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So I felt the need to do a little light article just for a change and as this subject almost dropped into my lap it almost feels rude not to do a piece on it. This comes from the User SmugFrog on the Escapists forums as the original source.
Most artists want people to know them or at least know of them. On youtube and in the information age it’s very easy for a good composer or musician to have his music end up going viral once people know who they are. With youtube and the growing efforts for people to actually attribute others work if it’s been used (as it should be it as mutually beneficial stuff etc) it might surprise people that now the composer of a piece for the indie game Dungeon of the Endless has decided, for the time being, to remain unknown for his work featured in the games trailer.
The track in question used in the trailer for Endless Dungeon has apparently become a big hit among fans, who finding no information on the song title or composer chose to go to the developer themselves and ask.
Here is what is claimed to have been the response from the developer.
We contacted the studio making that music in order to get the information about the title of the song.The composer does not want to communicate on this track right now. However, he told us it will be available soon on music platforms. We will definitely keep you posted about this as soon as it goes live.”
Apparently that was around 2 months ago and since then there has been radio silence on this. So the question is when will the mysterious composer come forward and when if ever will the track be released to buy on it’s own. Only time will tell.
So in part 2 I discussed cultural domination vs co-existence and why Microsoft lost the console war to the Nintendo Wii in terms of sales success now onto the problem that's blocking the new age of video games and the video game renaissance.
Now that gaming is entering it’s, well it’s renaissance it’s an amazing time with a bright future ahead, if and only if people can let go of this almost petty competition that one culture is superior to the other and should rule. Much of what we have been seeing in attempts to change the present core gamer culture has been from those with beliefs similar to those seen in cultural Marxism. The idea that the only way to change the status quo is to control it yourself. How do you control it ? You depose those seen as presently in control or make it appear as though they shouldn't be the ones in control and that you would be better in control.
To be honest and I’m sure there’s a better psychological explanation than the one I’m about to give. It comes off as a form of egocentircism or illusorysuperiority to believe that your choices are somehow superior and everyone should follow you. Your choices, be they beneficial or not to you are personal choices based on you as a person. It’s not and never will be a one size fits all situation where your own personal choices and views will be right or work for all other people.
Democracy itself can be said to also contribute to this idea of a single set of world views dominating as you literally vote in people with one set of views or another. At least that’s part of the theory and as such majority rule means there is a drive to convince others your view is the better one. It’s kind of the reason here in the UK I absolutely hate the Labour party and the idea of party whips. The Labour party are infamous, if you’ve ever seen any parliamentary vote results of being very much towing the line and views while other parties tend to be allowed to express views different to the leadership. The party whip is a position meant to rally up party members to participate in what are consider core issues being voted on and also it’s been said to deal with dissenting views. The idea being a party is stronger when unified than when divided against itself. This is why for me in the UK looking at US politics is weird as here in the UK we have and always have had a wider range of party ideas being represented. Having a very binary choice as is dominant in the US seems such a restrictive and alien idea which I’m guessing is born of tradition and funding networks.
For those wondering I vote Official Monster Raving Loony party, often even if they’re not on the ballot paper......
Yes that's a real political party here in the UK
Now cultural Marxism states that to enforce change you have to replace the status quo with your own and apply a top down authoritarian method of change rather than a more grass roots bottom up method of social change. Cultural Marxism becomes dangerous when it’s taken to the more extreme levels as people believe they and only they are right and as such the other side are seen seen as having power and being some oppressive force. As such the view is anything done to an enemy is fair game because they have it coming by being inherently wrong. It supports mutually exclusive views and actually stomps on diversity of views and ideas by claiming there can only be one acceptable view.
In part 4 I'll talk about why the hell I've written this huge series and the implications of what we're presently witnessing in video game culture.
Yes this was a short part but I felt it worked better this way to prepare for the last part.
So 2014 wasn’t a great year for gaming not really. It had it’s moments like Bayonetta 2 being released but there was so much crap I thought to bring in the new year (and because my overall blog is titled The Grumble) I’d look back on 2014 with the urine tinted glasses on, and take a look at some of the crap 2014 brought us. And no I’m not going into that whole mess of infidelity, journalistic nepotism, silencing of charities, emotional abuse and me having someone try to frame me for selling endangered animals that’s plenty more blogs to come.
