What’s To Become Of Us As Gamers?

Image

Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock and roll. ~

SHIGERU MIYAMOTO

 

 
Aaaahhh, the great DLC debate. I’m curious as to what the banter is all about. As of late it’s “but it’s on my disc! Why don’t I have access to it if I already bought it?” My question? When did gamers become such self entitled crybabies? DLC isn’t mandatory. If you feel compelled to believe this it might be because you actually enjoy the title and perhaps you should buy the extras. There are plenty of titles with DLC, does that mean you have to buy it to enjoy your gaming experience? No. It doesn’t. Halo 3 I played for the campaign. I’m not a fan of online multiplayer. However, because I thoroughly enjoy the Halo series and follow the franchise (books and all) I bought the map packs. I bought Knights of the Nine, Shivering Isles and the Mage’s Tower for Oblivion. I even bought the extra content for Sesame Street’s Once Upon a Monster. Did I HAVE to? Was I FORCED to? No. Did I spend more than sixty bucks on a game- of course. And I happily volunteered to do so. Whine and complain all you want about DLC, but that’s where the industry is (obviously) headed. It’s evolution. It’s trial and error. It’s business. Business isn’t personal and we as consumers shouldn’t take it as such. Gaming is an expensive and ever changing hobby. It’s constant development, expansion and growth sometimes compels us to make decisions. Do I buy or rent this game? Is this game even worth it’s DLC. But that’s for us to decide, not the manufacturer. We as consumers should stop playing the victim and perhaps do our research before purchasing and “investing” our hard earned dollars into a title or franchise. Most knowledge is available to us during pre-game development and sales and I think it’s our responsibility to understand any product before purchase- we aren’t being bulldozed or browbeaten into any of this. It’s not top secret. As for now I’ll happily purchase map packs, extra story lines and missions and Rihanna dance bundles because, well, I can. And I appreciate the option. 

There should be a NatGeo special on girl gamers…

I’ve come across a lot of articles lately about women claiming to be geek chic and women calling other women fake geeks (for example) and even some articles liberating those of us who just don’t give a shit enough to care about who’s fake and who’s real, like this one. It’s interesting to watch other females claim themselves to be king (queen?) of the nerds. But isn’t that what we as females are good at? We are good at ostracizing other females outing them from our groups and claiming ourselves better than everyone else. We’re naturally cliquish and most of these articles feel strangely like high school, only in an alternate universe where claiming the geek title is equivalent to being homecoming queen. What’s more interesting is that the women behind the articles are thirty-somethings hurling catty labels and narrow generalizations towards the younger versions of themselves. That’s straight nuts.

To be honest I’ve never thought of myself as a nerd or a geek, even though others would say I’m “into” nerdy and geeky things. I’m a gamer (been doing it since the dawn of Tetris) and I’m really into Lord of the Rings (I make Elvish capes and stuff and have learned to speak some Elvish…), I play Magic the Gathering (have been since 1996) and I like to watch Star Wars, Star Trek and anime. I’ve never been socially awkward and no one has ever given me crap about my interests, although boys are annoying about the video game thing. I wasn’t a loner in high school because of Magic or video games although I did take time out of gaming shortly after the PS1 came out to “be a girl”. I had a boyfriend and went to football games and stuff. I got back into it when the Xbox came out. I was asked to join this study once in my sophomore year of high school. An executive at my dad’s company was doing her doctorate and she was doing a study on girls and video games. I’ll never forget the study because it was eye opening to me as a female. In a nutshell we were told that females don’t like games where the main character dies and comes back to life because female brains don’t “work that way”. We want finality. If someone dies that’s it- they’re dead and it confuses our female brains that once a character is dead they reanimate and we can continue to play the game. I can remember thinking “what the hell, is this for real?” It was that study that made me realize that being a girl and being a girl that plays games are two different things, like oil and water, and it shouldn’t mix.

