Updates from April, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Thais 8:25 pm on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ending, interactivity, Mass Effect 3, ownership   

    Player Empowerment over the Game 

    There are eight million blogs about Mass Effect’s ending, but is not one of them. Well, not entirely.

    Last month, most of us watched, without dissimulating the awe, the rise of the discontent horde profoundly enraged. “What could possibly infurieted some many good people?” your mom might have asked, “Hunger? Social inequality? The public health system? Politics?” to which you probably would have answer “They didn’t liked a videogame ending”. This is a suitable answer, but we both know that it does not translate exactly into what happened, does it? What I do recall was angered petitions, money gathering [which, fortunately, end up going to charity] and enraged forums posts. Oh, my Thor, how many posts. It has even became its own meme. Despite all possible pesky atmosphere all these claims had, it’s clear that ME3 fans organized themselves in order to make their point.

    Jane McGonigal links this organization abilities encouraged by games as a dormant potential to change the word. She believes that all those fans, highly capable and organized, are only waiting a chance to use their powers to change the world. Unfortunately, future does not seems so bright at least to me. People not always like the same stuff and specially, people not always like the same kinds of cultural productions. The different spectrum of options is also a part of what makes us humans, after all. And respecting there differences is also a great deal of living in society. However, when a large group of people start believing that their point of view is more important or, even more dangerous, more truthful and do whatever is in their power to prove to every single soul in the world that they are right, then we have what we call radicals or extremists. And that’s pretty similar to what happen to Mass Effect 3.

    Erik Kain make some good points on how changing ME3 ending is not a bad choice. He points out, for instance, that corporate decisions already deeply influence artistic direction or that videogames are interactive medium and, as so, players are also creative involved on the game. This last claim, however, is quite a tricky one. Sure, no one that has ever played a game doubts that playing the result of the game itself with player’s choices and inputs, and, as so, most events on any game rely on player’s own abilities and judgement. However, players only can play or  interact within option already given to them by developers. Games are a cooperative experience constructed both by players and developers as an experience, but bottom-line, players can only experience what was chosen to be presented to them. Even though there is such a clear distinction, do players in some way own part of the creative content on a game since they have interacted to it?

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    • CmdrEdem 9:16 pm on April 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I don`t think players own the right to demand something from developers. They have the right to suggest changes and developers may hear the complains or not. If developers do not hear and address the complaints there may be retaliation business side (ex.: next game from that developer will sell less, a flood of used copies on the marked since people want to get rid of that piece of junk).

      • Thais 7:18 am on April 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I personally agree with you, however complain in one thing while demanding is another, completely different. ME3 fans were demanding a different ending, as if they possessed the rightful call about it since they “had been there” during the events of ME and ME2 as though they, too, own part of the unfolding of the events. Really an weird situation.

  • Thais 9:12 pm on January 23, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , PIPA, SOPA   

    Protest games against SOPA and PIPA 

    Unless you have been living in a cave in the last couple of months, you have probably heard of United State’s Government poor attempts to put a stop on online piracy, law projects SOPA and PIPA. Both projects are very similar and, if approved, would allow American government to block suspicious IPs indiscriminately, independently from where in the world the server is located. [If you want know more about those law projects, you should check the video in the end of the post]

    Projects were voted last week and after a huge public manifestation, both of them were rejected [for now]. Many kinds of manifestation appeared, from traditional petitions and street protests to more contemporary manifestation forms as videogames. Anti SOPA and PIPA games poped-up everywhere stating a point against the soon-to-be voted legislation, specially after a special edition of the Ludum Dare took place themed against the projects.

    Here are some of the most interesting ones results.

    Sopa/Pipa

    Quite dystopic [you will remember Orwell’s 1984] but graphically and muscly beautiful.

    [Play Online]

    Super Sopa Brothers

    photo by tech2

    Simple platform game that states a formal protest.

    [Play Online]

    Congress Chainsaw Massacre

    Amazingly gruesome and strangely satisfying.

    [Play Online]

    Get Informed

     
  • Thais 11:10 am on December 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: christmas gifts, , , , x-mas   

    $80 bucks Super Nintendo Portable 

    Not a big fan of Nintendo new gadgets and portables neither willing to wait for Sony Vita? Hungry for something that you used to feel while playing that nowadays games fail to deliver but don’t have so much time to spent in front of a TV or emulator? None of the above, but still thinks Zelda: A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game ever?

    Worry not, my friend, because Hyperkin has just solved your problems. Which, by the way, you didn’t even knew you had before reading this. Remember the guy who transformed a full N64 into a portable system? Well, Hyperkin just did this for you. With the Super Nintendo. Yeap, I’m not joking. Yes, you can order it now. And no, I don’t know if its compatible with those tricky-dicky cartridges.

    But who cares? Shut up and take my money, Christmas style!

