It was revealed today that Rise of the Tomb Raider is not only coming to the Xbox One first, but is in fact being published by Microsoft outright, which more than likely precludes it from ever coming to the PS4 (though PC is not out of the question). I went on a big rant about …

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There were a bunch of things I had intended to write about today – the Tiger Woods / EA split, the generally, startlingly positive reviews for Assassins Creed IV and if that was enough to push me back into a franchise that I’d all but sworn off, etc. – but in light of Lou Reed’s death*, …

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This is a comment to Polygon’s review of Dragon’s Crown, an RPG that I must admit I’ve only known about because of the controversy surrounding its rather gratuitous art style. And this comment is pretty much why I tend to feel curmudgeonly these days, and very much like the solipsistic misanthrope I call myself in …

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It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that FEZ II has been cancelled and is no longer in development. We apologize for the disappointment — Polytron (@Polytron) July 27, 2013 Phil Fish finally snapped on Saturday, after an[other] epic argument with an asshole on Twitter.   He announced that he was cancelling Fez II …

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E3 2013: Nintendo and the morning after

June 11, 2013


As per usual, I missed most of the Nintendo briefing due to the day job.  The little I saw, though, didn’t interest me all that much – which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as I am not, nor have I ever been, a Nintendo fanboy.  I suppose I was hoping to see some new, exciting stuff for the 3DS, but from my vantage point Nintendo isn’t all that worried about the 3DS – it’s the WiiU that needs all the TLC it can get, and that’s what was mostly talked about this morning.  But, again, since I don’t particularly care about first-party Nintendo titles, and since I can realistically only afford one of the new consoles, I would’ve needed something tremendous and undeniably exciting in order to turn my head away from Sony.

Speaking of which.

The question for every E3, for the last however many years, has always ultimately boiled down to this:  “Who won?”  And for the most part, every console’s fans could make reasonable sounding arguments that their console won that particular year, and flame wars and impolite discourse would ensue, as per usual.  So it strikes me as highly unusual to see a clear, unambiguous, unanimously decided winner crowned even before E3 officially starts.  

What Sony managed to pull off last night was unprecedented.  They fired their shots with grace, tact and humility – and they did not miss.  And as much as I get confused by cheering audiences during what are supposed to be press-only events, the excitement in the room seemed genuine and sincere.  It’s not just that Sony delivered good news; it’s that they delivered the right news, at the right time, and completely owned the moment.  Twitter was exploding once those announcements started rolling out.   We all gasped as the former champion-turned-underdog delivered one knock-out punch after another.  And then, when they announced the $399 price, pretty much everybody wrote “Game Over” in their notebooks.

I did, in fact, go to sleep last night without pre-ordering a PS4, though I must admit I was dangerously close to doing so.  (I  even got as far as putting it in my Amazon cart and trying to figure out where I wanted it shipped.)   There’s still a lot (well, all) of E3 left, and I’d like to think there are some surprises left as far as console-exclusives are concerned.  So even if Sony has “won”, I’ve still not seen any games that I need to put on my must-play list.

And, again – even if Sony has won, I still can’t see myself committing to a purchase until I see how the multi-console development shakes out for third-party developers.   The biggest reason why Microsoft won this last generation, in my opinion, is because, by and large, 360 versions of multi-platform games looked and played better than their PS3 counterparts.  This is why Sony’s announcement of their new partnership with Bethesda took me utterly by surprise – PS3 owners got shafted with a piss-poor port of Skyrim, and I seem to recall Fallout 3 being somewhat inferior as well, and wasn’t there a lengthy delay between the 360 version of Oblivion and the PS3?  I probably spent over 250 hours in those 3 games alone on the 360.  So for the PS4 to be getting a console version of the Elder Scrolls MMO – as well as a console exclusive beta – well, that’s huge.  That’s Sony saying to Bethesda that they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that PS4 owners get the experience they’re pay for and expect to receive.