Ah, but then the turn of the century came and went and girls in the gaming industry were no longer (as) elusive. Females kept attending comicons and took part in LARP events across the country and didn’t need a male tour guide during these nerdfests. We did and continue to do just fine on our own. I think about the author of the “Dear Fake Geek Girls” article (Tara Tiger Brown for Forbes) and how she reminds me of the study I did. Her article makes me feel like a poser and that I’m into something I shouldn’t be. Maybe I’m doing it for attention, perhaps? She’s like the captain of the cheerleading squad telling me I can’t eat at her table in the cafeteria.

As a female that has developed an affection towards things that tend to be male dominated fields of interest I don’t want special attention, as some articles claim. Just a little respect. When I go to GameStop I don’t want to be led to the DS section and when I’m at Best Buy I don’t want to be ignored because someone thinks I’ll ask a dumb girl question. I promise I won’t ask if Mario is on the PlayStation, k? 

Tagged ,

The evolution of gaming…

What the heck is going on out there? Why are so many of us complaining about games that require an internet connection? Why are we so upset about the possibility of no longer being able to purchase pre-owned games? Why is everyone so upset about DLC? What is going on?

I, for one, am anxious to see what Micorsoft and Sony are going to release in the coming year(s). And I don’t think either one is going to be “good” or “bad”. I personally don’t like to buy pre-owned the same way I don’t burn music from friends or download from sites like LimeWire. I don’t buy DVD’s sold at flea markets (even movies that are out of theaters…) or even burn them from a friend’s collection. However, I also agree with the consumers that will be adversely affected by next gens if the pre-owned option was removed and internet was required in order to play. Either way it’s a valid argument, regardless your stance. Having said that, if a next gen console was DLC only or unable to play used games I wouldn’t be upset and yes, I would buy it. I purchase DLC when I deem a game “worthy” and if the game is crap, I forgo the extra content. Most of my Vita games are downloaded onto the Vita itself, mostly for convenience. Besides, those damn little cartridges are a pain to keep up with. On purpose, maybe? I bought the 3G Vita because I WANT  a constant internet connection (and I’m with AT&T anyway…) and I actually enjoy games that have online capability. Companies like GameStop look to be preparing themselves for an industry change having bought buymytronics.com, a company that buys and refurbishes used mobile devices. The Stop has been accepting iDevice trades for some time now and is expanding their market– to better roll with the natural process of a growing industry, maybe?

My feelings about console gaming are the same. I download a lot of my games. Halo REACH, Catherine and Alice are some of the downloaded titles I own. I also love the online capability of all my consoles. I enjoy a great solo campaign, but I love a great online one, too. I enjoy multi-player and since most of my gaming friends are scattered across the globe it provides me with a way to play with them since I can’t invite them over for an old fashioned LAN party. (those were the days, huh?) I wouldn’t be upset with games moving forward with online requirement because, well, that’s where we’re headed as a species. When aren’t we jacked in? Cell phones, tablets, handhelds– you name it and we are online. Why does this surprise us with games? I don’t understand all the push-back. From a financial perspective I can empathize with those of you that do not want to drop $65 every time a game comes out that  you might like. Add in DLC and you have yourself an expensive investment. But, to me, that’s the nature of the beast; I accept that I have an expensive habit and rely on game reviews to sway me into a purchase.(I don’t want to hear about how game journalists are bought by big business into giving specific reviews… there are honest, independent and reliable gaming journalism out there, people.) Solo campaigning isn’t “dead” it’s just brief and I believe devs are trying to please a majority, not a minority. It’s also the evolution of gaming that we’re experiencing and watching companies try to evolve their business is an exciting thing to be apart of! I also believe that being an “older” gamer having grown up with systems such as the NES, SNES, Genesis, etc, that never required online capability to now being required to own consoles that do has given me a great insight into the development of the gaming industry as a whole. I can appreciate that. I am also someone that doesn’t want to stop that change. I welcome it. How fortunate are we to have a front row seat in the progress of the development of new consoles, technology and the overall gaming experience? This is an exciting time for the gaming community, regardless the side of the fence you stand on.

