It's a little sad, I think, that my first Cblog after returning from PAX East is not a gushing recap of all the fun times I had, but rather venting commentary on a so-called scandal that was supposedly born from the convention this year. But, I have things that I want to say about all of it, so here it is.
Keith Apicary I had never heard of this bafoon before last weekend. His real name is Nathan Barnatt and Keith is, obviously, a persona that he puts on. Apparently, Keith's shtick is to go to conventions and interrupt panels by dancing with his pants off. Let me make one thing clear: I don't care if you enjoy Mr. Barnatt's brand of comedy. I don't care how long he's been doing the Keith character, nor do I care how many views he has on Youtube - the man deserves to be banned from PAX and I am glad it has happened. Just because it's your "thing" to interrupt other peoples' planned entertainment, you should not be excused. If a person has a reputation for being an asshole, that doesn't mean they should be allowed to be an asshole! I am sorry, that's just how life works. I am extremely disappointed to see people on Destructoid attempting to defend Mr. Barnatt. His character is a nuisance. And I'm sure if he wasn't already Youtube-famous, far less of you would disagree. It doesn't matter how "harmless" his routine is. It's disruptive to the events other people have planned.
If I spent six months writing and preparing a presentation for my fans, or spent 90 minutes standing in line to see a panel from my favorite website or developer I'd been waiting months to see, I would be pissed as all hell to have some jackass run up on stage and "troll" for some cheap laughs by bombing the presentation. Barring Keith Apicary from PAX is not turning a party into "dinner with your in-laws" as Jonathan Holmes attempted to argue, but rather keeping out somebody who's entire goal is to do nothing but annoy and disrupt other people's experiences. If you think a PAX panel without Keith Apicary is boring, what are you doing there in the first place? If you count on a spontaneous party crasher to get some enjoyment out of your afternoon, maybe go somewhere else? Keith and his ilk is not why I go to PAX or any of PAX's panels.
If you've encountered a Keith prank in person or just watched one on Youtube and thought it was hilarious, good for you and good for Keith, but that doesn't excuse his behavior.
To make things even worse: he was granted explicit permission from Robert Khoo to attend this PAX by signing an agreement stating that he would not disrupt any panels. He broke the agreement on the first day! Once again I don't care if you're a fan, that's just shitty behavior that should not be tolerated.
Jessica Nigri Let me first start by saying that I have long been a supporter of PAX's "no booth babes" policy. The idea is two-fold: to try and keep a somewhat "family friendly" atmosphere (the effectiveness of this tactic with violent video games 100 feet away can be debated elsewhere) and also to prevent irrelevant bimbos from luring people to a booth with cheap skin tactics. The games should stand on their own. An office secretary from Ubisoft, therefore, should not be allowed to throw on a skimpy maid outfit to lure people over to play Assassin's Creed 3 just because she works at Ubisoft. NOS Energy Drink cannot use models hired at a generic agency in bikinis to entice you over to a MLG booth simply because NOS is vaguely affiliated with competitive gaming. Random tits and ass should not be advertising Borderlands 2.
However, problems arise when the so-called "booth babes" become actually relevant to the product being shown off, namely when the women are cosplaying as main characters from the game, in particular when said cosplayer has already become fairly widely known for assuming that role. I have no reason to doubt that Jessica is far more knowledgeable about the product she's promoting than a random model hired off the street to flaunt skin in an entirely irrelevant and sleazy manner. Personally, I see a gray area, and I fully acknowledge that this may be due to my love of Suda51 and Lollipop Chainsaw. Those of you who don't care about the game probably have far less sympathy than I do for Jessica Nigri, and that's understandable. But I hope that we can come to an agreement that it is not all that simple. As sad as I was to hear that Jessica Nigri had been hassled about her outfit, I simultaneously felt a huge amount of respect for those in charge sticking to their rule, even when they probably didn't want to, in order to remain consistent.
While Jessica's cosplay wasn't any more revealing that that of many con-goers, men and women alike, some have argued that it's worse because she was being paid to dress that way. I personally don't see how that makes any difference. She wasn't being forced to wear what she did. She did it because she wanted to and was enthusiastic about taking on the role of Juliet Starling and taking photos with fans. And that's another thing about what makes her kind different from the typical "booth babe": she's playing a fictional role to be entertaining and to let fans get their photos taken with a video game character. The same can't be said of a generic model in a revealing jumpsuit who has no idea what the game or product is about, and is only there to attract traffic. Ultimately I think it comes down to the person's purpose for being there and wearing the costume. Sure, part of Jessica's presence was intended to attract attendees. But that's far from all of it and you all know I'm right. I'd venture a guess that most of the people who lined up to play Lollipop Chainsaw were already familiar with the game and maybe even Jessica's Juliet cosplaying on the Internet. She was acting more as a celebrity appearance (just as Suda himself was) than as a characterless set of tits.
