Archive for category Game Philosophy

Seriously, What Is Wrong With You People?

Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory

 

Seriously people. They are just games. Why the crap are we resorting to death and rape threats over petty complaints? Don’t know what I am talking about? Then you have probably been living under a rock since the internet came about.

Polygon has a huge expose on the plague of harassment and bullying toward game developers and other public gaming figures. The whole thing is rather sickening. Polygon highlights a number of cases of bullying and outright psychopathic behavior from gamers upset over the most minor of things. Minor issues such as slight changes to a gun in Call of Duty or a sequel that didn’t quite live up to the hype of the first game.

Online bullying of game developers came to a head recently when Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler decided to leave the games industry after getting death threats targeted at her family. Another recent case was Fez creator Phil Fish abandoning development on Fez 2 and the industry over harassing behavior from fans and the media. Another case is that of Feminist Frequency host and Tropes vs Women in Games creator Anita Sarkeesian being subjected to death and rape threats all over creating videos which examine the roll of women in games. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tropes Vs Women In Games Sparks Much Needed Dialog

 

Say what you will about Anita’s arguments, her bias, or whatever. A lot of people have. In fact a lot of people have said some very despicable things about her person too. But despite all that commotion, one thing is for sure. These videos of her’s are sparking a much needed dialog in the games industry.

This latest video is the third and last video of her dissection of the “damsel in distress” trope as it is used in games (the first to are posted below). It is the third video in a much larger series of videos that her overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter promised to produce. Where the first video highlighted the use of the trope in early games like Mario, Zelda and Double Dragon and the second video showed its use in more modern games, this latest video shows that the trope is so pervasive in gaming culture that even indies tend to over use it.

The important thing to come from this, and frankly the whole point to the video series, is that it has sparked a much wider discussion of the portrayal of women in games. Everywhere on the internet, except the comment section of the videos as those are closed, people are talking about the problem of tropes in games. While some people are attacking Anita herself, others are focusing on the message. What does the overuse of the damsel in distress trope say about game designers and story tellers in games? Read the rest of this entry »

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Good Old Games Trolls The Humble Bundle Over DRM

Just a humble reminder: we don't usually sell games in bundles, but when we do, they're always DRM-free. #NoDRM #SubtleAmIRight

Earlier this week, the Humble Bundle announced its latest offering, the Humble Deep Silver Bundle. This new bundle is the latest entry in the Humble Bundle’s recent history of abandoning its original ideals to sell higher profile games. When the Humble Bundle started, it had a few ideals it stood for, pay what you want, cross platform, DRM-free and helps charity. These ideals held true for a couple of years, but then they reached a point where two of those ideals didn’t matter as much.

At some point, the Humble Bundle guys decided that cross platform and DRM-free were simply optional. Some early bundles had some tech demos or games that weren’t available for Mac or Linux, but the majority of the games were. Then they started introducing entire bundles that were Windows only. Not only that, but many of those games were also tied to Steam. Meaning, you couldn’t play those games without Steam DRM on your computer.

Well, the folks over at Good Old Games took to Twitter to gently haze Humble Bundle for its abandonment of its DRM-free ideal. It wrote three tweets. The first tweet was written as to allude to the Humble Bundle but not name it specifically. Read the rest of this entry »

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With the XBone, Lack Of Talking Was Not The Problem

XBone: Our PR Disasters Are Your Pain

The XBone has not had a very smooth ride at all since it was announced. At the time of its announcement, a lot of features and complications were announced and it left the masses with a huge “Huh?!” face. In the time between that original announcement and the E3 press event, the waters were muddied even more and people were even more confused. At E3, that confusion was topped with a $500 cherry. And all went to pieces for Microsoft.

After Sony blasted them and the press declared the XBone DOA, Microsoft quickly did an about face and returned to the status quo and all was fine in the world. At least that is what Microsoft hopes.

But what did Microsoft learn from all this? What lesson was there to be had from this massive PR disaster? According to Microsoft’s chief product officer Marc Whitten, the lesson is that they didn’t talk enough. Read the rest of this entry »

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DRM Is On The Way Out In Printed Works And Everything Else

Humble Ebook Bundle 2

I want to say that first off, this post is not about the new Humble eBook Bundle. While I am excited about a new eBook bundle, I loved the last one, I want to focus more on the no-DRM aspect of this and one other story that caught my attention today. DRM is a horrible practice akin to kicking your paying customers. I have complained about it many times before. I refuse to buy any product that is laced with it. The lack of DRM is one of the reasons why I love the Humble Bundle.

