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Zulkyr's blog

11:15 PM on 03.18.2010

Jim's latest editorial and reviewing in general

We know Jim Sterling, don't we? We expected him to review Final Fantasy XIII the way he reviews all games: with a tad of enthusiasm and a lot of rocks ready in case of disturbance. In the end, the result was less than satisfying for a bunch of people, who immediately turn back on the writer of the article.

That was all well and good and in the regular standards of internets protocol number 665. Right beside the one where trolls are given their rights. What we didn't expect, At least I did not, was to see him somewhat dismayed when writing the article about the job he has and how he sometimes feels bad for giving bad review scores to games of people he might actually, personally, know.

After reading his article and noticing my comment was becoming WAAAY to long, I decided to answer to it here.

First, about the contribution of a review editor to society: Never underestimate the power and the responsibility a critic holds when reviewing a game Jim. NEVER. What happens when you slap a review on this website is that you are potentially swaying tens of thousands of people to spend their most important resource of their existences: time. Even if we ignore the consequences of spending money on a bad game, to me, most importantly, and to pretty much everyone who has a job and a family and has very scarce time to play, is the certainty that when I load that disc into my console or computer, I'm not wasting my fuckin' time on a worthless piece of shit. No, wait, check that. I'm not spending the little time I have on a less than phenomenal product. So Jim Sterling, take your job seriously, you're saving millions of hours for gamers worldwide when you say that Assassins Creed II sucks, when you say that Final Fantasy XIII isn't worth my time, or anyone's. Thank you for being honest about. It's somewhere in the headlines of this site. Honesty, brutal, if necessary.

This leads to the second point, the consequences of giving games bad review scores: if I just said that a critic determines, to some degree, how will people spend a part of their existences with videogames, think of how damaging can it be when a game is badly reviewed. The answer to the developers can be pretty drastic, but to the player? Not really. In the worst sense, you're losing a good chance, but with the amount of good games being launched per year, you're hardly missing that much. Sure, no one wants to be left out of the God of War bandwagon, or miss the Modern Warfare of each year, but if you DO miss it, pretending it was a review score that made you do it, you sure as hell will still play a lot of good games in their place. Some of them even similar to it.

Now take the opposite idea: Having a bad game be given a high review score. You know what that does? That kills the game's length in hours of your lifetime. When you finish it, you will have wasted a good portion of your existence into something not worth your time and money. You will be a little dead inside and possibly angry at the person who wrote that review. As a gamer, I'll take low scores in my most awaited franchises anyday over high scores who make me waste my gamertime, which, as you grow older, becomes scarcer each day.

With that said, I think Jim is too forgiving, I'm waiting for him to slap a 0 on a game. I mean, how the hell can I trust in someone's 10 scores if I've never seen him give a 0 to something. Give me my Subject Zero, Jim! I'm waiting.   read

7:43 AM on 03.03.2010

Something about sex: Female Shepard Awkwardness

My god, was that awkward. Maybe it was absurd and creepy too. I can't put the finger on the emotion right now, but it was NOT good. And man, it repeated itself. I almost couldn't bear to even think about it when I started it again, but it was like she was throwing herself into every male subject out there.

The first paragraph makes no sense, but it will, very soon.

When I started playing the first Mass Effect, I followed a fellow dtoider advice and start a female character, because he said the voice acting gave the game a lot more depth and character than the male version. Okay. But I make a habit of actually caring about a character and making my decisions based on the situations, rather than Paragon/Renegade focus. Roleplaying Shepard, if you will.

It's not the first time I did this, I do it in every rpg I play, I try and put myself in the characters place emotionally and rationally too, I try to think like he would and pursue his own interests, rather than mine. This leads to very curious behavior, with me trying to see how will a female Shepard interact with a big krogan Warlord when trying to Intimidate him.

Then it happened, I talked to Kaidan in the Ship the first time in the game, and I friggin' saw a giant-ass elephant standing right in front of me. Because from the first shot of their conversation, you know it's gonna happen eventually, you have to say that he's fine and not completely psychotic and troubled and you'll get it on with him. And boy it was awkward.

