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Victoria Medina's blog
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6:30 PM on 12.02.2011

Angry Birds musical from Random Encounters

<p>[embed]216868:41931[/embed]</p>
<p>Random Encounters, the group responsible for <a href="http://www.destructoid.com/pac-man-stop-motion-a-musical-212681.phtml"><em>Pac-Man </em>the Musical</a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.destructoid.com/group-behind-sonic-musical-returns-with-two-new-numbers-208118.phtml">Singachu and The Legend of Ganondorf</a> are back with <em>Angry Birds</em> the Musical: A Green Pig Song. In case the title isn't a dead giveaway, this musical number is about green pigs. And the mighty eagle.</p>
<p>The songs Random Encounters do are quirky and a little strange, but they make me smile (and maybe even laugh). I'm not a huge fan of <em>Angry Birds</em>, but this song is still pretty entertaining. </p>
<p>Thanks Jerry, for the tip</p>   read


12:19 PM on 07.13.2011

Who I is: A brief 'what's up' to the Dtoid community

Hello Cbloggers and Destructoid community! I've been meaning to properly introduce myself for a while now, and have finally remembered at a time when I could actually do so. I am one of the new interns (one of the new news interns, not the San Francisco interns. I don't live in the Bay Area, or California for that matter), though I was a community member before that.

Some of you may know me as Red Herring, which was my previous handle here on the Cblogs, but since I never really told all of you fine people about myself, I will take that opportunity now. I currently reside in Florida, the Orlando area, recently moved from Oklahoma but I am actually a New York native. I spent a good portion of my childhood moving around and besides my family, one of the few constants in my life was video games, which I have been playing since I was about four. My first console was a NES and my earliest memories are of trying to save the ever in-distress Princess Peach.

As I grew up, my taste in games changed and I started broadening my horizons. I spent a good part of the 90's investing time in games like Lunar: Silver Star Story (complete, thank you very much) and the Final Fantasy franchise as well as titles like Aladdin and the Lion King. I even spent some time with GoldenEye on the N64 (and loved it). Some of my favorite games include Lunar, Dragon Age: Origins, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Uncharted, Enslaved and Portal 1 and 2. I love many games of many genres though and those are only a few of the ones I have enjoyed the most.

While gaming takes up a huge part of my life, that is not all I enjoy. I am a huge fan of books and movies and spend time reading or watching a flick. LANs with my friends are also always a plus and I recently started playing table-top games like Call of Cthulhu and Magic. Sadly I moved before I got really familiar with either type of game, but still enjoyed the time spent learning and playing with buddies.

On the business side of my life, writing for gaming is a fairly new experience for me, but before I combined my love of games with my love of the written word, I spent years as a History major, doing research, writing papers and generally studying things that are no longer alive (dead people, dead cultures, dead religions, dead art styles). This is not my only gig however, and I do have some past experience outside Destrcutoid and the Cblogs.

Well I think that just about covers introductions, it's a pleasure to meet those of you I don't know, and say hello to those of you I may kind of know. If you've got questions I didn't cover here, feel free to ask, I may not answer right away, but it will eventually happen. Probably.   read


12:22 PM on 06.24.2011

Achievements or Trophies, Either Way The Pressure is [Not] On

I do not own a single game in which I have snagged all achievements or trophies. There are games I have come close with, but as a friend of mine likes to say "Almost only works in horseshoes and hand grenades".



Normally the lack of completion does not bother me too much, while I would like to get 100% on a game, by the time I beat the game I usually don't care enough to go back and get every single item or meet every ridiculous requirement in order to get a trophy that, honestly, has no bearing on my life. Granted there would be a huge sense of accomplishment, but that feeling accompanies anything I finish, including video games so the extra excitement is something I can do without.

Usually. There are some games I enjoy so much that going back to get every achievement or trophy does not bother me, instead giving me an excuse to continue playing a game that I really love. One recent example of that is Enslaved, a game that is very near and dear to my heart (and if you have not played it, you should. It is incredibly well done), which I beat shortly after the game's release last year. I had not gotten every mask or orb, had not beat the game on hard and had not upgraded all my weapons, among other things, so I decided that I had to remedy that oversight.