It seems 2014 was a bad year for indie gaming at least in terms of well everything. From the XNA system finally being retired and ending of Microsoft’s involvement in start up indie games. Then we had absolute collapse of the Polaris Game Jam event which oddly is still being looked into today and then finally we had the biggest of indie studios managed to fuck up royally as Double Fine started to look a little less fine and a little more like they’ve been going to the EA school of being dicks. So much so on the part of Double Fine that it warrants it’s own blog (coming soon).
Oh and Notch Sold Mojang off the Microsoft so I’m guess that’s another trophy head for their wall next to the decaying remains of Rare. Oh and Microsoft managed to royally screw up payment to indie developers (I am following up on this but I haven’t heard anything else yet)
OK now most people will argue on this one and while I’m entirely of the mind that it’s better to delay a game and release something good than to release a game that will always be terrible. This year took the cake for delays. Evolve originally going for a pre Christmas release has slid backwards and backwards. The Witcher 3 seems to be on this slide too (though again The Witcher 3 is one which I’m happy to wait on) With all the pushbacks and delays even with Planetside 2 on PS4 slipping it’s mean somehow there was no major pre-christmas releases really. It all seemed a little dry. It’s good in a way as I’m getting to catch up on some of the games of the past I’ve missed but it also means I’m waiting till February at least until there will be much beyond a handful of games worth playing on my PS4.
Oh and we still have no official release date for Broken Age part 2
So this year’s been a right old one for bugs hasn’t it. I don’t just mean little ones either I mean the huge crap that was Assassins Creed unity on launch (Thank goodness I’ve mostly swore off Assassins creed). There was the near non functional Drive Club and the terribly buggy master chief collection. That’s not the mention the slew of indie games that Strategy first sicked up all over the Steam Store front regularly. Oh and lets not forget the World of Warcraft Warlords of Drenor launch that was so bad BBC consumer advocacy show watchdog ran a story on it.
Yup I’m going there. Lizzard Squad managed to make giant pains out of themselves this year. The new hackers on the block earlier in 2014 took down Xbox Live, PSN, Steam Server (including the Dota 2 network while I was playing no less) and League of Legends. Many of them were arrested but somehow the same hacker group managed to come back again to be the Grinch and try to ruin Christmas for many gamers and why ? Because they were assholes who wanted to hold companies to ransom. After internet entrepreneur Kim Dot Com stepped in and bribed them into stopping attacking Xbox live and PSN. They did also try to take down Steam but the power of mighty Gabe was too much this time and their attack managed to cause a single server to develop a 1 second lag for only a day. After having attacked XBL and PSN did lizard squad stop ? You bet they didn’t as they reportedly went after long suffering MMO The Old republic and upset the 3 remaining people who actually still play that game. Oh and just as one last screw you they leaked a load of usernames and identity info allegedly lifted from the hacks to another hacker group called the Guardians of Peace. Who are the guardians of piece ? they’re the guys who hacked Sony and blackmailed them to try and prevent the release of The interview. On the plus side however these actions especially passing on the documents managed to wake up the sleeping anonymous collective who were goaded by lizard squad after they also attacked the TOR free speech encrypted communications network. All leading to Anonymous vowing to fight Lizard squad for this.
So this year has also oddly been about games that just managed to fall flat on their rear end and the hype supported them failed to turn into anything substantial. We had Watchdogs which may have been gimped on PC to allow consoles to compete and while many said it wasn’t bad it didn’t live up to the hype. Then we had Destiny. The first time I’ve ever been in an argument with a video game store clerk over why pre-ordering it was silly as it would be crap, turns out I was right, which is rather a shame as I’d rather have been proved wrong. What came out from most people’s comments was a good shooter with all the elements of a bad MMO and with little longevity or actually joy to what somehow passed for a story. A series that is meant to have what a 5 year plan for titles with DLC tricking out and upsetting players over the internet by locking off playlist types and making rare weapons obsolete Destiny even managed to make Peter Dinklage look bad.
