Monday, February 29, 2016

Buzzfeed v Straight White CIS Gamers (AKA The Devil)

Okay, so I felt unusually motivated this week. The last turd I decided to write was the crap on Fire Emblem Fates. I recently came across an article from everyone's favorite click bait site about shit White Gamers don't understand. So I examined these points. This article here is the one in question. So I'll take a crack at this bullshit, point by point.

1. Firstly, Assassin's Creed? Can you maybe pick a more relevant multiplayer title? Christ... Personal gripes aside, once again, BULLSHIT.
As you can see, based on a 2014 study, men and women play different games. Just because that 47% stat you Buzzfeed so proudly totes makes up the gaming population in general, doesn't make your point valid. For fuck sake... Okay, lets throw what defines a "Gamer" out the window as that's a murky thing. Just because 47% of the gaming populace is female, doesn't make that data true for every genre. As seen above, 30.6% of the action game population surveyed is female. The heading already contains a statistical fallacy. Second, common sense aside, who the fuck cares? Gamers have never seen this as an issue. Stop projecting...

2. No. Fucking. Shit... Female gamers have been here since the beginning of the hobby. Gaming started out as an outlet for outcasts. The weird kids that didn't really fit in anywhere else. Eventually, it grew into its own subculture and included men, and get this, women too. The way this article is read makes you twats seem shocked that women play games. This isn't news to any gamers.

3. I almost didn't want to address this one because it was so retarded. Look, male and female brains enjoy different things. There are always exceptions like in the last point. But you can't deny that the hardware used to create this art was largely (not solely) developed and advanced by men. Barring that fact, there have always been female developers. Creativity in any outlet or medium is valued. This is ignoring the overt sexism in this heading by the way...

4. Jesus Fucking Christ... Who cares? Why is sexuality that fucking important to characters in games? Why are identity politics trumping decent writing? Dragon Age: Inquisition had a gay character that suffered from poor writing, because his sexuality was the only highlighted trait. It doesn't fucking matter. I love the fuck out the Witcher. If somehow Geralt turned out the be gay, it wouldn't have changed anything. You wanna guess why? Because he wasn't written with his sexuality as his primary trait. Stop using identity politics to write characters. You're actually hurting your own cause when Gay or Trans is all they fucking are. They're also boring as fuck...

5. I already went over this. There have been female devs nearly since the beginning... You're fucking retarded to think otherwise.

6. This one was stupid too. The example you gave lets you create your own character. I personally don't give a shit what color the character is that I'm playing as, so long as the writing is good. If you want to write a game about a black woman in fucking space, do it! Just don't make her only quality be that she's black... Also, the cover was the way it was just because. Like most RPGs these days, the characters on the cover isn't what you're stuck playing as. Fallout has always featured someone in power armor on the front. I'm not confined to power armor the entire game. This observation was piss poor and stupid at best.

7 and 8. These two are merged because they basically say the same thing. Gone Home sucked balls. Not because it was actually gay, but because it was interactive media under the guise of a video game. I've not met one person who liked it. The only twats praising it were the fucktards in the games media circle jerk club. And again, why is sexuality being the center point? Persona framed gender identity in a well handled way. It wasn't the focal point of the character, but it was an outlet of that character to be explored. It wasn't the other way around. This is just going to lead to "after school special" quality writing and it won't bring anything new to the table.

9. Really? Fucking really? Okay, this is where I get serious. Gaming has always been an important hobby to me. The people generally in this subculture who were there from the start used gaming as an outlet when they didn't fit in. Misfits, nerds, and generally the outcasts flocked to gaming because it gave a place to unwind after school. Most gamers, I would venture to say have been the target of bullies at some point in their life and it provided an outlet to blow off steam. Games have always been for everyone. I've been called a fag, fucker, cock sucker, bitch, a shitty player and any other matter of trash talk you hear over the XBox Live. For your sake, and for mine, get over it. What ClickBait here is saying, is self imposed segregation. I've played games with and met all sorts of people from all walks of life.

I never supported the Gaymer thing because all it did was put a up wall between another section of the subculture. Many of the people I enjoyed gaming with, I may have never met if this was the case. I see LGBT guilds in MMOs, and all I see is another layer that separates people. When I play a game, I don't give a shit what you identify as, as long as you're good or just love the game. Another safe space of segregation hurts everyone.