    [Spoted by Jordan Devore @ Destructoid]

     
  • Thais 2:39 pm on October 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cloud gaming, ,   

    Not supporting cloud gaming may be “insanity”? 

    photo by IIISiXIII

    There is a big gamma of different companies offering cloud gaming for some time now. Though this particular service of cloud use haven’t been well popularized yet, just consider what cloud storage is making to our documents (as in Google docs, Zoho or Dropbox, to name a few) or cinematic entertainment (as Hulu and Netflix). So, we may wonder, cloud gaming may be something huge in a couple of years.

    The use of may wasn’t unintentional. I use it beacause is not a thing we can affirm just now as somewhat sure. Bandwidth nowadays is barely being able to handle delivering non-interactive media, as TV shows and movies (many friends of mine reported serious visualization problems with services as Netflix), just imagine the chaos those same connections would proportionate to their owners when (trying) to display ultra interactive worlds in HD dimensions of high-polygonal models.

    It’s important to state: I’m not saying cloud gaming is doomed, however, I just believe that it a bit soon to say that it’s our messiah. That being said, here it is what  Gaikai CEO, David Perry, has said at a GDC Online panel.

    You don’t want to be a console that doesn’t [offer cloud gaming]. This future is coming, trust me. We’re well-funded. This is going to happen. OnLive is already making it happen. You need to be prepared for that.

    Well… Tell me about faith (or looking out of the company’s interest).

    GDC Online: Cloud Gaming’s Fast-Approaching Future [Destructoid suggested link]

     
    • CmdrEdem 2:57 pm on October 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      O.K. The problem in cloud games is not the bandwidth itself. First problem is latency, the time that takes to send the controller input to the server where this information will be processed. Acceptable latency in this case is somewhere around 5ms. You will almost never get better latencies than 50ms on the web, and the limit here is telecom technology (where the limit is the light speed nowadays). The farther the server is from the user the higher this latency will be. A single frame in a game can take only 16 ms to be processed or you loose frame rate. So in my humble opinion AAA games will never be playable through cloud servers as they are playable in our tech temples.

      • Lex 8:00 pm on October 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        What services like OnLive and Netflix stream are providing right now is merely a testbed for the big leap onto the cloud which is still a generation or two away. Broadband internet access is still not available to everyone who would potentially be interested in playing games online. Cloud storage solutions are being rolled out by the biggest companies who offer goods and services through their websites. Most notable are Google and Amazon who offer a generous chunk of content storage on their servers. Personally, I’m looking forward to the day when disks are scarcely seen or become strictly an optional purchase.

        • CmdrEdem 8:16 pm on October 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          Well… if someone can have a console they can have broadband internet connection nowadays. At least where I live consoles or high end PCs are luxury items. I’m afraid that the latency problem will not go away in two product generations because it’s a physics limitation (speed of light, the fastest thing we know). Games are highly tuned software. They need all efficiency they can get to work the way they work nowadays, and the cloud has this latency problem, that can really break the experience. When games start to be built and designed to work in a cloud environment (like MMOs) we will get something, but not like we have today. The game experience will be generally slower in this kind of environment because they can’t count as much with the player’s reflex because of the network latency.

          • Thais 1:23 pm on October 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

            Darling, when I say bandwidth I’m implying to your knowledge all smaller tech caracteristics that are tangle in the bandwidth itself. Latency is not the bandwidth, but is a problem related to it, isn’t it? Not all readers are willing to be tech savvy enough to master these characteristics, so I decided to go general here. :)

            @Lex, my point entirely, cloud gaming will probably be a important reality someday, I just not puting my chips that this day is going to be in the next console generation :)

            • CmdrEdem 1:34 pm on October 14, 2011 Permalink

              I just though it was important to make it clear. Bandwidth is a problem when too low, but this will be solved over time. Latency is something we don’t know how to solve yet. You are not wrong in your text, I just wanted to show another problem that I think it’s important.

  • Lex 9:42 pm on October 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dark Souls, Demon Souls, Rogue   

    Death As a Bullet Point 

    Doesn't seem very fair, does it?

    The resilience to take a right-proper beating can mean the difference between surviving harsh living conditions or succumbing to the elements. Most folks would rather avoid surly activities such as crucifixion and live skinning. Yet, there exists a subset of games enthusiasts among us who thrive on self-inflicted grief. Some would even go so far as to pay sixty dollars to be kicked in the crotch, have their flesh set ablaze, followed by impalement with a rusty implement and finished off with the twisting of the diseased blade buried in a fresh slit.

    This generation has seen the divide between hardcore and casual become a blatant sight. Dark Souls and its predecessor Demons Souls have galavanted to the front of the crowded games market championing the notion that games should be a challenge. In doing so they’ve found an audience steadfast enough to surmount these gauntlets of masochistic euphoria. Players resilient enough hold on to their wits during the insane, sudden spikes in the challenge have recounted tales of bosses who dispense nothing but one hit kills and hours-upon-hours of progress lost to the ether of time. The Souls owe much of their design credo to the Rogue-like genre.

