Friday, May 6, 2016

Gender and Religion in Video Games

For the longest time every media in someway have objectified women and video games are no exception to this rule. Since the real explosion of video games back when it was a new market advertisement choose to market more towards boys so that they could sell more and make enough money back from making the game. For today though the market has gotten better about this now that a more equal amount of gamer's are girls and boys. But that still doesn't excuse the many MMO's and RPG's that still do this even now.

TERA: Female armor and underage characters
TERA’s action combat system makes battles come alive. Instead of mindlessly mashing keys while grinding through massive amount of content, players jockey for position, aim at moving targets, dodge incoming attacks, and time combos carefully to deal massive damage. This game has a big following of fans but the games look is nothing but fancy and beautiful nothing looks ugly even if you want it to be.

Not only is none of the characters ugly but every armor that you can get is way more sexual when equipped on a female character. The last thing that gets a little weirded out is one race known as the Elin which is a race of young girls THERE ARE NO MALES they are just a race of little girls with animal ears and tails which is extremely unsettling to me. Apparently they are supposed to be a descendant of a goddesses daughter but even then that not a good reason for something like this.

Skyrim: Religion and Society
Now don't get me wrong I love Skyrim but it is probably a good game on addressing split religious beliefs as one of the main points of the game is the war between two races, The Stormcloaks who believe that when their great king Talos who fought along side the gods became a god just after his death as The Imperials think that Talos is not a god and should not be worshiped as one of them. Of course either ideals of each of these are messed up in there own way, the Imperials seek to control the land named Skyrim and Stormcloaks who believe that anyone who even closely resemble to an elf is a spy for an enemy faction. The situations at the beginning of the game makes you choose right away who you are more willing to fight for. This quest line in the game can also make you think on how religion has played many parts in war before.

If you want a more in def look at how diversity is in video games I suggest to watch this video by Extra credits  

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Graphics/Aesthetics in the Gaming Trinity

These games are like billboards they look great but the thing they sell are not always the best. These games are more for the experience than game-play usually visual games like these are horror themed as most horror games are just walking simulators. But Until Dawn is what happens when you pair both story and aesthetics to make a great horror game and it is not just a walking simulator, its a running simulator. Katamari Damacy all you have to do is push a ball and grow bigger of course certain challenges are also in the game as well but everyone will say that the best part of this game is the colorful graphics and catchy music. Until Dawn and P.T. are the same when it comes to unraveling a mystery of whats going on and will constantly scare you with impressive almost realistic visuals. As for Oxenfree is also a mystery horror but the game-play and the aesthetics work together as when you tune a radio the visuals of the game shift as you move the tuning needle.

So if anyone knows how to make a video game and wants some help figuring out how to make a great game for all to play just look at the Trinity for help. You can also pin point certain qualities to the Trinity as well so it might help you better understand the game you're playing. I hope that I at least taught someone that video games take on very different forms to fit certain types of people or even gotten someone into one of the games I talked about here.

Story in the Gaming Trinity

Story is usually the meat of a game, its what gets you in the mood to be apart of the world they are showering you with things like Interesting Characters, and a amazing world with its own ethos. These games are far from having the most engaging Game-play or the most pleasing Graphics but the story is what drives you on. The need to have a resolve to all the conflict and to see what happens in the end sometimes even having multiple ending to make you play through them another time. The Last of Us is a great example of this as many people who have played this game always complain how the fighting mechanics in it are slow and not very fine tuned but everybody knows this game for its story and the beautiful graphics it shows. Undertale is lacking in graphics and game-play but it uses different ending and a engaging story to push you to play through the whole thing. These do tend to have a more aesthetic so they are more pleasing to watch also filled with cut scenes to convey the story.

Game Play In the Trinity

So when it comes down to it "What is Game-play" well it is what you are able to do in the game and not only what you can do, but is it fun to do those things. These games don't have to look good, they don't even need to have good story they just need to be fun. Call of Duty has one of the most integrated multiplayer of any game because who buys this game for its story? And of course it is gonna look its best every year that it comes out because we don't care about the story we want to use all the new weapons and perks and go play some team death match or anything other than the campaign. Now Dark Souls isn't the best looking game out there but its challenging and a challenging, fair game is fun, just look at any puzzle game on the mobile market and you'll see people love a challenge. Not only that but Dark Sous story is amazing but you don't even need to know it to play the game. We already talked about Minecraft's success but this game literally has no true story to it "Your in this world get to the end" that's it, that's all you get from this game, but it is very fun and rewarding to play not only that but you can let your imagination run wild with the possibilities in this game. But Borderlands tries to hit all three of points with its okay story and beautiful and fun play style. There are plenty of games out there that don't have good game play then you might think "Well then wouldn't that mean the game isn't fun" and you would be wrong because some games don't need the player to be able to do a thousand things to be fun.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Gaming Trinity

