I'd been waiting till I felt well enough to do this, and finally today my stomach calmed down to such a degreee that I felt comfortable enough to attempt it. After all, I couldn't just sit here and NOT accept the powerful nacho encrusted gauntlet thrown down by Max Scoville and other frankly insane members of the destructoid community.
Max I hope you see this, so that you know what you've done, you sick, sick bastard.
Apologies for the terrible quality of this video by the way. I don't have much to work with atm.
I'm not even sure if I should be telling you this, but I suppose it's time I came clean. You see the thing is... I'm a terrible gamer and it's all because of X-com.
You see, it all started when I fired up the game and found myself playing through the tutorial with only one brave trooper surviving long enough to make it back to HQ. I promoted him immediately, then promptly changed his name to that of my own and swore I would never lose him. Come hell or high water, no dirty stinking alien would get his hands on my heroic chum... And so began my descent into madness.
I was pleased at first. My favourite squaddie took point as I slowly and methodically made my way through the first few levels of the game and I found that after only 4 missions he had racked up a considerable kill count as I allowed him some small measure of revenge for what had happened to his team mates. But then it all changed... then they came.
I had no idea aliens would be such snappy dressers
It all happened so quickly. In a matter of moments two of my brave soldiers lay dead as I attempted to disarm a bomb, and just like that I found myself committing the worst sin possible in a game like X-com... I found myself reloading. At first I felt dirty and slighty ashamed. Like I was being judged from afar by some unseeing eye. Eventually though, the desire grew and my problem became far, far worse. A few missions later I was reloading with reckless abandon, having completely dismissed that initial sense of shame that had washed over me as I set my snipers up in preparation to ambush some creatures that I shouldn't rightfully have known were there.
At some point I became rather chuffed with my progress brought on by all this constant saving and loading. I had managed to get myself a capable little crew of hard boiled, alien killing, spaceship wrecking, no nonsense taking battle veterans and things could only get better. I found myself throwing my soldiers directly into the line of fire like some sort of madman, knowing full well that if things went sour I had only to press a few buttons to fix my mistakes. Thankfully though, the game seemed seemed all too aware of what I was doing and decided to take matters into its own hands. My sanity was all too suddenly returned to me as every single member of my squad suffered for my recklessness at the hands of an utterly unforgiving new enemy.
Make the bad men go away, mummy.
Suddenly, it hit me like a cold, hard reality brick tossed through the double glazed window of my mind. I had messed up. I had treated my soldiers like toys, recklessly trowing them headfirst into harms way without so much as a pause for thought. My determination to wipe out every damn alien I could get my hands on had lead me to abandon all sense of tactics whatsoever and now my squad was paying the price for my ill-considered battle plans.
I started a new game after that. For the first few missions I still found myself reloading now and then, but I made a point of focusing on strategy, rather than simply leading my brave soldiers directly into the heart of battle like some evil heartless monster who cares only for results. It's hard to resist the temptation at times to just save the game and return to my ways of shameless, maddening blood lust, but I swear I'm trying to get better. I'll just have to take it one alien riddled day at a time.
Now for you impatient types out there who don't feel up to reading all of that, I'll try and sum up as best as I can.
See there's this thing called the games media awards. The GMA is a publisher funded award ceremony for games journalists. So the GMA is essentially a room full of games "journalists" being crammed with free food and alcohol while specific games "journalists" are brought up on stage to be told how great they are by the people they're supposed to be critical of. This time around, the publishers decided to take their open disdain for the industry a step further and encouraged said "journalists" to advertise the crap out of a videogame on their twitter accounts in exchange for the possibility to win free PS3's. Obviously, these game "journalists" came to their senses and told their hosts where to stick it... Wait, what the fuck am I saying? Plenty of them saw absolutely nothing wrong with this and cheerfully obliged. http://storify.com/andybeta/gmadefiance
For years now the games journalism industry has been a bad joke. I lost count a loooong time ago of the vast number of friends who refused to buy videogame magazines of any kind, because they all agreed they were painfully full of crap. This is one of the reasons it's been so refreshing to see individuals starting to make a name for themselves with let's play videos and the like that have become so incredibly successful. People are beginning to make careers out of simply filming themselves getting honest enjoyment out of games, and the sheer potential here is staggering. Yet here we are now... the videogame industry is taking a huge ego check as numerous games "journalists" are backed into a corner. The movers and shakers of this industry who are supposed to know a thing or two... the people who are being held up as the best of the best that the world of games journalism has to offer, and here they are angrily gnashing their teeth like rabid dogs and desperately hiding their tracks in an attempt to save their reputations, because they got caught collectively selling their dignity for a free fucking PS3.
Now at this point there are NUMEROUS articles and opinions discussing what has happened here, but there's still one thing that I feel is being overlooked and that's just exactly how extensively gamers have been let down here. See there was a time when the majority of us all started to move away from those magazines we could no longer stand to pay good money for. A time when websites were slowly beginning to post real opinions about this hobby we love so dearly, and we all leapt at this refreshing change of pace. But somewhere along the line, something changed... somewhere along the line those people who we thought were actually interested in real, honest to god games journalism became the exact same shills we'd all gotten sick off once before.