First, because the romance itself is never really presented, it's developed through dialog but not really felt happening, there are no events that lead to it, it's just you bothering to come and tell him how nice he is every 5 minutes, and by doing this trying to roleplay a female Shepard's sexual interest for a man I wouldn't be interested even if I was female myself just led to a horrendous gender-bending disaster. But being the curious asshole I am, I followed through.

Now, that sex scene was stupid and ugly and thank god it lasted 2 seconds, because it scarred me enough. It felt both forced and idiotic in the way and timing it happened and it was like my roleplaying persona was being raped by a stranger. A digital one, at that.

Trauma overcome, let's plug in for Mass Effect 2, now all that female shepard awkardness should be gone, right? Let's talk to Jacob and tell him that I don't really mind that's he's cerberus, he should be a fine addition to my squa... WHAT THE FUCK is she throwing herself at him like a complete whore?

Now, in all fairness, aside from Jacob's obviousness the other relationships were a little more contextualized. I ended up pursuing one with Garrus because he was one of the more interesting characters from the first game and in this second one he was even more likable. Of course I felt the same twisted unpleasantness when it finally happened, but this time it was little more bearable. I guess I'm just not ready to try gender-bending with someone that's GRAPHICALLY having sex with another virtual dick.

When it comes to roleplaying games (tabletop ones) it was never an issue, but actually seeing it makes it very, very stupid, especially considering you can't actually choose stuff, you're locked in the Iron cage of branching choices.

What about you? Does this ever bother you? I have to say, between some random ass shots of miranda, that was a pretty good thing you can play. Mass effect 2 really impressed me with some quality stuff.   read

7:35 AM on 03.01.2010

Coffin Season

As I opened the newspaper this morning and started rolling through the world news, I wasn't shocked, I wasn't even surprised at the things I was seeing. It's just numb these days. "Earthquake in Chile kills 300 hundred." "Nope, now it's 400 hundred!". "Storms in Europe kill 51". "Tsunami in Japan kills a bunch a people". "Bomb in Iraq kills 11 from the same family", "Bomb in Baghdad kills 4".

It's normal right? People live and die everyday, but this year started pretty bad with one of the strongest earthquake seasons of all time, with the huge tremor in Haiti, killiong tens of thousands and many more around the pacific/american rift. When you run the numbers, you're not really impressed, because you've seen the so many times, even the pictures lose their effect with prolonged exposure. But if you stop for one second about the multiplying factor of grief, think about the people behind the deaths, like, 5 people crying for the one that died. Sad picture. Really now.

So what do we do? Personally, I finish reading the news, eat my breakfast, turn on my newly acquired gaming rig and start playing Mass Effect to create even more digital death and destruction, to add to the virtual bodycount of the daily slaughter we make every day in games like Bad Company 2, Modern warfare 2, and pretty much every game with a weapon in it, and The Ship adds a lot of "objects" to the concept.

At least we're making the coffin makers happy. Their picture will be fun. Death too, lot's of work for her these days.

Also, video games.   read

10:44 AM on 02.19.2010

Why does everybody hate EA?

As the continuing fallout of the "Indie games are Art and Fun games are Crap" Jim Sterling article, I wanted to discuss something related. What is the problem with having a big studio who makes multi-million dollar games? Sure we all like to complain about how microsoft f*s you up with their cheap strategies to print money off of you, and sure we've seen a dozen movies per year with a stereotipically smug corporate villain who "only wants to make money", but the fact is that when you turn up things in scale and start making things for a million customers, you have to find a way to manage it, and since this IS capitalist ground, a company who makes and publishes games can only do it FOR PROFIT. Genius right?