But this bundle also highlights another company we should all love. The book publishing company Tor made head lines last year when it decided to remove DRM from all of its ebooks. It made this move in spite of complaints from other publishing firms. This move makes Tor the only one of the “Big 5″ publishing houses to ditch DRM. It also explains Tor’s partnership with the Humble eBook Bundle. Tor understands what readers and fans want. They want convenience. They want freedom to read how, when and where they wish. They don’t want a publisher treating them as criminals in disguise. So yes, buy this bundle and pay more than the average so that you can be sure to get the new goodies announced next week. Read the rest of this entry »

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Region Locking Is Ancient And Obsolete; Nintendo Needs To Get Rid Of It

End Region Locking; Nintendo Region Free

This isn’t my first rant about Nintendo region locking its consoles. It probably won’t be the last, unless Nintendo does what its fans want and get’s rid of them. My first rant was less about the region locks, but more about Nintendo’s indifference to its fans who want to play games released in regions other than their own. My second was in direct response to the news that the Wii U would be region locked. Finally, I wrote up my thoughts about this whole fiasco after the news was released that Sony and Microsoft would not region lock their new consoles. There is a disturbing trend in all this.

After the success of getting Sony and Microsoft to back down from DRM on used games, game fans have turned their sites on Nintendo and the last major anti-consumer issue facing them at this time, region locks on the Wii U and 3DS. The image above comes from this effort found on a Neogaf thread calling for fan action in demanding a region free update. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vlambeer May Like Competing With Clones After All

Ridiculous Fishing

It was only a couple of months ago that I wrote about a Twitter exchange I had with Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail over its gripes about game cloning. The story at that time was that Vlambeer’s latest game Luftrausers was being cloned by some other developer. This event followed a previous one in which its game Radical Fishing was cloned and released to the iPhone App store. In that exchange, Rami came across as preferring to somehow block clones from the market rather than compete with them. That opinion may have changed though.

A Digital Spy report shows that despite the inability to be first to market with Ridiculous Fishing on the iOS, that game went on to be a phenomenal success despite the clone, Ninja Fishing, having had a months long head start. What was it that allowed this late comer to the iOS market to beat out the competition? Exactly what I said was the key. Making a better game. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix Highlights The Challenges Of Game Preservation

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts is a great game series, one that I have enjoyed from the beginning. While I have not been able to play every game in the series, it still remains one of my favorites overall. I feel that it is a series that exemplifies the games industry at its best. It has a compelling story, accessible game mechanics, beautiful art direction, and the game is a whole lot of fun to play. This is definitely the type of game that should be preserved for future generations. However, its preservation is not so easy.

IGN reports that in making the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, SquareEnix had to recreate all the assets from scratch. Why? Because they lost all the master files for the original game. Title Director Tetsuya Nomura stated in a recent video:

Kingdom Hearts 1 was created a long, long time ago, so actually the original data was missing already. It was lost, so we had to research, and we had to dig out from the actual game what was available and recreate everything for HD. We had to recreate all the graphics and it was actually not that easy.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Microsoft Was Not Ready To Join The Digital Future

The Digital Future Is NowWith all the talk about Microsoft, I had been thinking about the digital future of gaming and specifically Microsoft’s place in it. I made a quip back during E3 that I couldn’t figure out if Microsoft was taking a bold step into the digital future, or if they were just plain bonkers. However you may view their move, the truth is that they were moving into the inevitable future. Think about it. What has happened to music over the last 10 years? What about movies and books? Even games. They are all going digital. That is the future. That is the present.

But, you may ask, if digital is the future, why is what Microsoft did such a bad thing? I will explain that here in detail. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Debate Over Used Games Continues With Cliffy B and Miyamoto

Cliffy B VS MiyamotoThere is a battle raging in the land of consumer freedom. This battle is most recently fueled by the revelation that Microsoft’s next console, the XBox One, will be regulating the sale of used games. Now, two new challengers have entered the fray to be the last word in this epic battle. We have Shigeru Miyamoto, game designer extraordinaire for Nintendo, and Cliff “Cliffy B” Bleszinski  formerly of Epic Games, knocking out their opposing views of how used games effect the industry. Read the rest of this entry »

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