Tagged , ,

All a girl wants…

First and foremost, I’m not a handheld or mobil gamer. I never have been, and from the looks of it I won’t continue to be. The last mobil gaming device I owned was the Sega GameGear and the original GameBoy. I was offered a boost of confidence today when I recently learned that the Play Station Vita might be getting some worth while titles. Assassin’s Creed Vita, Bioshock Vita and Call of Duty are just some of the console converts we can expect to see in the coming year. Great news for me because I was beginning to regret buying the Vita since all I do is watch Netflix and tweet on it. Silent Hill Book of Memories comes out in a few weeks, but I already know that is going to be for the series what Operation Raccoon City was for Resident Evil– just plain weird. What I would like to know is why do companies like Sony and Nintendo put out a great hand held without the consumer having anything worth while to play on it? I don’t want to play Hot Shots Golf on a device I just dropped over three hundred dollars on. Why do they expect me to? The other half tells me that I’m too impatient and “what do I expect to play at launch- developers don’t want to lose money, either. Just wait. There’s going to be an update that allows all PS3 games to have remote play, blah blah blah”. Pfffffffffft. I want something full bodied and with substance. (I guess Golden Abyss and Ultimate Marvel were something…) I want a game that captures me the way they do on consoles. And I don’t want to wait another year for that, either. I enjoy games on a handheld that play like those on a console and that’s what I expect from a device that costs more than the console that company sells. (I bought the 3G/wi-fi model). If you are going to charge me as much for your mobil device as you do for a 320G machine with a free $60 game, give me something worthwhile to play in the coming months. Don’t give me Little Deviants. The ads are misleading– “never stop playing”. I have stopped playing because I’m waiting for something that doesn’t, well, suck. All the Vita does is make me feel like I’m killing time, not gaming. It’s a little disheartening to know I own a device with great specs only to have it sit at the bottom of my purse the majority of the time.

Tagged , , ,

Big business got me again.

Oh, snap! Got the new RE: ORC and SH: HD Collection last night at the midnight launch. That I worked. Oh, snap! I’m still kicking it in Silent Hill, though. I don’t think I’ll even open the HD collection until I am completely done turning Downpour inside out. I’m going to play RE: ORC today, but I’m running through it co-op with the other half. I don’t really like the series in single player. Or I’m just a big chicken. Probably. (Is it just me or are there chingos of zombie games coming out right now? Resident Evil, Silent Hill DP, Silent Hill HD, Silent Hill Book of Memories, Walking Dead…)

I changed my mind on Ninja Gaiden 3. I was warned that it got a “3” in a review. Keep in mind that I’m not one of “those people” that simply don’t buy a game because a mainstream media source gave it score that quite simply means “broken”. I’ve been playing the series since NES on master ninja– I am not going to waste $65 on a game that can’t rank above the half way mark of quality. Especially when other big titles are competing for my dollar on the same day. My decision was justified when I read that the game was having problems with its online capability. One point, me. (Yesssssss, with a power fist)

More on winning, I’m picking up Myst next week for the 3DS and Silent Hill: Book of Memories for the Vita the week after that. Then I think I might chill buying games for a minute. They are beginning to eat up the majority of my paychecks. And I have bills and stuff. Besides, I need to start saving for the fall’s line up. Biiiiiig business coming your way starting in October.

Tagged

Silent Hill: Downpour was secretly developed by Bethesda?!

That makes sense. Considering I was making a substantial dent in Downpour when I walked off a bridge expecting to fall to my death. Instead I fell next to a watermill. So I walked off the side of that cliff. Only to fall into an abyss of gray where Murphy flails for a good three minutes landing in the world Silent Hill that has been turned upside down. Brilliant me, I think it’s a part of the game (for a split second, people, come on…) only to realize that the game is SAVING. Surprisingly enough I never die. I walk around in this inverted landscape for a while before I get bored and turn off my console to restart. True story.

 

See, totally not making this up. And of course I’m pre-conditioned to not mind the bugginess. Thanks, Bethesda.