Of course you don't have to take crap for it all the time, you can start by not buying what they sell, but what I really wanna know is: why are they so antagonized? Even when they deliver in good and sound quality. Mass Effect 2 was awesome. Dragon Age was fun. Modern Warfare 2 has it's downturns (I'm a PC guy), but it was pretty damn good on the console versions. Sure none of these titles bear the mark of intangible art form that causes "oohs" and "aahs" from the awed crowd, but these days, what does? We've had nukes going off, we've had epic scale space marinin'- three times - we've had control over time, we've traveled through it, we've killed dragons, dogs, men - living or otherwise. We did it in many ways too: in a board, in a planet, holding a weapon up close, we've been drawing at the screen and playing music with controls or fake plastic guitars. We've done fake and true in all forms and ways.

Admit it, we're hard to impress these days. But that doesn't mean we can just throw the hot potatoe in the hands of someone and just call them out for it when it drops. The fact that Bioware, Activision, Valve, Remedy and all the names we like to blame for the "generic cookie-cutter" fps games, achieved success at some point must be a statement to some form of quality. Sure it's not all roses, with it come the needs of the "market" and the bullshit DLC that already comes inside a disc and the overpriced crap at $60.

I do understand that some time-honed business practices that involve extortion of money out of the unaware customer make us all weary of the corporate background of large developing/publishing companies and that some of is handiwork failed to impress, to say the least, however, it must be taken into account some of the "producing" in the field of art is not only necessary, because it makes the games possible in terms of finance, but also beneficial. Take the most avowed artists of all time and think about it: the great painters and writers of the renaissance would never have had a chance were it not for the sponsoring that rich houses provided, and, make no mistake, this money was not free of balances and checks to the artist work. In fact, many of the paintings were actually customized to match the sponsor's request. Think about movies too, a good producer is not only necessary for the movie funding, it's also a good way to have a practical mind put to weigh in against the more loose and ambitious mind writers and artists tend to have. I'm gonna take a personal guess here: I think if you give someone too creative an unlimited amount of time and money to create the most beautiful and grand project it can craft, he will never finish it. There must be someone with has his feet on the ground about creating something, it can be no different with videogames.

There's also the issue of marketing. A good number of games I know have been ruined by lack of good corporate smart-assing. How do I know? Beyond Good and Evil? The producer to that game was awesome, it turned out great with all the visuals and the characters and the gameplay was fun as hell. Great game? Did you play it? Chances are, you never even HEARD about it. I didn't. Then someone on Dtoid told me about it. Too late now, it could have made a dev team really stand out. Think how good it would be if there was some marketing behind some of the indie games we've played. Braid would take the cake any day, it's a wonderful experience, and yet, without a publisher to market and send nasty stuff into your mailbox for a year before it's release, it's in the closet yet. The second kind of good corporate bullshit that is absolutely necessary to your game is the people who cut corners. They chop off the artists wings all the time. They're probably really annoying people too, always saying that it can't be done, that's theres not much time left and that it won't look good at the stockholders meeting. F**k them. No, please don't. I absolutely believe that there are people like those behind the production of every game that has ever got a 9-10 here. Please God, let there be someone who will come around Peter Molyneux and say: "shut up about changing the world, finish the story and the level design on the new fable game before october, or a dog will chew your balls." I'm also sure these people are not random lowlifes made to the torment and misery of the people who create the games itself, I'm sure they all understand the process at some level, their douchebaggery comes from a necessary evil: you can't play the perfect game, because it will never be made, you can play the absolutely most perfected product to be delivered in able time that can not only be played by you, but also be sold to another hundred thousand people, in order to cover the costs of producing it AND funding the next project.