Now, as to her being "kicked out": Jonathan Holmes' post does not indicate who it was specifically that asked Jessica to leave, and the last word I've heard is that WB has not commented yet. However, according to Gabe's post today on Penny Arcade "they" (being Penny Arcade) never told her to leave; only stay inside the bus or change. The story I heard Sunday night at the goodbye dinner was that the people who asked Jessica to leave were not affiliated with Penny Arcade, but rather convention center staff. This, to me, sounds extremely plausible, and if it is what indeed happened, I would attribute it to miscommunication. I see no reason to jump to conclusions and cry foul at Penny Arcade. At any rate, Jessica was thankfully allowed to return on Sunday wearing an adorable black t-shirt with the Lollipop Chainsaw logo on it. Even though that's not an in-game costume, she still did a great job with staying in character and remained as approachable and entertaining as the previous two days.
One last thing - in Gabe's post that I linked to above, he mentions last year's Duke Nukem Forever booth and the shit PA got for allowing the school girl cosplayers. This issue goes back to my original point - the no-booth-babes policy becomes tricky to enforce when the costumes are actually relevant to the game. The Duke girls were not immediately removed, and PA caught flack for this. Whereas this year, people didn't want the babe to leave. Is the difference the game? The character? The performer? The fans of either? Or is it just a matter of never being able to please everybody?
In the end, fortunately neither of these incidents (Keith or Jessica) were as criminal as some would like to report. Keith was ejected after repeated warnings, breaking a signed agreement, and causing a disturbance, and Jessica was not actually told to leave, and she remained a good sport while returning the final day in a more modest outfit. Gabe explains that Penny Arcade, Warner Bros, and Jessica are all cool.
10.) My day job is writing training simulations for the military. I work for a government contractor that develops "virtual training" for various entities, the primary customer being various branches of the US military. None of it combat. Instead, it's almost entirely based on training signal soldiers how to operate communications equipment and mobile communications shelters in the field - routers, satellite antennae, etc. We also have a "serious game" that trains in biometrics and forensics gathering (think collecting possible terrorist fingerprints or identifying IEDs). It's not really that exciting - even though I can technically say I help make games for a living, the products are extremely dull and not meant for entertainment. And those of us with actual knowledge of games and what makes them functionally good have little say in the process.
9.) My first video game experience was at a casino. Well, technically. When I was real little we lived in Biloxi, Mississippi. Biloxi sits right on the Gulf of Mexico and it's known for all of the casinos. Apparently one day my parents and some friends of theirs decided to go to one and because I was little they had to drop me off in the casino's daycare area where all the parents left their kids to play while they went inside. I was immediately drawn to a counter with maybe half a dozen small TVs, each hooked up to either a SNES or Genesis. I think my first game was The Lion King on the Genesis. I think I also remember trying to put a Genesis cart into the SNES. I was learning.
Fun fact about those casinos: they're all floating in the Gulf. A long time ago (or maybe this is still true, not sure) gambling was illegal in the state, so they just built their casinos on giant barges docked in the bay. Since they're on the water, they weren't technically "in Mississippi". There's even a casino made to look like a pirate ship. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, at least one of these casinos was carried inland and likely landed on some houses.
8.) I can't ride bikes. I never finished learning. The best I can remember, I apparently had some bad first experiences with falling off the bike and scraping my knees terribly. I was also a huge wuss so those falls - or the fear of more falls and more Bactine sprayed on my open wounds - discouraged me from trying to master the skill. I preferred to stay inside and play video games anyway. As I got older, I wouldn't be caught dead with training wheels, so I gave up ever learning. I was really self-conscious about this for most of my life and have hardly told a single person. Only recently have I stopped caring that people know, but also I now have the internet and a car, so I don't foresee bikes in my future any time soon.
