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Censorship hypocrisy in gaming

Hello everybody. I’m not going to start this article with a pathetic attempt at comedy as to me, this is a serious and frustrating subject. My views on the whole idea of censorship and people seeing controversy in such insignificant things.THe many things that bother me, and what we’ll be talking about today, is that whole thing with sexual encounters with Mass Effect, the big thing of homosexuality with SWTOR, the mass-murder of innocent and more in modern shooters and all round hate of video-games. The problem with these things are, the negative side of them are usually supported by the majority of politicians, parents and the easily offended populace. The way I think is, things can annoy me, as in really annoy me, I feel rage at any small thing that will spark in my mind. But the difference is between me and them is, I don’t think of these occasions as “Hey! That is annoying me way too much and I don’t like it! It must go!” I may appear that way in my posts but I really don’t think that way, it’s for dramatic effect and exaggeration, the way I see it, if somebody likes it, have at it buddy.The thing is, it really annoys me is, people attempt to enforce their views upon everybody else just because they deem something “offensive” or that they just don’t like it. If Funnyjunk and 4chan like to insult diseased people, let them have their fun, hell, sometimes it’s really funny, sometimes. The thing is, when something annoys me, I take a second to think and realize it doesn’t give me a disadvantage so I leave it be. Sure things can majorly rustles my jimmies, but why is it worth getting out of my way to try to stop it from being enjoyed? No, of course not.

The first point, the problem with representing homosexuality. In video-games, and comic books, there has always been a big problem with any sort of questioning with sexuality. It appears in the eyes of the parents, specifically soccer moms, think that if their kids sees a homosexual character, or an interaction between two homosexual characters, they think”well look at that, might as well,” and it’s ridiculous. If anything, if kids see characters they think are cool or like, the most they will do is think “well would you look at that! Gays exist, I’m cool with that, some of them are superheroes!” There is no harm in showing young children homosexual people or characters, it will make them see that there is nothing wrong with them, nothing that makes them evil and show them they’re just like everybody else. The real question is, why do you not want your kids to be homosexual? I mean it won’t make them gay, it isn’t for everybody, but you know, what makes your child any lesser your child just by being homosexual? This comes from the attack on SWTOR after the announcement of gay characters and a gay scene within the game. The soccer moms claimed that they don’t want their kids to see these kinds of “inappropriate” actions within games, also include the claim that “it’s a kid’s game as it is Star Wars and kid’s games shouldn’t have anything like this in it.” Oh really? That’s funny because I’ve never remembered anybody saying that SWTOR is a kid’s game other than you. Its rating is sixteen-plus.

The other is the same argument against the sex scenes in the Mass Effect series. I wouldn’t even call them sex scenes, they’re just scenes implying an intimate incident between two characters. The parents imply that these would disturb the children or make them prematurely sexually active, which is bullshit, kids are again, not meant to play this game as well. They weren’t made for children, the complex moral choices alone are incredibly complicated and children might just take a random pick. Again, not designed for children.

And the third point, the shooters. The parents, politicians and utter ignorant twats of this world have always said that violence within video-games will cause children to be violent. I call bullshit, the thing is. Why would these parents buy these games for them in the first place if they already knew there are guns, blood or violence? The way they try to  blame the studios on these games that they shouldn’t be making games with so much adult content within these games, but that’s the thing, it is adult content, for adults. Now why these people can’t understand this simple pointers. The games were created for teens and, yup, you guessed it, adults! The age ratings should be enough to deter them from purchasing these games for their own children, but no, they’re too stupid to notice. I find it your fault that you think your kids are getting bad messages from games, they’re not, they’re getting the bad messages from you. You allow them to play violent games, it is you that’s the problem. Stop blaming others for the faults of your own. The developers have done nothing wrong, you just keep buying your kids the wrong things. The responsibility has always fallen upon the parents.

Thank you for reading.

-Clover.

