcase some developer throwing a tantrum (as many in the media are choosing to) I'd rather showcase a developer who tried and while they didn't manage to keep going, they bowed out without a word.

Freelance games have made a number of titles their first being an OK space game on the XBLIG marketplace called Starchon, it was nice an worth the money but I wouldn't say it was groundbreaking. Then again as a first title it didn't need to be. Their main hit (and I'd say best product) was the Trailer Park King series. XBLIG is infamous for games with busty women being abundant, sex sells and XBLIG was proof that sex can even help you sell some real shit. However unlike most of the others Trailer Park King actually managed to find a theme and setting that worked. The game was closer to being a point and click, with later entries having mini games, rather than anything else yet it managed to work with the theme. Rather than coming off as smut the series came off as being closer to a teen movie such as American Pie or Dude Where's My Car. Freelance Games did branch out later with its attempt and another couple of series, firstly being Cherry Poke Prison, which was passable but nothing special. Then came Derp of Duty...... which I can best describe as a bad porn film, just without the benefit of having actual porn. Derp of Duty slumped into being almost sleaze. After that and the slow death of the XBLIG Freelance Games opted to try the Mobile market and honestly I'd say this may have been part of their downfall and shows just how hard it is to survive the mobile market. Even after the surviving the XBLIG marketplace the mobile market seemingly finished Freelance Games off. It's last three games were basic games, two being adaptations of mini games from its full titles and  the last being a game called Big Head Flyers which as a Flappy Bird styled game.

 

Possibly more worthy of note being the work done by Freelance Games to speak out for developers. As many people may remember FreeLance Games was the one of the main developers that spoke up about Microsofts failure to pay indie developers last year. He was also one of the first to speak up previously when such an issue began and even started a petition to try and raise awareness and convince MS about how many developers were losing patience with the delays.

 So where ever Sean Doherty the lead developer of Freelance Games is now. I wish him all the best in whatever career he's ended up in. Goodbye Freelance Games

For those who want to check out the games still all but Starchon and Cherry Poke Prison were ported to Android with free trial versions or full paid versions (Also on IOS too)

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10:21 PM on 06.19.2015

E3 Nit Picking

Ok I think it's fair to say E3 was good this year, E3 was in fact very good this year. Now there's one of a number of ways I could go with the whole post E3 conferences blog. One being to simple recap and woop. The other being to be cynical. I've decided to do neither really and just nit pick at a load of stuff that really didn't work for me or stood out.

Ok let's start with my biggest nit picks and they come from a game I'm still too hyped for. Horizon: Zero Dawn.

  

So nit pick number 1: why the hell are you hunting robots ? I don't get it. In what's meant to be a kind of post apocalyptic society and hunter gathers why are people hunting robots in what possible way can they help you survive and you know actually eat?

 Nit Pick number 2 is a very specific one from having been an archery instructor.

I can get past what appear to be carbon fibre arrows.

I can get past what seem to be plastic arrow knocks being used.

I can get past a crossbow being used

But what the hell is what that bow? I'm not even joking the best guess I have is that it's a compound bow which have a sort of winch system on them. The problem being while accurate due to reducing the bow tension when drawn they're terrible for a hunter gatherer lifestyle. The damn things are hard to make and if the string breaks or one of the wheel parts comes off you're screwed. Sometimes before archery sessions I'd have to change strings on the bows at the site I was at. I could change a string in about 5 minutes on a recurve bow. According to the Archery coach (as in this guy is a national level professional coach) if a string breaks on a compound bow you're better off taking it to a proper archery supplies shop for them to fix it. So for a hunter gatherer society it makes zero sense they'd firstly be able to even produce bows like that and secondly that they'd hunt with them when they'd not be able to fix it while out and about. With a recurve bow you can literally whip the string off with no extra tools and place a new one on.

 See and you thought I was joking about quite how much nit picking I was planning to do.

 Next was Microsoft backwards compatibility.

  

The big nit pick here being in the wording used. Microsoft basically said all games in theory could be backwards compatible if the developers / publishers enable it to be. That is the problem. I don't trust EA as far as I could throw their head office I equally don't trust many other publishers who faced with the choice of selling you their new HD remake and enabling you to play the previous game, well let's be honest they're going to pick the money. Also this goes further as Microsoft said any of the last generations digital Xbox 360 games you own could be converted over too. It's a shame that to a degree that was actually a lie, or at least so far is likely to not be entirely honest. You see Microsoft probably won't be letting people port over their Xbox Live Indie Games (you know that thing I started out covering almost exclusively) the XNA creators club was abandoned and I really can't see Microsoft trying to figure out how to port XBLIG games onto the Xbox One. Don't get me wrong it would be nice to see with games such as DLC quest, Bleed, Survivalist and many others make it onto the  console in this next generation but it's probably not going to happen. Oh and what happens with developers who have since gone out of buisness like Frontlines Fuel of War or titles like Deadpool where the rights changed hands. Or Too Human (quite why you'd be playing it who knows) where copies were collected back in and sale of the game stopped.