7.) I was almost an Eagle Scout. Another relic of my childhood - I was in Cub Scouts and subsequently Boy Scouts for a while growing up. By middle school I made it up to the rank of Star, which is just two away from Eagle. Scout policy is/was that once you turn 18, you're out. I was, like, 10. Had I not lost interest and become lazy and burnt out on it all, I think I was on track to hit Eagle unusually early. But I don't regret quitting. In hindsight BSA is pretty dumb and the only redeeming quality is they occasionally do some good community service, aka shit I was too lazy and apathetic to deal with.
6.) I am secretly one of Max Scoville's older Twitter clones.
These facts are suddenly getting really boring.
5.) I once stole a Captain Morgan glass from a restaurant. Some friends and I were hanging out one night drinking at this local pizza joint (literally called The Pizza Joint, the only fun hangout in my town, known for 50+ beers on tap) and at one point one of my friends mentioned how she and another had, on a previous night at this establishment, they decided to just take home one of the sweet glasses they serve beer in. I was currently drinking a Rogue Dead Guy out of a Captain Morgan glass and being prettying drunk. At the end of the night, when we'd all paid our tabs and our dishes were being collected, I blocked the waitress from taking my empty glass by simply putting my hand over it as she reached for it and shook my head. She didn't seem to care. Next thing I knew I was walking out the door with the glass in my hand. I use it to this day. I love that glass. In fact, I'm using it right now:
4.) I fucking love Breaking Bad. It's the only "current" American TV show I watch. I keep hearing people talk about other shows right now and I'm too lazy and/or apathetic to bother checking them out. None of them will top Breaking Bad. It's the best TV show in decades. Maybe ever. Also I have never watched a second of LOST.
3.) I'm accidentally sort of a beer hipster. It's really weird because I've only been drinking for a few years. But the only American beers I will touch are Yuengling or obscure local microbrews. I used to say all American beer (except Yuengling) sucks because all the shit that gets marketed is Coors or Bud Light piss. But I've recently become aware of just how awesome America's craft scene is and I grab some whenever I can. My favorite beers are ones you've probably never heard of. It's not something I try to go out of my way to be like. It just is, and I recently realized it myself.
2.) I have been using the same first-gen Logitech G5 mouse for maybe 7 years now. It's the best mouse ever.
I also have the best mouse pad ever.
1.) I have daydreamed about getting high with Tara Long.
1) This isn't about video games. I apologize. I currently don't have a site of my own, and since I don't think Tumblr is a very good outlet for actual blogging (ironic as that may sound) I currently feel like the Destructoid CBlogs are the best place for me to write stuff. This also won't be quite as silly as my previous blog so sorry for that as well.
2) I meant to write this last week when the news broke, but one thing led to another and it didn't happen. So here I am now.
Anybody who remotely knows me beyond my retarded Destructoid posts has an idea of what kind of anime nerd I am. I tend to gravitate towards sci-fi: anything with robots or space ships is usually right up my alley. I love me some space opera. I have a particular affinity for "old school" animu - the 70s and 80s were, in my opinion, the golden age of cartoons from Japan. This is why my heart sank last Wednesday when I got home from work and discovered the news that Noboru Ishiguro had passed away.
Noboru Ishiguro was the director of some of the most classic anime series, including my personal all-time favorite, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross. In addition to Macross, Mr. Ishiguro was the director for:
Legend of Galactic Heroes Megazone 23 Space Battleship Yamato Super Dimension Century Orguss Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? (movie based on the original series)
The first color adaptation of Astro Boy
...among many others - those are just the ones I'm familiar with! I don't expect many of you to be very familiar with the shows I've named (though I would be extremely pleased if you were), like I hinted at above, these shows date back 25+ years.
I will come right out and admit it, though: I was not familiar with Mr. Ishiguro's name prior to this news. But this is to be somewhat expected, no? Many leading figures behind works stay in the shadows. Space Battleship Yamato is associated with Leiji Matsumoto for his chacter designs and writing. Macross fans know the name Shoji Kawamori for creating the story and mechanical designs, as well as Ichiro Itano for the animation. Megazone 23, Orguss, and Macross are all recognized as having the same character artist, Haruhiko Mikimoto. These are the names that stand out, that are in the spotlight, that are mentioned in even the most modest discussion of those franchises. But while all of these people are responsible for the stories and visual designs, it was Noboru Ishiguro who is responsible for directing the shows, taking the ideas and drawings of the above icons and making sure they resulted in the series they ultimately became. Directors of anime, not just Mr. Ishiguro, often go underappreciated unless they also provide more "tangible" roles such as design, music, or the stories themselves.