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[L.A.] Kill Them Like The Rest

Clover will get pissy if I don’t post anything. Probably. The reason behind it is, naturally, either lack-of topic or lack-of time to spend writing up stuff, due to working… But I digress:

I’ve been re-doing my room, and that’s given me time tofish out my old PS2 and blow off some time just sitting under the bed, letting my eye-sight degrade to shit. It’s fun.

One of the games I’ve found was Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (GTA: San Andreas, Spiderman 3 and FFVII: Dirge of Cerberus notwithstanding). I bought a second-hand copy of Ultimate Tenkaichi on the ‘360 a few weeks ago.

I’ve already traded it back in.

Fact is, it doesn’t compare to the older iteration of the franchise for me. The story seems a lot better. The only thing that made the game even slightly worth-while was the character-creation, and even that felt limited.

Long-story short? I prefer the older version. End of. I may get DBZ:UT again sometime, but that’s only after I either get bored of BT3 or just get the hankering for the improved graphics.

Also, for those of you who haven’t watched it, the title is a reference to TeamFourStar’s Dragonball Z Abridged series. Enjoy.

-L.A.

Call Of Duty must change or die

Clover here. Well this is strange. There have been an uprising in Call Of Duty posts recently hasn’t there. Well it’s obvious why, the news of a new Black Ops and my review that came to mind while i was in my bed trying to sleep. I thought of it when I was sleeping and couldn’t remember if a pillow hit me or if it was Captain Price trying to hang me (spoiler). Moving on. If you can count there have been 8 Call of Duty installments excluding the extra ones on the earlier games and they all seem to have something in common. They’re all the same game. No no, please listen, I think this is a good point, is your mouse off the close option? Good, I can carry on. The Call Of Duty franchise has been going on for nearly a decade now and unfortunately there is no sign of it dying out. I’ve noticed that the game as a whole has started to turn into a gimmick. The Modern Warfare side series started off as a serious game. It had serious plot points such as the threat of global nuclear war and a treacherous civil war for Russia. This was a good turning point for the franchise, if it could do more of this then it could have lived on to still be a legacy, but unfortunately the second Modern Warfare went a lot over the top. There was a little bit too much patriotism for America going on. It made me feel uncomfortable as a Welshman even though I carried on and finished it on Veteran. The later games after Call Of Duty 4 just repeated the same thing year after year.

The earlier games were games meant to give detailed stories about the life of a WW2 and modern-day soldier and show the hardships of being one. Now it’s a bunch of cinematics with a few cover based shooting situations in between. I remember playing Big Red 1 on my friends PS2 a few years ago and it was an incredibly good game. Now i play it and I feel like I’m playing out the actions of a James Bond style character. It is irritating that a game would repeat itself for the sake of money, it used to be good.

It must evolve and innovate itself to keep on living as a video game. If a game is worth keeping then it has to change itself at some point. Even Just Cause knows this, the first and second are incredibly different to each other. Every gamer that has his head out of a pile of sand will agree with me in saying that Cal Of Duty needs to change. For this I blame the publishers. seeing as Activision basically owns the franchise, they can decide what happens in it and what not. They know it sells by the multi millions every year so they don’t want to take the risk of losing money by changing the game entirely. If people go off the game that’s game over for them. Activision is notorious for milking a series out of its sweet liquid. This happened with Guitar Hero but thankfully that was stopped before the sweet liquid turned into dust like with Call Of Duty. They’ve ruined the Spyro series by giving him a new look and adding this strange machine to your console that you can stick these ugly little plastic… creatures on and you can play as them. I haven’t played it but I don’t want to either, thankfully the Tony Hawk series still has sweet nectar left in its fine bosom but because of the later series’ negative reception the next game might be postponed to this year or 2013.

Another thing that irritates me is the abbreviation “COD.” I despise it. Cod, is a fish, not a video game. Call Of Duty is a video game, not a fish. I say that but ironically Call Of Duty is metaphorically nowadays a mediocre tasting fish. Get it on your plate and you’ll enjoy it for a little while but that short enjoyment turns slowly into disappointment after eating one for 6 hours and eating one with your friends over the internet will make you feel frustrated and bloated. See the metaphor? I do…

I have a series rating here for you:

Good

Great

Meh

Brilliant

Bad

Shit

Worse

Dead

Clover out.