Rather than looking in my trophies to see what I needed to get, I decided to consult an online trophy guide, since I wanted to do this right. With the guide near-to-hand I got to about half way through the game before I decided to check my trophies. I had already gotten a few more and was eager to see the percentage of completion.

To my horror and confusion I did not even have 50%.

So I opened up the trophies for Enslaved and started looking. I had most of the trophies, how could it be less than 50%! Then I saw it, the additions at the bottom of the list. Even though I did not own the DLC, Sony had been "kind" enough to add the DLC trophies to the original ones. Which meant that if I wanted to get a platinum trophy in this game, I would have to buy the DLC (which I had not even considered until this point) and play that as well.

Enslaved is not the first game this has happened with, Dragon Age: Origins did this to me as well, and it was just as frustrating with Enslaved as it had been with Dragon Age. While I enjoy the original games, I am usually hesitant to buy additional content, unless it somehow enhances the story and even then I sigh at the idea of throwing down even more money on something that already cost me 65 dollars (I am rounding up, tax usually puts the game at 63 to 64 dollars).



The added content becomes even more frustrating to me because I so rarely have the time or desire to sink even more energy into a game that I have already completed, and without buying the DLC, even if I want to get the platinum trophy on a game, it is impossible. Are the extra trophies added as a way to entice me to buy the DLC, a preview of what I could be playing? Or is this a sneaky ploy to force completionists to spend even more money by keeping them from getting 100% on a game? Either way, my reaction tends to be a defeated sigh and an "Oh well" as I drop the controller and move on to something else.

I will finish my second playthrough of Enslaved, but with my primary reason for a second run of the game snatched away from me, I will not be trying to get every single trophy. I no longer see a point.   read


3:31 PM on 06.20.2011

The Critical Review Debate or...

...the completely pointless argument that should just die.

I was going to give my opinion about the debate, after reading this continued defense of something that should never have been said but realized something while typing.



Everything that can be said in defense of both sides (those for critical review and those for sugar-coated niceties) has already been said and probably more gracefully than I could do here. The truth of the matter is that the video game industry needs to realize that the very nature of a critical review is to be hard on a game, otherwise what is the point?

Yes, critics like Destructoid's Jim Sterling or The Escapist's Ben Croshaw (better known to the internet as Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation fame), can be harsh and sometimes mean but that is the point. I have mentioned before that I do not have a very vast and deep purse, filled with many dollars to throw away on games, so when I read reviews I expect the reviewer to be brutally honest because that honesty can prevent me from blowing money on something I may only need to rent, or not waste time on at all.

I get that not everyone likes the whole brutal honesty thing, and that maybe it hurts feelings, but there is a solution to that: for the readers, ignore the review (or stop reading that reviewer's articles) and for game developers and publishers, make better games. If a critic is not, by definition of the word, critical, then I may waste money on a game I don't like, and developers and publishers might continue to churn out mediocre games.



I am not saying I always agree with what critics say, sometimes I completely disagree, but I have been following most of them long enough to know where our tastes are similar and where they are different and make my judgements based on that. But when developers, publishers or anyone else gets all butt-hurt about a critical review, well I said I wouldn't go into that.

My point is that no matter how much I agree or disagree with a game critic, I will continue to stand by them, so long as they continue to present me with their honest opinions and views on the games that I most want to play.   read


10:45 AM on 06.17.2011

A New Study Tells Men What [Some] Women Want

A new report just came out, detailing how female gamers are being largely ignored, despite the fact that more and more women are getting involved with video games. The entire report costs money to read so I have not read it, but Industry Gamers gives a brief overview of what is being said.



In short more women are playing both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 and forty-four percent of female gamers would rather not play casual, music or fitness games. The most interesting part of that article however, was the quote that says (I am paraphrasing here) women have different gaming habits than men. Women would rather play single-player games, and see character and story as more important to their gaming experience than competition.


Do Not Want.

Now I do not speak for all women, that would be unwise, but I have to agree with that statement at least for myself. The majority of games I own are single player and when I do play online games I would rather play co-op than competitive (though I still enjoy a round of Halo or CoD every now and then). Of the games I own the vast majority are also story and character heavy games such as Enslaved, Dragon Age: Origins and Portal and I would rather play those than something like Madden or Gran Turismo.