Okay, this would have made for you good video. And I may revisit this some day in that form of media. But fucking seriously, why is this a problem all of a sudden when this shit is appearing everywhere else? I can't wait for the day that places like Buzzfeed aren't in business any longer. Clickbait is shallow bullshit at best and at worst, gives people the wrong impression. It's quite harmful to society as a whole. So Buzzfeed, go fuck yourselves. This was clickbait, not journalism.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fire Emblem illFates

So, here we are again. Another sad story of censorship. Recently, Nintendo of America/Treehouse had the latest Fire Emblem game translated by folks with an obvious agenda to push. I'm not a fan at all of Fire Emblem. Regardless of whether of not you agree, you're kind of forced to put up with this shit.

What are the issues? Well, there was a gay rape thing going around based on a translation someone gave over 4chan. Yeah, that was the source, 4chan... Anyways, it turned out when it was translated, the character in question was given a potion that made her view the opposite genders of what people actually were. Yeah, it's a little out there, but it's Japan. While I do agree this is a grey area, it's also the original material and it was removed by the team that did the localization. My personal beliefs aside on this one, this was the source material. If you don't like something, don't buy or support it. A point I will repeat at least a few times in this one.

Second, we have stupid shit. Just stupid translations. Let me emphasize on the stupidity and childishness of the translation.

Take notice of the Treehouse "translation" if you can even call it that. If you don't see the problem here, allow me to spell it out. THIS IS BULLSHIT. This is shit I expect to hear a five year old say. It's so entirely cringy, there are now words. How is this a thing? What kind of QA would let this fuckery pass? Here's another thing by the way...
Yeah, fan work is better than the "official" thing.

Believe it or not, this isn't the worst of it. An entire support conversation was just gone. I don't this it was removed, I think it was an oversight. Another slip up of the QA department.
It's just gone. Like, not even there. It was missed. Gamezone has a side by side comparison to the conversation, courtesy of @mombot on Twitter.

Last, but not least, something I found odd. There's a minigame where you get to pat the heads of different support characters in the original version. It was removed from the NA release because the people doing the localization, found it weird. There goes the impartiality that goes along with professionalism. How was it Pokemon was about able to pull that off without a hitch. No one cared. I admit, the concept is odd, but there little reason to even remove it.
The "balanced" media agrees with the removal,calling it creepy. I could point out the casual racism here but I'm going to point out the fact that these journalists have been proven to have connections to the people working in the industry.

So again, what's the issue with all this? Well, for one, I want the games I play to be handled professionally, by people who don't want to push a narrative or ideology onto me. I'm not going to tell you what to buy. I'm not going to tell you how to spend your money. I'm not going to force an idea onto you. I'm saying that it's both your right and your responsibility to make informed decisions on how how you spend your money on the games you want to play. This again is censorship rearing its ugly head. I've never been a fan of it, but this little display of assholery has me considering importing shit these days.

But of course, if you don't like something, don't buy it and don't support it, period.

Disclaimer: I take no credit for the images posted. These are all the works of other I found around the internet

Friday, December 11, 2015

Galt's Gulch or Demented Monarchy?

This entry contains massive spoilers for the Bioshock series. If you haven’t played it by now however, you’re probably not going to…

It’s not often (though it’s becoming increasingly common), that a game comes out that makes you think and analyze the philosophy behind it. One such occasion, was the Bioshock series. Initially it started as the successor to System Shock 2 but I’m sure by now most people have heard this at least fifty times over. Bioshock at the time sported some pretty okay gameplay which wasn’t entirely innovative, but gave you more options to play as you wanted. It gave you a task and the tools to complete it, but which tools you used was up to you. This plays into the central themes of the series’ writing. 

Bioshock takes place in a city which initially looks like an Ayn Rand fan’s wet dream. However, while Rapture may look like a crazy fanfic of The Little Mermaid meets Atlas Shrugged, it take a very paradoxical turn from Rand’s philosophy. Rapture is an underwater city where each person is said to be free from tyranny and taxation. Andrew Ryan, the progenitor and owner of Rapture, makes sure this propaganda is spouted whenever possible. He makes it clear that because of his doings, the citizens of Rapture are free. But here’s where the philosophical dichotomy emerges.