Considering the difficulty of an industry who is just starting and settling in, with very few standards defined and a lot to be tried and many mistakes to be made, making games today is quite a challenge. Very few people realize how big it is. Of course I sound like I'm defending the Evil Monster here, but I really hate when people bring uninformed claims and make villains out of nowhere to justify a measly point. I'm sure you all, like me, hate all the bad business practices that make EA look really bad, they don't support their games post release, they make DLC that's already in the game, they shutdown their online support for games still on sale, Ubisoft does that a lot too with it's titles. Of course we want to blame them for making us suck it up. They're not all that bad though, at least this current structure was able to give us a lot to play, entertaining and, in some cases, really clever, humorous, creative stuff. Too bad I have to deal with an even harsher reality where I live, because the price of games is something unbelievably prohibitive, with a game costing as much as half a minimum wager. It's not easy, but we get by with all the steam sales. And some piracy if you don't care. (A game here can cost as much as 150 USD if you go to a retail store. You can get it cheaper if you directly buy as a digital copy, but nonetheless, it's still a lot of money)

I guess I could sum it by this: I defend the motto: "Artists on a leash" as the current way of producing games. I don't think it's perfect but it definitely works. They have to think inside a box and produce some work that isn't the most proudly presented and, often, we have to deal with Dark Void esque titles, things truly forged in the flames of hell. But the leash is generally a good thing because it can keep the machine running, and hopefully in the future we will get a better way of handling this. Until then, I'd rather be stuck with the creatively bankrupt than with watching television. God I hate television. You can't even choose what you're gonna watch. Hooray internets.

Well, I guess I went on for too long and am starting to ramble, thank you for the patience of reading through this, I know it's quite long. Also forgive me for any mistranslations, I have some trouble figuring a few idioms here and there. Portuguese is quite a different language.

Other than that, tell me what you think. Do you think artists should have a free reign over their designs? If so, tell me more. Hopefully, I'd like to hear someone from the inside, because I never really went into a game industry to accompany the whole process, my experience comes from a different segment.

Enjoy   read

9:44 PM on 02.18.2010

The Metal Gear is SOLID.

I wanna make this short. No images, nothing.

Let's tell a story: Everyone seems to be pretty angry about the evil morons of videogame industry who create the big titles. Apparently they're really cruel bastards who slay puppies in their dreams. It seems that Bioware, Activision, Blizzard, 2K all developed a well-oiled machine to destroy the promises of innovation and creativity and to kill art and shame it's doers. Therefore, everything that is spanned by them is obviously a heave of previously overused crap. Who the hell wants to play like a modern day soldier who shoots arabs? That's cliché, and therefore bad. It's "bankrupt". The new and fashionable adjective.

Conversely, whatever is created by garage-based backwater developing must be some intangible form of art, who is forever pushing the boundaries of videogame existence, with inspiration and spirit never seen before in this form of entertainment. Right?

Bullshit. It's not production values that determine the quality or freedom of games. It's the product itself. Any game, indie or not, must be tried and burned in the fires of it's own merits. We can have simple, cheap to make games that never pushed any boundaries or created something "truly artistic and inspired", play Cave Story. There's nothing new there, but it's such a well executed title in so many ways, that it stands out. Because its GOOD. And it deserves praise.

Stop this madness, there is this constant drive for new and inspired stuff. I recently finished Braid, everyone who has played it felt it, it's good to meet a new idea and feel the rush it causes, to discover, to embrace the ever changing universe around you, to urge for the realization of something you never expected. Why is it so inexplicably good? Because it's rare. Truly new and unique ideas don't come often. And when they do, they often come wrapped around layers of misconception and flawed execution.

So I beg of you: embrace the 7. It's the new 10. You know what I want today? I want to have a lot of 7 grade titles around me. Good, solid games, with solid fun and lots of tried and tested gameplay mechanics and good stories. The 3 and a half star movies, that make us remember that, while there's not much new in the business, we can still sit through a good 10 hour shooter with lots of learned lessons. Enjoy the adequate games. The 5th metal gear solid, the 7th call of duty, the 4th halo, it may not be a jaw-dropping experience, but you're sure to have a good time.

And then, one day, you will get the pleasure of sitting in front of your screen and seeing a true masterpiece unfold, one that defies all your notions of fun and exciting gaming, and it will rest on its laurels, truly knowing that it has earned your 8, your 9, because it took the extra mile that turns a solid game into a masterpiece.