Yep I had to talk about the foreign world of the Mobile games market which somehow exists in the exact state of a pre 1983 video games collapse. Just when I thought the polluted waters couldn’t get worse then EA decided it needed to connect its sewer system to it and out fell a steaming pile of something that looked like it had been crapped out by the Dungeon Keeper series. Ea promptly dressed it up smartly and hope people wouldn’t notice the stench. They did and EA tried to brush this off as some kind of gamer entitlement issue only for people to then start to showcase the game even more as the shitty piece of money grubbing crap it was. EA apologised and for the most part they’ve seemingly given up on trying to make any more big hitting mobile games beyond the oes they’ve spewed out so far.
If EA were the only company with a connection to mobile gaming to do something stupid this year then it would have been fine. They weren’t as this was also the year we saw King.com start taking their name a bit too literally and using copyright law to try and sue any company who dared to have a game on any platform with the name Saga or Candy in it. This lead to my own personal statement on my Facebook to people I know outside of the internet that if they linked me to anything by King.com I would fill their feed with invites for every game I have ever played on Facebook in years. Oh and there’s a lot of strong suggestions that King.com itself stole the game concept from an earlier game made by another developer and then tried to sue them. I’ve made it my personal goal this year to shit on King.com as much as possible on social media whenever someone mentioned any of their games.
The mobile market has been getting worse with Papers Please being denied a release on the apple app store unless it censored some of the politics out of it and more games being cloned. The mobile market is getting to the stage where it and the gaming industry have to have that little talk out the back of the bar with a bike chain and pair of brass knuckles. Oh and there was that whole GDC event with 20+ panels on how to get money out of people using mobile games.
So good riddance 2014 maybe this year video gaming will have less junk surrounding it.
So previously in part 1 I discussed the idea of Microsoft changing the narrative and how this is similar to the present situation of people trying to change the culture round gaming and the competition itself by changing the rules. By making the previous culture seem wrong and "toxic"
It’s human nature to want to try and conform to the group you’re around. The Asch experiment in psychology is a perfect example of just this. For a better example I met up with some school friends a couple of months ago. A friend of mine’s new girlfriend mentioned while we were out that said friend normally drank wine and cocktails when they went out drinking and she said it was a little strange to see him only drinking mostly beer and sometimes shots. Personally when I’m out with them I’m generally drinking cider and the occasion oddity such as Pimms and Lemonade or Gin and tonic. One method of establishing yourself as part of a group or to an extent cementing yourself as part of a group is the to point out how someone doesn’t fit said group. Said friend in question always has a thing of pointing out how odd it is when I do deviate from cider to spirits and as such I find it quite comedic that in reality he in different settings deviates more ( I drink the exact same no matter who I’m with pretty much, I do as I please). Now to be clear it’s not some malicious shunning move when he points out the difference it’s more a running joke / sign people know one another well and value the friendship over offending a person. Basically if I were some hypersensitive person with serious paranoia I might perceive such a comment as some kind of attack or attempt to shun rather than made more for humour and a show of knowing a person and enjoyment of both parties. As if you can’t laugh at yourself who can you really laugh at ?
Now as mentioned by Daniel Cook he felt left out in the culture that developed at Xbox as more simple games of old were being essentially left in the dust or passed off as just casual rubbish. What is happening at present is what could be said to be a counter culture movement to the present “Core” gaming idea. The rising of indie games happened in part because big studios abandoned the past and the previous “culture” for lack of a better term of more, simple, purely for fun less / non competitive games. What people seemingly fail to understand is that was actually due to specific circumstances at the time in particular the introduction of the home console market and the slow decline of a haven of competition of the arcade scene. The same arcade scene featured in King of Kong.
Now the real problem comes in the form of cultural domination vs cultural co-existence and where people stand on these ideas. With let’s say more adult games dealing with darker concepts and scenarios (note I said darker not actually more mature) it makes sense for there to be an alternative culture to this idea of mainstream gaming.
You see Microsoft made one very critical mistake in giving Nintendo the image of a more casual more inviting console. People who felt alienated by core gaming flocked to it seeing it as a good way to get into gaming and this huge growing market that was starting to explode. They saw the Wii and it’s fairly simple motions as a far easier thing to get used to and enjoy than the huge complex multi buttoned controllers of today. Remmeber many of us Started off with a controller in somes cases with a D pad and two buttons.