In today's world we have almost reached the peak of what gaming can be but not every video game that comes out today is a "Good Game" because there are certain standards to follow if it wants to get the big sales that we see other games have such as Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, and Gears of War. You would think that a Triple A companies would be making all the best games but that is defiantly not true, Minecraft just started out as a indie game and than turned into a million dollar game with people around the world exploding over this game and then you think "How can these games get so big without coping the other major titles". The Gaming Trinity is what all games can fall into but companies should always shoot for the middle so they can get the biggest audience but even doing that can still make a terrible if this poorly done. What I'm saying is try to base a game off of the 3 and get only 2 right, because
Minecraft only uses one and that's "Game-play".

Monday, March 21, 2016

How Can This Be in a Game!?!

We have all seen plenty of games that make you question the ethics of the some people but right now I am talking about the "other" games. This list will be filled with the most outrageous stuff that video games have done to capture the attention of the media and the rest of us. There is no rules with this list as long as it is a video game. Most games like to keep things calm with being in any little sense of controversial mainly because developers don't want to get sued or have there game taken off. We are going to see the top 5 most shocking and controversial things that have been done by video games

5. Persona 4: Kanji Tatsumi

  Ooooh yes we already on a high note! Now before anyone loses there cool take a listen.The main focus of the game revolves around Personas, avatars projected from one's inner self that resemble mythological figures and represent the facades worn by individuals to face life's hardships. Each Persona possesses its own skills, as well as strengths and weaknesses to certain attributes. Kanji Tatsumi is delinquent who has a reputation as being a bully, and is the center of numerous rumors regarding a confrontation with a local biker gang. When going through you will notice there's something "Different" with Kanji and is soon found out that he is a closet homosexual and the reason he is such a Rebel is because society believes that gay guys are not manly and Kanji hates that. Now for why this is controversial, it was made in 2008 before progressiveness became a big thing in American society.

4. Grand theft auto San Andreas: Hot Coffee

If you cant understand why this is bad let me do a little explaining. Of course this is GTA and is well known that every single version that has came out since its first creation has been in the news but San Andreas takes the cake with some "Hot Coffee." In mid-June 2005, a software patch for the game dubbed the "Hot Coffee mod" was released by Patrick Wildenborg, a 38-year-old modder from the Netherlands. The name "Hot Coffee" refers to the way the released game alludes to the unseen sex scenes. In the unmodified game, the player takes his girlfriend to her front door and she asks him if he would like to come in for "some coffee". He agrees, and the camera stays outside, swaying back and forth a bit, while moaning sounds are heard. After installing this patch, users can enter the main character's girlfriends' houses and engage in a terribly rendered, cringe making, fully clothed or nude sexual intercourse mini-game. The problem that came from the controversy resulted in a public response from high-ranking politicians in the United States and elsewhere and resulted in the game's recall and re-release.

3. Dante's Inferno: Sacrilegious & Bad Nanny
Dante's Inferno is a 2010 action-adventure video game developed by Visceral Games and published by Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles and was met with the most triggering stuff in a game I've ever seen. So thing about pissing off Christians is just something you cant to do in media. Prior to Dante's Inferno's release, in June 2009, a protest began during E3 2009 in Los Angeles to oppose the game. Around 20 protesters, claiming to be from a church in Ventura County, held up signs that called the game sacrilegious and labeled it possibly insensitive to people's beliefs. Protesters even went as far as calling EA the anti-christ. But that's not the only thing that happened in October 2009, it was announced that the game would include a PlayStation 3 trophy and an Xbox 360 achievement entitled "Bad Nanny", which is awarded to players for killing monsters resembling children, supposedly the lost souls of unbaptized infants. This sparked a conflict with the International Nanny Association (INA), in which they encouraged supporters to oppose the game.

2.Conker's Bad Fur Day: Looks like a Children's game

Now I'm not saying I didn't play this game still as a kid even though how graphic it was "but I did." Conker's Bad Fur Day is an action-platform game where the player controls Conker the Squirrel through a series of three-dimensional levels. The game features an overworld where players can transition from one level to another, although many are initially blocked off until Conker earns a certain amount of cash. It's not often that a videogame matures from a cute, cuddly 3D platformer to a final product in which the hero frequently gets drunk and urinates on enemies when he's not being cussed out by them or rolling around in feces.

1. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2: No Russian

Now I can say I've never took too much of a liking to Call of Duty but I did play this and as soon as I got on this mission I knew a storm was brewing in the media. An optional level early in the game entitled "No Russian" has the player assume control of a deep-cover CIA agent and former Army Ranger named Joseph Allen, joining a group of Russian ultra nationalist terrorists enacting an airport massacre. The Salt Lake Tribune editor Vince Horiuchi called Modern Warfare 2 the most controversial video game of the year, citing the "No Russian" scene. He commented that the imagery and interactivity was too much for people right after the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Warframe Review

A lot of the time you will read that I talk a bunch about certain games that I have played or come across but I never really go in depth on any of these games. So I decided to do a review on a game I'm into right now and I have completed most of the game already.

Warframe is a Free-to-Play(F2P) game meaning that you can go and download it with no payment necessary but like other F2P games you can pay for a in-game currency called platinum. Platinum does in no way give you an unfair advantage over other players who don't pay it just allows you to progress faster.

One thing that separates this game from the rest of the F2P games and most well known franchises is it's completely original story. I have never found a game that is anything like Warframe, to make short of the game you can just be told "Space Ninja's with super powers" there has never been a game that fits that description.

Not only is this game original but also takes a lot of time to complete and is extremely fun (with friends). Warframe is plenty difficult with 5 different missions that get more difficult the higher level missions you go to and with many different enemies. For a F2P game Warframe looks beautiful and plays really great of course there are the occasional bugs and glitches.

In Warframe there are a bunch of these different suits called the same name as the game that have 4 powers all diverse from each and other ones.
Weapons in the game are also like this and there are over 50 weapons in the game with the melee weapons usually having 3 different "stances"(Combos that can be done with the weapon).

Most other F2P games are not fully completed and dont have as much stuff to do unlike Warframe. Those games also make it unfair for non-paying players to get anywhere in there games but Warframe lets you do trading to get platinum from players who have payed for the game and just want quicker means of getting items.

Warframe is a wonderful game that didn't even start off with a story you just played the game without knowing anything about the world, but in the past year the developer finally put out a set of story missions that made the story a lot better than games you have to buy with money. With all these reasons I give that Warframe is a fun game the one thing you can do is check it out for yourself.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Flip of a Coin, Fatalism or Existentialism?

In the game Bioshock Infinite there are many correlations between Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, a play/film about a pair of characters from Hamlet who are doomed to die in Shakespeare’s text. In the story there is a coin toss that reflects the same theme of fatalism that Bioshock tries to show the player.
Robert: Heads?
Rosalind: Or Tails?

In the video game BioShock Infinite addresses the notion of choice in videogames. Resistance is futile. It is your destiny. The very reason why they call it infinite is because before you even start the game. *Spoilers* For the whole game you ,as Booker Dewitt, you are told "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt" but it turns out that this has been a endless cycle because no matter what you do in the game nothing will change the next time play it again, no different ending, no changes on the characters, nothing.

 The game is making fun of the "Illusion of Choice" that a lot of games give you now the point being there are no branching paths in the game you only 'think' you did something different in the story.

So what does this have to do with Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead? Well a lot actually. This play/film has a lot to do with Existentialism and how it doesn't matter what they do or even if they saw their death a "head" of time they still were powerless to stop it from ineligibly happening. Bioshock Infinite is a game all about Fatalism and at the end of the game, no matter what Booker dies just like Rozencrantz and Guildenstern. The marks on the twins board is every time Booker has came through. 

In the beginning of the you find your way to the floating city and get baptized before going and exploring the city this is also a connect with the recurring Fatalism. I suppose the ultimate act of fatalism performed by the game is that the absolutely key choice of Booker’s baptism, one of two choices upon which the whole of BioShock Infinite hinges, is a choice which has already been made (and not made) for you before the title even begins. Your main goal, it turns out, is to prevent a choice from ever happening.

Even though I’m not completely satisfied with how Infinite ends up being a video game about choice that’s also linear, it does get an awful lot right. I have a love for titles which play around with the idea of “what it means (maaan)” to be a game, and there’s plenty of that on show here.

       As much as I could dig up about this game and its connection themes to the play I talked about earlier this is all I could really bring up with out just going on a rant about the two beliefs being very connected but I'll leave with some examples of the twins from Bioshock Infinite and all their high-jinx.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fandoms are the worst?