Enjoy your evening.   read

11:11 PM on 02.03.2010

The Future: The Good and the New

Maybe it is 2030 and we're looking at the trailer and release date for the new and groundbreaking God Of War 19: How Kratos Fought his way out of his mothers womb. Ok. So it's not new, it's probably not groundbreaking. It's just another 3rd persion action game. Is it good? Well, it's certainly gory. And it has its high points, like when you rip through her placenta and smash her intestines outwards. Awesome.

It also makes me wonder how much of good and new each game we see needs. You see, I believe that in the future we will look at gaming with a more forgiving hand in terms of innovation. Sure you can pat someone in the back for bringing something new, but it won't be this whole fuss we see today. Not that it's unfounded fuss, but fuss nonetheless.

"Beware of this piece of metal, it can process your brain!" they said. With now about 30 years of videogame, we have come from simplistic squares on a tube to 3d technology, and boy, did it shake the land. It made us hungry for more, for new games who could harvest the full power of the new hardware, better looking games, greater zones to explore, more stuff to do.

But at some point, the new, the new game mode, the new genre, the newest and most exciting news of the planet gets old, and a second struggle begins: the search for the good. Sure we could live in a place of proverbial perfection where game developers would constantly innovate while making the best out of everything they create, but we don't. Sucks right?

A little look back? MMOs, Ultima was fun, but had some problems, Everquest 2 was awesome but had too much grinding, then came WoW, with not so astounding graphics and bringing not so new stuff to the table, but it was done right in so many ways that we didn't really care about the new, as long as it was good. Much like the "retro fad" these days. Mega Man 10 is there, with is 8-bit goodness. It is a testament to the true quality behind games, and I think that, in the future, we will cherish the good stuff a lot more than the new one, because invention is something that cannot be relied upon.

So, when we imagine the future and we wonder what will we expect from the games of 2030, I think we won't really bother playing Modern Warfare 9, which is a slightly tweaked and fine tuned version of the shooter game we see today. And we will congratulate activision for bringing us a new installment of a good ol' franchise, with a new and better developed story and a more balanced, with a few new guns here and there just to keep things fresh. We won't bother wading through waves of enemies in the new god of war game, as long it maintains the kind of attention to detail and quality, mindless fun we know and love.

Of course, at times, gaming will reach a stagnant pool of more-of-the-same, where it craves for new ideas and new technology to blow it out of there and throw it into a new cycle of creativity, but to me, the moments where the videogame industry truly shines, are those where it has estabilished itself both in terms of the hardware it works on, but also in terms of the style of the games it produces. It has been so in the past, Metal Gear Solid 3 and Shadow of Colossus both date from the apex of Playstation 2 success, the Mario Games basked in the power of the brightest days of the nintendo empire of old.

Will God Of War 4 suck and we will forget about it? (It's obvious the third game will be awesome...) Will we hate the next Starcraft and wish it was never made, therefore killing the franchise and maybe the genre forever? Your guess is as good as mine.

What I do believe, however, is that we will see our titles become a lot less groundbreaking as the years come and there's few left to improve in terms of graphical technology, processing power, styles of play. Once we get our gaming needs covered, we will enter a new time when instead of waiting for the next alien space battle with blue monkeys who surf the internet with a ponytail, we will just enjoy a lot when Liam Neeson's daughter gets kidnapped, and we all know what we must do.   read

3:59 PM on 02.02.2010

Dude! Fix your Feed!

I don't know how many of you use Google Reader to get your daily freshly baked dtoidment. I certainly do, and while the current format makes me happy because I don't have to click anything, it makes me mad because I know how hard it is to keep this site up without "backup". And by Backup I mean good ol' cash. And I believe this site makes cash through visitors, who are registered as such when they log on to the site, or click an external link to come here. Such as this one:

Now, do tell me: if the entire post is present right there, on the comfort and safety of your google reader, where you can browse through all of the relevant news without lifting the finger off the keyboard, why would you click any news of interest? Of course this is directed at the destructoid staff, but just a thought about this, why not do something a little more enticing and letting the users actually click the stuff and come to the site? It's not so strange, most of my feeds go like this one:

See? Not much relevant news there. Just a teaser, if you're interested, click away and find out more about this exciting piece of news. If you're not, even better, it won't pack your screen with stuff you don't need to see. It may look like it doesn't matter, but like the excellent blog from Mr. Dinin Vorta so nicely put: the future is about the little things.