Somewhere along the line, our trust was abused as a room full of drunken, greedy games "journalists" took advantage of the faith we'd shown them and abused their connection with us to try and win themselves a fucking prize. Worst of all when confronted with their actions, most have remained quiet. some have held their hands up and admitted there is a problem, some have gone on the attack having seemingly lost all sense of perspective whatsoever and some... well some have misguidedly attempted to make a big joke about the whole debacle, despite the fact that every single games journalist out there who has engaged in this practice of blurring the lines between publisher and reviewer is partly responsible for allowing this shady side of the industry to prosper, whether it be via complacency, inaction or just good old fashioned greed.
Whether or not these games “journalists” realise it, they HAVE become corrupted. Maybe not willfully… but it has happened, and on an extremely extensive scale. The attacks on Robert Florence for daring to rock the boat have been a testament to this.
Worst of all, it’s also become fairly obvious through this whole disgusting incident that there are more than enough talented and opinionated people out there who could have already made a large difference regarding this appallingly shady side of the industry they claim to love, if only they had had the courage to stand up and say that “no, this isn’t ok” but instead we’ve had excuse after excuse from a bunch of "games journalists" who all allowed themselves to be swayed by free crap.
If there's one thing to take away from all of this, it's that gamers have most definitely suffered in this huge clusterfuck of a PR nightmare. They've had their faith abused and their trust betrayed by those who where supposed to be keeping this industry honest, and that's a damn shame.
I recently found myself with some spare psn points to throw around and decided to take a chance on journey, knowing nothing about it until now other than the fact that a lot of people where talking about it.
I know there are many traditional gamers out there who like to shit on "art" games from a great height, but even as a young lad I've always had a deep appreciation for unusual videogames. My library consists of games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Okami and Beyond Good and Evil. All games that seemed to become collectively revered by the gaming community as criminally underrated masterpieces, all of which I picked up on a whim because they intrigued me. I've made a habit of becoming utterly enraptured by the unique experiences these sort of games deliver and I suppose it's one I intend to continue.
Even so, I have to admit that playing Journey was something else altogether. I started the game up, completely unaware of the multiplayer aspect and after quite some time spent running around the desert, I eventually made it across the broken bridge near the beginning of the game. As my character sat down by the shrine at the end of the bridge, I saw a second character come floating down gently beside me, from off camera. I thought nothing of it, assuming the game had merely provided me with a companion and I continued on my adventure.
The longer I played however, the more impressed I became with what I assumed to be the games "AI". The companion seemed extremely attentive to whatever mad whims I went on and thus I began playing with it. It had all started with that damn sing button, you see. The first time my character let out a note and the companion replied with one of their own, I became utterly obsessed with that button. Wherever I went my companion would follow close behind, with both of us chirping madly back and forth to one another as we danced across the sand. Every now and then I would pause for a moment and take a few steps back, chuckling to myself as the companion halted and corrected course to follow. It wasn't until I had made it three quarters of the way through the game that I finally became aware that my companion had been another player all along.
I had paused for a few moments, my character dropping onto the snow as I headed to the kitchen to quickly make myself something to eat. When I eventually came back I was upset to see my companion missing and after a few moments spent on google I felt like a complete and utter fool as I realized what had happened. I thought back to all the moments spent toying with my companion as we had made our way closer and closer to our destination. I thought about all the mad chirping and running in circles I had done under the assumption that I was simply fooling around with an AI that had seemed incredibly in sync with my actions.
I spent a few minutes running through the area I was in, hoping to find my lost comrade. Sadly after 5 minutes spent frantically running around in circles I finally admitted to myself that he was long gone by now. I paused the game again and flicked through the menus to the players met section of my friends list, desperately hoping to send a quick apology to my stalwart comrade for the silliness I had dragged us through on our journey, as well as my sudden unexplained disappearance from the game. I was bitterly disappointed to find out the players name was nowhere to be seen, but eventually I picked up where I had left off, hoping to at least finish the game even if I had to do it on my own.
I spent those last few moments of journey, feeling incredibly lousy about the whole thing. Trudging on by myself through the blizzard, all too aware of the fact that there was nobody by my side anymore. As my character slowly struggled up the mountain however, I received a message from someone who wasn't on my friends list. A message thanking me for being a wonderful companion on his first trip through journey, with a friend request at the end.
I've played the game more times than I can count since then, with players dropping in and out of my world all the time, completely unlike my first time through. However I have to admit this game has given me something special. It let me connect with another player despite never once using a microphone to speak to them, or solve any particularly tricky puzzles together or sharing in the defeat of any tough opponents. Journey has connected me with a fellow human being through nothing more than an incredible shared adventure, as we both experienced the journey for the first time by each others side, and for that I am very, very grateful.