Fandoms are not only a problem for movies and books, they now even effect the video game culture. Recently I came across a article from TheTopTens of the top ten worst fandoms/groups. Three of them were from video games that I have played or seen, I have seen bad things been made about books and movies but now I started to see there was a lot with games all this stuff comes from people who don't just like these games they have philias.

Of course not everyone in a fandom is as sick and twisted enough to have so much feeling for a media that they make pornography and slash fictions about it ,but, there are a lot of them that do...
^"Wasn't actually porn"^

One major accident happen with Undertale a recent Adventure/RPG that gained popularity with its excellent story telling with very little graphics. The creator Toby Fox was outraged at how the fandom started making these images and stories with his beloved characters.

I myself do not feel "that" strongly about any game I play and its very creepy to see things I love get turned into something disgusting Tumblr being one the worst offenders with its users. But like I said before, sometimes there are cute things, sometimes awesome things, then there is the gross stuff and this is with EVERY FANDOM. This is more inline with the "Rule 34" on the internet, the rule states that if it exist there can be made into porn. So just remember that something you like could be made into something very vulgar and erotic and it doesn't matter what it is.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Grinding in Video Games

"Grinding" a term used in video gaming to describe the process of engaging in repetitive tasks. Grinding in a game is never a good thing, even if your having fun going through thousands of enemies for some dumb reason that's not considered a grind its a grind when you have to do that and you hate it. Not a lot of games fall into this trick that looks fun in thought but when you actually do get down to it is annoying and sometimes frustrating.

Majority of these grinding games are Free-to-play which means they want you to buy their stuff your spend every waking moment of your life to get anything good in those games.

One reason that is less influenced by player choice is a lack of game content or to be able to battle stronger enemies. If the player experiences all interesting content at the current level before reaching the next objective, the only alternative might be for the player to grind to the next level. "Interesting content" is key here since the player might have been given "new content" that is too similar to previous content to be considered interesting by the player.

A game I have been playing is Warframe a cooperative game that I started playing with a group of friends and I have made some very interesting notes about the game.

1.Always choose Excalibur
Excalibur is one of the most powerful warframes because of a few moves that it carries and it is almost unstoppable.

2.You have to wait for Everything
If you want to get a new weapon, armor, gadget, pet, ship, base, mission, or experience you have to gather the resources to make it then wait 12 hours or more for it to finish.

3.Trade prime items for platinum
Platinum is the payed currency that can be used to pretty much progress faster and can be traded for certain items, since some weapon parts are randomly dropped people will pay you for those items you don't need and they don't want to put in the time for.

To solve the grinding issue, E McNeill proposes that "the most effective path to victory should also be the most fun". For example, challenging tasks should give better rewards than easy tasks. The IGDA Online Games Special Interest Group has noted that level treadmills are part of the addictive quality of MMORPGs that caters to those who play more than 25 hours a week. In my own experience I can agree that majority of the time I put away for gaming is dominated on Warframes leveling system.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Survival Games

Survival games are a sub genre of action video games that generally start the player with minimal resources in a hostile, open-world environment, and require them to collect resources, craft tools, weapons, and shelter, and survive as long as possible. Many survival games are based on randomly or procedural-generated persistent environments, with more recent entries often playable online and multiple players on a single persistent world. Survival games are generally open-ended, with no set goals which makes almost endless to play, or at least up until you get bored with surviving.
A lot of survival games have game out past the years. I believe its popularity came from the success of Minecraft.

The gameplay consist of having the player's character survive as long as possible in a harsh environment. At the start of a game, the player is placed in the game's world with few resources. The world itself is often randomly or procedurally generated so that players will have to explore the area to find food and other resources, with knowledge from previous games being used for visual and audio cues about where resources may be found nearby. Many survival games have some sort of crafting system of which by gather those resources can craft other items to help defend yourself or for utility to gather resources faster.

All these games have a perma-death system which means that when you die in the game you lose everything and have to restart the game all over. Survival games are nearly always playable as a single player, but many are designed as multiplayer experiences, with game servers hosting the persistent world that players will connect to. The open-ended nature of these games encourage players to work together to survive, but do not prevent the killing of player-characters, and in some cases, can making this a rewarding goal such being able to loot the dead character's body. This can lead to players forming alliances, constructing fortified structures and working together to protect themselves from both the dangers presented by the game's world and from other player-characters.

As Andy Kelly put it "I will survive" in response to all games that they have played and tried their best to reach endings to. Of course not all survival games have a key ending, mainly crafting the last item in the game I would call the end of it.