Throughout the game, the protagonist is constantly asked to do things using trigger terms from Atlas, a character that functions as the narrator of sorts and your guide to Rapture. Later on, you find out Atlas is simply using you for his own goals. He wants Andrew Ryan out of the way and you serve as his hand in doing so. This leads to one of the most profound scenes ever seen in a video game.

This sets up for that paradox I was speaking of earlier. Atlas makes it seem like you get something out of this, but you’re just doing someone else’s dirty work, giving the illusion of personal desire. It’s not surprising though, considering Rapture is rife with Big Daddies, which are essentially people stuck in diving suits, stripped of their humanity by being given one simple task. They seek to protect the only vessels which can support and cultivate Adam, the lifeblood of Rapture’s hierarchal system. With their humanity gone, these beings don’t exactly embody freewill.

Why is this worth mentioning? Andrew Ryan creates a world for those who want to get away from the grasp of the government, living in a society that lets them do as they please. It is by all means, an illusion of Libertarianism. Ryan basically dictates what goes on in Rapture, very similar to a tyrant. He even kidnaps people and experiments on them. Even one reporter from the surface was subject to Ryan’s wrath. Think about this for a second. In a society that says you are free, there is always someone looming over you. The things you want are sometimes things that you were “programmed” to want. “A man chooses, a slave obeys” is the perfect quote illustrating this point.

When all is said and done, I’ve read different analyses of what people think of the idea of Rapture. Normally, there are three mindsets. One is Andrew Ryan is nothing but a dictator ruling a kingdom. It’s not too far off considering the amount of control he has. On the other side of this argument, is Rapture is a true Galt’s Gulch solely for Andrew Ryan himself and no one else. My interpretations lies somewhere between these two. The last, is simply anarcho-capitalism. The Splicers basically do as they want for what they want, but because of the location to Rapture, this is basically a prison so again, how much freedom is there?

I  will do a piece on Bioshock 2 and Infinite at a later point in time. Both are different beasts and my ramblings about them would be too long for one post. That being said, when people call Video Games art, games like Bioshock spring to mind immediately because of their philosophical points, symbolism, and their uncanny ability to be seen through different lenses.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fallout 4 - Atom Bomb Baby

First entry to this thing and Fallout 4 is fresh on everyone's mind. I'm going to capitalize on it while I can. It feels like not long ago Bethesda took over the Fallout franchise leaving Van Buren a forgotten dream. When what would eventually be the "official" Fallout 3 came out, all doubt of the developer being unable to properly handle the franchise seemed to dismiss itself. What we got with Fallout 3 was a familiar game; an Elder Scrolls title masquerading as Fallout and fuck, I sure as hell was okay with that.

Taking the open world mechanics of TES series and the stats and potential character building from the previous three Fallout games (yes, I count Brotherhood of Steel), we saw an amazing result. An adventure that just about no two people ever experienced the same way. You were free to explore and experience the Capital Wasteland as you wanted. Fallout 3 became a classic and still garners much deserved attention today.

A couple years after Fallout 3, came New Vegas. A game not developed by Bethesda, but rather Obsidian, likely best known to some as the developers of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2. This time around, the location and writing felt closer to the first two Fallout titles. The NCR was a familiar lot, gecks freely roamed the wilds again, and deathclaws were capable of tearing you several new assholes as they quickly and efficiently ripped you in half.

In New Vegas, you had more options not only at the end, but as you played too. It was no longer "Be a dick" and poison or "Be wasteland Jesus" to clean the water. Nope! You had one clear faction to pick if you wanted to be the asshole, but several others to see where your morals and values lied. New Vegas was my personal favorite, but I can't deny the possibly thousands of hours devoted to the Capital Wasteland.

So why does all this matter? Recently, the much awaited Fallout 4 was released. Less than two weeks ago in fact. I've shamefully spent almost three and a half days worth of time playing. This time, you have the ability to craft weapons, create and defend settlements, and create your own power armor which is probably my favorite feature. However, there's something I felt like it was lost in the series transition to this next generation.

Let's get the bad crap out of the way first. The depth is gone. when creating your character, everything now is based solely on the SPECIAL attributes. Where in previous games, this was a compliment to the abilities and perks you built your character around, this time it's the streamlined base in which you improve your character. It's a bit disappointing. Sure, if you mess up, you have a chance to fix it, but doing this leaves out the strategy in leveling up. What was once a meaningful and almost consequential choice is not nothing but a road block demolished with levels.
Perks just feel like a mundane task now. While I find this much more pleasing than Skyrim's level system, it also left me feeling like these choices didn't entirely matter, making the higher levels seem a bit like a grind or race to the finish line. Why the fuck was I denied my jetpack until level 41? I saw that shit at E3 early on in the game...