It’s almost as awesome as a Nintendo GameBoy tube dress…

“I loved playing Go Go, because the character’s so extreme. And she’s pretty close to my real character. Especially the fact that she liked her sword with a lot of accessories.” ~Chiaki Kuriyama

As do I.  Just because I’m a gamer doesn’t mean I don’t like to accessorize. I’m actually a little addicted to it. I (embarrassingly enough) have six different cards linked to my Amazon Prime account. It’s my day off and it’s payday which means I’m most likely going to be internetting all day for things to buy. So, instead of buying fifty different pairs of shoes I only buy five and the rest is spent on cases, skins, headsets and t-shirts and submarine sandwiches.

1.)HORI KINECTOMAN– OMG– when I saw this in Game Informer (April 2012 issue) I could not believe my eyes!! An actual robot man for the Kinect that you can control with a controller! Not that I’m that much of a lazy ass, but I would get this just on principle. First it’s the XBL dashboard update that allows me to talk to my 360 (always wanted to do that) now someone invents a robot that can do all those embarrassing Kinect moves for me! I have to say, it’s going to be fun watching a this guy do Zumba. LOL- Zumbot!

 

2.) STEAMPUNK XBOX A perfect addition to compliment my steampunk lifestyle. Futuristic, yet simply Victorian. This Xbox mod is a nice blend of sci-fi and American West. It will blend nicely with my steampunk-styled arm prosthesis.

 

 

 

 

3.) FUZZY PINK GAMING HEADSET  Audio is an under appreciated attribute in video games. Developers put a lot of time and effort into sound only for most of it to go unnoticed by the casual gamer. I, however, enjoy 3D sound and this headset will be a nice addition. And it matches my handcuffs.

 

 

 

4.) PEARL PINK 3DS  To be honest, it baffles me that Nintendo always releases its girly colors much later than it’s less than favorable non-girly colors. Blue, black and red are hardly acceptable. It wasn’t until Christmas 2011 that they released a Pearl Pink bundle with Nintendogs French Bulldog to satisfy those of us that require a less masculine pigmented handheld in which to game upon. February 10, 2012 was the official Nintendo Pearl Pink 3DS release date of just the console itself. If only Nerf Armor would make 3DS cases in colors other than blue, yellow and green.

 

5.) BEDAZZEMENT Okay, maybe not so much the dalmatian puppy, but you get the picture. I am all about shiny things and it’s nothing a quick trip to Hobby Lobby won’t fix.

 

 

 

 

 

6.) GUNPUMPS Whoever says these shoes aren’t legit clearly isn’t human. What female would not want a pair of these awesome GUNPUMPS?? Whether you’re at work or the club you can pseudo ass kick Bayonetta sytle!

 

 

 

 

7.) HALO KITTY My friends at CHARRO BEADS make these awesome pixelated lanyard dangles and hooked me up with Halo Kitty! With any $20 purchase you get a free mustache (see left)! They custom create and do wall hangings as well. A great accessory for anyone that’s required to wear a name badge.

 

 

 

 

 

8.) NINTENDO BRA An over the shoulder boulder controller! It lifts and separates offering female gamers the support they need during those long grueling hours in front of the TV. This I must have.

Microsoft, You Broke My Heart…

Image

“Okay. You people sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we’re not back by dawn… call the president.”  ~ Jack Burton, Big Trouble in Little China

It’s official. Maybe. That Microsoft won’t announce their next gen console this year at E3. And that makes this girl very, very sad. I was getting excited about “Durango” and all of it’s rumored capabilities. I mean, who wouldn’t want a console that can make both coffee AND a sandwich using Kinect’s voice command system?! Today Microsoft announced “officially” that: 

While we appreciate all the interest in our long-range plans for the future, we can confirm that there will be no talk of new Xbox hardware at E3 or anytime soon. For us, 2012 is all about Xbox 360 — and it’s the best year ever for Xbox 360. The console is coming off its biggest year ever — a year in which Xbox outsold all other consoles worldwide. Xbox 360 didn’t just outsell other consoles, it also outsold all other TV-connected devices like DVD players, as well as digital media receivers and home theater systems. And in our seventh year, we sold more consoles than in any other year — defying convention.