Nintendo went from beaten and broken with the Gamecube to somehow winning the last generation. The Wii had problems, most notably the lack of games aimed more at adults (there are some though). The strange thing is and this is what killed Microsoft this generation and lead to Sony taking over. Microsoft blinked. They went from taking away the core audience Nintendo had been used to and had been keeping loyal to suddenly seeing that there was another demographic taking its first steps into gaming and it was coming in force. Microsoft reacted to try and capture this new market too and damaged the its image with its present market by swinging far more to try and capture this new audience and neglected its present one (To an extent).
This all or nothing approach to demographics is part of the problem in gaming and the true reason for the present reactions we’re seeing as , and people could be said to be rightly assuming, a company can’t cater to everyone all the time at once no matter how hard they try. The concept of having to fight to keep one culture or another and that only one can become dominate is both a stupid idea born from the actions of companies and one people are unfortunately taking as the way things are or must be.
Just stop for a moment and think about this in terms of films for a moment. While there are token gestures towards other audiences present in some films e.g. Having a love story in the most recent Godzilla movie. It’s not designed to be the focus of the movie. Which is why many criticised Godzilla for over emphasis on this and how there wasn't enough on scientists talking about the nature of Godzilla. Along with rationalising it’s actions and of course Godzilla smashing things and fighting other monsters. Think about how many genres of film there are. Now think how broad a range of people film covers as the standard audience for musicals or romance films probably won’t be the standard audience for gore based slasher horror or over the top action films. Now imagine trying to apply video gaming company logic here and try to make a film for every audience...... they can exist to an extent but it’s rare a film gains any real universal appeal.
You see while many seem to think competitiveness in gaming is a considered relatively new concept, it’s not. The only difference now is that games allow you compete globally on many different levels. Xbox Live Gamerscore itself is a form of on going competition that can still occur in single player now. For me and this is just me personally Gamerscore is not what interests me but more the achievements themselves. While some might say a game simply rewarding progress is hollow it is still an incentivisation to keep playing, however for me they come into their own when they give an incentive to try something different. To try a different challenge outside of normal gameplay such as finishing Ravenholm using only traps and the gravity gun or Finishing Half Life 2 episode 1 using only a single bullet. This adds replayability to older titles and gives more reasons to replay them.
Now many people will have come into gaming since Microsoft “changed the game” and as such seeing Microsoft react to a different demographic and heavily alienate its existing one (No it’s not better with Kinect, I have a Wii I use each for what each provides). Microsoft tried to be all things to all people and showed it well couldn’t, at least not by the all or nothing approach it was and still has been using. Microsoft lost the faith of its customers who enjoyed what it was providing and now with the seeming abandoning the Kinect, they managed to harm and push away the new customers too.
The problem is people thinking about gaming in terms of cultural dominance instead of co-existence. As has been seen in the past with the move from arcade to home console to the internet age the cultural dominance has shifted back and forth between the two ideas.
In part 3 I'll go on to discuss the renaissance of gaming and discuss those claiming to fight for diversification who are actually standing in it's way either deliberately or inadvertently.
I chose to have a rest over Christmas. I kept away from here and blogs because while I had this and others written I honestly didn't want to be doing super serious blogs round Christmas. It's now new year and I said I was coming back to them so here we go.
I know this article will likely piss off people on both sides of this and potentially alienate some of my regular readers.
This series may not be pleasant.
This series initially began forming a while ago based on something I thought was an interesting story when in early 2013 I stumbled upon a google drive document by Danel Cook a former Xbox developer about how he was leaving Xbox and donating his console. So those really not liking my Feminist Frequency content etc should be aware this originally started out far different yet has become far more relevant to due to comments made by Feminist Frequency staff.
This will be a series of about 3-4 blogs to try and keep the immense size down (over 4400 words in total) and I will try to write and bring some other content in between parts.
This article will also likely be dismissed because apparently having testicles means I have the wrong set of genital to talk about why being male is dangerous.......... Yeh I just said that
Did you know the air you breathe is slowly killing you ?
