Stuff to read

Stuff to Read:


The gates are closing, please don't let it be for nothing

Past few weeks have been one heck of a ride in gamerland hasn't it? You know what im talking about, Gamer Gate. While I can't say that I've been active in the movement in any significant way (it boils down to some twitter comment's mostly), it's still been a good read. And as with the whole Anita Sarkeesian shitstorm, I've discovered new worthwile things to spend my internet time on.

But all good things must come to an end, and as I look at the direction everythings going, I feel I should say what's on my mind.

As of now, it seems that big media sites are finally listening to what gamers want. And it has gone as far as The Escapist making a new ethics policy. But does any of this mean anything? Right now they're sucking up to us because there is a real threat of them losing their jobs, what happens when that threat goes away? Do you expect them to stop calling you misogynists? Are you sure they said those things solely for money and that none of them actually believe this?

The reality is that if these actions are enough to end this movement, it has been for nothing.
I understand that the opposing side of this storm is also human and needs these jobs to feed themselfs,
but the heart of the matter is, these are terrible sites with terrible writers and a simple ethics policy isn't going to fix a thing. This movement should end with the carsh and burn of these big websites.
Why? Because trying to reform these sites is a hopeless cause and better alternatives have recieved more attention as a result of all this.

Personal note: You should still avoid Escapist

 Give the sites listed a go, GameNosh and NicheGamer are at least by people who genuinely value gaming.


Deadagent's SJW EVO challenge

A Short while ago I had a run in with someone on twitter with an SJW who thinks that you can have an educated opinion about a game without actually playing it.

While any gamer understands that you can only get the full context of a game by playing it.
I think a little challenge is in place to make some others to understand this. 

So here is what I want you to do.

1. Watch a bunch of of videos about any fighting game
2. Never play the game in question
3. Sing up for the next EVO
4. Win the tournament

Good luck


Why is this a game?

What is a game?
While the question is simple, the answer to this question very ambiguous and at times it's hard to argue one way or the other. While some argue that games are fun, others argue that this definiton limits the artform. This side is the one who's usually quick to defend games like 
Gone Home, Dear Esther, etc.

While I'm not myself sure how I'd fall on that debate, on one hand there is a case to be be made for games with minimal interaction, on the other hand at what point does that minimalism go too far?
So while I dont intend to label something as "not a game", I do want to ask the question: Why is this a game? I think it's an important question because it focuses to the strentghs of the medium.

Here are some examples

Heavy Rain

So this might suprise some but the claim that Heavy Rain does not have a failure state, is false. The real difference between Heavy Rains fail state and regular fail states is that it really isn't announced.
You can think of the characters you have as lives and when you run out you 
get the worst possible ending and fail.
All the others are just endings are just ranks on how well you did.
But more to the point, why is it a game?
Well, you can't make it into a movie, because a movie has it's story set in stone, 
and Heavy Rain dosen't.
How about choose your own adventure books? That has the problem of only including branching choices but not including player skill driven results. You could potentially do this with dice but that relies solely on luck and thats not what Quantic dream was going for. Also books lack music and animation to set the mood in the way they wanted. The only medium that can let them do this is video games, so I think It has a valid reason to exsist as one

Ace Attorney series

While most agree that they are games, I think it should be acknowledged that the gameplay is minimal. The gameplay consists of puzzles in the form of murder mysteries, 
and you can fail this task. 
By the token old point and click adventure games also have the same minimal gameplay going for them but they are indeed. So yes, puzzles are enough of a reason to justify a games exsistence for me anyway.

The Path

This one is a bit tricky, on the one hand you barely have any interaction with anything in the game and only one interaction actually changes the course of the game in anyway (finding the "wolf"). On the other hand the branching path is not possible in a movie and again, the athmosphere would be lost on a book, also books might not be able to carry such a vague narrative. I'd say This one just barely has a reason to be a game.

The Graveyard

The stated idea of this is to be a interactive painting. Honestly the branchin outcome in this one is so weak that I dont think this needs to be a game. An animation that had 2 differing versions that were shown randomly would have about the same effect without the hassle of having someone push a stick to move an old lady foward.

Gone Home

So, how does the SJW aproved critically acclaimed indie darling stack up. Not very well. Since the narrative is linear and there are no puzzles to solve, there is no reason why
Gone Home couldn't be a book or a movie.
Heck they could have made a visual novel if they wanted to keep it digital.
Also slightly offtopic here. While all visual novels are not necessarily games, visual novels can be games, given that they have puzzles in them or branching paths.

Dear Esther

 Same thing as Gone Home, there simply is no reason for this to be a game. This could all be accomplished trough other mediums.

 In Closing
Thats a couple of examples of my tought processes as of late. I do have to admit that this is ONLY my toughts and nothing more. I did not comment on certain games (like Beyond: Two souls) because I don't think I have a good enough understanding of that game (or I havent heard about it, thats a possibility too). Hopefully these scribblings will spark some discussion.