This year, we will build on that Xbox 360 momentum. With “Halo 4,” “Forza Horizon,” “Fable: The Journey,” and other great Kinect games on the way, our 2012 Xbox lineup is our strongest ever. This year, we will deliver more TV, music, and movie experiences for Xbox 360 — as we’ll make it even easier to find and control your all entertainment. And this year, Xbox games, music, and video are coming to Windows 8 so people can enjoy their Xbox entertainment wherever they go.

Wah, MS, you have broken my heart. I so badly wanted to give you MORE of my money AND have holographic capability. I guess I’ll just have to wait until next year. I suppose I’ll have to wait for Kinect to recognize fingers and toes (it means typing on that virtual keyboard is going to have to wait, too) until 2013. I’ll have to wait for that pearl pink 320G, too- wait, that’s just me fantasizing again. Le sigh… 

Let’s Taco’bout Silent Hill

Because what’s more awesome than a zombie taco?? SILENT HILL: DOWNPOUR, I tell you! Yeah, yeah, those big shot McFloodyloos are giving it a 6.5/7, but it’s an easy 9 in my book. I’m about five hours in and I am really enjoying the game, wonky combat and all. It scored  kudos from the beginning when I got to shank a guy in the prison showers for nothing more than just “we were neighbors”. Murphy’s secrets and dark past are slowly starting to unravel which is a great turn of events in the SH series as it is known for the story more or less being about the actual town. Even better is that I’m not wandering around aimlessly heartbroken trying to find a wife or girlfriend. Murphy doesn’t seem the type. What creeps me out the most is that for the greater part of the beginning of the game there aren’t any monsters. None. Just great music (Silent Hill always has an awesome score) and sinister audio. Try playing it with a set of headphones (Tritton AX720’s, baby!) and your world will be eerily rocked. I got past the bus and died ten times crossing the tree and then the hot police lady fell down into the abyss after I opted to save her. Next I was visited by a ghoulish mailman named Howard, who I suppose is just making his rounds. What makes the game even more shuddersome is the running. I had to outrun an “abyss” and what’s more horrifying than trying to outrun something that simply isn’t there? A cool feature is you can toggle Murphy to look behind him while still moving forward. I walked in on this bad ass vato that had given me a rash of shit earlier on the bus headed into town. He was beating up on a “woman” only come to find out it was a screamer. Acceptable introduction to that ugly. Vatra has done an excellent job so far keeping true to the Silent Hill series while adding a bit of (much needed) difference. The open world feel has definitely taken away from that “track shooter” feel and the ability to decide separately how hard I want the puzzles and combat to be is an additional benefit. The scenery still turns nightmarish at unexpected points in the game and the rain is an indicator of how bad I’m going to have my ass handed to me by a hoard of mangled ghouls. It’s a refreshing change from the static on the walkie-talkie indicating a pre undead massacre. Murphy’s story is an interesting one and the cut scenes he envisions are keeping my attention. The two weapon inventory is a great addition to the game– I get a gat with seven bullets and whatever else I find along the way: wrench, fire extinguisher, kitchen knife, pan, etc. It only adds to the suspense. Luckily they aren’t stingy with the first aid kits because if that’s all I’m packing I’m going to need some bandaids.

Overall my SH: Downpour experience has been a cherished one. It’s a welcome addition to the series and I look forward to exploring the many endings. Bravo, Vatra, Bravo.