Dude to the oxygen levels present in the air technically it is. The air contains far more oxygen than our body needs and while we simply breathe out most of the excess some of it remains in our systems. Our bodies of very imprecise in using the oxygen and every so often oxygen radicals are released into our systems. An oxygen radical is simply a highly volatile single oxygen without the standard charge you’d expect of an ion. These oxygen radicals released into our systems are mopped up to an extent by our bodies but not before they have chance to do damage. Causing minor changes to our very DNA. Our bodies do often spot and correct such changes but again our bodies are imperfect and sometimes flaw is missed and replicated.
In essence the very air we breathe is slowly killing us.
I’m not sure quite why I wrote that intro. It just felt right to start looking into this topic. Originally I started research for this piece years ago now. The original title was “How Microsoft changed the game”. So with all the talk about “Toxic Masculinity” and a film, which is being suggested to be about just that kind of idea in, Foxcatcher coming out soon. I thought it was time to examine the idea of “bro gamers” and the changes in video games
Now I decided to look deeper into it and at the time in long since gone posts I found others talking and revealing something most people in gaming never spotted happening. The point where Microsoft tried to and actually changed gaming. You see at the time for years before its release the console market was a fight between: Sega who were slowly dying; Sony and the big company in the ring Nintendo. Nintendo and Sony were in fierce competition but what Microsoft saw was Nintendo as the main market force. Nintendo had a back catalogue of well known recognisable characters that were loved by kids of the past now rapidly becoming adults. Microsoft needed an in on the console market and what they did to get in shook video gaming such that it’s still being felt today.
Microsoft waged a subtle war in the media against Nintendo. Nothing hugely obvious but it pushed a very specific idea. The idea of the past being different and Xbox being the console of the now. Providing titles for the Teens / young adults out there. The idea that as you grow it’s time to put away childish things. What they did was perfect marketing Judo. They used Nintendo’s biggest power it’s establish loved titles from childhood as a weapon against it. It’s no surprise that Nintendo has a reputation as not having games for adults even now. Microsoft managed to tie what they thought would be an albatross round Nintendo’s neck in terms of public reputation.
As the life of the Xbox went on they actually pushed the idea more and added in the idea of more extroverted competition with the implementation of Xbox live.
Previously console gaming had been for the most part seen as a thing more for introverts. Those who didn’t want to really be facing human interaction because lets face it. When you’re the odd one out in school. Humanity aren’t exactly the crowd you see as the greatest and the crowd you want to be around. You’re happy being alone.
What Xbox live brought was the option for more extroverted players to find gratification via competition all the time not simply with friends. Microsoft capitalised on a trend of games taking over the PC marketplace years before, games likeBattlefield 2, Command and Conquer and Quake arena.
More extroverted competition and allowed Microsoft to capitalise on the PC playerbase. Combine that idea with the teenagers famous for wanting to establish their maturity and Microsoft managed to dominate. The Gamecube while by no means underpowered (it’s suggested it was near equal to if not better than Microsofts own console) was a huge failure especially with the failure of Nintendo online.
So why talk about these cultural shifts in gaming and how any of this relates to “Toxic masculinity”. Well it’s human nature to compete in one way or another and oddly there has been research suggesting that while testosterone isn’t itself linked to aggression a derivative caused by the breakdown of testosterone is. This breakdown generally occurs as a result of a perceived loss in competing. Hence when someone feels challenged and like they’re about to lose to a competitor that breakdown can occur. This is nature itself and while many out there are happy to try and claim this is toxic masculinity, the kind that causes school shootings and other such acts. It’s not. Not really anyway.
Largely extroverted competition is not a problem. What the problem is, is when people feel forced to compete in that and allow that to become their whole being and more importantly they can’t compete in the field they’ve chosen. Toxic masculinity is in essence someone feeling socially excluded from a group they feel they should be part of and not being able to accept that maybe there is another group they would fit better with. As society is changing so are is the public awareness of different groups that perhaps weren’t always as prevalent or publicly acknowledged this idea becomes more and more of a joke almost.