So, Dtoiders or Dtoid staff, is there any particular reason why you update the feed in this particular way? I don't see it hurting anyone to click on their posts of interest and increasing site traffic. It's not cheap, it's just right. Maybe it doesn't really matter, but, just a thought. I'd hate to see this site suffer because of a silly thing like this.   read

9:59 PM on 02.01.2010

The Future: RTS

I'm actually surprised that no one blogged about this yet. What with all the fuss about the dying pc gaming community and stuff like that. Also, what the hell is SFW/NSFW? I know it's short for something really disgusting, but help a foreign guy out there... Also, I'll be refering to RTS as strategy, or strategy games, I don't know why, I just got used to it.

Enough diversions. Since we can talk about strategy games in general and never really reach the real heart of this matter, I'm just gonna talk about Starcraft for a while, and see how magically that kinda reflects my whole point on strat games in general.

See, there's this game about aliens with psionic powers who fight against an alien race of slimy plaguelike creatures until the terrans come along with their big guns and spoil the fight dooming everyone to... 10 years of the second most popular sport in Korea. But this isn't about the Korean scene, this is a tale about how a strategy game that defined it's genre kinda killed it for being too good.

Or did it? The fact is that no other strategy game was able to accomplish the kind of balance, competitive edge and also just the blasting fun for us n00bs that Starcraft did. You can talk about your Red Alerts and Tiberian green stuff or the Generals series or Dawn of War or Age of Empires - which did achieve some succcess, but never made into the multiplayer scene in force, especially with the 3rd installment being what it is - or whatever. Lack of support from the developer, lazy options and lack creativity for expansions, lackluster innovations in the style of play, for one reason or the other, none of these games could match or even come close to becoming what Starcraft is. The only other honorable mention here would be Warcraft III, which is kinda different in the way the strategy plays, but didn't really set a new standard for Strategy Games either. It's also pretty old by now.

See this? Pedobear thinks it's too old.

In 11 years of Starcraft, we have yet to see a title match it, let alone outclass it in terms of quality and innovation, and now that Starcraft II is knocking on the door, the future of Strategy gaming looks really dark, from where I'm standing. Let's see why.

Starcraft is played in a way that was probably reminiscent of the first warcraft games (I can't say that they were the first in it anyway, I'm not that into History of gaming, I'm also kinda young). You build a base, you gather resources, you use those resources to build an army from your base, and then you go kick your comrade's ass out of his base.

Sounds pretty simple? It is. What Starcraft did that none of its peers managed to do, was that every single one of these activities to perfection, both in terms of balance and skill required to perform all those tasks. It made this game a blast to play with your friends or to make a multimillionaire entertainment venue for a whole country. If you keep raising the bar on the skill level of the players to this day, you can still improve inside the game's walls, and that my friends, no other strategy game achieved, not even Warcraft III.

So how does this long reminiscion of the past brings us to the future of games? Oh, it's elementary. Now that we have Starcraft II out there, and we start to learn that it's much like a reboot of the first game, with a few cool new tricks to perform but no real innovation on the genre itself, it's time to question ourservelves a little on the evolution of strategy games.

Sure, there were attempts. Good ones, like this one:

Then why did it not fly? Honestly, I don't know. But the fact is that the multiplayer of this game didn't please the crowd. I can understand why, it had various problems with balance and the gamer skill could hardly do much for him. I'm not sure how it stands today as a multiplayer game because I dropped it a longe time ago, even before the expansion, but even that didn't get much cheers.