Back To My Roots

“All your base are belong to us” ~ Zero Wing

I watched “Chasing Ghosts” on Netflix the other night and it’s the saddest video game documentary I have ever seen. Having seen “Fist Full of Quarters”, second saddest video game documentary, it makes me take a step back to really appreciate how far gaming has evolved, both players and consoles. These gamers portrayed in the “Chasing Ghosts” documentary are, at the very least, sad shells of human beings. One player is now living at his parent’s house, Christmas decorations up year round and an urn of his dead wife’s ashes that was said to get drunk and beat him. He collects spiders at his local flea market. He’s happier now he says. Two of the arcade aficionados appear to have invested in overseas marriages and are learning the native language of their brides-to-be. Billy Mitchell turned out okay, even if he is a prick. Steve Sanders is a holy rollin’ attorney that appears to be your average joe, but he’s really close friends with Billy and that leaves me with doubts and confirms his d-baggery. Captain Awesome is, hands down, my favorite retro gaming weirdo. He drives the “awesome mobile” to work and has a self produced video and appears to dabble in porn. They showcase another guy that does his entire portion of interviews either in a strip club or at his apartment that has been transformed into a a collage of Las Vegas and toys from the 1980’s. Steve Weibe from “Fist Full of Quarters” is the only normal guy in the bunch. He’s married, has a career, a little OCD and a Donkey Kong arcade in his garage. But hey, he’s married. And he has children. That’s proof.

Having witnessed these documentaries on gaming, particularly retro gaming, it makes me take a step back to appreciate how far the industry has come. Especially to me as a female gamer. No longer is it limited to pimply boys living in their parent’s basements. Girls can even do it! Bonnie Burton (XENA) has paved the way for minorities such as myself to break through the stereotype. Technology in general has made it easier, too, seeing as how that is the future of humanity. With women having rights and all we can now evolve with it. Watching these documentaries make me appreciate the NES my dad bought “me” for my fourth birthday (he and my mom played my birthday present an awful lot) and  I read every magazine I could get my hands on from Nintendo Power to Wizard to GamePro to EGM. Every new system release I had… SNES, N64, Genesis, GameGear, GameBoy, Dreamcast… you get the picture. I think what has kept me gaming is the progression technology in general has made and it’s no longer “weird” to be “into” technology. We use it every day and being a female doesn’t seem to matter (as much) any more. Although gamers still have a stereotype, we are slowly losing that stigma as console developers target families and children for their sales, i.e. Nintendo. Gaming is now available to the public and accepted today as a norm. Kinect is a marketable tool for families, as is PS’s MOVE and Nintendo’s Wii. Consoles are integrating entertainment: Netflix, Cinema Now and offering movie rentals. You can even go into a GameStop and see female employees. And most of them actually play games. If only the guys on the documentaries could have evolved with it… Walter Day could be revolutionary if that were the case instead of a tiny blip in gaming history.

 

Just a thought. :)

When It Rains, It Pours…

Image“Though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for I am the evilest motherfucker in the valley” ~Alex Garland

It Downpours! Silent Hill Downpour is set to release today and I can’t wait! I have been following this title since it was released for the Playstation in 1999. Although Konami has been outsourcing this franchise since Origins (PSP) I am excited to see what Vatra Games has in store for me. Keeping true to the Silent Hill psychological horror element I am expecting the rain to be used in essence as the traditional fog to control my visibility and scaring the crap out of me when the uglies seemingly appear out of nowhere. I am also hoping this title keeps things simple and doesn’t try to “wow” me with bigger baddies now that Pyramid Head and the twitchy nurses are said (rumored) to no longer be in this release. Downpour is said to have an open world feel unlike it’s predecessors where the game play feels more like an open world “track” with the inability to open most doors and explore most buildings. Great strategy for securing new players that are used to more open world environments like Red Dead and Dead Space. I’m going to enjoy the multiverse dimensions and going back and forth from normality to nightmarish in seconds. Vatra says that Murphy (the main character) can only cary what he needs, i.e. one gun or pipe at a time, which will be welcomed by me! I can appreciate a game that assists the player with realistic game play. I really shouldn’t be able to carry a bazooka, flame thrower, pistol, crow bar and brass knuckles all at the same time. I can’t wait to solve puzzles to acquire guns and missing pieces of back story to complete my quests. I’m looking forward to both good AND bad changes in this release and hope that, at the very least, it will still scare the pants off me as it has done now for the past twelve years.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.