Now, on the other hand, it will be very interesting indeed to see how Microsoft answers, if at all.  Their messaging ever since the console reveal has been inconsistent, wishy-washy, and wildly tone-deaf to the consumer; the only thing that has been clear is that they are aiming to please publishers.  Nobody wants Kinect; even people who have Kinect (like me) don’t want it or use it.  The Xbox One will continue to be the primary home for multiplayer FPS games, and, so, good for those people.  They are a large audience, they will eat that shit up.  But there’s so much more that games are capable of, and Sony seemed hell-bent on letting us know that they are intent on courting developers of all sizes in an effort to make their library as diverse as possible.

Very much looking forward to the rest of the show – my RSS feed is exploding and I must get caught up!

shame

November 29, 2012


I wasn’t sure if I was going to comment on this #1reasonwhy thing.   Still not sure, frankly; I might very well not publish this post.  To be honest, I’m just not sure what to say about it.  This should not be confused with me being apathetic or disinterested or complacent or anything of the sort, however.  I’ve got very strong feelings about it, actually, the strongest one being that it’s incredibly disheartening that this sort of protest needs to exist in the first place.

The behavior of “gamers” – not all of them, but the loudest of them – is one that’s incredibly tough to swallow.  The racist, sexist, misogynist crap that spews forth from Xbox Live multiplayer sessions and Youtube videos and website comment threads – for better or worse, this is how gamers are being defined by society.  This is why Fox News can continue to talk about violent videogames and the downfall of culture and still get away with it, while the good stuff like Child’s Play and other charitable and well-intended works get largely ignored in the mainstream media.

I don’t want to be identified with these assholes; I don’t want anything to do with them.  I don’t play multiplayer with randoms, I very rarely read comment threads.   What I love about videogames has absolutely nothing to do with what these idiots bring to the table.   I mean, I’m a gamer, one week away from turning 37, and you know what?  It’s still a little embarrassing to admit it out loud, for fear that I’ll be branded as one of these scumbags.  When my wife says that she’s done with the DVR and that I can have the living room to play games, there’s still a part of me that cringes a little, as if I’m about to do something infantile.   (This isn’t my wife’s fault – this is me just reflexively being embarrassed.)

I have this blog, I’m a member of some private forums, and I email a few friends to discuss what we’re playing.  The farther I wade into the cesspool that is general games discussion, the faster I want to back out.

That women have been treated like shit in and around the gaming community is not news; it’s always been this way.  Let’s leave aside the gratuitous character designs of female characters in games themselves and talk about real, actual women.  Remember when the dominant story in a lot of the legitimate gaming press around the first Assassin’s Creed game was, for the most part, how hot Jade Raymond was – not that she was the creative lead on a major new intellectual property?  Do we need to discuss Booth Babes?

Hell, it’s not just women – it’s anybody who isn’t a straight white male.  My friend Caro is a senior critic for Gamespot, who also happens to be transgender.  She loves and knows more about games than pretty much anybody I know, and she’s also a marvelous writer with a tremendous mind for analysis and critical thinking; she’s largely the reason why I want to get into this business, to be honest.  But any time she posts a review for her site, my heart breaks every time I see the comments – comments that have nothing to do with her words, or her insight, but about the sound of her voice.

I’m very tired of this shit, and I don’t know what to do about it.  I am neither a professional critic, nor a programmer, nor anything other than an avid consumer and enthusiast; I am a straight white male with a blog that is about to have its biggest month ever – at slightly over 400 hits.  While my reach is limited, my aim is true.  I very much look forward to a time when being a “gamer” isn’t something to be embarrassed about.  In the meantime, I guess, all I can do is support the people I respect, and try to drown out the idiots.

EDIT:  Here’s a fantastic post from Rock Paper Shotgun.  http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/11/29/1reasonwhy-we-are-all-responsible/

And here’s Patrick Klepek at Giant Bomb.  http://www.giantbomb.com/news/from-1reasonwhy-to-1reasontobe-and-1600-comments-in-between/4462/

And here’s Leigh Alexander, who’s been all over this for a long time:  http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/174145/Opinion_In_the_sexism_discussion_lets_look_at_game_culture.php#.ULehR-RWxI5

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