The report made me wonder, since the majority of my friends are male gamers, what is it that other female gamers want? I know what I look for in a video game, but I am not all women and it would be nice to hear the opinions of other female gamers.

As an aside, here is a slightly old article that I rather enjoyed reading. The article deals with female gamer stereotypes.   read


11:14 AM on 06.13.2011

EA vs Fans: Round 2, FIGHT!



So it would seem that EA is trying to pull a fast one on fans of Battlefield 3 by only letting some fans who pre-order get special guns and ammo, and giving everyone that pre-orders a map pack that everyone who doesn't reserve the game will have to pay for.

I can understand why EA is offering incentives, pre-orders are important since it gives publishers an idea of how many copies of the game to make and how many people are going to buy their product. It can be frustrating for publishers and retailers alike when nobody reserves a game but on day one people flock to the stores to buy a game. The situation becomes a mess since publishers have not made enough copies of the game, retailers have not received a large enough shipment, and then the consumers get angry because nobody has stocked their game (or not enough of the game, as the case may be).

However! I can also understand why the fans are so upset about this particular pre-order bonus, since in an FPS, as one journalist points out giving some players more powerful weapons or armor destroys the balance in the game and gives certain players an unfair advantage. Not to mention that if EA did actually take the map pack out of the game and make it a pre-order bonus, well that is a little underhanded.

So fans are angry enough to boycott Battlefield 3, which is punishing not only EA but DICE as well. DICE had no control over EA's decision on what the pre-order bonus would be, and they have actually been pretty fair to fans in the past.

So I get why the fans are upset, and if I was more excited about another fps I might be just as angry but at the same time EA is only trying to get more people to reserve the game, and it isn't like the people who are upset will not buy the game, they just do not want to put their name on the list now. And that is what I fail to understand. Amazon.com does not charge for pre-orders until they actually ship the game, and you can pre-order online with Game Stop and pay nothing. I do understand that not everyone has the ability to pre-order and that the special ammo and guns plus the free maps is a lot to be offering. As I said earlier, I would probably be just as angry and feel just as cheated if I was looking forward to Battlefield 3. But I am not, and if I were, I would probably reserve it on Amazon.

As an aside, I mentioned in the title that this fight is the second round. What did I mean by that? Well something similar happened way back in 2008 (rewind time a la Mr. Caffeine?) when EA tried to make customers buy extra weapons in Battlefield: Bad Company. The fans, who were none too pleased, boycotted and EA reversed the decision, making the weapons free for everyone. So fans do have a voice and companies do, on occasion, listen.   read


4:19 PM on 06.06.2011

Kinect? No Thank You



When sales people try to force something on me, whether it be a subscription, a credit card, some sort of extra, I tend to react very strongly in the opposite direction. And after watching Microsoft's E3 Kinectathon, my reaction is mixed.

Part of me wants to go out and buy the Kinect tomorrow so I can be a Jedi in Kinect Star Wars, but at the same time, Microsoft pushed Kinect so hard that I also want to say "No, Microsoft, I will not cave to your pressure and buy this do-dad of yours. I refuse to bend to your will." Seriously, it is great that Microsoft is so much behind Kinect but I do not own a Kinect, I am not a child to be excited about Sesame Street or Disneyland Adventures, and to be honest while the new Xbox Experience is interesting, that is not enough of an intensive to shell out $150.

If Fable Journey is only for the Kinect I may opt not to buy the accessory on principle.   read


11:29 AM on 06.03.2011

CG Traliers...Hm

So. E3 is about to happen, only a few days away, and everyone working in the game industry is racing to get things done. Many new games are being announced, screen shots, demos and news flow like milk and honey. This time of year is always exciting, and one thing that is not lacking is trailers. CG trailers. And I am unsure, as is always the case with CG trailers, whether to be thrilled and excited about the game the trailer is showing, or wary.


Mmmmm

CG trailers are awesome, they are pretty and intriguing and fun to watch. Which is the point, I get that. They are supposed to make me want to play the game they are for, and when the team behind the trailer does a good job, I will get pumped for the game in question (no lie, I totally cheered when I saw the Mass Effect 3 trailer) but the problem with them is that they can turn out to be very pretty lies. Because they fail to show any sort of game play, I never know what to expect.