While the writing in this game seems closer to New Vegas', the silent protagonist is gone. This was not only in previous Fallout titles, but Bethesda's own Elder Scrolls games. You get the same four dialogue options now. A jackass response, sarcastic/neutral, inquiry, and a "nice" one. This is where the game suffered the most for me both from an immersion standpoint, as remember my earlier bitching about the leveling? Yeah, that too. There are no more options you can use your intelligence or strength for, for example. Remember the paper bag puppets from those time-lost Fandango commercials? I found myself comparing my character to one of those on more than one occasion.

I'm going to condense this last paragraph so I don't seem more like the ungrateful fanboy I already am. Bugs! Fucking bugs! Not the "cute" ones Gamebryo has been known for since Morrowind, but physics based issues that drag down framerates.I know in time, modders will fix these issues. My other point here is the size and setup of the map. The map is much smaller than Fallout 3 and NV boasted. Even Skyrim with its barren landscape had much more space to roam around in. You're sent to the same locations over and over again. The enemies cycle between Super Mutants, Ghouls, Raiders, or those filthy lobster men. At the end of each little maze lies a chest full of crap. It's very themeparky if you will and less open.

No more bitching. Though there were many aspect of the game I dislike, there are some that make me love it. As mentioned earlier, I love the new power armor system. Craft a set with parts you scavenge, steal, or loot. Mix and match, customize, and paint it to your liking! There's even an option to look like a hot pink Space Marine! Having sided with the Institute, I painted my set of X-01 white so I ended up looking like a fat Stormtrooper. It doesn't stop there. You're able to create a set of armor that compliments your build or playstyle. The UI changes to feel more like it's its own entity. It's like piloting a mech. It's minor, but it's something I liked. After a while, fusion cores come very easily so I almost never travel without it. If I do, I feel naked...

Crafting is something they brought over from New Vegas and built on more deeply. Much like the power armor, guns, beatsticks, and even bigger guns can be crafted to fit how you play. Pick up a legendary weapon and customize the hell out of it to create something even more deadly. Early on, I had gotten a 10mm pistol that caused bleed damage. I got it at level 12 or so and at level 50, it's my go to weapon. It grew as I was able to put more points into the Gun Nut perk. Same goes for armor, but it almost feels more benign that the weaponry if you exclude power armor. Being able to create and develop your own settlements was a great addition as well. It's very easily accessible, simple, but adds another layer to the game. Turning The Castle into a death fortress was a lot of fun. It was a nice addition to the game to give players more room for creativity.

The gameplay itself is pretty well done. The gunplay is an improvement over Fallout 3 for sure. I can’t speak for melee combat however as I don’t usually make melee oriented characters. I have heard from a few sources that Skyrim had better melee collision detection. But this isn’t first hand. Take it with a grain of salt. Exploration is different too. While Skyrim did boast a bigger map, Fallout 4 has more locations closer together with more interesting delves.

As far as writing goes, dialogue was kinda lame but the actual story however was actually pretty well done. Much of the flavor of the Fallout Universe comes from the background stories. You didn’t have anything like the Dunwich building, which was creepy as hell, but the passive story telling is still there. The main story was another point of the game I enjoyed despite not having any real urgency to complete it early on. There’s a small twist coming that I’m sure most of us saw but I felt it was pretty well done. You can choose from the four prominent factions to side with at the end much like New Vegas. Each has its advantages and disadvantages both from a mechanic, as well as a storytelling perspective. Overall, I found the writing to fall somewhere between Fallout 3 and New Vegas, despite the addition of the dialogue wheel.

If you’re on the fence about Fallout 4, know that it comes with some issues. Technical glitches and constant framerate dips on all three platforms. The leveling system is watered down and feels more streamlined, but you favorite perks make a reappearance in some form or another. The game was made for accessible and easier to understand for the masses and the cost shows. However, I have to still recommend this game. It’s still fun as hell despite the issues. There’s always something to do and I look forward to what DLC Bethesda has planned. Overall, I have no regrets paying $60 for this title. If you enjoy Bethesda games, this is a worthwhile purchase. Having an outdated video card I’ve neglected to upgrade has me wanting it on the PC. But even on the console, it play almost as well. I would recommend it on the PC if you can, but if not, both consoles are said to be getting mods in the near future.  