Anime, Copyright and the internet age

As per alot of folks, I have a interest in anime. Wich is probably one of the things fuels my tendency towards games from the land of japan. So this weekend I decided to put my Crunchyroll subcription to use and actually try to find something to watch.

My relationship with crunchyroll has been rather rocky for the past year or 2. The shows that have been coming out have been region locked alot and it has driven me towards not watching because im too lazy to download fansubs for ongoing stuff.

As I was browsing the site, to my amazement I find a show that I heard alot of talk about, Kill la Kill.

I was suprised because I think I tryed to find it and couldnt before. But I was exited seeing as it is from studio Trigger, wich consist of ex gainax employees that were responsible for gurren lagan and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, latter being one that I enjoyed quite a bit.

So I marathon trough the episodes and im loving it, then at 12 episodes it ends and I want to wait for some more. But then mere minutes later, I get an email from crunchyroll saying that episode 19 is available. I wonder what is going on, after a visit to the crunchyroll forums, I realize that the episodes are being released 2 months late in europe.

And this is what brings us to this topic of copyrights and keeping up with the times.
Since we live in the age of information, knowing about things happening in other countries is not that uncommon, especially when it comes to entertaiment. We know all about it. In gaming we know what games are coming out in japan, and we know about games that have never been released outside of japan. And with a very specific niche market like Anime, you better believe we know how many episodes of your show have been released.
And if you're not gonna provide a way for people to watch it legally, then they will watch it illegally. No consumer ever will care about your bottom line if you treat them like garbage, while from illegal circles you can get better treatment. Sure you risk getting caught for that, but the chances of that happening are very, very, low.

To top it all off, you made this the case only in europe and middle east, may I ask why? If you think that europeans download more of their stuff, then you are probably right, but you never seem to think why they do it. Well I can tell you, are you ready for this? BECAUSE OF SHIT LIKE THIS!!!!! Again, you are treating me like garbage here Trigger, you are giving people better service based on their geological location, and then probably complain about how no-one in europe watches your show legally.

And same goes for gaming companies too. I remember pre-ordering Persona 4 Arena for ps3 and waiting for a full year to get that game to my hands because the release was delayed, wich might have been fine exect you REGION LOCKED THE GAME!!!!!! Wich meant it was either the european release or nothing.

TL;DR: If you want piracy to much less of a "problem", then make damn sure you are able to give it to everyone on planet earth legally at the same time.


My toughts on Quantic Dream

If there's one trait I admire in a developer, is their ability to do exactly what they want and 
not go for what's hot and popular. So essentially I like devs that are outside the mainstream in one way or another....Guess that makes me a bit of a hipster. Oh well, In anycase while Quantic Dream is certainly no obscure gaming company, they're games are in no way traditional. 

More like interactive movies than games, taking a tiny step back to the fmv era with mostly QTE driven gameplay, they certainly are a very divisive group. You either love them or hate them with a burning passion. I love my devs this way, because if you like their flavour they give you lots of it. 

It's kind of like with food. For example notice how you always prefer home made food over some factory ready made thing or school cafeteria food is because, the ready made stuff and school cafeteria food needs to be ok for as many people as possible. If they make it too much the way some specific person likes it they end up alienating a good chunk of potential customers while some customers absolutely love it.

In my opinion this can be applied to video games. Games cashing in on whats popular all have this
trying to appeal to everyone wibe in it, wich means the end result may be alright but it's not something you'll remember for years and years because it was tailor made for your tastes.

But back to Quantic Dream. Id like to talk about each game of theirs that I've played and share my toughts on them and go on a bit more detail on common critisisms of the games
(especially heavy rain).

But before we go any further we need to adress one elephant in the room.
QTE's. I personally dont have a problem with QTE's in this manner, the whole game is built on them. 
This has been made very clear by everyone involved, so just be an informed consumer. 
If QTE's arent up your alley at all, dont play the game.

Farenheit/Indigo prophecy

 Just around the time Heavy Rain was coming out, I borrowed this game from a friend for the PS2.
My expieriences were mixed. The story had a pretty solid setup but around halfway the game went to completely different direction (if you played the game you know what I mean). Also the game over, while not a bad thing, certainly hinders the interactive movie thing a bit. Why? Well, it kind of makes your choices and gameplay rather uninteresting. 
Quantic Dream wanted this game to be a movie where your choices and game performance
 change the outcome, but they also wanted it to be a game.
To me this sort of highlights why strict failure states with game over screens don't really
work for a game like Heavy Rain.
With constant game overs it becomes apparent that most of your choices in the 
game dont really matter, they only result into an uninteresting game over.
To slighlty spoil the game, only factor defines what ending you get, and it's so darn obvious
that it really dosent warrant multiple playtroughs, because you know that the other choices lead to a game over. So its basically a bit more forgiving version of
Dragons Lair with some puzzleish things thrown in. 
Even despite all of that I can forgive the game a little, Quantic Dream was clearly experimenting (as they most likely still are), and they really hadn't found their formula yet and were still compromising with their gameplay elements (namely still having game overs).
But It's still an interesting experiment and it leaves you craving more from them because it has alot of potential. Wich convieniently brings us to.