The new Tomb Raider trailer is a perfect example. I love Tomb Raider, have since it came out. Lara Croft was so cool to me. She was a powerful woman who felled Dinosaurs. I wanted to be her. But I have always had a slight issue with game play in the Tomb Raider games (not enough to keep me from playing them, but enough to yell at my TV), when you want her to leap from one ledge to the other and instead she flings herself right into death. It can be annoying. Granted a game play trailer will not answer my question of how Ms. Croft controls any better than a CG trailer would, but I would get to see how pretty the game is, see what sorts of crazy hijinks Lara will get into, you know actual game play.

Even knowing that CG trailers are made specifically to lure me in and make me clamor for the game the trailer is for, I still fall for it. The shiny effects and sleek graphics of a CG trailer almost always get me and I find myself thinking 'man I can not wait until this game comes out. I bet it will be awesome'. Now this only works on games I might be interested in anyway (No matter how cool the trailer for WWE looks I will never go out and buy it, sorry WWE) but I do not have a bottomless purse, and none of the bushes I have cut down or jars I have smashed have coins chilling in them so I have to be careful and selective with any game I buy, but the list is already too long and I do not need to add more.



why is this game not out yet?!   read


2:14 PM on 12.08.2010

Assassin's Creed: History for Children




With public schools around the country failing, and boards, principals, teachers and parents looking for ways to make sure the rug rats and terrors of the nation have something of value between their ears, I submit a proposal: make them play video games for school.

Originally I had intended to only look at Assassin's Creed and History as an example, but the more I thought about this, the more I realized that video games could be applied to almost any subject and still be valid. So to start we will take a look at Assassin's Creed, but as I come up with more examples, I will post those too.

Probably.

So, Assassin's Creed. Why would it be a valuable learning tool? Well, do you remember public school? If you were at all like me you found it boring; I hated sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours, unable to expel all my crazy kid energy while some old person talked about facts I neither cared about nor found relevant to my life (seriously, how does long division help me in life?). Sure there was recess, but even that was more terrifying than fun. I got to burn up my energy, but it was mostly used running away from the bigger, meaner kids. In short, school sucked.

Fact: video games are fun. Kids love video games; and they also love fun.*

I can not even begin to explain how pumped I would have been about school if I had gotten to go play video games all day, or even part of the day. I would have begged my parents to let me go, even if I was sick, or if I was given the option of getting a day off, and I know I am not the only one who feels that way.

School can not be all fun and games though. I mean, that would give kids the wrong impression. There would have to be coursework as well, like papers, tests and the like. By tricking kids into thinking that they are only having fun, however, they would stand the chance to actually learn something of value.

And the kids would be learning.

Beneath all of the awesome, free-roaming, stabbing, stealthing, hiding action of Assassin's Creed is a lot of history. The time periods, major figures and areas are all historically accurate. To a degree. Of course, like live action (I am looking at you Rome), games can not be completely true to history, or they would probably be a lot less interesting (though there are some notable exceptions here, such as the Civilization series, if you happen to like that sort of game), but Ubisoft did a fantastic job of blending history with fiction, so the kiddies would be learning, and having fun.

As anyone who has studied history at all know,s it was violent. There was a lot of death, murder, starvation, sickness, rape, conquest etc. etc. While I appreciate that parents want to shelter their children from the worst of what people can be, the truth is that it is still out there, and it happens. A lot. So yeah, maybe we would not be giving seven year Timmy or Anna a PS3 controller expecting them to stab dudes to death, but older kids could handle it, it is history; it happened (though maybe not quite the way Ubisoft portrays it, but as I said before, violent death was, and still is a reality).

Besides, we all know that assassins were real, as were secret organizations that ruled the world. So not only would children be learning and having fun, they would also gain a healthy skepticism of governments and those in charge. Not to mention it would of course, teach children how to be assassins.

Anyone else have any ideas for video games that could be used for learning? Not in the conventional Brain Age sort of way either...but the sneaky 'hey you're learning and didn't even realize it, sucker!' kind of way.


*There are some exceptions: some video games are not fun. Those would be used as punishment. Beating up another kid in class? Fine, enjoy an hour of this .   read





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