Fox catcher is the story based on the real events of John Du Pont heir to the Du Pont fortune who dedicated part of his estate to training and guiding Olympic hopeful wrestlers by using his money and influence and in doing so turned his team Foxcatcher into the official hub for American wrestling (actual wrestling not entertainment spectacle Soap Opera + fake violence wrestling). In 1996 he shot and killed one of team Fox catchers head wrestlers out of the blue. It was later revealed that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia for some time. It’s also been suggested over the years that Du Pont was also gay and due to his patriotism and society along with immersing himself in an extremely heterosexual masculine culture and his own religious beliefs made him feel the need to conform. The need to conform to being part of a group he was not actually part of. He was a person with power, with position in society and yet to him none of it felt deserved as he was not the captain of industry or a superstar athlete but just the descendent of once great men. Being around such a culture and feeling the need to fit in but not understanding it was ok to not fit in combined with mental illness and his use of Bulgarian medication (no not weed card medication) lead to him killing Dave Schultz. It was a fear that people would take away his dominance and he was unable to show dominance in any areas which may have contributed to the killings.
You see the idea of “Toxic masculinity” is not as you’d expect a hyper masculine super competitive scene but in reality the effect of feeling excluded from such a scene while also feeling somehow entitled to be part of it,when you really aren't someone who fits into that culture. Additionally feeling unable to compete thus taking drastic insane measure to try and compete and show you’re both part of that scene or culture and dominant in it.
The idea of “Toxic masculinity” itself being put forward is similar to Microsoft’s own move to change the game. This is people who can’t compete in a specific culture attempting to change the rules as such and dare I say create a new cultural “norm” rather than just you know accept different cultures can and should exist. Creating and promoting another area and set of values as the ones to compete using and attempting to tar the previous culture as being a problem somehow because for whatever reason you didn’t feel to fit into it. It is in essence blaming the culture for you not fitting into it, that’s not to say if you don’t fit in you are somehow to blame for it either. It happens people are different and will fit into different groups.
See you tomorrow for part 2 where I'm going into the concept of "fitting in" and look at the big mistake Microsoft made in their plans to tak the market from Nintendo.
So previously I started a series on odd little games on greenlight that weren’t getting much attention. I went back to check over the list I’d got ready of games to talk about and well most of them have been greenlit and release but for various reasons they weren’t available in the UK.
So looking for an idea I saw one game being talked about coming up on Greenlight and no not Hatred. A game called Seedscape. While I was writing about it the game blew up on Greenlight and became the fastest game to bee greenlit on in history so far. Here’s the funny part, no-one in the mainstream press seems to be talking about it. I mean no-one can seemingly talk about anything other than Hatred.
So by the looks of it Seedscape will be a nice relaxing little game centring around farming and setting up a house. Kind of like a mash up between Harvest Moon, Minecraft and Animal Crossing. To be honest I like the idea of a nice relaxing game every now and again. I like Minecraft and I have Animal Crossing on my generation 1 DS. With plenty of suggested features such as keeping and feeding animals and growing crops I think Seedscape could be just the nice relaxing little game I’d enjoy dipping into from time to time. Developed by Dapper Swine and Jennifer Dawe the game just looks so cute I can’t help but love the artstyle already. It's definately a game to keep your eyes on.
I mean how could anyone ever object to such a nice little cute game.
Oh............. Yeh that happened. Turns out a cute little fairly non violent game with a woman as the lead artist and animator had a number of people trying to stop it seeing the light of day. Why ? Because said woman had the “wrong” ideology because she didn’t agree entirely with the views of a few people who see it as their duty to “save gaming” and turn it into some vehicle for a message and nothing more. I mean it wouldn’t be as though the press also did anything bad here right ?
Yeh........ So yeh I’m not only covering this game because honestly it looks like the kind of game I’d like to play and deserves attention but because it deserves it for being one of the quickest titles to be greenlit in the history of greenlight. I hope the press out there have a long hard look at what they’re doing because the question has to be. Where’s the line ? Must all developers now conform to exactly the same socio-political view point or they’ll be denied coverage now entirely. Some diversity that will be. Oh and to those of you who want to cling to people saying “we need more games not based on violence” I hope you take a good long look and see that in this case people were calling for a boycott because a developer chose to think for themselves and not simply parrot the sentiments of a few.