Heavy Rain
Since Farenheit wasn't all that well know it mostly avoided the mudslinging 
that Heavy Rain recieved. Because of this I'm going to be alot more defensive on this so...yeah.
Anyhow, the hype for this game was......odd to say the least. Since their previous game was kind of a hidden gem, you'd never think that their next game would be such a hype machine. I guess Sony was really excited over any exclusive at that point.
In any case that hype might be the reason people are sort of quick to argee to any 
critique of the game. However it does not excuse some of the downright stupid and even false accusations. one of such accusations is that "there is no way to lose the game".
Technically this is true, there is indeed nothing in the game that states that you have failed.

However, all of your characters can die wich in any gaming circle is considered a bad ending. There are a copule of other bad endings as well. Personally I consider these bad endings as a failure state. Again, the game itself never declares that you failed, but when they tryed that before in farenheit the game sort of lost it's weight. "Oh, you died? Oh well gotta try again. Shame that really didnt change the outcome of the game" instead In Heavy Rain it's more like "Oh crap, this character died. I wonder how this will end now". 

Also this puts more weight into the otherwise bit dull QTE gameplay, since results are permanent. But that brings us to the next argument about how even if you fail a QTE you wont fail the entire game (like in dragons lair for example), and while it's true that not every QTE failure changes anything, the first time playing you really dont know wich failure gets you killed and wich dosent. And that add to the tension You dont know wich failure will get you killed, but you know that any one of your mistakes could be fatal.

This game isnt without it's share of flaws and I think it's all again about Quantic Dreams ongoing experiment of searching their style but here they have clearly improved already.
For example I hate how the game seems to give you a tutorial like task every so often. Making the omelette, trying get the baby to sleep etc etc etc. Ya know tasks that arent too hard and are missing all the weight that the more actiony scenes contain.

Also slow walking parts despite what Extra Credits says, are really dull compared to the weight of the actiony scenes. They're slow and meant to more set the mood and give a break. While there's nothing exactly wrong with this, it's still rather dull.

Also the controls are fucking weird, now I know what some of you are thinking. "Controls bad? What, but it's QTE's". The answer is because you do actually directly control your characters at times, however because of the changing camera angle I guess, you walk by pressing R2, wich is the most ackward thing ever. I understand why but goddamn is it weird.

Overall I think Quantic really found their direction with this game, and while it still needs a little tweaking, It's still a really great effort. Not to mention it was genuienly rather touching

Beyond Two Souls

With this game I have very little input on mostly because I only played the demo, however I wanted to comment my toughts based on the demo in contrast with BadCop69's video

 He complains about the controls, wich is weird because in the demo I found that the control was more fluent and natural than in Heavy Rain. It's kind of like comparing Red Dead Redemptions horse controls to shadow of the colossus. In SOTC the horse control is really natural while in RDR it's pretty much the car controls from GTAIV with living a creature. Then again I havent played the full thing so maybe it becomes a problem later on. Also from what I understand the main character can't die. So im curious as to how they're able to keep the tension up.

 Quantic Dream are an experimental
bunch, they do thing differently wich opens new ways to look at games.
They didnt find find their absolute perfect direction with Heavy Rain, but it's still a significant improvement over their previous effort. Let's hope the evolution keeps going.

Now that I've opened up this whole talk I suppose
I should adress my opinion on David Cage as well.

Maybe next time, for now let this wall of text full of opinions be enough.


PS4 and the technical confusion around it.

So, PS4 announcement happened. Nothing exciting there really, except that Sony finally figured out the importance of RAM, oh and the change to processor architecture from POWER to x86 wich is good since now making games for the system is about as easy as it is for the PC. 
But with that change apparently comes alot of confusion for some.
Since they are changing the arcitechture, backwards compatability with PS3 is of out of the question and some people just can't comprehend this. I've seen this twice in the past week. 
First in this weeks Jimquisition.
And once more on AlphaOmegaSins video on the subject, 
and the comment section of both of course. 
Both of them were basically argouing the same thing but Im gonna adress 2 arguments 
that just baffle me.

 Lets go over Mister Jim Sterling first since he does this shit for a living.