So at this day, looking at how Starcraft II is shaping up to be the Starcraft I second expansion and other really innovative titles failing to raise the bar and bring the Strategy game up to date, much like the first person shooter games shot up with Modern Warfare, setting an all-new high, the strategy genre really lacks a new IP who can really shake the foundations upon which it rests and truly brings hope for a better future.

Which begs the question: do we need a better future? Sometimes we're just asking too much aren't we? Maybe Starcraft was never outclassed or outmatched because it was a true masterpiece. A genre-definer, with little room for improvement. Maybe it was so good that it killed the playing field. It made a peak of itself and a barren wastelands of the RTSs out there. So what do you think the future holds? Do you think we will see something new and amazing breathe new life to this much loved chess-like bloodbath? Or was this gold mine drained? What do you hope for in the strategy games to come? Please let me know, because I don't know what the crap to wish for, in a bad way.   read

9:30 PM on 02.01.2010

Adjectives (and games)

I don't really know what surprised me the most after my first little blog: the fact that people actually read it, or the fact that I read what they said about it. Thanks for the feedback anyways. Suddenly it makes you interested to know what people have to say about what you have to say. Got it? No? I didn't get what that "also cocks" thingy means either. Tough world, this one of Destructoids... and cocks.

Someone mentioned lack of imagery for your viewying pleasure, and well, it's not that I don't have anything meaningul to post in there, it's just that I'm lazy. Really lazy. There's a whole searching and resizing and writing of lines that needs to made in order make an image come here. But since we're on the topic (of meaningfulness, not of lazyness), I'd like to make this blog about adjectives and videogames.

There, I just betrayed myself. But this image in on itself brings a point about it that is so powerful to me, that I think I'm gonna go on a limb here and pretend that you all can understand how much videogames and adjectives pertain to each other, fate would have it no other way. Believe me.

Besides the general love for grammar, there's something that brings us all together to the screen for more games: we look for something in those videogames that entertain us. This may be a simple thing, like the joy of battle, and the risk of dying, things that are indeed very primal in nature. It can be something a bit more complex, like the challenge of a good puzzle, or the wit it takes to outmatch an opponent in a strategy game, and here, my friends, is where the grammar takes the cake.

No matter what kind of fun you look for in a videogame, I believe that every single one of us brings to the screen a very different adjective to the experience. I have a cousin who likes hard. That's his adjective. It doesn't matter to him if there's a story to follow, what kind of game it is, if it's single or multiplayer. The "Hard" player will look for something that's difficult to accomplish, whether it's execution or just thought-provocation.

Me? I like meaningful the most. Take a look at that picture of Big Boss there. It might mean absolutely nothing to anyone whatsoever. But to me? It carries a gigantic load. There's a magnificent story that was passed to me by the videogame screen that almost brought me to tears when this said piece of imagery was brought on. To me videogames are all about the great stories and engaging characters that games have made me care for, in such a way that every single one of the great games I play now sit in a very tidy corner of my heart, where moments like this one have so much meaning to me that they bring tears of joy to my eyes everytime I even remember them.

I know this is a very personal feeling and that some of you may never have thought about this, and never will. You don't have to care that much for those motion captured fellas in a mildly uninteresting setting, but I feel that as videogames become better with the times, those kinds of adjectives that one may tie to their experience will become a much more powerful thing, even if you don't notice, developers, or market analysts will. Someone will care. I hope so.

On a final note: what are your adjectives for videogame? Do you have one that you mostly cling to? Do you care? Let me know if stuff like this makes sense:

Or if it's just me.   read

3:26 PM on 01.22.2010

Love/Hate: Blockbuster

It's funny to actually start something. Like a blog in Destructoid. Although I have been following it for quite a while and have wanted to do this pretty much ever since I read my first Love/hate. Or was it the Memory Card? Anyway, the hard part isn't actually writing stuff. I do it all the time. It's practically my life. The hard part is registering an account, looking for a stupid avatar, wondering if people will laugh at your poor, poor english or just at the theme you've chosen, only then to find out that you completely forgot what the f* you wanted to write about.
Now that this time is past, I really enjoyed a "The Future" posted this week by some guy. He took an in-depth look at the business model of the high-stakes videogame industry, and made a very dreadful statement about it's life's length. There was some death, but no blood to be seen. While he focused on the business itself, covering issues like the neverending thirst for larger campaigns, more groundbreaking franchises, larger cutscenes, more "cinematic" (this was actually covered by someone else entirely in another excellent blog), he also went on to discuss how surprisingly successful the Wii came to be, without ever having to call anyone who enjoyed the system an asshole who has no eye for good games. The fact of the matter is that the Wii found it's own place in the market and just stood there, unchallenged. What would you expect? Moneyprinting, that's what. It's pretty much the same way Call of Duty 4 and MW2 found. Well, that and multimillionaire ads.
But I'd like to focus on a very specific aspect of the videogames right now. Which is related to both the aforementioned blogs. Big releases. What we came to know as the movie blockbusters. We have those on the videogames too. Modern Warfare 2 is certainly fresh in our minds, but think God of War, think Gears of War, think Assassins Creed and the hail of the crowd they got. Blockbusters aren't necessarily good games, but they're crowd pleasers, they are eventful and exciting and sites like this one certainly help promote it because of the way they look and the fun times they promise. Much like in your theater. Transformers 2 made for an awesome trailer: lots of explosions, as many military attack helicopters as you could shove in screen range, huge robots, epic battles, Megan's Foxhole screentime. Was it any good? I don't know, I never went to watch it. But Why? Because I'd seen the first one, and I'd seen Michael Bay at it, no matter how different a blockbuster is from the other, after seeing it for the hundreth(is that right?) time, it's no fun anymore. It ceases to impress. Visuals? Come on, I've played games since I was 8, I've seen much cooler stuff with fewer pixels.
But since we're at it, why not love blockbusters? They're still the same, but that's because it's a friggin' winning formula. Both for them, and for us. Think of how fun it was to see Iron Man come to life. It's a Robot man that can fly and shoot all kinds of stuff, it was fun to see the little love games with Mrs. Pepper Pots and the actions scenes and the showdown with the inevitable hero win. It's NICE. It's not fresh, but we all love it.
So what's the problem with Blockbusters and videogames? They're cool, you just admitted. Sure, but look at this: there's only a few of them per year. They come from time to time, in a way that doesn't let you get completely immune to their effect. If you had a blockbuster coming out every week, the effect would die down. They live on anticipation. And thank god they do, because they have one BIG problem. Cost.
Blockbusters and videogames are EXPENSIVE to make. Like, pretty f*n expensive. Avatar must have cost some 200 million shmuckers to someone. It only works becauses it sells like toilet paper. If you had one avatar per month, no one would be interested in it and the high costs would never pay off. Pretty obvious, right?
So why the hell does the videogame industry thinks it can keep doing this forever? Only in Q1 2010 we have about 8 AAA titles retailing for 60 bucks. It's like having 8 michael bay shitstorms thrown at you. No matter how much you like two and a half hours of screen suffering, your wallet won't handle it, and eventually you'll grow bored of robots fighting.
Remember 2008 economic crysis? One banker guy said that it happened because somehow they missed the fact that the price of housing would never go up forever. Now that this has become a national joke, how the crap does the videogame industry think they can keep shoving expensive stuff in an oversaturated market (who is in an economic downturn, by the way) and get away with it? Pandemic has seen the fallout. Many employees from other companies too. Rockstar certainly found their own "humanitarian" way to deal with it.
How long are they gonna take to understand that the great videogames we've come to expect to see every once in a while: epic presentation, huge voice overs, grand stories, great graphics and multimillionaire projects is to be brought to you EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE? Learn from the movie guys: sometimes all it takes for you to go to the theater is a mildly cheap fun movie that cost a penny to make. Think paranormal activity. Think Braid. Or just THINK, for god's sake.   read

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