Japanese animation really lost an important figure last week. If you think of yourself as an anime fan, especially sci-fi stuff, you likely owe gratitude to Mr. Ishiguro for his impact on later shows, even if you've never seen any of his. Rather than focus on the hole in the industry left by Mr. Ishiguro's passing, I will instead focus on the impacts his contributions have made to my geekdom (and, ultimately, the person I am today) and make a point to learn and better appreciate more of the names that scroll by in the credits.
To finish, I will leave you with some links to really great writing (better than this) about Noboru Ishiguro.
I just checked out the demo for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater 3D on the 3DS.. got some things to say.
First of all, I should note that I'm a huge fan of the MGS series. MGS3 is my favorite entry and also one of my most favorite games of all time, and a little over a month ago I finished playing MGS3 HD on my PS3.
When Snake Eater 3D was announced, I immediately decided it was an insta-buy for me. This eagerness died down considerably over time, considering how long it has taken for the game to arrive, and how utterly satisfying the HD version was. This evening I was reinvigorated with excitement for Snake Eater 3D by playing the demo. I think it's going to be a really great experience.
Here are my observations:
- This demo does use the same 30-play limit as the Resident Evil Revelations demo. Yeah, it's a really silly thing to implement, made even more silly by the fact that such a high limit probably won't matter to most people. It certainly doesn't bother me.
- The demo spans a majority of the Virtuous Mission. As demos tend to do, it skips the opening cutscenes and picks up right as Snake has landed in the jungle, in fact it's right after the player would have retrieved his backpack from the tree. The demo ends as soon as you approach Sokolov's door at the compound. Normally this triggers a cutscene where Snake enters and meets the scientist, but here you get a "Thanks for playing!" screen.
- Graphically speaking, I think the game looks really nice. In fact I would go so far as to say it looks just as good as the HD Collection version. Keep in mind that version is a PS2 game remastered, not originally a PS3/360 title, so my claim isn't as absurd as it might sound.
- The 3D is pretty standard, I think. It adds some nice effects, but I found myself turning it off so that I could better focus on the path in front of me. Enemy soldiers in the jungle might be difficult to spot if the 3D effect is making things the slightest bit blurry for you. Plus I think you get a crisper look at the pretty graphics without the effect.
- The game supports the Circle Pad Pro attachment. I don't have one, but the Options menu allows you to turn it on or off.
- Without the extra nub, your ABXY face buttons control the game's camera. B and X look up and down, Y and A rotate horizontally. It made me feel like I was using the N64's C buttons. Nostalgic and trivial for me, but I suspect this scheme will be a nuisance for others.
- You are able to walk while crouching in this version, which is pretty interesting to me. If you remember, this wasn't possible in the game previously. Attempting to move while crouching normally forced Snake into a prone position where he would then crawl. Crouch walking is a VERY welcome feature. You get the combination of a lower profile with quicker, easier movement.
- The bottom touch screen is used to display the map and also to offer quick access to all of the Survival Viewer functions. There are touch-icons for Camo, Backpack, Food, Wound Treatment, Weapon and Item toggle, and Map (if you want to actually look at the different floors of an area or surrounding areas). These things can also be accessed from the Pause screen like you might expect, but there's really no need to, I found.
- Aiming with your gun is now done in third person, over snake's shoulder, which is a very odd change that I'm not sure I welcome. You get a cross hair when you do this, but it's a little wide, so it makes headshots (for those ever important instant-tranqs) rather difficult. The only way to aim in first person, that I could find, is to crawl through some grass, where the game forces you to first person anyway (it's always been like this).
- I vaguely remember reading about this a long time ago, but it seems you can take photos with the 3DS's camera and turn them into camo patterns for Snake. I say "seems" because this feature is disabled in the demo, but there is a faded camera button on the Camo select screen.
- While walking over the bridge, I had to keep my balance by tilting the 3DS side-to-side. An icon appears the bottom of the screen with a moving bar to indicate this is going on and to show you how you need to move. I don't recall any other bridges in the game so I don't know if this function will appear anywhere else. Perhaps when standing on a tree branch.. something I never did.
- Shooting the beehive did not produce a swarm of bees to scare the soldier across the bridge. I am hoping this was merely removed from the demo for some odd reason and will still exist in the full game.
I think the big takeaway here is the game looks really, really good, makes really good use of the touch screen, some new features have been added to the gameplay, and the 3D is nothing special. I'm really looking forward to getting the full game. Due to money, I can't say for sure if I'll get it as soon as it comes out, but I am thinking I might get it right before PAX East and play it during my flight and layovers. It will be much cheaper than a Vita plus a Vita game, after all.