    The corporate thinking behind modern video game design mandates that a complete product should ship in a state in which it can be feasibly and reasonably completed by the majority of its audience at the standard difficulty setting. An industry, currently in the midst of sequelitis and lead by sales figures must stand by the status quo. As it turns out, letting people play through a sixty dollar roller-coaster ride, then charging them another sixty the following year for another such jaunt is quite profitable.

    The web URL for Dark Souls, “preparetodie.com,” reaffirms to fans of the masochistic romp that everything they loved about Demons Souls is intact.

    To compound the difficulty both entries eschew another convention the difficulty setting. The Souls games’ use a single soul-crushing setting.

    Dark Souls wears its predecessor’s infamy on its face much akin to the way it flaunts the soft skin torn from the tender hides of its victims. Terrorists and fictional home front wars are replaced by protagonists with charred epidermises and giant, fire-spewing monstrosities who kill you in half a heartbeat.

    World myths are teeming with examples of heroes surmounting unspeakable pain and horror. Many such personae are exalted to unenviable state of martyrdom. One need only riffle through The Bible for the most famous of examples. Wording such as stout masochist, unwavering martyr and firm punching bag are selling points the likes of which may never find their way onto the resume of average employment seeker. Still, a person who can take a hefty, swift strike to the nether regions without so much as showing a crack in their composure. It is perhaps for the best that I leave the ordeal of delineating the line between torment and elation to a man with a higher testicular constitution for self-inflicted flailing.

     
  • Thais 10:02 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Guillaume de Fondaumiere, Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream, used games,   

    Let used videogames alone! 

    Photo of our polemic CEO by M. Concepcion to examiner.com.

    There is a lot of fuzz lately about second-hand videogames sales, specially after Quantic Dream’s CEO, Guillaume de Fondaumiere, stated “And my calculation is, as Quantic Dream, I lost between €5 and €10 million worth of royalties because of second-hand gaming.” Quantic Dreams is the company behind Heavy Rain, a game widely known for encouraging players to play it only once.

    I could go on and on about the matter, pointing out pros and cons in each side of the dispute as serious journalism demands us to. But, guess what, that’s not a journalism blog. I won’t do anything like that. Instead, I’m going to write here: books.

    Yes, you read it right, books.

    Books are one of the first kind of mass-produced creative work to be available to sale in a good quality. Unlike paintings or sculptures, which were a handcraft artistic piece of work for a long time, since Gutenberg created the movable type printing, in around 1439, nearly every piece of word could be mass published and mass sold. Being mass printed, however, didn’t mean one or a group of creative minds wasn’t in charge of creating the content of the book, pamphlet or gazettes.

    As printed material, videogames are also the mass reproduction result of a creative composition. They also involve a team of skilled workers that will use the best of their intellectual production in order to create a cultural piece. So, both the player and the reader will buy not the intellectual property of this creative work but instead a material reproduction of it.

    However, in one of these industries, selling the used material reproduction was never actually questioned and is a common practice. In the other one, never the less, is being pointed out by some developers as a “shot in the foot” or a way by which some clever gamers use to not play a cent for the poor developers.

    Needless to say one of this industries is using the wrong approach around the matter. Would it be the one with almost 40 years of development or the one that is around 500 years entertaining humans? When I find it out, I’ll let you guys know.

     
    • CmdrEdem 10:27 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Well, game developers could be making more money if there was no second-hand sales. Digital distribution will make that happen over time and this is one of the reasons why platforms like OnLive and Steam should have cheaper games and are being supported so much by the game industry. Note that I did not say “loosing money”.

      The challenge for the industry to sell more is to make people think 1- The game is worth buying right at launch. 2- The game is loved enough to be bought right at launch and kept forever. When people “love” something they usually forget about money as a important factor. So if someone big in the industry sees this comment we are scr*w*d!

      • Thais 10:57 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure if digital distribution is the solution for the issue industry sees here. Even a a big digital distributor as Steam is testing the exchange system, which will make possible second hand sales. With one aggravation: there is no CD to be a little scuff or damage to the box, in order to diminish the mateiral value of the item; it is just as it was in the tome of the first sale.
        Well, for me, this selling is not a problem, is a solution. As you pointed out, second hand games are the perfect way for you to try out games that you don’t love enough to buy at launch or to keep forever. So a game that had a lot of used selling circulation is a game that was widely played and even though the company behind it didn’t profit that much, financially speaking, will get the recognition that its game deserve and will have its next title better received.

        • CmdrEdem 11:35 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

          Yeah, people will want to pay less for games they don’t know and I’m all for that. But I can’t blame publishers for wanting a share of the used games profits, after all they took the risk and the money to make that game. If people bought straight from one another used games sale would probably raise no issues. Publishers want money from stores that sell used games and I can understand that.

          By the way, publishers could really make more demonstrations so people could know the game without paying. That’s what F2P MMOs are. They could do cheaper games too, but I’m asking too much now.

    • Carrot 11:05 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I completely agreed with your comment. They are not losing money. They just have to know how to make people love their game or just how to make the game teases so much its public that they all will buy asap.

      ‘Til now: Second hand games saved the old games and systems and also the ones out of stock.

      :D

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