“And So Our Story Begins…” [L.A. on Narrative]

Larten Apple here. Haven’t been on for a while. Don’t blame me – blame the fact I don’t get much free time to follow my own interests past schoolwork and pursuing a social life. Hell, I’m tempted to get Clover to add a page for one of my friends, titled “How to Pick Up Chicks If You’re a Gamer.” My first tip is for the people who’re in the gaming industry: if a chick asks you what you do for a living, simply state “I work in the media.” If she asks which type of media, she’s too smart for you, but I digress…

Storytelling is present in almost every game these days… RPGs, RTSs, FPS… You name it. Some are reliant on the story, such as Gears of War 2 & 3. Others depend on the all-out fun, like Just Cause 2. In the end, the narrative is a key element. So here’s a few of the greatest examples I can think of, and that I’d recommend purely for the story.

I am, for lack of a better word, loathe of the Call of Duty franchise. The Modern Warfare series was OK as far as the story goes. Either way, I wouldn’t go near them again with a 20ft pole. Black Ops however is fantastic… I mean, I hate the multiplayer and the controls are pretty much generic when compared to every other shooter, plus there’s no bullet fall, buildings can’t be levelled… Those things. Rather than spoil the plot for any of you who still haven’t played it, I’ll cut to the chase – it’s well delivered, it’s thought-provoking (though far-fetched) and the characters… well, they leave leave a bit to be desired but they’re still fantastic. It’s one of the best narratives I’ve encountered so far. But still, CoD online multiplayer is a social network for twelve year olds, idiots and virgins who still live with their mothers.

L.A Noire, Gears of War series, Fable 3… I’d give them all high marks as the narrative goes. L.A. Noire delivers the story while giving an insight as to old-fashioned values – it tackles racism, sexism, drugs (“They did tackle drugs very well, and they did a good take on post-war trauma,” – Clover), post-war trauma, grooming, prostitution. homelessness, alcaholism, mental-health (“Sort of,” –Clover)… The list grows. The only concern is that the face-system they used, while looking damn good, wasted a lot of space. An image is worth a thousand words, but the visuals and narrative that’re delivered by Rockstar in this masterpiece is simply… Glorious.

Now, the GoW series… I admit, I played and loved the first one. The second I like, and the third I only got up to “Brothers ‘Til The End” or w/e before throwing my controller down. Frankly, the games rock, but the gameplay stayed the same. I’ve nothing against over-the-shoulder shooters but when there’s nothing new after the third iteration of the franchise then they’re doing it wrong. Apologies to my partner for using his phrase but, “No! Bad idiot developers!” Epic Games, please heed my words: I love the Unreal system, I really do, but please use it for something different than what you are. The narratives on the games rock – I love the story, it’s touching – but you’re bringing yourselves down by pulling the same crap you did in the first two installments. That’s just nasty.

Now, then… Fable. I… have no idea where to begin with this. The story is precisely that – a fable. I can’t put too much details in it without giving spoilers, but the fact is I like Fable 2… some don’t. Customization was fun, pleasing villagers was fun because of th– hold on, remembered I’m supposed to be speaking about the narrative… Well, it’s good. Not as retro as the first but a damn sight better than 3. I’ll leave it at that.

Rather than drone on, I’ll include a list of the games that I believe have a fantastic narrative. Please suggest any if you can think of others:

  • L.A. Noire;
  • Gears of War 1, 2, 3
  • Fable, Fable 2
  • Fallout 3 [main quest];
  • WarCraft I, II, III (plus all the expansions – NOT THE MMO);
  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • Dragon Age II (the story rocks, but the game sucks)
  • Mass Effect 1, 2.
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (The main quest is short, I admit, but it’s still bloody fantastic.)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolutions (I’ll admit the story is thought-provoking)
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, 2, 3, Black Ops.

The reason I don’t include Battlefield 3 is because the story was too similar to Black Ops. Anymore for the list, speak up.

-L.A.