I do hope for TES6, Bethesda gets off their asses to fix the technical issues we all know accompany their games… Just sayin’…

DOAX3 and Censorship

Allow me to start off by saying this is going to get slightly political. Chances are, unless you're a fan of Dead or Alive, or at least aware of the series' existence, you know there is a spin-off franchise known as Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volley Ball. It's a niche game by definition, targeted at a very specific demographic or audience. Personally, I'm not fan of these types of games. However, I always find hard not to defend them and I'll explain why in a bit.

In Western Culture, we are entitled to and guaranteed the right of both Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Speech. Koei Tecmo, the publisher of DOAX3, while technically an Eastern developer, decided not to sell this product in the West due to "SJW nonsense". Very simply put, this looks like self censorship, right? After all, they are choosing to do this on their own right? No. In recent times, we have a small, but vocal minority of neo-progressive millennials championing against a medium that isn't even in their own interest. In other words, you have a group like right-wing Christian extremists telling developers their shit is wrong. If they don't like it, no one can like it. It's the same puritan bullshit we've been fighting for years.

To be more specific on the matter, let's look at Pillars of Eternity and that fateful joke the devs made in their game;

Yeah. It was a fucking joke made at no one's expense. I find this quite humorous, but then again, I have sense of humor and the ability to discern when something it meant to be taken seriously. Most people do. However, small, but vocal minority made the push to have it removed. Sadly enough, Obsidian caved to the very people who wouldn't have bought the game in the first fucking place. Yes, they did it under an extreme amount of pressure "on their own" but this is censorship.

What's the connection, you ask? Welp, if PlayAsia made the push to sell the DOAX3 over in North America, no doubt they would have gotten the same push back. Oddly enough, you have shit journalists spouting nonsense about how the game was terrible and wouldn't have sold over here anyways while ignoring the sales figures where the highest percentage of sales of the previous titles were sold in the US. This article for reference is where I got the sales data. In other words, certain media outlets outed their own agendas here. Gawker media at its finest.

Why do I give a fuck? I consider games to be art. I have no problems with criticism at all. What I do however, find the issue with, is a forceful agenda behind those critiques. I love video games. They are by far, my favorite past time and hobby. But supporting gaming, and Freedom of Expression means supporting the games I don't like too. Grand Theft Auto is a series that comes to mind right away. The only game in the series I actually liked was 4. The other games of the series, I find to be juvenile and not to my liking. However, I own the entire series in some form or another because I openly support Rockstar's right to make whatever they want and their obvious passion, blood, and sweat put into each of their games. As a libertarian, I find this to be an extremely admirable trait. If gaming is an art form, it should be immune to the counterproductive nature of censorship.

I'm not saying surrender your money to every game that comes out. Don't do that. Cookie cutter games like Call of Duty that have annual releases are a cash grab. But people buy them and they have a place in the market. They're not my cup of tea so I avoid them. I don't buy them and I don't buy into their hype. Do the same. If something coming out isn't to your liking, ignore or avoid it. You're probably adult enough to know you're either able to avoid it or you're just not the target demographic. I don't bitch that chick flicks don't have enough action in them, because I'm smart enough to know I'm both an adult and not the target demographic so why the fuck should they pander to me? They fucking shouldn't.

If anyone reading believes pressuring a developer into changing something you don't like is okay, you are in favor of censorship. You're playing with fire and this is a warning. If you keep crying over trivial bullshit like this, you will get what you want and when that day comes, you'll realize that the rules apply to you as well and those freedoms you so willingly gave up because of some butthurt notion and hurt feelings, were something you took for granted.This is where we're headed when people cry so frequently over shit that doesn't even effect them. It's time to take a cold, hard look at where we're going because stuff like this is not a good sign.

This is a problem coming from right, and now the left wing as well. Neocons and neoprogressives  are two sides of the same coin in this debate.... Oh, right, and before I get the shit I so lovingly get from the far left debaters, I'm actually left-leaning, middle of the road, not Right at all.

Edit: PlayAsia is just a retailer. Koei Tecmo is the publisher and Team Ninja is the developer of DOAX3. My mistake. Thanks for pointing it out