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.