 

Clover performs “maintenance” almost daily. Here’s to you, buddy, if you pick out any spelling mistakes, underline ’em for the world to see. Leeroy knows I can’t be fucked proof-reading my work.

Difficulty in our games

Clover here again with an article I proposed to the Escapist magazine…. and they rejected, but whatever, only my first one written to them. Obviously this has been written to them a thousand times as it’s such an easy issue to talk about, but seeing as nothing else has worked, let’s go!
 
I’m sure you have heard that not only the quality of video games is decreasing, but the core element of challenge that they used to have. Face it, a lot of modern-day games are getting easier year by year. I’ll have to target the 2 games that keep getting bashed this year and last, the Call Of Duty series and Battlefield series. Play the career mode, don’t ask why just play them. Are you done? OK now go back and play a few minutes on the first doom. Back? OK. Have you noticed something different? The modern war shooters simply tell you where to go and what to do. The map isn’t an open maze for you to explore and find your own way through but corridors with objectives that say do this! Do that! Go there! The game holds your hand through the entire journey and holds it so firmly it makes the other parents think something is suspicious and looks like he’s going to rape you instead of taking you home.
 
 
Most of the challenging games are the RPGs like Skyrim and Fallout, funny how it’s one developer I mentioned there. Even Splinter Cell, Duke Nukem and Assassin’s Creed have turned simple-minded. What’s the point of making or playing games if you don’t get any accomplishment out of it? There is definitely a lack of “clever” games in the modern-day. Unfortunately for Team Bondi, they tried to make L.A Noire just that but it didn’t turn out as clever as they had hoped. The worst out of the list I gave earlier is Duke Nukem. Back in the days of its fame, the whole series was loved by all for it’s funny dialogue and fun game mechanics with your plethora of weapons and lines coming from the mouth of Duke. The game had fun written all over it, but the latest instalment of that series completely dumbed the whole series down. Only two weapons at a time? Feeble attempts at making new catchphrases for Duke, it all failed and received very negative criticism.
 

For all this I blame us, the consumers, we buy this non challenging produce from overrated developers. I admit, I do enjoy the odd modern-day shooter but if it keeps going down the rate it is going today, then I fear the worst of the gaming community’s future.

Thanks for reading guys. Now I have to think for another 3 weeks on what else to write.

Clover out.

Games & art

Hey guys, this is Clover again. I’ve realised that quite a few of you want games to be considered a medium of art. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more I’d love than our medium to be accepted as a mature art form to display emotions, flaws and feelings in the human condition. I would like it if we were up there on the pedestal with music, literature and film. But let’s not get into that right now. I’ll have time to write that later.

Back to my main point. So to you who thinks that all narratives should be deep and immersive, to those who want all characters to be compelling and different. I will ask you a question, where did you start playing games, or how? You probably started the same way I did. On Nintendo. Face it, almost no Nintendo title has had those kind of titles, it’s either go save a princess or level up your little pet until he evolves. You see what I mean? You didn’t start off with games with the most complex of stories, you started off simple and fun. Sure when you get older, you might need more thought-provoking titles to ease your hunger. But the thing is, video games have been, and always will be, made for entertainment.

I admit, I like a little compelling and complex story myself but on the other hand, I like to let loose and find some fun to have. Within a world so foreign I don’t believe it’s real. If I don’t believe it can be real then it’s all the more fun knowing you can do anything in there and it won’t affect you outside the game.

I feel I’m contradicting myself here. I’ll get to the point. For you, people of art, there are games made for you. I’ll give you a small list of modern games suiting your needs, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, GTA4, L.A Noire, Red Dead Redemption, Fallout: 3 and many  more. But you have to realise that “dumb” games are made for entertaining the masses and make money. Games like Call Of Duty, Battlefield, Super Mario, Dead Space, Space Marine 40K,  Halo, Gears Of War and Just Cause.

Gamers, one day we shall have our No Country For Old Men, Macbeth or Mona Lisa. One day, we will have the game that brings us out of the dark and accepted by all as our own medium of art.

And for those of you who have shit for brains, go play Duke Nukem Forever.

Clover out.