I consider myself a Star Wars fan. I dig the universe, the lore, and of course the original movie trilogy. I even don't really hate the prequels as much as other people. I think LEGO Star Wars sets are awesome, and the video games amazing. I wanted to be a space pirate for Halloween so I bought a toy of Boba Fett's blaster from Target. One of my earliest Nintendo 64 games was Shadows of the Empire, and that shit rocked. And that music? Hell yes.
I also tend to enjoy MMOs. Admittedly, I feel strange saying that because I haven't actually played very many of them. I guess what I really mean is I like the idea of MMOs. I'm an RPG fan and I like the idea of playing a massive game with other people in a living, breathing world, doing quests, fighting, etc. My earliest was a game called Tibia back in around 1999 or 2000. I played Ragnarok Online for a time, as well as this weird one that completely stole all of its art assets from A Link to the Past. I have had brief stints in Lineage II, Tabula Rasa, and World of Warcraft. Side note: WoW never grabbed me. I tried on multiple occasions to get hooked (deliberately!) with trial accounts, and I never even continued to play the whole two weeks. I just found it bland and uninteresting, compared to Guild Wars which I was playing at the time. More on this in a minute.
You would think that an MMO about Star Wars would be totally up my alley. When I saw the first (I think first?) trailer for it a few years ago, I got kinda excited. I signed up immediately for the newsletter or whatever so I could stay informed. I read a couple of those early newsletters, when some classes were revealed. that was cool I guess, but it wasn't long before I totally lost interest.
Here we are at the game's release, and I still haven't regained it.
Yeah, I'm probably a little bit biased. I'm a long-time huge Guild Wars fan. As a result, I've been waiting a very long time for the release of Guild Wars 2. It is my most anticipated game of 2012.
My first gripe with SWTOR is the subscription model. I believe that in 2011, online games should not charge subscription fees. Many popular MMOs have recently moved to a free-to-play model, confirming what the original Guild Wars proved several years ago: you can have a great MMO without charging a monthly fee. I think as technology has improved over the years, so-called server costs have become moot. The idea of paying to support future content seems silly when you've already paid for the game and will probably pay for expansion content a year later.
Money isn't really an issue. I can certainly afford it. Hell, I could even play SWTOR *and* GW2 because it'll be free. I mean, GW2 still doesn't even have a release date (most estimates put it in Spring of 2012) so I could easily sign up for SWTOR and enjoy it for a few months before GW2 comes out, and even continue to play both should I choose. I really just dislike the idea of paying a fee. It's an outdated model I don't want to support.
Secondly, nothing I've seen of SWTOR has done a very good job of convincing me that it strays very far from "WoW with lightsabers". Don't get me wrong - I know SWTOR is doing new things for the genre, and I've heard good stuff about the narrative and the voice acting, etc. But from what I've seen and heard, it doesn't do a whole lot that isn't new, gameplay wise. I'm not saying that's bad; it's just not very interesting to me any more, especially when this other game is doing so much more differently to shake up the MMO landscape.
I also can't say I'm a fan of the art style. It just doesn't look very pretty to me.. at all.
I dunno. I'm trying to narrow down why it's so difficult for me to care about SWTOR (as a Star Wars and MMO fan) without sounding like too much of a GW fanboy, but you have to understand how hard that is. While I personally feel like GW2 is going to be the far prettier, more original, more entertaining, more interesting, and more free game that not only MMO fans but also people who never cared for MMOs before will find extremely fun (trust me, if you've read as much about the game as I have, you'd be this confident) SWTOR is the game everybody has talked about almost all year. GW2 will certainly be SWTOR's biggest (perhaps only) competition when it comes out, yet it gets so little attention in comparison. So yeah, that's a little frustrating to me and it makes me a little spiteful.
I want to like SWTOR. I wish I could get into it and enjoy myself a good massively online Star Wars game. But having spent so much time reading about Guild Wars 2 and having played it at PAX, I feel like the bar is being set really high for MMO gameplay and what SWTOR as an MMO brings to the table, in both gameplay, originality, and graphics, is extremely underwhelming. It's disappointing.
This post is a little rambly and maybe incoherent. Hopefully not too bad.
P.S. This will likely be my last Cblog entry of 2011 so mery kurismasu and happy kwanza