"There is Sony again fumbling with an inability to provide backwards compatability
for PS3, even the shit you bought on PSN. Physical discs I kind of get because of the cell processor nonsense, but PSN games? No excuse there, PS4's new innards are no excuse"  - Jim Sterling

Im sorry, what? Do you have any fucking idea how computers work? At all? Im betting the answer is no, because this is pretty retarded logic. The storage media has fuckall to do with any given software functioning correctly. Software is software, If its programmed to work on certain proseccor architechture, it wont work on another one without emulation of that hardware, wich will be discussed more in length when I adress the next person but before that. I do understand the frustration however, it might not be cool decision gaming wise since it limits 
the game library to PS4 games only.
But the thing is that the choice Sony had was either to keep the 
clusterfuck that was the cell processor,
or become more developer friendly. 
They chose developer friendliness, sucks for your backwards compatability 
but thats just how that goes. 
Oh and before you ask the first bach of PS3's had backwards compatability solely because they also had PS2 parts in the system, wich they took out to make the system cheaper to buy.
So unless you want to pay 900 bucks for PS4,
then just accept that there is no backwards compatability.

Now, time to adress another topic, Emulation.
Ahh yes, the thing that makes playing anything on anything possible. 
Ok I'm lying, emulation is pretty much ALWAYS inaccurate.
But lets see what others say about this godsend technology.

From some guy on the comment section of AlphaOmegaSins video

Oh really now? So you're saying that you have achieved perfect ps2 emulation on your PC?
Either you're an amazing programmer that has done his own emulator that the rest of us dont have, or you just dont see the inconsistensies and framrate drops. Say, how much frameskip do you use?
Why do I doubt you? Well here's a link to the system requirements for a perfect SNES emulator. 
You see how absurd those requirements are for such an old system? Yeah so perfect PS2 emulation is literally impossible as of right now, playable sure but not perfect. And how realistic does that PS3 emulation seem now? Even playable PS3 emulation is literally impossible as of right now. 
So yeah there's your fucking emulation.
It's like tryin to fit a square piece trough the trianlge shape hole. It dosent work unless you make the piece out of sponge or similiar material, and after that it isnt the same piece.

In conclusion I really dont fault AlphaOmegaSin for not knowing all of this, He is just a guy on youtube, I can cut you some slack for not googling this one. But with Jim, dude, your job is journalism or so you say. Research is a part of that, you should really learn your shit 
before spreading misinformation.


The darkness in horizon

So ever since the talk about WiiU started, so did the talk about mircosoft and sonys new line ups.
While at first it didnt seem too likely, now it will probably be 
at the very least be accouned by the next E3.

Some seem to be exited, im really not. In fact as far as consoles go I havent been too impressed by the current gen at all. So this is gonna be a longwinded explanation 
to my negativity towards one of my beloved hobbies.

One reason I'm not too intersted in new console lineup is that console launched have sucked in the last few years. PS Vita, 3DS and WiiU have all launched with barely any games worth playing, even PS3 had this same issue but at least companies were kinda holding up. Not recently though.

Another big issue is market demand for rather dull games. Im sorry but  in no way can I say with any kinda honesty, that I find any enjoyment in most western developed games. 
For example the "western" approach to RPGs seems to be to give you a big sandbox with a dialogue system that uses a bland flowchart to determine wheter you're a pure innocent angel or a wittle naughty boy, oh and throw those stats there somewhere. That same flowchart morality mechanic is in many many other western developed games, the reasons why this bothers me should be another post on its own, but for now it helps to know that I dont like binary moral systems.

Also, Military FPS's just have never ever been my thing but even for those who like this stuff, do you really find yearly installment of every game THAT enjoyable? They're not that different.
Also talking about games that are pretty much the same fucking game every year, Nintendo.
Before you hang me as a youngster who just dosent understand the ways on ye olde. Know that I still wish I had my old NES around. But even when I wish that, I cant help but to question why would anyone buy Zelda games anymore, theyre the EXACT SAME GAME EACH TIME. 
No really, just count the differences, and you find that there are maybe a few new characters here and there, and the central gameplay gimmick is different, and by that I mean you use some mcguffin to solve your way trough certain problems.

Also the death of certain franchises is just downright sad,
though it isnt suprising since horror games have pretty much all become pc exclusive facecam let's play fuel, DMC style games are alive only with Bayonetta (and that WiiU exclusivity for Bayonetta 2 still sucks altough, I understand why it's happening), all the while the actual DMC franchise gets rebooted by a bunch of british idiots that dont know a fuck about gameplay. Tomb Raider has been a dead franchise for good decade now (In my opinion anyway). 

So, if most of the major franchises are either not my thing at all, and most the old big franchises are dead in my eyes, what is there left for me to be exited about the new generation?

The answer is nothing.

The big question is what do you think, yes you, who found this by accident or I linked this to, Seriously I want some input on this. Agree, Disagree, Call me a douchebag, whatever, I just want to hear discussion.