 The Last Guardian.

  

Ok I'm probabaly going to get crap for this but it looked like the version shown was an in development version waiting for the high res textures to be added in places, at east on the stream I watched it on. If you look at the boy character and the bird dog then the rest of the environment it just seemed like an aesthetic clash with a sort of cartoony blended pastel colour dog and child running through what seemed to be a quite HD backdround and scenery. To me at least it felt like what we were seeing was temporary texture which were meant to be replaced with higher quality ones. I know ICO and Shadow of the Colossus did that washed out colour look but that seemed to also be all the games aesthetics not just the characters but the world too.

 Recore

Ok I missed something along the way with this one. I must have done. It looked ok but when everyone was on about how good it looked and how the dog became a giant robot I couldn't help but look at it and go "Haven't we already seen this before or at least something close to it?"

 

Tacoma

  

Ok seriously. As much as I rag on Gone Home I looked at Tacoma and I couldn't help but see some of the same almost build up and ideas in play. The seemingly abandoned space station. The crew member memory hologram things about and the whole bit about opening the door at the end of the trailer. It already feels like a similar bait and switch. Playing on people's expectations for a space horror game and when that door opens and the whole crew yell Happy Birthday I know I'm going to be hating how predictable it almost seems to pull the same kind of trick twice. Who knows the rest of the game might actually then just be seriously mundane.

 Sony's show reel

 Ok a lot of people have been on about how most of Sony's conference was stuff not being released this year and I have to agree. Worse still was that in the press conference intro clips they actually showed two games coming out this year and never talked about them. They showed Journey which is being re-mastered and expected about September and also Mad Max the game which is also meant to be out September sort of time. I really don't get why they put those games in the show reel and then didn't have them as part of the show at some point. They're not the only games though as Sony showed in their showreel what appears to be the PC game The Forrest and upcoming PS4 console exclusive Drawn to Death. Have a Look at some of what was in that Showreel and not seen on stage.

Battleborn

Drawn to Death

The Forrest (??)

Journey

Super Time Force

A New Resistance game ?

Severed

So anyone else have some moments from E3 this year that just really annoyed them when it was a tiny little thing that seemed off (and not EA dragging a football legend on for 10 minutes of story time) Or Ubisoft and the ricchets chat up line.

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4:39 PM on 06.18.2015

Who says #Gamergate has done nothing ?

So this is a reply blog. It's not my normal kind of blog. It's not the kind of blog I wanted to be writing. I wanted to write a blog nitpicking about E3 and both nit picking and slobbering over Horizon Zero Dawn. What I get to do instead is fill in some holes that have shown up. 

This isn't some self agrandising thing about all the good and charity donations #Gamergate has done or the Society of professional journalists debates or new FTC guidelens. This is very simple, very narrowly focused.

So recently at E3 a number of posters have turned up claiming to be from #Gamergate. There were plenty of people condemning the move (both in gamergate and against it) yet most of those against it simple automatically threw the blame at Gamergate.

Well credit goes to a #Gamergate account by the twitter handle @Nuckable for finding out that the posters were actually not the work of any-one in #Gamergate as such but a group of street artists who do highly republican far right orientated street art.

You can see @nuckable's Tweet here

Here's the collection of pictures so far that they've made 

Now I know what I'm going to get in the comments here "Oh but Gamergate would have done it" Or "yeh but members of Gamergate are scum."

So It's worth pointing out that thanks to people working together in #Gamergate someone sending death threats to Anita Sarkeesian was actually found out. Turns out one of those people was a journalist trying to create controversey so his own article on Anita being harrassed would get more attention simpy by being first out of the door. The full story of this can be read here. The article details suspicions people had and the trail followed which leads to a Brazillain Journalist at what appears to be a very clickbait centric site. The information on the individual has alledgedly been passed onto the authorities. 

Hopefully my next C-blog can be about something more interesting. I'm writing this simply to save me responding to all the comments in the original article with the same information. Hopefully also killing the demand for a backlash. At some point people are going to have to sit down and talk even if it takes until the Society of Professional Journalists debates set to be held later this year.

There that's it done.

 

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