Many survival games are presented in the first-person perspective to help immerse the player in the game. Other titles have taken other means of presentation. Games like Terraria and Starbound are presented as two-dimensional side views, while Don't Starve uses sprites rendered in a 3D isometric projection.

Survival games are a great genre and even better when you play with friends. You can have all the fun of exploring new worlds, some with different ideas on how things are made and can solve the what ifs of all of our questions. Remember get those campfires ready and survive the night cause in these games you don't know whats gonna kill you first, the creatures or the players.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Why Puzzle and Skill Games are Addicting

Today, There are a lot of expectations for a video game. They have to look good, and run at high frame rates, they must have an intriguing story to be immersive and They must be exceptionally hard. Yes that’s correct, the harder the video game, the more fun it is actually. Adventure, puzzle & skill, and strategy games seem to be where most of the hardest games ever made or generalized, let's break it down.

Puzzle and Skills.
Puzzle games are an everlasting gem in the iconic world of 2d gaming with adaptations that can please and woo any enthusiast looking for a fun time, and quite the challenge. There are newer games that fit this category, including Angry Birds and Hexagon, and there are older games like Super mario that are classics in general. In hexagon you repeatedly doge flashing shapes coming from the outside of the screen trying to crush you into the middle and you moves clockwise or counterclockwise in order to make it to the gaps and avoid being destroyed. In super mario bros, you play as a single combatant wandering the world to find the princess Peach and save the day. The amount of enemies and tricky situations will make any gamer rage.  Any game you play you will find that as it gets harder you are going to be more intrigued by it, you will want to play it more.

Sometimes you don’t need repetitive, fast action to make a game hard. With games such as Dark Souls and The Witcher, they use their long story and unique characters to make every action you do consequential. Each enemy has specific play styles and move sets that trick you at every turn. Some may swing once, twice, thrice, or they might jump at you for a fourth you never know! even on your second playthrough on dark souls, you just don’t know. They switch it up often, you never get the same enemy twice in different areas. Unpredictability is the hardest, hence the most fun.

These games take comprehensive-Thinking-Ahead to more of an extreme. It doesn’t matter if you're building the largest army, or defending your base from unstoppable hordes of enemies, or relinquishing your lust for battle and play a city-sim;either way you strategize, it’s freakin’ hard. “Even the best laid plans often go awry” said Author of Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck, and it shoots true in most strategy games. That’s why strategy games have a long lasting love from hardcore gamers especially MLG.

Caleb C, guest blogging for Alex S.

Re-Mastering and Sequels

With the release of many new games towards the end of 2015 almost all of them were sequels. Only a small amount were original works, those works that are original was all made by small indie developers. Of course this doesn't mean that all the big company developers are sticking to the same game mechanics and play style as their previous works, they are just adding new things to old games so they last longer or appeal to a larger audience.

But is that really a good thing? The more big game developers stick to what they know instead of making new games they just keep shipping out the next number or phrase until we get sick of it giving an example of "Beating a dead horse" James from Extra Credits makes a good sense in saying you can only revenge, rebirth, and re-imagine so many times before it gets old.Another reason why remaking some of the older games is that nothing from the old game is reusable. Especially since a lot of the older games used smart work-a-rounds to make the game work because they only had a small amount of space to work with. They can't do that again by today's standards and it's going to cost a considerable amount of money to make everything new.

 Take Final Fantasy VII for this matter, a couple months ago SQUARE ENIX announced the start of a remastered version of this game. But now they have to remake everything and fill the world with characters who move around and talk, every person has to be fully rendered, fully animated, and all the music has to be redone 
as well as all the main characters.   

What is the good reason for all this re-mastering?
Well, it allows us to bring back games from the past that have long been unplayed or unable to be played due too finding a reasonable priced copy or even having the system to play it on. Thanks to re-mastering we are able to make those games cheap and accessible for all who want to play it, not just fans but younger audiences who never got to experience a time where there was a limit on video games or other indie developers who are looking for inspiration for their own game creations.

     Take Rare Replay for instance, all of the games from this collection are games that can no longer be bought threw an online market. Plus all the games in the collection have been remastered and brought up to today's standards of gaming, now anyone who wants to can pick a copy of Rare Replay a play all these fun and enjoyable games though it is a exclusive for the Xbox one so if you don't have the console I guess you are still back to the drawing board.

When it comes to re-mastering its does have good points but there are also the bad points as well. What I think in my own opinion is, big game developers should drop some of these sequel games and move on to bigger and brighter games. As for Indie developers should keep going as they are, a lot of great games are seen in the Indie community and that is because they are allowed to think out-side-of-the-box.